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Showing posts from September 15, 2019

Arab Futures 2.0: the road to 2030 

At first glance, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region appears particularly unsuited to conducting foresight exercises due to its many disruptive and surprising developments. But beyond their actual predictability, it is precisely because the region features so many sudden events that foresight here is crucial.   This Chaillot Paper opens with three scenarios which lay out the regional state of affairs in 2030. These scenarios are built on the catalysts or agents of change that were identified after a careful analysis of the mega-trends that are elaborated thereafter.

China’s Silent Land Reform: 1958-1962

China’s Silent Land Reform: 1958-1962 Speaker : Wuna Reilly Venue : Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU Date : Thursday, 19 September - 16:00 to 17:30 Contact : In this seminar I examine the heated debates within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership between 1958 and 1962 over the issue of collective land. In their efforts to establish and sustain a planned economy across rural China, CCP leaders struggled to decide who should be allocated what land, and how much agricultural output they should be expected to provide to the state—their production quota. Drawing upon diverse primary sources, including CCP leaders’ reports and letters, policy documents, production team accounting data, and farmers’ diaries, I first describe the policies and processes that shaped the implementation of a planned economy across rural China in the 1950s, highlighting the difficulties facing any effort to implement a planned economy regarding land

Beating the odds: A Pakistani scientist's journey from Buleda to Cambridge

Beating the odds: A Pakistani scientist's journey from Buleda to Cambridge Dr Yarjan Abdul Samad is pushing the boundaries of space science and wishes to see Pakistan's own mission launched. Saadeqa Khan Updated about 6 hours ago It has been a few days since the news about India's spacecraft  losing contact  with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began doing the rounds. While Isro has managed to locate the spacecraft, it hasn't been able to establish contact again. Will India accomplish this mission? It might. But what is the status of our own forays into this area and can Pakistan make its first manned space mission a reality? Dr Yarjan Abdul Samad thinks so. Following a series of talks he held in Quetta recently, I had the chance to interact with Dr Samad, who holds the distinction of being the first Pakistani space scientist to be working at the University of Cambridge. Dr Samad hails from Buleda, a small town in Balochistan's Kech region, but w

The Khazars: Judaism, Trade, and Strategic Vision on the Eurasian Steppes

By  Emil Avdaliani September 15, 2019 Khazar fortress at Sarkel (Belaya Vyezha, Russia). Aerial photo from excavations conducted by M. I. Artamanov in the 1930s. Public domain photo via Wikipedia BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,288, September 15, 2019 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Harnessing the Eurasian lands has always been difficult. The Khazars, an obscure people from the steppes that converted to Judaism many centuries ago, stand out as an exceptional example of how geography, economy, and religion can be used to advance geopolitical interests. Halford Mackinder, father of geopolitics, who laid out the concept of a heartland encompassing central and northern Eurasia, maintained that Russia was the first power ever to manage to harness the power of geography and economy in northern Eurasia. The Khazars, an obscure people that existed well before the modern Russian state, might beg to differ. The Khazars were neighbors to two world powers: Byzantium and the Islamic caliphate. At th