wlf Archive



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img September 30, 20155:04 pmimg 1 Comments

High hopes for Maputo and Mozambique.

High hopes for Maputo and Mozambique.

Staff Writer Gowan Moise details another installment of the World Leaders Forum: His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique, on addressing development through the lens of the new UN sustainable development goals.

Monday, as part of this year’s World Leaders Forum, His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, discussed his efforts to address the challenges of human capital development. This topic is incredibly significant considering Mozambique’s continuous socioeconomic and infrastructural instability, as well as its massive political upheaval, since the 1970s.

President Nyusi arrived over half an hour late to his own speech, for reasons unexplained to the audience in attendance. Regardless of this delay, Jeffrey Sachs gave an exceedingly warm and welcoming introduction for Nyusi, saying the recently announced United Nations 17 objectives for global sustainable development presented a “big boost for countries like Mozambique. . . which have a tremendous opportunity to develop.” In his opening comments, Nyusi assured the audience of his dedication to sustainable development in Mozambique, expressing that his goal in speaking was to prompt listeners to critically consider the progress of Mozambique’s development and the challenges the country faces so that people could ask questions “without fear.”
Find out about Mozambique’s history after the jump



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img September 29, 20156:19 pmimg 4 Comments

protestUpdate, 6:30 pm: The protesters appear to have cleared away.

Protesters have amassed outside the 116th gates with the sign “Welcome Putin the Peacemaker.”  They are criticizing the U.S. and the Ukrainian government for their policies in Ukraine, and specifically the presence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the World Leaders Forum.

They’ve led numerous chants against the United States in general and Poroshenko in particular, including, “Hey hey, ho ho, Poroshenko’s got to go,” “Crimea is Russia,” and “The capitalist police protect Nazis.”  The protestors’ signs accuse Obama and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of “war crimes” and urge the White House to “stop funding Neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”

One of the protesters attacked a policeman, and was tackled and arrested. (See video below.)

NYPD is controlling the protest and directing students away from College Walk.

More pictures and videos after the jump

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img September 28, 20153:33 pmimg 1 Comments

Michele Bachelet takes center stage at the World Leaders Forum.

Michele Bachelet takes center stage at the World Leaders Forum

Staff Writer Joanna Zhang reports on the latest installment of the World Leaders Forum: President Michelle Bachelet of Chile.

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet walked into Low Library’s Rotunda like a superstar. She ended her last presidential term in 2010 with 84% popularity and was appointed the first Director of UN Women, so it’s no wonder that she has acquired such a large fan base. Even our ever-composed PrezBo stumbled over his words and accidentally introduced her as the “president of Columbia” to which she wittily replied, “I don’t know if my life will be easier, but I will think about it.”

Her speech was a comprehensive overview of what Chile’s democracy lacks from the perspective of a government official. Chile had gone through enormous political changes for the past four decades, starting from Salvador Allende’s democratic vote into office in which he attempted to incorporate his Marxist views and bring socialism into the country, to the coup d’etat in 1973 that led to Pinochet’s harsh dictatorship, and finally a surprisingly peaceful return to democracy. Bachelet reflected that democracy has now become a requirement for political elections, and for those who have suffered under Pinochet’s dictatorship, a fundamental part of Chile that must be protected.

Viva Chile!



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img September 25, 20155:31 pmimg 3 Comments

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

President Marie-Louise Preca

Staff Writer Amara Banks reports from yet another World Leaders Forum event. President Marie-Louise Preca of Malta presented a talk on inequality and the state.

The Columbia University community was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hear from one of the world’s greatest leaders on Thursday, September 23rd. Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, spoke before faculty, students, alumni, and a hoard of security in Low Library.

President Preca presented an excellent address, touching on many issues that society faces today, while focusing primarily on inequality. She reminded the audience “inequality infects the social and economic fabric of our nations.”

To get rid of inequality, she says, “we need to bring to the floor elements that prioritize well being.” Then, she made a relevant reference to the issue of migrants. She stated beautifully that some people think of them as problems to society, when really they can make great societal cont

ributions. To ensure the equal treatment of all people, President Preca says that, “we need a strong consensus from the global community. Change must take place on all fronts. Appropriate policy and legal frame works that protect interests of all.”

The last few minutes of the forum were reserved for audience questions. One student asked for The President’s thoughts on the government’s favor toward the developer’s interests rather than the Maltese people’s. Delighted that the question came from Columbia’s only Maltese student, President Preca answered the question with a genuine smile. She acknowledged any politician’s desire to be popular, and that action in general will only happen if the politician recognizes that it is something that the people want. If there is enough noise around keeping pristine lands undeveloped, the politician will make that happen.

President Preca’s message will be uploaded online within the next few days.

Photo via Wikicommons



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img October 16, 20135:30 pmimg 1 Comments

It is difficult to have it all. So we have wigs.

It is difficult to have it all. So we have wigs.

Sometimes Bwog can’t get enough feminism.  And by that, we mean generally speaking insofar as feminism means being a DSpar fangirl and Bwog’s role within the walls of a women’s college.  On occasion, Bwog does find some feminism on the other side of Broadway.  On Monday, Bwog’s resident Columbia feminist Roberta Barnett checked out a Transatlantic dialogue between France and the United States as to how women might balance a career and family. 

With the publication of Lean In and Wonder Women and countless articles regarding how women and society might change to lead more fulfilling lives, a World Leaders Forum event on the topic was certainly overdue.  Co-sponsored by Walls and Bridges, a 10-day series of performances and critical explorations uniting French and American thinkers and artists from social science, philosophy, literature, and the arts, the discussion took place in a mixture of both French and English (fear not–  I have included no French in this piece!).   “The Balancing Act: Women, Work, and Family in the United States and France” was a discussion between French Minister for Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and President of the New America Foundation (and author of the 2012 article in The Atlantic “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”) Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Given the nature of the dialogue between two countries, both women noted the structural and political differences between the United States and France that allow for different attitudes and policies regarding gender.  Belkacem noted, “In France the State is more interventionist.  It’s not the job of women… or men… it’s the job of institutions to provide the equality.”  She went on to cite French policies of mandatory paid maternity and paternity.  Slaughter went on to point out that in the United States, the government is a lot more limited in what it can do (whether this be because of constitutional differences or simply bi-partisan gridlock, she did not say).  Therefore, her argument centered more around changing values than changing policies.  “I am convinced that we have to start with… work, family, and humans,” she said.




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img September 27, 20115:00 pmimg 0 Comments

Jed and his fellow Columbians, dressed to impress, sitting eagerly in the lecture hall waiting for Al-Madani to begin.

There’s nothing that delights Bwog more than to show off the extensive vocabulary we’ve accumulated in our years sitting through Gulati lectures. And by that, we mean Art History lectures and Creative Writing seminars. But one of our newest (and bestest) staff members, Econ Enthusiast and Vocabulary Purveyor Extraordinaire Jed Bush, hopped over to the Islamic Banking lecture at the World Leaders Forum, and translated a few of the biggest words for us. 

Greed, for lack of a better, uh… cliché, is good. That’s how it’s understood, at least, in the world of Western finance.

So as Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani spoke on the benefits Islamic Banking can bring to western markets, the recent financial crisis was at the forefront of the discussion. Jeffery Sachs handled the introductions for Dr. Al-Madani, briefly discussing their partnership in efforts to combat global poverty through the Millennium Villages and Drylands Iniative programs.

Al-Madani has been front and center at the Islamic Development Bank, having been its president for all but two years of its existence, since 1975. The Bank has 56 member nations, with a combined 1.5 billion people encompassing nearly 20% of the world’s population, and retains a AAA credit rating with the main rating agencies.  Yet despite the impressive resume, Al-Madani’s proposals were surprisingly rudimentary and underdeveloped when it came to their application in the western world of finance.

When Al-Madani took to the podium, he began by discussing some alarming facts regarding the 2008 financial crisis.  It singlehandedly wiped out “30% of the world’s gross output,” he said, creating rising unemployment rates around the globe and bringing growth to a halt in most corners of the world.  Most troubling about the financial crisis is that, as funds are being diverted towards kick-starting economic growth in domestic markets, many funds devoted to fighting poverty have been the first to be slashed—undermining years of work and further increasing the suffering of the poor and disadvantaged. However, he then abrubtly veered from discussing humanitarian efforts and dived into the issue of debt in western markets. Because that’s what really matters.

Read more of this LectureHop after the jump.



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img September 22, 20109:56 amimg 3 Comments

Bogaevsky, Morning (1910), via Wikimedia

The appearance of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the WLF today has drawn some protest online. Will we see political activism on campus? (Various)

Why you skip class (kind of) and what to do about “anxiety-related school refusal”. (WSJ)

Not that this affects the vast majority of you campus-loving college students, but it looks like the unlimited MetroCard will stay unlimited, though it will jump to $104 from $89 per month. (NYT)

In slightly more exciting subway news, the MTA will add television screens to the shuttle train between Times Square and Grand Central. The screens will apparently exclusively show baseball highlights, so you’ll be able to pretend to watch Jeter & Co in the playoffs while trying to ignore homeless people. (WSJ)

Bloomberg is taking steps to attract and retain young artists in New York, the dirty art-grubbing plutocrat. (Capital NY)

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