The Biggest Themes of the Social Good Summit
The heinous shooting of 14-year-old protest blogger Malala Yousafzai has made the international news this month. Here are 5 other incredibly brave young activists fighting against injustice.
I wrote the cover story for PSI Impact Magazine about how the international global health community is starting to focus on youth health issues. Traditionally, the main focus has been on newborns and children, but there is a growing recognition that youth in their teens and twenties are a critical cohort to target health interventions.
The United States--which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month--is doing things a bit differently in the chamber today.
At least 50 tonnes of cocaine from Andean countries pass through West Africa every year, heading mostly to the streets of France, Spain and the United Kingdom, where they are worth some $2 billion. "This is probably the tip of the cocaine iceberg," said the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, at a high-level conference in the Cape Verde capital, Praia. Cocaine seizures have doubled every year for the past three years, with the 2007 total amounting to 6,458 kilogrammes, and major seizures this year include a 600 kilogramme cocaine bust at the airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, this summer, according to a report launched by UNODC at the Praia meeting.This iceberg has already caused more damage than the one that felled the Titanic, and it will take more than global warming to eliminate it. According to Mr. Costa, the cocaine problem is not only endangering West Africa's youth and stunting its economy, it is also "a threat to public health and security" overall. And unlike an iceberg, this is a fully globalized issue, and countries from the Andes to Africa to Europe all have an interest in curtailing the drug traffic. (Image from flickr user Zaptel under a Creative Commons license.)
Screen kung fu legend Jackie Chan was greeted by thousands of cheering East Timorese on Wednesday in a UN goodwill visit to promote peace in the young and impoverished nation. Demonstrating new moves on stage in front of 5,000 martial arts fans at Dili's national stadium, Chan called on Timorese youth to avoid drugs and violence.East Timor's violent history, young population, and overwhelmingly scarcity of jobs make for a volatile combination. Chan's message will likely resonate with the many East Timorese interested in martial arts and will hopefully convince many youths who may have been tempted to join gangs that the sport is meant to be used in a more positive, helpful way. And as this BBC report notes, the impact of a celebrity visit can only be realized when coupled with a more concerted effort to create valuable jobs in the country.