June marked the Seventh Conference of the State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with over a thousand disability rights advocates and senior government representatives convening at the United Nations to discuss the further implementation of the CRPD and the future of the disability rights advocacy movement. The CRPD, hailed as the first human rights convention of the 21st century, was drafted in 2006, and to date has been ratified by 147 nations. This was the first convention signed by the Obama administration in early 2009. The CRPD was designed to transform the worldview of persons with disabilities from objects of charity to individuals who are capable of claiming their rights and acting as functioning members of society. Created in partnership with persons with disabilities, the CRPD is a force for change around the world.
The internet was an experiment that got loose, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and one of the “Fathers of the Internet”, told comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert in July. He said, “There are about 3 billion people online now. Every time they come up with new ways of using the internet, we all learn something from that.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ihor Prokopchuk, announced mid-day on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had “registered a direct invasion by the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine.” Three hours after this announcement, as Ukraine claimed large scale movement by Russian infantry and mechanized divisions, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was convened to hold an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis.
During the first week of August, leaders from 50 African states met in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Realizing the potential profitability of investment and multilateral trade relationships with Africa, countries outside of the continent, including and especially China, are increasingly competing for a piece of the pie.
Thursday, July 24th marks 100 days since over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria by extremist group Boko Haram. Since April 15th, nearly 60 girls have managed to escape their captivity, but efforts to recover the girls have been slow and bungled by a lethargic response from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.
There is an undercurrent in the story of the BRICS in the cultural and political backdrop to international relations that runs deeper than the who-is-up-who-is-down tale of what were once called “emerging markets.” Like all economies, they are up one day, down the next. There is more at stake in these countries than the strength of their markets; the countries’ collective psychology, “national will,” perception, including the self-perception, of social success all contribute to the cultural and political backdrop the BRICS are faced with.
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting with U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert last month to discuss maritime security, it was certainly expected that this issue would dominate his Keynote Address at the 13th annual IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. A tense stage was set: with regional pressure continuing to mount in Chinese oil drilling activity off the coast of the Parcel Islands, a standoff between Chinese and Vietnamese ships had begun. Additionally, with Chinese and Japanese jets flying in the airspace over the East China Sea, a heated international conflict was well underway.
As world leaders met on a global stage for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, it was not hard to notice that something was missing. Women make up half of our planet's population, yet this year only 15 percent of the attendees at one of the world's most important gatherings of decision makers and influencers were female.
As the world still struggles with the aftershocks of a global financial crisis and a global rise of protests, it is ever more apparent that global leaders are struggling to deal with effectively addressing the numerous crises coming from all directions. Thierry de Montbrial argues that this is a systemic problem, brought about by weak systems still struggling to find their footing after the double-whammy of economic and political crises spreading throughout our globalized world. We have witnessed, in essence, a live demonstration of the butterfly effect.
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