A LETTER FROM GENERAL POWELL
Welcome to the Spring 2010 edition of the Colin Powell Center newsletter. Our conferences and workshops carefully blend participants from CCNY, community and service groups, and government. We've been especially happy that many of our public events draw networks we've built near CCNY's Harlem home base and across the city. By linking to people from local communities and organizations, we've helped make our work with students more relevant and responsive, and that's helped make CCNY a stronger public resource.
Several weeks ago, as you'll read in this issue, representatives of almost 200 community groups gathered on campus for the Center's New York Life Symposium, "Our World 2030: Preparing a New Generation for a Sustainable Future." That forum began with a keynote address from recent Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo. After his talk (which you can hear on our website), students, analysts, and community leaders sat at discussion tables and worked out strategies to develop the human resources necessary to seize the promise of a newer, greener economy. It was the first meeting in an ongoing series that will draw community organizations, policymakers, and the CCNY campus into a sustained discussion about how urban and underserved communities can engage and benefit from this green economy.
Laying the Groundwork for a New Program
Apart from strong panels convened at an important moment for Korean security, the conference also gathered representatives from the vibrant Korean-American community, people we look forward to working with as our Korea-centered programming moves forward. Good friends at the Korea Foundation are supporting this new programming, and we'll be sharing news about our progress on this front in future newsletters.
Changing the Face of Higher Education
These are just a few highlights of our recent Center programming, and I hope they convey at least the flavor of our work. This newsletter contains more news, and you can also keep up with the Powell Center developments and programs via our podcasts, our website, www.ccny.cuny.edu/powell, and our Facebook account. I hope you’ll find time to attend some of the Center’s activities and to meet some of the exceptional students that we support there.
Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, U.S. Representative for North Korea Policy, Emphasizes a Multilateral Approach during "Korean Reunification, Regional Peace, and the 2010 Decade."
Listen to conference podcasts
The conference featured a keynote speech by Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, who recently conducted a review of North Korea policy for the Obama administration. It also included remarks by Ambassador Kim Kyungkeun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in New York, and two panel discussions, the first on social conditions and the second on policy options on the Korean Peninsula. General Powell also spoke, sharing his insights across several decades of diplomatic involvement in the region. He began with the deep attachment he developed for the Korean people when he was a battalion commander stationed on the Peninsula and ended with reflections on the stark contrasts between a developed South Korea and a poor and repressed North Korea, and with how this contrast will likely play out in the politics of the region.
North Korea's economic and social deterioration over the past decades, and the prospect for further decline, framed the discussions. Setting the stage for the policy options discussion, moderator Rajan Menon noted, "There is scarcely a part of our highly globalized world that would avoid the consequences of a conflagration in Northeast Asia. Additionally, there are four nuclear states in the region, which means that other players could be pulled into a confrontation [in] one of the most militarized parts of world. Per square kilometer, it is hard to find a place with more troops and armaments." Menon, an international security specialist, is the incoming Anne and Bernard M. Spitzer Chair in Political Science at City College.
Outlining Strategies for Greater Stability
The Colin Powell Center has received a $1 million grant from the Korea Foundation to establish a program that will focus on policy and service lessons rooted in the Korean experience. The new program, "Korean Issues and Insights," set to launch in 2011, will help introduce students to the rich traditions of the Korean Peninsula and to innovative Korean approaches to some of the world's most pressing policy concerns. Korea's recent experience includes a dynamic democratization process, rapid economic development, leadership positions in the United Nations, and a central role working to resolve some of the world's most important security issues. The Korea Foundation's support will allow the Colin Powell Center to undertake programming around all of these vital issues.
The Korean Issues and Insights program further extends the Center's mission of providing outstanding students with advanced training in public policy, engaging them in compelling national and international issues, and providing opportunities for student travel and study in other countries. It is designed to encourage Center-affiliated students to think seriously about Korean policy experiences and perspectives while simultaneously developing leadership skills and policy expertise.
2010 New York Life Symposium Spotlights Ways to Leverage the Green Economy.
He was worth waiting for. Jerome Ringo, immediate past president of the Apollo Alliance, delivered a powerful call to action on March 24 in the Great Hall of Shepard Hall at CCNY. Ringo, keynote speaker for the 2010 New York Life Symposium, "Our World 2030: Preparing a New Generation for a Sustainable Future," presented by the Colin Powell Center, virtually rocked the house as he tied together themes of climate change, green jobs, oil independence, and environmental justice. The event, initially scheduled for February 10, had been postponed due to a blizzard.
To his listeners, Ringo issued a challenge: "In the next decade or two, when a grandchild looks you in the eye and asks, "Why did you let this happen?' if you don't have a reasonable response today, let this conference be your start to developing a real answer, by virtue of your actions not your thoughts, to change this world for the next generation." More
Powell Center-led Alliance Connects Classrooms and Community.
For the participants of the second annual service-learning symposium, "Strengthening Service-Learning Connections across New York City," held at Barnard College on March 11, the evening was an opportunity to connect with other professionals who are changing the face of higher education across the region.
The Colin Powell Center-led New York Metro Area Partnership for Service-Learning (NYMAPS) hosted the event, which drew 120 participants and marked the growing momentum of the three-year-old organization. NYMAPS is dedicated to advancing service-learning and civic engagement at area colleges and universities. Service-learning is a teaching method that incorporates community service in course design to enrich the curriculum and the students' experience. Launched in 2007 by the Colin Powell Center (representing City College), New York University, and Marymount College, NYMAPS now comprises 15 members and is growing. Columbia University, Barnard College, and New York Institute of Technology are among this year's new associates.
Finding Innovative Strategies
Attendees found themselves not only inspired by the breadth and creativity of the activities, but they were also challenged to consider the effectiveness and sustainability of their own efforts. They were encouraged by Kevin Ferrara, associate dean of the Fu School of Engineering at Columbia, who stressed, "Find a way to provide service with full commitment; get in and stay in, and model this for students." Such suggestions only further energized faculty and nonprofit partners to work together to enrich classrooms and communities. As one presenter later noted, "It was marvelous to have the opportunity to learn from one another, and for our students ... to witness the strength and potential of this work."
SCHOLAR SPOTLIGHT: JAY-SHEREE ALLEN
Helping Teenage Girls Gain Tenacity and Strength
By Flannery Amdahl
On Saturday, April 10, Allen hosted WEST's first annual Women's Empowerment Conference at City College. The daylong event drew more than 200 participants and featured Terri Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting. Throughout the day, women and teenage girls listened to panel presentations and attended workshops on subjects ranging from body image to money management. The conference furthered Allen's goal of expanding and strengthening WEST. Allen recently spoke to the Center about her organization, her goals, and her experiences as a New York Life fellow:
SCHOLAR SPOTLIGHT: LILI SALMERON
For Salmeron, a senior majoring in political science, the internship is a key facet of her fellowship. Working at the bustling Make the Road offices, Salmeron counsels laborers who face thorny employment issues, raising their political awareness along the way. "I help them see how their issue, like trying to get back pay from a subcontractor, is indicative of a larger social problem," she says. Salmeron also assists at meetings and educates individuals about how they can plug in to the political process in New York City.
Her experience at Make the Road provides an important counterpoint to an earlier Center-sponsored internship. Last summer, Salmeron worked at the Brookings Institution with leading demographer Audrey Singer. There, Salmeron collected census data and analyzed demographic trends around immigrant settlement patterns in the top 100 U.S. metro areas. Immersing herself in both the think-tank world and the advocacy world has given her "a better sense of where I fit in," says Salmeron, who recently shared a bit about her goals and interests:
How have your policy interests evolved?
SCHOLAR SPOTLIGHT: CHIRAG RAVAL
Riding the Amtrak up to Albany in March, advocates from the New York Academy of Medicine downplayed their odds of convincing state legislators to pass a tax on sugary beverages. Not so, Chirag Raval, a New York Life graduate fellow at the Center, who joined them in their effort. "I told them, 'the time is right,'" recalls Raval, a high-energy chemical engineer and a Ph.D. candidate in the Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT), a national interdisciplinary engineering, science, technology and math program, which CCNY and Columbia are undertaking jointly.
For Raval, the trek was a part of a greater journey that has led him to combat cardiovascular risk not only from a technical perspective, but a policy one as well. Beginning as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Delaware, Raval has gradually honed in on the mechanics and prevention of atherosclerosis at the cellular level. Atherosclerosis, the collection, thickening, and calcification of fatty lipids along the walls of the heart and vessels, triggers heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease, and underlies 38 percent of U.S. deaths.
Raval's research centers on a novel protein called aquaporin, which acts selectively in cell walls like a tunnel for individual water molecules. He is investigating the very earliest stages of the disease and aquaporin's role in determining whether lipids have enough time to accumulate on the vessel walls. Understanding the nature of the process and its control could generate new classes of therapuetics, useful before the onset of symptoms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Yet Raval's deepening awareness that "a technical solution is no silver bullet" has led him to lobby in Albany (the bill is still pending) and to a larger fight against obesity. Now he has conceived a new policy solution: calling for a Surgeon General's warning on high-calorie and high-fat junk food. Recently, he shared his evolving thinking on these issues.
What's behind your policy interest?
City College has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service. The efforts of the Colin Powell Center in promoting service at CCNY through its support of service-learning classes, its Engaged Department Initiative, Service-Learning Faculty Fellowships, and Student-Led Initiatives proved to be integral to the College receiving the national recognition.
Placement on the honor roll is based on an institution's commitment to community service and the impact of its efforts in the community, along with the characteristics and size of the college or university. At City College, 252 students took part in 11 service-learning classes in 2009. Another 442 engaged in community service, with more than half of these students dedicating 20 hours or more a week to their efforts. Altogether, students at CCNY devoted 5,280 hours to service. Robert E. Paaswell, CCNY interim president, congratulated the Colin Powell Center and CCNY's faculty and students for their service work. "As a public institution serving a diverse community, community service and civic engagement are integral to our mission," he said. "We are delighted to be recognized by President Obama for what we are doing."
The President's Higher Education Honor Roll is a new initiative of President Obama's administration. Service is a central cause of the administration, and the President places a high priority on supporting and developing the role of higher education institutions, and their students, staff, and faculty, in addressing the nation's most pressing social needs. Additional information regarding the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll can be found at NationalService.gov.