We have all kinds of good news and we also need a small bit of help from you. Let me start by giving you the news.
First, with the help of our amazingly talented summer intern Henry Molofsky we have now completed a comprehensive design review of 3QD. Over the last eight months we examined many different blogs and websites for ideas and also solicited ideas for improvements from experts and from a select group of 3QD readers (and also our writers). We then discussed every single idea and debated whether it would be good for us or not. In the end, some ideas were rejected and others were approved resulting in a final design document which specifies the changes we will be making. These are underway and being implemented and tested as we speak. Here are just some of the improvements you will be seeing soon:
- We will be switching to a new comments platform (and will import all 60,000+ older comments into it as well) which will allow commenting on comments themselves, editing comments, email alerts when the post (or your comment on it) receives more comments, and many other advanced features.
- Much better integration with all kinds of social media, including Facebook “Like” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons on every post. Also integration with other social media such as Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.
- A new more contemporary look and feel, including a wider main column and redesigned right-hand column with much less clutter. The menu bar will be redone as will many other things but I will leave the details of this as a surprise to you. I have been working with some world-class graphic designers on this aspect of our redesign.
- The Monday archives have been fully updated already (see here) and will soon be integrated into a redesigned and much better-organized Mondays page.
- There will be a new 3QD Prizes page with all information related to our prizes.
- The “Search 3QD” bar will soon actually work properly. (A pet peeve of my own!)
And there is more which you will see very soon.
Second, we are very excited to announce a collaboration with the Amsterdam-based Dialogue Advisory Group (DAG) to bring to our readers quarterly online symposia on topics of international peace and justice. DAG is an organization which discreetly assists government, inter-government and other actors to confidentially manage national and international mediation efforts. While their work is by its nature confidential and therefore not well known to the public, they and their remarkable successes are very well-known to actors in the field of conflict resolution. For example, DAG has recently played a central role in coordinating the International Verification Commission for the Ceasefire in the Basque Country, which will verify the ceasefire declared by Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) on January 10th 2011. The DAG/3QD Peace and Justice Symposia will consist of a well-known international figure presenting a thesis which will then be critiqued by two respondents who are also experienced in the field of international diplomacy. The original writer will then present a final rebuttal. For the first DAG/3QD Peace and Justice Symposium (which I am excited to announce will be published on 3QD on Monday, the 3rd of September), the distinguished participants are:
- David Petrasek: Formerly Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, David Petrasek has worked extensively on human rights, humanitarian and conflict resolution issues, including for Amnesty International (1990-96), for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-98), for the International Council on Human Rights Policy (1998-02), and as Director of Policy at the HD Centre (2003-07). He has taught international human rights and/or humanitarian law courses at the Osgoode Hall Law School, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute at Lund University, Sweden, and at Oxford University. David has also worked as a consultant or adviser to several NGOs and UN agencies.
- Gareth Evans: Australian Foreign Minister 1988-96 and President of the International Crisis Group 2000-09, co-chaired the International Commission on State Sovereignty 2001, is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Committee on the Prevention of Genocide, and is the author of The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All (Brookings Institution Press 2008, 2009). He is Chancellor of The Australian National University.
- Kenneth Roth: Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world's leading international human rights organizations. Roth has also served as a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted numerous human rights investigations and missions around the world. He has written extensively on a wide range of human rights abuses, devoting special attention to issues of international justice, counterterrorism, the foreign policies of the major powers, and the work of the United Nations.
The DAG/3QD Symposia will take place every three months.
Third, thanks to the leadership and organizational and research skills of our summer intern Zujaja Tauqeer, we have finalized and put into place a detailed plan to generate enough revenue through advertising and other means to become self-sustaining over time. In the meantime, we have also applied to various grant-making foundations for funds. Unfortunately this is a process which takes time and we do not yet know how much funding we are likely to receive.
So, finally to the request: to put all these changes into effect and to continue to do all that we do (the daily curating of the web, the Monday magazine of original writing, the quarterly 3QD prizes, the new DAG/3QD quarterly symposia) we have a current shortfall of approximately $6,800. We need you to help us raise these funds immediately to allow us to move ahead with all our plans for improvement.
Will you please take a moment to make a donation right now?
Thank you in advance. I am excited to reveal the new and improved 3QD to you as soon as possible. We are almost there!