Editor's Note by Martin Juarez

The University of San Francisco has always prided itself on being a school that focuses on embracing and promoting social justice. The school’s motto is “Change the World from Here,” which was taken into consideration when choosing a theme for the Fall 2013 issue of the International Affairs Review. After the editorial staff discussed the goals of the issue, we decided on the theme “Social Justice in a Changing World.” The articles that were then submitted and chosen to be in this semester’s issue all touched on different aspects of social justice in different parts of the world, from abuse of migrant women along the border between the United States and Mexico, to the use of theater as a way to heal children who have gone through trauma in Uganda. With a focus on international social justice, each article dives into different forms of social injustices occurring around the world in order to raise awareness of injustices globally. Even though the articles all bring different aspects to “Social Justice in a Changing World,” they bring diversity from a focus on local social justice issues in Uganda and a Palestinian refugee camp to larger international issues of drone use and discrimination against immigrants in Paris.

Social justice has many dynamics that not only play at the larger international level but also at the local one. In Children and Theatre of the Oppressed, Maija Rivenburg,writes about her first hand experience using Theatre of the Oppressed as an outlet for students who have suffered corporal punishment in Ugandan schools. Rivenburg introduces the idea of creating a drama club at the school where she worked in order to allow students to express themselves on issues of children’s rights.  The article continues as Rivenburg explains the process of starting up the drama club to educate students about their rights while allowing them a safe space to discuss abuse they may have suffered. Rivenburg uses articles from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to teach the children about their legal rights and how they apply everywhere, even when they are at school. She uses these articles to teach them about how the international community has passed laws to protect children and to show them that corporal punishment is not acceptable. By allowing the children of the school to express themselves through acting what they face in their daily lives, she shows that there are mechanisms in place to protect them. Through the use of the drama club, Rivenburg is able to convince a young group of Ugandans that corporal punishment should not be used. By focusing on a community in Uganda that has social issue of corporal punishment, Rivenburg is able to provide outlets through acting, highlighting the use of innovative programs to promote social justice across the globe.

As the world continues to change, problems from the past continue to haunt the modern day lives of people, especially in Rashidieh, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon near the occupied territories of Palestine. In her photo essay, Julia Pereira describes the physical and metaphorical conditions of the people living within this refugee camp as well as those who live in the refugee camps of Shatila and Bourj el Shamale in Lebanon. The overall theme of the photo essay is the restrictions that Palestinian refugees face. A majority of these pictures show high walls and barbed wire, which portrays the physical containment that these refugees face, as well as the metaphorical ones of being isolated from their own country. One of the pictures shows graffiti depicting a Palestinian soldier holding a semiautomatic weapon in one hand and displaying a peace sign in the other.  This juxtaposition shows the internal struggle that Palestinians face as they want peace but also want to fight for their country. The soldier is also drawn with roots growing from his boots, showing the audience that they are part of the land and will remain so. This photo essay portrays the social justice issues of physical and metaphorical restrictions that many Palestinians face as refugees.

As the photo-essay described the conditions of people who have moved away from their own country for safety, the next article explains how the movement of people especially women from Mexico into the United States has become a social justice issue. As economies from around the world continue to change, Mexico’s economic growth along with NAFTA has not helped the country improve much, leading to mass migration of people from Mexico to the United States in order to look for work. In Border Patrol’s Not-So-Secret: the Normalized Abuse of Migrant Women on the U.S.-Mexico Border the author, Valeria Vera, addresses the problems that migrant women face as they cross the U.S.-Mexican border. In a battle to protect the United States from immigrants and possible terrorists entering our borders illegally, the U.S. has built a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, and in the process, militarized it. Border patrol agents have taken a very aggressive role ensuring that the border is protected; however, they have been using their power to abuse women. Throughout Vera’s article, she describes the high number of border patrol agents deployed, as well as the frequent complaints about the tactics agents to silence the women affected by these injustices. Vera brings up this social justice issue because many women have not spoken due to fear of being targeted again. Through her article, Vera brings to light an issue that many in the United States have not heard, and she advocates on behalf of the silent multitude of abused women to advance the rights of all immigrants.

The number of people emigrating from their countries of origin to look for a better life has increased dramatically as the largest cities in the world continue to grow and diversify. In Paris: A Global City and its Immigrants, Lucy Lyford describes the lives of immigrants within this prominent global city. Lyford looks at the work immigrants do in the city as well as how they are consistently marginalized due to their ethnic background. Many in Paris do not appreciate the diverse immigrant population, as they do not fit into the stereotypical French model. Because of this marginalization, many immigrants live in the outskirts of the city in poor living conditions with limited access to public services. Lyford focuses on the marginalization of an immigrant population because similar issues bedevil other parts of the world with large immigrant populations.  Lyford’s goal is to show the audience that immigrant populations have the capability to influence French culture in a positive way, transforming it into a diverse and inclusive one. By adapting to changing population demographics in the world largest cities, many can reshape themselves and make the world’s greatest cities truly global.

A prominent issue in U.S. foreign policy is the use of drones by the United States in order to kill terrorist leaders. In The Eye in the Sky, Tyler Cole discusses the legalities behind the U.S. drone program abroad, and how many experts in the international community are calling for it to stop in order to assess its legality. Cole considers the reasons the United States is using drones; however, Cole compares the number of high target terrorist killed with the use of drones to the number of people who have been killed as collateral damage.  Cole uses this information to reveal that the drone program is actually causing more harm than good and should be stopped, as many in the international community and at home demand. Cole states that the U.S. drone program should be stopped until the accuracy of these attacks can be. As international terrorism continues to be an issue around the world, Cole is able to provide a possible solution and help provide justice to innocent victims of drone attacks.

The aim for many in the field of social justice is to bring awareness about problems and create solutions that can alleviate them. Each of the articles address different forms of social justice issues, some happening within a community like in Uganda or a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, to larger issues including multiple facets of modern migration along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Paris. As University of San Francisco continues to strive to make leaders who will have the power to “Change the World from Here,” the Fall 2013 issue of the International Affairs Review demonstrates many ways our students are doing just that.