Recent News and Accomplishments of MGS Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni
July 16, 2012
McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
Adenrele Awotona, director of the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters, has contributed to the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Housing, recently issued by Sage Publications. His entries deal with the various aspects of rural and urban housing and more than three dozen categories of nomads spread throughout the African continent. Awotona shared his expertise on housing typologies; the lack of access to land and the insecurity of land tenure in the urban areas; deep-rooted uneven urban development and economic growth; public- and private-sector development of pluralistic land markets that aim to respond to the fluctuating needs of the different income groups of the population; and supply and demand mechanisms within the contexts of bureaucratic apathy, costly managerial procedures, allocation inefficiencies and inappropriate use of public office.
Adenrele Awotona and his center colleague, Jennifer Clifford, travelled to Surabaya, Indonesia in June to deliver workshops on disaster management at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga. Medical doctors, government officials, and other disaster professionals benefited from their expertise on several workshop topics including the effective institutional, regulatory and policy frameworks for implementing reconstruction programs and the economic benefits of environmental protection, water and food security.
In early June, Assistant Professor Rezarta Bilali, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, presented a workshop in Washington, D.C. on “Social Psychological Perspectives on Genocide and its Aftermath.” The Mass Atrocity Education Workshop: Teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide Prevention was jointly organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and United States Military Academy at West Point.
More than 260 signers — approximately 10 per cent of the state's workforce — have signed on to our Commonwealth Compact to make Massachusetts a desired destination for people of color in the belief that their contributions will be vital to the region's social and economic future.
Wal-Mart Foundation has given the Commonwealth Compact Talent Network a $25,000 grant to support the efforts to increase the visibility of and access to professionals of color in Massachusetts. This network is for organizations looking to find candidates for their corporate or non-profit boards, speakers for events, talent for key leadership roles, and many other opportunities.
Maria Ivanova, assistant professor of conflict resolution, human security, and global governance, penned the chapter, "A New Global Architecture for Sustainability Governance,” in the new book, State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, published by the Worldwatch Institute. In this piece, Ivanova examines steps that can be taken to improve the United Nations Environment Programme’s effectiveness as an environmental institution.
Working with the United Nations mission in Liberia, public policy doctoral candidate and conflict resolution alumnus Ndumba J. Kamwanyah provided technical assistance to the Liberian National Police. Kamwanyah’s work places literacy and training for law enforcement and security forces as a central focus for peacekeeping efforts in this African country.
In late May, Michael Keating, director of operations at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development and a lecturer in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, meet with journalists in West Africa as part of a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
On July 10, Darren Kew, executive director of the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development, testified before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs discussing recent religious violence in Nigeria. Read the news story on our website and view the hearing. Kew was also interviewed the previous week on Al Jazeera regarding US policy and the regional political implications of the Nigerian armed group Boko Haram. Read the story on Aljazerra.
In June, Heather MacIndoe, assistant professor of public policy and public affairs, delivered her paper, "The Rationalization of Performance in the Nonprofit Sector: Understanding the influence of external versus internal stakeholders" at the European Group for Organizational Studies conference in Helsinki, Finland.
Conflict Resolution Professor David Matz is just back from a trip to China where he facilitated an intensive, five-day mediation training at the Sino-U.S. Legal Studies Center at Xiangtan University Law School. The trip was organized by Edmund Beard, senior fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development, and was funded with a grant from USAID designed to develop the capacity of local Chinese professionals to serve as community mediators and peer trainers.
Jeanne Medeiros, managing attorney for the New England Pension Assistance Project at the Gerontology Institute, was interviewed for the July issue of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report on pension overpayments.
Georgianna Meléndez, director of the Commonwealth Compact and recent alumna of the master’s degree program in public affairs, penned a blog on the top ten reasons to go to graduate school. Her blog was reposted in Latinos in College. Read the story on our website.
Edward A. Miller, associate professor of gerontology and fellow at Gerontology Institute, was recently named a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. This honor is an acknowledgement of Miller’s outstanding and continuing work in gerontology “research, teaching, administration, public service, practice, and notable participation within the organization.”
On June 12, Padraig O’Malley, the John Joseph Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation, with colleagues at the Northern Ireland Foundation, launched Bridging the Gap—a report on the Forum for Cities in Transition conference held in Ireland’s divided city of Derry-Londonderry in May 2011. O'Malley will host the next conference in Kirkuk, Iraq this fall.
The Pension Action Center of the Gerontology Institute has received a grant from The Retirement Research Foundation to expand its pension counseling services to Illinois. The Illinois Pension Assistance Project will replicate our Pension Action Center’s highly successful New England Pension Assistance Project and began offering free pension counseling services to Illinois residents earlier this month. Also, the New England Pension Assistance Project (NEPAP) welcomes new staff: Betty Pasley will serve as its new development and community education coordinator, Louise Cataldo will coordinate the new startup, Illinois Pension Assistance Project (IPAP), and Michelle Tolson, previously filling in as a temp, has accepted the permanent position as administrative assistant and coordinator for the National Pension Lawyers Network. Finally, Mia Midenjak, a former NEPAP legal fellow, will act as the temporary staff attorney for IPAP while a full search takes place.
Recent alumnus of the international relations master’s program, Joseph Sarkisian penned the July 6 online Policy Mic article, “Peter Beinart Slams Israel Hard-Liners in Crisis of Zionism,” responding to Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, which tackles the skewed perception of Zionist Jews in both Israeli and American politics.
Kudos to Felicia Sullivan, a PhD candidate in public policy, accepted a new position as a senior researcher with the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. Sullivan expects to defend her dissertation, “Engaging Youth: Linking Design and Implementation Choices of Out-of-School Time Programs in Boston to the Development of Political Engagement Attitudes in 14-18 Year Olds,” this fall.
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs Mark Warren has earned an honorable mention for the American Sociological Association’s 2012 Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award. His book, Fire in the Heart: How White Activists Embrace Racial Justice competed in the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities category.
Robert Weiner, graduate program director of the MSPA International Relations program, has signed a contract with McGraw-Hill publishers to edit the next edition in their Annual World Politics Series, World Politics, 13/14. He also edited the last edition published in February 2012. Also, Weiner has also been reappointed as a center associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University for a three year term from July 2012 through June 2015. Weiner’s research focuses on Moldovan-Russian relations during the Putin era, the European Union and Moldova, and Romanian foreign policy since 1989.
Christian Weller has assumed the helm of the public policy doctoral program. Kudos to Associate Professor Michael Johnson for his fine leadership as graduate program director over the past three years.