Category: USA

Here’s how to Make America relevant again!

Here’s how to Make America relevant again!

Is America’s standing in the world getting better, with President Biden at the helm? Initial data seems to suggest that this hasn’t yet happened. However, not all is lost. One of the ways that this can be accelerated is through vaccine diplomacy. As a recent media report pointed out, the commitment by the US to …

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Will philanthropy by the rich save us?

Will philanthropy by the rich save us?

Mackenzie Scott’s giving away of $4 bn made news last week, as this was one of the most generous examples of giving by an ultra-rich person, this year. It is admirable that she has given this money away, even though there are very many criticisms of this phenomenon of hi-networth giving. Her problem is pretty …

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Is democratic choice impossible?

Is democratic choice impossible?

How to pick a solution that satisfies everyone? This problem has faced (and continues to face) all of us. Should we all wear a mask or not? Should this be enforced? Go on vacation during a pandemic – or not? There seems to be a struggle among Americans to answer such basic questions. While a …

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Two Americans in Ecuador

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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Renewing Islam through service?

Renewing Islam through service?

Popular discourses about Islam don’t normally include the ‘service’ component of the faith. Even though Islam considers charity to be central part of faith. Charity is very broadly defined in Islamic terms – for instance, there are prophetic Hadith that suggest that even a kind word or smile to a stranger can be considered an …

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Development: For whom and why?

Development: For whom and why?

Over the last two weeks, I have had a few interesting discussions on ‘development,’ both in the context of local community development and international development. One can see conflation of security discourses, humanitarian and related concerns in each of these debates.  The dominant narrative about ‘development,’ in the context of Asia and Africa seems to …

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Is God a White Racist?

Is God a White Racist?

Since Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, there has been a renewed national conversation about race in America. While most thoughtful analysts agree that there is a wide racial divide in the country, no one has come up with a definitive answer as to how to solve it. Despite decades of government, non-government and civil society …

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What can Islam offer to the World? Part 1

What can Islam offer to the World? Part 1

Most often, when journalists write about Islam, it is in connection with something negative. As Edward Said argued, many years ago in Orientalism, there is a tendency in the Western academia and media to focus on the stereotypes of Islam and the Muslim world, at the expense of the ‘reality’ that exists in the Muslim …

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Lessons in Foreign Policy from Food Cart Vendors

Lessons in Foreign Policy from Food Cart Vendors

“Cairo, very good city. You go there?” queried the young Egyptian juice vendor, as I was attempting to buy a mixed berry juice, while waiting for my turn to enter the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Another food cart vendor, who was a Syrian pointed out the similarities in spices in India and the Arab …

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