The most famous speech by Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist, political activist and the first African female to win the Nobel Peace Prize, is a fable of a forest on fire: While all the big animals watched helplessly from afar, a little humming bird was trying to quench the fire.
NARAYANGANJ, Bangladesh–“I never reach for the stars,” says Runa Khan during our interview. As the founder and director of Friendship, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization (NGO) in a country of more than 20,000 NGOs, this is quite the statement. “I look at the stars, I see the stars—I want that. But…the key to the work that Friendship does is simplicity.” Khan, an emerging leader in satellite health and social service provision to the coastal areas of her home country, is not afraid to cause a commotion. Khan, born and raised in Dhaka, is the brains, and beauty, behind Friendship, an NGO that began work converting river barges to sustainable health clinics in the vulnerable chars, islands made of sediment in the North.
Istanbul – where the East and the West collide – is the only city in the world to sit on two continents. This city has seen scores of people fighting to call this land their home, shining light on another great battle that is being waged all over Turkey today. Currently, the vast majority of the population is Muslim – obviously to varying degrees of piety. Also, due to its position as a conduit of trade and culture between the East and the West, it has also developed a strong secular mentality. Thus, it is hard to differentiate which norms are based in religion, and are thus more difficult to alter, and which are social, and consequently more amenable.