On balance, however, this was not a good year for world peace. Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, and the West's response, pushed the world closer to a new Cold War. Revelations about the CIA's use of torture were enough to shake anyone's faith in the goodness of humanity. Meanwhile, the Middle East spiralled downward with greater violence in Gaza, Syria and Iraq. At home we are still not on track to meet our emissions targets. And the strongest praise environmentalists could muster for the climate change deal reached in Lima, Peru, last week was to wince and say it is "better than nothing."
There are a growing number of people who spurn the words "feminism" and "feminist" even though they support women's rights and equality. It seems there's widespread misunderstanding about what these terms mean. And the message that sends to youth about the ideals of gender equality concerns us deeply
Stanley Kutcher was stumped. The psychiatry professor from Halifax's Dalhousie University was in Malawi to develop a mental health program for rural communities when he learned from the locals that there was no word in Chichewa for depression. How do you diagnose and treat an illness that doesn't linguistically exist?
With our health care system, diabetes is more easily managed in Canada. But in a developing community, most can't afford a computerized glucometer. So diabetes goes largely untreated, leading to critical complications like blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. Diabetes claims 3.4 million lives every year.
The entire school in Ayr, Scotland, vibrated with anticipation. The lunchroom sounded more like a debate hall than a cafeteria. Kirsty McCahill watched the clock tick down to the closing bell. She rushed home, then to the nearby community centre to do what no Scottish 16-year-old had ever done before that day: vote on the future of her country.
So many young Canadians are looking to make their mark on the world. Some pick up a shovel to build a school or a ladle in soup kitchens to serve the homeless. A small number choose a different way, traveling to Syria to pick up an AK-47. Where does the road diverge between the youth who choose the path of helping and those on the path of harm? And for those on the road toward extremism, are there points along their journey where they might be set on a positive path?
Like a decade ago, the goal is to end the Ebola crisis and allow a nation to begin its recovery. The next step will be to re-open schools shuttered by chaos and fear, allowing the next generation of health practitioners to be educated. But success will only be achieved -- and the next crisis averted before it begins -- if we all follow the example of those Canadian children who refused to ship out of Sierra Leone until the job was done.
When the students at Kisaruni All-Girls Secondary School in rural Kenya had the opportunity to set their school hours, they pushed the limits. The girls begin their studies each morning at 4:45 a.m. and end at 10 p.m., with classroom instruction from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The grumbling resentment toward schoolwork that typifies the North American high-school experience seemed, well, positively lame, compared to the Kenyan girls' fierce dedication to learning.
In the dead of winter, minus 40 degree winds whistled through gaps around doors and windows of the decrepit portables that made up the entirety of their school. Until this month, that was life in elementary school in Attawapiskat. After a 14-year wait, children in the remote northern Ontario First Nations community have a real school again.
Africa's 600 million hectares of uncultivated land -- more than half the global total -- adds up to a recipe for a better food future. Agricultural innovation, education, and the resulting empowerment of women and girls promises to make the coming population boom a turning point toward truly sustainable development.
Many teens spend their babysitting money on something to listen to --music downloads, movies or concerts. Morgan Baskin put hers into being heard. The 18-year-old high school senior is running for mayor of Canada's largest city. Amidst the international circus that is Toronto municipal politics, Baskin is a glimmer of hope.
"Feminist" is an unavoidably loaded word. If we asked a group of parents if they believe in raising children that are respectful of both men and women, and who believe in equal opportunity, we suspect the answer would be overwhelmingly, "of course." Ask that same group if they believe in raising feminists, and the response may be slightly more hesitant.
Faster. Higher. Stronger. Cheaper? As we gather excitedly before our televisions this month to marvel at Olympic quadruple jumps and backside 1440 triple corks (yes, these tricks look as cool as they sound), yet another human rights issue in Sochi marks a stain on the ice rinks and ski chalets themselves.
Back from WE DAY Toronto 2013. What a fantastic event. To be able to listen to the speakers and absorb what they had to say was pretty amazing. And then feeling the energy in the building with over 20,000 youth present. It was certainly one of those magical moments. Although I don't always feel the spiritual world around me, I did feel Amanda's presence at We Day Toronto.
In Ada, a small district 200 kilometres east of Ghana's capital city, Accra, village meetings broke down in a hail of accusations. Fistfights erupted in the streets. Tomato farmers and goat herders were at each other's throats. Into this minefield walked Isaac Djabelety, a station manager with Farm Radio International.
This week, HuffPost bloggers counted down to Canada Day with a series of short pieces about what they'd like to change about their home and native land. As you might imagine, the suggestions and wishes covered a wide range of territory -- from singer Jully Black's passionate plea that we support and celebrate the country's R&B soul artists, to chef Vikram Vij's wish for more experimenting with ethnic cuisines -- and food in general. I hope you'll sit back, put on some tunes, and take a few moments to check out all the ideas HuffPost contributors shared for keeping Canada strong and free.
Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, wife of the Governor General of Canada's teenage audience members were victims of sexual abuse participating in an after-school art therapy program that helps them open up and talk. It's one of the many programs at Stepping Stones International -- a small organization working with orphaned and vulnerable youth in Botswana.