Off We Go…

May 12th, 2010

The 2009-2010 Hales Fund will be leaving on Thursday, May 13 for Cuba! The faculty research team consists of: Heather Fitz Gibbon, Alison Schmidt, Jim Warner, Megan Wereley, Beth Ann Meullner, Rikki Palmer, Bill Macauley, Joan Furey, and Matthew Broda. For travel schedule please check the “Trip Itinerary” page. We will use the homepage as our central posting location for daily dispatches. We are unsure of the bandwidth potential in Cuba, so we may not be able to upload as many pictures and videos as had been featured in past years. We look forward to your thoughts and questions as we travel over the next 10 days!

Session Five

January 28th, 2010

Here is an update from the 1/27 meeting:

– We came to a consensus that we would like to look into local child-centered poverty policies and initiatives (Bridges, etc) at the February meeting, national child-centered poverty policies and initiatives (Philadelphia Center, Harlem Children’s Zone) at the March meeting and through summer field study, as well as global child-centered poverty policies and initiatives starting in March and with field study this summer (perhaps in Cuba).

– As a group, we are committed to summer study in Philadelphia and NYC, but we are still trying to reach consensus on a global study location for the summer. Last night there was a surge of interest in Cuba and its unique policies that intersect poverty/children/education. If we are to add a global study location we need to determine a location soon. All members of the group are requested to bring a global study option (if Cuba is not of interest) to our February. Cuba was one option because of its ability to meet a number of the identified goals stated here:

– Joan and Heather will be arranging readings (we will send out soon) and a visit from the directors of the Bridges program (a local poverty initiative) for our February meeting.

– Our meeting is scheduled for 2/19 but there were a couple members who had a conflict with this time. We could change out meeting date to meet more schedules as well as coincide our meeting with the presence of the Philadelphia Center’s visit to campus on 2/11. Perhaps we could use the first 90 min. of our to meet with Bridges, and the discuss the potential opportunities with the Philadelphia Center at the end. Our third option is 2/26 which would eliminate the Philadelphia Center but might accommodate more of our schedules. To assess the feasibility of this, please complete the poll below by the end of the day so we can have a secure date.

– Chuck will be looking into readings regarding the Philadelphia Center and I will be working with Alison to order Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, about the Harlem Children’s Zone.

– Heather also volunteered to create a bibliography for general readings on poverty. This will be on the group blog here:

-Possible readings for Cuba (if selected for global study):
Children on the Streets of the Americas: Globalization, Homelessness and Education in the United States, Brazil, and Cuba
Cuba’s Academic Advantage: Why Students in Cuba Do Better in School

Please let me know if I missed anything. I look forward to our new semester a renewed focus! Take care.

Session Four

October 28th, 2009

Greetings!  Session Four will have three tracks that will run parallel at times, and intersect at others.  Our range will include inquiry into the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, a cross-cultural comparison of poverty through self-selected readings, and a personal narrative on poverty as seen through the movie, City of God.  Descriptions for each is below.

Self Selected Readings

To facilitate the cross-cultural comparison of poverty we ask that you participate in the THIS POLL and select the reading that you would like to complete for November 13.  You will be responsible for contributing to a “discussion” (we are still working on how we would like to frame this) based on your reading.   Please select your reading by this Friday (10/30) so we have time to scan and send them to each of you.

City of God Viewing

As an attempt to infuse personal narrative into our discussions, we selected (based on feedback) City of God as an initial entry into this dimension of poverty.   From the Miramax description:

“The streets of the world’s most notorious slum, Rio de Janeiro’s ‘City of God,’ are a place where combat photographers fear to tread, police rarely go, and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. In the midst of the oppressive crime and violence, a frail and scared young boy will grow up to discover that he can view the harsh realities of his surroundings with a different eye: the eye of an artist. In the face of impossible odds, his brave ambition to become a professional photographer becomes a window into his world … and ultimately his way out!”

We are all busy people, but we thought that watching this together would be a powerful common experience.  Please visit THIS PAGE and select all of the dates that would work for you as a time to gather and watch City of God. For those with no available time, we can arrange to get you a copy to view on your own.  As with the reading selection, please mark your availability by this Friday (10/30) so we have advanced notice.

One Laptop Per Child Readings and Videos

We have two supplied articles for next week that are short, but give insight into the OLPC initiative (links below).  Before reading, we recommend that you watch the short videos below to get a sense of history for the program.

Video #1

“Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Laboratory, describes how the One Laptop Per Child project will build and distribute the ‘$100 laptop.”‘

Video #2

“Nicholas Negroponte talks about how One Laptop per Child is doing, two years in. Speaking at the EG conference while the first XO laptops roll off the production line, he recaps the controversies and recommits to the goals of this far-reaching project.”

Video #3

“TED follows Nicholas Negroponte to Colombia as he delivers laptops inside territory once controlled by guerrillas. His partner? Colombia’s Defense Department, who see One Laptop per Child as an investment in the region. (And you too can get involved.)”

We look forward to seeing you all on 11/13 and before to view City of God!

-Heather & Matthew

Session Three

October 7th, 2009

Below you will find links to the readings for October 14.  Thanks to Jim Warner and Jen Rutlidge for providing these articles.

Childhood And The Policy Makers : A Comparative Perspective On The Globalization Of Childhood – Jo Boyden

Children Living In Poverty: Overview Of Definitions, Measurements And Policy – Delamonica, Minujin, Davidziuk, Gonzalez

The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances – David A. Clark

Multimedia Interpretations

September 25th, 2009

Greetings colleagues!  It has been a wonderful two sessions with you all.  I have left each time with a sense of awe at the depth and perspective we are able to explore the issues of poverty across the globe based on our composition as a group.  It is also very exciting to feel the passion that each of you bring to the discussion.  What an enriching experience!

Jim and Jennifer will be providing the readings for our next meeting, but I wanted to also provide some additional materials that have helped me to make sense of and contextualize the readings from last session (an maybe help with the readings for our next session as well).  We had a lot of conversation regarding the problem of “we vs. them” when trying to articulate the issue of poverty, as well as discussion on the nature of what “developing” meant when trying to identify countries in need.  I found two interesting presentations done by Hans Rosling that  helped me to “see” what we were reading and put it in historical context.  I would suggest watching the videos in order.  The first proposes a change in mindset, while the second looks more specifically at poverty.  For me, it is so interesting to see how we can use technology to not just interpret data, but use it to tell a compelling story.  Hans’ programs are so helpful in seeing the multiple dimensions of global development.

Video #1

Video #2

For those interested, Gapminder (Hans’ data program) is actually a Web 2.0 tool.

I found two other videos by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund, as an attempt add a personal voice to the issue of poverty (as noted by Stephanie during our first session), as well as a tie-in to a conversation I had with Ibra last session regarding the need for local involvement and direction when providing support and aid to those in need.

Video #3

Video #4

One last video I found also provided a more personal account of poverty issues, in particular living in the slums –  A Slum Insight.  “A slum insight is a video developed by Gapminder in collaboration with UN-Habitat and ITC for the UN Habitat conference World Urban Forum III , Vancouver, Canada. “

Finally, I would recommend visiting, “…an organization of photojournalists commited to poverty alleviation in the United States.”  These photojournalists are committed to making the invisible, visible.  Their site contains a number of moving photo essays on poverty in our own country, with an emphasis on children.

Session Two

September 16th, 2009

Readings for the session on September 16, 2009:

  • Toward a Framework for Understanding Forces that Contribute to or Reinforce Racial Inequality – William Julius Wilson
  • Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Proletariat – Mike Davis
  • America’s Shame: Children Living in the Shadows of America’s Prosperity – Carol Camp Yeakly, Jeanita W. Richardson, and Judith Brooks Buck

Session One

September 3rd, 2009

Included below is some of the language in the original proposal, language that should provide a place to begin the conversation.  We have also attached two NY Times articles by Paul Tough, the author of “Whatever It Takes” about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Project.  Before Friday, try also to look at the United Nations’ “Millennium Development Goals report- 2008.”  Let’s talk about these articles and the UN goals on Friday and discuss the direction we might take with this reading group.

In addition to Tough’s book, the group might also consider Mike Davis’s book, “Planet of Slums,” Jonathan Kozol’s book, “The Shame of a Nation” (Kozol will be on campus in mid-October), or Duncan Lindsey’s book, “The Child Poverty and Inequality.”

We hope the rest of your first week goes well and look forward to seeing everyone on Friday.

Alison and Joan

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