Category Archives: International solidarity

20Mar/17
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.

23Jan/17
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.

16Aug/16
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.

07Dec/15
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.

25Mar/15
bernard poulin

Quebec reaches out to the children of Haiti

In 2011, news of an orphanage that had lost everything overnight spread through Canada and prompted a wave of solidarity. Indeed, the people of Quebec mobilized themselves to give a second chance to the children who had so little to start with.

The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation, the Serge-Marcil Foundation, Bernard Poulin’s Groupe SMi, Léger Marketing and Vasco design, as well as a large number of Quebec National Assembly members have reached out to Father Lionel Dehoux, supplementing thousands of volunteers in order to complete the reconstruction of a Haitian orphanage. The non-profit organization Corporation des Œuvres du Père Dehoux also received financial support from the Carmand Normand Foundation, as well as from the Marie-Claire Academy parent’s association.

The Tragedy

On January 12th 2010 at 4:43 pm exactly, a tragic event hits Haiti. The island is shaken by an earthquake of a rare violence and the world will helplessly watch more than 300’000 lives being taken by the disaster. The most powerful earthquake that the poorest country of the Caribbean has ever experienced (7.3 magnitude) would be followed by troubling scenes of chaos and destruction.

Without water nor electricity, many survivors having to face recurrent aftershocks and overwhelmed emergency services, find themselves helpless and exposed to hunger and disease. Subsequently, the country would eventually experience looting and riots that would make further casualties.

In the small town of Etang-Rey, about forty orphans survived the tremors following the incredible and salutary decision of Father Dehoux, in charge of the orphanage, who asked the children and nuns to sleep outside. His hunch was proven right when the building collapsed under the terrified eyes of the children.

The solidarity of Bernard Poulin and his peers

What followed was an upsurge of solidarity from business and political leaders of Quebec. For instance, M. Bernard Poulin, founder of civil engineering firm Groupe SM, established and presided over a campaign called “Rebuilding Hope”, whose objective was to raise funds to rebuild Father Dehoux’s orphanage. It turns out M. Bernard Poulin was personally affected by the tragedy, since one of his colleagues, Serge Marcil, was one of the many casualties of the disaster.

Several associations joined forces to help the destroyed orphanage. This was the case of the “Corporation des oeuvres du Père Dehoux”, made up of former Montreal scouts and guides. It was also the case of the Serge Marcil Foundation, created by his widow, Christiane Pelchat.

Construction work started in October 2011 and ended exactly a year later. The inauguration of the new orphanage that would house the 42 orphans marked the beginning of a new life and newfound hope. The building was re-baptized La Maison Serge Marcil, in honor of Bernard Poulin’s engagement towards Haitians and deceased colleague.

The successful completion of this project was the result of extraordinary teamwork coordinated by Father Dehoux and Mrs Jeanne-d’Arc Léger who presides the Corporation. Father Dehoux also received funding from the Carmand Normand Foundation and the Marie-Claire Academy parent’s association. These funds will be dedicated to digging a well allowing the orphanage to secure quick and safe access to potable water.

DapuiReportm4v-2570833_p9

‘Tear Down the Government’ Land Rights Protest

Original: CNN iReport

By NEAL MOORE
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.

and

* 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.

taiwan_protest_7

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.

original_Taiwan1

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

To:
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.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Please take a moment to do the following:

1. Sign on to the open letter to Taiwan President Ma on change.org
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…”

(http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/07/25/taiwanese-professor-arrested-in…)

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 !