Friday, February 22, 2008

The Global Lives Project

This past week, Berkeley alumnus, David Harris came to speak to The Berkeley Group about a non-profit he started called Global Lives.

The goal is to record 24 hours in the lives of ten people that roughly represent the diversity of the world’s population. These ten lives will come together in an innovative video installation and form the basis of a collaborative online video encyclopedia of human experiences.

The purpose of the Global Lives exhibit is to promote global awareness and understanding by allowing you, "A chance to step out of our own reality and into one you never would have known."

Thus far, Global Lives has shot the lives of four unique participants:
  • The first shoot took place in San Francisco, California in 2004 and recorded a day in the life of James Bullock, 57 year-old cable car driver.
  • The second shoot took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2004. The shoot featured Isreal Feliciano, a hip-hop and rap singer from the city’s periphery.
The third and four shoots took place in 2007 in Japan and Malawi:
  • In Malawi Global Lives taped the life of Edith Kapuka, a thirteen year-old girl from a village that sits at the foot of the Zomba Plateau.
  • In Japan, Global Lives shot Rumi Nagashima, a 22 year-old girl from a suburb in the outskirts of Tokyo, who uses a wheelchair to travel around the city.
To read more about the completed shoots click here.

David anticipates that the final installation will be completed in January of 2009 and has had requests from multiple universities and partners, including the UN University, to hold exhibits in the near future. In the mean time, check out the footage on their website.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Global lives Project, visit their website at

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bush goes to Africa...

This morning The Economist posted an article called "Some Relief in Africa" describing president Bush's visit to Africa and how it marks America's help in the fight against AIDS...

In 2003 Mr Bush launched PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The programme was endowed with a huge budget: by the end of its first five-year phase, in September, it will have spent $18.8 billion, mostly in Africa, on preventing the spread of HIV and keeping those infected alive. The White House has called it the biggest ever donation by one country to fight a single disease.

Many criticize PEPFAR, however. The first authorization (by a Republican-controlled Congress) required that $1 billion—of the $3 billion set aside for HIV prevention—go to promoting abstinence before marriage. The first bill also required organizations receiving money to take a clear stand against prostitution.

Tying money to “abstinence only” programmes binds the hands of those on the ground who probably know best how to respond to local conditions, warns Ellen Marshall of the International Women's Health Coalition.

Cartoon from The Economist

Click here to watch CNN's interview with George Bush about involvement in Africa.

Other articles covering President Bush's visit and its implications:

CNN reports in Monrovia, Liberia that in a humid rehearsal studio, Liberia's pop queen is practicing her newest single -- a song called "Thank you" to be released for President Bush's visit.

The New York Times reports: "On the eve of a planned trip to Africa, President Bush thrust himself into the role of peacemaker on Thursday, as his plans to promote American efforts against poverty and disease gave way to a more pressing imperative: addressing the violence and turmoil on the continent."

The Washington post reports that President Bush vowed yesterday to use a week-long trip to Africa slated to start today to push for peaceful resolutions to conflicts in Kenya and Sudan, but he rebuffed calls to boycott the Summer Olympics in Beijing to pressure China into using its influence to stop the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

The Los Angeles Times reports that on the eve of his second trip to sub-Saharan Africa, President Bush announced Thursday that he will dispatch Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya, a fresh sign of U.S. concern about the political discord that has troubled the East African nation.

The Success of

"Kiva is a philanthropic organization facing an extremely unusual challenge: maintaining adequate supply (people who need help) to meet demand (people who want to give it)."

...Kiva's success, as described in another article i have been meaning to post since it was published, (January 27, 2008) by The New York Times, called Extra Helping.

"Kiva has attracted more than $19.5 million worth of loans, from more than 220,000 individuals. [...] Kiva’s 23-person staff works with 77 “field partners” — microfinance institutions on the ground in 39 countries, who line up potential borrowers. About 250 volunteer translators and editors around the world post new requests as quickly as they can — which can mean gluts as well as shortages."

“We don’t want people coming to the Web site who want to make a loan and there’s no one to loan to,” Ramsey says.

Click here to read full article. Click here to visit Hear former president Bill Clinton discuss Kiva by Clicking here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ethnic Cleansing in Kenya?

"'Tribal violence spirals in Kenya,' screams the front page banner in the International Herald Tribune. 'Kenya plunges into interethnic violence,' says Le Monde.

...But headlines can be misleading...

A more complete headline might be: 'Tribal differences in Kenya, normally accepted peacefully, are exploited by politicians hungry for power who can manipulate poverty-stricken population.'"

Taken from BBC article
"Kenya stokes tribalism debate"

I have been meaning to post this article i found on BBC (January 4, 2008). I hope that it may help shed light on many questions arising from the violent conflict currently taking place in Kenya.

Click here to see photos from The New York Times entitled, "Ethnic Clashes in Kenya."