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Showing posts with label Red Cross. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red Cross. Show all posts

Monday, October 23, 2017

Climate Refugeeism from Rising Tides

Refugees: Are We Eating our Young?

Islands at Risk

Deborah Levine, Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report

Refugee International reported a few years ago that a Kiribatian man tried to convince a New Zealand court to make him the world’s first climate change refugee. Kiribati is an impoverished group of Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels. He didn’t succeed, but many experts predict a growing number of displaced people seeking asylum because of global warming. The planet has limited drinkable water, fertile land, clean air, and food. The planet’s current supplies are steadily shrinking.

At the same time, valuable resources such as oil, fishing areas, minerals, mines, and even illicit drugs have become a violent crossroads for old ethnic rivalries, international money, and survival. The result is a threat to a global and local economies. Corporations will eventually run out of poor populations to harness, foreign resources to exploit, and regions free of violence in which to operate efficiently and safely. Local leaders are battling fiercely to control access and power, ethnic divisions are stronger than ever, and refugees abound. Above all, the future of this planet, our youth, are experiencing challenges more likely to be identified with the Middle Ages than a post-modern world.

Islands disappearing underwater. Photo: The Guardian: Environment (See photo exposé) 

Youth at Risk

The displacement of young people is producing experts in arenas that were once little known but are now all too central to society. Siddharth Chatterjee works at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 2011. Before joining the IFRC, he served in the United Nations. A former Special Forces officer in the Indian Army, he is a graduate in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public & International Affairs at Princeton University, USA. In South Sudan, he negotiated the release and demobilized 3,551 child soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. This demobilization of child soldiers was the first program of its kind during an ongoing conflict.

Unfortunately, many ethnic conflicts are likely to increase in direct proportion to the decrease in availability of vital resources. CNN.com reported what is becoming a familiar situation … “The South Sudanese government and military, dominated by the Dinka ethnic group of President Salva Kiir, is fighting rebels allied with former Vice President Riek Machar of the Nuer ethnic group… At stake for now is control of oil-rich regions responsible for more than 95% of the country’s economy, and perhaps leadership of the country.” In the first two weeks of violence, tens of thousands of people to seek the protection of United Nations forces. The high stakes involved with oil production as well as South Sudan’s gold, copper and possibly uranium resources, brought international pressure for what is, no doubt, a very uneasy cease fire.

Shocking pictures of refugees from Sudan, Syria, and Myanmar are reshape our world view. A Canadian high school senior Chelsea Liu wrote, “I recently came across an article titled “Millionth Child Flees Syria” on Yahoo News. The picture under the headline was one of a young girl, with dark circles under her eyes, staring hauntingly at the camera. In the West—perhaps in Canada—she would be going to school in a few years, wearing nice clothes and hanging out with friends… If she lived here in Oakville, she could do all of that, and more. But she’s in Jordan, sitting in a mobile home at a refugee camp. She’s wearing a blue blanket, and her candid expression shows nothing but distrust for everything that has come her way… How many times have we cried over something that we believe to be so utterly important, and yet so insignificant when compared to this little girl’s predicament?”

What to do?

What can we do to save the children caught up in these battles? They are the future of a society. Destroy them, and you destroy a culture and a generation. Yet, despite the compelling arguments for protecting the future generation, there is little escape for them. Much of the apathy or antipathy stems from a shortage of resources and an overall economic squeeze. How can any country support the tidal wave of refugees over time? How can we feed, clothe, and provide clean drinking water, not to mention jobs, healthcare, and housing?

Syria’s neighbors and European countries are imploding under the current weight of refugees. Yet, Egypt deported Syrian and Ethiopian refugees, Singapore deported Indian nationals, and National Turk Magazine reports on Saudi Arabia, “Thousands of Egyptians, Indonesians, Malaysians and others have been flown out of the country as the Saudi government seeks to create jobs for local people by deporting some of the estimated nine million foreign workers.”

No region is exempt from the challenges. The US tries to close its borders with Latin America. Trucks and boats of the poverty-stricken attempt life-threatening escapes not only from Syria but from Haiti, the Central African Republic, and other countries decimated by war or natural disasters. They often die in the attempt or end up in make-shift refugee camps that resemble hopeless prisons without adequate food, water, plumbing, or shelter.

The calls for help are many. Chatterjee asks, “Will this be the year to protect children caught in armed conflict? We were once filled with hope and happiness, eager to see a better world where Human Rights and equality are advanced. Yet, in another part of our world we see the compelling misery and despair.”

Beyond Compassion

It may be time to recognize that compassion can alleviate, but not resolve. Yes, humanity leads to acts that make a difference. However, there is simply not enough money or resources to counteract the massive dislocations we are seeing. Increasingly, our compassionate acts are like band aids, more temporary and less effective every year. How else can we use our humanity to magnify our efforts, to change the trajectory of the destruction of our children, our future?

Let’s address the root causes of “devour-our-young” syndrome that we are experiencing: Resources. We must create enough food and drinking water for the planet’s population so that we don’t end up killing each other to survive. None of us will be exempt from the impact of depletion. Therefore, we must invest in alternative fuels and renewable energy to power us beyond the fossil fuels that are poisoning the air we breathe. Housing must be energy self-sufficient with solar panels. Roof gardens and urban community farming plots should be encouraged to alleviate the loss of arable land. No longer can we turn a blind eye to the global impact of natural disasters.

Yes, it is humane to contribute food and clothing for those affected. However, the relocation of vulnerable populations only delays, not manages the problem. Investment in structures that can withstand changing weather patterns are long-term solutions that must be rapidly pursued.

As tribalism engulf our planet, armed-conflicts over diminishing resources are resulting in humanitarian crises that overwhelm our ability to assist. Decimating cities and regions in the process of wiping out the perpetrators is creating vast areas of destruction. There must be investments in innovative technology to re-build these areas for environmental sustainability. Will this be the year that world leaders recognize the urgency and act to save the planet, or are we eating our young for years to come in the fight over shrinking resources?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

What do Goodwill Ambassadors do?

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira in Africa

Goodwill Ambassadors do what ?

A Goodwill Ambassador is a prominent individual in his/her community or profession who serves as an "Honorary Diplomat" between entities, like organizations, institutions, towns, cities, or nations. If you pride yourself on being a good friend to others and someone who initiates change you might have a future as a "goodwill ambassador."

Common examples of goodwill ambassadors are actors, artists, authors, athletes, advocates, activists and other prominent or well known figures who go on “international friendship missions” to foreign countries, where they present gifts, provide humanitarian relief, and socialize with their contemporaries and counterparts. Like these people, it’s your job as a goodwill ambassador to represent one group of people to another for the purpose of building friendly cooperative mutually beneficial relationships that will be economically, culturally, socially, or politically beneficial in the future to both parties and the world.

To accomplish your mission, you typically travel, attend social functions, participate in round-table discussions, make public appearances, involve themselves in relief projects, do media interviews, and lobby legislators. Normally the title is given to those who perform work on the behalf of a group working abroad but can be used more liberally too.

Although most goodwill ambassadors do humanitarian work for organizations like the United Nations, some act as “welcome wagons,” representing businesses to prospects. In this case, it’s your job to find and ingratiate yourself with leads by presenting prospects with token gifts, information, resources, access to benefits, complimentary promotions, etc.

Either way, your job is “being nice” as a means of promoting peace, prosperity, fellowship, friendship and brotherhood as mutually beneficial functions for society in representation to your non profit organization, cooperative, your community, or your country.

UNHCR Ambassador, Angelina Jolie working with Refugees

What are the requirements to become a goodwill ambassador?


You should have a high school degree, associates degree, or a certificate in global citizenship or higher and share these most basic traits:

Team Player - You're able to listen, communicate, and work with lots of different people.
Trustworthy - You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
Socially Responsible - You're happy working in teams or with other people for the greater good.
Communications - You can read and write in your native language professionally.

There are other skills and traits that are relevant too, especially for international relief work. Many of the standards and guidelines for best practices among goodwill ambassadors internationally are emulated by groups that routinely use prominent well-known individuals or people especially selected by their memberships including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Red Cross, Transparency International, Rotary International, Globcal International, and the many United Nations Organizations.

Former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham, Goodwill Ambassador

How to become a professional goodwill ambassador?


There are many organizations and countries around the world that want, need, or would fare well by having goodwill ambassadors represent their friendship and cooperative interests, ideas and projects abroad. So the career outlook is "very good" to "excellent." Countries, states and cities often use members of their own communities like annual beauty pageant winners, local heroes, former politicians, upcoming politicians, or even mascots (fictional characters). In 2008, Japan appointed 'Hello Kitty' as an ambassador of goodwill and tourism, the mascot made over 100 high level appearances with heads of state in subsequent years.

A president, prime minister, governor, or mayor can appoint, commission, or recognize a goodwill ambassador for a short-term (single event), for the course of a year, several years, or for life as does the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky upon awarding honorary colonel commissions to noteworthy individual citizens and friends of the state.

Many of these positions are often unpaid, in most cases they involve attractive stipends, cooperative grants, perks, travel reimbursements and other compensation with more prominent active organizations that depend on these individuals to promote their work. Organizations like the WWF, UNICEF, the IUCN, Conservation International and the Republic of South Korea.

Yeong Chang, Goodwill Ambassador for 2018 Winter Olympics

Are there goodwill ambassador jobs available in the world today?


Sure. Governments and organizations that have goodwill ambassadors often need to develop and re-develop these positions based on political change or for particular special events. So more often than not these positions are frequently vacant or underutilized through informal relationships with celebrities or well-known community figures that have little time to spare. Many of these individuals are appointed and only work during a single annual event and maintain their status inactively during the rest of the year.

Community organizations, leaders and even individual ambassadors can be postulated at any time for a mission, event or project in this representation. Those who want to represent entities as goodwill ambassadors often use the official position or title to raise their own discretionary funds through others including friends, community leaders and even banks that collaborate at a local level to help them succeed in representing their common community interests.

How good, effective and pro-active a goodwill ambassador or a community's international cooperation department usually depends upon the individual ambassador's personal resources, community support, commitment to the cause, and time available. Being a goodwill ambassador can be a full or part time job or it can be a prestigious honor that is coveted and used infrequently, this all depends on you.

Nicholas Cage, Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC

Want some help to become a goodwill ambassador?


There is an international organization that has been exclusively developed for cause advocates and community activists that takes being a goodwill ambassador to a fine art and career profession. They assist in development and placement of ambassadors in careers to create goodwill on a global scale.

Globcal International helps individuals become ambassadors and it assists organizations, states, cities, small communities and tribal peoples in the development of cooperative programs using goodwill ambassadors. As of July 2014 they begin the operation of an extension service in the form of a resource center for goodwill ambassadors and their potential employers through a number of on-line social network platforms and maintains a cooperative fellowship that comes together through their joint member programs.

Dorothy Lockheart, Goodwill Ambassador for New Brunswick

Qualify and join the club?


In essence the organization serves to propel the professional development of these illustrious determined  people who join or are selected by the commissioners of their organization as lifetime members of their union. Their fellowship is cooperative and serves as a confederation or assembly forum for goodwill ambassadors all over the world. Members gain access to interactive courses, certification programs, a special library collection, discourse, database of officials and the media as well as other special benefits, services and privileges both practical and virtually for those who engage the social media. 

Globcal provides registered members with introduction services with heads of state or community leaders, provide diplomatic visas, credentials, travel documents, letters patent, and embassy services in 100 countries through an extensive network of day offices and ambassadors who are cooperative members that assist their fellows and global citizen travelers at airports with transportation, emergency lodging, tourism, work assignments, and customs. They are certainly professionalizing and making the horizon richer and more prosperous for their members by promoting work opportunities.

You can qualify yourself as an international goodwill ambassador now through Globcal if you have used the title professionally and honorably anytime during your lifetime. Depending on how much experience and work you have done you may also have your name or biography listed in Globcal International's "Global Citizenship Registry" in Stockholm, Sweden. ( a new project they have under development )

Those who do qualify to become registered are listed, their names are presented and made available to NGO directors, monarchs, presidents, prime ministers and mayors from around the world as qualified honorary citizens with their direct contact information, to fill the hundreds of opportunities that exist with already known goodwill ambassadors and global citizens. Globcal International provides their certification, training, education, and registration services to members and non-members alike.

Article by Ambassador Col. David Wright. Ambassador Wright is a blog author and goodwill ambassador working with indigenous peoples in the Amazon. The colonel is a founder and an active commissioner working with Globcal International. Fell free to share his articles under creative commons credit attribute and share-alike licensing.