Córdoba maintains less than 3% of native dense forests, yet the current provincial government is pushing for a bill that reduces the current protected surface of native forests from 4 million hectares to only 2 million hectares. To address this important issue, the RLC Campus Cordoba organised an educational role-play on May 31, 2017, at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. Organized by Right Livelihood Award Laureate Raúl Montenegro and three Chairs of the Faculty of Psychology, more than 2,300 university students recreated a debate about the governmental plans for adopting the “bad project of law on native forests”. The role-play involved six main steps: 1) a preparatory process with active dissemination of information prior to and on the 31st May, 2) sector discussions in groups; 3) a public hearing of the groups and a discussion among panel members 4) a vote by all students participating; 5) a presentation of the winning decision, and 6) a music festival as an epilogue. For step number 2 and 3, six main groups of 200-300 students each were formed with randomly selected members. The six groups represented the “government”, “soya agriculturalists” and “parliamentarians of the political party in power” as well as the “university”, “NGOs” and the “movement of green farmers”. At the end of the role-play around 90% of the students voted against the new law.
On November 5, 2016, the RLC Campus in Córdoba hosted an open seminar with the indigenous Mbya Guarani people in the Argentinean city of Puerto Rico. More than 300 participants attended the conference to discuss about the questionable official dates of independence in Argentina and the historical impact of independence on indigenous people and communities. RLA Laureate Raúl Montenegro, head of the RLC Campus Córdoba, gave a lecture on the topic “The Mbya people transform knowledge into wisdom, the Jurua people transform knowledge in knowledge. Will we learn from each other?“.
The RLC campus of Córdoba cooperated with the Chair of Ecology and Environmental Health of the University of Córdoba to support research on environment and health issues by postgraduate students of the “Master on Maternal and Children Health”. Research was conducted in the provinces of Cordoba and La Rioja, near the Andean region. The postgraduate students detected many health threats in urban and rural areas, e.g. deleterious effects of pesticide sprays, mining, open waste deposits or the pollution of water with fluorine and arsenic. Additional threats resulting from climate change are uncontrolled fires and floods. Students discovered inadequate management of X-ray equipment in hospitals, incorrect environmental management of neonatal rooms, and incineration of hazardous waste.
On September 5, 2017, the RLC Campus Bonn and the Association of German Development Services (AGdD) organised a public panel discussion on Human Rights and Environmental Governance jointly with the Adult Education Center Bonn. Juan Pablo Orrego, Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate (1998) and founder of the Chilean NGO Ecosistemas, discussed with the Deputy Director of the German Development Institute (DIE), Dr. Imme Scholz, the importance of community involvement in the decision making process of large scale “development” projects that affect the social and ecological livelihoods of people. A special emphasis was put on collaborations and on information spreading between the affected people, activists and policy advisors. Additionally, two participants of the RLC/AGdD workshop spoke on the panel; Ms. Sandhya Kumar presented research findings on how policies are established practically in local communities, using the example of “Right to Food” in India. Wolfang Dörner, peace consultant for the “Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst”, gave insight into challenges in creating grassroot organisations and networks in the conflict-ridden and mineral-rich southern Philippines. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Merjam Wakili (Deutsche Welle) and supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
From September 2 to 7, 2017, 24 scientists, practitioners and PhD students from 17 different countries came together at the RLC Campus in Bonn to discuss and analyse research and practice concerned with human rights, governance and marginalized people in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The transdisciplinary workshop, jointly organised with the Association of German Development Services (AGdD), focused on the nexus between economic development, ecological balance, and on rural livelihoods of marginalised people. Right Livelihood Award Laureate Juan Pablo Orrego (1998) gave an insight into his lifelong work and engagement in the protection of Chilean ecological and social systems from largescale dam projects.
RLC PhD graduate Willis Okumu published an article in the September Volume of the journal of Modern African studies, together with Kaderi Noagah Bukari, Papa Sow and Evans Onyiego, on “The role of elite rivalry and ethnic politics in livestock raids in northern Kenya”. They analyse the changing culture of cattle raids in northern Kenya, focusing on new arising business- and political elites who use the existing ethnic rivalry to mobilise raids to gain control over limited resources in the region.
The paper can be found here.
Fidelis Allen, coordinator of the Right Livelihood Campus Port Harcourt, contributed a chapter to the book “Decolonizing the University, Knowledge Systems and Disciplines in Africa” edited by Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Siphamandla Zondi. In his chapter “Decolonising African Political Science and the Question of the Relevance of the Discipline for Development” he argues that American Political Science still dominates the field of Political Science worldwide even though analyses based on these dominating western political theories often fail to connect with African reality. He calls for a new understanding of development and political science by critically reflecting Western methodologies and complementing them by new scientific approaches.
On November 9 and 10, 2017, the interdisciplinary workshop on “Migration, Integration, Participation” will take place at the Maison Suger (Paris). Researchers are invited to participate at the workshop which takes place in the frame of the second year of the Franco-German research program “Changing Societies”. Key questions are: What are central societal, political, economic and ecological changes of our times? How can we adequately describe, measure, and compare these changes between countries and over time?
Deadline for application: 25 September 2017
The workshop is organized by the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH) within the Franco-German program “Changing Societies”.
Please find more information here.
From 25 June to 7 July 2017 RLC student Alejandro Mora Motta participated at a Summer School on “Transformations that sustain life: Degrowth and Environmental Justice” held in Barcelona (Spain) and Cerbère (France). The event was organized by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona/ICTA in collaboration with the Research & Degrowth association. During a poster session he presented his ongoing PhD research on the topic “Looking for a way out: tree plantation extractivism and emerging resistances in La Union”. In this presentation Alejandro shared the strategies that the mapuche and non-mapuche communities (in southern Chile) employ in the search for alternatives to the tree plantation extractivist model.
by Raul A. Montenegro and Carolyn Stephens.
This review is the second in a series on Indigenous health, covering different regions and issues. We look briefly at the current state of Indigenous health in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with over 400 different indigenous groups and a total population of 45 to 48 million people. We describe the complex history and current reality of Indigenous peoples’ situation within the American continent. We discuss the importance of Indigenous health systems and medicines, and look at changing political environments in the region. The paper concludes with a discussion of the changing political and legislative environment in Latin American countries.
The paper can be read and downloaded here.