Disruptive Technologies: Digital collections and the library space Posted on Thu 24 Nov, 2016 by Bhakti Gala

library-1666701_1280DigitalAs we move towards digital content, the traditional design of the physical library space needs rethinking. The 2005 Council on Library and Information Resources  report on ‘Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space’  concludes that, “while the information critical to scholarship and the public good is becoming more accessible than ever in the twenty-first century, access alone is rarely enough to serve the needs of scholarship, teaching, learning, and public inquiry today.”

The birth of the virtual library brought predictions that physical library space would no longer be needed. The 2015 ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards saw award-winning libraries reflect this shift from print to digital in terms of responding to the way in which we information is sought. The world is still building bigger, and better libraries- or libraries without books (Bibliotech, Texas, USA). The library space is being redesigned in the bricks and mortar domain as well as the virtual domain. The Model Programme for Librarieslists some interesting case studies of public libraries redesigned.


“Digital downloads, e-books, personal content, and live programming compete for space with books, periodicals, microfilm, audio, and video in today’s libraries. The library of the future will be shaped in ways that support and enhance navigation and exchange of these new forms of information. As more and more demands are made on people’s time, library services must be delivered in ways that are digitally based or conveniently located in public places for people on the go” (Ruth Baleiko, the Miller Hull Partnership).

Disruptive technologies can be turned into competence-enhancing influences (8, December 20140, CILIP Blog). Some examples of digital libraries are:

and the digital collections of the British LibraryLibrary of Congress,  and the National Library of Australia.


Technological obsolescence and digital preservation Posted on Sun 6 Aug, 2017 by Michelle DeAizpurua |

floppy-disk-MichelleWith the rapid growth of technology in the past decade, our lives have gotten easier. We can send an email instead of writing and posting a letter. We can download our music, and save all our important files onto a tiny USB to carry in our pocket.

But how will people of the future reconstruct important information about our time from this digital information? Where historians could previously read through old journals and letters, will they be able to locate and view old emails or word documents? It is doubtful the software and hardware will still be usable. Just like you cannot access information that is saved on a floppy disk now, all of our technology may eventually become unusable.

This is a pressing issue, known as ‘technological obsolescence’, and risks leaving us in a ‘digital black hole’ with all of our important information and culture lost for future generations. This article in The Guardian summarises the key issues quite nicely.

Not only does the storage media we use (CD’s, USB’s etc) have a large chance of deteriorating or failing, the hardware used to run the media must be working (for example, Apple MacBooks no longer come with CD drives), and the software to read and understand the files on the media must be available too. This timeline (from Cornell University Library) demonstrates the media, software and hardware that has already come and gone. And this infographic shows the lifespans of digital storage media. It’s all happening very fast, and we need to actively work at overcoming the challenges this poses.

Many information organisations are working towards developing plans and procedures for preserving all of this digital information. Projects such as PANDORA are attempting to archive web pages in Australia, while the Wayback Machine’s internet archive has a broader focus. Other strategies involve migration (an ongoing process where digital information is continually moved onto newer technologies to ensure it remains accessible), emulation (where obsolete systems are imitated on newer systems), maintaining older technologies or simply creating analogue versions (like printing it out!). However, one of the main issues with these strategies is the cost involved.

Another issue is selection. Even if we have the means to preserve digital information for an extended time – how do we choose what to preserve? Everything? While we might be able to select things that are obviously important, there may be documents whose importance is not realised until hundreds of years later. How can we cater for this? And how can we ensure that context and meaning are preserved, not just the object itself? Other issues to consider relate to intellectual property and copyright (e.g. Digital Rights Management technologies obstructing preservation and access).

There are many unanswered questions at the moment, and many people are working at developing solutions. Open standards such as XML, which are independent of any particular hardware or software, may provide a step in the right direction. People and institutions must put digital preservation at the forefront of their minds, and pre-emptively set up strategies for preservation right from the beginning. The National Library of Australia provides a wealth of information for those wanting to learn more, as well as a Digital Preservation Policy that could easily serve as a model for other institutions. The Digital Preservation Coalition also has a great handbook with strategies and activities for organisations (you have to download the PDF version to view).

Hopefully, we will collaboratively develop a sustainable global response to preserve our information in perpetuity.

  • Have you or your workplace thought about digital preservation and how technological obsolescence will affect your information in the future?
  • What policies, procedures or actions have you or your workplace taken to safeguard your information?

– Michelle De Aizpurua, ILN Content Officer.

Scandal, outrage and politics Do social media threaten democracy? November 4, 2017

Facebook, Google and Twitter were supposed to save politics as good information drove out prejudice and falsehood. Something has gone very wrong


IN 1962 a British political scientist, Bernard Crick, published “In Defence of Politics”. He argued that the art of political horse-trading, far from being shabby, lets people of different beliefs live together in a peaceful, thriving society. In a liberal democracy, nobody gets exactly what he wants, but everyone broadly has the freedom to lead the life he chooses. However, without decent information, civility and conciliation, societies resolve their differences by resorting to coercion.

How Crick would have been dismayed by the falsehood and partisanship on display in this week’s Senate committee hearings in Washington. Not long ago social media held out the promise of a more enlightened politics, as accurate information and effortless communication helped good people drive out corruption, bigotry and lies. Yet Facebook acknowledged that before and after last year’s American election, between January 2015 and August this year, 146m users may have seen Russian misinformation on its platform. Google’s YouTube admitted to 1,108 Russian-linked videos and Twitter to 36,746 accounts. Far from bringing enlightenment, social media have been spreading poison.

Russia’s trouble-making is only the start. From South Africa to Spain, politics is getting uglier. Part of the reason is that, by spreading untruth and outrage, corroding voters’ judgment and aggravating partisanship, social media erode the conditions for the horse-trading that Crick thought fosters liberty.

A shorter attention spa…oh, look at that!

The use of social media does not cause division so much as amplify it. The financial crisis of 2007-08 stoked popular anger at a wealthy elite that had left everyone else behind. The culture wars have split voters by identity rather than class. Nor are social media alone in their power to polarise—just look at cable TV and talk radio. But, whereas Fox News is familiar, social-media platforms are new and still poorly understood. And, because of how they work, they wield extraordinary influence.

They make their money by putting photos, personal posts, news stories and ads in front of you. Because they can measure how you react, they know just how to get under your skin (see article). They collect data about you in order to have algorithms to determine what will catch your eye, in an “attention economy” that keeps users scrolling, clicking and sharing—again and again and again. Anyone setting out to shape opinion can produce dozens of ads, analyse them and see which is hardest to resist. The result is compelling: one study found that users in rich countries touch their phones 2,600 times a day.

It would be wonderful if such a system helped wisdom and truth rise to the surface. But, whatever Keats said, truth is not beauty so much as it is hard work—especially when you disagree with it. Everyone who has scrolled through Facebook knows how, instead of imparting wisdom, the system dishes out compulsive stuff that tends to reinforce people’s biases.

This aggravates the politics of contempt that took hold, in the United States at least, in the 1990s. Because different sides see different facts, they share no empirical basis for reaching a compromise. Because each side hears time and again that the other lot are good for nothing but lying, bad faith and slander, the system has even less room for empathy. Because people are sucked into a maelstrom of pettiness, scandal and outrage, they lose sight of what matters for the society they share.

This tends to discredit the compromises and subtleties of liberal democracy, and to boost the politicians who feed off conspiracy and nativism. Consider the probes into Russia’s election hack by Congress and the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who has just issued his first indictments. After Russia attacked America, Americans ended up attacking each other (see article). Because the framers of the constitution wanted to hold back tyrants and mobs, social media aggravate Washington gridlock. In Hungary and Poland, without such constraints, they help sustain an illiberal, winner-takes-all style of democracy. In Myanmar, where Facebook is the main source of news for many, it has deepened the hatred of the Rohingya, victims of ethnic cleansing.

Social media, social responsibility

What is to be done? People will adapt, as they always do. A survey this week found that only 37% of Americans trust what they get from social media, half the share that trust printed newspapers and magazines. Yet in the time it takes to adapt, bad governments with bad politics could do a lot of harm.

Society has created devices, such as libel, and ownership laws, to rein in old media. Some are calling for social-media companies, like publishers, to be similarly accountable for what appears on their platforms; to be more transparent; and to be treated as monopolies that need breaking up. All these ideas have merit, but they come with trade-offs. When Facebook farms out items to independent outfits for fact-checking, the evidence that it moderates behaviour is mixed. Moreover, politics is not like other kinds of speech; it is dangerous to ask a handful of big firms to deem what is healthy for society. Congress wants transparency about who pays for political ads, but a lot of malign influence comes through people carelessly sharing barely credible news posts. Breaking up social-media giants might make sense in antitrust terms, but it would not help with political speech—indeed, by multiplying the number of platforms, it could make the industry harder to manage.

There are other remedies. The social-media companies should adjust their sites to make clearer if a post comes from a friend or a trusted source. They could accompany the sharing of posts with reminders of the harm from misinformation. Bots are often used to amplify political messages. Twitter could disallow the worst—or mark them as such. Most powerfully, they could adapt their algorithms to put clickbait lower down the feed. Because these changes cut against a business-model designed to monopolise attention, they may well have to be imposed by law or by a regulator.

Social media are being abused. But, with a will, society can harness them and revive that early dream of enlightenment. The stakes for liberal democracy could hardly be higher.

The Human Library Organisation replaces pages with people, Nov 3rd 2017by A.L.

In an attempt to encourage empathy and understanding, “readers” can “check out” an individual to hear their story

Human Library

WHY do we read books? Harper Lee believed that reading was an existential matter, as important to life as breathing. Emily Dickinson claimed books were like vessels to far-off lands. Gustave Flaubert wrote that the only way to tolerate existence was to lose oneself in literature “as in a perpetual orgy”. Whatever one’s reasons for reading, scientists believe that such physical metaphors have a basis in reality: reading is an embodied experience. Words on a page activate sensory neurons in the brain in a way that mirrors what would happen if you were to perform them. The phenomenon is called “grounded cognition”: you don’t just read a book—you touch, taste and smell it. 

By offering different characters’ viewpoints, stories encourage us to empathise. Studies show that this is particularly true of literary fiction, with its focus on relationships and character development. The psychological awareness that we are endowed with after reading a work of fiction can last for several days. Books filled with stock characters and predictable plotlines tend to have the opposite effect, confirming our expectations of others. Reading a work of fiction is therefore like getting to know a person. The more you learn about their stories, the less you “judge them by their cover”. 

This is the motto and idea behind The Human Library Project, an organisation which aims to break down social barriers in much the same way as books do. Launched in Denmark 17 years ago, the project hosts events in libraries where users can “check out” a human for half an hour to hear their stories. “Readers” may ask whatever questions they like, and “renew” their loan if they have more. The “books” are selected from a catalogue of marginalised individuals: refugees, ex-strippers, single mothers, Muslim converts, homeless people, those affected by autism and so on. The project has become an international phenomenon. It has held more than 600 events in over 80 countries, and has established semi-permanent libraries in various locations. 

Yet there is something uncomfortable about “checking out” a “book” from a human catalogue. If the aim of the project is to break down stereotypes, it seems counterintuitive to pick titles from a list of “bestsellers”. It is also painfully patronising. In the main library in Copenhagen, you are asked “to bring back the book in the same shape that you borrowed it” lest you forget that you cannot scuff up a stranger. Ronni Abergel, the founder of the project, jokes that “you are not allowed to take the book home with you, you can’t fold pages or make notes, or bring the book to bed.” It takes the metaphor a degree too far.

Mr Abergel may still be right to state that, in some ways, the Human Library’s “books” are not so different from regular ones. They contain stories, disarm our prejudices and have been persecuted or suppressed throughout history. Earlier this year, an event at the Lenin Library in St Petersburg ran into complications when district administrators requested that certain titles, such as “homosexual”, be removed from the list. There is a different kind of urgency that comes from realising that a person, and not simply a book, is under threat. Valerie Brown, who organised two such events at Wellcome Collection in London, says that at least two “readers” began volunteering for a charity as a result of their conversations with “books”.  

Crucially, the human books do not see themselves as being objectified or demeaned by the comparison. Laerke Hvenegaard, a 22-year-old woman with bipolar disorder, credits the project with helping her to reflect on her illness positively. Adam Meile, a young man with autism, says the other “books” have become like family to him. They are made to feel safe, too: one-on-one meetings with event organisers at Wellcome Collection included consideration of “no-go” questions that the “books” might feel uncomfortable answering. Staff then introduced “readers” to their “books” and ran through question etiquette.

The idea that humans and books are both repositories of information is not new. It is essentially an extension of an oral history tradition that reaches back over thousands of years. In Islam, the hafiz are followers of Muhammed who have memorised the Koran completely. In “Fahrenheit 451” (1953), Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, exiles commit entire books to memory to preserve them in a dystopian world where books are banned and burned. But though the concept may not be wholly new, it has different purchase today. Millions of social media users have become “open books” by spilling their lives and emotions into cyberspace. The Human Library brings stories off the shelf, and asks us to reckon with them face to face. 

Source: The Economist


የትምህርት እድል (Scholarship) ከአርሲ ሴሩ እስከ ኮፐንሀገን ዴንማርክ በእውነተኛ ታሪክ ላይ የተመሰረተ ፍቃዱ ረታ አለማየሁ ሀምሌ 2009 ዓ.ም. ሀዋሳ ኢትዮጵያ



Fikadu Retaይህንን መፅሀፍ ለመፃፍ ከ10 አመት በላይ ዝግጅት ያደረግኩ ሲሆን ለመፃፍም
የተነሳሳሁበት ምክንያት ጥሩ ፀሀፊ ስለሆንኩ ወይም መፅሀፍ በመሸጥ ሀብታም
ለመሆን ሳይሆን ለሀገራችን የጋራ እድገትና የተሻለ ትውልድን ለመፍጠር ሁሉም
የበኩሉን ሊያደርግ ይገባል ከሚል እምነት የተነሳ የሚቻለኝን የመወያያ ሀሳብ
ለልጆቼና ለነገው ትውልድ ለማበርከት ነው፡፡ ይህ መፅሀፍ ለእኔ ማሟሻዬ ነው፤
እናቶቻችን አዲስ የእንጀራ ምጣድ ገዝተው ለመጀመሪያ የሚጋግሩት እንጀራ
እንደማለት ነው፡፡……ገጽ3



Fikadu Reta Alemayehu
School Director
Academic Center of Excellence for Human Nutrition
SNFST, Hawassa University, College of Agriculture, Ethiopia

Email: <fikadureta@gmail.com>



ትንሽ ከ David Lamb “The Africans” – By Surafel Ayele


 The Africans

… እያንዳንዱ የአፍሪካ መሪ የሚሰራው በዘር ነው ፣ የአፍሪካ ኘሬዘዳንቶች ከሀገር መሪነት ይልቅ የጎሳ መሪነት ይበልጥ ይጎትታቸዋል። ለጦርነቶችና ለስልጣን ትግሎች ዋናው ጉዳይ እሱው ነው። 
ስራ፣ የስራ እድገት፣ የከፍተኛ ት/ት እድል ለማግኘት ወሳኝነት አለው። ለወንዝ ልጅ ስራ መስጠት እንደ አድልኦ አይቆጠርም። ለፓለቲካ ሰዎችና ለከፍተኛ የጦር መኮነኖች የቅርብ ረዳቶቻቸውንና አማካሪዎቻቸውን እንዲሁም ጠባቂዎቻቸውን ከራሳቸው ጎሳ ማድረግ የተለመደ ስለሆነ እንደወገናዊነት አይቆጠርም። እንደውም ይህን ማድረጉ የስልጣን ዋስትና ሆኖ ቀጣይነቱን ያረጋግጣል።

የላይቤሪያው ፕሬዘዳንት የነበሩት የዊልያም ቶልበርት ዘርማንዘሮች የነበራቸውን ስልጣን እንመልከት።

የቶልበርት ወንድም ፍራንክ የመወሰኛው ም/ቤት ፕሬዘዳንት፣ ሌላው ወንደደማቸው ስቴፈን የገንዘብ ሚኒስተር፣ እህታቸው ሉሲያ የቤንቶል ከተማ ከንቲባ፣ ወንድ ልጃቸው አቤ አምባሳደር፣ ሴት ልጃቸው ዌልሄል የፕሬዘዳንቱ ቤተመንግስት ሃኪም፣ ሌላዋ ሴት ልጃቸው ክርስቲና የት/ት ሚኒስትር ፣ የእህታቸው ልጅ ቱላ የቤተመንግስቱ ምግብ ዘርፍ ሃላፊ፣ ሶስት የወንድማቸው ልጆች በፕሬዘዳንቱ ፅ/ቤት ምክትል ሚኒስትር፣ በሮማ ኤምባሲ የእርሻ ጉዳይ አማካሪ፣ የብሄራዊ ባንክ ምክትል ገዢ፣ አራቱ የልጆቹ ባለቤቶች የመከላከያ ሚኒስትር ፣ የኢሚግሬሽን ኮሚሽነርና የላይቤሪያ አየር መንግድ ቦርድ አባል፣ የሶስቱ አህቶቻቸው ባሎች አንዱ በጊኒ አምባሳደር ፣አንዱ የምክር ቤት አባል፣ ሌላው የሞንሮቢያ ከንቲባ ነበሩ።

ከሾሙም አይቀር!

The Time of the Intellectual-Activists Has Come Saturday, November 04, 2017 By Creston Davis, Truthout | Op-Ed

Graduate students walking across the word debt
 The time is now for intellectuals to rise up and create spaces in which new futures can be created — without putting students in harm’s way — through ourselves, and not the 1 percent. (Photo: Garry Waters / Getty Images)

A crucial element of change happens when people realize that the current state of things no longer works. Change is a fundamental aspect of all areas of life — growth requires change. But institutions that benefit from keeping things the same have a vested interest in resisting change. The more powerful the institution, the more it seeks to resist change. Even the threat of change is a threat to powerful economic and social institutions because change shifts perspective and imagines a different world.

There are many examples of how established institutions resist change. Take the example of religion. The Christian church in both its Protestant and Catholic variants is notorious for resisting change, in part because it claims to hold absolute truths about the meaning of life, and so the act of challenging the authority of the church is to threaten the very foundations of its monopoly on the absolute.

The more in debt a citizen becomes, the less likely they will participate in local democratic processes.

Another example is the dogmatic belief of a “free-market” economic ideology that sides with privatization of goods and services for the 1 percent, over a public and shared commons for the 99 percent. Financial institutions like banks, insurance companies and hedge funds, private corporations like mainstream media, even the European Union and the United States are institutions that have greatly benefited from this neoliberal economic ideological monopoly. The ability of these powerful institutions to resist change cannot be overstated. One basic way for institutions to maintain power is two-fold: (a) by undermining resistance, free speech and critical thinking; and (b) creating legal forms of labor coercion.  

One recent such form of coercion is citizen debt. Compare the last year of Jimmy Carter’s administration, when US household debt was at 47 percent vis-à-vis GDP, versus 98 percent in 2008 at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. There’s a very simple correlation between indebtedness and the implementation of neoliberalism beginning with Ronald Reagan. The upshot is equally simple: By disciplining citizens into massive debt, students are far less likely to resist and be critical of authority. Furthermore, the more in debt a citizen becomes, the less likely they will participate in local democratic processes. The more in debt you are, the longer your work hours become, and the less time you have to participate in civic debates and actions. Said differently, the chronic indebtedness of citizens reproduces and reinforces the greatest form of institutional power in the United States that, according to author and professor David Harvey, decisively sides with corporations over the general welfare of citizens. Indeed, the power of neoliberalism is so pervasive that even the president of the Magistrates’ Union of Belgium, Manuela Cadelli argues that, “Neoliberalism is a species of fascism.”

The classroom is a microcosm of how society should function at the macro level.

From the perspective of the basic driver of society, namely the economic logic of neoliberalism, it is not difficult to observe how other social institutions have wielded and strengthened their claim on power. We can think of how politicians in Washington are fed by Wall Street and corporate interests, as Bernie Sanders pointed out in his campaign for the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton. Think, too, of the National Rifle Association’s manipulation of politicians in Washington that puts society in preventable violent acts of mass killings. As a result, increased mass killings strengthen the misguided argument that local police forces need to be militarized to control the threat of mass killings, and this further jeopardizes critical peaceful resistance necessary for a healthy democracy.  

To restate my claim: Power resists social change. If the rules of the game are based on a logic and practice of keeping the citizenry permanently in debt, then the less likely those citizens will be to question how social power works and work to change that.

The Toxic Higher Education Scam

I am an educator, and part of my responsibility is social — global, even. As a professor, it’s my basic responsibility to recruit, nurture and shape students in order to pass knowledge on from one generation to the next. Inherent in this responsibility is to ensure that truths are acquired, adjusted, accurate and adapted in order to empower citizens with an apparatus of critical reasoning and civic discourse. To my mind, the classroom is a microcosm of how society should function at the macro level. Years ago, while teaching at a good private liberal arts college, I noticed that students were reporting to me not only how deeply in student loan debt they were, but also how they were unable to acquire employment commensurate with their level of education. More complaints began piling up, both in frequency and in severity, to the point where, as a professor, I could no longer ignore them. This prompted me to research the root causes of a situation that, when examined, increasingly looked toxic and potentially verging on a crisis for the younger generation. Based on the extensive data I have researched on trends in higher education, I realized my students were being systematically placed into harm’s way through coercive indebtedness.

It is true: I could have continued ignoring the plight of my students’ debt and employment crisis, but if a professor takes their responsibility seriously, not only relative to the content and material they teach, but also the context within which teaching happens, as well as the negative effects of said practices, then, at a certain point, decisions and actions need to be made that address the total effects of one’s profession. And this includes the systematic, societal effects of higher education and its potential harm on students’ lives. Education isn’t just about passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, it also includes the responsibility of how the system functions. The current higher education system directly harms students by forcing them to rack up astronomical debt to banks and other financial institutions, including their own college or university. American student loan debt is now over $1.5 trillion.

The student loan and underemployment crisis in the US preys on the necessity for students to acquire an education in order to rise above poverty or maintain a middle-class lifestyle.

The younger generation, especially from the middle, working and poor classes, have always been told that if you get an education and work hard, you will climb the social ladder. But what worked well in previous generations works far less well (if at all) in today’s toxic neoliberal context; indeed today’s younger generation may be the first to earn less than their parents’ generation.

The basic problem is that students increasingly have to resort to massive student loans just to be able to access even less-expensive educational institutions, such as community colleges, and they do so without being fully aware of the dire and daunting consequences of what it means to enter into massive debt for a degree that increasingly has less economic earning power, not to mention less opportunities for employment.

If you were to honestly advise each student about the real economic consequences of how a university education actually functions with its ill effects on their own economic and employment outlook, my guess is that you would see a massive drop in student enrollments. Said differently, the student loan and underemployment crisis in the US preys on the necessity for students to acquire an education in order to rise above poverty or maintain a middle-class lifestyle. The only issue is that the consequences of getting out of poverty (or even maintaining a middle-class lifestyle) actually reproduce the very crisis itself. In light of this, professors need to seriously reflect on how their position in a toxic industry like higher education directly condones and even reproduces a grave injustice to the younger generation. The contradiction is clear: being part of the toxic, and by extension, unjust system of higher education may do more harm to students than good and it’s a question that merits serious reflection. And this is not to include the spike in tuition costs and even how a tenured position directly vitiates against the overworked and underpaid adjunct and non-tenure track professors that today make up an average of 70 percent of faculty.

Consequently, there is a moral mandate for professors to care for their students on all levels including the systemic, structural and economic level. To me, this means that professors must take a stance against the system as it currently exists because of the harm it imposes on students financially and eventually, by extension, psychologically.

This basic responsibility as an educator soon came into conflict with me being part of the system of higher education itself. I could have ignored the problem, rationalizing it by thinking I was superior and skilled enough to justify my position as an associate professor, but that reasoning is the same employed by the elite 1 percent; they are superior and thus justified. This reasoning fails, too, on the level of one’s professional responsibilities to society as a professor who professes truths in the face of powerful toxic and anti-democracy institutions. That’s our job.

As a result of confronting the toxic nature of higher education and the harm it’s inflicting on students and society as a whole, I began dialoguing with other academics and intellectuals who felt similarly. Through these conversations, which lasted a few years, what emerged was a real need for intellectuals and professors to organize an alternative teaching space that would recruit, nurture and assist students holistically, not just within the classroom, but also as human beings living in capitalism.

The result was that over 100 leading intellectuals founded the nonprofit, debt-free school, The Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). That was four years ago, and just recently, we opened a debt-free program in Ireland that offers BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees in the interdisciplinary field of social and political thought. By drawing on available technologies, we are able to bring together students and researchers from all over the world with leading visionaries, philosophers, social scientists and eco-theorists without forcing students into harm’s way through massive debt to banks. In this way, we’re able to both teach how ideas and truths can assist in the process of empowerment and liberation on the personal level, and do so in a way that keeps students out of harm’s way on a social and economic level.

The GCAS Research Institute Ireland is the first program in modern history offering debt-free interdisciplinary and applied degrees in social and political thought that was founded, organized and operated by intellectuals. It was not founded by a person in the elite wealthy class, but by hard-working, conscientious intellectuals who care about truths and how those truths are passed on into the future. We have worked with intellectuals like Lewis Gordon, Oliver Stone, Luce Irigaray, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Alain Badiou, Henry Giroux, Adrian Parr and Richard Wolff, just to name a few.

The time is now for intellectuals to rise up and create spaces in which new futures can be created — without putting students in harm’s way — through ourselves, and not the 1 percent. Let’s think new and better futures together, from the environment to healthy food, and from clean water to sustainable green energy.

Intellectuals of the world unite.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.



Creston Davis is the founder and president of The Global Center for Advanced Studies. He is a professor of philosophy at the GCAS Research Institute, Ireland and has published several books and worked with Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Oliver Stone, Luce Irigaray and Jean-Luc Nancy, and published many articles in philosophy. He co-edits the book series Insurrections, published by Columbia University Press.

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