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Can politics still be poetic?

This article was inspired by a discussion organised by SIB Groningen, on the 12th March 2018, called “Poetry and Politics in Iran: The Power of Verse”. It was led by Professor Asghar Seyed-Gohrab an Associate Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies at Leiden University, who has specialised in Islamic spirituality and Persian mysticism.  The ideas of politics and poetry may ... Read More »

Conditions, Challenges and Consequences of Korean Unification

Last week has witnessed a dramatic shift in the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea: after years of increasing tensions North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un announced he wanted to ‘write a new history’ of unification with the South. Even after the unprecedented cooperation between the two Koreas during the Olympics, this announcement came ... Read More »

Egyptian Election 2018: Rubber-stamping the strongman?

The Egyptian election is due to be held at the end of this month. Ostensibly a “democratic” contest, the incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win a second four-year term in office, especially now that any serious rivals have dropped out the race, replaced with a candidate who up until recently campaigned for Al-Sisi’s party. Initially, various ... Read More »

Misinformation & Uncertainty Ahead of Italian Election

Ahead of Sunday’s election in Italy, where a number of parties are vying for the top spot in a tight race, concerns about the dissemination of misinformation are high. Following the slate of national elections of recent years in some of the major democracies of the West – the United States, the Netherlands, France, and Germany – Russia has been ... Read More »

Marketing for States – the Power of Nation Branding

The common war strategy of demoralizing the enemy by providing them with one’s own ideology over radio airwaves had found its way into the Cold War tactics. Western German radio stations were using frequencies that were so strong they could be easily received and thus heard in the East, behind the wall. The, so-called „Westfunk“, widely condemned by the eastern ... Read More »

Ethiopia at crossroads after Prime minister’s surprise resignation

According to analysts, Ethiopia might be at a critical juncture in its political history as key events have followed each other in rapid succession over the past few weeks. Amidst widespread anti-government protests, Prime minister and coalition leader Hailemariam Desalegn announced his sudden resignation, prompting the government to declare a six-month state of emergency. Although experts say Desalegn’s resignation had ... Read More »

Turkey’s Military Invasion in Northern Syria

While most people know about the fighting in the Syrian Civil War between troops loyal to president Baschar al-Assad and the rebels, mainly lead by the Free Syrian Army, there are other actors that are involved in this longstanding conflict. Al-Assad is backed by Russia and Iran while the US supports opposition groups through military means. One of these groups ... Read More »

Rodrigo and the Rainbow: Same-sex marriage in the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, has become notorious for his rowdy rhetoric and supercharged war on drugs. Last month, however, he struck a remarkably progressive tone on a wholly different issue. At an LGBT gathering in his hometown of Davao City on December 17, Duterte declared his support for marriage equality, saying that “If that is the trend ... Read More »

Presidential Elections Sparking Riots in Honduras

The elections in Honduras last November were supposed to go smoothly and secure the position of current president Juan Orlando Hernández. Then the counting of the votes began and the events unfolded as unstoppable as an unfinished domino course started too soon.  On the evening of the 26th November, nothing seemed suspicious. As 60% of the votes have already been ... Read More »

It’s the Economy, Stupid: Rising Food Prices Provide Impetus for Protests in Iran  

In the last days of 2017, Iran experienced the largest protests in the country since the protests that followed the disputed Iranian presidential elections in 2009. After incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared victory, protests arose and culminated in what became known as the Green Movement. These street protestors challenged the results of the election, alleging that voting fraud and irregularities ... Read More »