Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Everyone who follows international news has heard stories of corruption.  Of countries where officials have raided their country’s treasury and enriched themselves.   But not everyone knows there’s an annual report that ranks 180 countries based on how corrupt they’re perceived to be.   Thanks to the work of Transparency International that list exists.   Transparency International

Transparency International (TI) defines itself “As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.” TI explains corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.”  

Their latest report (https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018) report, the 2018 Corruption Perception Index was developed based on multiple surveys of business people and institutional assessments from a variety of countries.  The index, ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. 

In the 2018 report the ten least corrupt/most clean countries are Denmark with a rank of 88 (of 100) followed by New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, and Canada.  The lowest on the scale were Syria, South Sudan and Somalia (10)

The US?  Ranked #22 (for the first time outside the top 20) with a score of 71 (out of 100), just behind France and above the UAE and Uruguay.    The US is now on TI watch list, along with Brazil and Czech Republic for potential further explained as: “US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

By the way, TI isn’t the only organization discussing the problems and cost of corruption.  According to Dominic Dudley’s article in Forbes “UN secretary general António Guterres told the Security Council that corruption costs at least $2.6 trillion a year, equivalent to 5% of global GDP. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2019/02/08/most-corrupt-countries-in-the-world/#23fc7e6d57bb).

Where are you working?  Considering for a new location?  Which of the countries  surveyed will offer you the fewest problems with corruption? 



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Three Things to Do



 
Attending a business breakfast, lunch, dinner, reception?  There are three things I recommend you do  before you head to the event: 

 1.   Double check how you’re going to get to the event (drive, bus, Uber, scooter?), where you’re going and what time to arrive.  

2.     Check your supply of crisp, fresh business cards.  (Ditch the ones that have been living in your wallet or the side pocket of your handbag.)

3.      Eat something.  Not recommending a hot dog and orange soda but something easy.  A handful of cashews, an apple, power bar, or a Snickers   Just enough so you don’t arrive hungry, thinking only about food.  Because if you do. you’ll likely walk by the people you intended to see in a search for food.    Don’t miss an opportunity to connect, get the information you need, because you skipped lunch.

Any suggestions for other things to do?   Please share. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Today the French celebrate la Fête Nationale known world-wide as Bastille Day


Across the US today you’ll find celebrations of the most important French national holiday, Bastille Day.   This date in 1789 the people of Paris stormed the Bastille prison. This began the violent overthrow of the monarchy which made way for a republic, and the beginning of a modern nation.   

The fact that it’s celebrated by many in the US recognizes the strong ties between the countries dating back France’s generous support of the American colonies in their revolution in 1776. 

Both countries celebrate their freedom with fireworks, food, picnics and parades. 
In the US hot dogs, corn on the cob, fried chicken and ice cream are associated with July 4 Independence Day festivities.  In France, the festive meals may include, saucisson sec, duck mousse, cheese, baguettes, tarts, crepes and croissants.  For more information food ideas check D’Artagnan’s list of what to eat on Bastille day.
For a delicious Bastille Day

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Before you go: Check those dates (expiration dates that is)


Long before you pack your suitcase or schedule Uber or Lyft to take you to the airport, do a quick check of some dates that matter – expiration dates that is.   When do your bank/ATM card, credit cards and passport  expire? 

Don’t miss this step and find yourself standing at an ATM trying withdraw dollars, euros, Kenyan shillings, Icelandic krona or Peruvian sol only to discover that your card expired the day before.  Avoid the unhappy moment at the end of dinner when your credit card is denied because it expired a week ago.  No cash, no credit, no fun.

Even worse is being stopped at passport control because your passport expires too close to your departure (not arrival) from your destination.  Think about flying across the world to Belgium, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Rwanda (or any of the twenty plus countries listed in this guide:  https://www.uspassporthelpguide.com/six-months-validity-rule - to discover that there’s less than six months left on your passport and you can’t enter the country.   It happens – hopefully not to you.

Be a world wise traveler – Check those dates. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chocolate Calms the Traveler


Traveling at this time of year can add to the stress of the holiday season.  Full flights, full airports, delays and weather can take the fun out of the adventure.  But the stress we feel during a turbulent flight can be even worse.  How to cope?  AFAR magazine recently posted an article How to Find Your Chill on a Turbulent Flight

 
One of their suggestions?  A bit of chocolate placed on your tongue.  Calming they say.   My remedy – besides grabbing the armrest and maybe the person next to me?  A few salty chips or crisps as some friends call them.

Whatever your approach to coping with a bouncing flight may be useful even when the flight is calm but the travel hasn’t been.  Chocolate, chips, podcasts, music and meditation all may provide a moment of respite,  making your trip a happier experience.   Let us know what works for you.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Presidential Elections - Not Just in the US


If you live here in the United States you are most likely counting the days until the election is over.  Many of us are exhausted by debates, mail, and television ads.   It seems we’ve been enduring the build up to this election for four years. President Obama was elected, inaugurated and minutes later the primary battles began.  But we’re almost done and then we can take a break, recover from Presidential Election Fatigue.

But we can’t ignore Presidential elections just because the cycle has ended in the US. It isn’t the only country in the world that will elect a president before the end of 2016.  Between now and year’s end almost a dozen countries will elect presidents.   If we look carefully (and with some effort) we’ll be able to find election results from Moldova, Bulgaria, Ghana, Gabon and Austria.  

Next year will bring more.  Two are already making news in the US  – Iran and France and there will be others including Honduras and Rwanda.

Let’s not let our wish to be finished with Presidential elections lead us to ignore what’s happening around the world.  Let’s celebrate democratic elections wherever they are and learn how their leaders will connect with ours.

Vote November 8 – then take a break – and refreshed, come back with eyes on voters and elections around the world. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

French fries: Universal food?


Are what we, in the US, call French fries a universal food?  Read through Afar magazine's article “13 Ways to Eat Fries Around the World” a sampling of how French fries are represented around the world and then decide.

You’ll find Curry fries in Ireland, fries with fish in the UK, with eggs in an omelet in Tanzania.  For fries with history look to Belgium that’s been serving frites (fries) since the 1600’s.  Today they're served with a dash of mayo for dipping,

 
We all know that enjoying the local cuisine is a highlight of any voyage.  What version of ‘french fries” will you try next?   And which one will be your favorite?