In an article from CNN, Catherine Mbengue, a trustee of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and former senior UNICEF official, discusses a new report from Harvard entitled “Children’s Chances: How Countries Can Move from Surviving to Thriving“. The report highlights the success of many Africa countries to remove barriers to primary education, like school fees and limited infrastructure. But the report also reiterates the need to shift from education access to quality learning.
“When we look beyond the issue of accessibility to the quality of education our children receive,” Mbengue notes, “the region has among the lowest education requirements for teachers, with 50% of countries requiring lower secondary school teachers to have completed no higher than a secondary education (so teachers have barely more education that their students).” African leaders must call for higher quality of education for all children, at all levels, in the post-2015 development agenda.
Thursday, February 7th, 3:30 – 5:00pm
Mulberry Conference Room – Puck Building
The International Public Service Association will be holding its spring general meeting next Thursday, February 7th at 3:30pm. The meeting will be held in the Mulberry Conference Room at the Puck Building. All students are welcome to attend and learn about our upcoming events, ways to get involved, and help plan events for this semester.
As someone who hasn’t followed the most straight and narrow path of international development work, I was happy to see this aid worker also took a winding road. Cathy Ayer from IRS shares how she fell into aid work and give tips to those of us coming straight out of graduate school. Find your inspiration to fill out those fellowship applications here.
An excerpt from WSAFA President Omoruyi Austin Aigbe’s blog:
Many scholars in Africa have always noted that the Africa’s colonial legacy has contributed to the socioeconomic, security and political challenges, the tension and hostility among the many ethnic groups, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Political historians have traced security challenges- conflict and instability in most Africa nations, especially in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and elsewhere to colonial programs of division, discrimination, collective exclusion, and manipulation of ethnic identity envisioned to ensure power and control over vast natural resources.Africa’s natural resources wealth, which ought to be a blessing, is in fact a curse; this was captured in Collier (2007) The Bottom Billon, - the conflict trap, the natural resource trap and bad governance in small country. To be true with it, natural resource in Africa has become a source of tremendous suffering, which Collier referred to natural resource trap. There is a strong and clear correlation between natural resources, conflict and security challenges in Africa…
Does Africa have enough time for the benefits of this fast economic development to reach the poorest people? What role does security and politics- democratic governance play in this discourse?
Join the Wagner Student Alliance for Africa (WSAFA) and International Public Service Association (IPSA) on Wednesday December 5 2012 as Ambassador John Campbell, former United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, takes a look at the correlation between economic development, Security and Politics- democratic development in Africa. And moving forward, what should Africa nations be doing to sustain and build upon the current state of development in the region.
By Pete Freeman
Fellow Wagnerd, Ryan Brown (Class of ’12), and I have started an organization called Global Kitchen along with current Steinhardt Food Studies student, Leah Selim. Global Kitchen (GlobalKitchenNY.com) is a social enterprise born out of a love for food, culture, stories, and shared meals. All these elements are brought together in our immigrant-led cooking classes, which celebrate our chef instructors’ culture, passion for food, and traditional recipes. All our instructors run their own food businesses, so classes are a great opportunity for them to gain valuable marketing exposure for their businesses.
The ability to bring people together, united through food, fosters genuine dialogue and storytelling. Our instructors’ stories about growing up in their native country, the cultural significance behind the dishes, and the origin of ingredients all come together to form an interactive and meaningful experience unlike any ordinary cooking class. This evening of rich storytelling is almost like travelling to another country without the jetlag!
Our next class will be held Friday, November 30th at 7:30 pm at Dun-Well Doughnuts off the L train in Brooklyn (DunWellDoughnuts.com/). The class will be led by Veda Sukhu, who will be preparing Guyanese curry, homemade roti, and a tasty traditional Guyanese snack. This demonstration style class is highly interactive with ample opportunity for you to try your hand at making roti. Don’t miss out! Tickets, which include a full meal, can be purchased for $45 here. In addition, the class is BYOB so feel free to bring some wine or beer.
We’ve had some great experiences with Global Kitchen thus far. After raising nearly $8k from our crowdfunding campaign we were able to launch our first public class which featured Egyptian koshary, hummus and tabbouleh salad from one of our instructors, Ragab Rashwan. See our Facebook page for pictures! Class attendees relished the occasion to help prepare the sauce, pound garlic, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the finished product. Each class concludes by sharing the meal cooked that evening with fellow class participants and the instructor. This was our favorite part of the class- listening to Ragab’s stories of growing up in Egypt, chatting with one another, and enjoying delicious food (along with some wine of course!).
We also did a pilot class in May, where we saw the beginning of a transformation in our chef instructor, Veda. This was her first time leading a cooking class, and beforehand she was a bit nervous. But as soon as she began preparing vegetables for the curry, the switch flipped on, and she was as comfortable as merely chatting around her kitchen counter. For Veda to see that she has knowledge and skills that are highly valued made quite a rewarding experience for her. Afterwards, she had this to say: “Seeing everyone enjoying the food we prepared gives me great pleasure…Thanks a million for this opportunity.”
Given your interest in IPSA, it seems safe to assume you share our love for new food and different cultures. There are a number of ways you can get involved with Global Kitchen. We are actively looking for more dynamic chef instructors from any culture who are looking to grow their own food business (e.g. food truck, selling in local markets, catering). One can never have enough great recipes, so send any great authentic ethnic ones you come across to info@GlobalKitchenNY.com. Like us on Facebook, subscribe to our newsletter (http://eepurl.com/qcquX), and visit our website (GlobalKitchenNY.com/). Finally, if you are interested in engaging with our quickly growing team or would like more information, send me an email at pjf267@nyu.
Last Tuesday, IPSA, the Asian Pacific American Student Alliance, and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding hosted “Peacemakers In Action”, a presentation by two grassroots activists honored by the Tanenbaum center for their work advancing peace in regions torn by ethnic and religious conflict.
First to present was Dishani Jayaweera of Sri Lanka, who shared her experience growing from a student to an activist during her country’s long period of civil upheaval.She also spoke candidly about notions of guilt and duty, suggesting that people who, like herself, are members of more powerful or influential factions in society should embrace the responsibilities that come with privilege and wield their social capital to moral ends.
The second presenter was Rev. Jacky Manuputty of Indonesia. The reverend described the steps he took to build a cross-faith network of religious leaders for peace in the Moluccas region, stressing the value of forming close personal bonds of friendship when undertaking such daunting and sometimes dangerous campaigns. His was a case of leadership by example, where he and other religious leaders of conflicting groups publicly co-operated on difficult issues, hoping to inspire their communities to do the same. He also spoke to the importance of local knowledge, highlighting how a deep understanding of local society helped his grassroots, indigenous movement to avoid the pitfalls that larger and better-funded groups from overseas had encountered.
During a joint question-and-answer session, Ms. Jayaweera and Rev. Manuputty led a touching conversation on the profoundly personal nature of peace and conflict, ending the presentation on the uplifting note that indeed the best way to secure a true peace is to make friends out of one’s enemies.
We invite you to make comments about this event and the ideas presented at it on this blog post.
From Wagner’s Conflict, Security and Development Series: Fall 2012.
By Ashley Nichole Kolaya
AT NYU WAGNER, WE SPEND a lot of time discussing topics like urbanization, infrastructure, social policy, and citizen security. We usually leave the business talk to the folks at Stern. Eduardo Moncada of Rutgers University (and formerly of Wagner) would say that omission is exactly our problem.
Latin America has two unique distinctions in the world of geopolitical statistics: first, it is the most urbanized region in the world. Second, it is the most violent. Organizations like the UNDP and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme release flurries of reports about these topics on an annual basis. What we don’t hear about, however, is the role that business plays in all of these development concerns. Eduardo Moncada is on a mission to change that…
At the heart of a representative democracy is the prerogative to “vote the bastards out” when they don’t act in a representative manner, right? For Americans, with no history of a monarchy, the word “democracy” carries an almost royal privilege. Yet here in the United Kingdom–an indisputably democratic nation–the House of Lords remains.
As a distant observer of British politics prior to coming here, I thought that the House of Lords was a generally terrible idea. Just calling someone a Lord or a Baroness seemed antediluvian and gross, much less giving those lofty people political influence. From what I had heard though, it was a largely neutered institution that had little real power–much like the royal assent (i.e. the Queen’s ability to veto a bill. The last monarch to invoke her right to refuse royal assent was Queen Anne, on a bill allowing the Scottish to raise their own militia, and that was in 1708). But then why–I may have wondered idly to myself while watching an episode of Yes, Minister–did the British keep this silly, old House around at all?
I have no interest in advocating for or against Lords Reform, or the bill in its current draft, but simply find the whole discussion fascinating. I’ve also been quite surprised at just how interesting the House of Lords is in actual practice.Over time, the Lords has evolved into a body of experts (primarily); people at the top of their fields who are given titles. They spend months pouring over legislation with much more time and interest in the details than members of the Commons, who have constituencies to worry about, can do. It’s true that they are generally unable to block legislation that the Government wants, but the Lords’ recommendations and changes are publicly recorded. They can also delay bills for a great deal of time that they feel are particularly bad. More often then not, they provide a mild and thoughtful check in the parliamentary system where the Government operates under a mandate (coming from the idea that by being in the majority, the voters have agreed to their campaign manifesto as a whole), that basically allows them to push through anything they want until the next election.
Even while I’ve been working for a Member of the Commons this summer, I have discovered a great deal of respect for the work that the Lords does by being a different kind of body with motivations that are divorced from campaign promises, ipso facto, less political squabbling. Many of them are even “cross-benchers,” meaning that they do not belong to any political party. Peers are not politicians in the sense that they have constituents or are seeking reelection, and with 775 of them, there is very little publicity to go around. They include Nobel prize winners and Oscar winners. Most do not receive a salary (although many receive a per diem and traveling expenses) and they do not have staff.
Yesterday afternoon there was a debate going on in the Commons gallery over the Deputy Prime Minister’s Lord’s Reform bill. The Deputy PM is the leader of the Liberal Democrats (who are in a coalition with the Conservative party–an odd political bedfellow but one which allowed both parties to find power as neither had an outright majority over the Labour party after the 2010 elections) and Lords Reform is his pet project. The greatest change in this particular bill is to turn the Lords into an elected body, in which most of them would be required to run for a single non-renewable 15-year term. Although they would be elected (and therefore could be anyone, and not just professionals and experts), the bill creates a less flexible system of per diem compensation (As the MP I work for says, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”), and it will greatly reduce the number of Peers over time. This is reform in the true sense of the word–the House of Lords would change dramatically, while allowing them very little additional power over policymaking in return.
Debate over how to reform the Lords has been going on since the 1911 Parliament Act, and all the major parties agree that some reform is overdue–the rub is how to do it. How to keep the best bits: the expertise, the soft power, the time to deliberate, etc., while making it more representative of the whole country and kicking out the hereditary peers? Sadly, by putting all the reform measures into one bill, instead of breaking it up into separate issues, the possibility of consensus is slim.
This may prove to be one of the most interesting bills of the 2012/13 session, since it is primarily supported by the Liberal Democrats. And while the Conservatives are their partners in Government, it’s clear that they are not unanimously in support; just today, 70 Torys released a letter in opposition. Labour is also divided for various reasons, although their leadership may be able to rally a position based on embarrassing the Coalition by killing one of their bills.
Naturally most of the Peers are not thrilled with this bill, but as I mentioned they have little power to do much about it. This reminds me of the time when, (mostly) as an end-of-session joke, the Oregon House of Representatives drafted a bill to abolish the Oregon Senate. Of course, the Senate would likely never choose to abolish itself, but such is the question of reform in most democratic institutions, I suppose. The only institutions that can be reformed, apparently, are those that don’t do much harm anyways.
Here is a link to the Parliamentary Library’s brief on the draft House of Lord’s Reform bill, if you have additional interest in this subject. Also, I’ve been steadily keeping a blog about my whole experience working in Parliament and traveling around the UK: it’s a mixture of the thoughtful and the profane.