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In This Issue: January 2012

Drugs, Thugs, and WMD: Shift in Trafficking Routes Threatens Global Security

With law enforcement efforts building against drug traffickers in Mexico and Central America, concerns have arisen that the Caribbean island nations will again serve as transit points or bases for illicit smuggling. Experts argue that although these illicit routes have not been particularly active in the trafficking arena for several decades, we are likely to see them being reactivated in the next two or three years. These routes most often lead to South Florida and other entry points in the southern United States. Stanley Foundation associate program officer Veronica Tessler looks at the new fear that more than drugs will be smuggled through these routes and examines what is being done about it.

Public Opinion and Policymaking: A New Digest of US and International Attitudes

The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program at the Council on Foreign Relations has produced Public Opinion on Global Issues, a comprehensive digest of existing polling data on US and global public attitudes about the world’s most pressing challenges—and the institutions designed to address them. Developed in partnership with the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, the digest consolidates global and US public opinion across ten major issue areas: elements of world order, international institutions, violent conflict, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, energy security, the global economy, economic development, and human rights. Read more in a Q&A with IIGG Director Stewart Patrick about this exciting new resource.


Beyond The Headlines

Peace and Security: The Role of Women

As protests ignited across North Africa and the Middle East last year, we saw women join the mass gatherings in large numbers. Many emerged as leaders and, in more than a few cases, as the target of brute force of governmental crackdowns that shocked the world.

The granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to three women—Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman—last November brought about an increased level of attention to the role of women in peace processes. The selection committee cited the trio’s “nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work.” Women have always played a role in war, yet in the past the attention has predominantly centered on their role as victims and grieving relatives.

A recent PBS documentary film series entitled Women, War & Peace, now available online, “challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are the domain of men.” Citing examples around the world, the series demonstrates how women can and do play a role in brokering peace and seeking justice.

The US government is now making policy to reflect this reality as well. With a new executive order from the president for a “National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security,” the Obama administration is taking a number of steps to “weave perspectives of women and girls into the DNA of our foreign policy” and empower women to play a more prominent role in their societies toward securing peace.


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Stay Active

Surf & Learn: NTI Launches New Web Site and Nuclear Security Index

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) recently launched a newly designed Web site with many useful features such as brief and in-depth analysis related to nuclear, biological, or chemical threats, as well as missile delivery systems and terrorism; country profiles; and threats. Just last week NTI released a first-ever index ranking countries by their nuclear security efforts. See how the US and other countries possessing nuclear weapons-usable material rank.

Tool for Action: Harry Potter Fans Unite for Social Change

The Harry Potter Alliance is an "outside-the-box" effort to bring about positive change in the world by building on themes found in the Harry Potter book series. The alliance, according to their Web site, "fights the Dark Arts in the real world by using parallels from Harry Potter. We work for human rights, equality, and a better world just as Harry and his friends did throughout the books." Founded in 2005, the alliance claims more than 100,000 members in 60 chapters worldwide. Their Web site features a number of success stories including money raised for earthquake relief in Haiti, books sent to Rwanda and the US Gulf Coast, and awareness raising over atrocities in Darfur. Last year, members began an effort to destroy seven real world horcruxes, including illiteracy and child slavery. As Potter fans know, horcruxes were the dark magical objects used by the evil Lord Voldemort in the fictional series. Alliance members take their inspiration from Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling who wrote, "We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

New Resource: The Everything Calendar

The Council for a Livable World puts together a calendar every year that’s useful for the politically active, consummate event planner, and sports fanatic all at once. Their Congressional, Political, Cultural, Sports, and Holiday Schedule for 2012 captures any major date that you might want to be aware of as you’re planning major activities or life in general.


TSF Library

52nd Annual Strategy for Peace Conference

Policy Dialogue Briefs
December 2011

Each year the Stanley Foundation convenes the Strategy for Peace Conference bringing together experts from the public and private sectors to discuss aspects of foreign policy. Three new policy dialogue briefs summarize the roundtable discussions from last fall’s conference:

 

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