Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indigenous Groups and Ethnic Minorities in South and Central Asia: Book Review

Disappearing Peoples: Indigenous Groups and Ethnic Minorities in South and Central Asia

Barbara Bower and Barbara Rose Johnston, eds.


Left Coast Press

On May 2, 2008 the cyclone Nargis crashed into Myanmar, killing an estimated 78,000 people and inundating countless acres of land. A week later, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Wenchuan County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. These two events brought the world’s attention to South and Central Asia for a brief moment, shinning for an instant the world’s attention on the plight of the indigenous peoples of this area. Although the media’s focus on the conditions and issues of these peoples was brief, their plights continue. In fact, the condition of many of these indigenous peoples existed long before these two traumatic events. As the book Disappearing Peoples: Indigenous Groups and Ethnic Minorities in South and Central Asiaclearly points out, most of the current issues impacting indigenous peoples in South and Central Asia stem not from natural disasters, but from processes associated with globalization and its sister processes of imperialism and capitalism.

Today, no place is beneath the radar or beyond the reach of the sweeping force of globalization. No part of the planet can escape the impact of the way one set of peoples – typically characterized as being in the “developed” world – use the planet, its resources, and its people to fulfill a cultural mandate of endless growth, using their power and influence to conquer, redeem, and transform the world and its people. The formerly isolated regions of the world are now part of the global mainstream, as illustrated by a quick glance at the headlines in our daily newspapers featuring the issues, problems, and conditions in once-distant lands: Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Kashmir, and Tibet. (p. 9)

Read the rest of the review here - Disappearing Peoples: Indigenous Groups and Ethnic Minorities in South and Central Asia.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 22 - 28, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Weeks of July 22 - July 28, 2008

New Studies Predict Record Land Grab As Demand Soars For New Sources Of Food, Energy And Wood Fiber

Escalating global demand for fuel, food and wood fiber will destroy the world's forests, if efforts to address climate change and poverty fail to empower the billion-plus forest-dependent poor, according to two reports released today by the U.S.-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), an international coalition comprising the world's foremost organizations on forest governance and conservation.

The studies were delivered today at an event in the House of Commons hosted by Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham. Sponsored by RRI and the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme, speakers included Gareth Thomas, the UK Minister for Trade and Development; authors of the two reports; as well as advocates for forest communities in Africa and Asia.

According to the findings released today in RRI's comprehensive study, Seeing People through the Trees: Scaling Up Efforts to Advance Rights and Address Poverty, Conflict and Climate Change, the world will need a minimum of 515 million more hectares by 2030, in order to grow food, bioenergy, and wood products. This is almost twice the amount of land that will be available, equal to a land mass 12 times the size of Germany.

At the same time, a second RRI study, From Exclusion to Ownership? Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Forest Tenure Reform, finds that developing country governments still claim an overwhelming majority of forests and have made limited progress in recognizing local land rights, leaving open the potential for great violence, as some of the world's poorest peoples struggle to hold on to their only asset—millions of hectares of the world's most valuable and vulnerable forestlands.

The studies also report a sharp increase in government allocations of forests to industrial plantations, and suggest that the booming growth in demand for food and fuel is rapidly eating up vast forestlands in the Amazon and Southeast Asia. Read more about indigenous people's land grab here....

To Speak And Be Heard: Making Rights A Reality In The 2006 Oaxaca Social Movement

How people imagine themselves as citizens has increasingly been influenced by global rights discourses. This chapter explores acts of testimony and their links to global discourses of human, women's, and indigenous rights in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Testimonials here are urgent oral accounts of bearing witness to wrongs committed against the speakers. Broadcast on the radio, television, at public demonstrations, and in the street, testimonial rights claiming repositions previously excluded speakers as active citizens instead of as folkloric parts of the landscape. This chapter centers on a recent and ongoing social movement in Oaxaca, Mexico and the emergence in June, 2006 of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a coalition of over 200 organizations that effectively ran the city for six months until the Mexican federal police force intervened.

The APPO continues to be active. Testimony and rights claiming occupy central roles in this complex context, permitting silenced groups to speak, be heard, and to enact alternative visions for political and cultural participation. Because Oaxaca is a state with 16 different indigenous languages and a population that largely receives news and culture through non-print media, the orality of testimonials is a particularly important and compelling aspect of the shaping of new models of citizenship.

During the summer and fall of 2006, what began as a large group of teachers exercising their right to bargain for higher salaries through the occupation of Oaxaca City's historical colonial square erupted into a widespread social movement after state police violently attempted to evict the teachers. Mega-marches of thousands, the creation of a popular assembly known as the APPO composed of more than 200 groups, occupation of state and federal buildings and offices, the take-over of the state's television and radio stations, the construction of barricades in many neighborhoods, and regional movements throughout the state questioned the legitimacy of the state government and resulted in a massive assertion of rights by many. Read more about the Oaxaca Indigenous Peoples Social Movement here....

Google Launches Indigenous Maori Search Engine

Coinciding with Maori Language Week, the company yesterday launched Google Aotearoa to cater specially for people who speak the language of New Zealand's indigenous people.

Aotearoa is a Maori word often translated as Land of the Long White Cloud, and commonly used by North Island Maori as the word for New Zealand.

A spokeswoman from the Maori Language Commission said 29 people had been part of the team working on the project during the last year, including three key translators.

More than 8750 words were translated as part of the project.

"It is a huge resource for Maori living overseas who are raising bi-lingual children or who are developing their own proficiency," she said.

"It is reaching young people in something that is a big part of their world. It also allows fluent and native speakers to search for their content in Maori," the spokeswoman said.

She said other Pacific people, like those from the Cook Islands, would also benefit from the move, because their language was very similar to Maori.

The next step would be to allow search results to be translated directly in Maori, although this was not expected to occur for some time, she said.

People wanting to use the new interface have to visit and click on the link to search in Maori. Read more about the indigenous Maori search engine here....

Hawaii Ruling Could Affect Indigenous Land Trust

Despite the complaints and legal challenges of our elected officials, I am afraid that the Chamorro Land Trust Act (CLTA) will suffer the same fate as that of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1920. Unless, of course, the U.S. Congress has its way in the legislative process.

The CLTA is almost an exact replica of the HHCA. The Land Trust applies to people who became American citizens in 1950 as a result of the Organic Act of Guam, and it gives them the opportunity to lease land at $1 per year for 99 years. The land can be used for residences, agriculture or aquaculture, or for ranching. Approximately, 14,000 acres of local government land has been identified and set aside for such leases.

Everyone knows, or must have heard, of what had happened to the HHCA in recent years. Recent court decisions have put federal, state and local programs designed to support native Hawaiians' cultural integrity in serious jeopardy. Read more about Hawaii indigenous land trust here....

Pitfalls Open In Philippine Mining For Indigenous Peoples

Australian ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith last week jumped to the defense of the dozen or so Australian mining companies operating there, in what is turning out to be a nightmarish venture for most of them. It's the latest sign that all is not well in the Philippine mining business, despite the government's various initiatives to promote more foreign investment in the underdeveloped sector.

One Australian mining company now faces criminal charges for alleged tax evasion; another is under investigation by the independent Commission on Human Rights for complaints of harassment, killings and mass displacements of indigenous tribes. A third is complaining behind the scenes about extortion from political operatives with alleged links to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's government.

Smith says Australian mining firms operating in the Philippines adhere to the highest safety and environmental standards, according to reports, including one on the Radio Australia web site. He was confident the mining companies gave highest priority to sustainable development, the report said. Read more about Philippine mining here....

Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Global Health and Development Conference: Unite for Sight

Unite For Sight 6th Annual Global Health & Development Conference

"Achieving Global Goals Through Innovation"

  • Convenes 2,500 participants interested in international health and development, public health, eye care, medicine, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, philanthropy, microfinance, human righs, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, public service, environmental health, and education.
  • Provides tools to identify global problems, engage in social entrepreneurship, and create change and real solutions.
  • Connects individuals, organizations, universities, the public, and communities, to collaborate on sustainable solutions.
  • Inspires leadership, talent, and ideas.
  • Encourages learning and innovation by providing a forum to share information and best practices across all disciplines of global health and international development.
  • Harnesses enthusiasm, idealism, and innovation with practicality.

When: April 18-19, 2009

Where: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

What: Join 2,500 conference participants for a stimulating international conference

Unite For Sight: A Nonprofit Organization Featured Weekly on CNN International and Recently In The New York Times

NOW OPEN: Registration and Abstract Submission

(First abstract deadline is August 15 (oral presentation deadline and early bird poster presentation deadline)

200 Speakers, Including Keynote Addresses by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Dr. Sonia Sachs, Dr. Susan Blumenthal, and Dr. Harold Varmus

Register For Conference: REGISTER BY JULY 31 TO SECURE LOWEST RATE. Rate escalates each month.

Who should register to attend? Anyone interested in international health, public health, international development, medicine, nonprofits, eye care, philanthropy, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, bioethics, economics, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, environmental health, service-learning, medical education, and public service.

Who is eligible to submit an abstract? Anyone may submit an abstract. Abstract submitters range from students to professionals.

Keynote Speakers

Susan Blumenthal, MD, MPA, Former US Assistant Surgeon General, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown School of Medicine and Tufts University Medical Center; Senior Medical Advisor, amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research

Jeffrey Sachs, PhD, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University; Special Advisor to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon

Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, MD, MPH, Health Coordinator, Millennium Village Project

Harold Varmus, MD, President and Chief Executive, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Former Director of the NIH; Nobel Prize Recipient

Featured Speakers

Sam Abbenyi, MD, MSc, Director, Programs and Logistics, International Trachoma Initiative

Jane Aronson, MD, Director, International Pediatric Health Services; Founder and Executive Executive Officer, Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO); Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Elizabeth Ashbourne, Results Secretariat, OPCS, World Bank

Thomas Baah, MD, MSc, Ophthalmologist, Our Lady of Grace Hospital, Ghana

Atrish Bagchi, BS Candidate, Princeton University; Unite For Sight Volunteer in Accra, Ghana

Richard Baraniuk, PhD, Founder, Connexions; Victor E. Cameron Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University

Paul Berman, OD, FAAO, Senior Global Clinical Advisor and Founder, Special Olympics Lions Clubs, International Opening Eyes

David Bloom, Chair, Department of Global Health and Population; Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health

Peter Bourne, MA, MD, Visiting Scholar, Oxford University; Vice Chancellor Emeritus, St. George's University; Formerly Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Health Issues; Chair, Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC)

Elizabeth Bradley, PhD, Professor of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Administration; director, Health Management Program; Director, Global Health Initiatives, Yale School of Public Health

Ronald Braswell, MD, MS, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama-Birmingham

Harry Brown, MD, Founder, Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International

Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine

Michael Chu, MBA, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

James Clarke, MD, Ophthalmologist and Medical Director, Crystal Eye Clinic, Ghana

Lisa Croucher, Assistant Director, Education and Training, Global Health Institute, Duke University

Emmanuel d'Harcourt, Senior Child Survival Technical Advisor, International Rescue Committee

Margaret Duah-Mensah, RN, ON, Ophthalmic Nurse, Crystal Eye Clinic, Ghana

Dabney Evans, MPH, Executive Director, Emory University Institute of Human Rights; Lecturer, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University

Susan Forster, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Medical Studies, Department of Ophthalmology, Yale School of Medicine; Chief, Ophthalmology, Yale University Health Services

Stanley O. Foster, MD, MPH, Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

James Fraser, MA, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Dignitas International

Ulrick Gaillard, JD, CEO, The Batey Relief Alliance

Gannon Gillespie, Director of US Operations, Tostan

Susan Hayes, MD, President and CEO, Interplast

Scott Hillstrom, Chairman of the Board, CEO and Co-Founder, HealthStore Foundation

Steve Hilton, President, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Debbie Humphries, MPH, PhD, Clinical Instructor, Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, Yale University School of Medicine

Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena, PhD, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Malaria Research Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Zachary Kaufman, JD Candidate, Yale Law School; DPhil Candidate in International Relations, Oxford University

Kaveh Khoshnood, PhD, Assistant Professor in Public Health Practice, Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health

Karen King, MA, Elementary School Teacher, Reed Intermediate School; Unite For Sight Volunteer in Accra, Ghana

Laura Murray-Kolb, PhD, Assistant Professor, Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Jamie Lachman, Clowns Without Borders

Doug Lawrence, Vice President/General Manager, BD Medical - Ophthalmic Systems

Robert Lawrence, MD, Center for A Livable future Professor; Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy & International Health; Director, Center for a Livable Future, Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Robert Malkin, PhD, Professor of Practice of Biomedical Engineering Director, Duke-Engineering World Health, Duke University

Charles MacCormack, PhD, President and CEO, Save The Children

John McGoldrick, JD, Senior Vice President, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

Michelle McMurry, Director, Health, Biomedical Science and Society Initiative, The Aspen Institute

Benjamin Mason Meier, JD, LLM, MPhil, Public Health Law Project Manager, Center for Health Policy, IGERT-International Development and Globalization Fellow, Columbia University

Carol McLaughlin, MD, MPH, Global Health, Center for High Impact Philanthropy, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

Mini Murthy, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, Program Director Global Health, New York Medical College School of Public Health

Neal Nathanson, MD, Associate Dean, Global Health Programs, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Edward O'Neil, Jr, MD, Omni Med

Santa Ono, PhD, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Deputy Provost of Emory University; Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Emory Eye Center

Robin Paetzold, MBA, Director, Global Programs, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Komal Patel, BS Candidate, Case Western Reserve University; Unite For Sight Volunteer in Orissa, India

Yannis Paulus, MD Candidate, Stanford University School of Medicine

Steven C. Phillips, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Global Issues and Projects, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Suzanne Rainey, Forum One Communications

Susan Reef, MD, CDC

Steven Rothstein, President, Perkins School For The Blind

Lisa Russell, MPH, Filmmaker

Jinan Saaddine, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist, Vision Health Initiative Team Leader, Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sarwat Salim, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee-Memphis

Sarang Samal, Kalinga Eye Hospital, Orissa, India

Shlomit Sandler, MD, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary

Harshad Sanghvi, MD, Medical Director, JHPIEGO, Johns Hopkins University

Howard Schiffer, President and Founder, Vitamin Angels

Daniel D. Sedmak, MD, Director, Office of Global Health Education; Executive Vice Dean, College of Medicine; Executive Director, Center for Personalized Health care; Senior Associate Vice President, Office of Health Sciences, The Ohio State University

Tamilarasan Senthil, MBBS, Consulting Ophthalmologist, Uma Eye Clinic, India

Bruce Shields, MD, Chair Emeritus, Yale Department of Ophthalmology

Kuldev Singh, MD, MPH, Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Ajit Sinha, MBBS, Founder and Director, AB Eye Institute; Former President, All India Ophthalmological Society

Pooja Sinha, MBBS, Ophthalmologist, AB Eye Institute, Patna, India

Renu Sinha, MBBS, Former Head of the Obs and Gynea Department of Patna Medical College Hospital; Former President of Bihar Obs and Gynea Society

Satyajit Sinha, MBBS, Ophthalmologist, AB Eye Institute, Patna, India

D. Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City Hospital

Janice K. Smith, MD, MPH, PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for Training in International Health at UTMB

Georgia Sambunaris, MA, Senior Financial Markets Specialist, USAID

Samuel So, MD, Lui Hac Minh Professor of Surgery; Director, Asian Liver Center; Director, Liver Cancer Program, Stanford University School of Medicine

Chris Stout, PsyD, Founding Director, Center for Global Initiatives; Clinical Professor, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago

James C. Tsai, MD, Robert R. Young Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine; Chief of Ophthalmology, Yale-New Haven Hospital

Philippe Van Denbossche, Executive Director, Raising Malawi

Anvar Velji, MD, Co-Founder and Treasurer, Global Health Education Consortium; Chief of Infectious Disease at Kaiser Permanente, South Sacramento; Clinical Professor, University of California at Davis

Seth Wanye, MD, Ophthalmologist, Eye Clinic of Tamale Teaching Hospital, Ghana

Tanya Whitehead, PhD, Research Associate Professor, University of Missouri - Kansas City

David Zakus, BSc, MES, MSc, PhD, Director, Centre for International Health; Associate Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences; Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation; Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada

Debrework Zewdie, Director, Global HIV/AIDS Program of the World Bank Human Development Network World Bank

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