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World Policy Newsletter, Week of September 18th

Around the World

President Raúl Castro announced the release of over 3,000 prisoners in anticipation of Pope Francis’s impending visit to Cuba. Yet, as Lawrence Gutman argues, recent political and diplomatic shifts will challenge the Cuban leadership’s ability to manage its own human rights narrative.

In South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry has proposed a controversial cap on interest rates, particularly for unsecured loans. Faith Kairie examines both sides of this debate and its impact on the microfinance sector.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, perhaps more threatening to the country’s stability than the Islamic State is a new wave of protests demanding an end to corruption in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government. Zayd Alisa questions whether the new premier’s reform proposals are a genuine response to the political unrest or a covert attempt to solidify control of the Marja Shia political bloc.

Finally, in this week’s episode of World Policy On Air, chef-turned-political scientist Ronald Ranta examines the world through a “gastro-national” lens, where political differences arise in the form of cultural custody battles over a dish’s provenance. The food fights highlighted here stretch to some of the furthest corners of the international community, responding to disparate societal and economic pressures, but at their core they share a common cause — the defense of national pride.

 

Around the Institute

World Policy Institute is pleased to announce it will be partnering with The Economist on its Cuba Summit in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 3. To date, foreign businesses operating in Cuba have faced many restrictions, which have prevented them from responding quickly to emerging opportunities. Additionally, a shift in U.S.-Cuban relations gives a further boost to Cuba’s integration with the global economy, opening a new frontier for international companies. With in-depth insight and analysis and a distinctly global perspective, the Cuba Summit will explore the most pressing issues facing potential investors in Cuba. Hear from Economist editors, senior leaders, and those most familiar with Cuba to learn how to navigate the short- and long-term risks and opportunities of doing business there. Save $400 on the standard rate when you register with our special code: WPI400. Sign up here.

Food Fight,” the fall issue of World Policy Journal, is now on newsstands. From the expanding global waistline to the relationship between food and cultural identity, the magazine explores some of the most pressing culinary matters of our time.

Book Releases

Elmira Bayrasli’s new book, From the Other Side of the world: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places, was released last week. Profiling seven entrepreneurs in seven countries, Bayrasli explains how the next Steve Jobs is just as likely to come from Lagos as he is from Silicon Valley. On Tuesday September 22, Bayrasli will speak at a private event hosted by the Turkish Philanthropy Fund about her new book. To RSVP, click here.

 

William Powers makes the next stop on his book tour for New Slow City in Boston, Massachusetts next Monday Sept. 21. His book documents his sustainable, “slow” living approach to one of the busiest cities in the world: New York. Register here to attend the Boston event and click here for complete tour listings.

Fellow Updates

Khadija Sharife and John Grobler’s article in World Policy Journal‘s Winter 2013/14 issue on Kimberley’s Illicit Process is a finalist for the Global Shining Light Award, a unique prize honoring investigative journalism in a developing country. The winners will be announced and presented at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference this Oct. 10 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Jonathan Cristol explains to Middle East Eye the prospects for a political transition in Syria, as well as the implications of Russia’s military buildup in the war-torn nation. Cristol also discusses with Al Jazeera the debate regarding Syrian refugees’ admittance to the United States.

Patricia DeGennaro will be a panelist at the Sept. 28 New York event “The Nuclear Deal and Future of US-Iran Relations,” co-hosted by the American Iranian Council and Marymount Manhattan College. The event is currently sold out, but click here to join the waitlist.

James H. Nolt writes for TheStreet on the public appeal of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

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[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

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