• Africa

    Mass Tourism: Bad for Culture but Good for Women?

    by  • June 13, 2017 • Africa, Asia, Development, Human Rights, Unesco, Women • 

    FLORENCE, Italy — This month, Italy’s tourism season kicks into high gear. Florence, which receives more than 16 million tourists a year, is one of many cities to be marred by mass travel. In the famously picturesque Piazza della Signoria, groups plod through the cobblestoned square, shepherded by flag-waving guides. Vendors peddle selfie-sticks in...

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    The UN Formalizes Its Partnership With Sant’Egidio, the Rome-Based Mediator

    by  • June 9, 2017 • Africa, GOINGS-ON, Human Trafficking, International Justice, Libya, Migration, Peace and Security • 

    The United Nations has formalized its relationship with the Community of Sant’Egidio, the highly regarded Catholic membership organization based in Rome that has been focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, primarily in Africa, for 30 years. A community of 60,000 laypeople founded in 1968, Sant’Egidio has been working with the UN on mediation prospects...

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    Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Head Since 2011, Dies Suddenly at 68

    by  • June 5, 2017 • Africa, GOINGS-ON, Health and Population, UN Agencies • 

    The death on June 4 of Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and a Nigerian, was not only a personal tragedy and a shock to the staff of the fund but also another blow for an agency that had recently lost all its United States financial support. Osotimehin, a...

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    The Debate on Trump’s Budget Ignores Serious Global Cuts

    by  • May 29, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Geopolitics, Health and Population, Humanitarian Aid, Peace and Security, UN Peacekeeping, US-UN Relations • 

    When the White House sent its proposed 2018 budget to the United States Congress on May 23, it was apparent that not only would a hawkish, nationalistic focus on military expenditures come at the cost of international aid and support for the United Nations. Worse, the Trump plan would also sideline discussions on global...

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    Did Equatorial Guinea Bribe Its Way to a UN Security Council Seat?

    by  • May 23, 2017 • Africa, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Poverty, Security Council • 1 Comment

    Amid the predominantly Francophone region in West Africa is tiny Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea, a country blessed — or cursed — with vast oil reserves. For most of its independent life, the country has been ruled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has the distinction of being the longest-serving nonroyal head of state in...

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    Why Would Anyone Want This Job? The WHO Prepares to Elect a New Chief

    by  • April 24, 2017 • Africa, Asia, Health and Population, Sustainable Development Goals, UN Agencies, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 

    GENEVA — In late May by secret paper ballot, all 194 member states of the World Health Assembly that have paid their dues will cast their votes for one of three final candidates in the first-ever election of the planet’s top doctor: the director-general of the World Health Organization. The candidates are Tedros Adhanom...

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    Canada Is Still Wavering in Its Pledge to UN Peacekeeping

    by  • April 20, 2017 • Africa, Geopolitics, Security Council, UN Peacekeeping, US-UN Relations • 

    Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged in a splashy way right after his 2015 election to “renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations,” the country’s contribution to peacekeeping remains at an all-time low. Since Trudeau’s seemingly impetuous campaign promise a year and a half ago, allies and UN member states have anticipated a...

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    Trump’s Defunding of the UN Population Fund Will Punish Poor Women

    by  • April 6, 2017 • Africa, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments

    I met Dr. Solomon Orero in 2008 at a ceremony where he was honored for his heroic work in reproductive health in Kenya by the Feminist Majority Foundation. I was heavily involved, since 2002, in 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund, which asked for one dollar from 34 million Americans to...

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    Broken Progress for Women in Politics; More Trafficking of Men; Diverse New York

    by  • March 28, 2017 • Africa, Asia, Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking, Take a Look • 

    New numbers from the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women show that progress of women in politics has stalled in parliaments and at executive levels of government or advanced marginally. The data form the basis of an elaborate Women in Politics 2017 map launched during the recent session at UN headquarters of the Commission on...

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    In South Sudan Camps, Radio Is a Powerful Tool

    by  • March 22, 2017 • Africa, Peace and Security, UN Peacekeeping • 1 Comment

    Jess Engrebretson is a different kind of humanitarian-aid worker. As an American journalist and Thomas J. Watson Fellow, she has worked with local radio projects in Indonesia, Rwanda and Liberia on post-conflict resolution and human-rights reporting. From 2014 to 2015, Engrebretson helped develop radio infrastructure in a camp for displaced people near Malakal, South...

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    Can a Trusteeship Rescue South Sudan? Unlikely, Experts Say

    by  • February 22, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Geopolitics, Security Council, UN Peacekeeping, US Foreign Relations • 

    The intense civil conflict in South Sudan that broke out in December 2013 and has brought the world’s youngest nation to the edge of genocide has not subsided, with no solution in sight. Once more, the United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss the newest status report from the UN Secretariat, as President...

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    It Still Exists: Slavery Drags On in Mauritania Despite Being Illegal

    by  • February 15, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Women • 

    NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — “The officials here in Mauritania will tell you the opposite of what victims will tell you, which is that there is no slavery in Mauritania,” said Brahim Bilal Ramdhane, who lives in this West African capital and was enslaved during his childhood. “They will just tell you that people who say...

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    Timbuktu’s Ancient Manuscripts Are Being Saved but Not Translated

    by  • February 7, 2017 • Africa, Education, Unesco • 2 Comments

    TIMBUKTU — Down the road from the 700-year-old iconic Djinguereber mosque in this north-central Malian city lies the Al Qadi library, a private, family-owned collection holding hundreds of manuscripts from nearly a millennium ago. The manuscripts are priceless treasures of African history that experts say cover a range of topics, from minute religious law disputes...

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    Goodbye, Obama: A West African’s Loving Farewell

    by  • January 9, 2017 • Africa, Education, US Foreign Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments

    ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The 2008 United States presidential election was an incredible time for me, here in West Africa. The election contributed to shaping my leadership skills and affected the course of my life. I used to take part in events at the US Embassy in Abidjan, our country’s commercial capital, as a...

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    Checking on the Health of the International Criminal Court

    by  • December 8, 2016 • Africa, Child Soldiers, Gender-Based Violence, ICC, International Justice • 

    THE HAGUE — At the glassy, eco-minded new building of the International Criminal Court here in the Netherlands’ capital, people who are being tried may still be called “detainees,” but make no mistake: they remain accused of such atrocities as murder, torture and child-soldier recruitment as well as gang-raping women and girls. It’s business...

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    Sudan, the Enigma

    by  • November 30, 2016 • Africa, Unesco • 

    KHARTOUM, Sudan — Arriving at the Khartoum airport near midnight, as I did a few weeks before the American presidential election, one is struck by the lineup of aircraft parked near the terminal. There is not a single Western airline among them, though one sees several from across the Arab world and parts of...

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