In the past weeks, tensions along political lines have (predictably) erupted in what can only be described as all-out war among hundreds of thousands of combatants—no, not the recent protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, or Thailand. I am referencing the internet’s recent multiplayer gaming experiment, “Twitch Plays Pokémon.” For more than 390 hours, more than 29.5 million total viewers watched millions of players wrestle in real time over the control of Red, the main character of Pokémon Red (1996); after players bested the Elite Four, the adventure of working through Pokémon Crystal (2000) began. And the evolution of in-group/out-group politics and collective action in this exciting (and strange) social experiment definitely is worth examining.
Imagine a woman civil society leader who spends time away from her family and uses her own funds to share her leadership skills with women in the far reaches of Burma. Imagine another woman who risks her life to attend workshops so that she can learn how she can bring peace and freedom to Syria. Imagine a member of parliament who locks arms with her colleagues blocking doorways until there is a vote on vital legislation that will impact the lives of countless women in Guatemala. Another woman brings her daughter to meetings so that daughter can see how empowered women, like her mother, are leading change in Georgia. Imagine a woman who states, “I will be president one day,” and makes you believe that it is unequivocally possible. These are Women’s Democracy Network members.
HE La Celia A. Prince presented her credentials to President George W. Bush on June 6th, 2008. Prior to becoming Ambassador, she served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Washington Embassy from September 2005 until her appointment as Ambassador. She is also her nation’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. Prior to her arrival to Washington DC, Ambassador Prince worked in multilateral trade negotiations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Geneva, and Brussels. She is a lawyer by profession, having studied at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus; Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad; and Cambridge University, England. Ambassador Prince is currently the youngest foreign ambassador accredited to and serving in Washington, DC. The Diplomatic Courier caught up with Ambassador Prince to discuss her work, her country, and her experiences as a female ambassador.
A woman in Nigeria teaches young girls to blog so they can “share their thoughts to the whole world.” Thousands of miles away in California, a teenage girl uses the internet to raise funds for United Nations programs that benefit marginalized adolescent girls in developing countries.
We all know that Europe faces a looming demographic crisis of existential proportions—not a single country on the European continent claims a fertility rate at or above replacement rate (2.1). As a result, aging populations and shrinking workforces will contribute to unsustainable social spending and stunted economic growth. Now more than ever, these countries need a solution to overcome the problems that accompany industrial modernization. Beyond implementing short-term economic fixes and relaxing immigration quotas, enacting policies that reduce the economic gender gap is a common-sense solution.
Peace talks have failed as the death toll in Syria climbs to well over 100,000 souls. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said, “In Syria we are witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis we have seen in a generation”. Yet the world continues to look on and do nothing. Analysts everywhere are quick to point out that President Obama is rightfully haunted by the ghost of Iraq and the legacy of George W. Bush. Be that as it may, history did not begin in 2003 and President Obama risks ignoring a legacy as dark and horrifying as the decade of squandered life and limb in Iraq. It is time to pay attention to Clinton’s ghosts.
In 2014, Europe will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the “Great War”, remembering the tens of millions of lives lost during that conflict. Also, this year more than 300 million Europeans will go to the polls to elect representatives to the European Parliament (EP)—the European Union’s (EU) only directly elected institution. Is there a link between one event and the other, you may ask? As John Feffer, co-director of ‘Foreign Policy In Focus’ recently wrote, “In place of jostling empires, there is [today] the European Union, a modern family beset by the usual bickering but nothing that a smothering bureaucracy can't handle.” The elections this May could actually be a watershed event, with potentially immense consequences for the continent and beyond. Institutional changes introduced since the last EP elections, as well as strong external factors—Europe’s current economic situation, disaffection for the ideal of European integration, or international tensions—will most likely result in a very different composition to the EP than in the past.
We landed at the Caracas airport on February 12th. My colleagues and I were reminded many times before our departure from Los Angeles that Caracas is considered the most dangerous city in the world, with a homicide rate of more than 100 deaths per 100,000 residents. Unfortunately, the government does not publish official records when it casts the country in a negative light. Venezuela today is similar to what Colombia was in the 80s and 90s—a dangerous country draped with insecurity. It seems now like the tables have turned quite. So our strategy was as such: bunker down, speak Spanish at all times, do our business, and leave fast.
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