CELEBRATING 25 YEARS

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HEIDELBERG (May 12, 2017) – Twenty-five years have seen many satisfied students, parents, and faculty: Degrees earned, research projects conceived, and marriages celebrated.  Some have come and gone back home, and some have never left.

In May 2017, Connecticut and the German state of Baden-Württemberg celebrated the 25th anniversary of their academic exchanges at the University of Heidelberg.

Invited by the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, a Connecticut delegation with representatives from Connecticut College, Connecticut State Department of Education, Metro Hartford Alliance, The Mark Twain House and Museum, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, and Yale University traveled to Germany for the special occasion.

The exchange relationship began in 1991 as the result of a legislative partnership between the two states established in 1989. In 2015, the administration of the exchange for all participating Connecticut universities was transferred from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education to the University of Connecticut. Students from any of the Baden-Württemberg public research universities can spend a semester or year at any of the nine participating Connecticut universities or colleges. In turn, students from Connecticut can study at public research universities and Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) in Baden-Württemberg, including the Universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Hohenheim, Karlsruhe, Konstanz, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Tübingen, and Ulm. This is a one-to-one exchange program, meaning that student pay tuition to their home institution and then trade places.

Approximately 2,000 students—1,000 from each side—have participated in the exchange to date.

The Connecticut delegation, led by Professor Daniel Weiner, UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs, visited the University of Stuttgart; University of Mannheim; University of Tübingen; the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts; and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports before making their way to the official ceremonies hosted at the University of Heidelberg.

Petra Olschowski, Baden-Württemberg’s State Secretary for Science, Research, and the Arts, declared that the trip to Connecticut in March 2017, by Minister Theresia Bauer and the science committee of Baden-Wurttemberg’s state parliament, “only served to further convince us of the great potential that our partnership with Connecticut, and the USA in general, brings.”

Olschowski affirmed, “And this remains true, independent and regardless of any changes in the political situation in our countries. This stable partnership cannot be shaken.  Academic and scientific freedom, free and open science as lifeblood of our society, economy and democracy: This is the common conviction that unites us.”

Weiner highlighted that this state-to-state partnership has allowed Connecticut institutions of higher education to design innovative academic programs, such as UConn’s Eurotech dual Bachelor’s degrees in German and Engineering.  Eurotech students spend a whole year in Germany studying at Baden-Württemberg institutions of higher education and interning at engineering firms, such as Bosch, Porsche, and Daimler

“The occasion of the 25th anniversary gives us an opportunity to not only recognize our successes and encourage the continued mobility of our students, but to also open doors for faculty mobility programs and translational research collaboration,” said Weiner.

Both Olschowski and Weiner paid tributes to Renate Seitz, and Achim Niessen, both former founding coordinators of the exchange from Connecticut and Baden-Württemberg respectively.

Daisy Schilling, a Connecticut native and graduate from UConn’s Eurotech Program, recalled her academic experiences both in Connecticut and Baden-Württemberg.  She was joined by her now husband, Felix Schilling, who, as a student from Germany, studied at UConn.  The couple now live in Frankfurt.

Paige Orlofsky, a chemical engineering major from UConn’s Eurotech Program, described how nervous she was when she began her studies at Heidelberg. She attributed to the tremendous assistance from Elisabeth Trnka-Hammel and others who prepared her for her academic learning but also professional internship.  As a result, she felt that she was a different individual, and was more confident of herself.

The celebration featured the spirit of innovation and creativity of American writer Mark Twain, who resided in Connecticut and overcame his writer’s block in Heidelberg.  Heidelberg Emeritus Professor of English, Dr. Dieter Schultz, and Connecticut’s Mark Twain House and Museum Director of Education, Dr. James Golden shared the podium at the neo-renaissance Alte Aula (Old Hall) to emphasize the importance of travel and understanding of culture as powerful tools of combating ignorance.

To symbolize the collaboration between the two states, the celebration was highlighted by a performance of music selections by UConn Professor Kenneth Fuchs, a world-renowned classical composer.  The Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart, under the direction of Maestro Veronika Stoertzenbach, performed songs from Movie House (lyrics by John Updike), and Songs of Innocence and Experience (lyrics by William Blake).

“His music has touched us emotionally and we have studied it with pleasure. For each of my musicians there was an interesting and instrument specific part, so they have played the music with verve and delight,” said Stoertzenbach.

Fuchs regarded the German students’ “preparation of the music and everyone’s performances of it was absolutely superb. I can’t ask for anything more as a composer than to have my music performed as I imagined it, yet with the gifts of new insight into it and fine interpretation. And that is exactly what happened. I was deeply impressed by the musicianship and expression of the performers. I was especially thrilled to have such a meaningful interpretation... I truly admire [Stoerzenbach’s] sensitive and expressive conducting, which so perfectly matches my musical aesthetic.”

The celebration was hosted by Professor Dieter Heermann, Vice President of International Affairs at the University of Heidelberg, and Dr. Hans-Georg Wolf, Director of University Development, Internationalization, Higher Education Statistics, and Capacity Building at the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts.  In addition to the Connecticut delegation, government officials and senior university administrators from throughout the state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as past and current exchange students from both states attended the ceremony.

 

 

 

A Message Regarding the Executive Order on Immigration

Do you have questions or concerns how the Executive Order concerning immigration may impact you or others you know? UConn International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is holding information sessions in the International Center Lounge, located in McMahon Hall, which will cover all details of the order and how affected students/ scholars can plan for these changes. ISSS also urges any UConn student to notify their office immediately if they receive any notice regarding their visa. Students and scholars should utilize ISSS as a resource to answer questions and discuss concerns. Please visit http://isss.uconn.edu/2017/02/01/isss-information-on-executive-order.

Update Thursday, 2/2/17: UConn President Susan Herbst issued a second message to the UConn community on Thursday, February 2, 2017 which both informed the community on how the White House executive order on immigration is impacting the University as well as reaffirms UConn’s stance on this matter. President Herbst stated that: “As a university, we are steadfastly committed to openness, inclusion, and to treating our fellow human beings with dignity, compassion, and respect. The executive order issued last Friday is antithetical to these values.” Read the full message here: http://president.uconn.edu/…/2017-02-02-Herbst-Message-to-t…

3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate – From the Rise & Fall of World Powers to the Geopolitical Impact of Cybersecurity

3rd Annual ADSD Session 6
The 3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, Session 6. Photo source: AlBayan News

The Third Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate (ADSD), held on November 12 -14, 2016 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi was organized by Emirates Policy Center (EPC) under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and in partnership with the Atlantic Council—a non-partisan think tank in Washington D.C. Based in Abu Dhabi and founded in 2013, EPC asserts itself as the first independent think tank in the region headed by a woman. The EPC articulates its vision as specializing in “forecasting the future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, regional and international policy trends, and the impact of different geopolitical projects on the region.” The ADSD was initiated three years ago as a way to bring together scholars, politicians, strategists, CEO’s, and policy makers from around the world to address challenges facing the region. In her opening remarks marking the official launch of this year’s debate, Dr. Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President of the EPC, said that the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate served as a means of enhancing policy-making efforts and consolidating Abu Dhabi’s role as a hub for exchanging ideas, suggesting peaceful solutions and generating strategic alternatives for all-scale pressing issues in the region and beyond.

Professor Zaid Eyadat at 3rd Annual ADSD
The 3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate – Professor Zaid Eyadat

This year’s event—taking place in the days immediately following the election here in the U.S.— addressed hot political issues confronting the Middle East as well as the rest of the world, and brought together nearly 400 distinguished international, regional and national experts in foreign policy and strategy. The ADSD’s Davos-styled panel discussions focused on problems confronting the Gulf amidst a changing international order, regional security cooperation in the Middle East, terrorism, foreign policy under a new administration in the U.S., and cyber security. UConn participants included Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs and Professor of Geography; Zaid Eyadat, Professor-in-Residence in Political Science and Human Rights; and Roy Kamphausen, Senior Advisor for East Asia to UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Senior Vice President for Research at the National Bureau of Asian Research-Washington, DC Office. As in the two previous Annual Debates, the conference was designed to provide an important forum for the discussion of critical global trends in relation to international politics, with the intent of developing action items and policy recommendations.

Vice President Weiner moderated the second session of the conference, which was entitled “Traditional, Rising and Declining Powers in a Shifting World Order.” Discussants included the other two UConn participants: Professor Zaid Eyadat and Mr. Roy Kamphausen.  Each member of the panel brought different areas of expertise to the table. Vice President Weiner is a development geographer with area studies expertise in eastern and southern Africa. He has also played a pivotal role in creating the UConn Abrahamic Programs in the Middle East/North Africa Region Initiative, an academic umbrella that fosters cross-border research, intercultural communication and community engagement.

Professor Eyadat—who also served as moderators for sixth session, “Cyberspace Security Power Building and Geopolitical Impact”—is a leading expert on Middle East politics and human rights. He is actively involved in research, teaching, and development work in the public, private, non-profit and academic spheres. Professor Eyadat’s scholarly work concerns issues of global justice, understanding the “Arab political mind,” reforming Islam, and minority rights.  He serves as a consultant for diverse international organizations and NGOs, including the Emirates Policy Center.

Mr. Kamphausen joined UConn in 2015 as a Senior Advisor for East Asia in Global Affairs. He is also Senior Vice President for Research and Director of the Washington D.C. office at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Prior to joining NBR and UConn, Mr. Kamphausen served as a career U.S. Army officer with assignments as China Policy Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, China Strategist for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Other conference panels included a wide variety of speakers, including Michael Chertoff, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security; Koenraad Dassen, Minister Counsellor-European Union Delegation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Amre Moussa, former Secretary-General of the Arab League; Dr. Mahmoud Gebril, President of the National Forces Alliance and former Prime Minister of Libya; and Dr. Mahmoud Mohandedou, Deputy Director and Academic Dean at the Geneva Center for Security Policy;  The panel that received the most news coverage worldwide was entitled “American Foreign Policy Under a New Administration” with discussants James L. Jones, former U.S. National Security Advisor; Jon Huntsman, Chairman at the Atlantic Council, former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China and Singapore; and Dr. Andrew Parasiliti, Director, Center for Global Risk and Security RAND Corporation. The session provided critical analysis of possible foreign policy shifts under President-Elect Trump.

Watch all the sessions of the 3rd Annual ADSD here.

Session 2: Traditional, Rising, and Declining Powers in a Shifting World Order

UConn Participants

  • [Moderator] Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs
  • Zaid Eyadat, Professor in Residence of Political Science & Human Rights
  • Roy Kamphausen, Senior Adviser on East Asia to UConn Global Affairs and Senior Vice President for Research and Director at the National Bureau of Asian Research-Washington, DC Office

Session 6: Cyberspace Security Power Building and Geopolitical Impact

UConn Participants

  • [Moderator] Zaid Eyadat, Professor in Residence of Political Science & Human Rights

10.18.2016 CHINA Town Hall

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016
University of Connecticut, Laurel Hall, Room 305
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6:45 PM Welcome
Dr. Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs, University of Connecticut

7:00PM National Webcast
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

8:00 PM Introductions
Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Senior Advisor on East Asia, Global Affairs, University of Connecticut; and Senior Vice President for Research, National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

8:05 PM Keynote & Discussion
The Honorable William Zarit, Vice Chairman of the Board for the American Chamber of Commerce in China; former Minister for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing

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The University of Connecticut is honored to be a local host for the 10th Annual CHINA Town Hall. This event is a national day of programming on China involving 70 cities throughout the United States.

China’s rapid emergence as a global player and potential partner on many U.S. policy priorities has ensured that the Sino-American relationship will have a direct impact on the lives of nearly everyone in both Countries. To help Americans better understand the complex U.S.-China relationship, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is conducting the tenth annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections at more than 70 locations nationwide. The program will feature a live webcast discussion with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, moderated by National Committee President Stephen Orlins. Continue reading

The first PAGE(S): initiation of Pleistocene Archaeology, Geochronology and Environments of the Southern Caucasus

Dr Keith Wilkinson

(from press release: click here

A team of archaeologists and geologists led by Dr Keith Wilkinson of the University of Winchester is set to examine the history of early humans in Eurasia after being awarded funding to further its research.

The £387,792 grant for the Pleistocene Archaeology, Geochronology and Environments of the Southern Caucasus (PAGES) project comes from the Leverhulme Trust – the value of the award is in recognition of the considerable scientific potential of the research.

Dr Wilkinson, Reader in Environmental Archaeology at the University of Winchester, states: “The Southern Caucasus was selected for study as it is the region where the earliest human fossils have been found outside Africa, as well as having the earliest evidence for advanced stone tool-making behaviours. PAGES therefore seeks to understand when and why humans expanded from Africa into Europe and Asia.

“By carrying out the study, the project will enable Old Stone Age (Palaeolithic) archaeological sites to be correlated across the region, allow existing theories of population expansion during the Pleistocene geological epoch (2.5 million to 11.5 thousand year ago), and examine how early humans adapted to ecological changes and developed new technologies along the way.”

The project team comprises scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London; Armenian Academy of Sciences; the Universities of Connecticut, Glasgow, North Carolina (Greensboro); and the Senckenberg research institute.

Members of the team will carry out fieldwork in the valleys of the Hrazdan and Debed rivers of central and northern Armenia during 2016 and 2017, while the samples collected will be analysed in laboratories in Winchester, Royal Holloway and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow.

“The Debed and Hrazdan were chosen for study as we have previously found well-preserved Palaeolithic sites associated with former floodplains of these rivers,” explained Dr Wilkinson. “Furthermore we can accurately date the solidified lavas and volcanic ash that sandwich the river sediments and thereby provide the first precise regional chronology for early human occupation of this key part of Eurasia.”

The PAGES project commences in mid-July, while the publication of initial results will follow in 2017. For more information on the project, visit here

The Leverhulme Trust awards £80m in grants each year. The Trust aims to support original research that advances world knowledge in the fields of the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences.

Click the following for:
Press Release
Project Blog
Project Website

Professor Richard Langlois Appointment and Teaching at the University of Witwatersrand

Professor Richard Langlois of the Department of Economics has recently been appointed distinguished Professor in the School of Economic and Business Sciences (SEBS) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg. He will be in residence there for several weeks in July and August, and will be involved in research and in co-teaching a graduate course in Advanced Institutional Economics. Prof. Langlois will also be a keynote speaker at a symposium of the World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research that will take place at Wits in April, 2017. UConn has other connections to Wits as well: two members of the SEBS faculty, Giampaolo Garzarelli (M. A. ’01) and Yasmina Reem Limam (Ph.D. ’02), are UConn alumni.

UConn Secures Verbal Agreements with Seven Cuban Institutions for Collaborative Health Research

Author:

When Dr. Tania Huedo-Medina, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy’s (InCHIP) Biostatistics Core, and Director of the forthcoming InCHIP center for Ibero-American health, approached the University of Connecticut’s Vice President for Global Affairs Dr. Daniel Weiner and InCHIP Director Dr. Jeffrey Fisher with her idea to launch a health science research initiative in Cuba, she was not sure whether her idea would meet with their approval or support. Enter Dr. Weiner’s long-standing interest and history of work in Cuba, Dr. Fisher’s interest in global health research and InCHIP’s significant expertise in this area, and President Obama’s timely efforts to peel back the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, and Huedo-Medina has a recipe for success.

Huedo-Medina, Weiner and Fisher know that an initiative in Cuba, a nation that has been mostly isolated from the United States since before the Cuban Revolution, requires the utmost patience to plan. Diplomatic and financial challenges related to the economic embargo, and the troubled history of US-Cuba relations, produce a hindrance to seamless academic exchanges with this Latin American country. Weiner’s past cultural work in Cuba and Huedo-Medina’s Spanish heritage, knowledge of Cuban history and culture, and ability to speak the language have positioned the University to be uniquely successful in endeavors in Cuba.

“When other universities have visited Cuba, they soon realize that negotiations are difficult and have to go through many layers in both countries. Some US universities have given up, and other applications have not been prioritized by Cuban organizations when granting memoranda of understanding. We learned through our visits how everything is complicated, requires the development of mutual trust, a strong network of contacts, and the ability to navigate these circumstances,” said Huedo-Medina.

Read more…

From Heidelberg to Connecticut: A Visit to UConn Promotes Dialogue and Collaboration

Matthias Rolle-Weidemann
Matthias Rolle-Weidemann in front of Wilbur Cross Building at UConn.

Author: Dorothea E. Hast, Global Affairs

Matthias Rolle-Weidemann, Department Head for Personnel Development at Germany’s Heidelberg University visited UConn for five weeks as part of a prestigious leadership program for highly qualified administrators from the state of Baden-Württemberg. As a part of an eleven-week visit to the United States to learn about best practices at American universities, he also conducted research and interviews at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which have both had long standing exchange partnerships with nine major universities in the Baden-Württemberg region.

Rolle-Weidemann developed two major goals for his research at UConn. First, he wanted to understand how the U.S. educational system works at a large public university.  He interviewed a wide variety of top administrators and faculty from each major administrative unit on campus, including Nathan Fuerst, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions; Scott Jordan, Chief Financial Officer; Michael Mundrane, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer; and Sally Reis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.  According to Rolle-Weidemann, he particularly wanted to understand issues and operations that are especially relevant to his home institution. He met with Richard Schwab, Dean of the Neag School of Education, to discuss teacher training, assessment and faculty research because Heidelberg University has recently opened a new school of education.  He also met with staff from student affairs and gained insight into important issues surrounding student life and the campus community.  He was especially struck by the degree of school spirit at UConn, the involvement of students in on-campus sports, clubs and organizations, and the number of student support services that are provided by the University. Continue reading

04.19.2016 Elusive Search for Social Justice in Africa: The Relevance of Nkrumah’s Vision to the Struggle for Economic Independence

Samia Nkrumah on Social Justice in AfricaLecture by Ms. Samia Nkrumah

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center
University of Connecticut, Storrs 

The father of modern African nationalism and the great torch bearer of pan-Africanism, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was very clear in his vision that political independence was only the first step in the struggle to realize social justice and a higher standard of living for Africans.  More than this, Nkrumah provided Ghanaians and Africans with a philosophy and ideology of decolonization: Self-determination and self-reliance, social justice and Pan-Africanism.  On March 6, 1957 Nkrumah declared that the “independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.

After more than five decades since that declaration, keen observers of Africa question the extent to which political independence has led to increased welfare of the majority of African people. While Africa remains the world’s richest continent, it is also home to a majority of the world’s poor people. Access to basic needs such as quality education, basic health services, housing, food, water and sanitation by the majority of Africans remains a mirage.

In the talk, Ms. Samia Nkrumah shall assess the relevance of Nkrumah’s vision and philosophy to the challenges that confront progressive forces in their renewed struggle for economic independence, with specific reference to Ghana.

UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights

For more information, call (860) 486-0647.