Monday, October 23, 2023

How Zionism Shaped the Middle East and the U.S. Foreign Policy

Zionism is a political and ideological movement that emerged in the late 19th century among some Jews who sought to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the historical and religious land of Israel. Zionism was motivated by various factors, such as the persecution and discrimination that Jews faced in Europe, the rise of nationalism and colonialism, and the belief that Jews had a divine right and duty to return to Zion.  

Zionism had a significant impact on the history and politics of the Middle East, especially after World War I, when Britain took control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which promised a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The declaration was seen as a major victory for the Zionist movement, which had lobbied and campaigned for it in Britain and other countries. However, it also sparked resentment and resistance from the Arab population in Palestine, who felt betrayed and threatened by the British policy and the influx of Jewish immigrants.   

The conflict between the Zionists and the Arabs escalated over the years, leading to several wars, uprisings, massacres, and terrorist attacks. In 1948, following the United Nations partition plan that divided Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, the Zionists declared the establishment of the state of Israel, which was recognized by many countries, including the United States. However, the Arab states rejected the partition plan and invaded Israel, triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. The war resulted in Israel's victory and expansion of its territory, as well as the displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who became refugees in neighboring countries or within Israel itself.   

Since then, Israel has been involved in several wars and conflicts with its Arab neighbors and the Palestinian factions, such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Fatah. Israel has also occupied and annexed parts of Palestine (the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip), as well as parts of Syria (the Golan Heights) and Egypt (the Sinai Peninsula). Israel has also built illegal settlements and walls in the occupied territories, violating international law and human rights. These actions have provoked condemnation and criticism from many countries and organizations around the world, as well as resistance and violence from the Palestinians and their supporters.   

Zionism has also influenced the U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, especially since World War II, when the United States emerged as a superpower and a major ally of Israel. The U.S.-Israel alliance has been based on various factors, such as strategic interests (such as countering Soviet influence during the Cold War), economic interests (such as access to oil resources), cultural ties (such as shared values and democracy), religious affinities (such as Christian Zionism), and domestic politics (such as the Zionist lobby). The U.S. has provided Israel with military, economic, and diplomatic support over the years, such as weapons sales, aid packages, vetoes at the UN Security Council, peace initiatives, and security guarantees. The U.S. has also intervened in some of Israel's wars and conflicts with its enemies, such as Iraq in 1991 and 2003.   

However, Zionism has also faced opposition and criticism from various groups and individuals who challenge its legitimacy or morality. Some of these opponents are:

- Anti-Zionists: They reject the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine and consider it as a form of colonialism,
racism, or apartheid. They may support the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people, who have been displaced and oppressed by Israel's occupation and policies. They may also criticize Israel's human rights violations, war crimes, and expansionism. Some examples of anti-Zionist groups are the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Jewish Voice for Peace,
and Students for Justice in Palestine.

- Arab and Muslim countries and organizations: They view Israel as a threat to their security, sovereignty, and interests in the region. They may also resent the U.S. support for Israel, which they perceive as biased and unfair. They may seek to challenge Israel's legitimacy, isolate it diplomatically, or confront it militarily. Some examples of Arab and Muslim opponents of the Zionist lobby are Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Arab League.

- Non-interventionists and realists: They argue that the U.S. involvement in the Middle East is costly, counterproductive, and harmful to its national interests. They may question the strategic value and morality of the U.S.-Israel alliance, which they see as driven by domestic politics and pressure groups rather than by rational calculations. They may advocate for a more balanced and independent U.S. foreign policy that respects international law and human rights. Some examples of non-interventionist and realist critics of the Zionist lobby are Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Ron Paul, and Andrew Bacevich.

Some famous anti-Zionist figures are:

- Albert Einstein (1879-1955), a renowned physicist and Nobel laureate, who rejected the idea of a Jewish state and advocated for a binational solution in Palestine. He also criticized the violence and extremism of some Zionist groups, such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang. He wrote in a letter to the New York Times in 1948: "Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the Freedom Party (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties."
- Noam Chomsky (1928-), a prominent linguist, philosopher, and political activist, who has been a vocal critic of Israel's policies and actions, especially its occupation of the Palestinian territories. He has also challenged the notion of Zionism as a liberation movement and exposed its historical links with imperialism and colonialism. He wrote in his book The Fateful Triangle (1983): "Zionism is not a national liberation movement but rather an offshoot of European settler colonialism."
- Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a influential political theorist and philosopher, who opposed the establishment of a Jewish state and supported the rights of the Arab population in Palestine. She also denounced the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinians by Israel in 1948, which she called "one of the most monstrous crimes in modern history". She wrote in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951): "The tragedy of Zionism is that its success was made dependent upon a movement of world history which is bound to end in catastrophe for all peoples."
Zionism is a complex and controversial phenomenon that has shaped the Middle East and the U.S. foreign policy for over a century. It has been a source of inspiration and aspiration for some, and a source of oppression and resentment for others. It has also been a subject of debate and disagreement among scholars, politicians, activists, and ordinary people. Zionism is not a monolithic or static movement, but rather a diverse and dynamic one that has evolved and adapted over time and in response to changing circumstances and challenges. Zionism is not a simple or easy topic to understand or discuss, but rather a challenging and important one that requires further research and analysis.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Dr. Muizzu's presidency and the future of the Maldives

On September 30, 2023, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu was elected as the new President of the Maldives, marking a historic moment for the nation. Dr. Muizzu, former Housing Minister under President Abdulla Yameen, secured a significant victory over the incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, obtaining 54% of the vote, while Solih garnered 46%. This election marked the end of Solih's five-year term, which was marred by allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and external interference.

Dr. Muizzu campaigned on a nationalist platform, pledging to restore the sovereignty and dignity of the Maldives, which he asserted had been compromised during Solih's tenure. He also committed to revitalizing the Maldivian economy, which had suffered due to the adverse effects of tourism-related lockdowns, the primary source of income and foreign exchange for the island nation.

With a clear vision and a capable team, Dr. Muizzu aims to guide the Maldives through the challenges it faces and usher in a new era of prosperity and stability. His comprehensive agenda comprises 19 pivotal projects that are set to reshape the development landscape, with a particular focus on Malé City, the capital and most populous city in the country. These projects are organized around three overarching themes: ensuring economic stability, catalyzing a revolutionary transformation, and fostering economic expansion.

Nonetheless, Dr. Muizzu is not without his share of challenges, both domestically and internationally, that could potentially complicate his efforts. These include:

1. The Middle East conflict, which could impact the Maldives' security, stability, and prosperity.
2. Managing the presence of foreign workers, who constitute approximately 25% of the population, posing social and economic complexities.
3. Resolving ongoing disputes over Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) with Mauritius since 2010.
4. Tackling the high national debt, which reached 107.5% of GDP in 2020, primarily due to extensive infrastructure projects funded by external loans.
5. Averting a looming debt crisis, with projected annual debt obligations of $1 billion by 2026.
6. Addressing congestion and pollution issues in Malé City, which suffers from inadequate housing, water supply, sanitation, and waste management.
7. Dealing with land and apartment allotment concerns in the Greater Malé region, leading to protests and complaints from residents who feel excluded or unjustly evicted.
8. Navigating the strategic interests of both India and China, two influential nations with competing investments in the Maldives.
9. Managing the recovery from COVID-19, which has adversely affected the health and livelihoods of many Maldivians.

Strategies to Address These Challenges

Dr. Muizzu must tread carefully, avoiding taking sides in the Middle East conflict or antagonizing any influential powers that could obstruct his economic recovery plans or political stability. He will also need to contend with opposition from Solih's party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which retains a majority in parliament and could seek to impede or delay his policies.

Dr. Muizzu has signaled his intent to pursue a pro-Maldives foreign policy, departing from Solih's tilt toward India. Concurrently, he has expressed support for Palestine and condemnation of Israel's actions, potentially impacting relations with key partners and donors, who maintain close ties with Israel and oppose Iran's role in the region.

Simultaneously, Dr. Muizzu aims to enhance relations with India based on mutual respect for sovereignty and plans to restructure the repayment of loans acquired during Solih's administration from India.

Furthermore, addressing the welfare of foreign workers residing and working in the Maldives will be a priority, ensuring they receive fair treatment, access to essential services such as healthcare and education, protection from exploitation, and integration into Maldivian society.

Resolution of the EEZ disputes with Mauritius, crucial for maritime security and resource management, will demand dialogue and negotiation to reach a mutually acceptable solution that safeguards the Maldives' sovereignty and interests.

Dr. Muizzu's fiscal challenges include reducing the nation's debt burden, a task necessitating a pragmatic approach, improved revenue collection through tax system enhancements, and prudent expenditure management by prioritizing essential needs and eliminating wasteful spending.

To avert a looming debt crisis, Dr. Muizzu must skillfully manage the nation's debt through negotiations with creditors to extend maturities, lower interest rates, or restructure loan principals, while also seeking debt relief or forgiveness from friendly nations and international organizations.

Addressing congestion and pollution in Malé City demands significant investments in infrastructure and services, including affordable housing, water network expansion, sewerage system upgrades, and a comprehensive solid waste management strategy. Promoting public transportation and renewable energy adoption will further enhance urban sustainability.

Addressing land and apartment allotment concerns requires a thorough review of existing policies and procedures to ensure transparency, fairness, and inclusivity, coupled with active engagement with residents to address grievances adequately.

Balancing the strategic interests of India and China, both of which have substantial influence and investments in the Maldives, is crucial to safeguard national sovereignty and independence from external pressures or interference.

Finally, managing the post-COVID-19 recovery involves securing adequate vaccines and medical supplies, supporting the tourism sector through eased travel restrictions and improved health protocols, and revitalizing education and social services disrupted by the pandemic.

Transformative Potential of Dr. Muizzu's 19 Pivotal Projects

Dr. Muizzu's vision, accompanied by a competent team, promises to guide the Maldives towards a brighter future through 19 transformative initiatives. These initiatives will particularly reshape the development landscape of Malé City, the nation's capital and most populous area, focusing on three key themes: economic stability, revolutionary transformation, and economic expansion.

Among the notable commitments within these projects are:

- The construction of 65,000 flats in the Greater Malé region, offering affordable housing solutions and alleviating congestion and pollution.
- The target of increasing Maldives' GDP to MVR 150 billion in the next five years, thus enhancing living standards and reducing poverty.
- The ambitious goal of reducing public debt to single digits while raising gross reserves to USD 1 billion to ensure fiscal sustainability and resilience.
- A comprehensive approach to bolstering the tourism sector through relaxed travel regulations, improved health protocols, and effective promotion of the Maldives as a tourist destination.
- Strategic investments in climate-resilient infrastructure, renewable energy, marine conservation, and waste management to safeguard the environment and natural resources.
- A commitment to enhance public services, particularly in healthcare, education, and social protection, to improve service quality and efficiency.
- Encouragement of private sector growth and competitiveness through improved business environments, strengthened governance and institutions, promotion of innovation and digitalization, and support for small businesses, all contributing to job creation and opportunities.
- Strengthening regional cooperation and integration with neighboring countries to expand trade, tourism, and connectivity, thereby broadening the market and network for the Maldives.

These projects are anticipated to have a profound positive impact on the Maldives' economic, social, and environmental development. They are expected to create employment opportunities, particularly for youth and women, enhance the quality and efficiency of public services in healthcare, education, and social protection, and contribute to the preservation of the nation's natural resources.

Dr. Muizzu, along with his dedicated team, has diligently formulated these transformative projects (undoubtedly) with the invaluable support and cooperation of various stakeholders, including local councils, the private sector, civil society, and the international community. Ensuring transparency, accountability, and inclusivity has been at the forefront of their efforts, ensuring that these projects align with the needs and aspirations of the Maldivian people.

As citizens of the Maldives, it is our duty to acknowledge and stand behind Dr. Muizzu and his team as they endeavor to shape our nation through these 19 pivotal projects. We should actively participate and contribute to these initiatives by offering our feedback, suggestions, and ideas. Additionally, we must vigilantly monitor and evaluate these projects, holding our leaders accountable for their performance and outcomes.

Dr. Muizzu's presidency marks a pivotal moment in the Maldives' history. His strategic vision, accompanied by a dedicated team and transformative projects, has the potential to usher in a brighter future for the nation, addressing numerous challenges and revitalizing key sectors of the economy. It is now incumbent upon the citizens of the Maldives to actively engage in and support these initiatives, thereby contributing to the nation's growth and prosperity.

I extend my heartfelt prayers for Dr. Muizzu's success and well-being during his forthcoming presidential term. I wish him and team the best of luck in fulfilling their ambitious development commitments for the Maldivian people. May Allah bless Dr. Muizzu and team, and may our nation thrive as a result. Ameen.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Looking for employment in Maldives? Here is a Helpful Guide for Overseas Job Seekers

Maldives is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, known for its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and luxury resorts. It is also a popular destination for tourists, especially from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. But what is it like to work and live in Maldives? What are the opportunities and challenges for overseas job seekers who want to pursue a career in this tropical paradise?

In this blogpost, I will provide you with some insights and tips on how to find a job in Maldives, based on the latest data and information available. I will cover topics such as the minimum wage, the average salary, the cost of living, and the visa requirements. I will also share some of the best websites and resources to help you with your job search.

Minimum Wage in Maldives

One of the first things you need to know before applying for a job in Maldives is the minimum wage. The minimum wage is the lowest amount of money that an employer can legally pay to an employee for their work. It is usually expressed as an hourly rate or a monthly wage.

Maldives has recently established its minimum wage for the first time in November 2021. The minimum wage was set by the Economic Ministry based on the recommendations of the Minimum Wage Board, which considered various factors such as economic conditions, cost of living, and business classification. The minimum wage will be effective from January 2022 and will be implemented based on the size of the businesses. The minimum wage rates are as follows:

- Small businesses: MVR 21.63 hourly rate, MVR 4,500 monthly wage
- Medium businesses: MVR 33.65 hourly rate, MVR 7,000 monthly wage
- Large businesses: MVR 38.46 hourly rate, MVR 8,000 monthly wage

The Economic Ministry stated that the minimum wage will stimulate the growth and promote inclusive growth, while ensuring the livelihood of the workforce is improved. However, the ministry also acknowledged that the minimum wage rates were lower than the original recommendations of the Minimum Wage Board due to the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maldives' minimum wage is currently lower than some of its neighboring countries, such as India and Sri Lanka, which have minimum wages of around MVR 6,000 and MVR 9,000 respectively. However, the Maldives' minimum wage is higher than some other countries in the region, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have minimum wages of around MVR 3,000 and MVR 2,000 respectively.

The Maldives' minimum wage is also lower than some of the developed countries that use similar methodologies to determine their minimum wage rates, such as Australia and Canada, which have minimum wages of around MVR 30,000 and MVR 20,000 respectively. However, these countries also have higher costs of living and different economic conditions than the Maldives.

The establishment of a minimum wage in the Maldives is a significant milestone for the country's labor market and social welfare. However, it also poses some challenges and criticisms, such as its impact on employment, productivity, competitiveness, and income inequality. Therefore, it is important to monitor and evaluate the effects of the minimum wage on the economy and society over time.

Average Salary in Maldives

Another thing you need to know before applying for a job in Maldives is the average salary. The average salary is the total amount of money that an employee receives from their employer for their work over a period of time. It is usually expressed as an annual or monthly income.

According to my rearch, the average salary in Maldives is 493,038 MVR per year, based on 207 salary surveys. The monthly salary range for people working in Maldives is from 9,976.00 MVR to 40,330.00 MVR, or from 10,768.00 MVR to 42,001.00 MVR, depending on the employer. These are the total monthly salaries including bonuses. The actual salaries may vary depending on the position, qualification, experience, and employer.

The average salary also differs by gender, education, experience, job sector, and geographical location. For example, men receive an average salary of 580,545 MVR, while women receive a salary of 297,202 MVR. People with a Doctorate Degree earn an average salary of 1,056,376 MVR, while people with a High School education earn an average salary of 107,793 MVR. People with 16-20 Years of experience earn an average salary of 850,029 MVR, while people with less than 1 Year of experience earn an average salary of 77,000 MVR.

Some of the highest paying careers in Maldives are Aviation & Shipping,
Engineers & Technicians IV, Management & Business, and Health Care & Medical II. Some of the lowest paying careers are Customer Services, Salesmen & Saleswomen, and Food Service Workers. The salary range also varies by location within Maldives. For example, the average salary in Male is higher than the average salary in Addu City.

The average salary in Maldives reflects the level of income and living standards of the people in the country. However, it also indicates
the degree of income inequality and poverty that exists in the society.
Therefore, it is important to consider
the distribution and adequacy of income when applying for a job in Maldives.

Cost of Living in Maldives

The cost of living in Maldives is the amount of money needed to cover the basic expenses of living in the country, such as food, housing, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and entertainment. The cost of living in Maldives varies depending on the location, lifestyle, and personal preferences of the individual or household.

According to my research, the cost of living in Maldives is higher than the global average and some of the neighboring countries. The main factors that contribute to the high cost of living are the high cost of food and water, which are mostly imported from other countries, and the high demand for tourism and luxury services. The cost of living in Maldives also depends on the exchange rate of the Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR) against other currencies, such as the US dollar (USD).

One way to measure the cost of living in Maldives is to use a price index that compares the prices of a basket of goods and services across different countries. One such index is Numbeo, which provides data on
various aspects of living costs, such as restaurants, markets, transportation, utilities, sports and leisure, childcare, clothing, and rent.
According to Numbeo, the cost of living index for Maldives is 54.71 as of August 2023, which means that
Maldives is 45.29% cheaper than
the average country in the world.
However, this index does not include rent, which is a significant expense for many people in the Maldives.

Another way to measure the cost of living in Maldives is to use an average salary or income that reflects the purchasing power of the people in the country. According to, the average salary after taxes in Maldives is $803 per month as of 2023, which is enough to cover living expenses for 0.7 months. This means that most people in Maldives have to work more than one month to afford one month of living costs. However,
this average salary may not represent the actual income distribution and inequality in the country.

The cost of living in Maldives can also be estimated by using a budget calculator that takes into account various expenses and income sources for a specific individual or household. One such calculator is, which provides a detailed breakdown of monthly costs for different categories and scenarios. According to, the total cost of living for a single person in Maldives is around $2,143 per month as of September 2023, which includes rent, utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, and other expenses. However, this budget may not reflect the actual spending habits and preferences of each person.

The cost of living in Maldives is influenced by many factors and can vary significantly depending on the situation and needs of each person or household. Therefore, it is important to do your own research and compare different sources of information before making any decisions or plans related to living in Maldives.

Visa Requirements for Maldives

The visa requirements for Maldives are the rules and regulations that govern the entry and stay of foreign nationals in the country. The visa requirements depend on the purpose, duration, and frequency of the visit, as well as the nationality and passport of the visitor.

According to my research, Maldives has a very liberal visa policy that allows visa-free entry for all nationalities for up to 30 days. The only requirement is to have a valid passport, a confirmed return ticket, and enough funds to cover the expenses during the stay. The visa can be extended for another 60 days by paying a fee and providing proof of accommodation. However, this visa is only valid for tourism purposes and does not allow any work or business activities.

If you want to work or do business in Maldives, you will need to obtain a different type of visa, such as a work visa or a business visa. These visas require an invitation or sponsorship from an employer or a business partner in Maldives, as well as other documents and fees. The process and duration of obtaining these visas may vary depending on the case and the authority.

If you want to study or volunteer in Maldives, you will also need to obtain a specific type of visa, such as a student visa or a volunteer visa. These visas require an acceptance letter or an agreement from an educational institution or a non-governmental organization in Maldives, as well as other documents and fees. The process and duration of obtaining these visas may also vary depending on the case and the authority.

The visa requirements for Maldives are subject to change without prior notice. Therefore, it is advisable to check the latest information from the official sources before traveling to Maldives. Some of the reliable sources are:

- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives: []
- The Immigration Department of Maldives: []
- The Embassy or Consulate of Maldives in your country: []

How to Find a Job in Maldives

Finding a job in Maldives can be challenging but rewarding. There are many opportunities for skilled and qualified professionals in various sectors, such as tourism, hospitality, education, health, finance, engineering, and IT. However, there are also many challenges, such as competition, language barriers, cultural differences, legal issues, and environmental risks.

To find a job in Maldives, you will need to do some research and preparation. Here are some steps and tips that can help you with your job search:

- Identify your skills and qualifications: You will need to assess your strengths andweaknesses, and match them with the job requirements and expectations in Maldives. You will also need to update your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and qualifications.

- Explore the job market: You will need to research the job opportunities and trends in Maldives, and identify the sectors and employers that suit your interests and goals. You will also need to network with people who work or have worked in Maldives, and seek their advice and referrals.

- Apply for jobs: You will need to find and apply for jobs that match your profile and preferences. You can use various sources and methods to find jobs, such as online job portals, newspapers, magazines, social media, recruitment agencies, and personal contacts. You will also need to prepare for the application process, such as writing a customized application letter, filling out forms, submitting documents, and taking tests.

- Prepare for interviews: You will need to prepare for the interviews that you may be invited to by the potential employers. You will need to practice your communication skills, anticipate the questions and answers, dress appropriately, and be punctual. You will also need to demonstrate your enthusiasm, confidence, and professionalism during the interviews.

- Negotiate the offer: You will need to negotiate the offer that you may receive from the employer after the interviews. You will need to consider the salary, benefits, working hours, contract duration, and other terms and conditions of the offer. You will also need to compare the offer with other options and opportunities that you may have.

- Accept the job: You will need to accept the job that you are satisfied with and confirm your acceptance with the employer. You will also need to complete the formalities and procedures required by the employer and the authorities, such as signing the contract, obtaining the visa, booking the flight, and arranging the accommodation.

Finding a job in Maldives can be a rewarding experience that can enhance your career and personal growth. However, it can also be a challenging process that requires patience, persistence, and preparation. Therefore, it is important to do your homework and plan ahead before applying for a job in Maldives.

Best Websites and Resources for Finding a Job in Maldives

To help you with your job search in Maldives, here are some of the best websites and resources that you can use:

- [] This is one of the leading online job portals in Maldives that offers a wide range of job opportunities in various sectors and locations. You can browse, search, filter, and apply for jobs online. You can also create your profile, upload your resume, and receive job alerts.

- [] This is another popular online job portal in Maldives that provides a platform for job seekers and employers to connect. You can find jobs in different categories, such as accounting, administration, engineering, hospitality, IT, and tourism. You can also register, post your resume, and get career advice.

- [] This is an innovative online job portal in Maldives that aims to make job hunting easy and fun. You can discover jobs in various industries,
such as education, finance, healthcare, media, and retail.
You can also create your profile, upload your portfolio, and apply for jobs with one click.

- LinkedIn: [] This is a global social networking site for professionals that allows you to build your online presence, network with other professionals, and find jobs in Maldives. You can create your profile,
showcase your skills and achievements, and search for jobs by keywords, companies, or locations.
You can also follow companies, join groups, and get recommendations.

- Indeed: [] This is a worldwide online job search engine that aggregates millions of jobs from thousands of sources. You can find jobs in Maldives by typing keywords or locations in the search box. You can also upload your resume, create job alerts, and research companies.

These are some of the best websites and resources for finding a job in Maldives. However, there are many other sources and methods that you can use to find jobs in Maldives. Therefore, it is advisable to explore different options and opportunities before settling for one.


Maldives is a beautiful country that offers many opportunities for overseas job seekers who want to work and live in a tropical paradise. However, finding a job in Maldives can also be challenging due to various factors such as competition, language barriers, cultural differences, legal issues, and environmental risks. Therefore, it is important to do some research and preparation before applying for a job in Maldives.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

How to Fight Corruption in Developing Countries: A Guide for Policy and Education

Corruption is a major obstacle to development and poverty reduction in many countries. It involves the misuse of power for personal gain, and it affects every sector of society, from the economy and the environment to health and human rights. However, corruption can be tackled with effective policies and education. This blog post will explore some of the ways to do so, with a focus on the Maldives as a case study.

Understanding Corruption:
Corruption can take many forms, such as bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and cronyism. It is not only detrimental to the economy; it also erodes trust, hinders development, and perpetuates inequality. Some of the factors that contribute to corruption in the Maldives are:

- The high cost of living and low wages that make people vulnerable to bribery and exploitation.
- The lack of transparency and accountability in the government and public institutions that create opportunities for corruption.
- The weak enforcement of laws and regulations that allow corrupt individuals to escape justice.

Policy-Level Reforms:
Policy-level reforms are essential to reduce corruption and improve governance. Some of the reforms that can be implemented are:

1. Transparent Governance:
   - Open and transparent government practices can be adopted.
   - Budgets, contracts, and public expenditure details can be published online for public scrutiny.
   - Whistleblower protection laws can be strengthened to encourage reporting of corruption.

2. Strengthening Institutions:
   - The judiciary and law enforcement agencies can be invested in to ensure their independence and effectiveness.
   - Anti-corruption bodies with real powers and resources can be established to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals.

3. Reduce Bureaucratic Red Tape:
   - Government processes can be simplified and digitized to reduce opportunities for bribery.
   - E-governance initiatives can be introduced to increase efficiency and transparency.

4. Public Awareness Campaigns:
   - Public awareness campaigns can be launched to educate citizens about the costs of corruption.
   - A culture of integrity and civic responsibility can be encouraged.

The Role of Education:
Education plays a pivotal role in the fight against corruption. Here's how:

1. Ethical Education:
   - Ethics and anti-corruption education can be introduced from an early age.
   - The values of honesty, accountability, and integrity can be taught in schools.

2. Civic Education:
   - Civic education can be promoted to empower citizens with knowledge about their rights and responsibilities.
   - Active participation in democracy and governance can be encouraged.

3. Strengthening Critical Thinking:
   - Critical thinking skills can be fostered to enable citizens to question and challenge corrupt practices.
   - Media literacy can be taught to help people distinguish between credible and biased information sources.

4. Vocational Training and Employment Opportunities:
   - Vocational training and job opportunities can be provided for youth to reduce their vulnerability to corruption.
   - Education can lead to meaningful employment.

Combatting corruption in developing countries is a complex and long-term endeavor, but it's not impossible. By implementing policy-level reforms that promote transparency and accountability and by prioritizing ethical education within the education sector, we can pave the way for a brighter future. The younger generation has a crucial role to play in this fight, and together, we can break the cycle of corruption and build more just and equitable societies.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Should MPs have a minimum educational qualification?

The Maldives is a young democracy that has undergone several political transitions in the past decade. The role of the parliament, or the People's Majlis, is crucial in ensuring the stability and development of the nation. The Majlis has the authority to enact, amend and revise laws, as well as to oversee the executive and the judiciary branches of the government. Therefore, it is important that the members of the Majlis are competent, qualified and capable of fulfilling their duties.

However, what constitutes a suitable qualification for an MP? Should there be a minimum educational requirement for candidates who wish to run for the parliament? This is a question that has been debated in many countries, including the Maldives. Some argue that MPs should have at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent, while others contend that education is not a necessary criterion for political representation.

According to the Constitution of the Maldives, the eligibility criteria for an MP are as follows:

- Be a citizen of the Maldives
- Be a Muslim and follower of Sunni school of Islam
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Not have a decreed debt that is not being paid as per schedule
- Not have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or he has been pardoned for the offence for which he was sentenced
- Not have a mental disorder

As can be seen, there is no mention of any educational qualification in the constitution. This means that anyone who meets the above criteria can run for the parliament, regardless of their level of education. However, some may argue that this is not sufficient, and that MPs should have at least some formal education to be able to understand and deal with complex issues that affect the country.

One of the arguments in favor of having a minimum educational qualification for MPs is that it would ensure a certain standard of knowledge and skills among the legislators. MPs are expected to draft, debate and pass laws that affect various aspects of the society and the economy. They also need to scrutinize and hold accountable the actions and policies of the government and other institutions. Therefore, they need to have a good grasp of various subjects such as law, economics, politics, social sciences, environment, etc. Having a minimum educational qualification would ensure that MPs have at least some exposure and familiarity with these topics.

Another argument in favor of having a minimum educational qualification for MPs is that it would enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the parliament. MPs are representatives of the people, and they need to earn their trust and respect. Having a minimum educational qualification would show that MPs are serious and committed to their role, and that they have invested time and effort in acquiring knowledge and skills relevant to their work. It would also signal to the public that MPs are competent and qualified to make decisions on their behalf.

However, there are also counterarguments against having a minimum educational qualification for MPs. One of them is that education is not a reliable indicator of intelligence, ability or performance. There are many examples of successful leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and activists who did not have formal education or who dropped out of school. Conversely, there are also examples of educated people who failed or caused harm in their fields. Therefore, having a minimum educational qualification does not guarantee that MPs will be effective or ethical in their work.

Another counterargument against having a minimum educational qualification for MPs is that it would exclude many potential candidates who may have valuable experience, skills and qualities that are not reflected in their academic credentials. There are many people who may have acquired knowledge and skills through informal or non-formal means, such as self-study, work experience, community service, etc. There are also people who may have faced barriers or challenges in accessing formal education due to various reasons such as poverty, discrimination, disability, etc. These people may have valuable insights and perspectives that could enrich the parliament and benefit the society.

Moreover, having a minimum educational qualification for MPs could undermine the principle of democracy and representation. MPs are elected by the people based on their choice and preference. The people have the right to choose who they want to represent them in the parliament, regardless of their educational background. Having a minimum educational qualification could limit the pool of candidates available for election, and reduce the diversity and representation of different groups and interests in the parliament.

Therefore, having a minimum educational qualification for MPs is not a simple or straightforward issue. There are pros and cons on both sides of the debate. However, one thing that can be agreed upon is that MPs need to have certain traits and skills that enable them to perform their role effectively and responsibly. These include integrity, honesty, communication skills, critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, teamwork skills, etc. These traits and skills can be acquired through various means, not necessarily through formal education.

Furthermore, MPs need to have a genuine interest and passion for serving the people and the nation. They need to have a clear vision and mission for their work, and a commitment to uphold the values and principles of democracy, human rights and justice. They need to be accountable and transparent to the people, and responsive to their needs and aspirations. They need to be willing to learn, improve and adapt to the changing circumstances and challenges that they face.

Therefore, rather than focusing on the minimum educational qualification for MPs, perhaps it would be more productive and meaningful to focus on the qualities and skills that MPs need to have, and how they can be developed and assessed. Perhaps it would also be more democratic and inclusive to let the people decide who they want to represent them in the parliament, based on their own criteria and judgment. After all, MPs are not employees or experts, but representatives of the citizens.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Selecting the Best Candidates for High Government Positions: Prioritizing Competency and Integrity

High government positions, such as cabinet ministers, ambassadors, judges, or heads of government offices, require individuals who possess not only the relevant skills and knowledge, but also the ethical values and principles that guide their actions. Competency and integrity are two key attributes that are essential for public service leaders, as they affect their performance, credibility, and accountability. In this article, I will discuss why competency and integrity are important for high government positions, and how they can be assessed and enhanced in the selection process.

Competency refers to the ability to perform a task or role effectively and efficiently, using the appropriate knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors. Competency can be measured by various criteria, such as education, experience, qualifications, achievements, or performance indicators. For high government positions, competency also involves having a strategic vision, a comprehensive understanding of the policy context, a strong leadership style, and an effective communication skill. Competency is important for high government positions because it ensures that the candidates have the capacity to handle complex and challenging situations, to make sound decisions based on evidence and analysis, to manage resources and risks, and to deliver results that meet the expectations of the public and the stakeholders.

Integrity refers to the adherence to a moral code based on relevant ethical values and normative principles. Integrity can be demonstrated by various behaviors, such as honesty, fairness, benevolence, respect, accountability, transparency, or professionalism. Integrity is important for high government positions because it establishes trust and confidence in the public service, as well as in the government as a whole. Integrity also prevents corruption and misconduct, which can undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of the public service. Integrity also promotes a culture of ethics and responsibility among public servants, which enhances their motivation and commitment to serve the public interest.

The selection process for high government positions should prioritize competency and integrity as the main criteria for evaluating the candidates. This can be done by using various methods and tools that can assess both aspects objectively and comprehensively. Some examples of these methods and tools are:

- Competency-based interviews: These are structured interviews that ask behavioral questions that relate to specific competencies required for the position. The candidates are expected to provide examples of situations where they demonstrated those competencies in their previous or current roles. The answers are then rated according to predefined scales or rubrics that measure the level of competency displayed by the candidates.

- Integrity tests: These are tests that measure the candidates' ethical values and principles, as well as their tendency to engage in dishonest or unethical behaviors. The tests can be either overt or covert. Overt tests are self-report questionnaires that ask the candidates to rate their agreement or disagreement with various statements that reflect their moral beliefs or attitudes. Covert tests are situational judgment tests that present hypothetical scenarios that involve ethical dilemmas or conflicts of interest. The candidates are then asked to choose or rank the best or worst courses of action in those scenarios.

- Background checks: These are investigations that verify the accuracy and validity of the information provided by the candidates in their resumes or applications. The investigations can also reveal any past or present issues or incidents that may affect the candidates' suitability for the position. The background checks can include checking criminal records, credit reports, employment history, education credentials, references, social media profiles, or other sources of information.

- Assessment centers: These are simulations that recreate realistic situations or tasks that are relevant to the position. The candidates are observed and evaluated by trained assessors who use standardized criteria and methods to measure their performance. The simulations can include case studies, role plays, group exercises, presentations, or written tests.

The selection process for high government positions should also aim to enhance competency and integrity among the candidates by providing them with feedback, guidance, training, or mentoring. This can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, improve their skills and knowledge, develop their ethical awareness and judgment, and foster their commitment to public service values and principles.

Competency and integrity are vital attributes for high government positions that affect their performance, credibility, and accountability. The selection process should prioritize these attributes by using various methods and tools that can assess and enhance them effectively and efficiently. By doing so, the selection process can ensure that only the best and most qualified candidates are appointed to serve the public interest with excellence and integrity.