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Dispatch from Madrid

James FernandezOur classic course “Masterpieces of the Prado”, which meets weekly at one of the world’s greatest art museums (taught by Julia Domenech and Carmen Ana Sierra), is perhaps the best example of how our faculty and students take advantage of what Madrid has to offer. But virtually all of the courses in Madrid offer exciting co-curricular activities. Here are some recent highlights.
The students in Juan José Tenorio’s “Introduction to Finance” enjoyed an outing to the auditorium of the European Commission, where they heard the eminent economic analyst Ignacio de la Torre speak about “The Case of Spain.”
Andrés Walliser took his “Urban Challenges” class on a walking exploration of Madrid’s dynamic neighborhoods of immigrants, La Latina and Lavapiés. On foot they “read” the city, and learned how the urban fabric and social relations of Madrid’s immigrant neighborhoods today have a lot in common with those that existed when these “barrios bajos” were the emblems of Spanish “authenticity.”
The students in the class taught by Ana Dotras on García Lorca have been to the theater twice, most recently to see Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba.” They also visited the Fundación García Lorca, within the Residencia de Estudiantes, where they were greeted by the poet’s niece, Laura [photo]. Jacqueline Cruz and the students in her “Cultural History of Spain” also visited the Residencia de Estudiantes, where Lorca, Buñuel and Dalí met, as did Carmen Bordón and her students.

Sharing great world texts with the local community in Buenos Aires

In Fall 2013, an ongoing program from New York was brought to NYU’s global site in Buenos Aires. NYU Gallatin’s Great World Texts program has been running for six years in New York. The program involves NYU students going to New York City public schools as mentors for the younger students as they read an annually selected great work of world literature and develop their own creative expressions in response.
This year’s experience in Buenos Aires not only had the program go global to another country but also had it cross languages – Great World Text in Buenoes Aires involved four NYU Buenos Aires students and 65 Argentine public high school seniors (on the English track in a modern languages-focused school) and their five teachers.
All worked in English from September through November on Maxine Hong Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts” – and they produced a lovely video about their experiences. The video was shown at Gallatin’s annual Great World Texts Celebration in November, an event at which the NYC public high school students perform their creative projects live. The Buenos Aires participants later got to celebrate and view photos and examples from the NYC event.
A very fine program and a deep, moving, inspiring experience for all. Here is the video: https://docs.google.com/a/nyu.edu/file/d/0B_R-m_1ReSQPYy14bE5vcUcxVHc/edit

Michelle Boularès – Flaming Passion for French at NYU Paris

Michelle BoularèsEntering her 24th year at NYU Paris, Michelle Boularès is one of the most senior members of the teaching and administrative staff at the site. “Madame Boularès” to the thousands of students who have learned French under her keen and demanding eye, she has helped establish language learning as a centerpiece of students’ experience at NYU Paris, and developed the language program from a small offering of courses to a model of rigor and excellence.
The author of several widely used grammar books, Professor Boularès came to NYU Paris from the elite national school of public administration, the Ecole Nationale de l’Administration (ENA), where she oversaw program development for the school’s international students and taught French as a foreign language. In her tenure as Director of the Language Program at NYUParis she has created innovative courses and helped build a solid and dedicated team of outstanding specialists in teaching French as a foreign language. The program has contributed greatly to the serious academic environment for which NYU Paris is known.
As the program has expanded, Professor Boularès has developed language instruction for undergraduate students whose French language skills range from complete beginner to very advanced. She is attuned to the particular needs of students living in a foreign country, and has created courses designed to activate their speaking and comprehension skills quickly. For the most advanced students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, she has designed courses intended to help them master the skills for university level work, both at NYU and at the University of Paris where they also take courses.
In 2008, Professor Boularès helped create and launch a new joint master’s degree program in Teaching French as a Foreign Language with the Steinhardt School. This highly original program allows students the opportunity to study French language, culture, and teaching methodology for one year in Paris, before completing their teacher training in New York.
NYU Paris now boasts six different levels of French instruction, plus courses in Business French, Acting French, and others. Undergraduate students who arrive with little or no French leave the semester with more than competent speaking, reading, and comprehension skills. Most important, their study of the language provides a foundation for the rest of what they do at NYUP, opening doors to their understanding of France and building their confidence as they get around the city. “Working with American students has been an enormous pleasure,” she states, “their autonomy and creativity, the give and take of the classroom. It is a great pleasure to watch their progress, and everything they discover while they are here.”

NYU Shanghai Student Cited by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama in China Speech

First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama spoke in Beijing on Saturday about the importance of education as part of her official visit to China. Speaking to a group of Chinese and American students, she emphasized the transformative power of education, as well as the benefits of a cross-cultural educational experience.
The First Lady highlighted the role of education in promoting the cross-cultural understanding and communication necessary to confront global challenges.
“[S]tudying abroad isn’t just a fun way to spend a semester; it is quickly becoming the key to success in our global economy,” said the First Lady. Because getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just about getting good grades or test scores in school, which are important. It’s also about having real experience with the world beyond your borders –- experience with languages, cultures and societies very different from your own.”
After the recognizing NYU President John Sexton who was present and characterizing NYU’s educational efforts in Shanghai as “excellent,” Mrs. Obama focused on several students in the audience. She recognized a Chinese scholar who had studied in the United States, as well as several American students who chose to study in China, including Royale Nicholson, a member of NYU Shanghai’s inaugural class. NYU Shanghai is the third degree-granting campus in NYU’s global network, joining NYU in New York and NYU Abu Dhabi. It is a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences research university in the heart of Shanghai.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Royale said she never imagined that she would go to college in China. Royale, a first generation college student, said her hard-working parents instilled in both her and her brother a strong belief in the value of education, and encouraged her to think that she should never let money stand in the way of her goals. Inspired to make the most of her university experience, the opportunity to challenge herself was part of what drew Royale to NYU Shanghai, and a scholarship helped make it possible for her to attend.
“Coming from a school where almost all of the graduating class doesn’t even go to college out of state, much less out of the country, I hope that my unexpected path to NYU Shanghai can encourage others in my school and my city to believe that their dreams don’t have to be confined to the state that they’ve lived in their entire lives,” said Royale. “They should not define or suppress their dreams because of their level of income. I know how easy it can be to slip into the illusion of inferiority. It is just amazing to me — being able to see the dreams of people of China being realized in Shanghai literally overnight. This city oozes persistence, and inspires me to accomplish all that I can.”
Royale says that studying at NYU Shanghai has also prepared her for life as a global citizen. “You learn how to create your own path in your education, and in your life, and the best way to learn how to do so is from your peers, who are from all over the world.”
According to Jeffrey Lehman, Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai, “Royale Nicholson exemplifies the special spirit of NYU Shanghai. Our university enables a select group of students from around the world to prepare themselves for leadership in a century when the China-U.S. partnership will be critical. Royale seized the opportunity to join our very first class, and we are all thrilled that the First Lady chose to recognize her during today’s speech in Beijing.”

Dispatch from London

Gary SlapperIn 1777, the English writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson said “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Certainly, NYU London has been socially rich over the last few months. We have added to our curriculum new courses on epidemiology, Irish history, childhood and adolescent development, fashion texts, fashion history, and the fashion industry. We now have 85 different courses including the sciences, and a great range in arts, social science, humanities and business.
To our splendid array of 90 internationally distinguished faculty, who also teach at London University or other universities and are eminent in their fields of business, journalism, and the arts, we recently said hello to several new colleagues.

  • Dr. Jan Knoerich holds a PhD in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He teaches at King’s College London and NYU London, having taught Chinese economy and research methods at the University of Oxford’s School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies.
  • Dr. Costanza Russo is Lecturer in International Banking Law and in Business Ethics at Queen Mary, University of London. She is also the Academic Director for the LLM in International Banking and Finance in Paris, France. She has held teaching and research positions at the Universities of Bologna and Trento, Italy; and Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Dr P.J. Henry is an associate professor of psychology at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has since held research and teaching positions at the American University of Beirut, Yale, UCSB, and DePaul University. His main research area is on the social psychology of prejudice.

On the facilities front, we have just comprehensively adapted our premises to ensure that we can accommodate students who use wheelchairs.
Last semester we had 1,312 participations on our cultural programme events – a 52 per cent increase in the take-up of our activities and events. Our extensive cultural program last semester included visits to the London Philharmonic Orchestra in concert, Stonehenge, Word Cup Soccer, and a tour of the Harry Potter studios.
Our most recent public symposium was on Race in Modern Britain and featured nationally eminent speakers. Over 300 students participated. We also innovated a series of lunchtime talks by our own renowned faculty – the first two of which were on media portrayals of the leader of the Labour Party, and the organisational operation of the National Health Service.
NYU London supported two book launches for faculty members this semester. NYU London’s Writing Tutor, Emma Sweeney, launched her poetry collection, The Memoir Garden, and Julia Pascal launched her book Political Plays.

Dispatch from Prague

Jiri PeheIt is an exciting time as the Prague program continues to expand and opportunities for collaboration with New York and other sites increase.
Our Music Program is about to get a further boost from our new faculty coordinator, Tony Ackerman. Tony is a highly-respected jazz musician. Tony’s mission is to make the music program more unique to Prague and take advantage of Czech music’s rich history and the numerous world class musical events Prague offers. One of his hopes is to develop a core class on Czech music compulsory for all music students.
NYU Prague has also cooperated with the organizers of the Bohemia Jazz Fest, a prestigious summer jazz festival organized by Rudy Linka, a respected jazz musician of Czech origin, who lives in New York. A summer program for jazz musicians, under the leadership of Prof. David Schroeder of Steinhardt’s Music Department will benefit from cooperating with Bohemia Jazz Fest.
Tisch, too, has exciting plans for Prague. For years we have been collaborating with Tisch on their film program, which is hosted at the prestigious Prague Film Academy. In addition to exploring ways that the film program can integrate more with NYU Prague, we are also in negotiations on starting a stage design program in Prague. In November, Deputy Dean Ken Tabachnik of Tisch met with the Dean of the Prague Theatre Academy Jaroslav Dusek to discuss possibilities for a Tisch stage design program in Prague.
Prague now has been a home for a number of researchers who are part of the Global Research Institute. This year, several have come to explore issues as diverse as gender representation in media in Post-Communist Europe to cycling initiatives in Prague. Several NYU Prague professors–for example, Simon North who teaches a course about Czech art and architecture as well as another focusing on the development of cities in Central Europe, and Petr Mucha, a professor of religion and culture–have received grants to do research in NYC and enjoyed having access to NYU’s extensive library.
In addition to a number of panels and guest talks, every year NYU Prague hosts an international conference during the NYU spring break. This year NYU faculty members Larry Wolff (head of European Studies at CAS) and Josh Tucker (head of Political Science at CAS), will come to Prague to participate as panelists at a conference focusing on European Identity.
In addition to our rich academic program, we keep expanding our extracurricular programs in Prague tohat help students understand the Czech Republic. Prague Wandering, led by NYU Prague journalism professor Dinah Spritzer, is one of the only study abroad web magazines in the world. Students research controversial topics and, under the guidance of their professor, write articles that have been picked up by popular Czech websites.
Community engagement is a priority in Prague. Cultural immersion trips and other activities often provide students with formative experiences. This semester our students heard about the troubles facing the Roma minority on a trip to the industrial city of Ostrava, helped rebuild a century-old brewery, and visited village high schools. A number of students also worked with our staff members to raise funds for a local charity that helps children with cancer. Finally, our Music Program students were able to perform publicly on several occasions.

Dispatch from Florence

Ellyn Toscana
We have been busy as ever at NYU Florence. We continue to have a diverse student body, including students from CAS, Stern, Steinhardt, Liberal Studies and Global Liberal Studies, Tisch, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Gallatin and NYU Abu Dhabi as well as from other universities.
A key component of academic studies at NYU Florence is the opportunity for site visits that allow students to experience the cultural resources of Florence and Italy. Last semester, Professor Salvatore Sberna developed an intensive four-day module of study for students in Palermo, Sicily for his course The Politics of Organized Crime: Italian Mafias in a Comparative Perspective. Students met law enforcement officials, community activists, and local businessmen involved in anti-Mafia activities. Given the trip’s success, Professor Sberna is developing a similar initiative for Naples in Spring 2014.
The Graduate Studies Seminar at Villa La Pietra continues to grow with lectures by outstanding scholars in many fields of Italian Studies. Internationally renowned scholars and emerging new thinkers have presented to graduate students, undergraduates, faculty and members of the scholarly community at large. This fall NYU Faculty were joined by local faculty, fellows from the American Academy in Rome, scholars from the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, faculty from important Italian universities and the European University Institute. The series ended with a round-table co-sponsored by the Tuscan Region, that brought together leading scholars and authors to discuss the work of Carlo Coccioli, an important twentieth-century Italian author.
Giampiero Gallo, Professor of Economics at NYU Florence and the University of Florence, organized an international conference entitled Generation Jobless: Youth Unemployment and Disengagement. The conference was organized to discuss a report of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, bringing NYU Florence students together with their peers at the University of Florence. It was live-streamed to NYU Accra, NYU Madrid and NYU Prague. For more information about this conference, please visit the La Pietra Dialogues website at www.lapietradialogues.org.
The fall semester ended with a La Pietra Dialogue organized by a student, Maria Khimulya. Maria felt that her first semester at NYU Florence had exposed her to the significant history and culture associated with this iconic Italian city of art but wondered if the commitment of the city to maintaining the historical urban space had impeded the development of a visible contemporary culture. This led her to an independent investigation into street art and in her LPD Dialogue Street Art in Florence: Politics and Practices: Conversation with Clet and the No Dump Collective. Maria led a captive audience of students and community members through an animated discussion of the practices and the politics of contemporary street artists.
In some sad news, Professor David Travis, a long-standing and highly esteemed member of our community, passed away at the end of last year. Professor Travis first joined NYU Florence fifteen years ago and served as Academic Director from September 2000 until May 2010 when he returned to full-time teaching. He is missed.

Dispatch from Buenos Aires

Anna Kazumi StahlBuenos Aires vibrantly contrasts New York. It is capital of Argentina, one of the Earth’s Southern-most territories. Yet, though they sit at opposite ends, both great cities share the hemisphere of the Americas and, hence, look towards one another over the diverse terrain and all the echoing American histories in between.
As NYU Buenos Aires is the one global site in the region of Latin America, I thought well of focusing this note on those at NYU Buenos Aires who this fall showed us ways to collaboratively engage with disparate cultures, communicating across a language gap, at times even speaking despite a situation of conflict.
Though a renowned scholar and member of the National Research Council, David Oubiña is also actively recognized in contemporary film: he was invited to serve on the jury for an important regional film festival involving top Latin American talents. Similarly, NYU Buenos Aries’s “Art and the City” professor Florencia Malbran was invited to curate contemporary Argentine artists’ work in Medellin, Colombia.
And as a local fiction writer with a transnational background, I had the honor of giving a TED Talk, apropos of cross-cultural identity and creative evolution in a foreign language, something that speaks pointedly to the fertile benefit of studying abroad.
True to NYU’s global nature, plans are in the works for a networked course “Queer Cultures and Democracy,” a collaboration between NYU Buenos Aires’s Mariano Lopez Seoane and Gabriel Giorgi (Department of Spanish & Portuguese, NYU). This networked course, taught simultaneously in both locations, takes comparative analysis a palpable step further.
NYU Buenos Aires’s Edgardo Dieleke is both an accomplished young scholar and a successful documentary filmmaker. In 2013 he released The Exact Shape of the Islands, a novel approach to the thorny issue of the Malvinas Islands. He recently presented it at universities in Europe, including NYU London – a hopeful gesture of sensitivity and hope for this conflict still eliding resolution in Argentine-English relations.
Strong in the Humanities, NYU Buenos Aires also has faculty interests in health-related fields. NYU Buenos Aires professor Karina Ramacciotti teaches Argentine History, but her research focuses on health policy. In 2013, she and co-author Prof Carolina Biernat published Grow and Multiply: Maternal & Infant Public Health Policy in Argentina 1900-1960.
Two recent events showcased NYU Buenos Aires’s commitment to networking among alumni: Global Alum Day at NYU Buenos Aires brought 15 graduates in diverse fields to tell their inspiring “study away” stories to current students. Last November and again in March 2014, panels of successful Argentine professionals, all NYU graduates at work here and around the globe, exemplified the kind of alumni-centered community building sure to continue at NYU Buenos Aires.
2013 was the first time Gallatin’s Great World Text program, pairing NYU undergrads with public high school students, was replicated at a global site where English is not the native language. Four NYU Buenos Aires students worked with 65 Argentine public high school seniors and their five local teachers in Buenos Aires. Through Maxine Hong Kingston’s groundbreaking Chinese American text A Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts, the Buenos Aires students discovered parallels with US immigration and new ways to explore multiculturalism. Through the Great World Text program, the NYU Buenos Aires undergrads came into contact with the local cultural viewpoint with a depth and an immediacy that is hard to match. If ever there was a win-win situation for global educational exchange, there it is.