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Exploring Interdisciplinary Approaches in Israel via NYU Tel Aviv

Professors Sasson and Embry at Tel Ha Shomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Lisa Sasson is the dietetic internship director and a clinical professor in the Steinhardt School of in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies Department.  After directing the Nutrition and Food Study program at NYU Florence for many years, in May 2018 Professor Sasson directed the Nutrition and Food Study program at NYU Tel Aviv campus.

During the January intersession Professor Sasson co-teaches an interdisciplinary course, Case-Based Management of Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty), with Erin Embry, a speech pathologist from Communicative Science Disorders. This course is designed to promote the development and application of interdisciplinary, collaborative approaches to evidence-based management of patients with complex needs. Through the use of case studies, student led discussions and learning exercises, students work as a team to review and critique treatment and management practices. Students also participate in a hands-on and interactive dysphagia cooking competition.

 A week before Professor’s Sasson’s departure for Tel Aviv, she received a call from a professor in speech pathology in Israel who saw a clip of the Dysphagia course on the internet and wanted to learn more about this class.  There is growing interest in Israel interdisciplinary teaching. A couple of conference calls later, both Professor Sasson and Professor Embry were on their way to Israel to discuss this course in more detail and also explore possible future collaboration.

Professor Sasson was on her way to Israel to prepare for the study abroad program but for Professor Embry it was her first time in Israel and she had only a few days to prepare for the trip!

During their time in Israel, Professor Sasson and Professor Embry met with government representatives, NGO representatives, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, and hospital representatives.  Professors Sasson and Embry learned so much about health care and treatment in Israel.

Everyone agreed to stay in touch and share research, ideas and possible future collaboration. For professors Sasson and Embry it was proof that “NYU’s global network can lead to amazing opportunities for faculty and students.”


NYU Abu Dhabi Hosts the Story Behind the UAE’s First Multi-Organ Transplant Program

Today, families in the UAE wait in hope that a life-saving organ may be donated to a critically ill loved on. In 2018, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi created history in the UAE by developing a comprehensive multi-organ transplant program which is already transforming patients’ lives. This talk explores how the transplants for four major organs – kidney, heart, liver and lung – are giving hope to families in the UAE and around the region by delivering a world-class level of care here in the nation’s capital, meeting the needs of the community while contributing to the sustainability of the country’s healthcare sector. On 24 October, 2018, NYU Abu Dhabi hosted an event on this topic.


Rakesh Suri, MD; Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Bashir Sankari, MD; Chief of the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Hosted by
NYU Abu Dhabi Institute


Madeline Albright Visits NYU Washington, DC for Event on Women in Politics

The Risk Element: Safeguarding Women in Politics
NYU Washington, DC and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched NDI’s Women’s Political Participation Risk Index, and a safety planning tool to help women who are or intend to become politically-active, to mitigate the threat of violence that they face.

As more women step forward and engage in political activity, there is a rising backlash against their equal participation. This is an abuse of human and civic rights, and the exclusion of women undermines the quality of democracy.

Speakers for the launch evening, 22 September at NYU Washington, DC, included Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, NDI Chairman and Former Secretary of State, Farida Bemba Nabourema, Executive Director at Togolese Civil League, and Sandra Pepera, Director for Gender, Women and Democracy at NDI.

NYU Shanghai Hosts Workshop on Holocaust Studies

This week, scholars from around the world gathered on campus to discuss and present new research at NYU Shanghai’s first-ever workshop on Holocaust studies. Co-hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum(USHMM), the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum (SJRM), and NYU Shanghai, the workshop focused on the role the city and people of Shanghai played in harboring Jewish refugees during World War II and the lasting legacy of that act of generosity.

“Historically, Shanghai has always been a welcoming city and providing shelter to the Jewish refugees may have been its greatest ever act of welcome,” said Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen. “Today, in many parts of the world, we are again witnessing large-scale and sometimes forceful displacement of people, with refugee camps becoming even more commonplace. The need to understand the mistakes and tragedies of the past, and to cultivate compassion and support for refugees has never been more urgent.”

Chen Jian, director and curator of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum

The five-day workshop showcased more than a dozen research projects, ranging from literary narration and memorialization of the Holocaust to the impact of gender in German literature of the Holocaust. Leading historians such as NYU Professor of History David Engel and Chen Jian, director and curator of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, presented, led, and participated in discussions throughout the week.

Waley-Cohen said the workshop not only presented junior academics with an important opportunity to share new, original, and unpublished research, it also introduced participants to the Holocaust Museum’s rich and underutilized archival materials.

In his remarks, Chen spoke of how SJRM is devoted to commemorating Shanghai’s historic role in sheltering Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and to ensuring that Shanghai’s experience becomes part of a global conversation.

“The relevance of the Holocaust to China’s history and culture lies in the fact that, during a time of need, China was able to provide emotional and tangible support to Jewish refugees who looked to settle down here,” Chen said.

Yong-jian Zhao, a lecturer of history at Zhejiang Gongshang University, recalled the lives of  “Jewish friends of China” such as Israel Epstein and Sydney Shapiro who were among 20,000 Jewish refugees who found a safe haven in Shanghai during the war. Unlike their fellow refugees, Epstein and Shapiro chose to remain in China after the war, embracing the goals of the Chinese Communist Revolution.

“I want to explore the origins of this group, to identify reasons for China’s appeal to Epstein and Shapiro and to other Jews like them, and to explore how they, looking back after years of living in China, assessed their own lives and their Jewishness,” Zhao said.

During the week, workshop participants visited the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum in Hongkou district, where they were introduced to the research tools and resources available at both the SHRM and the USHMM.

NYU Professor of History David Engel

In his presentation on Monday, Engel, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Chair of Holocaust Studies and Professor and Chair of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, made a forceful argument for why Holocaust studies should be relevant to people of all backgrounds and nationalities. He addressed questions that some Americans have been asking for decades: Why did the US government spend millions of dollars on building a museum that chronicles the history of an event that did not happen in their homeland?

Professor Engle encouraged the audience to reflect on “not so much what does the Holocaust say as about me as a member of ‘Group X’ or ‘Y’, but what does the Holocaust say about me as a human being, unlabeled, unidentified?”  

By considering the events of the Holocaust as a human being as opposed to a member of a country that had little to do with the horrors of World War II, the event becomes a lot more relevant to each of us, he said.  

The workshop concluded on 19 October.


This post comes to us from NYU Shanghai and the original can be found here.

NYU Florence Hosts From Tuscany to Harlem: James Baldwin and Yoran Cazac´s Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood

On 18 October, NYU Florence’s La Pietra Dialogues will host Nicholas Boggs from the NYU Department of English. Dr. Boggs will discuss the collaboration between James Baldwin and Yoran Cazac, a French painter and illustrator living in Tuscany. Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood was recently republished to great acclaim by Duke University Press.

NYU Prague Alumni – Where are They Now?

Around 5,000 students have spent a semester at NYU Prague over the past 20 years.  We contacted a few to find out how their time in Prague affected the trajectory of their lives. Here are their stories:


Nicole Farnsworth (Fall, 2001)

Seventeen years ago, I was enjoying similar brightly-colored fall leaves while hiking amid castles, the company of new friends and inspiring lectures at NYU in Prague. That fall provided several opportunities that have influenced my life. I heard the very inspiring activist and late President Vaclav Havel, together with the Dalai Lama and other leaders speak at Forum 2000. I learned of the plight of Romani people and went on to research their access to education. Studying women’s rights in transition in post-socialist contexts, as well as the Czech Republic’s EU Accession process provided a useful foundation for my future work.

Perhaps the most life-altering opportunity that studying in Prague provided was proximity to Prishtina. Seventeen years ago this month, I begged my parents for what some may consider an unusual birthday present: a plane ticket to see Kosovo’s first democratic elections. I was fascinated by the United Nation’s experiment in governing post-war Kosovo. If I had not been in Prague, I would not have had such a unique opportunity to witness a (not-yet-recognized) country’s first elections.

After completing my BA, I persistently sought to return to Kosovo. Eventually, I secured a position at a local civil society organization (CSO), supported by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) with funds from USAID, to strengthen Kosovo CSOs’ advocacy capacities. Since then, I have continued consulting for EWMI, among others, in various civil society support initiatives worldwide.

The vast majority of my last 16 years has been spent with the Kosovo Women’s Network, a network of 138 diverse women’s groups working to further women’s rights. As Program Director / Lead Researcher, I have (co)authored 24 publications on issues related to gender equality, several of which have informed new laws and policies in Kosovo’s state-building process.

In my work, I regularly have drawn from my knowledge gained in Prague, particularly in advocating for Kosovo’s EU Accession process to attend to the needs of both women and men; writing about the position of women in post-socialist Kosovo; and volunteering for Roma rights organizations.

I’m often asked how I first came to Kosovo, and the story always starts with, “I was studying abroad at NYU in Prague…”

Nicole Farnsworth is the program director and lead researcher at the Kosovo Women’s Network.


Brian Goodson (Fall, 2004)

On a recent research trip to Prague, I returned to the neighborhood where many of us lived during our semester in fall of 2004. I was immediately relieved to discover that our nightly hangout B-52 was exactly as we’d left it, still weirdly decorated with airplane fuselage and parachutes. Nearby Krymska street is a different story. The Shakespeare a Synové bookshop has been replaced with the ultrahip Café v Lese, and the neighborhood is now teeming with

Generation Zed backpackers. Nearby, Žižkov still has its edge, but the rest of Prague feels much more polished these days. The hypercapitalist mall at Nový Smíchov has a 4-D movie theater. Sometimes I feel like I’m in Austria.

But I still can’t let go of Prague. Or is it the other way around? “Prague won’t let you go, the little mother has claws,” wrote the guy on all those souvenir t-shirts. Officially, the reason I return so often is because I’m writing a book about American and Czech writers during the Cold War. The seeds for this project were actually planted at NYU in Prague in 2004, in seminars taught by Tomáš Vrba and Jan Urban. At the time, I had no idea that my semester in Prague would change the trajectory of my life. Now I’m a professor at Arizona State University, which means I have a great excuse to escape the air-conditioned nightmare that is Phoenix in the summertime. But if I’m honest, the book is just an excuse. Prague is where I go to escape what Philip Roth called the “indigenous American berserk.” Prague is where I go to disappear.

Some things don’t change. In 2004, we all stayed up into the early hours to watch two major American events: the ALCS between the Yankees and the Red Sox and the election between John Kerry and George W. Bush. (Both my teams lost.) As I write this, the Yankees and Red Sox  are about to face off in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. And we’ve got another election coming up on November 6th, which also happens to fall on the due date of my first child. Back in 2004, I remember buying two books at the bookshop on Krymska: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick and The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. Maybe my twenty-year-old self was on to something. It’s not too late to teach my future kid to speak Czech.

Brian Goodman got his PhD in American Studies from Harvard University.  He is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the Arizona State University and is writing a book about the exchange of literature and culture between the USA and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.  


Meghan Forbes (Spring, 2005)

As a junior at NYU, I studied abroad in Prague. My initial interest in studying there was my mother’s Czech heritage — she grew up in a farming community of Oklahoma Czechs and my grandmother had preserved some knowledge of the language. I fell in love with the city of Prague, and its art and literature, the history of which had never been a subject of study back in the United States. Desiring to learn more, I continued to study Czech language, literature, and visual culture at the MA level at Columbia, and then for my PhD at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I continue to travel to Prague ever year, and even had the opportunity in 2009-2010 to return to NYU in Prague as an employee! The friends on the fabulous staff there are still some of my closest in Prague.

Studying at a big university like NYU, I relished the more intimate environment of the Prague campus, and my experience there as an undergraduate has had an indelible mark on my life and career since.

Meghan Forbes earned a PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with dissertation about the avant-garde in interwar Prague and Brno.   She is now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as a Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives Fellow for Central and Eastern Europe.


Callum Voge (Fall, 2012)

As a student of international politics, I was intellectually attracted to the Czech Republic’s unique political history and transition to democracy. Having grown up in China, I especially wanted to learn about the differing experiences of communism in China and in Europe.

While at NYU Prague, I interned at a non-profit media organization called Project Syndicate where I produced content for the organization’s social media channels and conducted research on international media markets. After graduating from NYU, I had the opportunity to return to Project Syndicate for a full time position. I have now been working at Project Syndicate for four years and manage the organization’s external media partnerships in 50 countries.

Prague has always been a special place to me. The concentration of non-profit institutions and the large foreign community in Prague creates a unique environment – at times Prague feels like a very local city while at other times very global. Prague’s increasing internationalization over the past years has made it an exciting place to live. You only need to look at the city’s food scene to see the change. When I first moved from New York I could only dream of the restaurant diversity that I had known. Now I can easily have Indonesian food one night, Venezuelan another, and Georgian the next. The feeling that Prague is moving in the right direction makes it an exciting time to be here.

Callum Voge is the Senior Global Relations Manager at Project Syndicate, where he is also the internship mentor to current NYU Prague students.


Kieran Kesner (Spring, 2013)

It wasn’t the first time I visited Prague and that’s probably why I decided to return. Prague represents the crossroads between the quintessential Western European study abroad experience and the Eastern European culture, which entwined with my own family history, so I was eager to explore.

Studying in Prague was as much a period of self-realization as it was an opportunity to live abroad and immerse myself in a different culture. It was at this intersection that I began to explore what inspired me most as a photographer, learning about and sharing other peoples stories. While studying abroad, I found those stories in the often misunderstood and much maligned Roma people, known to the outside world as Gypsies. Through significant research on my own and mentorship from local NYU professor, Ivana Dolezalova, I began traveling around the country on weekends and school vacations to spend time with Roma and experience first hand, their rich culture, and kind generosity. While prejudice and discrimination is a centuries-old narrative for the Roma, my personal experience strongly confronted the oppressive counter-narrative I was hearing. It was through this experience that I learned how the camera can provide a unique opportunity to interact and connect with people, often despite language barriers, that few other mediums share.

Today, I continue to work full time as a photojournalist and photographer/videographer for newspapers and magazines around the world as well as for commercial, corporate, non-profit and lifestyle brands. In the last year alone, I have traveled to over 20 countries for work assignments, feeding off a spark that began when I chose to study at NYU Prague, and which I hope will continue for many years to come.

Kieran Kesner is an award-winning photographer, videographer and visual storyteller based in Boston.  His work has been published in numerous publications including the Boston Globe, The New Yorker, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.  


Short takes

You might remember the band “With Snack” which performed regularly in the Osadni basement during the spring 2014 semester.  Former music students Aviv Goldgeier, Matti Dunietz, and Evan Lane are still in the progressive R&B band, which has been renamed Valipala and is  based in New York City.  They released their debut digital album, Mango City in 2017 (available at https://valipala.bandcamp.com/album/mango-city) and are releasing a new single on October 26, 2018.

One of the most well-known NYU Prague alumni is Ari Leff (Spring 2015)- now known as Lauv – a singer/songwriter whose single I Like Me Better has had over 100 million views on Youtube.   Last June he was ranked as number one on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart.

Another NYU Prague celebrity is Camila Mendes (Fall 2014), an actress who plays Veronica Lodge in the TV teen drama Riverdale, for which she won the she won the Teen Choice awards in 2017.  She recently acted in the comedy film The Stand In, to be released in 2019.  

Christina Ng (Spring 2009) is an editorial producer for CBS news, where she’s been employed since 2011. She’s also worked for CBS as a reporter and as assistant to anchor Diane Sawyer.

Hunter Nolan, (Spring 2012), was the cinematographer on Before the Flood, a climate change documentary directed by Fisher Stevens, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and executive produced by Martin Scorsese.  He also worked on the award winning documentaries Before the Flood, Sky Ladder and Racing Extinction.

In 2017, Kim Pham (Spring 2012 ) – entrepreneur and founder of Oxtale – was recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree for her work at Frontline, building VC platforms.

Allan Peng (Spring, 2016), who was active in the PragueCast and Prague Wandering blog, is now a producer at CBS News Radio, working on an upcoming podcast about polling, as well as other digital audio content.

Melanie Weisner, who studied vocal performance at NYU Prague in 2006, is now one of the top American female poker players.  As of 2016, Weisner is ranked 38th on the Women’s All Time tournament money list.

NYU Florence Hosts Event on Feminism & Intersectionality in the Arts

On Thursday October 11, NYU Florence will host an event on Feminism & Intersectionality in the Arts.

Feminist theory has been criticized for failing to consider the intersections among patriarchy and other forms of inequality in social and political relations. The term intersectionality arose out of critical race theory to propose an analysis of “relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relations and subject formations” (Kimberlé Crenshaw). Expanding on the conversation started last year in the conference Resetting the Table: A Symposium on Feminist Art and Herstory we will explore the intersections of feminism with various other fluid and multidimensional markers and aspects of identity—including race, class, and gender identity – in approaches to art history, curating and practice, and the opening of opportunity in other institutional cultural spaces. We will begin with a discussion of the legal theory of intersectionality with NYU Law Professor Paulette Caldwell followed by a discussion with art historians Kalia Brooks and Maria Antonia Rinaldi,  curator of the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum Carmen Hermo and artists Patricia Cronin and Lerato Shadi.

NYU Sydney’s Mark Eels on Balancing the BRI

This article comes to us from Mark Eels, NYU Sydney’s Operations & Communications Coordinator, and was originally published in Australia as a  China Matters Young Professionals Stance .

Balancing the BRI

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), formerly referred to as One Belt One Road or 一带一路, was a concept borne, on the one hand, to remedy structural inefficiencies, local debt and rampant overcapacity, and, on the other, as parallel trade architecture to counter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and bolster the standing of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). ­

The BRI represents a latent microcosm of our larger engagement strategy with the PRC. However, Australia is yet to formally endorse the BRI. Moreover, domestic public opinion about Australia’s involvement is pessimistic. So are we at risk of missing the boat?

While BRI has announced five major goals of policy coordination, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds, the cornerstone, at least for now, is infrastructure development. BHP Billiton’s BRI project database appraises investment related to power, railways, pipelines and transport as accounting for 70 percent of aggregate spending with the remainder related to new economic zones, industrial parks, refineries, plants and public buildings. Estimates for PRC investment ranging to as high as 8 trillion USD. As a result, project announcements revive a similar sentiment to that experienced during the PRC’s 2008 stimulus package, whereby capital largely flowed downstream to infrastructure projects, heavily reliant on Australian resources.

Major Australian ore producers Rio Tinto, BHP, and Fortescue are primed to benefit from this transcontinental appetite for infrastructure investment boasting  entrenched sectoral structural power, massive break even advantages and vessel roundtrip times around half that of Brazilian counterparts. Stubborn PRC domestic ore production is finally falling, with last month’s output the lowest for a non-winter period since 2008.

There are, however, major risks associated with BRI.

As Future Risk’s Tristan Kenderdine notes, BRI projects and international capacity cooperation behind them ‘cynically export China’s industrial policy, circumventing the established trade and investment architecture … As China domestically struggles to contain the local government debt built up, export of the investment-driven industrial model, which is what ICC [International Capacity Cooperation] represents, will inevitably export the lax banking standards and endogenous risk to other middle-income countries which do not have the financial infrastructure to survive a collapse.’ More bluntly, as he revealed to me in a novel manner ‘If you are exposed to China’s state capital then you are exposed to China’s local government debt and no one wants to know how that sausage is made’.

Peter Cai has demonstrated feasibility apprehensions with BRI projects. Cai quotes Andrew Collier, Managing Director of Orient Capital Research, ‘It is pretty clear that everyone is struggling to find decent projects. They know it’s going to be a waste and don’t want to get involved, but they have to do something’.

PRC projects are also less open to local and international participation, ‘out of all contractors participating in Chinese-funded projects within the Reconnecting Asia database, 89 percent are Chinese companies … In comparison, out of the contractors participating in projects funded by the multilateral development banks, 29 percent are Chinese, 40.8 percent are local, and 30.2 percent are foreign.’

So how does Australia intend to proceed? Should it be business as usual and are we content to again be seen as the dustbowl of the PRC, or can we learn to more broadly balance the benefits of BRI engagements while mitigating exposure to capital risks?

Should BRI infrastructure projects prove fruitful, there will be new industrial clusters in East Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East all needing resources and iron ore for steel manufactures, along with industry expertise. 139 ASX companies are in 34 countries across Africa, making Australia the largest international miner on the continent.  Government and industry level dialogue with bodies such as the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group need to be increased to include more participants looking to understand opportunities and operational risk.

The Australian government at all levels should foster new relations with emerging economies along BRI to capitalise on the downstream effects of BRI. Examples include the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) that focuses on technology for mining, energy and agriculture.       

Australia should persistently leverage its positions in institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to create strong risk culture, strengthen governance frameworks and ensure opportunities for Australian contractors to bid under open procurement models. Increasing transparency and accountability will open the door for Australian expertise in services such as project management, engineering consultancy, and financial and legal services.

As BRI facilitates further RMB internationalization, Sydney, as 1 of 20 global official offshore RMB centers should boost its capacity to become a hub for RMB cash and security settlement in the Asia Pacific.

Australia needs to think more broadly about its relationship with the PRC by developing a multidimensional view inclusive of related economies situated along the PRC-led BRI.


NYU Berlin Hosts Reading & Discussion with Yoko Tawada

On Thursday 4 October, NYU Berlin will host a reading and discussion with author Yoko Tawada.
Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, educated at Waseda University and has lived in Germany since 1982, where she received her Ph.D. in German literature.

She received the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for The Bridegroom Was a Dog. She writes in both German and Japanese, and in 1996, she won the Adalbert-von-Chamisso Prize, a German award recognizing foreign writers for their contributions to German culture. She also received the Goethe-Medal, an official decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany and the prestigious Kleist Prize (2016). Yoko Tawada writes novels, short stories, essays and poems. She will read stories and excerpts from her books Talisman (1996), Überseezungen! (2002) und Abenteuer der deutschen Grammatik (2010).

This event will be held in German.