The Fletcher School

Tufts Supports Japan

Jumbos from across disciplines and schools are joining in on the relief effort to aid Japan in its recovery from the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the country last Friday.

From selling bags of snacks in the Campus Center and holding a basketball fundraiser event in Lewis Hall to painting a “Support Japan” message on the cannon, Tufts undergrads are coming together for the cause. The Tufts Japanese Culture Club has pledged to raise $5,000 by the end of the semester to benefit the Red Cross relief fund for Japan.

Over at Fletcher, students have also been focused on aggregating crucial aid information through a crisis mapping software program called Ushahidi.

In addition, a recent update on Fletcher’s website promotes a T-shirt fundraiser run by students from Fletcher and other schools in the Boston area:

In response to the devistation in Japan, Japanese students in the greater Boston area, hailing from Fletcher, MIT, Harvard and Boston University have come together in an effort to help the victims of the earthquakes and tsunamis by launching “Action4JapanBoston.”

This new volunteer organization has created a donation campaign which kicks off on Tuesday, March 15 in The Fletcher School’s Hall of Flags. “Action4JapanBoston” T-shirts will be sold for $20 (supplemental donations can be made as well). All proceeds will be transferred to The American Red Cross (and then forwarded on to The Japanese Red Cross Society).

Shirts will be on sale in the Hall of Flags on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (from 10am-4pm) and on Friday (from 10am-1pm). Shirts will be delivered after the spring break concludes.

Your donations will help bring a measure of comfort to those who have lost nearly everything.

Tisch College is also compiling a list of ways you can help.

To read more about crisis mapping at Tufts, see this previous Jumble post.

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Tufts Bikes

Tufts Bikes seeks to provide free bike sharing for the Tufts Community. “Getting Tufts going on two wheels,” Tufts Bikes is in partnership with Tisch Library, Tufts Crafts Center, and Tufts Office of Sustainability. Additionally, Tufts Bikes has a blog where you can enjoy weekly featured bike videos, updates and pictures. A recent post reads:

A lot of people know about Tufts Bikes as the organization that is starting a bike share at Tufts. We are actually doing a whole lot more. We are working to create a whole bike culture at Tufts. Bike share, bike rides, and a bike shop!”

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Tufts Voices on the Egyptian Military

Egyptian liberal human rights activist Dalia Ziada is currently a graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Ziada, a native of Cairo, has a special interest in women’s issues and authors a blog. In a recent entry on the current protests in Egypt, Zaida writes:

The Military here in Egypt is much respected and trusted than any other authority in the state. I would claim that they played a very important role in making our revolution succeed by simply not using violence. They have never shot any one or harass any protester in any way and under any condition. On the contrary, they have helped save the lives of the protesters against the thugs hired by Mubarak. They refused to comply with Mubarak’s orders to kill protesters. Even before the revolution, whenever they were need to play a civil role, they always do it perfectly with showing high respect to the people.

Tufts graduate Laila Selim (A’10), who was born in Egypt and plans to return there shortly to start a business, was recently interviewed by New England Cable Newsabout the Egyptian military. Like Zaida, she is confident in the military’s ability to do right by the Egyptian people.

Here are previous Jumble posts on the revolution in Egypt:

The Spark of Revolt

Egypt and the Impact of Photojournalism

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Entrepreneurship and Ending Poverty

Tufts alum Robert D. Hormats (A’65), United States Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, recently penned a blog post on the US Department of State official blog. Hormats’ post talks about entrepreneurship as means of creating jobs and promoting “economic democracy,” and discusses how high unemployment rates among educated youth in countries like Egypt have led people to take action in changing their economic circumstances. He writes:

Entrepreneurship, a cornerstone of America’s economic success, represents one of the brightest hopes for expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in emerging markets, and can provide a big economic boost to the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region. While by no means a panacea, entrepreneurs have consistently proved to be a key engine of growth and, critically, job creation. In the United States, from 1980-2005, firms less than five years old accounted for nearly all net job growth. We believe that a focus on entrepreneurship in emerging economies can produce similar results. Moreover, because entrepreneurs create jobs and promote innovation from the bottom up, they are a key force for opening up the economic systems of their countries to groups that have previously been marginalized. In this way, entrepreneurship can be an important component of promoting “Economic Democracy,” whereby greater numbers of people can participate productively in the economy and thereby have the skills and energy to improve their own lives and contribute to their country’s economic advancement.

Hormats also talks about the State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), which brings together private sector partners from America and local communities abroad to create an “integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Days before the protests began in Egypt, the GEP completed its first Entrepreneurship Delegation in Cairo.

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The Spark of Revolt

Rami G. Khouri, a visiting scholar this month at Tufts’ Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, is the director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Khouri, an authority on Middle East politics, spoke to TuftsNow about the current state of affairs in Egypt. He explains:

These things happen on schedules that are difficult to predict, but in retrospect, they always follow a clear pattern. If you look at Tiananmen Square or South Africa or the Soviet Union, you see that the indignities and the humiliations that ordinary people suffer mount up and reach a point where people just simply snap and they fight back, knowing there’s a risk of death and imprisonment. They can’t take the humiliation anymore.

Think about Rosa Parks: why did she not move to the back of the bus that day? She had enough. In Tunisia, it was a young man named Mohamed Bouazizi. He was hit by a cop when he was trying to sell vegetables and fruits on his cart, and he had enough. He burned himself in protest, and that sparked the protests in Tunisia. The Egyptians, in turn, were inspired by the Tunisians.

Here is a recent clip of Khouri’s appearance on PBS NewsHour:

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The Community Health Advocates at Tufts

The Community Health Advocates at Tufts (CHAT) is the first official student group in the Tufts Public Health and Professional Degree program. Made up of Tufts graduate students hailing from a variety of backgrounds, CHAT provides a forum for collaboration between future health care leaders from the Tufts community and advocates for causes such as health care policy and disease prevention.

In partnership with the Massachusetts Public Health Association, CHAT recently blogged about their support of the Act FRESH campaign policy agenda.

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BrandHaiti

Tufts students Marie-Gabrielle Isidore (A’11) and Chad Gordon (A’11) started the organization BrandHaiti — a “student driven non-profit marketing organization that seeks to debunk Haiti’s negative branding” — as a reaction to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last fall.

A recent entry on the BrandHaiti blog penned by Mari-Gabrielle reads:

When we first started developing BrandHaiti last summer, my mentor, Philipp said something so simple yet so profound: “The newspapers and reports are always negative with regards to Haiti; we need to champion the heroes of Haiti…the average people who day and day out try to live dignified lives under extreme circumstances. BrandHaiti must provide an alternative narrative that will help Haiti grow and attract new investors to change the lives of ordinary Haitians.” This became the core mission of BrandHaiti and continues to ring true for our development.

The organization is hosting its “Rebranding Haiti” symposium this Saturday, Feb. 12.

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Tufts Crisis Mapping Class

Crisis mapping, an emerging interdisciplinary field that uses technology to aid in the response to humanitarian emergencies, is being taught this semester through the Ex College at Tufts. The course description reads:

This course aims to teach students about the field and equip them with the skills to use the most important crisis mapping tools. It will also survey, around the world, how crisis mapping technologies are being applied to an increasingly wide range of scenarios, including the monitoring of elections and human rights abuses, citizen journalist mobilization, conflict tracking, and aid evaluation.

Finally, students will become part of a growing global network of skilled ‘crisis mappers.’

Last spring, students from The Fletcher School gathered on the Tufts campus to participate in a crowd-sourcing disaster response program that provided real-time data for the relief effort in Haiti following the devastating effects of the earthquake that struck the country about one year ago.

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A Look at Kurdistan

This past winter break, the Tufts New Initiative for Middle East Peace (NIMEP) traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan (an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi Republic). Ian MacLellan (A’12), a member of NIMEP, served as the official photographer of the student delegation on this trip. He documented the experience by means of a powerful photo essay. He writes:

Kurdish culture has its roots in extremely ancient societies along the Tigris River and has been repressed and destroyed for centuries. Their culture is now a creation and amalgamation of both indigenous and ancient Iranian traditions and a reaction against modern Turkish, Persian and Arab influences.

MacLellan also created a photo timelapse video of scenes from Kurdistan:

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Setting Sail on a New Semester

Fletcher School student Kika Tabacniks wrote on the Fletcher Reflections blog about her experience taking a class with Professor John Curtis Perry, director of the Maritime Studies Program, and shared the insights he offered his students — good words to keep in mind as we begin the spring semester.

1. Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students. In return give as much as you can.

2. Work. If you work it will lead to something.

3. Always go to classes. You are paying a lot for them. And remember Woody Allen’s advice:  “Ninety percent of success is showing up.”

4. Read a lot, the best books and articles you can get your hands on.

5. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Remember it is lighter than you think.

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