The revolutions of the Arab Spring and recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong brought worldwide attention to the possibility of a resurgence of democratization. Unlike democratic revolutions of the past, these contemporary movements for political transition are increasingly aided by the use of technology and social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram enable political movements to project their cause across the world, gaining momentum and range at unprecedented rates. Because of its impactful, transformative potential, social media has become an indispensable tool in protests and revolutions, distinguishing today’s democratic movements from those only a few decades ago.
"The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world," said Dan Pallotta, founder and President of the Charity Defense Council, in a June 2013 TED Talk. "Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging.”
At the beginning of September, heads of state, policymakers, and business leaders convened in Apia, Samoa for the United Nations' third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). With the slogan, “Island Voices, Global Choices,” conference participants sought to highlight the global consequences of small island issues.
In 2001, Argentina defaulted on an astounding $95 billion debt. Unable to repay the amount in full, Argentina struck a deal with lenders in 2005 and 2010 to restructure the debt. Ninety-three percent of all debt holders agreed to take a financial loss by trading in their bonds for new ones at a few cents on the dollar—at a 70 percent discount. However the remaining 7 percent of debt holders did not agree to the restructure, holding out for the full amount owed. These “holdouts,” as they have come to be known, are a group of U.S. hedge funds that buy debt on the verge of default at a discounted price, only to sue the debtor after it inevitably fails to repay the loan. Accordingly, NML Capital, a subsidiary of Elliott Management Corporation representing the collection of hedge funds, sued the state of Argentina in the U.S. District Court System for the full amount owed on the debt, plus interest.
The end of World War II in 1945 exposed the vulnerabilities and security concerns embedded in the victorious Grand Alliance. Within years, the coalition collapsed and pitted its preeminent members—the United States and the Soviet Union—against each other in vehement political confrontation. Rapidly the international system deteriorated into intensely hostile bipolarity, locking the two superpowers into a decades-long security competition. In the formative years of this Cold War, Western powers established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a collective security arrangement designed to deter the threat of Soviet aggression and expansion into Europe. The security alliance committed to protecting its European members from belligerence and vowed retaliation against attack or violations of territorial integrity.
This week marked the beginning of the final push toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals before their 2015 due date; on August 18th, organizations around the world working toward ending open defecation, increasing access to education, lowering maternal death rates, and more, came together across social media to push for keeping the momentum going in MDGs' final 500 days.
Among those organizations was the Women's Democracy Network (WDN), which used the moment to highlight MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. "While we’ve seen great progress over the past 20 years with MDG #3," wrote Johanna Hellrigl, Senior Assistant Program Officer at WDN, "when it comes to closing the gender gap between women and men, the world’s population has nearly closed the gap in in health outcomes, economic empowerment, and educational attainment, but only 21 percent of the political outcomes gap has been closed."
August 18, 2014, marked 500 days until the Millennium Development Goals come due. To date, three of the goals focusing on extreme poverty reduction, access to clean water, and improvement of living conditions have been achieved, but this does not mean the world's work is finished.
Mobile technology has come a long way from its early days of hosting voice calls on bulky phones with dodgy reception. Today, mobile technology brings the entire internet to the palms of people’s hands, and the number of people connected to the global mobile network is rapidly growing around the world. As mobile technology advances and demand for mobile coverage and capabilities increases, the June 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report explores the future of the mobile market in coming years.
In the coming century and beyond, the world will see many dramatic shifts in technologic development. As a nation, the United States need to ensure policy fosters the development and prompt integration of these emerging technologies to dramatically strengthen our national defense and maximize our defense potential.
On May 27, the National Democratic Institute hosted the 2014 HOPE Fellows for a presentation titled, “When Legislation is Not Enough: Addressing Gaps in Implementation of Kosovo’s Laws on Gender Equality.” Speaking directly to the topic of realizing gender equality in Kosovo, the Fellows shed light on four main issue areas: 1) implementing written law: 2) strengthening the rule of law; 3) combating social norms; and 4) producing realistic action plans. Their presentation made it clear that the underlying theme throughout all issue areas is the failure of the top-down approach.
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