During the 4th Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, I spoke during the plenary session titled ‘To The Point’ where I talk about a bit of creating safe spaces for queer and trans folk through my work, including ending criminalization of trans folks and sex work. Enjoy the video!
Three months back, I read a piece in Huffington post (http://huff.to/28YprP4) that included Atlas Corps in the list of top five fellowship programs to jumpstart one’s journey as a Global Changemaker. As someone about to join Atlas Corps Class 21, I was curious as to what made Atlas Corps so special to be included in such a small and selective list, while keeping various other programs out. After spending a month here in Washington DC, I can now testify to the verdict of this particular post.
The day was June 9th. I was looking forward to this day to be able to review the applications of President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative(YLAI). YLAI is a program that seeks to address the opportunity gap for youth, especially women by empowering them and other civil society leaders to enhance economic development, human rights, security, etc. in the region.
Unless you have the chance to go through the applications, you don’t know what “potential of the youth” and YLAI really mean. Lots of great ideas both in untapped markets and new areas of development, that show positive signs of prosperity that is soon to come.
It is always hard to start and may it be individuals or organizations, they struggle in the beginning but when they keep moving with a passion to do something they usually emerge as successful. I used to be a professional DJ and the most interesting thing about this is that I never knew what music mixing is until I went to a party where I was struggling to hide my helplessness in having fun with other people. It also inspired me to take initiatives in my life and I think everyone can make a difference by keeping a few things in mind.
When I first heard the sentence “edit your dreams” my mind went into decipher mode. I quickly tried to wrap my brain around it, and answer the gentleman in front of me. I wanted to impress. “I analyze even the most mundane things. So why can’t I show off my skills when it mattered most. Arrgghh!!!,” I thought.
My thoughts were punctuated, “edit your dreams,” he said for the second time, subtly adding “you’re here now.” Then, it dawned on me. I was at the UN Headquarters in New York, attending a movie screening jointly organized by the US and Vietnamese Permanent Missions to the UN.
Before we came we were all filled with doubt, excitement shrouded with some fear of the unknown. We didn’t know what to expect. All of us come from different backgrounds and nationalities – 13 different countries from 5 different continents, each coming with our own perspective. As we landed in the United States, May 14th, that excitement rush became real, many of us jet lagged from the long travel and vast time difference. As we had our rest on Sunday, Monday was the first real day where we all got to meet each other and receive some housing and safety presentations at the Wonder Bread factory, where Atlas Corps is situated. We then, together with fellow fellows from previous classes and staff members had a wonderful tour in the city of monuments and memorials, Washington DC, visiting the White House and the memorials at the National Mall. Up to this point it was all still unclear to us but we definitely enjoyed sightseeing in these breathtaking landmarks.
(Part 1) Continued:
In your opinion, if Putin had not invaded Ukraine, would the West continue to treat Russia as a normal power despite all abuses at home?
After the invasion of Georgia and in light of the things that were happening, there was a greater suspicion. But it took something like the invasion of Ukraine for a lot of people finally to wake up. There is also an army of propagandists working for Russia either officially or unofficially including Americans, helping to spread disinformation. So, people were confused about Russia’s motives. In that respect the invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea taught even naïve people a lesson and it’s harder to justify Russia and Russian behavior now.
A new book ‘The Less You Know the Better You Sleep’ by David Satter, a well-known political writer and specialist on Russia was released in the U.S. In his book, he recounts the history of post-communist Russia through the prism of provocations and terror against its own people perpetrated by the government under both Yeltsin and Putin. Atlas Corps Fellow Yury Terekhov met David Satter in Washington and talked to him about the new book and the fate of Russia.
New York, USA – A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline, but a society that engages their interests, enlists their talents and liberates their energies brings hope to the world, says former UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan. But don’t you find it odd that the same society that encourages you to follow your dreams as a kid is somehow offended by your demand to be involved in decisions may affect the realization those very dreams?
Last Sunday the world woke up with the deadliest mass shooting in US history. At least 50 people were killed, and 53 wounded, many of them in grievous condition. Part of the media and some politicians are using this outrageous hate crime against LGBT people to inflame an Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US. They seem not to understand how crazy (and dangerous) is allowing a person (of any religion) to buy an assault rifle and simple bring it home.