Why Host a World Savvy Salon?
In a world where media tends to focus more on celebrities than on pressing global issues, it is challenging to find reliable sources of quality international news coverage and opportunities to discuss the meaning and impact of global events and trends.
This is ironic, given that we are at a time in which our lives are inexorably connected to the lives of people around the world in ways previously unimaginable. Even so, American mainstream media coverage of international affairs has declined. The result is a public which lacks the capacity to meaningfully discuss world affairs around the dinner table and, by extension, around the negotiating table in halls of power as global problem solvers.
The World Savvy Salon is a forum for individuals to convene and discuss these pressing issues. Salons are book clubs for the 21st Century. The Monitor provides you with the content, context and tools to organize a Salon in your school or community. By focusing on one global issue or region each month, the Monitor and Salons are designed for participants to:
- Inform themselves about critical world affairs
- Gather with a group of curious global citizens to discuss the issues, challenges and solutions on the world stage and in your own backyard.
- Host a dinner party with a purpose: to educate, to inspire, to promote global citizenship.
Salon participants bring diverse perspectives and backgrounds– from history, science, technology, psychology, law, finance, art, education, politics, community action, and parenting – to bear on each conversation. All sides of important global issues can be dissected; films and books are recommended; and future collaborations devised, from work and travel to philanthropy and activism. Salons can spark brainstorming and debate over how to talk to others and our children about the world.
Be part of a new movement: the book club, reinvented. Start a World Savvy Salon today using the World Savvy Monitor:
- Each member of your Salon subscribes online to the World Savvy Monitor. Individual subscriptions are $75/year (per month, less than the cost of a hardback book). Register your Salon with World Savvy and all members receive a 20% discount on subscriptions.
- Members receive and read the bi-monthly edition and convene for a World Savvy Salon to discuss the latest Monitor issue.
- Use the World Savvy Monitor website for Salon Guides with discussion questions to spark conversation.
- Invite speakers with expertise in various areas relevant to Monitor topics to present to the group – these could be experts, photographers, activists, or just people who have traveled worldwide or are particularly passionate or well-informed about world affairs.
- Engage in community education, advocacy, volunteerism, activism, and/or philanthropy around the issues raised.
- Find ways to bring your children into the discussion and engage their peers.
- Communicate with your schools and workplaces about how global citizenship can be nurtured and expressed in these settings.
Possible Discussion Questions
- Discuss the costs and benefits associated with human migration -- for the country of origin, the country of destination, and the immigrant himself. How are these “balance sheets” or cost-benefit analyses impacted by larger global trends such as economic cycles and international terrorism? How do these larger trends impact migrant flows? How do these larger trends affect policymaking around migration?
- Consider the impact of different types of immigration on the US at the local, state, and national levels. Is coherent policymaking possible?
- What do you think will be the effect on US immigration flows and immigration policies from the current global financial crisis?
- What about a country like China that experiences large internal labor migration? What effect do you think the current economic slowdown will have on rural and urban China?
- The universal human rights of both forced and economic migrants are often at odds with the options open to them in a world of nation states: the universal right to leave one’s country is not accompanied by a universal right to enter another. Can this ever be reconciled? Is the concept of transnational citizenship compatible with the current international order? Why or why not?
- Globalization has created unprecedented levels of mobility with regard to goods, services, and capital across international borders. How does the restriction of labor mobility fit into this picture? Consider the fact that some interest groups in developed countries are opposed to both immigrant labor and the offshoring of unskilled jobs - how are these views in conflict with each other in the global economy as it exists today? Are there alternatives?
- Consider the demographic crises looming for Western Europe and Russia in terms of population decline and skewed dependency ratios. Is immigration the answer?
- If migration is partly a function of economic inequality in the world, how does international development factor into the immigration debate?
Books and Readings
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
In this astonishing story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to find his mother in the United States. Good for high school students.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel. It depicts the journey of one man, threatened by dark shapes that cast shadows on his family's life, to a new country. The only writing is in an invented alphabet, which creates the sensation immigrants must feel when they encounter a strange new language and way of life.
Becoming American: Personal Essays by First Generation Immigrant Women by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
This collection of essays explores the journeys these women undertake as new citizens, in defining themselves, navigating the delicate balance between their old and new cultures, and learning to “become American”.
Atlas of Human Migration by Russell King
This reference book, filled with narratives, maps, and timelines, explains how humans have constantly overcome environmental and physical barriers and adapted to new social, political and environmental realities. From an estimated original 10,000 to 20,000 individuals, the world population has expanded to more than 6 billion, and this book describes the spread of these people around the world.
Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy. How does globalization disrupt poor societies and create economic refugees?
Uprooted tells the stories of three immigrants to the United States from Bolivia, Haiti and the Philippines. Each story reveals the way in which global institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as multinational corporations, erode people's capacity to survive in their home countries. Available for purchase online.
The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
This National Geographic/PBS documentary series, and the book by evolutionary biologist Spencer Wells, is an extensive global odyssey tracking the Y chromosome and illuminating the genetic and migration history of human beings from East Africa to the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Wells demystifies cutting-edge population genetics with accessible explanations and an exciting trek around the world visiting an array of different cultural groups. The work answers long-held questions about where humans come from, what accounts for human diversity, how we got from one place to another, and, most startling of all, how racial distinctions have no basis in biology.
The New Americans
From the producers and director of Hoop Dreams, The New Americans captures the lives of contemporary immigrants in all their complexities. The series portrays ordinary people, engaged in the day-to-day struggles of earning a living, raising a family, and leading productive lives, while struggling with differences of race, language, and culture. The three-tape boxed set features the eight episodes featured on national public television.
Put today’s patterns of human migration into a historical context by watching this incredible 7 minute video from Population Connection. The video follows the last 2000 years of population growth on the planet by using dots distributed across the globe.
God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
Orphaned by a tumultuous civil war and traveling barefoot across the sub-Saharan desert, the film profiles 3 boys who were among the 25,000 “Lost Boys” (ages 3 to 13) who fled villages, formed surrogate families and sought refuge from famine, disease, wild animals and attacks from rebel soldiers. The “Lost Boys” traveled together for five years and against all odds crossed into the UN’s refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. A journey’s end for some, it was only the beginning for these three boys, who along with 3800 other young survivors, were selected to re-settle in the United States.
Websites and Multimedia
International Organization for Migration
The International Organization for Migration is the leading inter-governmental agency working with governments and non-governmental organization to manage global migration through the promotion of legal and policy guidance and advocacy of migrants’ rights. They provide a wide array of resources, including publications and links to current events and basic background on migration around the world.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is the United Nations agency mandated to protect and serve refugees by providing direct relief services and assisting in repatriation and resettlement negotiations. In addition to a staff stationed worldwide, the UNHCR is represented by Goodwill Ambassadors who are typically international artists or celebrities.
Migration Policy Institute
The Migration Policy Institute is a U.S. non-partisan think tank dedicated to studying global migration issues. They also put out an informative online publication The Migration Information Source.
The New Americans
The New Americans Web site offers an online educational adventure for 7th-12th grade students. The site supplements the PBS documentary mini-series, which explores the immigrant experience through the personal stories of immigrants to the United States. Also has links to ESL adaptations.