Competition: UNEP/UNESCO and Samsung Engineering Launches Digital Poster Competition for World Environment Day


Competition: UNEP/UNESCO and Samsung Engineering Launches Digital Poster Competition for World Environment Day

Cross-posted from UNESCO:…

UNEP/UNESCO and Samsung Engineering Launches Digital Poster Competition for World Environment Day


Seoul, 9 April 2013 – Eco-generation, Samsung Engineering’s Social Responsibility Program, in partnership with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) starts a visual conversation in Asia and the Pacific around sustainable development – to engage young people in sustainable actions that result in positive environmental benefits in their local communities – through art.

This competition coincides with the objectives of UNertia, a UNEP/UNESCO initiative that empowers young people as change agents and beneficiaries of sustainable development.

Through this digital poster-making competition, youth aged 6 to 24 from the Asia and the Pacific region will have a chance to share their stories of environmental issues pertaining to energy, waste and water in their respective community or country. Entries should demonstrate the issues they are experiencing in these areas and/or the action required to solve them. By sharing these issues and actions, the aim is for youth in Asia and the Pacific to be inspired to engage in sustainable actions in their respective communities. Organizers are looking for captivating, inspiring and effective posters that speak to youth and the general public.

The competition will commence on 22 April during Earth Day and entries will be accepted until 22 May 2013. Winners will be announced on 5 June 2013, during the World Environment Day celebration. Prizes include Samsung ATIV smart PC, Samsung Galaxy 

Note and Samsung Galaxy Player and other Samsung devices.

The artwork must be an original work in the form of graphic designs, digital illustrations, or photographs. Any available design applications or programs may be used. 

Criteria will be based on clear messaging, creativity/originality and artistic quality, and will be judged through online voting.

The winning digital posters will be used in UNEP/UNESCO communication materials to promote the UNertia Campaign.

For more information about the competition please refer to

Fellowship: Code for America Accelerator Fellowship


Cross-posted from Code for America:


Through Code for America’s fellowship program, passionate web developers, designers, and entrepreneurs collaborate with municipal leaders to leverage the power of the internet — to make government better, more efficient for us all. In doing so, fellows develop new skills, create a broad network of civic and tech leaders, and most of all, have an impact.



During the 11-month program, fellows not only work together to help cities innovate, but also receive the training and support to be positioned as a leader in business, public service, or both:

  • 1Gov 2.0 Training. You will start with a crash course in municipal government and gain a practical understanding of the vital intersection of politics and technology.
  • 2Professional Development. The biggest names in the web industry and the Gov 2.0 movement will provide you unparalleled networking, mentoring, and support.
  • 3Connections. Working closely with other talented individuals, you will develop lasting relationships in a fast-paced, startup atmosphere.
  • 4A Labor of Love. You’ll not only accomplish a lot and make the world a better place, you’ll have a lot of fun working with other passionate people. To borrow a line from the Peace Corps, it will be the toughest job you’ll ever love.


Anyone with the skills and passion to make cities work better using technology. Some of you will be starting your careers, but others of you will have been working on the web for years and just want a chance to give back. All of you will want to see your work make a difference and change how government works.

To apply, prospective fellows must submit examples of previous relevant work, along with short explanations their interest, goals, and background. The 2014 Fellowship begins in January 2014. The application cycle for 2014 is open now through a July 31, 2013.

The selected fellows kick-off the year at the San Francisco headquarters for a month of training, team building, working on internal tools, and project research. A key element of this portion of the program is the guest speaker series; leaders in both government and the web industry provide information and inspiration.


Global Solutions Lab


The ninth annual Global Solutions Lab is being held this summer, June 16-24, 2013, at the United Nations in New York and Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA. Students and young professionals from around the world are briefed by UN experts, develop strategies for solving one of the world’s most critical problems, and present their work at the UN.  This year you or some of your students, friends and colleagues will be able to attend. 

This year the Lab will focus on the regeneration and greening of cities. Food, energy, water, transportation, shelter, health-care, education, and the environment are all on the table. Is fundamental re-design of our basic life-support systems essential for sustainable cities in the 21st century? If so, what are these designs? 

Participants work collaboratively and intensely for seven days. They present their work to UN, corporate and foundation leaders on the last day of the Lab, as well as have their work published in a book. To see last year’s well received publication, check out Further details and registration information are at

Upcoming Training: Conflict Resolution and Mediation Training, Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBB)


Upcoming Training: Conflict Resolution and Mediation Training, Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBB)

Cross-posted from AWID:

Conflict resolution & mediation

Istanbul, Turkey
Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBB) will offer a 2-day conflict resolution & mediation training for up to 20 women leaders September 25-26, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.

September, 25, 2013 – September, 26, 2013

Legacy Ottoman Hotel

Applications will be accepted through April 15, 2013, 8:00PM EST

Download the application form here.

This training will precede MBB’s 6th Annual CongressBuilding Peace”Able” Communities, Enhancing the Role of Mediators, with a special focus on the role of women in mediation, from September 26-28, 2013, also in Istanbul, Turkey. Please see here for more information about the Congress.

The goal of this training is to bring together women leaders, who are working to resolve conflicts, heal their communities, and build lasting peace. This training will offer skills and practices in mediation and conflict resolution and an opportunity for women to connect with other community leaders from around the world. Please see more information about MBBITI here

In an effort to support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, women leaders from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) who are or seeking to become peacemakers and peacebuilders in their communities are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted through [deadline extended – now] April 15, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Please download the application form here.  

For more information and to apply please contact Stacey Schamber at email: MBBconference(at)gmail.comAdd Media

Founded in 2006, MBB promotes peace and justice through capacity building and advocacy projects which build local skills for peace and promote mediation worldwide.  MBB offers training and coaching in third-party facilitated conflict resolution processes designed to reach agreement, resolve conflicts, solve problems, build trust and heal relationships. Please see here more information about MBB services.  

These processes may include:

  • mediation,
  • advocacy for mediation,
  • dialogue,
  • restorative justice, and
  • process design & facilitation.

Upcoming Event: April 16th Day of Action Against Unlawful Killing with Drones, Amnesty International


Upcoming Event: April 16th Day of Action Against Unlawful Killing with Drones, Amnesty International

On April 16th the Constitution Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counter-terrorism Implications of Targeted Killing.” The hearing will “focus on the constitutional and statutory authority for targeted killings; the scope of the battlefield and who can be targeted as a combatant; and establishing a transparent legal framework for the use of drones.”

Amnesty International is calling on all activists and interested individuals to raise their voices and join our call of action by demanding an end to the use of drones for unlawful killings. Since 2004, less than 2% of all individuals killed by drones were high profile targets. The rest were civilians ( 

Action on Capitol Hill: (9 am to 10 am): Amnesty International activists will stage an action on Capitol Hill to remember the victims of unlawful drone attacks, to show Americans are deeply concerned about the unlawful use of drones, and demand an end to such human rights violations.

Attend the Hearing (10 am): We will update this section 

Social Media Campaign: Tweet live and share Facebook statuses demanding an end to the use of unlawful targeted killings through drones. We will update this section to include the tweets.

See updates on the facebook page.

International Corruption Eruption


The phrase ‘corruption eruption’ was coined in 1995 by Moises Naim, a Senior Associated in the International Economics program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The phrase is in reference to the eruption of outcry against corruption in the post-Cold War period and subsequently asks the question: “why have societies, which have traditionally tolerated corruption at the highest levels in government and the private sector, suddenly lost their patience and their citizens willing to take to the street to topple high officials accused of wrong doings?” (Naim, 1995).

The fall of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc gave way to the rampant spread of democracy. This spread of democracy in turn exposed the corruption inherent in many government systems, both in established democracies such as the United States, Italy, and France, and in newly developed democracies. Exposing corruption resulted in public outcry and consequently the beginning of the ‘war on corruption’.

The war on corruption was characterized by an effort to combat corrupt at all levels. Countries enacted anti-corruption legislation to fight governmental corruption, corporations adopted strict codes of conduct to combat corruption in the private sector, and non-governmental organizations such as Transparency International were created to expose corruption and to hold both governments and private corporations accountable. The hallmark of this struggle against corruption is the creation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption of 2003 (hereafter “the Convention”). As of December 24, 2012, the Convention has 140 signatories and 165 state parties.

The Convention demonstrates the concern of the international community in reference to the seriousness of the problems corruption poses to the stability and security of the state, the creation of democratic institutions, establishment of ethnic norms and justice, fostering sustainable development, and the creation of rule of law (Preamble). It’s purpose, as defined by article 1, is to promote/strengthen measure to prevent/combat corruption more efficiently/effective; promote/facilitate/support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption; and promote integrity. accountability, and proper management of both public affairs and public property. Moreover, it calls on the state to develop/implement/maintain effective coordinated anti-corruption policies that reflect the principles of rule of law, proper management of public affairs, public property integrity, transparency, and accountability (article 5).


How is Corruption Harmful to Civilians?

According to Naim, the word ‘corruption’ has become the “universal diagnosis for a nation’s ills” (Naim, 2005). This has the lead to perspective that if one can curtail the culture of greed in a given society, all other problems will be easy to solve. The problem, however, corruption is not necessarily correlated with economic prosperity. In countries such as Hungary, Italy, and Poland, a certain degree of prosperity has been able to coexist with systems of corruption. Furthermore, China, India, and Thailand provide examples of countries deemed to been highly corrupt while simultaneously experiencing high levels of economic growth.

Additionally, the fixation on corruption as the ‘ends-all’ problem drives the public debate away from other critical problems affecting a given state. Media outlets are more likely to publish on topic regarding corruption or scandalous activity, perceiving this to be more newsworthy. In doing so, they neglect to draw attention to other critical problems such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, or the economy. Although these problems may be aggravated by corruption, they were not created by corruption alone. They are the result of underdeveloped institutions that have been exploited by corruptive practices. Thus, the tendency to assume that the abolition of corruption will bring about prosperity is a very limited perspective.

Finally, the focus on corruption as the source of a state’s problems creates unrealistic expectations as to what is required to improve the standard of living within that state. There is a belief that by simply removing a corrupt leader, prosperity will follow. However, there is no direct correlation between theses two factors; the situation is more complex, involving a multitude of factors. If the expectations is that lustration will result in improved standards of living, this sets the stage for societal discontent and possible social unrest.

What is the Relationship between Corruption and Rebellion?

In keeping with the theme of ‘corruption eruption’ (ie. societal response to state corruption), there seems to be a correlation between rebellion/situations of social unrest and levels of corruption. Analysis of this correlations is draw from Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (hereafter ‘the Index’).  

Libya provide the best example of this. Between 2008 and 2011, Libya’s ranking on the Index continually dropped. The same can be said for Mali between 2008 and 2011. The table below demonstrates this trend. Rankings are on a 10 point scale, 10 representing no corruption and 1 representing complete corruption.

































As these two countries moved towards revolution/opened violent conflict, it appears as though they also became more corrupt. The problem remains, however, that there is no real way of qualifying corruption, given its covert nature. Thus, although there appears to be a relationship between increase corruption and the eruption of violence conflict, it is difficult to easily quantify this this relationship. Nevertheless, the relationship between corruption and rebellion warrants additional research. If more direct and specifies correlation can be established (ie. that kind corruption and by who tend to lead to rebellion), than it may be possible for this to act as an indicator for the likelihood rebellion.  


For more on corruption, watch these videos on PeaceMedia:…


Jolene Hansell is a Master’s Candidate of Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University. Her specific area of focus is transitional justice and rule of law. You can email her at, follow her on twitter @joleneh340, or check out her blog at

Why We Don’t Allow Gun-Play In Our House



Why We Don’t Allow Gun-Play In Our House

By | December 2nd, 2011 at 9:20 am


If you read my post yesterday I gave the hint that I do not like toys with guns and overdone weapons. The decision was a conversation between my husband and I before we had children. It was a decision we made over 6 years ago and a belief that we still hold today.

My kids are young –  with our oldest Big P being only 6 years old. We don’t have toys with guns, we do our best to not allow the kids to watch movies with guns and there are no role play video games with guns and violence in our house. A rule that we take seriously, that we pass on to family and friends who may buy gifts for the kids and one that we stick by firmly.


I believe that kids need to learn about guns. They need to know that they exist, that they are dangerous and what their true purpose is – to injure or kill. We have had many conversations with the kids about guns and allow them at any time to ask any questions should they have any. At our kids age we are able to keep control over the entertainment they are influenced by and the toys they are playing with.

We can help convey the power and danger behind guns.

We can limit the entertainment violence they are exposed to.

We feel very strongly that this is important until they reach an age where they can really grasp it . At their age now though they can’t grasp the concept and finality of death. I don’t think they will be there for at least a few years.

Our house is not totally weapon-free. My husband, who feels very strongly that guns not be allowed, does not have anything against swords specifically. Though we don’t currently have any toys with swords, the kids do watch movies with minimal sword fights. So, what’s the difference? Well, when was the last time you heard of someone being killed or seriously injured in a random sword fight? When was the last time you heard in the news a story of innocent people dying due to an unprovoked sword fight at school.  There is a big difference between a gun “fight” and a sword fight.

Most parents wouldn’t be comfortable if their child sat down to watch television and was exposed to subtle nudity. There have been huge uproars over that happening. However, no one bats an eye when a child sits down to watch an animated movie riddled with guns, explosions and glorified violence. We have become so accepting in this society for gun violence that we don’t bat an eye when we see children playing a game on the street pretending to kill each other.

Our kids will soon be exposed to a large amount of gun violence in entertainment and through the news. We know that is inevitable. We are just taking the time to allow them to mature – to develop the ideas behind the purpose of guns. Taking time before the world bombards them with gun violence as a form of entertainment – desensitizing gun use and devaluing human life by awarding more points per kill.

I am certainly not saying that every child who grows up playing with pretend guns will end up being dangerous adults. I am saying that for my children – I prefer they play by living life and not play by pretending to take life.

Read more from Devan on Accustomed Chaos & Being Pregnant
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Photo Credit: adapted from permanently scatterbrained on Flickr