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Though inspired by a UN initiative, Canada is running the show outside of the international body.
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Food is art. Food is community. Food is joy and cultural identity. Increasingly, food is also statecraft.
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Innovative business approaches, like social enterprise and public-private partnerships, hold the key to solving some of the trickiest global health challenges. Business often gets a bad rap -- especially in the area of high-profit pharmaceuticals. But if there's one thing we've seen time and again, it's that business models can offer the most effective and sustainable solution to global social challenges.
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Of all the developments we have read about in the Syrian tragedy, the rising tide of child labour is one of the more concerning. We've worked on the issue of child labour for two decades, interviewing hundreds of too-young workers and learning about the long-term challenges they will face without an education. These kids want to help ease the burden poverty for their families now, but it will cost the Syrian people even more in poverty in the years to come. If there are no income opportunities for refugee families, we won't break the cycle of child labour.
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"Research shows the earlier and longer youth spend in the system, the worse the outcomes are," says Peter Leone, a professor at the University of Maryland who has studied juvenile justice measures around the world for more than 20 years. It costs approximately $100,000 a year to incarcerate one young person in Canada. If that individual becomes a hardened life-long criminal, the amount will exceed a staggering $2 million, according to a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
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We see an opportunity for the Canadian government to bring colleges and universities together and encourage them to develop aboriginal student support programs on more campuses. Aboriginal students deserve have as many choices for welcoming institutions within a reasonable distance, with programs that interest them, as non-aboriginal students do.
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Well-meaning parents often ask us, how can we help our kids excel, and be their best? While standing out in sports and school is awesome, being kind and socially conscious are qualities we need to celebrate in youth, too. These are no longer merely "nice to have" attributes. They are crucial for future success.
As Canada's streets fill again with yellow buses, we're reminded how fortunate Canadians are in the educational opportunities available to our children -- opportunities that do not exist for millions of others. And while the world has made great progress on education over the last decade, there are alarming signs we're losing some of the gains we've made. When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to end extreme poverty were launched in 2000, the United Nations recorded more than 196 million children and teens not attending school. The biggest barrier is poverty -- And for many children, schools are far from their homes, requiring much more in boarding costs.
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The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.
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The evolution -- we might even say revolution -- taking place in the field of corporate social responsibility has been fascinating to behold. For the best companies, making your employees recycle, and cutting a big cheque once a year to some lucky charity, is no longer good enough. They're making "giving back" an integral part of doing business.
Last year was the first-ever Happiness Day, and we heard plentiful advice on how to make ourselves happy. But if we want to maximize our planet's sum total of happiness, it would seem most efficient to share the fortune we have -- material, emotional and spiritual -- with those who have little.
If the community and the government really want to honour Mandela, they should be investing in schools and children. It is a shame that schools where his descendants and others in his community live are so poorly funded that they can't support educational ambitions.
If there is one person in this world we truly envy, it's Victor Chan. For more than 40 years, Chan has had the incredible opportunity to accompany one of our heroes--His Holiness the Dalai Lama--on his world travels. In a new book, Chan shares stories about the Dalai Lama's encounters with world leaders, children living in poverty, activists, and scientists, among others.
U.S. Army infantryman J.R. Martinez was only 19 when he was deployed to Iraq, in 2003. Less than a month into his tour of duty with the elite 101st Airborne, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The vehicle was thrown into the air, ejecting three other soldiers. Martinez, trapped inside, was engulfed in flames. The skin on his face, arms and hands burned away.