November 22, 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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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...]

The Fall of Gulnara Karimova and Her Empire

By Ani Hakobyan. Many ex-Soviet countries are known for their familial successions to head of state. Azerbaijan’s current president is none other than former Communist leader and first president Heydar Aliyev’s son Ilham, while Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko, often referred to as Europe’s last dictator, is allegedly grooming his youngest son, only ten-years-old, to succeed him, reported Anissa Haddadi. Although familial successions are nothing new, the family rulers in the former Soviet Union prevent their countries from developing in … [Read more...]

A Water Crisis?

By Wanjiku Gatheru. Water – the essential ingredient to life on earth – has become increasingly scarce. Across the globe, clean and accessible drinking water is out of reach for over 1 billion people. As the world population rapidly increases, access to clean water is becoming a leading concern worldwide. A necessity for all life on this plant, the loss of this important resource would be the end to not only humanity but life. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity. As clean water is necessary … [Read more...]

The Girl Effect

By Jo Grode. As I read about the oppression of women all over the world, more often than not the places with the worst gender-based violence, gender inequality, or gender discrimination happen to be communities and even countries that are anchored in poverty. In other words, there seems to be a blatant correlation between the economic development of a nation and the level of female oppression. When drawing these kinds of parallels, it is wise to keep in mind that “correlation does not imply causation”. Regardless, do low income levels cause a … [Read more...]