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News and Updates from our Chapter

28 Jun


Failed States Index 2010

June 28, 2010 | By |

The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine released their 2010 “Failed States Index” this month, “ranking 177 countries to determine those most at risk of failure.  The annual report uses 12 metrics including security threats, economic implosion, human rights violations and refugee flows.

Since the index was published for the first time in 2005, the top 10 slots have rotated among just 15 countries, and Foreign Policy said it seems that state failure “is a chronic condition”.  Africa has seven of the top 10 spots, and half of the 60 weakest states.”  (quoted summary is from Al Jazeera’s website).

Though one might not completely agree with the relative weighting of the criteria, and therefore may disagree with some of the specific rankings, the interactive map and rankings page are very informative and well worth exploring.

11 Jun


Africa Podcasts From BBC World Service

June 11, 2010 | By |

Get the latest BBC World news, features and analysis from Africa

This week’s suggestion is to stream or download one of the well-produced Africa-focussed podcasts from the BBC World Service.   These excellent audio files are a handy and effective way to keep informed of some major news topics and analysis, while fostering our connection to and our awareness of life in Africa.  

Don’t feel you have to wait until you have time to listen to a whole episode.  You’ll be pleased by how much you pick up from just hitting “play” and listening for a few minutes once a week while cleaning your (insert one:  kitchen, litterboxes, car, bathroom, spam folder … ).

Africa Today presents “daily news and analysis from the BBC’s Focus on Africa and Network Africa.”

This Week in Africa gives you “a look back at the people and events that have made the news in Africa this week.”

The African Perspective podcast is “a weekly African documentary, which takes an in-depth look at life on the continent.”

24 May


Disrupting Philanthropy

May 24, 2010 | By |

Using social network technology effectively in social change activism

This week we’re continuing on from Working Wikily, the social change resources link posted a few weeks ago.  There’s an excellent new paper from the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (at the Sanford School of Public Policy of Duke University), describing how information technology is “Disrupting Philanthropy.“

Lucy Bernholz, Edward Skloot and Barry Varela “provide a guided tour through the marvels available today that not only did not exist a decade ago but could not have existed because the technology to make them possible had not been invented or adopted” (quoted from Noah Flower of Monitor Institute).

If your reading to-do list is overflowing, you might like to check out the Disrupting Philanthropy panel discussion, available on video on the Council of the Americas website.

19 May


Luminato: Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity

May 19, 2010 | By |

The fabulously diverse 2010 Luminato festival, taking place June 11-20th in Toronto, includes many incredible ways to connect to, learn about, and celebrate Africa.

In theatre, the line-up includes The Africa Trilogy by Volcano Theatre.  This “powerful and innovative triple bill examines the multifaceted relationship between Africa and the West”.

One of the fascinating films being shown is Sembène: The Making of African Cinema, on June 12th. 

The musical offerings are truly spectacular, including Global Music: Rock the Casbah & An African Prom on June 12th.  The amazing Malian musician, Salif Keita, is the closing act in the free Global Blues concert on June 19th.  

Among the literature events being offered, African Literature sounds particularly intriguing.  “Reading from Dreams in a Time of War, 2009 Booker Prize nominee Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o shares memories of the Kenya of his childhood.  Nigerian politics and disaster capitalism are among the targets of Carole Enahoro’s satiric debut novel Doing Dangerously Well, while in Harare North, Brian Chikwava, winner of the 2004 Caine Prize, looks at the precarious lives of Zimbabwean refugees in London.” 

If you attend any of these events, we would enjoy hearing your comments!

16 May


The Rationale for Developing Global Competence

May 16, 2010 | By |

This week’s featured link is for a really good article in The Online Journal for Global Engineering Education.  

OJGEE “serves as a unique peer-reviewed research outlet for the cross-disciplinary and corporate constituencies involved in creating, maintaining, and growing global engineering education programs. An outgrowth of the annual Colloquium on International Engineering Education, the Online Journal for Global Engineering Education provides an academic forum to exchange ideas, find like-minded thinkers and researchers, foster new collaborations, and explore new facets of global engineering education” (quoted text from OJGEE home page).

To access the full aticle, just click the “download” button at the top right of “The Rationale for Developing Global Competence” abstract page.

I hope this useful journal can continue to attract the submission of enough papers to keep publishing at least one issue annually.  I’ll let you know when the next issue comes out.

10 May


The African Century

May 10, 2010 | By |

Today’s Globe And Mail newspaper is a special issue, featuring an impressive extent of content focussed on the future of Africa.   Just scroll down the section’s main page to see the list of fascinating articles.

Feel  free to share any comments you have about favourite article, worst generalization, best points, etc.  OK, it was difficult to choose just one specific online feature to recommend for this week’s link, but I’ll go with the excellent article ‘The scramble for Africa begins anew”, by Paul Collier, author of “The Bottom Billion”.

If you have a chance, do also have a look through the interactive “The Lure Of Africa” photo gallery.

01 May


The Next Empire

May 1, 2010 | By |

China’s Economic Impact In Africa

I was just reading a fascinating article by Howard W. French in the current issue of  The Atlantic (May 2010).  “The Next Empire” explores the potential benefits and pitfalls of the significant infrastructure developments happening in Africa now, through China’s large commercial investments.  This piece is my web recommendation for this week, and if you’re interested in reading more by French, his book “A Continent for the Taking:  The Tragedy and Hope of Africa”, is available at both the Waterloo and Kitchener public libraries.

24 Apr


Working Wikily

April 24, 2010 | By |

Social Change Resources on the Web

This week’s recommendation is to devote one of your mouse-clicks to visiting the resources page on the Working Wikily website of the management consulting company Monitor Institute.  There are lots of links here for informative articles and tools about promoting social change using a “network mindset”.  I’d also suggest bookmarking their excellent educational document Working Wikily 2.0.