The Mort Report: Extra! French Poodle Bites Puffed-Up Yank in the Ass

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The following column by contributing editor Mort Rosenblum is from his regular comment The MortReport. WILD OLIVES, France: -– Just back from America, I lit up the TV to hear a presidential president, in complete English...

In Lisbon, Still Savvy After All These Years, Growing Alarm

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LISBON – Techies snapping up real estate call this the new San Francisco. Moveable-feast jet setters see a new Istanbul. But this is still the old Lisbon, a fresh incarnation of the outward looking...

The ARTacama Project- Art Meets Science Mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background

Mark Devlin is an experimental cosmologist exploring the underlying structure of the universe.  Jackie Tileston is an artist, and Christine Pfister not only heads one of Philadelphia’s most innovative galleries for contemporary art, but...

The Ethics of Impact

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The following piece by Jonathan Leighton was published by the Huffington Post on March 17, 2015 as part of the Pioneers for Change initiative. This is a UK social enterprise committed to igniting an international movement...

Plane crashes and trying to get in – and out – of Katmandu

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Husband, Bollywood Star, Migrant Worker, Tourist: Everyone is Trying to Get in or out of Nepal. Journalist Donatella Lorch offers her own personal perspective as a journalist on human interest stories in her regular blog...

Oman: The Call of Desert Sand

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Italian-American Journalist Donatella Lorch, a former New York Times correspondent based in Peshawar, Nairobi and New York, writes a regular column, Tangled Journeys, from her current home in Katmandu. She recounts here her family's...

Williams and O’Reilly: Not the only truth-fudging in the name of journalism

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The recent incidents of two leading American TV personalities claiming to have covered specific events, when they had not, only come across as yet more nails in the journalistic coffins of those still seeking...

Will the World Humanitarian Summit pass the accountability test?

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Nick van Praag, who directs the Ground Truth Programme of   Keystoneaccountability, explores whether World Humanitarian Summit will really look hard at whether, and if not why, humanitarian response is really working. As the long...

Don’t Expect a ‘Grexit’: Greece Can’t Escape Europe

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The following article by Wayne Merry, a former US diplomat and a now a member of the American Foreign Policu Council, was first published in The National Interest http://nationalinterest.org Global financial markets currently obsess about the...

Switzerland’s Anne Frank Legacy: Beyond frontiers and religions

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The following article was first contributed in November, 2014 to Le News, an English-language newspaper for the Lake Geneva region, by then editor Edward Girardet. The article received an enormous amount of interest, so...

Tim to the rescue: Legislating accountability

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Nick van Praag sends this piece on the exceptional work achieved by US senatorial aide Tim Rieser regarding the reciprocal release of prisoners and the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba. Tim...

Stepping over the line

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In 1979, I happened to run across Georges Bernier, the creator of the bitingly satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. The motto  was “Bête et Méchant,” which translates roughly as “stupid and nasty.” It had started in 1960...

Why the Swiss need to value their foreigners

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The following piece by Swiss-American journalist and author Edward Girardet was initially written for Swissinfo, a news website funded by the Swiss Foreign Ministry and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. It was accepted and edited...

Beyond the blah-blah: What now with the Sustainable Development Goals?

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The creation of a new and more realistic post-2015 agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is already happening with Geneva in the forefront. But how will the new SDGs be implemented and...

Afghanistan – What went wrong?

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The following essay by Geneva-based journalist and author Edward Girardet was published by the Cairo Review of Global Affairs in October, 2014. Girardet is also co-editor of the 4th fully revised Essential Field Guide...

The Essential Edge Guide to Aid Speak – Part I

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The following is to help ordinary human beings understand the impressive but often incomprehensible-sounding terminology of the international aid community. We thank all those for their contributions and look forward to more. Accountable: Key buzzword....

Modern assassins, murder and social media

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Steven Sotloff’s murder and decapitation is a tragedy in itself, but it also marks a turning point both for journalism and the communications strategy for the world's most murderous insurgencies. Terrorists these days are...

What ever happened to real foreign reporting?

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The brutal murder in the name of Islam of American reporter James Foley by a British Jihadist outlines – once again - the extreme dangers journalists, many of them freelance, now face when trying...

Time to focus on the people behind the numbers

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This piece is contributed by Nick van Praag, a humanitarian specialist and director of Keystone's Ground Truth programme. A slew of statistics released this week by UNHCR points to a rising tide of human misery as the...

The Silver Fox Remembered

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With the death of former Soviet Foreign Minister and Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze earlier this month, journalist and writer Thomas Goltz remembers.  Livingston, Montana -- Eduard Shevardnadze and I bonded during the siege and fall...

Gérer internet… sans les médias? (Manning the internet…without media?)

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The following article by Essential Edge French-language editor, Daniel Wermus, explores the role of the internet - and journalism. En 2003 et 2005, le Sommet mondial sur la société de l’information (SMSI) donnait l’élan aux...

Putting UNRWA back on the Map

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With the civil war in Syria stalemated in its fourth year and more than 164,000 Syrians dead, the public has begun to be anesthetized to what is really at stake.  That changed briefly Thursday...

How bad language leads to poor humanitarian outcomes

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Nicholas van Praag of Keystone's Groundtruth programme writes about the importance of language when dealing with the people one is trying to help. When someone as eloquent as Robert Chambers chides you on your use of language,...

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, North Africa and the role of quality media

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Since starting out as a foreign correspondent during the late 1970s in Paris, Swiss-American writer and journalist Edward Girardet would often make a point of coming to Geneva to report on peace talks, wars...

The PCDN Network – More than just information

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For anyone - UN or NGO aid worker, policy analyst, researcher, journalist, donor, private sector - serious about being effective, the Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN) is more than just an information tool,...

Switzerland’s Immigration Vote: Nationalism, racism or fear.

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A version of this was first published by Le News, the free English-language weekly for the Lake Geneva region. This includes the cartoon by award-winning American artist Jeff Danziger - excellent cartoons on his website...

Career suicide by Gmail–a cautionary tale

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This piece by journalist and author William T. Dowell was first published by The Essential Edge 12 November, 2012. Washington, DC -- For most Washington insiders, the most surprising aspect of General David Petraeus' spectacular...

Snow White and Rose Red Recipe

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Cranberries and Camembert: Culinary Tales from an Expatriate's Kitchen in France - and across the Swiss border. This column by Amelia Alexander explores the art of cooking from the American point of view in France and...

ON SECOND THOUGHT: The Tweet That Kills

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This piece written by William T. Dowell was published by The Essential Edge 22 July,2012. Geneva -- “Good morning, Shooters! Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”   America’s  National Rifle Association hastily erased this tweet from their...

Geneva in danger of losing international presence

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ZANZIBAR CAFE: A Column by Edward Girardet This piece by journalist and author Edward Girardet was first published by the Essential Edge on 9 June, 2013. The extraordinary lack of interest and imagination among Swiss politicians for the...

Frontpage Planetary Concerns : International Geneva is losing its impact.

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The following is an editorial written by Essential Edge French editor Daniel Wermus, a Swiss journalist and media specialist based in Geneva. A French version of the article below is also available on this site. Geneva...

The spies among us

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Ed Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the US National Security Agency’s efforts to track virtually all of America’s phone calls as well as secretly penetrate the Internet servers of major companies, says that Switzerland's...

KOFI ANNAN – A Spokesperson’s Memoir

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This piece written by William Dowell and Edward Girardet was published by The Essential Edge 18 April, 2013. Geneva -- Kofi Annan was regarded by many of his colleagues and peers as one of the...

Is War with Iran Inevitable?

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  This piece was written William T. Dowell and published by The Essential Edge 3 October, 2012. Geneva -- With US elections fast approaching, the drums of war are beating along the Potomac for a pre-emptive...

Which Way for the U.S. in the Middle East?

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Recent events underscore what is really at stake in the upcoming US presidential elections, and, more to the point, they raise serious doubts as to whether Republican candidate Mitt Romney is really up for...

Curiosity on Mars!

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This piece written by William T. Dowell was first published by The Essential Edge on 5 August, 2012. Geneva -- To get an idea of the true significance of Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars you...

Who are the real losers after this weekend’s inconclusive Syria talks?

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The inconclusive declaration that followed the talks on Syria here in Geneva over the  weekend seems certain to  further diminish the credibility of Kofi Annan and the United Nations itself, but the real losers...

Facing realities in Afghanistan – The road to recovery goes through the countryside

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This piece by journalist and author Edward Girardet was first published by The Essential Edge 4 December, 2011. ZANZIBAR CAFE - Edward Girardet Geneva -- The first Bonn conference on Afghanistan in December, 2001 to help put...

Afghanistan – And the war goes on…

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This piece by journalist and author Edward Girardet, who was in India at the time of Osama bin Laden's killing, was published by The Essential Edge 13 June, 2011. New Delhi -- The killing of Osama...

Aid Agencies Must Listen to the People They Are Helping

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This piece by contributor Nick van Praag was first published by The Essential Edge on 31 March, 2011. Washington, DC -- We spend $10bn a year on humanitarian emergencies, but most projects are run without...

Saying Goodbye to the Pharaoh

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Forced retirement is a frequently traumatic, ever-present danger in politics, writes William Dowell. In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh ran a ritual foot race, part of the jubilee Heb Sed, to demonstrate his fitness to...

Hors la Loi (Outlaw): France’s experience a half-century ago and today’s terror

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This piece written by journalist and author William T. Dowell was published by The Essential Edge 10 October, 2010. Hors la loi (Outlaw), the film by French-born director Rachid Bouchareb that created a scandal at...

The Global Fund Fights HIV/AIDS in El Salvador

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Carla, in her late 40s, is a big-boned woman locked in a man’s body, a sweet-natured figure on the streets of San Salvador, a fact of life which nearly got her killed. If it...

Pakistan, water and the “third pole”

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The worsening floods in Pakistan may only be the first event in a series of crises that are likely to become a global trend, a consequence of what scientists are beginning to refer to...

The Implications of Pakistan’s Flood

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Pakistan’s flood underscores a basic paradox in humanitarian operations, writes William Dowell.  The single organization that has the most helicopters and logistics capacity  to provide immediate relief is the US military, yet because the...

Remembering Mr. Swatch

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William Dowell explores the life of Nicolas Hayek, founder of Swatch and saviour of the Swiss watch industry. Geneva -- Nicolas Hayek, who died of heart failure at the age of 82 on June 28,...

Afghanistan: The Pretend Game

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This piece by journalist and author Edward Girardet was published by The Essential Edge 20 August, 2009. The sad reality of the Afghan elections is that the results really do not matter. Seventeen million Afghans...

Beijing Bubble: Travel Notes from China

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This piece by journalist and author William T. Dowell was first published by The Essential Edge on 31 May, 2009. BEIJING -- “I’m here for the hip hop,” says Jamel, an African American from Washington...

Charlie Wilson and Afghanistan’s Unwinnable Wars

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This piece by journalist and author Edward Girardet was published by The Essential Edge 27 February, 2008. The United States is sending an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan in a bid to improve a steadily...

On Remembering Christophe

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This piece by Edward Girardet was published by The Esssential Edge 22 December, 2007. CESSY -- Christophe de Ponfilly, the 55-year-old French film-maker, writer, and Afghan aficionado died on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 by his...