Friday, February 11, 2011

Nick Kristof on D.I.Y. Aid: A Quick Break Away from Egypt

Thanks to a former student, this week I saw Nick Kristof's article "D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution" in the New York Times Magazine, which describes a trend of voluntary, grassroots globalization.

I think he's onto something important about younger generations of Westerners. They're more apt to live in country and work on micro-level projects themselves. A number of them have even written books that tell their firsthand stories. Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea is one of the best-known in the genre, but there are many more. Students in one of my classes get to read these, and I'm reading another book in this genre right now: Conor Grennan's Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.

Do it yourself: don't count on governments. That seems to be an enduring lesson of this younger (under 40) generation. It's a lesson that fits well with the theme of chapter 8 of the book.

More on this (and on Egypt) later.

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