• Should detainees in Syria and Iraq lose their Swiss rights?

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    My son – an American who grew up in Switzerland and is now a bi-national - once asked me who he was. As I dismissed the question as being too complicated, he interrupted saying he was only asking about his citizenship. “Am I American or am I Swiss?” he wanted to know. The inquisitive adolescent wanted a clear definition of his public identity, something easily answered in legal terms but not easily answered in subjective terms about how one feels.

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  • New York, New York: A Resounding Victory for New York Over Amazon

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    As a New Yorker, I have always been fascinated by why New York Yankee baseball caps are so popular around the world. New York has a reputation, “We’re number one, baby,” that obviously has global resonance.

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  • Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity

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    Anglo-Saxon countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia have historically been open to receiving refugees. My grandparents entered the United States with no passports via New York’s Ellis Island at the end of the 19th century. Brexit and Trump supporters’ chants of “Build That Wall” show how that openness has changed

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  • The Red Cross Crossroad

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    A recent interview in the Tribune de Genève with the director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Yves Daccord, and a letter/response from a former ICRC delegate, Thierry Germond, represent the tip of the iceberg of a crisis at the ICRC and within the humanitarian community. While a superficial reading of the arguments could be summarized as “tradition vs. change,” there is much more below the surface. 

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  • Ambassade and Switzerland’s Role in the American Hostage Crisis in Iran

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    There will be no celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the hostage crisis in Iran. From November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage in the American embassy in Tehran. The 444 days of captivity were the longest for this type of hostage in history and represented the beginning of hostile relations between the United States and Iran. The break-in of the embassy by 400 Iranian students and revolutionaries was a turning point in Middle East politics as well as the probable cause of Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election.

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