Upcoming Teach In: Ebola and Global Health

There will be a Teach-In on Ebola and Global Health, Thursday, September 18th, from 4 – 5:30 pm in Lincoln Hall room 1092.  

Sponsored by the Center for African Studies, the Center for Global Studies, the UIUC Global Health Initiative, and the University YMCA, the teach-in will include expert panelists and will focus on Ebola and its impact on global health.

Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Gay Miller – Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology
  • Dr. Barry Pittenrigh – Professor in the Department of Entomology and Director of Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO)
  • Christian Martyn Kamara – National General Secretary and Chief Executive Office of the YMCA in Sierra Leone
  • Mabinty Tarawallie, MSW – Sierra Leone National and recent graduate from the University of Illinois School of Social Work

In preparation for this event, this blog post will break down some important information about the Ebola virus.

The worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history is taking place in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, with a current total of 3,967 suspected and current cases.  The CDC reports the current number of deaths (as of September 5th, 2014) at 2,105.  Ebola is described by Doctors Without Borders as “one of the world’s most deadly diseases,”  and the mortality rate for the current outbreak of 53% makes it all the more terrifying for the communities who find themselves at risk of infection.

The History

The first discovery of the Ebola virus occurred with an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Zaire (which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Sudan in 1976.  These first outbreaks had approximately 300 cases in each country, with 88% of cases leading to death.  The virus is named after the Ebola River, which is close to the first site of infection in Zaire.  There are five different strains of the Ebola virus. These include Bundibugyo, Ivory Coast, Reston, Sudan and Zaire, and are named after their places of origin. All but the Reston Ebola virus are dangerous to humans.  According to the CDC, there have been 31 outbreaks of Ebola, including all five strains, since the original 1976 outbreak.  The average number of reported human cases for each of these outbreaks is 56.

The Virus

Ebola is spread through the direct contact of bodily fluids.  It can be carried and transmitted by animals and humans.  Transmission of the virus is only possible after the infected person begins to show symptoms. It is believed that fruit bats may be a natural host for the virus, and other animals such as primates can also carry the virus and could be the cause of human contraction.

Since the beginning symptoms of Ebola are the same as many other diseases, it is difficult to initially diagnose the disease without a laboratory test.

While several vaccines are being tested for Ebola virus, there are currently no clinically available medications for the disease.  Current treatment for the disease includes administering fluids through IV and treating the symptoms, such as balancing electrolytes and maintaining blood pressure.

The Fear Factor

The fear surrounding the Ebola outbreak is having negative impacts on the health systems in affected countries, making a very bad situation even worse.  One of these impacts is that people are avoiding health care centers because of the concern of contracting Ebola.  This means that individuals suffering from non-Ebola-related health problems are going untreated because they are afraid of contracting the Ebola virus.  This is a huge problem since Ebola is far from the biggest health concern affecting people in West Africa.  This graph from Humanosphere shows that the deaths from neglected tropical diseases and Malaria far outstretch the deaths from Ebola in 2014. But the panic surrounding the Ebola outbreak is overshadowing the urgent health concerns posed by other diseases, causing individuals who need medical care to avoid treatment.

Due to the high levels of publicity that Ebola has garnered in the international media, the irrational alarm surrounding the Ebola outbreak has become a worldwide issue.  According to a recent poll by the Harvard School of Public Health, 39 percent of Americans are concerned that there could be a large Ebola outbreak in the United States.  The mode of transmission for Ebola (only through the direct contact of bodily fluids) makes it extremely unlikely to pose a threat to countries as far away from the affected areas as the United States. In fact, Jay M. Bernhardt, Professor & Founding Director of the Center for Health Communication  at the University of Texas at Austin has stated that the odds of someone living in the U.S. contracting Ebola are “about the same as being struck and killed by a meteor: essentially zero.”

Some experts believe that the international anxiety that has arisen in response to the Ebola outbreak is doing more harm than good for those in the affected regions.  Despite the fact that the World Health Organization has recommended that flights to affected regions remain operational, many international airlines have cancelled flights to these areas.  Not only does the quarantine of borders and cancellation of flights keep health workers and aid from those in need, it has the additional consequence of creating food shortages in the affected countries.

The Current Situation

Although the concern of the virus spreading to the world population may be inflated, the Ebola outbreak is an urgent medical concern for the world community to address. Health workers who are treating the virus are at the most serious risk of infection.  In fact, more than 120 medical workers have contracted the disease, according to WHO. The reason that health workers are at such risk of infection is the lack of protective equipment and adequate facilities to support infection control.  The countries being most heavily affected by the virus (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) do not have adequate facilities or staff to deal with existing cases and prevent the spread of the disease.

This is why UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued an “international rescue call,” requesting a surge in worldwide assistance to deal with the Ebola outbreak.  Part of the international response, in addition to supplies and aid, must include an effort to combat misinformation about the disease.  But most importantly, the international response must be grounded in scientific evidence and must strive to combat the fear and stigma that is so widespread surrounding the Ebola outbreak.

Interested in learning more about the Ebola outbreak? Check out the following sources:

Web Resources

CDC – 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa

WHO – Ebola Virus Disease

Doctors without Borders – Ebola Emergency

CDC – Outbreaks Chronology: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

Microbe Wiki – Ebola Virus

Infographic from the CDC

Africa Focus – Updates on Ebola

News Articles

WHO: Ebola ‘an international emergency’ – BBC News

Ebola virus: Nine things to know about the killer disease – CNN.com

Ebola Outbreak Precautions – In Pictures

How the Ebola Outbreak Compares to Other Killers – Humanosphere

Ban issues ‘international rescue call’ to halt Ebola epidemic – UN News Centre

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals & Databases)

Bausch, D. G., & Schwarz, L. (2014, July). Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea: Where Ecology Meets Economy. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. pp. 1-5.

Check Hayden, E. (2014). World struggles to stop Ebola. Nature512(7515), 355-356.

Ying, CHENG, Yu, LI and Hong Jie, YU. (2014) Ebola Virus Disease: General Characteristics, Thoughts, and Perspectives. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences. 27(8): 651-3.

Books at UIUC Libraries

Hewlett, Barry S.,Hewlett, Bonnie L. (2008). Ebola, culture, and politics :the anthropology of an emerging disease. Belmont, CA : Thomson Higher Education.

Preston, Richard. (2008). Panic in level 4: cannibals, killer viruses, and other journeys to the edge of scienceNew York : Random House.

Webber, R. (2004). Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Control: A Global Perspective. Wallingford : CABI.

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Graduate Minor in Global Studies Information Sessions!

Interested in expanding your disciplinary and professional vision as well as your job prospects? The Graduate Minor in Global Studies enables MA, PhD and professional school students to gain a deeper understanding of the processes of globalization. The Minor builds on students’ disciplinary and professional knowledge base to integrate their specialized skills within the broader intellectual, and public policy demands of the challenges confronting the world’s populations today.

Upcoming Student Information Sessions

For more information on the Graduate Minor and associated course
requirements, please attend one of the following informational meetings:

Thursday, September 11, 4-5 pm
Monday, September 15, 4-5 pm
Friday, September 19, 12-1 pm

All sessions will be held in Room 101 of the International Studies Building.

Refreshments will be served!

For more information contact:
Center for Global Studies
global-studies@illinois.edu * 217-265-5186

Visit our web site:

http://cgs.illinois.edu/global-studies-graduate-minor

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Transcending Nationalities: The “Global Imaginary” Seen Through Visual Culture

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Images are active players in the game of establishing and changing values. They are capable of introducing new values into the world and thus of threatening old ones.  J.T. Mitchell, 2005.

The concept of “global imaginary,” as coined by Manfred Steger, refers to the consciousness of belonging to a global community – a consciousness that has emerged in recent decades with the rapid rise of communication technologies and the decline of nation-based political ideologies. The concept builds on Benedict Anderson’s theories of “imagined communities,” but while Anderson used the term to refer to shared ideologies within nations, Steger posits that globalization is breaking down the imagined walls of nationhood and bringing about “a shared sense of a thickening world community.”  Steger insists that in order to understand and solve the great global problems of our time, we must first understand the “global imaginary” and all that it represents.

One artist and scholar has focused on visual culture as a way to understand the concept of “global imaginary.”  Tommaso Durante’s project, the Visual Archive Project of the Global Imaginary, explores the visual evidence, through photographs, of the cultural changes happening worldwide as a result of globalization.  Images are powerful conveyors of information. They carry a wealth of embedded knowledge about culture, values, and ideology. And Durante explains how, “due to the global spread of new media technologies, the massive uses of personal electronic devices and the development of intelligent architectural interfaces, visuality is increasingly eclipsing textuality and images, with their ‘surplus of value’, dominate the world.”  Indeed, if we look at how social media, with its image-heavy and text-sparse format, has become a unifying and polarizing force in the world, we can see how important visual culture is to the social forces that shape global society.

The photographs in Durante’s archive cover the cultural, political, and ideological dimensions of the “global imaginary.”  The photographs encompassing the cultural dimension are full of people, advertisements, storefronts, public spaces, and symbols that represent merging nationalities and ideologies.  The Apple logo is seen prominently displayed in a modern glass shopping center in East Shanghai, and then on a sign in from of an “iShop” housed in a beautiful historic building in Rome.  Through the images, we see how symbols and cultural icons stretch across the boundaries of nations and create a shared global visual landscape.  The images also venture into the political dimension, showing protest movements in the U.S. and Chile.  The ideological dimension shows advertisements and promotional imagery that deliberately make use of the the globe or words like “global” and “international” to produce a sense of shared meaning and influence cultural identities.

The archive may just be one artist’s perspective of the visual culture of globalization, but it is nonetheless a compelling portrait of the ways in which globalization is inciting a shared sense of meaning and belonging among global citizens.  The collection is a powerful illustration of the concept of the “global imaginary,” adding a visual dimension to Steger’s theory and, if Durante’s intentions come to fruition, serving as a historical archive of the process of globalization.

Learn more about globalization and the “global imaginary” with the resources below!

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals & Databases)

Benedikter, Roland;  Ziveri, Davide.  (2014). The global imaginary, new media and sociopolitical innovation in the periphery: the practical case of an Internet-based empowerment project in Palestine and Israel. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 28:4.

Crang M. (2010). The death of great ships: photography, politics, and waste in the global imaginary. Environment and Planning A, 42:5, 1084 – 1102.

Durante, Tommasso. (2014). Visual Culture and Globalization: The Visual Archive Project of the Global Imaginary. Global-E Journal, 8.

Ojala, M. (2011). MEDIATING GLOBAL IMAGINARY. Journalism Studies, 12:5.

Steger, Manfred B.  (2009). The Rise of the Global Imaginary and the Persistence of Ideology. Global-E Journal, 3. 

Books

Anderson, Benedict O’G. (1991). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London : Verso.

Baldacchino, John,Vella, Raphael. (Eds.) (2013). Mediterranean art and education: navigating local, regional and global imaginaries through the lens of the arts and learning.  Rotterdam, The Netherlands : Sense Publishers.

Djelic, Marie-Laure.Quack, Sigrid. (Eds.) (2010). Transnational communities: shaping global economic governance. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Krätke, Stefan, Wildner, Kathrin,  Lanz, Stephan. (Eds.) (2012). Transnationalism and urbanism. New York, NY : Routledge.

Shavit, Uriya. (2009). The new imagined community: global media and the construction of national and Muslim identities of migrants. Brighton [England] : Sussex Academic Press.

Steger, Manfred B.. (2008). The rise of the global imaginary: political ideologies from the French Revolution to the global war on terror. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Vertovec, Steven. (2009). Transnationalism. London : Routledge.

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Public Procurement of Food: Should Governments Buy Local?

By U.S. Department of Agriculture (CRYP Produce) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In all areas of the world, governments spend a lot of money on food.  Governments need food for schools, hospitals, prisons, universities, and many other types of public institutions.  According to a recent UN briefing, for example, the UK spends approximately $3 billion on public food procurement per year.  Governments also spend money on food for various types of food aid programs.  For instance, in 2010-2011, almost 3% of India’s federal expenditures went to food subsidies or direct food aid.  Almost all high-income countries have school lunch programs, and 70 out of the 108 low- and middle-income countries of the world have some sort of school food program.  Since governments purchase such large amounts of food, they have the ability to control not only the quality of the food purchased, but the source of the food.  This presents a great opportunity for governments to support local food producers, fight hunger, and ensure that the food provided in public venues is high-quality and nutritious.

Several nations are already taking advantage of this opportunity.  Brazil’s Food Acquisition Programme (Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos, PAA) is one example of how government procurement can benefit local farmers and provide food to those in need.  The program’s goal is to provide food to members of the population who are facing “food and nutritional insecurity.”   Between 2003 and 2008, Brazil spent $1 billion on locally-grown food for the program, and the food was donated to 16.8 million people.  This program, while not without challenges, provides local farmers with a sales venue for their crops, spurs production and consumption of local foods, and provides nutritious foods for those who might otherwise go without.

Another example of a successful local food procurement program is Rome, Italy’s school meal program.  Introduced in 2001, the ALL FOR QUALITY principles provide a guideline for food procurement that focuses on “best value” of the food companies contracted, rather than lowest price as is usual for U.S. public food contracts.  The Rome school system, unlike U.S. schools which generally contract to one large food company, contracts with several smaller local food companies, maintaining a competitive bidding system that ensures higher quality.  The contracts given to local food producers are based on a 100-point system.  51 points are allotted for price of food, whereas the other 49 are for infrastructural considerations that support food quality.  The quality of the food is based on place of origin, organic products, and fair trade.  This system not only supports local food companies, but has raised the quality of school food in Rome considerably by creating a competitive market for local food based on important aspects of food quality.  While Italy seems to be leading the way in locally-sourced school food programs, Scotland, Japan, the United States, France, and Canada all have deployed recent programs which utilize local producers and attempt to increase nutritional value in school food.

Local food procurement empowers local food producers, benefits programs that feed the hungry, and increases the nutritional quality of food served in public institutions.  But that’s not all.  Governments can use their food procurement powers to buy only from local suppliers who use sustainable food production methods.  Sustainable production methods are those that use low-carbon or low-external-input modes of production.  Also, buying seasonally and locally reduces the “ecological footprint” of food being produced.  So, local public food procurement can have a really positive impact on the environment in addition to its multitude of societal benefits.

Check out the sources below for more information on public food procurement!

News and Opinions

Third World Network – Public Procurement and the Right to Food

UK National Audit Office – Smarter food procurement in the public sector

The World Bank – A Decade of Learning: Building a Public Procurement Community of Practice

All Africa – Tunisia: Reform of Public Procurement System Under Focus

The Washington Post – Guess how many memos USDA sent to schools about healthy school lunches?

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC E-Journals)

Davies, I., & Riley, J. (2005). Drive to give farmers a slice of public sector food budget. Farmers Weekly, 142(10), 12.

He, C., Perez-Cueto, F., Mikkelsen, B. (2014). Do attitudes, intentions and actions of school food coordinators regarding public organic food procurement policy improve the eating environment at school? Results from the iPOPY study. Public Health Nutrition, 17(6), 1299-1307.

Morgan, Kevin. (2008). Greening the Realm: Sustainable Food Chains and the Public Plate, Regional Studies, 42(9), p. 1246.

Sonnino, R. (2009). Quality food, public procurement, and sustainable development: the school meal revolution in Rome. Environment & Planning A, 41(2), 425-440.

Books at UIUC Libraries

Biénabe, Estelle, Peppelenbos, Lucian Peter Christoph. (Eds.) (2011). Reconnecting markets: innovative global practices in connecting small-scale producers with dynamic food markets. Farnham : Gower.

Marsden, Terry. (Eds.) (2014). Sustainable food systems: building a new paradigmLondon, New York : Routledge.

McCullough, Ellen B., Pingali, Prabhu L., Stamoulis, Kostas G. (Eds.) (2008). The transformation of agri-food systems :globalization, supply chains and smallholder farmers. Rome : Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Morgan, Kevin, Sonnino, Roberta. (2008). The school food revolution: public food and the challenge of sustainable development. London : Earthscan.

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Net Neutrality: Past Rulings and Future Debate

This week, the FCC ruled 3-2 to release a new proposal on net neutrality, which will be opened for comment from the public.  In light of the lively debate that is already starting on this issue, it’s important to understand how the concept of net neutrality has been established in the United States over the past decade.

History of rulings on Net Neutrality

In 2005, the FCC agreed upon the following four principles of “open internet.”

  • Consumers have the right to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • Consumers have the right to use the services and applications of their choice.
  • Consumers have the right to use their choice of devices to access the Internet, as long as said devices do not harm the network.
  • Consumers are entitled to competition among service, application, network, and content providers

The 2005 principles of “open internet” represent the basic tenets of net neutrality.

In 2010, the FCC released the Open Internet Order, which laid out rules for maintaining net neutrality.  The ruling established three important rules for Internet service providers:

  • Transparency – Network providers must make publicly available their network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their contracts.
  • No Blocking – Network providers may not block any lawful content from consumers.  This is important because it keeps network providers from blocking sites or applications from their users that compete with their services.
  • No Unreasonable Discrimination – Network providers cannot discriminate in transmitting network traffic, as long as it is lawful.

However, in Verizon v. FCC in January, 2014, two out of these three rules were rescinded.  Stating that Internet service providers are not common carriers, and therefore are outside of the FCC’s realm of authority, the ruling claims that the FCC cannot impose the rules of net neutrality on Internet providers.  This ruling is seen by proponents of net neutrality as detrimental to the principles of open internet.  While the ruling did not comment on the validity of the rules themselves, it made the 2010 Open Internet Order unenforceable by the FCC.

What’s happening now?

There has been a large public outcry against the Verizon v. FCC ruling, since it is seen by many consumers as a huge step backwards for net neutrality.  The January ruling has the potential to allow Internet service providers to essentially govern the Internet as suits their commercial interests.

The latest proposal by the FCC for creating new rules for net neutrality has also raised concerns that corporate interests are being placed ahead of the principles of open internet.  The proposed rules allow for “commercially reasonable” behavior by Internet service providers to regulate Internet content.  This provision could allow content providers to pay for “fast lanes” of service for certain content, which opponents say would discriminate against slower content.  The possibility that the newly proposed rules could allow for discrimination of Internet content by providers led to a rally of protesters outside of FCC offices as the ruling took place.  But those on the other side of the debate, namely the Internet service providers themselves, claim that the new proposed rules introduce too much regulation, and will inhibit innovation in the Internet industry.  The ruling has strong political implications in the Congress as lawmakers consider future action.

The encouraging part of the proposal for both sides of the debate is its designation of a four-month period to accept public comments on the issue.  Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, says that this call for comments is intended to open a conversation between lawmakers and the public to ensure that the new ruling upholds the tenets of net neutrality.  The next four months will surely see some lively arguments on the subject of net neutrality, and the forthcoming decisions by the FCC will be important to the future of Internet regulation in the United States.

Check out the resources below to learn more about net neutrality!

**Want to file a comment to the FCC on net neutrality? Here’s the FCC’s information on how to comment.**

News and Opinions

F.C.C. Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate – The New York Times

Amid protests, U.S. FCC proposes new ‘net neutrality’ rules – Reuters

The real battle for net neutrality just began – The Verge

Demand Progress – Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality an Oxymoron as FCC Decides Winners and Losers – Bloomberg

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC E-Journals)

Bauer, J. M., & Obar, J. A. (2014). Reconciling Political and Economic Goals in the Net Neutrality Debate. Information Society30(1), 1-19.

Boliek, B. L. (2011). FCC Regulations Versus Antitrust: How Net Neutrality is Defining the Boundaries. Boston College Law Review52(5), 1627-1686.

Kramer, Jan, Wiewiorra, Lukas, Weinhardt, Christof. (2013). Net Neutrality: A progress report. Telecommunications Policy, 37, 794-813.

Pogue, D. (2014). The Great Net Debate. Scientific American310(4), 36.

Books at the UIUC Libraries

Guadamuz, Andrés. (2011). Networks, complexity and internet regulation: scale-free law. Cheltenham, UK : Edward Elgar.

Nunziato, Dawn C. (2009). Virtual freedom :net neutrality and free speech in the Internet ageStanford, Calif. : Stanford Law Books.

Stiegler, Zachary. (Eds.) (2013). Regulating the Web :network neutrality and the fate of the open Internet. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Zelnick, Robert, Zelnick, Eva. (2013). The illusion of net neutrality: political alarmism, regulatory creep, and the real threat to Internet freedomStanford, CA : Hoover Institution Press.

 

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World Press Freedom Day 2014

World Press Freedom Index 2014 map: “freedom of the press worldwide.” (By Reporters Without Borders)

The Importance of Free Press

Saturday, May 3rd marks World Press Freedom Day 2014. This event, organized by UNESCO, presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the importance of free press and intellectual freedom, and the great impact that these issues have on creating a world with just and corruption-free governance.  The role of journalism is to bring issues of government, culture, science, environment, and society into the public light – to inform the people and hopefully to spark dialogues that include the diverse public into the process of shaping public policy.  A UNESCO press release explains that a free news media not only helps in policy shaping but also leads to the reduction of poverty through intellectual empowerment and increased mobility of groups that can be disproportionately affected by poverty, such as women and youth.

Global Obstacles to Free Press

In order to provide this service, journalists and the news media need to be free to report the news truthfully. In many places around the world, journalists do not have this freedom.  UNESCO reports that journalists face obstacles including censorship, arrest, and even threats of physical harm and death.  It is the goal of organizations such as Reporters without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, and many more, to protect the rights of journalists and raise awareness about the threats to press freedom that exist in the world.

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2014 ranks countries based on pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency,  and infrastructure.  The United States has fallen thirteen places on the list in the past year, currently residing in 46th place.  This change is largely due to the government’s efforts to increase security and track down whistleblowers and leaks. These actions by the government, according to Reporters Without Borders, inhibit journalists from revealing information to the public that may be in the interest of the public good.  Other countries have fallen on the list because of armed conflict. These countries include Lebanon and Iraq (due to the conflict in neighboring Syria), and Mali, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (due to the activities of guerrilla and terrorist groups in the region). In some cases, organized crime is a danger to journalists and has caused a decline in press freedom in certain countries, most notably Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Improving Press Freedom for the Future

Increasing press freedom is a major goal of the UN’s Post-2015 Development Goals.  Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”  The 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols Additional 1 and 2 to the Geneva Conventions also include provisions for press freedom.  These international agreements create a powerful impetus for countries around the world to keep striving for greater press freedom and to keep assessing the ways that journalists and reporters are treated.

Additional Organizations

ARTICLE 19 is an international human rights organisation which defends and promotes freedom of expression and freedom of information all over the world.

The Ethical Journalism Initiative website is a new campaign to rekindle old values in media worldwide, launched by the International Federation of Journalists.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) is a press advocacy group representing media organizations in North America, South America and the Caribbean.

The International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) is a global network of around 90 non-governmental organisations that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) is a coalition of news organisations, journalist support groups and individuals exclusively dedicated to the safety of news media staff working in dangerous environments.

International Press Institute is the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, dedicated to freedom of the press and improving the standards and practices of journalism.

News and Websites

Tadias – World Free Press Day 2014

UNESCO – Free Media Contribute to Good Governance, Empowerment and Eradicating Poverty

UNESCO Freedom of Expression Toolkit – A Guide for Students

Press freedom in the digital age: new threats, new challenges – The Council of Europe’s Commissioner: Human Rights Comment

Webcast of the UN Briefing for World Press Freedom Day 2014 – May 1, 2014

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC E-journals)

Policinski, G. (2012). A Free Press? It’s Not That Simple. Insights On Law & Society12(3), 4-7.

THEMUDO, N. S. (2013). Reassessing the Impact of Civil Society: Nonprofit Sector, Press Freedom, and Corruption. Governance26(1), 63-89. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0491.2012.01602.x

Books at the UIUC Library

Czepek, Andrea.; Hellwig, Melanie; Nowak, Eva. (Eds.) (2009). Press freedom and pluralism in Europe :concepts and conditionsBristol, UK: Intellect.

Knightley, Phillip. (2004) The first casualty :the war correspondent as hero and myth-maker from the Crimea to Iraq Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press,

Price, Monroe E.,; Abbott, Susan; Morgan, Libby. (Eds.) (2011). Measures of press freedom and media contributions to development: evaluating the evaluatorsNew York : Peter Lang.

Siegel, Paul. (2014). Communication law in America. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield.

Smith, Dean C.. (2013).  A theory of shield laws :journalists, their sources, and popular constitutionalismEl Paso : LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC.

Wasserman, Herman. (Eds.) (2013). Press freedom in Africa :comparative perspectivesLondon : Routledge.

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IDEALS: Disseminating and Preserving Illinois Scholarship

What is IDEALS?

The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, known as IDEALS, is a service at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign that preserves and provides access to a wide body of faculty, staff and student publications and research.  The mission of IDEALS is to provide access and preservation of the works of U of I members, and to give those works the “maximum possible recognition.”  IDEALS was created in 2004 to address the problem of how to archive and preserve the work of the university’s members in light of the massive shift toward digital publishing that was taking place.

Benefits of Institutional Repositories

When scholarship is deposited into IDEALS, the descriptive information (metadata) that is provided by the depositor is not only used in the IDEALS repository for searching and retrieval but is made available to outside services, such as Google Scholar. By making U of I scholarship openly accessible to outside users, IDEALS hopes to increase the impact of the scholarly work taking place at Illinois, which not only furthers the university mission of the dissemination of knowledge but brings professional benefits to the individuals who produce the work.

Another benefit that IDEALS provides is the commitment to preserve the scholarly works that are part of its collections.  The process of digital preservation is extremely important in the swiftly changing technological world that today’s scholarship exists within.  In order to maintain the viability of the digital files that make up the repository, IDEALS adheres to a complicated digital preservation policy, which must remain compliant to accepted standards for digital preservation, the most important of which is the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model.  Because of IDEALS’ strict observance of the international standards for digital preservation, the creators that submit their work to the IDEALS repository can be confident that their work will be available and accessible for many years to come.

Copyright Issues

There are two main types of open access publishing for research articles.  “Green” OA refers to publishing in open access repositories; “gold” OA refers to publishing in open access journals. The main difference between these two types of open access publishing is that “gold” OA is a more structured process involving peer review and the traditional editing process found in journal publishing.  Some OA journals require the author to pay a fee in order to publish, and others use subsidies from their host institution. “Green” OA, on the other hand, does not involve a peer review process, and might contain peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed work.

Since IDEALS is an open access repository (an example of “green” OA), it allows individual creators to retain the copyright of their deposited works.  But what if the article being deposited has already been published in a copyright-protected journal?  When scholars publish in most journals, they must sign over their copyright to do so.  This is a complicated issue, and can definitely be an obstacle for making work available in an institutional repository.  Many journals allow authors to publish their “pre-print” work to an IR, which is essentially the author’s first draft of a work before it has been peer-reviewed and edited.   Some journals, however, support “green” OA and will allow authors to deposit their work into and OA repository.

IDEALS describes its purpose as “a complement to traditional scholarly publishing.”  In other words, it does not aim to inhibit the process of traditional journal publishing, but rather wishes to provide a secondary option to authors that allows them to make their work openly available.  For instance, IDEALS informs authors that they may have the option in their contract when publishing in a journal to retain rights for the depositing of the work into an institutional repository.  Just by educating authors about their options, IDEALS is helping to make sure that Illinois scholarship is made available and disseminated as widely as possible.

Now you know what IDEALS is – go check it out! 

You can use IDEALS to find scholarship about topics you might be interested in, or maybe you have some of your own work you’d like to deposit.  You can find out how at Getting Started with IDEALS.  Either way, all members of the University of Illinois community should take advantage of the opportunity to take part in the community of scholarship available through IDEALS.

Further information about Open Access and Institutional Repositories

International Open Access Repositories and Directories

Scientific Electronic Library Online (SCIELO) – a directory of open access scientific repositories focusing on developing countries and regions.

OpenDOAR - Listings of open access repositories around the world.

Websites

Open Access Overview – Peter Suber (Includes great explanation for “green” vs. “gold” OA)

PLOS – The Case for Open Access

SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) – Open Access

Sherpa/RoMEO - a database of copyright information for journals.

Scholarly Articles (Accessed through UIUC E-Journals)

Casey, A. M. (2012). Does Tenure Matter? Factors Influencing Faculty Contributions to Institutional Repositories. Journal Of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication1(1), 1-11.

Cullen, Rowena, Chawner, Brnda. (2011). Institutional Repositories, Open Access, and Scholarly Communication: A Study of Conflicting Paradigms. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 37(6), 460-470.

Kennison, R., Shreeves, S. L., & Harnad, S. (2013). Point & Counterpoint: The Purpose of Institutional Repositories: Green OA or Beyond? Journal Of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication(4), 1-7.

Books at UIUC Libraries

Crawford, Walt. (2011). Open access: what you need to know nowChicago : American Library Association.

Jones, Catherine. (2007). Institutional repositories: content and culture in an open access environment. Oxford : handos.

Nabe, Jonathan A.. (2010). Starting, strengthening, and managing institutional repositories :a how-to-do-it-manual. New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Suber, Peter. (2012) Open access. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press.

 

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Preserving Cultural Heritage: A Worldwide Cooperative Effort

 

Our cultural and natural heritage is an irreplaceable source of life and inspiration. It is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.

–UK National Commission for UNESCO

Since the conclusion of World War II, the effort to preserve important sites of national and cultural heritage has been a priority for hundreds of nations around the world. According to UNESCO, “Cultural heritage refers to monuments, groups of buildings and sites with historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. Natural heritage refers to outstanding physical, biological and geological formations, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants and areas with scientific, conservation or aesthetic value” (2008).

The preservation of cultural and national heritage becomes excessively important during times of turmoil or war, when many times important sites and objects are lost.  Recently, for instance, archives in Sarajevo were burned due to violent political protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The documents lost included archives from the Ottoman empire, archives from the period of 1878-1918, as well as documents from the war crimes committee after World War II. The current war in Syria is also resulting in the damage and destruction of many cultural heritage sites.  The Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology is one Syrian group that has emerged from these events to document threats against important archaeological sites in the country and raise awareness about their preservation. The organization Heritage for Peace and the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield have released a “No Strike” list of twenty of the most important cultural heritage sites in Syria which they are asking any armed forced involved in conflict to avoid.  In addition to war, cultural heritage can also be threatened by natural disasters, such as the earthquake in the Phillipines in October, 2013, which not only resulted in the loss of many lives but also in the destruction of some significant heritage landmarks.  

The preservation of cultural heritage is not merely a suggestion, however.  It is an obligation that 126 countries of the world are bound to uphold through international agreements. The first international treaty protecting cultural and national heritage sites was the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954). The Hague Convention requires states to protect cultural property during war.  This convention created an international symbol for identifying cultural property that is to be protected.  This symbol is the Blue Shield.  The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was then adopted by UNESCO in 1972.  This international treaty was created to identify, protect, and preserve cultural and national heritage around the world.

There are currently 981 cultural heritage sites in 160 countries of the world.  The International Committee of the Blue Shield (founded 1996) has country-level sections all over the world that work to protect national and cultural heritage property.  The organization describes itself as “the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross.”  It does this by collecting and disseminating information about threats to cultural heritage, spreading awareness about cultural heritage, and facilitating the creation of localized cultural heritage organizations.

We have some great opportunities to study international cultural heritage right here at the University of Illinois.  CHAMP @ Illinois (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy at the University of Illinois) is a research center that focuses on worldwide cultural heritage and museum practices in the context of globalization.  Through Heritage Studies and Museum Studies graduate minors, as well as nearly thirty faculty members teaching in these areas, CHAMP maintains an active research program.  CHAMP also frequently hosts talks and discussions on different aspects of world cultural heritage.  This month, CHAMP is hosting a lecture series by Professor Mike Robinson, Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham.  These talks will take place April 3rd, 7th, and 14th. A full schedule of events for CHAMP can be seen at their home page.

Many members of the University of Illinois community are involved in research on the preservation of cultural heritage.

Some selected publications by University of Illinois faculty:

Jenkins, Christine; Wayward, W Boyd. (2007). Introduction: Libraries in Times of War, Revolution and Social ChangeLibrary Trends 55 (3).

Moustafa, Laila Hussein. (2013). Disaster Management Planning in the Times  of War: the Case of the Middle East’s Libraries and Archives.  Conference Poster.

Silverman, Helaine. (2010). Cultural Heritage: Opportunities and Conundrums.  Policy Brief. Center for Global Studies.

Urban, Richard J.; Twidale, Michael B.; Adamczyk, Piotr D. (2010). Cultural Heritage Information Dashboards. Conference paper/Presentation.

Some additional important cultural heritage organizations:

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

The International Council on Archives (ICA) 

International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

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Global Challenges for Gender Equality

UN Commission on the Status of Women

This week, the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) coincides with International Women’s Day (which took place on March 8th), as well as Women’s History Month in the U.S.  These events present a great opportunity to discuss and examine the challenges faced by women and girls in today’s world.  Let’s focus on three key target areas for gender equality (UN Women, 2013).

Freedom from violence against women and girls

The World Health Organization reported in 2013 that 35% of women worldwide have experienced some type of violence  in their lifetime. This violence can have serious and long-lasting effects on women’s mental, reproductive, and sexual health (WHO, 2013). This issue is addressed in the UN Millennium Development Goals, and will undoubtedly be addressed by the post-2015 development goals.  UN Women works to encourage legal reform, create safe spaces for women, provide health services for victims of violence, increase awareness of the problem, and prevent violence by addressing the root causes. This cause has also been taken up by many private organizations, such as End Violence Against Women International and Springtide Resources. These organizations focus on education initiatives, prevention programs, as well as conducting research to guide efforts at reform.

Gender Equality in the Distribution of Capabilities

This area involves women’s access to education, healthcare, and opportunities such as land or work with equal pay.  The Millennium Development Goals Report of 2013 indicates that progress is being made in all of these areas, but this progress varies by region and demographic.  For instance, the report reveals that women tend to hold less secure jobs than men in developing regions.  The statistics for education reveal that in Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia, the gender disparity in education still remains high (UN, 2013).  The World Economic Forum’s World Gender Gap Report also shows that the “Gender Gap” varies greatly depending on region and tends to be higher in developing areas(World Economic Forum, 2013).

Gender equality in decision-making power

This issue is about women holding positions of influence in public forums and government, but also in their own homes and families.  The number of women that hold parliamentary seats has increased in almost every world region since 2000, mostly due to the creation of legislative or voluntary quotas that require a certain number of female members. However, women’s decision-making power at home remains significantly lower than men’s in many regions of the world (UN, 2013).  These types of decisions range from money-related decisions, to women’s ability to visit friends and family, to decisions about women’s own health.  Family dynamics are greatly influenced by societal and institutional norms, and the hope of many organizations is that by increasing women’s access to education and work opportunities, these norms will begin to change in a direction that is less discriminatory towards women.

Why is gender equality so important?

In a recent report, the UK-based Department for International Development explains that economic stability and growth for developing countries is greatly boosted by improved gender equality.  It makes sense – if women and girls can gain access to improved education, they will eventually get better jobs and be able to better contribute to the economy. The same study shows that including women in political decision-making leads to more effective governance, since women’s presence in government brings greater diversity and different experience to the process (DFID, 2013). This makes the problem all the more pressing and important.  Gender equality is not only a significant concern from a human rights standpoint, but it will allow for the economic and political growth that developing nations need to make them competitive in world markets.

But on a more basic level, gender equality is about advancing human rights for all citizens of the world.

Check out the resources below to learn more about this subject:

Organizations

He for She

UN Women

Women Thrive Wordwide

International Labour Organization Bureau for Gender Equality (GENDER)

End Violence Against Women International

Springtide Resources

Women for Women International

 

Informative Websites and Web Articles

Timeline of International Agreements and Standards to End Violence against Women

Five Human Rights Issues for U.S. NonProfits on International Women’s Day – Non-Profit Quarterly

International Women’s Day: Mainstream Messaging For The Radical Cause Of Full Economic Empowerment – Forbes

 

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC E-Journals)

Corinne L. Mason. “Global Violence Against Women as a National Security “Emergency”.” Feminist Formations 25.2 (2013): 55-80. Project MUSE. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.

Hendra, J., FitzGerald, I., & Seymour, D. (2013). TOWARDS A NEW TRANSFORMATIVE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: THE ROLE OF MEN AND BOYS IN ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY. Journal Of International Affairs67(1), 105-122.

Munin, N. (2013). NGOs, Multinational Enterprises and Gender Equality in Labor Markets: A Political Economy of Conflicting Interests?. Journal Of Multidisciplinary Research (1947-2900)5(1), 5-26.

Chant, SylviaSweetman, Caroline.  (2012). Fixing women or fixing the world? ‘Smarteconomics’, efficiency approaches, and gender equality in development. Gender & Development. 20(3), 517-52.

 

Latest Books at the UIUC Libraries

Joffe, Lisa Fishbayn.Neil, Sylvia. (Eds.) (2013). Gender, religion, & family law: theorizing conflicts between women’s rights and cultural traditionsWaltham, Mass. : Brandeis University Press.

Karamessini, Maria.Rubery, Jill. (Eds.) (2014). Women and austerity: the economic crisis and the future for gender equalityMilton Park, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge.

Ringrose, Jessica. (2013). Postfeminist education?: girls and the sexual politics of schoolingLondon : Routledge.

Rose, Susan D.. (2014). Challenging global gender violence: the Global Clothesline ProjectNew York : Palgrave Pivot.

Runyan, Anne Sisson,Peterson, V. Spike. (2014). Global gender issues in the new millenniumBoulder, CO : Westview Press.

Yarwood, Lisa. (Eds.) (2013). Women and transitional justice: the experience of women as participantsAbingdon, Oxon : Routledge.

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The Politics of Water

 

The Problem:

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing humanitarian crises facing the world today.  Access to water resources has far-reaching political and social implications, especially in areas where water is scarce. Natural water basins do not comply with man-made political borders, and as a result the allocation of precious water resources becomes a point of negotiation in transnational treaties and agreements.   Adding to the politicization of water is the connection between water and energy production.  Water is needed for all types of energy production, and energy is needed for the extraction and dissemination of clean water (UNIDO, 2014).

Water also affects social and cultural issues, such as gender and income inequality.  Since women are traditionally the family members responsible for the retrieval of water, women end up spending many hours of their day collecting water (many times still from polluted or unclean sources) for their family’s survival rather than working outside the home or pursuing education.  When people must spend such a large portion of their time procuring basic resources such as water, their ability to better their situation through work or education becomes even more limited.  This means that the poorest people in the world remain poor, as long as they are struggling daily to obtain water.

Probably the most heart wrenching aspects of the global water crisis is its disproportionate effect on children.   Unicef reported in 2013 that over 2,000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases, an estimated 1,800 of which stem from issues of water and hygiene. Sanjay Wijesekera, global head of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programme, puts these numbers into perspective, saying, “The numbers can be numbing, but they represent real lives, of real children. Every child is important. Every child has the right to health, the right to survive, the right to a future that is as good as we can make it” (UNICEF, 2013).

Solutions:

The UN’s Millennium Development Goals address the issue of clean water and sanitation. Target 7.C of the goals promises to, “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation” (UN, 2013).  According to the UN website, this goal was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule.  More than 2 billion people gained improved access to drinking water between 1990 and 2010.

How are these goals being met?  In addition to awareness campaigns such as World Water Day (which happens to be coming up on March 22nd!), there are countless organizations working to provide clean and accessible drinking water to the world’s poor and to manage and conserve freshwater resources.  Many organizations work to set up programs in water-scarce countries that provide financing to families and communities for setting up clean water and sanitation services.  Others directly provide wells, pumps, and latrines, as well as training for community members on maintaining the clean-water technology.  Organizations range from non-profits to institutional coalitions to for-profit companies that donate a portion of profits to the cause. These types of charities and organizations are making strides in bringing safe and clean water to world populations, but it is a massive undertaking and the effort will require cooperation across cultures and political borders.

Learn more about water! Check out the resources below:

Websites

FAO Legal Office – Water Treaties Database

UNESCO Water Links Worldwide

27 Water Crisis Orgs to Follow Right Now

World Water Day 2014

UN Millenium Development Goals

Selected Scholarly Articles (Accessed through UIUC E-Journals)

Ciampi, M. (2013). ‘Water divide’ in the global risk society. International Review Of Sociology, 23(1), 243-260.

Lall, U., Heikkila, T., Brown, C., & Siegfried, T. (2008). WATER IN THE 21ST CENTURY: DEFINING THE ELEMENTS OF GLOBAL CRISES AND POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS. Journal Of International Affairs, 61(2), 1-17.

Sivakumar, Bellie. (2011). Water Crisis: from conflict to cooperation, an overview. Hydrological Sciences Journal. 56(4), 531-552.

Trottier, J. (2008). Water crises: political construction or physical reality?. Contemporary Politics, 14(2), 197-214.

Latest Books at UIUC Library

Allan, J. A. (Eds.) (2013). Handbook of land and water grabs in Africa: foreign direct investment and food and water security. London : Routledge.

Chellaney, Brahma. (2013). Water, peace, and war :confronting the global water crisis. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Groenfeldt, David. (2013). Water ethics: a values approach to solving the water crisis. Abingdon : Earthscan from Routledge.

Hughes, Richard. (2013). Religion, law, and the present water crisis. New York : Peter Lang.

Thielbörger, Pierre.. (2013). The right(s) to water: the multi-level governance of a unique human right.  Berlin : Springer.

Additional Resources from UIUC

Multimedia: 

How to Ensure Sustainable Access to Water for Food in a World of Growing Scarcity

Problematizing Production Potential: Water Scarcity, Access, and Borders in the 21st Century Agricultural Economy

 

 

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