Global Voices The Blog of American Jewish World Service

The AJWS community has a lot to say about what's happening in the world. Read our insights about the struggle for justice and human rights around the globe.


Power of the People: How a Liberian Clan Took on an International Palm Oil Company—and Won

“Even if you were to bring guns and machetes, we would still stand for our land. We would not fight [you]…but we would face you non-violently, and we would stand…You will not take [our land].” That’s the message Joseph Cheo Johnson—a chief elder in Grand Bassa County, Liberia—has for anyone seeking to claim the land …Read More

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Parading for Equality: Haitian-Dominican Activists Make a Statement at the Dominican Day Parade

Before setting out to march in the Dominican Day Parade in New York City on Sunday, organizers of We Are All Dominican (WAAD)—a U.S.-based human rights organization supported by AJWS that fights to raise awareness about the controversial citizenship crisis unfolding in the Dominican Republic—issued a warning to their participants: Don’t lose your composure around …Read More

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Left to right: Ah Noh, Robert, Caroline, Barbara, Boumba and Praneeta

What Keeps Me Hopeful

The early days of the summer of 2016 have been bitter ones. Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, Nice, Baghdad and Istanbul—the bloody streets of these cities tell the story. Immigrants vilified, African-American men murdered, and LGBT people massacred. From the campaign trail to angry Twitter feeds, people driven by intolerance, xenophobia, misogyny and racism have seized the day. Yet, I remain hopeful. As the Indian novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy put it, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

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Elie Wiesel and Monte Dube (Photo by David Shankbone)

Reflections on the Legacy and Teachings of the Late Elie Wiesel

“Anyone who listens to a witness becomes one.”

More than a week after the passing of Elie Wiesel, I, a proud son of a Holocaust survivor, remain deeply saddened by his death.

I met Elie Wiesel 40 years ago when he began a four-decade teaching career at Boston University, where I was entering my senior year.

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AJWS founders Larry Phillips (center) and Laurence Simon (right) celebrate AJWS’s founding in 1985 with author Elie Wiesel, a founding board member.

AJWS founder Laurence Simon Remembers Elie Wiesel

I was becoming discouraged in 1984 talking with leaders of American Jewish organizations about my dream to found an American Jewish organization that would make a professional and visibly Jewish contribution to the end of poverty in developing nations. They were not unsympathetic, but “we have other problems” was the phrase I heard over and over. Congregational and Hillel rabbis were more supportive and eventually encouraged me to talk with Elie Wiesel—“He will understand.”

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