Category Archives: South America

The Crusader, the Moor, and the Conquistador

Through our research on Latino-Arab relations, we discovered that both continents and cultures have actually much older ties than we thought.

In the following publication, we explore how the confrontation with medieval Islam in Spain shaped the mentalities and actions of the Conquistadores in the Americas.

1492, annus mirabilis – a year of  miracles – at least for the Iberian Christians.

That year, Isabella and Ferdinand, the Christian Monarchs, put an end to the long cycle of the Spanish Reconquista,[1] with the surrender of the last Caliph of Granada. They also expelled the Jews and launched the Conquista of the “Indies”- what was to become the Americas.

The farewells of King Boabdil at Granada, Alfred Dehodencq (1822-1882). The spot from which Muhammad XII looked for the last time on Granada is known as "the Moor's last sigh".

The farewells of King Boabdil at Granada, Alfred Dehodencq (1822-1882). The spot from which Muhammad XII looked for the last time on Granada is known as “the Moor’s last sigh”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NGC Special Report – Making Sense of Brazilian Protests

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

NGC is proud to share with you its latest Special Report on the protests in Brazil.

We happened to be in Sao Paulo in June 2013 for a month-long research mission, when the protests against the bus fare hike broke out.

We decided to try to make sense of this historical upheaval, mobilizing our two-year experience in the field of Public Healthcare in a favela of Rio and interviewing Brazilians from the Public, Private and Third-sector Organizations in Sao Paulo, Rio and Brasilia.

This report is but a small contribution to a larger discussion that is just beginning, let us know your thoughts and share with us your analysis!

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Video Release of the NCF e-health Pilot in Rio

NGC is proud to present the video it produced for the New Cities Foundation (NCF) Pilot in Rio. Many thanks to all those who helped us and participated in this video.

Check and share!!

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The Final Report of the NCF e-health Pilot in Rio is Out!

UntitledToday is a special day for us. After almost two years of hard work side by side with the New Cities Foundation, we are proud to share with you the  final report:  “Urban E-health Project in Rio”  in English and Portuguese.

Together with the Municipality of Rio, GE, Cisco, the University of State of Rio (UERJ) and the teams of the Santa Marta Family Clinic, we have designed and implemented a new way to leverage e-health technologies in the field of Primary Healthcare.

Thanks to a GE e-health kit, the medical teams were able to bring healthcare to the houses of the most vulnerable patients and perform an accurate and almost instantaneous diagnosis.

This resulted in substantial cost savings for the public healthcare system, a better in-home experience for patients and for the medical teams and helped lift barriers to access healthcare in an underprivileged community.

All of this would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of each and every member of the NCF e-health Task Force, in particular the teams of the Family Clinic. Our local coordinator, Rosalie, played a critical role in making this project a success. Continue reading

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Upcoming Short Documentary on the NCF m-health Pilot in Rio

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Upon the request of the New Cities Foundation (NCF), we have been working hard over the past few weeks on a short documentary project about the mobile health Pilot in Santa Marta (Rio).

Together with NCF, Rosalie, our local coordinator in Rio, and Marcelo, a gifted documentary director from Rio with extensive experience in underprivileged communities, we started brainstorming on the best way to tell the story of the project and convey its human dimension.

Today, we are thrilled to share with you some pictures of the making off. Follow our guide, Julio the nurse, who knows the ins and outs of Santa Marta and has been an enthusiastic participant in the implementation of the mobile health project. For more on the project, check the NCF website.

More coming soon!

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Did you know? Latin America has had 8 presidents of Arab origin

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According to Al-Ahram, over 17 million people in Latin America are thought to be of Arab origin. Other estimations calculate that Latin Americans of Arab descent could represent up to 5% of the region, or 25-30 million people. Most of them are descendants of immigrants who came from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, during the first decades of the 20th century.

One thing is certain: Latin America hosts the largest Arab diaspora in the world. By comparison, the Arab minority in Europe (including Arab immigrants and Europeans of Arab origin) was estimated at about 6 million in 2010.

Latin Americans of Arab descent have been disproportionately successful. Nowhere in the world more than in Latin America have the Arab migrants been able to thrive and be so successful. The names of Carlos Slim in Mexico, Miguel Facussé in Honduras or José Said in Chile are synonyms of economic power and political influence. Continue reading

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Did you know that the last Brazilian Emperor was a passionate Orientalist?

dom-pedro-PortraitThe 19th century’s official history was and remains too Eurocentric to notice the greatness of a non-European statesman and its sincere interest in other cultures, notably Oriental cultures.

In many ways, Pedro the Second, Emperor of Brazil (Rio, 1825- Paris, 1891), embodied the Enlightenment’s ideal of a humanist leader.

He was as fair and principled as Saint Luis, as cultured and enlightened as Frederic II of Prussia, and as unhappy on the throne as a true intellectual and adventurer could be. He had the most romantic death: in exile in Paris, poor and lonely.

His 58 year old reign transformed Brazil into a prosperous country with a liberal parliamentary monarchy. What’s more, he was a true abolitionist. In 1850, he even threatened to abdicate unless the Brazilian General Assembly declared the Atlantic slave trade illegal, and then fought to end the enslavement of children born of slaves (the “Law of the Free Birth” 1871). Continue reading

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Encounter in Abu Dhabi with a Leading Figure of Chilean Political Life

Sergio Bitar

In the margins of the Arla Forum in Abu Dhabi, NGC Director had the chance to meet and exchange with Sergio Bitar, a prominent figure of Chilean political life.

We wanted to share with our readers the biography of a statesman who has been promoting Democracy and Development in Chile for the past 30 years, and is showing great interest in the political changes of  the Arab world. Continue reading

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The 2010 Nuclear Swap Deal (Brazil, Turkey & Iran) – 5 Lessons, 4 Recommendations

Swap Deal Triumph

NGC is happy to share with you the speech it delivered during the USEK International Symposium on the Relations between the Middle East and South America.

Enjoy the reading and share your thoughts with us!

NGC Team

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Dear Friends,

Allow me to start by welcoming all of those who came a long way to join us and by congratulating the organizers for this important event, the University of Saint Esprit of Kaslik (USEK) and the RIMAAL.

This is truly a fantastic opportunity to have an in-depth discussion on the potential of a new relation between the Middle East and South America. We are, I believe, the pioneers of an emerging strategic alliance that will bring about many benefits for the peoples of both regions and beyond.

Let me focus today on the potentialities of a Latin American political mediation in the post-Arab spring Middle East. It is mainly a prospective exercise that will:
– Draw five lessons from the nuclear swap deal between Iran, on the one hand, and Brazil and Turkey on the other hand,
– Formulate four recommendations for future initiatives.

I. Five Lessons Learned from the Nuclear Swap Deal

Let us start by analyzing a real historical precedent: the nuclear swap deal between Brazil, Turkey and Iran. In the spring of 2010, Brazil and Turkey carried out a diplomatic initiative to broker the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel swap with Iran, taking in a former US proposal of October 2009. Under the deal, Iran was to ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in return for fuel for its research reactor.

This initiative was hailed by some observers as a powerful indicator of the empowerment and “autonomization” of emerging diplomacies from traditional decision centers and western powers.

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Arabs meet Latinos in Abu Dhabi

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The Arab – Latin-American Forum in Abu Dhabi (16-17 December 2012) brought together decision- makers of both continents, coming from three key sectors: thought leaders, corporate and government representatives. The event was co-organized by the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE).

During three intensive sessions, participants discussed thoroughly economic opportunities of the bi-regional relation, educational and academic cooperation as well as a mutual vision on the most pressing global issues.

Participants underlined the need to further and broaden the discussion, in particular on key issues such as democratization, gender equality and the environment.

The key outcome of this event lies in the announcement, in the Forum Final Declaration, of the creation of a Council of 20 high-level personalities to steer the efforts towards an enhanced Arab-Latin American partnership.

NGC welcomes this decision that should give a sense of direction and priorities to the rapprochement process that has only just begun.

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