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.
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.
Academic freedom and international cooperation have been increasingly at risk in Turkey in the last years. University Deans, Professors and other scientists were forced to step down, a travel ban was imposed on many academics, and Turkish scientists working abroad were pressured to return to Turkey. Many journalists and newspaper editors have been detained and harassed, particularly since the coup attempt last year.
Dr. Özgür Mumcu, journalist with the “Alternative Nobel Prize”-awarded Cumhuriyet newspaper discussed with Antje Schlamm, Head of Section Scholarship Programmes East Central Europe, South East Europe, Turkey at DAAD, how Universities, editors and journalists deal with these restrictions on and hindrance of their work.
The panelists talked about sustainable food production and organic agriculture as one competitive solution for the environmental, social and food security challenges of the 21st century. They shared their vast expertise and experiences and elaborated on how to successfully integrate local sustainable food production into globalised markets, on challenges and obstacles as well as their personal motivation.
From June 10 to 15, scientists, practitioners and PhD students from 18 different countries came together at the RLC Campus in Bonn to present and discuss local level empirical research and practical development work in rural areas of developing and transition countries. Distinguished speakers Dr. Lee HeHaan (“Alternative Nobel Prize” awarded Land Institute, USA) and Prof. Lennart Olsson (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Sweden) presented different pathways of sustainable agriculture and its actual and potential contributions.
RLC Bonn PhD student Amit Kumar from India presented his research proposal titled ‘Contested Urban Development: Resistance, Negotiations and Daily Life Struggles of Slum Dwellers
in Mumbai, India’ at Department of Political and Cultural Change (ZEFa) on Thursday, 9 March 2017.
The central focus of his research is to understand how forms of individual and collective resistance by slum dwellers influence the process of urbanisation in India. The work of Medha Patkar’s (RLA 1991) Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Aandolan – a right to the city movement – is an important case to his studies on the collective resistance of slum dwellers in Mumbai. Amit Kumar’s
research aims at the alternative imagination to the existing urban structures in relation to globalization.
Willis Okumu, RLC student in Bonn, successfully completed his PhD on the topic “Meanings of Violence and Its Impacts on the Socio-Political Relations among the Samburu and Turkana of Baragoi, Northern Kenya”. In the end of January 2017 he successfully defended his thesis.
Further information on his research can be found in this interview which was conducted by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn.
RLC Bonn PhD student Alejandro Mora Motta is developing his field work since June 2016 in Chile.
In collaboration with Right Livelihood Laureate Prof. Dr. Manfred Max-Neef and RLC Valdivia, Alejandro is currently in the field phase of his research in Los Ríos, Chile. His project focuses on how peasant and indigenous communities well-being has been affected by the model of exotic tree plantations, which is the main forestry model in Chile. He has approached different communities following a bottom up participatory approach that allows to understand the territorial transformation through the lenses of local people, and his main research focus is in rural La Unión, Municipality of Los Ríos.
Besides, Alejandro has performed collaborative research in two lines. First, he was involved with the methodological support for an indigenous community in the context of a new Law Project of Biodiversity and Protected Areas. This was thanks to the collaboration with the researcher Sarah Kelly-Richards of the Arizona University. Second, he is collaborating with the TESES group of the Austral University.
As a member of the RLC Valdivia team, he was involved in the coordination, the logistics and the promotion of the event ‘Activists for a better world’, within the Congress “La transdisciplina hecha práctica”. In this event he presented a first version of his research with the presentation “El modelo forestal chileno, entre la economía verde y el (neo)extractivismo”.