Thursday, August 27, 2015

HHH Prof. Assaad in Pacific Standard: "The Transformation of Work at the Heart of Middle East Unrest"

The Future of Work: The Transformation of Work at the Heart of Middle East Unrest
The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

He is a 28-year-old Egyptian with a degree in sociology. He graduated six years ago and has since had three jobs as a waiter in various Cairo coffee shops and restaurants. He wants to marry but can’t convince his sweetheart’s parents he is ready, given his employment situation. He lives with his parents, both government employees who will soon retire with government pensions. He, on the other hand, can only dream of a job that would guarantee him a pension.
Ragui Assaad is a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Millions of educated youth like this find themselves shut out of the middle class because of an inability to convert their education into the kind of decent job their parents found a generation ago. Even as access to education has expanded dramatically in the region, the quality of employment for educated workers has deteriorated markedly. I’d argue that the gap between what these young people expected for their education and what they have achieved is the main source of the anger and frustration driving the Arab uprisings.

A generation ago, a young person with a college degree was virtually guaranteed a place in the middle class, mostly by means of a public sector job. An Egyptian college graduate entering the labor force in 1980 had a 70-percent chance of landing a job in the public sector. That chance had fallen to 35 percent by 2012. The decline in public sector employment opportunities was only partly made up by the growth of decent jobs in the private sector. Again, in Egypt, a young college graduate in 1980 had a mere 15-percent chance of getting a formal job in the private sector. That chance had gone up to only 25 percent in 2012.

A formal job is one that complies with labor laws and regulations and provides a modicum of social protection. The remaining 40 percent who failed to obtain either public or private formal jobs in 2012 were relegated to the informal economy, with few opportunities to move to a decent job thereafter. The job prospects of high school graduates, who now make up nearly 40 percent of Egyptian youth, have deteriorated even more than those of college graduates over the past 30 years.

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Humphrey Fellow Shah on "The cost of militancy"

Published in Pakistan's The News International. The issues raised in the article are still relevant to Pakistan:

The cost of militancy  
Besides improving law-enforcement system, educational, social and economic reforms are also required to stem the growing militancy
By Syed Fida Hassan Shah
According to Oxford English Dictionary the word ‘Militant’ has been defined as “someone who is using, or willing to use, force or strong pressure to achieve his aims, especially to achieve social or political change”. Militancy has further been defined as ‘having a combative character in the service of a cause’.

Militancy can broadly be divided into two categories i.e. criminal militancy and political militancy. As criminal militancy is simply for criminal pursuits so it is political militancy which always has been a source of problems to many governments and countries around the world.
In many countries, we can find different types of organisations which resort to militancy for a political cause. Militancy going on in Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Dagestan, and many other parts of the world come under this category. Political militancy can further be divided into state-sponsored and non-state militancy. 
Sometimes different countries of the world support militant organisations operating in other countries to pursue their own foreign policy objectives. But there are many militant movements in the world which are supported by non-state actors. Al Qaeda, Al Shabab and the Taliban movement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan come under this category.
The Social revolutionaries are dedicated to the overthrow of an established order and replacing it with a new political or social structure. National separatists are those groups of militants who have a goal of separation from existing entities through independence or political autonomy. The religiously motivated extremists are those groups of militants who have taken up violence to further their perceived religious goals. The militant organisations operating in both Afghanistan and Pakistan come under this category. In this article, the problems of militancy and its implications for Pakistan will be highlighted.
Although Pakistan has been facing different kinds of problems since its inception in 1947, the problem of militancy which Pakistan is currently facing is unparalleled in its history. The situation in the country, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata, has been very volatile for the last six years or so. 

Militancy has really become a very complex phenomenon in the present day Pakistan. Despite all out efforts of law enforcement agencies and Pakistan Army, the destruction caused by different groups operating in different parts of the country has not yet been brought under control. The militants are using various tactics and strategies to destroy the social fabric of the society and ultimately to destabilise the country itself. Thousands of innocent people have been killed in attacks by the militants. 

The common people of Pakistan were, and still are, very peaceful and tolerant. But the developments during the last three decades have resulted in complete twist in the social fabric and politico economic system of the country. 

The Russian invasion of Afghanistan was a turning point which totally changed the course of history for our country. The then Pakistani government and leaders of the so-called free world encouraged all types of Islamic militant organisations around the world to use Pakistan as a base camp just to defeat the Russian forces in Afghanistan. The world powers provided their huge financial and military support to Pakistan and related militant organisations in the form of money, weapons and politico moral support. In the eighties, Pakistan became fertile land for the militant groups where extremist mentality was promoted both by the government and other stake-holders to attract the youth to fight against the Russian forces. 

But soon after the withdrawal of Russia from Afghanistan these militant groups got scattered. The international community pulled back its support from these militant organisations and their agenda was completely changed. These groups which were very resourceful in terms of money, weapons and religio-political influence in the region started to fight against each other.
During the Afghan war, huge quantity of arms and ammunition were brought and stored in Pakistan which were later used by these groups in sectarian, tribal and political violence. Meanwhile, political instability, corruption, social injustice and economic disparity gave rise to different forms of militancy. 

With the collapse of Russia from the world order, the geo-political situation of Pakistan changed altogether. In this changed scenario, the militancy strongly gripped Pakistan and swiftly spread in the society. Its most visible manifestation was sectarianism in 1990s triggered by religious extremism.
Then came 9/11 and unfortunately Pakistan once again found itself at the crossroads in the global war on terror. Pakistan became the frontline state in war against terror in international community. The militant groups which were hitherto being supported by the successive governments, all of a sudden found themselves on the wrong side of the establishment. Therefore, these groups started attacking police, military and other members of the law enforcement agencies. As a result, military operations were initiated against those groups which in the past had been receiving support in one form or the other. This was unacceptable rather unthinkable for these groups. Resultantly these militant groups retaliated with full force, attacking the security forces, sensitive installations, busy markets and sometimes even places of worships. 

The whole Fata and many parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were severely affected and the district of Swat was virtually taken over by these militants in 2008-9, which had to be retaken by launching a full-fledged military operation after much loss of human lives and properties. Since 2006, more than 40000 innocent people have lost their lives including 5000 personnel from the armed forces and law-enforcement agencies. The attacks on sensitive military targets like GHQ, Mehran Base, Kamra Base and most recently attacks on Peshawar Air Base show the might of these groups. They have put the very existences of the state in danger.

The ongoing militancy and the counter action by the security forces to repress insurgency have greatly affected the Pakistani society in all respects. The people of Pakistan have suffered and continue to suffer politically, economically, socially and psychologically. Millions of people have been displaced due to the fear of militants and the resultant military operations by the government. This influx of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has been causing many social, economic and administrative problems. 

The society has radically been polarised and people have been divided into two extreme groups. This division has caused great damage to the social fabric of our society which was once famous for tolerance, hospitality and fair treatment. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata which used to be lands for hospitality have been transformed into sanctuaries for the militants. It has cost us very heavily in economic terms as well. 

According to official sources, Pakistan’s economy has so for suffered a huge loss of more that 70 billion US dollars. The education and health sectors have particularly been hit by the surge in militancy. Thousands of schools and healthcare centres were destroyed by the militants. In Swat alone, more than 400 schools were destroyed by the militants, about 70 per cent of them girl schools.
Women and children have particularly been affected by the ongoing militancy in the country. The resurgence in polio cases and the recent attacks on polio workers in different parts of the country have posed a very serious threat to the safety of our future generation. The daily scenes of bombing and killing on television screens and in their surroundings have been affecting them adversely. As a result, many of them find themselves as a victim of psychological diseases such as aggression, frustration and anxiety. 

The best way to contain the growing extremism in Pakistan is to look deeply into its causes. There are many factors which lead to extremism in the society. These include, among others, corruption, economic disparity, lack of education and weak criminal justice system. The growing militancy in Pakistan not only has the potential to destabilise the country, but can threaten the regional and global security. 

The government needs to adopt a two-pronged strategy to counter the threat of militancy. Along with security related measures such as improving law enforcement system, equipping the LEAs with modern weaponry and gadgets, fair and quick dispensation of justice; long term measures such as educational, social and economic reforms are also required to address the sense of deprivation among the less-privileged communities. 

Curriculum of both public and religious schools needs to be revisited to purge the educational system from hate material which promotes intolerance. Apart from the government, political parties, media, intellectuals, religious leaders and general public need to openly condemn the growing extremism in the society so that the militants do not find any space to operate.
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Sept 22 Register now to attend IFS Welcome Reception Featuring Will Steger

International Fellows & Scholars Welcome Reception Featuring Keynote Speaker Will Steger
Tuesday, September 22, 4:30-6:00 p.m., Cowles Auditorium
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs invites you to join in welcoming the 2015-2016 cohorts of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows, the Government of India MPA Fellows, and the International Visiting Scholars. 
Will Steger, world-renowned polar explorer, educator, photographer, writer and lecturer will present a retrospective of a life in the Arctic regions of the world. The presentation “Eyewitness to Global Warming,” is his vivid account of the changes that he has witnessed firsthand, caused by global warming pollutants, in Arctic regions over four decades of polar exploration. Steger shares stunning photographs from his expeditions along with compelling data and satellite imagery to document the deterioration in the polar ice caps. While the issue is critical, and the presentation is dramatic, Steger’s message is one of hope and empowerment. 
 The event is co-sponsored by Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) program.  

Prof. Zelizer's World's Top Meta List of Job Sites/Resources in Social Change,...

... Social Impact, Development, Peacebuilding and Related Fields

Finding the right job in social change, development, peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship, and related fields requires a combination of the right experience and training, an understanding of the field, developing strong connections and a bit of serendipity. In addition to academic and/or professional training, it is essential to have an understanding of how social changeworks in practice. Many people working in social change , will not find employment with "social change" or "peacebuilding"  but with organizations in others sectors (international development, education, environment, social entrepreneurship, social impact, business) working on social change related jobs. Thus it is also important in the job search to broaden your scope to include international development organizations, government and intergovernmental institutions, for-profit and business institutions, educational institutions, and more.

I strongly encourage my students to develop  developing strong skills in social change/conflict resolution processes and theory, but also develop an expertise in a another sector and/or regional area. For more information on careers in the field, see a report I co-authored, Skills, Networks and Knowledge: Careers in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. offers guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The document also offers 10 pages of resources for finding jobs, internships, scholarships and more. You can download the report for Download Webreport.pdf or at the ACT website. Another great resource is a Career Guide from Sustainability on Corporate Social Responsibility. Idealist has also developed an excellent guide to Nonprofit Careersand a separate Careers Resources Section . Dr. John Paul Lederach and Kate Mansfield from the Kroc Institute have also developed a wonderful visual representation of possible careers in the field.

Here are some additional career development suggestions

1) Develop a Strong Resume - Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the Download TipsforWritingEffectiveResumes.pdf . Many university career centers also offer guidance on resumes.
2) Follow Dr. Zelizer's Twitter List of Key Careers Resources in Social Change. This is an excellent way to follow key job openings and news regarding careers in social change real-time. 

3) Conduct Informational Interviews - Most people are more than happy to talk about their job and conducting informational interviews can be an excellent way to learn more about an organization and what a career is like in a particular area. Informational interviews are a chance for you to ask general questions of someone already in the field. However, it is very important in informational interviews not to ask for a job or put pressure on the person you're speaking with to help you find a job.

4) Subscribe or Visit Key Websites and Job Lists - There are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field (and in related fields). You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world (note some charge a fee, whiles others are free or provide partial postings for free).
Some of the best sites for jobs directly in conflict resolution, development, social entrepreneurship, etc. include:
  • UNJOBLIST- A very useful site with jobs at UN agencies and other Intergovernmental Organizations.
  • IDEALIST - Primarily Jobs in International and Domestic Non-profits. Covers many sectoral areas, health, development, etc.
  • INDEED- A Very useful site that searches across many job sites around the world. Searching by conflict and development keywords is best way to use the service.
  • RELIEFWEB - Primarily jobs in International Non-profits and UN.
  • DEVELOPMENT EX - Covers jobs in International Development and Consulting around the world.
  • Rework- Jobs in impact with companies working on social, environmental, and cultural innovation.
  • Sustainability Careers- Job openings at Business for Social Responsibility and at BSR member organizations.
  • International Organization Careers Website - Professional employment opportunities in International Organizations (site sponsored by the US Department of State)
  • SKOLL WORLD FORUM JOB LIST- Job and Fellowship postings related to social entreprenuership, the social sector and corporate social responsibility.
  • BUSINESS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Jobs in Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entreprenuership.
  • Social Impact Jobs - List from Echoing Green, one of the leading orgs in the field.
  • Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Job List. List positions in small and growing business member companies/organizations around the world.
  • OpenGov Hub Member Jobs - Job opportunities from organizations based at the OpenGov Hub in Washington, DC.
  • Liberation Tech Jobs - Listserv that has jobs exploring how information technology can be used to defend human rights, improve governance, empower the poor, promote economic development, and pursue a variety of other social goods.
  • Be Social Change Jobs - Maintains a job board of positions and internships in key social change orgs. 
  • Impact Design Hub Jobs - Jobs at the intersection of public interest, social impact, humanitarian, and community design.
  • Give to get Jobs - Opportunities in the for profit sector that are involved in social change.
  • ICT4D Jobs - Opportunities in information and communication technology for development.
  • Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Job Board - Careers in international Affairs, largely NY and DC based positions.
  • Zebra Jobs - A leading online portal for jobs in Africa, many focused on development related issues.
  • JOBS FOR CHANGE - Useful resources and guides to careers in social change.
  • BRITISH OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT NETWORK - Listing of Jobs at Key UK Based International Development Organizations.
  • ALERTNET - Jobs in International Development and Humanitarian Relief.
  • EUROPEAN PEACE BUILDING LIAISON OFFICE -Jobs at European Based Organizations.
  • FOREIGN POLICY ASSOCIATION - Listing of Jobs at Key US nonprofits involved in international affairs.
  • JUSTMEANS - Jobs in Social Change and Environment.
  • FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Listing of jobs in International Affairs.
  • DEVNETJOBS - Listing of Many Positions in International Development and related fields.
  • JOBS4DEVELOPMENT -List of many jobs worldwide in International Development and Related Fields
  • MandE News Job Forum - List of jobs/consultancies related to monitoring and evaluation in international development.
  • EUROBRUSSELS - EU Related Jobs.
  • The New EU - European Affairs Jobs in Brussels and Europe.
  • Democracy Digest Jobs - List of jobs related to political and democratic develpoment.
  • Elevator- the Good Job Network, is an exclusive marketplace for people
    to list, discover and apply for good jobs in the UK.
  • Society for International Development Job List - Posting of SID/DC Member Jobs.
  • - Positions related to sports and development.
  • Next Billion Career Center - Learn about job opportunities in the development through enterprise space.
  • Social Venture Network - Jobs in social entrepreneurship and related fields.
  • Omidyar Network -Jobs in social entrepreneurship.
  • Jobs for Change - Wonderful resources on nonprofit jobs.
  • Inside NGO Jobs - Jobs in international development 
  • OneWorld Jobs - brings the latest jobs and volunteer positions from organisations working to create a better world.
  • Donor Committee for Enterprise Development - job postings in private sector development.
  • BCorps Jobs - lists opportunities in companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. 
  • Angel List- Jobs at Startup companies largely in the Information Tech Sector (including some focused on social change).
Other Job Sites/Resources that may have relevant jobs:
3) Use your contacts/networks - One of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you're seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.

4)Join New Networks- Joining a professional network in the field can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Some relevant networks include:
Society for International Development or Society for International Development DC Chapter
Association for Conflict Resolution
Women in International Security
Peace and Justice Studies Association

5) Examine Ethical Practice - When you are researching an organization it is important to make sure that the organization's ethics and practice fit with your values. If you're offered a job (hopefully before this happens) learn about what the organization does, how do they treat their staff, how do they work in they field and with partners, etc.

6) Considering Taking a Job to Get Experience - Although many people would like to obtain their ideal job right away, sometimes it may be worth considering taking a job that will help you develop the necessary skills, contacts and experience that in the future can help lead to more of an ideal job.

7) Explore Fellowship Opportunities - There are many excellent fellowships/scholarships that do provide funding for independent research/volunteer work/study. Thus, fellowships can be an excellent way to get experience in the field. You can find many fellowships/scholarships on this site by searching by various keywords.

8) Explore Organizations that Have Developed Mentoring Programs for New Employees - A number of organizations have developed special entry level positions in which new employees receive extra mentoring. Look for organizations that have Junior Program Officer Positions (some in the UN), Entry Level Fellowships (Catholic Relief Services in the US) and others.

9) Develop an Expertise in a Needed Area - There are number of current areas in which the field is in need of developing further expertise. Developing your skills in this area can make you more attractive to potential employers. Some areas include: Program Evaluation and Monitoring, Conflict Mainstreaming and Conflict Sensitivity (Integrating Conflict Across Sectors), Organizational Conflict Management. Talk with your colleagues and other professionals in the field to see what might be potential growth areas.

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
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