The prospect of hearing 10 top Harvard instructors lecture for 10 minutes each on the subjects that they care most deeply about drew an overflow crowd to Sanders Theatre on Thursday (Feb. 11).Harvard Thinks Big, a student-organized discussion that paired leading lecturers with eager listeners, attracted these great minds to help explore and inspire new ways of thinking, in the first session of what organizers hope will become an annual experience.“It’s an effort to epitomize what’s best about Harvard and [remind people] why we came here in the first place: to hear incredible professors talking about the things that they know best, and to be inspired,” said senior Derek Flanzraich, who conceived of the event along with Peter Davis ’12.The format was based on the popular Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talks, lectures given at the annual TED conference that follow the same tight format, and which have become online sensations.Before the series of 10-minute talks began, a line of students extended out to the Science Center, patiently hoping to get into the theater, undaunted by a long wait on a cold night.Gaining a lucky seat close to the front, sophomore Avinash Joshi was eager to listen to his Currier House master, Richard Wrangham, the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as the other speakers.“I think the coolest idea is that they have to explain what they are most passionate about in 10 minutes … what they really care about, deep in their hearts. It’s going to come out tonight, and that’s why I am here.”Hundreds of students put their studies aside for the two-hour-plus discussion that touched on a range of topics, including violence, evolution, fairy tales, fire, religion, and hip-hop.Presentation styles ranged from subdued podium deliveries to ones infused with drama, such as the one by Andrew Berry, lecturer on organismic and evolutionary biology, who moved around the stage in a brief “drunken” stumble to help illustrate the confused arc of an important genetic mutation in human evolution.Lecturer on computer science David Malan ripped a phone book in two at one point, and worked up a sweat as he paced in front of the crowd, discussing the magic of making “machines do your bidding.” He encouraged students to explore fields that they might never have considered, the way he did as a Harvard undergraduate when he took a computer course outside his original government track.Diana Eck’s big idea was pluralism. Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and director of Harvard’s Pluralism Project, said she was there to recruit students to study religion, particularly pluralism, the broader engagement and understanding of other people’s faiths.“The ‘we’ in ‘we the people’ has become far more complex than ever before,” she said. “It will require stretching exercises. It will require all of us to know a lot more about each other.”For Daniel Gilbert, global warming isn’t happening fast enough to prompt a strong human response. The professor of psychology told the crowd that the reason the world is so slow to act on climate change is because the danger it poses isn’t intentional, immoral, imminent, or instantaneous. He outlined his theory on how the human brain responds to threats. If, in keeping with his “immoral” theory, “eating puppies” caused global warming, Gilbert said, people would be massing in the streets.Timothy McCarthy, lecturer on history and literature, adjunct lecturer on public policy, and director of the Human Rights and Social Movements Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, delivered an impassioned talk about the future of protest. He challenged students to embrace the protest spirit of people like Harvard graduate and Civil War Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the all-black 54th Regiment, who died and was buried with his men.McCarthy pointed to Gould’s statue in the hall and encouraged the students to “transform their privilege into passion.”“Brothers and sisters, if we are to have a future filled with freedom and hope and equality, rather than hatred and fear and exclusion, we must act now. Let us rededicate ourselves to [Abraham Lincoln’s] ‘better angels of our nature’ and bring about a new birth of protest.”The speakers were chosen largely by student request as part of a survey distributed to all undergraduates by the College Events Board in the fall. Harvard Undergraduate Television recorded the event and will post it on the studio’s Web site. Harvard’s Undergraduate Council also helped to plan the program.Davis and the president of the Undergraduate Council, Johnny Bowman ’11, hosted the evening, and Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies, encouraged the students in the audience to explore their own big ideas.“All of us here want you to find your own passion.”One noticeable absence from the lineup was Michael Sandel, a popular speaker and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government. He was unable to attend because of a prior engagement. He is a speaker at this year’s TED conference in Long Beach, Calif.
Read Full Story Katherine Burton Jones has been appointed assistant director and research adviser for the Harvard Extension School’s Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) program in Museum Studies.Jones has taught courses in the Museum Studies program for the last decade and has served as the program’s research adviser since 2004. Previously, she was the assistant dean for information technology and media services at Harvard Divinity School for nine years. She recently served as the director of development for the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket, and has also served as a fundraising consultant for several local museums.From 1994 to 2000 she was an assistant director at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, where she was instrumental in demonstrating the importance of websites and multimedia to all of the Harvard museums. She was responsible for raising funds for the various public-facing technology projects that were carried out during her time, including the virtual exhibit, “Against the Winds: American Indian Running Traditions.” While at the Peabody she served on the boards of the Museum Computer Network, the New England Museum Association, and the Mildred Morse Allen Center of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.Jones replaces Linda Newberry, who shepherded the Museum Studies Program from a certificate to a master’s degree program, and was responsible for the successful completion of the program by countless students through the years.
Current standards for classifying foods as “whole grain” are inconsistent and, in some cases, misleading, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely used industry standards, actually identified grain products that were higher in both sugars and calories than products without the stamp. The researchers urge adoption of a consistent, evidence-based standard for labeling whole-grain foods to help consumers and organizations make healthy choices. This study is the first to empirically evaluate the healthfulness of whole-grain foods based on five commonly used industry and government definitions.“Given the significant prevalence of refined grains, starches, and sugars in modern diets, [having] a unified criterion to identify higher-quality carbohydrates is a key priority in public health,” said first author Rebecca Mozaffarian, project manager in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at HSPH.The study appeared in the Jan. 4 online edition of Public Health Nutrition.The health benefits of switching from refined to whole-grain foods are well established, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. Based on this evidence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume at least three servings of whole-grain products daily, and the new U.S. national school lunch standards require that at least half of all grains be whole-grain rich. However, no single standard exists for defining any product as a “whole grain.”Mozaffarian and her colleagues assessed five different industry and government guidelines for whole-grain products:The Whole Grain Stamp, a packaging symbol for products containing at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving (created by the Whole Grain Council, a nongovernmental organization supported by industry dues)Any whole grain as the first-listed ingredient (recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate and the Food and Drug Administration’s Consumer Health Information guide)Any whole grain as the first ingredient without added sugars in the first three ingredients (also recommended by USDA’s MyPlate)The word “whole” before any grain anywhere in the ingredient list (recommended by USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010)The “10:1 ratio,” a ratio of total carbohydrate to fiber of less than 10 to 1, which is approximately the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber in whole-wheat flour (recommended by the American Heart Association’s 2020 Goals)From two major U.S. grocers, the researchers identified a total of 545 grain products in eight categories: breads, bagels, English muffins, cereals, crackers, cereal bars, granola bars, and chips. They collected nutrition content, ingredient lists, and the presence or absence of the Whole Grain Stamp on product packages from all of these products.They found that grain products with the Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely used front-of-package symbols, were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, but also contained significantly more sugar and calories compared with products without the stamp. The three USDA recommended criteria also had mixed performance for identifying healthier grain products. Overall, the American Heart Association’s standard (a ratio of total carbohydrate to fiber of equal or less than 10-to-1) proved to be the best indicator of overall healthfulness. Products meeting this ratio were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, sugar, and sodium, without higher calories, than products that did not meet the ratio.“Our results will help inform national discussions about product labeling, school lunch programs, and guidance for consumers and organizations in their attempts to select whole-grain products,” said senior author Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology.Other HSPH authors included researchers Rebekka Lee and Mary Kennedy; Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology; and David Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition.Support for the study was provided by the Donald and Sue Pritzker Nutrition and Fitness Initiative; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Prevention Research Centers grant, including the Nutrition and Obesity Policy, Research and Evaluation Network); the New Balance Foundation; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.
One of the most challenging and lauded programs at Harvard isn’t part of the academic course curriculum.Coordinated through the Freshman Dean’s Office, the “Reflecting on Your Life” initiative invites freshmen to think about meaning and purpose. Featuring facilitators from across the University, the program typically meets for three sessions, at the beginning of second semester.The sessions fulfill no academic requirements, and yet, year after year, freshmen show up for three consecutive weeks to participate in small-group programming that delves deeply into their values, leading to conversations with peers that sometimes reveal gaps between thought and action.“The program gives students time to stop and think about what really matters to them,” said Katherine Steele, project manager and director for freshman programming, such as “what their values are and how those values shape the decisions that they make — from what’s important to them to how they spend their time, and even who they spend their life with.”Now, a grant from the Teagle Foundation is broadening the scope of the program, making it possible for Harvard to share it with colleges and universities interested in launching similar initiatives. The grant will also enable collaborations on best practices and programs to help students to consider the big questions: meaning, value, and purpose.After Richard Light, the Carl H. Pforzheimer Jr. Professor of Teaching and Learning, learned about the Teagle Foundation’s initiative to advance civic and moral education on college campuses, Steele worked with Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman to submit a proposal to help develop programs for the “civic and moral education of today’s college students.”The grant will sponsor the effort for three years, helping leaders at Harvard and elsewhere understand the impact of the various ways universities encourage dialogue about personal values and citizenship. But most importantly, Steele said, the grant should help promote programs that allow students to figure out how they want to live.“How do you affect moral growth? How does someone really solidify what they stand for? It’s about developing a stronger sense of who they are, and what they stand for. It’s about drawing the lines between what’s important to you and how you’re spending your time … and if the connections between those two things are missing, what can or should you do about it?”“Reflecting on Your Life” began at Harvard as a result of the in-depth, one-on-one interviews that Light conducted each year with students about to graduate. One answer was especially provocative, that of the student who told Light that Harvard had “forgotten to offer the most important course of all” — namely, how to think about living his life.“It was a revelation to realize that we were missing out on such a key and fundamental question,” Light said. “It’s often covered in an academic sense, but not necessarily from a personal, real-life point of view. What does it mean to live a happy, or useful, life? What about living a productive life? Are those concepts inherently different? If they are, which one do you choose?”Light approached Howard Gardner, the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, for his perspective. Gardner, whose research has often focused on professional ethics, said that the discussion mirrored a trend he had observed among students over the years.“I’d become concerned about something I’d observed from our best and brightest,” Gardner said. “They wanted to do the right thing, but they felt like the most important thing was to be successful. So if they had to cut some corners in order to accomplish that, they felt like they needed to do so. The metaphor I like to use is that the ethical muscle was very thin.”For the past six years, according to both individual testimony and a formal evaluation, alumni of the program have left it feeling that they have a better understanding of themselves, their goals, and their values.“In the 19th century, one of the reasons you went to college was to think about values, purpose, and deep spiritual values — which was completely expunged in the 20th century,” Gardner said. Although the secularization of universities was positive in many ways, he said, a void was left.“Some students fill this with religion, science, or a strong familial unit, but for many students in today’s fast-changing world — particularly those new to college, and especially those attending a high-pressure institution, such as Harvard — they need, and deserve, our guidance and our help.”For Steele, the grant will provide an opportunity for students across a range of Schools to pause and take the time to ask themselves the hard questions.“Harvard students are so busy and so focused, but we’ve found that students really benefit from posing these challenging questions,” she said. “When we create an opportunity for them to do that, and have a structure where they can pose these questions, it can have a really profound effect.”
According to the World Economic Forum’s first Human Capital Report, the U.S. ranked 43rd among 112 countries in the Health and Wellness category, which measured a country’s ability to develop and deploy a healthy workforce. It received particularly low scores in obesity, the impact on business of noncommunicable diseases, and stress. The report was co-authored by David Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography at Harvard School of Public Health.The report evaluated countries based on three other categories: Education,Workforce and Employment, and Enabling Environment (infrastructure, legal framework, and social mobility). Overall, the United States placed 16th, with Switzerland receiving the highest overall marks.The report was issued October 1, 2013.The report drew from publicly available data produced by international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the International Labour Organization, in addition to survey data from the World Economic Forum and Gallup. Read Full Story
Scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a theoretical model of a material that one day could anchor the development of highly efficient solar panels.Traditional organic solar panels work by combining photons with light-sensitive materials, creating particles called excitons. Those particles are then channeled through the material to an interface, where they dump energy into electrons that flow along wires, producing electricity. The problem is that excitons aren’t easy to control. The particles are often trapped by defects in the material, and release their energy as light, reducing the efficiency of the panels.Inspired by cutting-edge theories in condensed matter physics and the development of quantum computers, the Harvard-MIT group used magnetic fields to force excitons to move in a specific direction, avoiding the traps that plague traditional materials. The system is described in a paper in Nature Materials.The research team was led by Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Alan Aspuru-Guzik and included Joel Yuen-Zhou, a former Ph.D. student in Aspuru-Guzik’s lab who is now a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, and research associate Semion Saikin.“This effect has been identified in physics, in what’s called the quantum Hall effect, and in topological insulators, but we believe this is the first time this has been proposed in a practical way for excitons in molecular layers,” Aspuru-Guzik said. “What we wanted to ask was, can this be done in organic materials? Can you custom-tailor an organic material in such a way that, for certain excitation energies, excitons move in one direction, and when they confront obstacles, they can move around them?”Yuen-Zhou and Saikin began searching for molecules that fit a tightly defined set of criteria, and eventually settled on porphyrins, in part because they have been extensively studied.“These are just one example of a molecule that could work in this system,” said Saikin. “We don’t want to say that, experimentally, one has to do it with these molecules, but conceptually, we’ve shown that the electronic structure of these molecules is convenient for this system.”The system described in the paper, however, is about more than simply creating a film of porphyrin molecules.For the design to work, the team outlined how magnets could be used to prepare the molecules in specific quantum states to ensure they don’t interfere with one another.“In the absence of a magnetic field, it’s equally likely the excitons would go in one direction or another,” Aspuru-Guzik said. “We use some very clever quantum tricks, to ensure that, when we apply the field, one direction becomes more preferential.”Just as cars sitting in traffic on the highway are unable to turn around and drive in the opposite direction, Aspuru-Guzik said, excitons in this system are able to flow in only one direction, around the edges of the film.What’s more, Yuen-Zhou said, the quantum mechanics of the system permit a good deal of flexibility, allowing excitons to flow around defects in the material, just as a stream flows around obstructions.While it may be years before the material finds its way into commercial solar panels, Aspuru-Guzik believes it has the potential to increase their efficiency by creating a flow of excitons that moves along the panel’s interface, more efficiently transferring energy into electricity.“What we’ve done with this paper is a proof of concept, and we hope it’s the opening to a new era of excitonics.”
Four years in the making, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art opens its doors this week.Part of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the gallery, which was designed by Harvard’s David Adjaye, the John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture, repurposes a commercial space behind Peet’s Coffee, complete with a modern and eye-catching façade.In a tour on Monday, Cooper Gallery Director Vera Grant expressed her enthusiasm for the gallery and its inaugural installation, “Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection,” curated by Adjaye and Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, the founder and curator of Seattle’s M.I.A. Gallery.“We’re ecstatic,” said Grant. “The gallery is stunning, it’s beautiful. We’ve been tracking this for four years, and here it is.”Cooper Gallery visitors will be greeted by “Manhattan,” a large mural by Philip Kwame Apagya, which they’re encouraged to photograph. It’s the only photographable work in the collection, and gallery-goers can use the hashtag “luminos” when they Tweet to @coopergalleryhc.To kick off the public opening this evening, Hutchins Center Director Henry Louis Gates Jr. spoke with Adjaye and Ibrahim-Lenhardt at the Harvard Faculty Club.The newly opened Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at the Hutchins Center repurposes a commercial space behind Peet’s Coffee in Harvard Square. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
As Ebola hysteria dies down in the United States, the international community should not lose sight of a larger issue highlighted by the epidemic — the need to improve health care systems in the poorest African countries, writes Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Professor Richard Marlink in new commentary. He advises world leaders to take their cues from the U.S. government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.HSPH received a total of $362 million from the program for work in Botswana, Nigeria, and Tanzania that included training health care workers, developing monitoring and evaluation systems, strengthening health care infrastructures, and collaborating with local hospitals and clinics that provide treatment for AIDS patients. HSPH’s PEPFAR grants wound down in 2012, and researchers at the School worked with partner organizations to transition activities to full local ownership.Marlink, who is Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health, helped launch and run HSPH’s PEPFAR efforts in Botswana. In his commentary, published November 14, 2014 on GlobalPost, Marlink describes lessons learned from PEPFAR’s success: Focus on outcomes, establish local partnerships, and leave countries better equipped to deal with other health issues. Read Full Story
If you’re looking for robust economic growth during this prolonged, fitful recovery from the recent global economic crisis, look toward Africa. Ethiopia’s gross domestic product grew almost 10 percent in 2014, Tanzania’s 7 percent, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 9 percent, Rwanda’s 7 percent. Those numbers, of course, mask other problems, such as gaping inequality and millions living in poverty. Still, Donald Kaberuka, the former president of the African Development Bank, said that from an economic standpoint, the numbers are no fluke.Kaberuka acknowledges that helping millions of people out of poverty is an enormous job, but he also points to increased government stability, regulation that sets a level economic playing field, ample natural resources, and a young, growing population hungry for both jobs and consumer goods, all good signs for the future.Kaberuka, who is now the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, sat down with the Gazette recently to talk about his 10 years at the helm of the bank, which is charged with fostering development on the continent. He also discussed Africa’s economic future, and his own plans for his fellowship year.GAZETTE: Let’s start with some background on the African Development Bank. What is its mission?KABERUKA: The African Development Bank is the continent’s premier development institution. We commit, every year, close to $8 billion in funding, a combination of loans, grants, and guarantees, to fund various sectors of development. In the last years, our key investment has been infrastructure — 60 percent of the portfolio in energy, highways, the kind of things that Africa needs. Beyond funding, we are also an important player in the policy dialogue with countries. We are firm believers in the concept that development is not simply about money. If development was about money only, Libya would be the most developed country in the world. So it’s about money, it’s about policies, and it’s about delivery capacity.GAZETTE: What would you say were the main achievements of the bank during your tenure there?KABERUKA: I took office in 2005, at a time when Africa was changing dramatically, reversing years of decline for the first time with real per-capita growth, which was over 7 percent in many countries.We decided to focus on how to best to stimulate this new momentum in Africa. And we made the following choices: Number one, a big push on infrastructure. In the last 10 years we have put into infrastructure about $28 billion and, assuming a leverage [expansion across the economy] of one to five, you can imagine this is quite an important contribution. The second thing we did was to lead from the front on the private sector. The cliché overseas for a long time was that Africa was a risky place to do business, and we set out to show that the return on investment in Africa was actually higher than that on other continents. We have to put our money where the mouth is, and so we increased significantly the bank’s support for business, from $300 million a year to $2.8 billion at the time I left office, per annum. The third thing we did was to focus on deepening Africa’s internal single market. We’re a continent of 1 billion people, but we needed to deepen that market by cross-border infrastructure, removing nontariff restrictions, increasing regional public goods, all things that deepen a market of 54 countries into one single market. And finally … improving the quality of institutions, institutions that support the economy: financial management, tax collection, oversight institutions, functioning commercial codes — which are sometimes as important as money.We give a particular focus to natural resource-rich countries — exporters of oil and gas and minerals — because these have enough money of their own, if well managed, to avoid the Dutch disease, or the resource curse, as they call it. And also [we give] special attention to countries coming out of years of conflict and war, like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and many others. So these basically were our areas of focus. I’m glad to tell you that under my presidency, the general capital of the bank went from $32 billion to $100 billion. We tripled the capital of the bank in 10 years. We managed to raise soft grants for poorer countries almost 2½ times, to $5 billion. We managed to put out there a powerful counter-cyclical response to the global financial crisis, which minimized dramatically the damage to African economies.GAZETTE: What was that response? Was it increased lending?KABERUKA: The global financial crisis for many low-income countries took the following form. Our banking sector was quite solid, well-regulated. There was no issue of capital adequacy, there was no issue about liquidity, there was no issue about toxic products. But there was retrenchment by the European banks from funding, for example, African trade and business. So we had to step in where the European banks were retrenching. We had to pick up some of the important projects that risked being abandoned, because abandoning projects and picking them up later can actually be more expensive. And in a few countries we provided a bit of liquidity, just as a precaution.Botswana [is] a very well-managed country, one of the best in the world. But the diamond market was tanking, because in a crisis like this there is a flight to safety in gold and away from prestige things like diamonds. So we had to step in with about $1.6 billion to help Botswana cope with that particular problem … It took different forms depending on the different countries.GAZETTE: How does the bank do its business? Is it different from a commercial bank?KABERUKA: The African Development Bank, like the World Bank, is actually three institutions in one. You have the bank, which is a triple-A-rated institution. It is able to raise money from the capital markets very competitively and pass it on to customers for 20 years, again at very competitive pricing.Then you also provide soft loans … to countries that are not a great risk. And then there are countries — say like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic — where it has to be grants. The money we raise from donors is simply for those poorer countries. But for other countries, middle-income countries, financial markets, we give them loans. And as a triple-A-rated institution, we are able to do so competitively.GAZETTE: Is there ever a conflict between running a financially sound institution and the need to invest in development projects?KABERUKA: We do not want to lose money, so we do this analysis carefully. The dividend we would like to give our shareholders [comes from] the bank side of the institution making a good profit, that we then use to fund low-income countries.So it is important that the bank side is as solid as it could be. We are not Bank of America, not Barclay’s. We fund projects on the basis of a number of metrics, including development effectiveness. We look at avoiding crowding out. If other institutions can do it, we don’t do it. We are prepared to take some risks which commercial institutions won’t, but at the end we want to keep the AAA as a solid bank, so it can make money to fund poorer countries.GAZETTE: Where are the African economies today? Do they still have the promise they had a few years ago, and, if so, in what areas do you see that promise being?KABERUKA: Africa is part of the world, so we cannot avoid the global slowdown in the emerging markets or the prolonged after-effects of the global financial crisis. But I’m telling you African economies have fared much better than expected and much better than in other parts of the word. A large number of economies are still growing very strongly.And, contrary to what people might think, this is not about commodities. It is not about oil and gas, and minerals. It is mainly about investment. It’s about the internal market and consumption, about growth in regional trade, but also the improvement in policy and fundamentals.Now the recent decline in commodities is an issue for some countries that depend on one or two commodities. But there is room for fiscal adjustment to take care of [them]. So I remain very confident that, provided African countries keep the good policies of the last decade, we can overcome this particular [problem]. That said, there are two challenges we must overcome. The first challenge is one of job creation for Africa’s growing youth. We are a young continent, so job creation that comes from transforming our economies and moving up the global value chain is critical for every single country. Number two, the issues of inclusion and inequality … It’s about sharing the prosperity so they don’t have very wealthy people amidst a sea of poverty and misery, for that is neither politically sustainable nor economically sensible.GAZETTE: Do you see the consumer market being a major driver in future years?KABERUKA: Absolutely, domestic consumption has been a major driver of recent growth. This has been facilitated mainly by increased internal migration, not simply in large cities but even in small towns, the wide spread of simple technologies like mobile phones, which has increased access to financial services, improved knowledge of what is available in the world. So I expect that in coming years investment, domestic consumption, and growing regional trade will be key drivers, provided we are able to address the issues of jobs and inclusion.GAZETTE: It sounds like you’re pretty confident that this road of democracy, increased stability, and economic growth is a sustainable one?KABERUKA: Of course, nothing is preordained. It all depends on consistency of policies. It depends on what happens in the world, and I’m hoping this crisis in emerging markets will be dealt with. But you know behind every cloud there’s a silver lining. And the silver lining for African economies is the rising real wage in China. Because these companies, whose margins are being squeezed in China, are going to invest in Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos. But now they’re looking at other places, most likely India and Africa. So the next time you go to Ethiopia, you’ll be amazed at the number of Chinese factories and manufacturers around Addis Ababa. And I would like to see that happening more and more.So the slowdown among the large emerging markets and the shift of the Chinese economic model from export-led to domestic consumption-led and increases in real wages might actually open opportunities for some low-income countries to create jobs in their countries.GAZETTE: Is China the biggest development force in Africa today, as far as external countries?KABERUKA: China has been a major player in infrastructure. Definitely, there’s no doubt about this — energy and transport. I think the relationship between China and Africa has been in transformation, but I should tell you that in some countries, Turkey is bigger than China. In other countries Malaysia is bigger than China … There is too much focus on China sometimes, because of the high visibility of what they do. But I think it has been a very productive relationship with all the large emerging markets. Of course, we’re not forgetting our traditional partners.GAZETTE: What about the African economy is most exciting to you right now? Is there a particular project or trend that is most exciting when you think about 10 years in the future?KABERUKA: For a long time, the narrative about Africa was about commodities, what can we get from them? Oil and gas, copper, cobalt …I think as President Obama was saying at the last U.S.-Africa summit: Look at Africa as an opportunity for investment. Why an opportunity for investment? Because of its demographics. We’ll be 2 billion people not that far from now.This is a continent where the demographic depth … the penetration of the simple technologies, and diversification of partners means that it is a continent where the future markets lie. If you’re looking for a short-term kill, you could have a problem. But if you’re there for the long term, this is the place to be. The opportunities are related to the demographics, so there is increased demand for all kinds of services, financial services, health care, education. There will be demand for new technologies, so I think if you had to ask me where the future opportunities are, they’re related to the demographic dynamics.GAZETTE: Let’s talk about your role here …KABERUKA: I’m a Hauser Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School.GAZETTE: What do you hope to accomplish during this year?KABERUKA: I hope to share, like I’m doing now, about development … in Africa. I hope to share with colleagues here at Harvard and students and, hopefully, the wider public, American companies, about opportunities on the continent. I welcome very much the offer the Kennedy School gave me to do this. For the few months that I’m here, that will be my main preoccupation.GAZETTE: And had you been to Harvard before?KABERUKA: I used to come to Harvard in my previous function as a speaker, so I’ve spoken several times at the Law School, at the Kennedy School, so yes, I’ve been here a couple of times. And of course, at the bank I have recruited many staff from here, and many from Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School. We know the University very well, and it has been a pleasure working with many of the graduates, both African and non-African.GAZETTE: How about post-fellowship, do you have any plans?KABERUKA: I am going back to my continent. That is where I belong for this task of attracting more investment in Africa and encouraging the dynamics, which I think are both challenging and exciting.GAZETTE: Is Rwanda still your home? You grew up there, right?KABERUKA: Yes, Rwanda is my home … but I’ll be active across Africa.GAZETTE: You were finance minister there before. Do you see a role in government, or will your activities be more across Africa?KABERUKA: I see myself as bringing my knowledge, my experience to bear — my network — across the African economic space. While in my country, that will get special attention, but I want to bring my experience to bear for all of the 54 African countries.
When incoming freshman Kevin Yang learned he was accepted to Harvard College, he quickly wrote and thanked one of the people who helped him the most — Tri Huynh. As a Harvard student, Huynh, now a teacher in California, tutored Yang once a week at Harvard’s Education Portal in Allston.Opened in 2008, Harvard’s Ed Portal serves as a cooperation agreement between Harvard and the city of Boston to bring the University’s greatest strengths of teaching and research to the Allston-Brighton community.For Yang, who moved many times during his middle and high school years, the Ed Portal was a constant. “We’ve lived all over Massachusetts, and moving so often was difficult,” Yang said. “High school was very stressful, and writing my college essay helped me reflect on my identity.”While Yang’s parents worked — his mother is a nurse and his father a scientist — Yang’s grandparents drove him back and forth from the Ed Portal several times each week. These days they drive his younger brother Neil there for his mentoring sessions.Noting his parents high regard for education, Yang said: “You’re always stepping on the backs of your parents to go further. Getting into Harvard is a new experience for all of us — it has been a roller coaster ride. At the end of the day, they are proud of me.” 1Incoming freshman, Kevin Yang, foreground, and his family, at their home. From left, Yi Jin, Kevin’s mother; grandfather, Yongshou Jin; brother, Neil Jin and grandmother, Yi Qun Zhu. His dad, Hailin Yang, not pictured, was at work. 5Neil takes Kevin’s longboard for a ride in their neighborhood. 15In Harvard Yard, Kevin checks his new Harvard ID, comparing it to the one from Boston Latin, and noting how much he has changed. 7For several years, Kevin’s grandparents drove him to and from the Ed Portal, school, and other activities. Currently, Kevin is in the driver’s seat with his learner’s permit while his grandfather instructs him from the passenger seat. 12Neil plays a computer game, while Kevin looks on. Remembering his own mentor, Kevin says, “He was more than a tutor — he was a real person, he helped me to chill. He recognized my human side … he also saw my interest in biology and helped me with my studies.” 2A shelf in the living room displays Kevin’s many awards and some family photos. 8Kevin attended Boston Latin School, the oldest school in America, founded in 1635. 4Kevin’s younger brother, Neil, looks up to him. 6Kevin’s grandfather, Yongshou Jin, speaks Shanghainese. Kevin speaks English, Latin, Chinese, Spanish, and Shanghainese. 9Five signers of the Declaration of Independence along with many other notable historic figures attended BLS. 10Kevin graduated in June. 3Kevin reads his acceptance letter to Harvard. 13On freshmen move-in day, Kevin, returning from his Freshman Orientation Program (FOP), greets Catherine Zhang ’19, on left, while his mother, Yi Jin and father Hailin, look on. Yi Jin rejoiced when she saw her son following his FOP of hiking and camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 14Kevin greets his new roommate, T.J. Song (right) of Gilroy, Calif. They’ll share a room, part of a suite in Weld Hall. 11Kevin and Neil pose inside the Harvard EdPortal. When Kevin attended, the Ed Portal was across the street from its current location at 224 Western Ave. in Allston. Membership is free and hundreds of students like Yang take advantage of the Allston-Brighton mentoring program, which pairs a Harvard student with a local youth. 16Kevin hugs his mother. His father, Hailin, said he would miss work to be at move-in day partly so he could, “park the car in Harvard Yard.” The family car is to the left.
Over the past 75 years, many Western nations moved steadily toward cooperation and interconnectedness, as their shared economic and political interests converged during this period called globalization. But the political winds are shifting, and there are signs of a new age of populism and nationalism emerging in Europe, a development that eventually could undermine post-war security and unity.Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in part by promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., of political elites and to “Make America Great Again,” a broad-brush populist slogan that supported a more isolationist, protectionist, “America First” posture toward the wider world. His campaign rhetoric criticizing some Muslims and Mexicans and his recent efforts to limit immigration and trade have left many analysts wondering whether his presidency could effectively move the country toward a period of ethno-nationalism.Trump’s surprise election has proved a political windfall and an inspirational template to far-right candidates in Europe, as some countries prepare for major elections. These include the Netherlands (March), France (April and May), and Germany (September). These rightist groups predate Trump politically and tie themselves more tightly to nationalism, but they are also happy to ride on the coattails of his victory.Marine Le Pen, the National Front party leader running for president of France, embraces antiglobalization and anti-immigration policies. Both Le Pen and her father, Jean-Marie, the former party leader, lavishly cheered Trump’s election on Twitter, while other European nationalist party figures in the Netherlands, Hungary, and Greece touted his win as a positive sign of things to come. She has promised to “take back” France by withdrawing from the European Union (EU), a move that Trump has applauded, as he did when Britain voted last year to leave that body, rocking the EU to its core. Lately, Le Pen has been rising in the polls as her mainstream electoral opponents have faltered.Other figures on Europe’s far right, including Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom, and Nigel Farage, former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, which spearheaded Britain’s break with the EU, have met with and supported Trump. Farage dined with Trump last week in Washington, appeared at Trump’s inauguration, and also made several appearances with him during the campaign. Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Northern League, has reportedly offered to help Trump expand his support in Europe.Indeed, some in the Trump administration have embraced the value of a far-right coalition between the United States and Europe. Leading the way is Trump’s chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon M.B.A. ’85 , the former chairman of Breitbart Media, a pro-Trump online news outlet. Breitbart has been something of a safe harbor for white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and other digitally savvy right-wing fringe groups. It’s an assertion Bannon appears to agree with, once referring to Breitbart as the “home of the alt-right.” Shortly after the election, Breitbart announced it would expand to France and Germany to help bring Trumpism to audiences there. During a rare public appearance last week, Bannon, widely-seen as Trump’s ideological compass, said their victory made clear that there is a political “movement” afoot, one in which the administration’s “economic nationalist agenda” will help galvanize the Republican Party, and the nation, into “a new political order.” A new salienceAlthough the words populism and ethno-nationalism are often used interchangeably, they actually are distinctly different.“Populism is a way of making political claims that oppose ostensibly ‘corrupt elites’ with ‘the virtuous people,’” said Bart Bonikowski, a Harvard associate professor of sociology who studies populist and nationalist movements.The left often labels big business and banking executives as elites, while the right typically targets the state itself and those who keep it running, like civil servants, bureaucrats, and elected officials, along with academics and other intellectuals, “whereas ethno-nationalism is … a definition of the nation that excludes various ethnic, religious, and racial out-groups,” he said.Because populism is less an ideology than a form of political discourse, it is often attached to a variety of political ideologies, including nationalism.“It’s basically a strategy for mobilizing political support for whatever politicians’ objectives might be,” said Bonikowski. “It so happens that in Europe and the United States and elsewhere … populism attached to ethno-nationalism has gained traction. But that doesn’t mean the two things are the same or that they only occur with one another.”Nationalism can be ethnocentric or primarily civic in focus. Some strains are more inclusive than others, often based on political principles and respect for institutions that rest on subjective identification with a nation. Ethnic-driven nationalism is often about a shared ancestry, religion, and language and a common dissent, said Bonikowski, a resident faculty member at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES).Despite some public perceptions, populism and ethno-nationalism have not suddenly surged in the United States and Europe since Trump’s ascendancy. Many European nationalist parties have been around for decades, with varying levels of success. In 2015, Hungary and Poland installed hard right, antiglobalization governments.“There’s a good portion of the population that does … have a particular understanding of what America is: a white, Christian America,” says Bart Bonikowski. File photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“I think what’s changed is the salience of these ideas given the … contextual factors: economic crises, persistent inequality stemming out of neoliberalism, demographic change, anxieties associated with terrorism, along with political developments like obstructionism in Washington, [and the] perceived corruption or non-representativeness of the EU governance system,” said Bonikowski. “All of these things have generated some level of anxiety among particularly white, native-born populations and a perceived status loss at the group level among these folks, which then makes both nationalist and populist claims — and, especially, nationalist-populist claims — more resonant and more salient than they had been in the past.”Indeed, Trump first found his political footing in 2011 after he pushed an unfounded, racially tinged accusation popular on the far right that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus was not a legitimately elected president. Trump appeared to stoke divisiveness among his predominantly white supporters and was slow to reject endorsements by white nationalists, including the Ku Klux Klan, critics contended.Yet Trump was backed by 63 million voters in the presidential election, and the vast majority were hardly extremists, but Americans with traditional values who wanted change.“There’s a good portion of the population that does … define the nation in ethno-cultural terms. They’re not all members of neo-Nazi groups, by any stretch of the imagination. They just have a particular understanding of what America is: a white, Christian America.”While well-organized fringe groups wishing to remake the country as a white, nationalist state have long existed on the periphery of American politics and society, the Trump campaign’s advancement of an agenda that sometimes aligns with theirs brought some extremist groups into the mainstream. “They’ve been allowed to be part of the conversation, which they hadn’t before, and they have, in Bannon, an advocate pretty close to power.”Europe emboldenedTrump’s election and Britain’s exit from the EU are “very encouraging” to nationalist groups across Europe, “because for the first time, there’s a shift away from international cooperation, sharing sovereignty, building international relations and organizations, to addressing the sovereign rights of specific countries,” said Grzegorz Ekiert, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government and director of the CES.Both events represent the biggest victories for the populist-nationalist right in many years.“They demonstrated that what most people thought was impossible is actually possible,” said Bonikowski.Rarely have groups on the radical right advanced so far in recent decades.“They’ve certainly been present, and they have won seats in parliaments in national elections, but they have not been in control of governments, they have not been in control of presidencies, they have not made massive impacts on national policies until Brexit and Trump,” he said. “And so I think that certainly emboldens politicians on the far right across Europe, but also across the world. It also gives them some degree of increased legitimacy among their supporters.”Politicians on Europe’s radical right are now looking to Trump to see which tactics and messages work for him and then testing those in their home nations, adding to the sense that there’s a broader nationalist wave rippling around the world.There was enthusiasm in 2004 when the EU opened its doors to 10 additional countries, most from the former Eastern bloc. But it wasn’t long before some in these new member states began stoking an anti-EU, nationalist agenda.“In every country, you have always had people who didn’t like the European Union,” said Ekiert. “In every country, you had people who worried about traditional values, who worried about national sovereignty, who didn’t like the bureaucrats making some decisions, who didn’t like people in their country cooperating with the European Union. But they were lying low for years because, for them, the impetus of the EU enlargement and this liberal vision for the entire continent seemed invincible.”But the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 laid that notion to waste.“Now, the crisis for the first time showed that this is not an invincible project, that there is possibility, really, to fight against it. And this was the moment when you saw in many countries in Europe, both West and East, nationalistic, populist forces emerging,” Ekiert said.The reverberations of Trump’s rise to the presidency have been acutely felt in France, where global attention is now focused on a spring presidential election that has seismic implications for the future of the EU, particularly after the decision by British voters to leave provided its own momentum.The National Front’s Le Pen has made no secret of her support for Trump and his antiestablishment message. Although they do differ in some areas, Trump and Le Pen share several populist-nationalist impulses. Both are protectionists who want to tighten the borders, both oppose immigration and criticize Islam, and both seek to restore “law and order,” which many analysts take as an embrace of a more authoritarian society, said Nonna Mayer, a French political scientist, a leading authority on the National Front, and an emeritus director of research at CES.“For her, the victory of a populist leader like Trump is the proof that her ideas are going to win, can win,” she said. “She’s going to use Trump, she’s going to use it as an argument … not only for her own party members, but for the people with whom she wants to make alliances, to say, ‘Look, we are respectable, our ideas have won. They have elected a president of the United States.’ So in that sense, it’s good for her.”Nationalism in France has been on the rise since the 1980s, when the party’s founder, Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, won a seat in European Parliament in 1984. Since then, the National Front has tried to position itself against globalization and as the champion of those who seem themselves as the movement’s losers.Le Pen’s growing mainstream success owes much to the affirmative case the party makes to voters, Mayer contends. “At a time where most people don’t believe very much in the capacity of mainstream political parties to do something, they say, ‘Yes, we can. … You just need the guts to do it, and we can do it.’ In a way, they are selling a political dream, wherein all the other parties have failed.”Populist leaders, including Le Pen, tend to oversimplify issues, mislead and exaggerate and sometimes lie about problems and conditions, like the number of immigrants entering France, in order to justify easy solutions, added Mayer, echoing tactics that have proven useful to the Trump camp.Additionally, terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice, and elsewhere in Europe, as well as the flowing stream of refugees, particularly from Syria, offer useful pretexts for anti-immigration policies and regressive sentiments. “All of that justifies, legitimizes parties that say, ‘We must erect walls and then everything will be as it was before,’ she said. “They always sell a golden age of a society that never existed. But it’s also their strength.”“What the French have witnessed, especially since the attacks over the last two years, [has left many feeling] ‘we’re not at home anymore, and these people who are here in our country as guests are totally destroying our quality of life,’” said sociologist Michèle Lamont, the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies.As with Trump, Le Pen’s constituents are often blue-collar voters who’ve seen their earning power decline and feel threatened by the growing diversity in France. They believe the new arrivals, particularly Muslim immigrants and refugees from the Middle East, are leapfrogging over them economically by “‘coming in and stealing our resources,’” said Lamont.“So, for me, the question is more a sense of social displacement and state pecking order, which is manifested both in how people interpret how much the state will distribute and access to material resources in France.”In the United States, where government largesse isn’t as central to daily life, nationalist sentiments among the white working class centers more on “the dynamics of recognition: how much place those various groups are given in social and cultural debates” about things like sexual orientation and public bathrooms, said Lamont. “That’s really viewed as totally out of proportion.”Trump’s election and Britain’s exit from the EU are “very encouraging” to nationalist groups across Europe, noted Grzegorz Ekiert, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government and director of the CES. © 2016 David ElmesLook to the eastTrump’s reception in Eastern Europe has been more “mixed” than in Western Europe largely because of his seeming admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and apparent comfort with Russian expansionist interests in a part of Europe that the old Soviet Union controlled for decades, said Ekiert.Still, populist-nationalism on the far right has blossomed in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Croatia as resentment of the EU’s power brokers in Brussels has grown.“The paradox of this is that these were the most advanced countries in Eastern Europe. Poland, for the last 25 years, was considered to be an incredible success story,” said Ekiert. “So what this tells us is … this is not about the ‘losers of globalization.’ There are no losers of globalization in Poland. The Polish society benefited across the board from enlargement in quite incredible ways … so this is not about economic pain, this is not about marginalization, and so on. This is clearly about country” and cultural modernization.“The last 30 years was a period of very dramatic cultural change, and the traditional societies of Eastern Europe were not really ready to embrace that change, and we see the reaction to it now. It was too much, too soon,” said Ekiert.“It was much easier to get used to iPhones and good cars and all those other things that go with material modernization. But it was much more difficult to really make sense on the cultural level how far those societies” had evolved, he said. “So, the questions of what’s going to happen with religion, what’s going to happen with traditional families, what’s going to happen with traditional curricula in schools, how do we think about the history of our country” left many feeling unmoored.Powerful forces like the Polish Catholic Church have opposed the EU, viewing the increasingly empty churches in an increasingly secular Western Europe as an existential threat, Ekiert added.After decades of Soviet domination and little internal ethnic diversity, nationalist sentiments in Eastern Europe center mostly on notions of patriotism and national identity. It’s only in the last two decades that anti-immigration has emerged as a significant part of nationalist discourse, said Ekiert.An influx of immigrants and a later quota plan from the EU that refugees should be evenly distributed among member states set off a “hysterical” reaction across Eastern Europe. Countries normally at odds banded together and refused to comply, offering aggressive language that reinforced old prejudices and stoked violence against foreigners, as well as students and tourists in Poland and Hungary.What’s likely next Whatever happens in the elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, the broader “dangers” that the success of Europe’s far right parties pose are “just vast,” said Bonikowski. The biggest worry is the potential erosion of democratic laws, and shared norms and beliefs.“It really changes what’s acceptable, it changes geopolitical calculations, it creates all kinds of risks that have not been there previously. You don’t need every single country to be controlled by a nationalist-populist politician for us to be in some serious trouble,” he said. “It’s enough to have a couple, and especially the powerful ones.”A win by Le Pen would “create chaos” because she has promised to take France out of the EU, whose three strong stool legs have been Britain (leaving), France (in question), and Germany. “If she wins, we’re all in trouble,” added Ekiert.But even if she loses, that is not the end of the story. Other events threaten to further destabilize the EU.“Europe is at a critical point in this game today, and the trans-Atlantic relations between Europe and the U.S., and then the relations between Europe, Russia, China, and Turkey, are at the center of everything,” said Ekiert.The first and foremost danger is if Putin, under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians living in the region, takes action in Estonia or the Baltic republics as a test of NATO’s commitment, and especially the U.S.’s willingness, to defend all of its members.Additionally, the war in Ukraine, the Syrian civil war, unrest in North Africa, and Turkey’s rapid move away from Europe could prompt Turkish President Recep Erdogan to release a million Syrian refugees in Turkey into Europe and put the EU on thin ice.“That kind of ‘burning neighborhood’ is a very significant destabilizing factor,” said Ekiert. “If the European Union were as strong as was the case several years ago, we would probably see much more aggressive action, with a lot of economic aid, to stabilize those countries. But now the European Union is in survival mode and not ready for any adventures outside the EU borders.”In addition to the geopolitical crises, a likely shift in trans-Atlantic relations under the Trump administration, Europe’s lingering economic and banking woes, questions about fundamental European institutions — including the entire EU project itself ???? are swirling about just as the radical right political parties are rising in nearly every country, said Ekiert.“It looks like a perfect storm in all possible dimensions.”
Taxes on sugary beverages seem to cut consumption, a Harvard public health expert said Tuesday, describing the sometimes controversial tariffs as one path of attack against the U.S. diabetes epidemic.Sara Bleich, a professor of public health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, said that a preliminary analysis of Philadelphia’s six-month-old 1.5-cent per-ounce tax shows sales dropping 57 percent by volume.“Consuming those drinks is very tightly linked to both obesity and diabetes,” Bleich said of the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet.Philadelphia’s tax-related drop came amid reports that consumption of soda and other sugary beverages has been in decline nationwide, said Bleich, speaking as part of a panel at the Harvard Chan School on the toll of diabetes and the future of treating the disease.LaShawn McIver, senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association, noted that the metabolic disorder is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than AIDS and breast cancer combined, and costs the country $322 billion annually.One in 11 Americans — some 30 million people — has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many more — about 84 million — have prediabetes. Complicating the picture, McIver said, is that nearly 90 percent of the latter group aren’t aware of the threat.“This is a huge issue from a public health perspective,” McIver said.Diabetes is closely linked to the nation’s obesity epidemic, with nearly 90 percent of those with type 2 diabetes — the vast majority of cases — also overweight or obese. The root problem, Bleich said, is that we live in an environment rich in cheap, convenient, calorie-laden foods, and an era of increasingly sedentary lifestyles.“Diet is a huge driver of the diabetes epidemic, and this is important because a person’s ability to control their diabetes is very dependent on their ability to select foods or be in an environment that allows them to control their blood sugar,” Bleich said.That’s where food policy comes in, she said. Policy can alter the food environment and make consumers less dependent on willpower alone. Taxes alter environment by making cost a more significant factor. Another effective tactic, Bleich said, is requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus, so that customers can consider not just price and taste, but also the health effects of meals.Requiring calorie counts on menus began in New York in 2006 and has since spread to other states, Bleich said. A federal version of the requirement contained in the Affordable Care Act is set to take effect next year. The measures have had less impact on consumer choices than on restaurants, which have been dropping the highest-calorie dishes and adding new ones that average 12 percent less, a difference of roughly 60 calories.“It sounds small, but at a population level, if you can extract that number of calories out of the diet, it can actually have a pretty big impact on levels of both obesity risk and diabetes risk,” Bleich said.Panelists also discussed the role of technology in treating the disease. Continuous glucose monitors use a probe under the skin to keep tabs on blood sugar, with data uploaded for doctors to review. They can also send out help signals.Howard Wolpert, vice president for medical innovation at the Lilly Innovation Center, said that technology can both improve blood sugar control — reducing risk of complications such as blindness, kidney failure, and infections — and make medical care more efficient. People whose blood sugars are relatively stable can see the doctor less frequently, while those with erratic sugars can keep regular appointments.Telemedicine, Wolpert said, has the potential to make a bigger difference, extending the reach of physicians to underserved communities, like Native Americans and Inuits, in which care is scarce but rates of diabetes are high.
Historically, Harvard has valued the head over the hand, but that may soon shift — at least in one discipline.Under the auspices of Jennifer L. Roberts, the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, and Ethan Lasser, Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American art at the Harvard Art Museums, graduate students, particularly those in art history, are joining a University movement against what Roberts calls a “longstanding, multi-century bias toward conceptual and mathematical, verbal, abstract forms of knowledge over the forms of knowledge embedded in making.”As their class “Minding Making: Art History and Artisanal Intelligence” goes through its second iteration, students are learning how hands-on experience with materials and processes feeds a different kind of awareness and a new appreciation of the finished product.Part of a larger project, detailed at mindingmaking.org, the class follows several summer graduate workshops, as well as a broader trend toward recognizing art-making as part of the University’s “cognitive life,” said Roberts. “The humanities are in the middle of what’s known as the material turn,” she explained. “There’s a lot of interest in matter and materiality, but that hasn’t really yet translated into a clear new way of thinking about making, about interacting with all that material.”,“Maker is a generic term that would encompass both the ceramicist and the person soldering together a circuit. We wanted a term that moves beyond studio art-making or craft artisanship.” — Professor Jennifer Roberts, pictured below with Ethan Lasser,This course seeks to address this tactical way of thinking, with readings on the intellectual history of crafts, as well as visits to artists, artisans, and their workplaces, including an aluminum casting factory.“Maker,” Roberts explained, is a “generic term that would encompass both the ceramicist and the person soldering together a circuit. We wanted a term that moves beyond studio art-making or craft artisanship. Art historians tend not to go to factories. They’re not interested in mass production. There are a lot of assumptions about what someone does.”“Art history,” added Lasser, “is constructed around a finished object, and the power of this approach is in going back through it and understanding what it takes to get to that object.”In Roberts’ words, the practitioners seek to “get outside the library and books for sources of knowledge.” Lasser elaborated, explaining that the goal of the course is to provide “a sense of the feel, the tactile knowledge, of how much physical labor goes into something.”“At every stage,” he said, “there’s some information that art historians don’t generally write about because they don’t know about, because they’re just looking at the finished object.”,On a stormy Friday, students were involved in another element of the course, trying their hands at etching: from the first preparation of the plates through printing. The work is laborious, and students such as Destiny Crowley of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were spending considerable time applying the thick black ink and then wiping it nearly off before attempting to print a first proof.Speaking while she worked, Crowley, a first-year student in the history of art and architecture Ph.D. program, explained that she signed on to address “a gaping lack in my education when it came to the actual creation of art.” As she wiped the viscous ink over her plate, she noted how that also gave her additional insight into works she has long admired: the Blank Signs series of prints by artist Ed Ruscha, who hails from her home state of Oklahoma.“The aquatint gives the print a very light shade of coloring,” Crowley explained, describing Ruscha’s series. “And the signs themselves are left stark white.” Noting “the juxtaposition of moving from darkness to light, the pitch black of the ink, the deep blackish brown of the asphaltum ground that we had to apply to the plate,” she said, “I find it very interesting that the print ended up being such a bold interplay of lightness.”Working with the coal-black ink, she shared her insight. “It is really amazing how you can go from a really onyx black — almost a void on this space — and strip that away,” she said. “There’s a reason why artists choose the artistic processes they do, an etching versus an oil painting.”,“There are so many different reasons for choosing a material,” agreed Iain Gordon, who is pursuing a master’s in design studies. Unlike several of his classmates, Gordon, who was drying a treated plate, has been involved on the “making” side, building furniture as well as other projects for several years. “For me, this is a way to engage with the making in a theoretical and critical way,” he said.“I knew it would be time-consuming and unpredictable and a different kind of mental and physical energy,” said Rachel Vogel, who is in her second year of the Ph.D. program in the history of art and architecture. “But you don’t realize the extent of all of those things until you really start doing it.“Learning those kinds of chains of causality and being able to recognize how a particular choice an artist made might be a response to something else that’s happening in the print …” She paused as she continued to wipe ink off her etching plate. “To begin to unpack the layers that must have happened in order for the artist to have constructed a plate is something that really can only happen once you’ve had the experience of making prints yourself.”
Read Full Story Event to highlight accomplishments of ventures that graduated from Harvard’s nine-month accelerator for alumni-led startups The Harvard Innovation Labs, an ecosystem that supports Harvard students and select alumni in exploring innovation and entrepreneurship, is hosting its first annual Launch Lab X Startup Showcase on May 23 at 5:15 p.m. The event will feature five-minute pitches from the startups that participated in the inaugural Launch Lab X accelerator program for Harvard alumni-led ventures.More than 260 ventures from 36 countries applied to Launch Lab X. In September 2018, 13 startups began the nine-month program, which was divided into three 90-day sprints. Each sprint culminated in a pitch and feedback session with investors, prospective customers, and industry leaders, giving teams the time, guidance, and 360-degree view necessary to transform materially into sustainable, disruptive businesses with real-world impact. To push progress, ventures gained access to expert coaching within a like-minded community, and developed roadmaps designed explicitly for their businesses.Accomplishments from Launch Lab X ventures included:Launching world-changing products: More than half of the ventures launched a new product or service, including Nebula Genomics’ private and secure DNA testing kit; Nurse-1-1’s app that allows people to chat privately with a nurse about health concerns 24/7; Electra Labs’ solution for advancing the safe, effective, and personalized introduction of medicine; and MakerFleet’s 3D Printing Management Software.Growing customer bases and teams: Collectively, Launch Lab X teams secured thousands of new customers over the course of nine months. Notably, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jamber reported that it is on track to sell hundreds of thousands of mugs in 2019. Additionally, more New York City residents began using Mobley’s furniture rental solution, Zubale saw increased use of its consumer research app, and Gain Life added customers for its software that drives behavior change. More than 60 percent of the ventures who participated in Launch Lab X hired staff to support their growth.Receiving recognition from prestigious startup competitions and awards: Learning how to tell a compelling venture story to prospective customers, employees, and investors is a primary focus of Launch Lab X. These stories were well-received in a number of competitions. Legacy won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt in Berlin for its innovative approach to addressing the decline in male fertility; Nebula Genomics won the SXSW Startup Pitch “Best in Show” for its private and secure DNA testing kit; Nilus received an honorable mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas 2019 for its solution to reduce food waste; and Sophya was recognized as a finalist in the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge for helping students learn more effectively on the internet.Raising capital: Launch Lab X ventures collectively raised millions of dollars in funding during the program. One notable raise was Zoba’s $3 million seed round. The company is building the next generation of spatial analytics to improve the efficiency of cities and the lives of the people who live in them.The Launch Lab X Startup Showcase is free, and open to the public. Register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/launch-lab-x-startup-showcase-tickets-60734489493
We are extremely excited to be joined by more than 650 security channel partners at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas this week for our annual Dell Security Peak Performance conference – “Come for Knowledge. Leave for Power.”For the next three days, our key partners will be immersed in dynamic keynote presentations and 20 technical deep dive and business sessions at three levels of security curriculum. This is our time to honor them for the great successes they’ve achieved and help them to get ready to once again break records in the coming year. I could not be more pleased to spend dedicated time with our channel partners from across the US and 21 other countries, who have been able to top all charts in terms of sales and trainings. With security being a top priority for all organizations, we are delighted to see the success of our partner strategy and continue this tremendous momentum with new exclusive offers, and a showcase of their successes.At Dell Peak Performance conference we’re highlighting Dell’s phenomenal network security success that our partners have achieved in the last 12 months. A key component of this achievement is due to Dell’s end-to-end channel strategy. With 12,000 partners selling Dell SonicWALL next-gen firewalls, secure mobile access and email security solutions, we’re elated to see deal registrations increase seven percent to over 4,100 per quarter, while the number of partners submitting deal registrations rose by 12 percent.Through the 8,700 training and certification courses we provided this year, 320 partners have earned the Network Security competency. As a result we now have nearly 1,500 Preferred and Premier level partners certified in Dell next-generation firewall and Dell SonicWALL Global Systems Management solutions. In Q2 2015, Peak Performance attendees on average for 2014 showed results that their sales increased 40 percent year-over-year compared to those who did not attend Peak.Larry Cecchini, president and CEO of Dell SonicWALL Premier Partner Secure Designs, recently shared this thought with us:“The market for network security solutions is really taking off, and working with Dell in the past year, we’ve increased our Dell SonicWALL revenues by more than 650 percent. We look forward to a great week at Peak Performance and enhancing our offerings by gaining more knowledge of the latest product releases and collaborating with Dell security experts.”Exclusive Event OffersDell also announced an exclusive offer for Dell Security Peak Performance attendees for a 50 percent instant rebate on select Dell SonicWALL TZ and NSA appliances, while supplies last. This rebate will be made available Sept. 1 through Sept. 11 with key distributors Ingram Micro, Securematics, Tech Data, D&H Distributing, and SYNNEX. A second offer that proved successful since last year’s Peak event, a Double Down Security Certified Volume Incentive Rebate, is being offered again this year to incite increased business opportunities for certified Dell network security partners. Additional channel profitability opportunities will be unveiled during Peak Performance main stage presentations.Recently, we conducted a survey of our Peak Performance registrants to determine what they are seeing as priorities and values from their security provider. According to a representative sample of over 100 partners registered, 83 percent have experienced a significant increase in security sales in the past year. Other survey findings include:70 percent validated Dell’s end-to-end strategy by saying it is “very important or important” that they offer their customers network security, mobile security, and identity and access management from a single vendorFor the top three priorities, partners pointed to network security/UTM (83 percent of respondents), mobile security (68 percent), and email security (48 percent).Profitability (78 percent) and sales/communications tools (49 percent) rounded out the top three most important partner program elementsOur Peak attendees are hearing from an amazing lineup of presenters, from our guest keynote speaker and world- famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, to Curtis Hutcheson, VP and GM of Dell Security Solutions who will kick off the event, to Patrick Sweeney, Vice President, Product Management & Product Marketing, Dell Software Group, Security Solutions, who will deliver our security roadmap. Security experts are giving demonstrations with Dell One Identity Management, Dell Systems Management and Dell Data Protection and Encryption and more.We want to thank our Platinum sponsors, Tech Data Corp., SYNNEX, Ingram Micro, Securematics, D&H Distributing, are showcasing their services in our Solutions Expo.It has been an honor to lead our worldwide Dell Security channel organization for more than a decade. Through the dedication and success of our loyal partners, I know we will continue grow together. We have had incredible momentum in 2015 recognized across the channel and security industry, as well as awards including the Best Channel Vendor 2015 in the Network Security category, from Business Solutions magazine. The entire executive team and I are here for you, committed to seeing you and your customers’ prosper for the long-term. I am looking forward to meeting with you one on one this week. Follow the conference activity on @DellSecurity #DellPeak. I personally hope to hear from you on Twitter at @MarvinBlough.
1Based on Mar 2016 Principled Technologies test report, “Dell SupportAssist Provided Proactive Support for Hard Drive Failure”, commissioned by Dell. Testing conducted in the United States. Actual results will vary. Full report: http://facts.pt/Cr3tEy CES has seen many “world firsts” over 50 years, and at #ces2017 we’re doing our part to keep that history going with more than 25 new PC innovations that will enable our customers worldwide to unleash their creative potential and bring fantastic new ideas to life.Prior to the holidays, I met with dozens of media and analysts so they could preview the new devices. I knew that we had a great lineup of products to unveil, but was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic reaction we received. Several commented that they’re clearly seeing the benefits of Dell’s privatization shining through in this latest batch of new products. Because we no longer need to worry about justifying our product development expenditures to Wall Street, we can push the envelope on product design and take the time we need to bring new systems to market that we know will exceed our customers’ expectations.The latest result is an updated commercial PC portfolio that incorporates the best aspects of our thin and light consumer product designs without compromising on the security, manageability and productivity demanded by our commercial customers. Our upgraded selection of Latitude and OptiPlex business products include all-new designs that not only meet today’s business needs, they’ll also help address tomorrow’s evolving workplace challenges. We’ve refreshed our entire commercial portfolio with 7th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors, updated professional graphics options throughout the portfolio, and maintained our industry lead in delivering the world’s most secure and manageable PCs. Our lineup also provides the latest Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C connectivity options for extremely fast data connections and power provided through a single cable.“Intel and Dell have a long history of delivering amazing computing experiences for both consumers and businesses,” said Navin Shenoy, SVP and GM of Intel Client Computing Group. “We’re excited to see the performance, responsiveness, and reliability of 7th Gen Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors on display across Dell’s new lineup of laptops, desktops, and workstations.”Latitude: Inspired by XPS, Tailored for ProfessionalsWith an emphasis on creating beautiful products that people will be proud to carry, the new Latitude ultrabooks and 2-in-1s are not only sexy, they also deliver extremely high performance.For the ultimate “no wires” experience, we’re previewing at CES the new Latitude 7285 2-in-1 with WiTricity magnetic resonance wireless charging capabilities and WiGig docking. That means you can move quickly between meetings without the hassle of hooking up power cords and other cables at every stop. Grab the Latitude 7285 2-in-1 and immediately walk away from your desk without disengaging any wires or a physical dock. Return to your desk, set the Latitude 2-in-1 on the power mat, and your PC will begin charging immediately. Also, if you take advantage of a WiGig dock, your content will appear simultaneously on your external display. We believe the Latitude 7285 is the world’s most versatile 2-in-1 because it can be used as a traditional notebook or as a tablet in either detached or 360 degree convertible mode giving owners incredibly flexible options for how they prefer to work. We’ll have more to share about this incredible device during Dell EMC World in May, so stay tuned for more details.“Dell continues their drive to be first to market with relevant new technology. This collaboration between Dell and WiTricity is making the wireless workplace a reality for customers around the globe,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO, WiTricity. “The Dell Latitude 7285 2-in-1 not only enables a more productive working environment, but accelerates establishment of a resonance-enabled wireless charging ecosystem.”We’re also introducing the Latitude 5285 2-in-1, the world’s most secure and manageable 2-in-1. Organizations can avail of our Data Security Solutions including Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Security Suite Enterprise encompassing encryption and advanced threat prevention to protect their data and prevent modern threats such as malware and ransomware. The device also features optional multi-factor authentication, including finger print and smart card readers. Weighing less than two pounds, this incredibly mobile and sleek 2-in-1 has an auto-deploy kickstand that extends up to 150 degrees for multiple viewing angles, including laptop, tablet or desktop mode. Your workforce will remain connected and productive via multiple connectivity options, including 2x2ac Wi-Fi, a USB 3.0 port, 2 USB Type-C ports, optional 4G/LTE and optional WiGig support. And it’s designed to be fully serviceable with easy access screws that allow Dell or Dell-certified technicians to service the 2-in-1 onsite.We’re continuing to innovate in our traditional “clamshell” business notebooks as well. Our newly refreshed lineup of Latitude 7000 Series Ultrabooks deliver optimum productivity and mobility in thin and light commercial-grade devices with edge-to-edge QHD displays. They’re built to survive the rigors of daily use through premium materials including an alloy chassis, soft touch paint and optional woven carbon. New security features include Windows Hello via an optional infrared camera which facilitates logon using facial recognition, multi-factor authentication features, as well as the ability to include Dell Data Security Solutions for data encryption and advanced threat prevention Docking is simple and seamless through the multiple connectivity options, including DisplayPort™ over USB Type C with Thunderbolt 3 options and Dell wireless docking.Refreshed OptiPlex Portfolio Drives Innovative Desktop Design and Performance to New HeightsWhile our Latitude portfolio continues to advance mobile computing capabilities, inside millions of offices, retail stores, hospitals and education campuses, desktops remain the foundation. In fact, 74 percent of workers worldwide still use a desktop as their primary work system.For them, we’ve fully refreshed our portfolio of OptiPlex All-in-One (AIO), Mini Tower, Small Form Factor and Micro Form Factor solutions. We’ve added the new 5250 AIO and 5050 micro form factor PC to the 5000 series lineup, completing our OptiPlex portfolio with consistent form factor options across the entire 3000, 5000 and 7000 series to meet your productivity, security and manageability needs. With up to 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors and the latest discrete graphics, these powerful devices pack performance into ever smaller, more compact systems.We’ve also designed a customized peripheral ecosystem for these new OptiPlex desktops that results in a clutter-free desktop and a more productive workforce. Cable management systems are available across the portfolio, and multi-display configurations that have shown to increase productivity by up to 44 percent are also available. And for the ultimate modular AIO solution, the small form factor and micro desktops can be easily mounted out of sight behind their corresponding monitor by using a Dell AIO stand.All Dell commercial PC solutions are backed by our award-winning services and support. Featuring Dell’s innovative SupportAssist technology, ProSupport Plus is the only complete support service combining 24×7 priority access to expert support, accidental damage repair, and proactive and predictive monitoring for automatic issue prevention and resolution. For example, ProSupport Plus significantly reduced time to resolve a failed hard drive with up to 91 percent less time to resolution and up to 72 percent fewer steps in the support process1.Pricing and AvailabilityThe Dell Latitude 7285 2-in-1 featuring wireless charging will be available in June 2016 on Dell.com in the U.S. Pricing will be made available closer to launch.The Dell Latitude 5285 2-in-1 will be available February 28, 2017 on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $899.The Dell Latitude 7000 Series Ultrabooks are now available on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $1,099.The Dell OptiPlex 7050 Micro will be available February 7, 2017 on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $679.The Dell OptiPlex 5050 Micro will be available February 7, 2017 on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $599.The Dell OptiPlex 5250 AIO will be available February 7, 2017 on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $879.
Midterm exams are rapidly approaching, but many upperclassmen are focusing their attention on post-graduate exams. To prepare for these exams, many juniors and seniors reach out to organizations such as Kaplan Test Prep. Liza Weale, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs for Kaplan, said Kaplan Test Prep provided courses to more than 638,000 students worldwide over a single year. Kaplan offers preparation for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Admissions tests are one of the only quantitative and objective measures on applications for graduate school. “In Kaplan Test Prep’s 2010 surveys of graduate school, business school and law school admissions officers, the GRE, GMAT and LSAT, respectively, ranked as the most important admissions factors,” Weale said. “According to our medical school admissions officers’ survey, a low MCAT score is the biggest application killer.” However, students can improve their scores dramatically before they send applications to graduate programs by preparing correctly, Weale said. Kaplan offers a range of programs in the classroom and online as well as private tutoring to help students prepare for these tests. Junior Tony Dang is among the many pre-med students preparing for the MCAT in May. Dang said he began slowly preparing for the exam over summer break. “The resources that I have been using so far have been the Kaplan MCAT test books for each individual subject (Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology and the verbal portion of the test),” he said. “I also have 10 practice tests that a friend that sent me for extra practice once I’m done with studying the subjects. All of the studying is individualized, meaning that I am not taking any classes in preparation for this test.” Dang said he would like to see different organizations, such as the Princeton Review, on campus in addition to more traditional companies. “I think the [University] offers adequate options to help with test preparation,” he said. “But I would like to see other organizations other than Kaplan on campus.” Senior John Anders prepared for the LSAT with a Kaplan Live Online class during summer 2010 before he took the exam in October. The instructor for the course broadcasted the lesson over a video to students across the country. “Because I took this class, I took five practice exams prior to my actual test day,” he said. “They gave me a feel for where I was before taking the actual exam.” Anders said he utilized the online LSAT tools provided by Kaplan to monitor his studying. “They have this thing called Smart Reports that analyzes your performance on practice tests and diagnoses where you could use more practice and tracks your progress,” Anders said. “I found this to be one of the most helpful tools in my preparation.” Because of the ample resources offered through Kaplan, Anders said he did not seek out resources through Notre Dame other than quiet study space in campus libraries. Anders said he was confident of the test format and types of questions on the exam, and he said he was very happy with his score. “I think knowing exactly what I was going to get on the exam was a huge confidence boost for me, and my scores represented this,” Anders said. “I have the class I took to thank for this.” Saint Mary’s senior Kristen Metzger will take the GRE at the end of the summer and was accepted to the Teach for America program after graduation. Metzger will receive her master’s degree in education at the University of North Carolina while she completes that program. Metzger said she used Kaplan resources to study for past exams and turned to their GRE preparation book because she was familiar with their format. “They also offer practice tests online that I’m sure I will take advantage of,” she said. The “Classroom Anywhere” online option is the most popular among students preparing for exams through Kaplan, Weale said. “Classroom Anywhere courses take the dynamic interaction of a live instructor — who brings all the enthusiasm and inspiration of our Kaplan classrooms — and combines it with state-of-the-art online classroom tools to translate the combination into an online environment that’s designed to enhance the learning experience,” she said. Fees for Kaplan programs vary depending on the program. Weale said thousands of free practice tests and admissions seminars are available across the country. Students unhappy with their preparation or exam score can study with Kaplan for free for the next test date or for three more months for computer-based tests. “Students in our programs see great results, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of students who come to us each year,” Weale said. “Much of Kaplan’s growth comes from reputation and word-of-mouth, so we have a vested interest in helping our students succeed.”
The crowd that filed quietly into Regina Chapel on Tuesday filled the room with green – they wore bright green shirts and pinned small green ribbon to their tops. They came to remember Saint Mary’s sophomore Ziqi Zhang. Zhang, 19, who died last week from injuries sustained in an accident between her bike and an SUV outside the entrance to the College on State Route 933. Green was her favorite color. But even as they filled the chapel with green, they also filled the room with stories. During the service, faculty, staff and students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s stood one after another and shared their memories of an international student who had been their friend. A resident of Regina Hall, Zhang was a dual-degree student majoring in mathematics at Saint Mary’s and taking engineering classes at Notre Dame. She was a resident of Jiangsu Province in China. International student Ariane Umutoni met Zhang shortly after the two arrived at Saint Mary’s. She remembered Zhang as fearless while they discovered America together. “I remember going to the beach with her in Michigan,” Umutoni said. “There were big stones. … She was like, ‘I want a picture there.’ I said, ‘That’s dangerous,’ and she said, ‘Let’s take a chance.’ I was so scared, but she wasn’t. “That was Ziqi.” Umotoni asked the Saint Mary’s community to come together as a family during a time of need and grief. “We need you,” she said. “Some of us are far from home. You cannot imagine how my family is feeling to know that they have not seen me in so long and such a thing can happen. We need each and every one here. “We’ll hold hands, mourn together, cry together, share memories and just be a family,” she said. The stories from Zhang’s friends prompted both tears and laughter during the service. Paige Edmonds was Zhang’s resident assistant during her freshman year. She joked about a resident she said was both curious and warm. “She was one of those freshman that the questions you think you’re never gonna get asked as an RA, she asked them,” Edmonds said. “She was the type of resident who when you had a section event, would come knock on my door the next day and ask where everyone was. But she definitely challenged me to grow as a person. … Remember her smile.” Saint Mary’s graduate Chen Chen recalled a story she heard about Zhang before the two had even met. A mutual friend brought Zhang to pick up the keys to her dorm room on her first day at Saint Mary’s, but when they went to open the door, they had some trouble with the lock. “Ziqi just whipped out a toolkit … and started seriously working on trying to break into her room,” Chen said. “So I got really excited, and the first thing that came to my mind, I got to tell this story to Dr. Barstis, who is the engineering advisor, to let her know that we have a student who has the right engineering spirit. … That’s basically how she got to the engineering program.” Other professors and friends recalled Zhang as constantly smiling and always willing to push her limits for new experiences. They talked about an excellent student newly fascinated by philosophy and dedicated to her studies. They remembered a girl excited to return home to China over winter break for the first time since she had left for college. Notre Dame sophomore Christine Nie said she came from the same city as Zhang in China, but only met her after they came to South Bend. She remembered feeling at home hearing Zhang speak their first language with the same distinct accent as her family members and friends in China. “I thought even though she couldn’t stay in this beautiful world, as a girl of the same age and of the same city and of similar background, I can live this life for her,” she said through tears. Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), read an email from Zhang’s parents to Dr. Alice Yang, director for global education. Another Chinese-speaking professor had translated the letter. “We lost our precious daughter,” they wrote. “She was our pride and joy. She longed for this wonder country of America, and we wish that she could have completed her studies, learned the sciences and humanities so that she could have played a worthy role in the betterment of the entire human race.” College President Carol Ann Mooney also wore bright green as she addressed the crowd gathered in the chapel. “Each of us has lost a sister,” Mooney said. “It is terribly difficult to lose a young person with so much talent and so much promise. Ziqi’s death leaves a hole in the Saint Mary’s community.” Zhang’s family is working to obtain passports and visas to come to the United States, Mooney said. Donations to help the family with funeral and travel expenses may be sent to Karen Johnson, vice president of Student Affairs, in 175 Le Mans Hall. Checks should be payable to Saint Mary’s College and indicate in the memo line that the donation is for the Ziqi Zhang family. “For her family, this is an unspeakable grief. … Our hearts break for her parents, her sister and her good friends and family in China,” Mooney said. Student Affairs is also collecting notes for Zhang’s family at the same address. The notes will be translated and delivered to her family when they arrive in the United States. “When they arrive on our campus, we will make every effort to let them know how valued Ziqi was, what a positive contribution to Saint Mary’s she was and that she had a home here.”
Notre Dame professor of theology Celia Deane-Drummond discussed the interconnections between theology and anthropology in her presentation “Evolution, Humans and Other Animals: Theology and Anthropology in Dialogue,” an installment of the Snite Museum’s Saturday Scholars series.Drummond discussed the attempts of anthropology and theology to explore the role of human agency and human interaction with the environment. She said the main concern with both fields is how they intersect in light of new discoveries in evolutionary biology.According to Drummond, both anthropology and theology need to create stronger dialogue in order to provide greater perspective regarding human nature and human agency.“I believe there are tensions here that need to be faced, and if we refuse to face them we end up merging the two areas [theology and anthropology] in a way that is not necessarily intellectually responsible,” she said.Drummond said anthropology’s focus on human and human interaction with the environment compliments theology’s focus on humanity’s relationship and identity to God.In exploring the different dimensions of human biology and human evolution, Drummond explained their relation to our actions toward our environment and our role in history. She discussed how studies centered on human-animal interaction shape both human and animal communities, and she said these studies compel theologians to expand their worldview of the human relationship to God.“Although anthropologists can describe what’s going on in these [human] communities and give us a sense of our entanglement with other creatures, how are we to think about our own human responsibility that might be in the context of such entanglement?” she said. “What is the goal of the human from a theological point of view?”Drummond introduced the concept of “theo-drama,” a concept developed by Catholic Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, which establishes God as a central actor in human interaction and views history in light of the “future hope.” Drummond defined theo-dramatics as the “performative understanding of who we are as humans.”Theo-dramatics is analogous to niche construction, the way in which humans shape and interact with their environment, Drummond said. The theo-dramatic view of humanity and human history provide a unique integration of theology and anthropology, she said.“[Theo-dramatics] replaces the kind of stale defensiveness between evolution and creationism that has been the mantra of so much public discourse,” she said. “It’s doing something different; it’s doing something creative by actually drawing on the science and using it in a way that is helpful.”Drummond said both anthropology and theology have created frameworks that allow people to understand their identity toward both their environment and God.“There are family resemblances between the way theologians construct their work and the way that scientists can think about our own human identity,” she said. “If we’re in touch with how the biological world works, it will actually illuminate our theology in new ways.”Tags: anthropology, Celia Deane-Drummond, Saturday Scholars, theo-drama, Theology
Mary McGraw Jeffrey Thibert, assistant director of national fellowships in Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), said placement on the list is a significant honor for the University, raising its profile even further among U.S. doctoral and research institutions.“The grants benefit Notre Dame by confirming the University’s commitment to internationalization and expanding our global reputation,” he said. “Notre Dame Fulbright recipients are not just representing the U.S. abroad; they are representing Notre Dame abroad as well.”Thibert said the Fulbright is a great opportunity for students for three key reasons, the first of which is its ability to allow students to deepen their engagements with a particular part of the world through an immersive academic and cultural experience.“Second, the Fulbright provides funding for work that can significantly enhance one’s professional trajectory, whether that work is graduate study, dissertation research or classroom teaching experience,” he said. “Third, receiving a Fulbright grant opens the door to a vast network of Fulbright recipients around the world, and the prestige associated with the Fulbright has been a marker of outstanding achievement for decades.”Strong applicants often have experiences in their academic or extracurricular histories that indicate an interest in the wider world and the ability to adapt to an unfamiliar cultural environment, Thibert said. These experiences may involve study or research abroad as well as participation in internationally-themed coursework or clubs.“Notre Dame students are competitive applicants for the Fulbright because the University has prioritized international engagement for undergraduates and graduate/professional students,” he said. “…Because the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is fundamentally about promoting cultural exchange through educational exchange, international engagement as a student is a key indicator that someone will be an effective representative of the U.S. abroad.”Class of 2014 alumna Deanna Kolberg, who received a Fulbright grant for the 2014-15 program, is currently working as a teaching assistant in South Korea.Hoping to one day pursue a policy job within the U.S. government, Kolberg said she sees herself contributing to foreign policy through research or ground work with the Department of State.“Korea is of huge importance for U.S. national security policy, with large numbers of military personnel protecting the border from a hostile state to the North, and lies as a hub for U.S. security in greater Asia,” she said. “I can’t think of a job in foreign policy over the next 50 years that won’t need knowledge of Korea.”Kolberg said anyone looking to apply for a Fulbright grant should take full advantage of the opportunities Notre Dame has to offer.“Don’t spend your fall break at home — apply for a Nanovic Grant,” she said. “Do research beyond what’s required of your classes. Write a senior thesis. Keep in touch with your professors.”Kolberg said she has benefited in a variety of ways as a result of joining the Fulbright community.“You’re in a group of really highly motivated internationally-minded thinkers, with plenty of opportunity to interact,” she said. “I’ve learned a whole new set of skills and patience living with a Korean host family in pretty much the middle of nowhere.”As a teacher in Korea, Kolberg said she has experienced both the joys and pains of teaching and her own Korean has slowly improved as well.“More than anything, I’m one of the few people I graduated with who can honestly say they love their job,” she said.Even when her mood wasn’t the best, Kolberg said she was uplifted when greeted by students in the hallway shouting, “We love you, Deanna!”“And you just can’t have a bad day like that,” she said. “They just won’t let you.”After her school’s graduation day last week, Kolberg said countless students told her how much they appreciated her class and how much they learned. Her next career move is now centered on returning to the United States.“I recently was accepted to the Ph.D. in political science program at the University of Michigan, which I can only think had something to do with my participation in the Fulbright program,” she said.Class of 2014 alumnus Marcus Liddell, another 2014-15 Fulbright recipient, also received an English teaching assistantship, although he currently resides in Germany, working at a secondary school teaching grades 7-12.Liddell said he decided to apply for the Fulbright grant due to his interest in education and his pursuit of a degree in German and minor in education, schooling and society.“My summer jobs had been education-related,” he said. “I had studied abroad in Germany for a semester, and I had spent a week while I was there shadowing teachers at a local high school, so I had some evidence that this was the kind of thing I’d like to be doing with or without a fellowship.”After returning from study abroad in Berlin, Liddell said he was almost fluent in German.“I felt like I needed more time in Germany to really become comfortable speaking the language, and that was something that was really important to me,” he said.Beyond that, Liddell said he already knew a little bit about education in Germany and was interested in getting a closer, first-hand look at how the system worked.“It was an easy choice from both the standpoint of improving my German and the standpoint of getting some practical experience as an educator,” he said.With about 12 to 14 lessons a week, Liddell said, for the most part, he does all the teaching. He said he spends his time outside of the classroom traveling, working in the community with sports and other activities and pursuing a research project.“I’ve started [to] run a couple after-school clubs and helped out with a number of shorter-term projects,” he said. “… When the weather gets a little nicer here, I’d like to start a small touch rugby league at my school.”Liddell said students interested in a Fulbright should consider the application process early and work with an advisor.“Decide if the things you want to do fit with what the Fulbright is offering,” he said. “If you’re a good fit in your mind, if you’re not just curious, but truly passionate, then you should consider applying.”Applications for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program are assisted in a joint effort between the CUSE and the Graduate School, Thibert said. Undergraduates interested in learning more should visit CUSE National Fellowships online at http://fellows.nd.edu, and graduate/professional students and alumni should contact Dr. Mike Westrate at firstname.lastname@example.org“As we send more Fulbright recipients around the world, they raise the University’s global profile, which will help us to continue to bring the best international students to the University while fostering productive international academic collaborations,” Thibert said.Tags: Fulbright, fulbright grants, fulbright scholar awards, Fulbright Scholars, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Jeffrey T Ten students from Notre Dame were awarded Fulbright grants for the 2014-15 program, ranking the University as a top-producing institution of grant recipients.
This weekend, an original dramedy called “Lucky, Liar, Loser” will premiere at Saint Mary’s in Moreau’s Little Theatre beginning Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The show, which centers on the theme of violence against women, was written and is directed by Casey Whitaker, a member of The Second City — a comedy theatre in Chicago — who is this year’s annual Saint Mary’s Margaret M. Hill visiting artist in residence.After previously coming to teach some workshops at Saint Mary’s in 2015, Whitaker said she fell in love with the Saint Mary’s community.“When I started writing this play, I reached out and we started figuring out a game plan,” she said. “The topic of the play was already established before Saint Mary’s was interested — I think it is the perfect place to display it.”Whitaker defines a dramedy as a serious and dramatic play with elements of comedy. She added that originally, she did not mean for the comedy aspect to be such a major part of the show.“Violence against women is not a laughing matter — it just crept in,” Whitaker said. “Then you think about what humor is actually used for — a lot of time it’s just a cover for what’s on the inside. That’s why we are able to find the truth so quickly, it’s because we’re broken.”She said the comedy is not meant to disrespect or offset the seriousness of the topic.“It’s more of comedic relief,” she said. “ … A lot of times the characters don’t even know they’re as funny as they are. I don’t think people will think it’s disrespectful, it’s just honest and truthful.”Whitaker had originally written the show as a short-film for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago when they requested entries for a screenplay to produce. However, the Theatre never produced any of the screenplays. Last December, Whitaker rewrote the screenplay into the current dramedy in only 48 hours.“I had carried around every single scene in my head for over a year,” she said. “This project was in my head and now it’s time to do it.”Her inspiration for writing this first came when a man broke into her bedroom two years ago. Whitaker said her boyfriend happened to be there that night to fight the intruder off, but the event stuck with her.“It kind of opened my eyes to what I already knew and how this topic is handled,” she said. “It broke my heart.”Whitaker said the nine main characters in the show are based on her personal experiences and other women who were willing to tell her their experiences.“Anyone I met who was willing to tell me their story, I listened,” she said. “It’s a tribute to all the women I have met and the women who have survived and the women who aren’t ready to talk.”Based on the experiences she had in mind, she separated the nine characters into three sections with three characters in each — the lucky, the liars and the losers — and left the characters unnamed.“The different mini themes are me wanting to understand the different ways people experience violence,” Whitaker said. “I wanted the cast and the audience to know we are all these women.”The lucky are those who say they are lucky because they have not been physically abused, but instead have possibly been emotionally abused without realizing it. The liars are those who tell themselves and others they are not victims, when they are, for various reasons.Senior Olivia Jackson said she is playing one of the liars in the show.“She’s a lawyer who is outnumbered by the men at her law firm,” Jackson said. “She has to joke around to be accepted as one of the guys, even if she doesn’t agree with what they’re saying.”Whitaker said the loser section was the trickiest section to express. The losers are those who know violence is occurring but don’t do anything about it — don’t act in the moment or don’t share their survival story.“Loser is a tricky word because it’s hard to make it not sound so negative,” she said. “The actual definition is a person or thing that is put at a disadvantage by a particular situation – so it’s a temporary thing.”Gabrielle Weldy, a junior at Saint Mary’s and the stage manager for the show, said there are cast members from Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Holy Cross, the South Bend Community and Fischer Dance Company.“The cast of the show has 27 people total — a large cast for the small department,” Weldy said. “That’s not including all of the contributors — costume, set, sound and lighting.”The cast members of the production have been working two months to get the show to where it is now. Jackson said Whitakers work on this show has been especially admirable for that reason.“Usually we only get to spend one weekend with the Margaret Hill visiting artist,” Jackson said. “It’s nice that we’ve gotten to spend two months learning from her.”However, Whitaker said she has gotten a lot from the cast’s contributions to the production as well.“I’m an improviser so I live by the philosophy ‘yes and’ so I am open to people’s suggestion and building as a group,” she said. “This cast had to do with a lot of the shaping and what the script had to be as the final product.”Whitaker said Hannah Fischer, the owner of Fischer Dance Company in South Bend, has especially contributed to making the show what it is.“I had written in movement sequences to the show,” she said. “I have some dance training, but I would have never been able to do what Hannah did with the dance.“There are pre-filmed elements, a shadow puppet tree, a live quartet playing all the music and this modern dance element. Hannah Fischer is choreographing the elements.”Fischer graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2011 with a major in women’s studies and dance. Only six of the cast members are from her dance company; the rest are from the community.“This show is focusing on modern dance, but I’m working with a cast that hasn’t been trained in modern dance,” Fischer said. “The whole show is a combination of modern dance, theater and everyday movements in block features that look like dance”Jackson was one of the cast members who needed to adapt to the dance element.“I’m not a dancer — I knew nothing before,” she said.“We’re also using a lot of projection and shadow puppetry which as an actor I’m not always involved with, but it’s really fascinating and I haven’t seen it before. It’s been really cool to break down genre.”On the other hand, those who have been trained in dance have experienced a new element of acting. Saint Mary’s senior Margaret Davis and first year Elyse Paul said this is their first production with an acting role.“I think it’s really interesting how Casey is incorporating dance,” Davis said. “I think it brings it together — it keeps the audience thinking.” Fischer said the dance element is essential to delivering the message to the audience.“It’s a heavy topic, so the movement itself had to be simple to deal with that very complex conversation,” she said. “The movement itself is more about the intention and where you’re looking at and who you’re responding to rather than a line or the shape of the movement.”Those who come to the show who have experienced violence should not have to worry about triggers, Whitaker said.“I can’t say for sure, but I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with how accessible the material is,” she said. “If one is a little too close to home, there’s eight more you might feel a little more connected with.”Fischer said the style of this show is unique, especially to the South Bend community.“This show is groundbreaking for South Bend,” she said. “Work like this isn’t done in the area.”Whitaker says the end may not be happy, but it is powerful.“All I can do is start a conversation and let people know they are not alone,” she said. “The message is empowerment, I don’t think anyone will leave and feel worse than they did when they walked in.”Tags: Casey Whitaker, Lucky Liar Loser, Second City, sexual assault
Known as the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs, Notre Dame’s first new school in nearly a century opened this fall.Intended for both undergraduate and graduate students, the Keough School’s website said the school is focused on advancing integral human development through research, policy and practice. After the University announced its creation in 2014, history professor R. Scott Appleby was named the Marilyn Keough dean of the school.“The Keough School is a key player in fulfilling the University’s goal of internationalization,” Appleby said in an email. “All of Notre Dame’s college and schools, as well as Notre Dame International, are active and important participants in this effort.”According to the Keough School’s website, the school, which is based in the newly-constructed Jenkins and Nanovic Halls, addresses topics such as poverty, war, disease, political oppression, environmental degradation and other threats to dignity and human flourishing.Appleby said this year the school will focus on faculty, students and global policy studies in addition to working on new programs: one for undergraduates and one in policy studies with both a presence in Washington, D.C. and a network of international experts. The Keough School’s Master program in global affairs is already teaching its first class of students who came from areas across the world.Over the next three to five years, Appleby said the Keough School plans to continue this building phase.“We will continue to build a world class international faculty, welcome hundreds of gifted graduate and undergraduate students into the School and extend our networks of engagement and influence into the worlds of applied research, policy and practice of human rights, good governance, international development, peace-building and related areas,” Appleby said.Ted Beatty, associate dean for academic affairs at the Keough School, said alongside participating in pre-existing programs managed by various institutes that will be expanded in the School, undergraduate students will eventually have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program of global affairs.“This program of global affairs will be a program that organizes what [students] do in their majors, supplemental majors or minors, language study, study abroad … in a way that integrates together and forms a coherent program of study,” Beatty said.The pre-existing seven institutes under the Keough School are The Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.“One thing the Keough School does is re-organize those [institutes] together under one roof,” Beatty said. “We inherit some programs from the institutes. We’ll then build up from those and create some exciting new opportunities for Notre Dame undergraduates.”Appleby said he expects the full-fledged undergraduate program — which will aim to complement and globalize the disciplinary major — will begin with a relatively small number of students next year before growing in the coming years.“Short of enrolling in the full program, or in a supplementary major or minor in the Keough School, undergrads can also take individual courses offered by the School,” Appleby said. “In addition, there are and will be an array of extracurricular options for students, ranging from guest lectures and mini-seminars led by prominent world leaders, to applied research opportunities designed to complement regular coursework and stimulate global thinking.”After three years of “frenetic planning and recruiting” with the seven institutes and colleagues from Notre Dame’s other colleges and schools, Appleby said the Keough School received a new burst of energy upon its opening.“I am heartened but not surprised by the excitement and enthusiasm generated by the opening of the Keough School — expressions of which arrive daily from the Notre Dame family of alums and other fervent supporters, as well as from peers at other universities in the United States and around the world,” Appleby said.As for long-term goals, Appleby said he looks forward to seeing his successor leverage the resources that Notre Dame and its supporters have provided.“I’d wager that before too long, the Keough School and its faculty and graduates will be recognized as a world leader in placing human dignity at the center of every effort to build peace, heal the afflicted, stimulate economic growth and ensure education and security for the most vulnerable populations on the planet,” Appleby said.Tags: kellogg institute for international studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, Kroc Institute
The Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) gathered outside the Main Building, organizing a peaceful protest of the university’s Gregori murals Monday afternoon. The aim of the organization is to obtain the University’s commitment to Native American diversity through a peaceful manner.Rosie LoVoi | The Observer Commissioned by Fr. Edward Sorin, Vatican artist Luigi Gregori painted these large murals, displayed in the Main Building. According to a statement by the University regarding the Columbus murals, Sorin wanted art that represented the Catholic spirit of the University. However, NASAND protested the misrepresentation of Columbus’ ways along with the offensive and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in the murals.The peaceful protest began with speeches from NASAND members, who spoke of the importance of Native American representation on campus, and was followed by a more informal forum, giving attendees the opportunity to ask NASAND students questions.NASAND president and senior Dom Acri discussed some of the problems associated with the Gregori murals. Acri talked about the University’s use of the William Faulkner quote, “The past is never dead, it is not even past,” and he said NASAND hopes to take back this sentiment and make people aware of Native American culture and significance.“In an attempt to address these understandably controversial, and what our group would even call openly marginalizing murals, we are reminded that like this quote suggests, we must recognize the past because it is still here with us,” Acri said.In addition to making students, faculty and administration aware of NASAND’s desire for greater recognition and inclusion from the University, the organization has detailed goals for greater diversification throughout the school year.Acri said the student group wants to be talked to, not talked about. NASAND wants to hold a town hall meeting regarding the status and further actions in dealing with the Gregori murals, something Acri said is strengthened by the involvement of allied members.“What we need is for people to get behind us and help our movement gain momentum,” Acri said.Among other important plans are the group’s hope to serve as a connection to the Pokagon band — the tribe whose land Notre Dame rests on. Acri said NASAND would like to assist in the recruitment of a Native American faculty and establish a Native American Studies program, bring back the Notre Dame powwow and achieve greater involvement in Notre Dame’s “Walk the Walk” event.“A diverse community strengthens Notre Dame’s mission and allows students to open their minds to new perspectives,” Acri said. “But when the only representation that we have right now is these murals, we don’t think Notre Dame is fulfilling that goal. We wanted to have this event in order to help Notre Dame achieve their mission.”Tags: Columbus murals, NASAND, Native Americans, protest
Rosie LoVoi | The Observer Bart W. Edes, the Asian Development Bank’s representative in North America, addresses challenges and advancements that affect developing Asian countries. He lectured in Jenkins Nanovic Hall on Monday to promote an awareness of the Asian Development Bank’s mission, which involves reducing poverty.The ADB, Edes said, does not work the same way many other banks do. “We’re a bit of a mix between a commercial bank and a program like the United Nations Development Program,” Edes said. “Our overarching mission is not to make money and give the dividends to our shareholders but to fight poverty and promote inclusive, sustainable development in developing nations.” To this end, he said the ADB is involved in financing development all across Asia in a variety of ways, from reforming education in Nepal to implementing clean energy initiatives in the Philippines to building railways in Bangladesh to constructing infrastructure for safe water in Uzbekistan. While most of what the ADB does has to do with funding projects, its employees also conduct research on economic trends of development in Asian countries over recent years. “In the latest estimates for 2018 for developing Asia — so not including countries such as Japan — we’re looking at about a 6.3 percent increase in gross domestic product,” Edes said.Meanwhile, the United States achieved 2.4 percent growth over the same period, Edes said. The Asian economic sector appears to be one of the most quickly growing and developing that there is, Edes said.“Asian countries are working in ever more integrated and cooperative ways,” he said. When it comes to tourism, for instance, 60 percent of Chinese travelers stay inside the region, which is incredibly important to small Asian countries with large tourism industries, Edes said. The Maldives, for example, attribute 83 percent of its gross domestic product to the tourism industry, he said. While the region is experiencing rapid economic growth and development in some areas, it is still also facing a number of challenges such as poverty, climate change — which can exacerbate monsoons, storms, mudslides and other natural phenomena common to the region — and an aging population. “Asia is among the most vulnerable areas of the world when it comes to climate change,” Edes said. “This could lead to a real humanitarian crisis. We are responding in part by doubling down on our investments on climate change mitigation.” Edes said the ADB is currently committed to putting six billion dollars into countering climate change by 2020. With longevity going up and fertility rates going down across the board in Asia, the aging population may soon create a problem in some Asian countries. Edes said. A similar trend is occurring in other countries across Asia, which could lead to economic trouble as a diminishing workforce has to work increasingly hard for a growing body of dependent citizens. “By 2030, we will have almost 30 percent of Japan’s population at an age of 65 or older,” he said. Tags: ADB, Asian Development Bank, Bart W. Edes, development, Jenkins Nanovic Hall The North American representative for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) — an institution seeking to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific — Bart W. Edes, spoke in Jenkins Nanovic Hall on Monday about his experience working for the ADB for the past 16 years and the lessons he has learned about economic growth, development and challenges facing some developing Asian countries.
All aboard! Jonathan Brody and Scott Burkell will join the one-night-only concert of the Tony-winning musical Titanic at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Brody and Burkell are set to replace the previously announced Michael Mulheren and John Jellison as John B. Thayer and George Widener/Frank Carlson, respectively. Directed by Don Stephenson and featuring original cast members Michael Cerveris and Victoria Clark amongst others, Titanic will play February 17. Based on the real-life disaster of 1912, Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s Tony-winning musical tells the story of the doomed ocean liner and the travelers aboard the so-called unsinkable ship. The show premiered on Broadway on April 23, 1997 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Titanic’s score includes “Godspeed Titanic,” “The Largest Floating Object in the World” and “I Must Get On that Ship.” Michael Cerveris A separate revival directed by Thom Southerland is set to dock on Broadway this fall. View Comments The cast of Titanic will also include Brian d’Arcy James as Frederick Barrett, Martin Moran as Harold Bride, David Garrison as J. Bruce Ismay, Becky Ann Baker as Charlotte Cardoza, John Bolton as Charles Lightoller, Ryan Silverman as Charles Clarke, Ron Raines as Isidor Straus, Clarke Thorell as Jim Farrell and Jill Paice as Caroline Neville. Victoria Clark Star Files Brian d’Arcy James
View Comments The original Broadway production of On the Twentieth Century was directed by Hal Prince and opened in February 1978 at the St. James Theatre, starring John Cullum, Madeline Kahn, Imogene Coca and Kevin Kline. The musical received five Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Featuring a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman, On the Twentieth Century follows a down-and-out Broadway producer named Oscar Jaffee who struggles to convince his former muse and lover, now a successful film actress, to return to Broadway in a play about Mary Magdalene. While dealing with Lily Garland’s jealous new lover and a religious fanatic aboard a luxury train, Oscar hopes he can lure her back to the stage and salvage his sinking career. Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on July 19, 2015 Gallagher received a Tony nomination for his role as Edmund Tyrone in the 1986 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. He also appeared on Broadway in The Country Girl, Noises Off, Guys and Dolls, The Real Thing, The Corn Is Green, A Doll’s Life and Grease. Gallagher’s many film and TV credits include The O.C., Center Stage, American Beauty, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, While You Were Sleeping and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. On The Twentieth Century Kristin Chenoweth He’s got it all! It looks like stage and screen star Peter Gallagher is ready to take the Great White Way by storm once again! According to The Los Angeles Times, the Tony nominee will be joining Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth in a forthcoming Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century. Chenoweth recently told Broadway.com that she’s definitely “putting aside a chunk of time to be able to” play Lily Garland in the musical. Related Shows
View Comments Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Related Shows In addition to Mueller, Beautiful stars Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin, Jarrod Spector as Barry Mann and Anika Larsen as Cynthia Weil. The company also includes Jeb Brown, Liz Larsen, Ashley Blanchet, Andrew Brewer, E. Clayton Cornelious, Joshua Davis, Alysha Deslorieux, Kevin Duda, James Harkness, Carly Hughes, Sara King, Rebecca LaChance, Douglas Lyons, Gabrielle Reid, Rashidra Scott, Sara Sheperd, Yasmeen Sulieman, Daniel Torres, Melvin Tunstall and Alan Wiggins. It’s one fine day for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The bio-musical, capitalized at $13 million, has become the first new tuner of the 2013-2014 season to recoup. Starring 2014 Tony winner Jessie Mueller in the title role and directed by Marc Bruni, the production is currently running at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Featuring songs written by Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and a book by Douglas McGrath, Beautiful tells the story of King from her early days as a Brooklyn teenager (named Carol Klein) struggling to enter the record business to her years spent as a chart-topping music legend. Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 27, 2019
View Comments The RICHest “Rich Man” We searched from sunrise to sunset for our favorite high school Tevyes, and Wesley David Toledo in the 2011 Christ Presbyterian Academy (you read that right) production in Tennessee gets top marks. He starts off relatively subdued, and grows increasingly animated throughout the signature number. How else can you “cheep,” “quack,” or “ya ha deedle deedle bubba bubba deedle deedle dum”? Happy Fiddler week! L’Chaim! L’shanah tovah, all, and mazel tov to Fiddler on the Roof on its 50th anniversary! In honor of the momentous occasion, we’ve been bringing you all things Fiddler this week: from crazy facts, to Fran Drescher as Fruma Sarah to some Yiddish rapping, to Tevyes around the world. Now, we’re grabbing our backpacks and going back to school. Check out our favorite high school renditions of “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and more below. And start rehearsing your bottle dance, because Fiddler is aiming a Great White Way return in the 2015-16 season! Best Ensemble How many times in high school did you hear “there are no such things as small parts, only small actors,” or some variation of the sort? Well the ensemble of Summit High School’s 2008 production took that to heart, and ended up taking home the “Outstanding Chorus” award at Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Awards in New Jersey. After watching their “Tradition,” it’s clear why. The harmonies! That synchronization! Those beards! The Papa, the Mama, the son, the daughter: they’re all there. Most Daring Jr. High School Production In 1969, a junior high school in Brownsville, Brooklyn put on a production of Fiddler on the Roof; a rarity, not just because the original Broadway production was still running a few miles up, but also because the cast featured predominantly black and Puerto Rican students. During a time of tensions between the African American and Jewish divide in the neighborhood, the students proved that the ideas of soul, community and yes, tradition, are universal. Take a look at a 60 Minutes segment on the production. Freakiest Fruma Sarah Dry ice? Check. Spooky lighting? Check. Rolling in on a giant contraption and wheeled around the stage? Check and check. Here’s Amy Rachel as the butcher’s first wife in Salem Hills High School’s 2011 production in Utah, complete with all the crazy vibrato and head voice you could ever ask for. Sure, the makeup is half Fiddler and half Cats, but that kind of makes her Frumah Sarah all the more terrifying. The Daughters! The Daughters! Tradition! The Class of 2007 girls of New Canaan High School in Connecticut are looking for someone interesting, well-off and important. Fans of belting a plus. We were hooked once we heard this Hodel’s little scoop on “Find me a find.” And props to the pint-sized Tzeitel’s hilarious Yente impersonation. And why not throw Shprintze and Bielke into the mix? More harmony!
View Comments The Broadway.com staff is nuts about Culturalist, the website that lets you choose and rank your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank—we’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Broadway.com Show every Wednesday.Last week, we asked you to name the Broadway star you were rooting for on Tony nomination morning. The results are in, and fans picked The King and I star Kelli O’Hara! Your good vibes worked, and O’Hara nabbed her sixth nomination on April 28. This week, Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so we want to know: Who is the ultimate mom in a Broadway musial? We narrowed down the choices to 25 of our favorites. Broadway.com Features Editor Lindsay Champion posted her list of top 10 picks here!STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button.STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button.STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button. (If you don’t have a Culturalist, you will be asked to create one at this point.)Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list.Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Broadway.com Show!
Tickets are now available for Marcy Lovitch’s Office Politics. Directed by Aimee Todoroff, the new play will begin previews on June 5 at off-Broadway’s June Havoc Theatre and officially open on June 11.The cast will feature Patrice Bell (Six of One), Josh Doucette (Irreversible), Philip Guerette (American Genius), Carson Lee (The Water Children), Molly Lovell (And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little), Maria Wolf (The Balcony) and Nicholas De Sibio (Working Out with Leona).In Office Politics, when a white male co-worker makes an off-the-cuff racially insensitive remark to his boss’s black female assistant, what seems like a harmless joke snowballs, suddenly catapulting the ad sales office of a women’s magazine into turmoil. Threats are made, loyalties tested and contrasting beliefs about power, race and class surface, resulting in shocking reveals, lies and accusations, ultimately leaving their department in utter shreds. View Comments
Melody Betts in ‘The Sound of Music'(Photo: Matthew Murphy) View Comments In the final moments of The Sound of Music’s first act, Melody Betts takes center stage as Mother Abbess as she delivers the last verse of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” with a pure, commanding soprano. Before taking on the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in the current North American tour, Betts had audiences giving mid-show standing ovations as a featured soloist in Invisible Thread off-Broadway. Below, the unforgettable performer talk to Broadway.com about bringing her own faith to the stage, feeling inspired by Audra McDonald and her secret off-stage riffing.Hi, Melody! How’s touring life treating you?It’s good! I thought it was going to be difficult, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I’m finding my way around. The hardest thing is probably laundry.How did the opportunity to play this role arise? They were looking for another Mother Abbess as Ashley Brown was pregnant, and my manager said, “I think you should go in.” Now, I’m thinking there’s no way. The Sound of Music is traditionally cast all white. For me to come in, I thought, was a huge adjustment for the audiences. But I decided, “What the heck?” I caught up with my friend Matt Gould [co-writer of Invisible Thread], we had some voice lessons, and then I went in.What was the audition process like? It was really great. I was the only one who looked like me in the room, which was intimidating. But by the end of it, we were all in tears. I was hoping I would have the job by the end of that. But I left, and by the time I got off the bus, I got the phone call.Did seeing Audra McDonald play the role on NBC provide any comfort or assurance? Absolutely. If I ever get the chance, I’d love to thank her. I’m a huge advocate for respect and love to the ones who have gone before me. It meant a whole lot that Audra did the role, and that she did it so beautifully; that allowed people to see that a woman of color could do this. She is one of the reasons why I could be put in this place.I know faith is an important part of your life. How does that inform your performance as the Mother Superior? It makes it a lot easier. As myself, I’m always tapping into my relationship with God, so I’ve added that to my performance. You’ll see me [on stage] actually taking a moment to ask God what to do next. I’ll look up, have an internal prayer and actually thank the Lord for the answers. I know what it’s like to come to a decision of whether or not I’m going to follow God.You also played a religious figure in Invisible Thread. In both, your character goes against what others in the church community might expect. Is that something you relate to personally? I think Christians get a bad rep because there are people in the world who claim Christ but forget that when Christ walked the earth, He hung out with everybody. Sometimes when people become Christians, they focus on the legalism of it instead of the love. There has to be a balance. The world is in need of love.That certainly rings true in both performances. One of the major differences, though, is your vocal style. In Invisible Thread, you belted up a storm. Here, it’s all classical. How do you find the balance between the two types of singing? When I hit the stage, I sing classically. When I’m singing backstage, I riff. I have to keep that part of my voice active. I started out singing in the church, and that’s where you learn that riffing. But I actually trained classically, too. Even though I don’t use that part of my voice that much, it’s in my bag of skills. I was able to go back into my bag and dust that off. And yes, there was some dust collecting!What’s your earliest memory of The Sound of Music? Like most people, Julie Andrews in the movie. It was always “My Favorite Things.” There was something about that song that always made me happy. I remember as a child singing those lyrics just out of the blue sometimes.And unlike the movie version, you’re the one who gets to sing it. Exactly! Now I know the real words; I don’t have to make them up.Representation and diversity are integral to this Broadway season, and hopefully that’s not just a trend. What does it mean for you to be a part of that this year off-Broadway and on tour? I’m so elated. I’m not going to be at the Tonys or anything like that, but I am a part of theater at this time. That alone is everything. Right now, Hollywood is not making the mark when it comes to acknowledging people of color. In theater, it’s a different feeling. I’m proud of the theater community for stepping up. That’s exactly what we need.Do you find that that resonates with audiences across the country? I realize there are a lot of little people who look like me–or some form of me–out in the audience. Even if they don’t want to be an actor, I just need them to know that whatever it is they’re looking toward, it’s possible. I grew up in the hood of Chicago. I was discouraged and was told my future wasn’t very bright. That was a lie, and now I’m living the truth. You don’t have to be left to despair and doubt. You can believe and work hard, and you can see all your dreams come true. You have the power to make that happen. That’s why I’m here.
The acclaimed off-Broadway production of J.T. Rogers’ Oslo, headlined by Tony winners Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays, will transfer to the Main Stem next spring. Helmed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher, the show, which is currently playing at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, will move to LCT’s larger (and thus Broadway eligible) venue, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, beginning previews on March 23, 2017. Opening night is set for April 13.The Vivian Beaumont Theater incarnation of Oslo will feature the production’s original cast. Along with Ehle and Mays, the company includes Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi, Adam Dannheisser, Daniel Jenkins, Dariush Kashani, Jeb Kreager, Jefferson Mays, Christopher McHale, Daniel Oreskes, Angela Pierce, Henny Russell, Joseph Siravo and T. Ryder Smith.A darkly comic epic, Oslo tells the true but until now untold story of how one young couple, Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul (Ehle) and her husband social scientist Terje Rød-Larsen (Mays), planned and orchestrated top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords. Featuring dozens of characters and set in locations across the globe, Oslo is both a political thriller and the personal story of a small band of women and men struggling together—and fighting each other—as they seek to change the world.The production will once again have sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Peter John Still.Oslo will run off-Broadway through August 28. Jennifer Ehle & Jefferson Mays in ‘Oslo'(Photo: T. Charles Erickson) Related Shows Star Files Jefferson Mays Oslo Show Closed This production ended its run on July 16, 2017 View Comments
View Comments Tony Winner Mel Brooks Reflects on Gene WilderThe Producers mastermind Mel Brooks appeared on The Tonight Show on August 30, and of course, he discussed his Young Frankenstein partner and Producers film star Gene Wilder. “He was sick, and I knew it. And he was such a dear friend,” Brooks told Jimmy Fallon. “I expected it. But I’m still reeling from that no more Gene…He was such a wonderful part of my life.” Want to hear the story of how these two comedy kings met? Check out the interview below! Michael Shannon & Taylor Kitsch to Star in WacoLast seen on Broadway in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, 2016 Tony nominee Michael Shannon is heading to the small screen alongside The Normal Heart star Taylor Kitsch. The television series focusing on the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas is currently being developed by the Weinstein Company, according to Deadline. Shannon will portray the role of FBI heavy-hitter Gary Noesner to Kitsch’s David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, a religious group that was holed up in a compound for several months. (Glad to see Shannon is taking on additional “happy-go-lucky” projects.)Daphne Rubin-Vega, Ayad Akhtar & More to Judge ObiesAward season already?! Nah, we just happen to know who will be judging the 62nd annual Obie Awards. The American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice have announced that longtime Obie Judges Chair Michael Feingold will be joined by Obie-winning actress Daphne Rubin-Vega, Obie and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, Entertainment Weekly theater critic Melissa Rose Bernardo, Obie-winning actress J. Smith Cameron, Obie-winning actor-singer Darius de Haas and Village Voice theater critic Miriam Felton-Dansky to form the 2016-2017 judges panel. (Question: can Daphne wear her leopard print coat from Rent? Nothing says “official” like a leopard print coat.)Javier Muñoz Speaks at NYU Welcome WeekSchool is back in session, and some very lucky New York University students were able to get some tips from Alexander Hamilton himself. Hamilton frontman (and NYU alum) Javier Muñoz took the podium for the university’s Presidential Welcome. “There’s dollar pizza everywhere,” he said. This Founding Father is definitely speaking college students’ language. Take a look at the fun video below! Cynthia Erivo(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed from today. Cynthia Erivo Defies ExplanationWanna change the world? There’s nothing to it for The Color Purple Tony winner and certified runner Cynthia Erivo. She posted a touching tribute to Gene Wilder, who passed away on August 29 at the age of 83. Her take on “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is beautiful, and it’s here. Watch below!
View Comments Stage and screen star Andrew Rannells is returning to the Great White Way in Falsettos this fall. As a fan of the 1992 production, Rannells recently stopped by The Late Show to tell Stephen Colbert how excited he is to celebrate unlikely love alongside Broadway faves like Christian Borle and Stephanie J. Block. However, he definitely won’t forget his “dirtier” roots in works like The Book of Mormon and HBO’s Girls. “During Mormon, we were wondering: ‘I don’t know if the middle of the country’s gonna go for this.’ And Trey [Parker] would be like ‘Well, I’m from the Midwest. Rannells is from the Midwest. That’s where all the dirty people are from.'” Whether he’s playing delightfully dirty, squeaky clean, or anywhere in between, we’re glad to have Rannells back on Broadway. Watch the hilarious interview below, and catch Falsettos at the Walter Kerr Theatre beginning September 29! Related Shows Falsettos Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 Andrew Rannells
Fiddler on the Roof View Comments Related Shows Judy Kuhn Tony nominee Judy Kuhn will step into the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, taking over for Jessica Hecht as Golde beginning November 22. The revival, helmed by Bartlett Sher and starring Danny Burstein, will play its final performance at the Broadway Theatre on December 31.Kuhn earned her fourth Tony nomination for her performance as Helen Bechdel in Fun Home, which concluded its Broadway run on September 10. She also received nominations for She Loves Me—Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s predecessor to Fiddler—Les Miserables and Chess. Her additional Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Rags and King David on stage and the singing voice of Pocahantas in the 1995 Disney animated film.In addition to Hecht and Burstein, the current cast of Fiddler on the Roof includes Alexandra Silber as Tzeitel, Samantha Massell as Hodel, Melanie Moore as Chava, Adam Kantor as Motel, Ben Rappaport as Perchik, Nick Rehberger as Fyedka, Adam Dannheisser as Lazar Wolf, Alix Korey as Yente and Dee Roscioli as Fruma Sarah.Hecht will next appear on Broadway in the Roundabout revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price, beginning performances at the American Airlines Theatre on February 16, 2017. Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 31, 2016
By Wayne McLaurinUniversity of GeorgiaAs Father’s Day approaches, I remember with fond affection my ownfather. He wasn’t a big man, but was very big in my eyes. Noteducated in a modern sense, he never failed to have time toanswer my thousand questions. He was never too busy to talk to uschildren.Many of the conversations came in the garden, started by aquestion.”What plant is that?””Is this bug good or bad?””Is that ready to eat?””Why are some peppers hot?””What causes tomatoes to turn red?””How big can a watermelon grow?””Can we quit now?”Railroad gardenWe always had a big vegetable garden on land we used with permission from the railroad.At 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. a passenger train passed by going toforeign places as far as we were concerned — northbound toWashington, D.C., and New York and southbound to New Orleans.We knew we weren’t going there, so we just waved at the people onthe train and showed them Southern hospitality while we wentabout our chores.Everyone had chores in the garden. One of my least favorite wasto pick squash and okra — both sticky. I was the fifth child,and now I think this chore was passed down as the older ones gotmore power and control.Okra lessonsLittle did I know then that I’d wind up getting a Ph.D. inhorticulture at Louisiana State University and do all of myresearch on okra. I reckon that garden got me geared up for life.Daddy never was into “gadgets.” We didn’t have a tractor or evena mule, just hand tools and a pushplow.Having come through World War I and the Depression and having sixchildren to support, Daddy was somewhat tight-fisted. Why haveone of those gadgets when Mr. John Scott would come over and plowthe garden with his mule Hugh?Besides the chores, we did everything else that was asked. Daddyalways asked. He never told us what to do. Of course, we neverrefused to do what he asked.That one time…Except there was that one time when my older brother V.L. decidedif he stuck his foot with a pitchfork he could get out of work –we always worked barefooted. Instead, he stuck it through his toe.Daddy took him back to the house, poured iodine on the puncture,bandaged it and made him wear shoes back to the garden. All of uslearned a lesson: don’t try it, because it won’t get you out ofgarden work.We didn’t have any of the supplies modern gardeners can’t seem todo without. We knocked pests off the plants into a coffee canwith a little kerosene in the bottom. After we were through, westrained the bugs out and saved the kerosene for the nextonslaught of insects.Specialized hoesWeed control was never a problem. We just used hoes and kept themsharpened. As the hoe heads were sharpened, of course, theybecame smaller.That was never a problem. We used the small-headed hoe to getclose around the plant. With this implement I could get rightnext to the stem and cut the grass.Woe be unto the kid, though, who cut a plant. We’d get “Son, whydidn’t you just pull the grass from around the plant with yourhands?” in the kindest of words.The newer, wider hoes were for the middles. And we never chopped.We “drew” the hoe along the top of the soil without disturbingthe soil, letting the sharp edge do the work. Chopping brought upweed seeds, the exact thing we were trying to control.Lots of lessonsWe not only planted and raised each vegetable but picked it,shelled it, helped cook it and, of course, ate everything. Theplate was never passed twice, and no one wanted to be at the end.Yet there was always enough to eat and share with others lessfortunate (or as we kids so selfishly saw it, too lazy to have agarden).As I look back, gardening with my father was one of the bestlearning experiences ever. All of the formal education I’ve gonethrough has only refined and enhanced what I learned in myfather’s garden.(Wayne McLaurin is a horticulturist with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
By Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaWith getting children ready for school, feeding them a healthy breakfast, making sure they get home safely and taking them to practices, today’s parents have a lot on their plates.Actual schoolwork can get lost in the rush. A key to children’s success is paying attention to what goes on during the eight hours they spend at school.“I came across a recent survey in one state that said fewer than 20 percent of parents are in regular contact with their child’s school and teacher,” said Don Bower, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist. “Nobody is happy with that.”As teachers and schools search for ways to engage their students, sometimes the one missing element is parental involvement. Eighth-grade teacher Julie Crow said the best way a parent can connect with a child’s teachers is to show up at parent-teacher conferences.“We make a lot of appointments, and I bet about 60 percent of them don’t show up,” she said.Crow teaches mathematics at East Jackson Middle School in Commerce, Ga. Parents there can also meet with teachers when they pick up their child’s report card.“It seems like a lot of parents come when their child is in sixth grade,” she said. “But by the time they get to eighth grade, not as many parents come.”When students reach middle school, Bower said, many parents tend to believe their student is more independent and responsible. In fact, parents may need to be in closer contact with their child’s teacher during these challenging years, he said.“In middle school and high school, students have issues of bigger crowds and less one-to-one contact,” he said. “Typically at the middle school level, many parents are overwhelmed with trying to meet all the teachers and keep up with what’s going on in all those classes.”Bower said a solution to the teacher overload would be for a parent to find someone at the school who knows the child and to talk to that person regularly.“The most effective systems are where both the school and the parent understand the learning goals of the student and work together to achieve those goals,” he said. “That’s done in an environment where responsibility and power are shared between the school and the parents.”Sometimes, parents doubt the necessity of parent-teacher conferences, he said.“For some, it informs them of a situation to begin with,” Crow said. “So many parents don’t know what’s happening in their kids’ lives. For some parents, the conference doesn’t do anything. For others, it goes home and lights a fire.”Bower and Crow offer these tips on what parents can do to communicate with their child’s teachers.1. Use the Web. “More than 95 percent of schools now have their own Web sites,” Bower said. “Using the Web also makes it much easier, especially for parents gone during traditional hours.” Web use could include something as common as e-mail. However, many schools now post a student’s password-protected grades and homework online.2. Call. “The old standby is telephone contact between the parent and teacher,” Bower said. “Make sure to call during the teacher’s free period if the teacher has one. Parents need to understand when it’s a good time to reach the teacher.” Teachers generally only have about an hour and a half per day to call a parent back as well as complete other projects, Crow said.3. Ask the child about homework assignments, tests and notes from the teacher. Talk to your student. “I think parents need to do more than just meet with their student’s teachers at conferences,” Crow said, “even if it’s not necessarily to talk to me more, but talking to their kids more.”
If a BB gun is at the top of your child’s Christmas list, a Georgia 4-H gun safety expert urges you to put “target sport safety equipment” on that list, too. “As parents, we would never send our kids out to play in a little league football game without the proper protective equipment,” said Mark Zeigler, who coordinates the Georgia 4-H Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education program, or SAFE. “Target sports also require the proper protective gear, and the most important part of that gear is sound safety education.” More than 3,500 youths participate Zeigler leads the program’s certified coaches who are trained in youth development as well as shooting education and safety. SAFE coaches teach target sport safety to more than 3,500 students across Georgia. Although he didn’t have a BB gun as a child, Zeigler doesn’t discourage parents from buying one for their child. “It can be an appropriate gift when used under the supervision of an adult and if the child is taught basic firearm safety,” he said. “It’s paramount that children are properly educated first. I just can’t stress that enough.” 4-H’ers use the Daisy 499In the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie longed for “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, Range Model air rifle with a compass on the stock and this thing which tells time.” Unlike Ralphie, Georgia 4-H’ers use the Daisy 499 model, which is specifically designed for target sports, Zeigler said. “The 499 is so specific, it can’t be bought in stores,” he said. “It was designed specifically to support shooters competing in international BB championship matches.” Learning to concentrateThough the SAFE program teaches the safety aspects of shooting sports, he says the most important thing students learn has nothing to do with sports. “Studies have shown that participating in shooting sports helps kids improve their concentration levels and their grades,” he said. “And it’s the lowest injury rate sport. In 4-H, we teach firearms safety mirrored with youth development standards and principles.” Like most 4-H activities, students can compete in target sports on the regional, state and national levels. “Although competition isn’t the goal of the program, when used correctly, competition can help young people develop life sills and positive habits they can carry through life,” Zeigler said. The Georgia 4-H target sports program is open to fifth- through eighth-grade students for BB and through high school for other shooting sports like archery, rifle, pistol and shotgun. Many training opportunities existIn addition to Georgia 4-H, target sport safety training is available through Boy Scouts, the National Rifle Association and the Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Program. Conservation programs like Ducks Unlimited and The National Wild Turkey Federation also offer programs for youths to develop interest in shooting sports. For more information on the Georgia 4-H SAFE Program, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
The University of Georgia is partnering in a biopharmaceutical innovation institute that aims to boost market production of cell-based therapies and develop a skilled workforce to work in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.The new public-private partnership, called the National Institute for Innovation of Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) will focus its efforts on driving down the cost and risks associated with manufacturing advanced cell and gene therapies for biopharmaceutical production.Steven Stice, director of the UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center and D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is the UGA lead in the partnership, which is coordinated by the University of Delaware.NIIMBL represents a total investment of $250 million, including $129 million in private cost-share commitments from the NIIMBL consortium of 150 companies, nonprofits, educational institutions and state partners across the country, combined with at least $70 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce.NIIMBL is the 11th institute under the Manufacturing USA National Network for Manufacturing Innovation initiative created to advance manufacturing leadership and restore jobs to the U.S.This recent success follows an announcement in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Defense that an MIT-led team involving UGA was selected for funding as the eighth NNMI institute.“We are pleased to have UGA participate in these high-profile public-private partnerships that are aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in key manufacturing sectors,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee. “We are eager to assist industry partners in meeting their goals through the development of new and existing intellectual property, and the training of an appropriate workforce.”Biopharmaceuticals are increasingly showing promising results in treating some of the most prevalent and debilitating diseases affecting human health. But manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals is not without large-scale operational and technological challenges, Stice said.These biologically sourced drugs are different from traditional small molecule, synthesized drugs. For example, he said, the synthesized drug ibuprofen can be precisely copied and characterized, and result in varied generic versions. In contrast, biopharmaceuticals like vaccines are much more complex and rely on the use of a biological transformation. As living cells, they are highly sensitive to their conditions and surroundings.Technical projects, which will be designed by the industry partners of the institution, will be selected through a competitive process and funded via subaward agreements with NIIMBL members.Stice, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, will facilitate team assembly for response to the project calls, leveraging years of collective experience in regenerative medicine and technology development. He is also co-director of the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine research center, or REM, a collaboration by Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and UGA. “There is a crippling regulatory gap, which is commonly referred to as ‘the valley of death’ in moving biotech products from discovery to commercialization,” Stice said. “What NIIMBL presents is an opportunity to help improve government regulation, minimize failure, create job growth and improve health care quality, all while reducing costs in the U.S.”For more information about the role UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center plays in developing biotechnology that will shape the future visit www.rbc.uga.edu.
More than 25 pumpkins were submitted to Georgia 4-H’s 2020 statewide pumpkin-growing contest, with the largest pumpkin, cultivated in north Georgia’s Union County, weighing in at a whopping 548 pounds.All Georgia 4-H youth were encouraged to participate by submitting one pumpkin for consideration. Participants took their entries to their local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office for weighing. This year, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association sponsored the contest, donating prize money of $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.The winners of the 2020 Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest are:Peyton Collins, Union County, 548 poundsNatalie Payne, Union County, 432 poundsAva Sharp, Union County, 316 poundsGeorgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org.
SBE Inc. (dba SB Electronics), will officially break ground on its new high-volume manufacturing facility on Saturday, April 17. The groundbreaking ceremony is slated to begin at 10 am in the Wilson Industrial Park in Barre, Vermont. Event speakers include Governor Jim Douglas, Lt Governor Brian Dubie, Representative Peter Welch, the US Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi and Sam Matthews, Executive Vice President of the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation. Earlier in the year, SBE Inc. won a matching grant of $9.1 million as the major piece of funding for an $18 million project under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electrical Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, part of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to expand its electric car technology manufacturing. SBE’s new manufacturing plant facility will be dedicated to the transportation market and will have capacity to produce Power Ring capacitors for over 100,000 plug-in hybrid and electric drive vehicles within 3 years.The 52,800ft2 building will be a modern, controlled environment, state of the art manufacturing facility. By strategically planning the production floor layout to mirror the production process, SBE can reduce both wasted time and materials, and maximize efficiency. Integrating private offices, work stations, conference rooms and a large lunch /training room, the 13,000 ft2 office space has been designed with one core value in mind: “creating an enjoyable workspace for employees”. SBE expects to begin moving into the new facility in December 2010. SBE Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of film capacitor solutions that provide a much higher degree of reliability, higher power density, and simpler cooling infrastructure, in demanding applications, particularly for automotive/transportation, alternative energy, utilities, power supplies/laser and military/aerospace. Originally a Sprague Electric Plant, SBE has been manufacturing capacitors for over 50 years producing over a billion capacitors, including the renowned Orange Drop®. The Company’s headquarters, engineering and product development center, and manufacturing operation are located in Barre, Vermont. For more information on the company’s products, technologies and markets, visit its website at: www.sbelectronics.com(link is external). Inquires and requests for further information, should be directed to Stephani Cook, marketing assistant, SBE Inc. at email@example.com(link sends e-mail) or 8024764146.Source: SBE. 4.16.2010
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc (NASDAQ: GMCR) was chosen from among hundreds of submissions from around the world to be included in the McDonald’s 2010 Global Best of Sustainable Supply. The Best of Sustainable Supply recognizes best practices of companies that demonstrate leadership and innovation in sustainable supply. McDonald’s first introduced Newman’s Own Organics coffee roasted by Green Mountain Coffee, part of GMCR’s family of brands, to its restaurants in New England and Albany, NY in October 2005.“This recognition affirms the importance of our efforts to seek sustainable solutions to poverty and hunger in communities around the world that supply us with coffee”GMCR was selected for its efforts to fight poverty and hunger in its coffee supply chain. In 2007, GMCR commissioned the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to conduct one-on-one surveys with small-scale coffee farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The survey showed that more than 67 percent of the interviewees could not maintain their normal diet from 3 to 8 months of the year. These months, known as “los meses flacos,” or “the thin months,” occur after the coffee harvest, when farmers’ earnings have been depleted and the price of food staples rises.Under the leadership of Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach, GMCR initiated support of projects with the goal of eliminating “los meses flacos” by helping families diversify their production and income. A coalition of nonprofit organizations and Fair Trade coffee cooperatives including Save the Children, Heifer International, Catholic Relief Services, Café Femenino, Community Agroecology Network (CAN), Pueblo a Pueblo, CECOCAFEN, and CESMACH have created a web of projects across multiple regions. Since 2007, GMCR has funded 14 projects in 10 countries, which are starting to help more than 18,000 families (over 96,000 people) develop the capacity to overcome months of food insecurity in a sustainable manner.“This recognition affirms the importance of our efforts to seek sustainable solutions to poverty and hunger in communities around the world that supply us with coffee,” said Peyser. “We believe there is a direct link between the quality of coffee we purchase and the quality of life in the farming communities that grow this coffee. As such, we are focused on supporting projects that improve the quality of life. Reducing food insecurity improves health, enhances children’s ability to learn, and provides families with new opportunities to begin lifting themselves out of poverty. When farmers and their families are unable to maintain their normal diet, they are generally not able to invest in their coffee, so this work will also help improve the quality of coffee in the cup.”The 2010 Best of Sustainable Supply was recently announced during McDonald’s 2010 Worldwide Convention and is featured on its Corporate Social Responsibilityweb site.About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR)As a leader in the specialty coffee industry, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. is recognized for its award-winning coffees, innovative brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. GMCR’s operations are managed through two business units. The Specialty Coffee business unit produces coffee, tea, and hot cocoa from its family of brands, including Green Mountain Coffee®, Newman’s Own® Organics coffee, Tully’s Coffee®, and Timothy’s World Coffee®. The Keurig business unit is a pioneer and leading manufacturer of gourmet single-cup brewing systems. K-Cup® portion packs for Keurig® Single-Cup Brewers are produced by a variety of licensed roasters and brands, including Green Mountain Coffee, Tully’s Coffee and Timothy’s. GMCR supports local and global communities by offsetting 100% of its direct greenhouse gas emissions, investing in Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, and donating at least five percent of its pre-tax profits to social and environmental projects. Visit www.gmcr.com(link is external) for more information.GMCR routinely posts information that may be of importance to investors in the Investor Relations section of its web site, including news releases and its complete financial statements, as filed with the SEC. GMCR encourages investors to consult this section of its web site regularly for important information and news. Additionally, by subscribing to GMCR’s automatic email news release delivery, individuals can receive news directly from GMCR as it is released.Source: WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–4.27.2010
Source: Lyndon State. 5.18.2010 When Lyndon State College was accepted as one of five New England schools to participate in the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s Project Compass initiative three years ago, the focus was on increasing the college retention and graduation rates of first-in-family, modest-income students (FFMI). In the midst of these efforts, project leaders discovered that there is very little information about the specific needs of and best practices in serving rural students—a surprising discovery, given that one fifth of the nation’s public school students are enrolled in rural school districts. The college also realized that there are many more students capable of pursuing a post-secondary education than those who do and that the College could best serve these students by coordinating with local PK-12 education providers to create a regional PK-16 network.Towards these ends, thanks to the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy, Lyndon State College is pleased to announce the creation of the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students. President Carol A. Moore announced the creation of the Leahy Center for Rural Students at the College’s 2010 commencement ceremony May 16.The central question to be answered by The Leahy Center for Rural Students is what are the expectations of FFMI students relating to their education and careers and when do those expectations solidify. Many potential FFMI students never see themselves as college graduates or perhaps assume they cannot afford a college education, even when they have the potential to thrive in the college setting. It is well known that a college degree increases the lifetime earning capabilities of an individual many fold, so it is important for these students to understand the options available to them and to support the students and their families as they navigate the unfamiliar territory of pursuing a college education. President Carol A Moore presents a certificate to Marcelle and Senator Patrick Leahy naming the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students at Lyndon State College commencement Sunday, May 16, at the College.The Center for Rural Students began an in-depth longitudinal panel study this past fall under the direction of former Lyndon Prof. Rod Zwick, which will be carried on now by Center Director Heather Bouchey. The study will expand beyond the College to include students attending seven area schools that have been identified as the pilot schools in the creation of a regional PK-16 network. Ultimately, the findings of this study will inform how teachers, parents, schools administrators, business leaders and community members can work together in supporting students towards their full learning and career potential.The initial study will follow students individually and as a group from fifth grade through four years post-high school, to learn what influences a student’s decisions regarding higher education. “It is critical to understand where the college/no college decision is made,” said Zwick. “We need to help students make that decision in an informed way and encourage them to make their own individual education aspirations fit with their own future plans.”While not all careers require a four-year degree, most now need some sort of continuing education or training. While much is known about how urban students make these choices, little is known about rural, FFMI students. The Center for Rural Students will play an important role in changing that reality.On Friday June 18, The Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students will be hosting a Vermont Education Summit at Lyndon State College for educators and community leaders from across the state to discuss how we can work together at the local and state level to help every Vermont student achieve their full potential along the PK-16 spectrum. This conference is being sponsored by AT&T. For more information, contact Heather Bouchey at 802-626-6444 or firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).
Brattleboro based business, Recycle Away has increased recycling at over200 corporations, universities and municipalities in the past 18 months.Recycle Away (www.recycleaway.com(link is external)) assists corporations such as Google,Hewlett Packard, Quaker Oats and Kellogg in ordering specialty containersfor corporate-wide recycling programs. Champlain College in Burlington VTrecently purchased several systems designed to serve a newly constructedLEED Certified student center. In October 2010 the State University of NYMedical Center dispersed hundreds of Recycle Away containers around campusand hospital floors.Municipalities around the country are stepping up recycling efforts onmain streets and city parks. Skagit County, WA, Galveston, TX andBrattleboro VT are three examples of communities with proudly printed logoson their public recycling systems; showcasing efforts to keep city blocksclean. Bins glazed in community colors, imprinted with personalized logos andclear signage are replacing retro-blue bins of the 90’s. Indoor andoutdoor containers alike are being used to brand champion recycling effortsin city parks, corporate settings, and commercial facilities.Recycle Away owner, Michael Alexander has spent the last 20 yearsanalyzing and writing policy for recycling agencies. He was a researchassistant for the National Recycling Coalition in Washington DC and aconsultant for the industry. He brings an understanding of the economicand environmental benefits’ recycling has for cities, states andorganizations.Alexander realizes that Americans generate 300 billion bottles and canseach year, most of which are disposed of away from home. Alexandertherefore built his business with the goal of collecting a substantialportion of those disposable beverage containers. ‘The need for public space recycling is gigantic,’ explainsAlexander. ‘Basically, everywhere there is a trash canâ ¦there should bea recycling container’. Recycle Away is on their way to making thathappen.Bring attractive and effective recycling systems to your business orcommunity. Visit www.recycleaway.com(link is external) or contact Michael Alexander at Source: Recycleaway. 2.8.2011
Dynamic Business Solutions, Inc,Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB) today announced that it has acquired seismic survey software provider Dynamic Survey Solutions, Inc of Essex. The acquisition is expected to expand Trimble’s presence in the seismic survey industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.Dynamic Survey Solutions’ GPSeismic suite of software applications are designed specifically for the seismic survey industry to process and manage data. The applications run on the Windows XP, Vista, and 7 operating systems (both 32 and 64 bit). GPSeismic supports more than 50 types of survey instruments ranging from GPS to inertial and conventional survey systems and offers a comprehensive set of tools for the land seismic surveyor. The software suite is used worldwide by geophysical contractors, seismic survey companies, oil companies and survey audit companies.”Our success has been attributed to the feedback we’ve received from our clients over the past 18 years. Supporting a broad range of survey systems in use has given us the ability to work with an extremely diverse client base. With the acquisition, this aspect of our business will not change,” said Cliff Harris, founder and president of Dynamic Survey Solutions. “As part of Trimble we will have an opportunity to apply our industry knowledge beyond office software to field operations.””The addition of GPSeismic gives Trimble the opportunity to build a seamless platform where all aspects of the seismic surveying workflow are provided and supported by one organization,” said Anders Rhodindirector of Trimble’s Survey Business. “Combining the strength of the Trimble survey product portfolio and the superior seismic software from Dynamic Survey Solutions will result in an advanced solution for the seismic survey market, both in data collector functionality and GPSeismic integration.”The business will be reported as part of Trimble’s Engineering and Construction segment.About Dynamic Survey Solutions, Inc.Founded in 1993, Dynamic Survey Solutions, Inc. is the leader in seismic survey software. Its principal product, GPSeismic, represents a suite of data processing and management tools that has grown in step with the development of new survey technologies and geophysical requirements in the oil and gas exploration sector. GPSeismic’s leadership in this field is the result of a fundamental philosophy of quickly responding to the needs of the client by a programming staff with extensive experience in both geophysics and survey.For more information, please visit: www.gpseismic.com(link is external).About TrimbleTrimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location’including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered inSunnyvale, Calif.For more information, visit Trimble’s Web site at: www.trimble.com(link is external).Certain statements made in this press release are forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual events and results may differ materially from those described in this news release. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, Trimble’s ability to successfully integrate and expand the GPSeismic product offerings, provide a seamless platform for seismic survey workflow and maintain commercial relationships with customers and other third parties. Additional risks and uncertainties include: the risks inherent in integrating an acquisition; unanticipated expenditures, charges or assumed liabilities that may result from the acquisition; and retaining key personnel. More information about potential factors which could affect Trimble’s business and financial results is set forth in reports filed with the SEC, including Trimble’s quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and its annual report on Form 10-K. All forward looking statements are based on information available to Trimble as of the date hereof, and Trimble assumes no obligation to update such statements.SOURCE Trimble. SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Data reported to federal officials suggests Cloud Peak Energy Inc. could post a weak second quarter in the face of ongoing domestic coal pricing pressures.Cloud Peak’s three coal mines reported 11.6 million tons of coal production in the second quarter, down 3.7% from 12.1 million tons in the prior quarter and falling 17.8% from the 14.1 million tons of coal produced in the second quarter of 2017, according to data reported to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. It was the lowest production quarter for the company since its IPO in 2009, Seaport Global Securities LLC analyst Mark Levin wrote in a July 16 note.“While [the second quarter] is typically a weak quarter for all [Powder River Basin] producers, we think [Cloud Peak’s] production, even by those standards, is a disappointment,” Levin wrote. “We suspect low natural gas prices, coal plant retirements, and increased use of renewables continue to weigh on demand.”Levin added that while export markets are a bright spot, that does not offset underlying concerns about domestic demand for Powder River Basin coal. He reiterated a neutral rating on the company.MSHA data shows quarter-over-quarter production increased by more than a half a million tons at Cloud Peak’s Spring Creek mine, which is where the company generally sources the coal it sells into export markets. However, the company’s domestic utility-focused Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines both significantly lowered coal production compared to the same quarter a year ago.More ($): Coal production from Cloud Peak Energy mines down sharply in recent quarter Cloud Peak coal production down sharply in second quarter
South Korean governor opposes plans to keep local coal plants open FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Chosun Ilbo:South Chungcheong Province, which is home to around half of Korea’s coal-fired power plants, is committed to phasing out the heavily polluting power source, even as the central government wants to hike coal power production to make up for its nuclear phaseout.South Chungcheong Province Governor Yang Seung-jo, who is affiliated with the ruling Minjoo Party, told the Chosun Ilbo on Wednesday, “We need to halt steps to extend the lifespan of aging coal-fired plants” since that would worsen already alarming air pollution.Boryeong, Dangjin, Seocheon and Taean in South Chungcheong Province are home to 30 out of Korea’s 61 coal-fired power plants. Two plants in Boryeong are more than 30 years old and 10 others were built over two decades ago.The governor believes the health of locals is at risk from the emission from these aging plants. “The amount of atmospheric pollution in the province is the highest in the country at 280,000 tons as of 2015,” Yang said. Yang added that decades-old plants must be shut down and transformed into eco-friendly power plants.The state-run Korea Development Institute claims refurbishing the plants could extend their lifespan by another 10 years to 2041. The cost of refurbishment is estimated at W1.51 trillion (US$1=W1,130).More: South Chungcheong governor resists gov’t’s coal power plans
Wood Mackenzie: Battery storage will turn Europe’s gas peakers into stranded assets by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Europe’s power system will look very different in 2030, with energy storage supporting the “dominance” of wind and solar generation, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie.The big five European markets—Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Spain—will get the majority of their power from wind, solar and other variable renewable energy sources as early as 2023, WoodMac says. By 2040, Europe is expected to add another 169 gigawatts of wind and 172 gigawatts of solar.As that variable output surges, Europe has four options for balancing out its grid: pumped hydro, gas peakers, energy storage and interconnectors. Only the final three of the quartet are likely to be the focus of new investment.For now, “gas peakers are more essential than ever,” said Rory McCarthy, Wood Mackenzie principal analyst. “They can ramp up to full output from warm in a couple of minutes for modern systems, have increasing efficiency levels at part loading and boast unlimited duration, assuming a reliable gas supply.”But by the end of the decade, battery storage will be the cheapest option for balancing Europe’s grid, overtaking gas peakers, according to a new long-term energy storage outlook. Europe’s energy storage capacity across all segments is expected to grow from 3 gigawatts today (excluding pumped hydro) to 26 gigawatts in 2030—and 89 gigawatts by 2040.“By 2030 energy storage will beat gas peakers on cost across all our target markets, resulting in a cloudy outlook for any new future peaking turbines,” McCarthy said. “Fuel and carbon prices are on the up, technology costs are not set for any major decreases and net-zero policies will eventually target the decarbonization of all power market services.”[John Parnell]More: WoodMac: Wind, solar and storage to dominate Europe’s power grid by 2030
Biker Jeff Keener savors Dupont’s slickrock. A bill recently passed in the North Carolina State legislature that makes Dupont State Forest North Carolina’s first State Recreational Forest. Dupont is a 10,000-acre tract of land in Transylvania County, famous for its waterfalls and singletrack. The bill was introduced by state senator Tom Apodaca and representative Chuck McGrady in response to a proposed management shift for Dupont that could have resulted in a loss of certain recreational uses including mountain biking. Dupont is one of the most popular state-owned properties in North Carolina, with mountain bikers making up the majority of users.“The public recognizes Dupont for what it is—a premier recreation destination—but we wanted to make sure the state of North Carolina recognized that fact as well,” says Woody Keen, a professional trail builder and mountain biker on the advisory board for Dupont State Forest. “It was important to the public that the management of Dupont not change. Our representatives acted on that desire, and now we have North Carolina’s first state forest intended for recreation.”In addition to Dupont’s scenic beauty, which includes several waterfalls, the forest’s 85-mile trail system has become a showcase of sustainable trail building, hosting workshops and demonstrations by professional trail builders from all over the world. Here are two recent trail building projects worth checking out in Dupont State Recreational Forest.Jim Branch Trail: This former road has recently been converted into swooping, sustainable singletrack.Hill Top: An old trail was decommissioned and a new, more sustainable trail was built in its place, offering more than a mile of brand new singletrack.
Our favorite web videos from the week that was:1. Tuckerman’s RevengeThings can get pretty rowdy at Vermont’s Tuckerman Ravine during the spring rut. This year was no exception, and here’s 30 seconds of it.30 Seconds of Tuckerman from Granite Films Jim Surette on Vimeo.2. Shutter’s Thru-HikeWe have been running dispatches from Chris Gallaway’s A.T. thru-hike, but here is a funny little video from last year’s hiking season.3. Basic Outdoors Epic-nessThe 2013 demo reel from Reel Water Productions. These guys know what they are doing.2013 Reel Water Productions Demo Reel from Reel Water Productions on Vimeo.That’s all for this week. If you have a video you would like to share for Clips of the Week, leave a comment or email email@example.com.Have a great weekend!
And the Winner Is…Budweiser Select?Budweiser Select won the gold for American style Lager at the most recent Great American Beer Festival. Miller High Life won the silver. Pabst Brewing Company won the bronze with their Special Export. I don’t even know what the hell their Special Export is (but I want to try it!).I’ve got nothing against Budweiser or Miller or Pabst. I drink all of those beers. But are they medal winners at this country’s quintessential beer competition? Are these grocery store standards still topping the charts when craft breweries are now making solid representations of lagers?Maybe. Maybe Budweiser’s got the lager dialed down so damned good, the little guy doesn’t stand a chance in that category. Or maybe gold medals don’t mean much, or maybe nobody else bothered to enter their lagers in the GABF. I don’t know. What I do know, is there are a number of great craft lagers out there for you to try, even if they don’t have gold medals swinging from their necks. Lagunitas and Bell’s both make a tasty lager (no, “tasty lager” isn’t an oxymoron). Devils Backbone, out of Virginia, makes the Gold-Leaf Lager, which actually won the silver in the American Style Pilsener category at this year’s competition.I like the lager put out by Hi-Wire Brewing, a new brewery out of Asheville. It’s unfiltered, light-hopped, light-bodied, light everything except for taste. This is a solid lager, people, straight down the style standards, and it’s become my go-to easy-drinking beer. If Budweiser Select is the gold-medal winner for Lagers, then this puppy should go platinum.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com
Since 2007, The Honeycutters have been doing their part to continue the tradition and honesty of vintage country music. Never mind the swill you’ll hear all over modern country radio. Instead, for true country, point your ears towards this quintet based in the mountains of western North Carolina.Though a band in the truest sense of the word, The Honeycutters are undoubtedly led by singer/songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, whose talents can be wisely compared to the likes of Iris Dement and Emmylou Harris. A songwriter with an ear for charming melodies and a pen rich with subtle wit, Platt writes songs for The Honeycutters that rummage deeply into the country music saddle bag.The band recently released On The Ropes, their fourth long player and the follow up to last year’s critically acclaimed Me Oh My, which established the band as a burgeoning new voice in the world of Americana music.I recently chatted with singer Amanda Anne Platt about the new record, boxing, and Asheville’s best local honey.BRO – You recently celebrated the release of your new record with your hometown fans in Asheville. That had to feel good.AP – Yes, it did! We love playing at home, and it means a lot to see so many familiar faces in the audience.BRO – The band rolls into Bristol on Friday. That has to be a bit like going back to the wellspring. Any bands from the Bristol Sessions from which you draw particular inspiration?AP – It would be hard to pinpoint. I definitely fell in love with the Carter Family in my late teens and went through a phase of reading a lot of nonfiction about early country music. I think more than anything, the idea of people who had been making music on their front porches their whole lives getting recording contracts and becoming big stars without a bunch of grooming is what inspires me. The music that gave rise to the Americana genre started just like that. It was very true music. So it’s nice to have a slice of history so close to home.BRO – We are featuring the title track to the new record on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?AP – “On The Ropes” doesn’t have a very interesting story behind it, I’m sorry to say. It’s a pick me up song, with a chorus that I started singing to myself when I was feeling discouraged. It kind of grew from there.BRO – I love the boxing imagery on the record packaging. Ever tempted to spend some time in the ring?AP – Yes, actually! I was thinking pretty seriously about signing up for lessons at the gym where we did the shoot. But I’m a wuss. I probably won’t follow through on that.BRO – Where’s the best place to grab some local honey the next time I am in Asheville?AP – There used to be a great little honey stand in Haw Creek called Haw Creek Honey. They just had this box where you put your money and then you took your honey. I think that people abused the system, though. I don’t believe that’s still there. But there’s always honey at the farmer’s market!Amanda Anne Platt and the rest of The Honeycutters will take to the stage at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia, this Friday. Trail Mix wants to give you an opportunity to win tickets to that show. Take a shot at the trivia question down below and email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. A winner from all of the correct answers received by 5 PM on Thursday, June 9th, will win two tickets to the show!Be sure to check out The Honeycutters’ website for information on tour dates and how to get your copy of On The Ropes. Also, take a listen to “On The Ropes” on this month’s Trail Mix.Question . . . . It’s noted above that The Carter Family contributed mightily to the 1927 Bristol Sessions. Which band below, however, was NOT recorded by Ralph Peer during those sessions?A – The Bull Mountain MoonshinersB – The Blue Ridge Corn ShuckersC – The Possum Holler RamblersD – Dad Blackard’s MountaineersRemember . . . Email your answers in! Don’t post in the comments section below! Good luck!!!
We welcome folks to join us in Floyd, Virginia for our Crush Friday in Floyd campaign throughout 2018.Floyd’s Crush Friday campaign is a partnership with the VA Tourism Corporation’s state-wide Crush Friday campaign. “Crush Friday” is part of VTC’s ongoing efforts to support U.S. Travel’s “Project: Time Off” initiative, encouraging citizens to utilize unused vacation days.“We are excited to be working in partnership with the VA Tourism Corporation – and local partners – on this 2018 campaign encouraging folks to take that vacation day – and do so in Virginia – and especially in Floyd, Virginia, “ shared Pat Sharkey, Floyd County Tourism Director.Local Floyd businesses and organizations already committed to partnering in the project with the Floyd Tourism Office include: Floyd County Government, Town of Floyd, Floyd Country Store, Floyd Chamber of Commerce, Chateau Morrisette Winery, Chantilly Farm, Five Mile Mountain, On the Water, Riverstone Farm, Stonewall B&B and Floyd Yoga Jam.Crush Friday in Floyd will include suggested itineraries and special promotions starting on Thursdays at noon through the weekend in Floyd. Visitors who come to Floyd before the weekend – by noon Thursday through noon Friday, can stop by the Floyd Visitor Center to pick up their Crush Friday in Floyd passport that offers them special deals and activities. Specials and itineraries will be posted on VisitFloydVA.com website and will change quarterly throughout the year. You have to get to Floyd early enough to be a Crush Friday visitor!Visitors who use their passport are also eligible for Crush Friday in Floyd getaway packages valued at over $500 given away in early 2019 and good through that year.What can folks do in Floyd Virginia? Get outside on the mountaintop– Bike, Hike, Float Floyd; Sip the Spirits (beer, wine, shine) at our wineries, new brewery, distillery and many restaurants; and Move to the Music at numerous venues and festivals Thursday through Sundays. Floyd County is nestled atop the Blue Ridge Plateau bordering 40 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwest Virginia.“For a small mountain community, we offer an amazing diversity of things to do and enjoy! And VA Tourism Corporation continues to provide incredible support to communities like ours to help us share about our great offerings”.American workers left 662 million vacation days on the table last year. Of these workers, the millennial sub-set is the most likely to want to be seen as work martyrs. In an effort to be seen as valuable to the company a work martyr is the most likely to forego taking vacation days. The VTC Crush Friday Program is designed to encourage the millennial work martyr to give vacation a try. VTC and its industry partners aim to change that mindset and show the benefit that even one day of vacation can have. Virginia and Floyd Tourism offer a call to millennials to take a well-deserved Friday and crush it in Floyd, Virginia.For more information about Crush Friday in Floyd, go to www.VisitFloydVA.com or contact email@example.com or 540-239-8509
All adventures, even the most remote back country excursions must start somewhere. Kentucky Trail Towns are communities where adventure seekers embark on their journey. Located near Kentucky’s best outdoor destinations, these communities serve as gateways to the natural world. Kentucky is home to miles of trails for a variety of users, and some of the best streams and rivers in the region. Rock climbers have long known Kentucky and its world-class climbing, and families will love the variety and diversity of campgrounds and lakes. No matter what your adventure, there is a Kentucky Trail Town waiting to welcome you!Outfitters, retailers, Kentucky Proud food, locally made spirits, and old-fashioned Kentucky hospitality help make these Trail Towns vibrant communities where visitors can find a true Kentucky experience. They serve as welcomed respites along Kentucky’s long-distance trail systems and rivers. So, rather you’re testing your limits in the Red River Gorge, backpacking the Sheltowee Trace, cycling across the country on the TransAmerica or floating one of Kentucky’s iconic waterways, look for a nearby Kentucky Trail Town. We think you’ll like what you find…
Here are 12 snowless adventures that will keep your winter wanderlust satisfied till it’s snowing or springtime.Lukewarm50°F – 60°FSend sandstone. Now that the swarms of fall break tourists have retreated back to their respective climbing gyms, the crags are blissfully quiet. For the truly dedicated climber, winter is one of the best seasons for climbing in the Southeast. Active bodies stay cooler, feet sweat less, and rubber soles grip better. Walls that are normally too exposed and too hot to climb in the summer become the perfect spots to post up for an afternoon of winter cragging.Where to go: Chattanooga, Tenn., has it all: classic cracks, plentiful boulderfields, climber-friendly hostels like the The Crash Pad, and a youthful downtown scene to boot. Tennessee Wall (trad), Sunset Park (trad), Foster Falls (sport), and Stone Fort (boulder) have the highest concentration of quality routes close to town. For a truly unique bouldering experience, take your chances with the weather and head north to Summersville Lake, a popular sport climbing destination outside of Fayetteville, W.Va. In the wintertime, the lake level drops and exposes huge swaths of shoreline littered with boulders.Grind gravel. Swap out the fat tires this winter and get on board with one of the fastest growing sectors of the bike industry, gravel riding. Over the past five years, gravel grinding has matured from a quiet niche to a respected cycling discipline unto its own. Why? Because churning out long days in the saddle over mixed terrain taps into the very core of what it means to be human—adventure, adversity, accomplishment. It’s hard not to feel satisfied after covering some major ground through sheer will and pedal power.Where to go: Whip out a map and connect as many Forest Service roads as you can for a DIY adventure. For those just starting out, Ride With GPS has a number of routes that trace some of the area’s best gravel grinding races like the Stokesville Strade (Virginia) and the Bootlegger 100 (North Carolina), both of which take place in the spring.Lap rivers. While paddlers out west have long hung up their dry suits for ski pants, boaters here are just starting to ramp things up. Though most people associate springtime with rain, the winter months of December and January can bring just as much rainfall. In Brevard, N.C., for example, home of the rowdy Horsepasture River (class V), December (6.38 inches) is the third wettest month after March (6.5 inches) and January (6.42 inches).Where to go: Even though the recreational release season is over, dam-controlled rivers like the Russell Fork in Kentucky can still be expected to flow. Other regional rivers that regularly run in the wintertime include the Watauga River near Boone, N.C., the Top Yough outside of Friendsville, Md., and Wilson Creek near Morganton, N.C. These sections of river are all less than five miles in length, so lap them till the sun goes down for a full day of whitewater.Catch the giants. For years, seasoned “catmen” have trolled river channels and lakes during the winter months in search of mammoth catfish. Until recently, these dutiful few had the water all to themselves, but it’s now widely regarded in the angling community that late fall and winter can provide some prime conditions for landing blue, channel, and white cats. Follow schools of shad and look for deep holes in the main river channel during the day or shallow flats at night.Where to go: Virginia’s James River is home to some really big blue cats ranging anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds in size. But for the really really big cats, journey south to Tennessee’s Lake Barkley, where the state-record blue catfish (caught in 1998) weighed in at 112 pounds, just 4 pounds shy of the current world record. Kentucky Lake, which is just west of Lake Barkley, is also a premier catfishing destination.A PADDLER NAVIGATES THE BOULDER-STREWN WATERS OF THE RUSSELL FORK GORGE IN KENTUCKY.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Cool40°F – 50°FDo a cold dip. Admittedly, taking a plunge in freezing cold water in the dead of winter sounds counterintuitive (if not downright ludicrous). And despite the numerous health benefits claimed by ardent dippers—a boost to the immune system, improvements to cardiovascular circulation, and an increased metabolism, just to name a few—cold dips shouldn’t be considered a magical cure-all, especially for those with a family history of heart conditions. That’s not to say that cold dips are unsafe. People have been “winter bathing” since the famed publisher Bernarr MacFadden founded Coney Island Polar Bear Club in 1903. If nothing else, cold-water submersion is certainly refreshing and invigorating. When done with a crowd of half-naked or costumed strangers, the experience can be entirely too much fun and strangely unifying. Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking the plunge, and no cannonballs.Where to go: Next month, thousands of people will start the New Year off with a polar plunge. Lake Lure and Atlantic Beach, N.C., organize their cold dips on the first of the year, while other events like WinterFest at Chetola Resort will host a polar plunge later in January. If you need a good reason to freeze, Special Olympics Virginia also puts on its Polar Plunge Festival series starting December 2, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va., and continuing throughout 2018 in Radford, Richmond, Dumfries, and Virginia Beach.Plan a backpacking trip. Hardcore winter camping—the kind where you’re post-holing for miles in knee-deep snow, wiping your butt with snowballs, and putting on frozen boots in the morning—is not for everyone (or really anyone). It’s what we call “type II fun” : miserable in the moment yet somehow quixotic when the suffering is (way far) behind you. Have some “type I fun” instead this winter by taking a backpacking trip in tolerably cool weather. You’ll be moving enough to stay warm during the day and it’s cold enough to justify building a campfire and sipping on whiskey at night.FREE WEEKEND? CHECK. CAMPING GEAR? CHECK. PUPPY SNUGGLES? CHECK.Where to go: If magical evergreen forests are what you’re after, head to the Cranberry Wilderness near Richwood, W.Va. Because it’s a wilderness area, you won’t find much in the way of trail signage and the trails themselves will likely be overgrown or barricaded in spider webs. Bring hard maps and extra socks. If big mountain views are more to your liking, head south to Panthertown Valley in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest. The 6,300-acre recreation area is pockmarked with massive granite walls and equally stunning waterfalls, some of which form the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River.Head to the coast.Maybe it feels like a copout to head to the coast when the weather turns sour, but hey, if birds can do it, so can we. With the beachgoing madness long in the rearview mirror, oceanfront lodging can actually be affordable and the atmosphere quite pleasant. Though much of the beachfront in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic is covered up in boardwalks and development, there are many miles of protected coastline to remind us of how special and important our beaches are. Where to go: We like South Carolina for its diverse landscape: estuaries, sand dunes, freshwater wetlands, bottomland hardwood swamps, longleaf pine forests. Explore Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge by boat and watch for sightings of alligators bathing and wintering black skimmers feasting. Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island is best seen at sunrise, where sun bleached remnants of oak trees rise impossibly from the sand like a forest of skeletons.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Cold32°F – 40°FHit the trail.As the mercury drops on the thermometer and daylight fades faster, a quick midday trail run can be a godsend, even if you don’t necessarily like running. Make time, at least a half hour, to get outside and burn some steam. Even if it’s cold and raining, it won’t take long to get the blood pumping.Where to go: Anywhere! Hopefully you live in an active community like Asheville, N.C., or Roanoke, Va., where greenways and trail systems (like Bent Creek Experimental Forest outside of Asheville or Mill Mountain Park in Roanoke) are just minutes from downtown. If you can’t get motivated on your own, find a friend. Both of these cities have well established running scenes that regularly host group runs nearly every night of the week. Fleet Feet Sports has locations in both Asheville and Roanoke, and their weekly pub runs are a fun way to keep moving.Give back.If you’re anything like us, we know you’ve put some wear and tear on your local trails and rivers in the past year. Why not spend your next Saturday giving back to those places you love so dearly? As national parks, state parks, and the Forest Service continue to struggle with funding, volunteer trail maintenance is needed now more than ever. Step up, give back, and appreciate the hard work that goes into creating and maintaining spaces to go outside and play.Where to go: Start by contacting your local trail or paddling club. In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, for example, the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition regularly organizes trail maintenance days in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Down in Knoxville, Tenn., the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club logs countless hours of volunteer labor on the city’s urban trail system.Search for surf. You don’t have to road trip to the beach to get pitted. Over the past few years, river surfing—that is, surfing on river features with a surfboard or standup paddleboard—has spiked in popularity out west. The good news is that the Southeast has tons of river surfing potential. The bad news is that you usually have to wait till it’s freezing cold and/or raining for the levels to come in. Bring a 3/2mm wetsuit. You’ll need it.THE RIVER TOWN OF FAYETTEVILLE, W.VA., IS LEADING THE CHARGE IN THE SOUTHEAST RIVER SURFING SCENE.Where to go: Fayetteville, W.Va., has always been a hub for whitewater enthusiasts, mostly raft guides and kayakers. But now, standup paddleboarders rival playboaters in numbers when the surf is in. Those who are new to the sport should take a day and hike into the Lower Gauley River for some eddy service surf action at Diagonal Ledges. For the more experienced surfer, head to the New River Dries for high-volume, big (I’m talking terrifyingly big) waves.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Freezing<32°FGo forest bathing.This used to be called going for a hike, but apparently even those of us who consider ourselves “outdoorsy” were too tuned in to Instagram and too tuned out of nature to fully absorb our surroundings. Enter forest bathing, which does not involve any bathing or water whatsoever. Forest bathing is less of a hike and more of a mindful, meditative wandering. The goal is not to walk far or to even have a destination in mind. By simply being present and paying attention to all of nature’s sounds, smells, sights, and textures, studies show that forest bathers can significantly reduce blood pressure and stress hormones.FOREST BATHING HAS THE POWER TO HEAL OUR SOULS AND ALSO REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE.Where to go: The beauty of forest bathing is that it literally can be done anywhere there’s a cluster of trees. You don’t need a trail. You don’t need a map. You don’t need to plan a weekend getaway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, either. Find a moderately forested city park close to where you live or work and just be. Be and breathe.Try ice-skating.This is such an easy and affordable way to get the family out, even when it’s bitterly cold. Most skating rinks charge $15 or less for admission and skate rental, with “family of four” packages offering even more of a discount. If you’re an adult and you’ve never tried ice-skating before, this is the year to do it, if not for yourself than for the spirit of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. You might not be landing seven triple jumps like Michelle Kwan, but at least you’ll have an appreciation for the sport’s graceful athletes.Where to go: Outdoor skating rinks are relatively common up and down the eastern seaboard, so you shouldn’t have to travel far to find one. Wisp Resort’s ice rink at Mountain Park is plenty big at 50’ x 85’ with a bonfire area to keep the kids cozy. Even urban dwellers in most major cities can hit the ice. Holiday on Ice is located smack downtown (or should we say uptown?) in Charlotte, N.C.BONUS ADVENTURE?!?Take a drinking tour.When in doubt, rent a bus (or bribe one of your friends to DD) and drink your winter blues away. With new breweries, cideries, distilleries, and wineries seemingly popping up overnight, you have plenty of destinations to choose from.Where to go: Central Virginia and Western North Carolina are hands down leading the charge when it comes to quantity and quality of craft beverage facilities. Check out Cville Hop On Tours, which shuttles visitors up and down Nelson 151 and the Brew Ridge Trail, home to six Virginian breweries, five wineries, a cidery, and now a distillery. Similarly, Asheville Brewery Tours escorts out-of-towners by passenger van on either a three- or four-stop tour of the city’s many breweries and cideries.
Buncombe County has issued what amounts to a “shelter-in-place” order for all residents of the county in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read the entire order below: The measure goes into effect at 8 p.m. March 26 at and lasts through 6 a.m. April 9. Officials may change or extend the declaration as they see fit. Buncombe Stay Home Stay Saf… by trunkle54 on Scribd
By Dialogo March 29, 2010 They lack the per capita wealth of the Americans, but the Costa Ricans are the happiest people in the Western Hemisphere, while the Haitians and the Cubans are at the opposite end of the spectrum, according to a Gallup poll released today. About 63 percent of “Ticos,” as Costa Ricans are known, are satisfied with life and optimistic about the future, while only 2 percent have difficulty surviving from day to day, according to the survey. Following the Costa Ricans at the top of the happiness list are the Canadians, the Panamanians, the Brazilians, and the Americans. Things are very different in Haiti, where only 4 percent of citizens are content with their existence and where access to food, shelter, and medicine is a problem for 35 percent. In Cuba, 25 percent of people say that they are happy, compared to 11 percent who struggle to survive every day. In the survey, Gallup asked at least one thousand people in each country how they would evaluate their wellbeing on a scale of zero to ten, using a sample designed to represent the opinion of all citizens. According to the study, happiness depends on two factors, health and wealth, Gallup’s head of Global Practice, Tom Rath, said at an event at the firm’s headquarters today. And among all of an individual’s circumstances, “nothing is as important as having a good job” for a sense of personal satisfaction, Rath indicated. Gallup conducted the survey in more than 150 countries, together encompassing 98 percent of the world’s population. The nation where citizens said that they were most content with life was Denmark, while the nation with the worst result was Zimbabwe, where, according to Gallup, sadness reigns.
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, or CBSI, launched in May 2010 seeks to strengthen Caribbean-U.S. security ties and reduce spill- over violence from successful drug eradication efforts elsewhere in the region. According to the U.S. State Department, CBSI complements the United States’ Mérida Initiative by providing equipment and training to support law enforcement and technical assistance to confront criminal organizations in Mexico, Central America, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Objectives for the 15 Caribbean Community, countries include counternarcotics, antitraffick- ing, gang prevention, education and combating government corruption. By Dialogo July 01, 2010 I like the initiative, but it bothers me that Cuba is left out. Luisa
By Dialogo June 15, 2012 Lobo and his Salvadoran counterpart, Mauricio Funes, declined to attend a Central American summit held in Guatemala on March 24 in order to analyze Pérez’s proposal. “We know that this problem (of drug trafficking) is not only a Guatemalan problem or only a Honduran problem; it’s a problem that we share in Central America, as transit countries for drug trafficking,” Pérez said. “We also addressed how to improve security in order to eliminate blind (illegal) border crossings” through a binational police force, or a trinational one if El Salvador joins, the Honduran president added. He explained that all frontal assaults on drug trafficking should be supported by prevention strategies. Following a brief meeting in the Guatemalan capital, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez and Honduran President Porfirio Lobo agreed on June 13 to do better in the fight against drug trafficking and crime, which are heavily impacting their countries and all of Central America. “We’ve addressed issues that we Central Americans share as a challenge, increasingly strengthening exchanges of information and making that joint effort to combat transnational crime,” Lobo stated at a joint press conference with Pérez at the Presidential House. “People talk about how we’re more effective together, not on the combat side, but on the prevention side (…),” the Honduran president specified. Lobo recalled that they are working together with the United States on the strategy known as Operation Martillo, focused on containing the entry of drugs into the region. “Central America’s problems are problems that unite us; in addition, we have many more points of convergence, of union, than points where we could diverge,” Pérez concluded.
By Dialogo July 13, 2012 A shipment of around 21.6 kg of cocaine, worth 1.3 million euros, was discovered in the port of Le Havre (in northern France), in a container of frozen mussels from Chile, the French customs service announced on July 12. According to the preliminary results of the customs investigation, the cocaine was introduced into the container without the knowledge of the shipper or recipient. The traffickers replaced the container’s original seal after introducing the drugs. This technique, which is being used with increasing frequency, according to the customs service, was employed to transport 113 kg of cocaine seized in this port in June. In that case, the merchandise, with an estimated worth of 7 million euros, was placed in a container of cans of tuna from Ecuador. Separately, on June 21, customs officials seized 3.5 kg of cocaine in the port of Le Havre in a container of personal effects coming from Surinam and destined for Holland. The drugs, hidden in thermos bottles and in the speakers of a computer, were discovered by a trained dog.
The Armed Forces of Guatemala and Mexico are cooperating to stop drug trafficking through the border the two countries share. In recent weeks, the Guatemalan Army has deployed 250 troops along the Suchiate River, which marks the western border between Guatemala and Mexico. The troops are part of the Tecún Umán Task Force, whose mission it is to stop drug smuggling and other criminal enterprises, such as human trafficking, along the border. The border is a major drug trafficking route for transnational criminal organizations, particularly Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is led by fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The Guatemalan soldiers assigned to the task force have been trained in to detect and stop drug shipments. The troops have also received combat and reconnaissance training, according to Guatemalan military authorities. These troops are equipped with heat sensors and night vision goggles, which allow them to operate at night. They also have armored Jeep J8 vehicles, which were contributed by the United States government. The U.S. is cooperating with Guatemala and Mexico in the battle against transnational criminal organizations. Guatemala’s National Civil Police (PNC) in recent weeks assigned dozens of officers to the border region, in departments such as San Marcos, Petén, Huehuetenango and Quiché. Binational meeting Security deployment In recent weeks, Mexico sent more than 2,500 soldiers and Marines to the border region. For Mexican military forces, the joint operation is known as the “Southern Border Plan,” which is being coordinated by the Mexican Navy. The operation was launched during the first week of September 2013. Mexican security forces are also being strengthened along the country’s border with Belize. In addition to the soldiers and Marines, the Federal Police (PF) is sending an additional 100 agents to the border region. Guatemalan and Mexican security forces are working to stop drugs, weapons, and humans from being smuggled into Mexico. The Mexican Army has established a military camp on the Tapachula-Talismán highway, near six border towns which are adjacent to the Guatemalan border. With the support of military dogs trained to detect drugs, soldiers are inspecting vehicles which pass through the highway. If organized crime operatives slip past the border, Mexican security forces will enforce additional checkpoints in Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Additional checkpoints will be conducted in Veracruz and Oaxaca. Drug trafficking region Working collaboratively to strengthen security at the border makes sense for Guatemalan and Mexican security forces, according to Carlos Mendoza, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “The strategy to secure the border will inhibit the areas where transnational criminal organizations operate,” Mendoza said. “ It will certainly lead to a reduced flow of drugs, money, and weapons. Cartels will look for new routes.” “It’s a good partnership in terms of security,” the security analyst explained. “They are strengthening cooperation between both countries, as well as their cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against drug cartels.” Guatemalan and Mexican officials discussed security issues and other topics during the 11th Mexico-Guatemala Binational Commission meeting in Mexico City in May 2013. The two countries must cooperate to strengthen security in the border region, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera Castro said during the closing ceremony of the binational meeting. Guatemala and Mexico cannot allow organized crime groups like Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel (CDG) and the Sinaloa Cartel to operate freely, Carrera Castro said. During the past 15 months, Guatemalan and Mexican security forces have captured several important organized crime operatives who operated transnationally: • In May 2013, Guatemala’s National Civil Police captured Samuel Escobar, 20, an alleged high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operative. Police captured Escobar in the department of San Marcos, near the Pacific coast. He was carrying a gun, jewelry, and more than $128,000 in cash. Escobar was with a gang which was threatening to kill police officers unless they stopped looking for him, Guatemala Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. National Civil Police also captured Deisy Vallagran, 57, a suspected drug trafficker who was allegedly hiding firearms, drugs, and a money-counting machine in her home, and Juventino Encarnacion Garcia, 44, an alleged drug trafficker suspected of working with El Chapo. • In September 2012, Mexican Army soldiers captured Sergio Armando Barrera Salcedo, an alleged Sinaloa Cartel operative who is known as “El Checo.” He is suspected of receiving drugs that were smuggled through the Guatemala-Mexico border and transporting them throughout Mexico. • In July 2012, Guatemalan National Civil Police agents and Army soldiers captured 27 alleged Los Zetas operatives in the suburb of Quetzal, near Guatemala City. The suspects were all Mexican nationals. They were suspected of engaging in killings, extortion, kidnappings, arms smuggling, and drug trafficking. Improving security By Dialogo October 09, 2013 Important captures For years, Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and other organized crime groups have used the 1,000-kilometer long Guatamala-Mexico border for drug trafficking and other illicit enterprises. While some drugs are smuggled from Central America to Mexico and the United States in boats and planes, the vast majority of drugs – 76 percent – are trafficked through the Guatemala-Mexico border, according to security analysts.
Cooperation crucial in the fight against organized crime The criminal activities of organized crime groups, such as drug smuggling, extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking, have led to increased levels of violence in several OAS countries in recent years. For example, from 2000 to 2011, the homicide rate in El Salvador jumped from 60 to 69 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). During that time, the number of killings in Honduras rose from 51 to 92 per 100,000 residents. In Guatemala, the number of killings ncreased from 26 to 39 for every 100,000 inhabitants. The violent street gangs Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and Barrio 18, or 18th Street, operate in each of those countries, where they engage in domestic drug dealing, extortion, and firearms trafficking. Those gangs are responsible for much of the violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These gangs also have alliances with Mexican drug trafficking organizations, such as the Sinaloa Cartel, which is led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and Los Zetas. Strengthening joint actions Security officials in Latin America need reliable equipment, technological tools, and sound tactical and strategic plans to succeed in their battle against organized crime, officials from more than 30 countries agreed following a recent conference. These were the main conclusions reached during the IV meeting of the Ministers of Security in the Americas (MISPA) in Medellin, Colombia. Officials from the 35 countries which comprise the Organization of American States (OAS) participated in the conference, which took place Nov. 21-22 2013. Security officials at the conference also determined that regional cooperation between OAS countries is crucial in the fight against transnational criminal threats. Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, and United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. were among the officials who attended the conference. The two-day meeting strengthened ties between OAS countries which battle transnational criminal organizations, Pinzón said. “The summit is an instrument that strengthens and reinforces joint actions against transnational crime and criminal behaviors that are common in these countries,” Pinzón said. Many OAS members face the shared threat posed by transnational criminal organizations, Pinzón explained. Transnational criminal organizations are “a global challenge that prevents the development of countries and violates human rights,” the defense minister said. Gangs in Colombia An international commission Colombian security forces are battling several organized crime groups, including the drug trafficking gangs “Los Rastrojos” and “Los Urabeños.” Both of these gangs have alliances with Mexican drug cartels. ”, both linked to drug trafficking in collusion with Mexican drug cartels, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, led by the fugitive of justice, Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán. Colombian officials are negotiating with representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has been fighting the government for 50 years. The ongoing negotiations are taking place in Havana. Organized crime activity increases violence By Dialogo December 19, 2013 At the end of the meeting, MISPA defined strategies for regional cooperation in the fight against transnational criminal organizations. The strategy calls for joint investigation protocols and improving the lines of communication for police forces from different countries to share information. Several OAS member countries are already cooperating in the fight against organized crime. For example, on Nov. 14, 2013 in Piura, Peru, the presidents of Peru and Ecuador agreed to strengthen cooperation on security in the fight against human trafficking and the illegal sale of fuel. The agreement President Ollanta Humala of Peru and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador marked the closing of the VII Binational Ministerial Cabinet. On Nov. 23, 2013, President Correa met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss the progress of the agreements reached during the first Binational Cabinet meeting between the two countries. This meeting was held in December 2012, in Tulcán, Ecuador, where eight agreements were signed on issues of security, transportation, education, tourism, and petroleum. During the MISPA meeting, Insulza urged officials from OAS nations to support the idea of forming an international commission to fight transnational crime. “I hope that the proposal for an Inter-American Commission against organized transnational crime is considered and realized, because even today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we do not have a technical-political agency dedicated to organizing and coordinating collective efforts to address the growing threat of transnational organized crime,” the OAS Secretary General said. “In the five years that have passed since our first meeting in Mexico City, the issue of public security has become a cornerstone for OAS actions. MISPA has been institutionalized and response capabilities of the various agencies have increased,” Insulza said.
“In order to prevent the inhabitants of Gracias a Dios from developing direct and indirect activities for the benefit of common and organized crime, state forces have currently been deployed on land, sea, and air to take full control of this region,” Col. Paz Escalante said. “We are implementing a strong social development program that seeks to improve the living conditions of indigenous communities.” By Dialogo June 16, 2015 Such collaboration was crucial in the operation that led to the capture of Zambulá Thompson. “The arrest was the result of coordinated work done by various government agencies, which are currently operating in the area of Gracias a Dios, all part of FUSINA and deployed by land, air, and sea to shield this area of operations,” FUSINA commander Infantry Colonel Gustavo Adolfo Paz Escalante told Diálogo. And in July 2014, U.S. federal authorities in Florida arrested Miguel’s and Luis’s sister, Digna Valle Valle. Honduran daily La Prensa reported in April that she had pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and agreed to cooperate with U.S. federal prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence. Inter-agency and international cooperation is a key component of these efforts; for example, 400 Marines and pilots work in shifts to patrol sea and air routes throughout the day, while two ships patrol inter-oceanic waters. Meanwhile, a Military unit in the area coordinates these efforts with forces from U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). That initiative is being carried out by FUSINA, an organization comprised of 4,400 highly trained, equipped, and specialized men and women of the Armed Forces, the National Police, the Attorney General’s office, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the Immigration Agency and the Directorate for Intelligence. And their efforts have led to several successful security operations, including two major drug interdictions in the Mosquito Coast area. In mid April, FUSINA together with Navy personnel seized 691 kilos of cocaine on the Caratasca Lagoon in Puerto Lempira, the capital of Gracias a Dios department. The drug was hidden in six fishing boats traveling on the lagoon. And a week later, FUSINA agents conducted an operation that led to the capture of Jorge Zambulá Thompson, a Miskito man allegedly carrying 175 kilos of cocaine on a fishing boat in the department of Gracias a Dios. That initiative is being carried out by FUSINA, an organization comprised of 4,400 highly trained, equipped, and specialized men and women of the Armed Forces, the National Police, the Attorney General’s office, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the Immigration Agency and the Directorate for Intelligence. And their efforts have led to several successful security operations, including two major drug interdictions in the Mosquito Coast area. In mid April, FUSINA together with Navy personnel seized 691 kilos of cocaine on the Caratasca Lagoon in Puerto Lempira, the capital of Gracias a Dios department. The drug was hidden in six fishing boats traveling on the lagoon. And a week later, FUSINA agents conducted an operation that led to the capture of Jorge Zambulá Thompson, a Miskito man allegedly carrying 175 kilos of cocaine on a fishing boat in the department of Gracias a Dios. Government disrupts gangs in Gracias a Dios For example, in the Caribbean region of Honduras, some drug trafficking organizations are exploiting members of the Miskito indigenous people, using threats or promises of large amounts of money to persuade them to transport drugs. But the Honduran government is fighting back — aggressively focusing air, naval, and land forces against drug trafficking organizations as part of an overarching security plan known as Operation Morazán. Such collaboration was crucial in the operation that led to the capture of Zambulá Thompson. “The arrest was the result of coordinated work done by various government agencies, which are currently operating in the area of Gracias a Dios, all part of FUSINA and deployed by land, air, and sea to shield this area of operations,” FUSINA commander Infantry Colonel Gustavo Adolfo Paz Escalante told Diálogo. Agents with the Honduran National Inter-Agency Task Force (FUSINA) have made important inroads in the fight against transnational criminal organizations that operate in the Mosquito Coast region — particularly in remote areas that have become a haven for drug trafficking in recent years. As a consequence of FUSINA’s efforts, the Mosquito Coast region “can’t be regarded as a paradise for drug lords anymore,” said Eugenio Sosa, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). Those forces have contributed to several major drug seizures and arrests of organized crime kingpins in recent months, including the captures of several leaders of Los Cachiros, a drug trafficking gang, and the leaders of the Los Valles drug trafficking group. The two busts in April denote a broader trend in Gracias a Dios, where transnational criminal organizations have pulled some Miskito people into drug trafficking by threatening them or offering them large amounts of money, Col. Paz Escalante said. The Miskitos are located in the Northeast region of Honduras, an area known as “The Honduran Mosquitia” — specifically from the mouth of the Rio Wanks (also known as Rio Coco or Rio Segovia) to Rio Tinto (also know as Rio Black) in Gracias a Dios. That organization, based in the department of Copán, was led by brothers Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle and Luis Alonso Valle Valle. In October 2014, Honduran law enforcement authorities captured the two brothers; the Honduran government later extradited them to the United States, where they face federal drug trafficking charges. U.S. federal prosecutors allege the brothers led an organization which transported tons of cocaine from Colombia to Honduras and finally to the United States. Strategic security initiative Dismantling groups like Los Valles and Los Cachiros is part of the Honduran government’s broad security strategy. At least four drug cartels, including at one from Mexico and one from Colombia, operate in Honduras; and FUSINA operations have hit them hard, seizing some of their assets and capturing some of their operatives. Those efforts have reduced violence and overall crime in the departments of Olancho, Copán, Cortés, and the city of San Pedro Sula. Additionally, FUSINA, in cooperation with the United States government, has also disrupted Los Cachiros. In September 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department designated seven individuals and five businesses tied to the Honduran gang; and in January, the group’s alleged leaders — Javier Eriberto Rivera Maradiaga, alias “Javier Cachiro,” and his brother Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga — surrendered to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in January. Strategic security initiative Overall, since its launch on January 27, 2014, Operation Morazán has led to the seizure of more than 11,000 kilos of cocaine, most of it at sea; the execution of 3,927 arrest warrants, including extradition orders; and the dismantling of 55 criminal gangs. As a consequence of FUSINA’s efforts, the Mosquito Coast region “can’t be regarded as a paradise for drug lords anymore,” said Eugenio Sosa, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). Those forces have contributed to several major drug seizures and arrests of organized crime kingpins in recent months, including the captures of several leaders of Los Cachiros, a drug trafficking gang, and the leaders of the Los Valles drug trafficking group. For example, in the Caribbean region of Honduras, some drug trafficking organizations are exploiting members of the Miskito indigenous people, using threats or promises of large amounts of money to persuade them to transport drugs. But the Honduran government is fighting back — aggressively focusing air, naval, and land forces against drug trafficking organizations as part of an overarching security plan known as Operation Morazán. And in July 2014, U.S. federal authorities in Florida arrested Miguel’s and Luis’s sister, Digna Valle Valle. Honduran daily La Prensa reported in April that she had pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and agreed to cooperate with U.S. federal prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence. “We are tackling crime in the countryside, towns, and neighborhoods,” Col. Paz Escalante said. “We trust in God that we will be cleaning and increasingly reducing the crime rate in each of the neighborhoods of the different municipalities.” Additionally, FUSINA, in cooperation with the United States government, has also disrupted Los Cachiros. In September 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department designated seven individuals and five businesses tied to the Honduran gang; and in January, the group’s alleged leaders — Javier Eriberto Rivera Maradiaga, alias “Javier Cachiro,” and his brother Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga — surrendered to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in January. Overall, since its launch on January 27, 2014, Operation Morazán has led to the seizure of more than 11,000 kilos of cocaine, most of it at sea; the execution of 3,927 arrest warrants, including extradition orders; and the dismantling of 55 criminal gangs. The two busts in April denote a broader trend in Gracias a Dios, where transnational criminal organizations have pulled some Miskito people into drug trafficking by threatening them or offering them large amounts of money, Col. Paz Escalante said. The Miskitos are located in the Northeast region of Honduras, an area known as “The Honduran Mosquitia” — specifically from the mouth of the Rio Wanks (also known as Rio Coco or Rio Segovia) to Rio Tinto (also know as Rio Black) in Gracias a Dios. That organization, based in the department of Copán, was led by brothers Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle and Luis Alonso Valle Valle. In October 2014, Honduran law enforcement authorities captured the two brothers; the Honduran government later extradited them to the United States, where they face federal drug trafficking charges. U.S. federal prosecutors allege the brothers led an organization which transported tons of cocaine from Colombia to Honduras and finally to the United States. Agents with the Honduran National Inter-Agency Task Force (FUSINA) have made important inroads in the fight against transnational criminal organizations that operate in the Mosquito Coast region — particularly in remote areas that have become a haven for drug trafficking in recent years. “In order to prevent the inhabitants of Gracias a Dios from developing direct and indirect activities for the benefit of common and organized crime, state forces have currently been deployed on land, sea, and air to take full control of this region,” Col. Paz Escalante said. “We are implementing a strong social development program that seeks to improve the living conditions of indigenous communities.” Government disrupts gangs in Gracias a Dios Inter-agency and international cooperation is a key component of these efforts; for example, 400 Marines and pilots work in shifts to patrol sea and air routes throughout the day, while two ships patrol inter-oceanic waters. Meanwhile, a Military unit in the area coordinates these efforts with forces from U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Dismantling groups like Los Valles and Los Cachiros is part of the Honduran government’s broad security strategy. At least four drug cartels, including at one from Mexico and one from Colombia, operate in Honduras; and FUSINA operations have hit them hard, seizing some of their assets and capturing some of their operatives. Those efforts have reduced violence and overall crime in the departments of Olancho, Copán, Cortés, and the city of San Pedro Sula. “We are tackling crime in the countryside, towns, and neighborhoods,” Col. Paz Escalante said. “We trust in God that we will be cleaning and increasingly reducing the crime rate in each of the neighborhoods of the different municipalities.” In the area of La Mosquitia Excellent In my view this is an excellent magazine, positive and informative.
A sub-regional Military organization with the mission of contributing to the region’s security, development, and military integration, CFAC was founded by the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua founded on November 12, 1997. It has sustained an ongoing and systematic effort of cooperation, coordination, and mutual support for the joint analysis of issues of common interest and providing an optimal level of defense against threats to democracy, peace, and freedom. By Dialogo October 19, 2015 “Our work focuses on jointly reflecting on the need for the Military to act in situations of armed conflict and missions to maintain public order,” said Pascal Pinot, the ICRC liaison to the Armed Forces and Security Forces of Central America. Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Marenco, FAES representative at the training, said these exercises demonstrate the ways illegal armed groups operate. The combat “We had the opportunity to learn details about how these groups are trying to move throughout Central America, threatening the security of our nations,” said Lt. Col. Marenco. “This exercise has allowed us to incorporate this knowledge in order to defend the civilian population from the threats they pose.” “When the population is able to see how we operate – as professionals who always aim to protect their rights without violating them – they then understand that we are not just prepared for a war,” said Dominican Republic Armed Forces representative Lieutenant Angelita Peña. “We are ready to protect them from serious threats such as the illegal armed groups.” “The officials have reaffirmed their understanding of human rights to protect civilians during operations against illegal armed groups,” said Brigadier General Mauricio Villacorta, director of the FAES Doctrine and Military Education Command. “This technological exercise also helped strengthen command and control, decision-making, and operational planning.” Officers from four Armies of Central America and the Dominican Republic recently tested their ability to make tactical and operational decisions during clashes with illegal armed groups by using simulators at the Computerized Tactical Training Center (CETAC) of the Armed Forces of El Salvador (FAES). Forging ties with the civilian population There, from September 21-25, forty participants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic attended the Conference of Central American Armed Forces’ (CFAC) first Computer Simulation Exercise Applied to the International Law of Armed Conflict. There, amid staged high-pressure combat situations, officers led Troops and managed Military resources to combat illegal armed organizations similar to those operating trafficking networks in the region. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegates guided the Soldiers during the joint exercises. Since building a rapport with civilians was one of the training’s key components, Military officials learned to show civilians, through their knowledge and skills, that they are staunch allies of peace and security. Troops engaged in simulated combat scenarios in different environments, weather, and situations involving threats and Troop deployments, since conducting exercises in the real world with Troops on the ground would be far more costly. costlier. Promoting cooperation At the end of the computerized workshop, Derek Spranger, ICRC’s representative in El Salvador, spoke to the participants about the importance of the teamwork fostered through the CFAC. “The conference is an important forum within the framework of cooperation, the exchange of best practices, training, and brotherhood among those who devote their lives to the militaries of each of their countries.” “The teams undergo combat simulations – some without prior planning, with evolving scenarios, working together,” said Colonel Andrés Zamora of El Salvador, an engineer who served as one of the workshop instructors. “Crisis management and civilian assistance training exercises were also designed.”
The MV-22 Osprey has been employed to support troops in combat since 2007 and is the main assault support aircraft used by the U.S. Marine Corps. After a stop in the city of Belém (PA), the aircrafts arrived in Rio to join the Unitas Amphibious exercise on November 17 and 18, at Ilha do Governador, and on November 20, at Marambaia Island. By Dialogo November 20, 2015 Will they be there for only a little while or permanently, incorporated in the Navy of Brazil? The priority should be in investing in peace, and not in war preparation. Training is always good with very positive rapport, especially at this time. This game is really good because all the doll figures in it are on the same machine. With double the speed and five times greater range than that of a helicopter, the vehicle uses two engines positioned at the ends of the fixed wings which allow vertical landing and take-off. This past Saturday (14), three MV-22 Osprey aircraft from the United States landed in Rio de Janeiro to begin the Operation Unitas Amphibious 2015 military training exercise. Completing the longest flight of its history, the MV-22 travelled the equivalent of 11,417 kilometers, from United States to Brazil. Led by the Brazilian Navy, through the Marine Corps Command, Operation Unitas Amphibious 2015 brings together Marines from eight countries: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, USA, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
In addition to the violent areas in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Troops and police officers perform joint security patrols in the cities of La Ceiba and Choloma as part of the effort to provide security in all of the country’s major cities. “The timely action taken by the Armed Forces and the National Police has allowed us to neutralize any threat or extension to other neighborhoods or districts,” Commissioner Saucedo said. “The control over these areas has generated confidence in the people so that they are able to stay in their homes. We are doing our best for the sake of the Honduran civil society.” M-18 depends on income from extortion and MS-13 relies heavily on micro-trafficking drugs. A gang can generate illegal profits of up to $2.5 million annually, according to the Gangs in Honduras report issued on November 20, 2015 by the organization Insight Crime. M-18 currently operates in about 150 neighborhoods and districts of Tegucigalpa, while MS-13 is in 70, according to Honduran police intelligence. In San Pedro Sula, M-18 operates in 22 neighborhoods and MS-13 in 11, according to Insight Crime. The M-18 members told the terrified residents they had 48 hours to vacate their homes. “The gang members demanded that they leave their houses along the main street because they wanted to convert it into the border between the territories controlled by Barrio 18 and the rival gang for the sale of drugs and extortion,” said Second Lieutenant Selkin Arita of the Military Police for Public Order (PMOP), the newspaper Prensa Libre reported on March 24th. A week earlier, M-18 gang members gave residents in the Reparto Lempira district, located in San Pedro Sula–Honduras’s second largest city–24 hours to vacate the area or die. “On behalf of Barrio 18 we are giving you 24 hours to vanish from this area. After that, there will be no regrets. You will see lives lost just for opening the door,” the M-18 wrote on a note in the district, according to a report by El Heraldo. By Dialogo April 15, 2016 About 100 members of the Honduran Armed Forces and National Police (PNH) provided security to civilians so they could return to their homes in a district in southern Tegucigalpa after being threatened by the violent Barrio 18 (M-18) gang. “The residents of the Las Torres district were alarmed,” PNH Commissioner Leonel Saucedo told Diálogo. “They left their homes in order to protect themselves. There was an immediate and timely intervention from both the Armed Forces and the National Police, who are maintaining a permanent presence in that district. In the end, this generated confidence among the residents of those neighborhoods.” However, the Armed Forces and PNH arrived on the scene to provide security for those who returned to their homes on March 28th, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Effective Military response “There haven’t been any problems in the districts where the threats were received,” Commissioner Saucedo stated. “We are carrying out joint prevention patrols, motorcycle and vehicle patrols, 24 hours a day. The results of the operations in Las Torres and Reparto Lempira have been successful. The presence and support of the Armed Forces in all aspects of this security work have been invaluable. When necessary, we act as coordinating Military institutions.” The M-18 began threatening residents on March 23rd, when eight gang members armed with high-powered AK-47 rifles and automatic pistols arrived “at 7:30 p.m. [in Las Torres] shooting and shouting that Barrio 18 had arrived, and that they were the new owners of that sector of the capital,” the newspaper La Tribuna reported on March 26th. Gang members entered a residence in the district, also known as El Hoyo, and interrogated the owners, asking them if they worked with the rival gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Law enforcement has made strides protecting the civilian population from M-18 and MS-13, which are responsible for much of the crime in the nation’s urban centers. For example, the 5,148 homicides recorded nationwide in 2015 were 788 fewer than the 5,936 reported in 2014. Last year, authorities documented more than 1,460 homicides in San Pedro Sula and 26 in Reparto Lempira, according to a February 2016 report by the University Institute of Democracy, Peace, and Security of the National Autonomous University of Honduras. The Military and the PMOP immediately deployed personnel to protect civilians from gang members by establishing checkpoints and roadblocks. The security forces sent to Las Torres and Reparto Lempira will be be permanent, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Security patrols The collaboration between the Armed Forces and the National Police in the fight against gangs is increasing confidence levels. “The people, upon seeing professional work that gets results and a greater commitment by the security forces of the state, have more confidence in giving information to the authorities, which allows us to carry out joint actions to arrest the people involved in these criminal organizations,” Commissioner Saucedo explained. “As they continue their joint operations, Troops and police aim to further reduce homicides and the sale and distribution of drugs. The big challenge for 2016 is to reduce the occurrence of extortion, make arrests, and dismantle the criminal organizations.”
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 03, 2018 The Guatemalan Navy, with the support of the U.S. Marine Corpsy, trained a naval component in the Advanced Marine Course in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, throughout May 2018. The objective of the course was to improve the response capabilities of the Guatemalan Marines to conduct operations in various environments. “We thank the U.S. government for contributing to the training of our marines,” Captain Erick Roberto Orellana, second commander of the Guatemalan Marine Brigade, told Diálogo. “It helped us strengthen our skills and capabilities to fulfill our amphibious and riverine missions in coastal areas.” Soldiers of steel The training consisted of high-performance tactical phases in areas such as urban operations, water combat, use of support weapons, as well as incursion and amphibious landing techniques in waters 1 kilometer off the coast. “Soldiers have to bear the weight of their own body, plus the weight of all the equipment and weapons,” said Capt. Orellana. “It’s hard, because it’s twice the effort to get to shore without sinking or drowning and without being noticed.” With the support of U.S. service members, Guatemalan troops learned to take position in a war ship. They received specific combat training to respond to an ambush or enemy fire, and trained with modern physical conditioning techniques. U.S. service members also provided operational advice to naval and land officers of the Guatemalan Marine Brigade. The Advanced Marine Course demands physical and mental strength, and not every candidate is able to complete the course and graduate. “Out of 80 students accepted, only 25 passed the course,” said Capt. Orellana. “We don’t want supermen; we seek to train elements that will contribute to maintaining the defense of sovereignty and deliver maximum results in the fight against national and international criminal organizations.” Integrated cooperation The Guatemalan Marine Brigade contributes to the development of joint and combined military operations against any threat to the general public. According to the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense, the unit seeks to be the best-trained strategic brigade in the country to conduct operations in coastal, riverine, amphibious, and special environments. Collaboration with the armed forces of the Western Hemisphere allows Guatemalan Armed Forces to improve their sea, air, and land defense. The U.S. Department of State, in its 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, estimates that about 1,400 tons of cocaine were smuggled through the country in 2017, most was destined for the U.S market. “Integrated cooperation with the U.S., Colombian, Mexican, and Chilean governments allows us to be trained, improve our own doctrine, and apply it in our fields to attain the best outcome in an operation, and make completion of tasks more dynamic,” Navy Lieutenant Eduardo Antonio Carmona, chief of the Naval Training Center of the Guatemalan Marine Forces, told Diálogo. “We have a more technical training with the U.S. military, while we focus more on the military’s own capabilities when we work with Latin American forces. “Sometimes equipment or resources are inadequate, but marines are trained to complete assigned tasks with available resources. Marines know and trust they can fulfill their mission quickly and effectively, no matter how good their weapons or boots are.” The Guatemalan Marine Brigade has receives tactical and physical training from the United States since 2013. According to Lt. Carmona, a total of 540 marines have been trained by way of the advanced course. “Thanks to this cooperation we seized a huge amount of drugs in the last three years,” Capt. Orellana concluded. U.S. Marine Corps amphibious troops will offer two more courses in 2018.
By Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo January 29, 2019 Through the Joint Peacekeeping Operations Center (CECOPAC, in Spanish), the Chilean Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded 2018 with a course addressing the role of women in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. The international course Women, Peace, and Security: Gender Integration in Peacekeeping Operations was conducted December 3-7, at CECOPAC in Santiago, Chile. Forty-five units from security and armed forces of the region, including representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, the United States, and Uruguay, took part in the course. Participants learned about gender issues, cultural diversity, human rights, and negotiation, among other topics. The objective of the activity was to share basic and fundamental knowledge on gender perspectives in peacekeeping missions to provide the proper tools and skills to the personnel deployed in these operations. The course also emphasized the role of peacekeeping personnel as protectors of the most vulnerable members of the population—women and children. “In the last two years, this has been a particularly relevant issue for us,” Chilean Navy Captain Marco Villegas Zanón, CECOPAC director, told Diálogo. “Basically, the course’s purpose and focus is to prepare monitors in these fields.” Troop requirement The course was conducted as part of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a program of the U.S. Department of State that seeks to reinforce partner nations’ capabilities in the execution of peacekeeping operations. CECOPAC conducted the third edition of the course with the support of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) through the Security Cooperation Office at the U.S. Embassy in Chile. “U.S. involvement is present in all areas,” said Capt. Villegas. “Professors come from the United States; they’re involved in the coordination of activities and program design, logistics, and the possibility of bringing foreign students to the country.” The course is the result of a partnership among GPOI, SOUTHCOM, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Postgraduate School, and CECOPAC that dates back to 2013. The activity also supports UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, and is a requirement for troops that deploy in peacekeeping operations. “[Resolution 1325] extends the traditional concept of security to include more citizens, especially women and people who weren’t traditionally considered part of the security structure that a country was supposed to provide,” said Guillermo Holzmann, a Chilean defense and international affairs analyst. “It suggests who should provide those conditions, and who should be the participants, and this is where it advises on the inclusion of women […], in humanitarian situations requiring security conditions that will be much more efficient and effective when the gender perspective is addressed.” Better prepared The course was taught in a conference format, with several modules distributed over the course of five days. Activities included lectures on concepts of organizational change, stress management, and intercultural communication, among others. “The course addresses a full range of risks, from marginalization of women to sexual and gender-based violence,” Alex Concepción, GPOI assistant program manager at SOUTHCOM, told Diálogo. “We take the perspective that peacekeepers who understand the risks to women develop intervention skills and apply those skills to realistic scenarios. They are better prepared to act morally and effectively when they encounter a genuine threat in a conflict situation.” According to Concepción, CECOPAC played an important role throughout the initiative and demonstrated its regional leadership in preparing security and armed forces on women’s empowerment issues. He added that Chile showed great interest in helping regional countries to deploy in peacekeeping missions. “At a regional level, Chile is very progressive in these areas,” Concepción said. “Chile was the first country in Latin America to create and develop a National Action Plan for Women, Security, and Peace, which has inspired other countries in the region, [such as] El Salvador and Paraguay, to work on their own plan.” “I would like to emphasize the opportunity that the GPOI initiative gives us to teach these topics to national and foreign personnel,” Capt. Villegas concluded. “Also, [I want to emphasize] the fact that we can contribute to training people throughout Latin America.” The course was first taught in Uruguay, in 2015. It was carried out twice more in 2018, in Peru in May and in Chile in December. CECOPAC plans to conduct the same course in El Salvador in 2019.
By Taciana Moury / Diálogo August 21, 2019 In early July 2019, the officer was assigned to the Almirante Sylvio de Camargo Training Center, in Rio de Janeiro, and will be working at the Naval Peacekeeping Operations School, which trains MB service members for UN peacekeeping operations or MB international commitments.UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented Lt. Cmdr. Márcia with the award on March 29, 2019, for serving as military gender advisor in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA, in French). The officer visited the Central African Republic (CAR) from April 2018 to April 2019.In an interview with Diálogo, Lt. Cmdr. Márcia attributed the award to her dedication to the work carried out in MINUSCA. “It was a personal battle. I had never dedicated myself to anything as much as I did to protecting the civilians,” she said. “There was no better way to close the cycle of my mission in CAR. It’s very good to be recognized, and to have it done on an international level is beyond my wildest dreams.” The activities were carried out closer to the local community and projects were developed to mitigate threats. “I believe that whenever service members are on the ground, we can avoid abuses. The patrol, preferably comprised of men and women, the engagement, and listening to the community are fundamental for the protection of civilians.”The small number of women working on MINUSCA was among the main challenges Lt. Cmdr. Márcia faced. “I had 3.7 percent women. The average for missions was 4 percent, including military observers, team, and troop workers. [It’s a] very small amount, when considering the importance of mixed patrols to get closer to women, especially those who have been victims of sexual violence,” she said. “Language was another obstacle to approaching the community. There were battalions that did not speak French, which is predominant in the region.”Despite the challenges, Lt. Cmdr. Márcia said the experience in a UN mission is unforgettable. “At each obstacle, I increased my strength to continue working toward helping people. I was the happiest I had ever been. I miss Africa. It’s part of me now, part of my history,” she concluded. United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial: Uniformed Capabilities, Performance and Protection A main part of the work Lt. Cmdr. Márcia developed was to assess and understand the region’s more sensitive areas and the locations of groups. The goal was to document characteristics of the terrain to be able to advise military commanders on the best troop positioning.“The gender advisor must be on the ground, with the locals and the contingent, not working from an office,” she said. “If I know about armed groups recruiting children in an area, I need to pay more attention to the kids’ routine, to understand how abuses occur and alert the troops to the need for intervention.” Lt. Cmdr. Márcia encouraged interaction with children during the mission. (Photo: United Nations)The officer also received the Victory Medal from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, on April 5, 2019, which President Jair Bolsonaro presented. “This shows that, like the UN, Brazil recognizes the importance of gender equality and the protection of civilians,” she said.The goal of her mission was to apply gender perspectives within the military component, to avoid human rights violations. Until then, no such work had been performed in MINUSCA. “I created an action plan from scratch, from staffing to the engagement of locals.”According to Lt. Cmdr. Márcia, five steps were defined in the line of action: development of the workforce; service member training, which included visiting sectors and battalions to explain the importance of using the gender perspective on a day-to-day basis; information exchanges; inclusion of gender perspective in documents and guidelines produced in the mission; and engagement and deployment within communities. “It was a full cycle. It was gratifying to see the mixed teams of men and women working to protect the local population,” she said.
By Steven McLoud/Diálogo June 10, 2020 With the intent of increasing pressure on the regime of Daniel Ortega, the United States announced sanctions against Nicaragua’s military chief and finance minister.General Julio César Aviles, commander of the Nicaraguan Armed Forces, and Iván Adolfo Acosta, minister of Finance and Public Credit, were placed on the U.S. sanctions blacklist on May 22. The U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of both men and banned all Americans and U.S. companies from doing business with them.According to the Treasury Department, the Nicaraguan military under Aviles’ command is alleged to have provided support to the police and paramilitary gangs that carried out crimes against the Nicaraguan people, including attacks on protesters during the unrest that began in April 2018 that lead to the deaths of 300 protesters. The Treasury added that Acosta used his role to arrange financial support for Ortega and threatened banks so that they would not support opposition strikes in 2019.“The Ortega regime’s continued violations of basic human rights, blatant corruption, and widespread violence against the Nicaraguan people are unacceptable,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States will target those who prop up the Ortega regime and perpetuate the oppression of the Nicaraguan people,” he added.The U.S. has already slapped sanctions on Ortega, his wife, and two of his sons, with the U.S. Treasury calling Ortega’s son, Rafael, as the “key money manager” for his family. The Nicaraguan National Police as well as its chief and three commissioners have also been blacklisted by the U.S. as well as the European Union.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that these sanctions aimed to hold the Nicaraguan officials “accountable” for supporting Ortega.
July 15, 2001 Regular News League of Women voters still conducting its judicial survey Florida judges still have time to participate in a confidential survey that will be used to help educate voters about the value of an independent judiciary and the important balance between the three branches of government. Mimi Jones of the Tallahassee League of Women Voters said the organization has solved a computer glitch which may have prevented some judges from completing the online survey asking about the day-to-day realities of the threat to judicial independence. Every state judge should have received a letter inviting participation in the survey, and the league has sent out another round of letters encouraging those who have yet to respond, or had a problem in responding, to do so now. “The initial password caused a problem,” Jones said. “We have removed the password, and now all the judges have to do is log on. Because every judge uses the same logon, anonymity is still assured.” Questions on the survey include: • During recent judicial elections in Florida, have incidents arisen regarding inappropriate negative or misleading campaign advertising? • Are you ever conscious of the possible ramifications of making an unpopular court ruling? • Has this affected your decisions? Do you believe this has influenced the decisions of other judges? • Are you aware of any misleading or unfair criticism of individual decisions or personal attacks on judges in your circuit? • Should the legislature remove the budget authority of the chief justice and transfer it to the executive branch? • Should the legislature be allowed to supersede judicial rulemaking, as some legislators have proposed? • What issues or concerns have arisen in your circuit regarding judicial appointments? The Tallahassee League of Women Voters received a $3,000 grant from the Open Society Institute to conduct the survey. The goal of the survey is not only to publish the results, expected by the end of September, and encourage media coverage of the findings, but also to continue to educate voters about the issues at election time. “We are getting some wonderful, interesting, varied returns,” Jones said. Judges who have questions about the survey or are encountering problems in accessing the survey may call Jones at (850) 942-7199. League of Women voters still conducting its judicial survey
November 15, 2001 Regular News Advice available for lawyer reservists Advice available for lawyer reservists The Florida Bar’s Ethics Department With the tragic events that occurred on September 11, many reservists and National Guard personnel were mobilized to assist in the fight against terrorism. Some of those called to duty were members of The Florida Bar. Because of the possibility of a greater mobilization in the near future, it is important for attorneys who may be called to active duty to be adequately prepared to handle the impact on their law practice. While most reservists have a developed contingency plan to protect their clients and law practice, we have learned that some attorneys were not prepared for an immediate mobilization. Mobilization is especially difficult for solo practitioners who do not have the advantage of another attorney working in their office to assist in the transition of cases. Attorneys who practice in a firm have the benefit of allowing another attorney within the firm to handle client matters. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel has posted some guidance on the ABA’s website which may be beneficial to sole practitioners who do not have a current mobilization plan which includes their law practice. The guidance includes an article entitled “Mobilization Readiness Advice for the Solo Attorney/Reservist.” The article offers tips on selecting an attorney to assist in the winding down of a law practice. Factors such as competence, experience, professionalism, and adequate malpractice coverage are primary considerations when selecting a designated attorney. Transitional conferences with the attorney and staff regarding status of cases are also suggested for at least the most pressing matters. The designated administering attorney would need to have an understanding of office systems such as conflict checks and calenders. It is also important that designated attorneys have access to locked storage facilities as well as passwords to obtain computer information. Most importantly, the trust account should be made accessible. Failure to have an authorized signatory on your account could require a court’s order to release client funds. Client notification is also discussed in the article. Clients should be notified of the possibility of an activation order once it appears that a mobilization is likely. Information provided in the notification would include a discussion of what to expect when activation occurs and the necessity that the client file be forwarded to another attorney. Notification and communication with your malpractice carrier is also critical. The article, as well as samples of suggested documents and checklists, can be viewed in its entirety at www.abanet.org. The Florida Bar has a link to the relevant section of the ABA website on its homepage at www.FLABAR.org. It should also be noted that the Military Affairs Committee of the Florida Bar is sponsoring a pro bono referral program to assist active duty military, recalled reservists, and recalled National Guardsmen with their legal needs. Those interested in volunteering should complete an application (provided below) and return it to the Military Affairs Committee staff liaison, Jennifer Wilson. Civilian attorneys and other local bar associations in the state should refrain from soliciting or otherwise directly contacting the military to provide assistance. The Florida Bar Military Affairs Committee will coordinate all necessary assistance and provide training for the volunteers. In addition, the Law Office Management Advisory Service of the Florida Bar (LOMAS) has information and materials available for attorneys who employ reservists. LOMAS can be contacted at (850) 561-5611.
August 15, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Foundation finds success with summer fellows program Foundation finds success with summer fellows program Assistant EditorSometimes a foundation gives us a feeling of security — that though the harsh winds of life may blow against us from all sides, we will somehow weather the storm, because we know we are being held fast. For some of Florida’s neediest, the poor, the elderly, children, and victims of domestic violence and discrimination, that foundation is being laid.In cooperation with Florida law schools, The Florida Bar Foundation has sponsored the 2003 Summer Fellowships Program at legal aid and legal services programs throughout Florida. With funding provided through the IOTA program and the Florida Lawyers Legal Insurance Corporation, the fellowships, granted to first- and second-year law students, has four main purposes:• Involve the fellowship recipients in high quality civil legal assistance to those in need.• Provide educational experience in representing those in need and in working with individual clients and client groups.• Increase student interest in and awareness of the legal problems of the needy and the challenges and satisfactions of representing them.• Promote pro bono representation of those in need.According to the Foundation’s Camille Stawicki, organizer of the summer fellowships, the program has seen considerable success.“We get the law students accustomed to what they would be doing [as legal aid lawyers],” Stawicki said. “For those fellows who will not become legal aid lawyers, this experience, hopefully, will encourage them to volunteer as pro bono attorneys.”Of the 146 applications received for the fellowships only 23 were offered, of which 21 were filled, including a Florida resident attending an out-of-state school. Sylvia Simmons, of Florida State University, is the recipient of the Terry Russell Fellowship funded by Florida’s legal service program’s Project Directors Association, and served at Florida Legal Services in Tallahassee; Luis Maldonado, of the University of Florida, served his fellowship at Withlacoochee Area Legal Services; and Laura Sterling, of Florida A&M, fellowed at the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association.A returning fellow, Simmons said she loves the structure of the program and what it allows her to be involved with.“You sit in a law library and read up on it, but you don’t really talk to the people whom the law affects,” Simmons said. “But this program gives you that opportunity.”Simmons said she spent time researching, volunteering, and on the “hotline” answering calls from victims of domestic violence and similar circumstances.“Sometimes they just want somebody to talk to; somebody who will listen,” Simmons said. “Sometimes the only reason a victim stays in those dire circumstances and puts up with the violence is because they need the money to raise their children.”With a passion for assisting victims of domestic violence, Simmons also said that the fellowships really come together at “an intersection of social work and the law.”“I’m really touched by the cases that involve child abuse,” she said. “It used to be more of a private issue, and now it’s coming more to the public’s attention.”Though growing up in a very supportive environment, Simmons said she had seen so much violence around her throughout her childhood.“I am very close with my family,” said Simmons. “I know how important that structure is, and when you have someone shake up that structure it is very detrimental to its foundation.”Maldonado agreed, having also grown up around similar societal issues. From LaBelle, Maldonado said, “It hits close to home. I essentially have been helped throughout my life, so I feel it is a responsibility to help.”Taking that responsibility very seriously, Maldonado assisted with community outreach education programs, wrote appellate briefs, interviewed clients, and served as an interpreter in court and administrative proceedings during his fellowship.“It was nice putting skills I learned in law school to actual use,” said Maldonado, who said he did everything from translating advertisements to facilitating health screenings.Maldonado said the fellowship was definitely a learning experience and that “working with legal services serves as a reality check – and our issues become menial when compared to worrying whether or not you are going to have a home.”“I’m not helping someone who hurt their back lifting a box win a $10-million suit; I’m helping someone stay in their apartment and have a roof over their head,” said Sterling, who already has a master’s degree in social work, but felt she could do much more as an attorney.Sterling said she tripped into the legal aid arena in college, when she took a class called “Death and Dying.” She volunteered in a nursing home, applying what she learned in class.“Learning and applying the law are two different things,” said Sterling, who praised the Foundation’s program, saying that it gave students a chance to see things first-hand and realize into what area of law they want to go.Students who are selected for fellowships must be in good standing with their law schools, and are selected on the basis of their experience working in low-income communities, academic achievement, writing skills, and previous contact with and long-term commitment to public service and pro bono work.First-year student recipients are allotted $4,000 and second-year students receive $5,000 for the 11-week fellowships. Whether students receive academic credit for the fellowship is up to their law schools and may affect the amount of the stipend. Each fellowship recipient must attend a two-day training seminar before they start work.Fellowship applications are available after November 1 at Florida law schools or from The Florida Bar Foundation’s Web site at www.flabarfndn.org. For more information about the summer fellows program contact Camille Stawicki at (407) 843-0045, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Jacksonville couple has been practicing for 50 years Jan Pudlow Senior Editor She was the only woman when she entered law school in 1949 at the University of Florida, back in a time 45 men would stand against the blackboard waiting for her to leave the classroom first.He was a certified public accountant in Atlanta, lured to law school by his young wife, graduating a year later from UF in 1955.Together, June and A.B. Blackburn had double reason to celebrate when the 50-year members of The Florida Bar gathered at Annual Meeting in Orlando.The Jacksonville duo, married since December 1950, each boast at least 50 years as Florida lawyers.June C. Blackburn, a retired Duval County judge, says of her tax-lawyer husband: “I am proud of the fact that he is honest, and how he treats these elderly people who don’t have children to look after them. He is concerned that nobody scams these women, his clients who are in their 80s and 90s, and one lady is 101. He has always looked out for people. When they have to go to the hospital, they call A.B. to take their jewelry to the bank.”And A.B. Blackburn, Jr., who still practices law with their son Bryan at Blackburn & Blackburn, says of his wife: “I have been proud of her all the time. She speaks softly and carries a big stick.”“He doesn’t think I’m afraid of anybody,” adds June, who doesn’t dispute that.“You know, June had an uphill battle because the mentality of most people back then was male. I give her credit that it took guts to stick it out,” A.B. says of his feisty wife, who was a freshman in law school while he was finishing up his bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting.To hear June tell it, she was always comfortable in a man’s world, from the time she was a kindergartner winning all the boys’ marbles, to playing catcher on the boys’ high school baseball team during practice, but not allowed to compete against other teams.Entering the UF College of Law in 1949, she was one of three females among 500 males. One co-ed left to join the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service); one dropped out for financial reasons, so June found herself “the only girl.”She has fond memories of law school, where she was treated like a lady by her classmates, although with a paternalistic tinge.“Most of the law instructors were very, very gentlemanly,” June recalls. “But one or two of the very young ones would call on me with questions on rape cases. The guys in my class did not like that. They were very protective.”To let the professor know they disapproved of such graphic questions of the slender, blonde woman in class, the men would shuffle their feet under their seats.When class was over, she said “45 men would wait for me, standing against the blackboard, waiting for me to go out.”Once she had earned her law degree in 1954, finding a job as a lawyer proved difficult.“They were not used to hiring women. You were kind of a fluke,” June said. “Nobody would hire me. Some wanted to hire me as a secretary. My first degree was in business, and I knew shorthand and typing. I said, ‘Look guys, I didn’t go to law school to be a secretary. Why would you go to all that trouble?’”Already, she had taught high school in Atlanta for a year and worked as a secretary and assistant law librarian while in law school.Turned down time and time again for a job practicing law, June said, many law firms rejected her with the excuse that she would “send cases off to your husband.”She started a family instead, at a time there was no family leave for having babies, and every time she rejoined the work force, she would have to start anew at the bottom rung.First came daughter Alice Blackburn, who has a master’s in divinity; then Bryan Blackburn, the lawyer, was born in 1958.In 1960, June and A.B. Blackburn opened their own law firm.“But to buy groceries both of us taught at Jacksonville University part-time,” June said.In 1963, their third child was born, Mark Blackburn, now a health care executive.When the Blackburns look back on their accomplishments through the years, their children make them most proud.“One of the judges told me in the grocery store, ‘Your son is a gentleman.’ That makes you feel good,” A.B. Blackburn says.This married legal duo ended up thriving in contrasting areas of law.For June, the thrill was in trial work. After a stint as assistant general counsel for the City of Jacksonville in 1976, she honed her expertise in the courtroom as an assistant public defender in 1981 until 1988 “where I had my eyes opened, and sometimes had them opened up more than I wanted.”In 1988, she successfully ran for county judge, where she presided over “everyday people. People who don’t have a lawyer. People whose kids are in trouble. You just try to be honest and fair with them and help them try to work it out.”Then in 1998, the year she turned 70, Florida law said it was mandatory for June to retire from the bench.“Just because it’s your birthday, you have to quit. That’s pretty sad,” she said, adding that she worked two and a half years as a senior judge.Her advice to young lawyers: “Don’t get discouraged. Tie a knot and hang on. Take the bumps in the road. That’s what I had to do.”A.B. still gets his kicks saving people money on their taxes.“I started my career in public accounting and then switched to law. What I found fascinating about it is you could help people both in their personal estate or business tax planning and avoid taxes in a lot of cases. With some simple planning you could help people save considerable amounts of money. saving people money on their taxes, it was like they were making money,” A.B. says.“A.B. used to work with the IRS,” June adds.“Not with them,” A.B. gently corrects, “But to keep it from being a cat fight. I was calm and collected.”A member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Elder Law sections, A.B. served on the Probate and Guardianship Rules Committee and the Elder Law Committee before it was a section.He still goes to the office to see clients several days a week, chuckling when he says, “I now come in late, and to make up for it I leave early. I’d rather do that than stay home, because June would keep me too busy.”What is their secret for a long, happy marriage with dual careers in the law?“Whatever you say, dear,” A.B. is quick to retort.“Don’t let him kid you,” says June, the former judge, who gets the last word. Jacksonville couple has been practicing for 50 years
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York U.S. Marshals have apprehended a Copiague man wanted for fatally shooting a 35-year-old man in the victim’s hometown of Wyandanch two years ago, Suffolk County police said.Boyd Holland was arrested in Orlando, Florida and was returned Tuesday to Long Island, where is facing a charge of second-degree murder.Homicide Squad detectives said the 22-year-old suspect shot and killed Eric Brooks at 11:34 p.m. on May 9, 2012.Police had said that officers responding to a 911 call reporting gunshots fired when, upon arrival, they found the victim suffering from a bullet wound to the abdomen in the backyard of a house on North 22nd Street.Brooks had been taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was pronounced dead.Holland will be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Central Islip.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police are taking an investigation into a string of armed robberies and a related homicide to the streets.Several members of the police brass joined Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano outside a BP gas station in Jericho on Friday to unveil a giant school-bus sized mobile billboard requesting information that will help an army of investigators find the brazen, gun-toting robber, who has targeted at least 11 businesses, mostly gas stations, in Nassau since mid December.“Nassau County Crime Stoppers needs your help!” the billboard blares in large white letters.Crime Stoppers is offering a combined $35,000 reward—$25,000 for the homicide and $10,000 for the robberies—for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.Mangano, standing at a podium in front of the billboard on the gas station’s property, said police are asking the public to help “bring this cold-blooded killer to justice.”The moving billboard will be driven to the areas where the robberies have occurred, police said. Officials hope this effort will breathe new life into the investigation and perhaps attract the attention of individuals who have crucial information regarding the suspect.“This person has struck every day of the week,” said Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith, describing how the suspect operates. “Our resolve is intact,” Smith added. “It’s not diminished. We’re going to catch this guy.”Police officials are hoping the public can help with their cause.“Don’t hesitate” to call, Smith implored.An armed assailant, pictured in these surveillance images, is believed to be responsible for nine robberies and one homicide since December, police said.The suspect, who is still unknown to police, is responsible for 10 robberies in the county, beginning on Dec. 20 last year and continuing into February. The suspect last struck on Feb. 18, stealing cash from a Sunoco gas station on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow.Investigators believe the suspect is also responsible for the fatal shooting of 57-year-old Levittown resident Hany Awad, who was gunned down on Jan. 28 inside the same BP gas station where officials held Friday’s press conference. Police have yet to say what, if anything, was taken from the gas station during the homicide.The suspect is described as a black man between 5-feet, 11-inches and 6-feet tall, with a thin build, wearing all black Nike clothing, a black mask, black gloves, black Nike sneakers with red laces and armed with either a black or a silver revolver. The assailant has hit nine gas stations and two 7-Eleven stores in Westbury, Hicksville, and Jericho. The robbery in East Meadow was the only one committed outside those three neighborhoods.Both the robbery and homicides squads are investigating the crime spree. The Major Case Bureau and Bureau of Special Operations are also assisting in the investigation.Anyone with information regarding these crimes can call Crime Stopper sat 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York She said “yes” to the dress—10 times.Liana Barrientos, 38, of Manhattan, has been charged with filing a false marriage license, a felony, after marrying 10 men over the course of 11 years without ever filing for divorce from any of the grooms, Bronx prosecutors said.The Bronx District Attorney’s office said Barrientos also married two men on Long Island in 2002—in Hempstead and Huntington.According to a criminal complaint, 2002 was a particularly busy year for the alleged serial bride. During that year, she filed six different marriage licenses in her name, prosecutors said.Authorities uncovered the alleged wedding spree after scrutinizing a March 2010 marriage license filed in the Bronx County Clerk’s office that stated Barrientos had never been married before, according to the criminal complaint.Investigators found a marriage license dating back to Nov. 5, 1999. The license was filed in Eastchester.Since then, licenses were allegedly filed in Rye, Yonkers, Greenburgh, Mamaroneck and White Plains.The Hempstead marriage took place on Valentine’s Day in 2002. Exactly one month later another license was filed under her name in Huntington, authorities said.Barrientos, who was originally arrested last November, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Bronx Supreme Court.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Stony Brook University professor was the first educator from a college on Long Island to be named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow when he won the prestigious fellowship this week.Jared Farmer, an environmental historian and award-winning adjunct professor of history, plans to use the $200,000 award to complete a creative non-fiction book on the human relationship with long-lived trees and our larger relationship with nature in a time of climate change.“I am bringing together the history of trees and the science of longevity to contemplate the ethics and politics of long-term thinking in the Anthropocene,” said Farmer. “I’m a historian by training, but this new project includes aspects of science writing as well as creative writing.”Farmer is one of 35 fellows recognized by the program, which aims to support emerging humanities scholars that are working to strengthen the US democracy, drive creativity, explore global connections and improve environments. The program launched in 2015 and each fellow publishes a book or major study.The professor, who earned his PhD in history from Stanford University, previously authored three books, including the award-winning On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. He began teaching at Stony Brook a decade ago.“Climate change is not only the policy problem of our time; it is also a problem of time,” Farmer said. “It requires thinking and caring in the long term—beyond the moment, the individual, and the species. I think it’s important to find historical precedents for long-term stewardship of the more-than-human world. To the extent possible in 2017, I want to write a hopeful book—one that shows the shared solicitudes of science, religion, and the humanities.”
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Joe SwatekAs a financial services marketing professional, your job is to persuade likely prospects to open new accounts and take advantage of services at your institution.That description almost makes it sound simple. Of course, you know it isn’t.There are methods you can use to reach that goal. They were explained years ago in the book, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, written by marketing master Robert Cialdini.One of Cialdini’s six tool of persuasion he described in the book is Social Proof.Social Proof goes by a variety of names, some not so flattering, but the concept is easy to grasp. The idea works all around us, not only with advertising. Through some sort of influence, people conform to a group idea or, in advertising, choose a particular product.You probably know an individual or family who always drive the same make of car. They might be Ford people or Chevy owners. Maybe they go so far as preferring a particular model, like the Mustang. These people are following Social Proof. Because the grandfather or father or someone with influence claimed one make of car was the best, all the others follow suit. continue reading »
Author, innovator gives CU leaders tips on how to embrace innovation in the workplaceTurn on the television and chances are you’ll find a cooking show exploring how to take ingredients from the cupboard and combine them into a tasty dish.Innovation is no different.While the final product isn’t a delectable dish, the ideas that are created from innovative thinkers can lead to growth, Luke Williams said during an Executive Series session breakfast Tuesday, at the America’s Credit Union/World Council of Credit Unions Conference in Denver.“Innovation is taking the ingredients we have and looking for a different arrangement,” said Williams, the executive director at the NYU Stern School of Business, a fellow at the innovation company frog, and author of “Disrupt.”Leadership is about leading an organization through innovation, Williams said. While some may be hesitant to embrace change and new ideas, Williams said everyone should. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A cannabis-centric credit union is going after the Federal Reserve after its application to open a “master account” was rejected.Fourth Corner Credit Union (TFCCU) in Denver wants to be the first to provide financial services to the marijuana industry in Colorado, where recreational use of the drug is legal under state law.The credit union, which was quietly notified of its rejection in July, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the central banking system for the setback, the New York Times reported Thursday. It accuses the Fed of preventing “equal access” to the financial system.Mark Mason, an attorney from South Carolina, had a leading role in founding TFCCU, which cannot officially start business before securing an account.Mason said he was not surprised by the decision and thinks the Fed had been looking for reasons to reject the credit union’s application.“I felt all along like they were trying to figure out a way to deny our application,” Mason told the Times, adding that a “federal judge who is only concerned in applying the law can [now] make the decision.”Mason confirmed the lawsuit in an email to The Denver Postlater that night. continue reading »
The savings crisis is not waving the little white flag anytime soon. Americans face a barrage of financial obstacles in today’s economy: stagnant wages, low interest rates, and a painful absence of financial literacy. The situation is so dire many Americans believe they won’t ever be able to leave the workforce. They survive paycheck to paycheck. However, all hope is not lost. One simple maneuver is helping millions of working Americans save for their futures.In a perfect world, parents and the education system would teach personal finance to every boy and girl. Our children would grow up being taught good savings habits, applying those lessons throughout life to improve their financial situations. Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Many parents are afraid to talk about money, and while some schools are now teaching personal finance, bureaucracy hinders a more national impact. As a result, we’re left with a country filled of financial illiterates — where nearly half of Americans save virtually nothing.What’s the solution? Make saving money the default decision. When faced with a choice on a seemingly complex subject such as money, many individuals often take the default or “no decision” choice. In the case of voluntary savings plans, which requires participants to take action in order to save money, the “no decision” choice is a decision not to save. 401(k) plans are the most popular example. One quarter of employees don’t even save enough to receive the employer match, missing out on $24 billion of practically free money every year. continue reading » 27SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA continues its advocacy efforts after last week’s discussion with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about overdraft protections (ODP) and followed up the meeting Thursday with a letter to CFPB staff. CUNA subcommittees traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to discuss regulatory relief with the CFPB and National Credit Union Administration.“As noted by several credit unions during the meeting, credit union members utilize ODP and small dollar loan products in a reasonable and responsible way,” reads CUNA’s letter.“In addition, these loan products and services are often the best financial option for these consumers. We echo the comments of the credit unions at the meeting, and request that the CFPB continue and increase its outreach to credit union members and other consumers in order to gain a complete understanding of how and when these products and services are used,” the letter says.CUNA advocates that the CFPB remains focused on ensuring consumers understand ODP as a service, rather than actual ways to regulate the service. continue reading »
9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr People power organizations. Not products. People. Prudence posits that if we peer into the pates of professionals, there are a plethora of properties particular to each person. These properties, in the presence of positive pressure, progress as people are pushed to pursue their potential. Psychologists propose that each person possesses the power to be part of propelling organizations forward. Organizations participate in this process by perpetually pondering how to put people first. So it seems proper in this post to present postulations aplenty of propitious practices for the propulsion of people toward their potential.My apologies. Every once in a while, like in the preceding paragraph (dang it — did it again) I try the most random — and some might even say nonsensical — things to communicate my points. Like, say, alliterating an entire paragraph just for kicks. For a hot minute there — a really hot minute if you’re into verbiage — I felt like the V for Vendetta guy in one of my favorite scenes of any movie, ever. If only I had a black bath towel to pin around my neck. Of course who I am is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man behind a blog. (See what I did there? If you’re a fan of the movie, you do. If you’re not a fan of the movie…well…never mind.)In a post a while back, I mentioned that one of the components of a constructive culture was that people start to realize what they’re capable of. In other words, they start to realize their potential and push toward it. If I were talking nerdy to you, I’d say they self-actualize, but we’ll not go there. At least not today. continue reading »
You did the research, set realistic goals, developed a tactical plan and now it doesn’t seem to be bringing in new loans/members/deposits, etc. What went wrong?In working with credit unions all across the country on their marketing plans and execution, we have seen first-hand that there is one thing that can kill the success of your marketing…and that is poor employee engagement.Here is a tried and true plan to get your employees engaged and excited to help drive the credit union’s success:Get their feedback first. Ask them questions about what they think the credit union should be doing to market to its members and potential members. No, you don’t have to employ every single idea, but spending time at the beginning of the process is critical for two reasons: it uncovers opportunities you might not have known about and it lets them know they are an important and valuable part of your team.Share the plan with them and any marketing collateral before it is launched externally. Once we complete plans for clients, we always do a “launch party” of sorts to build excitement, communicate the goals and reiterate that they are a crucial part of the credit union’s success.Share the results along the way! As part of the plan’s execution, build a separate plan for how and when you are going to communicate the progress on your goals. Separate your goals out by month to break up the annual goals into manageable chunks. Communicate successes early and often to build and keep momentum.Soon, you’ll not only see noticeable difference in the success of your marketing efforts, but you’ll have better camaraderie and teamwork as a result. 38SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amanda Thomas Amanda is founder and president of TwoScore, a firm that channels her passion for the credit union mission and people to help credit unions under $100 million in assets reach … Web: www.twoscore.com Details
CFPB views credit unions’ payday alternative loans as a “good product” and wants to make room for those loans in its payday lending rulemaking, CFPB Director Richard Cordray told the Senate Banking Committee Thursday as he delivered his semiannual report to the panel.In testimony similar to that given last month before the House Financial Services Committee, Cordray testified before the panel about CFPB’s regulatory and enforcement activities, future rulemaking and the bureau’s regulatory relief efforts for credit unions.The CFPB director fielded numerous questions from committee members on matters important to credit unions, including consumer services and regulatory topics, such as the bureau’s exemption authority.Asked by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., what solutions are out there for small, short-term credit, Cordray noted the role of credit unions and singled out PALs as a good, law-abiding product. He added that the bureau wants to allow room for the product under any new rules on payday lending. continue reading » 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Have $175? Then it doesn’t matter if you utterly lack technical skills, you can become a cybercriminal. That’s because a malware strain called Karmen – potent ransomware – has been on sale on the dark web for $175. That’s how bad this has gotten and it very well may cost your credit union money.In mid-May a ransomware attack infected thousands of organization in 70+ countries. It all happened in the space of a few days. Some 200,000 are said to have been victimized. Ransomware now is just about the fastest spreading malware out there. The tools that spread it are slick and, as Karmen shows, they are also cheap.Little to no technical skill is needed to unleash ransomware via phishing emails on an unwary public and, increasingly, the targets of choice are businesses – especially American businesses – and that’s because businesses often are willing to pay up to rid themselves of malware. Symantec, in fact says the average ransomware payout in 2016 was $1077, up from $294 in 2015.Symantec also said that the payout rate in the US reached 64%, compared to 34% globally. That means about two in three US victims pay up.Data from NTT Security also said that the US is by far the most common victim of ransomware. The news gets worse. Symantec said ransomware attacks were up 36% year over year. Probably there will be still more this year.Ransomware is bad. There are various flavors but a common format is that the criminal mass mails out links that, when clicked on, download apps that lock files, preventing the user’s access. The files could be just about anything, from email to the entire computer.Know this: There are steps you need to take to protect yourself against being a ransomware victim. A key secret: the best self-defense is assuming you will be a victim and preparing accordingly. How? Read on.Also know: credit unions have already fallen victim to ransomware. How many? Nobody knows. Victims – especially ones likely to feel exceptional embarrassment and that includes financial institutions – do not advertise that they fell into a trap. But credit union security experts talk of “at least several dozen” credit unions that have fallen victim to ransomware, paid ransoms, and sometimes regained access to their data.Small and medium sized credit unions are believed to be especially vulnerable because – unlike the mega credit unions – they typically lack sophisticated malware detection tools that stop malware from penetrating the organization.Probably more credit unions will fall victim. That’s because savvy criminals now are doubling down on attacks on businesses. Said Symantec: “a small number of groups have begun to specifically target businesses with ransomware attacks designed to infect multiple computers on a single network and encrypt valuable data.”Won’t a small payment result in the files being unlocked – so maybe this isn’t such a big deal? Not necessarily. Cyber crooks are crooks and that means they may not always live up to their word. Just because a ransom is paid does not mean full access to data is restored. Said Symantec: “Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee decryption of the victim’s files. According to the Norton Cyber Security Insight team, only 47 percent of victims who paid the ransom reported getting their files back.”Symantec also – worryingly – reported that smart criminals are beginning to try to attach ransoms that take into account the value of the data that has been locked. It pointed to a $70,000 ransom paid by San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency which had seen its light rail system disrupted.A credit union’s files might well be perceived as highly valuable.What can a credit union do to protect itself? Several things and it starts by training employees not to click on links in phishing emails – and retraining them frequently.But probably the single biggest step a credit union can take is to make sure its data are backed up and can be easily retrieved and put to use. Do just that – assume you will be victimized and prepare your defenses now – and you put yourself on safe ground.Savvy smartphone users generally aren’t ready ransomware victims because an iPhone user often has most of his/her data backed up to iCloud. An Android user also often will have lots of data automatically backed up in Gmail, etc. When the data is on hand, it’s easy to tell the criminal to buzz off.The very same idea works for a credit union. Backup all critical data and that’s the antidote to ransomware.Accept this: very probably your institution will be assaulted this year by ransomware criminals. How you fare is up to you.Take a few steps, now, and very probably you will do well indeed. 43SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Robert McGarvey A blogger and speaker, Robert McGarvey is a longtime journalist who has covered credit unions extensively, notably for Credit Union Times as well as the New York Times and TheStreet, … Web: www.mcgarvey.net Details
23SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Chad Davis Chad Davis is Industry Sr Solutions Marketing Manger, F5 Networks, which is the leader in app security and multi-cloud management. He can be reached at email@example.com. Web: https://www.f5.com Details Personalized member service has always been a top priority of credit unions. Although that mentality still reigns true, modern-day customer service has evolved and employees are looking into different ways of helping their members.These days, members are looking for more than just familiar face from their financial services providers. They require a wider range of products and services, a full array of delivery channel options, and account access whenever and wherever they want it. On top of that, members continue to appreciate traditional, old-fashioned personal service. This is especially true of consumers more inclined to take their business to a financial institution that claims to be different from its competitors. If a credit union promises to put members first, the frontline service it provides should clearly demonstrate that commitment.What do credit unions need to do to satisfy their members by successfully creating the amalgam of modern-day banking and individualized attention? Several timeless aspects of one-to-one personal service, combined with technological tools for branch management, can help target the types of transactions and guidance members are seeking so the financial professionals staffing each branch can anticipate and deliver on those needs.Different members, different branch. Branches tend to reflect the character of their surroundings and, in general, the types of members who choose those locations. Branches in family-friendly neighborhoods serve different needs than a branch with a prime spot in a business park. And neither serves the same type of members as the office within walking distance of residential developments that cater to active seniors.A demographic survey can sketch in the outlines of the types of services a branch can expect to be in demand in its market area. Using data from the core processing system and lobby tracker software can supply more detailed information about members’ requests for service so frontline employees can be trained and scheduled to be on hand and fully prepared to deliver the services members expect when they walk through the door.Make business personal. Members want to be treated like people, not account numbers. Lobby tracking software invites members to sign in and state their business. Access to this information up-front facilitates queuing and gives financial professionals the information they need to greet members promptly and personally.Keep it short and sweet. On the other hand, overscheduling staff results in employees standing around idly when branch usage is low and can increase costs for credit unions. By monitoring branch traffic, they can more effectively schedule full- and part-time employees to be on hand during periods of peak demand.The 2017 FMSI Teller Line Study, which analyzed patterns in more than 16 million branch transactions at credit unions across the country, found that mornings are generally less busy than lunch hours and afternoons. Credit unions can combine core processing data with information from lobby tracker software to conduct individual branch analyses of types and volumes of transactions to better align scheduling with members’ banking habits.Try using this friendly greeting: “I’ve got everything ready for you.” For the most part, the technology supports discussed thus far to improve branch service delivery operate in the background, but one new automated tool is designed to connect directly with members. Busy people appreciate the benefits of appointment-scheduling software as it ensures that their time spent in the branch is being used efficiently and effectively—no waiting when they arrive and any preparation, such as having the right forms and documents lined up, completed in advance. Appointment apps also supply useful data for branch managers to track what types of transactions and guidance members are seeking.There’s more to service delivery than service. Staff scheduling software can help credit unions reduce idle time among branch employees and identify blocks of time where secondary duties, such as outbound sales calls, can be assigned with the aim of enhancing revenue production.The teller line study quantifies the impact of smarter scheduling and other strategies to improve branch efficiency on teller productivity and labor costs. According to that analysis, tellers working for FMSI’s top 10 clients, based on productivity measurements, handled an average 20.3 transactions per hour, compared to the 13.1 average for all credit unions included in the study. Labor costs per transaction for top performers averaged 94 cents, compared to $1.30 for all credit unions.Fully understanding members and their banking preferences and their habits —what brings them to a branch and when and where they prefer to conduct these transactions—can help credit unions personalize customer interactions, reduce wait time, and schedule staff more efficiently. While technology has pushed members to redefine high-quality service, it can also help deliver on those expectations branch by branch.
13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Some credit unions are declining authorization for Facebook payments due to the relatively high number of fraud cases being reported for that merchant category code. But declining these authorizations may have unintended negative consequences on your members. Here’s why.Facebook launched in mid-2015 the ability for its users to send other Facebook users money through the Facebook Messenger app. The source of the money transfer comes from a debit card, and receipt of the money goes to the recipient’s account through his or her debit card (meaning each side of the transactions needs to enroll a debit card with Facebook). As a bonus, iPhone users can add touch ID (fingerprint scan) as an added layer of security. Facebook claims that person-to-person (P2P) payments are wrapped in secure layers and use encrypted connections. Facebook points to its history of processing over 1 million payment transactions per day for game players and advertisers since 2007.While the actual transactions may be secure, Facebook’s P2P is still subject to fraud. Facebook scams have been featured on nightly news. Phishing attacks claiming that someone has sent money, and to click here to get your cash, have been documented by KnowBe4.com, an employee Security Awareness Training program. Account takeover is another threat, according to RSA Security, since Facebook and Messenger use the same login, leaving fraudsters who gain access to a Facebook page the ability to gain access to an enrolled debit card and drain the victim’s bank account (up to the daily limit). An even more nefarious fraud scam involves using Facebook to set up brand-new accounts, connect them to stolen debit cards, and then transfer the money. continue reading »
continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The NCUA already is using its new—and illegal– Field of Membership rules to greatly expand the reach of specific credit unions, the American Bankers Association said Tuesday, in its lawsuit against the agency.The ABA contends that the NCUA has approved expansions that “are not limited to a single ‘well-defined local community, neighborhood, or rural district,’ as required by the Federal Credit Union Act,” the ABA said.In October, the NCUA board approved rules that board members said would provide credit unions with more flexibility to determine their fields of membership. Then-board Chairman Rick Metsger said the rules would make it easier for people to gain access to affordable financial services.
16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Misconceptions about millennials pervade politics and business, says pollster and author Kristen Soltis Anderson, including the idea that they don’t vote.But understanding this generation is becoming increasingly important for both politicians and businesses, says Anderson, co-founder of Echelon Insights and author of “The Selfie Vote.”“You have to understand millennials from a corporate perspective because they’re changing a lot of society’s institutions,” she says. “They’re also beginning to vote. So we’re now in an era where millennials seem quite eager to make their voices heard.”Anderson, who’ll address the 2018 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, examines societal trends and how they affect consumers’ decision-making, from their politics to their purchases. continue reading »
With Trump-appointed deregulators now in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the specter of new regulations governing overdraft practices and fees has been lifted, at least temporarily.CFPB is at a fork in the road and less likely to further restrict credit union overdraft programs, at least in the immediate future, observes Brian Witt, senior partner in the Farleigh Wada Witt law firm, Portland, Ore.“They’re likely to put a freeze on any new regulations for the next six to nine months, until they see what the new director’s priorities are,” he says. “That should bring credit unions and banks short-term relief from any potential new regulation.”The threat of heavy-handed overdraft regulation by CFPB was receding even before an anti-regulation acting director took over, he notes; CFPB’s own research study showed little need for more restrictions. continue reading » 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Are insurance benefits provided to board members considered taxable income? The answer is largely “yes,” but also, “it depends.”“The general rule under the tax code is something provided in return for services rendered is taxable income to the recipient (board member),” says R. Scott Richardson, JD, CLU, ChFC, president/CEO, IZALE Financial Group, a CUES Supplier member in Elgin, Illinois. “However, insurance benefits can be treated differently.”Richardson explains that while the value of accident and health insurance is not taxable for employees, it will likely be taxable for board members.“There are narrow exceptions where it would not be taxable income,” so consulting a tax advisor is worthwhile, he says. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan, Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Eurgubian and Senior Director of Advocacy and Counsel Mitria Wilson met with new NCUA board member Todd Harper Wednesday to welcome him to the board and discuss credit union priorities. Harper was nominated by President Donald Trump in January and was confirmed in March, along with NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood.“We thank board member Harper for his time and attention during our discussion about issues that are important to credit unions, most notably reducing the regulatory burden to increase member services,” Nussle said. “CUNA is pleased with the direction the agency has taken over the past few years, and we believe with a full board in place NCUA can continue its work and build on this positive momentum.”CUNA wrote a letter to Harper after he was sworn in, expressing hope that NCUA will: From left, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan, CUNA Senior Director of Advocacy and Counsel Mitria Wilson, NCUA board member Todd Harper, CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Eurgubian and CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » The CFPB has issued a request for information (RFI) on its remittance rule – a positive sign for the industry as the bureau considers possible changes to the rule. NAFCU has long expressed concerns about the rule’s highly burdensome compliance costs and urged the bureau to exempt credit unions from the rule.“NAFCU has long argued that credit unions should be exempt from all CFPB rulemakings, including its remittance rule,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “The remittance rule imposes overbearing compliance costs, which have effectively prevented many credit unions from providing assistance to consumers in need.“The rule, as it stands, pushes countless consumers away from credit unions and into the waiting arms of shady, fly-by-night entities that may do consumers harm. We appreciate the CFPB’s commitment to reviewing the rule, and we look forward to continuing to work with them throughout the process,” Berger added. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Even though the acronym AI is now well-embedded in banking industry consciousness, actual use of artificial intelligence, and its cousins machine learning and data analytics, has been limited except with a handful of the largest financial institutions.According to an MIT Sloan report cited by IBM, 81% of all enterprises do not understand what data is required for AI, or how to access it. Still, the report found that 83% agree that driving AI across the enterprise is a strategic opportunity.Meanwhile the big tech firms, notably Amazon, Google and Facebook, have built big leads in this area, powering their ecommerce empires, which increasingly include financial services.There are options, however, to enable a wider range of financial institutions to take advantage of AI for use in marketing, personalization, user experience, payments, and more. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Miriam De Dios Woodward Miriam De Dios Woodward is the CEO of PolicyWorks, LLC. She also serves as Senior Vice President of AMC, the holding company of the Iowa Credit Union League and parent … Web: https://www.policyworksllc.com Details As credit unions increasingly embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and seek to better represent and serve their ever-changing communities, understanding the regulatory components that touch such initiatives is an important starting place.For example, laws such as the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOA) and Equal Credit Opportunity (ECOA) acts outline baseline requirements for employers and financial services organizations to follow to ensure equal treatment regardless of ethnicity, national origin, gender and other protected classes. Viewed from a different perspective, these laws provide the baseline for inclusivity in hiring and lending. While the EEOA speaks to the area of human resources, which is a robust area in and of itself, let’s focus on DEI from a membership standpoint. Certainly, few if any credit unions today consciously or actively discriminate against particular groups based on national origin, race, religion, or other criteria. But inclusion involves more than mere non-discrimination. It means proactively reaching out to underrepresented groups, understanding their needs, and striving to meet those needs through the credit union’s products and services in a compliant manner.Adjusting Products and ServicesCredit unions, like all organizations, have to make business decisions on a variety of matters every day. One such business decision could be expanding their services to underrepresented groups. A way to ensure the credit union is addressing the community at large is to consider the changing demographics in its membership area and aligning account opening and lending practices accordingly. If the credit union is serving immigrant groups for example, this may require an update to a member identification program, lending policies and procedures, in order to be inclusive of all.End-to-end MindfulnessIt is important to keep the needs of the target community in mind from end-to-end, all the way from advertising to member service on the front-line. For example, if a credit union advertises its services on its website or elsewhere in a language other than English, be sure to have employees available to speak to members in that other language. This will not only make non-English speaking members more comfortable working with the credit union and can reduce misconceptions or misunderstandings among non-English speaking members, this will help you avoid any potential UDAAP ( Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices) violations and overall will avoid misleading members into thinking you offer services in another language if in fact you don’tIf you are going to provide materials in another language, a translation strategy is also important to ensure all relevant information is accurately translated, leaving no room for misunderstandings. Because there can be many ways to translate a word or phrase from one language to another, it is important to seek experts who not only understand the native language being translated to, but also understand financial and credit union terminology for any required translation work. Accuracy, consistency, and relevancy are important in translations. Avoid using Google Translate for something this important and seek outside consultants, if necessary, to assist. Going Beyond Traditional ApproachesServing diverse population groups is part of the credit union creed. While there are always regulations to consider, there are also many opportunities to grow credit union membership by tailoring products and services to specific needs of the membership base.Serving people with non-traditional forms of identification, such as a consulate card, is one example of new membership a credit union could be serving. By expanding services to include underserved members and updating the credit union’s member identification policy and procedures to include non-traditional forms of identification, you do not have to turn down membership. The IRS’s Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is a taxpayer identification number that some immigrants may have, is a valid taxpayer identification number that credit unions can accept to lend and open interest-bearing accounts. Another opportunity to be inclusive in lending is through the underwriting process. Members without traditional credit histories may not have the traditional forms of documentation you seek to verify credit, however, this does not mean that they have not established credit. The credit they have established however may be found in non-traditional sources such as alternate payment data, including that found in paying recurring bills such as utilities, or rent. While this likely would not alter your lending policy, it would require a change in underwriting procedures to ensure your requirements list is as inclusive as possible. This would apply for anyone seeking a loan at your credit union, whether it’s a young college student or a recent immigrant. To achieve success in DEI initiatives you need to go beyond meeting the regulations. The regulations provide a baseline framework, however, it takes initiative and a commitment to ensure you go beyond what’s required to what’s needed in your communities.
A growing number of fintechs and banking startups in the U.S. and other countries is targeting Generation Z, and even reaching into the younger Generation Alpha, children born after 2006.In the U.S., roughly 25% of the population is under 19. In Europe teenagers and younger kids comprise around 20% of the population. This represents a tremendous market, but typically incumbent banks don’t aim many products and services at Gen Z because they aren’t currently profitable. This contrasts with more financially mature Millennials.Newcomers are outflanking incumbents. The legacy institutions’ lack of interest created a two-fold market niche for challenger banks and fintechs: serving the current “pocket money” needs of young people and building the loyalty of today’s youngest customers for the coming years.73% of American parents provide a regular allowance to their children, a total of $41 billion per year, according to RoosterMoney’s Kids Allowance Report. Part of pocket money is earned from domestic chores. Parents say their goal is to teach children about financial literacy, involve them in useful activities and help them to form healthy spending habits. The parents lived through the Great Recession and want to inculcate thrift. Indeed, in comparison to older generations, Gen Zers tend to save almost as much as they tend to spend right away. When they spend, it’s typically on food — mostly sweets, eating out, video games, toys and books. Most Gen Z consumers prefer in-store shopping rather than ecommerce. However, the older they grow, the more online transactions they make. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
“Empathy is about standing is someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” Daniel H. PinkIt’s a beautiful sentiment and so true—and yet so challenging sometimes.Navigating the world of financial services is difficult. For most members, coming to or contacting the credit union is an activity they have to do rather than one they want to do. They find themselves temporarily without a job, or having reduced hours, or worse yet, wondering how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. It generates anxiety and stress. And when things don’t go as planned, or something doesn’t work as promised, emotions are heightened and logic can go out the window.On the other hand, when things are going really well, and the member expresses positive emotion around the situation, empathizing enables you to reinforce the member’s positive feelings toward you and the credit union. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
Gallup recently initiated a study among its Credit Union Consortium participants — representative of 3.2 million credit union members across the U.S. — to better understand how members have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and exactly what kind of support they need most.Credit Union Members Are Suffering More ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, supporting members’ financial wellbeing has become the central issue for credit unions. Gallup finds that credit union members are getting hit harder than the average American — 76% say they have experienced a great deal or fair amount of disruption, compared with the national average of 70% recorded in mid-March.Gallup defines financial wellbeing as “managing one’s economic life to reduce stress and increase security” — in short, one’s emotional relationship with money, which paints a truer picture of hope and worry than traditional financial health metrics do. A Gallup analysis of Consortium participant data shows that financial wellbeing is deteriorating: The percentage considered “thriving” is decreasing, while the percentages considered “struggling” and “suffering” are growing.