The past March 11 marked the fourth anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. Despite the fact that much of Japan has rebuilt the infrastructure since the disaster, the effects of it have taken its toll on the national psyche.
The Bologna Process was launched in 1999 in Europe in order to create a “European Higher Education Area” with the goal of facilitating mobility and exchanges for European students among other European countries. (More here)
On my way to class this week, I noticed an addition to the walls of the Students’ Union building, a center of student activities here at the University of Sussex: student government campaign banners. I was instantly struck by how familiar the sight was, as any Georgetown student who has walked through Red Square during the annual GUSA madness has seen the patchwork quilt of multi-colored banners adorned with campaign slogans. The atmosphere on campus, including the frequent tabling and flyering by campaign teams in main campus crossroads, almost makes me feel like I’m back on the Hilltop.
“At this table you learn a little bit of everything,” my host father Agustín loves to say at mealtimes. And it’s true; now retired but with a nearly 40-year career as a teacher for adults, Agustín imparts lessons of all types to me and my apartment mates at lunch and dinner.
Many nations have the freedom of religious belief inscribed in their constitutions and statutes, yet this right often exists more on paper than it does in actual practice. As has been meticulously documented, the last few years have seen an increase in restrictions on religion around the world. In many cases, the wording of law and policy is explicit, but has little to no effect on the actual actions of governments and citizens with regard to respecting the faith and practice of minority religious groups.
This week, bloggers respond to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim's second Global Futures lecture at Georgetown on March 18, in which he presented a comprehensive and elaborate roadmap for action on climate change. Bloggers comment on the potential for the ideas of Catholic social thought to influence policy and institutional action towards a focus on the "global environmental ethic."
After its 1986 conception, the play The Colored Museum was lauded for its groundbreaking satire on black identity in America; however, its recent revival at the Huntington Theatre in Boston this past week indicates that stereotypes, appropriation, and erasure remain relevant in modern society. Though the play itself focused on African-American culture, it interacted with a predominantly white audience. The Colored Museum sparked a brilliant post-show discussion that revealed the parallels between black cultural identity and my own Indian-American upbringing.
During the next two weeks we will focus on the impact of climate change on development. For this first week, the central question to address is how the increasing urgency of climate change threats is affecting development agendas and operations. What changes are occurring, and what resources does Catholic social thought bring both to the academic conversation, and work on the ground? This week’s conversation brings together CST scholars from the United States and Kenya and students blogging for the Global Future of Development from Georgetown and the University of Toronto to consider these questions.
Religious communities in Iraq, especially religious minorities, have suffered enormously over the past year. The rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) has placed the very existence of Iraqi minorities in peril, including Christians whose communities have lived there for two millennia. ISIS also threatens majority Shiites and minority Sunnis, although ISIS has succeeded in garnering some support from the Sunni community. Longstanding sectarian tensions between Shiites and Sunnis deepen the crisis in Iraq, which is disrupting the entire Middle East. This week contributors are asked to evaluate this situation as a crisis of religious freedom. They address the following questions: What explains the success of ISIS in Iraq? Why do sectarian tensions exist? What can be done to resolve this conflict and prevent similar ones in the future? What role might US or international religious freedom diplomacy play?
This past month, I had the opportunity to attend the Wheatley International Affairs Conference in Utah hosted by Brigham Young University (BYU). Though the conference focus was policy prescriptions in the Middle East, I was also immersed in Mormon culture for the first time. It was certainly a culture shock; I constantly asked questions and was grateful for the willing and frank explanations from BYU students and faculty.