When did Women Around the World Start Voting?

The 50×50 movement is a pledge to have 50% of the world’s public service leadership held by women by the year 2050.

Recently, they posted a list of all the countries in the world and what year they gave women the right to vote. Very interesting and inspiring list!

“Nearly 100 years ago, women in the United States achieved the right to vote. But they were not the first or the last.


Women around the world have worked tirelessly for a voice in decision-making, both as elected leaders and the constituents who select them. The slow progress of women’s suffrage began as early as 1893 in New Zealand and continues even today.”



Living Under the Sword of ISIS in Syria

15hisham-blog427The New York Times featured an article about the civilians who are living under the threat of ISIS. The sentiments expressed in the excerpt below are important to read and understand for anyone who chooses to make a comment about the experience of the refugees or the Syrians still living in their home state.

“…But those people living under Islamic State rule are the ones suffering the most from its brutality…

The Islamic State gives people one choice: Escape your poverty by fighting for us. The world has to offer people living under the Islamic State better choices. Stop the Assad government from bombing markets and bridges, and its Russian allies from bombing civilian infrastructure, as happened recently when a Russian airstrike reportedly hit a water main, cutting off water for the entire city.

Most of all, don’t dismiss as terrorists the citizens of occupied cities just because they were too poor to leave when the Islamic State took over. The people under this occupation present the best hope for destroying the jihadists. Without their support, the Islamic State can hardly be defeated.”

The Women Fighting Boko Haram

Okeowo-The-Women-Fighting-Boko-Haram-690x460-1450459294“Fatima Muhammed had taken a quick break from the canteen she runs in Maiduguri, a rambling city in northeastern Nigeria, but she was still fielding calls from demanding customers. Dressed in a maroon hijab, she would put her phone down, only to have to pick it up again a few minutes later. We were at the house of her former commander, Abba Aji Kalli, who ran a sector of the Civilian Joint Task Force (C.T.J.F.), a vigilante group battling Boko Haram, in Maiduguri and its environs. Muhammed is the sole female member of the sector, and one of less than fifty women in C.T.J.F., which is said to have about ten thousand fighters and is known for being more effective than the Army, and increasingly powerful.”

This New Yorker article highlights an interesting and powerful group of women who both inspire and fight for a better life.

The Great Melting

20160109_IRM934_1 (1)“America is unusual, both for its obsession with race and for its superb statistics. Poor countries lack the means to collect precise data, and many rich ones choose not to. Some, like France, are so high-minded that they hold race to be irrelevant; in others racial censuses smell uncomfortably like fascism. A few countries distinguish foreigners from natives, though, and there the trend is mostly the same as in America.” –The Economist

Angela Merkel: Time Magazine Person of the Year


Time Magazine awarded Angela Merkel the honor of person of the year. The article features her life story from growing up in East Berlin behind the wall, to seeking a science profession to the last 25 years in politics and all the ups and downs involved with that.

“No one in Europe has held office longer—or to greater effect—in a world defined by steadily receding barriers. That, after all, is the story of the E.U. and the story of globalization, both terms as colorless as the corridor of a Brussels office building. The worlds Merkel has mastered carry not a hint of the forces that have shaped Europe’s history, the primal sort a child senses, listening to a story, safe in bed.”

The Atlantic Bill Gates Interview “We need an energy miracle”



It’s rare or near-impossible to find a story or interview without motives beyond sharing news and information. The Atlantic’s Bill Gates interview is no exception to that. Gates shares his opinions about climate change, environmentalists and the future of energy when he is largely invested in companies such as Shell, BP, etc. Despite this, the perspective this article shares is intriguing and sheds light on some interesting opinions on innovation in the energy market, and how government and private companies can get involved.

“People can always say, “Well, my country is such a small part of it—why should I make the sacrifice? Because I don’t know for sure that the other countries are going to do their part of it.” We don’t have a world government. Fortunately, we don’t have that many world problems—most problems can be solved locally—but this one is a world problem. Carbon is not a local pollutant. It mixes in the global atmosphere in a matter of days. So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a coal plant in China or a coal plant in the U.S.—the heating effect for the entire globe is the same.”

The Guardians of the Forest: Deep in the Amazon

2015-09-22-rubber-tappers-amazon-028_custom-2e05aed27adcbfb124e54a54c22a87d98d3f16f0-s1300-c85NPR featured a story about the “guardians of the forest” in the Amazon Rain-forest. From mimicking the sound of local birds to disguise their noises to preventing illegal deforestation, these people are my heroes.

“To cut down a tree is like cutting out a piece of us. No one does anything to save us,” she says. “We people of the forest are peaceful. We don’t want this war.”

Book Report: I Am Malala

51dVLcrS0gL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Chances are you have heard of Malala Yousafzai. She is the Pakistani girl who is an advocate for girls’ right to education and was shot by the Taliban. Since then she has written a book, received a Nobel Peace Prize and created a foundation in her name… and she is still only 18 years old. I am beyond inspired by her life story, her courage, and her relentless pursuit for the right of girls and women to receive an education. I Am Malala is a book that will change your life forever. Malala has become a symbol of hope in a world ravaged by violence and brutality.

I also would like to highlight a recently published FastCompany article (photo cred) that talks more about the foundation in what they have been able to accomplish under the leadership of Meighan Stone, President of the Malala Foundation.

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Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten

LEBANON-master675A necessary read from the NY Times for those who have been shaken by events of recent weeks. My mother is Lebanese and it’s a terrible thing to discount the people who constantly are affected; the quote below resonated with me significantly.

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Disaster Foretold

20151107_irm920Last month, The Economist posted an article about El Niño and the how the offsets of the disasters can be deceiving when it comes to preparation, especially for poor countries.

“El Niño sees warm water, collected over several years in the western tropical Pacific, slosh back eastwards when winds that normally blow westwards weaken, or sometimes reverse. America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this year’s Niño could be the strongest since records began in 1950.”