Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back in business!

Hey everyone!

Sorry it's been a while since I last wrote! A lot of very big changes have happened in my life recently and I just kind of needed to focus on enjoying them. Well, when I say "them," I really mean "her," and her name is Amy. She's amazing and she's my girlfriend and I feel super lucky to be saying that. I'm sure she'll read this and get embarrassed if I get too gushy, so I'll leave it at: if you don't know her yet you should definitely try to make that happen because she's... sunshine.

One thing I love about being with her is how supportive she is of my studies, which, by the way, are going to be incredible this semester! I'll be taking Ethnic Conflicts, where we'll have totally legitimate guest speakers almost every week, and Human Security, which is what I think I'd like to write my thesis on. I'm working on my readings for the Human Security class now and am reading an address by Kofi Annan given in 2005 entitled IN LARGER FREEDOM: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. This next statement really stood out for me and I wanted to share it with you:

In the Millennium Declaration, Member States said they would spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. And over the last six decades, an impressive treaty-based normative framework has been advanced.  But without implementation, these declarations ring hollow. Without action, promises are meaningless. People who face war crimes find no solace in the unimplemented words of the Geneva Conventions. Treaties prohibiting torture are cold comfort to prisoners  abused by their captors, particularly if the international human rights machinery enables those responsible to hide behind friends in high places. War-weary populations despair when, even though a peace agreement has been signed, there is little progress towards government under the rule of law. Solemn commitments to strengthen democracy remain empty words to those who have never voted for their rulers, and who see no sign that things are changing. Therefore, the normative framework that has been so impressively advanced over the last six decades must be strengthened. Even more important, concrete steps are required to reduce selective application, arbitrary enforcement and breach without consequence. The world must move from an era of legislation to implementation.

Isn't that powerful!? I imagine I'll be quite active sharing many of my readings this semester because they look like they're going to be really good! I'll also be shooting out ideas for my thesis development, and if any of you have feedback I'd love to hear it! Right now I'm toying with the idea of a "security spectrum," where I look at the different ways human security is defined. For example, would two women, one walking in New York, New York, the other walking in Tibili, Burkina Faso, define their personal security in the same way? Is there a comparison between traveling down a deserted New York City street and traveling miles to a well for water?And, furthermore, how do their definitions differentiate from a man on Capitol Hill? Or a theocratic representative to the UN? These questions become important from a policy perspective because the ones in power are the ones who decide how human security is defined and therefore, where resources should be allocated for protection. I'm excited about the prospect of this because I think it would allow me to interact with a wide range of individuals and collect concrete information on how this developing idea of human security is evolving. Anyways... like I said, it's a work in progress!
I should probably go and get some more reading done, but I'm glad to be back online with all of you and I hope everyone has had a very enjoyable and rejuvenating winter, thus far!
All the best,