Are you an aspiring humanitarian looking to make a difference?
What approach should the aspiring humanitarian take to begin her work? How do we best accompany those in need across our global village?
Professor Bill Moseley (Macalester College Saint Paul, Minnesota) recently wrote, while "The world needs good international citizens who are willing and able to manage its global development and humanitarian institutions," we should rethink our approach to the task (click here to read Professor Moseley's complete article).
Dr. Mosley suggest throwing out most of the conventional career development wisdom and
focusing on two important areas: 1) your own deep knowledge of the people,
culture, and region of our global village you are interested in working and 2)
approaching your work with a sense of partnership rather than a "saving the
world" attitude.Dr. Paul Farmer agrees with Mosley. Farmer argues that we need to adopt a policy of a "preferential option for the poor." In Farmer's latest book, he explains his "accompaniment model" (click here for the first chapter).
Why does Professor Mosley suggest spending a
great deal of time learning and spending time in a culture?
What problems might the "saving the world" attitude
create for the humanitarian and or people involved?
President Obama said this week that the next US step in
Afghanistan is to "bring America's longest war to a responsible end." The
President said that 22,000 more troops are coming home by the end of the year,
ending the U.S. combat mission in December 2014.
Afghan forces have assumed the lead in security and combat
all operations allowing the United States to draw down troops - from a peak of
100,000 U.S. troops, to about only about 32,000 at present.
"When I took office, we had nearly 180,000 troops in
harm's way," President Obama said. "By the end of this year, we will
have less than 10,000."
Obama said, "I think Americans have learned that it's harder
to end wars than it is to begin them. Yet this is how wars end in the 21st
century - not through signing ceremonies, but through decisive blows against
our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who take
the lead and ultimately full responsibility. We have to recognize that
Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America's responsibility
to make it one. The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans. But what
the United States can do - what we will do - is secure our interests and help
give the Afghans a chance, an opportunity to seek a long, overdue and
Is the US President correct about how wars end
in the 21st century?
After years of war is it the responsible action
to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans?
According to the Pew Research Center, the United States is
the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another (http://pewrsr.ch/1kjVRSN).
In 1910, Germany was the top country of birth among U.S.
immigrants. Today, Mexico is the source of the largest wave of immigration in
history from a single country to the United States.
Immigrates come to the United States for many reasons. Some
are fleeing conflict in their home countries while others are seeking
What changes occur when large groups of people
migrate from one part of our global village to another?
How might global relations change when large
parts of one state have close ties to another state?
Admiral William McRaven's recently said,
"changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it."
McRaven is the commander of U.S. Special
Operations and led Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted to the killing of
Osama bin Laden.
In his recent Commencement speech at the
University of Texas at Austin. McRaven, wanted the graduating class to know that
they will "affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century."
"If I have learned anything in my time
traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one
person-Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandella and even a young girl from Pakistan-Mallah-one
person can change the world by giving people hope," said McRaven.
Do you agree with Admiral McRaven' in the power of one person to
change the world?
What leadership advice did you hear in Admiral McRaven's speech?
Our problems are so complex. What can one person do? Those
in power make all the decisions. How can one person make a difference?
Sir Nicholas Winton celebrated his 105th birthday at the
Czech embassy in London on Monday. There are birthday cards and a letter from
the prime minister and the president of the Czech Republic announces that in
October this year (2014) Winton will be awarded the Order of the White Lion,
the highest order in the Czech Republic.
In 1938 Time magazine selected the Chancellor of the Third
Reich, Adolf Hitler, as the man who "for better or
worse" had most influenced events of the preceding year.
Hitler and his German government had established concentration
camps all over Germany to handle the masses of people arrested as alleged
In 1938 Nicholas Winton was packing for a holiday trip in
the Alps when he received a phone call. With urgency a friend described
Hitler's creation of the concentration camps in Czechoslovakia and asked for
help. Nicholas dropped everything he was doing, changed his plans, and immediately
went to Prague with only one goal - to help the endangered people.
In Prague, Winton created an office and contacted
international embassies to secure asylum for as many at risk Czechoslovak
citizens as possible. Winton's Prague office, situated in an old house, began
to fill with parents who wanted to save their children from the Hitler's death
Nicholas Winton managed to save 669 Czechoslovak children
before war was declared in September of 1939.
What is special about NGOs that allows them to
do work governments are unable or unwilling to do?
How would you answer poet Mary Oliver's question:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
The use of rape and other forms of sexual violence are
widespread in armed conflicts across our global village. Sexual violence inflicts
unimaginable suffering and destroys individual lives, families, and even communities.
International law prohibits of sexual violence in armed
conflict. Sexual violence also represents one of the most serious forms of
violation of an individual's basic human rights.
On 10-13 June 2014 in London, Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy
for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, will co-chair a Global Summit to End
Sexual Violence in Conflict. Leaders from around the world will meet to discuss
sexual violence in conflict and to establish a set of practical actions that
can be taken to prevent and responding to sexual violence.
How does sexual violence in conflict exacerbate
situations of armed conflict and impede the restoration of international peace
What factors might contribute to sexual violence
in conflicts and what steps should we put in place to establish a comprehensive
security and justice?
Speaking about his NGO's leadership role, The Elders Chairman, Kofi Annan says, "we have nothing to
lose, we are not out to make a career, so we are free to raise our voices and
make an impact." Can presidents and state leaders not make the same statement?
The Elders have created a Strategic Framework 2014-2017 for
their NGO. In setting key goals and priorities they have decided to focus their
efforts on peace building and reconciliation through high-level diplomacy in
Côte d'Ivoire, Israel-Palestine, Myanmar and Syria; as well as public
campaigning on climate change and equality for girls and women (click here for
What limits have been removed from the leaders
who work within The Elders?
Why do NGOs, like The Elders, take on these
major peace-building efforts instead of governments?
In 2012, the leaders of 150 countries, IGOs, NGOs met in
London at a Summit on Family Planning. These global leaders endorsed the goal
of expanding access to family planning to enable 120 million women in the world's
poorest countries to use contraceptives by 2020.
According to the United Nations, more than 220 million women
around the world lack access to contraceptives they want and need to plan their
families. The global partnership, called Family Planning 2020, has
created global momentum on the issue of access to contraceptives and has
spurred collaboration, innovation, and greater accountability in family
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, "Too often the great decisions are
originated and given form in bodies made up wholly of men, or so completely
dominated by them that whatever of special value women have to offer is shunted
aside without expression."
What power(s) is given to women when they have
the ability to space their pregnancies?
How do we give all women the opportunity to
build a better future for themselves and their families?
Using data from the CIA Factbook, Business Insider labeled
every country in the world by its highest-valued export.
Professor Immanuel Wallerstein has argued that our modern global
system (power structure) is shaped and controlled by dominating capitalist interests.
Wallerstein theorizes that our economic system and global political relations are
divided into peripheral and semi-peripheral world areas.
Wallerstein posits that the nation-state and the interstate
system must remain strong in order to maintain the current global power
Are capital goods and services driving and
supporting the relationship between the peripheral and semi-peripheral?
Does Africa's wealth in natural resources,
particularly precious metals and oil shape global relations?
Looking back we struggle to make sense of great atrocities
committed by one group of humans on another. Why did it occur? How could such happen? What is the true and complete story? Edmund
Burke wrote, "those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."
Last week, President Obama spoke at the opening of the
National September 11 Memorial Museum. The museum is meant to be a place we exercise
the healing power of memory and learn from our collective past.
Over the last few years, I have taken students to the Nazi Sachsenhausen
Concentration Camp located about twenty-five miles outside of Berlin. The trip
is somber, emotional, and often difficult for students. Some 30,000 people died
in that camp. For my students the horror of such a place becomes real and the
learning deep and significant. The
Sachsenhausen camp memorial has several restored or recreated buildings that
now stand to remind visitors of the horrible camp conditions. In 1992, Neo-***
set the barracks of the Jewish Museum building on fire (the perpetrators were
arrested). The Museum has kept the burned walls as a reminder to others of the
urgent current need to learn from our past.
Last week, at the dedication of the 9/11 memorial President
Obama said, "Here, at this memorial, this museum, we come together. We stand in the footprints of two mighty
towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters.
We look into the faces of nearly 3,000 innocent souls -- men and women
and children of every race, every creed, and every corner of the world. We can touch their names and hear their voices
and glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives. A wedding ring. A dusty helmet. A shining badge. Here we tell their story, so
that generations yet unborn will never forget."
Above: President Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg tour Memorial Hall at the National September 11 Memorial
& Museum prior to the 9/11 Museum dedication in New York, N.Y., May 15,
2014 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).
In learning from our past it is critical that we do not
leave out important aspects. A number of scholars and Muslim groups have
expressed concerns about how the museum presents the causes of the 9/11
terrorist attacks. The primary concern is about a short film shown at the end
of the museum that they feel does not distinguish clearly enough between the
extremist violent beliefs of al-Qaida and the non-violent tenets of the Muslim
Do the lessons of the past strengthen our
resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and
Who selects what history is retold in museums
and our books and what might be the consequences of that selection on terrorism
and its impact on communities at the national and international levels?
Ben Blatt of Slate used data from the Census Bureau's
American Community Survey (click here) to create several interesting maps of
languages spoken in the United States.
In this map of the most commonly spoken language in each US
State besides English and Spanish.
Since the 1980s the linkages within and across our global
village have grown significantly stronger. The idea of "globalization" is that
as technology and transportation improved our business and social lives have
become linked and even blended across the globe.
What surprised you the most about the above
How might this global blending change our global
consciousness of one another and what effects might it have on world society?
In April, the radical Islamist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped some two
hundred and seventy-six school girls from their boarding school in the town of Chibok, in
Above: Michelle Obama joined the #BringBackOurGirls campaign
to bring home the girls.
The militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, members adhere to a
radical version of Islam which makes it forbidden, for Muslims to take part in
any political or social activity associated with Western society (it would be
interesting to know how they define "Western society). The men of Boko Haram forbid voting in
elections and participation in any secular education. These girls were targeted for the simple reason that they went to school.
The girls were exercising their right to education and thus
abducted. The United Nations reports that the children will be sold as slaves
or child brides in the markets across the globe if they are not rescued soon.
The United States, Britain, France, Canada, and China have
offered assistance in finding the girls and Nigeria has accepted.
Does the United States (and other countries
around the world) have a responsibility to rally behind the parents, people and
Government of Nigeria and bring the girls back home to safety?
While most of us agree that human rights
(including a right to an education) are indivisible and universal, women and
girls continue to be systematically targeted, assaulted, trafficked and
enslaved. Why women and girls?
Being a mother is an extraordinarily tough job no matter where you live. But
mothers living in crisis situations face incredible challenges.
Save the Children has published their 15th annual State of
the World's Mothers report (click here for the full report). The report is
focused the millions of women and children in our global village who live in
fragile communities beset by conflict and natural disasters, and their everyday
struggle to survive.
Save the Children's State of the Worlds Mothers report
outlines the best and worst places to be a mother in our world.
The Save the Children report makes these five
recommendations to governments, international agencies, the private sector and
Ensure that every mother and newborn living in
crisis has access to high quality health care
Invest in women and girls and ensure their
Build longer-term resilience to minimize the
damaging effects of crises on health.
Design emergency interventions with a longer-term
view and the specific needs of mothers and newborns in mind.
Ensure political engagement and adequate
financing, coordination and research around maternal and newborn health in
Do have we all share the responsibility of
ensuring that mothers and children living in crisis-affected contexts have the
best chance to survive and lead healthy lives?
What steps must be made to fulfill the above