Category Archives: International solidarity

EU Business School United Nation change the world model conference

Eager Students Compete at UN’s Change the World Model Conference

Developing the knack for being able to negotiate with individuals from other parts of the world is something that’s become vital as the scope of the business world takes on a greater international perspective. While it is only one facet of that skill set, it is something that students from all areas of the planet have the opportunity to do when they attend the Change the World Model United Nations conference held in New York City.

With over 2,000 students taking part, a wide array of important categories were researched beforehand and then discussed at the United Nations. During the research portion, each country that’s part of the UN, as well as the different committees that make up the organization, were part of educational plans in the students’ respective countries.

Since the students were representing a specific country, they had to adopt the political philosophy of their nation. That encompassed looking at previous resolutions that had been passed, while also checking how others countries voted.

The basis of all this work was not only to enhance the students’ researching abilities, but also to push them into working together with those representing similar interests. More importantly, the work was meant to force the students to work with countries that might be diametrically opposed to their interests, thereby developing the mediation and resolution skills of all involved.

The intensive nature of the overall project was balanced by the fringe benefits of traveling to interesting areas of this vibrant town. Students were able to check out the melting pot of different communities within New York City, while also checking out iconic spots like the Statue of Liberty.

The schools from which the students came represented some of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world. Names like Harvard University, the University of Copenhagen and Politecnico di Milan came together with the EU Business School and others.

Despite what would ordinarily be considered stiff competition, EU Business School delegates were able to hold their own throughout the course of the competition. In two instances, students from different schools representing EU Business School were recognized for their efforts.

From the Switzerland branch, a student that was representing Uruguay within the Security Council, Marvin José Posas Bautista, was presented with an award for Best Delegation. In addition, Christian Plattes from the Barcelona branch was given Best Delegate accolades for representing Bulgaria within the Historical Security Council.

clinton global initiative to close

Clinton Global Initiative to Close Its Doors

Throughout the dog days of the recently concluded election cycle, Democrat Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton found herself constantly having to defend herself and her husband Bill from attacks on their charitable foundation. The basis of many attacks related to the Clinton Foundation’s “Global Initiative” revolved around claims from opponents that the initiative was nothing more than a “pay-to-play” scheme.

Some of the claims were given legs when time and again, donors were shown to have had extraordinary access to Mrs. Clinton when she held the position as U.S. Secretary of State. Additionally, there were claims that donors were encouraged to pay Bill exorbitant amounts of money for speaking engagements.

In the weeks following Hilary’s surprising loss to now President Donald Trump, the Foundation has experienced a dramatic decline in donations, particularly from foreign governments that had been donating millions of dollars every year. As a result of this decline, the Clintons filed a notice with the New York State Department of Labor, stating they would be laying off 22 employees who had been working under the Global Initiative. As grounds for the layoffs, the document cited the cessation of business by April 15 of this year.

It took very little time for Clinton opponents to jump at the opportunity to claim they were correct about the Foundation serving as cover to support the Clinton’s expensive and suddenly high-profile lifestyle. The assumption is that with no influence to be peddled, why would anyone want to continue making contributions?

In an effort to fight back against these claims, Foundation leaders laid claim to the notion that Bill had already determined it was best to shut the initiative down in August of last year. Per these claims, it was something the Clintons wanted to do as means to avoid any potential conflicts of interest had Hilary won the election and became President.

Pokemon Go health

Pokemon Go – A Health Boon Around the World

As the Pokemon Go phenomena reaches epic proportions throughout the world, psychiatric professionals are growing concerns about the addictive properties of the game. In the eyes of healthcare professionals and professional personal trainers, the game’s health benefits could outweigh any other potential negatives.

For a worldwide society that finds itself isolated in dark rooms playing video games for hours on end, Pokemon Go is proving to be a welcome relief. It has given formerly isolated gamers the excuse they need to go out into the world and interact with the environment. From the perspective of professionals who have to deal with health issues on a daily basis, Pokemon Go is exactly what the doctor ordered, more sunlight and exercise.

For office workers who find themselves locked in their offices for 8-9 hours a day, a good dopamine fix and a hour or two a day walking outside the office could eliminate the possible health risks that come from sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time, year after year.

As a welcome, unintended consequence of the game, players all over the world are feeling healthier by the day. A brisk walk will burn approximately 250 calories an hour, which is helping players lose unwanted pounds. It will also raise the heart rate to as much as 95-120 BPM, which aids in improving heart health and metabolism. Together, these two benefits figure to help make the world a healthier place as health issues improve from one region of the world to another.

No one is suggesting that people can ignore the possible negative effects of becoming addicted to the game; it’s certainly something that needs to be considered as part of mental health. However, it’s nice to know there are potential benefits to a game that has captured the world’s imagination with no signs of slowing down in the near future.

Cop 21 UN climate change conference

Global Warming – Hot Topic at Paris Summit

With many of the world’s top leaders currently in Paris reflecting on terrorists and other issues from around the world, an on-going hot topic reappeared on the horizon. With global warming issues escalating all over the planet, US President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping have used the meeting in Paris as an opportunity to show continued solidarity in both country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

At the current summit, US / China relations seemed to be at the forefront of several critical issues, including cyber-security, human rights, global economic growth and maritime security issues. With both counties clearly at odds over many of these issues, it was encouraging that both leaders are still able to find common ground on international problems related to global warming and terrorism.

Early in the week, Both President Obama and President Jinping met with reporters to express a desire to continue working together. The common goal is to create a better natural environment for future generations.

During his speech, Obama commented, “As the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” later adding “Our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital.” Through a translator, Xi added his concern that “The world economy is recovering slowly, terrorism is on the rise, and climate change is a huge challenge.

It was back in 2014 when both leaders first came together in a joint announcement they had both committed in principle to significant reductions in emissions. The goal was to show other countries around the world that its two economic leaders, also leading in carbon emissions, were willing to take a leadership role in getting the world to address global warming issues together.

It’s worth noting that China is currently responsible for an estimated 30% of the world’s emissions of carbon while the US can lay claim to 16% of the responsibility. When the two leaders met in the White House last year, President Obama stated the US would seek a 28% reduction within 10 years while President Jinping committed to significant cuts by 2030.


‘Tear Down the Government’ Land Rights Protest

Original: CNN iReport

TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan – Republic of China (CNN iReport)

Taiwan citizens came out in force on Sunday, August 18, to protest on the one month anniversary of the forced demolition of four rural houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough. The protest, which multiple local news outlets reported included “more than 10,000” protestors, comes on the heels of an earlier protest held earlier this month in the same location – in the heart of the capital directly outside the Presidential Office – in which more than 100,000 protestors rallied for government reform following the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu.

“The top issue in Taiwan right now is about land grabbing,” explained Dr. Hsu Shih-Jung, Director and Professor of the Department of Land Economics at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, who went on to say the problem is in fact island-wide. “The government uses their power to take away the private property, especially from the farmers.”

Billed as a ‘Tear Down the Government’ action, in response to the government taking down four houses after reportedly promising to save them, the protest was big on symbolism – many in the crowd throwing excrement (with the help of provided plastic gloves) at a mock memorial of Miaoli magistrate Liu Cheng-hung, a sign below his image in Chinese reading, “His sound and his face seem to still be with us.”

I spoke with protestors from all walks of life, from academics to musicians to a kindergarten teacher to a college freshman. “The slogan of tonight’s protest is to ‘Tear Down the Government’, but not everyone is so absolute,” explained Constance Hsu, a freshman at National Taiwan University. “But they’ve come here anyway because they believe it is important to make their voice heard.”

Featured in this video are:

* Dr. Hsu Shih-Jung, Director and Professor of the Deaprtment of Land Economics, National Chengchi University.
* Ajan (the drummer) and Ada (lead vocals and guitar) of Rural Armed Youth, along with footage of their performance with Kou Chou Ching.
* Yao La La, a kindergarden teacher visiting from New York.
* Kuo Ling-Fang, a research assistant at Taipei Veteran General Hospital.


* Cheng Judy, Community Representative for the HuaQuang Community in Central Taipei City, who is currently facing the forced demolition of her entire neighborhood – slated for August 27, 2013.


Attorneys’ Statement for Illegal Arrests of Demonstrators

The article one of Attorney Regulation Act of Taiwan states, “The Mission of an attorney is to promote social justice, protect human rights, and promote to democracy and the rule of law.” Therefore, we cannot standby when police arrest protestors without due process. We, as attorneys, would not remain silence and hereby state as follows:

1. The People have the right to express their opinion freely without fears and intimidation of the State.

The rights of Personal Freedom and the Freedom of Expression are to be protected by the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This belief is fundamental to every attorney and should also be understood by every citizen. Civil Rights shall by no means to be offended by state apparatus. Protecting people to express themselves freely without fears is one of the elements of a modern, democratic country.

2. Chilling effects of Illegal arrests of demonstrators would cause irreversible damage to democratic society

We have seen the protestors injured and arrested by police on trumped-up charges, without following proper procedure in the Code of Criminal Procedure. This not only violates the rights of the people, the chilling effect also cause a regression of democracy.

3. The brutal and inappropriate law enforcement is not abiding the law but violence in disguise.

We condemned inappropriate enforcement of law. We also caution law enforcement officers to bear in mind to protect people’s rights and to maintain the spirits of rule of law.When the behavior of protestors does not constitute immediate and obvious danger, police officers shall not undertake compulsory measures. Illegal and harsh measures do not bring peace and is merely violence in disguise.

We also call on the higher authority commanding the police to take the responsibility of your decision rather than encouraging police officers to clash with the protestors while risking to turn police officers into illegal law enforcers.

4. Each citizen has the responsibility protect the freedom of expression and safeguard rights to different opinions

Diversity of opinions is the root of creativity and essence to the continuous development of a society. The freedom of expression and toleration of different opinion is the foundation of Taiwan’s hard-earned democracy.

History shows that freedom does not happen on its own. It derives from individuals’ continuous fighting for it. General public may not always express their opinions in public domain all the time, however, when the core values of Taiwan society that we cherish and are proud of, the spirit of rule-of-law, human rights and tolerance of different opinions, are being infringed upon, we, as attorneys, have chosen to not remain silent.We call on all people to stand up and protect the freedom of expression from regression. We will help maintain space for the diversity of different opinion and the right to free speech for our descendants. Tomorrow’s Taiwan will remember our cry today. For our next generations’ sake, we sought to protect the diversity of opinions, to fight for freedom of expression, oppose the use of coercion. This is the mission of each citizen in Taiwan and the promise we make to our children.


International Petition to President Ma: Stop Unjust Land Expropriation in Taiwan

President Ma: Stop Unjust Land Expropriation in Taiwan

July 29, 2013 by Trans-Pacific Environmental Action Network, Taiwan Rural Front

International petition to President Ma to stop unjust land grabbing launched by TEAN(Trans-Pacific Environmental Action Network)
Chinese petition to President Ma to stop unjust grabbing launched by Jeff Hou (University of Washington, Seattle)

Expropriation of land has been widespread in Asia in recent time. In name of development and urbanization, homes and farms of local people are destroyed in never-ending land grabs by authorities and developers. On July 18th this year, four homes in Dapu, Taiwan became the latest victims as they were torn down by the local government to make way for new urban development.

The case of Dapu has been the focus of a three-year long struggle by farmers and activists in Taiwan. Immediately after the demolition, protestors including students and supporters have followed President Ma, Vice-President and the Premier everywhere they appeared in public, even as they continued to ignore the protestors. In the face of growing protests with support by other civic groups, the police and national security forces have begun to push back. Just last week, Prof. Shih-Jung Hsu, a land economics faculty from National Chengchi University was arrested and detained after he waved his hands at the President’s motorcade, suffering bruises to his arms. Students and supporters have also been expelled from protest sites.

Although the homes in Dapu have been bulldozed, the movement against unjust land expropriation in Taiwan has just begun. Dapu is only one of many cases of local struggles against government and developers throughout the region. Support from the international community can stop the Taiwan government from further expropriation of people’s land and homes.

Please support the local communities and activists in Taiwan by signing on to the open letter to Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou.


Open Letter

Jiang Yi-Huah, Premier, Taiwan
MA Ying-Jeou, President, Taiwan
WU Den-Yih, Vice President, Taiwan

We are writing to express our outrage against the recent demolition of homes in Dapu and the unjust expropriation of land in Taiwan. The incident in Dapu was tragic and unnecessary. Planning documents have shown that the four homes were far outside the planned industrial park, for which there was already a low demand. The expropriation and demolition was therefore unjustified.

We are equally dismayed by the recent arrest and expulsion of peaceful protestors by excessive police force In Taiwan. Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights supports the right of every individual to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Article 17, Section 2 further states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. As a democratic nation, Taiwan must serve as an example to the region rather following the footsteps of others in violating the people’s rights to property and freedom of speech and assembly.

We call on you and the Taiwan government to:

Stop land grabbing immediately — The current mode of development, which strips people from their rights to property, subsistence, and a healthy environment, is a regressive one. Such mode of national development must not be stopped.

Revise the Land Expropriation Act and stop all expropriation before the revision is done — Land expropriation must be predicated on the public interest, and the fulfillment of the public interest requires the most stringent administrative procedures with full participation of local residents.

Stop excessive force against peaceful protestors — The recent police response to peaceful protests has breached international human rights standards and must be stopped. Any decision to disperse an assembly should be taken only as a last resort and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

Protect protestors’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression — The authorities must carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of excessive and unnecessary use of force, and ensure that any law enforcement officials responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force are prosecuted.

[Your name]

Please take a moment to do the following:

1. Sign on to the open letter to Taiwan President Ma on
2. If you are a planning and design professional or scholars, please include the name of your university or organization in the address line.
3. Forward this message to your colleagues and friends, and ask them to sign on as well.

Read more about the Dapu Controversy and Civil Resistance:

1. Solidarity Appeal from Taiwan Rural Front and Dapu Controversy in Context

On 18th July 2013, hundreds of police officers returned and razed the residents’ homes, while the house owners were away pleading with the central government to stop demolition as the expropriation decision is still contested in court. The thuggish behavior of the police and government triggered spontaneous civil disobedience protests by ordinary citizens across Taiwan. The police responded with undue violence and repression. Many people were detained and prosecuted, and many injured….

2. Professor and students arrested in protest against forced-demolitions

by I-fan Lin from Global Voices

“What is public interest? The Grand Judge, Wu Keng, once pointed out “A consensus through public deliberation in a diverse society” is public interest. However, our urban planning system has not incorporated such concept or process. Thus our basic human right has been seriously violated…”


3.Rappers, directors join Dapu demolition protests

by Shelley Shan from Taipei Times

Leon Dai (戴立忍), who won best director at the Golden Horse Awards for his movie No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (不能沒有你): “Our government has dispatched so many policemen to help tear down people’s houses and remove protesters from the sites who only wanted to speak the truth.”…

4. Taiwan’s Handicap

by J. Michael Cole from The Far-Eastern Sweet Potato

Taiwan is in dire need of international attention! Still it might be a while before the world realizes that a serious battle is being fought in Taiwan… “the Ma government is showing signs of impatience. It, or investors and developers close to it, want the precious plots now, and the treatment reserved those who stand in the way has on several occasions led to what can only be characterized as human rights violations.”…

5. Stay informed by visiting: Taiwan Rural Front facebook Follow our daily updates !


International Solidarity Appeal from Taiwan Rural Front : Stop Land Grabbing and End Police Violence in Taiwan

International Solidarity Appeal from Taiwan Rural Front : Stop Land Grabbing and End Police Violence in Taiwan

The power of eminent domain has been routinely abused in Taiwan for the sake of land speculation. The case of the Dapu Village is the most appalling case of such state-sanctioned robbery. On 9th June 2010, excavators bulldozed and destroyed the Dapu villagers’ crop two weeks before harvest in a dawn raid.

On 18th July 2013, hundreds of police officers returned and razed the residents’ homes, while the house owners were away pleading with the central government to stop demolition as the expropriation decision is still contested in court. The thuggish behavior of the police and government triggered spontaneous civil disobedience protests by ordinary citizens across Taiwan. The police responded with undue violence and repression. Many people were detained and prosecuted, and many injured. (Standing on the Side of the Egg – Forced Demolition of Dapu homes a government sanctioned robbery?, Things coming apart, the Dapu outrage as a catalyst?)

Dr. Shih-Jung Hsu, the chairman of Taiwan Rural Front was arrested by police. Photo credit J Michael Cole. Used by permission

Massive international outrage from supporters like you can help to stop state land grabbing and police violence in Taiwan. Please send an urgent message to President Ma and Taiwan government, demanding that the basic rights of livelihood of the Dapu homeowners are restored. People’s basic right to live a just and peaceful life on their own land should be protected in the face of all forms of development. President Ma must also ensure the People’s right to freedom of expression and assembly by ending the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors.

Here is what you can do:

1. Put social media to work:
Please use social media including twitter and facebook to circulate the below suggested messages, tagging @twruralfront for Taiwan Rural Front:

  • #Dapu Police use of force against anti-land grabbing protestors is excessive, unacceptable & breaks international HR standards @twruralfront
  • #Dapu Uso excesivo de fuerza policial contra manifestantes anti-especulación inaceptable, viola estándares internacionales DDHH @twruralfron
  • #Dapu Taiwan authorities must immediately stop police violence against peaceful anti-land grabbing protestors @twruralfront

Please circulate posts from our fb ( and write your comment to raise awareness

2. Voice your concern directly to the Taiwan government by writing to Presient Ma and the ROC Embassies and Missions in your countries (addresses and details of which can be found in this link:

In Taiwan, write to:
President Ma
The Presidential Office
No 122, sec 1, Chongqing South Road,
Taipei 10048, TAIWAN

In the United States, write to:
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office
4201 Wisconsin Ave.,
N.W. Washington
DC 20016-2137

What to include in your letter:

  • Call on the Taiwan authorities to stop land grabbing immediately. The current mode of development, which strips people from their rights to property, subsistence and a healthy environment, is a regressive one. Such mode of national development cannot be tolerated anymore. Land, water, and other natural resources are not just materials for production but essential to common people. People’s basic right to live a just and peaceful life on their own land should be protected in the face of all forms of development.
  • Urge the Taiwan authorities to revise its Land Expropriation Act and stop all expropriation before the revision is done. Land expropriation in Taiwan now goes against the basic rights of people’s livelihood. Land expropriation is a very serious state measure because of the grave moral, political, and material consequences involved. It should not and cannot be abused. The initiation of land expropriation must be predicated on the public interest, and the fulfillment of the public interest requires the most stringent administrative procedures with full participation of local residents to reach the widest possible consensus.
  • State that excessive force against peaceful protestors, as has been evident in the police response to these protests, breaches international human rights standards and must be stopped. Remind the authorities that any decision to disperse an assembly should be taken only as a last resort and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality. International standards require that in dispersing assemblies, police must avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, must restrict any such force to the minimum necessary.
  • Urge the Taiwan authorities to ensure protestors’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The authorities should carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of excessive and unnecessary use of force, and ensure that any law enforcement officials responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force to be prosecuted.

Please send us any responses you receive.

3. Stay informed.  This is an on-going process and seems likely to intensify.
We need your help to keep the world’s attention on these events.
We need your voices to put pressure on the Taiwan government to end land grabbing and excessive police action!

Photos of the events in Taiwan can be viewed here.

Addendum 1

The Dapu Expropriation Case: What Happened?

The controversy over Dapu expropriation dates back more than three years. The Miaoli county government has designated an area in Dapu Village for the construction of an industrial complex, which requires the expropriation of 156-hectares of land belonging to local residents. However, only 28 hectares of the expropriated lands are for industrial use, and most of the remaining area is for residential use. The development has thus been criticized as a “fake development” for the sake of land speculation, and its public interest value and necessity are widely doubted. The suicide of one elderly villager woman in June 2010 and the anger of Taiwanese people resulted from the Miaoli county government’s decision to order the excavators to destroy rice paddies that were about to be harvested. In July 2010, tens of thousands of farmers and citizens held all-night vigils and demonstrations in front of the Presidential Office, forcing the Executive Yuan to promise that the lands and homes would be kept by the residents as they were. Thus, the government halted a number of land expropriations and amended the Land Expropriation Act.

Nevertheless, in June 2013, the Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung broke this promise and delivered a renewed demolition orders to the remaining households in Dapu Village. This order would forcibly demolish their houses to acquire the land. The Executive Yuan, which made this promise has withdrawn its responsibility as the supreme executive organization in Taiwan, and consequently the local government insisted on the forced demolition. Even though the Supreme Administrative Court resolved that the Dapu case had a number of legal flaws, the central and local governments remain in their neglect. This has led to widespread anger and dangerously undermined democratic and legislative values.

Professor Shih-Jung Hsu from the Department of Land Economics at the National Chengchi University and leader of Taiwan Rural Front indicates that the spirit of democracy is based on the sufficient participation of the people to protect their equal rights. In the Dapu case, administrative power is not subject to effective legal restraint and lacks popular participation necessary to develop social consensus. Also, the opposition to the legislation and civil will during the administrative process has severely challenged the basic principles of a democratic society. Under the slogan of “development”, the government deprives people of basic living rights; their natural rights have been sacrificed for the economic benefits of a small group of people. In fact, the benefits of social development should be equally shared by all people. Taiwan’s government is undermining the rights of disadvantaged groups. This administrative execution has lost legitimacy and ended in pure violence.

Taiwan Rural Front holds that the Dapu case constitutes persecution of human rights carried out by the state. People must stand up and raise their conscience to defend democracy. Protecting Dapu is not only about protecting the rights of a few individuals, but also about striving for civil rights and democracy.

Our four demands to “Ma-Wu-Jian-Liu”, four key players behind the Dapu case from the Ma administration:

  1. Apologize and compensate for the forced demolition.
  2. Return the four properties to Dapu villagers and restore their normal life.
  3. A thorough investigation of all illegal activities by Miaoli County Mayer Liu Cheng-hung during his tenure.
  4. Revise Land Expropriation Act immediately, and halt all expropriation processes before the amendment is done.

Addendum 2

Taiwan Rural Front: Who We Are

Taiwan Rural Front (TRF) is a social movement organization formed by farmers and other citizens committed to social justice and ecological sustainability in Taiwan and across the region. It emerged in 2008 as a spontaneous civil alliance in opposition to the ill-conceived “Rural Revitalization Act,” which sought to commodify farmland and rural livelihood in the name of rural development. The passing of the first reading of the Act in spring 2008 prompted thousands of Taiwanese from all walks of life – including farmers, activists, writers, artists, journalists, academics, engineers, lawyers, and students — to join in a common struggle against short-sighted rural development schemes. Although the Act was eventually ratified in 2011, the TRF has thrived and continues to fight for rural sustainability through legislative lobbying, media campaigning, and grassroots mobilization.

What We Fight For: Small-scale Farming, Sustainable Agriculture, & Food Sovereignty

The agriculture sector in Taiwan has been subject to U.S. political pressures in the name of trade liberalization since the 1980s. Over the years, these interventions have turned Taiwan from a food self-sufficient nation into a highly dependent one. In 2007, the food self-sufficiency rate reached an all-time-low of 30.6%. However, under the dual pressures of peak oil and global warming, the current oil-based agribusiness regime is bound to fail, forcing countries all over the world to reformulate their food and agriculture policies. The TRF strongly opposes further agricultural trade liberalization; instead, it advocates policies that will help Taiwan rebuild a localized food system and regain food sovereignty. We believe that small-scale farming, which is known to be more ecologically adaptive, more environmentally sustainable, more community-oriented, and a reservoir of local knowledge, will become the backbone of a new agriculture and of a new society in which rural and urban livelihoods will sustain each other and flourish.