EWB xChange Conference: Four Questions for Global Development

One of the first things I look forward to in every new year is the latest installment of international development conferences hosted by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada, a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to addressing global poverty through systems change. Every January, EWB convenes roughly 700 student and professional delegates from across Canada (and increasingly, around…

Top Global News Stories to Follow in 2016

At just over a week old, 2016 promises to be a powerful year for stories that will shape our world. We’ve already seen the simmering Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran ratchet up a couple levels, and a reminder of the instability North Korea brings to international relations with its test of a purported hydrogen bomb. Meanwhile,…

Top 10 News Articles of 2015

Ed. Note: Happy New Year to all PineTreeRepublic citizens! As a brief personal aside, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read, like, share, and perhaps even comment on the posts that have appeared on this blog over the past year. I started this project just under a year ago out of…

Viewpoint: Four Elements of a Root-Cause-Based Counterterrorism Strategy

In a previous post, I examined three trends in global terrorism statistics that should give pause to policymakers proposing the typical policy package in response to terrorist incidents, including more bombing of terrorist groups, restricted immigration, and increased government surveillance. Specifically, these statistics demonstrated that (1) terrorist incidents in Western countries have actually declined since the…

Burma Votes: What Does Myanmar’s Election Mean for the West?

The Story On Sunday, November 8, the citizens of the Southeast Asian country Myanmar (commonly known as Burma) voted in the country’s first mostly free elections since a military takeover, more than 50 years ago. The country’s election committee is expected to take weeks in tabulating the official results, especially from rural areas. However, the preliminary…

From Bassekou Kouyaté to Songhoy Blues: The Evolution of the Malian Troubadour

In the West Africa of the 13th and 14th centuries, the reigning Malinke Empire gave rise to a unique societal group called griots. Originating from a handful of families, griots served as storytellers, musicians, and poets to the courts. Essentially, griots acted as troubadours for their societies, passing down collective history, memory, and values to their societies long before the…

Viewpoint: Four Ways to Help Fix Canada’s Refugee Policy

Ed. Note: With this post, I am introducing a new feature to Pine Tree Republic called “Viewpoints”. This monthly series will present a distinct opinion and set of policy recommendations on a recent political or international relations issue, complementing our “Front Page News” features, which will remain as objective as possible in analyzing the wider…

The View from the UN General Assembly 2015: What They Really Said

[Ed. Note]: For this guest post, I invited fellow international relations blogger Sarah Bruso to help break down this month’s United Nations General Assembly meetings. Sarah and I met through a recent WordPress Blogging 201 course, and I really admired her ability to break down complex international negotiations into fun, relatable skits that distill countries into distinct…