Sunday, 5 October 2014

Serendipity Sunday - International Affairs

I came across this booklet the other day...

"The List of Names of Those who are invited to become Original Members of the Institute of International Affairs."
There you will find listed their name, what they do and where they are from. Going through the list, you will see men from the UK, Canada, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Netherlands, etc.

The Institute of International Affairs came about after World War I, in 1920 following the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Lionel Curtis thought it would be beneficial to form a group with people from all countries to study and analyze international issues and share information. Chatham House in London is the original "think tank" institute, and there is now an Institute of International Affairs in many countries (if you google Institute of International Affairs you will get some of the countries... Russia, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, etc).

The Chatham House Prize is awarded each year to "the person who is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year." You can read about it and see a list of this year's and previous year's winners here.

I wonder what they are studying and analyzing about these days? I see among other topics, they have "expert comments" about the military intervention against ISIS.

I usually sit at home watching the news on TV... the wars, the bombings, the horrible things people do to each other, and I think to myself I am glad it is far over there, and it has nothing to do with me. I can't let myself begin to empathize with them because I would become a wreck. I have to close my eyes, close my heart, shut off the TV.

The recent events with ISIS in Iraq did not burst into my living room through the TV, but came quietly over the phone a few weeks ago, my husband in Iraq asking me if we were hearing anything here.  No, I said. Nothing. Then the next day talking to my husband whenever he could call throughout the day as he tried desperately to get out of Iraq and almost didn't make it. He took back roads, and mountain and desert tracks from Alqosh and arrived in Erbil amid fighting and bombing, just as all commercial flights were cancelled. He finally finagled a seat on a small local plane that ended up being the last flight out to Istanbul before all air traffic was halted! I was so glad when he was finally home! When the son of a friend of a friend does not make it, although you don't know him even that hits too close to home.   

Now more countries are being drawn into this fight.  May it end soon!

Original Members of the Institute of International Affairs

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