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Month: December 2017

Taking over schools is taking over the heart and minds of the next generation: The case of Hungary

Written by Ksenia Northmore-Ball.

Whoever, in a given society, controls the content of school textbooks is in the highly privileged position of shaping how the next generation of citizens views the world. As the American Pulitzer-winning journalist and historian, Frances FitzGerald has said, school textbooks “tell children what their elders want them to know.” School textbooks take a special position in that they command unquestioning authority. The younger the school children reading the books, the less equipped they are to question the content – in other words, school children are the ideal captive and impressionable audience. Any ambitious political leader, movement, or regime with a strong guiding world view will ultimately desire to influence and control the education system, particularly the content of school textbooks. In a liberal democracy, one hopes that a plurality of social and political actors can influence this content.

Mohammad Bin Salman’s Ambitious Moves: Order or Disorder in Saudi Arabia?

Written by Khurram Shahzad Siddiqui.

A headstrong 32 years old Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman known colloquially as MBS caught the attention of international media in April 2015 when King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud made him the defence minister and Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN) as a crown prince, making him first in line to the throne of Saudi Arabia. The first step MBS took as a defence minister was to make a pan-GCC coalition with other Arab states and launch air strikes on Yemen in March 2015 after Saudi backed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced into exile by the Houthi rebel movement. This was the first move by MBS to show his authority to the other powerful princes of the House of Saud, like Prince Muqrin, Director General of Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah (Saudi Intelligence Agency) and Mohammad bin Nayef (MBN) crown prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the Council for Political and Security Affairs. By this move MBS flexed his muscles to the Arab World in order to make Saudi Arabia a key regional player and conveying a direct message to Iran of his power.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton is just a historical safe space

Written by Steven Fielding.

That most peculiar of demographic groups – left-wingers and liberals who like musical theatre – has keenly anticipated the opening in London’s glittering West End of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit Hamilton. Reader, it is here! Those who can afford to travel to the capital and have enough cash left over for the price of a ticket, are apparently in for a treat.

What’s going on with Brexit and the Irish border?

Written by Edward Burke and Connal Parr.

As Brexit negotiations reach a critical juncture, the question of what to do about the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – the only point where the UK will continue to meet the EU – has become critical. Here’s what you need to know.