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… Continue reading Will philanthropy by the rich save us?

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… Continue reading Two Americans in Ecuador

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… Continue reading Renewing Islam through service?

Ten Commandments for an International Relations Professional

I received an email from a relative in India, requesting me to speak with his niece, who is considering grad school in the U.S. She wants to specialize in International Relations. This is perhaps the fifth or so request I have received in the last year. So, I thought of writing a blog post for… Continue reading Ten Commandments for an International Relations Professional

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… Continue reading Development: For whom and why?

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… Continue reading Is God a White Racist?

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… Continue reading What can Islam offer to the World? Part 1

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… Continue reading Lessons in Foreign Policy from Food Cart Vendors