Books & Reports

Thanks to Mousumi Mukherjee for the link:

February 23, 2010 – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today released its task force report, Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy. The Council convened a group of thirty-two experts and stakeholders – former government officials, religious leaders, heads of international organizations, and scholars – to bring a diverse perspective to the debate over how to successfully engage religion on an international level.

Religious communities are central players in the counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan, development assistance, the promotion of human rights, stewardship of the environment, and the pursuit of peace in troubled parts of the world. The success of American diplomacy in the next decade will be measured in no small part by its ability to connect with the hundreds of millions of people throughout the world whose identity is defined by religion. President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo on June 4, 2009, with its promise to engage with Muslim communities, was an important step in the right direction. This report takes the next step in developing a strategy to engage religious communities of all faiths in addressing foreign policy challenges.

Task force cochairs R. Scott Appleby, director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; and Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, discussed report findings and recommendations at the release event today at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs.

Learn more and download the full report.


The website of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme offers access to a  number of comparative studies publications with very useful data.

From UNESCO – International Institute of Stadistics:

The World Education Indicators (WEI) programme is a joint UIS-OECD collaboration that develops policy-relevant education indicators with national coordinators from 16 diverse countries.

Participating countries are: Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.


WEI-SPSthbnail.jpgA View Inside Primary Schoolsby
This UIS study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities. >>More
WEI2007_thumbnail.jpgChina leads the world in the number of university graduatesby
Read more about how developing and middle-income countries are transforming the landscape of higher education in a report of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme. >>More
WEI_1.jpgEducation Counts – Benchmarking Progress in 19 WEI Countriesby
Malaysia and Tunisia devote substantially greater shares of their national wealth to education than almost every country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to this report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. >>More
WEI2005Thumb.JPGEducation Trends in Perspective – Analysis of the World Education Indicatorsby UNESCO Institute for Statistics, OECD
More students than ever are seeking higher education in middle-income countries, causing tertiary enrolment to skyrocket by 77 per cent over the past decade, compared to 43 per cent in rich countries, according to a new study by UNESCO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). >>More
WEI-2002-FinalMainRepCover2.jpgFinancing Education – Investments and Returnsby UIS / OECD
Financing Education – Investments and Returns is the third in a series of reports that analyse education indicators developed through the World Education Indicators Programme (WEI). This report looks at the impact of human capital on economic growth and examines education spending and investment strategies from both public and private perspectives. >>More
couv_wei2001_tmb.gifTeachers for Tomorrow’s Schools, Analysis of the World Education Indicators – 2001 Edition (OECD-UNESCO-UIS)by UIS / OECD
Teachers for Tomorrow’s Schools is the second in a series of reports that analyse education indicators developed as part of the World Education Indicators Programme (WEI). This report looks at resources for education and how resources are invested and examines the policy choices and trade-offs that countries make when balancing expanded access to education with the need to attract and retain good teachers. >>More
Investing in Education – Analysis of the 1999 World Education Indicatorsby UNESCO / OECD
This publication is available in English and can be downloaded [here]. >>More

The Research Information Network published its latest report last week. The report explore the difficulties that researchers in Scotland encounter to access information, and strategies used to overcome those barriers. The authors of the report also produce a very comprehensive list of non-cost barriers to accessing information observed:

  • intellectual property restrictions, especially those associated with copyright and so-called ‘orphan works’
  • information held by public bodies that is not yet available under the terms of the Public Records Acts or the Freedom of Information Act
  • information held by corporate bodies that may be sensitive for commercial or other reasons;
  • information about individuals that may be subject to privacy restrictions
  • problems associated with digitisation or inadequate cataloguing, and  data that is locked up in formats that make them difficult to use

From RIN:

The report’s key finding is that access is still a major concern for researchers. Although researchers report having no problems finding content in this age of electronic information, gaining access is another matter due to the complexity of licensing arrangements, restrictions placed on researchers accessing content outside of their own institution and the laws protecting public and private sector information. This means that research into important information resources can be missing. Researchers report that they are frustrated by this lack of immediate access and that this slows their progress, hinders collaborative work and may well affect the quality and integrity of work produced.


The latest OECD report on Latin America, Latin American Economic Outlook 2009, points out something very obvious for any observer of the region: the need for greater public investment in health and education.  It is very difficult to assert the legitimacy of democracy and free markets on context of pervasive poverty. Especially if a state operating  as  a free market democracy does not seen to improve the quality of living of most of their population . The report focus on the fiscal policy of countries in the region. In other words, the economic benefits of growth, and tax revenues have not translated  in less inequality . This is not surprise, taxes  and fiscal policy is only a small part of the problem.

From OECD website:

Are Latin American governments maximising the potential of fiscal policy as a development tool? The 2009 edition of the annual OECD Latin American Economic Outlook analyses the progress governments in the region have achieved in the fiscal realm during the last decade.[…]

At present, surveys show, fewer than one in four Latin Americans believes that money from taxes is being well spent. With more than 200 million people – nearly 40 percent of the population – living in poverty, the region has the highest levels of inequality of any region in the world.  Stronger economic growth is likely to help raise fiscal revenues, but Latin American countries need to spend these revenues in a more effective and fairer manner, in order to reduce poverty and maintain citizens’ trust in democratic systems.

Link: Multimedia page

A fascinating report to think on the possibilities of renewing traditional democratic practices through new technologies. As well as, to start to think  on the ways  of how information spreads (and evolves – i.e. gets distorted in the process).  The study itself was object of a politically motivate  controversy that serves as exemplar of the last point. The research was single out with displeasure by a prominent right wing politician and used as an example of the waste of  federal research grants given by the NSA. The series of events that followed shows how political motivate rhetoric attempts to disregards and distort, through propaganda, the information and  results  of valuable research endeavors (to read more about the controversy click  here).

From Congressional Management Foundation Website:

Online Town Hall Meetings: Exploring Democracy in the 21st Century is a report summarizing the findings and recommendations from an academic study of 21 online town hall meetings between Members of Congress and their constituents which were facilitated by the partners of the Connecting to Congress project. The report is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and contributions from Harvard’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

The report includes information and analysis on:

  • The impact participation in the meetings had on constituents’ views of their Members of Congress and on their participation in political activities, such as talking about politics and the Member and voting;
  • How to conduct effective online town hall meetings;
  • How the demographics of people attracted to the online town halls differed from those attracted by traditional means of political participation; and
  • Details of how we conducted our rigorous study.

    Tor read full report here

    The Institute of Higher Education policy released this month a new report by Clifford Adelman titled The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight (November 2009). In a recent post Kris Olds at the Global Higher Education Blog offers some comments on this and other recent reports on global higher education. As Olds points out, “the main target audience of this new report seems to be the OECD, though we (as users) of international higher ed data can all benefit from a good dig through the report. Adelman’s core objective is facilitating the creation of a new generation of indicators, indicators that are a lot more meaningful and policy-relevant than those that currently exist.”  Alderman is the author of a number of recent articles about the misleading use of quantitative data and research about higher education . Among those a very interesting article published at the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2006  the “Propaganda of Numbers” is worthwhile reading.

    From the IHEP website

    The research report, The Spaces Between Numbers: Getting International Data on Higher Education Straight, reveals that U.S. graduation rates remain comparable to those of other developed countries despite news stories about our nation losing its global competitiveness because of slipping college graduation rates. The only major difference—the data most commonly highlighted, but rarely understood—is the categorization of graduation rate data. The United States measures its attainment rates by “institution” while other developed nations measure their graduation rates by “system.”

    Read full report here


    “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology” written by Allan Collins and Halverson was published recently. The topic of the book is extremely relevant, though certainly not new. The urgent need to implement new informational technologies and more important new educative practices using those technologies in traditional school settings in the United States. Basically, the question is if the integration of  mass schooling with the learning practices that new technologies enable is possible  or even relevant. The book offers worthwhile perspectives to debate  and rethink the future model of education and the role of school.

    Thanks to Daniel Araya for the link

    From Amazon:

    Book Description:

    The digital revolution has hit education, with more and more classrooms plugged into the whole wired world. But are schools making the most of new technologies? Are they tapping into the learning potential of today s Firefox/Facebook/cell phone generation? Have schools fallen through the crack of the digital divide? In Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, Allan Collins and Richard Halverson argue that the knowledge revolution has transformed our jobs, our homes, our lives, and therefore must also transform our schools. Much like after the school-reform movement of the industrial revolution, our society is again poised at the edge of radical change. To keep pace with a globalized technological culture, we must rethink how we educate the next generation or America will be left behind. This groundbreaking book offers a vision for the future of American education that goes well beyond the walls of the classroom to include online social networks, distance learning with anytime, anywhere access, digital home schooling models, video-game learning environments, and more.

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