Obama’s Afro-mance: A personal reflection by Irungu Houghton

Duncan Green - August 7, 2015

Irungu is an old mate and a redoubtable activist (this post came in late because he ‘Was off school protecting‎’ – how cool is that?). He was also two seats away from The Man during Obama’s visit to Kenya last week. Here are some thoughts. The excitement began at least three months before Airforce 1 landed on a spruced up and highly secured Jomo Kenyatta …

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The Obama Doctrine – where is the US going on development and diplomacy?

admin - January 25, 2011

Government reports don’t come with much less enticing titles than the US ‘Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review’ but as is often the way, a boring title signals important content, setting out big and in some cases excellent plans for US foreign and development policy. The director of the review, Anne Marie Slaughter, presented the review at Chatham House in London last week – here are some …

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The US gets serious on the Millennium Development Goals

admin - August 2, 2010

Climate change legislation may have been blown out of the water in Congress, but Barack Obama is still moving forward on reforming the chaotic US aid system (see previous posts here). On Friday the Administration released the US plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, ahead of the UN’s September ‘high level event’ on the MDGs. Two paras caught my eye: “In September 2009, President Obama …

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Links I liked: mobiles v coke; Obama’s Mandela moment etc

admin - January 23, 2009

Are mobiles the new Coca Cola? Mobile phones are held up as the most promising aspect of new technology in terms of helping poor people improve their lives, but some new research suggests people are cutting back on food and other essentials to pay for the all important status symbol. See here for a summary of the research and discussion. A promising new website called …

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What might Obama do on US Aid Policy?

admin - December 27, 2008

By the time I got to the US (a week after the election), euphoria seemed to have given way to the strange interregnum between presidents. I found a vast gossip machine on who gets what job in the new administration (7000 jobs are up for grabs), and a lingering underswell of pride and anticipation, laced with concern at inflated expectations (not confined to the US …

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US elections: killer facts, what happens now? And Palin the poet

admin - December 26, 2008

The December issue of my favourite current affairs magazine, Prospect, has some great analysis (laced with whimsy) of the election and transition. Top billing goes to an insightful assessment of Obama’s likely direction by Michael Lind. Lind cautions against euphoria, drawing on the already over-used comparison with FDR in predicting that Obama’s first term will mostly have to be devoted to dealing with the economic crisis. Sorting …

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How did the book go down in Obamerica?

admin - December 25, 2008

Just got back exhausted from an intense two week tour of the US organized by the hyper-efficient Kristen Prince at Oxfam America. Highlights included an afternoon on Capitol Hill in West Wing Wonderland discussing the book with Congressional staffers, big and enthusiastic turnouts at the Gates Foundation, Northeastern, Georgetown and Brandeis Universities and the World Bank (where we broke our sales record), a presentation to …

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What has Obama said about aid, development and climate change?

admin - December 10, 2008

I’m in the US for a couple of weeks to promote the book round universities and thinktanks (details here). But an added bonus is to experience the new mood in Obamerica. I won’t add to the mountain of op-eds and blogs on the global and historic significance of seeing a black family in the White House. Or to the gigabytes of ‘advice’ on what the …

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