If you only read one thing this week…


What’s going on in Egypt? by Anna
February 10, 2011, 2:00 pm
Filed under: governance

Why Egypt? Why now? Thomas Friedman explains that the circumstances were ripe for a growing number of youth who were living with one of the poorest education systems, biggest income gaps, and highest unemployment rates to take to the streets.  What Friedman finds so interesting in this uprising, is that these protests are not ideologically motivated. It’s not about Allah or Palestine this time, he says, these protests are asking simply for the democratic right to move the country forward. Read Friedman’s opinion article about the protests in Egypt for the NY Times here.

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Theocracy or Democracy – by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
February 3, 2011, 11:50 am
Filed under: governance

BBC’s Radio 4 has a regular program called the Moral Maze where they look at one of the top moral dilemmas of the week in the news and debate it with leading thinkers on the topic.

This week they look at the events taking place in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and ask,

“is democracy a morally unambiguous value? Should we always be on the sides of the masses regardless of the consequences to them and our national interests? Or is preserving life a greater moral imperative than promoting freedom – even if that means in the short term backing the stability of authoritarian rulers? Is democracy only ever the means to an end and should the only moral imperative for those in the West be to always safeguard our interests?”

This podcast will probably only be available for the next two weeks or so so catch it now – it’s thought provoking and raises many questions.



Remittances Triple Aid Amounts by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
February 3, 2011, 11:38 am
Filed under: Development theory

Many of the countries where we all work have large groups of people who reside outside of their home country and send money home through Western Union. Recently, the World Bank produced a new factbook about migration and remittances.  One of the most interesting findings is that migrants are sending home more than three times the amount of aid countries are receiving. Also, remittances were hardly affected by the recent economic downturn. Read more about how this information could affect international development work here.