Refugees in the Global Community

The issues regarding refugees have been, and are, a growing and ongoing debate. Where are they coming from? Where will they go? How will they be supported? These questions need to be answered to successfully relocate the growing refugee population. In a report published by CQ Researcher and written by Molly McGinnis, it is reported that the global refugee population has grown from 11.7 million in 2013 to 22.5 million in 2017.

The refugees highlighted in this article are the Syrians since they are the largest population and the most recent. May countries have accepted refugees, including Germany, the United States and Lebanon. Lebanon has the worlds highest refugee population per capita, while other developed nations have chosen to accept less. The burden of accepting refugees is often accepted by unstable nations which may not be the best place for the refugees to go. Some developed nations have even kicked out refugees that they have accepted, and blocked others from immigrating in. The U.S. proposed a travel ban that would remove any Syrian refugees from the U.S. and bar access from 6 countries in the middle east.

However, European nations have accepted more of the burden as the situation worsens. The two European countries with the highest concentration of refugees are Greece and Italy (roughly 160,000). Although they have been accepted, they cannot be sustained. Several European nations have refused accepting any of these refugees in an attempt to relocate: Hungary, Austria, United Kingdom, and Poland. Only 13% of these refugees have been relocated, and the clock is running out.

I believe that it is the responsibility of developed nations to share the burden of accepting and relocating refugees since they are the best equipped to do so.

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The Future of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

This evening I attended a lecture and discussion by Joe Cirincione about the future of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Joe Cirincione is the President of Ploughshares funds which is a foundation that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

My main takeaway from this lecture was that there is far more to worry about than I thought. I was not educated about the Iran Nuclear Deal mainly because it is not in mainstream news. The news is focused on all of the events surrounding nuclear events regarding North Korea. Little did I know, The Iran Nuclear deal holds just as much importance as anything to do with North Korea.

The Iran Nuclear Deal is a deal that prohibits Iran from building nuclear weapons and limits nuclear testing in exchange for lifted snactions. Joe Cirincione believes that this deal is extremely strong, but there are others that believe that this deal needs an overhaul. This deal does its job and nothing more; it keeps Iran from having missiles. Others believe that this deal should fix the entirety of Iran, but to fix a nation it takes one step at a time.

Donald Trump is among those who believe that the deal needs to be dismantled or completely changed. He is even taking action to force the international community to change it. The president is informed every 90 days if Iran is following the deal, and if they are the President signs 120 days of lifted sanctions, and the cycle continues. That is not the case for Trump. Trump has refused to sign the next round of lifted sanctions, which means that the U.S. would not be upholding its side of the deal.

Trumps actions are driving the U.S. further and further from its allies, and if the U.S. does not follow the deal Iran can resume its nuclear program. The majority of the International community does not want Iran to have a nuclear program, so that would also drive the U.S. further from its allies. But the worst case scenario is an all out nuclear war since another unstable nation will have access to a nuclear arsenal.

 

-John Moore

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Houston Mega-Church Responds to Negative Media Release

Pastor Joel Osteen responded in a way I would have expected in the face of criticism regarding the church closing in light of Hurricane Harvey versus staying open as a shelter. The mega church was criticized for wasting resources and not exemplifying christian values because of the closing. In this video, Osteen does not so much defend the choice as much as he reasons it and states that the church wanted to honor the authorities in not taking in individuals before they were asked. Once asked, Osteen stated the church took in as many as they could during the time of crisis. Osteen also states that they had structural concerns with the building they were taking into account when closing initially, and that peoples safety was a top priority always.

Overall, I think this is an answer that was expected, and overall in crisis situations there are numerous unknown variables for any given situation. I believe the church that they were on standby as a shelter and do hold the best interests of the community at heart. Ultimately, the discernment used in those situations can be perceived in many different ways. I think that is the case in this situation. Ultimately, I think the heart behind this issue is pure and not meant to be over interpreted. This is a case where the media may be negative, because it can often explode issues and make them larger than was intended. Osteen and the church did take in people in the end and the real story is that the city is rebuilding in the face of a tragedy.

What Drives my Interest in Media

Media surrounds us. We live in a culture that is engulfed in a world of media that is pretty much inescapable. The question that ultimately drives my question in media is: How does the growing presence of media influence the world we are growing into? This question is slightly ambiguous, for the purpose of it blanketing a wide array of issues. For instance, the question of how media affects the workforce we are growing into and how it affects the family dynamic we will step into are two different, yet equally applicable questions.

I think that media and the role it has played in my perception of the world is a question I hope to reach further into during the course of this class. Growing up in with a new age of media at the tips of everyone’s fingers including my own surely impacted my perception of the world and the way in which I was raised. I think this course will provide me with an understanding of where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed. I think it will also help me evaluate how I can personally channel my use of media to create a positive future for media. Depending on what you focus on in media, it can be a positive or negative force on your life. I hope to determine the effect the type of media you consume has on your level of efficacy, especially in women when it comes to body image.

 

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Aquí Estoy! The first few days.

So far it has been my 4th day here in the beautiful city of Granada, Spain! Forgive the missed first day post—this will be the longest post to catch up. The jet lag was a pain to adjust to, especially coming from Oregon. Here was the breakdown of my journey:
Oregon -> Arizona -> New York -> Madrid, ES -> GRANADA, ES
Total hours of flying: 16
Total hours of airport layovers: 6 hrs 51 minutes
Hours of sleep: 2
YES, this was very exhausting if you were wondering that. When I arrived in the JFK airport in New York, I found myself with a small group of students who were also on their way to study abroad in Spain! They were part of different programs, but the most were going to Seville! The plane ride was pretty rough, since it is difficult to fall asleep on them! Besides, the nerves and excitement kept me awake for most of the time!
Ok you probably are done hearing about the airport, I'll just skip to when I finally arrived in Granada, Spain at around 12:40pm (back at home, my family was asleep… well maybe not my mom). We took a bus to a central plaza where I was picked up by my beautiful and welcoming host mother! Right off the bat I was speaking Spanish, as she knows none, but my level was able to suffice and I already felt like I belonged here. We took a taxi to our apartment, which was a very short drive!!
I got to the apartment and was greeted by a very noisy little dog of theirs! I was immediately treated a delicious lunch by my host mother, who prepared a delicious dish of couscous and chicken! I was immediately overwhelmed with “sueño” and I took a short 2-hour nap. I woke up for dinner and met my other american roommate! We talked a bit (we talked through WhatsApp before I arrived) and then I went to sleep for the night.
My bedroom is small but cute! It has the basics and the most important— a COMFORTABLE mattress. I unpacked everything and immediately got that shut eye.
The next morning at 8:30 am we had orientation! Unfortunately I could not sleep very well, so I got only 2 hours. My mother walked me to the main area of the city where my program would meet up to go to events. From there the student director walked us to the CLM (Centro de Lenguas Modernas) of the University of Granada, where I will be taking classes for the next 4 months. I walked ahead with him and we talked in Spanish the entire time. He assured me that my Spanish was very good and that I should have no problem of the placement exam the very next day.
We learned about the school and the staff seem very nice and helpful! I talked to the girls who seem very friendly, and I look forward to building my relationships over time.
The placement exam was difficult, not going to lie. I got placed in the high-advanced level, so I get to take fun electives taught entirely taught in Spanish! It is most likely that this will be my schedule:
Spanish Music as a Phenomenon!The Diversity of Spanish in the WorldTopics in Spanish LinguisticsThe Art of Flamenco
They all sound fun right?! I wish my Flamenco class was not an evening course, but all seem fun and very cultural.
I’m going to wrap up things and say “so far so good.” The jetlag finally wore off after 2 days, as I tried to avoid taking long naps and walk around as much as possible. I am SO excited to write about this experience!
Rachel
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It’s All About the Perspective

In Rory Sutherland’s Ted Talk, “Perspective Is Everything,” he speaks about the power of reframing things. No matter who, no matter what, everyone sees thing through different eyes, more specifically, through a different perspective.

Through life, there will never be a person who sees everything EXACTLY 100% THE EXACT SAME as you do. Yes, they might agree with something the way you do, but there will always be something different- and that is perspective. Perspective is all about people’s experiences and what they have seen. Everyone tries their best to see things positively and not truly have to face reality, because, as Sutherland states, “reality is not a good guide to human happiness.”

For example, one person could be living an extremely frugal life with barely any money to get by, and still be happy, but for another person, they could be living in the exact same situation and be embarrassed and ashamed, and overall depressed. This is best expressed when Sutherland claims that “the circumstances of our lives may actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.”

The way one sees things and frames things truly matters, because this is how you define whether or not you will find happiness in life. Sutherland claims that we must reframe our minds, and reframe our PERSPECTIVES, in order to find happiness, and I cannot find that to be more true.

This semester I came into college dreading the idea of being back, as most people do. I love Houston (where I am from), I loved my comfortable home. I just loved the idea of staying somewhere where I felt comfortable. But, once I arrived, I told myself that I must change my perspective and reminded myself that I am here for a reason, I am here to get an education and learn more about myself and meet new people, and truly, since changing that perspective, things have gone from bad to amazing. You cannot go into a new chapter of your life dreading it, but most go in with full force.

Bonjour et bienvenue à la sémantique “gypsy”!

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Dahlia (a.k.a. The Illustrious Reina Duval). J’étudie le français et l’histoire à l’Univerisité d’Oklahoma. C’est ma première année ici. De plus, mon français n’est pas très bon. So, let’s switch to English.

If you caught all of that, you should know that I am currently a freshman dual-major in French and history at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. (Also, my French is “not very good”. Can you even say that in French? Someone, please let me know.) I’m known for having an exuberant personality and somewhat misplaced confidence. Truthfully, I just don’t see the point in agonizing over how people view you. They’ll either like you or they won’t, so just be… weird.

~Detail Time~

I’m a first-generation college student off to explore the collective history of mankind and learn what could have been my first language. You see, my mother’s side of the family has two distinct branches: white American southerners and Manouche. (There are three options for what you know about the Manouche people: you knew nothing and are waiting for me to explain; you knew nothing and went to Google, finding almost nothing; or you are also Manouche. Leave a comment describing your status?)

The Manouche are a subset of the Roma people or what most refer to as “gypsies”. However, “gypsy” is considered pejorative (a slur) in a lot of these cultures. So, really, if you come into contact with Roma or Travellers in the future, “gypsy” is probably not a good way to go. Now, you might be wondering how you get from gypsy to Roma to Manouche.

The word gypsy has been used to encapsulate many peoples and cultures including the Roma and Travellers. Travellers (or Irish Travellers) come from Ireland, Scotland and (occasionally) specific areas of Scandinavia while the Kale are specific to Finland and Wales. Gitanos (or Gitans) are Spanish-speaking branches of the culture that inhabit Spain and have migrated to Latin America. Sinti people are Germanic (i.e. Germany, Poland, Austria, etc.) and the Manouche roam France.

I am a descendant of a “relocated” Manouche family. (Basically, we were deported.) Said family has since settled in Arkansas, USA. What a transition.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this cultural tidbit and learned something here today.

That’s all the time we have today, folks.

Au revoir!

Sesame Chicken

The next thing I tried was sesame chicken. And once again I thought it would be a pretty simple dish. In reality I was in the kitchen for an hour prepping for the dish. I measured out all the seasoning, and got my bowls and what not together. Then actual cooking of the food took me about another hour because I had to clean some if the dishes I was using and clear my work space. This time it came out great and I enjoyed my meal.

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