World Bank presidency and the moral aspiration

[Edited version published by  Joongang Daily – April 9th, http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=2951130]

Dr. Kim and Ms. Ngozi

When the US president Barack Obama recently nominated Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, debate arose regarding who among the other formidable candidates was best qualified for the top job.

Ms Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister and former Colombian finance minister José Antonio Ocampo are other frontline candidates. Jeffrey Sachs, with massive experience in development and poverty eradication programs would have made a decent entrant. Well, that’s life, isn’t it?

I have no doubt that Dr. Kim, a Korean-American public-health expert, can make an exceptional head of the World Bank having led World Health Organization’s global body on AIDS/HIV, an significant public health body. I also have no doubt that Ngozi, a World Bank savvy insider, can bring in her experience and development perspective which is an important ingredient to regions yearning for crucial development.

And of course, Mr. Ocampo can also inject his expertise of international finance and perhaps a fresher cog to the South-South cooperation which is getting attention in its role in the global economy.

Admittedly, debate still lingers over the candidates and their merit on proficiency in global economic development which is seemingly what the World Bank is about. The debates may continue but what matters at the end of the day is whether the new president Read the rest of this entry »

Why the world should back Kenya’s mission in Somalia

Published in The Seoul Times Oct. 27, 2011; and The Korea Times Nov. 4th, 2011

Prior to the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit, I was privileged to be a delegate of the Y-20 Summit, a university students’ version of the larger G-20. In one of my submissions as a representative of Africa, I robustly raised the issue of security in the Horn of Africa. The submission was taken rather reluctantly by fellow ‘world leaders’ as many of them were acutely engrossed in the economic recovery strategies following a global economic crisis. In overall though, the young minds adequately deliberated terrorism as a key global concern.

The issue of insecurity and instability in the Horn of Africa, Somalia in particular, remains sensitive, complex and its impact real. It is a problem that can no longer be wished away neither can it be approached with panic. Kenya, arguably Somalia’s most significant neighbor, is currently in an offensive military action against Alshabaab, a militia group inside Somalia and often linked to al-Qaida. Apparently, a question of whether or not the Kenya’s military action within Somalia is justified has floated across local and international media channels. By all means, that is a genuine query to ask.

Some analysts have been quick to point out that Kenya has had interest, economic or political, to invade Somali with instances of her high alerts issued between 2006 and 2010. The recent incursion is seen, therefore, as an execution of the said interest rather than a response to the recent tourists’ abductions by what Kenya authorities believe was conducted by the Alshabaab. This school of thought however raises a Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook: Connecting friends but chocking friendship?… but I’m not quitting yet

Picture this, if Facebook were a deadly viral disease, 500 million of us would be dead, or headed for demise! According to Facebook statistics, 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day and in average, users spend over 700billion minutes per month on Facebook. An average user has about 150 friends.  

While Facebook has connected many users to their friends, it has seemingly demeaned the true meaning of friendship at least from Read the rest of this entry »

Racism: Remembering Luther King’s Legacy in Korea

Published in the Korea Times, Joongang Ilbo and Yahoo-Korea January 21, 2011

Today is the third Monday of January therefore a Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Across the globe, Luther King Jr. has often regarded as a hero of civil rights in America alongside Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin. On the same day this week, I was privileged to sit among ‘panelist of color’ to discuss a rather hot radio show topic of racism in Korea hosted by E-Busan Fm and Busan Ilbo. ( Check Busan.com)

While my four year stay in Korea does not make me an expert on the issue, it could be however Read the rest of this entry »

Education could be at the altar of our perilous assumptions

Edited version published by The Precious News, Kenya
There is a dangerous lie out there that educational processes are neutral – as serving to the intellectual knack in a child. It is a lie because even religious education or Sunday school activities may serve to the detriment of a child’s understanding of God’s world.

The undetected myth of educational neutrality widely bought by many contemporary parents including Christians, has led to the prevailing passive concern for their children’s source of instruction. To believe that education is merely informative is an error since education of any form, including casual educative contents from say the television, is a product of philosophical assumptions – righteous or wicked. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to check our naive tango with the media?

Published in the Involvement Newspaper, Daystar University (under different title)

For the third time this month, I’ve been asked whether I got a girlfriend. No, it’s not my grandma this time. You see, granny’s verdict has always been unambiguous – she is waiting for her great grand-babies. But that is a chat for another day. A few days ago, when my Korean friend Kim asked me again whether I had found a Korean

Read the rest of this entry »

Kim Yu-na is wonderful, but sadly ‘commodified’

Published in the Korea Times March 30, 2010

Late last year, I presented a paper in a conference at Chongshin University titled, “The Role of Mass Media in Shaping Contemporary Worldviews among Koreans”. And before you ask what the topic has to do with Kim Yuna, I will be upfront that the lovely daughter of this land has been, unfortunately, pressured into the clogs of economic rationalism. I will explain, but first let me clarify that I admire Kim Yu-na. She has is a talented girl who has continually portrayed a spirit of sportsmanship ever since she ventured into figure skating. She is also focused, diligent and with warm smile attracting a big following as fans and supporters. That is why

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