Cross-cultural course in Colombia boosts awareness of refugee issues

first_imgSixteen students from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of Antioquia School of Medicine participated in a cross-cultural course, “Health of Urban Displaced Populations in Post-Conflict Colombia,” January 5-23, 2016 to study public health issues faced by displaced and vulnerable people in Colombia. The course – designed to foster dialogue and goodwill between the U.S. and developing countries – is sponsored by the Open Hands Initiative and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) in collaboration with the University of Antioquia in Medellin.The participants wrote a series of Huffington Post blogs throughout January on the experience. Read a January 22, 2016 blog post here and earlier posts here.Gregg Greenough, HHI faculty, and Christian Arbelaez of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, led the course. Guest speakers included Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. Students wrote white papers on public health issues and made recommendations for Colombian policymakers.“It is the type of analysis, assessment, and learning that addresses our strongest sense that information cannot flow in one direction and that we have much to learn from each other,” wrote Negeen Darani, executive director of HHI and its Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, in one of the blog posts.Such lessons, Darani said, have broad implications today for the world’s millions of displaced people from conflicts in Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, and elsewhere. Read Full Storylast_img read more

The language of learning

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Eni Dervishi ’17 has always been intrigued by language. “When I was in kindergarten, a teacher taught us how to say ‘chair’ and ‘table’ in English,” she recalled. “I found it fascinating that you could use two different words for [one] object.”In her small Albanian town, language instruction was limited. But Eni was determined to learn. She heard that a neighbor knew more English than a few simple words. “I’d go knocking on his door, asking him to teach me. … [Eventually] his wife took pity on me,” Dervishi said. When an older friend began studying Italian, Dervishi tagged along, and soon she added French, traveling to the capital Tirana for books. German, Spanish, and a little Portuguese — picked up watching television soap operas — followed. And, finally, her relative isolation turned to a benefit. Because her hometown, Pogradec, is on Lake Ohrid, a tourist attraction, she was able to practice her languages with international visitors.A window opened for Dervishi. “I fell in love with languages,” she said. “Through languages I was able to see a different world. It opened my imagination to what was out there.”Indeed, it was a particular phrase that set the economics major on the path to Harvard. “When I was in fourth grade, a teacher mentioned that Harvard was the best university in the world,” she said. “It stuck in my mind, this dream college.”At that point, college itself was a dream. Her father had no formal college education, but her mother had returned to school as an adult, attending college part time during Dervishi’s youth. “Seeing her balance working two jobs at the time with intense studying, and on top of that taking care of her family, was extremely motivating,” said Dervishi. “My mother not only talked about the importance of education, but she actually showed it with her actions.”Even with such inspiration, the way forward was difficult. Dervishi’s small-town high school had no one to guide her in the application process. “My teachers hadn’t written letters of recommendation before,” she said. “I had to teach them.” When she needed to send official documents, such as transcripts, she found another hurdle. “I thought of faxing them, but there was no fax machine in my hometown.”Her persistence paid off with a full scholarship (she was accepted at 14 of the 15 colleges she applied to). But the challenges continued. “The transition from high school to college, which is already daunting, for me was coupled with moving to an entirely new country,” she said. Vending machines, for example, were new to her, as was swiping an ID card to gain entrance to a library. And even with her impressive language skills, some words eluded Dervishi. In a mathematics class freshman year, she said, “I knew how to write an equation and solve it, but I did not know how to say the ‘minus’ or ‘plus’ sign, which made speaking up in class and asking questions particularly challenging.”“It was like a learning process,” she said, in her lightly accented, fluent English. “I was discovering something new every day.”Her education has already taken her far from Albania and Cambridge. She has been granted several internships, including with the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism of Albania (funded by the Center for European Studies) and with the Europe Research Center in Paris (established by the Harvard Business School). Last year, at the European Parliament in Brussels, she interned with the Alliance for Liberal Democracy in Europe Party, in a program funded by the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. With energy to spare, Dervishi has managed to play intramural volleyball and enjoy her runs along the Charles.Being at Harvard, she said, “has really been a life-changing experience. I have always dreamt of traveling the world, and Harvard enabled me to do that. I’ve been exposed to so many different viewpoints. I’ve met people from very, very different backgrounds and been able to learn from the best professors in the world.”Right from the start, she focused on giving back to her wider world. Freshman year, for example, she got involved in tutoring candidates for citizenship through the Institute of Politics. “That was very empowering for me,” Dervishi said, “seeing people who have always dreamt of becoming U.S. citizens, even if it was simply helping them feel more confident about their English skills.”After graduation, Dervishi will stay in the United States — at least for now. She has landed a consulting job in Boston, which she hopes will help her develop her quantitative skills. She wants to continue her studies, probably at business school, where she intends to pursue a master’s in international development.“I have experienced the challenges of coming from a developing country, and being here I have seen that Albania is not the only country facing these challenges,” she said. “I want to make my own contribution to solving these issues.”That includes reaching out to students, particularly those to whom a college education may seem impossible. “Never give up on your dreams,” Dervishi said — in the language that has brought her so far — “never let your circumstances define who you are.”last_img read more

Dell EMC Expands HCI Portfolio at .NEXT

first_imgIt’s clear that organizations of all sizes are deploying hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) in production environments for a wide range of applications these days. In a recent survey, 47 percent of survey respondents are using HCI for primary infrastructure and 45 percent are deploying mixed workloads on HCI1. The reasons for this trend are also apparent: rapid deployment, simplified management and scale-out expansion to accommodate evolving needs and new projects.As a global IT systems company and the leading HCI solutions vendor, Dell EMC is fully committed to enhancing its portfolio to meet the growing requirements of mainstream enterprise applications. In addition, our position as the leading server vendor enables us to incorporate advanced technologies into the hardware foundation that is critical in the deployment and management of enterprise applications on hyper-converged infrastructure.Today, in conjunction with our participation at Nutanix .NEXT, we’re announcing several recent developments with the Dell EMC XC Family based on Nutanix software, the latest Dell EMC PowerEdge servers and our integration and management software. These advancements illustrate how our server leadership and innovation are incorporated into our HCI offerings:The Dell EMC XC940-24 is the first quad-processor appliance for Nutanix environments and can be configured with up to 6TB of memory, all flash or a mix of SSDs and HDDs, and 10GbE or 25GbE networking. It is purpose-built for in-memory and memory-intensive databases, big data and analytics and other applications that require extremely high levels of performance. The XC940-24 effectively expands the range of enterprise workloads that can be supported with hyper-converged infrastructure.With the new Dell EMC XC640-4i appliance, we’re also expanding the lower-end of the range of applications that are a good fit for HCI. Supporting 1-, 2- and 3-node deployments, it is designed to meet the growing number of applications that are hosted outside traditional centralized data centers and cloud environments. This appliance provides a cost-effective HCI solution for non-mission critical applications in remote and branch offices, retail locations, Internet of Things (IOT) systems and other edge computing environments.The new Life Cycle Management (LCM) capability for the XC Family provides another example of how our server technology and expertise are leveraged for the XC Family. LCM leverages PowerEdge technology and standards-based APIs to automatically inventory and update the BIOS and firmware for several components in an XC system. It supports both in-band and out-of-band communications and provides updates 70 percent faster than manual methods so customers can efficiently plan and execute upgrades without disrupting existing cluster operations.Dell EMC is committed to developing the XC Family and making it the ideal platform for Nutanix. Our HCI solutions leadership is based on a unique proposition and the industry’s broadest portfolio of industry-leading technologies and solutions to address essentially any adoption model for consuming HCI. Working with customers around the world, we know there’s no single way—no silver bullet—to address every opportunity or challenge. Customers know they can turn to Dell EMC to find the solution that makes the most sense for their own unique requirements.If you’re visiting Nutanix .NEXT in New Orleans this week, please attend our breakout session on Wednesday, May 9 at 1:25pm in Hall E2. You can also visit with technical experts and see live XC Family demos in booth P2 in the Solutions Expo. We look forward to speaking with you about why Dell EMC offers the industry’s best option for deploying Nutanix-based hyper-converged infrastructure. Topline Research, August 2017last_img read more

Conference to focus on religion

first_imgIn the early 20th century, the idea that religion was “on its way out” became predominant, according to Notre Dame Professor Patrick Mason. Today, Notre Dame is launching a research initiative to explore the relevance of world religions in the modern world. The initiative, titled Contending Modernities, will use multi-disciplinary research to promote understanding of how religious and secular forces interact. Its first phase involves studying the interaction between Catholicism, Islam and secularism. Mason, the project’s associate director for research, said Notre Dame has always been a leader in the study of religion, specifically Catholicism. Contending Modernities, which began through Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will make the University a hub for understanding the interaction between Catholicism, other world religions and secular society. “The heart of this project is that it’s comparative,” Mason said. “Our vision is that it will involve dozens of scholars both here at Notre Dame and around the world.” Today and Friday in New York City, the University will launch Contending Modernities. Today at 4 p.m. at the Sheraton New York, University President Fr. John Jenkins will deliver an introduction to the project. Kroc Institute Director Scott Appleby will also address the prior to three keynote speakers. Shaykh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, will speak through videoconference. Jane Dammen McAuliffe, president of Bryn Mawr College and former president of the American Academy of Religion, and John McGreevy, dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters will also give keynote speeches. Friday at 10 a.m., the University will host a panel titled “Women, Family and Society in Islam and Catholicism,” featuring experts with a variety of perspectives. While there are plans for the project to eventually include other religions, it is beginning with Catholicism and Islam because they have many similarities, Mason said. There are Catholics and Muslims in every country, Mason said, and members of both faiths make up approximately one-third of the global population. “They’re the two truly global religions,” he said. “They’ve had to adjust to the radical transformations that have come about in the modern world … They make really interesting historical cases or parallels because of this shared experience of having to live through or renegotiate the transitions of modernity.” Today and Friday’s launch events in New York were planned long before the controversy over the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, but Mason said the controversy is a further indication of Contending Modernities’ importance. Public discourse about issues such as terrorism and Sept. 11 are important in modern society and a part of Contending Modernities, Mason said. “Scholars have, we believe, an obligation to enrich the public discourse on these things,” he said. “Part of the underlying foundation of the project is that … the most important problems we have aren’t going to be solved by secular institutions alone.” After the project’s launch, Mason said the University would form research teams in early 2011. The project is designed to unfold over several years, but the preliminary stage will include teams of Catholic, Muslim and secular experts at Notre Dame and around the world. Together, they will explore themes such as human development, science, gender, law, migration, violence and peace. Emad Shahin, the Henry R. Luce Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Notre Dame, joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2009 and has been involved in the planning stages of Contending Modernities. Shahin will also participate in the project’s research teams. His own research focuses on Islamic politics and the relationship between Islamic law and modern political concepts, and he said he is looking forward to the project’s ability to find common ground between Catholicism and Islam. “I’ve always thought of the possibilities of building a common ground, common agenda and even a plan of action between the various communities of faith that could enable them to cooperate and respond to the challenges in our modern world at the humanistic or humanitarian level.” In addition to a scholarly research initiative, Mason said Contending Modernities is a public education project. Research teams will present their findings to the broader public through writing op-ed newspaper pieces, contributing to blogs, working to develop school curriculums, advising religious and civic leaders or writing policy papers for governments. “This is really bold and ambitious and innovative and really sort of takes Notre Dame a step further in terms of our outreach to the world,” Mason said. At Notre Dame, the Kroc Institute has already applied for and received money to hire new faculty members, including one specialist in global Catholicism, two professors in Islamic studies and one Islamic law specialist. Mason said the project could eventually lead to research opportunities for undergraduates, expansion of the University’s foreign language offerings and new study abroad programs. These programs would be created in cooperation with other offices and departments at Notre Dame. “One of our real hopes is that Contending Modernities will act as a seed to further internationalize the University,” Mason said.last_img read more

Jenkins calls for change to fight racial inequalities

first_imgUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins committed to “combat the blight of racism” following the murder of George Floyd, in an email sent to the Notre Dame community Monday.While Floyd’s killing has led to widespread protests across the nation and the world, Jenkins said he, along with University vice presidents and deans, will work together to establish changes on campus in order “to live up more fully to the ideals of Notre Dame.”Jenkins extended his apologies to the racial hardships Black members of the Notre Dame community face.“Each of us must be aware of that pain among members of our community and be ready to offer support and listen as appropriate,” he said.Jenkins cited the University’s principles on diversity and inclusion, reinforcing Notre Dame’s commitment “to the dignity of every person, to building a community in which all can flourish and to solidarity with all, particularly with the most vulnerable.”As such, Jenkins said these principles drive the University to take an active role in fighting against racism and exclusion.“If we are committed only to certain life issues, that commitment is at best shallow and at worst hypocritical,” Jenkins said.Acknowledging the University’s shortcomings in the struggle for racial equality, Jenkins urged the community to be honest about the realities of being a Black student, faculty or staff member and attempt to improve.“Our black students and colleagues often feel less included in the Notre Dame community many of us cherish, and sometimes feel the sting of remarks and actions that make them feel demeaned or excluded,” Jenkins said. “We must be honest about our failings, and commit to do better.”Jenkins said he will be discussing with upper-level University administration steps to in response to “this moment that is both tragic and a call for conversion and recommitment.”“As we all return to campus, we must continue this conversation, as together we seek ways to live up more fully to the ideals of Notre Dame and to combat the evil of racism in our society,” he said.Tags: george floyd, John Jenkins, racial inequality, Racismlast_img read more

Florida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S.

first_imgFlorida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:Florida Power & Light Co. no longer wants to own part of the nation’s largest operating coal-fired power plant.FPL, the state’s largest electric company, told utility regulators in the Sunshine State last week that it plans to exit its ownership of one of four units at Plant Scherer, a massive coal plant near Juliette, Ga., that’s been in operation since the 1980s.FPL wants to abandon its ownership of Unit 4 of the plant by January 2022. The move is part of the utility’s plan to remove coal from its system, the majority of which already is natural gas, nuclear and a growing portfolio of utility-scale solar. The utility also plans to close a 330-megawatt coal plant on Florida’s Treasure Coast and two older natural gas steam units on the state’s west coast.FPL made its plans known in a 10-year site plan filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. FPL is owned by South Florida-based energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which owns the world’s largest renewable energy developer, NextEra Energy Resources.FPL owns 76% of Unit 4 at Plant Scherer, and Jacksonville, Fla.’s electric company, JEA, owns the remaining share. JEA did not say in its 10-year site plan what it wants to do with its portion of Plant Scherer, and the utility did not respond to questions from E&E News by deadline.The owner of Plant Scherer, Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s Georgia Power, has routinely made headlines for its carbon emissions, as it’s the largest coal plant in the nation. The plant’s four units combined can produce up to 3,600 MW of electricity and power more than 2 million homes.[Kristi E. Swartz]Fla. utility to exit nation’s largest coal plantlast_img read more

Pension fund for Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd ‘weighing future’

first_imgThe €3bn pension fund of Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd has confirmed it is exploring its future options, including the possibility of liquidation. The scheme said it extended the contracts for pensions provision and re-insurance by no more than one year, rather than the usual five-year period.The extension coincides with the expiration of the current collective labour agreement (CAO), which includes the agreements on pensions.Unlike many Dutch financial institutions that have switched to collective defined contribution (CDC) arrangements, Delta Lloyd still has a defined benefit pension plan. In its new contract, it has had to increase its contribution due to low interest rates, it said.The pension claims of the scheme’s 4,000 participants have been re-insured with Delta Lloyd itself.Dutch unions voiced concerns as far back as 2014 that Delta Lloyd – much like asset manager Robeco, insurer Achmea and the banks ABN Amro, ING and NIBC – would switch to CDC.Many companies have sought to offload pension liabilities from their balance sheets following new accounting rules resulting from Solvency II.The pension fund said it was looking into three options, including continuing its current re-insured scheme, as well as ending re-insured arrangements and taking pensions “under its own wing”.The third alternative is liquidation and subsequently placing the pension plan with an insurer or the new general pension fund APF.Previously, Delta Lloyd said it would establish such a pensions vehicle.The pension fund declined to specify whether its options would be limited to keeping the pension plan with the employer or its APF.In 2014, IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro named the Delta Lloyd Pensioenfonds the best DB scheme in the Netherlands.Its coverage ratio was 129.4% at November-end.last_img read more

​AP4 hails active management boost to 2018 return

first_imgSwedish state pension buffer fund AP4 made a 0.2% loss on its investments last year after costs, but its active management strategy meant it was able to prevent weak markets leaving more of a dent in its SEK349bn (€32.9bn) portfolio.Releasing full-year financial figures, the fund said the return before costs was 0.1% for 2018.Active management had contributed 2.3 percentage points to the return, it said.Niklas Ekvall, chief executive of the fund, said: “2018 was a year with periodically high volatility and weak – and in many cases negative – returns on financial assets. “It is therefore gratifying that AP4’s active management was very successful in 2018 and significantly limited the impact of the weak market on AP4’s total return.”Ekvall said this illustrated the value of broad-based and high quality active management in the current low-return environment.The pension fund made net disbursements to the pension system of SEK6.8bn during the year.This led to total fund capital falling to SEK349.3bn by the end of December, from SEK356.6bn at the beginning of 2018.Changes to the AP funds’ investment mandate, which took effect at the beginning of this year, have given the four buffer funds more freedom regarding their asset mixes.However, Ekvall said in the annual report that it was “of the utmost importance” that the second step of this reform process was carried out as planned in 2019.This next set of changes will broaden the range of investment forms and types of instruments the funds can use. It is currently going through the Swedish legislative process.“A modernisation also in this area is therefore a prerequisite for the AP funds’ ability to purposefully and cost effectively use the greater freedom to act that the change in the first step conveys,” Ekvall said.Earlier this week, fellow buffer fund AP3 posted a 0.6% profit on its investments, after AP2 turned in a 1.3% annual loss when it released its annual report last week.AP1, the fourth of the main buffer funds, is set to publish its 2018 report tomorrow.last_img read more

Casey’s General Store marks fifth season of support for Super Nationals, Deery Series

first_imgANKENY, Iowa – The Official Convenience Store of IMCA marks its fifth season of sponsorship in 2017, continuing invaluable support of Super Nationals and the Deery Brothers Summer Series.Casey’s General Store continues its presenting sponsor role for the IMCA Speedway Motors Su­per Nationals, scheduled Sept. 4-9 at Boone Speedway. Casey’s also returns as title spon­sor for the redraw at each IMCA Late Model tour main event.The 2017 season is the second in the latest three-year partnership agreement between Casey’s and IMCA.Casey’s and IMCA both donate $10 to Hope for the Warriors on behalf of each heat winner during the week of Super Nationals. That organization, which serves post-9/11 service members and their families, has received more than $20,000 in the past four events.Super Nationals heat winners also receive a hat and $20 gift card.Drivers drawing the pole for each Deery Series main event get $50 gift cards while those with per­fect attendance for the entire season receive $100 gift cards.Decal placement is required and gift cards are redeemable at any Casey’s location.Based in Ankeny, Iowa, Casey’s has more than 1,900 stores in 15 states, with the most recent addition to that list being Ohio.Casey’s also has stores in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mis­souri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennes­see and Wisconsin.In addition to selling grocery items, bakery goods and gasoline, Casey’s is currently the fifth larg­est pizza chain in the country and is becoming even more famous for pizza with online orders and a new app for smartphone and other mobile device users.The first Casey’s store opened in Boone 49 years ago. Casey’s maintains a very prominent loca­tion in the hometown of Super Nationals with a store that opened along Highway 30, just across the road from the Boone Speedway grounds.The Casey’s website is Information about new promotions is also on Face­book.“It is really something special for IMCA to be able to promote Casey’s General Store as a partner with the biggest events in all of dirt track racing,” said IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder. “We are grateful for their tremendous support and are committed to making Casey’s the only food and fuel stop for IMCA racers.”last_img read more

West Florida Volleyball Defeats the Defending Conference Champions

first_img Sept. 29, 2007Box Score PENSACOLA, Fla. – The North Alabama Lions have had a strangle hold on the East Division of the Gulf South Conference for the last few years, but a changing of the guard may have taken place Saturday night. The West Florida Volleyball team put away the Lions in four games to improve to 18-2, 3-0 on the season. The loss dropped North Alabama to 10-10, and 3-2 in the conference. The win was the Argos first ever over North Alabama in the 12th match played against the powerful Lions.Coach Melissa Wolter pointed out, “this was a great win for us, and it was a team victory, as everyone on the court played real well. They (North Alabama) are a very mature team that serves real well, so it’s a big win over a strong team. I thought we were well prepared and stuck to our game plan.” The plan worked as the Argos earned a big victory to remain unbeaten in Gulf South Conference play.West Florida came out smoking in game one and lead throughout as Isabela Gualberto put away five kills in six attempts to lead the attack as the Argos won game one 30-17. However, game two was a hard fought game by both teams as the lead changed hands seven times. Whitney Sanders was hot for the Lions with 5 kills early in game two, and then Danielle Spitzer had a sequence of two kills and a block to spark a four point run to put UWF up 24-19. However, the Lions scored the next five points to tie the contest at 24. A Chelsea Wilhoite kill and a big block from Gualberto and Kimberly Clark put the Argos up 29-25. North Alabama rallied with kills from Sanders and Beyaca Martin to tie it up at 29, and then prevailed 32-30 to even the match.The pivotal game three was the Luciana Rapach show, as the Junior had 8 kills in 11 attempts and a couple of spectacular digs. The Argos won game three by a 30-19 score to regain the momentum. The tough veteran team from North Alabama would not give in easily, and they took an early lead in game four, until Kimberly Clark and Danielle Spitzer recorded back to back kills to give the Argos a 21-20 lead. Wilhoite had a thunderous kill to put the Argos up 29-26, only to see Martin record back to back kills for the Lions. Then, following a time out, the Argos set up Gualberto for a quick hitter that she put down with authority to seal the victory.Five argos had double digit digs as the defense was outstanding. Rapach led with 23, while Madeline Gonzalez (15), Clark (11), Wilhoite (12), and Jerica Carter (20) had strong games as well. Setter Madeline Gonzalez recorded 53 assists for the Argos, as Gualberto (20) and Rapach (19) were the big recipients of her sets. Wilhoite added 11 kills also. Whitney Sanders led the Lions with 14 kills.”Bela (Gualberto) and Luciana (Rapach) played very well tonight, and it shows that we are a well rounded team and have multiple players that can step for us on a given night,” stated Coach Wolter as her team celebrated the victory. Next up for the Argos is Alabama-Huntsville on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm in the UWF Fieldhouse. Print Friendly Version Share West Florida Volleyball Defeats the Defending Conference Championslast_img read more