Can democracy take root in the Arab world?

As Syria burns, Iraq implodes and Tunisia and Libya struggle to democratize, one question remains central to framing discussions of participatory governance – Is democracy possible in the ‘Muslim world’? Is democracy an ‘internal wound,’ that has been left to fester for too long, within the Arab/Muslim world, as Moroccan scholar Fatima Mernissi argues? She… Continue reading Can democracy take root in the Arab world?

Is “God Bless America” problematic ?

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom-symbolizing an end as well as a beginning-signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.” – John F Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January… Continue reading Is “God Bless America” problematic ?

Ibn Battuta, Malcolm X and the tradition of student travelers in Islam

Rihla, or traveling to seek knowledge is an Islamic tradition, whose roots extend as far as the Prophet Muhammad himself, who prioritized learning and knowledge. His famous Hadith “Learning is from the cradle to grave” has inspired billions of people to travel, seek knowledge, over the last 1400 years of Islamic history. This tradition of… Continue reading Ibn Battuta, Malcolm X and the tradition of student travelers in Islam

New Year Resolution: Top 12 books for Charity and Philanthropy

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Keeping up the tradition of recommending books to read in the upcoming New Year, here is my list of top twelve books for 2014– all focused on Charity and Philanthropy. For starters, the two words don’t mean the same. Hopefully, by the time you are done with the 12 books, you will know the difference.… Continue reading New Year Resolution: Top 12 books for Charity and Philanthropy

Not everything that can be Counted Counts, and Not Everything that Counts can be Counted: Notes from ARNOVA, 2013

  I left Hartford, CT on Saturday after three grueling days of intense thinking and engagement at the 42nd Annual Association for Research on Non-profit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the Mecca for nonprofit theorists and practitioners. For over four decades the organization has been the meeting ground for anyone interested and engaged in this sphere.… Continue reading Not everything that can be Counted Counts, and Not Everything that Counts can be Counted: Notes from ARNOVA, 2013

Book Review: Interventions – A life in War and Peace – Kofi Annan with Nader Mousavizadeh

As the civil war in Syria rages on, with close to 90,000 people having died so far, and United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdhar Brahimi having admitted failure of his mission, the notion of a UN or international “intervention,” seems to be all but dead. While there is a glimmer of hope in the situation, with… Continue reading Book Review: Interventions – A life in War and Peace – Kofi Annan with Nader Mousavizadeh

Ten books you must read in 2013

A friend recently asked me for a book recommendation, and I rattled off a few titles,  and felt good about the recommendations I had just made. But on reflection, I realized that I hadn’t suggested the BEST books to read, given the paucity of time that we all have. So, if your interests are in the area… Continue reading Ten books you must read in 2013

Book review: Before European Hegemony Summary

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In what is certainly one of the most well-written books on Geo-politics of the 13th and 14th centuries that I have read, Janet Abu-Lughod makes a compelling argument that the world-system of that century gave rise to the European Hegemony of the 16th century and there were several factors responsible for it. Key among them… Continue reading Book review: Before European Hegemony Summary

A heady week ahead for Middle East peace – time for the US to act ?

With President’s speeches  out of  the way, there seems to be much to look forward to this coming week in the realm of Middle East peace. The first speech on thursday, which failed to live up to the expectations of Cairo speech, is seen by most analysts as damp, weak and ineffectual. The second speech… Continue reading A heady week ahead for Middle East peace – time for the US to act ?