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Mela J
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UNHCR ENTRY LEVEL POSITIONS

Hello all, 

For those of you (which I think is most of us) looking to break into development, check this out, I thought this was an opportunity worth sharing!

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A World Made of Many Worlds- Zapatistas and the humbling of Global Civil Society

I first learned of Chiapas and the Zapatistas in undergrad while taking an introduction to international relations course.  The Zapatistas were made out by my professors to be a struggling waning group of rebels that were forgotten by the world and should be pitied.  And pity them I did, until I saw interviews of empowered and rifled half masked men eloquently discussing the effects of international trade agreements on their villages and communities in a way that even astonished the journalists who interviewed them.  

In Tomorrow Begins Today, Subcomandante Marcos describes the phenomena of global civil society organization's interest in Chiapas as a "world within a world".  In their essay Earle and Simonelli explore Marcos' world within a world as CSO's rushed to Mexico to help "develop" Chiapas and surrounding areas wtihout relinquishing their assumptions about the Zapatista's similar to what my professor explained, as people to be pitied.  The essay which I have linked below explores how the UN used International CSO's to intervene in Chiapas literally creating a world within a world, and the Zapatista's response to the pity development promoted in my undergraduate course.  

Earle and Simonelli's experience in Chiapas is a perfect example of how globalization's discourse is often dominated by Western expectations of how and what the South needs despite the good intentions international cso's may have.  The question I pose, given this weeks final readings, should development be "glocal", with local stakeholders making the decisions about their communities, and states with global actors (IGOs, INGOs) only providing aid as required by the developing community, or should donor states continue to play a dominant role in orchestrating, planning, and executing development initiatives in the South?

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The Environment and Religious Fundamentalism: A strange manifestation of globalization and modernization....

Our readings last week explored one response to globalization and modernity in the form of Islamic Fundamentalism.  This week, our readings explored globalization's effect on the environment, and the increased strains placed on natural resources to meet the exponential demands of increased global trade and the consequently increased levels of poverty and hunger in the global south as well as in the recently coined "fourth sector" of many developed countries.  The Rio Declaration at the UN Earth Summit in 1992 expresses that development should cause no harm be it culturally, economically, physically or environmentally.  As a result, states through the efforts of civil society and CSOs brought to mainstream attention the peril the planet faced due to unsustainable levels of natural resource harvesting and consumption.  

Linked below is what I consider a Christian Neofundamentalist response to the globalization of climate change awareness and environmentalism. Growing up in the church, I often heard messages like this and in my adult life have gotten into many arguments about the environment, science, and God ( I strongly oppose the view in this video by the way).  The American Religious Right's approach to modernity takes into consideration the global implications of what environmentalism entails therefore displaying an awareness of globalization in a manner that is dangerous yet founded in  present times.  What do you all think of this take on environmentalism, that environmentalism is the source of harm and economic disparity? Can you follow the argument? 

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Modernity, Neofundamentalism, and a Sitcom

Our readings for last week explored religion and its place within globalization. Kurzman, Roy, Yates explore the phenomena of Islamic Modernity and American Evangelicalism as a response to globalization.  Be it the global harmonization of Christian worship, or unified interpretations of the Sunnah to create an authentic culture of Islam that transcends ethnic identity, religious constructs in their attempts to separate themselves are accidentally  becoming agents of modernization and unification.

The complicated pot of maintaining religious and cultural identity in a shrinking world is explored in the web Sitcom, Little Mosque.  Situated in Canada, Little Mosque is the story of a business man who rents a space for his community mosque from a Christian church.  The scenes make fun of cultural and religious misunderstandings between Westerners, non-Westerners, Christians, and Muslims and the creation of a new culture as a result.            

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Bollywood vs. Hollywood: The silent infiltration of American storytelling in Bollywood 

In the essay, Bollywood versus Hollywood, Heather Tyrell argues, that Bollywood " defends itself and Indian values against the West".   The unique musical and beautiful dance scenes of Bollywood films certainly reinforce Indian cultural identity, however the following article by Milos Stehlik argues that the seemingly impentrable Bollywood film industry that allows Western culture in upon its own terms has been infiltrated by American story telling more than assumed.  With films exploring prostitution, sexuality, and murder, is Bollywood silently succumbing to what Tomilson describes as cultural homogenization?

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Civil Society Case Study

ASAMA: Culture is Key to Development 

ASAMA is a cultural association established in 1995 by a group of students who feared the eventual eradication of "mask culture" in Burkina Faso due to increased abandonment of village and rural communities.

The association represents 160 of Burkina Faso's 300 mask societies and recently acquired consultative status with UNESCO in 2012.  ASAMA successfully incorporates development initiatives through its efforts to preserve mask society and does so through a network of like minded organizations and associations on local, national, and global levels.

Its most celebrated event, FESTIMA held biennially is recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage, and is shared among several African states and has recently established  connections in France, Switzerland, and Belgium. 
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