What I’ve been reading this week… 23.11.15

This week the UK Government released its Review and Strategy for UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), more formerly titled UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest, along with the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). That the two were released together is a good indication of how the current Government views their relationship, I feel. I have frequently said that I have greater respect for governments being transparent about the relationship between their ODA and foreign policy, as opposed to presenting the two as wholly independent – which they cannot, in reality, be. Hence it would be churlish of me to complain too heartily of the clearer relationship that is due to emerge from the National Security Council managing the new Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, no matter how much I would prefer their separation. I am still assessing my views on the UK Aid strategy and the SDSR, but in the interim Phil Vernon of International Alert offers a balanced response from a Peacebuilding Perspective.

Andrew Purkis continues his  insightful analysis into developments in the UK Charity Sector, most often through apt comparisons to what has made British Charities contentious in the past. His recent blog is no exception, asking what constitutes being ‘responsible’ as a charity, reminding us of the ‘irresponsible’ nature of past campaigning against the established dogma of slavery, for women’s suffrage and to enable Jewish Britons to become MPs.

Historical perspective was also the basis for my favourite reminder to #pursuenuance this week: Chris Blattman’s blog, quoting Philip Giraldi’s reflections in the American Conservative following a “countering violent extremism” conference in Washington:

One thing that was largely missing from the discussion was a sense of history… I began my career in the CIA working against the largely European terrorist groups that were active in the 1970s and 1980s. To be sure, there were Middle Eastern groups like Abu Nidal also prominent at the time, but the best known and most lethal terrorists were Germans, Italians, and Irishmen. They were just as ruthless as anything we are seeing today and, interestingly enough, the same questions that are being raised currently regarding the radicalization of young Muslims were raised back then regarding middle class Europeans, with a similar lack of any kind of satisfactory explanation.

Do read it in its entirety, very much worth it.

On ‘wimmin’s issues, this week was a helpful piece sent to me by my awesome husband on how women can support each other in the workplace – looking both up and down the career ladder. I found the distinction between ‘mentoring’ and ‘sponsoring’ most helpful.

And finally, the Radiator Awards were out recently, you can see the best of the best and the worst of the worst (no prizes for guessing what won the Rusty this year) collected by NPR. Delighted to see my favourite charity ads of this year in the Golden Radiator category – Water Aid’s #ifmenhadperiods. I think my favourite is the one set in the office. Enjoy!

Categories: Reading & Links

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