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World Policy Journal: Spring 2013

(Subscription to World Policy Journal available through SAGE Publications)

Beyond Borders

Brave individuals and new technologies are breaching once impenetrable frontiers. The world’s biggest threats—terrorism, climate change, and pandemics—spill rapidly across boundaries. Yet, traditional border disputes still provoke violent wars and revolutions.

While many borders have been drawn wisely, following natural divides like mountain ranges or rivers, others were haphazardly imposed by a colonial power with the stroke of a pen on some distant map. As empires fell and global trade and migration accelerated, boundaries became complex—but increasingly porous—barriers to the free movement of people and ideas. Even the most isolated countries can only with considerable difficulty de-link themselves from the world around them.

World Policy Journal explores these issues in our Spring cover package with essays on finding strength in diversity and overcoming obstacles through migrant education. We examine what it takes for the world community to recognize de facto states as legitimate nations and investigate the migration of Muslims away from stagnant economies on the Iberian Peninsula. World Policy Journal talks with Sudanese telecom pioneer Mo Ibrahim, discussing the role of mobile phones in connecting people across frontiers and creating identities that go beyond borders.

Our Spring issue captures hunger on the restive island of Mindanao; probes the dangerous roots of Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki; assembles a roundtable led by Dave Eggers on art and politics in Saudi Arabia; explores a way out of Europe’s economic upheaval; investigates how Russia can slow the its brain drain; and warns of the growth of Pentecostalism as a political and social force in Europe; while editor David A. Andelman alerts us to the dangers of judicial overreach and suggests how to prevent it.




The Big Question

The primacy of the state is under increased scrutiny as the telecom revolution erases once impermeable divides. We have asked our panel of global experts how borders should be drawn on land, on sea, and on the web.

Embracing Diversity

The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, argues that leaders must harness diversity to strengthen transnational communities. Extending citizenship to all long-term residents, he argues, will help boundaries disappear for the common good.

Map Room: Borders on Top of the World

As Arctic waters open up, northern countries are vying for oil no longer imprisoned beneath a mantle of ice. Explorer Mark Terry and Adam Scholl reveal how the opening of the Northwest Passage will transform politics, industry, and the environment across the northern hemisphere.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Carol Bellamy, longtime head of UNICEF, the Peace Corps, and now both the International Baccalaureate and the Global Partnership for Education, makes a passionate plea to prioritize the education of migrant children.

Anatomy: World's Most Isolated Countries

Using a five-factor scale, World Policy Journal ranks the World’s Most Isolated countries, revealing what nations—either through political chaos or dictatorship—have sealed off their citizens from the world.

Making a State a State

Courtney Brooks investigates what constitutes a state and who should sit in judgment. The UN General Assembly, she argues, should invoke an obscure resolution to bypass a perpetually deadlocked Security Council, allowing the General Assembly to determine when a de facto state becomes an official nation.

Moving On: Iberia's New Muslims

From her perch in Portugal, veteran New York Times correspondent Marvine Howe describes how Spain and Portugal are looking to the Islamic world for investments to pull Iberia out of its economic morass. Meanwhile, Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula head elsewhere for work, jeopardizing the two countries’ largely successful integration program.

Linking People, Crossing Borders: A Conversation with Mo Ibrahim

World Policy Journal talks with billionaire Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecom pioneer whose enterprises and eponymous foundation traverse borders across Africa. Ibrahim argues that investment in African infrastructure—especially in broadband technology—will reap dividends in democracy and government transparency.


Hunger: The Price of Rebellion

The extraordinary Philippine photojournalist Veejay Villafranca captures the hunger crisis on the island of Mindanao, a legacy of decades of secular and religious conflict.


Notes from the Underground: The Rise of Nouri al-Maliki

Ned Parker, veteran Middle East correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, joins Reuters’ Raheem Salman to provide a groundbreaking profile of Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. The potentially malevolent prototype he represents for post-Arab Spring Islamist leaders stands as a cautionary tale.

Dave Eggers' Roundtable: Arabia Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Author and publisher Dave Eggers gathers three young Saudis—producer Mamdouh al-Harthy, photojournalist and musician Hasan Hatrash, and film director Haifaa al-Mansour—to discuss the roles of religion, art, and politics in the Middle East. The Saudi artists predict a gradual opening of Saudi Arabia, so long as religious fanaticism doesn’t take hold in its neighbors.

The Euro Crisis: Mission Accomplished?

From Brussels, Hungarian economist Zsolt Darvas describes southern Europe’s dismal predicament, presenting his plan to exit the economic crisis by increasing wages in Europe’s north, cutting interest rates, investing in southern Europe, and weakening the euro.

Russians Go West

Khristina Narizhnaya chronicles Russia’s emigration patterns, revealing a sick nation losing its best and brightest. Futuristic buildings, like the new Skolkovo Innovation Center, will not keep innovators in the country. Only a free and open environment can do that. If the brain drain continues to cripple Russia’s economy, Narizhnaya argues, unrest will spread, and Putin’s regime will fall.

Nearer, My God, to Thee

Pentecostal missionaries from former colonies are moving to Europe to “re-Christianize” the continent. Damaso Reyes forecasts a rapid rise for Pentecostalism as a potent political and social force across Europe—one that will be both socially conservative and fight for the rights of minority communities. Secular leaders need to treat Pentecostals as a constituency, not a threat, or else they risk reinforcing a narrative that allows Pentecostals to feel righteously persecuted.


Global Libra

World Policy Journal editor David A. Andelman examines the broad spectrum of justice and judicial systems, evaluating how effectively they respond to the needs and desires of the people they serve. The judicial system, he argues, can be used as a prism to determine the level of democracy of a government and its leadership, and he suggests how to cope with these challenges from the outside and inside.



Around WPI

Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa 

This paper, “Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenging the Narratives of the War on Terror,” examines the history of Islamic movements in Africa's Sahel region to contextualize current conflicts.

World Economic Roundtable with Vicente Fox 

In this World Economic Roundtable, former Mexican President Vicente Fox discusses his current quest to make his country a hub for technology. 

Intern at World Policy

Want to join our team? Looking for an experience at one of the most highly sought-after internships for ambitious students? Application details here.


Al Gore presides over Arctic Roundtable 

As the United States prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, this inaugural convening of the Arctic Deeply Roundtables launches a vital conversation for our times. 


When the Senate Worked for Us:
New book offers untold stories of how activist staffers countered corporate lobbies in the U.S.

MA in International Policy and Development
Middlebury Institute (Monterey, CA): Put theory into practice through client-based coursework. Apply by Feb. 1.

Millennium Project’s State of the Future 19.0: Collective Intelligence on the Future of the World


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