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Volunteering at NYU Accra

There are dozens of opportunities for students to volunteer while at NYU Accra. Students tend to participate in volunteer opportunities involving children. Getting to know the youth of Accra has served as a way for NYU Accra students to gain a unique perspective on specific slices of life in the city, and it allows students to give back to the community they call home for the semester.

SPS sophomore Arik Rosenstein is a huge football (soccer) fan. In fact, he decided to study abroad in Accra because he wanted to understand how the sport serves communities here. When Arik arrived, he quickly worked with Victor Yeboah, NYU Accra’s community service director, to find a school in the neighborhood of Labone whose soccer team he could coach on Fridays. He balances this with an internship at the professional football team, Accra Hearts of Oak.

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CAS junior Natasha Roy volunteers at New Horizon Special School, a school for special needs people in Accra, twice a week. New Horizon Special School is located in the nearby neighborhood of Cantonments and serves children and adults with learning disabilities by providing both education and workshops for vocational skills.. NYU has a tradition of students volunteering at New Horizon, and Natasha helps the teachers in a classroom for 11-16-year-olds.

NYU Washington, DC – Assessing the 2018 Election Results: Governance and Political Implications Assessing the 2018 Election Results: Governance and Political Implications

On November 29 at NYU Washington, DC, Sidley Austin LLP and NYU School of Law are proud to host the 3rd Annual Sidley Austin Forum. 

The program will examine the results of the 2018 congressional midterms and state and local contests around the country to assess their implications for governance and the political landscape.

 

The Sidley Austin Forum is held annually and co-hosted by Sidley Austin LLP and NYU School of Law’s Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic. The Forum explores topics critical to American democracy, citizen engagement, and public service. Over Sidley’s 150-year history, the firm has been committed to honoring and supporting the rule of law in our democracy. Sidley has built a reputation as a premier legal adviser for global businesses and financial institutions with 1,900 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide.

This year’s Keynote speaker is Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

He is the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism and The Four Faces of the Republican Party, co-authored with Dante Scala. Mr. Olsen is also an editor at UnHerd.com, where he writes about populism and politics around the world, and he is a regular contributor to American Greatness, City Journal, and World Magazine.

Mr. Olsen’s work has been featured in many prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, The Guardian, and The Weekly Standard. His pre-election predictions of the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections were particularly praised for their remarkable accuracy. In the 2016 campaign, he accurately identified the factors fueling the rise of Donald Trump early in the race, and his election eve predictions were more accurate than those of virtually any other major analyst or commentator.

Mr. Olsen has worked in senior executive positions at many center-right think tanks. He most recently served from 2006 to 2013 as Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He previously worked as Vice President of Programs at the Manhattan Institute and President of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Mr. Olsen started his career as a political consultant at the California firm of Hoffenblum-Mollrich. He then worked with the California State Assembly Republican Caucus before attending law school. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as an associate at Dechert, Price & Rhoads. He has a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as Comment Editor for the University of Chicago Law Review.

This year’s panelists include David Axelrod, Bob Bauer, Emily Ekins, Ronald Klein, Megan McArdle, Sam Stein, Doug Thornell, and Ben Wittes. For more information, see here.

In Conversation with NYU Prague Literature Professor Tomas Vrba

Tomas Vrba has been teaching literature at NYU Prague since 1999.  He studied philosophy at Charles University, but after signing the human rights document Charter 77 in 1977, he had to take menial jobs until the Communist regime collapsed.  Since then he has worked as a journalist, editor, and translator. Most recently he translated “Fascism: A Warning,” the latest book of his good friend Madeleine Albright, which is coming out in Czech next month.  He also translated her earlier book, Prague Winter, and he is currently chairing the boards of the Forum 2000 Foundation and the Archa Theatre.

How did you start working at NYU Prague?

Jiri Pehe, NYU Prague Director and I knew each other from Forum 2000, and he asked me to teach the literature class, as I had been involved in publishing since 1990. At the time I was wrapping up my time as a journalist (I was editor in chief of the New Presence magazine).  Since then, I’ve been teaching here as well for other international programs.

What classes did you initially teach?

Originally I taught two courses at NYU Prague- Modern European Literature and Contemporary Central and East European literature.  We were a part of the Russian Slavic department, so we had to have East Europe in the title…. But from the beginning, we all  agreed that it would be better to focus on the Central European content. After a few years we realized that it would make more sense to combine the courses.  I try to show literature in a larger framework- something between cultural history and literature. I have always argued that a novel can be a good source of history.  The last eighty years of Czechoslovak literature have been strongly connected to history and politics.

Do you think the students have changed since you started teaching at NYU Prague?

I can distinguish the two different generations.  Today’s students could theoretically be children of the first students I taught.  Of course they have different life experiences. Contemporary students read less, but their curiosity is the same as it was twenty years ago.  

At the beginning of every semester, I ask the students which countries they have visited – twenty years ago, this was usually their first trip abroad.  Now, virtually everyone has been somewhere. Of course you have a different experience when it’s your first time abroad.

What is one of your strongest memories from your class?

Some of my top moments in class have been during class debates.  Czech students usually have read more, but they are shy to speak – here it’s the opposite.  

I remember one student who wasn’t a big reader – actually he admitted that he had never read a novel – so I asked him to read one.  He was studying hotel management and he wrote an excellent paper about I Served the King of England  [Bohumil Hrabal’s novel set in a hotel]  which he divided in two parts. One part was about the reader’s experience, and the other part was an analysis of the organization of the hotel in the novel – the student really understood and appreciated how well it was organized in the 1920s.

What do you think the students get out of coming to Prague?

I always ask the students to write about their Prague experiences- you can do that in a literature class – and I find out how they’ve discovered their individual Pragues.  Most are soon fed up with the tourist industry, and they discover things outside of the center, in the suburbs where they live – Holesovice, Vinohrady. For many of them Prague is quite a romantic and mysterious experience.  

Do you think students today are as interested in literature as they were 20 years ago?

Originally I had 10-15 students in my class.  Now, sometimes I won’t teach for a semester because there isn’t enough interest.  Generally, I am afraid that there is something dangerous happening globally. Courses in the humanities are more and more limited even at the top universities. Oxford and Cambridge have started offering management courses in recent years.   

You have recently been involved in projects connected to the 40th anniversary of Charter 77 – curating exhibitions that have even toured to the USA.  Do you find that young people are interested in topics relating to the former Communist regime?

Yes, I saw a lot of interest last year during the 40-year anniversary events connected to 1977 – and this year, I see a lot of interest in the 50-year anniversary of the Prague spring and the Soviet invasion in Prague.  Ten years ago, my daughter said to me there’s nothing to protest against! Well, now there is a lot- and young people are active in elections, they are engaged. Ten years ago, the world looked all right – now, it’s gone crazy.

What has meant the most to you as an NYU Prague professor?

Last year I was invited to a conference at the Czech and Slovak museum  in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I attended a panel of American professors of Czech language and literature.  During the introductions, one of the scholars on the panel said that she was there because of Professor Vrba, who she studied with in Prague.  That was nice.

The best recompense for me has always been looking at half a dozen, a dozen pairs of bright eyes.  That’s still true – NYU students are very motivated.

 

NYU Berlin Hosts Decolonize Mitte! Humboldt Forum, Museum Island, and the Palace

On 19 November, NYU Berlin will host a public talk: DECOLONIZE MITTE!
HUMBOLDT FORUM, MUSEUM ISLAND, AND THE PALACE 

Moderated by Ares Kalandides of NYU Berlin, the discussants will include Annette Loeseke (NYU Berlin), Stephanie Pearson (NYU Berlin & Humboldt-Universität), Wayne Modest (Research Centre for Material Culture, Amsterdam), and Iris Rajanayagam (xart splitta, Berlin).

As the Asian Art and Ethnological Museum collections move into the Humboldt Forum, questions have arisen about how to be responsible stewards of cultural heritage. 

Provenance research and repatriation are in the spotlight; but what is still missing from the public discourse is any recognition of – and attempt to grapple with – a fare more pervasive problem: the colonial perspective that informs museum displays not only in the Forum (most evident in its architectural frame, the reconstructed imperial Schloss) but all across Museum Island. This public talk draws attention to the above challenges and searches for solutions.

Engineers for Social Impact at NYU Abu Dhabi

“Being there with the people who will live in the house gave us a sense that our work is really important.”

NYU Abu Dhabi is preparing students to thrive in our ever-changing world and give back to local communities through Global Education and the Engineers for Social Impact program.

Students travel to countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India to help design and build infrastructure that improves quality of life for local populations.

In a recent video, students help build a sustainable home for a family in Jordan, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. You can view the complete video via the NYU Abu Dhabi website here.

Engineers for Social Impact (EfSI) supports and complements the mission of the Engineering Division and the broad goals of NYU Abu Dhabi through courses that emphasize experiential learning and projects that focus on developing globally-relevant, locally-sustainable designs that meet challenges and deliver on opportunities that enable individuals across global communities to more effectively realize their aspirations and ambitions.

By engaging with ethics in the classroom and ethnographic fieldwork off-campus, engineering students expand their comfort zones to work from vantage points of broader mindfulness of social, cultural, and economic aspects that are inextricably connected to technology-driven solutions in today’s hyper-connected world.  Students may optionally enroll in a second, project-driven course focusing on the process of co-designing meaningful innovations, projects, and products  with members of a selected community.  Throughout all fieldwork, the goal is to connect with the processes, people, sights, sounds, experiences, and stories that are only accessible outside the classroom and bring new understanding to bear on the ways to address a wide range of issues and challenges in the courses and beyond.

The EfSI program is a collaboration between the Engineering Division and the Office of Global Education to deliver unparalleled international engagement with communities through partnerships with the Solar Energy Foundation in Ethiopia, URBZ/Urbanology in Dharavi, Mumbai, and Habitat for Humanity in Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

 

NYU Washington, DC Hosts a Conversation with Author Sayu Bhojwani

On November 13, NYU Washington, DC will host a conversation with author Sayu Bhojwani to discuss her book, People Like Us.

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder and president of New American Leaders, the only national organization focused on preparing immigrant leaders to run for public office. She served as New York City’s first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs and lives in New York.

People Like Us
is an inspiring story of political newcomers (sometimes also newcomers to America) who are knocking down built-in barriers to creating better government. The system is rigged: America’s political leadership remains overwhelmingly white, male, moneyed, and Christian. Even at the local and state levels, elected office is inaccessible to the people it aims to represent. But in People Like Us, political scientist Sayu Bhojwani shares the stories of a diverse and persevering range of local and state politicians from across the country who are challenging the status quo, winning against all odds, and leaving a path for others to follow in their wake.

NYU DC faculty member Victoria Kiechel will serve as interlocutor for the discussion.

Sayu Bhojwani works to ensure that American democracy is more inclusive. As an advocate, speaker and writer, Sayu engages people in public debate and in the democratic process. She has a PhD in Politics and Education from Columbia University, where her research focused on immigrant political participation. Sayu is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

 

Victoria Kiechel has 20 years of professional experience in architecture, education, and sustainable design. A practicing architect, she works for the Cadmus Group, Inc., an environmental consultancy, and is a faculty member of the Global Environmental Politics Program, the School of International Service, American University (AU), in Washington, DC. In 2010, she was the inaugural recipient of AU’s Most Innovative Green Teacher of the Year award. At Cadmus, Vicky has worked for the US Green Building Council to develop and support the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating Systems; advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR commercial and industrial branch; leads consulting and review teams for buildings seeking LEED certification; and manages sustainability initiatives for clients as diverse as the Smithsonian Institution and state and local governments. Her architectural design work focuses on small-to-medium scale residential and institutional projects. For the Washington, DC Capitol Hill School Libraries Project, she designed the library for Maury Elementary School.

In Anaheim, California, a previously undocumented Mexican American challenges the high-powered interests of the Disney Corporation to win a city council seat. In the Midwest, a thirty-something Muslim Somali American unseats a forty-four-year incumbent in the Minnesota house of representatives. 

These are some of the foreign-born, lower-income, and of-color Americans who have successfully taken on leadership roles in elected office despite xenophobia, political gatekeeping, and personal financial concerns. In accessible prose, Bhojwani shines a light on the political, systemic, and cultural roadblocks that prevent government from effectively representing a rapidly changing America, and offers forward-thinking solutions on how to get rid of them.

People Like Us serves as a road map for the burgeoning democracy that has been a long time in the making: inclusive, multiracial, and unstoppable.

NYU Paris Hosts Symposium on Joan Miró

Joan Miró : Dessin-poème L’Été, 1937 (détail). Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona © Successió Miró

On 9 – 10 November, 2018, NYU Paris will host a symposium on Joan Miró. Joan Miró: Painting – Poetry will focus in the main on Miró’s dream of merging painting and poetry, as well as his awareness of the existence of an inexorable duality between the text and the image. His simultaneous exploration in his works of these two contradictory paths constituted a major contribution to the art of his time. This symposium will also provide greater insights into the influence of French and Catalan poetry on Miró and his contemporaries.

NYU Shanghai Course Focuses on Recycling Plastic – Re-Made in China

More than two billion tons of solid waste is generated every year by the world’s cities — a challenge that if left unaddressed, will continue to have serious health, safety and environmental consequences. This semester, nine IMA students accepted the challenge of “learning everything about plastic and plastic pollution” and finding ways to sustainably upcycle it in a new course, Re-Made in China.

“Our goal is to become as knowledgeable as possible about our subject, and to come up with viable project ideas and prototypes that can be sustainable and fair business models generating a positive social impact for local communities,” says Clinical Instructor of Arts Marcela Godoy.

The two-credit course, guided by the principles of sustainable design philosophy, will introduce students to both traditional and new technologies to address social and environmental problems. The goal is to remake plastic waste into “something valuable and even extraordinary,” be it accessories, handcrafts or an art project.

In class, students are divided into 3 groups: one focusing on developing machines to process plastic, such as shredding and melting; another experimenting with what materials plastic can be transformed into; and the third on designing new products. “I want students to work together like a design firm, where we learn about plastic together and collaborate on projects,” Godoy says.

Suhyeon Lee ‘19, who took Godoy’s class on Digital Fabrication last semester and has signed on for Remade in China, says she is excited about learning what can be done with the overflow of trash. “I am going to gather discarded materials and combine them to produce an object that we can enjoy again — either an artistic sculpture, musical instrument, daily necessity, or even something personal that is meaningful to someone.”

Godoy’s idea of recycling emerged in 2012, when she was working in New York at YesYesNo, a studio for interactive arts and technology projects. She noticed the huge amount of waste generated from projects, and decided to upcycle the materials to make necklaces and other accessories.

“How ironic that things to make people feel beautiful can be made out of the opposite,” she says.

Marcela Godoy on the right, showing a student how to use the plastic shredder that she built.

Godoy is encouraging her students to become even more deeply engaged with the community they live in, by assigning projects that take them out of the classroom, such as creating “trash maps” tracking plastic trash routes through Shanghai.

“I am going to invite a person who collects recyclables from trash in Shanghai to share his experience,” Godoy says, “Students will then be assigned to research and interview people on their own to find out where the plastic trash is produced and disposed of.”   

Godoy also plans to invite seasoned designers from Precious Plastic Shanghai,a social enterprise devoted to raising plastic pollution awareness in China, to offer hands-on coaching to students in a workshop later in November. Godoy worked with the team after moving to China in 2015.

At the end of the course, Godoy plans to launch a “Re-Maker Space” for the benefit of the whole NYU Shanghai community, where all students and faculty can drop by to process plastic and make something valuable of their own.

The seven-week course is expected to conclude on December 11. Following the end of the semester, Godoy will present her class’ work at the Precious Plastic WANA Conference in Abu Dhabi on December 16-17.  

 

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

NYU Sydney Anthropology Lecturer Petronella Vaarzon-Morel on Students Experiencing the Warmth of Walpiri Culture

The Warmth of a Walpiri Welcome

By Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, NYU Sydney Anthropology Lecturer

This September, students in the Anthropology of Indigenous Art and Anthropology classes were privileged to meet with Warlpiri cultural experts Selina Williams Napanangka and Julie Kitson Napaljarri from Willowra, an Indigenous community which is located 350 kilometres north-west of
Alice Springs in Central Australia.

NYU Sydney was recently honoured to host Warlpiri cultural experts Selina Williams Napanangka and Julie Kitson Napaljarri from Willowra. Selina and Julie were guests for two classes within a week on campus. The occasions brilliantly illustrated the opportunities afforded by the anthropology classes and the Sydney campus for meaningful cross- cultural exchanges between Indigenous Australians and NYU students.

Julie and Selina are both skilled artists and performers of the Warlpiri women’s yawalyu ceremonies, which celebrate their ancestral connections to country through song, dance, and body painting.

Both women are currently involved in two collaborative projects with NYU anthropology lecturer Petronella Vaarzon-Morel. The first is a cultural mapping project which involves traditional owners visiting their ancestral countries in the Lander Warlpiri Anmatyerr region and mapping ancestral tracks, sites and cultural heritage information. The second is a cultural returns project, an Australian Research Council Linkage project involving the Indigenous body the Central Land Council, and researchers from The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne. The project has been running for three years and is near completion.

During this period the researchers have located large collections of Central Australian Indigenous cultural materials which are held in diverse public and private collections. Applying international best practice, material (primarily images and audio-visual ) has been digitised and reconnected with rightful Indigenous people.

The project has helped preserve Indigenous heritage, improve community access, safeguard at-risk materials, support intergenerational knowledge transfer, and provide a framework for the development of a repatriation policy. At the time of their visit to NYU Sydney, Julie and Selina were visiting archives in Sydney and Canberra for the project.

The theme of the Indigenous Art class for the week was Warlpiri and Anmayerr art. In addition to providing insights into the different Warlpiri modes of artistic practice, and providing feedback on the readings for the week, Julie and Selina taught students the basics of the Warlpiri traditional iconographic system. The iconography is employed in body painting, sand drawing and the contemporary Western Desert style of acrylic painting on canvas which has become renowned throughout the world.

In a fascinating cross-cultural exercise, students later viewed video clips made by Petronella of Julie and Selina providing their interpretations of works such as Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles in the American Masters Exhibition, which was on display next to the Indigenous Gallery.

Following their visit to Sydney, Julie and Selina visited the National Gallery in Canberra, where they expressed great pride in seeing Aboriginal art in the nation’s capital. Julie commented “it’s so amazing to see Aboriginal art displayed so beautifully here. The last time I came with you [Petronella] to Canberra in the late 1970s we hardly saw any Aboriginal art. It’s good to see the increased recognition of Aboriginal people in Australia.”

Julie and Selina joined students of the Anthropology class to view the virtual reality film Collisions, directed by Lynette Wallworth with Indigenous elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan. The film, recounts Nyarri Nyarri Morgan’s recollections of his first contact with Europeans during the 1950s, and the fallout of the atomic bomb over his people, the Martu in the region known as the Pilbara in Western Australia. The viewing provided a great opportunity for the Warlpiri guest speakers to share their reflections on the violent history of settler colonisation of Australia and Indigenous responses. This in turn prompted exchanges. For example, one student spoke of the feelings the film stirred concerning the bombing of Japan, her homeland during the 2nd World War.

Julie told the students about the murder of her relatives during the Coniston Massacre, which took place in the Willowra region in 1928. Coniston is officially recognised as the last massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia. The students also heard excerpts from radio interviews with Aboriginal people including Julie’s son Dwayne Ross, sister Maisie Napaljarri, and also Petronella about the Massacre. The interviews were recorded during the recent Coniston Massacre memorial day, which was held at Yurrkuru, the place where the massacre began.

During this commemorative event Warlpiri spokespeople called for a National Remembrance Day to remember the victims of massacres of Indigenous people that have occurred throughout Australia. The exchange between the NYU students and Julie and Selina were respectful and relaxed, and they highlighted the importance of the recognition of Indigenous Australians, of the true history of Australia, and of reconciliation.

During the Anthropology class Selina and Julie instructed the students in Warlpiri kinship and classificatory or “skin” system. Each student received a skin name and had to work out how they were related to Julie and Selina. In learning about their kinship relationships, they also learnt about appropriate marriage partners and kinds of behaviors associated with different kinspersons. In illustrating the importance of the relational ontology which is foundational to Warlpiri society, the exercise facilitated understanding of different ways of being in the world. Selina later commented to Petronella, “the students were pretty quick in learning their skin names. They feel proud of them. They will have them forever and will take them back to their country and share the names and their experiences. If they want to come to central Australia, we would welcome them.”

Both students and Julie and Selina felt that there wasn’t enough time to share all they could and hoped that there will more opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges at NYU Sydney in the future.

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