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Fashion Week Internationale

As many of you know from my globalization pictorial, the fashion industry is one that assimilates and embodies the current globalization process our society is undergoing.  So, for this week’s post I decided to focus on the concept of  “Fashion Week” and how it is translated to different cultures all around the world.  The sometimes controversial Vice Magazine is no stranger in tackling different world issues with a journalistic edge. They recently ran a short series entitled Fashion Week Internationale. Hosted by former model Charlet Duboc, the series takes a look at the different fashion weeks that take place all over the world. The show tries to ignore the four main Fashion weeks (NY, London, Milan, Paris) and instead looks at fashion events in countries like Nigeria and Colombia. While in the process of  looking at these different events, Charlet also takes a look at the social/economical/health issues that the country faces and contrasts them with the events of fashion week.  One of the things that strike me the most about this show, is how different cultures are able to assimilate their unique characteristics and blend them in the “western” concept of Fashion week. Also, this show is able to uncover some serious global issues,  ranging from factory conditions in Cambodia to plastic surgery obsession in Colombia, thus opening my mind to global issues and the impact the fashion industry has on them.

For the purpose of this blog, I am going to ask each of you to take a look at one of the selected episodes of this eye-opening show. After you watched the show in its entirety (each 20-30 min) please respond with your own personal opinion on the episode(s) you just watched or answer the following questions:

-How is each culture able to show their distinct identity in their Fashion Week?

-What sort of global issues are you able to discover from the videos? Could you provide your opinion?

-Do you think that the Fashion Industry is reflective of globalization process?

-Do you think the Fashion industry has a negative impact in our respective cultures?

Click at the link below to watch the episodes and if you feel like watching more follow the site to discover more about this amazing and riveting online show.

Cambodia Fashion Week

and

Pakistan Fashion Week

I hope you guys enjoy the show and this week’s post. Cant wait to read your opinions and thoughts on this subject.

Rural women under gobalization

Economic globalization has so many different effects on different nations, cities, companies and people… … When talk about economy and gender. I always think about cheap labors in rural areas in Asian countries where men go to cities to look for more opportunities and leave women in rural areas taking care of children and old parents, and working in factories to produce expensive products like NIKE or iPads… But, this time I don’t want to show you something on women who get stuck in the rural areas talking about how miserable they are, instead, I want to talk about women who strive for change under the impact of globalization.

Well, what we can see from economic globalization’s impact now is many women going to colleges, or entering business as what men do. But what we cannot see from the impact of economic globalization is that there are lots of women in rural areas striving to make a change. I found this video clip on YouTube about China’s rural women try to make a difference (don’t worry it’s in English…).

In China, there is a phenomenon that less and less people in rural areas. And what have left in rural areas are non-educated women, children, and old people.  This old lady in the clip is well educated, globalized in a sense that she speaks perfect English. Unlike many people who left the rural area to cities to seek money and fame, the lady went to the rural area to bring hope to women who were left behind… She lets those rural young girls know that there is hope for them and for other women who get stuck in rural areas as long as those young girls realize that they are equal to men, and they are willing to make a change even they are in rural China.

Economic globalization has direct impact on cities. However, I believe the rural areas are somehow the key to a striving and powerful nation… We cannot abandon rural areas only because the cities are more globalized. It’s good that the lady in the video clip is trying to help rural women. But as I said before, in Asia, many countries as Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, of which the rural areas are less developed than China, many women are still suffering and sacrificing in the economic globalization. I do not really know about rural problems in the U.S, Ecuador, or Saudi Arabia. So I’m really curious about:

  1. What are the rural problems in your culture (I would also love to hear about other opinions from my culture too)?
  2. What is your opinion as a global citizen about the phenomenon that women are left in rural area in China or other Asian countries?
  3. How important do you think people in rural areas are in the process of globalization?
  4. Is there any way that we could use globalization as a tool to help those women instead of a negative influence on them?

I look forward to your discussions. Happy spring break!

What is Nation-Branding?

 What is nation branding? Traditionally countries formally market themselves when they host major world events such as the Olympics or the World Cup. Likewise countries that are popular tourist destinations regularly use targeted marketing campaigns to promote tourism. However, more recently countries are using technology and social media such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to run permanent branding campaigns. According to nation branding and promotion specialist, David Lightle, nation-branding is a strategic messaging campaign through which a country promotes itself to enhance its economy. David Lightle’s nation branding website proposes that in nation branding campaigns “the promotion should always be about economics. For developing countries, the key is to facilitate the development of the three pillars of prosperity: exports, investment attraction and tourism…For every country has a brand, sitting on the shelf of the global marketplace, needing to answer two crucial questions for the world: Who am I? And why me?” (Lightle, My Practice)

Specifically, Lightle proposes that developing countries must develop an umbrella brand; “In some cases, a nation needs an ‘umbrella brand’ to help differentiate itself and promote itself to open the doors wider to exports, investment and tourism.” (Lightle, My Practice)

In this example Lightle is referring to Colombia’s, “Colombia is Passion,” nation branding campaign.

 The key message of “Colombia is Passion,” is to promote the notion that Colombians distinguish themselves in the marketplace of nation brands as a people who live with an exceptional passion for life. Moreover, this campaign implies that the passion that Colombians have for life transcends into Colombia’s economy, its manufacturing sector, and its workplace, which in effect make Colombia an exceptional nation to buy exports from and an exceptional nation in which to make investments. Likewise, this campaign claims that the passion of Colombian’s also extends into Colombia’s tourism sector. In essence, premise of Colombia’s nation-branding campaign is that the passion that Colombian’s have for life is infectious and will give tourists a pleasant travel experience.

Do you think that nation-branding campaigns will have an important or marginal role in shaping world affairs?

Do you use social media to learn about other countries?

Which mass communication mediums do you use to learn about the world?

YEMEN: Unrest puts child marriage issue on back burner

Hello bloggers!  In continuation of our journey through Global Communication, I have chosen an interesting article for all of us to ponder on. This week, we are going to be discussing Globalization and Political Unrest as it relates to gender.

Yemen has been experiencing political unrest for many years with rebels in the southern part of the country fighting for independences. The Arab spring has also brought calls from the people for the president to go, with the people favoring democracy instead. In a country already riddled with poverty unemployment and widespread corruption, this is a huge yoke on them. This has led to a standstill in other areas of life, legislation being one of them. A consequence is the situation painted in the article. The story is very compelling and I want you all to read it and reflect on the issue raised.

 The story here has raised some question, which I would want you to ponder on when going through this article.

1. Is it proper for the girls in Yemen to bear the brunt for the political unrest?

2. Is it even right for the girl child to be sold to the highest bidder just because the family is poor and go through the physical and psychological damage?

3. Is this huge injustice against the girl child and the price they pay with their own freedom and life less important than the fight for political freedom?

4. Do you think that our course and what we have learnt so far through the rich topics (Sidling up to differences, Globalization, One story, Policy vs. Politics, etc.) and our insightful discussions in class have influenced the way you look at and analyze issues, people, and cultures other than yours?  How so?

 DHAMAR, 22 December 2011 (IRIN) – Poverty and unemployment, exacerbated by the current political unrest, are driving up child marriages in Dhamar Governorate and elsewhere in Yemen, says Asmaa al-Masri, a sociologist at Dhamar University.

 Several hundred girls in Dhamar have been forced into early marriages because their families need money, she told IRIN. “The number of child marriage victims is increasing, but no one pays attention to the problem because of the political unrest.”

 Draft legislation on “safe motherhood”, including articles banning child marriages, has not been debated as a result of the ongoing political unrest which interrupted parliament business, said MP Mohammed Qowarah, adding: “If there had been no protests, the parliament would have taken good steps towards tackling the phenomenon.”

 Figures on the extent of early marriage in Yemen vary, but all indicators suggest the problem is widespread. A 2009 report by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour estimated that 25 percent of all females marry before the age of 15.

According to an 8 December report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the turmoil which has swept Yemen since early 2011 has overshadowed the plight of child brides.

 “Marrying early cut short their education,” said the report. “Some said they had been subjected to marital rape and domestic abuse. There is no legal minimum age for girls to marry in Yemen. Many girls are forced into marriage and some are as young as eight.”

 Yemen’s political crisis has left child marriage at the bottom of the political agenda, said Nadya Khalife, an HRW women’s rights researcher covering the Middle East and North Africa.

 “But now is the time to move on this issue, setting the minimum age for marriage at 18, to ensure that girls and women, who played a major role in Yemen’s protest movement, will also contribute to shaping Yemen’s future,” she said.

 According to Widad al-Badwi, a human rights activist, many rape and early marriage crimes go unreported in Yemen.

“Women are oppressed,” said al-Badwi, who participated in the launch of a 16-day nationwide awareness campaign in the media by the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, from 25 November to 10 December aimed at fighting domestic violence.

 The HRW report concluded that girls are being forced into marriage by their families, and then having no control over whether and when to bear children and other important aspects of their lives.

“Short-lived”

 “Marriage of child girls is most often short-lived. It ends up in the child bride having trauma after being raped or abused by the husband,” said sociologist al-Masri.

 According to Arwa Omar, a social science teacher with more than 20 years experience in several all-girl schools in the capital Sana’a, child marriage is commonplace but ends up in failure.

 “In some tribal communities, girls are engaged even at age five, but marriage may take place just four or five years later,” Omar said. “Child brides feel happy with the new clothes and jewelry they get ahead of the wedding party. But later on, they pay a big price for that… A child girl gets nothing from marriage except dropping out of school and having trauma.”

 Mohammed Ali Nasser, a judge at Dhamar Governorate’s penal court, said a dozen child marriage contracts had been annulled by the court in the past three months.

 “Child marriages fail as child brides often run away,” he told IRIN. Such cases end up in court, with the husband usually claiming parents of the bride should repay him for the cost of the wedding (up to the equivalent of US$4,500), he added.

 Health risks

 “Birth-related complications are common among underage mothers in Yemen. Many cases of child mothers under age 15 died in labour,” said Intesar Ali, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist at the government-run al-Thawrah Hospital in Sana’a.

 A report by the World Population Foundation says girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth as those in their twenties, and girls under 15 are five times as likely to die as those in their twenties.

 According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Yemeni women face a lifetime risk of maternal death, which is nearly four times higher than the average for the region. The rate of infant mortality is around 60 deaths per 1,000 live births, which is among the highest worldwide.

 “International donors invest millions of dollars on education and health reform in Yemen,” HRW’s Khalife said. “Without a ban on child marriage, none of the international aid will prevent girls from being forced to leave school and from the health risks of child marriage.”

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments Globocommunicators! ^___^

YEMEN: Unrest puts child marriage issue on back burner

“Don’t compare gay rights, civil rights.”

My topic for this week’s blog is culture and ethnicity in relation to globalization in political unrest. What I had originally planned on discussing when I signed up for this week of blogging was the Civil Rights Movement, but when I started researching I realized that there was another movement going on right now that I think is more timely that is also leading to political unrest in the United States; the Gay Rights Movement. One of the biggest issues within the movement is gay marriage. The issue of gay marriage has been in the news a lot this past week with Washington state becoming the seventh state to allow gay marriage. Gay marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C. Also on Tuesday in California Proposition 8, a law that had previously banned gay marriage in the state, was named unconstitutional.

“Gay marriage and everything having to do with the gay rights movement (is) my generation’s civil rights issue,” said Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain. I pulled this quote from a USA Today column “Don’t compare gay rights, civil rights.” Please take a few minutes to read the column.

The author makes a good point that being black or being gay are characteristics about a person that cannot be changed, but he argues that being gay is a characteristic that someone could “hide.” For example a black man cannot hide his skin color, but a gay man could hypothetically “stay in the closet” and not let anyone know about his sexual preference. I think that asking someone to “hide” who they really are however is one of the worst offenses because it is denying that person his/her basic human right to choice.

I also disagree with the authors statement “But because that prejudice is not linked to a system of economic oppression that will leave gay communities permanently incapacitated, the lack of social acceptance faced by gays — and even the violence visited upon those identified as gay — will not necessarily haunt their descendants generations after attitudes begin to change.” I think that if even one person is incapacitated by the lack of social acceptant that gay men and women face then it is a problem that needs to be resolved. The size of the group of people being oppressed should not make their cause any less important. Currently many gay men and women do not have the opportunity to have descendants because the laws prohibit them from getting married, adopting children, etc.

Questions:

  1. Do you think that the Civil Rights Movement can be compared to the Gay Rights Movement? Why or why not?
  2. Even though a gay person may be able to “hide” the fact that they are gay do you think that they should have too so that they are treated with the same rights and respect as a straight person? Why or why not?
  3. The author ends the column by stating that the two movements should work together towards their different goals, do you see this as a feasible idea? How would it work?
  4. If you are comfortable sharing what are your thoughts on gay marriage? Should it be legal? Should gay marriage be decided on a state by state basis or should it be evaluated at the federal level?
  5. Any thoughts on the comic below?

Image

Sultan Al Qassemi- Making a difference on Twitter

SultanLast summer I had the pleasure of meeting Sultan Al Qassemi (@SultanAlQassemi) when he joined my Public Diplomacy class at Emerson College. He was in Boston for a few days attending events and Dr. Payne (@JGPAYNE) somehow charmed Sultan and convinced him to join us in class that evening.

At the time, Sultan did not mention that he had been named one of TIME Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds in March 2011. Since the summer, he has also been named one of The Most Influential Non-Celebrity Users of Twitter by UK’s The Independent. But you wouldn’t know any of these things when you meet Sultan. He’s incredibly humble and doesn’t seem to believe that he has “tweeted up a revolution,” as the UK’s Guardian says, nor that he is the Twitter King of the Arab Spring, per Chatham House. It wasn’t until I began my research for this blog post that I began to understand fully the influence Sultan has had.

Sultan currently has 96,840 followers. He is a thirty-three year old fellow at the Dubai School of Government and a freelance columnist, raised in the United Arab Emirates and educated in Paris, per TIME Magazine. Sultan made such an impact because he took the time to translate everything that was happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria into English. He translated all of the information like full speeches by Muammar Gaddafi, not just providing two sentence summaries as many Western newswires were doing (Chatham House). That and he removed opinion from his tweets, saving it for his longer articles (Guardian).

At one point he accounts that he was tweeting a new update every 45 seconds (TIME Magazine). For three weeks he wasn’t eating or sleeping (Guardian). Sultan took time off work and was tweeting over 20 hours a day (Chatham House). His following exploded once world journalists began to retweet him (Guardian). When asked what the impact of social media has had on the revolutions he said, “I think that the revolutions would have happened anyway, but I think social media was a tool, a mobiliser, a conduit, that people found each other through” (Guardian).

When asked about his current interests in the area, he sites Egypt and Saudi Arabia, saying “If Saudi [Arabia] changes, then everything changes. If Saudi empowers women, the rest of the region empowers women. It’s a multiplier effect. Saudi is on the cusp of major change – and it has nothing to do with people marching in the streets” (Guardian).

Some of you mentioned earlier that you did not understand the impact social media was having in the Arab Spring or that you thought it was over-credited. After reading this post and seeing all of the articles around one man, have your thoughts changed?

The Culture Code of Social Media

During our pictorial presentations in class, I was struck by how much emphasis our class placed on social media as a key component to globalization. As members of Generation Y, we are pioneering this communication channel each day, a channel that is allowing people across the world to communicate and connect like never before. Please view the below video, which highlights specifics as to the impact social media is having:

One of the most important pieces of this video in terms of globalization in my mind is the statement “Word of Mouth is on digital steroids.” The best example many of us can think of today is the impact social media has had on the “Arab Spring,” the beginning of revolutions in many Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. “Although they shared a common call for personal dignity and responsive government, the revolutions across these three countries reflected divergent economic grievances and social dynamics” per ForeignAffairs.com. The people experiencing these revolutions could not turn to their media for trustworthy information, and so they turned to each other instead. They reached out as “citizen journalists,” like Alex mentioned in her posts, and informed each other about the dangers, the strengths, and the possibilities they faced. Just think, how much of your news do you take in from social media?

I’d like to propose that social media has different meaning across cultures, as we found there are often different “codes” across cultures for the same expression, experience, or item. I’d like to think about Clotaire Rapaille’s The Culture Code and propose that the culture code for social media in the U.S. would be something like “IDEA,” whereas the culture code for social media in the Middle East may be more like “FREEDOM.” Do you agree with these proposed culture codes for social media? If not, what do you think is more reflective?

Stay tuned for my next post, describing one of the most influential Twitter users in the Middle East. You can start following him now @SultanAlQassemi.

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