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Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa
A bimonthly discussion podcast about inspiring our own and the next generation to turn challenges into coherent and meaningful solutions, focusing on humanity, leadership, and citizenship.
Oct 8, 2023
The Unexpected Butterfly Effect Of A Great Teacher
Podcast summary: Summary: In this podcast, Stephen Kamugasa interviews Mr. Robert Pacilio, a retired school teacher and writer. Robert, who grew up in a tough part of Brooklyn, shares his experiences of being the only child in an Italian-American family. He also discusses his journey as a teacher and his latest memoir, "It Was Never About the Books," which explores the influence of teachers on their students. Finally, the podcast explores the butterfly effect of great teachers and the impact they can have on students' lives. Show notes/Time stamp: 00:04:48 The power of resilience and determination. 00:10:32 Teaching is about empowering students. The timestamp in the podcast where it starts to discuss the challenges of the teaching profession in a highly polarised political climate is 00:21:00. Teaching in a polarised climate 00:27:10 Words and ideas can change. 00:29:38 Treat people with dignity always. 00:37:01 Respect and care for others. 00:45:16 Artificial intelligence cannot replace human teachers. 00:49:59 Importance of personalized education.
Aug 6, 2023
How To Decolonise Africa’s Toxic Image
Podcast Summary: In this episode 011 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, Stephen welcomes Milton Alimadi, a Ugandan-American author, journalist, professor, and publisher of Black Star News. Milton discusses his background, including being the son of a former Prime Minister of Uganda and his education at Syracuse University and Columbia University. He shares his experiences working as a journalist for publications, among them the New York Times, where he exposed the trend of white reporters fabricating stories about Africa. Milton also talks about co-founding Black Star News, an investigative newspaper, and highlights his notable investigative pieces. He is the author of several books critiquing racial stereotypes in Western media's portrayal of Africa. The conversation delves into Milton's most significant work, "Manufacturing Hate: How Africa Was Demonised in Western Media." Throughout the episode, Milton's passion for challenging stereotypes and promoting accurate narratives shines through. Please read the blog that supports this podcast, which includes book recommendations, at The Kamugasa Challenge. Timestamps: [00:02:21] Racial stereotypes in Western media. [00:06:09] Stereotype propaganda about Africa. [00:12:18] Kindness and standing up for injustice. [00:18:45] History of demonisation and conquest. [00:25:31] The dangers of tribal stereotypes. [00:30:55] The abuse of the T word. [00:35:26] Institutionalized racism in South Africa. [00:41:09] Institutional racism and collective indifference. [00:47:09] Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia. [00:53:59] Borderless Africa and Unity. [01:01:31] The importance of the common human family. [01:06:23] Historical demonisation of African people. [01:14:09] The New York Times' historical archive. [01:19:22] Stereotypes and demonisation in journalism. [01:26:06] Fear of New York Times. [01:30:05] Demonisation of Africa in media. [01:36:09] Manufacturing hate in human relations. [01:44:13] Major publications and African perception. [01:47:13] Goodbye.
1 hr 47 min
Jun 11, 2023
Climate Change: A Crisis Between Town And Country
A crisis between town and country is as real as the day is long. It is a widening cleavage which manifests itself in everything we do: in our politics, in our education, in the way we work, in what we dream about, and yes, most crucially, in our attitude towards climate change. Look anywhere you please, and you will see a split between the town mindset and a country mindset, extending well beyond the western political discourse; spanning places as far-flung as Turkey, Brazil, Peru, the Philippines and South Africa. Take for instance Southeast Asia, one sees a similar divide, growing in its vehemence, as the consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war take their toll; they are as the raging sea dashing against a rock on the global stage. It is against this backdrop of fury we must ask the question: What is it that sets town dwellers against those who dwell in the countryside? Today’s guest is Ms Anna Jones, a free-lance agriculture journalist, a broadcaster, a farmer’s daughter, and a Nuffield Farming Scholar. Anna was born in 1981 into a long line of farmers on the beautiful Walsh-Shropshire border, and her childhood memories are coloured with “bottle feeding, pushing sheep down the race, riding in the stock lorry with Dad and getting told off for riding the bales.” While farming undoubtedly courses through Anna’s veins, her childhood ambition, as far as she can remember, was to become a journalist when she grew up, without even knowing what exactly journalism actually entailed. Thus it was that upon turning 18 years old, Anna left home for the first time to enrol at the University of Central Lancashire, where she read journalism. Anna was the first in her direct family line, stretching right back to her pauper agricultural labourer ancestor who was born in 1777, to go to university and move to a city. After graduating in 2002 with a BA Hons in Journalism, Anna worked for several regional media houses, including the Wolverhampton-based Express and Star, the biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain. Her big break came in 2006, when she joined BBC One’s Countryfile as a researcher, where she remained for 12 years. During her tenure at the BBC, Anna worked in various capacities on Countryfile, Radio 4’s Farming Today, On Your Farm, Costing the Earth and the Archers, reporting mainly on agricultural issues. Anna’s career at the BBC took an unexpected turn after winning the Nuffield Farming Scholarship 2016/17 and began investigating into how the media portrays farming and country life to the public. Thanks to the scholarship, Anna travelled around the world and discovered a deep disconnect between the “metropolitan mainstream media and a distrustful and defensive farming industry,” which profoundly affected her. Armed with her scholarship findings, Anna resolved to “motivate farmers to step up and share their stories.” Thus it was that in 2018, she left the BBC to set up, Just Farmers. Just Farmers is a not-for-profit organisation “that gives farmers and growers the confidence to tell their stories with pride through free Media Education workshops, while helping members of the media find independent farmer case studies to talk to.” Anna is the author of Divide: The Relationship Crisis Between Town and Country. In this episode, we discuss the topic “Climate Change: A Crisis Between Town And Country.” Look up Episode 010 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to the Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders. For more details, please visit The Kamugasa Challenge.
1 hr 9 min
Apr 9, 2023
How To Love Endangered And Misunderstood Animals
This is the 2nd of three podcasts on Climate Change. Today’s guest is Ms Maria Diekmann, a scientist and conservationist. Maria was born in 1965 to Major William Carl Buerk, a US fighter pilot who saw active service in the Vietnam war. Major Buerk was among those listed as missing in action - presumed dead. Maria’s mother, Mrs Antoinette Mira Buerk, was subsequently folded into the legendary Earl Warren family, after remarrying Earl Warren Junior. Earl Warren senior, was an American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as the 14th Chief Justice of USA from 1953 to 1969. Warren also led the Warren Commission, a presidential commission that investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy; he is considered to be one of the most influential supreme court justices and political leaders in the history of the United States. Warren was the only governor of California to be elected for 3 consecutive terms. Maria attended the amazing Carden School in California; whose unique curricula had, in Maria’s own words, “a great influence on me.” She afterwards went to Principia School in Missouri, before taking up her place at Principal College in Illinois, where she graduated with a degree in sociology. After leaving Principal, Maria, inspired by her legendary step-grandfather, Earl Warren, first tried her hand at politics, working for Democratic Party Senator, Thomas Eagleton, but subsequently removed to South Africa to explore new pastures in 1989. She was fortunate to know a few friends at the University of Wits, where she acclimatized to South Africa’s rapidly changing political climate, which saw Nelson Mandela released from prison in 1990. This was the environment in which Maria’s life changed fundamentally by falling in love, getting married and settling down to start a family in Namibia in the 1990s. It was in Namibia that she also fell in love with endangered and misunderstood animals. It was this love for endangered and misunderstood animals that led to the formation of the Rare and Endangered Species Trust, REST, in 2000. REST soon acquired a world wide reputation for Cape Griffon vultures conservation, but subsequently turned its focus to conserving the pangolin, after Maria devoted more than three months of her life to a pangolin pup, meticulously recording every aspect of the pup’s life as it developed. This was the first time such a thing had ever been done in history; the experience completely changed Maria’s life. Her dedication to the pangolin is captured in a BBC documentary, “Pangolins: The World’s Most Wanted Animal,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Maria is now busy working towards establishing a primary pangolin conservation centre and a carbon sinking initiative in Emerald Forest Reserve in Nigeria. It is spearheaded by her Nifty Pangolin campaign, a fundraising initiative, with a view of establishing nine pangolin conservation centres around the globe, dedicated “to the protection of the most trafficked animal in the world.” As her hands are not full enough, Maria has just published a book entitled, Pangolins in My Life. In this Episode, we discuss the topic: “How To Love Endangered And Misunderstood Animals.” Look up Episode 009 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders.
1 hr 11 min
Feb 12, 2023
Climate Change: The New Apocalypse
1. This is the 1st of three podcasts on Climate Change. 2. Today’s guest is Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE, a distinguished British environmentalist, broadcaster and writer. 3. Jonathon Porritt was educated at Eton College, from whence he went to Oxford, to read modern languages. Graduating with a first class degree, Jonathon qualified as a teacher in 1974, teaching at St Clement Danes Grammar School, in Shepherds Bush, West London. He remained at the school for 10 years, including serving as Head of English from 1980 to 1984. 4. As much as Jonathon loved teaching, it was his childhood appreciation of wildlife that seduced him into trying his hand at politics. He joined and became a prominent member of the Ecology Party (now the Green Party of England and Wales), becoming its co-chair in 1980. He subsequently became a full-time chair of the party, carrying out many changes in the process, thus making the party more prominent in national elections. Jonathon stood for parliament in the general elections of 1979 and 1983; he did not win, but received attention from national media. He was instrumental in growing the party membership from just a few hundred members to around 3000. 5. However, in 1984, Jonathon gave up both teaching and the chair of the Ecology Party; to become a director of Friends of the Earth in Britain - a position, he held until 1990 - a decision which in his own words, “was probably the best decision of my life.” For he transformed the Friends of the Earth into the face of “radical respectability,” by encouraging the organisation to promote practical solutions locally, as well as thinking globally. His tenure at the Friends of the Earth saw the charity’s membership grow from 12,700 to 226,300. Friends of the Earth is now a hefty international powerhouse of ideas and solutions. 6. Jonathon’s accomplishments in the cause of climate change and the environment are too many to mention here, but one may be cited. In 1996, Jonathon, along with Ms Sara Parkin OBE and Professor Paul Ekins OBE, co-founded Forum for the Future. Forum for the Future is a sustainable development charity, working in partnership with businesses, governments and civil society to accelerate the shift towards a sustainable future. The charity specialises in addressing critical global challenges by catalysing in key systems, from food to apparel, energy to shipping. 7. Jonathon is the author of many books on environmental issues, including presenting television series on them; he has chaired the United Nations environmental and development committee for the UK. His greatest work by far, however, is his book, Hope in Hell. 8. In this Episode, we discuss the topic: Climate Change: The New Apocalypse? 19. Look up Episode 008 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please rate and subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders.
Dec 11, 2022
Practise Hospitality To Strangers And Refugees
1. Practising hospitality to strangers and refugees is fraught with difficulty, it is not for the faint of heart. And as the number of the forcibly displaced people the world over surpasses a 100 million mark, it is becoming increasingly clear that troubles are the trials of friendship. For when a man is afflicted he will see who are his friends and who are but pretenders; a brother is born for adversity. Which is why it is fitting for us, in this age of geopolitical upheaval and climate change, to examine ourselves how we may most effectually be a friend to a stranger and a refugee. 2. No one is better qualified to assist our self-examination than Lord Alf Dubs, who was once both a stranger and a refugee in England. 3. Lord Dubs’ life commenced on 5 December 1932, in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia; born to a secular Jewish father, who was involved in the cotton export business; and his mother, a gentle local girl, a qualified dietician. Alfred was one of 669 Czech-residents, mainly Jewish, children who were saved by a British stockbroker, Nicholas Winton, from the Nazis on the Kindertransport between March and September 1939. 4. A graduate of the London School of Economic and Political Science, Lord Dubs is driven by a personal notion that “If evil men could do such terrible things, they could be countered by others doing something good” - which was underpinned by a desire to help strangers and refugees. Accordingly, Alf has enjoyed a long career in public life, achieving that particular goal: he has been a local councillor, an MP, Chair of the Fabian Society, Chair of Liberty, a Trustee of Action Aid, Director of the Refugee Council and a Trustee of the Immigration Advisory Service. 5. Appointed a Labour working peer in 1994, Lord Dubs readily acknowledges that Britain has given him ‘enormous opportunities’, that he has been ‘incredibly lucky’ and benefited from opportunities that he had ‘not expected as a refugee child.’ It is in this respect as a former stranger and refugee that Lord Dubs has made, perhaps, his most significant contribution to the UK, namely, as the official spokesman for strangers and refugees - as and when opportunity has occasioned. An instance is worth mentioning: In 2016, Lord Dubs moved an amendment that the UK should take-in unaccompanied child refugees from Europe, especially Calais and the Greek Islands. The Tory Government fought hard against this but eventually gave way because of the weight of public opinion – though they then arbitrarily put a cap on the numbers. 6. Lord Dubs is currently a trustee of the Open University, and sits on the Advisory Board of The John Smith Memorial Trust, which was formed in 1996 to promote the ideals of democracy, social justice and good governance. 7. In this Episode, we consider: How, in the most practical ways, we may practise hospitality to strangers and refugees in our midst? 8. Look up Episode 007 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please rate and subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders. Also, visit The Kamugasa Challenge to learn more.
Aug 4, 2022
Whistleblower: An Angel, A Villain, Or A Bloody Fool
1. The late Nelson Mandela, speaking at the British Red Cross Humanity lecture in 2003, said: “Those who conduct themselves with integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” 2. In these vacillating times in which leaders, and even scholars, almost believe, that truth and integrity as they relate to civic life are but two values of many, and will have to stand their test, and in all probability, will fail as many human system of values and ethics have done. It is appropriate for us to interrogate whether whistleblowing is a civic value worth its weight in gold. We do so by asking a simple question: Is a whistleblower an angel, a villain, or a bloody fool? 3. I can think of no one who is more qualified to examine this question than Mr Guy Dehn, the founder and former executive director of Public Concern at Work, a Whistleblowing charity, which now operates under a new name, Protect-Advice. 4. A Londoner - born and bred, Mr Dehn was educated at Westminster School; from whence he went to Bristol University to read history, and qualified for the Bar of England and Wales in 1982. Guy practised as a general common lawyer in both London and Bristol - where he also ran two free legal advice sessions. 5. In 1986, he was appointed the Legal Officer to the National Consumer Council; and in 1988 ran its parliamentary work. Guy left the National Consumer Council to start a little project on whistleblowing in 1992, which subsequently became Public Concern at Work (PCaW). He remained at the whistleblowing charity until 2008. During his tenure as executive director, Guy was instrumental in bringing onto the statute book, The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. 6. After leaving PCaW, Guy went on to set up a charity on witnesses in the criminal justice system, Witness Confident, but was compelled to close it down after a decade of indifference and opposition from the police. Guy Dehn has co-edited along with Richard Calland a book, Whistleblowing Around the World: Law Culture and Practice. 7. In this Episode, we answer the question: Is a whistleblower an angel, a villain, or a bloody fool? 8. Look up Episode 006 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders. Also, kindly visit The Kamugasa Challenge for more information. https://thekamugasachallenge.com/
Jun 9, 2022
Why I Love Working As A Community Doctor in Taiwan
1. We cannot reckon upon the clouds, their laws are so variable, and their conditions so obscure. The same is true with life. This reality has become so manifest to us all lately - since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 - disrupting our lives both at home and abroad and upending the world in every sense of the word. It is therefore a great privilege to have with us a physician, a Taiwanese doctor, share his personal experience in a podcast: Why I Love Working As A Community Doctor In Taiwan! 2. Dr Chih-Kuan Lai is a community doctor at the Department of Family Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, where he works since 1995. 3. Dr Lai was born in I-Lan county, which is located in the North-eastern part of Taiwan in 1964. He relocated to the capital, Taipei, at the tender age of 16; to pursue his ambition to qualify as a medical doctor. 4. Graduating from Taipei Medical College as a Doctor of Medicine in 1989, he went to Oxford University in 2000 where he obtained a Post-graduate Diploma. Dr Lai went on to graduate with PhD from the Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, College of Public Health, at the National Taiwan University in 2016. 5. In addition to working as a community doctor, Dr Lai is also an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at National Defence Medical College; and a Clinical Lecturer in Family Medicine at National Yang-Ming University - both institutions situated in Taiwan. He is a General Member of Taiwan Association of Family Medicine, Taiwan Academy of Hospice Palliative Medicine and the Society of Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. Dr Lai has published eleven peer-reviewed journal articles. 6. In this Episode, Dr Lai shares with us: Why he loves working as a Community Doctor in Taiwan 7. Look up Episode 005 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders. Also, kindly visit The Kamugasa Challenge for more information
Apr 7, 2022
How To Challenge Identity Politics In A Liberal Democracy
1. It is well said that the longer the saw of contention is drawn the hotter it grows; and the beginning of strife is as the letting forth of water. Since the fateful Brexit referendum of 2016, the troubled seas of UK’s identity politics are accordingly raging most severely each time they dash against the rock of reality. It therefore begs a simple question: How does one challenge identity politics in a liberal democratic country such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain? 2. No one is better qualified to answer this question than Emeritus Professor John Charvet of the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 3. He was appropriately born in an Egyptian city of Cairo, in 1938; where his father worked for Shell oil company. John’s ancestry is also strikingly appropriate; for his heritage in its totality includes: English, French, Italian and Egyptian. However, he inherited his British nationality and citizenship from his father. His formative years were spent in Cairo, where he experienced the Second World War, but subsequently relocated to the United Kingdom in 1946, where he was privately educated. 4. Graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in economics, John’s first job was as an Assistant Principal in the Home Civil Service at the Board of Trade. But it was not a success. He subsequently read for post graduate degree in Politics at Oxford University, from whence he took up a teaching position at the LSE, teaching the History of Political Philosophy. John took to teaching like a duck to water and remained at the LSE until his retirement at the age of 65. During his teaching career, John was a visiting Professor at The John Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. He has published seven books and numerous articles. John is now an Emeritus Professor at the LSE - dividing his time between France and Brighton. John now occupies himself with his love of all things gardening; he is also working on a new book entitled, Communitarian Ethics. 5. In this Episode, we answer the question: How To Challenge Identity Politics In A Liberal Democracy? 6. Look up Episode 004 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders. Recommended Reading: 1. The Ethics of Identity (Princeton University Press, 2005), by K.A. Appiah 2. Pluralism (Duke University Press, 2005), by W. Connolly 3. Liberalism: The Basics (Routledge, 2019), by J.Charvet
1 hr 2 min
Feb 9, 2022
Judge Not: Deep Sorrow, Not Bigotry, May Be Speaking
1. In these strange and vacillating times of Brexit and identity politics, in which every tribe in England takes solace in the familiar, I think it is important for us to cut each other a little slack when speaking words of woe. We should be very slow to judge; for we may not know who it is that is actually speaking, as the voice of the seeming bigot may in fact be the voice carrying in its dark strains the emotions of great sorrow. Now I am not naïve as to imagine that every bigot screaming obscenities at me, asking me to catch the nearest aeroplane to fly back to where I came from is not a racist. Hell no! I have had my fair share of xenophobic encounters and mean-spiritedness to know the difference. 2. In this Episode, I read an old blog-post I first published in 2019 in the hopes of helping us not to be quick to judge when confronted by a racist attacker, any racist, directing violent abuse at us. For we may never know what kind hell the attacker maybe in. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship once said: “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” 3.Look up Episode 003 of Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa, and please subscribe to Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our guest thought leaders.
Nov 27, 2021
How To Challenge Western Appropriation Of The Muslim Body [Podcast]
1. Questioning the ancestral gods of any nation has never been an enterprise rewarded by anything save calumny: trying to question the god in whose image the modern Western tyrannical hegemony is cast, is one fraught with much peril. However, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reminds us: “One [woman] who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny.” The author of “The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body – Islamophobia, Counter-Terrorism Law and Gender,” does just that! She has vowed to stop others lying about this seemingly powerful god – and speak truth to power. 2. The Political Appropriation of the Muslim Body is a difficult but compelling book. It is not for the faint-hearted. Put simply: The author is astonishingly brutal in her frankness. 3. It is the author’s considered thesis, that great and high-minded values, namely, democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and gender equality; have been appropriated by Western politicians as a cloak to advance their racist p…
Sep 12, 2021
Refugees And Foreigners Are Welcome [Podcast]
According to the UN Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of refugees and forcibly displaced people increased to a staggering 82.4 million by the end of 2020; more than 26 million of whom are refugees, a number which is larger than the entire population of Taiwan. As recent tragic events in Afghanistan clearly show, the world is as a troubled sea, raging and dashing against a rock of growing global inequality; and the global Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating things, making a bad situation worse. 2. Truer words have never been spoken, namely: “Troubles are the trials of friendship.” For when a man is afflicted he will see who are his friends indeed and who are but pretenders; a brother is born for adversity. 3. The Kamugasa Challenge is delighted to present to you the 1st Episode of ‘Conversations with Stephen Kamugasa’ Podcast; and our special inaugural guest is, The Rt. Revd. Dr Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham. 4. This inaugural episode is entitled, “Refugee…
1 hr 12 min