14 February 2010

Oxford Forum for International Development

The second student-led conference was the annual Oxford Forum for International Development held from 5-7 February 2010 at the Said Business School and this year focused on "Development in Crisis and Conflict".

Speakers include (senior) representatives and researchers from organisations like War on Want, Oxfam GB, Article 19, Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, COMPAS, the Migration Policy Institute, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and General Sir Peter Wall (Commander-in-Chief Land Forces of the British Army) and of course Jon Snow again - among the more known ones (at least to those of you working in development).

For a full list of speakers, please consult the official website's list of introductory paragraphs about each of them. The conference's (compressed) schedule can be found on this link and the podcasts of some of the presentations on this link.

I tried to find videos but it seems that this is an exclusive closed event. Only one I did find:

From the About page:
"The Oxford Forum for International Development is an annual conference run entirely by students of the University of Oxford. The conference first ran in 2008 and has swiftly established itself as one of the most important events in the UK international development calendar. Since 2008, OxFID has welcomed such eminent speakers as Dr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court), Ian Goldin (Former Vice-President of the World Bank and Director of the James Martin 21st Century School), Richard Dowden (Director of the Royal African Society), Professor Lord Robert May (Former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government), Aubrey Meyer (Director of the Global Commons Institute), Masood Ahmed (Director for External Relations at the International Monetary Fund) and many more."

12 February 2010

One Young World

"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation." (Pearl S. Buck)

Main Highlights:

It is amazing what young people are up to these days! A short while ago, two major youth conferences practically took place at the same time, perhaps for a multiplier effect. I will dedicate this post to the bigger and more international one and will post the other separately.

About 1500 delegates from all over the world came together at the One Young World young leaders' summit in London this February to discuss their visions for the future of the world.

Some of the hosts, speakers and Counsellors are (co-)Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Senator John Kerry (via video link), Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bob Geldof, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, economist and former President of Peru Alejandro Toledo, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and last but not least journalist legend Jon Snow.

From the FAQs:
One Young World is a global leadership summit for young leaders age 25 and under, united from all the world's 192 countries to address major global challenges. The Inaugural Summit of One Young World takes place on Feb. 8-10, 2010, in London.

To achieve the core values of One Young World, the selection process invites one delegate from each of the world's 192 countries. One delegate per country is also invited by an organization from each country's voluntary sector (e.g., UNICEF), by a global sports entity in each country (e.g., FIFA) and, in certain cases, by participating global companies.

Euro RSCG* has arranged for global broadcasters to cover the summit, in addition to offering online streaming of all sessions and providing constant real-time updates on the Web. Major bureaus in London will receive accreditation if at least one member of their reporting team is age 25 or younger.

*I had to look them up myself: Euro RSCG appears to be one of the leading Communications agency world-wide (or so it is written in its Wikipedia article which, confirming my suspicions, has been last modified by a marketing associate from said company)

Plenary Sessions were held and resolutions drafted on the following topics:
1) "The Environment and its protection"
2) "Interfaith Dialogue"
3) "The Role of Global Business"
4) "The Changing Power of the Media"
5) "Global Health"
6) "Politics for a Positive Future"
7) "World Have Your Say: Review"

If you guys would like to find out more about the context of the whole event in global social (youth) movements, I suggest you go to the Press section on the One Young World website which offers more info than the About animation, featuring its own PR microsite.

The One Young World summit this year was actually in its inaugural session and hopes to be the first of a series in the future!

One Young World Wrap-Up:

Finally, I would like to conclude this post by the following quote which I decided to use despite my choice to keep this blog secular and non-sectarian (hence the square brackets I put there) for I do think there is some inspiration in those words:

"Don't let anyone think little of you because you are young but be an example [for other believers] in your speech, behaviour, love, faithfulness, and purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)

09 February 2010

New tweaks on the Blog!

Hi everyone!

I am glad that some of you have gone to make a habit out of leaving traces of their visit by making a comment on the blog. It certainly has motivated me to move my blog to the next level.

It is fascinating what little changes can do to make your blog more organised, vibrant and explorable. So I made some changes to the side bar and have finally added a list of tags I've been assigning to my posts. They go back about a year or two but do not cover my initial year here in London (which is why it currently appears that I have blogged more about 'Kuala Lumpur' than 'London'). I hope to do an "inventory" and do some back-tagging sometime in the not so distant future, for the sake of consistency.

The real novelty however is the Blogroll where you can find the following fascinating fellow Bloggers:
  • aBrasilheirado is a Brazilian friend of mine creating art under the brush name of Franz Tagore. You will also find colourful miracles by his girlfriend (and my friend) Martina and together, they just hosted a successful exhibition in Austria. Commissions welcome!
  • Bibliobibuli are the effusions of a book-addicted Brit in Malaysia who apart from attending various book launches also teaches Creative Writing.
  • Chasing The Flame "Over the next two years, two high-profile media products will tell the story of the peace-maker Sergio Vieira de Mello and introduce audiences to the kind of conviction and insight that inspires movements. This site is where our movement begins."
  • Guardian - Comment is Free: Liberty Central A platform for discussing civil liberties. It's good to know there are people out there who care!
  • Ideas for Development blog This Blog aims at offering a new forum for open discussion and interaction between scholars, students, professionals of various backgrounds and the public at large. Together, they can share information, viewpoints and visions for the future with the common goal of advancing the cause of development.
  • Kak Teh's Choc-a-Bloc Blog Reflections of a Malay woman living in London. Kak Teh ("Tea Sister") used to be a journalist and is now writing a book while stirring up the blogosphere!
  • Miss Grassroot Campaigner is a SOAS Alumni with an impressive track record in high-level networking (including meeting Obama in person) and promising career in diplomacy.
  • Myanmar Asylum-Seekers & Refugees in Malaysia Very engaging blog by the Burmese Chin refugee community writing about their experience in Malaysia while waiting for resettlement by UNHCR. Lots of media.
  • Rotsblog "Vietnam's first Dutch motorbike-taxi driver. Story-teller and -collector. Scholar of religion, Japanologist, anthropologist and philosopher." Says it all, doesn't it?
  • Socially Responsible Films A really great source for smart independent movies, social commentaries and documentaries.
  • The Road to the Horizon Amazingly detailed and extensive blog, inspiring for anyone considering working in international development (and anyone else, really)!
The other day I went for a walk and while rolling over this very post, something compelled me to walk into a WHS and browse the particularly wide selection of magazines in this branch (Waterloo Station). To my amazement, I stumbled upon a chunky magazine exclusively dedicated to blogging and microblogging with loads of really useful tutorials, including designing your own "theme". Talk about serendipity! I would have bought it on the spot were it not for the equally chunky price of £12! And so I stayed and flicked through the instructions, getting more and more inspired and having multiple aha!-moments in a row. I've been wanting to develop my own theme for more than a year now, culminating in my wish to give my blog a distinctive look for while I am in KL. I researched the possibilities and various layout elements and already kinda decided on a particular look for my blog. However, unlike Wordpress, Blogger does not enable part-time geeks to make the transformation to amateur web designers. Your choice is between 16 free templates (and their colour permutations) which haven't changed ever since I signed on years ago or uploading a customised HTML file (a feature, you will agree primarily catering to advanced web designers). Despite the relatively greater attraction of Wordpress in many matters, I will try and find a way to personalise my blog here on Blogger and give it my own signature style - hopefully within the next few months.

Profile 2.0
I also upgraded my profile a bit even if I am not quite happy yet with this version either but it had to be updated.

I will keep the current links even if I currently don't update them as much. I changed some of the permanent links by replacing Channel News Asia with Malaysiakini (the multilingual Malaysian online news source) and changing the moving the dictionary from Pons to Leo.