“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.

 

 

 

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.

“Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country”

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By Marine SUDAN

For my studies’ framework, I needed to interview someone related to my region, Europe. On May, 23th, François Rameau gave me an appointment in his office in Madrid. What about him?

For years, he has been travelling around the globe for his job: Singapore to Mumbai, Hong-Kong to Paris. Few months ago, he had the opportunity to take the general manager of the Spanish branch of the Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, based in the center of Madrid. It is a subsidiary of the French Company. They are dealing with the largest Spanish companies as well as the largest financial institutions as a global client. Not only helping those companies in Spain but also worldwide throughout the rest of their network.

For me it was interesting to interview someone link to my region, with a international background and that have an opinion of his country even if he does not live in it and also about the European Union.

As a French citizen and a European one, the main questions of this interview were to know his points of view about Europe and what happened lately. I wrote this article in a manner to have first his opinion about French election that took place one month ago and their consequences, and then about Europe.

Firstly, I asked him if he did follow the news in Europe. While smiling at me, his response was very clear:

“No choice, I mean Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country, including Spain”.

Even if he is currently living in Madrid for the next few years, his situation didn’t prevent him from voting for its next President, here in Madrid, as a concern citizen.

So, what about France? My first question was direct: was he satisfied with all the candidates for this presidential election ? Although the company did not have a specific candidate, he could not speak on their behalf. For Rameau, he is quite satisfied with the final outcome of the election because the alternative, if Marine Le pen was elected, it could have been extremely dangerous for the activity. Macron is “everybody’s hope” to make France stronger. Even if there is a lot of waiting for France to adjust with the realities of Europe and those of the world.

My next concern was his thoughts about the younger being a part of Europe. As we seen during the election, lots of them were supporting Melenchon. He understands why many people supported him because young people feel that they don’t necessary belong to the European economy as it is today. But as he said

those are people that have only a short view on the economic reality. They don’t necessarily understand the global environment that we are in”.

If France were to implemented Melenchon’s reforms, it would automatically loose her competitiveness and a lot of jobs would disappear in the process. He thinks that people have a cast of vote of protests because they are not happy with the situation (unemployment is mostly one of the main problems brought during an election and a big concern In French society).

Moreover, this election showed the growth of the populism. Marine Le Pen won a lot of supporters during this election which had not occurred since 2002. For the first turn, she had reached over 21,30%, 3% less than Macron and had won over Melenchon, who didn’t make it to 20% of the voters.

Even if François Rameau don’t have an objective idea on the growth of the populism, he thinks that Europe has reached probably the pic of the populist votes in France. it reflects the fact that many people don’t think they belong to the global economy and don’t necessarily understand it. But in the case of Le Pen, she has targeted the weakest of voters. He means the unemployed people, many of them potentially unemployable, because they have not been properly trained and didn’t adjust to the new reality of the economy. Therefore, Le Pen is promising a kind of a dream as an old France like it was used to be forty or fifty years ago for those people when they were young. It could have been marvelous but it is strictly impossible. Marine Le Pen has no clue on the economy reality shown before the Second turn during a debate.

Thirdly, for years, European Union has weakened and this has not improved with the Brexit. Thanks to the French election happened this year, it will probably be stronger. Many people were concerned about the European project losing its steam. Now that France emerges stronger and is confirming its European commitment together with the support of Germany, the General Manager says that it is “a good opportunity and opening to make it better”. Even if we know that not all countries will agree with those new projects as a common defense, tax system and other things that are not in the current EU treaty. The next thing will be to see if other countries want to be in the same coalition or independent.

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Even if Brexit happened this year, France and Italy almost did. It is still a continue treat because for many years the European Union has benefit more or less to its citizens. For him, EU still benefits to the citizen but those ones are no longer obvious, it is more complicated. It is seen as a huge administration with many problems. Therefore, people think that they have lost a bit of control.  Its shows a strong signal that people want a change. EU has itself understood that it needs to change its ways to process, leave back more power to nations and only get involve in what is important, not being perceive as a substitute for a nation here citizens belong.

After a few minutes exchanging, he finished with this quote:

“I am quite confident that we are coming out of a difficult period, the global economic environment is now stronger, so it will help people to realize that finally the European Union is not that bad. And depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation, if and it is my own feeling, that if UK suffers after exiting the EU, then people will think again”.

 

Interview with Emilio Butragueño

Over the pass hundred years, our society have been enjoying one of the simplest but very exercising sport. But it was in the mid of the twenty century that soccer became more and more popular in our houses. It is clear that this sport moves all kind of people, from China to Peru, we found that this incredible sport have been changing our environment. Adding to this, soccer is a sport that every social class in our time it’s been affected because of it. But it has been clear, that not every player and not every team can reach all our universe. Real Madrid F.C is a soccer team founded in 1902 (115 years) in one of the most charming sector of Madrid (Castellana) with the purpose of representing the values and the image of the capital of Spain. In 2016, Real Madrid F.C is considered by the Forbes magazine as “the most valuable soccer team in the world” , meaning that this team is completely backed up with a big amount of capital. For these reason, I’ve choose to interview a person who has been part of the Real Madrid Team and inside the directives in order to know how does the Real Madrid franchise has been reliable in the international community and How can a sport institution is working for the future of our society. Emilio Butragueño is the sport vice-president, the director of the institutional relations of Real Madrid and one of the General directors of the Real Madrid School in the Universidad Europea, he is a legend in the field and is a famous image of the club.

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Emilio Butragueño, Sport vice-president and director of the institutional relations of Real Madrid F.C

In first place, as Real Madrid commercial image have been real important through the history, an institution like Real Madrid needed to create a strong and reliable moral values to inspire their community. As the interviewer was explaining, sports are a mechanism in order to take care about your health as in the same time a good way to interact with your society.   For these reason, this institution wanted to focus in showing that the spirit of the sports is highly important in our modern society in which technology has taken a big part of our society with more negatives impacts. It was also important for the club to create a responsible image with professionals in health, communications and commerce to bring to the people positives lifestyles.

Institutions like Real Madrid who have a great economic power are capable to affect all our international community as they work in the five continents and are now days one of the most famous and international franchise. Creating a lifestyle in the lives of the fans is highly important for the government and politics, is here in which we can clear see the impact of external actors who are not governmental and have a big influence in our world.

In second place, as a principal member in the program of the UEM and also a big important member of the Real Madrid Foundation, he has a very strong idea for the future of Spain and the impact of Real Madrid in the world. Right now, Real Madrid Humanitarian Foundation program works in several countries with economic, political and social crisis, where from the point of view of the interviewer, sports are the only mechanism of bringing a happy time to the children affected by the wrong decisions of governments. He argues

the importance of been presence in for example, African countries where mostly all the children know about Real Madrid and they don’t even know about their human rights. Also, during the time that the children are able to assist to this programs, they are teaching them values of having a healthy life with sports.

Analysing this answer, it is very important for real Madrid to act like a humanitarian institution as it will create a huge impact in the responsibility in the future society, as they have been stablishing an impact in all generations, it shows how essential sports are for human health. In the same way, they are working with children, who are the most affected because of the certain situations in every state.

In conclusion, there are very important actors in our international society, that not all the people are capable to recognize. Real Madrid is an important institution in our modern society who creates a huge impact in our youngest generations, it is very important to notice the responsible work that directives like Emilio are doing in order to project a better world for those who are in this present having various difficulties. It is important to create in our governments more economic profit for sports and have a better relation with institutions that are changing our world.

 

Carlos Salgado

Interview with Luis Videgaray Caso, secretary of Mexico’s foreign relations.

 

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In this project, I’ve decided to interview Luis Videgaray Caso. He is the secretary of Mexico’s foreign relations since 2017, before this position, He was a politician as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary party of his country. For that reason, I thought that He could answer my questions with criterion about the actual situation in North America, especially in Mexico and the United States. Among all my questions, the main topic was about Trump and his relationship with Mexico and the Mexicans, and how that relationship could affect Mexico’s economy in one way or another. Not just their economy, also their future as a country.

Luis Videgaray, firstable said that said that the economy in Mexico has obviously fallen down since Donald Trump got into the presidency of the United States because of his new policies, which go directly against Latin American countries and that are protectionist. This basically means that He wants a total isolation, Trump does not want to belong or be a part of something bigger (some institution) that makes this world, our world, more globalized. That is why He is against the European Union for example. He had always been in favor and supporting the Brexit in this case.

Well, going back to the Mexican economy, I have underlined these words of Luis V.: “The protectionist threats of the new American president will decrease the PIB (Producto lnterno Bruto) of the country into a 1% by 2017”. He also gave some examples of why this isolation policy will affect Mexico: “I want to let you know that the most part of Mexico’s exports go to the U.S., and at list 5 million of jobs depend on the trade with Mexico. But the most shocking fact is that before Donald Trump was selected the president, both countries, U.S. and Mexico, used to trade more than $1.4 billion in goods each day”.

With his words, We assume that Mexico’s economy, and not just their economy, also the most part of Latin American countries, has fallen and decreased with intensity since the new mandate in the White House.

Now that We have talked about Donald Trump’s isolation policy, I would like to share some of the words that Luis Videgaray gave me about the construction of the wall, one of the most protectionist ideas of Trump. Luis Videgaray seemed very convinced on that the wall would never be built because in United States, as He said, the balance of power between the president and the senate with its different cameras is very strong, so that law of constructing the wall would never pass the approval of the senate in his own opinion.

Luis Videgaray Caso also indicated that the own idea of building it is crazy and has a lack of common sense because the wall between Mexico and U.S.A. would put thousands of lives in danger, it would not be efficient against the Drug trafficking and it would also damage the environment for reasons that I’m not going to name right now.

As We see here, Luis V. has exposed his ideas and answers very clearly by supporting them with data and facts that everyone can find on the Internet, but lets see now what his future perspective of the situation and his description of Trump’s first 100 days is.

According to the president’s first 100 days, the interviewed added that these 100 days are not enough time to evaluate what He had done and what He will do in the near future. In his opinion, Trump has screwed up in some decisions like: firing the director of the FBI James Comey, cutting economical aid to not developed countries, trying to switch the Obamacare, etc… But as He said before, this does not mean that He will not accomplish merits or good actions that will create a better atmosphere around his administration. He also added that these first 100 days made evidence on that Trump had not political experience and that this was a sample of that. But hopefully, Luis Videgaray said that things will change and that these past errors from Trump will turn into at list better decisions.

To finish up with my interview, I’ve asked him about his future perspective of the situation in North America. He didn’t want to be overwhelming with his thoughts, but his inner voice tells him than Trump will be destitute soon or later but before his 4 years of presidency for sure. His arguments were that the republican is unpredictable and uncontrollable, and that is something that is not liked by the republicans in the congress. Luis V. says that republicans are nervous about that and also adds that none of them really knows what kind of policies Trump supports. He said: “They (the republicans) would rather see the predictable, christian and conservative Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, as the new president”.

 Isidro González Vázquez

 

Maria Angeles R., an economist in paradise

“Philippines is a dream land, with many futures dreams”

The person interviewed is Maria Angeles R, She is an economist working in the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. When I contacted her, it was for a simple reason and it is none other than the interest that unleashes the economy of this incredible country, which despite having a great internal inequality in terms of wealth, is a country very slightly exploited and with a number of opportunities yet to be explored. I want to highlight an anecdote that arose during the interview, this was from the person while answering one of my questions, the phone rang and she had to answer it; once she had finished with it she said “excuse me for this interruption, but I will reward you by answering an extra question, “as she smiled a knowing smile.”

My first question was perhaps a little direct, but I wanted to see where I could lead the interview and where not. The question was: in the event of a possible conflict, between the US and North Korea, would the Philippines enter US support? The answer was quick and concise, and this was non another that: “Apologies but this question I can not answer you for internal reasons”; but by her gesture, I noticed preoccupation if this situation came to be real.

As a second question, I chose not to change the subject and I insisted again, but from a more general point of view. First, how is the conflict between North Korea and the US affecting the economy in the Philippines? Her reply was more extensive than that of the previous question, but she did not throw herself into the pool as far as I’d hoped. She told me that the Philippines had always shown a cordial relationship with the US and with the previous US president (Barak Obama), common goals and ties had been approached, but now it has been deteriorated a little by the Statements of the current president, Mr. Trump, even by his rejection of the free trade agreement.

Now was the time to have to change the dynamics of the questions, because I was not going to get anything else on the previous subject. I asked about the kind of foreign policy being carried out by President Rodrigo Duterte. She let out a sigh of relief, smiled, and began to tell me that the Philippines is part of ASEAN, which is the Southeast Asian Nations Organization, which is made up of 10 countries, and whose common goal is to create three pillars of Cooperation for 2020: Economy, politics and culture and social. Although this date has been advanced, this group forms alliances with other countries such as New Zealand, Japan, Australia, India and South Korea. However, the Philippines is also part of other agreements, the most notable of which is free trade, although it is currently in negotiations for the controversial president’s policy against drug trafficking.

Taking advantage of the last issue from the previous question, I asked her about her own opinion on the choice of action taken by the president for the fight against drug trafficking. She stared at me, and she answered me in a lower, faint voice, but I commented that she was in agreement with the chosen plans but not with some of the methods that are being applied, since these, in most cases, do not respect human rights.

Lastly, I asked her how she thought about the future prospects of the Philippine’s economy. She was hopeful when she told me that the economy was on the rise (GDP increase> 7% per year) and that the president, Duterte, was doing a great job and has some very good ideas. Some of these include tax reform as well as improved tax collection, increased prosecution of corruption, improvements in foreign investment policies and improvements in social protection.

In conclusion, I am quite comfortable with the way the interview went, even though I was not able to get information on a subject as complex as the conflict in the USA and North Korea. What I have made clear is that the Philippines is struggling to improve and they are very clear how to do it, although sometimes the ways are not appropriate according to humans rights.

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Héctor Hernández Torremocha

An interview with the ambassador of Sudan in Spain.

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Mr. Mohamed Abdalla Abdelhameed Ahmed, Ambassador of Sudan in Spain.

On the 31st of May of 2017, I had the privilege to interview the ambassador of Sudan in Spain. Mohamed Abdalla Abdelhameed Ahmed, who has been ambassador of Iran, Canada, United Kingdom and now Spain. He studied Economics and Political Science. The reason I chose to interview Mr. Ahmed was to know more about how the diplomatic life is and have the opportunity to learn more about his country.

The ambassador didn’t know he wanted to be an ambassador as a career, when he finish his career in Economics and Political Science he had the opportunity to do the exams to entering the foreign ministry. He explained that there are a lot of exams, test and interviews you have to make in order to enter. Finally he was accepted, and was send to Iran. If he wouldn’t became an ambassador or studied Economics and Political Science, he would like to study law. Even though his father didn’t like so much the idea of him studying law.

The thing he like the most about his job is the opportunity to get to know different persons around the world and be able to work in so many fields concerning his country and the receiving country where he is working, as economics, politics or culture. I also asked what is one of the difficulties of his job, he thinks the stress that the job could generate. Also one of the difficult thigs about his job is the fact that he is traveling a lot and moving of country. He and his family has to adapt to the new culture of the receiving country, and if the language is different they would have to learn it, also his kids have to attend to international schools. Moreover, when he was ambassador in United Kingdom it was kind of difficult because Sudan was a colony of them, even though they have good relations sometimes they still have tensions.

I asked if Sudan and Spain have a special cultural agreement, he explain me that there are a lot of agreements between the two countries, but one that he could emphasize is one that was more active between the seventies and eighties, where a large amount of Sudanese students came to Spain to study their degrees.

He loves his country, even though as all countries it has their areas to improve. One of the things he miss the most is the hospitality of his people, he explained to me how Sudanese love to receive foreigners and treat them as their own people. Also the social life is one of the things he misses, because as difference as most European countries, Sudanese families tend to have large families. This makes the simple gathering of family be richer. Furthermore he loves the history of his country, which is one of the most ancient in the world, one of the oldest regions is Nubia, which is located at the south of Egypt and north of Sudan, in the Nile River.  Another thing the ambassador likes about his country is the multiculturality of this, even though the official languages are English and Arabic, there are approximately 70 different languages native of Sudan, and are very different between them.

Mr. Ahmed thinks that between Spain and Sudan are some similarities, especially in the personality of the people. As I have said, Sudanese families tend to be large and this is a peculiarity he has observed that is the same in Spain. Moreover he has noticed that Spanish people tend to raise their voice while speaking by phone, he says that Sudanese are tend to be loud. He really likes Spain because of how welcoming are, and reminds him back home.

The ambassador was pleased to explain to me how the relations are between Sudan and South Sudan. For me to understand it better he compared the countries with a family. Where the daughter marries therefore she starts living with the family of her husband. The two families are “different” but still have relations between them. South Sudan independence of Sudan on 2011, they still have good relations, also have economic and trade agreements, and cooperate to dissolve rebel groups in both countries.

Finally Mr. Ahmed encourage young students to work on this field, because is a privilege job, where you can learn a lot, also how interesting the job is because as he said before there are so different fields that you work when you are an ambassador. Furthermore how much the person can offer to the relations that their country is doing.

 

It was an honor to interview Mr. Ahmed.

Written by Emilse Pardo