[in] focus

Common perceptions and public diplomacy: lessons from Venezuela

Wayne JumatWith the recent accession to power by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), through legislative elections, much has been said about Venezuela’s turn towards democracy and the overturn of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) control of the National Assembly, in the public and on social media. Therefore, it is crucial that democracy must be considered as a larger subset of governance systems, and the key desire of governance systems should be efficiency in service of its people regardless of political or ideological convictions. In other words, the debate should prioritise governance systems and their (in)efficiency in servicing the basic needs and dignity of their people instead of the common narrative of democracy versus the rest. This would allow for a more nuanced discussion that brings in issues of conflicting value-systems, misunderstanding of the application of law and rights and potentially forced cultural and systemic changes.

Read more ...

Myanmar’s general elections: The people have spoken, will the military listen

dlaminiThe results of Myanmar’s general elections that took place on the 8th of November 2015, promise a new era in a country that has been dominated by military rule for the past decades. However, this will only be judged by the willingness of the military to pave way for a more inclusive and democratic government.

Read more ...

The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-plus fails to agree on South China Sea

dlaminiThe regional retreat of the Third ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM-Plus) plus eight other countries; Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States, took place on the 4th November 2015 in Malaysia. However the meeting faced a setback when the Ministers failed to issue a joint declaration of the regional security for the first time in the ADMM-Plus. The failure is attributed to the issues of the South China Sea dispute, where it said that China opposed the mention of its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea in the joint statement.

Read more ...

Tracking the Latest Developments of the Indian Ocean Rim Association(IORA)

lonagqizaPost Second World War, the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean region led to hegemonic states competing for ownership, power and influence in the region. The establishment of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation in 1995 was significant because there was a need for countries of the Indian Ocean to unite and not allow states from other regions to take over. In 1997, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation was transformed to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).Currently, with the latest additions to IORA, the association has 21 member states and 7 dialogue partners under its wing. The Indian Ocean, which has historically been a space of cultural and economic exchange, is the third largest ocean and serves for transportation and international trade with two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, a third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and half of the world’s container ships travelling through the region.

Read more ...

Youth Advocacy, #FeesMustFall and New Diplomacies

Wayne JumatThe South African, Chilean and Colombian economies have generally struggled due to factors such as corruption (public and private), the global economic recession, struggling economic performance and productivity, growing populations and needs, brain drain, persistent inequality and poverty, declining public expenditures particularly on education, and challenges of sourcing investments. The South African situation is fraught with threats to economic advancement, as it is has to prioritise various development projects apart from education, while simultaneously dealing with the South African economy that was predicted to grow by 2% for 2015. However, there may be ways to resolve the challenges of education, despite the attempts by the respective governments to temper student dissatisfaction and resolve the issues put on the table by the frustrated youth.

Read more ...