November 27, 2014

Kasturi Puntambekar – Marketing and Fundraising Fellow

Kasturi is a senior at American University in Washington, D. C. and is majoring in History with a minor in Psychology. Originally from a rural town in Massachusetts, she has worked in the development sector of non-profit organizations around the Capital and has enjoyed learning new and innovative ways of communicating with donors and foundations. She is looking forward to exploring new methods of promoting the cause of Americans for Informed Democracy and reaching out to the greater D. C. community in the process. As a student of a highly politically engaged university in the nation’s capital, she believes that students must be heard and can contribute greatly to the country’s endeavors on the international scale. In her free time, she enjoys Indian classical dance and cooking.

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Europe’s Last Dictatorship: Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus

By Ani Hakobyan. Ask any European the country they know the least and they will most likely answer Belarus. Considered by many, including former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as "Europe's last dictatorship," the Republic of Belarus is not exactly number one on people's bucket list. Often referred to as Russia's right hand or Slavic brother, the former Soviet country is governed by dictator Alexander Lukashenko, whose crackdown on basic freedoms in the nation has prompted the intelligentsia to flee and the common man to hide. Unlike many … [Read more...]

The Girl Child: Her Obstacles and Her Potential

By Jillian Tsacoyeanes. Schoolgirls, Kerala, India Photo Credit: Julia Maudlin For many young and adolescent girls around the world, childhood is a time of oppression and abuse instead of education and play. Especially in the Global South, the girl child faces unique challenges that limit her otherwise expansive potential. Several forms of gender-based violence are prevalent especially among girls - take female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) for example. This practice is prevalent in Africa and to a lesser degree in Asia and the Middle East, … [Read more...]

5 Tips for Emailing Professional Contacts

By Ana Frigo. Knowing how to connect with professionals in various fields is a skill that is vital in today’s world. Whether you are e-mailing a professor, colleague, or CEO, it has become increasingly important to present yourself in an organized and professional manner. How and what you e-mail to your professional contacts is a reflection of yourself and your communicative abilities. Below are 5 tips which should be remembered when emailing professional contacts. Tip 1: Have a clear subject line With so many emails being received each day, it … [Read more...]

Strategic Goal 5: Modernize the way we do diplomacy and development

By Virginia Cady. In March the U.S. State Department and USAID released a joint Strategic Plan for 2014-2017. This article is the final in a series of five on each of the main strategic goals outlined in the 2014-2017 plan. Strategic Goal 5: Modernize the way we do diplomacy and development The key to this goal is the emphasis on upgrading technology across the board of State and USAID operations as well as focusing on cooperation. The report cites three main examples of this: transparency, digital media, and reforming the process by which … [Read more...]

Global LGBT Rights: An Uphill Battle

By Jillian Tsacoyeanes. Gender and sexuality are complex. The modern, western world often reduces these concepts into dichotomies, categorizing individuals as male or female, heterosexual or homosexual. However, there is a long global history of individuals that fall outside these binaries. These individuals are fighting an important battle for equal rights and human dignity around the world. Diversity in terms of gender and sexuality is not limited to one time period or part of the world, and examples are countless: The Bugis people of … [Read more...]

The European Identity Crisis, Solved?

By Mary Anne Mendoza. Before the European Union (EU) can expand, unity in Europe must exist. As romantic as it sounds, the idea of an “ever closer union” among its members has yet to be fully realized*. The focus of this series will be to not only illuminate readers about what the institution actually is, but also to provide insight into the potential actor it could become. As of today, the EU consists of twenty-eight members with a total population exceeding 507 million individuals**. With so many people to represent, perhaps the EU would do … [Read more...]

Natural Disasters: Unequal Effects on Men and Women

By Jillian Tsacoyeanes. An old ibu (woman) sits among the ruins of her house in Pariaman, north of Padang, West Sumatra. Photo Credit: Andy Campbell/SurfAid International Natural disasters are often described as “acts of god:” powerful events, wholly outside the realm of human control, which indiscriminately destroy anyone in their path. This image fails to capture the truth: the effects of natural disasters are quite selective, disproportionally affecting women and girls in nearly all documented cases. This pattern exists in cases around the … [Read more...]

The Greatest Threat to the Islamic State

By Julia Al-Akkad. As the United States proceeds to combat the danger of the Islamic State (IS) through the performance of airstrikes, the Islamic State advances towards their ultimate undertaking of total jurisdiction over the Middle East. While the airstrikes prove to be a necessary instrument in providing immediate support to the sufferers of the extremist group, the United States must recognize the long-term component crucial to eradicating the Islamic State: education. IS is threatened by the empowerment of women, in particular empowerment … [Read more...]

The High Cost of Global Gender-Based Violence

By Jillian Tsacoyeanes. One in three women worldwide will experience gender-based violence (GBV) in her lifetime*. This statistic is so shocking that I must first grapple with it on personal terms. I think of my sister, my mother, and myself: one in three. On a global scale, this amounts to millions of women and girls alive today who have, or will at some point, experience violence based on their gender. The United States government defines GBV as “violence that is directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex, gender identity, … [Read more...]

Diversity in Development

By Jillian Tsacoyeanes. Those who work in the field of international development recognize it as a diverse field. Developing countries, or countries in the Global South, span a multitude of ethnicities, religions, languages, and cultures. Individuals living in extreme poverty in Bolivia, Kenya, and Sri Lanka may all be making ends meet on less than two dollars a day, but they probably experience day-to-day life in different ways. It is not possible to assume that members of the same region, community, or family have the same experiences of … [Read more...]