Infotmation and stories on diplomacy

young migrants
On February 14th, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) released the 2013 World Youth Report, aimed at addressing the significant impact of young migrants on both origin and destination countries. The report also highlights the specific concerns, challenges and successes faced by migrants across the globe.

Whether it be for work, study or family reasons, voluntary migration continues to increase every year. The UN estimates that there are 232 million international migrants worldwide, representing 3.2% of the world’s total population. More than 30% of these migrants are considered youth migrants under the age of 29 and approximately half of these are female.

Youth migration has a significant impact on not only individual lives, but also global economies. Many young migrants leave their country of origin in search of better job opportunities and often send remittances home to benefit their families. These individuals improve their financial situations while engaging in economic transactions that will benefit their destination country.

However, countries of origin often suffer the negative effects of “brain drain,” or human capital flight. This is the process by which professionals, often in the fields of health or education, leave developing countries in search of a higher salary and better living conditions.

The report also goes into detail about the specific struggles and opportunities that young migrants can face.

In the preparatory stage, migrants cited the difficulties they faced in obtaining accurate information about their intended destination, as well as in obtaining needed documents and making travel accommodations.

On arrival, migrants noted experiencing both culture shock and loneliness. Often communication barriers had to be overcome and in the long term, many faced both stereotyping and discrimination.

The report notes some recommendations made by migrants to ease the transition from origin to destination country. Among these is the development of tools to assess the readiness of a migrant and to help facilitate decision-making and planning. They recommended peer-to-peer initiatives, pre-departure orientation programs, and awareness-raising campaigns.

Despite these challenges, many young migrants have become exemplary examples of what can be achieved in the face of adversity.

As the report notes, “their capacity as agents of social change and development should not be underestimated.”

Mollie O’Brien

Sources: UN News Centre, United Nation Regional Information Centre for Western Europe
Photo: Caritas

In a bid to better relations with its southward neighbor, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has agreed to allow family reunions with The Republic of Korea for those separated during the Korean War. Initially proposed by President Park Geun-hye early in 2014, the reunion was promptly rejected by North Korea.

However, a news conference from the North Koreans communicated the acceptance of the proposal under the guise of improving relations between the two countries. Between 1985 and 2010, over 22,000 individuals have been reunited with their families as organized by both governments on the peninsula, reports The New York Times.

This development comes as a result of South Korea’s prompt to its northern neighbor to prove their desire to reconcile citing a letter from North Korea which relayed the message of “reconciliation and unity” with South Korea. The letter comes from the National Defense Commission and more directly, Kim Jong-un himself. “The DPRK [North Korea] has already unilaterally opted for halting all acts of getting on the nerves of South Korea and slandering it,” reports the BBC.

However, South Korea and its military ally, the United States, remain wary of either proposal. Previous military provocations despite periodic peace concessions from North Korea keep the two allied nations skeptic. A North Korean disarmament of nuclear arms remains to be realized and this new development may just be another power play from the North.

Furthermore, “Foal Eagle” maneuvers, annual military drills between South Korea and the U.S., are often met with aggression from North Korea. In 2013, North Korea threatened both nations with pre-emptive nuclear strikes, viewing the military collaboration as acts of aggression against the People’s Republic.

“Foal Eagle” will consist of around 10,000 soldiers from both South Korea and the U.S. and is set to begin in February.

In its open letter, North Korea has asked to stop the military drills, to which the U.S. has responded with a clear no—the drills will continue as planned.

Whether or not North Korea is serious in its calls for reconciliation remains to be seen, as will most likely become clear as the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises begin.

Miles Abadilla

Sources: BBC, CNN, New York Times
Photo: Borgen

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 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:, Business Standard,
Photo: Telegraph

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 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 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

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