What we talk about when we talk about Volunteering

Cross-posted at https://medium.com/@paulcurrion/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-volunteering-fad393fa6ec0. Last November I was asked to speak at the Statutory Meetings of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Antalya. As well as being part of two workshop panels – on innovative finance, and technological change –…

Trust, Confidence and Forgiveness

1. Imprecision The English language is notoriously imprecise; a strength and a weakness at the same time. There are often multiple words to describe the same general concept, but those words, grown from different seeds, blossom with different meanings. The strength is that English is…

A Paperclip Civilisation

There’s a tale that engineers tell their children before bedtime, to scare them into behaving themselves. It originates in a 2003 paper by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, Ethical Issues in Advanced Artifical Intelligence: The risks in developing superintelligence include the risk of failure to give…

In praise of death

This isn’t meant to be depressing, but you’ll probably find it a little depressing. You’ll find it depressing because by nature and nurture you are inclined to avoid thinking about death as nothing better than a curse, a cross that humanity must bear. Stop for…

The hills were alive with the sound of 2016

I watch a lot of films. Technically it counts as work because I also write screenplays. None of my screenplays have ever been produced because I spend too much time watching films instead of working on my screenplays. Ironic, eh? This is not a list…

Fallacies of Dissent

Some of us look at the outrage sparked by Donald Trump’s policies, and wonder why the same outrage wasn’t expressed when Barack Obama pursued similar policies. Obama’s expansion of surveillance powers, increased use of assassination, and refusal to accept a proportionate number of Syrian refugees;…

Swimming against Brexit

Serbia’s main broadsheet newspaper Politika asked me to write something about Brexit. Since the article was published a) two weeks ago, b) in Serbian, and c) only in hard copy, I don’t think anybody will be too worried if I publish the English language version…

Becalmed in British waters

Today my home country votes on its future. It feels strange to type that phrase “home country”, because I haven’t lived there on a permanent basis for a long time; for so long, in fact, that I am not allowed to take part in that…

How do we get from here to there? The Futures of Humanitarianism

Crossposted at Medium.com. In the last ten years there has been a small explosion of forecasts seeking to identify the major trends that will affect relief and development organisations, and to describe how those organisations might prepare to address those trends. Most of these reports…