The beauty behind global awareness

To celebrate the end of the first year of the international comment section, I believe it is important to remind our readers and volunteers of the cultural success of such a project. The idea of adding more international content was triggered and put into practice in September 2009.

Since then, volunteers and staff have covered issues taking place in areas from the four corners of the planet. From Middle Eastern politics to American news, projects abroad and humanitarian topics, opinions have been spread and shared locally and internationally.

A broad range of international subjects, on the basis of socio-political, cultural and economic factors, have been published with a direct aim to raise awareness on the world beyond our neighboring proximity.

A certain dynamic has been formed within the section, as a result of sharing ideas and allowing people to express themselves on specific issues concerning the world beyond Canada’s borders. Moreover, the exchange of thoughts and disagreements on certain issues could not have made this section more interesting.

From debates on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to arguments reflecting “left” and “right” ways of viewing the world, a variety of people have been able to raise their voices loud and clear.

Some covered issues on South African violence, on the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda; others on the plight of Haitian and Chilean earthquake survivors, on the global capitalism and the U.S. plotting behind the conflict in Yemen; on health care in the U.S.; on tensions between Taiwan and China; on Iran and its nuclear program; on international programs here at the U of M; on the issues surrounding our planet’s water; on poverty around the world — you name it!

Some of us reside in nations that are part of the “first world” and others are part of the developing ones. Some of us are inevitably part of a system that plays a big role in capitalism, globalization and global warming and others live in places that experience the direct impacts of such processes.

What really matters is that, somewhere in between, we are all interrelated in some way. What goes on miles away likely affects all of us, in some way. Writing about international events and being able to clearly observe and analyze them requires us to view the world based on our own social, political and cultural experiences. Promoting the spread of various opinionated international opinion pieces ultimately results in an increased awareness of global issues.

Groups such as Engineers without Borders, the University of Manitoba World Humanitarian Action Team (umWHAT), the Student Refugee Program, the World W.I.S.E Resource Centre and others have been put in place to bring about positive change worldwide and to create a awareness in our local community of students of the societies beyond our borders.

The International Comment section is also part of this process of global awareness at the U of M. As the University of Manitoba’s student newspaper, it is important to have a place reserved for the representation of students’ views on international events. This type of communication actively spreads knowledge, bringing people around the world closer together, an activity to which I hope that this section has contributed.

Sarah Khalil is the International Comment Coordinator and wants to thank all the volunteers that have contributed in the section’s first year.