Infotmation and stories on diplomacy

dalai_lama_tibetan
The Chinese occupation of Tibet has been going on since 1949. The Tibetan people, under command of the “Holy Dalai Lama,” have been attempting to win back their freedom and independence through non-violent means. All over the world, international networks of people have been forming Tibet Support Groups, or TSG’s.

The support groups serve as initiatives that raise awareness among foreign nations and generate support and aid towards freeing the Tibetan people.

China is trying to gain membership status in the United Nations Human Rights Council, but the nation has an ongoing ban on all information concerning the exiled Dalai Lama. Although the Central Tibetan Administration and the Dalai Lama believe they can solve the oppression of the Tibetans and still remain a part of China, anti-Tibet propaganda still runs throughout the occupied territory.

Jiang Zemin was the former President of China, replaced this year by Xi Jinping. The previous leader was under investigation for crimes against Tibetan humanity, but the Spanish Government abruptly let the situation drop without consequences and the oppression continues today.

In January, the Intercontinental Hotel Group was issued a complaint by Tibetan protesters for plans to construct a high-class hotel in occupied Tibet. The Intercontinental Hotel Group has yet to respond to this complaint, and the U.N. Global Compact (UNGC) has given them a deadline to answer these complaints.

The UNGC was an initiative signed by the Intercontinental Hotel Group that serves to provide the most honorable and genuine business practices among companies with holdings in multiple countries. Another complaint with the hotel in Lhasa involves the main executive being corrupt and participating in fraudulent business dealings, but so far nobody has responded to any of the issues raised.

The Dalai Lama is adamant about solving Tibet’s problems through non violent means as a way to bolster the Buddhist way. The Chinese wants to build water powered projects on the large Brahmaputra river that originates in Tibetan India.

In a business-standard.com article, the Dalai Lama said, “The mighty Brahmaputra river, which flows through many parts of India and southeast Asia, has its origin in Tibet. The success of the Tibetan movement is an imperative for saving the environment and ecology of the entire world.”

The struggle against Tibetan oppression in China, especially its non-violence, is an important lesson for everyone to learn. The Tibetan movement is trying to prove that morally sound, peaceful, and righteous action against an enemy can be just as effective and more beneficial to everyone. Politicians, leaders and citizens on all sides of the earth can use this information to their advantage and take it forward into the future that we all share together.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Tibet.net, Business Standard, Tibet.org
Photo: Telegraph

education_india
India is known for having one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Currently, the growth for GDP within India rests at 4.9 percent, but this is far below its potential.

Similarly to the United States, India is another one of the world’s largest democracies. However, they both also have some of the worst cases of income inequality. In the past 15 years, the net worth of India’s top billionaires have increased 12 times, enough to eliminate poverty in India twice.

The public infrastructure of India is developing at a decent pace, but there are problems that are often left unaccounted for by the Indian government. For example, education in India is a system in dire need of improvement.

According to UNESCO’s Education For All global monitoring report, “At 287 million, India has 37 percent of the total population of illiterate adults across the world.” The report also asserts that the poorest of India will not expect to receive universal education until around the year 2080.

In regards to the specific problems that India faces with education, access and quality are two of the greatest concerns. Much of it is tied to the proper functioning and funding of Indian government, which may not be reliable in certain instances.

90% of people do not continue to college in India, 58% do not finish primary school and 4% never even have the opportunity to start.

The extensive lack of universal education in India also goes on to provide problems for India’s human capital in general. Out of 122 total countries released by the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index, India is ranked a measly 78.th The problems India faces may require the nation to make steps toward realizing more inclusive growth and development.

Income inequality ought to be addressed in India for their human capital to rise.

This means core public services including basic healthcare, education and power or water supply must be established by Indian government at multiple levels. Investment in people has proven a successful method to national development. In other words, India still has a ways to go in realizing its full potential.

– Jugal Patel

Sources: World Bank, India Times, Teach For India, Live Mint, Outlook India
Photo: The New York Times

south_korea_prime_minister_jung_hong-won
South Korea has come a long way since it emerged from the Korean War in 1953 as an underdeveloped United States client state. Once a top receiver in foreign assistance, South Korea is now leading the charge in aiding underdeveloped countries.

Recently, Prime Minister Jung Hong-won committed to investing $2 billion worth of official development assistance (ODA) in 2014, in an effort to aid recipient countries by fast-tracking development programs and campaigns. This committed funding is an 11 percent increase from last year’s efforts and another progressive step forward in South Korea’s storied history.

Minho Cho, the deputy government director of ODA, stated that the majority of South Korea’s funds will be used to build and improve upon social and economic infrastructures.

Other development plans include the building of water treatment, education, healthcare and energy facilities in underdeveloped countries from Asia to Africa. “We are taking efforts to increase steadily the size of our ODA for several years and we are planning to increase [assistance] going forward,” said Cho.

South Korea’s foreign assistance programs will also focus on better suited developmental projects in underdeveloped countries in hopes of making aid more effective and transparent. “This year’s [development] policy priority is, first, we like to push for what we call a win-win ODA which means that both [the Korean government] and the recipient countries receiving aid are benefitting,” said Cho.

A portion of this funding will also go towards funding volunteers and their missions in developing countries to further display South Korea’s developmental footprint globally.

Further cementing South Korea’s footprint of aiding the poor is the announcement of a new World Bank office in Incheon, South Korea. World Bank country director, Klaus Rohland spoke about how other countries can benefit from the country’s storied past, “[South] Korea is an exceptional example of an aid recipient turned donor…and developing countries in Africa and elsewhere can learn from its experience. The new office will help expand partnerships…focusing on finance, private sector development, green growth and other priorities to accelerate poverty reduction and build shared prosperity.”

South Korea’s first woman president, Park Geun-hye, also announced expanded economic ties with India in an effort to add more depth to their existing partnership.

Being Asia’s fourth largest economy, South Korea is making a point to form lasting relationships with neighbors in their area. India and South Korea will be focusing their energy in promoting space technology, greater trade investments and defense industries. They will also be promoting their Korean model of growth in different parts of Africa.

While many countries are currently suffering from crippling poverty and food insecurity, South Korea is doing all they can to help lift the burden for those countries. Ranking near the top of all major donors, South Korea is also hoping to make foreign aid 25 percent of the country’s Gross National Income by 2015. The success of South Korea is a prime illustration of how it’s possible for underdeveloped countries to overcome adversity and achieve prosperity in this lifetime.

Jeffrey Scott Haley
Feature Writer

Sources: Mizo News, Devex, Devex
Photo: KOICA

yemen_missile_fragment_wedding_drone_strike_us_investigation
The United States government is launching an internal investigation into a December 12 drone strike in Yemen. The drone strike was meant for an al-Qaeda militant, but ended up hitting a wedding party, killing 12 civilians and leaving more injured. A local journalist soon after took images of the strike and turned them over to a human rights organization working in Yemen called Reprieve. That group then turned it over to NBC News, the resulting actions allowed many to say that the U.S. ‘turned a wedding into a funeral.’

The U.S. released a statement acknowledging the attack while also stating that officials are now reviewing what happened. This is one of the few times the U.S. government has mentioned or confirmed that a drone strike is being questioned. A U.S. official, after declining to give any sort of identification, stated that, “Given the claims of civilian causalities, we are reviewing it.”

Some are calling this a ‘wake up call’ that highlights the problems with the U.S. drone campaign. There are even reports that the target of the strike Shawqui Ali Ahmed al Badani, a mid-level militant, ended up escaping the attack. Others on the ground in Yemen said that Badani wasn’t even present at the time. Baraa Shiban, a human rights activist who was in the area at the time, said that he had not heard any reports that Badani was in the area. He explained that, “Badani was from a different region so he would have been a stranger in the region.” He, furthermore, added that he believes that the US acted on incorrect intelligence.

This drone strike has, moreover, garnered a strong reaction against the U.S. within Yemen. To illustrate this, the Yemen parliament passed a resolution that called for an end for all drone strikes in Yemen shortly after the wedding day drone strike. Official numbers provided by the U.S. government claim that they have carried out 59-69 drone strikes in Yemen, resulting in between 287-423 deaths, both civilian and militant. Though more strikes are suspected to have been carried out by the U.S., they have not been officially confirmed.

Colleen Eckvahl

Sources: NBC, RT
Sources: Reprieve

USGLC
The United States Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) recently honored political leaders Vice President Joe Biden alongside Representatives Kay Granger (R-TX) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) for their efforts in supporting global diplomacy and U.S. development programs.

With over 1,000 in attendance, chairs Lockheed Martin Corporation and Sesame Workshop hosted the event.

The resounding message was the importance of aid and development programs for developing countries.

“Without [development in developing countries], extremism grows, terrorism becomes a viable option, and pandemic disease increases the prospect of it flourishing,” stated the Vice President.

Biden continued that with over one percent of the U.S. budget going towards foreign diplomacy and development, there are no shortcomings for the U.S. taxpayers.

This is particularly important given the global links the U.S. and recipients have.

Fellow speaker John McCain (R-AZ) highlighted the importance of diplomacy and global development, particularly when the U.S. military cannot tackle all the problems worldwide.

And when 95 percent of the market is abroad and 50 percent are recipients of U.S. exports, there is no denying the connectivity between the U.S. and the global market.

The USGLC is comprised of NGOs and over 400 businesses with individuals coming from academic, religious and political backgrounds who aim to merge the importance of diplomacy and development alongside defense.

For her part, Representative Lowey has been part of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee for ten years. Of those ten, she served as chairwoman for four.

As part of that subcommittee, Lowey recently proposed International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) to as a means to prioritize the issue of ending violence against women and girls in U.S. foreign policy.

Writing for Politico, Lowey noted her efforts in foreign development include fighting against corruption in Afghanistan.

Regarding the federal budget, Granger emphasized the importance of foreign aid as a means for military readiness in key posts in the world and also affect the livelihood of U.S. citizens who make U.S. products.

The Vice President’s own experience include serving as the ranking Democrat, if not the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee since 1997 and is currently on a diplomatic visit to East Asia.

As vanguards for foreign policy, the VP and representatives were honored for their service in the fight to prioritize foreign aid, indiscriminate of political leanings.

Miles Abadilla

Sources: CNN, Dallas News, Website of Nita Lowey, Politico, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition