World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015
04 MAY 2015 THE FOUNDATION
The SecDev Foundation’s Director of Research & Public Policy, Robert Muggah, is participating in the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015.
“In its 10th year, the World Economic Forum on Latin America returns to Mexico to collaborate in Latin America’s transition to long-term economic growth and social development. Mexico, one of the leading economies in Latin America and current holder of the pro-tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance, has made advances on a variety of critical reforms – including important changes to education, energy, fiscal and telecommunications legislation – which are already opening new opportunities. The meeting will provide an ideal platform for committed decision-makers to set a bold renovation agenda and take the initiative on the new generation of Latin American investments and transformational projects.”
Robert will be participating in the following events at the World Economic Forum on Latin America:
- The Changing Security Landscape in Latin America: exploring the changing security landscape and the impact of new geopolitical dynamics and security risks on society
- Technology: Debates of Tomorrow: engaging participants to think together about the future they want when it comes to technology and regional challenges (what kind of technology-enabled future do we want to live in? what do we want to avoid? which questions remain?)
- Societies that Thrive: Promoting Stability in Latin America: a multi-stakeholder discussion on some of the most pressing challenges in the region, in order to identify areas of common ground, ensure civic participation in policy planning and reform and enable more effective and courageous action on critical issues
- Building Secure Societies: Discussing what can be done to break the cycle of organized crime and public insecurity?
Hanoians use Social Media Tools to Help Save Their Trees
By Michael L. Gray •
- Hanoi citizens display social media savvy in response to an unpopular municipal government plan to cut down 6,700 trees.
When trees along several main streets were cut beginning on 15 March, both the mainstream and social media reacted with surprise. The next day, social media pages appeared lamenting the loss of the trees. Editorials were written demanding a halt to the cutting in order for people to learn more about the city’s intentions.
Among the Facebook Pages established on 16 March was ‘6,700 people for 6,700 trees’ (6,700 nguoi vi 6,700 cay), which soon became central to the citizen’s movement to halt the cutting.
In general, social media has been instrumental in the response to the municipal government’s unpopular decision to cull trees. The official reasons given for the project were that some trees were old and in danger of falling, while others were the ‘wrong type’ for urban areas.
Hanoi activists launch viral campaign
For the first time ever in Vietnam, political activists are using viral social media marketing techniques to express dissent online. A brazen campaign has seen dozens of people in Vietnam post selfie photos to their personal Facebook pages holding signs reading “I don’t like the Communist Party of Vietnam.” A Facebook fan page for the campaign was set up on 7 January 2015 and drew thousands of likes and shares.
Social media in Vietnam continues to challenge the state’s dominance of the mainstream press and its ability to shape public opinion. On 4 January 2015, this took a new form with what appears to be Vietnam’s first-ever ‘viral’ social media protest campaign. Activist La Viet Dung posted a simple self-portrait holding a printed page that read “I don’t like the Communist Party of Vietnam.” Another activist, Nguyen Lan Thang, soon followed this example, and also posted photos of a street demonstration held on 7 January 2015 in Hanoi, with several dozen people all holding signs that included the “I don’t like” phrase.
VN Minister launches Facebook Page
Regardless of the confusion caused by unofficial pages, the official Page attracted a respectable audience over its first week of operation. With the first post appearing on 26 February, the page had 125,000 likes as of 5 March. Most posts had 100-500 likes, and 10-100 comments (numbers that are changing as comments are deleted by the Ministry and/or removed by the people posting them).
To date, most of the comments have a polite or respectful tone. The criticism on display is muted or mild. For example, in response to a 26 February post stating that “The Ministry will continue to renovate, expand and gradually modernize clinics and hospitals given the current over-crowding,” one comment from a Facebook user located in Melbourne said: “What does ‘gradually’ mean? Is there a specific time frame? If you don’t have a specific objective what will happen? Who will take responsibility?” There was no reply to this post, and by 6 March it was removed or deleted.
Control and Dissent in Vietnam’s Online World
The landscape of politics appears to be changing in Vietnam. Social media is narrowing the gap between the ‘everyday politics’ of daily life and the more focused political discourse of dissidents and activists. The state’s long-standing attempt to shape pubic opinion is crumbling under the reality of a relatively open online environment. While the state actively arrests and harasses blogger activists, dissidents have been using social media to launch increasingly public and brazen protests. As the country prepares for a 2016 leadership change, online spaces will be the place to watch.
SalamaTech Trains Syrians on Facebook Security
SalamaTech Facebook training encourages peer-based learning aimed at engaging participants through activities and hands-on material. As one participant remarked, “I now realise how easy it is to protect myself on Facebook, by enhancing its built in security features.”
Many of the activities addressed privacy and security issues relevant to the daily lives of participants. Students were able to identify phishing attacks, familiarize themselves with Facebook’s privacy settings and create effective passwords.
The session was part of a week long training event hosted by PILPG in Turkey, which focused on building civil society capacities related to transitional issues, such as peace negotiations, transition planning, constitution drafting, and peace negotiations.
Dangerous Cities: Urban Violence and the Militarization of Law Enforcement
More than half of the world’s population is concentrated in urban areas. According to UNFPA, this number is expected to rise to 5 billions by 2030, reaching 2/3 of the world population, with the largest cities emerging in Africa and Asia. Regrettably, along with this mass urbanization has come an unprecedented level of violence and crime in densely populated slums and shantytowns. Cities like Baghdad, Kingston, Rio de Janeiro, Guatemala, Ciudad Juarez and Mogadishu have become the battlegrounds of contemporary conflicts.
Our Director of Research and Public Policy, Robert Muggah joins a panel at the Harvard School of Public Health to discuss Dangerous Cities: Urban Violence and the Militarization of Law and Enforcement.
Capturing the Networked Society
The SecDev Foundation’s Director of Research & Policy, Robert Muggah, has been featured in Ericsson’s project on Capturing the Networked Society. Through our partner organization, Igrapé Institute, Robert was featured for his work in violence reduction through the use of digital technology.
Capturing a Networked Society is a new interactive, video-based celebration of innovative international individuals and organizations – both large and small – shaping our connected world.