Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dominican Republic – Haiti Relations

Dominican Republic – Haiti Relations

Click here to listen to the Panel Discussion Broadcast on the Dominican Republic – Haiti Relations.

This show was hosted on the ICERM Radio program, “Let’s Talk About It“. 

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm in Eastern Time, New York.

Host: Tziporah Pronman

The Panelists discussed the emerging conflicts between the two neighboring countries in the island and practical ways to prevent and manage similar conflicts in the future. Central to this Panel discussion broadcast is the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruling on the question of “Citizenship rights to Dominicans born primarily of Haitian immigrant parents in the Dominican Republic”.

Featured Experts:

Professor Silvio Torres-Saillant, Founder of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and Professor in the English Department, Syracuse University

Professor Silvio Torres-Saillant, Founder of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and Professor in the English Department, Syracuse University

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Ph.D.

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Professor in the English Department, formerly headed the Latino-Latin American Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. He co-founded La Casita Cultural Center, an organization opened in the Near West Side of the City of Syracuse with the mission to create bridges of communication, collaboration, and exchange linking Syracuse University with the Latino population of the city and promoting the Hispanic heritages of Central New York. He serves in the core team of DK (Democratizing Knowledge), an initiative supported by the Chancellor’s Leadership Projects that promotes strategies for decolonizing the academy, and in the Syracuse University chapter of The Future of Minority Studies, a nationwide consortium of scholars working on efforts to foreground the ways of knowing and bodies of knowledge subjugated by the colonial transaction. He completed a two-year term as William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities.

Professor Torres-Saillant came to Syracuse after having founded the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, a prestigious interdisciplinary research unit located in the City College of New York. He had his first full-time faculty position in the English Department of Hostos Community College, CUNY, and has held visiting appointments at Amherst College, Harvard University, the University of Cartagena, and the San Andrés campus of Colombia’s Universidad Nacional.

Torres-Saillant has served in the Delegate Assembly of the MLA, has chaired the MLA Committee on the Literatures of Peoples of Color in the United States and Canada and the selection committee for MLA Prize in Latino and Latina/Chicano and Chicana Literary and Cultural Studies, has served in the selection committee for the Senior Fulbright Scholar Program in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, has formed part of the Board of Directors of the New York Council for the Humanities, inter alia. A member of the Editorial Board of the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, he serves as Associate Editor of Latino Studies (Palgrave) and has edited the New World Studies Series for the University of Virginia Press.

Jocelyn McCalla, Human Rights Expert and Founder of the Haitian Studies Association

Jocelyn McCalla, Human Rights Expert and Founder of the Haitian Studies Association

Jocelyn McCalla

Jocelyn McCalla served as Executive Director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, and of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network. He is a founder of the Haitian Studies Association and has served on the Board of the National Immigration Forum, the NY Immigration Coalition, and the Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch/Americas. Mr. McCalla has long campaigned in favor of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Haiti, and for the rights of Haitians abroad. He consults regularly with a wide range of leaders, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations of various ideological persuasions and interests. Mr. McCalla was born in Haiti and resides in the United States.

 

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Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition

Misunderstood Myanmar – A Review of Dr Koh Kim Seng’s Book

Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition Publisher: Dr Koh Kim Seng,  February 2011, 284 pages

Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition
Publisher: Dr Koh Kim Seng,
February 2011, 284 pages

Click here to listen to the review of “Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition”

ICERM Radio Book Review Program, February 13, 2014.

Host: Chavie Brumer.

Guest and Author: Dr Koh Kim Seng.

We are happy to announce the review of “Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition”. Listen to the untold stories about Myanmar as Dr. Koh Seng talks about his extensive field work in Myanmar, and reports on his close encounters with the military Junta, and with business and bureaucratic elites.

From the Book Reviewer:

The book, “Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition,” written by Dr. Koh Kim Seng, is a multi-dimensional exploration of Myanmar’s fundamental issues underlying the world’s negative view of the country and is based on the author’s interviews with key governmental and military leaders, as well as on his first-hand knowledge of the country.  Dr. Koh clearly highlights the deep impact of British colonization on the current social, economic and political problems, as well as the effects of Myanmar’s entrenched ethnocentricity, Theravada Buddhist religion and culture on its problematic governmental structure.  Also discussed are the roles of the military, as well as the conflicts that the ethnic minorities face, allowing for more clarity on the difficulties the country has in finding both internal and external resolution. This book is a kaleidoscope of Myanmar’s past and present, shedding more light on its mysteries and enables the world to see its future possibilities.

From the Publisher:

The story of Myanmar revealed here is most unusual and runs counter to received wisdom and orthodoxy. The book is the product of the author’s extensive field work in Myanmar, and reports on his close encounters with the military Junta, and with business and bureaucratic elites. The work is an ‘introspective’ study because it reveals and respects the opinions, beliefs and strategies of these elites in an open minded approach that gives full scope to their alternative version of history.

Those who have even a passing familiarity with Myanmar will know that the Myanmar Government is exceedingly wary of letting any information out and that it guards its sovereignty and independence most jealously refusing to let any outside parties into its decision making processes. It is this very cloistered nature of the regime that has led to a dearth of ‘inside information’ which has stumped many a student of Myanmar whether academic scholar or correspondent or political analyst. The result has been a failure to understand Myanmar’s exceptional and intransigent response to the protests, exhortations and impositions of the US led ‘international community’ more particularly the latter’s ‘democracy and human rights’ agenda. Thus for example, there has come about a wide spread perception that the Junta elites are ‘corrupt and repressive’, that the Myanmar state is a pariah state, and that whatever development is taking place is merely ‘cosmetic’. The Myanmar generals are often made out to be uneducated and stupid, as in the comment (recently repeated by Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) that ‘putting four generals together will not add up to a standard three education’, and that for decision making one has to go to the astrologers, etc, ignoring that many of the top brass have been schooled and trained in some of the leading institutions in the UK, the US and elsewhere.

This book argues that to understand the vicissitudes of Myanmar’s recent history and the behavior of its generals one has to grasp the dynamic interaction (struggle even) between, on one hand, its external environment (milieu exterieur), including the disgruntled diaspora alongside the US led international community, and on the other, the internal environment (milieu interieur) consisting of the generals’ ideological orientation in politics and economics which, the author argues, exceptionally, still draws from a well of adverse colonial experiences and betrayals, as well as from religion and culture. ‘Exceptionally’ because unlike other developing states Myanmar has been isolated from the international world  for so long that those same internal factors have crystallized and come to take on a significance which, arguably,  exceeds the role played by history, culture and religion in other parts of the world.

Dr Koh Kim Seng Author, "Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition"

Dr Koh Kim Seng
Author, “Misunderstood Myanmar – An Introspective Study Of A Southeast Asian State In Transition”

Thanks to his very extended quanxi networks amongst the Myanmar junta, the author has succeeded in teasing out the causes of the Myanmar Government’s reluctance to rapid developmental change and democratization, its philosophical and buddhistic take on the country’s postwar slide from pre-eminence to ignominy in the developmental world, and its post ‒ 1988 “conflagration-resolve” to gradually take steps to regain its “Paradise Lost”, taking advantage of  present forces of regionalization  and geo-strategic hegemonic shifts. Whether this strategy succeeds thereby improving the lives of 53 million people depends much on how the clash between the international community’s “Prejudice” and the Junta’s “Pride” will be handled. Will there be “constructive engagement” rather than “obstructive dismissal”? It is to foster “constructive engagement” for the benefit of the protagonists in the drama that this book has been written.

The book is available at leading book distributors – http://www.marymartin.com or directly from the following address:

Marplan Pte Ltd, 51 Thomson Road, 181B Goldhill Centre, Singapore 307627.                                     Email: marplan(at)singnet.com.sg.