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Global Business and Human Rights

Explore how companies can understand, address and manage their human rights impacts.

Discover links of business activities, global supply chains and human rights from different perspectives.

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There is one session available:

Starts: May 2, 2021

Ends: Jun 12, 2021

Enroll now

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 6–8 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $139 USD
  • Institution: ZHAWx
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Instructor-led on a course schedule


There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Familiarity with basic concepts of business administration and management is an asset.

About this course

Globalization includes the promise of economic development and wellbeing for all. However, from the early days of international trade until today this scarcely came without unfavorable, sometimes dreadful consequences for humans, be it slavery in colonial crop plantations, health and safety risks for coal miners throughout industrialization or, more recently, discrimination of factory workers in sweatshops.

With an ever more complex framework of human rights establishing around the world and stakeholder expectations towards business conduct, managers of modern companies need to find ways for their organizations how these comply with laws and regulations on the international arena and to manifest as responsible corporations.

This course delivers a fundamental understanding of the connections between business conduct and human rights in a globalized world for an audience, who are generally interested in globalization and human rights and for individuals who are working at such interfaces in companies, civil society, intergovernmental or government organizations.

In this course we illustrate the various connections and impacts between globalization, company activities and human rights from an ethical, historical, cultural and legal perspective. It gives an overview of important institutions and their role in the discussion about human rights, and on relevant concepts, approaches and tools that companies use to address and manage human rights.

What you’ll learn

  • Understand, how business activities of companies in different industry sectors are linked to human rights issues in a globalized world
  • Reflect, which perspectives are relevant to understand the links between global business and human rights issues
  • Know, which organizations worldwide engage in addressing human rights issues in their connection to companies and business activities
  • Analyze, which concepts, approaches and tools business companies in different industry sectors may use to manage their impact on human rights issuesCollapse what you’ll learn

Meet your instructors

ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Jörg SchmidtDr. Senior Research AssociateCenter for Corporate Responsibility, ZHAW School of Management and Law

Ina-Maria WalthertDr. Research AssociateCenter for Corporate Responsibility, ZHAW School of Management and Law

Michael ErdinResearch AssistantCenter for Corporate Responsibility, ZHAW School of Management and Law

African Diaspora

This (Wikipedia) article is about emigration from Africa in historic times. For prehistoric human migration, see recent African origin of modern humans. For recent migration, see emigration from Africa.

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas. The diaspora has continued for millennia, but historically, ethnographers, historians, politicians and writers have used the term particularly to refer to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States and Haiti. Some scholars identify “four circulatory phases” of this migration out of Africa. The phrase African diaspora gradually entered common usage at the turn of the 21st century. The term diaspora originates from the Greek διασπορά (diaspora, literally “scattering”) which gained popularity in English in reference to the Jewish diaspora before being more broadly applied to other populations.

Total population
c. 140 million[1][2][3][4][5]
Regions with significant populations
 Brazil85,000,000, including mixed people[6][7][8]
 United States46,350,467, including mixed people[9]
 Colombia4,944,400, including mixed people[11][12][13]
 FranceApproximately 3.3–5.5 million, including North Africans[14]
 Saudi Arabia3,370,000[16]
 United Kingdom1,904,684 [18]
 Spain1,191,378, 79% being North African[21]
 Italy1,159,290, 59% being North African [22]
 Dominican Republic1,138,471[23][24]
 Trinidad and Tobago452,536[28]
 Puerto Rico395,444[29] (est. 2020)
Lingua franca: 
English (American and Caribbean), 
French (Canadian and Haitian), Haitian CreoleSpanishPortuguese
Papiamento and Dutch
Traditional African religions
Afro-American religions

Less commonly, the term has been used in scholarship to refer to more recent emigration from sub-Saharan Africa. The African Union (AU) defines the African diaspora as consisting: “of people of native African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union”. Its constitutive act declares that it shall “invite and encourage the full participation of the African diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of the African Union”.

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1 – 20 of 11,075

  • African diasporaThe African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas104 KB (9,783 words) – 09:23, 7 February 2021
  • African diaspora religionsAfrican diaspora religions are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of the Caribbean, Latin America, and the6 KB (627 words) – 20:36, 7 February 2021
  • British diaspora in AfricaThe British diaspora in Africa is a population group broadly defined as English-speaking white Africans of mainly (but not only) British descent who live59 KB (6,414 words) – 07:10, 21 January 2021
  • History of the Jews in AfricaSome were established early in the diaspora; others after the expulsion from Iberia in the late 15th century. South African Jews, who are mostly Ashkenazi29 KB (3,678 words) – 21:27, 7 February 2021
  • Indian diaspora in AfricaIndo-African Afro-Asians African Diaspora in India Mauritians of Indian origin Modi, Renu; Taylor, Ian (2017-09-19). “The Indian Diaspora in AfricaThe Commodification10 KB (1,325 words) – 21:11, 12 December 2020
  • Museum of the African Diasporaspans the migration of Africans across history, from the diaspora at the origin of human existence through the contemporary African Diaspora around the world12 KB (696 words) – 08:52, 23 January 2021
  • African diaspora in the AmericasThe African diaspora in the Americas refers to the people born in the Americas with predominantly African ancestry. Many are descendants of persons enslaved24 KB (1,946 words) – 16:12, 24 January 2021
  • South African diasporaThe South African diaspora consists of South African emigrants and their descendants living outside South AfricaThe largest concentrations of South8 KB (523 words) – 17:58, 27 December 2020
  • Atheism in the African diasporaAtheism in the African Diaspora is atheism as it is experienced by black people outside of Africa. In the United States, blacks are less likely than other30 KB (3,340 words) – 14:39, 3 December 2020
  • Music of the African diasporaMusic of the African diaspora was mostly refined and developed during the period of slavery. Slaves did not have easy access to instruments, so vocal work14 KB (1,871 words) – 08:11, 30 December 2020
  • Islam in the African diasporaThe practice of Islam by members of the African diaspora may be a consequence of African Muslims retaining their religion after leaving Africa (as for1 KB (81 words) – 19:27, 20 August 2020
  • List of topics related to the African diasporatopics related to the African diaspora. Black people African diaspora African American African immigrants Afro-American peoples of the Americas Afro-Mexican8 KB (782 words) – 21:32, 27 December 2020
  • Diasporanotable diasporas are the African diaspora which primarily includes the descendants of the Africans who were transported to the Americas during the Transatlantic64 KB (7,216 words) – 17:44, 7 February 2021
  • Pan-Africanismbase among the African diaspora in the Americas and Europe. Pan-Africanism can be said to have its origins in the struggles of the African people against36 KB (4,097 words) – 16:27, 23 January 2021
  • African-American diasporaThe African-American diaspora refers to communities of people outside of the United States who are descended from people of African descent who were enslaved4 KB (506 words) – 14:01, 21 January 2021
  • West African Vodunthe main source of religions with similar names found among the African diaspora in the Americas, such as Haitian Vodou; Louisiana Voodoo; Cuban Vodú;15 KB (1,941 words) – 06:59, 29 January 2021
  • Regions of the African UnionThe member states of the African Union are divided into five geographic regions of the African Union. The AU considers the African diaspora as its sixth7 KB (91 words) – 10:47, 26 January 2021
  • African and Black DiasporaAfrican and Black Diaspora is a biannual peer-reviewed academic journal covering African and Black studies, as well as research on the African diaspora2 KB (130 words) – 16:27, 12 December 2020
  • Music of Africaand other music. The music and dance of the African diaspora, formed to varying degrees on African musical traditions, include American music and many28 KB (3,255 words) – 17:30, 3 February 2021
  • Africanative or indigenous Africans and the African continent. The definition may also include the art of the African diasporas, such as African American, Caribbean138 KB (15,926 words) – 17:06, 3 February 2021

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SciTechDaily - Science, Space and Technology News 2021

A Billion-Plus Years of Deep-Earth History Hidden Within African Diamonds

By Earth Institute at Columbia University 

May 11, 2021

A diamond encapsulating tiny bits of fluid from the deep earth, held here by fine tweezers, was part of a study delving into the age and origins of South African stones. Credit: Yaakov Weiss.

Diamonds are sometimes described as messengers from the deep earth; scientists study them closely for insights into the otherwise inaccessible depths from which they come. But the messages are often hard to read. Now, a team has come up with a way to solve two longstanding puzzles: the ages of individual fluid-bearing diamonds, and the chemistry of their parent material. The research has allowed them to sketch out geologic events going back more than a billion years — a potential breakthrough not only in the study of diamonds, but of planetary evolution.

Gem-quality diamonds are nearly pure lattices of carbon. This elemental purity gives them their luster; but it also means they carry very little information about their ages and origins. However, some lower-grade specimens harbor imperfections in the form of tiny pockets of liquid — remnants of the more complex fluids from which the crystals evolved. By analyzing these fluids , the scientists in the new study worked out the times when different diamonds formed, and the shifting chemical conditions around them.

“It opens a window — well, let’s say, even a door — to some of the really big questions” about the evolution of the deep earth and the continents, said lead author Yaakov Weiss, an adjunct scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where the analyses were done, and senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “This is the first time we can get reliable ages for these fluids.” The study was published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Lead author Yaakov Weiss in the lab at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where the analyses were done. Credit: Kevin Krajick/Earth Institute

Most diamonds are thought to form some 150 to 200 kilometers under the surface, in relatively cool masses of rock beneath the continents. The process may go back as far as 3.5 billion years, and probably continues today. Occasionally, they are carried upward by powerful, deep-seated volcanic eruptions called kimberlites. (Don’t expect to see one erupt today; the youngest known kimberlite deposits are tens of millions of years old.)

Much of what we know about diamonds comes from lab experiments, and studies of other minerals and rocks that come up with the diamonds, or are sometimes even encased within them. The 10 diamonds the team studied came from mines founded by the De Beers company in and around Kimberley, South Africa. “We like the ones that no one else really wants,” said Weiss — fibrous, dirty-looking specimens containing solid or liquid impurities that disqualify them as jewelry, but carry potentially valuable chemical information. Up to now, most researchers have concentrated on solid inclusions, such as tiny bits of garnet, to determine the ages of diamonds. But the ages that solid inclusions indicate can be debatable, because the inclusions may or may not have formed at the same time as the diamond itself. Encapsulated fluids, on the other hand, are the real thing, the stuff from which the diamond itself formed.

A diamond used in the study. Credit: Yaakov Weiss

What Weiss and his colleagues did was find a way to date the fluids. They did this by measuring traces of radioactive thorium and uranium, and their ratios to helium-4, a rare isotope that results from their decay. The scientists also figured out the maximum rate at which the nimble little helium molecules can leak out of the diamond — without which data, conclusions about ages based on the abundance of the isotope could be thrown far off. (As it turns out, diamonds are very good at containing helium.)

The team identified three distinct periods of diamond formation. These all took place within separate rock masses that eventually coalesced into present-day Africa. The oldest took place between 2.6 billion and 700 million years ago. Fluid inclusions from that time show a distinct composition, extremely rich in carbonate minerals. The period also coincided with the buildup of great mountain ranges on the surface, apparently from the collisions and squishing together of the rocks. These collisions may have had something to do with production of the carbonate-rich fluids below, although exactly how is vague, the researchers say.

The next diamond-formation phase spanned a possible time frame of 550 million to 300 million years ago, as the proto-African continent continued to rearrange itself. At this time, the liquid inclusions show, the fluids were high in silica minerals, indicating a shift in subterranean conditions. The period also coincided with another major mountain-building episode.

The most recent known phase took place between 130 million years and 85 million years ago. Again, the fluid composition switched: Now, it was high in saline compounds containing sodium and potassium. This suggests that the carbon from which these diamonds formed did not come directly from the deep earth, but rather from an ocean floor that was dragged under a continental mass by subduction. This idea, that some diamonds’ carbon may be recycled from the surface, was once considered improbable, but recent research by Weiss and others has increased its currency.

One intriguing find: At least one diamond encapsulated fluid from both the oldest and youngest eras. The shows that new layers can be added to old crystals, allowing individual diamonds to evolve over vast periods of time.

It was at the end of this most recent period, when Africa had largely assumed its current shape, that a great bloom of kimberlite eruptions carried all the diamonds the team studied to the surface. The solidified remains of these eruptions were discovered in the 1870s, and became the famous De Beers mines. Exactly what caused them to erupt is still part of the puzzle.

The tiny diamond-encased droplets provide a rare way to link events that took place long ago on the surface with what was going on at the same time far below, say the scientists. “What is fascinating is, you can constrain all these different episodes from the fluids,” said Cornelia Class, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty and coauthor of the paper. “Southern Africa is one of the best-studied places in the world, but we’ve very rarely been able to see beyond the indirect indications of what happened there in the past.”

When asked whether the findings could help geologists find new diamond deposits, Weiss just laughed. “Probably not,” he said. But, he said, the method could be applied to other diamond-producing areas of the world, including Australia, Brazil, and northern Canada and Russia, to disentangle the deep histories of those regions, and develop new insights into how continents evolve.

“These are really big questions, and it’s going to take people a long time to get at them,” he said. “I will go to pension, and still not have finished that walk. But at least this gives us some new ideas about how to find out how things work.”

Reference: “Helium in diamonds unravels over a billion years of craton metasomatism” by Yaakov Weiss, Yael Kiro, Cornelia Class, Gisela Winckler, Jeff W. Harris and Steven L. Goldstein, 11 May 2021, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22860-3

The other authors of the study are Yael Kiro of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science; Gisela Winckler and Steven Goldstein of Lamont-Doherty; and Jeff Harris of Scotland’s University of Glasgow.

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