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To read recaps and background stories related to our discussion series, click here.

8 June

Some state that online activism is not real engagement and fighting for a cause, whilst others see high potential in the use of social media for doing democracy differently. Read more on the different opinions here

How effective is social media activism?

by Erin Lee | 2/12/16 1:05am As Shonda Rhimes wrapped up her insightful Dartmouth commencement speech back in 2014, she slipped in a little zinger admonishing social media activism – “A hashtag is not helping.” “Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter,” she said. “But a hashtag is not a movement.

6 June

The Arab states of the Persian Gulf are in the grips of an unprecedented regional crisis. Want to understand this crisis? Read more here:

Analysis | The Persian Gulf crisis over Qatar, explained

Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? Sign up for the Today’s WorldView newsletter . The Arab states of the Persian Gulf are in the grips of an unprecedented regional crisis.

30 May

While Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan with special meals and tasty treats, in Yemen 17 million are suffering from an acute lack of food.

While Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan with special meals and tasty treats, in Yemen 17 million are suffering from an acute lack of food.

While Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan with special meals and tasty treats, millions of Yemenis are suffering from an acute lack of food, as the country’s two-year war rages on. According to aid agencies, 17 million people do not have enough to eat, in what the UN calls the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world”.

29 May  

Want to know what goods and commodities shape the patterns of global trade? Learn more here!

The goods and commodities shaping global trade – BBC News

The world has been transformed by international trade. Networks moving raw materials and goods around the globe have helped make our lives more convenient, more diverse and more interconnected. So what are the goods and commodities shaping the patterns of global trade, and who is trading with whom?

23 May  

The ongoing crisis in Venezuela causes thousands of people to leave their homes behind and flee to Colombia.

Venezuela: Thousands cross into Colombia for better prospects

At least 48 people in Venezuela have been killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police in the past two months. Major political, economic and food shortage crises have spurred growing unrest and opposition to President Nicolas Maduro. Thousands have crossed a key bridge into neighbouring Colombia to escape the crisis in search of better lives and opportunities.

22 May  

Since the peace agreements were signed in Colombia, an increased number of social leaders has been killed.

Why has Colombia seen a rise in activist murders? – BBC News

In 2016, Colombia’s homicide rate dropped to its lowest in four decades, at some 12,000 cases. And yet the number of social leaders and human rights defenders killed has been on the rise. By early May, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed 14 murders of human rights defenders since the beginning of 2017.

22 May 

The water vendors of Juba, South Sudan play an important role in the community by delivering safe drinking water to some of the city’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods.

A day in the life of Juba’s bicycle water vendors

Juba, South Sudan – By 10am, the unforgiving morning sun begins to beat down on the dusty streets and mud huts of Hai Gabat, a neighbourhood in the east of Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Sam, a 45-year-old water seller from Uganda, has been up for four hours.

17 May 

Ethiopia is now one of the worlds fastest growing economies, but has been in a state of emergency for months. This can affect the economic growth. Read more here

How long can Ethiopia state of emergency last?

The UN has warned that more than a decade of development is at risk if Ethiopia continues to ban political opposition and muzzle the media. Ethiopia is now in its eighth month of emergency rule, which was imposed to crush its biggest protest in 25 years.

16 May 

“Water shortages and air pollution concern voters, but candidates fear weakening their campaign if they don’t focus on the economy”.


Will Iran’s next president care enough to put the environment first?

Four years ago one of the candidates in Iran’s presidential election made himself popular by promising to save Lake Urmia, one of the world’s largest saltwater lakes that was on the cusp of disappearing. Now, President Hassan Rouhani proudly recounts that promise, citing Urmia’s current state as an environmental success story made possible by prudent decision-making.

15 May 

The Ebola virus has emerged again in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and brought along two of its primary symptoms: confusion and misinformation.

The Confusion Over the New Ebola Outbreak

There’s clearly an outbreak, but the WHO has not declared an epidemic-a term that implies wider or more sudden spread. The confusion is a linguistic one: The French use the same word-épidémie-for both outbreaks and epidemics In 2014, the largest Ebola outbreak in history spread from Guinea to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other countries, infecting more than 28,000 people and killing 11,000 of them before it was finally stopped in 2016.

9 May 

The questionable fairness of China’s growing urban spaces – does it really serve the purpose? To get the full picture, read:


Endless cities: will China’s new urbanisation just mean more sprawl?

The announcement that new megacity Xiongan will be built near Beijing is the latest attempt to take pressure off China’s biggest metropolises. Can it work?

8 May 

“What lessons can be drawn for the rest of the world? Macron has, in ending the left-right split, and slowed down the growth of populism, but – equally important – he has created a central platform that is strong, ambitious, reforming and optimistic, built on a clear understanding of the new world.” To get a glimpse of what Macron means for today’s democracy and rise in populism, read more:


Now Macron can help Europe win the war with populism | Mathieu Laine

Emmanuel Macron’s victory is not just good news for France and for Europe. It brings a welcome remedy to the populist fever that hit the United Kingdom with Brexit, and the United States with Donald Trump. We are experiencing an “age of anger”, as Pankaj Mishra described our troubled times.

8 May 

This article provides an overview of the different youth revolts from the recent years, showing that youth all around the world is standing up and fighting for their causes.

Are activist youth our agents of real social change?

By Zukiswa Mqolomba Today’s youth are no longer the “lost generation” apathetic about the societies surrounding them. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position. Now, they no longer trust the state’s willingness and ability to find solutions to their problems. In their shared marginalisation, young people have developed a sense of common identity and a critical consciousness that leads them to challenge the established order.

4 May 

How do women who were abducted as children, raped and forced to kill, reintegrate into their communities? Read more here

Tales from Uganda’s female former child soldiers

Life was supposed to get easier for Grace Achara after she escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – but Marc Ellison has long reported on the post-war plight of former child soldiers in Uganda. But he wanted to find an innovative format through which to tell their stories.

4 May 

The situation in Venezuala does not seem to improve. Ongoing anger of the population towards Madoru’s government creates an unstable situation. Read more here

‘Everything is in chaos’: night of violence reveals depths of Venezuela crisis

The singed remains of an old fridge dumped on the side of a trash-covered street are the only sign of an outbreak of violence that erupted after anti-government protests in El Valle, a gritty working-class neighbourhood in south-east Caracas.

3 May 

Did you know that in some places in Pakistan colonial-era laws are still in place? This is about to change in the near future:

Reform Of Colonial-Era Laws Aims To Bring Pakistan’s ‘Black Hole’ Into The Light

To enter Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border is like entering a legal “black hole” where residents have little political representation or constitutional protection owing to colonial-era laws. But a new plan aims both to bring modern justice to the restive region and to dissuade residents from joining with militants.

2 May

People in Aleppo who have not left the city are trying to maintain normal life as good as possible. Read more on how this is possible here

Amid the rubble, Aleppo tries to return to normal life

Near Aleppo’s ancient citadel, the scent of rose and jasmine rises from the rubble of a half-destroyed shop covered in bullet holes. Months ago it was a battleground, but for years before that it was a perfumery, and war has not changed its smell. For centuries Aleppo’s souk, its alleyway marketplace, was world-famous.


1 May 

A beautiful photo essay on how technology reaches different parts of the world and gets people online for the first time.

Unlocking the potential of technology – BBC News

Ethnographer and photographer Laura de Reynal has been documenting the work of organisations, such as Mozilla and One Laptop per Child who are helping communities to get online for the first time.

28 April

The story of water crisis and its direct impact on Bangladeshi women. Read the details here:

Bangladesh’s water crisis: A story of gender

Neha Thirani Bagri is a writer whose work focuses on gender, politics, development, environment, and social justice Kochukhali, Bangladesh – When Khadija Rahman, then a newly married 14-year-old, moved to the Satkhira district on Bangladesh’s southwest coast, she didn’t realise just how much the scarcity of drinking water in the region would affect her.

25 April

A bird’s eye view of existing stark inequalities in South Africa. However, this is true of not just SA but also other nations, both developed and developing.


The drone video that sums up global inequality

It’s surprising how looking at something from a new angle can change people’s perspectives. When I began the Unequal Scenes project a year ago, I had no idea that flying a drone over the townships, gated communities and golf courses of South Africa could make such an impact.

25 April

In Salvador, Brazil, thousands of children are influenced by the presence of the drugs gangs in the city. Read more on life in Salvador here:

Salvador: The city where children fend for themselves on the streets – BBC News

In 1937, Jorge Amado published Captains of the Sands, a novel about a gang of orphaned children living on the streets of Salvador, north-east Brazil. Eighty years on, little has changed – thousands of children and adolescents still roam the city and sleep rough. David Baker hears some of their stories.

24 April

The Bottom Billion author Paul Collier states in order to fulfill its mission the International Finance Corporation needs to make a profound change.

Collier: Despite progress, ‘profound change’ still needed at IFC

New leadership at the International Finance Corporation is transforming the institution – but a “profound change” is needed if it is to become a “public development agency whose interest is to develop the country, not to make money,” according development heavyweight Paul Collier.

24 April

The population of Niger is expected to double in 17 years since the country has the world’s highest birthrate. Ther rapid growth in population is causing a range of issues, but women do not want to have fewer children. Find out how the government and NGOs are trying to address the issue here:

Why have four children when you could have seven? Family planning in Niger

Roukaya Hamani has an in-law problem. Her husband’s parents want more grandbabies, but she doesn’t want any more children right now. She’s already given birth four times; one of the babies died, and so now she has three, ages seven, five, and 16 months. She’s 18 years old.

20 April

The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) reports that the security of people with albinism has not improved and still leaves 10,000 people vulerable to discrimination and attacks that can cost them their lives.

Killed for their bones

It was a Sunday in April 2016. A warm, dry day. Seventeen-year-old David Fletcher was being moody and withdrawn. He wanted to watch a football match at the local school instead of helping his family gather maize in the fields. His parents eventually relented and let him go.

20 April

Protests in Venezuela against president Maduro continue. Click here to find out why the people of Venezuala are taking the streets and what is happening at the moment.

Venezuela: What is happening?

Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, has seen almost daily demonstrations over the past weeks, some of which became violent. Protesters say President Nicolas Maduro is moving towards tyranny, and they want him to resign. But Maduro says the opposition is conspiring with foreigners to destabilise the country.


19 April

Vietnam’s coastal areas are at risk because of the rise in sea level. Read here how mangrove trees may be a solution to this problem:

The trees keeping Vietnam afloat

It was overcast, and Hoi An’s colours softened like a watercolour painting. I paused for the requisite photo of the red Japanese Bridge, the city’s landmark. It hung elegantly between grey clouds and the shimmering canal, a memory from the 1700s when this Vietnamese city was an international trading port.

19 April

Elections in Iran are coming up in May. How does the process work and what do the candidates stand for?

Navigating Iran’s Political Streams

The names are in, but in Iran just registering your candidacy is not enough to actually participate in a presidential election. Now it’s time for the biggest hurdle, as the Guardians Council — the 12-member body at the heart of the Islamic republic — vets all applications and comes up with a final list of candidates.

14 April

The Congolese passport mandates overcharging of passports. and sends this public money offshore. Read more about this here:


Special Report: Congo’s pricey passports send millions of dollars offshore

One day in November 2015, President Joseph Kabila visited his foreign ministry and smiled broadly as a computer took his photograph and fingerprints. He was there to mark the launch of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s new biometric passport, fitted with a chip to store details of his identity.

13 April

The hashtag #EverydayAfrica has been used more than 179,000 times to show the world a different image of Africa from what is usually shown. Instead of war, poverty and drought the page shows a boxing woman, a band playing and a family enjoying their holiday. The success of the Instagram page is now transformed into a book in which 30 photographers re-picture and show the life in Africa.

Re-framing Africa

In 2012, two years after Instagram launched, photojournalists Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill started Everyday Africa, a feed on the photo-sharing application. On assignment in the Ivory Coast, which was recovering from its second civil war, they posted the photos that newspaper and magazine editors wouldn’t commission: images of an Africa where disease, poverty and war weren’t the focus.

Check out the Instagram here:

Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica) * Instagram photos and videos

323.2k Followers, 158 Following, 3,672 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from Everyday Africa (@everydayafrica)

11 April

Cuba is experiencing one of its worst droughts in 100 years. The photo serie vividly shows how Cuba is dealing with increasing drought.

Watering down a revolution: Cuba’s struggle for water

Cuba is experiencing one of its worst droughts in 100 years. Although the government provides drinking water, the shortages caused by the lack of rain are compounded by an aging and dilapidated infrastructure.


10 April

In the past, Ugandans have had to flee to other countries for their safety, says Godfrey Byaruhanga, co-ordinator of refugee services for the government. Now it their obligation to “return the good”.“Most of our leaders have been refugees, so it has been easy for them to embrace this refugee policy,” he says. This attitude is in contrast to other African countries struggling to cope with rising refugee numbers, however the situation in Ugunda is not perfect.

Is Uganda the world’s best place for refugees?

A mix of Afrobeat and South Sudanese folk music resounds over the jumbled stalls and makeshift corrugated iron shops that form the trading centre of Nyumanzi, a sprawling refugee settlement in northern Uganda.


7 April

“…current problems with domestic violence, for which the punishment has just been downgraded despite 35,899 cases being reported in 2015; the disturbing trend of rape victims being blamed for provoking their attackers; and the fact that police dismiss four out of five rape reports.” Russia sees women’s march for rights, amidst criticism from ideological different feminist groups.

​Festival tries to reclaim Russian feminism – but is it radical enough?

After years of operating in the shadows, Russia’s women’s rights activists are pushing back against “traditional values”, and a government that has recently decriminalised some forms of domestic violence. Last week hundreds of activists marched on city streets to demand equality on International Women’s Day and more than 1,000 attended Fem Fest in Moscow, the first feminist festival of its kind in Russia.

6 April

After emerging from decades of self-imposed isolation, Myanmar is now prioritzing tackling issues in sustainable development that are caused by climate change. Read more on this here

Climate change is undermining sustainable development in Myanmar. Here is what can be done about it.

Myanmar’s national government and some international development groups are adopting different but complementary approaches to tackling what many in the country consider to be one of the biggest threats to achieving sustainable development: Climate change.

5 April

The UN has recently declared famine in South Sudan. How does such a declaration come about? Read more about it here:

The Economist explains: How is famine declared? | The Economist

IN FEBRUARY the United Nations made the first formal declaration of famine since 2011. Parts of South Sudan, the world’s newest country, are now officially in a state of famine. The UN says that some 20m people are also at risk of famine in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.

3 April 

Former Gambian president Jammeh shut down many radio stations and made the independent work of journalists impossible. But now, gor the first time in more than 20 years, the tiny West African country’s media is abuzz. Journalists are returning from exile and the new government has been vocal in assuring them of their support.

The Gambia’s journalists find new freedom of expression

Hamza Mohamed is a producer for Doha, Qatar-based Al Jazeera English, covering Sub-Saharan Africa. Sinchu Alhagie, The Gambia – “Unbelievable really. Never thought I will see this happen. Guys: chop-chop. Faster, please,”Biram Sait Jobe tells a group of builders who are working on the expansion of the rooms that house Taranga FM.

30 March

The number of Syrians who have fled their country has topped 5 million after six years of war, the UNHCR has said. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday urged the international community to increase its support for Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them, warning that failure to do so risked undermining global security.

UN chief says aid for Syrian refugees is in global interest

By: Charlie Dunmore | 28 March 2017 ZA’ATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday urged the international community to increase its support for Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them, warning that failure to do so risked undermining global security.


30 March

New research from University College London shows that the global foodmarket is depleting non-renewable water sources at a disturbing rate. The depletion can lead to a threat in food supplies.

Read more:

Food trade drains global water sources at ‘alarming’ rates – BBC News

From the section Science & Environment The global market for foodstuffs is depleting water sources in many parts of the world quicker than they can naturally be refilled. The complex trade is increasing pressure on non-renewable groundwater, mainly used for irrigating crops such as rice, wheat and cotton.

Read the publication with interesting images here

Groundwater depletion embedded in international food trade

Recent hydrological modelling and Earth observations have located and quantified alarming rates of groundwater depletion worldwide. This depletion is primarily due to water withdrawals for irrigation, but its connection with the main driver of irrigation, global food consumption, has not yet been explored.

29 March

Today is the start of the Arab Summit in Jordan. Issues on the agenda are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Read the prospects of the summit here:

Arab Summit: ‘Arabs lost confidence in their leaders’

Arab leaders are convening near the Jordanian Dead Sea for the 28th annual summit of the Arab League, as the region faces distressing turmoil and political challenges. Sixteen heads of states out of the 22-member confederation of Arab countries are expected to attend Wednesday’s meeting, including Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

28 March 

Anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada passes away. With him gone, the golden generation of South African anti-apartheid fighters is coming to an end too, with only two surviving members.


Kathrada: South Africa’s anti-apartheid veteran dies aged 87 – BBC News

Veteran South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has died aged 87, his foundation says. It says Mr Kathrada passed away peacefully in a Johannesburg hospital “after a short period of illness, following surgery to the brain”. Along with Nelson Mandela, Mr Kathrada was among eight African National Congress activists sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964.

28 March 

2017 continues to witness discussions on autonomy rights over women’s bodies and labour. A recent development at the UN Commission saw the UN States pledging to reduce gender gap amidst opposition by international actors like the US and Russia. Read the details here:


Nations pledge to close gender pay gap

UN member states have pledged to close the gender pay gap and reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work that falls disproportionately on women. After two weeks of intense discussions in New York, the Commission on the Status of Women ended with commitments by states to advance women’s economic empowerment by implementing equal pay policies, gender audits and job evaluations.

27 March 

A new approach to slow down urbanization is being implemented in India. Smart villages are expected to provide people with reasons to stay instead of  moving to the big city. This can stop the brain drain and improve the villages on many levels. Read more on these smart villages here:

India’s smart villages at a glance

While there is growing talk of smart cities in conversations on global development, a majority of people in emerging market economies live in villages. This is leading some to ask: what about smart villages?


27 March

Yemen is suffering from the biggest foodcrisis in the world, and especially children are the victims of poverty, hunger and diseases, UNICEF states. In Sanaa, people took the streets to call for an end of the violence. Read more on the situation in Yemen here:

Yemenis protest on war’s second anniversary – BBC News

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Yemen’s capital on Sunday to call for an end to war in the country. The demonstration was organised by Houthi rebels, who occupy the city and much of Yemen’s north. The rallies in Sanaa came on the second anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention against the Houthi rebel movement.


24 March

While dams have been associated with conflict due to displacement or livelihood issues and environmental or socio-cultural concerns, it promises to boost agriculture and development in rural Afghanistan. This is hindered by Iran and Afghanistan’s face-off over their water territories. Read more about this diplomatic battle here:


Dam project promises water – but also conflict – for dusty Afghan border lands

In a corner of the southern Afghan desert, scorched by heat and thrashed by sandstorms, Nimruz is one of Afghanistan’s most remote and lawless provinces. Enjoying little international aid or government authority, it is also one of the least developed. However, there is hope for progress.

24 March

“You worry each time you leave your house that the police will stop you. Sometimes they ignore your permit and you have to pay or be arrested”. Asylum seekers and immigrants find themselves dealing with xenophobia and corruption in South Africa.


Special Report: In South Africa, immigration feeds corrupt officials and race hate

In 2010 police in Johannesburg shot Justin Ejimkonye, a Nigerian migrant, in the leg. The reason why is unclear: It took the police 18 months to charge Ejimkonye with any crime. When they did bring a charge, saying he was carrying cannabis, a public prosecutor decided not to pursue the case for lack of evidence.

20 March

In Mosul, organizations and local health authorities engaged in chemical weapons treatment and prevention are not waiting for officials to confirm the use of chemical weapons. Health facilities take action to become functioning again and to be prepared to response adequately to chemical attacks.

Inside the mounting preparations for chemical attacks in Iraq

Iraqi politicians say no chemical weapons have been used in Northern Iraq, but health authorities and international partners say the risk is significant enough to warrant preparing now for any future cases. Devex speaks with the World Health Organization about the work underway and how recent incidents have shaped their thinking.

17 March

What is the way forward from the compromised climate policy and energy research? This article outlines the systemic patterns of influence of fossil fuel industry on research and possible ways of countering it.

The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia | Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran

On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

16 March

Tambourine Army is a new organization to fight gender-based violence in Jamaica wants to change the culture  of assigning blame and shame to survivors, to a culture where the perpetrators are shamed. Some say the bad economy is causing a rise in abuse, whereas others state that the problem has deeper roots.

‘Tambourine Army’ hits back against sexual violence in the Caribbean


15 March

What is the effect of current issues, such as the migrant crisis, increasingly isolationist policies and the impact of globalization across borders, on development organizations? Read here more about the response of these organizations:
3 global development organizations ‘bringing charity home’

14 March

According to the UN, farm workers are the biggest contributors to Brazil’s food supply. Despite this, the voices of Brazil’s female farm workers remain unheard.  Read about their plight for participation here:
Brazilian Women Storm Government, Protest Neoliberal Policies

13 March

UNICEF states that 2016 has been the deadliest year in the Syrian war for children. After six years of war, nearly 6 million children now depend on humanitarian assistance. The consequences for the mental and physical health of the young generation are disturbing. Read more in the UNICEF report.
Syria war: 2016 was the worst year for Syrian children, says Unicef – BBC News

10 March

Some celebrate international women’s day, while several others do not. There are multiple aspects to this that need to be discussed and debated widely. For starters, take a look at this article that touches upon inclusion of marginalised women in movements and dialogues.

This Women’s Day Let’s Make The Struggle About All Women, And Not Just The Privileged

10 March

“Higher education is a powerful antidote to the sense of purposelessness and the intense boredom many of the incarcerated describe in prison memoirs.” And this is being realized through the college-in-prison programs in the US. Read more here:

Former Harvard Education Dean: Why College-in-Prison Programs Work

8 March 

On this international Women’s day, Waris Dirie discusses how the Genital Mutilation of women is still taking place. Over 200 million women and girls have been affected by these practises. The Desert Flower Foundation provides support for the victims. Read the interview here:
Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: Q&A with Waris Dirie of Desert Flower Foundation


8 March

We are united, we are international – and we are everywhere. Womens’s Day 2017 is celebrated all around the world. In over 200 cities, strikes are organized to gain attention to a wide range of issues that hold women back. Read more here:

‘We are international, we are everywhere’: women unite in global strike

7 March

A polluted environment results in a heavy toll on the health of children. Every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, say two new WHO reports.

The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year, says WHO


7 March

The UN gears up for its new Secretary-General António Guterres who is known to play a balancing act between his socialist and religious beliefs. With this development and the rising conservative trends globally, what can one expect in terms of human and sexual rights of citizens?
The United Nations and the Religious Right​ – Global Issues

6 March 

On the 21st of March, SID-NL organizes a debate on Doing Democracy Without Political Parties? As a prepartion to this debate, related blog posts will be posted in the following weeks. The first one is an introduction to the functions of a political party.
Political Parties: 5 Major Functions of Political Parties in Democracy – Important India

Interested in this debate? Sign up here

6 March 

Not every passport allows you to travel to the same place as another passport might do. The Passport Index explores how welcoming each nation is, based on the number of countries they accept visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Check out where your passport can take you:
Most Welcoming Countries Rank | Passport Index 2017


5 March

“Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou says the deals are a throwback to the post-colonial era, when France played a dominant role in the economies of its former African territories.” To get a glance at the rift between Areva and Niger over uranium, read more.

Special Report: Areva and Niger’s uranium fight

With its economy contracting for the first time in 20 years, its President’s puzzling health emergencies keeping him in London and a growing discomfort with its vice-president Yemi Osinbajo’s popularity as interim President, Nigeria exhibits a suitable case for power struggles versus governance.

The mysterious illness of Muhammadu Buhari: Who’s running Nigeria? | The Economist

2 March

At any time around a third of the water infrastructure in rural sub-Saharan Africa, from simple hand pumps to pricey solar-powered systems, is broken. New technologies are now implemented to keep the water supply safe and keep the taps running. Besides securing the water supply, there are other benefits with this new technology. Read more about this game-changing technology:

Pay as you drink: An innovative cure for broken water pumps in Africa | The Economist

1 March

Have you heard of Rederij Lampedusa? In the canals of Amsterdam, boat captains tell their stories and use the boats that transported migrants to Europe, shedding light on their plight:
Refugee canal boat tours bring migrant stories to Amsterdam

1 March

Yesterday, in several countries Google honored Abdul Sattar Edhi with a doodle. Read more about the founder of the Edhi Foundation, which created the world’s  largest volunteer ambulance network in Pakistan.
Abdul Sattar Edhi: Why Google honours him today

28 February   

Urbanization is not always a blessing. The rapid growth of cities in the global South comes with complex issues like economic inequality and poor sanititation. Are “smart cities” the solution to these problems?

Taking the smart route to inclusive, sustainable and connected cities

28 February  

Unicef describes the disturbing circumstances refugee children in Libya face. Children are at the heart of one of the biggest movements of people in history. One in every 45 children in the world today is on the move.

27 February  

Implications of a ‘single story’!
The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

27 February  

With all attention going to the Oscars this weekend, it is easy to forget the Fespaco: the biggest and most popular African film event in the world. This event celebrates the African culture through cinema. Although many films are made, it is often difficult for people in African countries to see the actual films.
Pan-Africa festival of film projects a renewed sense of optimism

24 February 

“Samsø is just a reflection of what is happening in Danish society in general. We are national policy in practice.” Perhaps a reflection of what ought to happen too?

Energy positive: how Denmark’s Samsø island switched to zero carbon

24 February  

Violence, inflation and market failure leave South Sudan in the midst of a severe famine. With 100,000 people facing starvation and another 1 million on the brink of it, man-made food insecurity strikes one more down!
Famine declared in South Sudan

 23 February  

The Kenyan government has launched a enormous program to fight the ongoing drought. The scheme is a ground-breaking insurance program that uses satellites to monitor vegetation available to livestock.

Kenya launches biggest ever insurance payouts for livestock herders

 23 February 

Peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition are continued after a year. Could these UN-sponsered talks be the solution to the ongoing conflict? Read more on the current situation here:
Syria’s warring sides brought together for Geneva talks – BBC News

 22 February 

What is to happen with former president Jammeh of Ghana? A family member speaks out:
A dictator in the family: why Ebrima Jammeh wants retribution in Gambia

 22 February 

Cooperation on terrorism and peace talks are on the line as attacks across the Pakistani border are rising. Read more about the implications here:

Pakistan shells border with Afghanistan as tensions rise over terrorist attacks

21 February 

Brazil is slowly moving away from the international stage. Internal problems cause a lack of investment in foreign relations. Ramon Blanco provides an analysis on how Brazil is now a hangover nation.
The Brazilian hangover: When the party ends


21 February 

South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia are on the brink of famine. Four nations at the same time in a distressing situation calls for a major aid operation. The provided aid is not just food, but also consists of  innovative new concepts to fight hunger.
Cucumber seeds and beekeeping kits: the new ways of fighting famine

 20 February 

The bitter taste of Madagascar vanilla: a disturbing insight in how the farmers of Madagscar continue to live in poverty whilst the market price of vanilla keep rising. Furthermore, the farmers are in constant fear of losing their crop to theft.

The bitter taste of Madagascar vanilla

20 February

The import of arms  in the Middle East has almost doubled in the last five years, whilst the import in Europe, the Americas and Africa has descreased. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published interesting statistics on the import of arms all around the world.

Increase in arms transfers driven by demand in the Middle East and Asia, says SIPRI


16 February

The effects of pollution now have reached the deepest places on earth. 10 kilometers below sealevel, researchers have found disturbing levels of dangerous pollutants.
Entrenched: The world’s deepest ocean trenches are packed with pollution | The Economist



15 February

In the early 2000s, Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), abducted tens of thousands of children in Northern Uganda. They stole young boys to fight, and kidnapped young girls to be used as sex slaves and wives to the soldiers. The short documentary I Am Not Who They Think I Am tells the story of two women who were abducted by the LRA and had children while held captive. They escaped after eight years as hostages, but are struggling to reintegrate back into their communities. Their children face stigma and rejection. “I always hear people saying that my mother was captured—they finger-point at both me and my mother,” one young girl testifies. “They think I cannot succeed in life. They think I am a burden in the society.”

I Am Not Who They Think I Am was developed by MediaStorm with the International Center for Transitional Justice.

15 February

What will it take to make global fisheries more sustainable and valuable? One leading NGO in the sector believes it has the right idea:
An $83 billion opportunity for fisheries

14 February

The boys and men of West-Africa: an insight in the journey and the severe challenges they face in this quest to better prospects.

Heat, Hunger and War Force Africans Onto a ‘Road on Fire’


14 February 

“Some think (Trump) may strike a bargain with Mr Putin to push Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements on Moscow’s terms.” Fighting corruption, violence and political differences within, Ukraine continues to defend itself.

Put asunder: Ukraine’s leaders may be giving up on reuniting the country | The Economist

13 February

What do the protests in Romania mean for democracies in Europe and rest of the world? Hundreds and thousands come out in the streets to fight against endemic buraucratic corruption.

All Eyes on Romania: Democracy’s Improbable Beacon of Hope? -View | Euronews

13 February

After the 20 years under the dictatorship of Jammeh, Gambia is now moving into a new era. The flows of aid from the EU that dried up under the dictatorial regime, are starting to bring much needed support to the nearly bankrupt country.

EU pledges €225m rescue package for the Gambia as new democracy dawns


8 February

7 February

Amnesty International investigated the situation in the Saydnaya prison in Syria. Its report includes witness testimonies and descriptions of cruel acts. Read more about the investigation here:
Syria’s Secret Mass Executions

6 February

Last week, DRC’s opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi passed away. What is the impact of his passing on the country?
Etienne Tshisekedi: DR Congo mourns opposition leader – BBC News

31 January

Moussa Faki Mahamat was elected yesterday as the new chair of the African Union. Read here more about him:
Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat named African Union leader

30 January

What is the healtcare situation like in Syria? And which effect does the executive order signed by president Trump have on it? Read more in this article:
How Trump’s Executive Order Worsens Syria’s Health Crisis

25 January

Six years ago the 18-day revolution started in Egypt. How is the human rights situation in the country now?
One protester’s story: Paying the price for seeking freedom in Egypt – BBC News

24 January

There are many challenges to ending hunger and famine, but food security practitioners are developing innovative solutions that enable earlier and more evidence-based responses to food crises, and help communities build resilience to climate change and disasters.
Read about five areas of innovation and the lessons that are learned while putting these ideas into practice.
Early warning, early action: The innovations changing food crisis management

23 January

New peace talks concerning Syria have started in Kazakhstan. What are the prospects?
Millions displaced and 500,000 dead – will new peace talks end Syria’s agony?

18 January

Most African refugees stay on the African continent. Many of them try to reach South Africa. Read some of their stories here:
Refugees risking lives to reach bright lights of Johannesburg

17 January

The world’s eight richests people together own as much as the poorest 50% of the world. Oxfam Novib released a report about this inequality. Read more about it here:
World’s eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

16 January

One year passed since the implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal. What has changed so far in Iran?
Iranian President Scrambles To Sell Nuclear Deal As A Win For Tehran

11 January

Unrest in Gambia: president Yahya Jammeh does not seem to accept the outcome of the country’s last election. If, however, Adama Barrow is to take office after all, it may mean a return to their country for these exiled Gambians:
Exiled Gambians ponder return to troubled homeland

10 January 2017

Myanmar’s new cabinet has been in power for 10 months. Have things changed in the country? Read this report to find out more:
Free speech curtailed in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar as prosecutions soar

9 January 2017

After tense elections last year, Ghana’s new president Nana Akufo-Addo was inaugurated last Saturday. Read here how the transition of power took place smoothly after all:
The Presidential Transition Is Going Smoothly. In Ghana.

4 January 2017

Migration has been a much discussed topic last year. Did you know that a significant amount of migrants stay in the region they are originally from? Read this article from the Economist to get some more insights:
The other kind of immigration

22 December 2016

In developing regions 90% of children are in primary education, and gender parity in enrolment has almost been achieved

Millennium development goal 2: 15 achievements on education

20 December 2016

 International Human Solidarity Day

“On International Human Solidarity Day, let us emphasize the role of human solidarity in building lives of dignity for all on a healthy planet. We must work together to achieve the SDGs and secure the future we want.”

Ban Ki-moon

Background for International Human Solidarity Day – 20 December

19 December

In Kenya, health workers have turned to social media to apply pressure on the government, in order to get them to honor the agreement about health workers’ pay. Read here how they organize themselves:
Kenya’s striking medical workers are using social media to challenge the government

16 December 2016

Oil spill disasters in Nigeria have not only affected it’s economy and  environment; they pose an issue for gender equality as well. Read the article below to find out how.
There’s an invisible cost to Nigeria’s oil spill disasters

13 December 2016

“The United Nations needs to be nimble, efficient and effective. It must focus more on delivery and less on process; more on people and less on bureaucracy.” The next United Nations Secretary General António Guterres vows to focus on sustainable development, peace and refom of the UN. Read more here:
UN News – Taking oath of office, António Guterres pledges to work for peace, development and a reformed United Nations

12 December 2016

Bill Gates has committed to leading a billion dollar fund to fight climate change by investing in clean energy. Read more about it below.
Bill Gates and investors worth $170 billion are launching a fund to fight climate change through energy innovation

7 December 2016

Have you heard of Humans of Damascus? Read the story behind this project here:
The woman documenting the ‘Humans of Damascus’

28 November 2016

After the passing of Fidel Castro, many reflect on what he meant for Cuba. Read this article to get more insight in how he influenced the lives of ordinary Cubans.
Castro’s legacy: how the revolutionary inspired and appalled the world

23 November 2016

Despite facing social stigma, economic exclusion and everyday physical challenges, these activists are fighting to make the world listen to the rights of disabled people

“This world belongs to all of us and we all deserve to be treated equally. Children with disabilities aren’t the only ones who benefit from inclusive education, everyone in the classroom does”- Yetnebersh Nigussie

10 activists changing lives for disabled people around the world

14 November 2016

Ten days after the entry into force of the landmark Paris Agreement, dozens of heads of State and Government are expected at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22), which started in Marrakech, Morocco, on 7 November 2016.

Before the Conference wraps up on 18 November, State Parties hope to define the rules for the accord and to lay out a viable plan for providing at least $100 billion a year to developing countries to support climate action.

UN News – MARRAKECH: Dozens of heads of State and Government expected at UN climate conference

8 November 2016

Join Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores the topic of climate change, and discovers what must be done today to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.



18 October 2016

Women routinely make less money that men, but for women of color, the income gap is even bigger. Read about the underlying issues in this article of the Atlantic:

About Those 79 Cents

17 October 2016

Two years after unveiling a comic about a rape survivor turned superhero who takes on her abusers, film-maker Ram Devineni is using a sequel to highlight the acid attacks that maim and scar hundreds of women in India every year.

India’s comic-book superheroine trains her powers on acid attacks

11 October 2016 

Happy International #DayoftheGirl! This year’s theme is “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls”. Read more about it below:
International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October

10 October 2016

As the scale of the devastation from Hurricane Matthew is becoming clear in Haiti, so is the need for emergency aid.

Hurricane Matthew: Aid lessons from Haiti quake – BBC News

3 October 2016

Voters in Colombia have rejected a landmark peace deal with Farc rebels in a shock referendum result, with 50.24% voting against it.

Colombian voters reject Farc peace deal – BBC News

28 September 2016

A deficit of engineering skills in Africa severely restricts the future of its economic growth, according to a conference on engineering held earlier this month. Click on the link below to find out how attracting more female students could help solve this problem.
Africa’s shortage of engineering skills ‘will stunt its growth’

21 September 2016

Today is #InternationalPeaceDay! The year’s theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace”. Read more about it below:
International Day of Peace 21 September

12 September 2016

In many countries today marks the start of Eid Al-Adha holiday! What is Eid Al-Adha and why is it celebrated on different days around the world? Read here to find out.
Why is Eid al-Adha 2016 not on September 11?

7 September 2016

Morocco’s next high-profile project makes a great effort to boost awareness of  green energy. They plan to influence the environment, culture, and even gender equality. Read about it here:
Morocco to give 600 mosques a green makeover

31 August, 2016

While tourists find their way back to Kenya’s seaside, in the hinterland is a conflict ongoing between Islamic militants, their defectors and armed police. Read here what the reality of Kenya’s inland is:
Kenya’s seaside looks peaceful, but a murderous war is being waged

24 August, 2016

Recently, a large number of children in Mexico seem to drop out of school and start working from an early age. Why is this happening and what are the consequence of this trend? Watch this video for the answers:
In the Field – Al Jazeera English

23 August, 2016

A group of women in Afghanistan is using the bike as a tool for radical activism. Read their story and the impact their cycling group has had here:
Biking Toward Freedom With the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team – Pacific Standard

18 August, 2016

During the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics, the world got a taste of the Passinho dance culture. This article explores in depth what the recognition of this dance culture means for those in the favelas:
On the road in Rio: how a dance craze is transforming the lives of inner city youth

16 August, 2016

New technologies can make a real difference for those in remote places. In Mexico, an effort is made to get mobile phones to those in rural and remote villages. Read here what the impact has been so far:
‘It feels like a gift’: mobile phone co-op transforms rural Mexican community

11 August, 2016

Since the protests in Tunisia in 2011, more women have become involved in politics than before. Activist Ikram Ben Said tries to encourage women to take part in elections, not just as voters but as candidates. Read an interview with Ikram Ben about her work here:
The Woman Pushing Women Into Tunisia’s Politics

9 August, 2016

Since being elected in November, Myanmar’s first civilian ruling authority since 1962 is working hard to bring peace and justice to the country. The government recently announced it is going to reform the jade industry. Read here what this can mean for Myanmar:
Aung Sun Suu Kyi moves to clean up Myanmar’s murky jade trade

3 August, 2016

Falling oil price influence economies all over the world, but have a great impact on countries like Angola, which depends greatly on oil. The effects of a recent fall in prices are clearly seen in Angola’s capital, Luanda:
An oil boom made it the most expensive city in the world. Now it’s in crisis.

1 August, 2016

This Friday the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro. What has this enormous project meant for the city? Read it in this article from the Atlantic:
The Rio Olympics Are Taking From the Poor and Giving to the Rich

27 July, 2016

In Senegal, a program is set up to get girls coding. This does not only help the girls move forward, but the country too. Read here what is accomplished so far:
Code club Senegal, where women are leading the way

 25 July, 2016

What has happened in Germany over the past week? What does this mean for the country?
Germany attacks: What is going on? – BBC News

19 July, 2016

In the aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey, President Erdogan seems convinced Fethullah Gulen is behind last week’s coup. Who is Gulen and why did he have a falling out with Erdogan? Read it here:
The Turkish President’s Arch-Nemesis

13 July, 2016

In the five years of its independence, violence in South Sudan remains the countries biggest issue. What has gone wrong? Watch this clip to find out more:
Inside Story – What’s gone wrong in South Sudan?

12 July, 2016

Read the latest news and background information on today’s decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the case of the South Chinese Sea:
Hague Arbitration court rules in favor of Philippines in South China Sea Dispute

July 6, 2016

Today, The Iraq Inquiry released its report on the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War. Read its most important findings here:

Chilcot report: Findings at a glance – BBC News

July 4, 2016

What does Turkey’s repositioning towards Russia mean? Read a reflection here:
Russia Needs Turkey in the War on ISIS

June 29, 2016

Opinion article on the Kremlin’s reaction to the Brexit, what do you think?!?

How Brexit is a win for Putin

June 27, 2016

The headlines of today: it’s all about the Brexit (Language: English/Dutch)
Voorpagina’s van de kranten vandaag

June 21, 2016

2015 – Deadliest year environmental activists

New report: 2015 sees unprecedented killings of environmental activists | Global Witness

June 20, 2016

World Refugee Day – Over 65 million refugees

Refugees: UNHCR says displacement hit record in 2015

June 17, 2016

Must read Guardian opinion article on the attack on British MP Jo Cox

The Guardian view on Jo Cox: an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy | Editorial

June 15, 2016

Syrian triatleet Mohamed Maso’s Olympic dream fell through, read his story here (Dutch/English)

Hoe de Syrische oorlog een Olympische droom verwoestte

June 13, 2016

Roger Cohen reflects on the Orlando mass shooting, American foreign policy and the upcoming elections

Orlando and Trump’s America

June 7, 2016

Today is the last day the Brits can sign up to vote in the EU referendum. This clip from the Guardian shows what Great Britain might lose if leaving the EU.

Membership of the European Union may come with certain strings attached, but there is a wealth of benefits to its citizens. Workers enjoy protection for holidays, breaks and starting a family. Consumers can be confident of what they’re buying and eating. And there are regulations that – while boring and sometimes costly – protect wildlife and the environment. So if Britain votes for Brexit, what might we lose?

May 26, 2016

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima. He will recognize the wide-spread suffering the nuclear attack has brought, but he won’t apologize, why not? What makes expressing remorse such a big thing in politics? The Atlantic explains!

Should Obama Apologize in Hiroshima?

May 18, 2016


Robin Wright targets Congo’s ‘conflict minerals’ violence with new campaign

May 17, 2016

Can the youth bring stability in the highly divided Middle East? Check out this column of Saad Aldouri (Programme Coordinator of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House).

Youth voices: The missing link in Middle East politics

May 12, 2016

This Al Jazeera clip shows how refugee smuggling became an extremely lucrative business model.
Borderless: Undercover with the People Smugglers

May 10, 2016

Philippines elections – Follow up!
Rodrigo Duterte, the highly controversial tough-talking mayor of Davao, is elected President. The son of former dictator Marcos will be his vice-president. This article from the Atlantic outlines the implications of the Philippine election result.

The Next President of the Philippines

May 9, 2016

Philippines elections
Today the Filipinos are voting for all branches of government, but most importantly they are electing a new president. Contested candidates, controversial opinions and unpredictable polls marked the run-up to election day. These articles will give you an overview of the elections of today.

Philippines elections 2016: what you need to know – the Guardian briefing

Philippines polls: Rodrigo Duterte headed for victory

May 9, 2016

Today the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists launches a searchable database which encompasses 200 000 secret offshore companies!

Coming Soon: ICIJ to Release Panama Papers Offshore Companies Data

May 4, 2016

Remembrance Day
Since it is Remembrance Day, we want to draw your attention to this clip (in Dutch) in which freedom of speech and freedom of worship collide: insults, exclusion and racism form a fine line in this debate: