I interviewed social entrepreneur TMS “Teddy” Ruge, co-founder of Project Diaspora, at the Social Good Summit in New York City on September 22, 2012. He talks about his work in Uganda and the role technology plays in supporting the greater good.
The staff of Global Wire Associates was quite busy last week, attending a dizzying number of lectures at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. While Rio+20 was the largest UN gathering ever, many people feel that it was a big waste of time, due to there being no major agreements to come out of it.
We can see why some people feel this way. Take for example the Rio+Social webcast. While the discussion about social media’s role in sustainable development was interesting, there really wasn’t anything brought up that most technologists and environmentalists didn’t know about already before the webcast. Furthermore, listening to dozens of bloviating UN officials, businessmen and celebrities who were not making any real calls to actions just got tiresome after a while.
One can’t always say “the future we want” when no one is really saying what future they want.
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World leaders are gathering in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly. This year the international community will consider a bid for Palestinian statehood. Although it is likely to fail, the bid refocuses attention on the 63-year-old land fight between the Israelis and Palestinians. Long before 9/11, riots in Tahrir Square and rambling audio messages from Muammar Gadhafi and Osama bin Laden, the original Middle East crisis began on a strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea.
I have always been a fan of history, current events and multicultural affairs. Particularly, I am fascinated by how different cultures interact with each other. Some divisive relationships I can understand better than others – Tutsis vs. Hutus, Turks vs. Armenians, Cuba vs. United States. But there is something about the Palestine/Israel question that continues to capture the world’s attention – and I simply just don’t understand.
My first real introduction into Middle Eastern politics began in university, where I minored in post-colonial studies. Tom Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem was a book I was required to read in a course on Arab-Israeli cinema. It was a good primer into the conflict, and since its first publication two decades ago, it is still considered a fair assessment of the major players. I also remember after graduation viewing a documentary on female hijacker Leila Khalid which gave me the Palestinian point of view. But the history of the conflict is just too confusing for me to understand.
As for the Palestinian bid, it seems like it is dead on arrival at the UN, although Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has extended an invitation for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York.
Maybe something good could come out of the meeting… Probably not…