Keep in touch as I say farewell with these Links!

Under “Personal Branding Social Media Link” you will find various links that I’ve created for my Social Media Seminar this semester! 

Under “Latchkey Kids Campaign Links” you will find more links I’ve created and used for my Seminar Campaign!

I’ve had a great semester blogging and as I graduate this Thursday and move on to a new chapter in life I wanted to thank you all for following me these past few months! If you wish to keep in contact me feel free to add me on LinkedIn!

http://www.linkedin.com/aminayaden

That is the best method to reach me.

Cheers,

Amina Aden

UNHCR will begin to host a conference on Asylum and migration

Take a look at a map of the horn of Africa and you will find the Gulf of Aden. According to the UN Centre News, more than 62,000 people have arrived to the coast of Yemen from the Horn of Africa. A midst economic crises in Ethiopia and major political and humanitarian crises in Somalia, many use this sea route as a means to leave the problems of their respective countries.

However, according to the spokesperson for the office of the UN high Commissioner for Refugees, this sea route is one of the deadliest in the world.  The UNHCR will be hosting a conference on asylum and migration to “establish a regional plan to help manage mixed migration between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.”

Although the UN is working hard to ensure peace efforts in Somalia and surrounding African countries, it is also important to tackle the issue of refugees and migration into other countries. 

This conference hopes to tackle multiple social and economic issues,  “The objectives of the plan include, saving lives, ensuring better protection systems for asylum seekers and refugees, strengthening law enforcement against smuggling and trafficking networks, increasing funding for assisted-voluntary-returns programs, and raising awareness of the dangers of irregular migration.”

My take on why Turkey has not become a part of the EU

 Although the EU may not have a set definition on a European identity, Turkey will not be admitted into the union for four reasons: economics, politics, cultural differences and security. Throughout the history of enlargement, Europe has maintained a common set of norms and values – politically, economically and culturally and throughout the timeline of enlargement Turkey has yet to be approved of its requests from the 1980’s. 

It’s first request for the EU came in April of 1987 and was denied and explained, “it would be inappropriate for the Community…to become involved in new accession negotiations and it would not be useful to open accession negotiations with Turkey.” Turkey was denied again in 1997 and has remained a potential member since.

 The European Union is not read to expand or embrace Turkey as of 2013 and will not join the EU in the next ten years because Turkey’s admission would change the EU’s geographical and cultural bases of European identity.  While many may argue culture has nothing to do with Turkeys acceptance, the EU spends approximately 400 million Euros on cultural activities “aim to promote awareness and preservation of cultural goods with European significance.” Thus, there is an effort to create a cultural European Identity and Turkey has not fit this entire time. Identity shapes policy options available to state leaders and this is exactly the case with Turkey’s different identity. There are competing sources of identity for the nation of Turkey. Turkey’s problem is being defined a different identity based on a nation state, ethnicity, and religion which in turn creates a block in achieving state legitimacy.  It is a state defined by a different religion. Eastern and Western Europe both hold a large population of Christians and in Turkey’s case – a large state with an Islamic majority provides a cause for concern when looking for common ground.   

Another factor that will continue to influence Turkeys request into the EU is its politics.  The treaties of the European Union second article claims that the union is founded on “the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the persons belonging to minorities.” Human Rights violations have been a large factor weighing against Turkeys entry into the EU. However, a step in the right direction would be the fact that the Turks have removed politics from the military budget, which “is now subject to parliamentary scrutiny” and the national Security Council is a consultative body. Furthermore, Turkey had an authoritarian government up until 1950 and was still a new multiparty democracy at the time it submitted its request. Turkey first requested to join when integration was still a relatively new concept and an unstable political infrastructure could not be an ideal fit. Although time has passed since then, recently, Turkey has been through civil unrest and protests in reaction issues of freedom of expression in the past year which also creates room for hesitation for the EU.

Former European commissioner Frits Bolkestein took the issue of Turkey and The EU and simply put it as “too big, too poor, too different.” If integrated, Turkeys open border would allow people to travel between Turkey and other EU nations and such immigration could create problems for member states. Turkey borders Syria, Iraq and Iran and also holds a large territory, which leaves the EU a sense of uneasiness with security. Turkey today is a population of 75,226,000 and is a large part of Europe. Allowing a state with such a large population to the EU would hand over a lot of strength and power away from the EU and create hegemony within the EU and European Parliament. To also keep in mind, Turkey has recently opened its borders to Syrian refugees in the wake of the civil unrest in Syria. This gives the EU room for concern with security issues resulting from all the violence in neighboring Syria and the large amount of refugees entering its borders that could spread to other parts of Europe.  

Political affiliation, religious and ethnic identity and security threats are all variables to consider when thinking of another enlargement in Europe’s time.  A common set of norms and values have already been established within the European Union with the past five enlargements and givens Turkeys consistent struggle with internal and external affairs, it may not see expansion in the next ten years. 

The 411 on International Development: Politics edition

Secretary General Ban-Ki moon visited Estonia and emphasized the importance of technology to sustainable development. Mr. Ban remarked, “You are emerging invigorated from the global economic downturn. You are a global leader in a new wave of technology that is changing the face of the world,” Innovation in technology could really boost the status of Estonia and improve stability for the country. Technology improves the quality of life, creates jobs, and expands education amongst other positive outcomes. The Secretary General also stated,  “It is clear that science and technology are central to promoting progress – from climate change to public health; from food security to sanitation; from good governance to disaster preparedness,” 

Germany has made clear in the recent weeks of the resistance for Turkey to join the EU. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the coalition government are opposed to full membership and would prefer a ‘privileged partnership’ with the country. This reaction comes after Turkey and the EU have resumed talks to open negotiations concerning their membership status, which has lulled since 2005.

The UN has agreed to cooperate with EU with regard to Kosovo. Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, Serbia or Belgrade have not recognized the country. Ethnic tension has created problems in this region of Europe. The UN and EU are attempting to facilitate cooperation in the government and elections to ensure all parties are fairly represented.  During the process of elections there were attacks in polling stations against citizens and officers. The integration of Kosovo Serbs is important in order to facilitate peace and stability.   

Book Recommendation: Woman at Point Zero

“This journey to a place unknown to everybody on this earth fills me with pride. All my life I have been searching for something that would fill me with pride, make me feel superior to everyone else including kings, princes and rulers” begins the intriguing story of Firdaus by Nawal El Saadawi.  Woman at Point Zero tales the tale of a courageous woman with a powerful voice and story, illustrating that a women’s body is a cherished resource directly correlated with power. This novel showcases the injustices women face both in the bedroom and in Egyptian society at the time, concluding that all men are criminals and even women are accessories to these crimes. Saadawi presents a fictional character of herself as a psychiatrist who learns the story of Firdaus the day before she is executed and indulges on the true suffering role of women in Egyptian society by embarking on Firdaus’s journey. Thus, I believe this to be a must read for all my followers.

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 In Arabic “Firdaus” means Paradise and the character presented in this novel finds her paradise through her death sentence, going to her death as a free and fearless women. The journey of Firdaus life and struggle through prostitution is a powerful account of how a women’s body is depicted as a treasured resource in society. It can be concluded from this novel that a problem within Egyptian society at the time is this incredible resource women have and the demand for power over it. Saadawi showcases this through Firdaus many sexual encounters. 

Firdaus character delves into the world of sexual abuse beginning right within her family and that at this point in the novel is where the readers begin to see the diminishment of power and the emergence of suppression. The introduction of her uncle’s sexual interest in her indicated her lack of control over herself and the beginning of a long journey filled with hunger for equality. Firdaus describes this as “A part of me, of my being, was gone and would never return.” Prostitution, readers will learn, will fill the void where she once had control of herself.  

The hunger for power, equality, love and affection is prominent throughout the story of Firdaus. Firdaus comes from a working class rural family where poverty is a large and this hunger is real. Growing up with a family background like this allows the author Saadawi and her fictional psychiatrist character to really understand children who grow up in families like this in Egypt at the time can relate to the emotional dilemma’s Firdaus has. The author Saadawi utilizes her fictional character and the fictional character of Firdaus to explain how many women in Egypt at the time can have a similar fate as Firdaus. 

The introduction of her uncle in the book and his sexual interest in her is important to the consistent notion Firdaus has that all men are criminals, in the bedroom and in society. Firdaus’s uncle clearly takes advantage of her as a young child but grows to be a definite example of how men value power and the role of women is merely as a wife or sex object. From the sexual molestation, Firdaus learns to believe that men own a women’s body. When he marries his wife, it is for his job and his need to climb up the social ladder. He becomes a civil servant and gains the power that he wants. His marriage was merely a social benefit and Firdaus was merely a sexual benefit, a disappointing realization only feeding into the belief that sex and power are directly correlated. 

Surprisingly enough, although he molested her, her uncle provided Firdaus an opportunity to have a proper education and a better chance at life. She was allowed the pride to have an education.  Perhaps Saadawi introduced the character of Miss Iqbal at a fitting time, a break from the injustices Firdaus was experiencing. Miss Iqbal gives the readers a moment where Firdaus feels happiness again. The feeling of pleasure returning at the introduction of a woman character makes it an interesting moment in Firdausi’s journey. At a young age, Firdaus was taken from her the feeling of pleasure with a circumcision so the introduction of this character allows the reader to see her pleased in another light. Saadawi makes a remarkable point to the readers that injustices were not coming from just men but woman as well. Firdaus has survived her circumcision, death of her mom and abuse from her uncle’s wife.  Firdaus’s mom let the circumcision happen. Her uncle’s wife abused her physically. Miss Iqbal is a time in the book where Firdaus is provided the happiness and warmth and love from a woman she had not experienced. This same happiness has not been mentioned since the childhood happiness from when she was with Mahmood, “I could feel it somewhere, like a part of my being which had been born with me when I was born, but had not grown with me when I had grown4.”  The women in her life allowed for men to be the power hungry and cruel men that they are therefore are accessories to the crime men commit. 

 Woman at Point Zero provides Saadawi a platform where she uses the tale of Firdausi’s prostitution to make a larger political statement on real world issues. It is very clear that Egyptian woman, such as Firdaus, are faced with oppression from power hungry men by controlling their sexuality. However what Saadawi does a extraordinary job of is showcasing woman as equal contributors to their own oppression. After Firdaus flees from the husband she was introduced to by her oppressing uncles abusing wife, she meets Sharifa who pimps Firdaus. Sharifa encompasses sex and power in her job by making power out of the weakness men have for a woman’s body. This twisted possession of power brings Firdaus to her first real taste of power through the money she makes from prostitution. The role of hunger in her life has reversed from her childhood. Originally, she craved love and affection but through prostitution she now feeds off of men’s hunger for her sexually and the power to reject them. This perverted fairytale abruptly ends when pimp Marzouk threatens her with a knife but Firdaus ends up stabbing him to death – somehow satisfying the need to control her own fate. 

What makes this a book to marvel about is that Saadawi pinpoints women’s oppression as not to just blame the men in Egyptian culture, but the woman who accept and feed into the oppression. The lack of security and protection for woman in Egyptian society at the time is more than just in the prostitution world but also found in everyday life. Firdaus was snatched the opportunity to be pleased in life, sexually through surgery, but also socially thanks to the cultural ideology that oppression of women is a norm. At the end of the day, Firdaus’s story is one of a woman wronged from the start of her life. Firdaus did not fear her execution because she dies as a free woman with true power over the system executing her. Nawal El Saadawi introduced to the readers a vibrant and powerful story and I had to share this read to all my travel enthusiast and bloggers.

Travel Destination: Dubai, UAE

When you think islands and resorts and palm beaches, the first place in your head may not be the Middle East. But add the United Arab Emirates to your bucket list because it sure is on mine. 

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Photos courtesy of Issaq Gass who traveled this past summer to the UAE.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates is quickly rising to become one of the world’s fasting growing tourist destinations – equipped with warm weather, beautiful hotels, pristine beaches. In the 1980’s, Dubai Rulers focused on westernizing the region and furthering its dependency on oil in the region but instead investing heavily on real estate and land – where oil is only about 7% of it’s total revenue.

Dubai had a huge boom in 2003 with a large flux of foreign investors after the opening of Dubai Internet City. From this emerged places like  Burj Khalifa – tallest building in the world  and the Dubai Marina all of which have increased tourism revenue immensely in this city.

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Dubai Marina

  • Dubai is becoming one of the largest up and coming sports destination – hosting the Abu Dubai Golf Championship, Red Bull Air Race, and Formula One Grand Prix
  • Burj Khalifa is the tallest man made structure 
  • Make sure you go up (if you’re not afraid of hights) the Burj Khalifa and look at the 360 view of Dubai from this beautiful structure
  • Amazing shopping at the Dubai Mall
  • Spend about 3 hours at the Dubai Aquarium you won’t want to miss it

Dubai sits up with other large cities like London, Tokyo and Paris. So why not Dubai next?