The Global Citizen
As the atrocities of Syria continue, the Obama Administration seems to have little to no interest in intervening with the current situation in Syria. More than 60,000 people have been killed and over 650,000 refugees have fled across Syrian borders within the last 22 months---and the numbers continue to grow every day.
United States---as the self-proclaimed leader of the free world---needs to take a more active role in protecting the lives and human rights of Syrian citizens by helping shape a governmental system that supports the needs, interests, and fundamental rights of the Syrian people. This is a difficult role for the United States, but one that we must take the lead on.
Newly sworn-in Secretary of State John Kerry commented that if the United States were to intervene, it would "have to make things better and not worse." United States intervention, with or without military action, could alter Syria's future in many drastic ways. But one thing is for sure, Syrian men, women, and children are suffering and we need to take action to support those who are in need.
This year I came up with the best Valentine's Day gift ever for my wife and daughter. It's inexpensive and, unlike a bouquet of flowers, should last beyond their lifetimes. They'll love it! I can't think of a better way to express how much I love them.
Rather than chocolates or jewelry, I am going to join a One Billion Rising rally to end the violence against women that has shattered lives and torn the fabric of societies around the world.
A billion women - one out of every three on the planet - will be raped or beaten sometime in their lifetime. That's one billion moms, sisters, daughters, and friends violated, one billion lives shattered, one billion hearts broken, and one billion reasons to rise up and put an end to this violence.
On February 14, rallies around the world are giving a billion women, and those who love them, an opportunity to dance, speak out and say, "Enough!" There are many ways to make a difference, but here in the United States we have a 32-year-old obligation that I'm focused on: Senate passage of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Barbie is an iconic doll, who has been around since the 1950s. I had numerous Barbies (most of who were decapitated by my younger brother). I had Baywatch Barbie, Texas Longhorn cheerleader Barbie, teacher Barbie, wedding Barbie (with Ken) and all the Barbie books to match. I can thank my aunt for signing me up for the Barbie book club, in which Barbie, and her siblings/friends, went on all kinds of adventures. Barbie had numerous jobs in these books, to match her doll personalities. She was a vet, a doctor, nurse, pre-school teacher and a fashion designer.
Although it is encouraging to show girls that Barbie can have a variety of careers, there was never a real-world Barbie. Barbie is distorting the way girls think about themselves because Barbie is not representing issues that girls are going through. Barbie never shows real world problems--she's never been abused, drank too much, or been sexually assaulted. Barbie never ages, doesn't gain weight, doesn't commit crime and doesn't fall into depression. Barbie has never had an eating disorder, depression, or anxiety. She's perfect--and not realistic. Recently, a woman spent $80,000 on plastic surgery to look like Barbie and she's absolutely terrifying. Isn't it time that Barbie begins to look more like the rest of the world's female population?
During the summer of 2012, when I was a research associate at GlobalSolutions.org, I began a research project that dealt with the issue of nuclear terrorism. It was a labor of strangelove. About eight months later, this project has resulted in "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Nuclear Security, the Nonproliferation Regime, and the Threat of Terrorist Nukes." This research paper seeks to analyze this nightmarish threat. Among the questions that this paper will seek to answer are:
- From which states would a terrorist-controlled nuclear weapon be most likely to originate? Why are these states such unique threats?
- What has the US done to counter the proliferation threat posed by these countries?
- What international institutions are currently in place to prevent this kind of unauthorized nuclear proliferation?
- What additional steps can the US and the international community take to prevent nuclear materials from falling into terrorist hands?
It is sometimes tempting to dismiss the nuclear threat as a relic of the Cold War. That, after all, was the era of the A-Bomb and the H-Bomb, of "duck and cover" and MAD (mutually assured destruction). And yet, to adopt such a viewpoint is to ignore the reality that, in the post-Cold War world, the nuclear threat has, indeed, changed, but is far from disappearing entirely.
One Billion Rising is a rally taking place all over the world on Valentine's Day. In places from Richmond Virginia, to Richmond, England, men and women will join together to stop violence against women. This is issue is close to my heart for many reasons, and not the least because Valentine's Day is my birthday.
I attend Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana. For those of you that don't know it, which I assume is most of the population, it is the sister school of the University of Notre Dame. My freshman year, just a few weeks into the school year, a tragedy struck my campus. A student, who lived across the hall from me, committed suicide.
What does this have to do with violence against women? She died after a University of Notre Dame football player sexually assaulted her. When she tried to report the crime, she received death threats and was told not to ruin Notre Dame's football season. The police did not investigate her allegations until after she died, and even then because she died, they could not prosecute.
Notre Dame is a loving community. I've been privileged to live there for three years and it will always be part of me. Yet, I still cannot forgive them for her death. What does it say about a place where football is more important than the death of one of the students?
On Wednesday, January 30th, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum expressing the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls internationally. The Obama Administration has recently made it very clear that improving the rights of women and girls is essential to the foreign policy of the United States.
"Ensuring that women and girls, including those most marginalized, are able to participate fully in public life, are free from violence, and have equal access to education, economic opportunity, and health care increases broader economic prosperity, as well as political stability and security," President Obama states in the memorandum.
With the recent gender based violence events overwhelming the news and social media forums, I am very happy to hear that the Obama Administration has noticed the severity and significance of these issues. But what will our government do to help eliminate gender based violence and discrimination?
The memorandum states three goals for the upcoming years:
When: Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 1-2pm EST
Register Here: http://www.globalsolutions.org/evaw
The headlines are heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. From India to Ohio and beyond, we see stories of women subjected to gender-based violence, rape, and abuse. As 1 in 3 women will be raped or attacked in her lifetime, how can we as global citizens rise up and solve this global crisis?
Join GlobalSolutions.org as we talk with Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke! We will discuss what is happening on Capitol Hill: will Congress finally Ratify CEDAW? Or the Violence Against Women Act? We will discuss what the United States is and should be doing to fight this global epidemic, and how to mobilize the youth to get involved and become the next generation of crusaders to fight violence against women. We will also talk about the One Billion Rising movement, and what you can do to get involved!
When will climate change become a priority? Probably, when war, rape, and child suffering no longer exist. Unfortunately, however, these horrible tragedies are perpetuated by the effects of climate change. As the earth's climate warms, insecurity in First and Third World countries rises. As a result, now is the time to focus on climate change so that we can prevent future starvation and suffering.
Unfortunately, it is easy for Congress to push the formation of legislation that eases the effects of climate change aside. Climate change feels distant; guns and budget cuts are pressing issues today. Congress won't get re-elected on issues that we aren't yet feeling the full effects of. However, in his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama stepped up to the plate and renewed the United States' commitment to respond to climate change.
You also agree that climate change must be a priority in President Obama's second term. A survey conducted by Global Solutions.org members and supporters shows that Americans sill care about the issues surrounding climate change. Members and supporters rated climate change and the environment the highest priority issue for GlobalSolutions.org to focus on in 2013.
The Indian government has received over 80,000 submissions from citizens all around the country after last month's gang rape on a New Delhi public transportation vehicle. Many of the submissions pleaded the government to implement stricter and more updated sexual assault laws, but are laws given by the government the only solution to this unfortunate situation?
I agree that harsher laws and legislation is an important step to eliminate the attacks on women, but there are a large number of cultural variables that need to be considered as well. People need to become more educated and aware of the severity of these crimes.
Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism, states “As different as we all are, there’s one thing most young women have in common: We’re all brought up to feel like there’s something wrong with us. We’re too fat. We’re dumb. We’re too smart. We’re not ladylike enough- ‘stop cursing, chewing with your mouth open, and speaking your mind’. We’re too slutty. We’re not slutty enough.”
Can you remember the last time you were scared to walk home by yourself? Can you remember the last time you changed your appearance or clothing in fear that someone might interpret who you are in the wrong way?
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