Issues

Social Business: Challenges and Opportunities

April 28, 2012 by

In social development, social business has emerged as an important topic. Its impact on enriching and empowering people’s lives has become evident all over the world. To combat the global economic crisis, social business has harnessed the advent of technology and modern science to eradicate poverty, hunger, unemployment and other social problems. Social business has been around for the last three decades in Bangladesh. It has empowered women and reformed many facets of society.

Politics and Islam in Central Asia and MENA

April 24, 2012 by

Following the democratization of predominantly Muslim countries in Central Asia and MENA there are many challenges still yet to be met. For the overall development of the region to progress and to assure alternatives to the autocratic governments that dominate these two regions, more will need to be done by the West and international institutions. Following the Six-Day War in 1967 there was a movement towards radical Islam. Since that time, radical politicized Islam has become an alarming trend that adversely affects the development of MENA and Central Asia, and also adversely affects its people and their economies. Anti-Western ideologies do not promote democracy and they adversely affect opportunities to provide economic growth.

What Syria is Teaching the West

April 22, 2012 by

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the fragile cease-fire in Syria has failed and is evidence that - contrary to what many pundits contend - the tide continues to be on Mr. Assad’s side, given the time that has passed, the fractured nature of the opposition, and the bungled manner in which the West has addressed the subject. As Syria demonstrates, with each passing month the Arab Awakening evolves in new and unexpected ways.

Latin America’s Shift on Drug Policy

April 16, 2012 by

I recently read an interesting and smart piece on one of Foreign Policy’s blogs which charted some notable policy shifts among current Latin American heads of state as it relates to drugs. It is true that, more than two years ago, the former leaders of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico all (rightly) claimed that the “war on drugs” had been unsuccessful. It is also true that the current presidents of Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala (among others) have also called for a rethink on the current prohibition regime.

What’s Left?

April 15, 2012 by

The public suicide of 77-year-old pharmacist Demitris Christoulas a short distance from the parliament building in Athens and the outpouring of grief and anger reveal the trauma and desperation in Greek society in the midst of an economic crisis. In a handwritten note before he shot himself in the head, Christoulas complained that the government had made it impossible for him to survive on the pension he had paid into for 35 years.

The Revolution on a Laptop: YouTube Journeys through the Arab Spring

April 12, 2012 by

I chose to be here and now I want to leave. But I’m actually already at home, sitting in my living room. Yet what I saw was real. I just saw a Syrian protester moments after he’d been shot in the neck. I’d heard the shots that might be delivering the same fate to others. I’d felt the adrenaline of the survivors running over to do what they could for a boy whose blood trailed thirty feet into a ditch.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 10

April 9, 2012 by

As I write this I am listening to a 16 minute “bootleg tape”, now a CD, of the concert Martin Benjamin and I performed on March 9, 1963 (49 years ago) in a talla bet (beer house) in the arada (market) of Gondar, Ethiopia. Marty was the lead on the guitar and I just did my best to follow along. I doubt either of us would be described today as a couple of aging rockers. The flavor of the concert was Kingston Trio, aka “Gondar Duo”.

Why Europe is not yet ‘A Culture of Peace’

April 5, 2012 by

It is undoubtedly true that the greatest unacknowledged achievement of the European Union (EU) is to establish ‘a culture of peace’ within its regional enclosure for the 68 years since 1944. This has meant not only the absence of war in Europe, but also the absence of ‘war talk,’ threats, crises, and sanctions, with the single important exception of the NATO War of 1999 that was part of the fallout from the breakup of former Yugoslavia.

Do Elections in Myanmar Signal Real Change?

April 4, 2012 by

Is Myanmar’s leadership serious about reforms? Or were the elections mounted for appearances only? Here’s what Robert Lieberman, Tharaphi Than and Ian Holliday, among others, have to say.

Burma After Aung San Suu Kyi’s Election Victory

April 3, 2012 by

The by-elections held throughout Burma/Myanmar on 1 April initially look to have produced a stunning result for the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was stunning for everyone, including for the party itself and the military which has ruled the country for just over 50 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi as Lawmaker

April 2, 2012 by

Following her historic victory in Sunday’s by-elections Aung San Suu Kyi takes on a new role as opposition lawmaker, after a 22-year existence as Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner. The 66-year-old’s presence in parliament will be fortified by other candidates from her National League for Democracy (NLD) triumphant in the landmark mini-poll on Apr.1. An informal tally by NLD has shown the party winning 40 of the 45 seats up for grabs in the 664-member bicameral legislature.

Boomerang

April 1, 2012 by

Toulouse, Europe’s aerospace hub in the southwest of France, has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. A twenty-three-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, Mohamed Merah, went on a shooting spree last month, killing seven people and terrorizing a million residents for ten days before a police sniper’s bullet ended his life. Among his victims were three unarmed soldiers, a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 9

March 25, 2012 by

Days after our arrival in Gondar we were approached by numerous students asking for employment in our house in exchange for a place to stay and a small stipend. While, as I’ve indicated in a previous chapter, we were reluctant to admit we needed help we were impressed by the story of one tenth grade student, Yimer Mekonnen.

Who Will Win at the Human Rights Council?

March 15, 2012 by

The US recently tabled a draft resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council’s 19th session in Geneva. No one should be too surprised by this; everyone knew it was coming. However, the draft resolution is so incredibly weak that President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be breathing a sigh of relief. It is no wonder that the US feels confident that it has the votes in needs. Besides, it is likely that the resolution will be watered down even more in the coming days—making this exercise seem that much more formulaic and pointless.

Sri Lanka: International Governments Must Take the Lead in Investigating War Crimes

March 15, 2012 by

There is a growing danger that the political leaders responsible for the greatest single atrocity of recent years will suffer no consequences. Journalists, not governments, have taken a lead in raising the issue to the international agenda of command responsibility for violations of humanitarian law in Sri Lanka. The UK’s Channel Four has now screened the second of two hard-hitting documentaries, containing compelling visual evidence that civilians were knowingly targeted, and surrendering prisoners executed, on orders issued in a direct chain of command from the country’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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