Sunday, April 27, 2008

Putting it all together


This ties into two of my entries: water resources and how you can help.

For Earth Week last week, BU dining went trayless to save water. I think this is a fantastic idea. We really don't need trays--it isn't so hard to make two trips to your table if necessary.

Anyhow, Earth Week is over and the trays are back, but I am not going to take one. This is my little way of contributing to water conservation, and I hope other BU students will join.

And you might wonder how this fits into my blog? Well, every drop less of water that we use means one drop more of water for someone who really needs it anywhere else around this globe.

Also, May 1st marks the day my dear friend Lisa and I began our European backpacking adventure last year. I wrote in a journal, and on the year later of every entry I plan to post some excerpts. I think it will contribute to this blog because it will show how I felt as a 20-year-old traveling around and experiencing new cultures. I hope this generates some excitement here.

Photo Credit: http://www.dinex.com/dinet_trays.php

Friday, April 25, 2008

How you can help...

As good people who legitimately care about the world and where it is going, we always feel we aren't doing enough. We always dream about going to a developing country to help out and actually doing great work on the ground. And chances are, I will and many of you who read a blog like this will go to a place where you can help at some point in our lives.

Before that though, there are so many things that we can do to help the world get into better shape. Often, it's easy to feel that if you can't go all the way it's not worth it at all. I see this a lot with recycling. I will be honest--I don't recycle everything, but just because I don't always doesn't mean I should not ever recycle. A little bit counts and, in my opinion, we forget that.

So the reason for my little rant on the little ways we can help is because last night I attended a really compelling discussion on Tibet at a former UN official's home. He works now with a non-profit in Tibet, and with a friend, he gave some great insights as to what is going on in the region.

About 20 young professionals gathered to listen to this man and his colleague recount tales from Tibet and then asked very deep, intellectual questions. Sharing stories and allowing people to ask questions is such a simple way to better our world. The more we understand, the better we are.

I know that I can never be a Tibetan or a Kosovar or a Chechnyan, and I will never fully understand what their life is like, but the only way to get any idea is to ask the really tough questions when the time comes, or better yet, listen to the q and a of people around you. While reading and following the news is one part of learning, it is also really important to me to engage people who have been on the ground in these places to get answers to the toughest questions.

Maybe we haven't gotten to the real volunteer work on the grassroots level, but in an intellectual city like Boston or anywhere for that matter, it is important to take every opportunity to absorb information and probe for answers from the many experts we have around us.

The Young Professionals for International Cooperation hosted the event in partnership with the speaker. I am the Social Director of the organization and we are always looking for new members and ideas. If you feel inspired by this entry and feel that you might be interested in this kind of activity, please comment and introduce yourself to me.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Burning Flame: China's Political Situation or The Olympic Torch

While reading about the Olympic torch's reception in all of the different cities, I found this map tracking the torch throughout the world.

Today we can see that the torch is in Tanzania where it was welcomed rather than disrupted. In Paris, London and here in San Francisco protesters fought against the running of the torch to demonstrate their anti-Chinese sentiments with regard to the situation in Tibet and China's not so sparkling human rights record.

I chose to write today, because I think its better in this situation to highlight the positive response in Tanzania. I believe that human rights are an important priority and so is the settlement of issues in Tibet. However, I do not feel that aggression against the Olympic torch relay helps the situation at all.

The Olympics are a really great chance to bring peace-loving spirit to Beijing, and while many believe that maybe Beijing is not the right place because of current events--I think there are multiple ways to consider this situation.

The first way is to say that China is a violator of human rights, which has also been negligent regarding Tibet, and should not be able to host the Olympics.

The second way is to consider the positive effect of sport. Doing some research, I learned about the theory that sport is a way to promote peace and development. The Olympics bring about healthy competition between nations, separate the strong from the weak, attract a large number of tourists and athletes to a nation and also promote the generation of ideas and a meeting of people from around the world. China has significant potential to benefit from this situation. There are positive benefits China may gain from hosting the Olympics in Beijing.

I can't say for certain, but I really believe that the Olympics might bring a spirit of progressiveness to the Chinese. Not allowing China to host the Olympics, however, would seriously hinder any chance for change in the nation.

The Olympics are a wonderful way for world actors to interact and the torch serves as a symbol for this unique forum. Rather than acting aggressively towards the running of the torch, EMBRACE it.

And with regard to China's internal issues--let's engage in productive dialogue. Let's use the United Nations and other international organizations to promote this dialogue. Let's start from the ground up and talk about change in blogs like mine. Let's get the word out.

Bottom line: The torch represents a ray of hope--let's not destroy that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What other bloggers are saying about "A 20-something Spin on Global Affairs"

RepCor says:

"Case in point: My dear friend Alessandra. She is one of the smartest girls I know: an academic to the tenth degree. She’s in a dual degree program here at BU, studying International Relations and Broadcast Journalism. Indeed, she is a nerd. But you wouldn’t really think of her as a blogger nerd.

Allie, after hearing all about my SM love, decided to join me in the blogosphere by authoring her own blog, A 20-something Spin on Global Affairs. She is THRILLED and says it’s a perfect outlet to express her frustration for foreign policy, troubling current events or even give her take on how to improve some problems going on overseas. It’s a smart site, and I’m really proud of her. Through her blog, she can share her great ideas with the world."

Check out "RepCor's" blog.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Il Sud d'Italia

I found this video on Current TV, and I think it is so important to share.

When we think of Italy, we think of beautiful scenery, art, food and music. We certainly do not think of trash. This short video tells the story of Naples and its battle with never ending piles of trash exacerbated by "mafiosos" transporting waste from the north into the south.

Check out the video:



This also sheds light on a bigger issue--the huge disparity between the north and south. They are almost like two very different countries. Since Italy joined the Euro, this disparity has become much more apparent. Prices rose when the Euro was introduced--northerners adjusted, southerners are still struggling to survive.

This trash issue really pinpoints one of the issues that demonstrates the vast difference between Italy's two parts. I am glad someone addressed this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It can defend its members from aggression, but can NATO fight off dogs?


The NATO summit about to kick off tomorrow in Bucharest, Romania's capital leaves the city facing its first challenge--stray dogs!  
Bucharest has tons of stray dogs running wild, and officials are worried that they may attack or bite officials on their way to the NATO summit.

The New York Times article where I read about this little intricacy of the upcoming summit mentions that special dogcatchers will be stationed throughout the city to ensure the safety of officials.  

Well, if NATO ambassadors can make it past Bucharest's feisty canines, they have a lot to discuss.  Issues on the agenda include Kosovo, Afghanistan and NATO enlargement.

Photo Credit: http://picasaweb.google.com/AndreaDoria22/Romania02/photo#5113133659903741714