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Showing posts from March, 2015

How the United Nations Foresees The Future

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That is the title of an article I just wrote for Impakter. As I am doing research for my upcoming book about the United Nations (tentatively entitled "Soft Power"), I keep coming across interesting aspects of UN work that are little known to outsiders and I wanted to share these "choice bits" with you on my blog. Here is the beginning of the article, you can read the whole article on Impakter here.




The United Nations’ Predictions of War, Disaster and Famine till May 2015: The IASC Early Warning Map One always thinks of the United Nations as the harbinger of bad news, in particular dire predictions of global warming as the upcoming “Paris Climat”, the next World Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris in December 2015, is gathering steam.

But what is not so well known is that the United Nations plays a major role in the international community in predicting the next emergencies, man-made disasters like war devastation and economic collapse, but also some n…

Click with Compassion

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That's what Monica Lewinsky tells us in her moving TED talk that has just come out, a talk that is a call for action against our "culture of humiliation", magnified by the Internet, where, alas, cyber-bullying is too often the order of the day.




You can see her talk here:



It got a standing ovation, a rare event on TED and (in my view) well deserved.

Before that talk, she had written an essay on Vanity Fair (published in June 2014, you can see it here). Titled "Shame and Survival", it is brilliantly written and was even nominated for a National Magazine Award for best Essay Writing. In a way, more than the TED talk itself, it constituted for Monica a real comeback, after over a decade of silence as she tried to rebuild her life. Much of what she says in the TED talk is already there, in the essay.

Two things stand out in that essay: one, the headline picture which shows us a sophisticated woman, eons away from the beret-wearing girl with the blue dress that we…

My Life without You

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To all my friends and those who enjoy reading my blog: please forgive the silence, my mother passed away on 12 March, she was 101 years old. It's been very painful for her and of course for her family but now at last, she rests in peace. The last time I talked on my blog about her was on the occasion of her 100th birthday, back in 2013, and  I uploaded a page about her, "Ruyters: A Painter's Life", you can see it here (she worked every day until 2009 when she declared she couldn't see well enough to go on). I found it difficult to keep up with my blog and instead wrote a poem that I dedicate to her:


The First Days of My Life without You
The first day of my life without you I cannot believe it has happened, Your eyes are closed, your lips don’t move, You will never smile at me again. You look so serene in your sleep. Are you still breathing? I stare at the brown-striped blanket covering your body, I think I see the cotton threads moving slightly, But nothing moves.
The…