Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Snapshot: International Awareness

Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. The guidelines are to post a photo that you or a friend or family member have taken and then link it back to Alyce's original post for the week. Photos can be old or new and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see.

This past Thursday I attended two different events, both part of the International / Global Awareness weeks at two local universities. The first was a presentation from Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a international human rights activist, singer/songwriter, actor, former Miss World Canada, and President and co-founder of the Stop Child Executions organization. Her presentation centered on her work with the Stop Child Executions organization, describing how she came to found the organization,  some of the her activist activities, and her thoughts on the human rights future of Iran.

Afshin-Jam's most famous activist undertaking came in 2006 when she successfully ran an international campaign to save the life of Nazanin Fatehi, a juvenile sentenced to death in Iran for stabbing in self defense one of three assailants that tried to rape her. If you have not heard of this story, I urge you take the time and Google it. Or wait for her book which is being published later this year. The story is incredible from all perspectives and I greatly applaud the work of Afshin-Jam and her organization. One of the highlights of her talk was the repetition of the following statement: "If not now, when? If not you, who?" Indeed, when and who. Very inspiring.

The second event was a lecture by John Gastil, a professor from Penn State. He presented on "Glimpsing Democracy's Future: Deliberative Innovations in India, Brazil, Canada, and the United States." The theme of the presentation was deliberative democracy, and how each of these country's finds ways of bringing citizens' voices more directly into public policy debates by connecting small face-to-face deliberation with larger mass political events. I participated in the webinar, as it was in the evening and I had a few other things I needed to do at the same time.  I snapped this of one of the slides:

After attending the Afshin-Jam talk about an hour before this lecture, this quote really tied everything together for me. We do take democracy for granted, that it is something we have the right too. But, democracy is a privilege for those of us who live within its purveyance and/or have only ever known it. It may be our way of life, but it is not a right; life moves quickly and democracy can falter and crash just like all the regimes we witnessed during the Arab Spring. We need to actively contribute to democracy's evolution and sustainment within our own democractic lives; it is not just something to "bring" to other countries and states.

11 comments:

  1. "If not now, when? If not you, who?" Love this!

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    1. Me too! And I've heard it before but it seems to be taking on more importance for me as I take on new challenges.

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  2. Great post and shot! Thanks for sharing.

    Here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT - and here’s
    MY WEBSITE

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  3. A wake-up call for everybody. Thanks for posting this.

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  4. This looks inspiring. I heard something on the news this fall discussing the difference between the freedom in the U.S. and the freedom in countries like France. They said in the U.S. we have the "freedom to..." do just about anything. In France, they have the "freedom from..." worry about health care, security while aging, etc.Here's Mine

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    1. It really is about language, isn't it? Using "to" rather than "from" seems simple enough but loads of cultural associations embedded within those verbs.

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  5. Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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