I wrote in today's Globe about the impressive and sustained work of dozens of Massachusetts judges in China. For more than a decade, these judges have given their time and expertise to help the Chinese improve the rule of law. And they have hosted Chinese judges here to experience the American judicial system first-hand. Often, these visitors have lived in the homes of Massachusetts judges for weeks or months at a time.
One point that didn't make it into print covered the funding of the program. This work has been forged and driven by a team from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and more specifically within the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies. Founder Edmund Beard, now a senior adviser to the UMass president, has used his formidable grant-generating skills to drum up federal support for the Bay State-China projects over the years.
One early trip was funded through what was supposed to be a one-time grant from the US State Department to help promote the rule of law in China. But the exchange was deemed so successful that five more such grants followed. And then the US Agency for International Development weighed in with a big grant. That $1.9 million three-year USAID grant runs through February 2011.
I also wrote about an area that has developed strong momentum over the last couple of years -- training Chinese law students in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. UMass-Boston professor David Matz, who founded the school's graduate program in dispute resolution, has traveled to China four times in the last couple of years to offer training.
Matz's firm, The Mediation Group, marked its 25th anniversary this year by sending senior staff members with Matz to China for the negotiation competition that Matz and a Beijing-based colleague, Andrew Wei-Min Lee, offered for students from six Chinese law schools. The firm co-sponsored the competition, and also is sponsoring a US tour of dispute-resolution hotspots for the winners. Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn was among the competition judges.
In attempting to frame the context of the Bay State's renowned dispute resolution expertise, I mentioned the legacy of the Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation. That may have misled some readers; there's no Harvard involvement in this China project.
Worthy of note: Peter Anderson, the retired judge from Boston who has become a leader of the Chinese effort and has traveled to China 14 times, says that the Massachusetts judges' family members have often contributed to the training -- playing roles in the mock trials that form a pillar of the program. Anderson's wife, Ann, who has had a long interest in China, has taken part in mock trials.
Anderson recalled in my discussion with him: "These mock trials turned out to be wildly successful. We went to a couple of law schools where these huge auditoriums were packed. One had more than 800 people. It was a sweltering day.... We walked on stage and you'd think we were the Rolling Stones. People started screaming and hollering."
In April, however, the leukemia returned, and Devan is back in a Washington hospital. He has undergone more surgery and chemotherapy in recent days. Devan's mother, Indira Lakshmanan (my friend and former Boston Globe foreign correspondent), and his dad, Dermot Tatlow, are now desperately hunting for a match for a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Chances of a match are one in 200,000. Dermot and Indira are trying to spread the word far and wide to get people to sign up to see whether they might be that rare match.
The doctors are racing to find a donor; they have less than 12 weeks to locate the right bone marrow or cord blood for a life-saving transplant. The potential for a match is highest from people who are of mixed South Asian and European ancestry, like Devan himself.
Here are details, as Dermot posted them on the CaringBridge web site that records Devan's brave story:
As Devan does not have a marrow match we are initiating a bone marrow / cord-blood drive.
e forward this message to your family and friends.
OR MATCH APPEAL TO HELP SAVE DEVAN'S LIFE
Our only child Devan needs your help. He’s four and has relapsed with a rare form of high-risk l
eukemia. His doctors believe his life depends on a bone marrow transplant that they hope to do after 12 weeks of chemotherap y. What is difficult is finding a donor match – 1 in 200,000 in his case - and we haven't found one yet.
You or someone you know might be the person who can save Devan’s life. All you need to do is a simple cheek swab to find out. The organizatio
ns below will send you a kit. Donating is easy – these days it’s much like a simple blood draw.
ASE, REGISTER NOW. The test is easy & free, but processing takes time (10 weeks in the UK), and Devan doesn’t have much. Register below.
EASE FORWARD THIS ON TO OTHERS. Anyone can be a match, but those who are mixed Indian/Cauc asian have an even better chance of helping Devan. Please, please, forward this to everyone you can. By forwarding this email to at least 10 people now, we can spread the word to 50,000 possible donors within 48 hours.
3. VISIT DEVAN’S SITE – we will be including details on how to organize your own drive, valuable information on leukemia and FAQ’s on registering and donation.
WHERE TO REGISTER
=> In the US go to Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry, (you need to be 60 or under)
Bruce Harold Smith, the executive director, just returned from a rowing trip in northern Iraq, where he helped train Olympic rowing coaches and rowers. Smith worked with young Iraqi rowers on Lake Dokan in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq. The rowers came from throughout the country, and included Sunnis and Shi'ites as well as Kurds. Erbil has remained an oasis of relative calm in the seven years since US forces invaded the country in 2003.
Smith traveled with a rowing comrade, Bill Engeman of Ohio, another long-time rowing booster, for the five-day visit to Erbil. Engeman came up with the idea after seeing "Invictus," the movie about the South African rugby team's unlikely victory in the 1995 World Cup, shortly after the fall of white-minority rule.
My former Globe colleague Tom Palmer, who works with Community Rowing on communication, has written a detailed and compelling account of this initiative. Click on the "full entry" link below for Tom's full version:
Here's a link to the Globe article today on the interview, and also video coverage by staff photographer Yoon Byun.
The interview covered three main subjects: the nuclear issue, US-Iran relations, and Iranian domestic issues. Click on the "extended" button below for the extensive excerpts from the nearly hour-long interview:
Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets with Globe reporters.
New York -- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned today that passing tougher UN sanctions against Iran would not only shut off all chances of diplomatic engagement between Iran and the United States, but would also cripple President Obama's hopes for success in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.
"Any connections and contacts with Iran, the pathway to Iran, will be shut permanently," he said in an interview with the Boston Globe. "Those who are trying to radicalize the atmosphere here fail to understand that they are speedily moving towards the cliff."
In a wide-ranging interview over 45 minutes, Ahmadinejad cast Iran as the key to ensuring Obama's historic legacy. He said that if Obama decides to side with more hawkish voices in the United States against Iran, it would ensure the continuation of intractrable conflicts for years to come.
"He should be very careful not to get entrapped in the web laid by radicals around him," he said. "If he can't resolve the impasse with Iran, do you think he can resolve the problems with Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine?" he said, adding that sanctions "will mean the end of his opportunity in improving world affairs."
But Ahmadinejad, who is the only head of state attending a UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation, said he still believes that Iran can reach a deal with the United States and its Western allies on taking some of its nuclear fuel out of the country, in exchange for fuel for its medical reactor. He said Iran is willing to put half of its low-enriched uranium in the custody of international inspectors as part of a phased exchange, offering a revised version of a deal that Iran had accepted in September, but backed away from later.
"We believe that through talks and negotiations we can find a middle ground," he said. "It can be done in a manner that is acceptable to both parties. . . It is only in the spirit of cooperation that we are agreeing to the swap, just to provide a field for cooperation and eliminate the clash."
But US officials say that Iran is merely employing a delaying tactic aimed at breaking the momentum that is building towards a new round of sanctions against Iran aimed at forcing the country to stop enriching uranium, which could be used as fuel for peaceful nuclear power or, if enriched to much higher levels of purity, for a nuclear weapon. Iran is a major focus at this week's Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, where officials from around the world are discussing how to tighten controls and halt smuggling networks to ensure that no more countries are able to develop nuclear weapons.
In an interview at his New York hotel, Ahmadinejad argued that the United States - not Iran - should be the focus of discussion, since it still has nuclear weapons. He lauded the Obama Administration for disclosing more details on the United States' own nuclear arsenal on Monday, saying it is "definitely a positive trend, but it is not enough."
When asked why Iran hasn't released three American hikers who were taken into custody after staying into Iranian territory from Iraqi Kurdistan, Ahmadinejad said their case was with the judiciary and that he could not do anything about it. But later in the interview, he proposed trading the hikers for seven Iranians who have been arrested around the world and extradited to the United States, where they are accused of smuggling ring nuclear components.
"I think perhaps as a good gesture would be to exchange, to swap, these people," he said. "Let's have a formal judicial agreement so that ...every party can be brought to justice before the courts of their own country when cases of this nature arise?"
Ahmadinejad noted that he had sent a congratulatory message to Obama when he was elected, but that Obama never sent a response. Although Obama did send several overtures to Iran's Supreme Leader, and taped a video New Years message to the Iranian people, Ahmadinejad said Obama's letter should have been sent to him.
"People [in Iran] say our president has written you a letter and you haven't responded to our president's congratulatory note," he said. "So both the Leader and the people felt that by taking that step, the US administration is disrespectful of the Iranian government in place."
Thaleia Schlesinger, a spokesperson for the family, said today that Aijalon Mahli Gomes was allowed to call his mother last night, which was Friday morning in Korea. Gomes, who had been living in South Korea for the past couple of years, was sentenced by a North Korean court earlier this month to eight years in prison.
"She was so happy to hear his voice and to be able to talk to him, and is very grateful that the North Korean government allowed him to call," Schlesinger said. She declined further comment, adding that Gomes' mother "really doesn't want to go beyond expressing her gratitude to the government for allowing him to call."
Schlesinger commented in response to a report by the official Korean Central News Agency that Gomes spoke with his family today. That report said the call was allowed after Gomes asked "for phone contact with his family for his health and other reasons," according to the Associated Press. The North Korean dispatch offered no other details.
Schlesinger declined to talk about Gomes' family beyond saying they live in Boston. Previous reports have said Gomes grew up in Mattapan. He attended Bowdoin College and graduated with an English degree in 2001, and moved to South Korea in his late 20s to teach English.
Friends in South Korea have said he was active in his evangelical church there, and was very upset when a friend, Korean-American Robert Park, was arrested after crossing into North Korea on Dec. 25 to protest human rights abuses there. That may have spurred Gomes to cross the border himself a month later.
North Korean state media reported in early April that Gomes had been sentenced to eight years of hard labor and fined the equivalent of $700,000 for entering North Korea illegally and other unspecified "hostile acts."
The US State Department and Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts have called on North Korea to grant Gomes amnesty and let him come home. He is the fourth American to be detained in North Korea for allegedly entering illegally in the past year. Park and two American journalists who were detained in a separate incident were all released after several months in custody.
The United States has no diplomatic relations with the Communist North Korean government. Swedish Embassy officials in Pyongyang, the capital, attended Gomes' trial, and last had consular access to him on March 17.
After a career in corporate innovation for major companies, B.P. Agrawal put his technical and business prowess to work to transform such ideas into practical solutions that have helped tens of thousands of people in his homeland.
That's why the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today awarded Agrawal the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. The prize honors inventors whose work helps poor communities meet basic health needs and earn a sustainable livelihood.
Agrawal won the award for two such breakthroughs: his rainfall-harvesting project, and another innovative system of mobile health kiosks that allow nurses to serve poor communities that don't have doctors, using electronic protocols to treat common ailments.
More information is available on the website of the organization Agrawal founded in 2007, called Sustainable Innovations.
Here are excepts from MIT's description of the innovations:
Agrawal transitioned from the corporate world to the non-profit world in 2003; in 2006, his rainwater harvesting system, Aakash Ganga, or River from Sky, won a World Bank Development Marketplace Award for an innovative approach to development challenges surrounding clean water in India. Aakash Ganga collects water from rooftops which is channeled through pipes and stored in a network of underground reservoirs, providing enough water for an entire village for a year. To date, it has helped 10,000 villagers in drought-prone regions gain access to clean water. Aakash Ganga is now being considered for large-scale implementation by the government of India. These accomplishments led Agrawal to found Sustainable Innovations (SI) in 2007. SI is a non-profit dedicated to building self-sustainable enterprises, with a focus on engaging young entrepreneurs in culturally and economically viable ventures.
Another award-winning development is Agrawal’s kiosk-based health “clinics,” Arogya Ghar, or Clinics for Mass Care, created with entrepreneur Atul Jain, founder and CEO of TEOCO, which won a second World Bank Development Marketplace Award in 2007. The clinics, run by high school educated young women, are inexpensive and have the ability to alleviate the shortage of trained medical staff and improve standardized treatment protocols for common ailments and preventable diseases in India. Agrawal’s team is currently seeking collaboration with USAID, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and social investors to scale up to 50 villages by 2012.
The alternative -- imposing ever tougher sanctions against Iran -- will only punish the Iranian people and give more ammunition to the hardliners in Iran, ElBaradei told a forum tonight at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
And sanctions are likely to be no more effective than they have been over the past several years in getting Iran to give up its nuclear program, said ElBaradei, who stepped down in November after 12 years as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. "Going the sanction route is an act of desperation.... Sanctions in fact hurt the vulnerable."
ElBaradei, an outspoken critic of repressive regimes in his native Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, was guarded about whether he will run for the presidency of Egypt in 2011. There is much speculation that Hosni Mubarak, in power for nearly 30 years, won't run again, and that he is grooming his son Gamal to succeed him. ElBaradei said his focus since he returned home to Egypt in February is on pushing Egypt toward more democratic practices, not toward winning power for himself. But he didn't rule out a run.
El Baradei, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the IAEA in 2005, recalled his political battles with the Bush Administration in 2002 and 2003 as he contended there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons program, and argued for more time for inspections.
The US went ahead with its invasion of Iraq -- and found no weapons of mass destruction. ElBaradei said Iraqis have been "pulverized by a war that was launched on wrong assumptions."
He said the Bush Administration missed several opportunities to reach a deal with Iran by emphasizing punitive sanctions and refusing to negotiate unless Iran suspended its uranium enrichment program, which now has grown to 4,000 centrifuges. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy. Western countries suspect Iran wants to build nuclear weapons.
President Obama came into office more willing to negotiate, El Baradei said, but Iran quickly was engulfed in domestic political turmoil, which derailed hopes for talks. Now US congressional pressure is growing for tougher sanctions.
"I think frankly, there still is a deal to be made," he said, such as getting Iran to agree to store its nuclear materials on an island in the Persian Gulf, under IAEA control but still technically within Iran. In turn, the United States and Iran could start to negotiate solutions to the gamut of grievances that have divided them for decades.
For them the nuclear program is a means to an end. They want to be recognized as a regional power."
US diplomats have insisted that they won't reward Iran's bad behavior with negotiations, but ElBaradei said, "You negotiate with your adversaries to change their behavior."
Feifke, a South African native, has lived in the United States for 22 years. He has built up a successful optometry practice in Burlington and lives in neighboring Lexington. A decade ago, he wanted to give something back.
As he prepared to run his first of seven Boston Marathons in 2001, he began raising money for missions by teams of optometrists to Central America and elsewhere to offer free eye care -- and to give instant vision to many patients who have been legally blind all their lives.
With his seventh Boston Marathon on Monday, Feifke hopes to pass the $25,000 mark in his fundraising for the New England chapter of VOSH -- or Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity. The New England branch, known as VOSH-ONE, is among 33 chapters worldwide. (Disclosure: Derek is my optometrist.)
Feifke, who turns 51 next month, does more than raise money. He has taken part in seven missions since 2001 offering volunteer eye clinics in remote villages in Nicaragua and Guatemala -- sometimes traveling by canoe to reach the most isolated communities, where many people have never seen any eye care provider.
"So many people who are legally blind just need glasses," Feifke says, resulting from problems such as extreme myopia and hyperopia. "They
just want to be able to read their Bibles, or mend their fishing nets so they
can provide for their family."
He described one life-changing moment:
"A 54-year-old gentleman came in who said he was told his whole life that he was blind. He was a minus-13. Wherever he went, he was told nothing could be done. He was told he was too stupid to go to school."
We put these glasses on his face, and to see the emotion when he could suddenly see was unbelievable. Tears started coming out of his eyes. His grandson was with him, and he started crying too. It was like a miracle."
The New England teams typically travel with several optometrists and several more support staffers on these missions, once or twice a year. They work with community groups to spread the word in advance, and they treat 1,000 to 1,500 patients per mission. "We start working at the crack of dawn and work til we’re done," Feifke says. Each day they move to a new temporary clinic location.
One special pleasure has been taking his three boys with him. Steven, 18, Benjamin, 17, and Gideon, 13, have all made trips. "It makes a remarkable experience for me each year that much more special."
VOSH International dates to 1972, when an optometrist in Kansas City began collecting discarded glasses for people in the Third World, and its 80 to 90 one- to two-week missions each year treat more than 100,000 people annually around the world. The New England branch is purely a volunteer organization, so the money all goes to the missions and to support projects as far afield as Afghanistan. Feifke is a past president. The current head is Dr. Lee Lerner, who has a practice in Waltham.
Feifke, who grew up in Johannesburg, has run 13 marathons in all, and qualified for Boston with a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes, his best ever in a marathon. He hopes for a sub 3:45 run on Monday, and says, "If I can keep it under four hours for the next few years, I’ll
One of Japan's revered experts on traditional architecture, Yoshihiro Takishita, will offer an illustrated lecture on the issue in Boston at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 22 on the minka and the preservation work he has pursued for many years. The event is free an open to the public at the Showa Boston Institute, 420 Pond St. (near Larz Anderson Museum & Park).
Peter Grilli, President of the Japan Society of Boston, says Takishita 's work in moving and restoring minka has been widely recognized in Japan. Takishita launched a non-profit group called Nokoso-kai, or The Association for Preserving Old Japanese Farmhouses, a few years ago, and Grilli says it has set off waves of new interest in traditional rural architecture in Japan.
Takishita's work has been celebrated in Architectural Digest and many other international architecture magazines. Grilli adds this background:
Born in the snow country of rural Gifu prefecture, he studied law at Waseda university in Tokyo. After graduating in 1967, he oversaw the dismantling, removal, reconstruction, and renovation of an old farmhouse in Fukui prefecture for an American foreign correspondent living in Kamakura. This experience (which was documented in the recent book Minka by John Roderick) aroused his interest in the rescue and preservation of such farmhouses, called minka. Despite an architectural tradition going back a thousand years, they are rapidly disappearing from the countryside as farm families replace them with modern, easily-heated and maintained western-style houses. Ten years later, at the request of another American, he moved a second minka from Gifu to Karuizawa, a well-known mountain resort, where he renovated and rebuilt it as a vacation home. That marked the start of his second career, this time as an architect, specializing in the richly rewarding field of rescuing and restoring classic Japanese farm dwellings. He now lives and works in a complex of restored minka in Kamakura, and his home has attracted visits by heads of state, architects, and many others from all over the world.
The event is titled "Contemporary Muslim Voices in the Arts and Literatures. It runs from 9 a.m to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, at the Barker Center at 12 Quincy Street in Cambridge. Details and full agenda here.
The forum is organized by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard. This is the second annual conference of the program. It's open to the public and no registration is required.
The even concludes Sunday with a performance by the Boston-based punk-rock band, the Kominas (and with presumably less noisy closing remarks by Harvard's Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures).
The French consulate is sponsoring the visit this week of cartoonists including the famed French cartoonist Jean Plantureux, whose front-page cartoons in the daily Le Monde under his pen name, Plantu, help set the French political agenda.
Plantu is here with other prominent members of the group Cartooning for Peace, which he launched in 2006 to use the power of cartooning to get people to think more creatively about world conflicts and how to stop them. Participants in the forums this week include Palestinian cartoonist Khalil Abu Al Arafeh, Israeli Uri Fink, and Americans Daryl Cagle, Jeff Danziger and the Globe's own Dan Wasserman.
An exhibition of cartoons opens Tuesday evening at Northeastern University in Gallery 360, and runs through May 12. The visiting cartoonists also are taking part in discussions on Wednesday morning at Northeastern and at Harvard in the afternoon. Details at the French consulate web site.
Today at 5 p.m., the consulate says:
"all the cartoonists will be in the Boston Common in presence of Michael P. Ross, President of the Boston City Council and Chair of the Special Committee on Boston Common for a brief ceremony. The artists would each offer an original cartoon made especially for the occasion. The cartoonists will underline the importance of the Boston Common in American History and of its place as a forum for so many eloquent speakers and defenders of freedom.Organized by French Consul General Christophe Guilhou, the Cartooning for Peace exhibition and forums give the cartoonists a chance to discuss the use of political satire to change minds and provoke debate. It also will shed light on the risks for cartoonists who use their artistry to challenge conventional thinking.
Plantu has been making waves with Cartooning for Peace since 2006, shortly after the publication of political cartoons by a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed, considered offensive by many Muslims, set off protests that claimed more than 200 lives.
Coincidentally, another event on Tuesday evening at Harvard also will take up the theme of the Danish cartoons. As part of the Boston Muslim Film Festival being organized by the American Islamic Congress, a documentary called "Bloody Cartoons" is being screened at 6 p.m. in Boylston Hall in Harvard Yard, along with a short but provocative animated video by Daniyal Noorani, called "Find Heaven."
After the screenings, I will moderate a panel discussion with Noorani, who lives in Boston, and Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen, author of the 2009 book, "The Cartoons that Shook the World." Klausen's book became controversial when publisher Yale University Press decided to omit the reproduction of the Danish cartoons in Klausen's scholarly work.
The story prompted a member of the Greatest Generation, 85-year-old Irving Smolens, to write to me with his own recollections of serving in the Fourth Infantry Division during the Allied Invasion of Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Smolens offered a first-hand lesson about hatred and forgiving:
I live in Melrose and we had a Yom Hashoa service at our temple last night. After the service we viewed a documentary, "The Holocaust. Memory and Legacy." The film featured Holocaust survivors and some of the soldiers who had helped to liberate the camps as well as sons and daughters of the survivors.
When the film ended I arose from my seat. My temple members all know that I am a D-day veteran but there were many in the film audience who did not know that. I told them what I have told gatherings in Luxembourg and Belgium who celebrate the date on which their countries were liberated from the Nazis. Their liberation began on D-day. Had we failed in that invasion it would have been many months and perhaps as much as a year before we could make another attempt to liberate western Europe. All of those survivors were close to death when the camps were liberated and probably would not have survived much longer had they not been liberated when they were and their progeny who appeared in the film never would have been born.
After I sat down many of those present came up and thanked me for my service in WW II and for having reminded them of the importance of D-day. One young woman came up to me and told me her father had been a D-day veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. She thanked me for telling all those present of the importance of D-day because the D-day date June 6 is not noted on calendars and its importance is not recognized by most Americans.
As a WW II veteran I have witnessed the horror of war and I have come to realize that "Hate" is the engine that moves governments to war. I have resolved to eliminate that word from my vocabulary. It falls too easily and glibly from the lips. Last year at a Memorial Day observance at our Middle School in Melrose I told the students the following: During the bloodletting of the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest in Germany a wounded American soldier of our 22nd Regiment was screaming in agony and our soldiers could not emerge from their foxholes to attempt a rescue because the Germans would have killed them. German Lieutenant Lengfeld decided that he would try to rescue the wounded American because he knew that his own troops would not try to stop him and that the Americans would realize what he was attempting and would not shoot at him. Lieutenant Lengfeld retrieved the body of the wounded American but he was so badly wounded that he could not be saved. In attempting to return to his own place of concealment the lieutenant stepped on one of his own mines and blew himself up.
Some years ago our 22nd Regiment veterans decided to dedicate a memorial plaque for Lieutenant Lengfeld in the Hurtgen. When I visited the forest my guide took me to the site of the memorial. With our guide was a German veteran who had survived the Hurtgen battle by concealing himself in a knocked out American tank and living on the rations and cigarettes in the tank. When it came time to take pictures I put my arm around the German veteran. I did that because their is an affinity that exists among combat soldiers that civilians who have never been in combat can ever realize. I did what I did even though I had two families of uncles that had been destroyed in the Holocaust. When I came home I told my Rabbi what I had done and he told me he was proud of me because in our religion there is a tradition of forgiveness.
I closed my message to the students by telling them that they could learn two important thing from what they had just heard, Not all Germans were murderous Nazis and as the bumper sticker says, "Hate is not a family value."
Thank you for the article you write.
The day-long workshop opens at 9 a.m. at the Healey Library, is open to the public. You can register here. More details on the event are available here. And this draft agenda lists speakers and time slots.
The conference has been organized by Professor Adenrele Awotona, an architect and urban planner at UMass Boston who has global experience in Third World planning and disaster rcovery. Awotona is the founder and director of the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters It's hard to imagine an academic center more suited for focusing on rebuilding Haiti. Previously he was dean of the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston.
Several Haitians and Haitian-Americans are among the speakers, along with urban planning and development specialists who have worked in Haiti, including Professor Enrique Silva and Anuradha Mukherji of Boston University, who both traveled to Haiti soon after the earthquake.
Panelists in the afternoon sessions include Manolia Charlotin, co-founder of Haiti 2015, and Carline Desire of the Association of Haitian Women of Boston.
Details are here.
The principal speaker is Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, an executive board member of Verbundnetz Gas in Germany, which handles natural gas storage and transmission in Germany, Russia and Norway. He has been closely involved in energy and climate change issues in Europe for many years.
The moderator is Arpad von Lazar, professor emeritus of international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has written frequently about business, energy, and environmental policy.
Duane Compton, 28, traveled to Haiti earlier this month to install a wireless network at the Pierre Payen Hospital near St. Marc, about 50 miles northwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Compton's detailed account of his trip was published this week in Network World, the online industry newsletter.
Compton, who grew up in Lexington and graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from the University of Vermont, volunteered to go to Haiti as part of a North Shore volunteer earthquake relief project.
Compton's employer, Bluesocket, a networking firm based in Burlington, donated one of the firm's wireless local area networks for the hospital, which has treated numerous patients from the January earthquake. The lack of a network was frustrating doctors and other staff who couldn't communicate among themselves internally or access up-to-date medical information needed for treating patients.
Duane Compton, a software engineer from Cambridge, installing the network at Pierre Payen Hospital in Haiti. (Courtesy Network World newsletter).
Compton accompanied a mission to Haiti on March 6 organized by investor and philanthropist Sam Byrne, who lives in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Surgeons and other medical personal from Beverly Hospital and other facilities joined the relief mission. The chartered flight, donated by Dow Chemical, was packed with donated clothes, used cell phones and other goods collected by North Shore residents.
The challenges included dashing across back and forth across a dangerous highway outside the hospital, between locations. But the new network was instantly valued by the doctors and staff.
Compton wrote in Network World:
This was far from a typical implementation -- I, for one, had never before needed to hang an access point in a tree, or work three feet away from a doctor performing an amputation. However, once set up the effect of the Internet was obvious to everyone.
It was gratifying to see the impact the Internet had on the location, and witness doctors enabled with life-saving information. They frequently reminded us of the power of this project and how grateful they were. One morning, while I was eating breakfast, an American plastic surgeon working at the hospital grabbed my laptop to study up on how to perform a hysterectomy he was performing in 20 minutes.
Robert Lange, at work in a Maasai village in northern Tanzania, on one of his pilot solar installations.
A retired Brandeis University physics professor is helping to bring clean heat and light to Africa.
I wrote in Sunday's Globe about Robert Lange, who has spent more than 20 years working with villagers in Tanzania to help them use basic science and technology to make their lives better. His current work lets villagers buy very small solar-power units by building four efficient cooking stoves for themselves. It's an informal carbon-credit market that has the dual advantage of helping people make their huts less smoky, and also gives them a few more hours of clean indoor daylight from the solar-powered lights -- and they can charge their cell phones, too.
I heard the benefits first-hand: I spoke with Majuba Mohammed, a high school teacher on a tiny island off the coast of the main Zanzibar island, about the project. And Mohammed noted proudly that the phone he was using to speak with me had been charged on the solar unit that Lange's project had helped him install on his roof. That's pretty direct evidence of success. Nearly 200 of the solar units have been installed in two villages on the island.
For those who want to know more, here are some links to relevant organizations, as well as a number of photos that tell more about Lange's work.
Lange's small non-profit has the large name of International Collaboration for Science, Education and the Environment, which Lange runs out of his home in Cambridge. He also works closely with his friend of more than a quarter century, Robert van Buskirk, who has his own non-profit, Village Projects International, that has pursued similar stoves-for-solar programs in Eritrea and Ghana.
Lange is now hoping to expand his project to the Maasai areas of northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. He is working there with Jemma Enolengila, who helps run the Noonkodin School in a Maasai area near Arusha. Villagers there are eager to move forward with a stoves-for-solar program if Lange can find the $50,000 or so he needs to make it happen.
Lange in his Cambridge home-office, photo by the Boston Globe's Matthew Lee.
A footnote: I wrote that Tanzania is in southern Africa. A reader, airline pilot and air travel writer Patrick Smith, notes that Tanzania is better described as part of East Africa. While Tanzania is a member of the Southern African Development Community, it is more often said to be in East Africa, and Kenya is certainly in East Africa. I would have been better off using the less specific "sub-Saharan Africa" -- no doubt there. Patrick has an excellent blog about air travel on salon.com.
A reader notes that much of the credit for the shift in thinking should go to Lawrence Summers, who was Harvard's president from 2001 to 2006, when he resigned amid several controversies. Summers aggressively promoted Harvard's international ties, and, after a generation in which Harvard students were actively discouraged from wasting any time away from campus, Summers told the faculty to get their students abroad -- "It's time to get out of town," the reader recalls him saying.
I spoke with Harvard President Drew Faust last week before she left for a trip to China about Harvard's steadily more global strategy. Faust is in Shanghai today, dedicating the new premises of the Harvard Shanghai Center. Describing Harvard's numerous international initiatives and the multitude of faculty exchange programs, she told the ceremony: "Increasingly, we are in a world of universities without borders."
Faust told me the push to get students to travel abroad really accelerated in 2002, shortly after Summers took over. Indeed, Summers' commencement speech from 2005 reads like a manifesto for Harvard to be part of the world and live up to its global responsibilities, especially in developing countries.
"I am pleased to be able to report to you that the Harvard student experience is changing in ways that prepare our students for a world that some of them will go on to shape, and in which all of them will need to think globally"
Summers quoted Dean William Kirby's line, "there's no place to study China like China," and went on:
"With his leadership and that of his colleagues, I am pleased to report that we are approaching the day when, like the swimming test for a previous generation of Harvard undergraduates, an international experience will be the norm and expectation for future generations of Harvard undergraduates."
Summers' predecessor, Neil Rudenstine, stepped up the internationalization of Harvard in the 1990s, opening offices abroad, creating the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and opening offices abroad. But the shift to encourage Harvard students to study abroad really began in earnest in the past decade, under Summers, and has sped up even further under Faust.
But it turns out that a Boston mining company, Cabot Corp., is one of the few processors in the world of tantalum, which is used in common electronics products that we all use every day.
Cabot -- which does not mine any tantalum in Congo -- is hosting a conference in April in Boston of members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to make sure the industry only uses tantalum that is mined responsibly.
My colleague Emily Sweeney wrote a fascinating story in the Globe this week about the exploitative mining of tantalum and other minerals, and traces how Cabot and others are working to ensure they don't buy such "conflict minerals." The electronics coalition includes 40 global companies, among them Cabot, Dell, Apple, Intel, EMC Corp. and Best Buy.
Sweeney writes: The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and another industry group, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, are working to develop a way to certify smelters who obtain tantalum through “socially and environmentally responsible mines’’ in Congo and surrounding countries."
Agassi is co-winner of this year's Asper Award, given annually by the Brandeis International Business School to entrepreneurs "who have demonstrated exemplary citizenship, creativity, innovation, and business success."
The other winner is Michael Granoff, an Israeli investor who believed in Agassi's vision, invested in it -- and has helped raise hundreds of millions more from other investors to try to turn the idea into reality. Granoff is president of Maniv Energy Capital.
Agassi's company, called Better Place, has generated plenty of industry buzz, although the technical and financial challenges remain daunting. The system is scheduled to go into service in two test countries, Israel and Denmark, in 2011.
Granoff will attend and Agassi will speak via video link in a forum titled, "Driving Down Electric Avenue: A New Route to an Oil-Independent World?" The event is Tuesday, March 23, at 5 p.m., and is open to the public. Here's a link to register.
The idea is fascinating: drivers could charge their car batteries at home, but also could stop in to swap a low battery for a fully charged one, in less time than it takes to fill your tank with gasoline. But that would require billions of dollars in infrastructure, especially in big countries like the United States, a key future market. So far only Renault has committed to take part. Still, in January, Better Place won an additional $350 million in capital from investors. So some big players, including HSBC and Morgan Stanley, are betting that it will work.
Here's a recent video report about Better Place on Clean Skies News.
A panel discussion at the Boston Public Library from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, will offer perspectives on this very modern evil from some of the foremost experts on slavery -- including Francis Bok, himself a former slave. The event is free and open to the public.
The panel is being hosted by Primary Source, the Watertown-based organization that has worked for 25 years to help teachers and their students in Massachusetts schools to become informed about world affairs and foreign cultures. Details here on the requested RSVP.
I love the description of the mission of the 13 staff members on the Primary Source web site: "the staff is dedicated to curricular innovation with the goal of helping students become globally competent."
The modern slavery panel includes:
--Katherine Chon, co-founder of the Polaris Project, a Washington non-profit that fights Human Trafficking, and a fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government;
--Benjamin Skinner, a journalist and fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard who wrote: "A Crime so Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery;
--Zoe Trodd from the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of the American South, who wrote: "Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People."
--Francis Bok, who was enslaved for 10 years in his native Sudan before escaping to the United States, where he is a prominent abolitionist and author of "Escape from Slavery."
In Kabul, graduates received their master's degrees today through a new program created with the support of education specialists from UMass Amhert. Photo courtesy of Professor David R. Evans.
In war-torn Afghanistan, university master's degrees are so rare that graduation caps, gowns, and diploma covers are hard to come by.
But with help from educators from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a ceremony in Kabul today celebrated 41 students who earned their master's in education, nearly doubling the number of master's-level faculty at education colleges in the country.
Professor David R. Evans, who leads the UMass team that designed the post-graduate Afghan program, said staffers from UMass staffers helped fashion the graduation garb and diplomas.
"Certainly for the last 20 years there's been nothing like this," Evans said by telephone from the Afghan capital.
Twenty-two of the graduates recently completed the new two-year program at Kabul Education University -- the first master's degrees in education within the country at least since the Taliban takeover in the 1990s. The other 19 completed their degree work recently at UMass Amherst and Indiana University, and joined their counterparts from Kabul university for the event.
The Kabul master's program is one element in a wide-ranging Afghan initiative by education specialists from UMass Amherst, who have been bolstering teacher education in the country since 2003.
Evans, who has spent more than 40 years at the Center for International Education at UMass Amherst, said 10 of the 22 graduates from the first class of the Kabul Education University are women, and the graduates range in age from their 20s to over 40. They completed their coursework in Dari, an Afghan language, in December, and all are currently teaching at 16 schools of education around the country, along with the recent graduates from the US universities.
In this way, the American-backed master's in education program will help seed schools of education around the country with trained faculty who in turn will share their expertise with hundreds if not thousands of teachers. Education has always been seen as a pillar of rebuilding Afghanistan, and Taliban rebels have frequently targeted teachers and schools, especially those for girls.
The UMass team has worked with colleagues from Indiana University over the past five years to design and implement the master's program at the country's flagship school of education, thanks to a five-year, $7.4 million grant from the US Agency for International Development/ to develop teacher-training staff and institutions. The Kabul master's program employs three Americans and six Afghans, including Wahid Omar, an Afghan-American, who has coordinated the master's degree program.
Evans and his UMass colleagues, including Associate Professor Joseph Berger, who is chairman of the department of education policy, research and administration, have also been involved in several other education initiatives in Afghanistan, including a new project to improve medical education.
The event drew much attention in Kabul, Evans said. The US ambassador and the Afghan minister for higher education attended.
Evans said he and Berger have traveled to Afghanistan about a dozen times since 2003. He said the five-year contract with USAID ends in January 2011, but he hopes to continue to contribute to improving teacher education in Afghanistan in the future.
The initiative reaches beyond Kabul, with professional development centers running in eight other cities including Kandahar, Herat, and Kunduz. Hundreds of faculty have taken courses in subjects including pedagogy training, leadership in education, and computer literacy.
In an address titled "the War in Afghanistan: How to End It," Miliband said the Afghan government should not only try to win over low-level rebel fighters but should also try to engage insurgent leaders and other political foes who are willing to enter into a dialogue, even if that means making concessions to rivals.
"The idea of political engagement with those who would directly or indirectly attack our troops is difficult," Miliband said in a prepared text. "But dialogue is not appeasement and political space is not the same as veto power or domination."
Along with engaging domestic political foes and insurgent leaders, Afghanistan should reach out to neighboring countries, including Pakistan, India and Iran, and work for "a new external political settlement," Miliband said.
"There needs to be a greater effort to reach out not just to disaffected Afghans, but the country's neighbors and near neighbors," he said.
Miliband's appeal for negotiations and a comprehensive settlement seemed designed to step up the pressure on President Hamid Karzai to act more forcefully to exploit the political opportunity that has been forged at great cost by the US troop surge and the month-old US-British military offensive in the south.
At the same time, Miliband may be offering the Obama Administration political room to embrace negotiations with the Taliban. The United States has been willing to encourage reintegration of low-level fighters who are willing to turn in their weapons, but has stopped short of embracing negotiations with the Taliban leadership until it can be done from a position of strength.
Miliband, who spent time at Bigelow Junior High School in Newton in the late 1970s and earned a master's degree in political science from MIT in 1990, laid out his Afghanistan policy vision in the annual Compton Lecture at Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus.
He said a flurry of developments had created a window of opportunity for Karzai to begin an aggressive political offensive, both within the country and in the region. The United States deployed an additional 30,000 troops last year, and a combined US-British operation launched last month has thrown thousands of US, British and Afghan troops against the Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province.
Across the border, the Pakistani government has shown a new willingness to challenge the Taliban's logistical base in the tribal areas of the border region, squeezing the rebels there as well.
Furthermore, Karzai can now claim a measure of political legitimacy through his re-election last year, as flawed as it was by fraud allegations. Miliband noted that Karzai has called a nationwide political forum in late April that could help repair some of the political errors that excluded many political players from power after the 2001 US-led invasion overthrew the Taliban. In particular, he noted that the Pashtun who form Afghanistan's largest ethnic group were "seriously under-represented" in that post-Taliban political settlement, in the government as well as in the Afghan Army.
The system is also too highly centralized, Miliband said, failing to integrate the informal local structures of justice and power that Afghans use to run their lives.
"My case today is that a reintegration program will have major impact only if it is coupled with a serious effort to address the grievances of those whom President Karzai describes as his 'disaffected compatriots'," Miliband said. Getting insurgents to switch sides will be difficult "without a genuine effort to understand and ultimately address the wider concerns which fuel the insurgency."
In Uganda, wheelchair user and activist Fatuma Acan tests the lever-powered wheelchair with Amos Winter, in blue t-shirt, and student Tish Scolnik, in MIT cap.
I wrote in the Globe today about the work of Amos Winter, a doctoral candidate at MIT who has devised an innovative wheelchair for use in developing countries. This blog entry offers links to a number of useful resources in this daunting field.
Winter, a 30-year-old New Hampshire native, is testing a prototype of his lever-powered wheelchair in three African countries. He hopes it will prove easier for wheelchair riders to use in rugged, hilly terrain than traditional hand-rim chairs.
Amos's MIT web site is a great resource on his work. And here's the on-line catalog for the course he teaches at MIT in wheelchair design. He also founded a lab at MIT for mobility projects, called the M-Lab, which in turn is part of the innovative D-Lab of senior lecturer and inventor Amy Smith, which develops low-tech, low-cost sustainable technology.
I spoke with three of the testers, in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and their response was uniformly positive. Winter soon will head to Guatemala for more testing of 30 more chairs, and hopes that the device he calls the "Leveraged Freedom Chair" could go into wide production with a couple years.
Readers responded with great admiration for Winter and his work, judging by the on-line comments posted with the story on Boston.com. Also be sure to see the video on Winter's project by Globe staffer Dina Rudick, below, and the cool interactive graphic by Javier Zarracina and Aaron Atencio.
Some people noted that powering a wheelchair with levers is not a new idea (and I did note that in the article). This Wheelchair Pride blog entry provides links to many of the existing lever-driven chairs. Many of those chairs are fairly pricey, however, and lack the simplicity of Winter's chair -- which he hopes to sell for about $200, similar to other basic chairs sold in the Third World.
But wheelchair design is complicated, as guru Ralf Hotchkiss told me. The engineering challenges are surprisingly daunting -- and mistakes can cause or aggravate serious problems such as pressure sores. Here are a few useful links to organizations doing noteworthy work in this field.
Hotchkiss founded Whirlwind Wheelchair International, a pioneer in the field. The site is a great resource for background information.
Another major international advocacy group is Motivation Charitable Trust, in the UK, which provides a range of products and services to increase mobility for physically disabled people in the Third World. Like Whirlwind, Motivation also works in Africa with some of the groups that Winter has worked with for the past five years.
In Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya, a major ally is the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya, which produces wheelchairs in great numbers.
In Uganda, see MADE Uganda, short for Mobility Appliances by Disabled Women Entrepreneurs. And in Tanzania, several organizations are based in the northeastern town of Moshi, including the Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT), and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center.
As more workers have gone on antiretroviral drugs to treat the symptoms, the researchers have also examined how well laborers are able to return to work once the drugs are working.
This applied research was carried out in the Kenyan tea town of Kericho, led by the team from the BU Center for Global Health and Development. Their work is captured in vivid depth in a package of articles and videos posted today on the BU Today news web site. It's also the cover story on the quarterly alumni magazine, Bostonia.
In November, the research team, led by Dr. Jonathon Simon, met with the plantation executives and local health officials to present the results they had compiled in a preliminary research study published in July in the Boston Medical Center Public Health journal: HIV-positive men, it turned out, are able to return to work with nearly full energy once on retrovirals. Women, however, often find it harder to resume full work in the fields, although they can return to other less strenuous work on the plantations.
The research has been conducted with the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Simon is director of the BU global health center as well as principal researcher on the Kenya project.
The BU website account quotes Dr. Josephine Maende, a physician who works in a tea estate hospital, as saying: "We were very pleased to see these reports coming in. They affirm what we’ve been seeing: that even patients who were quite sick could take their drugs and return to work. We’re hoping this study will encourage the company to get people to come for testing much sooner, so we can start treatment before their productivity goes down. This is a very good incentive for better, earlier care.”
The festival, started in 2008, is organized by the Boston office of the American Islamic Congress.
The festival's blurb on the film: "Filmed in six years, twelve countries and nine languages, “A Jihad for Love” explores the complex intersections between Islam and homosexuality around
the world. Award-winning filmmaker Parvez Sharma, himself a gay Muslim, explores a diversity of Muslim gay experiences by illuminating personal stories in locales as wide-ranging as Egypt, France, India, Iran, South Africa, and Turkey. Sharma’s film also tackles the subject of “jihad” by reclaiming the term as a struggle for love."
"Then join a discussion with Sharma and Yusuf Nasrullah, an openly gay member of the local Muslim community, moderated by Emmy-winning reporter Jared Bowen of WGBH."
This is the second of five films in the Spring 2010 festival. For details see the full festival web page.
A six-member delegation from the Hangzhou municipal government arrived in Boston on Tuesday, in time for a reception by the opera's supporters at the Four Seasons Hotel. But the main attraction for the visitors is tonight's benefit gala performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. The legend of Madame White Snake, a snake-demon who becomes a woman so she can fall in love with a man, takes place in Hangzhou.
Tonight's gala is not the official world premiere -- that's Friday night -- but the first full performance of the opera provides a chance to celebrate several extraordinary collaborations. In creating the opera, librettist Cerise Lim Jacobs has fostered partnerships between the Boston arts world and the city's Chinese community, as well as between Opera Boston and the Beijing Music Festival, in pulling off the first opera commissioned in Boston in decades.
Rehearsing "Madame White Snake." Soprano Ying Huang works with director Robert Woodruff, and other cast members. Globe staff photo by Yoon S. Byun
I wrote an account in the Sunday Globe about Jacobs, a former corporate lawyer and prosecutor, came up with the idea and then made it happen. My Boston.com colleague Scott LaPierre produced a video about the opera, and a photo gallery of pictures by Globe photographers shows it coming together.
The Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center worked with the "Friends of Madame White Snake" to create classes and seminars -- including "Opera 101" -- to teach members about Western and Chinese opera over the past year. More than 1,000 school children took part, many at the Josiah Quincy School in Chinatown.
Jacobs even wrote a youth play based on the legend, entitled "When the White Snake Cries." Hundreds of young people, many bused from Chinatown, attended the shows at the Art Barn Community Theater in Brookline, said Carmen Chan, director of development for the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, one of the region's largest social service organizations.
Giles Li, the arts director for the center, says the arts programs have been a useful way for Chinese-Americans who have moved out to the suburbs to stay connected with their community, even if they no longer rely on the neighborhood center for social services.
Selina Chow, the board president of the BCNC who focuses heavily on education programs, connected with Cerise Lim Jacobs and Hsiu-Lan Chang, a Brookline resident who as co-chair of Friends of Madame White Snake has worked non-stop to engage the community and raised funds for the three-performance run. Together they built up the community outreach efforts.
Tongiht's gala was organized by the Friends to raise funds as well as acknowledge all the community involvement. The BCNC received 100 tickets for its members, and the Friends also have donated tickets to other groups including the Perkins School for the Blind and the Massachusetts National Guard.
Carole Charnow, the general director of Opera Boston, said the opera "really has integrated the Chinese experience into the Theater District in a substantial and rich way."
Elaine Ng, the executive director of the BCNC, said the opera project "is bringing back an element of our history and culture, and making it accessible. This is an opportunity to bring it back for Chinese immigrants, and Americans who don't have the language. This opens up a whole new audience. It's a whole different level of cultural exposure."
The opera also has reawakened the mystery of the Madame White Snake legend, in Cerise Jacobs' first English-language interpretation. "For me," said Carmen Chan, "the demons always stood out. Now I see it as more of a love story."
The Hangzhou delegation includes Xie Chongming, deputy director of the city's foreign affairs office, and finance officials Zhang Zhen and Lu Bin. Hangzhou is one of eight official sister cities for Boston. The city, located in Zhejiang Province southwest of Shanghai, is regarded as one of the most scenic and important cultural centers in China.
The opera may be performed at some point in Hangzhou. For now, it is scheduled to open the month-long Beijing Music Festival in October.
Song Tu, the program director for the festival, said by telephone that the Beijing festival's artistic director, Long Yu, had co-commissioned the work with Opera Boston in part because "he wants Westerners to open their eyes to China, and see how we can connect with the world through the music, through creative, imaginative methods, and not only to represent the more famous traditional repertoire."
Song Tu is himself a product of the Boston-China connection. He got his master's in clarinet performance at Boston University in the late 1980s and lived in Boston for almost 10 years. He said he has noticed how James Levine has also widened the repertoire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in recent years, "and he is open to more cultures and perspectives."
"Madame White Snake", Song Tu said, is more than just Chinese culture, but reflects "the world's culture. It is not not purely Western, and it is not Chinese Peking opera. I'm sure there are a lot of elements in between. And this is the point."
Farmer spoke to an overflow crowd yesterday at Harvard Medical School, where he is chairman of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and to colleagues from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he runs the Global Health Equity division. And of course Farmer's other Boston role is at Partners in Health, which he cofounded in 1987 with the current director, Ophelia Dahl, and other colleagues.
I wrote an account of Farmer's talk in the Globe today. I also checked in with Partners in Health on their extraordinary fund-raising since the quake, when the non-profit global health organization became a principal organizer of emergency medical aid. Partners in Health says it has raised more than $52 million since the quake -- more than twice its budget for its massive, on-going Haiti project for the entire year.
Partners in Health will face some daunting challenges as it weighs so many competing demands and priorities for restoring longer-term health services in Haiti -- and, as Farmer said yesterday, also trying to get at some of the chronic ills in Haiti as well as the acute ailments from the quake.
Farmer's entire Harvard talk is available via webcast here.
One point worth noting. Farmer himself cautioned against over-emphasizing the work of individual doctors and nurses in Haiti.
"How many times must we learn that the image of the heroic doctor working alone is a romantic image from another era, that what we need are teams, and above all, systems to deliver services effectively," he said. There had been much heroism in Haiti in the last month by doctors, nurses and citizens, "but all of them have needed a system within which to work."
Today, the Boston Foundation said that more than 1,000 donors have chipped in and matched the original $1 million from the Ansaras -- passing the $2 million goal. And the organizers say they aren't stopping there.
A gift of $100,000 from Wilmer Ruperti, head of a Venezuelan oil trading and shipping company, put the Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Fund over the $1 million mark in matching funds.
The milestone was announced at an event at the Boston Foundation featuring Haitian music, artwork and cuisine, and attended by Haitian community leaders as well as Boston-area philanthropists.
In the keynote address, author Tracy Kidder described the dramatic first days of emergency relief work by doctors from Boston-based Partners in Health and other organizations. He said Partners Dr. Louise Ivers, who was in Haiti at the time of the quake for a conference, had to use license plates for splints at first.
Kidder is the author of "Mountains Beyond Mountains," the 2003 book about Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health and long-time Haiti specialist.
Kidder said a chronic problem in Haiti has been the lack of coordination among foreign aid groups, and that was a factor complicating the initial response to the quake. Going forward, he said, aid groups should follow the lead of the Haitian government and not create a parallel system.
Long before the quake, Jim Ansara, who built the Shawmut Design and Construction Co. into a national force in the industry, had been working for months with Dr. David Walton of Brigham and Women's Hospital to plan a major new Partners in Health hospital in Haiti.
When the quake hit, Walton flew immediately to Haiti to help treat victims. Ansara joined Walton two days later, and they worked shoulder to shoulder to get the main hospital in Port-au-Prince functioning again over the next 12 days.
Walton has produced a powerful video on his experiences in Haiti, with his own heart-rending photos. He helped treat about 800 patients on his first day in Port-au-Prince as part of a Partners in Health team.
Meanwhile, Karen Ansara was also hard at work in Boston, leaning on others to meet the Ansaras' $1 million challenge. The new fund the Ansaras created is administered through the Boston Foundation, as is the 10-year-old Ansara Family Fund, which the Ansaras created with part of the earnings from Shawmut.
Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, said, "it's a milestone, not a conclusion. We are going to go on from here.... The tremendous result has exceeded our wildest dreams, and given us the courage to continue to grow the fund."
The goal is to support long-term reconstruction and job-creation, and also to support the Haitian-American community in Boston -- the third-largest in the United States -- as it copes with the immense impact of the quake.
The Ansaras have insisted that Haiitian community leaders in Boston are closely involved in deciding how the money is used and in shaping the programs.
Karen Ansara said the Haiti fund had already made grants of $195,000 to a number of Haitian and Boston organizations. She said 25 percent of the funds would go to disaster relief, and 75 percent to long-term rebuilding.
Echoing Kidder, she said that in rebuilding Haiti, "We need a new grassroots model that recognizes Haiti's rural economy, and not one that turns it into a factory to make shirts and baseballs."
Ansara called Boston "a city without borders," noting it has 175 international institutions that give the city a great capacity to become a hub of international giving and support for Haiti, but she added, "we insist that Haitians sit at the table" when decisions are made on their behalf.
After the Jan. 12 earthquake, he traveled back with a team from Boston University that is looking at how to help Haiti rebuild. He wrote a moving personal account of the trip for BU Today.
There's also an evocative slide show of photos taken by Rolbein and Ellen LeBow that shows not only the destruction but also the return to life of some Haitian communities.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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