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Ben Okri’s Aphorisms: “Music on the Wings of a Soaring Bird”

Abstract

The title of this presentation is derived from Ben Okri’s latest publication, The Magic Lamp (2017), itself an intersectional text featuring a selection of Rosemary Clunie’s art and Okri’s accompanying ontopoietic/ heightened consciousness prose. This trans-disciplinary paper traces the trajectory and suggests the import of Okri’s blueprints for regaining our true state of being: his aphorisms in Birds of Heaven (1996), A Time for New Dreams (2011) and those in Johns Hopkins’s journal, Callaloo (2015, 38(5): 1042-1043). Reviving a wisdom corpus from antiquity, this Booker Prizewinning Nigerian novelist provides a guiding paremiological exemplum in A Time for New Dreams to counter postmodernity’s obsession with the pleasure principle or fast living and hyper-connectivity: “And out of the wilderness/ The songbird sings/ ‘Nothing is what it seems./ This is a time for new dreams’” (2011: 147). Based on Italian Renaissance’s Desiderius Erasmus’s ([1540] 1982) view on the luminous benefits of concise thought, the argument is that the quintessence of aphorisms or proverbs has been and is their pithy wisdom. A basic premise is that the Imaginatio Creatix communicating in poetic prose aphorisms provides fertile ground for new connections, new depths, and new transversals as well as epiphanies or what Okri terms the alchemy of ‘serendipity’. A fragment in Birds of Heaven (1996: 40) highlights the moral purpose of Okri’s aphorisms: “It is precisely in a broken age that we need mystery and a reawakened sense of wonder: need them in order to be whole again.”

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Big Data in e-Government Environments: Albania as a Case Study

Abstract

Nowadays, the new trend in e-government environment is Big Data which is considered to be one of the most critical issues due to the managing, quality and privacy challenges. Creating and storing the huge volume of structured and unstructured data generated by governments in different formats does not provide any benefit for decision-making. Governments have to benefit from this data deluge to use its different aspects such as fraud detection or to measure citizen’s needs and desire for services in different area such as finance, healthcare, environment, economic and social statistics, etc. The objective of this paper is to bring Big Data in the context of e-government environment addressing main challenges that governments faced and describing opportunities in this field. This research summarizes the current situation of big data initiatives in e-government in different countries. This paper presents the current situation regarding digital transformation and e-government environment in Albania. The egovernment development and main statistics in the e-services it offers to Albanian is described as it will provide vital input for the potential of using big data as no current national initiatives exist on this field, in the country level. In this paper, we identify challenges and opportunities to start using Big Data in public organizations in Albania and we analyze methodological, organizational and processing challenges when big data is used, instead of traditional sources.

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Democratic Deviations and Constitutional Changes: The Case of Turkey

Abstract

This article shows through a descriptive-qualitative methodology as the recent Turkish constitutional reform is fully inserted in the context of the strong debate on the transformations of contemporary democracies. In particular, the analysis emphasizes the underlying danger of this constitutional change, because the established super-presidentialism drives a strong drift away from the consolidation / institutionalization of democracy. Our conclusions show the risk of authoritarian involution from the total centralization of powers in the hands of the leader, which will have consequences both internally, an area in which there will be a stronger radicalization, and at the supranational level, because the heavy rerouting freezes the integrationist dreams.

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Europeanization through Migration Policies: Legislative Comparison between Civil Law Systems and Common Law Systems

Abstract

Within the European Union there are several states that have implemented laws, often following different paradigms, to cope not only with the increase in migratory flows, but also to foster the integration and participation of the migrants themselves in socio-political and economic life. In recent decades, immigration into Europe has become a matter of primary and strategic importance for the definition of both internal policies and the external relations of the Union. The progressive settlement of substantial national and ethnic groups poses important economic, social and cultural challenges, to which the policies implemented have so far only partially responded. Guiding concepts like integration, assimilation and respect for diversity still struggle to find an adequate realization in the reception policies of the European states. In this regard, a real revolution in this area was the realization of the “common basic principles” of 2004, which made member states become aware of the respect for fundamental rights, non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all (Niessen,. Schibel, 2007), and it later became a mere “Common agenda for Integration”. In this context, we can recall the decision of the Council and of the European Parliament n.1983 / 2006 which proclaimed 2008 as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. With this research, we intend to analyze the regulations concerning the migration of European governments and how they have changed over time, paying particular attention to the activation of inclusion strategies in some European Union countries; at the same time, we intend to find a strategy for a possible cooperation in the management of migratory processes. The integration regulations launched in Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom will be examined from the 1940s to 2015 and a comparative study will be conducted between the Community policies and the policies of four countries chosen to highlight common features and divergences.

Open access
Exploring Traditional Weaning practices in North Western Nigeria; Food, Knowledge and Culture: A Step towards Safeguarding Community Food Security

Abstract

For many women in Nigeria who practice exclusive breast feeding, the weaning period is a crucial time. This is when children are introduced to solid food and such dietary change can be challenging for them, but also for care givers who are saddled with the responsibility of providing sufficient and nutritious food that would support healthy development. At this period, many women in rural communities utilize traditional foods of various kinds as weaning food. This paper highlights traditional food used by care givers in Makarfi Local Government Area (LGA) during weaning and the cultural teachings attached to weaning practices. Semi-structured interviews were conducted for 60 women who were purposefully selected from the ten districts in Makarfi LGA in Kaduna state, Nigeria because of their status as care givers. Results show that 95% of the participants derive their knowledge about foods used for weaning through cultural teachings that has been passed down through generations, while 5% got information from health practitioners. Some of the traditional foods used for weaning purposes include gyeda (Arachis hypoaea) and gero (Sorghum bicolar). This study reinforces the importance of traditional food and knowledge; and the need to take into consideration cultural practices when making food security policies.

Open access
The Geo-economic Gravity Systems as a Tool for the Analysis of Socio-Economic Polarization in a Society: Country Case Study and Geographic Information Modelling Explain Long-term Transformation Potential towards Increased Regional Attractiveness and Efficiency

Abstract

In this paper the concept of the “Geo-Economic Gravity System” will be discussed as a methodological tool in regard with the key issue of “regional efficiency”, as well as a modeling tool in the effort to face relevant socio-economic problems. As a case study, the fierce opposition between oriental and westernoriented political powers, other words neo-ottomans versus kemalists in the Turkish society, is being respectively examined. The Geo-economic Gravity Systems explain the socio-economic rifts, heading back to the 90’s and demonstrating the multiple and prevailing societal polarization. On its second part, however, this study exhibits that, in the aftermath of the R.T. Erdogan’s governments, despite that the political dichotomy lines remain, at least the severe economic disparities have been smoothed due to policies, incentives and infrastructure investments accomplished. The analysis of Turkey’s internal geoeconomic trends offers notable insight into the mechanism controlling in general the regional socioeconomic attractiveness and efficiency. Consequently, such an analysis can remarkably contribute in the research of the spatial dimension as a catalyst for emerging development opportunities in any country.

Open access
Information Security Management: Password Security Issues

Abstract

As users of technology in our everyday actions we need to authenticate in different applications, in fast and secure mode. Although passwords are called the least secure mode of authentication, it’s the simplicity of entering a textual password for just a few seconds, especially when a fast transaction is needed, the main advantage that textual password based authentication method has against other authentication methods. We have prepared a questionnaire that will help us to identify the practices, characteristics, and problems of creation and usage of passwords in online applications, services and social networks. The target population is a group of users who have knowledge on information technology in public administration.

Open access
Quality Assurance Implementation, Management Practices, and Staff Performance in the Technical Colleges of the Sultanate of Oman: Inputs for a Quality Intervention Program

Abstract

The research endeavored to analyze the impact of quality assurance on management practices and staff performance in the Technical Colleges of the Sultanate of Oman. The use of a quantitative research approach and a correlational research design was deemed necessary in order to address the research objectives. The respondents of the study comprised of the different faculty, staff, and administrators from various technical colleges. It was revealed that there was a very satisfactory level of quality assurance implementation in terms of general standards in higher education (m=3.87) and in the implementation of the standards of good practice in higher education (m=3.97). There was a satisfactory level of quality assurance implementation of the standards of the National Qualifications Framework (m=3.49) and the implementation of the standards in approval and accreditation process (m=3.42). In terms of the management practices profile, an overall very satisfactory level was recorded in the said colleges. This is indicated by the overall mean score level of 3.82. An overall very satisfactory level of staff performance was obtained in the said colleges. This is indicated by the overall mean score level of 3.71. All of the null hypotheses were rejected in favour of the research hypotheses, which means that there was significant relationship between all the quality assurance implementation and staff performance, quality assurance implementation and management practices, and staff performance and management practices. Implications for management and future research are provided.

Open access
Seroepidemiology of CCHF in Domestic Animals in Endemic Areas in Albania

Abstract

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an arboviral zoonotic infection wich is endemic in some areas of the country. The aim of this study was to assess the seroprevalence of CCHFV in previous and recent endemic areas of the country. This crosssectional serologic study was conducted in period 2010-2014 by the Institute of Public health in Tirana, Albania. The survey included 152 sera specimen of cattle which were randomly collected from seven districts in Albania over the period 2010-2014. All samples were collected randomly from seven districts in Albania and were examined for anti-CCHFV IgG. Of the total of 152 samples examined, 102 (67.1%) were positive to IgG ELISA. The highest positivity rate was among cows (88.3%) and in recent endemic areas of Has and Kukes, 89.7% and 82.9% respectively. In recent endemic areas humans can potentially contract the disease as compared to other areas of the country.

Open access
Socio-Economic Determinants of Healthcare Service Utilization among Rural Dwellers in Akpabuyo Lga, of Cross River State, Nigeria

Abstract

Socio-economic determinants of healthcare services utilization were investigated in Akpabuyo Local Government Area using structured questionnaires, administered to adults in the study area. The general objective of this study was to determine the reason behind underutilization of orthodox health services in the area with particular attention to the socio-economic factors; specific objectives were to ascertain the influence of income level and the relationship between proximity of health facilities and utilization. The research design adopted for this study was the cross-sectional survey design; a sample size of 400 was drawn from adults, selected from each household and the Multi-stage sampling technique was utilized for the process of data collection, which consisted of the systematic random and the purposive sampling techniques. One way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the Pearson product moment correlation (PPMC) were used in the analysis of data generated, for the purpose of arriving at a conclusion and policy recommendation. The findings from this research revealed that income level at all three categories; low, middle and high had significant influence on the utilization of healthcare services, and the proximity of healthcare facilities concerning their distance and location also had a significant relationship on their utilization. Conclusively, it was recommended that there should be equitable distribution of functional health facilities within the wards to reduce distance and travel time, as well as an improvement on household income of rural dwellers in Akpabuyo through numerous private and government interventions as well as improved commercial activities.

Open access