Your alarm clock rings but you can’t get out of bed so you click the snooze button. Thanks to the snooze application, you can now pledge 25 cents to a non-profit part of the LetGive network whenever you oversleep. Instead of feeling bad for not managing to wake up, you can actually feel good by contributing to a charity. This sounds like a great example of how digital technology can foster new and creative ways to engage in global solidarity. But which ethics of solidarity lie behind this form of donation? Or, in other words, what do the new communication strategies of humanitarianism tell us about the kind of solidarity promoted in our global age? This is the core question that drives Lilie Chouliaraki’s latest book.
It was a Friday night in Laiza and a few students had gathered for dinner. They were watching television, where a Burmese channel was broadcasting live a speech delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi at Yale University. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke in the soft, yet determined and righteous tone that had made her famous around the world. She explained how she wished she had listened more carefully to her piano teacher, so she could have played better later, during her years of house arrest.
Water is required by every living thing, yet a growing number of people face difficulties accessing it. Climate change, urbanization, pollution, energy use, agriculture, population growth, and migration, all contribute to water stress.
November has been a dark month for those still optimistic about climate change adaptation and mitigation. The latest to sound the alarm is the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). In its Emission Gap Report 2012, released yesterday (21 November), UNEP warned that current pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions would not succeed in limiting temperature increases to 2°C vis-à-vis pre-industrial times.
It is a good day for intolerant rulers like Hugo Chavez and Nursultan Nazarbayev, as seven countries with particularly appalling human rights records were elected to the UN Human Rights Council: Ethiopia, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced last month it was closing down operations in Sri Lanka, where in 2009 it had run the world's largest camp for internally displaced people (IDPs). Hailed as a significant step towards ending displacement within the country, this announcement, along with relatively strong economic growth and social indicators seemed to confirm Sri Lanka as a ‘post-conflict success story’. Three years after a 30-year long civil war, however, the government has shown little willingness to find a political solution to the original causes of the conflict, and continues to face accusations of human rights abuses against its own citizens. As a result, the international community has been left struggling to adopt a coherent position towards the small island state.
The World Climate Summit, Doha, Qatar, December 1-2, 2012 is the largest international business and finance conference during the UNFCCC COP18.
As Jürgen Habermas’ new book "The Crisis of the European Union: A Response" arrived at bookstores, The Global Journal asked Francis Fukuyama to interview the German philosopher, one of the most influential thinkers of our time. In a highly relevant and exclusive discussion, Professor Fukuyama and Professor Habermas articulate Europe’s most pressing issues, such as the building of a more integrated political Europe, its democratic foundations, the role of its citizens and Europe’s future. This unique interview also leads to global governance issues; Europe is still a promising laboratory for ideas on new political orders.
Just in time for Halloween, North America’s largest chocolate producer, The Hershey Company, announced plans to source 100 percent of its chocolate from sustainable cocoa production. Most of that chocolate will come from West Africa, a region wracked by coups and conflict since receiving independence in the 1960s. West Africa, in fact, produces 70 percent of the world’s chocolate.
The Sri Lankan government must immediately cease its assault on the independence of the judiciary, the ICJ said in a new report released today.
The 150-page report, Authority without Accountability: The Crisis of Impunity in Sri Lanka, documents how, and why, it has become nearly impossible for people who have suffered serious violations of their human rights to receive justice in Sri Lanka. Recent attacks on judicial officers and judges only highlight the systematic erosion of accountability mechanisms.
Mali’s secessionist North, which split from the rest of the country in March, continues to be a key concern for many West African leaders involved in identifying a solution to the crisis. They met yesterday (30 October) with an African Union (AU) backed group of experts in the national capital, Bamako. The aim of the meeting was to coordinate plans for an international intervention in Mali ahead of a joint submission to the UN at the end of November.
Egypt is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and has a colonial history that stretches back centuries. From 1882 until 1952 it was under British rule although nominal independence was granted in 1922, with the exception of four ‘reserved’ areas: foreign relations, communications, the military and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
At the conclusion of last week’s (18-20 October) second meeting of the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) Board, it was announced that South Korean city Songdo would be the location of the new body’s headquarters. Songdo was competing with five other cities for the right to host the organization. Expected to become operational in 2013, the GCF will support projects, programs, policies and other activities in developing countries that are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The stakes connected to the headquarters decision were high, as the GCF will administer an endowment that is expected to reach about $100 billion by 2020.
When people in Scotland or Flanders or Catalonia talk of independence, they have an invisible but powerful ally: globalization.
Nations no longer need as much territory to be viable as they did in the period of the great colonial empires, or even 25 years ago. The dismantling of international trade and financial restrictions plus technological advances that facilitate cross-border business make it unnecessary for a country to sustain itself only, or even primarily, with the fruit of its own soil.
The Nobel Prize announcement has triggered another round of EU bashing. There are many reasons today to be critical of the EU. Any positive appraisal of the EU project could be seen counter-intuitive. Keeping this mind, I would like to argue that the decision of the Nobel Prize committee is not only justified but also visionary.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passing of Laura Pollàn, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) re-releases two documentary shorts highlighting the work of the "Ladies in White," a civil society group inside Cuba that organizes peaceful marches for freedom and human rights.
MANTRA, a sanitation program transforming rural livelihoods in eastern India, last night won the Grand Award at GLOBAL+5, the first ever festival of global governance organized by The Global Journal in Geneva. Receiving the award from Angela de Wolff (President of Sustainable Finance Geneva) before a packed international audience at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, MANTRA leader Joe Madiath expressed his surprise that a project focusing on the unglamorous issue of sanitation "could lead to such a big prize. The MANTRA model has reached almost 1,000 villages in India, reducing waterborne diseases by 80 percent and empowering communities to take charge of their own development path.
Oleg Shein, a mild-mannered member of the opposition movement, came before Western audiences last week to discuss corruption in Russia. Shein was the Just Russia mayoral candidate in Astrakhan, a major city in the southwest of the country. After March elections brought victory to his opponent, Mikhail Stolyarov of the United Russia Party, Shein staged a protest in the form of a 40-day hunger strike. Supporters of Shein and anti-corruption activists also joined the strike to draw attention to election fraud.
US President Barack Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly’s annual General Debate, as part of the opening of its 67th session, was very much focused on the ‘Arab world’ and the territories to which it translates geographically. As such, it was reminiscent of his corresponding speech last year, when he congratulated the citizens of ‘Arab Spring’ touched countries for driving a transition to new political regimes. Yesterday (25 September), however, if the area of focus was similar, the tone was more preoccupied and less laudatory. Obama expressed his concerns about mounting tensions in the region.
If there is one striking characteristic of the period of late Hu-Wen rule (broadly, from the 17th Party Congress in 2007 when Hu was able to have most of his key allies in the Politburo and was thus more dominant), it is that it has been a period of control. The ‘stability’ mantra (in Chinese, wei-wen) has been invoked time after time, with increasing intensity, since the Tibet uprisings in early 2008. Further unrest in Xinjiang in 2009 and Inner Mongolia in 2011 only reinforced for the current leadership the fact that social order is non-negotiable. This underlines the staggering fact that in the National People’s Congress this year, the Chinese government admitted that it spent USD 5 billion more on internal security than on national defense. The enemy within, it seems, looms larger in their minds than the threat from outside.
Since 2001, Peace One Day has arranged a yearly day of ‘Global Truce’ for International Peace Day (21 September). In 2012, thanks to a partnership with the Geneva-based peacebuilding NGO Interpeace, and to a successful outreach campaign, the organization has been joined in this initiative by over 300 NGOs, as well as numerous officials, companies and individuals in what is expected to be the greatest day of violence reduction ever seen. Peace One Day’s plan is ambitious, and its impact could be huge.
The recent attacks on diplomatic missions in the Middle East have brought into focus the discussion on embassies and the tension between their function and protection. It reminds me of sessions in the early 1990s when I assisted young Maltese architectural students to design an ideal embassy for a pan-European architectural competition. They found my explanation of diplomacy as a profession that builds bridges between nations through engagement and dialogue counter-intuitive. Most embassies are surrounded by high walls and guarded by heavily armed soldiers. They are far from open and inviting spaces. The embassy architecture symbolises in physical form the tension in the function of diplomacy as well as tensions in global politics.
For its first involvement in an outreach event to mark Peace Day, the Latin American office of Global Truce NGO Coalition coordinator Interpeace will join several other civil society organizations in Guatemala to construct a ‘chain for peace.’
The transport industry’s leading trade fair, InnoTrans, was the site today of the launch of the inaugural SNCF Global Mobility Index. A unique collaboration between The Global Journal and French rail company SNCF, the data-driven index features in-depth analysis of mobility challenges facing over 60 governments around the world.
The border between Kenya and Uganda has been the stage for recurrent clashes between the cattle rustling warriors of Dodoth (Uganda), Iik (Uganda) and Turkana (Kenya). At the heart of their quarrel is a fight for resources.
Long affected by war, Somalia seemed to emerge from years of hopelessness on Monday (10 September) with the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud by the country’s transitional parliamentarians. Widely applauded by the international community, these elections nonetheless proved to be a challenge for a state that has suffered from a lack of effective governance for over 40 years. The newcomer will have to face a country divided between war and ‘money-lords’, Islamist militants from al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab, pirates and secessionist provinces, while the regional geopolitics of the Horn of Africa were also recently shaken by the death of long-standing Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. As a proof of the challenging times ahead, the new Somali president — as well as the visiting Kenyan Foreign Minister — escaped a bomb attack yesterday (12 September) in the capital Mogadishu.
The ICJ has launched its new website and visual identity.
In an effort to make the organisation more visible to a wider audience and ensure that its wealth of legal resources and advocacy work are made accessible, the ICJ undertook to modernise its visual identity and main communications tool in 2012; a year that coincides with the organisation’s 60th anniversary.
Banco de Bosques is an Argentina-based NGO committed to preserving Argentinian forests and the environment more generally through an innovative program: the forest bank.
Jeremy Gilley is an actor and filmmaker turned self-professed ‘peace militant’. As founder of Peace One Day, a Surreybased NGO, Gilley led a successful international grassroots campaign that culminated in the creation of UN World Peace Day. Occurring on 21 September each year since 2002, Peace Day is recognized globally as a time of ceasefire and non-violence.
The Manhattan Project is the name of a women's peace movement. The choice of words intentionally rings a bell. It is historically charged, evoking the US nuclear program that culminated in the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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