We live in a period of unprecedented scope of immigration and globalization, facing great numbers of peoples, and also cultural and social difference and strains on welfare economies. Recent headlines in the U.S. about local, state, and federal immigration law expose anxieties and confusion, and they also highlight our search for ways to guide our students on how we may understand the origins of our immigrant neighbors, and why we should better welcome the newly arrived, as well as make our society more flexible to benefit from the influx of cultures. For students and teachers, we search the globe for models of what compels people to leave their homes, why they are attracted to new communities, and how our own society should create more flexible cultural norms, political discussion, and economic opportunities to benefit from new immigrants.
As a result of the crisis, social banking and social finance have become important trends among bank customers in Europe. In fact, European social banks are the big winners of the crisis, growing by more than 20% per year and doubling their assets between 2007 and 2010. The crisis transformed social banks from niche institutions to large, publicly visible players. This success is due to the conviction of a growing number of bank customers in Europe that social banking is a less speculative and more responsible, ethical, and community-oriented way to deal with money than traditional banking. In the aftermath of the crisis, many see social banking as less egoistic and more caring for the overall progress of society than mainstream banking. Thus, social banking may provide important lessons for the banking and finance sector as a whole, in order to avoid further crises in the future.
Although Europe has been considered a leading example for regional human rights mechanisms, these mechanisms are far from simple, due to the complexity of the European legal system and the actors involved. To understand this, a brief historical overview of the European system is necessary.
It is quite remarkable that a continent, which for much of its modern history was embroiled in internecine warfare, now seems to be one of the most stable regions of the world. Since the end of World War II, no wars have been fought in Europe. That is if one excludes the Balkan wars of the 1990s, something I will return to below. It is not surprising, therefore, that scholars working within the discipline of International Relations have been eager to explain this apparent puzzle in an effort to see this state of affairs maintained and/or to transfer any "lessons learned" to other regions of the world. In this essay I will set out three sets of explanations which are debated in the literature 1) Cold War overlay arguments; 2) democracy and economic interdependence arguments; and 3) security community arguments.