Sue Roh is a sophomore in Columbia College majoring in History and Mathematics. After visiting Myanmar, she started a non-profit organization, Save Mae, which helps provide medication to the Mae Ra Ma Luang Refugee Camp. The photographs were taken over the summers of 2011 and 2012. Sue is also currently Co-President of CUPID.
Making Guatemala "Home" Again: Service Approaches for Sustainable Reintegration of Repatriates in Guatemala
Lee Hopkins is a MSc. in Social Work 2014 candidate at Columbia University, with a focus on non-profit leadership and management, gender-base violence programming, and assistance to refugee and migrant populations. This article was written as part of her independent research about the experiences of returned migrant youth. Lee has a B.A. in International Development from McGill University in Montréal, Canada.
Migration between Guatemala and the United States is nothing new, but the rate of Guatemalans returning from the US has reached an unprecedented level in recent years. Approximately 50,000 Guatemalans were deported in 2013 alone. Limited research exists about the post-repatriation experience, and all available literature states the need for further study on the social problem. We do know that the existence of psycho-social support and access to employment greatly ease re-integration. This article explores what is currently being done, and what can be improved upon, to assist repatriates in making Guatemala their home again.
There are 15.5 million Guatemalans in Guatemala, and 1.2 million self-identified Guatemalans in the United States (IOM, 2013; Pew Research, 2013). Seventy-five percent are not US citizens, and therefore vulnerable to deportation (Pew Research, 2013). Emigration to the US rose steadily since the 1990s, but since 2010 the number of migrants returning to Guatemala (called “repatriates” in this study) is greater than those leaving, creating a growing population of people caught between two “homes” (IOM, 2013). The increase in repatriation is attributed to a rise in deportations from the US and voluntary return due to the global economic recession. The number of Guatemalan deportations from the US has risen steadily from 23,062 people in 2007, to 30,855 people in 2011, and a projected 49,636 people deported in 2013 (IOM, 2013). The majority of Guatemalan repatriates return to the Western Highland states of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, and Quiche, where the majority of the multi-lingual indigenous population lives, the highest rates of poverty and illiteracy exist, and where the highest rates of emigration take place (IOM, 2013).
Catherine Austin is a senior majoring in Human Rights at Columbia University's School of General Studies. Her concentration is Gender and Sexuality, and she is interested in advocacy within criminalized communities.
[T]he migrant woman---the traveling subject, whose very movement across borders, whether legal or illegal, challenges normative arrangements of gender, sex, and culture. Through her cross-border transgressions, she brings to the fore women's ability to choose to move, and belies cultural assumptions that imagine women, particularly Third World women, as confined to the home, in an oppressive familial and cultural space. Through the course of travel and the obstacles she encounters as she crosses borders, she exposes the shape shifting of culture and the anti-migrant impact of recent anti-trafficking legislation at the international, regional, and domestic levels. She is a market actor, a traveler, and a cultural importer, who brings an understanding about globalization to the metropolis "decades before the Californian suburbanite will ever get the point."
Ratna Kapur The Tragedy of the Victimization Rhetoric
The female migrant worker is a transnational phenomenon of neoliberalism. Labor markets attracting migrant women from abroad and US factories operating in "Third World" nations are just some of the hallmarks of neoliberalism that drive transnational migration. Coupled with feminist, religious, and law enforcement preoccupations with rape and the sexual decency of women, these multiple social institutions converge to fabricate the political construction of the female migrant and her body. By reframing her labor as sexual violence, prevailing human rights efforts present only protectionist policies, imperialist interventions, and the ever-increasing expansion of global law enforcement as ostensible solutions---while doing little to advance the rights or autonomy of women.
Aliza Goldberg is a SIPA first year majoring in International Security Policy. Aliza has a passion for stories, which she not only explores through literature but also through learning languages and traveling. She speaks Vietnamese, Italian, and Spanish, and has studied abroad in Italy, Vietnam, Kenya, and the West Indies. She wrote "Protest" as a 2013 Columbia Global Scholar while conducting comparative research on the media's role in international development, studying first in Beijing, China and then in Santiago, Chile.
I am a complacent American. By reading the daily newspaper and contemporary literature, listening to National Public Radio, and observing the hundreds of people I pass by, I know suffering exists in the United States. My country is burdened by unemployment, malnutrition, poor education quality, education disparity, unsupportive welfare, natural disasters of increased severity due to climate change, stringent immigration policies, and more. I could find others who believe in my political views and shout into a megaphone. I could wear ridiculous costumes and harass pedestrians. I could stop traffic.
But I haven't.
In Santiago, a well-publicized labor union protest barred us from accessing the Diego Portales University campus where we attended our lectures as part of the Columbia Global Scholars Program. The day's presentations by my professor Dr. Pablo Pinto on the politics of investment, economic actors, and interest groups, along with a guest lecture by on natural disasters and development, were all cancelled. The alternative seemed obvious: go to the event that ruined our plans and observe the protest.
After spending the morning nearby at the opulent La Moneda, the Chilean equivalent of the White House, we walked from downtown to the adjacent neighborhood. Throngs of people were gathering but no one had moved. Some stood in the empty street spray painting white bed-sheets and carefully applying glitter to cardboard signs.
Drummers began sounding a steady beat, too fast for a march. A short man in his fifties began hopping to the beat, gesturing emphatically and shouting over the drums. I approached him to listen to his thoughts on labor rights and minimum wage. "I am drunk," he was yelling, over and over again. I laughed and shuffled my feet to the beat.
The crowd grew. Suddenly, without a signal, everyone began moving out the plaza and up the adjacent boulevard. The Central Worker's Union merged with streams of students protesting Chile's most contentious topic, free education. The groups united in their frustration and passion for change. As the plaza drained of pedestrians, I nervously joined the crowd. I had a copy of my passport in my bag and considered myself a decent sprinter.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Facilitating Cambodia’s Post-Conflict Transition and Recovery?
Kathleen Ryou is currently completing a Master of Public Administration degree at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, specializing in Human Rights & Humanitarian Policy and International Conflict Resolution.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (also referred to as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) held its first trial on 17 February 2009, more than 30 years after Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia and defeated the Khmer Rouge.1 In its short history, the ECCC can be considered successful in terms of educating the population on what took place under the Khmer Rouge regime and allowing victims an unparalleled amount of participation in trial proceedings. However, the court has been mired in controversy since its inception, with serious charges of judicial misconduct and corruption. The holding of trials more than three decades after the crimes were committed has resulted in elusive justice for many. Despite its achievements, the ECCC has done more harm than good in aiding Cambodia’s post-conflict transition and recovery.
This paper provides an overview of Cambodia’s modern history, focusing on the Khmer Rouge regime, explaining the creation and structure of the ECCC, and commenting on the role of the UN and foreign powers. The paper will then transition into the Cambodian public’s perception of the ECCC and end with a discussion of the main shortcomings and successes of the ECCC, and why the former outweigh the latter.
Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman is entering her second year at CUSSW focusing on International Social Welfare. She is a graduate of American University's School of International Service, where she earned a concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
This paper explores the hunger strike of Samer Hilmi Abdullatif Al-Barq in protest to his seventh consecutive administrative detention in Israel’s military prisons. Administrative detention is validated under Israeli Military Orders Regarding Security Provisions (Judea and Samaria) No. 1651, 5770-2009. It highlights the violations of the United Nation’s International Bill of Human Rights’ Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Samer’s solitary confinement, threats of force-feeding, beatings and intimidation are tantamount to torture as a violation of International Law. This paper also includes examples of case law from the European Court of Human Rights and from a complaint currently filed to the California Supreme Court.
Salome Vadachkoria is a Master's student at Columbia University School of Social Work. She is an Open Society Foundation Fellow selected for contribution to health care system development in the Republic of Georgia.
I want to start by directing your attention to care in medical facilities and what services you might need including quality of medical care, respect and honesty. Imagine how important human relationships are, especially for people with illnesses, whether acute or life threatening and chronic. The more severe the disease is, the more the need for respect, love and honesty from medical professionals, family members, and surrounding environments.
Psychosocial and material domains of quality of life for patients with advanced and chronic disease are general concepts further shaped by the cultural context in which they are considered. Applied to the context of the Republic of Georgia, one of the Post-Soviet countries, psychosocial and material domains of the quality of life acquire culturally specific characteristics. The historical time frame and political atmosphere in Georgia shape the current state of material domains of quality of life such as housing, financial resources, and available community services. Georgia was part of the Soviet Union from 1936 until 1991(Anchabadze, 2008). The Soviet Union as a social construct was very different from the Western market-based democracies. The main characteristics of the Soviet regime were restricted private action, low standard of living, and the raising of youth with an understanding that very little depended on personal activity (Titma, 2004). The transition from communist to capitalist democracy created even more economic challenges for the society, and we see this reflected by socio-demographic characteristics of Georgian society. Birth rates decreased and mortality increased. Unemployment, ethnic conflicts within the country, and civil war portray a clear picture of Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Collier and Way (2004) describe the welfare system in Georgia as a “Deficit Model” denoting a corrupted and inefficient system. Accordingly, this historical change negatively affected the financial condition of Georgian families. Economic hardship may also explain scarcity of available community services.
Georgia’s health care system, which is supposed to alleviate society’s need for quality medical care, is dysfunctional. Different aspects of the holistic care approach including medical, psychosocial and material are not incorporated in the medical care (Collins, 2006). Attitude of physicians toward patients in Georgia lacks adequate awareness of psychosocial aspects of care. However, through motivation towards positive changes, more initiatives can, and will be identified.
Palliative care emerged as a new direction in the medical field in response to universal needs of patients and their families related to quality of life. It can be described as follows:
Palliative care includes the care of all patients with life-limiting illnesses, and is more than just terminal care. There is a growing recognition that the principles of palliative care should be involved at an earlier point in the trajectory of any ultimately life-limiting illness (Brennan, Gwyther & Harding, 2008). A recent report by the Institute of Medicine describes the importance of attention to psychosocial needs of terminally ill patients. A growing body of literature suggests that the amelioration of psychological symptoms in patients with advanced disease is challenging and difficult process (Hunsen. Et. al. 2009) The patients’ reduced energy, ability to concentrate, and cognitive skills all play a role in this challenge. Professionals working in the palliative care setting suggest focusing on three dimensions of the psychosocial wellbeing as: sense of hope, goals/expectations, and presence of strong support systems. Social work role focuses on these dimensions as a primary task.
Systems supporting quality care for advanced and chronically ill patients evolved as multi-disciplinary entities, including social workers as essential members of palliative care teams. Social work’s ability to address the most complex of family and social systems in the face of crisis, to facilitate difficult decision making, to negotiate care transitions and resource acquisition, and to provide bereavement care is an essential part of the delivery of excellent palliative care (Silverman, 2004). The principles of palliative care are exemplified by the core values of the social work profession. Practices such as viewing the individual in a holistic way, considering the family as the “unit of care”, and building on the strength of the family system, are integral to the social work practice. The role of social work in palliative care is multi-dimensional and dynamic, and involves clinical care, advocacy, education, administration and research.
The Republic of Georgia has a population of approximately 4.5 million citizens; about 1.2 million living in the capital city, and the rest in small towns and rural areas in 11 regions of the country. The situation in Georgia is demonstrative of the challenges palliative care systems face in many countries around the world. First, it is a developing country with an economy in transition. Consequently, there are serious limits to the amount of money that can be spent on health care. Second, Georgia maintains a national health system that must provide care to citizens throughout the country. Third, Georgia faces a changing demographic where its population is living longer due to improvements in public health and sanitation. For all the reasons that palliative care makes sense in developed countries, it makes even more sense to incorporate it into the health systems of developing countries. As mentioned, the holistic approach of palliative care involves multidisciplinary teamwork; social worker, nurse, doctor and representatives of other helping professions work in collaboration for the patient.
Social work is a profession that began to develop in Georgia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In the beginning, the profession was mostly related to deinstitutionalizing the child protection system. After a certain period of time the social work profession in Georgia became involved with many vulnerable population groups. Today Georgia has university social work programs from bachelors to doctoral level. Open Society Foundation ‘s contribution is invaluable in that development process. The Association of Social Workers was founded by one of the Columbia Social Work School graduates, Salome Namichaishvili, whose devoted work made the profession progress further, as well as valuable contributions to the country’s well-being and prosperity. International organizations such as these, are working in collaboration with the national government to define palliative care and implement it into the health care setting. Open Society Georgia Foundation is very supportive of the development of palliative care in Georgia and was involved with the Proper Pain Management and Drug accessibility project. It also coordinated the association between lawyers and hospices in Georgia, in order to facilitate advanced directive planning at the End-of-Life care.
Most representatives from national governmental structures, decision makers and stakeholders have failed to understand the role of palliative care in a national health care system. Consequently, any meaningful decisions for political approval of strategy, finance, needed human resources, drug availability, and the practical implementation of palliative care were not possible. The results were also consistent with prevalent cultural norms in the country. First, talking about the diagnosis of cancer is taboo. Second, laws and standards inherited from the Soviet period for the prescription and dispensing of opioids are consistent with opiophobia. Third, the health system has been free of charge to all citizens, but is of low quality. Consequently, there wasn’t a belief that it is possible to develop a service with real benefit that is also cost-effective. Even the ‘‘customers’’ of palliative care, the patients and their family members, did not comprehend what palliative care can do for them (Koedzaia, 2011).
In response to the need for further development of comprehensive health care, Sandra Roelofs, First Lady of Georgia, and representatives of Georgian heath care sector have helped to adopt amendments to existing federal laws of Georgia which establish the necessity of palliative care as an integral part of the national health care system. Different outcomes have been incorporated into the national strategy such as: approval of basic clinical guidelines for palliative care and liberalized opioid prescription regulations by order of the Minister of Labor, Health, and Social Affairs of Georgia, importation of oral morphine, establishment of the Office of Coordinator of National Program of Palliative Care, etc. (Kordzaia 2011).
Problem analyses might reveal different barriers as lack of full appreciation of the social work roles in the palliative care, lack of financial resources, inadequate appreciation of the interdisciplinary team work model, lack of evidence based research exploring social work roles in palliative care in Georgian context, lack of coursework in student curriculum that defines required skills and competencies for the social work in the palliative care. Adoption and implementation of new interventions for the successful integration of the social work profession with the palliative care requires identification of different goals and their objectives. From the very beginning of the program planning process clear definition of the problem, detailed characteristics of the target population and results of the comprehensive needs assessment are required in order to implement beneficial interventions. After the problem definition concerning issues should be translated into needs. The different perspectives of the needs assessment allow multidimensional approach to the problem and planning for effective interventions for the problem solving (Kettener, Moroney & Martin, 2008).
Based on needs assessment, different interventions may be adopted. There are various theoretical frameworks that justify implementation of certain intervention programs. According to the evidence on the significance of patient-provider communication, if special trainings and workshops are conducted for the health care providers (directed toward increasing the awareness about the prognostic importance of the psychosocial issues for the patients), that may improve quality of the target population. Workshops should emphasize the development of better communication skills among health care providers and patients and underscore the requirement that patients are precisely informed about the disease course and prognoses. A strength-based perspective approach will justify establishment of recreational activities for patients on inpatient or outpatient basis. Therefore, if recreational activities such as yoga classes, art classes, jewelry-making or other activities are included in the patient care, the quality of life for patients in Georgia will improve.
Anchabadze. G. (2008). History of Georgia. Tbilisi, Matiane.
Collier, S.J. Way, L. (2004)Beyond the Deficit Model: Social Welfare in Post Soviet Georgia. Post Soviet Affars. 20(3), 250-284.
Collins. T. (2006). The Georgian Healthcare System: IsIt Reaching the WHO Health System Goals. International Journal of Health Planning and Management . 21. 297-312. DOI: 10.1002/hpm.853
Brennan F., Gwyther L. & Harding R. (2008) Palliative Care as a Human Right. Open Society Foundation http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/
Hansen. M.J., Enright. R.D., Baskin. T. W., & Klatt. J (2009). A Palliative Care Intervention in Forgiveness Therapy for Elderly Terminally Ill Patients. Journal of Palliative Care, 25(1)
Kordzaia. D., Dalaqishvili. S., Gvamichava. R., Ruxadze.T., Abesadze. I., Zowenidze. F., Gagua. R., …Turqadze. M. (2011). National Palliative Care Program Committee with Ministry of Health and Social Affairs
Kettner, P.M., Moroney, R.M., & Martin, L.L. (2007). Designing and managing programs: An effectiveness-based approach. 3rd Edition Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Silverman. P. (Eds 2004.). Living with Dying: A Handbook for Healthcare Practitioners (pp. 297- 317). NY: Columbia University Press.
Titma. M (2004). People in Post-Soviet Transitional Societies. International Journal of Sociology. 34(2).
Written by Lakshmi Balachandran, Elizabeth Herb, Shahbano Tirmizi and Erin O’Reilly of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs
Asian palm oil investment in West Africa is an increasing phenomenon with broad implications for sustainable food security. The impacts of oil palm development are particularly significant for post-conflict Liberia where government, eager to utilize foreign direct investment (FDI) to reinvigorate the economy and promote development, signed a number of natural resource contracts encompassing more than 45% of the country’s landmass. This paper compares baseline data and changes in food security and livelihoods surrounding one of Liberia's largest concessions, granted in 2009 to Malaysian palm oil company Sime Darby. This concession, estimated at US$3 billion in FDI over 63 years, allocates 220,000 hectares for palm oil production in one of the country’s poorest regions.
This paper presents the initial findings of field research conducted in March 2012. The analysis compares household survey data, conducted in communities currently affected by appropriation of agricultural space to those that will be affected in the next year, complemented by qualitative data from community representatives, local leaders, NGOs and government. Data reveal negative impacts and opportunities for managing food insecurity and loss of livelihoods as plantation grounds expand.
This study, as the first to measure impacts of palm oil development in Liberia, reveals inequitable substitutions of food security and livelihoods in developing areas. The authors recommend that government incorporate stronger measures of food security and livelihoods in national Poverty Reduction Strategies and future concession negotiations to prevent conflict resurgence.
Sean Jansen, 24 years old, is continuing his pursuit to become a full-time photographer. He finds comfort in the ocean as well as the mountains, photographing and enjoying the sports that both offer. He will spend every penny he earns on travel because he feels it is the fountain of youth and the greatest education you could ever pay for.