GLOBAL VOICES COLUMN ARCHIVE

Giving a voice to the world's most fascinating untold global and social issues.

The hottest trend in advertising: A social cause

Conventional wisdom in advertising says steer clear of politics. But at the Super Bowl, the Holy Grail of advertising, brands broke the rules. Shelling out $5 million for a 30-second spot, marketers made poignant statements about gender pay equity and immigration while hawking cars and beer. They used the biggest ad stage to take a stand for a c...

March 25th, 2017 read more

Beyond World Water Day

Tyler and Alex Mifflin spent summers in the water. Childhood memories of canoe trips and pristine waves contrast heavily with something they heard from adults time and again: “Don’t swim in Lake Ontario. It’s too polluted.” That warning was the first drop in the bucket that’s become a shared life goal. Two decades later—after four...

March 11th, 2017 read more

Empower a girl, educate a boy

Hundreds looked on as proud young men, decked out in crisp uniforms, led their parents onto the campus that will help unlock their future. This January, the Kisaruni group of girls’ schools in Kenya’s Maasai Mara unveiled its first all-boys high school. After the opening ceremony, village elders christened it with a name. They chose Ngulot, ...

February 25th, 2017 read more

The power of letters in the digital age

Growing up, there was an unspoken absence in Zainib Abdullah’s life. In Richmond Hill, Ontario, far from the home her family left in Iraq, she pieced together the story of her uncle. He had been unjustly arrested and disappeared years earlier by Saddam Hussein’s government, without a trial or a chance to say goodbye to his loved ones. Now...

January 30th, 2017 read more

Canada gets poor grade in civics literacy

You’re stranded on a deserted island with 100 others. Organization is vital for survival. How will you choose a leader and make group decisions? What laws will you pass for your little society? At Waterdown District High School in Ontario, Nathan Tidridge plays this simulation game with his Grade 10 civics class. It’s a fun and fascinating w...

January 21st, 2017 read more

Why diverse toys could mean better leaders

There could be more at stake in the toy aisle than we realize. The 2016 holiday rush capped off a record year of approximately $26 billion in toy sales in the United States alone. (That’s a lot of Rogue One action figures). Meanwhile, toymakers have stepped up to meet demands for more diversity. Take Mattel’s Barbie line featuring seven skin...

January 14th, 2017 read more

How the world can do better in 2017

“Have you tried switching 2016 off and back on again?” says an IT guy in a meme sweeping Facebook. Also making rounds online is a 2016 dumpster fire ornament. Festive and topical. As 2016 draws to a close, social media is alight with jokes and posts lamenting a year that will not go down in history as one of humanity’s finest. Civil war ke...

December 17th, 2016 read more

Universities remove ivory towers to build bridges to the community

It’s the most macabre field trip we’ve heard of. In the fall of 2015, 22 participants in a McMaster University program hiked to a cemetery in Hamilton, Ont., to view the graves of city residents who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The unusual excursion was part of a free course on the history of plagues in Hamilton, offered through McMa...

November 12th, 2016 read more

How to raise gracious competitors: Raise cooperators instead

Donald Trump once had his own board game. "It's not whether you win or lose," promised the ad, which ran in 1989, "It's whether you win." It seems the US presidential candidates have taken this advice to the campaign trail. Winning is the only option. Trump has suggested he wouldn’t concede an election loss, bucking the US tradition to l...

November 5th, 2016 read more

Without packages, boxes or bags: Your zero waste grocer

What’s in your fridge? Perhaps there’s bacon. Or the fixings for an omelet with cheese and tomato. But how much is actually edible? How much of it is packaging? Bacon slices are peeled out of a disposable plastic packet, while the eggs stand sentinel in a Styrofoam carton. Tomatoes are locked in a clamshell box, those miniature plastic pr...

October 29th, 2016 read more