On August 19, 2017, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to appoint a U.S. ambassador to India.
As of August 4, President Trump has only nominated 36 of the 77 ambassador posts he is authorized to fill. In an unprecedented move, Trump has not allowed any appointed officials from the Obama administration to reapply for their positions, opting instead to fill all the positions himself. Despite this decision, Trump is nominating ambassadors slowly compared to past administrations.
Rep. Pallone was motivated to write to President Trump after the president announced that the U.S. would increase troops in Afghanistan and put pressure on India and Pakistan to do the same. Pointing out that India is one of the U.S.’s strongest allies in south Asia, Rep. Pallone claimed that the appointment of an ambassador to India is “long overdue.”
U.S. ambassadors are the president’s highest-ranking representatives assigned to a foreign nation or organization. They reside and keep offices at embassies, which are centers for U.S. diplomatic affairs located in the capital of a given country. Ambassadors are strong leaders adept at negotiation. Most importantly, they promote peace and prosperity while helping to support U.S. interests abroad.
Even when U.S. ambassadors aren’t working on issues concerning global poverty, their efforts can help reduce global poverty indirectly. The more stable the political and social climate of a given country is, the more opportunity there is for local growth in the economy, agriculture, education, health and other sectors. In turn, stable countries with a diminishing poverty rate benefit the U.S. as they become more viable markets.
When Trump appoints ambassadors to India and the other 76 posts he has yet to fill, the ambassadors will surely reinforce the U.S.’s relationship with individual countries. However, the appointment of ambassadors is important on a global scale because it will demonstrate that the U.S. takes the well-being of diverse peoples seriously and means to thoroughly address political, economic and social disparity in different countries.
– Caroline Meyers
Impeaching a president is one of the ultimate forms of checks and balances within the United States government. Article two, section four of the U.S. Constitution states the president can be impeached on conviction of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This raises an important question: how are presidents impeached?
Impeachment can remove an unfit president from the highest office in the nation, with no chance for an appeal. The serious, multi-step process of impeachment involves specific roles for each party involved.
How are presidents impeached?
- The House of Representatives brings impeachment charges. This process begins when representatives introduce impeachment resolutions just like they would with regular bills.
- The Committee on the Judiciary decides whether to pursue the impeachment. A special committee investigates if impeachment charges are needed based on the president’s actions. If a majority of the committee finds grounds with the impeachment, it reports back to the House.
- The House then votes to impeach. The House technically impeaches the president if an impeachment article gets a majority vote. If that happens, the House then appoints a team to oversee the following trial on its behalf. These so-called managers are usually members of the Judiciary Committee.
- The House gets the Senate involved. After the House decides to impeach, it adopts a resolution to tell the Senate of its decision. The Senate then adopts an order saying it is ready to hear from the managers.
The managers will appear before the Senate bar to explain the impeachment articles against the president. The managers present back to the House afterward.
- The president is summoned. The constitution gives the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments. The Senate begins this by calling the president to appear in court on a chosen date to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the president or the president’s consul does not show up, the Senate assumes a not guilty plea. It then sets a trial date.
- The Senate holds trial. An impeachment trial is similar to a criminal trial. The House managers act as prosecutors, and the president has defense lawyers. Witnesses are subpoenaed to give testimony and answer questions, and evidence is presented.
- The senators take over the role of jurors, and the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the trial, sometimes ruling on procedural questions. If at least two-thirds of senators find the president guilty, he or she is formally convicted.
- The president is removed, and the vice president becomes president. When the Senate finds a president guilty, it can also vote on whether the president should be disqualified from holding office again. A majority vote decides this.
How are presidents impeached? The House of Representatives brings impeachment charges based on a president’s misconduct, and the Senate determines his or her fate.
Two presidents have been formally impeached, but neither of them were convicted or removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was impeached, but his conviction failed by one vote in the Senate. Bill Clinton was impeached, but the Senate found him not guilty. President Richard Nixon came close to being impeached. He had pending impeachment charges against him in the House, but he resigned before the process could start.
– Kristen Reesor
Over the last few election cycles, an increasing number of stories have emerged about young people running for elected office. Millennials, it seems, are ready to be a part of the national legislative conversation.
What has been interesting about this phenomenon is the average age of these hopeful politicians. Erin Schrode, for example, ran for California’s District 2 seat in 2016 at the age of 24. Patrick Murphy, meanwhile, challenged Marco Rubio for one of Florida’s Senate seats in 2016 at the age of 33. When you keep in mind that the average age of the U.S. Senate is about 61 years old, these challenges are somewhat surprising.
This, therefore, begs the question, what does it take to become a Senator in the United States? What are the prerequisites, and how easy are they to achieve? The answer, it turns out, is quite simple. Below is the list of requirements:
- Be at least 30 years of age: One can run for office while they are 29 years old, but he or she must turn 30 before their first term would begin.
- Be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years: If an immigrant would like to run for office, they can, but they need to have been a U.S. citizen for nine years before doing so.
- Be an “inhabitant” of the state represented. This rule means that Senators must live at least some of their lives in the states they represent. This doesn’t have to be the majority of one’s life, though, as many Senators travel back-and-forth from Washington, D.C. to their respective states.
It should be noted that the intangible requirements to being an effective Senator are vital. Knowledge of local, regional and global issues are incredibly important components of governing that take years of study and experience to fully comprehend.
The official prerequisites, however, are a lot simpler than most would expect. As millennials and young people in general continue to be more interested and active in politics, it is important for them to know that the official roadblocks standing in their way are easily surmountable.
Truly, anyone can run and become a Senator if they set their mind to it. With the current political turmoil and the public’s interest in civic affairs, it will be interesting to watch the continued rise of millennial participation in our country’s governance.
– John Mirandette
The vast apparatus of the U.S. State Department can make it an overwhelming organization to understand. However, by assessing its individual offices, it becomes clear how vital these agencies are to the State Department fighting poverty abroad. These are some of the most prominent branches of the State Department and what they do to alleviate global poverty.
The Bureau of African Affairs (BAA) has operated for decades, promoting democracy, human rights and economic ties beneficial to both the U.S. and its African partners. Democratic transitions in unstable nations have been assisted and coordinated in conjunction with the BAA. The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, coordinated by the agency, contributes to the economic development that has seen millions lifted out of poverty in Africa.
The diplomacy conducted through the BAA highlights the importance of strong relations in allowing poverty alleviation programs to be deployed. By ensuring the cooperation of host nations, the State Department has been able to implement the Power Africa and Feed the Future programs. This is supported by the Global Health Initiative, aimed at eradicating debilitating diseases on the continent, with around 63 billion now invested in the project.
The Office of Global Food Security is another branch of the State Department that contributes to poverty alleviation. As with the BAA, it utilizes its diplomatic toolbox to put in place development programs aimed at eradicating poverty.
The office is particularly focused on agricultural development and promotes employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agricultural sectors to end famines and establish more secure rural economies.
Aside from boots-on-the-ground agencies, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs is vital for developing and sustaining relationships with important organizations in the fight against global poverty. This office uses diplomacy to strengthen ties with the U.N. and its auxiliaries (such as UNICEF) in concert with promoting U.S. leadership in democracy promotion and poverty reduction. Despite receiving scant media attention, U.S. cooperation with Amnesty International and the Red Cross depends on the IO Bureau.
These agencies of the State Department fighting poverty abroad emphasize how important diplomatic skills are for furthering poverty alleviation efforts. In order for the State Department to continue to promote American leadership in this area, its budget must be preserved.
– Jonathan Riddick
What do most developing countries have in common that most developed countries do not? Global poverty is a complex issue that involves many historical, regional and social factors. One important factor that most developing countries have in common is a history of agricultural dependence.
Some regions, like Latin America, are in prime geographical positions for growing important foods such as produce, sugar and cacao. Countries in these farming-friendly areas have historically been colonized and exploited by industrialized nations who are unable to grow these crops in their own countries. As a result of this historical process, many agricultural countries have been devastated by foreign influences in their countries and overzealous farming practices on their lands.
Agricultural countries are also challenged by their dependence on many factors beyond their control. Uncontrollable issues such as the environment disproportionately affect those whose livelihoods come from the natural world. The emphasis on producing certain crops for the rest of the world also limits these countries’ agency in the global market. When the international demand for a product such as sugar decreases, countries that focus on sugar production are helpless to find other sources to bolster their economies.
A focus on farming can also limit these nations’ abilities to develop infrastructure and diversify their economies. Agricultural work requires a lot of manpower but little education. In agricultural countries, the educational levels and human capital are not always sufficient to advance beyond the production of a few crops.
Understanding the answer to the question of what do most developing countries have in common can help these countries escape global poverty. Industrialized nations can help their agricultural counterparts through strategy and technology. For example, researchers in the United States can help farmers in Bangladesh by equipping them with the best irrigation practices, most cost-effective tools and highest yield crops.
Climate change is another important area that those in developed countries should focus on in order to help their developing counterparts. Addressing the impact of climate change is a priority for all, but farmers in poor countries feel its effects most strongly.
Foreign aid from wealthy nations is also an important way for developing countries to diversify beyond agriculture. With start-up funding from rich countries, more agricultural nations can follow in the footsteps of rapidly developing countries such as India and China.
Agricultural countries feed the world, yet many of them cannot meet their own people’s needs. Understanding the link between agriculture and poverty is important for dispelling myths about why certain countries prosper while others struggle. Realizing what most developing countries have in common is crucial to truly helping these populations emerge beyond the developing world.
– Bret Anne Serbin
Are you looking into how to become a politician? Living the life of a politician can be a very stressful and demanding job. However, the profession can also be very rewarding and eye opening.
To anyone who is interested in becoming a politician- whether local or federal government- be ready for some tough days and long nights in the office. Before you are guaranteed the coveted seat of a politician, though, it takes a bit of preparation. Here are a few tips on how to become a politician.
1. Become Educated
Although it is not required that certain politicians hold a college degree – one in 20 members of Congress doesn’t – it is a good idea to get as much schooling as possible.
Not only will constituents like to see a degree on a candidate’s resume, but the things learned in school can actually be helpful for planning a legislative and governmental future. The other aspect of “becoming educated” is studying up on legislature, government policies and voter patterns.
Politics takes a dedicated person willing to devote their whole being to their campaign. Learning the ropes of government is a bit more involved than merely knowing how to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Acquire Funding
Running for a position in politics is also a money game. Printing campaign posters, hosting charitable events, paying your campaign staff and a laundry list of other costs add up to a hefty bill just to run for a position, let alone hold one.
It is also important to have a steady job before running for office. This allows you to then have some money in the bank and establish resources or even potential voters. U.S. news stated that, “Running for office is a job in itself that no one will pay you for.”
Having friends and business connections is another important part of running for office. Connections with prominent people will allow your campaign to rise in popularity.
Be cautious of how much you spend on your campaign – you want to be able to survive afterward if you don’t end up winning.
3. Be Friendly
When they step in the polling booth, most voters do not actually know exactly which candidate stands for what issues. However, they will remember a candidate’s behavior and whether or not he or she was rude during an interview.
Cordiality and humbleness are a couple of key characteristics that attract voters. Making connections with voters so that they remember you and what you stand for could be the deciding factor between you and a competent running mate.
4. Don’t Let Your Feelings Get Hurt
Politics can be a harsh field that few thrive in. There will be hard times throughout your campaign, but knowing that you could help the lives of thousands of people is a great reward to the hardships you endure as a hopeful politician.
These may sound like some harsh pieces of advice on how to become a politician, but it is only because the politician’s role is a very important one in the United States. These people make, enforce and interpret the laws.
No matter the obstacles, if becoming a politician is your life’s goal then do not let these words, or others, deter you from becoming the next President of the United States (or a Superintendent of Schools, if that is what you so desire). Instead, use them as warnings to avoid road blocks on your journey to political change.
– Sydney Missigman
On May 19th this year, Iranians held presidential and local elections in their country. This particular election saw an increase in registered women candidates, along with the number of elected women officials, bringing hope and giving voice to women in Iran at both the national and local level.
In some parts of the country, there was a 34 percent decrease in the number of women elected compared to 2013; however, although the number decreased in 16 provincial capitals, 3 remained the same, while 11, including Tehran, saw increases in women being elected to councils. Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province—an underdeveloped and impoverished area in the southeast of Iran with the highest percentage of illiterate girls and women in the country—saw a total of 415 women elected to office. In a village called Afzalabad located in the province’s Khash district, all of the 10 elected candidates were women.
Some of the concerns that women in Iran campaigned on included women’s civic engagement, citizens’ rights, employment, education, health and social security and welfare.
Recently, Iran’s newly reelected president Hassan Rouhani has been under pressure to appoint female ministers to his cabinet. During his last term, his all-male list of ministers disappointed his followers, even though he appointed a number of women to vice-president positions. Despite this, Shahindokht Molaverdi, Rouhani’s vice-president for women and family affairs, has won support among women’s rights advocates in Iran.
Ghonchech Ghavami, a leading women’s rights activist based out of Tehran, has said that “this structure has eliminated women on the excuse of meritocracy and experience but it looks like that main criteria for them is being male. That’s why appointing female ministers is symbolically important and would send a powerful signal in a country where politics still originates from men.”
One may find it surprising, though, that Iran as a whole has near-universal female literacy: women make up the majority (60 percent) of university students, as well as the majority of graduates earning degrees in science (68 percent). Furthermore, women in Iran are consistently outperforming their male counterparts.
Workplace biases in general are very much alive for women in Iran, and these biases often compel employers to hire male workers that are of identical or even lesser qualifications than their female counterparts. Although women in Iran have been as whole increasing their political participation within their government, they clearly still have a long way to go before achieving true gender equality.
– Sara Venusti
If you feel like you want to make more of an impact in the political sphere outside of advocacy and voting, you may want to consider running for office. There are around 520,000 elective offices in the United States, meaning that more than one out of every thousand people in the U.S. are an elected official.
All citizens of the U.S. have the right to run for political office. If eligible, any average citizen can play a role in the government. However, not many Americans are taking advantage of this right. In 2012, about a third of the candidates running for a state legislative positions ran unopposed.
Many people do not run because they are not sure how to do so. To begin, you can use Run For Office’s website to search for public positions available near you. After you find the right fit, the next step is to run a campaign.
Here are some tips on how to run for office in the United States:
- Do plenty of research beforehand. Find out the requirements for the office such as age and residency. Understand how long the term is and what time commitment is required. Find out how much money is generally spent on successful campaigns. Once you understand the position and you feel comfortable that you can fulfill the requirements, you can begin planning your campaign.
- Running a campaign is a great deal of work, so you will need a good team behind you. Decide whether you want to be volunteer-based or whether you can hire professional help. Unless you plan on paying for everything, you’ll need to rely on others for fundraising as well. Start with family and friends and build a database of donors and supporters.
- In order to make your campaign official, you will need to file for office. You can figure out what the requirements are by filing a seat through your town clerk or Secretary of State. Make a comprehensive list of all the paperwork that needs to be completed, as well as all the deadlines so you stay on track. Look into the financing laws as well.
- Decide what you are running for – pick three issues your campaign is going to focus on and what you would want to work towards if you become elected. Then look at your own background and skill set and see how they will assist you in accomplishing your goals. Issue a profile for your campaign, then create an identifiable branding and message that will help people remember you and your views.
- Once you feel prepared, announce your intention to run. Preferably, do so with much press. Then you can begin to actively campaign. Go door to door. Print lawn signs. Keep up-to-date social media accounts. Go to events and get your name out there. Prepare a short 30-second appeal and a three-minute speech regarding your campaign and why you are running. Do what you can to publicize yourself and gain support.
Even if you have never held a political position, once you know how to run for office you have the power to do so. If you want to see changes made, if you want to do more for those who don’t have a voice, don’t stand around waiting – run for office.
– Hannah Kaiser
Human rights in Malawi have gone through periods of both exacerbation and improvement. The new constitution that was ratified in 1994 – which included a section specifically dedicated to human rights – guaranteed every individual’s right to life, right to be protected from genocide, entitlement to education and other basic rights. With the adoption of this constitution, multi-party democracy was introduced to the country’s government, which led many to expect noticeable improvement of human rights in Malawi.
Unfortunately, toward the end of the presidency of Bingu wa Mutharika, who died while in office in 2012, the situation worsened. As stated in the U.S. State Department’s 2010 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, numerous cases of the state’s violation of human rights were reported, such as: the security forces killing innocent individuals; torture, sexual abuse and other inhumane treatment of prisoners; and arbitrary arrest or detention.
Fortunately, inauguration of the new president Joyce Banda in April 2012 brought about positive changes to the country. While her attempt to overturn the law banning homosexuality turned out unsuccessful in the end, she did manage to repeal a section of Malawi’s penal code which banned all publication not to be deemed in the public interest. Moreover, she announced that she would arrest the infamous Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir – who was convicted of genocide – if he entered the Malawian territory. This helped her gain favor among international donors and improved Malawi’s international relations.
Although human rights in Malawi have improved, problems do still exist. For instance, since November 2014, people with albinism have faced an increased risk of being abducted or killed in murders associated with witchcraft. On March 9, 2017, four men attempted to drill through the house of Gilbert Daire, former president of the Association of the People with Albinism, while he was asleep. Highlighting the lack of protection and safety for people with albinism in Malawi, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, strongly suggested that the “Malawian authorities must end this cycle of impunity of perpetrators of these crimes.”
– Minh Joo Yi
Responsible for over 35 million lives, Lake Victoria is a vital resource for the people of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. However, overfishing, pollution and mismanagement threaten its existence. The threat of Lake Victoria’s failing state is a danger to those who have built their livelihoods around it. Fortunately, there are multiple initiatives being implemented by humanitarian organizations to restore the lake and the people who live by it.
After coffee, Uganda’s second biggest export is fish. Lake Victoria gained international attention the 1980s when the native species of Nile perch and tilapia came into high demand. This fishing boom acted as an economic boost for fishermen, but it costs the lake severely.
Unfortunately, whilst the fishing boom was in full motion, the government’s environmental policies had yet to progress. Even when laws were implemented, they were scarcely enforced. Unregulated pollutants from agricultural run-off, sewage and industrial waste became a large contributor to Lake Victoria’s failing state.
With the pollution in the lake suffocating fish, desperate fishermen have resorted to practices that deplete the lake even more. Illegal fishing methods, such as using an insecticide as poison, have led to the destruction of breeding grounds. Fishermen use these techniques in order to catch more fish but add to Lake Victoria’s failing state.
While the average weight of a perch was 50 kilograms in 1980, it is now just 10 kilograms. Even more, about 300 smaller species have gone extinct. With the fishing industry in Lake Victoria producing about $640 million a year, it is vital to the 35 million who have built their livelihoods on the lake. However, it is being threatened by the environmental impact of pollutants.
Fortunately, there are many initiatives working to help both the fishermen and the lake. The World Bank started The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project as an effort to both restore the lake’s environmental status and improve the lives of those who depend on it. One program this project is working on is providing income to fishermen through fish farms to alleviate the pressure on Lake Victoria.
This crisis occurring in Lake Victoria can still be solved. Until fishermen are educated on their impact on the lake and practices becomes more regulated, the problem will continue to grow.
– Kelly Hayes