Gerber wins Distinguished Teaching Award
A recent Tuesday meeting featured Mohammed Ibrahim Elgadi who discussed his perspective and experiences with global torture, using the Sudan and the US as examples. Mohamed has recently been working with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) as their national community organizer. He and his wife, Magda Ahmed, are both also involved with the Western Mass Darfur Coalition in Amherst that he helped to form and is consulting with others from New York on the truth and reconciliation process in the Sudan.At the meeting, Mohamed traced the history of torture in the US and in Sudan and the methods currently being used. Mohamed sees education as playing a major role in raising the issue of torture. People really don’t understand how degrading torture is or how to handle victims of torture. He sees education as a way of raising people’s awareness about torture and its effects, and sensitizing communities on how to deal with victims of torture. The topic of torture can be incorporated into curriculum and in programs such as popular education.
Mohamed appreciates the role that CIE has played in helping him articulate his advocacy work. On being asked for his advice for CIE he said, The Center has served several diverse generations; keep the Center alive. And oh, and keep the Tuesday meeting too, I look forward to reading updates from the web, and just one more thing, why has the spirit of reaching out to the community died? Continue the legacy. The communities need us and we need them.Also in attendance was Mohamed Good, who came from Somalia and received a degree at CIE in the 1980s. He is currently working with Housing at UMass Amherst.
On Friday, March 29th, the Center for International Education at UMass/Amherst welcomed Professor Peter McLaren to campus for the ninth annual Kinsey Dialogue Series in honor of the late Professor David Kinsey. McLaren’s prolific educational writings and outspoken political message have positioned him at the forefront of radical activist movements and at the cutting edge of the academic freedom debate in U.S. academia.
Professor Peter McLaren's talk on Friday addressed a broad range of contemporary issues facing education and society, featuring a searing critique of the current U.S. administration and its policies. He addressed the dangers inherent in current capitalist development and its relationship to US imperialist practices, as well as problems in federal educational policy and the privatization of education. Drawing upon the tradition of Marxist-humanism, McLaren described the effects of a “predatory culture” that infiltrates all levels of the public sphere to advance a rhetoric of Western political domination, market fetishization, and social reproduction. To combat this trend, McLaren advocates an approach of radical critical pedagogy, scrutinizing the agendas behind institutional indoctrination in order to generate alternative discourses and activism. He explored the inherent contradiction of working as a radical public intellectual from the platform of the “corporatized” university, characterizing the mission of the educator as that of intellectual provocateur, as well as facilitator of liberatory practices by learners.
On Saturday morning, Professor McLaren led a roundtable discussion of selected issues from his work, with students from numerous departments and schools from the Five Colleges. Central to the dialogue were questions of multicultural education, the role of critical pedagogy in social justice work, and the optimum role of the state during revolutionary transition, such as is occurring in Venezuela today. McLaren read excerpts from several relevant essays, recounted his experiences from the classroom and from his travels, and responded to participants’ questions. Click on his name here for more about Peter McLaren and links to his web site.
This year CIE was well represented at the CIES conference. A total of 31 CIE members, current students and graduates, were on the program! There were three panels organized and sponsored by CIE. The first was a retrospective look at the Learning for Life project in Afghanistan with a panel that included people from all phases of the project (picture at right). The second CIE panel featured five current CIE students, each talking about an educational challenge in an emergency context – South Sudan, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo. The third panel focused on Perspectives on Identity Formation from within and without in International Education and featured four other CIE students.
Jeffrey Ashe was the featured speaker of the Center meting on February 20, 2007. He shared his experience in the field of microfinance over the past three decades. Mr. Ashe was a Peace Corps volunteer in 1960's and has been involved in the field of development since then. He was hosted by Mukul Acharya whose focus is micro-finance and who has been active in microfinance and literacy programs in Nepal
Photos courtesy of R.Paulson & dre
Early in October, Cristine Smith and Peter Kinsley organized a meeting of people interested in helping CIE to rebuild its capacity in nonformal, adult education and literacy. The meeting was attended by CIE graduates working in adult education as well as a faculty and current graduate students. CIE graduates who were there represented more than thirty years of CIE's experience in the field. They included.Cris Smith John Comings, David Rosen, Dan Gerber (not pictured), and Joanie Cohen-Mitchell.The meeting reviewed the nearly 40 year history of CIE in the field and proceeded to develop a series of ideas and activities that could help CIE regain its visibility and capacity in this area. Suggestions ranged from the modern - looking at the emerging use of cell phones as a literacy instructional device, to building a research and evaluation capacity at CIE that focusses on developing methods and tools relevant to adult education. Discussion included ways that literacy is now being combined with health, life skills, micro-enterprise and early childhood development. Emerging fields like accelerated learning for adults, particularly in emergency contexts were also on the agenda. The meeting is the first step in a process to develop a plan of action. The next step will be a Delphi-like survey of a larger group of CIE graduates and others who have been involved in NFE, adult education and literacy, but who couldn't be present at the meeting. If you are interested in participating, please contact Cris Smith.
CIE started off the Fall semester by welcoming CIE graduate, Robert Fuderich, to speak at the Tuesday Center meeting. Robert has been working in post-conflict situations since leaving CIE in 1984 and presently serves as the UNICEF representative to Kosovo during its transition to a nation state. Prior to his post in Kosovo. Robert served as a Regional Education Advisor in Geneva, and as the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Bosnia/Sarajevo region. Last year he headed the Joint Assessment Mission for Southern Sudan on Social Services while on leave from UNICEF.Robert began the seminar by briefing students on the historical background of Kosovo, its unresolved status as a nation state, and the challenges that UNICEF confronts as it attempts to implement its 5-year action plan during this transition. UNICEF Kosovo focuses on community mobilization and institutional building in areas of early childhood, school age children, young people, and children’s rights.According to Fuderich, Kosovo struggles to maintain a multicultural society. Around 90% of the population is Albanian. The population is mostly displaced and ethnic minorities live in enclaves where freedom of movement is restricted. Serbians have been running programs in the enclaves and are now leaving as Kosovo moves to a new status leaving students without teachers. Displaced Romas don’t feel safe in Kosovo and it is doubtful that Roma refugees will return to Kosovo. Fuderich stressed the importance of ethnic dialogue and participation with younger populations for progress but notes that it might be too soon.
His comments were followed by a lively discussion on issues of reconciliation in post-conflict situations of complex diversity. It was a pleasure to have Robert join us and to help us to better understand the situation in Kosovo.