All posts by Walker Dawson

Tunis: Medieval souqs and 21st Century Politics

Only two hours from Paris by plane, Tunis is a city of ancient Roman ruins, chaotic Middle Eastern markets and grand French boulevards. At times, Tunis can feel like any other large European city, with modern technology companies sprouting out of new developments on the outskirts, with freeways and trolly lines criss crossing the city. Yet sometimes, between the last call to prayer and the sip of a hot mint tea in an ancient cafe, it feels distinctly North African. Tunis is not only compelling for visitors with of its assault on the senses, it is also the scene of some of the most important moments in 21st century politics and history.

Tunisia was the first and, so far, only successful democratic revolution to come out of the Arab Spring. After decades of dictatorship, young Tunisians brought down the regime and are now in the process of building a new, democratic Tunisia. However the direction of the country is yet to be determined. In the dusty coffee shops and cafes of the medieval medina, locals argue over the pros and cons of democracy, dictatorship and Islam. Did the stability of the dictatorship help keep unemployment low? Did the revolution give power to Islamist groups? And if so, what does that mean for Tunisia’s liberal and secular youth? One would be hard pressed to find another city in the world where these different world views are being so openly discussed.

By Walker Dawson

 

 

The Changing Face of Sweden

Although far from the chaotic borders of Central Europe, Sweden is at the center of the European migrant crisis. Most migrants traveling to Europe are attracted to Sweden because of its tolerance toward immigrant groups, a fact made clear by the Swedish government which states it will grant automatic residency for any Syrian arriving in the country. Although Sweden has taken in more migrants per capita than any other country in the European Union, immigration to Sweden is not new. Swedish cities, large and small, have been home to immigrants from all over the world for many decades, with most coming from Finland, Iraq, Poland, Iran, the Former Yugoslavia and Syria.

 

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

War and Migration: Life on the Mexican Frontier

In a summer of anti-Mexican rhetoric, dramatic drug lord jailbreaks and an international migration crisis, I traversed northern Mexico by myself to see what the real story was. I wanted to go beyond the anger and the divisive language to understand the context of the debate. Political candidates in the United States have said that Mexicans are rapists and murderers, and that we need to seal our southern border. Yet others point to the success of NAFTA and to the growing middle class in Mexico in reducing the poverty that fuels the crime and the desire to emigrate to the United States. I heard rumors in the United States that the destructive drug war in Mexico was coming to an end. What I found was far more complicated and unexpected.

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

Quito: The Colonial Heart of the Andes (Pictures)

The colonial heart of Quito Ecuador may be the most impressive concentration of historical buildings in the entire Western Hemisphere. Nestled between the snowcapped Andes, hundreds of years of history are packed into the narrow cobblestoned streets, the chaotic plazas and the aging churches of this Latin gem. The old town contains enough sights to occupy a few weeks of your time, but the real joy of Quito is to simply wander and let the city guide you. Stop for a canelazo, a warm cinnamon and citrus alcoholic drink, somewhere along a cobble stoned back alley, or sit in the numerous plazas and just watch 500 years of Ecuadorian life pass you by. Markedly more developed than most South American capital cities, Quito provides to perfect mix of history, Latin grit and international sophistication. Besides being a fascinating city unto itself, Quito provides a perfect base for exploring the pint sized Ecuador.

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

Buenos Aires: City of Faded Elegance (Pictures)

Everyone will tell you how European Buenos Aires feels, they even go as far as to call it the Paris of South America. This is true to a certain extent, but that’s not telling the full story. Buenos Aires effortlessly blends European sophistication with Latino edginess. The city is both romantic and gritty, chaotic and cosmopolitan all at the same time. There is an energy here on the streets that Europe could only dream of. Fresh immigrants from Nigeria, Paraguay and Korea are adding new faces to the once traditional Italian and Spanish neighborhoods. Restaurants and nightclubs are popping up in neighborhoods that were once considered too dangerous, and while the peso remains low to the dollar, there isn’t a better time to go. Come for the incredible steaks, the wine, and energetic nightlife, but stay for the diverse neighborhoods, the crumbling architecture, and most of all, the people. Beautiful, confident and creative, the Argentines will be the highlight of your trip to this world class city.

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.