Sarah Meredith Livingston presented a lecture-recital with Professor Yuka Prado, U. of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto and five student singers on Thursday, May 28, at the SENAC University, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on American Music Theater. She also taught a half-day seminar on Friday, May 29 at SENAC to a group of Brazilian English teachers. Her topic was International Phonetic Alphabet: Vowels in American English. This is part of her 14-day visit on a Fulbright Grant to USP-RP, Brazil.
Prof. Meir Russ of the Cofrin School of Business recently (May 19-20) presented faculty, Ph.D. and graduate-student seminars at the Department of Accounting at the Universita degli Studi Rome Tre, titled “Human Accounting and Intangibles.” Additionally, he presented the seminar “An Introduction to Human Capital 2.0” at the Link Campus University on May 22. He also advised graduate students and young faculty at the universities in regard to writing and submitting papers to international academic publications, and discussed potential collaboration in research studies.
UW-Green Bay Music Prof. Sarah Meredith Livingston will be heading to the University of Sao Paulo-Ribeirao Preto Brasil, for her third Fulbright invitation to perform and teach on their campus May 22 through June 5. She will be presenting a lecture-recital on American music theater on Tuesday, May 27, at SENAC, a language school for 150 Brazilian students learning English, and also at the USP-RP campus on June 1. Her teaching responsibilities will include Italian, French, and German diction for singers with an emphasis on English Diction for Singers and vocal health. Meredith’s trip is being supported by the William J. Fulbright Commission, Washington, D.C.
Prof. Meir Russ of the Cofrin School of Business last week presented to faculty, doctoral and master’s seminars at The School of Management of the University of Silesia, Chorzów, Poland and at the Department of Education and Psychology, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland. His presentation was titled “An Introduction to Human Capital 2.0,” and he also advised graduate students and young faculty in regard to writing and submitting papers to international academic publications, and addressed potential collaboration in research studies.
Saja Al-Quzweeni beamed with pride on the day she received her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
She joined more than 700 fellow students in taking part in the ceremony May 16 at the Kress Events Center, but not another newly minted graduate in the record graduating class had quite the same itinerary.
Saja (at right above) was UW-Green Bay’s first Iraqi student and graduate. She plans to return to her home city of Baghdad, Iraq, in a few weeks equipped with optimism and newfound expertise in environmental issues.
“Iraq has many problems today — social, political, economic — but we have the power to address those problems and make them better,” she says.
Before she heads overseas, however, she has a little of the United States to see.
Saja came to UW-Green Bay through the Fulbright Foreign Student program, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of America and the people of other countries.
Recently, she was one of six ‘Fulbrighters’ selected to participate in the third Millenial Trains Project.
It’s a journey across the United States — leaving from Los Angeles, California on May 21 and ending in Washington, DC on May 31— as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student program. The six exchange students will join 20 American riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their skills in leadership, social entrepreneurship, and communication.
During her time at UW-Green Bay, Saja pursued an interest in urban farming and also the conditions that encourage or inhibit citizen involvement in, say, environmental issues.
She worked on her master’s thesis under the supervision of political scientist David Helpap and former professor Dallas Blaney. She chose the title: “Conceptualizing Political Empowerment: Reflections from Non-Governmental Organizations Through the Lens of Civil Society Theories.”
The focus of her Fulbright work will be an extension of research she completed last year at Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee that works in urban agriculture as an approach to increase food security in lower-income and food desert communities. Small plots of land are used for intensive growing to offer healthy and affordable food to inner cities, while merging agriculture and wise environmental practices to revitalize urban areas.
Saja earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Baghdad in 2002, and struggled to find a job amid the chaos of the American invasion of Iraq the next year. She was patient when sectarian tension forced her family out of its home for 18 months in 2007-08, and patient in pursuing her dream to attend graduate school in the United States.
She said she loved the beauty, serenity and friendliness of UW-Green Bay, although the record cold she experienced was a little bit of a challenge.
Saja formerly held a job with the Iraqi government, where she worked as a senior researcher. Whether she will be able to return to government employment is unknown to her at this time. Regardless, she says, she is eager to return to Iraq and work for the betterment of her people.
Prof. Cristina Ortiz of Humanistic Studies was an invited speaker at the 4th Annual Humanities Symposium held at the Universidad de Oviedo (Spain), where she presented her latest research. During her visit she was also asked to teach a graduate course in the European Master of Gender Studies program entitled “Nation, gender and literature.” Her invitation was sponsored through an Erasmus Mundus grant from the European Union.
Our recent Log item should have been more clear that Profs. Susan Gallagher-Lepak and Heather Herdman of the Professional Program in Nursing have had three abstracts accepted for presentation at 10th Biennial Conference of ACENDIO 2015, in Bern, Switzerland in April. ACENDIO is the Association for Common European Nursing Diagnoses, Interventions and Outcomes. The conference website is http://www.acendio.net/. The abstracts include “A case-study methodology for use of a NANDA-I clinical decision support e-tool,” as well as “Evidence-based research to guide clinical decision support.”
Ray Hutchison, professor of sociology and Urban and Regional Studies, has added several other activities to his upcoming appearance at the Forum of the Future in Portugal, where he will appear along with Nobel Prize and Pritzker Prize winning scientists and architects. The new events include the keynote address to the European Sociological Association on The Racialization of Urban Space at their annual conference, to be held in Lisbon Nov. 17-19. Hutchison will also speak at a graduate workshop at the University of Lisbon and to a faculty symposium at the University of Porto later that week.
Halvorsen ’92 acts locally, Bhojwani ’90 works in developing nations.
On a late-summer day, fellow UW-Green Bay graduates and lifelong friends Noel Halvorsen and Haresh Bhojwani agreed to meet on campus.
There was the usual catching up on each other’s families and reminiscing about good times shared as roommates 25 years ago in the old student apartments.
They also talked about their professional careers and challenges. It’s something they do at least a few times a year, using each other as trusted sounding boards. Though Halvorsen and Bhojwani arrived at UW-Green Bay in the late 1980s with vastly different backgrounds, pursued entirely different majors and now often find themselves on different continents, they tend to see things the same way.
“When we met, Haresh had been all over the world, and I had never been anywhere,” recalls Halvorsen, a Sheboygan native who now lives in Green Bay, “but we were almost surprised to find out that we had very similar world views.”
Then and now, they tend to believe that good public policy requires good data, that even relatively small adjustments can bring maximum benefit, and that organized and dedicated people can make change happen.
Halvorsen, a 1992 graduate in Urban and Regional studies, is well-respected locally as longtime executive director of NeighborWorks, a not-for-profit housing and community development agency based in Green Bay. NeighborWorks promotes neighborhood revitalization and home ownership through counseling, education, loan programs and new investment.
Daily, he applies lessons learned at UW-Green Bay and in previous jobs with the city of Green Bay and Brown County. His first five years after graduation he was a planning specialist with the city and then spent three years as land information officer, managing land records and GIS activities, for the county.
Halvorsen says his approach to his work is not all that different from Bhojwani’s, whose involvement in economic development projects takes him from South Asia to Africa to Latin America.
“We learned a lot at UWGB about how to look at the world,” Halvorsen says, mentioning the liberal arts emphasis, the breadth and scope of the problem solving and the ample opportunities for students to lead and create. “Those were the experiences that made a great difference.”
Bhojwani, a ’90 graduate in English, is based in the New York City area as deputy director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University.
He racks up frequent flyer miles establishing partnerships with governments and international development organizations to help at-risk societies be pre-emptive and proactive. The time to respond to a massive crop failure in Ethiopia, for example, is not afterward when children are starving, but when it’s apparent that crucial early rains aren’t going to materialize. A relatively small financial intervention up front, then, can tide people over and keep a farm family from eating their seed stock or selling their oxen… which would all but guarantee a larger, multi-year failure.
Bhojwani came to Green Bay from prep school in the United Kingdom. After graduation, he taught English in Spain and worked in a peasant cooperative in El Salvador during that nation’s transition from civil war to peace. He came back to earn a law degree at Marquette and create the first legal services for the indigent in Milwaukee, working with long-term immigration detainees and human rights victims. From 1999 to 2005, he worked with indigenous communities, NGOs, the private sector, and government agencies on economic development programs in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil.
Bhojwani naturally points to UW-Green Bay English faculty including Tom Churchill and E. Michael Thron as early influences, and Halvorsen cites Urban and Regional’s Ray Hutchison, Ron Baba and Marcelo Cruz, but they don’t stop there. They mention Orville Clark in philosophy, Martin Greenberg in international relations, geographer Bill Laatsch, linguist Don Larmouth, academic dean George Rupp… and several others.
Professors were academic mentors and also, often, friends.
“Bill Laatsch was such a knowledgeable and talented professor,” Halvorsen recalls. “Then, one of my first weekends on campus, I see him dressed as a giant mouse (for the annual Cheese Classic). Things like that did so much to make you comfortable here.”
Bjohwani remembers open poetry readings and other activities that offered students a chance to test their ideas among not only faculty and staff but also peers. Students learned from one another.
“I think it was a particular advantage at UWGB that not every student was the same age, 18 or 20, straight out of high school,” he says. “There was so many returning adults… people who had worked in a paper mill for 15 years, perhaps raised children, and then gone back to school to look at something different or to pump up their skills. They added so much to the experience.”
The two men learned from each other, of course, and continue to do so as proud alumni a quarter century later.
“It’s amazing how similar the issues are that we face,” Bhojwani says. “I’ll go to Noel for advice and he’ll do the same. Whether it’s in Wisconsin or on the other side of the world, it’s about making the right choices, or sometimes a small investment at just the right time.”
How did new UW-Green Bay graduate student Marc Minani (center) find himself hanging out with new best friends Randall Cobb, Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Mason Crosby within a week of his arrival in Green Bay?
And what got the Green Bay Packers stars to trade green-and-gold uniforms for all-black wait-staff outfits one evening earlier this fall?
Credit good fortune and good people.
Minani, 22, a native of Rwanda, arrived in Wisconsin just in time for the start of UW-Green Bay fall semester classes on Sept. 2.
His travels from east-central Africa to east-central Wisconsin had required a marathon, 26-hour day of air travel from Kigali International Airport with stops in Nigeria, Ghana, New York City and Minneapolis.
His long journey actually began, however, five years earlier with a chance interaction with an American businessman.
J.R. Schoenfeld of Green Bay was traveling with an international humanitarian group delivering food to impoverished areas of Rwanda. The local man hired to be his driver, Jean Minani, was Marc’s older brother.
Schoenfeld returned home impressed by Rwanda and its people. The words of a missionary priest who longed to have a bakery in his village — “The kids love bread, and they only get it about once a year” — inspired him to found the Seven Loaves Project. The non-profit favors sustainable solutions over short-term feeding programs and provides ovens, resources and training to struggling communities.
Schoenfeld hired his former driver, Jean, to be the Seven Loaves point person in Rwanda. Along the way, he also got to know younger brother Marc, a personable, polite but driven young man who had earned a government-sponsored academic scholarship to the National University of Rwanda.
Marc’s goal was to add to his bachelor’s in agricultural economics and agribusiness with advanced education abroad. His dream, he says, is to return an expert in best practices for maximizing crop productivity in his hilly homeland while preserving the land for future generations.
“I want to pick a thesis topic that will fit the needs of my country,” Minani says.
Schoenfeld, seeing a fit with Seven Loaves, agreed to sponsor and raise money for his studies. When Minani surfed the internet and discovered the university in his friend’s hometown had top-flight programs in environmental studies, his college search was over.
Today, Minani is pursuing his UW-Green Bay master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy. He works closely with Profs. John Stoll and Kevin Fermanich. He lives in Roy Downham Hall on campus and loves Green Bay, the community he’ll call home the next two years.
“The people are very friendly… professors, students, everybody… and everything is so green here” Minani says.
Language is no barrier. Although he spoke French every day as a youth and during his preparatory studies in Rwanda, the primary language of instruction at the university was English. As for the weather, he knows he’s going to need warmer clothes than those he brought from equatorial Rwanda, where it’s rarely below 60°F.
Of course, any challenges in America will likely trifle in comparison to the human devastation that racked Rwanda in 1994. It is estimated nearly half the country’s residents were either forced to flee (two million) or slaughtered (nearly one million) as a result of government-incited ethnic violence.
Minani was 3 years old. Along with his brother he has three sisters who survived. The genocide and its aftermath are not easily spoken of, but it’s clear that remembrance and reconciliation are top of mind, as they are to all Rwandans. He speaks hopefully of healing, and a “new Rwanda.”
The current government, he says, has made a good start. “People look at themselves not as a Hutu or a Tutsi, but first as Rwandan citizens. People are intermarrying.”
If some of those hopes rest on a younger, better-educated generation including the slender shoulders of Minani, he’s eager to do his part. He’s also made some influential friends in Packers Country.
Schoenfeld, the owner-chef of the highly rated Chives Restaurant in Suamico, formerly ran the food service at Lambeau Field. Between his restaurants, private parties, catering and now the Seven Loaves Project, he’s developed friendships with prominent Green Bay Packers including Coach Mike McCarthy and NFL MVP quarterback Rodgers.
Schoenfeld organized a tuition benefit for Minani at Chives on Sept. 8, which for the players happened to be an open Monday night after a Thursday game. Delighted restaurant customers paid and tipped generously. To help Marc, Rodgers — No. 12 himself — volunteered as host. McCarthy was bartender. Nelson, Cobb, Crosby, A.J. Hawk and spouses served as waiters.
Yet, the star was Minani, the center of attention with players and diners wishing him well.
“It was overwhelming, all the people asking me how I liked Green Bay, telling me they supported me,” Minani says.
Until a few years ago, Minani — a fan of international soccer, like most in Africa — didn’t know American football existed. It was only when older brother Jean made a training trip to spend time with Schoenfeld and learn the Seven Loaves model that he heard it described.
Jean had returned from the United States with a keepsake, an odd, oblong leather ball signed by some of J.R.’s friends in a sports league called the NFL.
On one of his first nights in Green Bay in late August, Marc caught part of a Packers exhibition game on TV. He heard announcers talking about No. 12 as perhaps America’s most famous player and his teammates as very talented individuals, as well.
It wasn’t until the night about 10 days later at Chives, however, that he saw for himself just how “big” Packer players were in his new community.
“The people coming for dinner entered the door and they just…. they…”
At this point in telling the story Minani mimics the absolute hero worship of wide eyes, astonishment, awe and absolute joy of practically every customer in being greeted by the Packers.
“At that point, I got the idea that, ‘Oh, these guys are very, very popular and very, very famous.’
“And the players… they all wished me good luck in school and my work. They are very nice guys. I would say, ‘cool.’”
Photos copyright: Brad Thalmann, Harle Photography