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Slum Rising: Life in Kenya slum sheds light on growing global reality

Slum Rising is our new three-part series exploring the economically complex and culturally rich life in the world’s urban slums.
Mar 11, 2013
Michael Mabwe (Photo via US State Dept.)

Zimbabwe poet finds inspiration in Seattle’s youth arts scene

Slam poet Michael Mabwe is back in Seattle, and looking to harness the energy of local youth arts organization to drive political change in Zimbabwe.
Feb 19, 2013
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Slum Rising explores innovations in tomorrow’s megacities

One sixth of the world’s population lives in slums, but there’s a lot more going on there than poverty. You can support Slum Rising, a new series by The Seattle Globalist uncovering what’s really going on in the world’s slums, today on Kickstarter. 
Feb 13, 2013
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Artist Zanele Muholi brings the African lesbian experience to UW

What’s more incredible than visual, activist art about black lesbian life in South Africa? Only that the artist, Zanele Muholi, is in Seattle this week showing off her new documentary, Difficult Love.
Jan 29, 2013
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Kenya offers cautionary tale on abortion

Although the November elections yielded women-friendly returns, the War on Women continues, both in the US and around the world. In the last week alone the Michigan Congress pass a bill limiting abortions and Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his goal to eventually make “abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.” In the […]
Dec 17, 2012
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, addresses a Global Washington conference last week. GlobalWA hopes to bring NGOs out of their "silos" and collaborate with our organizations. (Photo courtesy of GlobalWA)

Seattle NGOs asked to do something incredible: work together

I’m an amateur choir geek and a professional international development wonk. Those things might seem unrelated, but they do have one thing common: when talented and creative people come together, beautiful harmonies are made. In a choir, it’s obvious how making great music works. But in the struggle to reduce poverty around the world, it’s […]
Dec 13, 2012
President Obama meets enthusiastic supporters during a campaign rally in Florida last weekend. (Photo from REUTERS/Jason Reed)

In Kenya, as in US, adjusted expectations for Obama

At the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2010, Obama joked about his abysmal approval ratings: “My approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.” At the time, it was a funny quip about the far right’s insistence that Obama was actually born in Kenya. But now election day is looming, and […]
Nov 5, 2012
A newborn in Amuria District Hospital, Uganda. The majority of Uganda's 100,000 malaria deaths each year are children under 5. (Photo courtesy Pilgrim Africa)

Seattleites and Ugandans join forces against Malaria

“Let me take you to Uganda with me.” That’s how Dr. Ben Khingi began his presentation last Thursday evening at the Washington Global Health Alliance. The crowd was mostly of global health professionals who were eager to join Dr. Khingi on his virtual journey. Through a series of startling images and vivid descriptions, Dr. Khingi […]
Oct 11, 2012
Actress Olivia Wilde hangs at the Umoja Women's Village in Kenya as part of Half the Sky. (Photo via Jessica Chermayeff/PBS)

Half the Sky: half humanitarian heroics, half celebrity ego trip

Newsflash: being a woman is surreal. Last night I was supposed to be at the gym. So I could look slimmer and prettier or something. But I had a headache. So I stayed on the couch, stumbled across human dolls on Facebook (seriously?!), and tuned in to the much-trumpeted nationwide premier of Half the Sky. […]
Oct 2, 2012
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Sustainable energy venture seeks to turn a profit in the new age of aid

When it comes to international charities, Seattle is home to some of the biggest names in aid that cater to developing countries across the world. But a new model has arrived that is not about handouts, but about making a profit. The idea behind Burro, founded in 2008 by Cranium co-founder Whit Alexander, is to […]
Aug 15, 2012
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Want to volunteer abroad? How to actually make a difference.

Every year, more young westerners are traveling to places like Africa, India, and South America in search of meaningful volunteer experiences. And why not? There’s plenty of valuable work to be done, travel and living expenses are low, and even the most challenging volunteer position might look easy compared to trying to find a job […]
Jun 19, 2012
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The visitor brings the sharpest knife

Telling the stories of others is a fraught endeavor. It’s hard enough when you’re doing it in your own city or community, but interpreting cultures and places that are not your own is especially problematic. International journalists and travel writers take (often deserved) criticism for superficiality, ethnocentrism or exoticizing their subjects. Not a day has passed since […]
Jun 4, 2012
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SIFF film picks from Africa

Of the 460-odd films from 64 different countries playing at SIFF this year, only a thin slice hail from Africa. To be fair to the SIFF programmers, they can only screen the films that get submitted, and only a few African countries have robust film scenes. But c’mon – only 5 features and 4 shorts? […]
May 20, 2012
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Strip mall secrets: Uhuru Kenyan restaurant

When Seattleites think African food, the first thing that comes to mind is probably one of our region’s umpteen Ethiopian restaurants. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the tangy, expand-in-your-stomach pleasures of injera as much as the next guy. But the craving that followed me home from a four month visit to East Africa, and […]
May 7, 2012
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World Malaria Day hits close to home

Today is World Malaria Day. It seems timely because Malaria has been on my mind a lot lately. My 21-year-old niece, Erica, recently returned from six months in Togo working for the non-profit Youth With A Mission. Right before flying home she started to feel ill. During a long layover in Hawaii, a nurse told her that she […]
Apr 25, 2012
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Kony 2012 covers the night… sort of

Last night was supposed to be the big night. After a record breaking viral video and over 1400 likes on the local Facebook event page, the youth mobilized by the Kony 2012 campaign were supposed to come out in force to “Cover the Night”. They were to blanket Seattle, and the rest of the country, […]
Apr 21, 2012
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African diaspora on display at Langston Hughes African American Film Festival this week

Featured Event: This year’s Langston Hughes African American Film Festival features films spanning the globe, with narrative and documentary films from Africa to South America and others that address the U.S. immigrant experience. Highlights include tonight’s film Dimanche a Brazzaville, a documentary with “insight into the lives and style of sapeurs, magic-wielding wrestlers, political hip […]
Apr 16, 2012
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What international aid can learn from Zappos

After 10 years of wear, I finally had to admit that my favorite Merrell clogs needed replacing. So I went online to Zappos.com to find a new pair. I am a big fan of Zappos, and not just because they have flattered me with a VIP membership. I can sort by size, color, brand, even […]
Celebrating Passover by candlelight in Tanzania

Beyond the matzo: Finding a global meaning in Passover

When I was growing up, Passover was the holiday where I sat around a table with my family reading the story of our distant ancestors, eating strange food combinations like raw horseradish, herbs dipped in vinegar, and chanting prayers that always seemed too long. It was the week I reluctantly had to explain to all […]
Apr 6, 2012
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It’s a small world: Emirates links Seattle direct to Dubai

In the early 2000s, the global economy was growing and becoming more tightly-integrated. Microsoft and Boeing were on top of their game, and Seattle had just played host to the World Trade Organization (and its critics). Emirates, an up and coming international airline based in Dubai, planned to establish a major route network connecting Seattle […]
Mar 1, 2012