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Goodbye Blogger, Hello Medium

Thank you for reading my posts on Provoking Policy. It has been a wonderful journey as a writer to be able to share my rants on issues that matter to me at various points in time.
From now on, I will be writing on Medium as Ruth C. White, PhD. I have chosen Medium as a platform because it gives me more of an opportunity to read, write and share stories that matter.
Recent posts

Free Speech, Safe Spaces and Academic Freedom

Fall is here and students are back in the classroom and free speech is back on the agenda.

Just a few weeks in and already the hottest topic on campuses across America is free speech. In particular, my alma mater - the University of California, Berkeley (UCBerkeley) - is at the heart of the controversy to bring 'conservative' speakers to campus in what is being billed as Free Speech Week. It can either be seen as ironic, or a full circle revisit, that UC Berkeley is in this place, given its role in creating the free speech movement which grew out of a series of protests during the 1964-1965 academic year. It is now focused on right-wing ideas while back then it was focused on the protest speech of the left. It was as a place for radical ideas that I got to know most about UC Berkeley as a young girl growing up in Jamaica, and one of the primary reasons I chose to attend. The flood of articles that focus on the issue of free speech in the academy almost seems reminiscent of the…

Cuba and Castro: Liberation, Oppression and Socialist Ideals

It's been two years since I have written a post because I write when I have something I need to say and not to keep the blog gods happy. So today, I decided to comment on the death of Fidel Castro from a policy perspective. 

Why Comment
I am inspired to write on Cuba and Castro because as a young Jamaican girl on the island during the 1970's, Castro had a featuring role. In many ways he was the reason my parents left Jamaica. During the worldwide recession due to the oil crisis in the 1970's, Jamaica was led by Michael Manley - a friend to Castro who loved democracy but wanted the social gains of Cuba. Cuban doctors came to Jamaica. Cubans built schools including Jose Martí Technical High School in Spanish Town. Manley nationalized hotels and my family could afford a nice holiday at a hotel for the first time. Prior to that, tourism catered to whites from abroad, not the brown people of the island. 

Manley also nationalized other industries and promoted education with a liber…

What the Wealthy Have to Offer to the Study of Poverty

I have in a previous post (October 27, 2012) expressed my intellectual, personal and ethical discomfort with the extensive 'subjectification' (more trendily termed "participation') of poor people in research with the lofty and well-intentioned goal of 'understanding the poor' or 'understanding poverty' in order to alleviate the plight of the exploited and excluded. It resonated with many people and was read by multiples of the usual number of readers of my posts. However, I offered no alternative, so here goes.

Let's interview the wealthy. Yes. Let's find them in their communities, offer them up something they desire, like to shake the hand of Bill or Hil or an invite to Davos (if they aren't already shuttling in on their private jet), and ask them pages of questions about why they do the things they do and ask them how they could do them with less harm to the world.

Community-Based 'Solutions'
Poverty is not 'created' by the…

New Name, Same Game: The Africa Summit and "Global Resilience"

I am not a fan of 'summits'. And this first ever African Leaders Summit is not changing my mind any. That it's the first time anyone considered Africa worthy of this kind of attention is telling but I will give someone credit for FINALLY acknowledging that Africa is a market ripe for umm.... exploitation(?). Though it isn't a far leap to think that the Chinese invasion into Africa has 'nudged' the USAID machine into action. Like Dambisa Moyo, I question if another 'aid program' is the solution but I leave those arguments for her and Bill Easterly to do it justice.

Summits get folks all fired up then they go away and come back a couple years later and have a another go at it, reporting on what happened and what didn't and what they are going to do next time (which is usually more of the same with a new name and another big splash out of media attention) and everyone travels far far away in business class and say what they could skype in and reports …

The 'Good' Tourist: 6 best practices for visiting the world

Tourism and Development
Many developing countries in the world (and communities in the USA) depend on tourism as their primary source of economic income and development, but the good intentions of tourists can have a negative impact on a community and leave them at the will of far-away-owned hotels, cruise-ship companies and tour organizers.
Happy Holidays
So as you plan your holidays you may want to consider the country/people you are going to visit and the impact you will have on them and their communities. If you don't want to contribute to the degradation of the environment but want to promote social and economic justice, here are a few ways to making your sustainable contribution to local economies that reduces global inequalities and builds personal, community, and organizational capacity.

AVOID CRUISE SHPS. (If you're going to Alaska, you are forgiven as there's no other way to see much of it). Cruise ships are the biggest tourism offenders in destroying our natural r…

Peace-Building in the Middle East: Joining hands across borders, religions and institutions

This is a story of peace-building amidst all the stories of war-mongering. The McGill Middle East Program (now known as the International Community Action Network - ICAN) is based on the ground even as rockets fly through the air. It is a story of hope, faith, trust, hard work, and cross-border, inter-faith and institutional collaboration. It is a story of people much more than a story of politics.
Amidst the fray of Middle East dramas (btw the USA bombs kids too - they are called 'collateral damage'), it is good to remember that that there are many people in Palestine and Israel wanting and fighting for peace. People who believe in peace despite all the reasons that make it seem impossible. People who have risked life, limb, sanity, health etc to create community-based peace solutions (that also involves politicians at high levels). 
In the interest of disclosure I acknowledge  that this blogpost is also committed to giving props to my mentor, friend and best teacher ever --…