Racism is a global phenomenon which is influenced by a range of historical, social, political and economic factors. It takes different forms in different contexts and as a result has been defined in many different ways.
Racism has its roots in the belief that some people are superior because of the particular race, ethnic or national group they belong to. The concept of race is a social construct, not a scientific one.
An India-born teen, Kimberly D’Mello of class 12 earned the title in the national Race Unity Speech Competition for her prescription to combat racism at Tauranga’s Aquinas College in the North Island, New Zealand. The competition was held at the Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier, Auckland on Saturday night.
D’Mello was born in India but was brought up in New Zealand. She made it through regional finals and vanquished the other eight at the speech competition to win NZ$1,000 for her school and NZ$1,000 for herself.
During her seven minute speech she said, “Do not wait for someone else. Do it yourself. Do not get someone else to fix the problem. Do it yourself and don’t rely on the Aussies.”
“We are all responsible for the kind of country and community we live in,” she added.
“D’Mello had captured the fundamental essence of human rights,” said Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner, who was one of the judges.
On her experience of sharing her views on racism, D’Mello said “It was good to perform in front of such a large audience.”
D’Mello admitted that she has not experienced racism yet but have seen people discriminating on the basis on color and name.
The theme of the night, however, was about bringing people together, so that was what she focused on, she said.
From sea cucumbers to cancer research, Vietnam and Australia will start collaborating on science initiatives that are meant to show how innovation can be used to spread out the benefits of economic growth evenly to more of the population.
The Australian government has given more than 1.6 million Australian dollars to the three winners of a competition it co hosted with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam as part of its so-called Aus4Innovation program. The winning teams are three different pairs of universities, one from Vietnam and one from Australia, that will work together on scientific research.
“The innovation partnership between Australia and Vietnam has proven to be an effective mechanism for the two countries to share best practice and models to enhance the innovation systems in both countries,” Vice Minister Bui The Duy from the Ministry of Science and Technology said at the award ceremony in Hanoi last week. “We hope grants provided under the Aus4Innovation program will set examples of how innovation – particularly when it can jointly [be] developed and implemented – can transform our society and deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability.”
One of the grants will center around sea cucumbers, a long spindly marine animal commonly cooked in Asian cuisine, whether fried on their own, or braised with mushrooms and Chinese broccoli. Scientists who received the grant are researching how to produce a hormone they believe can increase the productivity of sea cucumber farming. This matters to Vietnam because it wants its farmers to increase productivity so they can make a sustainable living while not draining so many resources to harm the environment. At the same time, this product could raise questions of nutritional ethics among those who want minimal hormone and other human intervention in their food.
The grant recipients are researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia and the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. Three (RIA3) in Nha Trang, a touristic beach town along Vietnam’s south central coast known for its many islands.
They competed among 115 groups in Vietnam that applied for the grants and were selected based on their “potential positive economic and social impacts,” the Australian embassy in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, said in a press release.
Another of the three winners is a collaboration between the University of Sydney and the National Health Strategy and Policy Institute (NHSPI) in Vietnam, which are working on a way to improve methods to diagnose breast cancer.
Finally, one of the winning teams will use technology considered part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” to improve water supply monitoring and treatment. The specific technology was not described, but considering the application, this likely means “internet of things” devices, which are devices such as sensors that have chips to connect them to the internet, so data can be collected. The team is from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Vietnamese National University of Engineering and Technology (VNU-UET).
“Deeper, stronger ties between our innovation systems is a key goal for our strategic partnership with Vietnam,” Rebecca Bryant, a charge d’affaires at the Australian embassy, said. “I’m delighted to see more and more collaboration between the research institutions of our two countries.” (VOA)