What role does education play in the spread of democracy? This question – especially relevant to NYU in recent years as the global network expands – was the main issue at the 19th Forum 2000 Conference in Prague, which brought together over 150 politicians, activists, diplomats, artists and student leaders from around the world to debate the topic at over 50 panel discussions. NYU Prague faculty played an active role in the organization of the annual event, hosting a panel exploring how the writings of Vaclav Havel resonate in Europe today.
According to NYU Prague professor Petr Mucha, „Forum 2000 is to human rights what Davos is to economics– it is the place where people of many different backgrounds and cultures come to share ideas about global issues that affect us all. It is a unique event that has an open atmosphere and welcomes to public. World leaders share ideas with human rights activitists who have struggled– and it happens thanks to the legacy of Vaclav Havel.“ Forum 2000 was founded by former Czech President Havel in the year 1996, and every year it creates a platform where delegates share experiences with each other and the public.
Speakers at this year’s forum included Nobel laureate Frederic de Klerk, renowned British philosopher Roger Scruton, and Alex Chow- one of the student leaders of the umbrella movement in Hong Kong, and dissidents from around the world.
NYU Prague student Oriana Mansur (CAS 17), a Politics and Middle Eastern Studies major, came to Prague knowing that she wanted to volunteer for the conference. She was chosen to be a reporter– assigned to attend 5 panels and write a one-page summary of each. „Forum 2000 is a great way to inform people about problems in the world and discuss solutions,“said Mansur. „The panelists – who are often activists, journalists or dissidents – have great ideas but might not have the power to change things. Forum 2000 can help their voices be heard.“
The former mayor of Caracas, Lopolodo Lopez, was notably absent from the conference, as he is in jail for allegedly conspiring against the authoritarian Venezuelan regime. „I was shocked to learn that someone is killed every 20 minutes in Venezuela – and that there are 78 political prisoners,“said Mansur, whose mother is Venezuelan. To highlight the atrocities around the world, the speakers at the opening ceremony were all dissidents who gave testimony about their personal experiences fighting against totalitarian regimes – including Lopez’s wife, who was speaking on his behalf.
Unsurprisingly the refugee crisis in Europe was a main topic in many discussions. At the panel at NYU Prague, speakers considered what Vaclav Havel would have said in light of the current situation. Irina Lagunina, the head of the Russian Department at Radio Free Europe, traced examples of how Russian media is influencing the media in Western Europe. „Demons can awaken other demons,“ wrote Vaclav Havel – words that she believes still resonate today, as populist leaders use fear and misinformation to incite extremist views.
Sister Cyril Mooney, an Irish nun who founded a school for underprivileged children in India, urged listeners at Forum 2000 to think about education of the heart, not of the brain. Petr Mucha agrees. „Education is becoming more compartmentalized – more about how to get a better job, and lacking an ethical, spirtual aspect. Education should be about love of knowledge –if that is missing, then democracy can be endangered.“
Video recordings of many panels of Forum 2000, including the opening ceremony, can be found here: http://www.forum2000.cz/en/projects/forum-2000-conferences/-2015/video-recordings/
Congratulations to NYU School of Medicine Vice Dean Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe, winner of The Association of Black Cardiologists’ Dr. Daniel D. Savage Memorial Science Award. This award is ABC’s highest honor and recognizes scientific achievement in the areas of cardiovascular disease and research. Dr. Ogedegbe is being recognized for his implementation of evidence-based behavioral interventions targeted at cardiovascular risk reduction in minority and low-income populations. Dr. Ogedebge is also Chair of the NYU Accra Site Specific Advisory Committee.
Thomas J. Sugrue, noted historian and author of prize-winning books about the urban and racial history of the United States, recently joined the NYU faculty after 24 years at the University of Pennsylvania. He is now a professor in NYU’s departments of social and cultural analysis, and history.
Professor Sugrue began his NYU tenure in July. He had just been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation, as one of 31 inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellows in the social sciences and humanities.
Professor Sugrue said the move to NYU will help him view his work from a global perspective, because NYU, which boasts “an extraordinary collection of urban scholars across a number of disciplines,” affords him opportunities to spend time at its overseas academic centers and campuses.
Drawn by NYU’s global presence, Professor Sugrue will experience it firsthand within his first year at the university. In January he will teach a course at NYU London about “transnational urbanism”, examining how conflicts and divides of race, ethnicity, class, and religion play out in urban policy. We can expect to see him at other global sites as well.
The Astor International Travel Fellowship program, a group of 14 high-performing New York City public school teachers, travelled to Buenos Aires under the leadership of Dr. Mark Alter last July. Their main goal was having the opportunity to visit local schools and clinics, and explore the field of special education in Buenos Aires.
This cultural immersion and education program was created for New York City school teachers, thanks to legendary philanthropist, Brooke Astor. The group of 14 U.S . teachers were fully sponsored by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development which is that the Astor Fellows program be an all-expenses-paid experience for the teachers.
The 10-day trip program in Argentina focused in learning about Argentina’s public and private special education systems. The fellows participated in on site visits, guest lectures with policy makers, non-profits organizations, public and vocational schools. They were particularly interested in seeing how students with disabilities were included in different schools levels.
The visits covered venues with people of a range of different topics and age groups, such as National rehabilitation Service and public schools that have a progressive cohort related to inclusion.
Guest lectures included an Introduction to the Argentine Education Policy presented by
Dr. Andrés Delich, former Argentinian Minister of Education. From a social perspective, Dinorah Otero gave a lecture on Inclusive Education along with parents, children and families. A remarkable moment was the talk with members of APADEA, the Autism Parents Association in Argentina. They explained the history of the organization since the 80´s, and how parent´s advocacy is crucial for the person with disabilities development.
Also, as the teachers work with many students who do not end up pursuing college, and they were interested in seeing what vocational education looks like in Buenos
Aires, they visited a group of students a public technical high school.
Their visit to Buenos Aires had impact on Argentine media as local newspaper, La Nación, came to NYU Buenos Aires to interview participants about their views and perspectives on their experience and expectations of the program.
The European Union has the world´s largest GDP, the world´s third largest population and is among the highest ranking in the world for health, education and living conditions.
Through NYU Florence´s The EU in Focus series, students will learn about what the EU is, its history, how it works and its role in the international stage. Students who participate in the EU on the Ground working group linked to the series will develop a deeper understanding of how EU policy-making works through the study of two specific policy areas. This semester we will be focusing on food and immigration. The working group will further their knowledge through a NYU sponsored trip to Brussels where they will visit the cities as well as the European institutions and meet with experts to find out how the policy-making process works from the inside. NYU Florence students will be joined by students from other sites for the Brussels trip.
When NYU students think about spending a semester overseas, they usually don’t think of New York as their destination. For students from NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, however, New York is a popular destination for those spending a semester studying away from their home campuses.
This fall marks the first semester in which students from both NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai are in New York (NYUAD students have been studying in New York since 2011-12), with some 200 students studying on the Square and in Brooklyn for the semester.
Academics is the driving reason students chose to come study in New York. Students from NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai are able to advance their course of study and work towards their majors with NY’s world-class faculty. They are excited to take advantage of courses and programs offered in New York. The pre-professional programs at Stern and Tisch are especially compelling for finance and econ or theatre and film majors.
Students studying abroad in New York have a unique opportunity to study and live with students from other campuses while also discovering all that NYC has to offer. Students participate together in programming which allows them to participate in events at NYU and in events designed to give them a sense of NYC. Students can watch a documentary film about something – Central Park or the Gray Line cruise, for example – and pair that with an off-campus outing to see what they have just learned about in order to illuminate their experience.
Students also have opportunities to engage with the NYU community on the Square. Faculty Fellows in residence have opened spots for other students outside their residences to participate in their activities, so that these visiting students have opportunities to do so. NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai have elected student representatives on the Class Activities Board so that they can have input and also inform their classmates about activities. In these and other ways, the visiting students are able to have a rich experience on campus.
As NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai continue to grow, we’ll be seeing more of these students in New York and at the other global sites. For now, it’s great that we have students from all three of NYU’s degree-granting campus in NYC for a semester for the first time.