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  • Author: P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ryan Dean
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The speeches and media releases collected in this volume help to reveal the narratives on Arctic sovereignty, security, circumpolar affairs, and governance that the Harper Government sought to construct during its near-decade in office. While the government touted its own achievements in regular updates on its Northern Strategy, other commentators have been more critical, suggesting that either the government’s priorities were misplaced or it promised more than it delivered. This volume is intended to preserve these primary resources for researchers to facilitate ongoing debate and discussion
  • Topic: International Affairs, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On May 12, 2016, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment hosted a one-day workshop on international investment and the rights of indigenous peoples. This outcome document synthesizes the discussions that took place during the May 12 workshop. The workshop was part of a series of consultations undertaken to support the Special Rapporteur’s second thematic analysis on the impact of international investment agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples (available here). Held at the Ford Foundation in New York, the workshop brought together 53 academics, practitioners, indigenous representatives, and civil society representatives to explore strategies for strengthening the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in the context of international investment. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share their diverse perspectives, experiences, and insights regarding the intersection of international investment and human rights, and to discuss creative and pragmatic approaches to short and long-term reform of both the investment and human rights regimes, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that indigenous rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With support from GIZ, CCSI prepared a report titled “Linkages to the Resource Sector: The Role of Companies, Governments, and International Development Cooperation.” It outlines options for how these stakeholders can increase the economic linkages to the extractive industries sector not only in terms of ‘breadth’ (number of linkages) but also in terms of ‘depth’ (local value added). Apart from providing the theoretical framework for linkage creation and an overview of existing literature on this topic, the study highlights successful case study examples. Recommendations are provided for the three types of stakeholders.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This report, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects. The report considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in light of investors’ growing recourse to international investment arbitration, which can expose a government to liability under an international investment treaty for actions that may be in the best interest of a country and its citizens. Analyzing such obligations is a useful first step for a government seeking to protect its citizens against the negative impacts of land-based investments.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Agricultural investment contracts can be complex, with complicated provisions that are difficult to understand. This Guide provides explanations for a range of common provisions, and includes a Glossary of legal and technical terms. It assists non-lawyers in better understanding agricultural investment contracts, such as those available on OpenLandContracts.org. The Guide was prepared by International Senior Lawyers Project staff and volunteers in collaboration with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Timothy Loh
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Recent technological advances have brought with them a swath of benefits for displaced persons fleeing their country of origin. Relatively cheap mobile devices have made it easy for refugees today to keep in touch with each other and with their families over large distances using instant messaging or video-calling services. These capabilities provide refugees with a larger social network, and may prove especially important to those not as well-integrated into their host communities, such as Somali refugees in Jordan. Improved formal wire transfer systems and informal banking systems have also eased the sending of monetary remittances, a crucial aspect of social ties between refugees and their families in the homeland, who use the money for immediate subsistence needs as well as social functions. Transnational social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have, in some cases, also benefited refugees, often in raising awareness of the refugee crisis.
  • Topic: Migration, Science and Technology, Refugees, Internet, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Fida Adely, Michael Hudson, Joseph Sassoon, Noureddine Jebnoun, Marwa Daoudy, Emad El-Din Shahin, Rochelle A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: In this fifth year anniversary of the Arab revolts or “Arab Spring,” we might ask ourselves “what has changed in the region?” Given the conflicts raging in the Arab world as we speak, many have concluded that the revolts failed, or that rather than bringing “progress” they have pushed us back—entrenching authoritarianism, displacing millions, exacerbating sectarian differences, etc. But such conclusions reflect a short view of history and a truncated understanding of change. More troublesome, they can fuel a view of the region as unchanging, stagnant, and even backward.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Social Movement, Economy, Arab Spring, Youth, Syrian War, Revolution, Counterrevolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Arab Countries, Syria, North America, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Elizabeth Kelley
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Oh, I just loved The Kite Runner,” people in North America sometimes tell me when I explain what my research is about: the translation and circulation of Arabic novels in English. In these cases, the individuals, who are not usually scholars or students of Arabic or the Arab world, go on to explain how much they enjoyed Khaled Hosseini’s novel, how they felt it helped them to learn about life in Afghanistan and what it was like to grow up there. In some ways, The Kite Runner is quite far from my research topic, given that the novel was written in English, was not translated from any language, and that the author had been living in the United States for decades prior to writing it. Not to mention that Arabic is not the language of Afghanistan, and although it is part of the Muslim world, Afghanistan is not generally considered part of the Arab world. Thus, linking Afghani literature with literature of the Arab world may rely on collapsing regional, linguistic, and cultural differences under the undifferentiated sign of Islam.
  • Topic: Research, Literature, Higher Education, Translation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Alexander Henley
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Reflections on the problem of sectarianism in the wake of the Arab Revolutions from CCAS’ inaugural American Druze Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Why has Sunni-Shi’i sectarianism become the leading issue of debate in Middle East politics over the last few years? Led by rival Sunni and Shi’i theocracies, Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively, the region seems to have fallen into opposing camps in a sectarian cold war. Along the fault-lines in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, Sunnis and Shi’is are fighting for supremacy, backed and incited by coreligionists across the region. The Middle East is in a lamentable state, but this is not— despite what we are increasingly told by news media and political leaders—its natural state. The Middle East’s problems are not “rooted in conflicts that date back millennia,” the excuse President Obama used to explain away foreign policy failures in his final State of the Union address. Phrases like “ancient conflict” or “deep-rooted hatreds”—heard more and more commonly—do not explain the actions of our contemporaries in the Middle East any more than they do yours or mine. And they certainly don’t explain why sectarianism, which emerged as a central feature of regional politics only in the past decade, is so new.
  • Topic: Islam, Sectarianism, Authoritarianism, Ethnicity, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North America
  • Author: Benan Grams
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: After four years of being unable to travel to see my home and family in Damascus during what Syrians refer to as “The Crisis,” I am now visiting them for the third time in recent months. The political chaos that swept the country between 2011 and 2015 created high levels of uncertainty about who might be perceived as a threat to the regime, while the deteriorating security conditions elevated the risk of kidnapping and blackmailing. Although for an outsider, the situation does not seem to have become any safer, Syrians, particularly in Damascus, have learned to adapt to the current situation and find a sense of stability in the chaos.
  • Topic: Security, Arab Spring, Syrian War, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Syria, Damascus