This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) where cartography plays a key role in the plot. In this episode the fictitious (but still on Facebook) group named "the Organization of Cartographers for Social Justice" is campaigning to have the President officially endorse the Gall-Peters Projection in schools and denounce the Mercator projection. The argument being that children will grow up thinking some places are not as important because they are minimized by the map projection. While a bit comical, the cartographic debate is quite informative even if it was designed to appear as though the issue was trivial.
Questions to Ponder: Why do map projections matter? Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest?
Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, talks about how art and culture create a country's identity -- and allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world.
Oftentimes, we in the more developed world seek to change cultural practices and institutions in the developing world. This talk speaks to the importance of locally based agents for cultural change, specifically within the context of the Middle East. While we might wish to see what many perceive as universal rights spread throughout the world, the local cultural geographies must be taken into consideration into how to carry out any initiative that seeks to change local institutions.
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