Student Research Trip to Burma

This summer, a few students from the Institute for Global Leadership’s program for Narrative and Documentary Practice traveled to Burma for 10 days. There, they worked with photojournalists Gary Knight and Philip Blenkinsop to put their learning and research into practice.

In this Tufts Daily video, you’ll meet a group of ambitious undergraduates who used the opportunity to interact closely with the Burmese people and carry out unique research projects. They also share some stunning photographs of the city, daily interactions, rituals, food, and nightlife they encountered throughout their travels.

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Tufts in Spain Gets Comfortable

While Jumbos on the hill are a month into their classes and beginning to feel the semester pick up, Tufts in Spain students are just getting acquainted with Madrid and Alcala, the two cities where the program resides. The getting-acquainted process was aided by the introduction of the program’s newest event, the “Finde de Intercambios” or “Exchange Weekend.”

The weekend kicked off with a fiesta de intercambios, a casual party in which students met their intercambios, Spanish students at the University of Alcala and Autonomous University of Madrid who were assigned to Tufts students as pen pals so they could foster relationships and practice their language skills before heading to Spain. The weekend continued with guided tours of both Madrid and Alcala.

For an insider look at their Exchange Weekend, check out these pictures and videos from the fiesta de intercambios in Madrid:

 For updates on how the group is doing adapting to Spanish culture, keep an eye on the program’s blog – but be warned, most entries are written in Spanish!

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World Damba Festival 2012

The World Damba Festival, a 3-day conference highlighting the music, dance, and traditions of Northern Ghana, was held at Tufts this year from September 14-16. The festival was free and open to the public, and it featured a wide variety of events, many of them supported by the Tufts Department of Music, as well as several other departments and offices throughout the university. Highlights included a folk music concert, lectures on the history and sociology of Ghana, a performance by Tufts’ Dagomba Drumming Ensemble, and a fashion show featuring members of Tufts’ African Students Organization.

While the festival attracted participants from around the world, Tufts students and faculty were a significant presence at different events throughout the weekend. It was a festival filled with tons of energy, plentiful Ghanian food, lively drum circles, and stimulating discussions–a great way for Tufts to forge a connection with the Ghanian community at large.

Here’s a video from the event:



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Talloires Summit

Tufts’ campus in Talloires, France is the setting for a few different programs – for undergraduates as well as for high school students, alumni and adults.

The high school program, “Tufts Summit,” is designed for rising high school juniors and seniors who are interested in international relations. For six weeks, the students live with a French host family, take a college-level international relations course, travel, spend time outdoors hiking and swimming, and experience French culture first hand.

The Tufts University European Center recently posted photos from this summer’s summit on their  Facebook page. Check out these photos and head to their Facebook page for the complete album:

Hikes with Bernard


Visit to Lyon


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Exhibition and Social Change

Rising senior Charmaine Poh, A13, lives international relations: spending her time between Singapore, New York City, and the hill, and she has even fit in a few trips to Nepal, India, and Burma. She’s merged her life experiences around the world with the Jumbo focus on active citizenship and shared her thoughts via her personal blog.

She recently attended a few exhibitions mixing art and social change:

Photo by Charmaine Poh, "You've Got a Fast Car"

And she was inspired to bring what she saw to the hill:

Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to put what I’ve learned into practice at Tufts…. What I’ve managed to do is miniscule in scale in comparison to what could happen in the future, but I’m nevertheless optimistic.

I’d like to see the corporate and the non-profit world team up, breaking down the stereotypes each industry sees in the other, and in turn focusing their eyes on a common cause. I’d like to see fashion entities, arts festivals, museums and the like adopt this into their corporate social responsibility strategy, knowing that it can benefit them. And likewise, non-profits need to know that creativity does not necessarily mean a waste of funds. If anything, it’s time to think relevant. You need no further proof than charity:water to see the truth of this.

Check out more of Poh’s moments of inspiration here.

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Summer Reading

In addition to these great reads brought to you by the Tufts community via Facebook and TuftsNow, The Fletcher School suggests a fun and different alternative to your summer reading: student blogs. In a recent blog post, they highlight seven blogs worth a read from students working and researching in places as far and wide as Uganda and Guatemala. They also included a note from a Elia, a student interning in Libya, who is witnessing history while abroad this summer:

In this moment of jubilation in Tripoli, let me wish all of you the chance to experience — either directly for your own country, or indirectly through friends — a peoples’ first opportunity at political self-determination.

No matter the likely political troubles ahead, no matter democracy’s many flaws, no matter how much of a transitional government this new government in Libya will still be, the weight of today’s simple exercise is source of immeasurable joy in its own for millions of Libyans. You just can’t put it in words.

Witnessing fellow human beings go through something like this is truly extraordinary.

–A European who never had to fight with guns for the right to vote for his leaders.

For more on the Fletcher School and their extraordinary students, check out their blog, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook.


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Tufts China Care Annual Report

This summer, Tufts China Care, an on-campus organization focused on helping local Chinese adoptees and special needs children in China,  proudly revealed the fruits of their labor for the 2011-2012 school year in their annual report. In this school year, they managed to raise 47% more funds which went toward the costs of surgeries for 10 orphans in China who suffered from cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, or hydrocephalus–a 25% increase in surgeries than previous years! Eighty percent of these funds came from their well-known fundraising fashion show, LUX 2012, which sold more than 400 tickets.

The group works with the local community through their group, Dumplings, in which China Care members mentor Chinese adoptees and help them explore their Chinese heritage and their Asian-American identities. The report features details from Dumplings as well as their CSA Atrium: The Forbidden City and bubble tea sales fundraisers. But the best part of their colorful report? The adorable pictures of the babies whose lives they helped changed, of course!

For more on Tufts China Care, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


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Preparing for the Olympics

It’s finally time for the Olympics! To celebrate the fast-approaching games, two members of the Tufts community have dedicated posts on their blogs to their favorite competition with a little Jumbo spin.

Patrick Haneber, A15, starts us off with a little background on the venue for the Olympics, as well as a peek into his love for the games in a post he contributed to the Uloop Blog, a blog that promotes Uloop-The Student Powered Marketplace:

Looking back four years to the 2008 Beijing Games, the architecture unleashed there still blows me away. The nest-like structure of the Beijing National Stadium, the gravity-defying façade of the headquarters for China Central Television, and the bubbly surface of the National Aquatic Center were all so eccentric and iconic that viewers world-wide had no choice but to forever implant them in their memories.

The IOC seems to have gone for the opposite effect in the 2012 Olympic venues, opting to embrace the rich history of the city rather than give it a new identity altogether. After all, how could the IOC overlook places like Hyde Park, Wimbledon, and Wembley Stadium? These, along with plenty of other previously standing locales will be heavily relied upon to accommodate many of the thousands athletes competing in 302 different events. Among the new structures specially completed for the 2012 Games are the £486 million Olympic Stadium, the lego-like Basketball Arena, and the London Velopark, used for the velodrome bike and BMX races.

Bridget Conley, Research Director at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, continues where Patrick left off and gives us a little insight into the countries and athletes competing in the games. She focuses her post on the participation of unstable, or ‘failed,’ nations in the event in one of her posts for the World Peace Foundation’s blog–Reinventing Peace:

The Olympic countdown clock informs us that in 8 days and an ever-decreasing number of hours, minutes, and seconds the2012 Olympic Games will begin. For those of us based in the U.S., this means television coverage only of sports where Americans are expected to either 1) win medals or 2) wear bikinis (or both).  But in WPF’s unceasing quest to elucidate the dimensions of war and peace, we will run a series of postings on sport and political conflict. In this first posting, we offer a special pre-Olympic glimpse of teams we might not otherwise hear about: the 2012 teams from the top 20 failed states.

We’ll make use of the 2012 Failed States Index–not least to illustrate how the characterization of a state as “failed” doesn’t mean it cannot succeed in a number of important things, such as winning gold medals. The index rankings use economic, social, political, and military indicators to create a hierarchy of states based on their relative degree of stability or risk of violence and collapse.

With a bit more knowledge on some of the athletes and the city where they will compete, we’re more than ready for the 2012 Olympics! Are you?

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Tufts GlobeMed in Achham

This past June, Tufts GlobeMed reached their one year anniversary! GlobeMed is a student organization that partners with Nyaya Health to strive to bring health equity to rural Nepal. In their short time as an official organization at Tufts, they have accomplished an impressive goal:  they reached their fundraising goal by 161%. Three of their members are currently interning with Nyaya Health in Achham, Nepal, as an international GrassRoots On-site Work (GROW) team creating sustainable healthcare and providing knowledge to the Achham community. They detail their eye-opening experiences as they grow abroad in their blog, GROWing in Achham. In one of their entries, David Meyers, A13, describes the difficult contrast between his surroundings the reality of the area that he’s helping:
There is so much beauty here. Beauty in the scenery, and in tricks of the light. Beauty in the wedding of two staff members, and all of the staff’s incredible commitment to the hospital. Beauty in the resilience of the patients who walk for hours in the morning to get their treatments, and then walk hours back at night to go work in their fields. Beauty in the son who stays by his mother’s side as she struggles through MDR TB, and in the kid that pulled through from a case of Kala Azar.
But there is also hardship here in Achham. In the patients who we can’t help and who don’t make it back home.
This is a land of beauty that deserves beauty. That is why we do our work.

Keep it up, Tufts GlobeMed! Feel free to send some praise their way on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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Tufts in Rwanda: 2012 Edition

Two years ago, we showed you how students on Tufts Hillel’s service trip to Rwanda learned and grew abroad. This year, Tufts Hillel continues their legacy of helping the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village with a new batch of students eager to repair the world. On their own branch of the Tufts Hillel blog, we find the stories of  Hannah, Sam, Paige, Nate, Natasha, Arlen, Jessica, Ariana, Katie, Shane, Laura, and Tayo as they embark on their interfaith service trip:

“We all chose to come to Rwanda for different reasons and had different expectations, but we were all excited to be going. Some wanted to see a new country, while some wanted to see a new continent. Others wanted to experience a new culture. I think all of us wanted to learn about what had happened in 1994, and many also wanted the trip to help guide them to their future career choices.
                  I will never forget the moment we stepped off the plane. I’m (Tayo) from Ghana, and when I go home I’m used to being hit with the hot air and the smell that can only mean that I’m finally in the place I love the most. But here I was, in Rwanda, a place I’d never been to, feeling sensations that were almost the same! I (Laura) was entirely unsure of what to expect as I had never been to Africa before. However, we both felt that after feeling the hot air and seeing the bright lights of Kigali—the endless hours of travel had all been worth it. We went through immigration and, after dealing with some luggage issues, hopped on the bus to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The bus ride was surreal. Although it was night time and everybody was exhausted, we were all so excited to be in the country that we had read and watched so much about.”

The trip is part of Hillel’s Alternative Summer Break program. For more journeys to Rwanda, check out the Tufts in Rwanda student groups from 2011 and 2010.

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