International Women’s Day is also a stark reminder that there’s still a very long road ahead to fulfilling the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, a cornerstone for making progress on the rest of the SDGs, including the goal to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. Taking action to advance gender equality is therefore crucial.
While worker grievances about abuses and exploitation since 2015 have fallen on deaf ears with the renewal of a bilateral Vietnam-Saudi Arabia labour pact (2019-2024), a recent announcement from the official state media seems to appease recent bad publicity about labor export. It reveals an entrenched network of financial interests between recruitment companies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Security Agency has prosecuted some officials at the Consular Department level for accepting bribes to permit recruitment companies to organise commercial flights to bring overseas workers, who pay upwards of USD $3000 for the one-way flight and quarantine costs, to return to Vietnam. It’s not a coincidence that the corruption exposé happened after waves of social media and the UN special rapporteurs’ letter about human trafficking. Still, numerous worker complaints about Department of Overseas Labour (DOLAB) officials operating in the Vietnamese Embassy in Riyadh continue to fall on deaf ears.
ADST – Signed on January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were intended to finally end the Vietnam War, which had cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers, not to mention the millions of Vietnamese civilians who were killed, injured, or displaced. Initially, the Accords were negotiated in secret by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the lead North Vietnamese negotiator. These secret negotiations took place over the course of five years in Paris, from 1968 to 1973, but it was only in the early 70’s that any real progress was made.
Better by degrees … a 2022 survey ranks the world’s most international universitie
Times Higher Education’s (THE) survey of over 10,000 academics features internationally oriented universities leading global academic collaboration efforts through knowledge diplomacy.
Knowledge diplomacy values scientific exchange and diverse, international student bodies and research teams
Universities in politically insular countries are increasingly working with research partners from around the world.
While the diplomatic world faces many challenges on the political front, knowledge diplomacy, led by many top international universities, “may be our last and best tool for rebuilding a broken world”.
This was the stirring message of Safwan Masri, Executive Vice-President for global development at Columbia University at a keynote speech at Times Higher Education’s MENA Universities Summit in 2021.
Masri lamented that much of the world is grappling with misunderstanding, division, polarization and cynicism. He adds that “We are living in profoundly undiplomatic times. The inability to understand and comprehend one another is turning neighbor against neighbor. Everything seems broken.”
For Masri and other delegates at the THE summit, global research universities are a shining light in difficult times, with Masri stating that: “Universities exist to increase our comprehension of the world and to enhance mutual understanding”.