Boycott of occupied territory settlement goods – a response

Tony Daly responds to a range of the comments and feedback received by the authors based on a blog posted earlier this year with Colm Regan on the international boycott against settlement goods labelled as Israeli products from the Occupied Territories.
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Fruit and Veg, Old City, Jerusalem by David Masters, Flickr (2008)
Fruit and Veg, Old City, Jerusalem by David Masters, Flickr (2008)

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Chinua Achebe: A literary legend

 “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart (1958)

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about the recent passing of the late, great, Chinua Achebe. However when I thought about the many contributions the author, poet and academic has made during his lifetime, I felt compelled to somehow mark his passing. Unlike recent obituaries, Chinua Achebe’s was fleeting in mainstream media.

It was Achebe’s groundbreaking novel Things Fall Apart published in 1958 which, for the first time opened the door to Africa from the inside. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Achebe brought “Africa to the rest of the world”. (more…)

Africa on Film – get to Galway!

Whether you are a film buff, film club auditor, disgruntled Chartbusters employee or just crave perspectives from outside of the Hollywood circuit a treat lies in store for you in Galway next weekend.

The annual Galway African Film Festival (GAFF), now in its sixth year, gathers the most popular films across Africa from the past year for screenings for Irish audiences. The festival starts on Friday 24th May and runs for three days until Sunday 26th May.

Screenings will take place at the NUI Galway Huston School of Film & Digital Media (on Earl’s Island across from Galway Cathedral: map link) and all film screenings are free!

No registration necessary – attendance is on a first come first seated policy. Check bus and accommodation prices and get booking. (more…)

The international community must now take military action to topple the regime in Syria

Nearly 30 years old, the Concern Debates are Ireland’s longest running Secondary School debates competition. Since their inception in 1984 over 15,000 students, in over 250 secondary schools, from all parts of the country, have taken part.

Over 120 schools and 480 students have gone toe-to-toe, arguing their way through 16 gruelling rounds of motions and emotions in oratory combat.

The future of global development and human rights has never been more contested.

The schools involved in this year’s final are Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, Co. Limerick, and Newbridge College, Co. Kildare and will take place in the City North Hotel in Meath (15 mins from Dublin airport) on Thursday May 16 beginning at 7pm sharp.

This year’s motion for the final is:

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Exploring modern slavery: a teacher’s perspective

Art teacher Clifton Rooney reflects on the TY slavery mural as an extracurricular project, following on from the recent blog post written by three of the student artists on 21st March.

Exploring global contemporary slavery has been a hugely beneficial process for both me as an educator and for my students as learners.

It would be unfair of me to define my role in this process as an educator and that of my students as learners: we all shared these roles in a mutual unravelling of the available material; books, web based and video. We discussed, presented, drew, debated, wrote, listened, designed, painted, responded . . . all together. It really has been a meeting of interested minds where we approached the material together with amazement and horror.

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What we’re reading: Margaret Thatcher’s ‘development’ legacy; Policy & Practice new issue; Ireland’s new vision for international development

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died a month ago. But what’s her legacy? Was this champion of personal wealth, privatisation of state industry and spokesperson for free-market economics justified in her policies? More than 20 years later the costs of her convictions are still being debated around the world.

See this good roundup of ‘alternative’ reactions gathered on the Dóchas blog. Some highlights include this Fela Kuti inspired No, Africans don’t remember Margaret Thatcher fondly on the Africa is a Country blog, an assessment of the Iron Lady’s impact on international development at Devex and Top 10 ways Margaret Thatcher’s policies made our world more unequal by Juan Cole at Informed Comment.

The spring 2013 issue of Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review is out. Issue 16 is themed on A Critical Analysis of North-South Educational Partnerships in Development Contexts. All articles online, including reviews, viewpoints.

Ireland’s new vision for International Development has been published!

It’s taken over two years, 160 written submissions and 1000 members of the public and development stakeholder discussion groups later but we now have Ireland’s new policy for international development, published last week One World, Our Future by Irish Aid (the Government’s official aid programme administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). We’ll be looking at the 44 page paper more closely in the weeks ahead. Here’s a nifty animation laying out the values and ideas behind the new vision for a sustainable and just world:

Documents: Our World, our Future is available in English and Irish. 5 page executive summary for the short version. The short short version:

Ireland’s engagement will be planned around three goals in the years ahead:

Goal 1: Reduced hunger, stronger resilience

Our top priority continues to be reducing hunger and vulnerability, and building people’s resilience to natural and other disasters. Under this goal, we seek to ensure that the links between hunger and other development challenges, such as environmental protection and gender inequality, are better understood and acted upon with the urgency that they require.

This will also enable us to focus more on countries that are facing humanitarian crises, those in situations of fragility and those recovering from conflict.

Goal 2: Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

To achieve a sustainable solution to poverty, countries need to generate their own revenues through sustained and equitable economic growth leading to employment, revenue growth, trade, investment, and enhanced human wellbeing. Under this goal, we seek to work strategically in countries to advance pro-poor economic growth and sustainable development, supporting efforts that respond effectively to climate change.

Goal 3: Better governance, human rights and accountability

Stronger governance, the pursuit of human rights – including gender equality – and better accountability are powerful drivers to ensuring the reduction of hunger, the building of resilience, and the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth. Under this goal, we support the building of better governance and accountability, and the protection and promotion of human rights, throughout all of our work.

Priority Areas for Action

In order to deliver on the goals six priority areas for action will guide our aid spending and our policy engagement:

1.     Global Hunger
2.     Countries that are fragile (See our work in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as how we work in Emergencies)
3.     Climate Change and Development
4.     Essential Services including Education, HIV and Aids, Health and Social Protection
5.     Trade and Economic growth
6.     Human rights and Accountability