Vantage Points







Beyond Mobility: Wheelchairs Enable Engagement and Quality of Life in Developing Regions

When I started coming to Belize and Guatemala 1980, I saw people with disabilities that were crawling around on the ground or stuck in bed. That kind of tore my heart out. Just prior to returning to the States from Guatemala in the summer of 1988, I saw a woman, for the second time, crawling across the Pan-American Highway.

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Empowering Women Military Leaders Through Learning and Collaboration

Halifax International Security Forum is an organization that is dedicated to strengthening strategic cooperation among democracies and is recognized as the leading gathering of democratic leaders committed to global security and prosperity. Setting the security agenda each November for the coming calendar year, the Forum convenes relevant and key leaders in an unscripted, intimate atmosphere over three days in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A key issue that has emerged within the international security space over several years is advancing women leaders within the security sector...

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Understanding the Business and Human Rights Agenda: A Conversation with Marti Flacks

The ever-growing global reach and impact of business enterprises has given rise to a robust debate about such actors' roles and responsibilities with regards to human rights. This debate continues today but has produced a significant number of guidelines and frameworks including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights along with standards and regulations for various industries such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Given the rapid expansion and transformation of the business and human rights landscape, it is important to ...

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Rethinking Gender and Violent Extremism

Within the field of countering violent extremism, research and interventions that do consider the role of gender in recruitment have mainly focused on women in violent extremism. However, men and boys are disproportionately recruited by and join extremist groups, and they are more likely to carry out extremist violence. With an increasing interest in shifting the narrative from countering  to “preventing” violent extremism, there is a need to look deeper into the reasons why men join such groups, and to examine how their gendered identities constructed in day-to-day ...

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China’s Data-Driven Philanthropy

Since China instituted the Charity Law in 2016, charitable giving in the country has continued to grow as it opened more platforms for citizens and business leaders to participate in social responsibility. The Law also emphasizes transparency, requiring charities to report all the basic information related to their operations. An advocate of data disclosure and transparency, Tao Ze, founder and president of YISHAN, shared with VantagePoints his thoughts and experience on philanthropy in China. As a philanthropist, are there any philosophies that inform your philanthr...

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Tools Against Corruption and Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP), is a multibillion-dollar criminal industry surpassed only by drug trafficking and arms sales. The 2017 data by the International Labor Organization (ILO) revealed that there are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. Under federal and international law, TIP is considered a crime, but there have been many challenges in enforcing this. Ambassador Luis C.deBaca (retired), a Robina Fellow of Modern Slavery at Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, ...

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Building and Bridging Central Asia

By Ambassador Natalia Gherman  I was appointed by Secretary-General António Guterres to be the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, (UNRCCA) on September 15, 2017. UNRCCA is an interesting assignment. The mission is one of the smallest United Nations Special Political Missions but covers an absolutely enormous territory that bridges Europe and Asia. Together with my staff, I am charged with supporting the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in their ...

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Security Sector Reform as a Tool for Development

In its 2017 report, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) highlighted that security and justice institutions are often the main interface between states and the populations they are meant to serve. However, the states protracted ineffectiveness or poor governance can leave the door open for conflict to escalate. DCAF’s Dr. Hans Born spoke with VantagePoints to share his thoughts and experience on how an effective and robust security sector reform (SSR) process can be an important tool for peace and development. How did you get interested ...

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Storytelling for Social Impact

In the digital era, the shape and delivery of stories have evolved dramatically. It has provided an opportunity to reach more people and get them engaged. Our Better World (OBW), the digital storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation, leverages the power of stories and digital media for social impact. Rebecca Lim, Head of OBW, shared with VantagePoints that their approach is to tell stories of people doing good in Asia to inspire their global online community to take action. In September 2018, OBW won the Best International Not-for-Profit Case ...

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Honoring Humanity Through a Lifetime of Humanitarian Service

Bruce Muir recently retired as director of the Emergency Response Division in the Welfare Services Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His duties included supporting emergency response to natural disasters and refugee crises globally. Bruce has also held numerous positions in the Church including director for temporal affairs in the Philippines and Chile Areas, and the managing director of the Translation Department.

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