Published Opinions

Submitted from Students Worldwide

PHOTO VIA UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SCHOOL

Question: What Areas of our Education Need to be Reformed Most?

Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline: Written by Alan Gao

For centuries, societies have believed in the power of education. Today, we still believe that an effective education system can solve deep-rooted societal issues, such as the cycle of poverty and overburdened prisons. This belief has translated into legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in the United States. However, the existence of the school-to-prison pipeline seems to contradict these long-standing beliefs.

Harsh, zero-tolerance disciplinary policies that push students out of the classroom lead to an increased likelihood that misbehaving students are introduced into the criminal justice system. Many schools, especially those in urban, low-income areas, have implemented strict measures against misbehaving students, including police presence and automatic punishments. These measures have result...

DAVID CRANE VIA LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

Question:What is the most effective way to reduce sexual violence?

Educate Everyone on the Basics: Written by Carolina Gonzalez, New York

The term sexual violence can refer to crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, to name a few. People of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and appearances can become victims of sexual violence. Sexual violence has become a prominent and rampant issue in our society today. Especially now that more and more individuals are opening up about their experiences with sexual violence. Even celebrities such as Kesha, Lady Gaga, Terry Crews, and Aly Raisman are opening up about their experiences with sexual violence. There are also celebrities on the other side of sexual violence crimes such as Harvey Weinstein and Melanie Martinez. Recently, it seems like a never ending amount of victims of sexual violence are telling their stories and showing other victims of sexual violence that they are not suffer...

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Question: What is the most effective means of reducing (rural) poverty?

The Case for Universal Basic Income: Written by Emma Wennberg, California

In many countries, governments have set up complicated systems to alleviate poverty, including food stamps, subsidized housing, systems of earned income tax credit (EITC), among many others. While these programs aid in poverty reduction, one of the most effective ways of alleviating poverty is deceptively simple: give every citizen a check each month.

The universal basic income (UBI), also known as the basic income or unconditional basic income, appears to be a too-simple solution to poverty in which everyone receives a no-strings-attached stipend each month. The program is also seemingly less progressive than some other poverty-reduction policies, as it is a flat income–everyone gets the same amount, independent on your earnings or other quantifiers. However, this equality in the stipend may be more politically palatabl...

PHOTO VIA GW LAW

Over the past few weeks, the Bridge the Divide community has focused on the role of religion in modern society through multiple lenses. In this room for debate, ambassadors weigh in on what they think the relationship between religion and state should be.

Question: To What Extent Should Religion Influence the State?

Secularism Should not Conflict with Freedom: written by Lucy Arundell, Australia

As the West becomes increasingly secular, discussions around the separation between religion and state have become more important. For most of human history, any kind of leadership and government has been strongly characterized by religion. The ancient Athenians created the world’s first democracy, while their leaders frequently referred to signs and portents from the gods to validate their decisions. Religion has gone hand and hand with leadership and government since the beginning of organised society. But what is the place of religion in government in our modern era?

Countries ac...

Question: How should countries address the Syrian Refugee Crisis?

Creating International Emergency Panels: Written by Dalya Al Masri, Canada

The Syrian refugee crisis began long before it sparked attention from international media outlets. To fully understand the complexity of the refugee crisis, one must look to the source of where it all began. Syria has been engaged in a civil war between the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, and several opposing forces. Entering the seventh year of war, over 500,000 casualties have been claimed, and more than half the country's’ population (approx. 12 million) have been dispelled from their homes and forced to relocate.

The conflict commenced in 2011, influenced by an Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, each of whom saw their presidents overthrown. When Syrians began peacefully protesting the Assad Regime, President Assad ordered the mass killing of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators and imprisoned others. Lack of freedom, violation of hu...

August 16, 2017

As impossible as it may seem, the issue of the media's role in politics continues to grow more contentious with each new issue that arises. Over the past few weeks, our community has engaged in thoughtful conversation over whether or not this powerful presence is a benefit to society through its ability to inform the public and keep politicians accountable, or counterproductive to the political climate through spreading bias and misinformation, intentionally or unintentionally. Here's a few highlights from what people had to say.

From the Op-eds

The media’s hard approach on the government is vital and should be supported. Important social advocacy campaigns would have had no impact if the media had not played its part. From anti-tobacco campaigns to issues like climate change and global warming, all have been put up by today’s media, to make the common man aware of his world. With the technological advancements, the effects of media have increased to a whole new level. With apps, an...

Question: Does the Media have a Positive Impact on Society?

The Impact of Media on Today's Modern World Cannot be Undermined: Written by Hussein Usmanrch, Pakistan

In the recent years media has faced extreme criticism and has been a subject of a huge debate. With the Trump government’s clear views against the media due to its hard approach on his policies and ideas as one example, it is clear that  many political leaders don’t go well with such mainstream criticism. Analyzing today’s societies reveals that the influence of media has become greater than ever. From social media platforms, whose authenticity can be questionable to mainstream media channels and programs that are run by seasoned journalists and are backed by intensive research, we can easily comprehend that a broad spectrum exists when it comes to identifying its role as either positive or negative.  

Let’s probe in a bit deeper on why today's free media is the biggest accountability agent, that creates a p...

This week, members of the Bridge the Divide community weighed in with their thoughts one of the most quickly growing threats to national security. It was also the first week with the format including a roundtable on the same topic. As such there was plenty to talk about. Here are some of the highlights from what readers though the response should be.

From the Op-eds:

"The abuse of human rights is the primary reason for us to intervene in North Korean politics, while the secondary reason is to maintain the balance of power in South-East Asia. The strained diplomatic ties between North Korea and South Korea cause the exploitation of millions of innocent lives, and the tense relations between China and North Korea are important calls to action for the international community. A revolution is needed in order for North Korea to regain its basic fundamental rights, and for this revolution to take place, leaders have to wake up a revolutionary spirit among the international community."

-Kushboo...

IMAGE VIA CNN

Question: Should the US involve North Korea?

Ending a Crisis and Restoring Balance: Written by Khushboo Shah, India

The territory of North Korea is a space of military containment and ideological restrictions. A nation built on a watch-dog routine; it requires each and every citizen to be profoundly self-reliant. The only irony is that, the very ‘democratic’ North Korean idea of self-reliance interprets to Juche; an ideology which authorities promote as jingoistic activism, wherein the citizens are forced to live in complete submission to national sovereignty and unquestionable totalitarianism.

While the North Korean regime believes that its practices are contributing to international revolutionary thought, the changing 21st century demographics have established that the isolated 38th parallel and the brutalities suffered by its people are alarming international issues. By early 2016, it was clear that even the United Nations Security Council was concerned as it stressed imme...

Question: Which side is right in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Pro-Israel, written by Noah Redlich, California 

There is an overwhelming consensus in the United States that it is crucial to have a pro-Israel foreign policy, but what exactly would that look like? This question is a source of huge contention that divides Jewish communities, political groups such as J Street and AIPAC, and ultimately, Washington’s politicians. Should we be more assertive in the Middle East? Can we afford to criticize Israel’s government yet still remain their strongest ally? By expressing concern about Palestinian rights and Israeli settlements, do we perpetuate anti-Israel and ultimately anti-Semitic sentiments around the world?  

For almost two decades, neoconservatives in both parties have argued for regime change in the Middle East, whether it be in Iraq, in Libya, or in Syria. Hawks like Dick Cheney, William Kristol, and John McCain have repeatedly stressed the need to implant American-style democ...

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