Thursday, May 22, 2008
Finally got some internet access in my room so a quick post. I'm very tired; the 11.5 hour time difference is not letting me sleep, no matter how tired I am, so I'm running on fumes after a first long day yesterday.
Short answer: Tehran is ugly and wonderful. No sights, unless you include a mass of interesting people, shops, insane traffic, and a vibrancy you find in a big city. Iranians are as predicted; kind, interested, a good sense of humor. Yesterday I saw some of the palaces of the previous monarchy, got a history lesson from my excellent guide, a former career officer in the Iranian Air Force, talked for three hours with a professor from Tehran University who was a classmate of the President Ahmadinejad from elementary to high school, saw Imam Khomeini's home and baffled the locals with my friendship pin of crossed American and Iranian flags--even the ultra conservatives love it (or I think love it more than liberals, who find the current "Islamic" flag distasteful).
Today my guide is driving to Yazd while I fly there this evening. I hope today to visit Khomeini's tomb and the surrounding cemetery where those who died in the Iran-Iraq War are buried, attend Friday Prayers at Tehran University, see the former US embassy, hit a museum or two and then on to the airport. I don't know how much I can see or appreciate on 3 hours of sleep, but that is what they made coffee for.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
On May 2nd-3rd I had the pleasure and honor of representing the University of Puget Sound at a conference in Cairo, Egypt. I applied for Beyond Borders: An Egyptian-American Dialogue, a multilingual and cross-cultural dialogue that brought together young Americans and Egyptians. The conference was sponsored primarily by two organizations, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and Americans for Informed Democracy (AID). Out of all those who applied, only 25 Americans and 25 Egyptians were selected to attend. I was the only person from the entire western half of the United States. I was also surprised to find myself as one of the only undergraduate Americans there. Many were graduate students or had been working for some time. I flew a in day before the conference so I went and did some of the prerequisite touring. Honestly, though, my favorite thing was just walking around and talking to people. I met an Egyptian working at the American Embassy in Cairo and talked with him on the street for about an hour over tea.
Although only two days, the conference was a worthwhile experience because it provided a unique opportunity to interact with people of different culture and society. The conference was well organized and formatted to address a variety of different issues. There were four main panels that addressed changes in mass media, communication through art, Egypt's role in the Arab world, and the implications of U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. The panels brought together a wide range of different speakers. Each panel had a diverse and well-rounded group of people heavily involved in the issues of that panel. For example, the panel on mass media brought together a BBC journalist, a reporter for Egypt Today, the president of Soliya (a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving inter-cultural understanding between the "West" and the "Muslim world" through internet technology). While they were well put together, I felt the panels took up too much of the time. By far, the most enjoyable aspect of the conference were the small group discussions. Although we discussed the panel topics and possible improvements and suggestions in those areas, the real value of these discussions was that they provided us with a forum to simply talk to one another. I learned so much about Egyptian society and the Egyptian people in just two days.
The other major part of the conference was the crafting of policy recommendations. Two participants (one American and one Egyptian) were selected to present a compiled conference report in Washington D.C. at the end of July. The report was drawn up through a process of discussion in small groups, a general session for voting and amendment on recommendations, and a final session to ratify each proposal. The report will serve as a departure point for advocacy on U.S. policy towards the Middle East. The two ambassadors will serve as representatives of the conference. They will participate in a two-day retreat on leadership development and advocacy and will meet with foreign policy and development experts in the region. Afterwards, these leaders will meet with State Department officials involved with the Middle East Partnership Initiative, USAID officials working in the Middle East and North Africa region on democracy and governance, and legislators concerned with diplomacy and democracy in the region.
Personally, I gained three specific things from the conference. First, I learned much more about Egyptian society, culture, and politics than in the majority of my academic study. The second was learning more about advocacy and how people can influence their local politicians and policy makers to enact changes that can have a national or global impact. I found this very important because it is something concrete that I can apply right here in Tacoma in order to help people on the other side of the world. Finally, I established ties to people in all different parts of the world. This network will be very helpful for me later in my life when I am looking for a job. It also provides additional resources for me if I need help with something in the future.
Something I did not expect to happen, but which will be a very major decision in my life, is that I am now considering going to graduate school abroad. I have known for a while now that I wanted to pursue a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies. However, I have always looked at going to graduate school inside the United States. There are several programs that appeal to me here. I never really considered going abroad to do my graduate studies. As of now, it is still more likely that I will go to a program in the U.S., but now I will apply for a program in the Middle East as well. I spoke to several people from the American University in Cairo about their program in Middle Eastern Studies. I began seriously thinking about the benefits of doing an areas studies degree in the region itself. While this is all tentative right now, as I do not plan on attending graduate school for some time, it marks a substantial shift in my ideas for the future. With this in mind, I also began to plan out everything I am going to be doing for the next ten years. Meeting with and talking to people who had either been down the road of work or graduate school, and shared my passion for the Middle East, helped me to think more in depth about what I want to do and where I want my life to go.
I would highly recommend this experience to anyone in the future. The conference covered my meal and living expenses during the two days of the conference (I had to pay for the hostel on the other nights, but it was cheap). Of course, the big thing is plane tickets, but there are a variety of options for financial aid. I was able to get aid from the Politics & Government department, ASUPS, and the University Enrichment Committee (which provides travel grants for students). The conference also gave me a small scholarship for travel. So even though the financial issues may be really difficult to work through, there are multiple avenues open for students to help fund their interests. My biggest complaints about the conference is that was too short and there was not enough discussion time. But overall I believe that the idea of a cross-cultural dialogue that this conference represents is a great leap forward in ways to help connect Americans and Middle Easterners. POMED and AID hosted three conferences last year and the Cairo conference this year is the second one (there was one in Rabat last month and still one in Amman this month). I also hope that some of the things I've said here will encourage people to seek out similar opportunities in any area they are interested, as well as helping people realize that there are many options for financial assistance to support these endeavors. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have. My ups email is email@example.com. Thanks, hope everyone has a great summer!
Monday, May 19, 2008
For anybody going home to the Portland area for the summer, here is a great internship opportunity. Tim Probst is a Democrat challenging a Republican incumbent for State Representative in Vancouver, WA (District 17, position 1). The campaign is up and running full speed and Tim has a great prospect of winning the seat this year - the incumbent is the most vulnerable in the state legislature.
The campaign is looking to bring on interns for the Summer - small state legislative races are a great way to get well-rounded experience, because you see all aspects of the campaign rather than just one specific area like finance or doorbelling. No prior experience necessary, although you should be committed to furthering progressive values and ready to take on at least 10 hours per week. The internship is unpaid, but you will get a great learning experience and a great recommendation from Tim for your hard work. If interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
We had wonderful weather this weekend for graduation, and as always, Saturday the Department held its own ceremony for majors and minors. In addition, we bid farewell to Professor Carlo Bonura (pictured above), who leaves Puget Sound for Oxford--a step down, no doubt, but we imagine he'll make the most of that unfortunate situation. See more photos here; with more to follow. If you've got a picture of your own from the event you'd like to add, please send it along!
A list of the senior theses this year (an asterisk denotes that the paper won the award for best paper(s) in the seminar):
American Politics: Professor David Sousa
Jena Beauchene, “Changing Environmental Policy Through Controversial Collaboratives”
Andrew Bourdon, “Think Tanks & Social Security: How Ideology, Information, and Framing Have Polarized Congress”
Giorgio Cafiero, “The Impact of Supreme Court Appointments on Doctrinal Change: Prospects After the 2008 Elections”
Franny Chiles, “The Politicization of the EPA in the Bush Administration”*
Seth Doherty, “A Pandora’s Box of Mobilization and Education:
The Long Term Political Impact of the 1992 Anti-Gay Rights Initiative Campaigns in Oregon and Colorado”
Hart Edmonson, “The American Immigration Policy Debate: Hostilities Unearthed, Congressional Politics Unraveled, and Solutions Offered Through Elite Interviewing in My Border Home Town”
Cat Fish, “Political Dynasties and the American Presidency: A Paradox of Democratization”
Scottland Glenn, “Shaping Supreme Court’s Agenda from the Bench:
The Effects of Dissent and Concurrences to the Denial of Certiorari”
Nelson Moody, “Gender Gap? An Analysis of Sector Totals for Senate Campaign Receipts, 1998 to 2008”
Mychal Okuhara, “Preserving the Trust of Viewers Like You: The
Role of Money and Professional Culture in Public Broadcast Television”*
Justine Shepherd, “Dethroning Incumbents: The Nationalization of House Elections”
Steven Sparks, “Does Gender Matter? Measuring the Use of Negative Political Television Advertising in the United States House of Representatives Elections of 2004”
International Relations: Professor Lisa Ferrari
Finding A Place for `The Other? : Turkey's Quest for European Union Membership, Kathryn Brown
Globalization and the Erosion of National Sovereignty: Why Kant's Ideal is now becoming a Necessity, David Childs
Learning to Earn the Participation Grade: Trust and Accountability between IFIs and their Poorest Stakeholders, Ian Kitts
Millennium Development Goals: An International Failure, Jade Riotto
Non-Governmental Organizations: International Response and Influence during Humanitarian Crisis Situations, Janine Roddey
Sex Trafficking in Thailand: Economic Development At All Costs, Vanessa Rubinstein
NATO: an Obsolete Institution under Investigation, Parker Sammons
Social Change NGOs and the Private Sector: The Increasing Need for Partnership, Lauren Shatz
Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia: A Competition in Development, Ian Westgate
The Ethics of Global Health Initiatives: An Agent-Centered Approach to Universal Rights with Practical Applications, Emma Green (Natural Science – Biology major, P&G minor)*
International Regulation of Cyber Crime, Katarina Jones (Special Interdisciplinary Major, P&G minor)
Comparative Politics: Professor Patrick O'Neil
Valerie Koch, "Exploring Islamist Separatism"
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
In collaboration with the Consulate General of Canada Seattle and Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium, the Canada America Society announces the 2008 competition for the
‘Study-Abroad (in Canada) Scholarships’
Consulate General of Canada Seattle, Holland America, Delta Hotels BC,
Sutton Place Hotels, Victoria Clipper, Vincor Canada, & Rogers Chocolates
These scholarships will be awarded to American undergraduate students enrolled at universities that are members of the PNWCSC in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Students must be pursuing their Bachelor of Arts or Science degree and wish to spend a minimum of one semester/term/quarter studying abroad. The student must attend a Canadian university. Any four-year Canadian university ( may be attended, but preference will be given to applicants accepted to attend a university in Alberta or British Columbia.
Three (3) scholarships of $4,000.00 will be awarded for the
2008-09 academic (August ‘08 - June ‘09) year.
1. Completed application.
2. Personal statement.
3. Copy of transcript.
4. Two letters of recommendation.
5. Two copies of the above submitted by 1 June 2008.
Successful candidates will be notified by Canada Day, 1 July 2008. Upon receipt of Proof of Admission and enrollment a check for $2,000 will be sent payable to the student. On completion of the semester/term/quarter a second check for $2,000 payable to the student will be distributed.
For additional information or questions:
Kevin Cook, Academic Officer
Consulate General of Canada Seattle
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
May 12, 2008
Contact: Ron Chow
University Place Sister Cities
City of University Place supports sister city Jiang You for relief in aftermath of China Earthquake
TACOMA, WA – May 12, 2008 – City of University Place is teaming up with the City of Lakewood, Town of Steilacoom and City of DuPont to assist its sister city, Jiang You, in the Sichuan Province of China to assist with disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of the
earthquake. The epicenter of the earthquake is less than 100 miles northeast from Jiang You.
City mayors Linda Bird, City of University Place, Doug Richardson, City of Lakewood, Ron Lucas, Town of Steilacoom, Penny Coffey, City of DuPont, have recently led delegation visits to Jiang You. Mayor Bird's delegation visit was in 2005; she also hosted students from Jiang You
high school. The City of University Place and its sister city Jiang You have established a recent dynamic student exchange program, that has developed a stronger tie for the communities here in Tacoma-Pierce County and the Sichuan province.
In the wake of the earthquake, Ron Chow, an officer on the city of University Place Sister City committee, has begun organizing local efforts to aid relief. Donations can be made to support the relief efforts through Wells Fargo bank under the account name University Place Sister Cities Association for China Earthquake Relief Fund. Check donations should be payable to University Place Sister Cities Association. All donations are tax deductable.
There will be a fundraisers this weekend. Activities in University Place include:
· Cash and check donations can be dropped off at the City Hall
· Students at Curtis High School intend to host a car wash at Curtis High School on Saturday, May 17, 2008
City of Lakewood fundraising activities include:
· Volunteers will be collecting donations from 11:00am –3:00pm at HomeScape Pro, located in the old Safeway building, next to Lakewood City Hall
Town of Steilacoom:
· Steilacoom High School intends to hold a car wash on
Saturday, May 17, 2008
· Cash and check donations can be dropped off at the Public Works Department building
City of DuPont:
· Cash and check donations can be dropped off at City Hall in DuPont
For information: Ron Chow
Communications and Education Coordinator
World Trade Center Tacoma
950 Pacific Avenue, Suite 310
Tacoma, WA 98402
British and Australian universities have for years paid commissions to overseas recruiting agents, and as a result have attracted a growing share of international students. Now the practice is spreading in the United States, especially at community colleges and public universities eager to enroll more international students, who may pay several times the in-state tuition....But the use of agents is raising uncomfortable questions and strong feelings, with some education officials queasy about a system in which those who advise students on their college selection have a financial stake in the choice, an approach they fear could make the college-admissions process into a global bounty hunt....
Overseas recruiting agents have long been used on the West Coast, especially by community colleges like Skagit Valley, which offer intensive English courses to prepare students for college-level work.
Linh Nguyen, 17, who came to Washington last fall after finishing 11th grade in Vietnam, applied to Skagit Valley on her agent’s advice. “They told me that it’s a small college, but it has a good quality,” said Ms. Nguyen, who paid $300 to her agent.
Bates Technical College, an open-admissions institution in Tacoma, Wash., pays 15 percent of the first year’s tuition to its agents in Taiwan and China, according to Cheri Loiland, the associate vice president for extended learning.
Read the whole piece here.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This in from Chris Pohlad '07, currently working in Budapest and supporting the Obama campaign from there as a member of the Barack Obama International Finance Committee. The title reads "Presidential Candidate's Men," which is a play on "The President's Men," the Hungarian name for The West Wing TV show. The poster promises that Chris will provide "everything that you don't get from the evening news". Tall order! Look forward to hearing more about it, and thanks for the refresher lesson on my rusty Hungarian...
Daniel notes that "Nathan Johnson, the executive director, also wanted me to let you know that there are still many positions available for interested students, in case you happen to know of any other students who might be interested."
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Tacoma Regional Alumni Club
2207 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA 98406 US
When: Wednesday, May 14, 6:00PM
Join your fellow Logger Alumni for an evening of no-host appetizers and drinks at UPS alumni-owned Joeseppi's Italian restaurant. Enjoy great conversation with friends and meet other Logger alumni.
The Tacoma Regional Alumni Club also has a web-space! Visit http://groups.google.com/group/tacomaloggers
to contribute, and to see other events!
See you on May 14!
Robbins was born Dec. 6, 1917, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to parents who had emigrated from Russia and Poland. He attended the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and in 1939 earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington.
Read the whole story here.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
"Chinese Damn Projects". Which, if you're a protectionist, is probably accurate!
Here's another: "Due to the lack of information available for stuffy..."
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Location: Federal Way, WA
Summary: Program assistant needed for Public Affairs Department to provide administrative, communications, outreach, and campaign support. The Public Affairs Department oversees the political, government affairs, public relations, and community outreach work of SEIU Healthcare 775, the long-term care workers union.
Job Description: This position provides administrative, communications, outreach, and campaign support. The job is roughly split between providing administrative support to Department staff and undertaking communications, research, organizing, and political campaign support to ongoing legislation and electoral campaigns.
Job Qualifications: Previous experience as administrative assistant, or in office management/administration. Strong IT skills, including expertise and experience in MS Office and database programs, and a working knowledge of hardware and networks. Additional skills required: word processing, filing, desktop publishing, power point, phone system administration, meeting and event planning, perfect English spelling and grammar, and a general knowledge of office systems. Experience in political campaigns and community organizations is helpful. Previous employment in a non-profit or labor environment is helpful. Fluency and literacy in a second language also helpful.
The successful candidate must be a dependable team player who is able to work well in a fast-paced, dynamic “campaign” environment. Occasional evening and weekend work will be required. If you are not committed to our organization’s vision of economic and social justice (see www.seiu775.org and www.seiu.org , please do not apply.
Women and persons of color are strongly encouraged to apply for positions. Fluency in a second language is also highly desirable.
Compensation: This position is covered by the Staff Union, and competitive pay is based on experience. Excellent benefits include full employer-paid family health, dental, life, disability & vision insurance; car allowance; cell phone reimbursement; Employer-paid defined-benefit pension plan; generous leave policies.
Submission Instructions: Submit resume, cover letter, and salary history, with names and contact info for three employment references, to email@example.com.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Later this month, Mary Beth Lease will graduate from Iowa State University with a stellar academic record. But when it comes to securing a job, she's afraid she'll receive a failing grade due to the slumping economy.
"I've had lots of interviews and I still don't have a job," says the marketing major, who boasts a 3.7 grade-point average and is president of her school's chapter of the Society of Human Resource Professionals.
Ms. Lease, 22, has good reason to worry. April was the fourth straight month that nonfarm employment was down from a year earlier, the Labor Department announced Friday, although the decline was smaller than in March. But there are smart strategies that can pay off for spring grads -- as well as for already-employed twentysomethings hoping to hang onto their positions and even move up in this shaky business climate.
Read the whole article here.
As the credit crunch roils financial markets and the U.S. economy sputters, new college graduates are plunging into the rockiest job market in recent years.
The bleaker picture is in stark contrast with last year, when colleges and employers reported robust hiring, and students in finance, accounting and other hot fields were choosing among numerous offers. Now, companies that just a few months ago were planning substantial increases in entry-level hiring have scaled back their plans as economic conditions have worsened. In turbulent areas such as financial services, some firms are slashing the number of fresh graduates they intend to employ, and students are curtailing expectations of finding their ideal position.
Read the whole thing here.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Undergraduate Internship Opportunities at the Washington State Legislature
* Winter quarter/spring semester every year
* Policy internships open to Juniors and Seniors of all majors
* Applications due October 30 (2 weeks earlier at some schools)
A few months in the making, and now confirmed. I finally got the last piece of the puzzle--the visa--and will be heading to Iran in late May for 10 days. Americans cannot travel to Iran unescorted, so I worked with an Iranian travel agency to essentially create a tour for one. Tehran, Yadz, Shiraz, Esfahan, and all the historical and political sights in between. I hope to blog from there, so watch this space.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film.
Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.
The Pangea Day Event
Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.
The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes. Details on the Pangea Day films can be viewed here.
The program will also include a number of exceptional speakers and musical performers. Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova are among those taking part.
A few pictures:
Representative Jay Inslee spoke about alternative energy, and his book "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy".
"Solar Richard" came by and offered to power the PA system with his mobile bank of solar panels. He calculated he saved us 17 pounds of carbon emission. You might recall we noted his profile in the NYT a few months back.
Dinner afterwards with the participants, students and alums
I like this shot: PG folks Kevin Billings '77, Katie Rose '05, and Jon Roberts '10
Title: Intelligence Analyst 2 - College
Location: Rosslyn, VA / USA | Sector: Information Technology
Candidate should have a Bachelors degree or similar experience in Political Science or History. Will be responsible for performing all source analysis on a multitude of different subjects. Candidate will assist Sr. Analysts in deep dive analyses on subjects of interest. Must be detail oriented and able to take direction. Ability to maneuver in a matrixed organizational structure is a plus. Excellent research, discovery, and sourcing skills are a must. Candidate will produce multiple papers, studies, and reports. Excellent communication skills are required as candidate will interface with high ranking and senior officials. Customer/Team relations skills are required as candidate will interface and coordinate with many customers and peers in the execution of their tasks. TS/SCI with POLYGRAPH REQUIRED IG/TASC
Find all the intel positions here: http://careers.northropgrumman.com/ExternalHorizonsWeb/getCareerHome.do