We continue our reflection on 2016 with a more in-depth look at the nominees for Place of the Year. Previously, we introduced our readers to the nominees simply as a list. This slideshow guides you through the tumultuous year that is currently coming to a close. While some of our nominees are a bit obvious–Aleppo, the UK, and Colombia, for example–we also wanted to shine a spotlight on the nominees that may be seen as less influential. After all, Sweden being named the best place in the world to raise a girl and the remotest island in the world starting to become entirely self-sufficient are achievements that deserve our attention. Take a look at the nominees and don’t forget to vote in the poll below.
News from Aleppo in 2016 has been consistently tragic with the Syrian Civil War still raging on. Civilians in Aleppo have been living under a blockade and lack access to basic needs such as electricity and food. The city has been bombarded by Russia and Syria in an effort to quash the Islamic State, though it has been estimated that around half the casualties have been children. A photograph of a young boy in Aleppo, bleeding and covered in ash brought the horror of the Syrian Civil War to the world’s attention. As one candidate for President of the United States demonstrated publicly, many people still are unaware of the situation in Aleppo.
“Aleppo 03” by Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha represents so much of what is most fascinating about planet Earth. The most remote inhabited island in the world, Tristan da Cunha is interesting enough with that fact alone. This year, the community of the remotest island began to take steps towards becoming entirely self-sufficient.
“Tristan da Cunha, British overseas territory-20March2012” by Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The world directed its attention to Colombia earlier this year when voting was opened up to the public on a referendum that would end the country’s conflict and bring about lasting peace. The Colombian civil war has been ongoing for over 50 years, making it the oldest armed conflict of the Americas. At least 220,000 lives have been lost and close to six million people have been displaced. Though this year’s referendum was ultimately voted down by the Colombian people, the hope for peace is not lost. President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and the Nobel Committee also noted that the prize should be “be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace…”
“Juan Manuel Santos 2” by Jfbeltranr, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The UK made its biggest splash in international news with its vote for the Brexit—the colloquial term for Britain parting ways with the European Union. The results of the vote were something of a shock to the world political and economic stage. David Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister of Great Britain shortly after the decision was made final. The effects of Brexit are felt far beyond European borders.
London by Adam Derewecki, Public Domain via Pixabay
The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea embodies the migrant crisis—record-breaking numbers of people, primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, have risked or lost their lives this year while crossing this sea. According to the UN, 3,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, making 2016 already the deadliest year on record, with two months still to go.
Refugee escape by Gerd Altmann, Public Domain via Pixabay
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro hosted this year’s Olympics, and in spite of some early setbacks, it is generally agreed that the competition was a success. However, Rio was back in the news later this summer when Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was impeached on charges of corruption and removed from office, and the political and economic crisis in Rio and the rest of Brazil is ongoing.
“Rio de Janeiro” by Poswiecie, Public Domain via Pixabay.
The White House
With the contentious US presidential race nearing a close, it seems clear that the country will go in one of two very different directions, depending on who moves into this residence next. This potential place of the year also made the news when Michelle Obama reminded us at the Democratic National Convention that the White House was built by slaves.
The White House by David Mark, Public Domain via Pixabay
Sweden consistently comes in near the top of rankings of the world’s best and happiest countries. This year, for example, Sweden was rated the best country to grow up in as a girl according to Save the Children, ranked #1 in the Good Country Index, and was chosen as the best country to raise children in according to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. Based on Sweden’s astoundingly high quality of life and especially the country’s focus on gender equality, Sweden is a strong contender for Place of the Year.
Sweden by Сергей Бузилкин, Public Domain via Pixabay
The #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall protest movements earned South Africa its place on this longlist. Since 2015, South African students have been protesting tuition raises and unequal access to education and have demanded the decolonization of their education system. In 2016, the protests revived and led to clashes with police and university closures, attracting widespread media coverage and sparking solidarity protests around the world.
“Jameson Hall – University of Cape Town” by Julien Carnot, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Featured image: Globe by Unsplash, Public Domain via Pixabay.
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