Canadian writer Michael Bociurkiw has worked as a journalist in Canada, the US and Asia. He’s also served for more than a decade as a staff member and consultant for UN agencies on five continents. A social media expert and digital influencer, he is about to publish his first non-fiction book. His passions are: helping others, travel, food, wine, networking and cycling...oh - and all things Ukrainian (his heritage).
As the world's youngest country, South Sudan, marks the third year of a vicious civil war, I am learning the heart-wrenching stories of some of the 200,000 civilians who have sought shelter in UN-protected camps. I'm here to learn about the impact of the conflict, especially on children.
Despite the outrage, there is no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria. As the war grinds on, very few people have any workable solutions. Even a temporary ceasefire, for which the UN is begging all sides to adhere to in order to allow humanitarian aid in, is almost impossible to achieve -- and looks more distant after Syrian Government forces began closing in on rebel-held territory in East Aleppo over the weekend.
Business sells business best -- not government folks. Ukrainian officials are putting forth a good sales pitch: they sell themselves as pro-western and pro-business in a country which has a 99.7 per cent literacy rate and is just a two-day truck drive from most EU hubs.
But after experiencing my first SXSW -- watching Generation Z up close, hearing panelists weigh forward on everything from how to make food cheaper and healthier to the prospects for virtual reality and Twitter -- I don't know if I've left Austin with higher hopes for humanity.
In a few weeks time Ukrainian voters will be going to the polls to elect a new president to replace Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country for the safety of Russia amid a Tahrir Square-style, people power uprising. The Cabinet of Ministers has no lack of urgent agenda items to deal with. Several pitfalls lie ahead:
The mood on Maidan Square in central Kyiv remains decidedly grim after a referendum widely branded as illegal and illegitimate took place in Crimea on Sunday. Two Ukrainian kozaks loudly beat drums in a rhythm that is normally used in the call to arms. It serves to heighten the sense of foreboding. Now that Crimea has been hived off from mainland Ukraine, "what next?" is the question on everyone's minds
With the Ex-Ukranian PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, announcing Monday that she will be leaving to Germany for medical treatment it is now clear that she will not be written into the new political narrative. The future appears to belong to younger, untarnished politicians such as former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko.
An elderly Ukrainian woman waiting patiently to cast her ballot in last year's Parliamentary elections. Credit: Michael Bociurkiw Just a few short weeks ago, a privately-funded PR caravan reached Lond...
While its easy to finger regimes with questionable human rights records it is somewhat challenging at times tallying up the environmental record of sun destinations. This topic weighed heavily on my mind this year during four months spent in one of the most desirable destinations on the planet -- the Maldives.
The world has reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water, five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. While that is good news, millions of people, for instance, still live without a toilet. Not a very sexy topic -- but one which is of great concern if the world is to meet goals on reducing under-five mortality.
It's a question worth asking given the news that journalist Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were both just killed in Syria. Atrocities are almost certainly being committed by the Assad regime -- video, audio, photographic, and written documentation can all be used to support charges of war crimes.
To say that the Burmese generals who have been meeting with diplomatic A-list visitors such as Clinton and Hague have blood on their hands is almost an understatement. Aside from the 1988 crackdown, which killed thousands of young activists, many shot at point-blank range, their record of repression includes the crackdown on monks and other peaceful protesters.
While I support charity starting at home, for those who can afford it, my suggestion this holiday season is to split donations into two: one for your favourite local charity or food bank and another for NGOs or UN agencies addressing humanitarian disasters overseas.