Category: Culture

  • To be a good teacher, be a student.

    Here’s a paradox in learning that I have come to understand, at a deeper level: to be an effective teacher, one must be a student. What does it mean? It means that learning never stops and to effectively embody what it means to teach, one must continuously humble oneself, keep an open mind and challenge […]

  • How to help the people of Syria and Turkey – without breaking rules around U.S. Sanctions?

    By now, it is increasingly becoming clear that the earthquake that impacted Syria and Turkey on 6 February, is a massive humanitarian disaster. This crisis like others in war-torn and conflict zones is unique in that American aid cannot reach the potential beneficiaries, with ease.  For those Americans who want to donate to NGOs, or […]

  • Why more grad students should study/ travel abroad in 2023

    I took a small group of students to Tijuana, Mexico in December 2022. We visited the “most dangerous city in the world,” and a city that is often associated with crime, violence and all negative stereotypes, to learn about migration and the “migrant crisis.”

  • Five reasons you should join a professional association

    Students and colleagues who know me know that I am an advocate for joining professional associations. I am a member of several of them, ARNOVA, ASPA, SAJA, among others. As a grad student, I initially was reluctant and during my master’s program didn’t really see the value of joining one. But once I started my […]

  • Why bother with Direct Trade?

    Is Direct trade – a model for fairer trade? What does direct trade mean? In simple terms, it means buying directly from the producer.  In the world of small batch production – crafts, arts or even food commodities, produced by small producers, often there are many middle-men/ women, who are part of the supply chain. […]

  • Have you learnt your crisis communications lessons, yet?

    Covid-19, economic recession of 2008, 9/11 attacks and a great many other events should have taught us one thing: crisis management. I firmly believe that if you have been paying attention to these events then you’d have picked up at least a few lessons in crisis management/ communications along the way. If you haven’t, no […]

  • Amidst the Chaos and social strife lets ask “What would Gandhi do?”

     For those scholars and activists who are following India, there is not much good news coming out of the subcontinent. Day after day, there are reports of riots, planned attacks on minorities and institutional corruption that has forced many democracy watchers to downgrade India’s standing as a democracy. Amidst the silence of the leaders of […]

  • Six tips to be a successful online student

    With the sudden change in school and college schedules, with the COVID-19 situation, most institutions in the U.S. are going towards online education. Many are scrambling to make this transition, while those who are better prepared are doing virtual classes smoothly. There seem to be multiple resources for teachers on how to teach better, however; […]

  • Insights into refugee resettlement in Germany

    Last week, I was in Munich, attending a conference organized by the Institut fur Politisch Bildung, a German think-tank and Virginia Tech (my alma mater). The three day visit was overwhelmingly positive, except for a visit to the Dachau Concentration camp, which left me drained, emotionally.  Regardless, here is a quick synopsis of some of […]

  • Two Americans in Ecuador

    While the American political apparatus is busy withdrawing itself from the world, I met two incredible Americans who have not only spent their energies, but also their time trying to make Ecuador a better place. Just last week I was in Quito, the country’s capital to visit Sun Mountain, an organization founded by Scott Solberg, an […]

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