• ART WORKS: Promoting Peace, Social Change, and Human Rights with Art

    Can art change our global village? Have you learned something from a piece of art? Might art promote social change?

    Art Works Projects is an NGO that seeks to do just that - use the arts to raise awareness of and educate the public about significant human rights and environmental issues. Major funding for Art Works is provided by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. 

    Art Works' agenda includes projects exposing genocide, extreme sexual violence, women's rights, famine, child labor and human trafficking, ethnic cleansing and tyranny. Art Works selects topics that are the most intractable, the least covered in the mainstream media, and the most abusive for victims.

    The Art Works exhibition "Women Between Peace and War: Afghanistan" states, "an investment in women is an investment in peace."

    SEE CHANGE from ART WORKS Projects on Vimeo.

    Take a few minutes and take in these photos from the exhibition (click here). Make a few notes to yourself about what you see and feel as you take in these images that trace the crisis of women, girls and families in a country under siege.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you agree that women and girls are the bedrock for rebuilding peace in Afghanistan? Why?

    2.     How do the eroding effects of gender inequality, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare and education contribute to war in Afghanistan and in our larger global village?


  • One Mobile Phone Can Record Injustices: Google Urges Openness in Burma

    Burma is a resource rich state with a large number of people living in extreme poverty. Last week, Google executives (speaking in a Rangoon university) said, Google can help (click here for more). Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, recently said, one cell mobile phone in an isolated village can record injustices.

    Google has launched a local homepage for Burma - www.google.com.mm - that will allow the tailoring of content. Google has also unblocked the Google Apps store to allow access from within Burma.

    "Try to keep the government out of regulating the Internet," Schmidt said to a group of students at a university in Rangoon, Burma. "The answer to bad speech is more speech. More communication. More voices," he said. "If you are a political leader you get a much better idea of what your citizens are thinking about."

    Schmidt said Google's first priority in Burma would be to improve access to information with its search engine and applications such as translation and maps. "Right now the thing Google can do most is get information into the country," he said.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you think the Google CEO is correct in saying that the Internet could help cement political and economic opening in Burma?

    2.     How will access to Google change power in the resource rich state of Burma?


  • The Dispersed Power of the Digital Age

    Most scholars of international relations agree that there is a massive shift in geopolitical power taking place.

    Yesterday in class we started a discussion about the way international law seeks to make our global village a safer place. In that discussion, we explored current examples of power shifting from hierarchies to global networks of people. At about that point in the conversation, a student on the back row picked up his cell phone and started typing with his thumbs. I stopped the conversation and said to the class, "look back at the student on the back row, he is starting a revolution - right now!" Laughter followed. Is that simple?

    While economic power might be shifting from United States to China, there is also a real and significant shift in power moving from governments, MNCs, even from large media conglomerates to networks of citizens. The Internet is, of course, the facilitator of this shift. No longer is information controlled - governments and those in power have lost (or are losing) control of the power of information.  In short, technology is allowing citizens to demand openness and transparency.

    Change often occurs when a person with a passion makes it happen. The Internet and digital devices are not the reason for the change - but are the new tools used by those with the passion to take on the task.

    Does leadership in this new digital age fall to "the chosen one?" Or does technology allow anyone with an idea and a passion to become a catalyst for change? The Occupy and Arab Spring movements did not have a clear and focused leadership but were instead citizen-centered movements. This is at once a strength and a weakness of dispersed power.

    In this talk Alec Ross, Senior Innovation Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, explains his experiences and insights with these changes in power, the future of diplomacy, and how technology can be used in practical ways to tackle some of the world's biggest problems.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     How might the dispersion of power help empower women?

    2.     How will leaders of best lead and promote change in this new age of empowered citizen networks?


  • International Day of Happiness: First UN International Day of Happiness - 20 March 2013

    May your day be happy!

    Today we welcome spring and the first International Day of Happiness!

    Speaking at the General Assembly the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently stated that the world "needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness." 

    In the state of Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness levels, not the GDP (click here for more). 

    The United Nations encourages all individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Why would/should the United Nations promote a Day of Happiness?

    2.     Would other nations be better off if they focused on citizen's happiness levels rather than on gross domestic product? 



  • The Mighty Heart of Daniel Pearl: Diplomacy, Openness, and Dialogue

    Yesterday, Pakistani security officials said they have arrested a former senior leader of a banned militant organization who was allegedly involved in the 2002 murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi (click here for more).

    For those of us who teach international relations the immediate months and years following the 911 attacks focused our thoughts and work in ways scholars of the 1940s must have known following two great wars. One story - the story of Daniel Pearl - hit me particularly hard - and still does.

    Most of my current students were only in the second or third grade when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi.

    While the world reacted to the tragedy of 911, Pearl was traveling Pakistan searching for the real story of Islamist militants. Pearl believed that telling the story was critical - to peace. He believed in the ideal - that honest communication and understanding could lead to cooperation and peace. Pearl wanted to tell the story and thus open a dialogue. 

    Many of my current students do not know that Pearl later beheaded in Karachi in 2002.  Court documents indicate that the men who killed Daniel Pearl did so in an attempt to win freedom for Al-Qaeda members imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

    The emergence of specialized cooperative networks with a global scope - be they trade, human rights, security, or diplomatic - now transcend national boundaries and are impossible to regulate through domestic and or traditional international law. So - in short - the actors as well as the relationships that once provided for governance are changing.

    Given these radical changes in the international community it seems imperative that we engage all parties when dealing with conflict. Perhaps Daniel Pearl was absolutely correct in opening a dialogue with violent groups, with radicals and terrorists.

    In this TED Talk Jonas Gahr Støre, the foreign minister of Norway, makes a compelling case for open discussion, even when values diverge, in an attempt to build greater security for all.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Does the "Bush Doctrine" ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.") adequately address the reality of the emergence of cooperative networks?

    2.     Was Daniel Pearl's idealism naïve or was he trapped in an unfortunate and horrible situation in his attempt to bring an understanding and light to the real story of the Islamist militants he was investigating?


  • President Obama Visits Israel and the Palestinian Territory: UN Report Details Palestinian Human Rights Abuse

    In Geneva, 31 January 2013 - A United Nations International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory published a report on the Israeli settlements. The report states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians have been violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements (click here for more). The report states that since 1967 the Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements.

    On Wednesday this week (20 March 2013), President Obama will arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking the President's first trip to Israel as President of the United States (click here for more). 

    Later on Thursday afternoon, President Obama will have a bilateral meeting with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and a working lunch followed by a press conference. He will face difficult questions in that press conference. What statement will President Obama make about the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory?

    In this short firm My Neighbourhood (directed by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi) we see the personal story of a Palestinian teenager, Mohammed El Kurd, as he and his family face eviction from their home in East Jerusalem.

    My Neighbourhood is one of a series of short films by Just Vision, an organization that uses film and media to increase the power and legitimacy of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and resolve the conflict nonviolently.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you agree with the Jewish protester who said, "Where there is injustice and human rights violations and people being thrown out of their homes, I have an obligation to be there?"

    2.     What role should the United States play in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict?

  • The North Koreans Rattle Sabers and Ignore Chinese: US to Spend $1 Billion on Nuclear Interceptors

    While American and South Korean intelligence officials doubt that North Korea is close to being able to make a nuclear strike, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced by on Friday that the United States will be increasing the number of ground-based nuclear interceptors in California and Alaska to 44 from 30 by 2017 (click here for more).

    The move was designed to "stay ahead of the threat" posed by North Korea's advances in technology for an intercontinental ballistic missile, Hagel said.

    Above: Chuck Hagel said, "North Korea is engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocations" (photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters).

    North Korea's recent aggressive behavior and its willingness to ignore its most powerful neighbor - China - are seen as important and worrying signs of changing strategic calculations (click here for more).  

    The United States taxpayers will be spending a little more than $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter a perceived threat of North Korea's weapons (click here for more).

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Why would the North Korean unmooring from their Chinese handlers increase South Korean and US fears and accelerant spending on nuclear interceptors?

    2.     Would it even be probable that the North Koreans might even try to launch a nuclear attack given its almost certain destruction?


  • Shark Week: Governments Agree to Limit Shark Trade

    It's been a great week for the sharks of our global village. Governments around the world have agreed to help protect them.

    Each year around 100 million sharks are killed, mostly for their fins.  Five species of sharks are in great danger from overfishing (click here for more).

    On 3 March 1973, 80 countries in met in Washington, D.C., and created the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES should protect sharks from overfishing.

    However, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a full ninety percent of the world's sharks have disappeared over the past 100 years, mostly because of overfishing in countries such as China, Japan, and Indonesia.

    Although Japan and China maneuvered to block the agreement, CITES voted to place new trade limits on sharks first time in nearly a decade at its annual meeting, held in Bangkok yesterday.

    In country's like China, shark-fin soup is a luxury enjoyed by the upper class, and as a result, shark populations have been decimated around the world (click here for more).

    "This is an historic day for marine conservation," said Glenn Sant from Traffic International. "Shark populations are in freefall, but have been thrown a lifeline today - CITES has finally listened to the scientists," he said (click here for more).

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Why is it hard for governments - like China - to agree to such a limit on shark trade?

    2.     Are we humans capable of giving up short-term economic interests in lieu of long-term preservation of our planet?


  • Transparency: Power of the People and the MNCs in Power

    Do the people need to understand the raw political power of MNCs, IGOs, NGOs, and governments? Do we need to pay attention to the payments an oil company is making to the government in a poor state? Does it matter in ExxonMobil does not disclose how much it pays the government of a poor state to extract oil for American consumers?

    Knowledge is power. Those who study politics know that understanding the process of who gets what, when, and how is critical to understanding where power is and how it is being used. The Founders of the American Constitution well understood power and worked hard to create a political structure that is open and in which the people held the power. They probably achieved this to a greater extent than many others in human history. And yet today, oil companies around the world and in the United States are fighting to keep secret the payments they make for extracting oil in developing countries.

    There are too many states like Burma that are at once "resource rich" and plagued with extreme poverty. These resource-rich countries are too often plagued by misallocation of resources, extreme inequality, the stunting of other domestic industries and endemic corruption. While oil companies extract wealth and make undisclosed payments to government officials these resource rich states are often plagued by collapsing governance, civil unrest, and terrorism.

    The American Petroleum Institute (API) has filed a lawsuit to block the rules that implement the "Cardin-Lugar" amendment to the 2010 Wall Street Reform Act. The American Petroleum Institute is challenging the power of the United States Congress to require oil MNCs to disclose information regarding payments to foreign and U.S. federal officials.

    In a 2008 report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations analyzing the "resource curse," Senator Lugar stated: "Too often, oil money that should go to a nation's poor ends up in the pockets of the rich or it may be squandered on the trappings of power and massive showcase projects instead of being invested productively and equitably." Senator Lugar continued: "This 'resource curse' affects us as well as producing countries. It exacerbates global poverty which can be a seedbed for terrorism, it dulls the effect of our foreign assistance, [and] it empowers autocrats and dictators" (click here for more).

    Transparency and open governments not only in developing states like Burma but also in the United States and other Western states will help empower citizens with the information they need to hold their leaders accountable.  Being involved and knowing what the governments and MNCs are doing is critical (click here for more).

    There is power in the new technology of telecommunications. The power of knowing and the spreading openness and transparency is real and has been successfully used to bring down the corrupt. Should this apply to American oil companies?

    Wael Ghonim launched a Facebook page that became an organizing tool for Egyptian protesters. Ghonim's use of Twitter and Facebook shared knowledge and organized a movement. In a TED Talk Ghonim said, "We're going to win because we don't understand politics. We're going to win because we don't play their dirty games. We're going to win because we don't have an agenda. We're going to win because the tears that come from our eyes actually come from our hearts. We're going to win because we have dreams. We're going to win because we are willing to stand up for our dreams.

    "And that's actually what happened," Ghonim said.

    He closed with one final thought: "The power of the people," he said, "is much stronger than the people in power."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Is the oil company power to keep secret the payments they make more powerful than the power of the people?

    2.     Is Ghonim correct in saying, "we will win because we don't understand politics?"

  • Toy Stories: The Children of Our Global Village

    Child labor is work that robs children of a childhood. It keeps them from the important activity of play and from attending school. The International Labor Organization estimates that 215 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or extremely exploitative.

    Typically, when Americans think of slavery they think of the US historical experience with the institution of slavery: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Civil War. But modern slavery takes a wide variety of forms that often do not fit with the American historical understanding.

    Above: Botlhe – Maun, Botswana (to see more in this beautiful series see gabrielegalimberti.com). 

    Victims of slavery today are often children who are sold into debt bondage, prostitution, child labor, or forced to serve as child soldiers in armed conflicts.

    Children are forced into labor in many parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and South America. Child laborers are in great demand as they work for very little and can be more easily exploited by their employers.

    Over the last two years, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti shot photos of children around the world with their toys. In meeting with children (and their families) Galimberti found a common thread amidst the wide diversity of the countless corners of our world; saying, "at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play."

    Above: Noel – Dallas, Texas (click here to view Galimberti's photos).

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What do you observe in Galimberti's photos?

    2.     Are the children's toys somehow reflective of the specific part of our global village each child was born into?


  • Peace, Fair Labor, and Justice: Are Governments and IGOs Failing our Global Village?

    Technology and communication have triggered a need for change in global governance. The hyper dramatic lowering of costs for cross-border activity has changed the very nature of what it means to be a worker in our global village.  Our relationships of interdependence intersect more deeply today than at any other time in history. Our existing forms of governance (created after the two great wars) are failing to secure worker's rights and safety.

    The fight for worker's rights is an old one. The current "Time for Outrage" is only the most recent manifestation of the battle for justice. At the end of World War I, in 1919, world leaders formed the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO's mission of fair labor and justice was and is based on the premise that universal and lasting peace can be established if it is based on social justice.

    Today the ILO seeks to bring together workers, employers, and governments to cooperate in shaping mutually satisfactory labor policies. The ILO establishes and monitors labor standards around the world through more than 180 conventions. The ILO is failing to protect workers in many places around the world.

    In 1947 world leaders once again sought to address workers rights. Of the 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights six are devoted - at least in part - to workers rights, social security, vacations, health improvement, access to education, and cultural experiences.

    Article 23 of the UDHR states:

    1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

    4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    In 1966 world leaders - again - set out to promote workers rights with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The United States would not agree to sign or support the ICESCR.

    Where there is a need humans will seek to organize to address it. With governments and IGOs failing to address workers rights in a real and meaningful way an NGO was created. The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is an NGO collaborative effort of universities, civil society organizations and socially responsible companies dedicated to protecting workers' rights around the world.

    FLA places the onus on MNCs to voluntarily meet internationally recognized labor standards wherever their products are made.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Is your university or college affiliated with FLA? Should it be? Will you push for affiliation?

    2.     Are governments and the IGOs they support not able to represent the oppressed workers of our village?


  • US Foreign Policy and Women's Rights in our Global Village

    As John Kerry takes over as Secretary of State, he has an opportunity to draw attention to women's rights or refocus US policy.  On his first day in office, Secretary of State John Kerry joked that he had "some big heels to fill," referring to the fact that he was succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton.  As you know, Secretary of State Clinton focused great attention on women's rights. Will Secretary Kerry sustain Secretary Clinton's legacy?

    Above: Speaking on International Women's Day, First Lady Michelle Obama said, our respect for women's rights indicate, "what our most basic values look like when they're put to the test."

    On Friday, speaking on International Women's Day, Secretary John Kerry said, "It's courage. And it's not just the courage that you see in women in the way that Michelle Obama just described - the courage of people raising kids, certainly women raising them - but it is also the courage of every man who defends his daughter's right to an equal education, or every brother who challenges a law that keeps his sister from owning property or opening a business, or every husband who not only promises that the cycle of domestic violence can stop with him, but who proves it." Since the 2007, the U.S. Secretary of State has recognized 66 women from 44 countries with this award, and the annual ceremony has become an occasion that encourages all of us who work at the U.S. Department of State.

    Does the United States continue to have a role in working with governments, organizations and individuals around the world to protect and advance the rights of women and girls? Should that mean spending US tax dollars to promote and protect those rights?

    Friday, Secretary Kerry announced, "Today I am proud to announce a new effort to that end. We are launching a Full Participation Fund to support bureaus within the State Department and embassies around the globe that develop innovative ways to be able to achieve gender equality in the work that they do. The fund will supply seed money for new initiatives or expand projects that are already underway but have proven themselves to be very successful."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you agree with Secretary Kerry that "political stability, peace, and prosperity all require every one of us to do what we can to advance human rights for everyone around the world?

    2.     Do you believe that human rights should remain a fundamental priority of the Department of State and the foreign policy of the United States?


  • The United States to Award Ten Extraordinary Women of Courage on Women's International Day: March 8, 2013

    Arthur Ashe said, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."  To celebrate Women's International Day on Friday, March 8, First Lady Michelle Obama will join Secretary of State John Kerry in honoring 10 extraordinary women who are doing just that. The Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Awards this year are going to women who are steadfastly working where they are, with what they have, to make our global village a better place for all of us.

    The Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around our global village who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. 

    The 2013 awardees are:

    1.     Malalai Bahaduri is a First Sergeant in the Afghanistan National Interdiction Unit.  As an NIU instructor, she endured death threats and physical abuse at the hands of an uncle who broke her nose after learning of her career decision. Sergeant Bahaduri is committed to the professional development of the Counter Narcotics Police wherein she plays an integral role in the Afghan effort to target the most significant drug trafficking networks, collect evidence, and arrest and prosecute drug traffickers in accordance with Afghan law.

    2.     Samira Ibrahim is the Coordinator an Egyptian NGO, "Know Your Rights." Ms. Ibrahim was among seven women subjected by the Egyptian military to forced "virginity tests" in March 2011 after they were detained during a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Resisting enormous cultural pressure to remain silent about her ordeal, she brought charges against the government (click here for more).

    3.     Julieta Castellanos serves as Rector, National Autonomous University of Honduras. Castellanos played a central role in efforts to overcome enormous challenges afflicting Honduras. She was instrumental in forming an umbrella organization for more than 400 organizations that have given civil society a more powerful voice, and she has pressed relentlessly for systemic reform of the country's police and justice sector institutions.

    4.     Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin is currently the President of Campaign for Democracy in Nigeria. Dr. Odumakin leads almost every protest, march, lecture or workshop aimed at encouraging the rule of law and governing justly and democratically. Her advocacy led her to be arrested and detained seventeen times during the dictatorship of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida's regime.

    5.     Elena Milashina is a journalist and human rights activist in Russia. Milashina works to bring to light issues and events others shy away from. From drug trafficking, to terrorist attacks, to military disasters, Ms. Milashina has covered some of Russia's most controversial subjects with passion, fairness, and dedication. She has received overt and thinly-veiled threats from government officials, private citizens, and corporations, and she bears the scars of both physical and verbal attacks. Despite these challenges, Ms. Milashina continues to provide a voice exemplifying commitment to the highest human standards.

    6.     Fartuun Adan is the Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Somalia. Ms. Adan has championed human and women's rights, peace-building, development, and the rehabilitation of child soldiers across Somalia, often under insecure and dangerous conditions.

    7.     Tsering Woeser is a Tibetan author, poet, blogger in China. In a period marked by increasing self-immolations and protests in Tibet, Tsering Woeser is the most prominent Mainland activist speaking out publicly about human rights conditions for China's Tibetan citizens. 

    8.     Razan Zeitunah is a human rights lawyer and founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria. Zeitunah was forced into hiding after the Syrian government accused her of being a foreign agent for reporting atrocities against civilians to internet and foreign media. She is now a leading voice of the Syrian revolution.

    9.     Ta Phong Tan is a blogger in Vietnam. Tan, a blogger currently serving a 12 year prison sentence for publishing online articles criticizing the policies of the Communist Party of Vietnam. In 2006, Ms. Tan started her blog "Truth and Justice," posting essays and exposes online. In 2011, she was arrested and convicted of conducting propaganda against the state.

    Above: Tan Phong Tan, in an image released by the dissident blog Dalambao, which is based outside Vietnam (photograph: Danlambao/AFP/Getty Images) more.

    10. Nirbhaya "Fearless," champion for justice from India. Known to India and the world as "Nirbhaya" (Fearless), the courageous 23-year-old whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012 inspired widespread protests, has become the foundation of a popular movement to end violence against women in India. In the wake of her death just two weeks after the attack, India's active civil society began advocating heavily for legislation and social programs to stem gender-based violence.

    Click here for more complete biographies and photos from the US State Department.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What - if any - themes emerge as you read the short biographies of these women?

    2.     What statement is the United States State Department sending to the world with the honoring of these ten women?


  • Gambling, Money Laundering, and Bribery in Macau, China

    The Chinese district of Macau is the only district in China in which gambling is legal. Macau's economy expanded 14 percent last year and shows no signs of slowing down (click here for more). The Macau district is known for gaming, money laundering, and now possibly MNC bribery. 

    In recent years, a United States MNC headquartered, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has expanded aggressively in Asia.  The corporation has been aggressively building in China in the district of Macau.  The casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, says in a regulatory filing that it probably violated a federal law that prohibits bribing foreign officials (click here for more).

    The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. The 34 OECD member countries and four non-member countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, and South Africa) have adopted this international Convention. The United States has adopted this Convention (click here for more).

    The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business (click here for more). 

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you think that US corporate executives should face fines or prison time for bribery when such is all too common practice in some states?

    2.     How might bribery hurt the people of Macau?


  • What Role Should IGOs and Other States Play in Domestic Policies and Decisions?

    This week, Secretary of State John Kerry set off on his first foreign trip as secretary of state, visiting Europe and the Middle East. Today, March 2, 2013, Kerry is calling on Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and the opposition leaders to forge a political consensus that will allow the country to emerge from political and economic crisis.

    Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt from October 1981 when Islamist radicals assassinated President Anwar Sadat, until January of 2011 when protests erupted across Egypt, driven by the people's discontent over poverty, repression and corruption (click here for more).

    Above: Dismayed anti-government protesters watch Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's speech in Tahrir Square. Picture: AP Source: AP 

    Living in a state in which the people make decisions means individuals participate in the decision-making. Often, of course, the voice of the people is heard by voting, but there are other means of noting ones position or opinion.  In 2011, the people of Egypt loudly protested - and changed Egypt.

    Although Mubarak is gone, Egypt continues to be locked in political crisis. Waves of protests are now being lodged against President Morsi. Those protest have repeatedly turned into deadly clashes and rioting.

    Kerry has said that the United States is particularly concerned that Egypt should make the reforms necessary to qualify for a $4.8bn International Monetary Fund loan package (click here for more).

    The United States and the IMF are saying that it was extremely important for Egypt to have a firm economic foundation. To achieve that firm foundation the IMF suggests that Egypt make reforms - increasing tax collections and curbing energy subsidies (click here for more).

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What role does or should the IMF play in the policy-making in the new democratic Egypt?

    2.     What role should or what influence does the United States have in the decisions of increasing tax collections and energy subsidies within the burgeoning Egyptian democracy?