April 18, 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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Elections in West Africa

Recently, Liberia celebrated its first elections since the end of the 1989-2003 civil war that brutalized the country and ravaged an already stagnant economy.  As the International Crisis Group suggests in their September 7th report (link), "Liberia has been crumbling for at least 25 years. Elections are but a small, early step in a lengthy reconstruction process that will be sabotaged if Liberian elites refuse some form of intrusive economic governance mechanism, or if international partners pull out before a sustainable security environment is … [Read more...]

Democratic Foreign Policy

I have literally filled my passport with stamps since George W. Bush became president and America’s image abroad hit historic lows. It is common for those with negative views of the United States to distinguish between American leadership and American people. Consistently, I hear some variant of “Americans and the rights and freedoms and protections you have are good, but that government of yours is horrible.” A study by the Pew Global Attitudes Project of 16 nations released this June ("U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative: American Character … [Read more...]

Speakers encourage increasing U.S. aid to combat world poverty

by Jasett Chatham Northwestern Daily November 10, 2005 Poverty was the buzzword Wednesday night during a panel discussion about American assistance to the world’s poor. A crowd of about 130 students, faculty and Evanston residents overflowed part of the Louis Room in the Norris University Center for an event sponsored by Globe, Americans for Informed Democracy and Amnesty International. The phrases “What can we do?,” and “No excuses” were splashed across flyers, rubber band bracelets and posters that covered the table leading into the … [Read more...]

Campus groups observe human rights week

by MAXIM LOTT The Flat Hat (College of William and Mary) November 09, 2005 As the world grapples with the refugee situation in Sudan and rapid political changes in Iraq, it is perhaps a fitting time for College groups to observe Human Rights Week. Amnesty International organized most of the week's events, hosting several speakers and holding student forums. The internationally-recognized Human Rights Week actually takes place in early December, but the time conflicts with fall semester final exams, so the week was held a month early at the … [Read more...]

College generation not as apathetic as many think

by Sarai Brinker The Daily Toreador (Texas Tech University in Lubbock) November 09, 2005 Recycling, Asian relations and free media were just some of the themes talked about this past weekend at the Student Summit for Americans for Informed Democracy. Leaders, students and activists from across the Southwest came together to talk about solutions to some of the major problems the world faces today. Not only did the number of students impressed me, but also the optimism they exuded. Equally important were the actions many of the students had … [Read more...]

Climate Change and Security

As usual, there’s some great foreign affairs commentary over at openDemocracy.net, one of my favorite websites. They’re running a great debate called “The Politics of Climate Change” (click on this link) with a very helpful backgrounder on the topic at this link that goes into key aspects such as the science of climate change, creative energy options and climate politics. One of the many insightful threads that runs through this series is the idea that climate change is not just important in and of itself but also because of the impact that it can have … [Read more...]

Speaker dissects U.S.-Muslim world relationship: Islam not a monolith, presenter says at event to ‘raise understanding’

by Chantelle Wallace The Daily Texan November 8, 2005 U.S. relations with the Muslim world were the subject of a Wednesday evening meeting in the McCombs School of Business. Michael Kraig, director of policy analysis and dialogue for The Stanley Foundation, discussed the diversity within the Muslim world, noting that Islam in Southeast Asia is different from Islam in the Middle East. "The U.S. needs to stop treating Islam as a monolith," he said. There are significant differences between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam, as well as various … [Read more...]

U.S. policy isn’t optimal for a stable Iraq, UT speaker says

by Mark R. Muecke Capstone (University of Texas at Austin) November 8, 2005 AUSTIN - Foreign policy expert Michael Kraig says there will be a growing Islamic rift between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims if Iraq is not stabilized. Kraig, director of policy analysis and dialogue for the Stanley Foundation, spoke to a crowd of about 50 at the McCombs School of Business Wednesday night. “One common interest of all of Iraq’s neighbors is that they want Iraq to exist,” Kraig said. The event was sponsored by the student group Americans for Informed … [Read more...]

Defending Secularism

Philippe Nassif The recent terrorist attacks in London and Egypt were a chilling reminder that extremism continues to plague our society unabated, adding London to a growing list of western cities that have come under attack in recent years. Amidst the charred wreckage of London’s transportation system arise many questions as to how to prevent and deal with terrorism in Europe and around the world. President Bush has called for further expansion and support of the U.S government’s war on terror, backed by Russia’s Putin and several other world leaders, … [Read more...]

DePaul University Report on UN NGO-DPI Workshop featuring AID

by Staff Writer DePaul Univ. School of Learning November 6, 2005 58th Annual NGO/DPI Conference NGO Mid-Day Workshop: 7 September 2005 Achieving Collective Security: Partnerships to Prevent Fear, Violence, Genocide and Terrorism Through Targeting the MDG Goals Panelists in this workshop discussed the assault on human rights through acts of violence, genocide, exclusion, discrimination and gender inequality. It was their collective consensus that we, civil society and world governments, must adopt a horizontal decision making style to address … [Read more...]