Month: June 2016

Putin’s Trip to Beijing Yields few Fruits, if any

Expectations regarding President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing on Saturday (June 25) had been rather subdued, and the modest results were mostly immaterial. Last year, the two leaders grandiosely celebrated their countries’ World War II victory over the Axis powers; and in 2014, they announced a great increase in economic ties and an allegedly historic… Read more »

Peace is a Process

On 21 June 2016, UNESCO hosted a path-breaking Consultative Meeting on the contribution of the UN system to the promotion of peace. The meeting was attended by heads of 28 United Nations entities (programmes, funds, specialized agencies and bodies), who discussed the advancement of the global peace agenda and took stock of the present situation… Read more »

Interfaith Dialogue can Help Build Peace

Interfaith dialogue is a necessary aid in conflicts involving religion. Some years ago, many Western social scientists were claiming that religion was a dying phenomenon. Such assertions were part of an arrogant assumption that the entire world would soon come to resemble the north-western corner of Europe. In Eastern Europe, which lay under the yoke… Read more »

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in its affirmation of the legitimacy… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 25

Monday 20 June International Crisis Group: “From Conflict to Cooperation? Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda” Voice of America, Straight Talk Africa video: “South Sudan in Focus” Tuesday 21 June More than 140 South Sudanese judges went on strike, demanding better working conditions and the reimbursement of four years of expenses. Wednesday 22 June The Troika… Read more »

Open-Access Publishing and Academic Freedom

Open-access publishing will make research findings freely available. But what will happen when researchers have to pay to get their own results published? Researchers’ freedom of choice regarding publication channels may become severely restricted if this issue is not taken seriously. Two weeks ago, a working group appointed by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and… Read more »

Syria Travellers and Security Threats

Foreign fighters returning from Syria have emerged as a looming security threat in many European countries, so also in Norway. As well as preventive measures against radicalization and mobilization by the Islamic State, there have been calls for the withdrawal of citizenship and deportation of returned foreign fighters. This raises a number of questions. Are Norwegians more secure if we send potential terrorists… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 24

Monday 13 June BBC: “What New York Times article says about South Sudan” Tuesday 14 June A unit of the SPLA allegedly ransacked and looted a market in the Kajo Keji area, Central Equatoria State, sparking armed confrontation in which more than 20 lives were lost. 16 former officials were sentenced to life in prison… Read more »

Moscow keeps promising responses to NATO activities

Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary to President Vladimir Putin, is generally not known for eloquence. But his comment last week (June 7) about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s exercises in the Baltic region stands out both for its convolutedness and uncharacteristic meekness. His point, reproduced by all Russian mainstream media, can be approximately translated as:… Read more »

Open Access – Our Academic Responsibility

The Norwegian government wants Norway to be a forerunner in the effort to ensure open access to published research. To this end, the government established a working group at the start of 2016, assigned with the task of compiling guidelines for open access to scientific papers. We, the working group, submitted our recommendation on 14… Read more »