Fifty-three years ago today, on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave the Commencement address to the American University in Washington DC. He began by explaining his choice of subject: “a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is to rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic […]Continue Reading →
Seven journalists have been killed in South Sudan in 2015. Independent newspapers are closed down. Humanitarian agencies feed millions of South Sudanese people – even after peace is signed. Government spending on health and education remains near zero.Continue Reading →
Across a swathe of the world—most places in what we can call the ‘Greater Middle East’ from the Sahara and the Maghreb, through the Horn of Africa and the Levant to Iraq and Central Asia—political systems are moving away from institutional forms, away from familiar forms of nationalism, and away from familiar forms of democracy […]Continue Reading →
Occasionally, a senior international policymaker provides a candid, on-the-record, reflection on the question of what he or she reads, and how academics might best influence policy.
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who was head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 2000-2008, is a prime example of a self-identified intellectual who took on a very senior policymaking […]Continue Reading →
It’s no coincidence that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir cracked down hard on dissent at precisely the same moment that he reluctantly signed the ‘Compromise Peace Agreement’ that should, ostensibly, bring an end to the last twenty months of fighting with the SPLA-in Opposition forces. This also reveals why the tools of targeted financial sanctions, […]Continue Reading →
Water is stored, divided, cleaned, guided, reused, consumed, returned, delayed, degraded and cycled. Water puzzles humans in ways that that can test and grow our humanity. Water and irrigation interested Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom throughout her career. Water’s coaching of society’s early civilisations drew the attention of Karl Wittfogel. Water joins nations in treaties and brings together villagers in small associations. Yet water asks engineers, lawyers, economists, anthropologists to watch how nature and people actually use water (and other resources) without recourse to training and ‘disciplines’. I call people who closely and carefully rely on water for their living ‘waterists’.Continue Reading →
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