January 6, 2016

Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga – which means “ready to die.” They have had more success against IS than anyone else, even though they are fighting for a homeland that appears on no maps except their own. It is time for the rest of the world to acknowledge the courage and importance of the Kurds and recognize an independent Kurdistan.

Peshmerga | Kurdish Army: Female Soldiers of Kurdistan
January 5, 2016

The case for an official Kurdish nation.

Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic ties with Iran, as an escalating war of words between the two archrivals threatened to derail a renewed international bid to halt the conflict in Syria. [...] The United States is expected to repeat its appeal for restraint and calm when the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Richard Stengel, meets the Saudi undersecretary for international communication and media, Abdulmohsen Alyas, in Washington on Monday.

January 3, 2016

China has been the kingdom’s largest customer as well as a provider of sophisticated weapons, including surface-to-surface missiles. But China also has lost patience with the monarchy’s support for Wahhabi Islamists in China and bordering countries. [...] More pertinent than public diplomacy, though, is where China is buying its oil.

“It's the dramatic multiplication of conflicts in the world. It's the fact that the international community has lost much of its capacity to avoid conflicts, to prevent conflicts, and then to timely solve them. And this is what needs in my opinion to have a surge in diplomacy for peace.” 

Ai Wei Wei, the renowned Chinese artist who is currently visiting refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos […] has been sharing pictures and videos on his personal Instagram account, drawing attention to the plight of the thousands of refugees risking stormy waters to escape war and hardship.

Professor Joseph Nye and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage correctly pointed out that to solve the biggest problems we need a mix of hard and soft power — which they termed “smart power.” […] What would a smart power campaign directed against the challenges represented by the Islamic State look like?

Special projects help refugee children adapt to life in Germany

This new video from Deutsche Welle News (DW) demonstrates how cultural exchanges and youth programs can help ease the cultural transition for refugee children arriving in Germany.