Commonwealth Games 2010 – What is it about the Commonwealth?

Posted by Angélique Vassout • Thursday, June 24. 2010 • Category: In Depth
Nowadays, in India’s capital New Delhi everybody seems to be talking about the Commonwealth Games. New metro lines, construction of roads and flyovers, stadiums being renovated and many other buildings appearing out of nowhere, the whole of Delhi is changing under the impulsion of the Games. And that's only the beginning, as the Games start only in October. The vision of the Commonwealth Games is becoming increasingly visible all over Delhi – but what exactly is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 54 member states on all the continents, bringing together about 30% of the world's population, which means around two billion people of diverse cultures and faiths.

Historical Map of the British Empire in 1897

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France and the "Heirs" of North African Immigration

Posted by Angélique Vassout • Saturday, May 22. 2010 • Category: In Depth
In the past few years, the immigration debate in France has become more and more impassioned. A new ministry name, “selective immigration”, plans for new laws, changes in the Nationality Code and debates about deportation are the media’s daily bread. However, in France, this debate can’t be separated from the particular experiences of the several previous waves of immigration (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, African) and especially of the North African immigration. Arab people, Islam and French suburbs are nowadays unavoidable topics in the immigration debate.

And as usual, you will never hear of the positive aspects (e.g. cases of successful integration), only of the problems that fuel the debate and grab attention. Very recently, for example, the controversy regarding the ticket given to a French Arab woman driver wearing a burqa led to a new project to revise the Nationality Code to remove the French nationality of her husband (acquired by marriage) who is suspected of polygamy and social benefits fraud. The extreme-right parties happily jump on these kinds of stories to demand the strengthening of laws against immigration.

Let’s try to rebalance the debate... What is the reality of the North African immigrants and their ”heirs” (as the European Union sometimes refers to them) in France today?

© http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/

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Experience Syria - Cultural Immersion in the Arab World

Posted by Angélique Vassout • Tuesday, March 23. 2010 • Category: People and Places
Going abroad as a part of the curriculum has become more and more common and is nowadays a key distinguishing factor in your CV. Most European students choose to stay inside Europe thanks to the Erasmus programme or go to North America, but others prefer to leave the beaten track and travel to more challenging parts of the world, in order to discover a new way of life, learn a foreign language, and experience by themselves what global diversity is.

Ummayad Mosque - "The Grand Mosque of Damascus"

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