Think Global, with Michael Keohane

By Michael Keohane


This year’s ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ saw the arrival of some very special guest speakers to the university educating students on the importance of supporting Fairtrade and how the initiative benefits the lives of people in developing countries.


The speakers from Think Global came to speak at Growhampton’s Fairtrade Market Day Extravaganza as part of SUSY, Sustainable and Solidarity Economy, programme. A fruitful crowd of students and staff listened intently at the incredible stories of both speakers Veena Nabar and Taysir Arbasi to hear a first-hand account of how truly valuable Fairtrade is to improve the lives of thousands of producers across the world.


 Beginning the talks, professional economist Veena Nabar led the talks, discussing her considerable experience in co-operative policy and planning. Describing how she works with cooperative groupsto ensure the equal and rightful treatment of farmers and producers in India, where she herself resides, Nabar recalled stories of how little some producers earn and their inability to provide efficiently for their families.


As part of the Susy project, Veena made a best practice case study film about coconut production in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the contribution of co-operatives to post-tsunami reconstruction.


“I am a strong believer in the power of joint action through cooperatives… I am happy that I have been able to work with coops and that I have in my own small way helped bring about change in cooperative enabling laws to provide a healthy and level playing field.” Nabar said in commentary of her work and experience.


Following on from Nabar’s discussion from the professional practices of working with cooperatives in India, the discussion moved to Fairtrade production in Palestine. The audience heard from Taysir Arbasi, Director in Palestine of Zaytoun, about how the organisation is creating a market for fairly traded Palestinian goods in the UK, and the significance of this for producers in Palestine.


Shining a light on the unfair practices and exploitation of producers in developing countries, both speakers urged their audience to support Fairtrade in whatever ways they can, even ways that can prove cost effective.


In conclusion, Taysir paid a special tribute to two women from Palestine were expected to speak and participate in Think Global’s SUSY project however were refused a visa to the U.K. too late for the decision to be reversed.  


“It is unfair to refuse these women the right to come and give his story of how this organisation helps their business. This is about education and is being silenced.” Taysir said. Both speakers and a representative of Think Global urged the audience and wider student public to get involved in their social media campaign ‘Visas for farmers’ to show support.


For more information on Think Global, the SUSY project or the social media campaign check out their Susy project webpage at:

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