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NYU Shanghai Student Mateusz Mościcki Wins Coveted Humanitarian Fellowship

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On the heels of recent success at the Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting, NYU Shanghai student Mateusz Mościcki  has now won a highly coveted Humanity In Action Fellowship, putting him a few steps closer to his ambition. He is driven to set up local radio stations in refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, as well as establishing a pioneering Internet media platform to bring testimonies and camp life reality to the world.

Drawn by the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, the 21-year-old dreams of launching refugee-run radio stations to spread news, provide pastimes, and most importantly, create a platform to foster dialogue between the Muslim and Christian communities in an effort to dissolve religious boundaries.

“I have always been interested in diplomacy, international relations and human rights. Me and my teammates believe that this the time to apply our knowledge; it is the time to turn our ideas into action,” Mościcki said.

Before being awarded the fellowship, the well-conceived project had landed Mościcki, together with his NYU Shanghai teammate Tomasz Jakub Merta and Beata Petkowa from Stanford University, a semi-final spot of the Resolution Project at the 2016 CGI University Meeting, held at Berkeley, California earlier in April. Mościcki’s plan stood out from some 900 Commitment to Actions raised by 1,200 student innovators. During the conference, their team had the opportunity to meet former US President Bill Clinton. Two other NYU Shanghai students, Sarah Jinrong Zhang and Vivian Yuwei Wu also participated in the conference.

“Waves of Peace, broadcasting from the heart of refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, will reach ~ 230 000 people. It will not only be a platform for dialogue, but  can service to alleviate war trauma, enable education, and integrate the local community.” Mościcki said.

According to Mościcki’s plan, the radio will broadcast in Arabic, English and French. He will reach out to governments, business groups and international organizations for further support. In addition, as part of his fundraising efforts, Mościcki established and became president of an NGO–UNIPEACE Foundation.

Much to his delight, Mościcki has also recently earned the 2016 Humanity in Action Fellowship, a highly selective summer fellowship on human rights in Europe. He will fly to Berlin at the end of May to join other fellows in studying minority rights and producing original research on a variety of topics. During June 23-26, all the HIA fellows will gather in Athens, Greece for a concluding Humanity in Action International conference.

“It will be a great opportunity to develop relations with rising global leaders and advance on the path to build a platform that will bring refugee testimonies to the world,” he said.

NYU Buenos Aires gets “Breathing Room”!

Breathing Room: a drop-in group made by students for students to have a safe space to talk and share their experiences while studying away.

In Fall 2015 NYU launched a Master´s level study semester program at the NYU Buenos Aires global site. Two second-year MSW students from this pioneer program of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, Nohelia Diplan and Monika Estrada Guzman, also set in motion last fall a student-led safe zone called the Breathing Room – an inclusive convocation to all students for “a drop-in group made by students for students to have a safe space to talk and share their experiences” during their study away in Buenos Aires.

From Left: Nohelia Diplan NYU SSW 16’, Site Director Anna Kazumi Stahl, Monika Estrada Guzman NYU SSW 16’

From Left: Nohelia Diplan NYU SSW 16’, Site Director Anna Kazumi Stahl, Monika Estrada Guzman NYU SSW 16’

The idea emerged in April 2015 after both students attended a Safe Zone Training and Break Out Sessions facilitated at NYUBA by Selima Jumarali (Assistant Director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs [CMEP]) during her special visit to the NYUBA site. The issue of social identity and diversity, and specifically how to help students manage a new culture’s codes around these concerns, is a something that NYUBA site leadership is continually seeking more resources for, among which the CMEP “Global Diversity Training and Professional Development Grant” was deeply valued and delivered new, positive tools for all, staff and students alike. Afterwards, MSW students Monika and Nohelia chose to use the new acquired experience from Selima’s workshops to step forward themselves and see if students would respond to a student-offered Safe Zone that they believed would be vital to their semester. Their idea met with enthusiastic support from NYUBA Site Director Anna Kazumi Stahl, NYUBA Wellness Counselor Sarah Akhter, NYUBA Asst Dir for Student Life Paula Di Marzo, and SSSW program leader Gisselle Pardo, who all stayed in contact with Monika and Nohelia from their specific roles, as the student group got set into motion.

The vision was to stimulate an encouraging space for students to voice different issues being experienced abroad and to face them through expression amongst peers while abroad. Monika and Nohelia did not intend to create a faux therapy session which they said, “would drive an emotionally and psychologically taxing experience.” Instead, they aspired to create a group sharing experience that was not group psychotherapy but rather an egalitarian space in which to create meaningful conversation. With both the space’s characteristics well-defined and the supportive contact with pertinent site staff, Nohelia and Monika set out to create the Breathing Room.

Immediately, they saw that students had a need to talk and voice their experiences and that the Breathing Room was an impetus to unite students around expressing their needs and struggles while away. After the first session, a “topic box” was created for participants to propose topics and unveil these issues in this safe environment. Topics ranged from culture shock, to diversity, to maintaining a healthy life style while abroad, to staying in contact back home, to race and identity issues and women’s issues in different cultural contexts.

At the very first gathering, a favorable turn-out of students gave NYUBA’s “Breathing Room” space for pairing up and sharing experiences organically and directly between the students. Monika claims that this particularity set the foundation for a democratic characteristic. The immediate connection among the participants set an egalitarian dynamic that flourished throughout the semester developing a structure free of hierarchies. Without infringing on this equal platform, both Nohelia and Monika also mentioned they were able to implement course skills acquired from their Social Work education, especially in the area of empowering and advocating for those without a voice– in this case students.

Nohelia and Monika, acting as facilitators, were pleased with the ownership demonstrated by participating students throughout the course of the semester. This ownership and union amongst the students created the desired safe space for all, it also sufficed as a catalyst for both Nohelia and Monika to begin thinking of the future of the Breathing Room.

From Left: Nohelia Diplan, Marsha Ho GLS 17', Monika Estrada Guzman

From Left: Nohelia Diplan, Marsha Ho GLS 17′, Monika Estrada Guzman

The future of the Breathing Room lays in the hands of the students, of course, and both Nohelia and Monika had this crystal clear from the beginning. Noting strong interest in a few underclassmen, both Nohelia and Monika began developing relationships with two undergraduate students, Marsho Ho and Valerio Farris, who will be on site again this coming fall semester in 2016 to take on the role as facilitators.

Furthermore, both Nohelia and Monica have been dialoguing and working closely with the Wellness Counselor Dr. Sarah Akhter, Student Life Assistant Director Paula Di Marzo, Gisselle Pardo, LCSW, MPH (Leader of the McSilver Institute´s global education programs) and Director Dr. Anna Kazumi Stahl– exchanging their experiences with each as they developed a manual for future students. What´s more, both students hope to have an opportunity to hold a few informative meetings with Students back in New York before their departure, encouraging students to be active by sharing their experience with the Breathing Room this past semester.

NYU Buenos Aires as a community has been enriched immensely by the Breathing Room and look expectantly ahead as the study away programs here at the site will forever hold a new facet due to the intrepid ambition demonstrated in action by Nohelia Diplan and Monika Estrada Guzman.

Global Student Dialogue on Europe’s Migration Crisis – Live Stream Program involving students across NYU’s global network

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On April 22, NYU Florence will host a global student dialogue on Europe’s migration crisis. Europe’s migration crisis has become one of the most urgent policy challenges of our time. This Global Dialogue brings students from NYU sites around the world together to look at the overall structure of the migration crisis; the responses of national governments, the European Union and international organizations to the crisis; and to analyze the different impacts of the migration crisis on society and culture including public opinion, the media and the arts.

The three panels will include panelists located in Florence, London, New York, and Washington, DC. The first panel is Instability in the Mediterranean: The Structure of the Crisis and will provide background; the second, Slow to React? Responses to the Crisis, will explore what has – and hasn’t – been done in response; the third panel, Charting a New Landscape: The Impact of the Crisis on Society, will consider what the implications of the crisis have been thus far and also look ahead.

Students from across NYU’s global network can participate in this dialogue. The live conference stream, which also allows viewers to submit questions, is available here.

Seven Virtues of Study Abroad

The New York Times recently published an op-ed piece entitled “Study Abroad’s Seven Deadly Sins”. The author, Peter A. Coclanis, is director of the Global Research Institute and a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The sins of study abroad he cites include: slide courses (easy classes), suds (drinking), sexual fervidity, shopping, self-segregation, smartphoning, selfie-taking. Any educational experience – abroad or otherwise – depends a great deal on the efforts of students to make the most of their studies. These seven sins can take place on campuses in the US as well.

But there are real virtues of studying abroad that this piece ignores. Especially at NYU, with our unparalleled global reach and offerings, there is much to be gained from studying overseas. The seven virtues of studying abroad include:

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Academics

Students at NYU’s global academic centers of campuses can take academically challenging and stimulating classes taught by NYU faculty. They can do required coursework for their majors, whether in the humanities or STEM, at many sites. Students can start their NYU experience abroad, as incoming Global Liberal Studies freshman in London, Paris, Florence, or Shanghai. A number of graduate programs also have international offerings or support for research overseas.

Authentic Experience

Whether through cultural programming, internships, volunteering, living with a host family, or other opportunities, NYU’s global sites strive to give students a meaningful, authentic experience. Students are encouraged to explore and connect with the local community and follow their passions towards what will be rewarding for them – whether it be through the local arts scene or working with a local NGO.

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Awakening

Spending time in a foreign country or culture can be a powerful way for students to personally grow. Having to navigate new norms, a new language, even new food, can challenge students to challenge themselves in unplanned and surprising ways. Those types of awakening experiences cannot be planned on a syllabus or scripted, but simply allowed to follow from stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

 

Discipline

While overseas, students want to make the most of their time – taking weekend trips, sightseeing, doing as much as possible. Balancing the desire to see, do, and travel with the demands of academics can develop discipline. Discipline can be an asset for students not only when abroad, but can also be a useful skill to take away from time overseas.

Flexing your Brain

Studies repeatedly show that bilingual babies have more flexible brains. And our brains are continuously developing. So being in situations where you are learning and using a new language, or navigating a new culture, can encourage your brain to be more flexible and nimble. And hopefully students can bring some of that flexibility back with them, but continuing to use and speak a new language for example.

Opening your Heart

One of the aspects of study abroad that students often say is most rewarding for them is simply falling in love with a new city or a new country. Discovering something about a new place that they find magically and can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Making friends and memories that last and inform their thinking about their lives and futures.

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Career Opportunities

In an increasingly globalized world, students need more than good grades to be competitive when it comes to their careers. Time studying abroad can provide additional skills that are attractive to employers and can boost job prospects upon graduation and beyond. These skills can be practical – foreign language skills – or qualitative – a capacity to adapt, problem solve, or think creatively.

Gallatin Global Faculty Symposium on Migration held at NYU Prague

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Faculty from Gallatin joined academic colleagues from all of the NYU European sites, Tel Aviv and Accra for intensive discussions at a symposium entitled Human Migration and Nationalist Anxiety in March.  There were a total of 27 faculty members present for the roundtable event, including Susanne Wofford, the Dean of Gallatin and NYU Vice President for Global Affairs Nancy Morrison.  
 
This year, the current refugee crisis made the Gallatin symposium – which Gallatin has organized at different sites since 2013 – especially urgent.  NYU Prague became the fourth European site to host the event; earlier symposia have taken place in Florence (on the politics of collecting); in London (on human rights); and in Berlin (on migration and national identity).

According to organizer Professor Patrick McCreery, Gallatin’s goal in sponsoring these events is two-fold: first, to create a conversation about topical issues that is high level, small-scale, comparative and interdisciplinary; and second, to build intellectual networks among NYU-affiliated faculty in many different locations. They are especially concerned to introduce faculty at the Gallatin School to colleagues with shared interests who are part of the University’s global network.   
NYU Prague is increasingly becoming a place where people interested in the topic of migration are coming together.  A number of NYU Prague faculty are researching issues related the migration and earlier this year the Prague site organized an international conference called Tackling the Refugee Crisis in Europe.  
 
In addition to conferences, NYU Prague is in the process of exploring the possibility of setting up an academic program on migration.  “This could be a European hub for research about migration, where ideas merge, activities get discussed.  Prague is a natural location for this given our complicated history with emigration, immigration plus our proximity to Western and Eastern Europe,” noted Professor Vanda Thorne, Assistant Director of Academics at NYU Prague.
 
This year, the conference covered three areas: Experience and feeling (how do people perceive the migration issue?), Sovereignty (how do European states define their national identity?), and the rethinking of human rights in the context of Hannah Arendt and post WWI.  Participants noted the many differences between American and Europeans points of view – the idea of nation states in Europe has a huge impact on the view of migration here, as does the history of Communism.  Participants included experts on migration flow, gender, politics, media and law, in addition to a leading contemporary Arab playwright and a medieval historian who brought broader perspectives to the table.
 
Participants agreed that in 2017 the symposium could change its format and open up to a wider audience.  “We want to connect our discussions with real life, tie what we are saying in to NGOs, and offer academic support for institutions dealing with this, to field organizations,” said Vanda Thorne.
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Sustainable Development Conference at NYU Shanghai

downloadOn 16 April, 2016 NYU Shanghai will host a Sustainable Development Conference.

2016 is a pivotal year for sustainable development, as we move towards different kinds of social and economical structures. NYU Shanghai Sustainable Development Conference aims to raise awareness for the current global environmental issues and to share information about the current environmental issues and practical, evidence-based solutions to them.

This conference provides a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from academia, international agencies, NGOs, and ecological businesses to share practical solutions towards the achievement of more sustainable and inclusive societies.

There will be a full day of presentations, discussions and networking with peers and industry leaders who are working for a sustainable future. In addition to the great talks, there will be an Eco-Fair, a Farmers’ Market, and an Art Galla event. The conference boasts an incredible lineup of presenters who are prepared to arm participants with new strategies, insights and suggestions for how they can be part of the change.

Go Green Week Launches in Abu Dhabi, New York, and Shanghai

AGGW-NYUAD GGW-NYUSHGGW-NYUThe week before Earth Week will be focused on student environmental activism at all three of NYU’s campuses. Go Green Week is taking place April 11 – 17 at NYU, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai. Driven by students, the week’s activities will encourage all members of the NYU community to think about the environment and the role we all have in protecting and preserving the earth. Student groups at each campus have put in a tremendous amount of time and energy to plan and develop this week.

NYU Florence Students Host Teach-In on Race, Racism and Xenophobia

_28A3034How does racism and discrimination operate in different geographical contexts, reflecting local tensions and prejudices and intersecting with issues of nationality, class, gender, religion, marginality, citizenship, and globalization? How does location affect the way in which we think about the social constructions of race and race relations? What role do historical experiences of slavery, discrimination and colonialism play? How does the current migration crisis in Europe and mounting Islamophobia help us better understand the similarities and differences between the U.S. and Europe?

NYU Florence students and visiting artists, activists and scholars, discussed the above issues at NYU Florence´s first All Campus Teach-In on Race, Racism and Xenophobia in a Global Context on March 24, 2016.

Student presenters and performers included: Aditi Ramesh, Alexis Williams, Amanda Gelbart, Ashleigh Taylor, Eilish Anderson, Felipe Gomes, Gavin Ward, Helen You, Hoiyan Leung, Iris Wang, Ismail Ibrahim, Melissa Carroll, Michelle Deme, Natalie Gomez, Nicole Johnson, Parker Hollingsworth, Sarah Singh, Sariah Bunker, Sidney Maynard, Siena Bjornerud, Stone MacBeth, Suleyman Azhari.

Student committee: Eilish Anderson, Michelle Deme, Natalie Gomez, Nicole Johnson, Hoiyan Leung, Aditi Ramesh, Ashleigh Taylor, Iris Wang, Alexis Williams, Helen You

NYU Florence students Elizabeth Grap and Sarah Singh designed the logo for the conference pin.

NYU Prague Director’s novel chosen to be part of Reading Europe Campaign

Jiri PeheNYU Prague Director Jiri Pehe’s novel, Three Faces of an Angel, was chosen as one of the Europe’s “best indie novels” by British publishers for Reading Europe – a campaign against the so-called Brexit campaign.  The campaign was featured in The Guardian and is one of many recently-launched programs led by UK artists concerned about what impact leaving the EU could have on British arts. 

Reading Now is led by Dedalus Books, an independent British publisher to promote novels from EU countries that have been translated and published by UK independent publishers.  The list includes 49 titles and intends to “let the reader know the literature, history and culture of each country better”.   In addition to Jiri Pehe, authors on the list include Stefan Zweig (Austria), Eça de Queirós (Portugal) and Diego Marani (Finland). 

Three Faces of an Angel  tells the story of three generations of a Czech-German-Jewish family in the 20th century; the tragic events of this period of Central European history are intertwined with the characters‘ stories.   In the forward to the book, Dr. Marketa Goetz-Stankiewitz writes that „the novel uncovers this turbulent period with its linguistic, national and racial complexities: its brutality occasionally tempered by humour, and ultimately its absurdity.“

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Read the complete article in the Guardian here.

 

NYU Abu Dhabi Student Sharif Hassan on Student Outreach for Abu Dhabi Children With Special Needs

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By Sharif Hassan, student intern, NYU Abu Dhabi Office of Community Outreach

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember hearing mentors at NYU Abu Dhabi say that the golden rule of volunteer work was to be flexible. I was prepared, or so I thought.

Before arriving to the Future Centre For Children With Special Needs in Abu Dhabi as a volunteer intern, I attended a lengthy orientation led by experts in special needs education for children, read touching testimonials by previous student volunteers, and was full of energy and ideas. What could go wrong?

I was beaming as I stepped off the shuttle and through the gates of the center but as I walked into the classroom I felt instantly overwhelmed. My extensive preparation was rendered instantly useless. It was loud. Children were arguing. The teacher’s assistant was frustrated. I did my best to adapt during the first couple of hours but couldn’t help but feel like a colossal, useless nuisance.

That was then (a few months ago) and now I can’t help but smile. The teacher and I are good friends, I know each of the boys by name, voice, and can quickly sort them by reading and arithmetic capabilities. I know what makes certain children laugh, who needs to be reminded to chew his lunch better, and who requires more of my praise and attention.

I smile because nothing sounds sweeter than the sincere, “Thank you, Mr. Sharif!” I receive every week.

All my early turbulent feelings are but a faint memory now and I wanted to tell this story as a reminder that you can never be fully prepared for anything in life, especially when volunteering with children with disabilities.

But now I know it’s possible to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. You may feel like you’ve accomplished nothing in the way of helping the child with their phonics or spelling, arithmetic or reading, eating or drinking, but trust me, you have left a mark that is more beautiful than words could ever hope to convey.