The Finnish capital is abuzz with creativity and intellectual discourse as over 1,300 music educators and researchers converge for the 36th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). Hosted by the University of the Arts Helsinki, this influential event runs from July 28 to August 2, 2024, under the theme “Advocacy for Sustainability in Music Education.”

Renowned for its excellence in music education and environmental consciousness, Finland is a fitting stage for this year’s conference.

Afghan refugees sit at registration center for migrants on their arrival from Pakistan at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Spin Boldak on October 30, 2023. Islamabad has issued an order to 1.7 million Afghans it says are living in the country illegally to leave by November 1, or be deported. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

A recent conference by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Denmark highlighted a startling global issue: around one billion people, or one in every seven globally, do not have a legal identity. This situation severely limits their access to essential services and rights, including social services, banking, and voting, while complicating their mobility and pushing many towards perilous, irregular migration routes.

Israeli army tanks and vehicles deploy along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on October 13, 2023. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants entered Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip enclave on October 8. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

In a startling move, the Israeli military has issued a demand for 1.2 million civilians in northern Gaza to relocate to the south within a mere 24 hours, without any assurance of safety or the right to return. This ultimatum, criticized widely, has been condemned as a potential war crime by Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Egeland strongly stated that this act would constitute a war crime of forcible transfer, a violation of international law.

Embattled journalist and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, persists within the stark barriers of Belmarsh Prison, acquiring an infamous reputation akin to Guantanamo Bay due to its harsh, meticulously secure, and ostensibly inhumane confinement conditions. His name has been interwoven with a lengthy battle for informational freedom, providing a polarized viewpoint that aligns him as a champion of truth for some and a jeopardizer of state secrets for others.

Um Sangour primary health care facility in Kosti, White Nile state, Sudan, is the only health facility that used to support the whole camp population. This health facility now receives 700 patients daily after the population of the camp has doubled due to the conflict in Khartoum. © UNHCR/Ala Kheir

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued a dire warning regarding the deteriorating health conditions in Sudan, where more than 1,200 refugee children under the age of five have died between May 15 and September 14. These tragic deaths are attributed to a suspected measles outbreak compounded by high levels of malnutrition in nine refugee camps in Sudan's White Nile state.

WorldCon 75, Scott Lynch; photo by Jana Blomqvist

Interview

WorldCon 75, Robin Hobb; photo by Jana Blomqvist

Interview

Based on an interview by Alisa Nirman on 3.10.2016

Interview