• BOOKS

    From Wole Soyinka: A Manifesto for Africa

    by  • November 12, 2012 • Africa, BOOKS • 1 Comment

    Wole Soyinka, author of "Of Africa"

    The Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, winner of Africa’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, has published a new book calling for urgent action by Africans to save themselves from the threat of Islamic extremism, against which corrupt regimes seem unable protect the tolerance and spiritual strength of traditional cultures. “If Africa falls to...

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    Reasons to Love and Criticize the UN

    by  • November 4, 2012 • BOOKS, US-UN Relations • 

    Minustah in Haiti peacekeepers

    In his new book, “Living With the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order,” Kenneth Anderson forces readers who lean sympathetically toward the United Nations to consider why they support it despite its faults. On the other hand, the acerbic views of Anderson, a law professor at American University, about the UN are deeply colored by...

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    The Quiet Korean: Ban Ki-moon Opens Up

    by  • October 26, 2012 • Asia, BOOKS, Secretary-General • 3 Comments

    Ban Ki-moon

    Over the last few years, an American journalist and academic, Tom Plate, has been writing a series of books called “Giants of Asia.” Lee Kuan Yew, the brilliant if steely founder of modern Singapore, was first. Then came Mahathir Mohamad, the former long-serving but short-tempered prime minister of Malaysia, and Thaksin Shinawatra, a deposed...

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    The Human Rights Council Gets More Respect

    by  • September 14, 2012 • BOOKS

    Migrants locked up in a camp in Libya.

    The visibility of human-rights violations by the Syrian government amid the current turmoil owes much to the United Nations, particularly to its Independent International Commission of Inquiry, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian lawyer, public official and professor.  Such commissions are part of a growing number of tools used by the UN to...

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    The Ethics of Chocolate

    by  • August 1, 2012 • Africa, BOOKS • 2 Comments

    Cocoa farmer pruning a tree in Ivory Coast.

    Given longstanding reports of slavery, economic exploitation and corruption in the West African cocoa trade, how guilty should you feel about eating a chocolate bar? How about one made with cocoa marketed under the fair-trade umbrella – a loose international system aimed at providing growers with fair prices while also imposing fair labor standards...

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    Plumbing the Depths of the Afghan Paradox

    by  • May 23, 2012 • BOOKS • 

    Eide in Afghanistan

    The Norwegian diplomat, Kai Eide, left Afghanistan for the final time in March 2010, as the United Nations special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for two years. With former postings as a UN special envoy in Kosovo and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as a Norwegian ambassador to NATO and to...

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    Judging Charles Taylor

    by  • April 24, 2012 • BOOKS, Child Soldiers • 3 Comments

    special court for sierra leone

    Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, displayed a talent for troublemaking from a young age. Convicted on April 26 by a United Nations-backed tribunal for numerous counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Taylor appears to have kept up his bad behavior for most of his 64 years. As a boy in rural...

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