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  • Author: Sienna Craig
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: For centuries, people from Mustang, Nepal, have relied on agriculture, pastoralism, and trade as a way of life. Seasonal migrations to South Asian cities for trade as well as temporary wage labo abroad and Mustang-based tourism have shaped their experiences for decades. Yet, more recently, permanent migrations to New York City are reshaping lives and social worlds. Drawing on more than two decades of fieldwork and friendship with people in and from Mustang, The Ends of Kinship: Connecting Himalayan Lives between Nepal and New York, the book on which this presentation is based, combines narrative ethnography and short fiction to explore how individuals, families, and communities care for each other and carve out spaces of belonging in and through diaspora, at the nexus of environmental, economic, and cultural change. This presentation will also discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of Himalayan and Tibetan New Yorkers, and how regional cultural practices and Tibetan Buddhist philosophies are shaping responses to this pandemic. This event was organized by the Modern Tibetan Studies Program and cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Diaspora, Ethnography, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: New York, Asia, Nepal, Tibet
  • Author: Barbara F. Walter, Erica Chenoweth, Christian Davenport, Jesse Driscoll, Joe Young
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
  • Abstract: Why are Americans at such odds about what should be done about the novel coronavirus? Why have Americans become so polarized, even on issues related to our health? What is the source of polarization regarding the pandemic and, if a pandemic doesn't bring the American public together, what will?
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Domestic Policy, COVID-19, Polarization, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Syaru Shirley Lin, C. Jason Wang, Vincent Wang, Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: During the coronavirus crisis, what was expected to be one of the hardest hit countries in the world has not only fared relatively well so far, but is now being widely lauded as a success story—Taiwan. With a population of 23.4 million, Taiwan has only reported 440 confirmed cases and seven deaths as of May 12. This panel will explore a series of questions. How did Taiwan manage the crisis and what are the secrets of its success so far? What are the risks that the pandemic could still worsen in Taiwan? How has the Covid-19 crisis affected Taiwan’s relations with mainland China? What has Taiwan done to assist other countries in managing the pandemic? How has Taiwan’s exclusion from World Health Organization (WHO) meetings and activities affected its ability both to manage the crisis at home, and to contribute to international management of the crisis? What can other countries learn from Taiwan about managing pandemic disease? What paths are available for Taiwan to contribute to global public health efforts? Has the crisis affected global support for Taiwan’s membership in the WHO? What are the implications for Taiwan’s global status beyond the WHO?
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Elizabeth Wishnick, Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Taiwan and Estonia are known as digital democracies. As both face threats from neighbors, their degree of digitization typically has been seen as a vulnerability. The DNS attack from Russia that Estonia faced in 2007 brought home the potential for cyberspace to be used as a domain of war. Similarly Taiwan has faced repeated cyberthreats from the People’s Republic of China. Nonetheless, in their successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan and Estonia have highlighted the strengths of digital democracy in combating a non-traditional security threat without employing the strongarm tactics of authoritarian states. In this article we reexamine the digital vulnerability of democracies and put forward a conception of digital power to explain the success of Estonia and Taiwan in using their digital prowess to combat COVID-19. On the one hand their reliance on cybertechnology make them particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, but on the other hand their digital power enhances their global stature and domestic capacity to address threats like COVID-19.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Democracy, COVID-19, Non-Traditional Threats, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, Estonia
  • Author: Diana Fu, Elizabeth Knup, Jing Wang, Nick Bartlett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This panel, part of the WEAI in a COVID-19 remote lecture series, features brief presentations and discussion by scholars and practitioners who have studied and participated in Chinese civil society activities. The conversation covers changes to the role of and spaces for non-government actors in the Hu and Xi eras, as well as recent developments in light of the COVID pandemic and the rise of Hong Kong and Black Lives Matter protests.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Protests, NGOs, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Noriyuki Shikata, Takako Hikotani, Gerald Curtis
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Abe administration (2012-) and its diplomacy has been remarkably stable despite the geopolitical challenges and instability of its alliance partner, the United States. Is Japan going to stay its course, or are we going to witness major changes in the years ahead? How will Japan respond to recent developments, such as the Coronavirus outbreak? Noriyuki Shikata, Former Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Beijing, will discuss how he forecasts Japan’s diplomacy in 2030.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Darin LaHood, Paul Salem, Edward M. Gabriel, Jean AbiNader, Mona Yacoubian
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon is on the brink of collapse due to its domestic economic and political crises, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another failed state in the Middle East would negatively impact strategic US interests. Lebanon requires a thorough reorientation towards stability and renewed socio-economic sustainability, which entails fundamental domestic reforms and targeted international support led by the US. The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) are pleased to co-host the public launch of a joint policy paper, Recommendations for a Sustainable Bilateral Relationship. What are the strategic interests the US has in Lebanon’s stability, and how can the US support Lebanese prosperity? Is the Lebanese government’s new financial recovery plan sufficient for the US to initiate support for the government? In what ways can the US best support a strong future for Lebanon?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Laith Al Ajlouni, Sara Kayyali, Oraib Al Rantawi, Rana Husseini
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The start of the new decade in Jordan has been marred by unrest. In January, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest both President Trump’s Middle East peace plan and the gas deal signed between Israel and Jordan. This wave of dissent came on the heels of the 2019 protests against increased austerity measures, a follow up to the 2018 movement that saw the resignation of Hani Mulki’s government. Though Jordan quickly adopted stringent measures to combat the virus, the economy will suffer a huge blow, exacerbating Jordan’s existing development challenges and popular discontent. Furthermore, the pandemic prompted troubling restrictions on freedom of speech, with an April decree stating that sharing anything that may “cause panic” about the pandemic is punishable with up to three years in prison. How have protest movements in Jordan been impacted by Covid-19, and what do recent protests over honor killings and gender based violence portend for progress in this area? How do these long standing grievances meet the current moment of the impending Israeli annexation? What will be the long term impact of the pandemic on Jordan’s economy and human rights, especially for the country’s millions of refugees?
  • Topic: Refugees, Economy, Political stability, Protests, Austerity, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Amira Roess, Mia Atoui, Essam Daod, Mohammed Abo Hilal
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In addition to economic and legal insecurity, many refugees and IDPs suffer from the immediate and long-term effects of PTSD and other mental health issues resulting from their experiences with conflict, displacement, and discrimination in their new environments. While government and NGO initiatives exist in Jordan, Iraq, and other host countries to promote mental health awareness and services in refugee communities, these resources are insufficient to address this dire need. How can aid and development programs prioritize mental health as a key component of refugee support? What are the gaps in the regional mental health systems that must be bridged in order to serve refugee communities? What initiatives exist to empower refugee communities at the grassroots level to advocate for mental health services?
  • Topic: Refugees, Displacement, Trauma, Mental Health, NGOs, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Huda Kanoo, Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Raed Asfour, Eckhard Thiemann, Neda Ulaby
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Cultural festivals play an important role in expanding and enriching the communities and cities that host them, providing platforms for artists, and contributing to economies. But given the enduring impact of Covid-19 in the Middle East and globally, festivals are having to rethink their models and innovate to find new ways to reach audiences while remaining engaging and relevant. How might these new challenges impact broader cultural production, audience engagement and more, in a region where platforms and opportunities for the performing arts are already so limited? Join leading festival directors and thought leaders for a discussion about the challenges and opportunities faced by cultural festivals in this new environment. Speakers include H.E. Huda Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Festival, Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, assistant director-general for culture at UNESCO, Raed Asfour, director of the Al Balad Music Festival, Eckhard Thiemann, CEO and artistic director of the Shubbak festival. Moderated by NPR culture reporter Neda Ulaby.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, North Africa