Exchange to Change January 2017 - Page 3


Gloomy Goggles

At the beginning of each new year , political analysts in every corner of the world traditionally present their compilation of the most important events of the year , while simultaneously trying to forecast what lies ahead . This year , many of those essays have remarkably gloomy overtones and feature epic titles laden with superlatives : The end of the world as we know it , Democracy under siege , The year of the surprises , An uncertain year , Revolution will be in the air in 2017 , The biggest year for political risk since the end of the World War II . Yet , instead of succumbing to defeatist visions about the future , the experiences of the past year should only encourage us to become more active than ever .
What will be needed in 2017 is not less , but more creative thinking , experimenting and actively pushing for new , deeper democratic practices in some countries , while advocating to uphold minimal democratic institutions in others .
Not less , but more academic research should be conducted and fed into the public arena to stir up discussion and debate , documenting those issues that remain largely under the global media radar and to counter tendencies towards fact free politics .
And finally , not less but more intercultural exchange and empathy will be needed in 2017 , allowing us to learn more about others and , as if by osmosis , enable compassion to permeate through sociological , cultural , religious or even brick walls .
To contribute in our own way to these three ambitions is Exchange to Change ’ s New Year ’ s resolution for 2017 . We strive to keep you informed of the interesting work of the members of the IOB community . More precisely , we present IOB research in the hope to inspire or inform you , discuss ongoing events through the eyes of IOB alumni , staff and students and facilitate interaction between them across the globe .
We start off 2017 by zooming in on 2016 as the year in which democratic processes generated a series of ‘ surprising ’ results . The article presents an insider ’ s view on the ‘ why ’ and ‘ how ’ behind the results of the referenda on the Colombian Peace Agreement , Brexit and the electoral college victory of Trump . Next , we present Patricia Bamanyaki ’ s innovative research on gender budgeting initiatives to improve maternal health , put Christine Apio ’ s lifelong commitment and work on women ’ s protection in the spotlight and hope you learn – as we did – from reading about Dennis Essers ’ presentation on the Synthetic Control Method . Moreover , throughout the magazine you can read about events and future opportunities for IOB staff , students and alumni to ( re- ) connect and exchange to change …
Happy New Year !
Sara Dewachter Alumni coordinator
Exchange to change January 2017