Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Nov 25 2009

Josette Sheeran Speaking At CSIS In Washington: “We know how to defeat hunger.”

Published by Knight Center under Uncategorized

By Joseph B. Treaster

Knight Chair, University of Miami

WASHINGTON – This year the number of poor people around the world struggling to get enough food for survival for themselves and their families has risen to a little more than a billion – the highest level in 30 years.

Food supplies have been reduced by floods and droughts. But more importantly, they have been hit by financial pressures. High oil prices pushed farmers to sell food crops for use as alternative fuels. Traders bid up prices on commodities like corn and wheat. A worldwide recession led to lost jobs and less money going back to relatives in developing countries from the United States and other places.

The economic stress has eased somewhat and aid agencies, the United States and a few other countries have upped their efforts to feed the poor and under-nourished – especially in Africa and south Asia where the situation has chronically been the worst. But the mass of hungry people in what is often referred to the “world food crisis” has continued to rise. Experts say the picture is expected to be bleak for several years.

“The numbers have gone in reverse,” said Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Program. Yet she is optimistic.

Speaking here in a series of discussions on the United Nation’s Millennium Goals jointly organized by CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the University of Miami’s Knight Center for International Media, Ms. Sheeran said the response by the United States and other countries has been encouraging. For years, financial aid for agricultural in developing countries had been declining. This year the United States increased aid for farmers to about $600 million and the Obama Administration is asking Congress for $1.3 billion next year. The United States and several other big countries are promising to provide $20 billion over the next three years.

“We know how to defeat hunger,” Ms Sheeran told an audience of about 150 college students, professors, business executives and experts on food, economics and the environment. “When you have leadership in place, when you have innovations in place. This is doable.”

Ms. Sheeran, who took charge of the World Food Program in early 2007 after serving as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs in the administration of George W. Bush, praised President Obama. “President Obama stepped up to the plate,” she said.

For several years the ranks of the hungry and undernourished had been steady at about 850 million, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The situation began to get worse in 2004. The number rose to 923 million in 2007 as the crisis began to take hold. It now stands at 1.02 billion.

The joint program of CSIS and the University of Miami’s Knight Center for International Media, a unit of the university’s School of Communication, began with a discussion on Haiti. The next discussion, on HIV-AIDS, is scheduled for Jan 17. One of the speakers is expected to be Dr. Eric Goosby, the State Department’s Global AIDS Coordinator, appointed by President Obama in June.

The discussions are being broadcast live, worldwide, over the Internet. They are designed to engage and motivate policymakers and to inspire students and people everywhere. The University of Miami is complementing the discussions with a series of student-produced multi-media reports on poverty, women’s health and other components of the Millennium Goals in world cities.

In the food and hunger discussion, Dr. Daniel Benetti, the director of aquaculture at the University of Miami’s Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, spoke of adding to the world’s food supply through aquaculture or fish farming. The University of Miami is pioneering work on growing fish in small, fenced in places in the ocean.

“We have to take a closer look at the oceans,” Dr. Benetti said. “Seventy percent of the world is water. We believe we are not focusing enough on that.”

One of the first beneficiaries of increased fish production would be the United States, Dr. Benetti said. The United States now imports 80 percent of the fish that Americans eat, he said. The result is an annual seafood trade deficit of $10 billion.

He compared the seafood imbalance to the United States dependence on foreign oil. “We must start producing our own food and become independent,” Dr. Benetti said.

The moderator, Mariam Atash Nawabi, a television anchor at America Abroad Media and the president of AMDi, an international development consulting firm, asked where aquaculture has been most successful.

“Greece,” said Dr. Benetti. “Eighteen years ago Greece didn’t have any aquaculture. Now it produces more than all other” European countries. Australia, he said, has also been a leader.

Johanna Nesseth Tuttle is the vice president for strategic planning at CSIS. During the discussion, she said that CSIS, a non-profit, non-partisan research and analysis center, is focusing on three aspects of global food and hunger: production, research and trade, with a focus on small farmers that includes ways to provide them access to markets, fertilizer and better seeds, and such basic infrastructure needs as roads and irrigation.

Ms. Sheeran said that news coverage of the crisis has declined somewhat recently. But she said that “food prices are higher today than a year ago” in the majority of developing countries

When food prices are high, it is not just a matter of the poor buying less. But often, she said, governments in poor countries cannot raise the money to pay for their usual food imports. So there is not enough food to meet demand at any price. At one point, she said, “Liberia and other countries couldn’t put enough cash on the table to compete in very tight global markets.”

Women and children suffer most in a food crisis, Ms. Sheeran said. These days, she said, more than 250 million children do not have a consistent, healthy supply of food. Many of them are receiving little or no help. The World Food Program tries to intervene in the most severe cases. But overall, she said, the agency is able to provide food for only about 10 percent of those in desperate need.

Ms. Sheeran held up a red plastic cup, about the size of an over-large coffee mug. “This is the cup the World Food Program uses to reach over 20 million school children,” she said. “It is the only guaranteed food they are going to get” on any given day. #

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Nov 03 2009

Washington DC – “A Different Story Out of Haiti”

Published by Knight Center under Uncategorized

By Sam Grogg

Posted on Nov. 2, 2009

The University of Miami School of Communication’s Knight Center for International Media and The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) launched today Our Global Challenges: A Series of Dialogues on the Most Pressing Global Issues of our Time. The first dialogue focused on Meeting the Challenge of the Millennium Development Goals in Haiti: A Progress Report from the Poorest Country in the Americas. Over 200 Washington insiders gathered at the K Street headquarters of CSIS to listen to a conversation among Dr. Barth Green Project Medishare Co-Founder and Chairman of The Global Institute at the University of Miami; His Excellency Raymond Joseph Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States; and Johanna Mendelson Forman Senior Associate, CSIS Americas Program. Mariam Atash Nawabi of America Abroad Media, Host of PUL (A weekly broadcast in Afghanistan) moderated the discussion.

The series is dedicated to discussions framed by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as a way to articulate the biggest problems facing our world and to explore the nexus between strategic policy and the tactics of new and developing news media. Our contemporary media technology allows us to cover news at a pace that feeds on breaking, short duration events that ebb and flow for a cycle of a few days with little impact on the global stories that demand complex coverage over long periods of time with sensitivity to cross-cultural attitudes and customs.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and, as His Excellency Raymond Joseph reminded the audience, a country that hosted the explorers of the Old World well before the future United States.  This little country sits in a peaceful neighborhood of island nations an hour by air to Miami and a super nation.  Yet it remains a nation of dependence on others and a microcosm of the challenges facing our developing world.

The panel hailed the efforts of former President Clinton to embrace Haiti and work to gather the resources necessary for the country to address its challenges.  But the $340 million of pledges made last April connected to the former President’s efforts have been slow to turn into actual dollars on the ground.  Competing NGO’s find it difficult to navigate the realities on the ground in Haiti leaving good intentions and millions of dollars held in abeyance while the needs are critical and immediate.

Barth Green, whose Medi-share group is focusing on building a critical care health infrastructure, observes that the situation is changing radically, however.  Much needed infrastructure is expanding in a dynamic and positive manner.  The image of Haiti as crime and violence ridden is simply no longer the case.  The Haitian police are standing out in front of a decreasing UN peacekeeping force and the government presence is dramatically replacing gang rule throughout the urban areas.

Johanna Mendelson underscored the bottom up development of the country and the importance of the recent change in government (the Prime Minister of Haiti was ousted by a vote of the legislature a few days ago) being a peaceful change with a sense of concern for continuity and stability.

Image and the messages that appear in the press and stick to the media coverage of the tiny island are of great concern.  The media avoid talking of Haiti as a tourist destination, said Joseph, they still have an image of the country as largely violent and unfriendly to Americans.  For decades, the story reported has been negative, Joseph reminded the group.  All the panelists felt that Haiti is a success story-a home-run said Green.  With much ahead and without glossing over the serious problems of the country, there is movement on all fronts to address health and basic sustenance issues for Haitian people.  The ongoing challenge is to build on the stability to bring the country’s talented professionals back to the nation.  Nearly 85% of the professionals have left the country for lives in the developed neighbors.

The conversation attracted one of the largest audiences for a CSIS forum in recent years, said CSIS executive Andrew Schwartz.  There is clearly an attraction to this corner of the world-a country that once hummed with industry-for instance, Haiti was the dominant maker of baseballs for the major American leagues until government upheaval pushed the industry to Honduras.  There is also a creeping feeling of great opportunity in the Caribbean as Cuba and Haiti re-position themselves among nations.

The media will play an important role in the future of this country as it continues to develop-there are new and positive stories to report from Haiti.

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Sep 09 2008

“One Water” movie wraps up in Guatemala

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

By Sanjeev Chatterjee

Posted on Sept. 9, 2008

We picked up our bags one last time to finish shooting for One Water. On Aug. 30, 2008, Ali Habashi, Ed Talavera and I boarded a flight to Guatemala City, where we met up with Melissa Rosato from FogQuest, a Canadian non-profit that has been helping communities around the world set up fog collectors that provide a source of clean sustainable water to communities in need.

Upon arrival we drove northwest (not northeast) for seven hours to arrive in Huehuetenango at the foot of Cuchumatanes – the highest mountain range in Guatemala. After spending the night in “Huehue” we set of for the Village of Tojquia within the municipality of San Juan Ixcoy.

Fog Quest has worked over the past three  years with the community to build fog collectors that help supplement the community’s water needs. There are no convenient water sources available to this community of about 400 individuals, and rain and fog collection has become the major source of water here.

We spent three days observing and filming waves of fog and rain that usually arrived a little after noon. Other than waiting out in the field for the right moments when fog passed through these collectors, we enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts Leonso Funes Ramos and Teresa Andres Greogorio. Other than the nutrition bars we had carried with us, our diet largely consisted of tortillas and potatoes graciously served in the warm Mayan (the Gregorio/Ramos family are Mam Mayans) kitchen of our hosts.

You can expect to see the fog collection sequence in Guatemala in the educational version of One Water.

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Aug 13 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change — Day 14

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

August 13, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

One of the themes of the Salzburg Academy this year is freedom of speech, and today Vanessa Redgrave spoke to the students about the role artists can play in global change. (Vanessa Redgrave)

Redgrave discussed specifically how being a celebrity with access to the media has played a role in fight for causes that matter to her.

This video (click to watch) reflects her response to a question about how she had the courage to speak out during her Academy Award acceptance speech for her role in Julia. She was booed and cheered for openly showing support for Palestinian refugees and for criticizing the Israeli government.

To see parts of the acceptance speech, go to speaks with students

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Aug 12 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change — Day 13

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized


August 12, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

Edward Mortimer, vice president of the Salzburg Global Seminar, discussed his experience at the United Nations, first as speechwriter of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General of the United Nations, and later as director of communications.

Mortimer, who has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, said his time at UN was challenging. He had to learn to span between the demands of the media and the goals and strategies of the United Nations.

He mentioned some controversial UN efforts, such as the “Oil for Food” program, and the impact on him.

Mortimer said he was familiar with the bureaucratic nature of UN, but when he saw himself at the heart of the scandal, he realized the real power and authority of the media.

Photo caption: Edward Mortimer
Courtesy of Salzburg Global Seminar

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Aug 08 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change - Day 11

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

August 8, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

The visit to a memorial concentration camp site today was a very emotional experience for most of us. We learned first hand that concentration camps in Germany were mirrored after the first camp set up in Dachau in 1933.

Dachau concentration camp

That insight related directly to the Salzburg Academy experience and raised two fundamental questions that remained in the minds of the students after the visit.

1. How the media played a role in advancing the government’s message and in covering dissenting movements before and during WWII; and 2. How this memorial site plays a role in communicating a story about history and humanity.

Example of propaganda during the 1932 Reichtag election: the poster links the hostile image of the “Jewish capitalist” with that of Social Democrats and Communists

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Aug 08 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change — Day 10

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

August 7, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

Today we continued working on our lesson plans in our respective groups. Towards the end of the day, David Goldman briefed us on tomorrow’s trip to Dachau, a concentration camp memorial site. We were given a very brief history of Europe and Nazis. This was followed by a 1955 French documentary “Night and Fog” about concentration camps in general, and Dachau in specific (for IMDB review, visit

After the film, Sanjeev moderated a discussion that relates back to the Salzburg Academy on global media literacy. The students brought up the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, human rights, speaking a global language and the business nature of news media.

More to come from tomorrow’s visit to Dachau.

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Aug 06 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change Day 9

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

August 6, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

At the Salzburg Global Seminar, the students have been working on developing and refining the lesson plans on global media literacy and will continue to do so over the next week.

The 500-year-old Schloss Leopoldskron is the temporary home of various prominent figures in politics, literature and music. Casually walking among the students are literary Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, Man Booker Prize winning novelist Kiran Desai and renowned author of Angel Tongues, Dimitré Dinev. These guests are visiting Salzburg for an annual summer festival featuring orchestral and theatrical performances. Past performances are projected on a large screen in a town square surrounded by baroque architecture that UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. Salzburg attracts both a diverse group of talent and its admirers for the events and the city’s historical richness.

A past orchestra performance of ‘Carmen’ is projected in the city center.

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Aug 02 2008

Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change Day 5

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

August 1, 2008, Salzburg, Austria

By Walyce Almeida, Dana Janbek & Moses Shumow

The students today got a first hand account of one journalist’s struggle against a repressive government. George Lugalambi, head of the mass communication department at Makerere University in Uganda, shared his personal story about his paper’s efforts (The Crusader) to expose a government policy that was fueling ethnic violence. His story landed him in prison in what he described as a clash between business, politics, and journalism (read Human Rights Watch). Perhaps the most inspiring message from George was that journalists’ biggest asset was their brains. Indeed it was the only asset; while democracy has been embraced on paper, the reality of the freedom of expression was different in Uganda at the time.

Using what George has said as inspiration, we later broke into groups working on different topics to create lesson plans.

George Lugalambi, second from the left, talking to the students.

George Lugalambi, second from the left, is talking to the students. Sanjeev Chatterjee is listening on the right.

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Jun 06 2008

Knight on the Road!

Published by Knight on the Road under Uncategorized

Welcome to our new blog, Knight on the Road. Here we will take you every where we go!

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