March 30, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 94  

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Experts discuss globalization in open forum

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

A forum held yesterday afternoon in the University Community Centre atrium exposed the pervasiveness of the issue of globalization, as several experts discussed various aspects of the controversial subject.

Mariana Boukailo, a third-year political science student and organizer of the event, explained that there were several speakers lecturing on various aspects of globalization. The forum, a Globalization Awareness Symposium, was hosted by the World University Service of Canada.

“[The event was held] to educate people about the notion of globalization — there is a lot of interest at Western for international issues,” Boukailo said, noting the same event was held last year, and was expanded this year. “[WUSC focuses] on education and knowledge for an equitable world.”

Nigmendra Narain, a political science lecturer at Western, spoke about how people deal with globalization. “There is a false dichotomy between acquiescence and resistance [when it comes to globalization] — in reality people need to negotiate with it.”

He offered several examples of globalization being negotiated because of a persistence from regular people. In India, the social system is persistent enough that there are McDonald’s restaurants operating in the area offering chicken and fish burgers, he explained, adding this is because beef is prohibited for Hindus, and pork for Muslims.
Narain emphasized that ordinary people can get involved and have an impact on globalization. “The definition of what globalization is, is being negotiated — we must persist against a formal definition of globalization [and] youth is where the persistence comes from.”

Jim Reed, a journalist with, also spoke at yesterday’s forum. “My thesis basically is that the original partition plan [for Palestine] was put together too hastily and wasn’t a workable plan in the time frame — it was the Nike solution: just do it,” he said, adding the international community gave very little thought to how the situation would unfold, and how the indigenous population would be affected.

“The refugees are the core problem; until we fix that, [the issue will persist],” he said, “[United States Secretary of State] Colin Powell said ‘poverty is the breeding ground for terrorism’, and this is the perfect breeding ground.”

“All of that history bubbled up [with Sept. 11] — terrorist groups like al-Qaida have appropriated the Palestinian situation as a symbol of Western imperialism,” Reed said.



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