Interview with Professor Alonso Zamora
Professor Alonso Zamora lives in Mexico and is currently teaching international affairs and African studies, it was difficult for me to find someone who works within sub Saharan Africa but thankfully a class mate who was in my group this semester in current affairs had professor Alonso in her contact and was nice enough to share this with me and ask him if he would not mind being a part of it. Thankfully the Professor was more than happy to help.
On a Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to interview professor Alonso Zamora, after countless emails and reschedules we finally managed to make it happen. It was decided that we will hold the interview through skype at 8pm Spanish time, to my dismay we were experiencing technical issues, around 9pm the sound was fixed and we could now begin the interview.
“Hello I’m Haleema!” I shouted nervously as if technology wasn’t strong enough for him to hear my greeting. The Professor replied much more quietly “Hi Haleema” and Before I could give any more information about who I am and how grateful I am that he agreed to take some time out of his busy work and life schedule to have this interview with me.
Professor Alonso began to ask me questions. It was almost as if I was catching up with an old friend which definitely helped in easing my nerves to the idea that it would be more of a educational conversation than an awkward formal interview. “How long are you in Spain for?” The professor asked and then it began as I told him about my year in Spain and how long I have left before I am back in my home country…
“So, can you explain to me what your role is?” As I felt it was best to start this with a more generic question, the professor then went on to tell me about his role as a professor in international affairs and African studies, it was interesting to find out that he went to college in Mexico and then went on to do a master’s degree from 2004 to 2006. It was amazing to hear someone who is not from the continent speak so passionately about Sub Saharan Africa.
He continued in telling me about how he has studied Africa for now over 13 years which I found to be amazing. He was mostly familiar with eastern Africa, places such as Kenya and Tanzania which he studied pastoral society and their confrontation with the state and having their own land. The idea that he may even know more about Sub Saharan Africa than those that descend from the continent was a thought that played in my head and got me thinking of the importance of educating those on where they come from.
I was very intrigued to know what made a man who had no relations with Africa so passionate about the state of the continent and to my surprise. Professor Alonso replied to me that he was concerned about the images that are shown of Africa in Mass Media and sees it as important to teach people more than just the negative images we see of Africa “These societies are shown to be barbaric in western society “The Professor said to me as I took notes, intrigued by his opinion and knowledge.
It might seem like a question that may not have been needed to ask but I was interested to know what kind of people of people are prone to attend the classes and, I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t just people of the African society in Mexico but also Mexicans (like my classmate) students studying abroad and some students from the Caribbean and Africa.
Professor Alonso informed me with his bad luck when trying to visit Africa, His first time in 2008 where he tried to make a visit to Kenya in 2008 however due to work commitment in Mexico. He was not able to make the journey. Five years late in 2013 the same journey was planned however
this time the professor messed up his knee, the professor told me that he has plans to book another trip and I hope that this time the professor makes it to his destination.
The Government was a topic that we had to touch on and my question for the professor was “What would you say to nations to Government and political leaders in Africa on what they should be doing more and less of?” And to this he told me that people are tired of their political class. They are tired of seeing the same politicians, The Government need to make way for the younger politicians for there to truly be a change. His words were “Fight promotion and not promote it, I believe in the young people of Africa being able to make the change that is needed.”
Written By Haleema Lagundoye

“It’s a heartbreaking job, but you get used to the pain”.

 

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I interviewed Kimiko Kuramotto, she has been a volunteer for ACNUR for almost 12 years and now recently, almost three years ago, she’s been promoted to Profile Programme Officer, although she still does some volunteer work. Kimiko Kuramotto is from Tianjin, China. She moved to Spain 15 years ago when she was only 21 years old. ACNUR offered her a volunteer job due to her nationality and her fluency in Spanish, English, Chinese, Japanese and American Sign Language. Her first volunteer work was in Kabul, Afghanistan.

She had to help out an internally displaced camp in Kabul during the Afghanistan war between the USA and Afghanistan. She described it as: –

“The most empowering yet saddening experience I’ve ever had, I couldn’t believe the amount of violence I witnessed, not from soldiers, not from war criminals, but from these internally displaced people, men would hit their wives, children would get abused from their parents, some guy slapped me just because he felt like it! horrible, absolutely horrible.”

She helped out for almost three years until ACNUR assigned her to refugee camp, it was located in Tindouf, Algeria. There were people from all kinds of nationalities, including a Chinese family that was being tortured by the Chinese government because they thought they were terrorists and working undercover for Japan. ACNUR sent them to Tindouf. They didn’t send them to the other refugee camps located in Spain, Greece, Germany and many other countries in Europe because the family didn’t want to. She described this experience as: –

“One of the best experiences I’ll never forget, people were so nice, I played with the children, I even taught them some sign-language, I would talk to the seniors and listen to all of their stories. I would talk to everyone actually. I spent 2 Christmases there and we had a big feast. Wonderful.”

From 2011 to 2013, she had been helping a refugee camp in Kiribati, located in Asia-Pacific. She didn’t talk much about it. She said that it was so saddening that she had to leave a few months before, she said she could wait to get out of that “emotionally draining hell”.

I asked her if she likes being a volunteer, she replied:-

“It’s a nice job, but it has its pros and its cons. But between you and me, it’s a heartbreaking job, but you get used to the pain.”

Lastly, I asked her personal opinion on how we can help out these refugees around the world, including the ones from Asia-Pacific, she deeply exhaled, and explained: –

“People really don’t care about refugees, the donations and volunteers are becoming even smaller, people turn their back on them. I can assure you if they were in their situation, then they would want people to donate and help out. People are becoming cold-hearted and even more selfish. Donations and volunteering even for 2 weeks are extremely helpful. Anything counts.”

She then explained to me how with her new position in ACNUR, she still can help out refugees around the world, especially in Asia-Pacific. She works in the area of Asia-Pacific in which she assists in the planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of protection and assistance programming for refugees, internally displaced and stateless people in the Asia-Pacific region.

She was incredibly nice and even though I realized that some questions brought her back some bad memories as well as good memories, she never hesitated to give me a nice, complete answer. I definitely enjoyed my interview with her.

Kimiko, thank you! I hope to see you in a near future.

 

Written by Nannie Nino.

 

 

 

From the heart of Europe to the heart of darkness

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Mr. Ivo Budil

 

 

I decided to interview a professor Ivo Budil whose classes about Africa I visited last year.

Mr Budils Father was in 60ths famous Czech journalist and a propagator of astronautics. He was meeting with scientists of international importance. He believed in development of fights to universe. He learnt instil his son desire for exploring making new discoveries.  So Mr Budil started to be interested in science from his childhood although he choose different branch than his father.

Firstly, he studied palaeontology at biological faculty of Charles University. There he wrote dissertation which topic was beginning of article language. Shortly he became a vice-president of international organisation Language Origins Society. As admirer of Clifford Geertz he made research about development anthropologic thesis in history. He describes political and intellectual factors which influenced this thesis.  He wrote many historic publications.

We discussed about his book “The triumph of racisms” where he described process of Imperialism and the fight for Africa. According this book I asked for his opinion about colonization of Africa. He claimed that African integration to modern world was inevitable.  If Africa wouldn’t be colonized by Christian society, it will overrun by Islam. However nobody knows which civilization would have more positive impact on future of Africa.  This period compared with Romanization of Gallia or Hispania. More powerful empires often wanted to expand into politically and economically weaker countries.  All members of archetypal cultures got opportunity to be accepted into more developed civilization.   On the other hand most of the imperial deputies hadn’t much noble intentions with native inhabitancies. For example Belgian intervention in Congo was turn into one of the bloodiest conflict in history of colonialism. Paradoxically, position of Africa made worse process of decolonization. After both worlds wars were western empires economically devastated and not able to keep status quo. African society hadn’t much time for “birth of intellectual elite.  Suddenly these citizens gained independence but nobody taught them how to be free and responsible on their own. Freedom is gift which can transform into curse and if you don’t it in right way. It will cause a chaos, economic stagnation and poverty.

Nerveless he is really believes Continent might will become completely urbanised and industrialised in next 30 years. Africa dispones enough nature and human resources for economical grown. Everything depends on assertively abilities and vision of local specialists. The key point would be gain attention of future investors as China, US or India. In cause positive development global economy, they certainly won’t hesitate to gain bigger influence in this area. However European countries should try to strengthen their position in other case probably we will face a huge humanist and migratory crisis.

I was also curious what woke his enthusiasm about this region. He supposed that this “obsession” begun with repeated readings “Heart of darkness” by Joseph Conrad. That book uncovered unknown civilisations of noble savages which traditions were much older than ours. Likewise author he was thrilled, scared but determined to make expedition into Heart of Darkness.

His first travel had led into South African republic where he supposed to make conferences in local university. When he arrived to capital he was shocked but in positive way, everything looked more modern than he expected.  The first complication appeared when he had booked accommodation. Instant of room in the second floor as he demanded hotel personal prepared for him room in the 11thfloor. Unfortunately in the hotel had a problem with income of electricity so an elevator didn’t work if somebody didn’t want to get stuck in lift he had to go by stairs. Due to his different ethnic origin he also faced both types of discrimination.  During his Internship he felt to be overestimated by university leadership. On the other hand on when he decided to visit some poorer parts of county he was forced to hire bodyguard because native inhabitant seen a pale complexion as guarantee of wealth. These difficulties temporally has confirmed his Centro European prejudices about developing countries. When he was confronted with local pandemic poverty and demographic explosion he had to consider his attitude.  So he changed his opinion when he made friendship with many talented individuals who were devoted their country. However, they didn’t get many opportunities to change something.

He added that smart people are in whole world but they need to be born in right place in time. For example possibilities of woman depend on place of birth. Although, African society is very patriarchal, amount of well-educated girls in city is still increasing. While a rural girl is probably already married and has a job for supporting family because her husband as “warrior mustn’t work.

Mr. Budil mentioned that prepared book will be about culture revolution in the 19th Century

It was an honor to interview Mr. Budil.

Written by Bronislava Frýdková

 

“The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.”

Solidarity is a trend. This is the main statement that the detractors of humanity progress use. It is said that activities such as volunteering, cooperation or social tourism have been created just to make “first world” citizens feel better. It is true that some people and organizations have made profit of charity, for example, French organizations raise almost 3.000 million of Euros per year consequently, there is some cases in which we can even talk about multinational companies of charity as for example the ewll-known Projects Abroad.

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Wall or failure?

Interview to Pablo Raphael de la Madrid, 3/06/2017.

I’ve decided to interview Pablo Raphael de la Madrid, the new cultural Advisor of the Embassy of Mexico in Spain. He is officially the presence of Mexican essayist and writer as well as it is also the new Director of the Institute of Mexico in Spain. Since a few days ago is now shipping in their offices just in front of the Congress of deputies in Madrid.

We talked about the racist feeling that Donald Trump has highlighted in America: “Honestly. An antimexican feeling in the United States, either did not exist before, or we didn’t face it before. Now is acceptable to be openly antimexican: Mexicans are rapists, drug dealers, murderers, the “bad men” come from Mexico. This feeling is obviously not the majority, but is widespread. more than 60 million of Americans voted to Donald Trump”.

In addition, we talked about the effect of the wall after his construction. What about the consequences ? “After the construction of the wall, the result will be more economic than social. The main country which is continuously negotiating with is the United States, and this has been so since 1980. Millions of dollars daily cross the border between the two countries (but according to Trump the NAFTA is the worst U.S. economic agreement that has done in its history). The migrants will continue crossing the border illegally, the traffic of drugs will not be a problem, is easy to find other export system when one can win million euros with the sale of drugs”.

We have begun to talk about the Trump´s opinion. He told that Trump is a man with a very nationalistic view in politics. Trump is not a man with an ultraliberal international orientation that seeks a global cooperation at economic level through different international institutions. Trump wants to personally manage everything that has to do with the United States, meet bilaterally with all international actors. This type of populism exists also in Europe such in France, Holland, Poland… We talked about another important issue: What could make Peña Nieto to maintain the relationship with the United States? That choose: interest economic or honor of Mexico? Pablo told that Peña Nieto has been continually struggling to find common ground with the United States and be able to relax the political situation. The problem is that Trump does not follow the current and that he does whatever it takes to support their arguments.

Grandson wants to show to Trump that Mexico is a place of opportunities at the  economical, social and political level, and not an epicenter of crime, drugs and violation of the law. Pablo said that  “Peña Nieto never will accept anything against mexican´s dignity”. It is difficult to imagine that Mexico ever accept what would be seen as a humiliating and politically poisonous gesture for any ruler of that nation: turn a check to United States to Trump finances a work that Mexicans interpreted as a slap in the face against them. Pablo insisted on the consequences of the wall, seeing both concern for the environment (a very internationalized and currently very important topic). The wall simply would influence on the ecosystem, causing envalses of water for example. This, according to Pablo, should be an argument on the part of the international society to defend the non-construction of the wall.

The problem is that we are talking about the first world power and no argument is sufficient to convence. In addition, not only “Trump does not respect the environment with the construction of the wall, but it also recently decided to get out of the Treaty on the environment of Paris” according to Pablo.

Finally, Pablo told me that anyway, Trump can’t do everything you want. United States is a country that has spent 150 years as a democracy, is a country that has never had a dictator or any type of character with absolute power. All this thanks to its elaborate political system that is auto compensates and will re balances. In the USA you can vote against the laws of your own party, i.e., a democracy; in Spain for example without your vote against your party are at risk that you throw out. All of this makes that Trump can´t do all of he wants and make some limits to his power.

NICOLAS DALMAU, North America.

Interview with Professor Alonso Zamora.docx

First Vice-President Ms. Arantza Ezpeleta of the Spain-Australia Council Foundation

I focus on Australia, because it is a country that is too interesting and that many people do not know that it belongs to Asia Pacifica, and is full of interesting things, being so far from all countries , and Australia obvious located in Oceania, it has that personal touch that it seems Was so far removed from all regions.

And this is how I finally found this great organization called “Fundacion Consejo España”, although I will not lie that it was a little difficult for me to respond, but after waiting so long, I finally had a response from a great person and Especially very kind and clear apologizing for not being able to respond immediately but I was ready to answer the questions and I was very happy about the interest in Australia.

Of the person I am talking about is the first vice-president Ms. Arantza Ezpeleta

First, I wanted to ask you about the organization. The Spain-Australia Council Foundation is a private non-profit organization that is integrated within the framework of the Foundations network. It is promoted and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, with the Aim to foster and deepen bilateral relations with Australia, a priority country in Spanish foreign policy towards Asia and the Pacific. It was also clear what the objectives were, adding that the objective is to combine efforts across a wide range of sectors in Spain in a single platform of civil society in order to promote common interests and to tackle problems Related to the areas of activities for Australia.

The entities promoting this initiative believe that this type of activity provides a boost to these interests at a time when Australia is a key player in understanding the world of the 21st century.

I asked if this association has any involvement to promote Australia and has told me that The Spain-Australia Council Foundation participates in high-level contacts and major actions designed by the Government and the Autonomous and Municipal Administrations to promote the Bilateral relations. And that also includes actions such as investment forums and business meetings, cultural and educational activities, as well as the development of exchange programs in fields such as science and technology, energy, art, gastronomy and legal affairs.

The Foundation also promotes initiatives, contacts and actions that are considered as a priority by its Board and which represent a wide range of activities both public and private. This requires a coordinated and coherent approach, as well as the joint efforts and motivation of all stakeholders.

I had to ask him about the agenda item that Obama had promised to receive 1,250 refugees and now the current President Dondald Trump wants to undo, has said that the program, which provides for sending to the United States. Of 1,250 Middle Eastern refugees staying in Australian detention camps, is “the worst deal of all time” and accused Turnbull of wanting to “send new terrorists from Boston to the US”.

Arantza responded with some laughter textualized, that surely she is reading this question began to laugh out loud and said that as Aristotle once said “The wise does not say everything he thinks, but he always thinks everything he says” and that Being Australia was not going to discuss with a person who does not know how important to strengthen relationships and to be well with the countries but he said to me you know eduardo the wise never argues and I think that will do Australia because we know that to see alone and that its governments go On the way down, will have to apologize, repent and return, so things work, but as I mentioned before, is a person who has no idea of ​​politics, etc, and a silly person who is not even able to give The hand to his wife Melania Trump, so Donald Trump to us is very funny and I do not know but I think the other countries are the same, who would think that this great power, this great country, would have a person to But we’ll see what happens and what we can do with our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and I can only say that, as Donald Trump has worked, it can bring strong consequences to the United States.

To conclude the interview I told him that I was Mexican and asked him how the relationship between the two countries is, and he showed emotion when he learned that I was Mexican and had much more interest in this distant country and told me that diplomatic relations Have been on for a long time on March 14, 1966 and that until that date to 2017 have had a very good relationship between Mexico and Australia that have developed an intense relationship, resulting from high level political dialogue, exchange of visits, Meetings in the framework of international forums and the deepening of the dialogue in multilateral organisms and mechanisms.

I am also told that in Australia there are also associations of Mexicans in various parts of Australia, such as New South Wales; Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory and very interesting.

Arantza, thank you very much for this interview, for allowing me to give of your time, and I promise to visit this organization very soon.

 

EDUARDO TORRES.