Blog Archives

The Savory Side of El Salvador

UNA-GB’s Young Professionals came together last week for a taste of a rich and historical culture at the “Taste Of El Salvador” event.  Close to 30 young professionals gathered at Mi Pueblito restaurant in East Boston to learn about the culture, history and politics of the Central American country and enjoy an authentic Salvadoran three course meal complete with Salvadoran beverages.

The event welcomed a few special guests to share with the group some cultural background of El Salvador. The Consul General of El Salvador for New England, José Edgardo Alemán Molina, expressed through his diplomatic representation the hope and dreams of El Salvadorans both in their homeland and in communities around the US. As mentioned, Boston has one of the largest immigrant Salvadoran populations in the world.  “While I am not the mayor, I still feel it is appropriate for me to say: Welcome to East Boston”  the Consul General said, adding that 18% of the neighborhood’s population is Salvadoran, East Boston’s largest ethnic population.

Following the Consul General’s remarks was Ms. Zulma Romero, la Reina Carnaval de San Miguel Boston 2010-2011, who shared her experience as a Reina with the group.  A resident of Worcester, MA, Ms. Romero will compete with Reinas from around the world to earn the title of Carnaval Queen of The Carival de San Miguel, an important part of Salvadoran culture and the second largest Carnival in the world.

Also there to share experiences were a number of Returning Peace Corp Volunteers, who had served in El Salvador.  Joe Dizoglio, the coordinator of the evening’s Taste Of event and RPCV spoke about his experiences, and shared mementos and photos, as well as offered up extensive knowledge about the menu for the evening, which included pupusas, Carne Asada, and Empanadas as a few of the samplings (complete menu here).  It was a wonderful way to honor the more than two years of service and community building with the Salvadoran people.

The event was a success, through the sharing of the stories and cultural lessons from each of the presentations, and the incredible meal and discussion experienced among the young professionals.  Check out more pictures from this event now!

Stay tuned for more “Taste Of” and “On-Tap” events coming up! Every other month, the UNA-Greater Boston Young Professionals group meets for a “Taste Of” event at ethnic restaurants in the area to not only enjoy specialty dishes but also to increase awareness about other parts of the world.

-Nate Tassanari, YP Chair

Egypt Today: What is to come next?

Lately the news has been full of stories from Egypt. As protesters celebrate their liberation from their longtime leader, Hosni Mubarak, they gathered at a marble memorial set up in Cairo’s Tahrir Square today, to mourn the victims of the clashes of the last three weeks. Some placed flowers next to the pictures.

In less than three weeks, Egypt had overthrown a ruler of 30 years, witnessed the military dissolve parliament and helped fuel anti-government protests in Yemen and Algeria. However, as demands for change ripple through the region, many Egyptians are trying to hash out what comes next.

The biggest question is what will happen to Egypt? Demonstrators had demanded changes such as a repeal of Egypt’s emergency law and the implementation of a civilian body but this has been replaced by a military body – to oversee Egypt’s transition to a new government.

Many are demanding better pays especially those who are working for the National Bank and the police force.

However, Egypt has to struggle with the economic problems that fueled the revolution including massive youth unemployment and economic underdevelopment. The demonstrations virtually shut down Egypt’s economy, costing it vital tourism dollars as well.

The military on the other hand are urging Egyptians to stop protesting and return to work as a lack of production will be more harmful to the country’s economy.

What do you think is next for Egypt? Stay tuned with us for more updates on Egypt and what is to come next!  For those in the Boston area, come to our YPIC On Tap event tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at Kennedy’s Midtown, where we will be discussing the future of Egypt and it’s impact on foreign relations with other globally-minded young professionals over some libations.  Find out more here: http://conta.cc/eGGQgC

And join us!

-NaEun

YPIC Annual Meeting

On August 10, Young Professionals for International Cooperation (YPIC), held its annual meeting for 2010. The meeting started off with members and prospective members discussing their personal backgrounds, international experiences and interests over pizza and drinks. With the onset of the meeting, Dan Sullivan, YPIC Chair, gave a brief history of the United Nations and YPIC. He also explained that the goal of YPIC to promote increased awareness of social issues and of the United Nations among those between the ages of 18 and 40.

Other leadership committee members including Nate Tassinari spoke about recent events YPIC has held (the Spring Panel Discussion on Fair Trade) and its next event, Taste of Russia, a dinner at a Russian restaurant in Brookline in mid-September to discuss Russia-related topics and to enjoy great food with YPIC members. Lastly, questions were answered and ideas for next year were discussed.

YPIC welcomes you to become a member, attend events, and apply to join the leadership committee.

For more information on how to get involved with YPIC, check out YPIC’s website, blog and Facebook page! Or just send an e-mail to YPIC@unagb.org with your contact information to receive YPIC event announcements and updates.

-Christina

Fair Trade Panel for Young Professionals

“We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. We do not finish breakfast without being dependent on more than half of the world. When we arise in the morning, we go into the bathroom where we reach for a sponge which is provided for us by a Pacific Islander. We reach for soap that is created for us by a Frenchman. The towel is provided by a Turk. Then at the table we drink coffee which is provided for us by a South American, or tea by a Chinese, or cocoa by a West African. Before we leave for our jobs we are beholden to more than half the world.”

These are the words of Martin Luther King Jr in his book Strength to Love and were reiterated last week at the Fair Trade Panel for Young Professionals hosted by UNA-GB’s Young Professionals for International Cooperation (YPIC) and co-sponsored by Boston Faith and Justice Network. The panel included speakers from Boston Faith and Justice Network, Proxy Apparel, a sweatshop free apparel company and Autonomie Project, a fair trade apparel and footwear company.

Even more so than in Dr. King’s time, we are exposed to global products and processes in our everyday lives. Whether it is the food that travels thousands of miles to arrive at the local grocery store or the garments that are cut, sewed, dyed, embroidered, and packaged around the world before arriving at the nearest shopping mall, the everyday products we buy have global connections and can significantly affect producers’ lives.

Last week, the YPIC panel discussed how audience members can make more informed decisions as consumers that will improve the lives of the producers: buying sweatshop-free items and Fair Trade certified items, which may guarantee consumers that fair wages and labor conditions were involved with the production process.

In essence, your simple everyday purchases can help or discourage trade justice in the world and can mean food on the table for a farm worker’s family. The panelists made it clear that our purchases do have global consequences and it is up to us to demand Fair Trade products in the supermarket and in our shopping malls. One way to care is to provide only Fair Trade items in your place of work. This is a part of a greater movement by Fair Trade Boston to declare Boston a Fair Trade City in 2010.

A simple way I personally plan to be more proactive about my purchases by asking store managers where products are made, if the products are Fair Trade and whether the products were made in non-sweatshop conditions. Only if we take action can we make a difference to more just production practices.

The Impact of Fair Trade Apparel Video

Christina