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Dispatch from Berlin

Gabriella EtmektsoglouAs up-and-coming young musician Leila Arad is singing, it currently feels like the youth of the world is moving to Berlin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yrgnkd-Lsl8&feature=kp, and NYU Berlin’s academic and cultural life is thriving in the process.
The Spring 2014 semester began for NYU Berlin with a comprehensive assessment by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that involved an evaluation of all NYU Berlin’s courses and faculty, as well as a site visit by a Middle States representative, interviews with staff and students, and auditing of classes – the outcome was extremely positive.
Further highlights of the Spring 2014 semester were:
NYU Berlin and Theater:
NYU Berlin Student Logan Verdoorn won the President’s Service Award for his work creating a collaborative theater project between NYU Berlin Students and a theater class from a local Berlin high school, offering students an excellent opportunity to engage in community outreach while strengthening their language skills. During the semester he created the Theater Project – which is now an ongoing offering each semester at NYU Berlin – Logan also worked closely with a German Brecht scholar from the Free University Berlin to complete his independent study on Brechtian Theory and interned with the English Theatre Berlin.
NYU Berlin and the Arts:
NYU Berlin acquired an exciting new art studio, St. Agnes, a former church built in the brutalist style. St. Agnes also houses the world-renowned art gallery Johann König, and NYUBerlin is looking forward to a fruitful coexistence.
The Spring term saw two successful exhibitions by NYU Berlin students: one at the Deutsches Haus in New York and our regular end of term show.
NYU Berlin and Film:
As every year, all students in NYU Berlin’s German Cinema course with Professor Sabine Müller were accredited at the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the world’s leading film festivals. During NYU Ally Week, one of the Berlinale entries, the social-realist drama Jack by Edward Berger, was screened exclusively for NYU Berlin students and alumni followed by a discussion with the director led by NYU Berlin students.
NYU Berlin and Literature:
As part of NYU Berlin’s lunchtime seminar series, which is open to all students and an increasing number of alumni that have moved to Berlin, two renowned authors and modern-day literary chroniclers of Berlin gave readings: David Wagner, winner of the 2013 Leipziger Book Prize, and Peter Wortsman, American Academy Fellow. Other lunchtime seminars were an international panel of historians and authors on the First World War, debating its relevance to today’s world, one hundred years after its outbreak. NYU Professor Janet Neipris gave a seminar on playwriting and screenwriting.
New NYU Berlin Faculty:
NYU Berlin welcomed new faculty for the Spring term:
Dr. Sasha Disko is a social and cultural historian and NYU alumni who sees the role of economics as central to understanding modern societies. Her first monograph, The Devil’s Wheels (Berghahn Books, forthcoming), is an economic, social and cultural history that explores shifts in the construction of gender through the practice of motorcycling during the Weimar Republic. She is also currently working for Volkswagen as a researcher on a project on the 100-year history of the assembly line in the automobile industry.
Dr. Jan-Henrik Meyer studied history, political science and sociology at Humboldt-University Berlin, the LSE and Duke University. His current research explores the origins of European environmental policy in a transnational network perspective. He has been a Marie-Curie Fellow (Portsmouth) and a Rachel Carson Fellow (Munich). His recent publications are Global Protest against Nuclear Power, edited by Astrid M. Kirchhof and Jan-Henrik Meyer (Historical Social Research 39, 2014, 1); and Societal Actors in European Integration: Polity-Building and Policy-Making 1958-1992, edited by W. Kaiser and J.-H. Meyer (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2013).
Jana Hulbert teaches German at NYU and Humboldt-University Berlin, where she is involved in several research projects. She graduated with a Master’s in German as a Foreign Language from Humboldt University. She also studied Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Literature in Frankfurt/Oder and Valencia, Spain. Jana was born in Berlin, but lived and taught in many other places all over the world. Jana’s scholarly interests are sociolinguistics, literature and Arts. Besides that she cares about environment and animal treatment.
NYU Berlin’s German Language Program:
The German language Department organized several co-curricular activities and cultural events on different levels. The second time we had David Wagner (Leipziger Buchpreis 2013) for a book discussion at NYU Berlin. His current Berlin-related texts were read in many language classes and questions were prepared. Students loved the atmosphere of having a discussion about contemporary German (Berlin) literature with a well-known and very charismatically author.
Furthermore, the German Department arranged many tandem relationships. Our tandem program is one of our most popular offerings to the students. It enables students to get to know German students from the local universities and make progress in their language skills.

Dispatch from London

Gary SlapperNYU London has continued to bloom during the last six months.
We delivered another successful semester of 83 courses (J-term, freshmen, sophomore, upperclassmen, and postgraduate), hosted distinguished researchers and PhD students in multifarious fields of work, and delivered an unprecedentedly wide range of student life events to enrich the experience of our students.
During the last six months we have recruited seven new, highly-distinguished faculty and now have 92 eminent academics.
We launched two new courses: Global Fashion Industry: London debuted as the third course in a trio of courses that form Gallatin’s new fashion programme; and Global Public Health’s Health and Society, which proved to be of interest to students from across disciplines. Additionally, we welcomed Abu Dhabi faculty member Dr PJ Henry here for the term to teach the Psychology of Prejudice.
The rich Cultural Program offered by Student Life has continued to develop. This last semester we offered 35 major separate events (e.g., visits to the Houses of Parliament, and the BBC) which attracted a participation rate of 1,279 students (or an average of 36.5 students on each event).

Our public programming continued to flourish during the last six months. We expanded our series of “Talking Points” faculty lunchtime lectures. In February we welcomed Edgardo Dieleke, a writer, director and faculty member at NYU Buenos Aires to talk on the Falkland Islands/ Las Malvinas.
In March, Dr Stefano Taglia gave a talk titled “Modern Turkey, the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire” which looked at the historical sources of current debates in the Middle East and Turkey.
Our third Talking Points lecture, given by Dr. Marko Bojcun, addressed the ongoing developments in Ukraine. In the final lecture, “Is the Break-up of Britain Inevitable?”, Dr Scott Kelly examined the background to – and potential implications of – the upcoming September 2014 Scottish vote on independence.
In February we were delighted to be visited by Mounir Guen, the Founder and CEO of MVision, one of the world’s leading private equity capital raising firms. Mr Guen spoke to a group of students from the NYU Stern Business and Political Economy programme on the theme of private equity.
The Global Orientations: British Culture class concluded in April with a debate on the motion, “This House believes that the human rights agenda is promoting unfairness in the UK” with two nationally eminent speakers: Adam Wagner, a lawyer, and Dr Lee Rotherham a politician.

Dispatch from Washington, D.C.

Michael UlrichWe welcomed two new faculty members to our team in spring 2015. Dr. Jim Zogby taught Politics of the Near and Middle East and is President of the Arab American Institute. President Obama appointed him to the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, which monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. Dr. Zogby received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Temple University’s Department of Religion and later was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. Dr. Greg Metcalf taught Expressive Cultures: Film and is also a Lecturer at the University of Maryland. He recently published The DVD Novel: How The Way We Watch Television Changed the Television (2012). He has an M.F.A. in Painting and Graphics from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in Art and Culture from the University of Maryland.
The students in Dr. Zogby’s course attended the Democratic National Committee winter meeting where President Obama addressed the party. Our students were placed in several impressive internships including the White House, Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office and the Center for American Progress. Our second scholar in the Weissberg Forum for Discourse in the Public Square was Dr. Gary Barker, Founder and International Director of Promundo, which is a leading voice on engaging men and boys in gender equality and ending violence against women. NYU faculty Dr. Pat Egan and Dr. Niobe Way served on a committee to identify the scholar. A World at School, in collaboration with civil society organizations and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, hosted a daylong “Countdown to 2015 Summit.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon provided remarks as well as Gordon Brown, former Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. President Sexton also visited our site and hosted the ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and China at a dinner to honor NYU alumni Representative Dianne DeGette and Senator Lamar Alexander. We collaborated with several NYU faculty on a variety events as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities for a series of Black History Month events. We also teamed with NYU London for a shared panel on legislative bodies in the USA and UK.
A member of our local steering committee made a generous gift to establish the Directors Fund. With these funds, students were able to attend a variety of performances and events throughout the semester. For our required class, students were given a private tour by the curator of Made in the USA, a new exhibit at the Phillips Collection, and attended Camp David, a world premier play at Arena Stage. Other student life highlights included the White House Easter Egg Roll, Valentine’s Day at the French Embassy and a conference with the Dalai Lama.

A New Home for NYU Paris

New Paris site 1
NYU Paris is moving to a new academic center on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the Latin Quarter, the vibrant cultural and intellectual heart of Paris. The center will have more space, be closer to major universities and cultural institutions, and benefit from the many resources of its new neighborhood.
The move will enable NYU Paris to better serves its education and research missions by allowing NYU Paris to leverage and expand its deep institutional and individual academic relationships, and to embrace a broader academic agenda. The new center will have the capacity to accommodate the increasing undergraduate student interest in Paris as well as the wide-ranging interests of NYU faculty and graduate students in research collaborations.
The new location will facilitate exchanges with NYU’s longstanding partners, including the Universities of Paris I, III, VII and X, as well as Sciences Po, many of which are located in close proximity to the new center. It will also place NYU Paris within short distance to major academic and cultural institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure, the Sorbonne, the Louvre, the Collège de France, the Pompidou Center and more, affording our students greater opportunities to engage in Paris’s rich artistic and intellectual life.
With expanded classroom, office, and study space, the new center will be able to accommodate more undergraduate and graduate students as well as visiting faculty and graduate students through the establishment of a branch of the Global Research Institute (there are currently institutes in London, Berlin, and Florence). NYU’s Global Research Institute encourages research collaborations, both by facilitating and supporting existing relationships as well as by helping to support new ones.
The newly renovated academic center will include seminar rooms and classrooms, a library/reading room, a computer lab, a lecture hall, and a top floor lounge with a stunning view of the Paris skyline. “We have many fond memories of the charming townhouse in the 16th arrondissement that has been our home for the past forty years,” said Henriette Goldwyn, acting director of NYU Paris, “but there is no question that students and faculty alike will gain from the resources of the center and the dynamism of our new neighborhood.”
New Paris site 2
An expanded array of academic pathways to Paris will be available as well. In preparation for the move to the new academic center, departments and schools in New York, both those already offering courses in Paris and those interested in being represented there, explored opportunities for partnerships or affiliations in Paris. A complete list is available here: http://www.nyu.edu/global/global-academic-partnerships-and-affiliations.html.
NYU Paris will start operating in its new location by the beginning of the Summer 2014 term.
New Paris site 3

NYU London Student Louisa Bahet Discovers and Celebrates the Musical History of NYU London’s Academic Centre

Louisa Bahet
NYU London student Louisa Bahet, a freshman in the Liberal Studies program, made an exciting discovery about the musical history of NYU London’s Academic Centre and organized a concert to celebrate this history. She describes her work and the event below.
As a freshman in the Liberal Studies Program, why did you decide to spend your first year at NYU in London?
NYU London’s central Bloomsbury locale offers Liberal Studies freshmen an incomparable chance to pursue the great works in situ. Learning opportunities span the city and expand throughout Britain, illustrating how NYU has become “in and of the world.” From class excursions to the neighboring British Museum, where Karl Marx penned Das Kapital, to field trips to the likes of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, I continuously observed that the celebrated movers and shakers of history lived and breathed in these sites before us. I enjoyed reminding classmates that whenever we sat down to write, no matter the subject, we’d be writing in Bloomsbury just as Dickens and Woolf did before us. The Liberal Studies curriculum truly comes to life in Britain, and although I had not visited previously, it was clear to me as I decided to attend that NYU London’s students are poised to take full advantage of all the city symbolizes, historically and in the modern day.
What drew you to the Liberal Studies Program and to London? How have you found the experience thus far?

People often remark how unusual it is to spend freshman year abroad, however the decision to pursue the Liberal Studies Program represented a clear step forward for me. I attended Stanford University Online High School, an independent school of highly motivated international peers and faculty. In London, I experienced the renewed benefits of learning in a global community, now in a leading world capital. I wanted to disrupt my social, cultural and personal convictions at the beginning of my undergraduate career, in order to enlarge my perspective on global civilizations from the onset. This experience motivates me to pursue further international study.
What have you found most challenging and most surprising?
The more one studies the great works, the more patterns of thought come into focus across civilizations. In the modern world as in the telling of history, we attach great significance to intellectual ownership. It’s one way of recognizing creativity. Take patents for example! But a fuller global perspective on space and time reveals that ideas exist outside particular modern or historic societies or cultures. This thought challenged me at first because it seemed to question individuality. Then I considered the possibility that it is the continual rediscovery of concepts over the generations and through study that refreshes basic ideas and truths. Our renewed fascination keeps them relevant—one reason why Liberal Studies is so vital!
I understand that you are a violinist, currently with the UCLU Music Society Symphony Orchestra. How did you find this affiliation and what did you do to prepare before your arrival in London?

Students at NYU London are eligible to join the University London Union (ULU) and University College London Union (UCLU), each home to countless clubs and societies. Through the latter affiliation I secured an audition for the UCLU Music Society Symphony Orchestra, which was happily successful. My participation in orchestra allowed me to cultivate close friendships with local British students, all the while making beautiful music. NYU London strongly supports students engaging the wider London community, and I had a bit of an advantage in that I researched musical activities in the Bloomsbury region beforehand and arrived with clear intentions in mind.
I also understand that in preparing for your time in London while conducting research on classical music you made an exciting discovery about NYU London’s Academic Centre. Can you describe what you learned and its significance?
In my research, I was fortunate to discover the Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club, a prestigious musical society that began as a gentleman’s club in 1899. Imagine my surprise upon learning that the OCMC had inaugurated its residence at 6 Bedford Square, now home to NYU London’s Academic Centre, nearly a hundred years before. Of all the buildings in London, the OCMC had made 6 Bedford its home, and so I settled to make it mine. The idea to invite the Club back for a celebratory concert occurred to me straight away.
You proposed to chair and curate a May 2014 NYUL-OCMC Golden Triangle Chamber Concert celebrating the centenary of OCMC’s 6 Bedford Square presence. Can you tell us about the event?
In 1914, the Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club took up what became a quarter century’s residence at 6 Bedford Square. From 1914 to the onset of World War II, NYU London’s Academic Centre in Bloomsbury was the lively headquarters of the OCMC. As NYUL members do today, stellar classical musicians, composers, and leading public figures signed in at the foyer entrance. The building was home to countless musical events, and featured concert, smoking and rehearsal rooms, six grand pianos and other instruments, a large music library, several bedrooms, and even offered refreshments throughout the day. Today, the OCMC continues its programmes in Bloomsbury and around London.
First Music Meeting held at Bedford Square 3 December 1914
As the Global Network University with a strong London presence, NYU now belongs to a longer legacy of universities located in Oxford, Cambridge, and London, which together make up the Golden Triangle. On Thursday 22 May 2014, NYU London hosted the OCMC to celebrate the centenary of its arrival at 6 Bedford Square, musically uniting these three cities. I organized a NYUL-OCMC joint chamber concert, and curated an exhibition of Club archives from the Bodleian’s Special Collections at Oxford. There was even a celebratory reception with wine and cheese before the chamber performances, and student-led tour of the 6 Bedford Square premises.
The Music Library at Bedford early 20th century
In all of these preparations I received highly instrumental support from Liberal Studies Dean Fred Schwarzbach, NYU London Director Gary Slapper, Senior Programme Manager for Student Life Tony Skitt, and Liberal Studies Student Council President Norbert Sobczak. Indispensible to the musical collaboration was the gracious assistance and research permissions of Mr Michael Crowe, Chairman of the Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club, and Mr Martin Holmes, Alfred Brendel Curator of Music at the Bodleian Libraries.

Could this become an ongoing affiliate classical music collaboration?

Over Spring Break I traveled to the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University to examine the Club’s archives, and among them located the first musical programme that was presented at 6 Bedford by the OCMC. This occurred on 3 December 1914. NYU London and myself are looking forward to hosting the OCMC in a programme reenactment exactly 100 years later!
Special Collections at the Bodleian Libraries
How do you see this event as reflecting on NYU’s presence in London and its global heritage?
The Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club is a living slice of history, as vital now as it once was. The Club’s return to 6 Bedford Square has hopefully reminded students that space changes over time to accommodate different people, and that our life and accomplishments are transient. As most students are only in London for a term or two, the latter point is particularly relevant. It is certainly personally motivating to me, as London’s heritage enticed me to study abroad and I now return home with greater perspective on historical life. In terms of NYU’s global heritage, as the university pursues its new world mission, it remains key to remember that something has always come before, and someday, what we do at NYU London will become part of that legacy.