Grace Chung, Class of 2010

Grace Chung is a first year Master’s in Public Administration Student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a 2010 graduate of Seton Hall University with a degree in Diplomacy and International Relations, and is the former editor-in-chief of the Whitehead Envoy. She can be reached at chunggra@gmail.com.</em
     In the summer of 2009, my junior year at Seton Hall University, I worked as a foreign affairs journalist in DC. During that time, I interviewed many interesting people from activists and journalists to politicians and diplomats, but the person who stands out the most in my memory is a woman with white hair and blue eyes named Alexandra Seton.

      After a long and fascinating career, Alexandra (who goes by Alex) was retired in the Virginia suburbs. Our paths never would’ve crossed, except that I moved into her neighbor’s home that summer to be close to my internship. After work, it became a tradition to join Alex, outside in her beautiful garden for wine and conversation which usually continued long after the sun had gone down.

      We shared stories, but mostly I listened, while she enchanted me with memories from seven decades of her life. At age 18, when her parents didn’t let her go to Harvard, she packed her bags and flew to Mexico where she lived with the remnants of the Mayan civilization. She then moved to Europe, biked with Olympians through Italy, found love in India, and learned cooking with princesses in Thailand. She not only traveled, but did amazing work—protesting with the feminist group NOW, becoming one of the first women to work for the World Bank, racing horses in Ecuador, and working as a professional gardener.

      One night, as we were talking, Alex recalled, how many people have told her that they wished they could do half the things she did in her life. In my head, I silently agreed. Then she explained something that I have kept with me ever since. “Most people want to pursue meaningful a career, travel and do something that no one has ever done before, but they always assume that it will happen later in life, after they have done what they’re supposed to do—make enough money, marry, have kids. But that’s not how it works. Life is short, and so if you want to live a meaningful life, you can’t wait to start. You just have to do it.”

      I was 19 then and by that point, I had heard my fair share of inspirational axioms: “live life to the fullest,” “follow your heart” and whatnot. That is essentially what she was saying, but to hear it from someone who had actually done it left an indelible impression on me which inspired me to make some of the best decisions in my life.

      At the time, I had been studying for my LSATs with the plan to go to law school and maybe pursue public interest law. But inspired by Alex, I moved to rural Indonesia instead on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English to 300 rambunctious high school kids at an Islamic high school. While reflecting on my skills and interests in Indonesia, I realized that I was still committed to public service, but that law school maybe wasn’t the best fit for me. So after Indonesia, I volunteered with a startup nonprofit in Haiti and then became an AmeriCorps VISTA with Rising Tide Capital, a Jersey City-based nonprofit which helps entrepreneurs in low-income communities start and grow their businesses.

      Through these experiences, I have learned again and again, that it is good to plan, but it is even better to try the things which don’t necessarily fit into a straight-forward career path. You just never know where it will take you.

Americans Hold Rally to Show Support for Not Caring About Syria

Thousands of Americans descended on our nation’s capital on 27 September to show their support for not caring about the millions of refugees and survivors in the war-torn nation of Syria. Men and women from all walks of life came together to declare that they, individually and collectively, could not be convinced to care even a little bit about the American response to the growing humanitarian crisis.

     “Yeah I really just don’t care,” Timothy Walkins, a 38-year old Seattle resident muttered nonchalantly. “I get it. Chemical weapons and all that. Kids having seizures or whatever. But still. They aren’t here. I can’t see them. Really, I care more about my fantasy football teams.”

     Protesters remained visibly unmoved by what should be heart-wrenching photos and videos of men, women and children being systematically tortured and killed. Dancing with the Stars, the current state of the dishes in the sink, Tim Tebow and even the MBL playoffs are among topics commonly listed as being of more interest than what really should be an inexcusable violation of human rights.

     “Honestly, there’s nothing you could do to make me care,” added Sally Ramirez, 47 of Pittsburgh. “And I really mean nothing. You could tell me right now that Assad was going to personally strangle every child in Syria if the United States didn’t do something and I wouldn’t even take the time to send an email to my Congressmen.”

     To date, it is believed that over 100,000 civilians have been killed in the war-torn country. Americans from all walks of life called on Congress to really do whatever they wanted because we couldn’t care less at the protest.

     Despite broad support for a unilateral strike as little as a few weeks ago, Americans now decidedly were more disinterested than ever before. Supporters of the protest pointed to the delay in action from the President and Congress for being mainly to blame.

     “Sure, I guess I might’ve cared about it back then or whatever,” 23-year old and usually politically active Stephen Mitchell, a graduate student at the University of Michigan pointed out, “we live in a fast paced world. I’ve started caring about at least 34 different ideas and causes since then. If Obama wanted me to care about Syria he should’ve done something.”

“I’m just too busy,” the college student added. “Sure, I guess it sucks that people keep getting killed and stuff. But I have homework. And papers. And new problems pop up all the time. How can I possibly care about Syria, what’s happening in Kenya and Obamacare and still have time to watch cat videos on Youtube? He’s just asking too much.”

     At press time on 28 September, sources confirmed the apathetic crowd had already lost interest in demonstrating their lack of interest and had reportedly moved to refreshing their Twitter feeds and deleting their politically active Facebook friends.

Drew Holden, Staff Writer

NFL Concussion Lawsuit Settled for $765 million

Last month noted the end of a historic battle between the country’s most profitable sports league and  thousands of former players and their families who feel that they’ve been wronged by the National Football League.

Just over a year ago, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 2,000 National Football League players and their families, accusing the NFL of negligence and failure to properly notify players of the link between concussions and serious brain injury.

Despite the initial attempt at getting the case dismissed, the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to fund medical exams, litigation expenses, concussion-related compensation and medical research for retired players and their families. The class action suit, ending with over 4,000 plaintiffs in a combination of 80 individual suits against the NFL, is still in the process of being approved by the assigned judge.

The agreement comes after the National Institutes of Health released the results of a secondary analysis of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau’s brain after he committed suicide via gunwound to the chest last May. Results of the test proved that Seau, 43, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same disease found in former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson during his brain autopsy after he committed suicide in February 2011, as well as number of other deceased NFL players.

CTE is a progressively degenerative disease found in victims of repetitive brain trauma.  Although CTE can only be definitively diagnosed after death, sufferers of the disease often show symptoms of depression, aggression, and disorientation and confusion.

As of this August, 29 football players, three professional hockey players, three boxers, and one professional wrestler were diagnosed CTE post-mortem.  After their deaths, family members and loved ones were interviewed on the athlete’s behaviors and when they appeared in order to gain a better understandings of the symptom’s and causes of CTE.

With this agreement, “former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at al levels of football,” stated case mediator, former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips to CNN.

Victims and their families found themselves relieved to learn that the NFL was prepared to take responsibility and settle so quickly, especially since most involved were prepared for a drawn out battle.

Although over the past decade the NFL has taken extensive steps in an attempt to protect players from serious injury through rule changes and retroactive punishment for teams encouraging blatant violence, an argument still remains in the gladiator like patriarchal mentality of the sport itself. Even after the extensive settlement, there is still much progress to be made in the research for prevention of brain trauma for professional athletes worldwide.

Naiya Craig, Section Editor

Soccer’s Million Dollar Man

After a summer of relentless pursuit by clubs around the world, the left-footed, former Tottenham Hostspur winger Gareth Bale is now soccer’s most expensive and most controversial transfer to date after signing with Real Madrid in September.

Bale, once valued at only €7 million, will wear the number 11 shirt at Madrid, and is set to receive €10 million a season under his six year contract with Real, not including at least €47 million in sponsorship deals.

From a business perspective, even at €100m, Bale’s signing has the potential to be an incredibly lucrative investment.

In the context of the booming soccer business and Real’s expanding commercial operation, Bale is more than just a player; he  has become a brand.

About 30,000 fans showed up to welcome the Welshman to Real Madrid’s Bernabéu. Appearing in his full Madrid kit for the first time, Bale won the hearts of fans by kissing the team’s badge. Then, in Spanish, he proudly stated, “it’s always been my dream to play for Real Madrid. Thank you for such a warm welcome.”

At the end of this season’s on and off again transfer saga, many would say the 24-year-old has reached above and beyond every boy’s childhood dreams. Not only is he playing for one of the world’s largest, richest and most legendary clubs, but he is also worth more than many can fathom. Surpassing teammate and idol, Christiano Ronaldo’s record move from Manchester United for €94 million, Bale has much to live up to.

Due to the dramatics surrounding his summer transfer, it was questionable whether he would make his La Liga debut against Villareal on 14 September, having missed his entire preseason. However, Real Manager, Carlo Ancelloti placed great confidence in Bale, who did not disappoint, netting a goal in the first half of Madrid’s 2-2 final draw and playing 61 minutes before being subbed off. He made his Champions League debut 17 September, in a 6-1 win against Turkish side, Galatasaray, as Madrid begin their bid to land their 10th Champions League title. However, Bale’s home debut against city rivals Athletico Madrid on September 29, ended in a bitter 0-1 loss, in which Bale’s presence in the second half did nothing to remedy.

Even after winning the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) Players’ Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013, he was still nothing more than a stranger to his new teammates.

“The truth is, because he did not play for a team in England that played in the Champions League – we did’t know that much about him. We know if the coach wanted him that strongly he must be a good player – but nobody was prepared for how special he is,” said Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.

He has been praised as one of the world’s most dangerous left wingers. “He’s got everything, there’s not a weakness in his make-up. He can head the ball, he’s as strong as an ox, he can run, dribble and shoot. Most important of all he’s a smashing  lad,” said former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp in an interview with Sky Sports.

If he can continue to grow as a player, his name will go down in the history books alongside Beckham, Zidane, Cannavaro, Raul, Ronaldo, and the multitude of otherworldly players that have come out of Real Madrid.  Bale has an Atlantean task ahead of him blending into a squad overflowing with astronomical talents and even greater egos, and, at the same time, living up to the expectations that come with being the most expensive man in the soccer.

 Maria Holder

Clinton Global Initiative Commitment Bolsters Cities, Attracts Students

During the opening plenary of the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City, former President Bill Clinton announced a global Commitment to Action to the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.

In response to the dual-threat of increased global climate change and urbanization, The Rockefeller Foundation, along with Swiss Re, Palantir, World Bank, American Institute of Architects, and Architecture for Humanity, will support at least 100 cities across the world in preparing for natural disasters and stresses on infrastructure as a result of ever increasing population growth.

According to Architecture for Humanity, by 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. Shocks and stresses, whether caused by extreme weather related to climate change, seismic events or terrorism affect cities on a larger scale due to population density, often with tragic results. But through proactive planning, foresight and better investment, cities can mitigate these impacts. The 100 Resilient Cities commitment partners see building urban resilience as an imperative of the 21st Century.

“It is our deep conviction that we should be preparing for disasters before they happen, rather than responding after the fact,” said Martyn Parker, Chairman Global Partnerships, Swiss Re. “This not only saves lives, reduces human suffering and protects property: it also helps to speed up recovery and lessen the impact on public and private budgets, which is the essence of resilience.”

Former President Clinton, in announcing the commitment on 24 September, added that effective resilience plans for our world’s cities would require changes on multiple levels of society.

“Every five days a million people move from rural to urban areas,” the former President stated to current heads of state, philanthropists, entreprenuers, and NGO leaders. “Cities around the world are struggling to confront the interrelated challenges of urbanization, globalization, and climate change. As natural and manmade shocks continue to intensify in both size and frequency, they must build for resilience. The need to do that has never been more clear. But implementing effective resiliency stragtegies that enable people to survive, adapt and thrive after disaster hits requires change on the individual, institutional and national levels.”

Supported through a $100 million pledge to build urban resilience from the Rockefeller Foundation, the 100 Resilient Cities network will grow to include at least 100 cities from around the world. 100 Resilient Cities will select the first round of twenty cities to join the network following the Challenge process upon the recommendations of a panel of esteemed judges. Cities from around the world were invited to apply by The Rockefeller Foundation. To date, more than 500 cities have participated in the application process. Selected first round cities will be announced on December 3, 2013, at The Rockefeller Foundation’s annual Innovation Forum.

Although still in its nascent form, this concept of “disaster-proof” urban planning has increasingly become an imperative for cities on the coastal United States, as well as around the world. From the increased ravaging of the United States Southeastern states by yearly hurricanes and tornadoes, to the earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons plaguing most of South and Southeast Asia, this new found taskforce on building global city resiliency will utilize the expertise of engineers, architects, software designers, meteorologists and government officials.

Despite the many challenges associated with a global initiative of this magnitude, the opportunity to solve readily apparent problems through interdisciplinary means is exciting many students within the School of Diplomacy. “The software, engineering and language people will be as important to this initiative’s success as the diplomats and politicians…this really says something about where the world is heading as a whole if we are to adapt to these changes,” said Daniel Cruz, a sophomore student of Diplomacy, French and Russian.

The lure of many young students within the School of Diplomacy to careers in the non-governmental sector has increased over the years, as an array of past students’ internship experiences indicate. Most recently,  Cassie Denbow, 2013 School of Diplomacy alumna, was awarded a Clinton Service Fellowship sponsored by the American India Foundation (AIF). The fellowship allows Cassie to work with local women in Dharmsala, Himachal Pradesh, India, to revive and strengthen agricultural practices while recognizing the key role female farmers play in building community and the local economy.

 Anthony Diflorio, Editor-in-Chief

School of Diplomacy Welcomes Dr. Andrea Bartoli

Effective July 1, 2013, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations welcomed its new dean.  The school is now under the leadership of Dr. Andrea Bartoli, an accomplished international conflict resolution practitioner.  Our editor-in-chief Anthony DiFlorio sat down with Dr. Bartoli to discuss his experiences and vision for the school.

Dr. Bartoli came to the United States as a representative of the Community of Sant’Egidio involved in negotiating peace in Mozambique in the early 1990s.  His responsibility was to monitor the relationship between the United States and the United Nations.  Since this was an unpaid position, he created the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University and began teaching as well as starting the Center for International Conflict Resolution.  George Mason University in Virginia took notice, and asked him to be the Cambi Chair in conflict resolution.  He soon moved onto director, and finally dean.  In addition to Mozambique, Dr. Bartoli was also involved in the peacemaking processes in Guatemala, Algeria, Kosovo, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Casamance.  He has testified before Congress in regards to religious persecution and was a member of a State Department Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group.

The new dean expressed great interest in research at Seton Hall.  He noted that “the faculty already at the school have a very vibrant history of research, and [he] think[s] that it is certainly good for the school as a whole to continue the tradition of research projects that will increase the visibility of and reputation of the university as a whole. “He and Professor Borislava Manojlovic will be further advancing two projects developed before pertaining to forgiveness and politics.  The establishment of three new centers will support a desired increase in interdisciplinary research projects.  These projects will allow students and faculty to work side-by-side, giving students valuable research experience.  Such experience is crucial to future success in the field.

Finally, Dr. Bartoli discussed some of the differences in the educational systems between the United States and Italy.  He states that the Italian system utilizes oral examination more frequently, which causes the student to have “a very different relationship with the material.”  The American system, on the other hand, “is much more designed to foster accomplishment and support students through the process.”  His perspective is unique in that he was a student of the Italian system but never taught there, whereas he has extensive teaching experience here in the United States, but never experienced it from a student’s perspective.

 Beth Bickerton, Section Editor

Satire: Apathy Toward Syria

Recently the United Nation’s Security Council has been in a deadlock of vetoes concerning the issue of United States intervention in Syria. But as the debate went forth, one resolution was miraculously passed.

     The idea was proposed by Li Baodong, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations. The document focused a proposal that if President Barack Obama were to defeat Russian President, Vladimir Putin in an arm wrestling tournament then Russian and China would withdraw any and all vetoes concerning Syria. Because of the U.N’s privacy, we were unable to get a picture of the event.

     However, Ban Ki-moon, has kindly presented the international community with his first-hand sketch of the event. His shading and detail of the two presidents have perfectly captured the intensity of the moment.

     “It was awesome,” said the U.N Secretary General, “I have never felt so much testosterone in one room, and I certainly will never forget this day.”

     There was much speculation during the event. Reportedly, Joe Biden and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also engaged in a sort of ‘slaps’ which was neither confirmed nor truly cared about by anyone.

     The U.N has also refused to release information on who won the arm wrestling tournament, but investigators of the U.N have confirmed that it did indeed take place on the floor of the General Assembly Hall.

     Following the break of this story, a republican on Seton Hall’s campus was quoted as saying “Psh, President Reagan could have broken Putin’s arm while waltzing with Margaret Thatcher.”

     Only time will tell if Obama has indeed beaten Putin, but for the enjoyment of the international community hopes that the shirtless pictures be released soon are high.

Cynthia Sularz, Staff Writer

Seton Hall Activism

What Happened?

On September 6, 2013 students of all fields of study convened for a “Demonstration for Peace” to protest possible U.S intervention in Syria.

Organized by the members of Seton Hall University’s, Students for Libery, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Association and student activist Raul Ernesto.

Students made signs, circulated petitions to be sent to local Congressional Representatives and spoke with faculty and students.

Alumni Spotlight: Karina Kainth, Class of 2013

Karina Kainth, Alumna

School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Class of 2013

Greetings from Chennai, India! I sit writing this in a small shop that sells the best South Indian coffee in town (the secret is in the chicory root). As the bustle of city life surrounds me, I reflect on my time at Seton Hall and how it has prepared me for the experience of teaching in India through the Fulbright program.

Since the day I began my grant, I have found myself drawing upon lessons I learned during my time at Seton Hall. When conducting interviews for my research project on education policy, I have utilized my experience with the Envoy and my honors thesis project. My time abroad as a Critical Language Scholar in Jordan during my sophomore year at Seton Hall has better prepared me for cross-cultural communication here in Chennai.  My internships with the State Department and my international relations classes have helped me to look at India’s policies more analytically as I discuss the news with locals.

But in many ways, nothing could have prepared me for much of my experience in Chennai. From the chaos of daily life, in which people often invent their own traffic laws, to working within a completely different education system, I’ve been reminded time and again about the importance of adaptability in the face of unanticipated circumstances. I have had many firsts here: my first time as basically a full-time English teacher, devising my own syllabus for the conversational English classes that I teach; my first time eating rice and lentils with my hands; and my first time conducting a mostly unsupervised research project abroad.

The novelty of these experiences lends itself to many challenges, but also to many triumphs. The cultural disconnect I often face when I am teaching a class full of 50 students who don’t completely understand my American accent, or are used to rote memorization rather than creative thinking in the classroom, can sometimes be frustrating. However, this challenge just propels me to be more innovative in my teaching, and the excited looks on students’ faces when they learn to create their own skits in English or use a new grammar concept are so much more rewarding.

My experiences at Seton Hall were stepping stones that enabled me to embark on this amazing experience, and my time here in India continues to remind me how much I have yet to learn. However, it also empowers me to believe that a little creativity and an open mind can make any strange or uncomfortable experience a transformative one.

 

The Alumni Spotlight section will highlight the acheivements of School of Diplomacy graduates. Each personal account will be a glimpse into the unique journeys of the School’s most accomplished alumni.

 

Whatever Happened to Compromise?

Next month the United States will find itself in a place that has come all too often in recent years. The government will be looking down the barrel of a gun that they themselves loaded and primed. The US will once again reach its borrowing limit, and all accounting measures pushing back the debt ceiling will have been reached, on 17 October, 2013.

What exactly is the big commotion over the debt ceiling? According to the United States Treasury, the debt ceiling is the “total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations” and the earliest remnants of the debt ceiling goes back to 1917.  Obligations include Social Security, Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and much more. The debt ceiling is a piece of legislation that puts a restriction on the amount of national debt the US Treasury can delegate out to federal funded programs and organizations.

Many economists believe that reaching the debt limit could have catastrophic implications on the U.S. economy, as well as the global economy. In recent years we have come tantalizingly close to the debt limit. Even though the U.S. has had many close calls, it has never actually hit the limit. Last minute deals have occurred frequently in recent years.

This past week leaders of the House of Representatives announced their plan to vote for the 42nd time to try and end the Obama administration’s health care reform. Ever since this bill was passed the GOP has been working adamantaly to dismantle it. The House has voted over 40 times to try and stop its implementation, which is unprecedented.

The GOP has been so focused on trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that many important issues have been overlooked. Issues that have gone to the wayside include immigration reform and legitimate financial reform. Not to mention a much needed long discussion on the debt ceiling to stop these yearly band aids to keep our economy afloat.

At the end of this year some of the major implementations will start to take effect. The leaders of the GOP have been calling this bill a train wreck. The Republicans are now attempting to take the debt ceiling hostage, by saying they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless new legislation includes dismantling “Obama Care”.

It seems as though our government officials have become more party line than ever before. Republican leaders are now willing to jeopardize the US economy. Even the global economy is at risk, unless the Republican political agenda is met. Democrats are saying they will not vote on a piece of legislation that will cut the Affordable Care Act.

Our leaders are ignoring common sense and making decisions that will secure them their next election. The unwillingness for governmental officials to cross party lines is playing with every citizen’s financial security as well as the stability of nations all over the world.

 

Nuclear Power – Is It Worth It? (Brittney Little)

After the tragic nuclear incident in Fukushima, Japan, many people have begun to question if nuclear power in Japan is really worth the risk. Since the first Japanese nuclear reactor was built in 1966, there have been 10 reported nuclear accidents resulting in 7 immediate deaths.

While that may seem like a low number, let the numbers show that they are just the immediate deaths. The leaked radiation will linger on for thousands of years, slowly contributing to the deterioration of people’s health, even leading to death.

For example, in the year 2009, the average American consumed 15.8 pounds of Japanese seafood. Since the sea creatures are infected with the leaked radiation, whoever eats the seafood is also infected. Radiation poisoning in humans leads to extreme nausea, followed by hair loss and a devastating loss of white blood cells, eventually causing cancer and even death.

Even though most of the deaths in the Fukushima accident were due to the actual earthquake and tsunami that lead to the nuclear leaks, let the nation not forget what happened with Three Mile Island in 1979, or even Chernobyl in 1986.

Once again, there were no immediate deaths in the aftermanth of Fukushima, but only because statistically, these deaths are undetectable. Do the reported 50,000 increase in cancer cases in that area not count? What about the thousands of people who have had to flee from their homes in Japan because of the nuclear reactors leakage?

When the first idea of nuclear power was introduced, it was never about providing safe and clean energy. It was developed in World War II to produce weapons of mass destruction, not to put an end to the harsh effects of oil and coal on our environment. Not only that, but nuclear energy is also not even made for powering our vehicles (airplanes, trains, trucks, etc.), it is used simply to generate electricity.

According the International Energy Agency, “even if a new nuclear reactor was switched on every ten days between now and 2050, it would lead to a carbon emissions cut of less than 4%.” Why bother then?

Japan is continuing to tak the risks associtaed with nuclear power because it imports 84% of its energy sources. Japan has no oil, no gas, very little coal, and since the country has almost exhausted building up, they also have little renewable options.

They are relying on eastern European countries and Middle Eastern countries, which is not an attractive option for a country that is supposedly ranked 3rd in terms of best economies. So like many “successful” governments, Japan may very well be ignoring the well-being of their citizens in order to make political gains and make themselves more independent.

It might now be possible to say that Japan is taking steps in the right direction, since they have just recently finished shutting down all 54 of their nuclear reactors. This still may be temporary though.  They need to follow in the paths of countries like Germany, who according to CNN, have installed “solar energy capacity that is greater than all six of the Fukushima reactors combined.” Japan needs to find other options for their energy that are much less dangerous.

Ryan Sullivan, Staff Writer