Author: Stephen

There is an internationally renowned UK university, positioned high up the global rankings, that is today facing an income shortfall of over £50 million. Not because of financial mismanagement but simply become of Covid-19. And this university is not alone. Calculations of the financial position of all UK universities suggest that up to 50% are in ‘immediate danger of insolvency’ with only Oxford and Cambridge truly safe from financial disaster. But at least UK universities are receiving some verbal support from politicians. Not so across the water, where American universities are facing a US$15 billion hit as Chinese students decide to stay away because of Covid-19, a problem exacerbated by the Trump administration’s apparent determination to stop most any Chinese students entering the country. And it is not only universities which are suffering - independent schools and colleges are especially vulnerable, with some reports suggesting as many as 30% of UK private...

It is my fate to be an avid and addicted reader of the news. This condemns me to having to wade through the tide of daily bulletins which when taken in sum, only serve to reveal humanity’s continuing inability to live in harmony with itself. Mostly depressing, rarely uplifting. However, for over thirty years now I have managed to ameliorate my feelings about this painful mess by engaging in the cathartic practices of writing, researching and lecturing. And yes, it does work – channelling my energies into trying to make an iota of difference. In which case you might reasonably say to me: “Look Stephen, thirty years is enough for anyone. You’ve made your points. Give it a rest.” Sorry, but I have to go on a little longer. I just cannot ignore what I am seeing and reading on the news, specifically what I’ve read in the past 24 hours: news...

It is May 2010 and I am lecturing to a group of young American undergrads in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are on a study abroad programme, hosted at a local university. The title of the 12-lecture programme is ‘Gender Identity and Sexuality in Thai Society’. For all 28 students this is their first time in Asia, indeed for most, their first exploration of a world beyond the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Like the vast majority of young Westerners visiting Asia for the first time, they are simultaneously mesmerised, delighted, confused and disturbed by their encounters with a very different reality. But whatever culture shock they experienced on an individual level, all could fall back on the comfort of knowing that America Ruled. They had little doubt that being white, middle-class, educated young Americans, they were privileged and entitled. They were the world’s elite, invested with a subliminal cultural confidence placing them, and all...

Unless you are in your 90s and can remember World War II – and we don’t think EDDi has any readers quite that old - then you are living through the greatest global crisis of your life. Like WW2, by the end of it you, like everyone else, will have a story to tell; maybe tragic, possibly funny, perhaps just plain bizarre. No one will be able to claim they’ve lived through Covid-19 without it touching their lives in some way. That is the first certainty to come out of all this. The second is that Covid-19 will be with us for the rest of our lives and the lives of future generations. There is little chance of this current pandemic ending until a vaccine is produced and made available to all 7.5 billion humans. And that won’t be happening anytime soon. Even when a vaccine is produced and made available,...

MY four grandparents not only survived WW1, they survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–20. I doubt they realised how fortunate they were . They had no way of knowing that these two global catastrophes wiped out over 100 million fellow humans: approximately 8% of the world population, and left many millions more financially destitute, physically crippled and emotionally traumatised. That was a mere 100 years ago. It puts our peaky Covid-19 problem in perspective, don’t you think? *** But Covid-19 is unique in the annals of human history, and the reason why is indicated in the opening paragraph. This is the first truly global catastrophe to hit humankind that is playing out on our screens, 24/7. My grandparents had no idea what was happening around the world because most of the world was off limits to them; physically and imaginatively. They lived in Lancashire (north of England): a world away from Shanghai, Tehran, and New York....

What to make of the shocking global report, just published, which reveals that nine out of ten people are biased against women? Frankly, much as it depresses me, it doesn’t surprise me. One of the reasons why women continue to suffer under an overt or covert patriarchal condition is because they allow it to happen. (An example of that patriarchal condition is the feature photo, showing US lawmakers discussing removing maternity rights. Spot the missing element) We have had feminist action at least since the 1950s and over the past two decades it has intensified to become a powerful and highly visible global movement. But much as millions of women are now ready to march and protest against male violence, unequal pay, sexual harassment and for abortion rights, millions more seem willing to give men a pass. According to the first gender social norm index, which analysed data from 75 countries, women and men are...

Thailand has been in a state of shock since Jakrapanth Thomma’s killing spree in a shopping mall in the north eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima. From 15.30 on 8th February to 09.13 the following morning, the 31-year-old soldier shot 29 people dead and wounded another 58 before being killed by Thai security forces. That this man was a Sergeant Major in the highly respected Thai army, has only added to the national grief and soul-searching. Despite having extensive gun ownership, Thailand had till then avoided the horror of random mass shootings by men. But whatever assumptions Thais once held about their unique Buddhist culture somehow offering immunity against such terror, that has now disappeared. Thailand has been brutally woken to the fact that like every other country, every other community, it too is now on the front line of the war against society being waged by men with toxic masculinity. Only...

There is a rather unique event happening next Friday in Bangkok, the proverbial Asian 'city of angels'. It is the first 'Gender & Identity in the Classroom' programme ever offered (at least to my knowledge) to international schools in the region. What is different about this programme is its blended focus on identity/feminist theory and practical interventions in the classroom. So imagine Judith Butler swinging it with differentiated learning. Yes, should be fun. I certainly hope so because I am delivering it! Dr Denry Machin (PEDAGOGUE) has organised the event and he's signed up at least 20 participants, including several from Harrow International School, NIST, Patana, Ruamrudee, St. Andrews, and BIS Phuket. This is the second such event I've done in the past year, the previous one being at Delia School of Canada, Hong Kong, at the invite of the Director, Dr Patrick Lee. For me, the very fact that leading international schools...

Another headline, another story, another load of bull-shit rhetoric from politicians, but, alas, an ocean of grief for yet more families of children murdered while at school. No, not Pampona Beach, Florida on 11th February, but Benton, Kentucky, on 23rd January. Two dead, 14 injured, all of them children. The police have arrested Gabe Parker, aged 15. Weapon involved: handgun. Perhaps we should be thankful that Gabe wasn't able to get hold of the US mass shooter's weapon of choice; the automatic assault rifle. Why have you not heard of Benton, Kentucky, even though it was, by any reasonable definition, a terrible attack on innocent children? Because this is no longer a rare event in the USA. Since January 1st, 2013, there have been 1,624 mass shootings in the US. That is nearly one every day of every year. It has left 1,875 people dead, 6,848 injured. Apart from the fact that thousands of...