News and Notes by Date
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Bard College is proud to announce that it has received a $399,000 award from the Mellon Foundation to support a three-year applied learning research curricular project on voting rights. The project, done in collaboration with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Tuskegee University, Prairie View A&M University, and The Andrew Goodman Foundation, will use the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and outlawed age-based voter discrimination, as a prism through which to understand the history of voting and disenfranchisement in the United States and the role of college communities in the fight for voting rights.
The project will produce research and teaching materials on the history of voting rights, with a special focus on the 26th Amendment, in the form of written and video case studies, recorded lectures, and oral histories. These materials will be contextualized by the historic and contemporary struggles for voting rights on these campuses and will in turn be used in the classroom in codesigned and cotaught network collaborative courses that will take place simultaneously at the four main partner institutions of higher education: Bard College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Tuskegee University, and Prairie View A&M University. The materials will also be used in trainings of student ambassadors of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a national organization situated on 81 campuses across 26 states and Washington, D.C., including at these institutions, with a mission to make youth voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. The Andrew Goodman Foundation will lift up their students’ ongoing work on these campuses and across its network, and historically ground and help shape their future civic engagement activities as promoters and defenders of the right to vote.
This project highlights how academic institutions and their leaders can also serve as important civic actors in promoting and defending democratic principles. The four institutions centrally involved in the project offer unique insights into the role of colleges in the fight for voting rights, particularly the fight against discrimination based on race and age.
Bard College has for the last quarter century participated in four successful lawsuits, one federal and three state, grounded in the 26th Amendment, that established student voting eligibility, a polling site on campus, and the adoption of a state law mandating polling sites on college campuses with more than 300 registered student voters and outlawing campus gerrymanders.
Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Institute) and its Dean of Students Charles Goode Gomillion were at the center of a boycott in response to the decision by the Town of Tuskegee to gerrymander town lines so as to exclude the majority of Black residents. Gomillion was the lead plaintiff in the landmark 1960 Supreme Court case, Gomillion v. Lightfoot, in which the court found – for the first time – that an election district boundary designed to exclude Blacks denied equal representation in violation of the 15th Amendment of the US Constitution.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T) was not only the home of the Greensboro Four and a critical catalyzing actor during the civil rights movement, but was featured in recent North Carolina state and federal cases Harper v. Lewis and Common Cause v. Runcho, which fought corrosive partisan gerrymandering in the state and ultimately caused the invalidation of the state map which divided the university’s campus into two congressional districts.
Prairie View A&M was involved in the only 26th Amendment case that went before the Supreme Court, Symm v. United States, which in 1979 established the rights of students to vote as residents where they attend college. Prairie View A&M students have subsequently led numerous efforts to fight voter harassment and intimidation, including more recently in a federal case for equal access to early on-campus voting opportunities.
Melanye Price, Director of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice, Prairie View A&M University, said, “Prairie View and the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice are proud to be part of this grant. Our students have been at the forefront of student voting rights advocacy and it is important the current students know this history. We are excited to partner with the Mellon Foundation, Bard College, and other HBCUs to bring this history to national attention”
Dr. Jelani M. Favors, the Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History at North Carolina A&T State University, said, “North Carolina A&T State University is excited to partner with Bard College, Prairie View A&M, Tuskegee University, and The Andrew Goodman Foundation in launching this new teaching and research initiative. With support from the Mellon Foundation and the Open Society University Network, our institutions are poised to further highlight the legacy of civic action and social justice that have defined our campuses and to educate a new generation of students on the challenges that continue to threaten and undermine American democracy.”
Dr. Lisa Bratton, Associate Professor of History, Tuskegee University, said “I am thankful to Bard College for spearheading this collaboration and am excited about the opportunity to work with other HBCUs as we highlight the groundbreaking work of Charles Gomillion. This is yet another opportunity for students to learn more about the history that was made right here in Tuskegee.”
Jonathan Becker, Professor of Political Studies at Bard and Bard’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is the project’s Principal Investigator, said, “We are thrilled that the Mellon Foundation is supporting this project, which unites four universities and a non-profit that have been centrally involved in defending the rights of students to vote and the fight against race-based disenfranchisement. Young people are the country’s future and defending their voting rights is essential to a healthy democracy.”
Yael Bromberg, Esq., a constitutional rights attorney, leading legal scholar of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment and lecturer at Rutgers Law School, who additionally serves as Special Counsel and Strategic Advisor to the President/CEO of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, said, “This unique applied learning collaboration will be the first to examine and conceptualize the ways in which a protected class of voters – youth voters – experience and fight against unconstitutional violations of the right to vote, and the unique role of academic institutions in supporting them. The collaboration is special in that we will train and inspire young democracy practitioners, based on the studied experiences of their peers across the country, how to effectively organize and advocate, and when necessary, litigate, for social change.”
Charles Imohiosen, Esq., President/CEO of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, said: “The Andrew Goodman Foundation is excited to continue to partner with North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, and of course Bard College, to make youth voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. We look forward to welcoming Tuskegee University into our family, and are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for making this possible. This unique applied learning collaboration will allow The Andrew Goodman Foundation to share best practices and skills from our network and learn collectively with our partners, as we continue to train and empower young people with the key tools to be effective democracy practitioners.”
This semester the Digital Literacies course brought Bard students to the Red Hook Public Library to host an information session for senior citizens on how to safely make the most of their cellphones. Supported by CCE’s Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) program, the course, taught by faculty member Jeremy Hall, allowed students to apply technical methods and tools for cellphone use, information screening, and data security for seniors.
Renee Zhang, Head of Programs and Services for Adults at the Red Hook Public Library, said “We received very positive feedback from our community participants. One senior citizen told me after the program that she and her friend found the information helpful, and they enjoyed socializing with the students. It was great to see connections building between the residents of Red Hook and Bard students.”
In addition to the information session, students also branched out into smaller groups for one-on-one interactions to help attendees with specific questions, and to socialize about their experiences at Bard and in the community. According to student Jourdan Perez, “I would say that perhaps more important than the technological support that the seniors received from us was the chance for connection between younger and older adults. It's much easier for everyone involved in an event when participants feel engaged with not only the subject, but with the hosts as well."
ELAS-designated courses, such as Digital Literacies, emphasize the importance of applying classroom theories to practical application, as well as reciprocity among community partners through sustained engagement and the development of skills that benefit students’ own interests. After the workshop, students said they were eager to return to the library for more opportunities to participate and attendees were just as eager to see more Bard students again.
“I really enjoyed the work we did with the Red Hook Public Library,” said student Emma Kuntz. “Not only did we get to engage in the community, but we were able to engage with each other and brainstorm. I think something like this could become a monthly or biweekly thing as participants all seemed really interested in having us back. Knowing that what we worked on benefited others was really rewarding, and I hope to get more opportunities like this in the future!” she reflected.
Inside Higher Ed writes that Bard College is the latest US institution to open its doors to displaced Ukrainian students, bringing 60 students to its various campuses, with most starting next fall. “Bard believes that universities should be responsible civic actors, and, as such, should step up, particularly when education is under threat,” said Jonathan Becker, Bard’s vice president for academic affairs and director of the Center for Civic Engagement. The article highlights Bard’s history of supporting student refugees, citing the College taking in more than 300 refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, and more recently, welcoming more than 60 Afghan students who were displaced after the country’s government collapsed.
By Emily Costello ‘23
The SCALE Project is led by students who have seen gaps in affordable access and want to eliminate them. Through their work, they encourage their peers to make a change at Bard by showing up for themselves and for others.
Since 2017, the SCALE Project (Socioeconomics and the Lived Experience) has become integral to the lives of Bard students. This student-run club collaborates with students, faculty, and administrators to make college less of a financial burden for students and provide resources to make the college experience as a whole less daunting. Through programs, town halls, and meetings with administrators and faculty, the SCALE Project listens to students’ needs and works to provide ways to make college more approachable and affordable for everyone.
The SCALE Project is led by students who have seen and want to eliminate gaps in affordable access. Emily O’Rourke ’25 saw going to college as a daunting experience because of the many fees that come with higher education. As a first-generation student with limited financial resources, she was able benefit from the important role SCALE played in helping her pay for textbooks during her first year. Emily found that getting an education is a lot more approachable with these kinds of programs.
Sarah Seager ’24 had a similar experience. She saw how COVID worsened the equity gaps at Bard and how the SCALE Project prioritized sharing resources with students to provide support. For Emily Joachim ’24, her work with the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) inspired her to look at student resources differently and in a way that was open to everyone and not just students that are part of OEI. “Bard had a huge gap, and I can be part of the change,” she said.
The SCALE Project has implemented many programs that can be seen around campus. The Book Rental Program is one of the most well-known since it allows students to access required textbooks even if they’re not able to purchase or rent book themselves. The SCALE Project covers the cost of book rentals through the Bard Bookstore although students also have the option of borrowing books from the SCALE Library maintained by Stevenson Library staff. The Studio Art fee waiver was a recent change at Bard. Through the SCALE Project’s work, the $100 fee to take a studio art class was waived for all students. Another program is the SCALE Internship Equity Award (SIEA), which is funded by a generous donation from a Bard alum. The award provides financial support to low-income and first-generation students pursuing any unpaid or low-paying internship.
In addition to these programs, SCALE hosts a variety of events for students, such as the popular Resource Fairs where students can receive free soap, toothpaste, educational materials, and other supplies. Some projects currently in the works are providing free summer storage pods for students, working with departments on campus to be more transparent about fees, collaborating with clubs like Code Red and the Student Labor Dialogue, meeting with student government, and building community between first-generation and low-income students. Working collaboratively is part of SCALE’s mission and is exemplary of the drive and resolve of student leaders at Bard. As Emily Joachim said, “We want to work together instead of working apart, because we’re stronger in numbers.”
The student leaders of the SCALE Project encourage their peers to make a change at Bard by showing up for themselves and for others. “Show up in physical space with each other and take up space in the classroom,” said Sarah. “Showing up is the most important thing. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion,” added Emily. If you’re interested in learning more about the SCALE Project or joining the team, send an email or check out their social media, and keep an eye on Handshake for positions opening up in January.
For the second year, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Diversity in National Security Network (DINSN) announced their U.S. National Security & Foreign Affairs Leadership List. Brian Mateo, associate dean of civic engagement, was named among the 2022 cohort, which is meant “to spotlight leaders of diverse backgrounds in the fields of foreign affairs and national security.” “Recognizing these individuals from underrepresented communities in national security and foreign affairs is critical to our mission, because the sector has a long way to go in providing leadership opportunities across all domains,” said Robert Alexander, executive director of DINSN. “We are so proud of our honorees and wish them all continued success.” Mateo, in response to the honor, said: “I feel incredibly honored to be recognized on this list alongside an impressive group of individuals working across multiple sectors.”
Two Bard College students have won Rhodes Scholarships for 2023, Sonita Alizada ’23 from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and Nawara Alaboud ’23 from Bard College Berlin. One of the most prestigious scholarships available to undergraduates, the Rhodes is a fully funded award for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford. Alizada, originally from Afghanistan, is one of only two applicants to have been awarded a Global Rhodes Scholarship, available to students from nations that are not members of established Rhodes constituencies. She joins Ronan Farrow ’04 as the second Rhodes winner from Bard College in Annandale, and she distinguishes herself as the first Bard student to receive the scholarship while still an undergraduate. Alaboud, originally from Syria, is the first Bard College Berlin student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. She was awarded one of two Rhodes Scholarships in partnership with the Saïd Foundation for students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine.
“We are extremely proud that two Bard students have received prestigious Rhodes scholarships this year. That one student is from Afghanistan and another from Syria speaks volumes about Bard’s commitment to education and social justice,” said Bard Executive Vice President Jonathan Becker.
Sonita Alizada is internationally recognized as a rapper and human rights advocate. She has spoken and performed at United Nations events, urging an end to child marriage and standing up for the rights of women and girls, especially in her home country. At Bard, Alizada is nearing completion of a degree in human rights and music and is an active participant in civic engagement efforts in and around the campus community. As a Rhodes scholar, Alizada will continue her work by pursuing graduate study in public policy at Oxford. “I want to make real change,” she says, “and that comes from changing the laws. Now it’s time for me to really take action by working with policymakers.” Alizada points out that applying for a Rhodes Scholarship is a group effort that requires close collaboration with campus mentors. “Bard has always been there for me, especially with the Rhodes Scholarship,” she says. “The faculty invested so much in me and the goals I have. I want to especially thank Molly Freitas [associate dean of studies]. Molly was so supportive in the application process.”
"Sonita is a star and a natural leader. Given her talents and intellect, it was an absolute pleasure to work with her on her Rhodes journey,” says Freitas. “The Rhodes is an exciting and fitting accomplishment for someone of her talents, and I have no doubt it will accelerate her ability to enact positive change in our world. She has already changed Bard with her dynamism and I have no doubt she will do the same at Oxford. At Bard, we couldn't be prouder of her!"
"You never know how much is in your ability/power until you really try, so believe in yourself and the world full of opportunities waiting for you!" —Sonita Alizada ’23Alizada urges young people to challenge themselves and apply their own vision to the world’s problems. “This is very important, not only for Rhodes but for everything you’re trying to do to make the world a livable place for everyone.” She encourages Bard students to explore fellowships and scholarships. “The whole application process for Rhodes was so exciting,” she observes. While applying, Alizada said questions arose that required deep reflection and consideration of her responses. “It helped me get to know myself and my mission even more. If you apply, you will have more courage to compete or take action in order to achieve your dream. I encourage everyone to take big steps. There’s nothing lost in applying because of how much you will learn in the process.”
As she looks toward graduation in May and beginning her studies at Oxford, Alizada is more committed than ever to public service. “Bard has provided me with incredible opportunities. I’m hoping that I carry on what I have achieved here. With the experience at Oxford, I hope to become a better leader so I can give it back to people who need it.”
Nawara Alaboud is studying for a BA in Humanities, the Arts, and Social Thought (concentration in ethics and politics) at Bard College Berlin through PIESC, a scholarship program for students from regions of conflict and crisis.
Intrigued by the interconnectedness of historical and political scenarios across the globe, Alaboud aspires to pursue future research in comparative political science. In particular, she is interested in the processes of war termination, peacebuilding, and democratization and their interactions in post–civil war countries, especially in the Middle East region.
Currently, Alaboud is working on her bachelor’s thesis, which attempts to trace the effects of peace agreements on the success of democratic transitions. At Oxford, she hopes to pursue an MPhil in politics (comparative government). Before moving to Germany, Alaboud lived and studied in Syria, India, and, most recently, France, where she pursued an Erasmus exchange program at Sciences Po.
Alaboud says, “The prospect of joining the wide community of previous Rhodes scholars, and the chance to join the outstanding academic community at Oxford, is incredibly exciting. It is not lost upon me what a rare privilege this is; so many gifted young Syrians deserve such an opportunity but are hindered from receiving it by the severest of circumstances. I hope to be able to make the most of my time at Oxford and to contribute something of value to the field of post-conflict studies, especially for the people who suffer the consequences of war everywhere. This would have never been possible without the help and support of so many incredible people, especially to my ever-so-generous professors and academic adviser."
Bard Senior Sonita Alizada Calls for Global Action Supporting Women and Girls in Conflict Zones, Joins European Council Event in Conjunction with UN General Assembly
Sonita Alizada ’23 Featured on Lavazza’s 2022 Calendar Highlighting Artists and Activists Who Change the World
Bard College Student Sonita Alizada ’23 Addresses United Nations Ministerial Event on Afghanistan
By Emily Costello '23
The Trustee Leader Scholar program (TLS) has been a staple of Bard College for 26 years and counting. Originally developed by Paul Marienthal as a leadership program for students selected by the Office of Admission, it has evolved over the decades to support civic engagement projects led by Bard College students, culminating in approximately 500 student project leaders and over 3,000 student volunteers. Both Mariental, the director of the program, and the TLS administrative assistant, Micki Strawinski, have provided stellar support for student leaders in developing their projects for many years.
Walking into the TLS office is truly a sensorial experience. The countless awards, certificates, artwork, and other memorabilia crowd the brightly colored walls from floor to ceiling. It is the culmination of 26 years of student projects in a single room.
As I sat on the couch, Paul and Micki pointed to awards, certificates, photos, and paintings and talked about their history. Each item had a great story, such as the story of a student’s experience smuggling a large glass award from Palestine into Israel, or the tale of a barge made by Paul and the students and their attempt to float it all the way to New York City, and of the surrealist circus made of recycled art by students 20 years ago.
I was told more stories than I can write about here, but they entirely changed my perspective of what the TLS program is truly about. Before speaking to Paul and Micki, I saw it as a great opportunity for students wanting to lead a new initiative to find support on campus. However, the TLS program is much more. You can see its impact all over campus, in the people that you meet, in countless communities in the Hudson valley, as well as in New Orleans, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Columbia, and more.
All over campus, TLS shows up in subtle ways. The Bard Farm was a TLS project, as well as the Bard Community Garden. So many incredible programs have come out of TLS, such as the Bard Prison Initiative, La Voz, Sister 2 Sister, Suis Generis, [email protected], Bard New Orleans Exchange, and the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative, just to name a few.
After talking about the many years of history behind the TLS program, Micki reminded me of the importance of celebrating students “who have gone out in the world and allowed for a favorable reflection of the College.” Micki said that she was “always wowed" by what TLS students accomplished and Paul agreed that "Bard students are fabulous."
When asked about how a student begins working with the TLS program to develop a project, Paul noted two simple steps: 1) have an idea and 2) walk through the door. Students don’t need to have a thought-out 10-step plan in order to talk to Paul or Micki, nor do they need to jump through hoops to set up a meeting. If you have an idea, no matter how small or how big, how well-thought out, or whether it just came to you in the shower that morning, you can walk through the doors of the TLS office, sit down with Paul and Micki, and get support and guidance to make your project come to life. As Paul said, “You don’t have to have a fully-formed project, you just have to have the energy. Just show up and talk… If you have the energy for making a difference, that’s plenty.”
While reflecting on the program, Paul said that at Bard “we all rise to where we ought to be… Bard is very good at utilizing the skills of its people. There is plenty of space for someone who is really ambitious to do what they want to do.” The hundreds of amazing projects that have come out of the TLS office over the years is evidence of this belief. The bright stained glass window above Paul’s desk says it all: “Say yes unless there is a compelling reason to say no."
If you want to check out current and past TLS projects, visit their website. Email Paul or Micki directly or go to the TLS office in Room 213 of the Campus Center.
Why do civic engagement leaders get involved in the work they do? What keeps them going in the face of challenges? In this series, What Is Your Why?, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement highlights campus and local changemakers. In this episode, Shadin Nassar talks with Vice President of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan about her role as civic engagement coordinator at Al-Quds Bard College and her personal civic engagement work. An alumna of the Get Engaged Student Leadership Conference and Global Fellows Program, Nassar started a creative writing initiative as a student herself in 2017 in Palestinian high schools. Written Voices now operates under the name Upraised Voices, working with schools, marginalized areas, refugees, women, and other groups throughout Palestinian society to help them express themselves and own their own stories through creative writing and debate. “Seeing that what I am doing is affecting other people and improving their lives for the better, that keeps me going,” she says. In her current role, she inspires students to look for something they are passionate about that can help bring about positive changes in the Palestinian community and the global community. She encourages them to take advantage of existing opportunities, including cross-campus exchanges, to sustain their work.
By Smriddhi Nair’26
Jessica Purcell recently joined Bard College as the new Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI). In an interview with Jessica, she talked about the different activities she hopes to bring to Bard, as well as the changes she’d like to see.
Before coming to work at Bard, Jessica worked as an Educational Opportunity Program Advisor at SUNY New Paltz for 15 years. Her love for her previous school radiated throughout the interview, but she said she chose to come to Bard so she could create change that she could actually see. With Bard’s smaller population, Jessica said she felt like she would be able to create a change within the time she was here, rather than work through the more bureaucratic SUNY system. At its core, education is “transformative," she says. Working under what she described as a “cumbersome SUNY system” quelled the transformative aspect for her. Especially after the pandemic, Jessica found that the problems were more of a “chasm rather than a gap,” and set out to make a difference.
In her new position, she hopes to bring Bard out of an isolated environment. This includes setting up programs with the colleges nearby—such as SUNY New Paltz, Ulster Community College, Marist College, Dutchess College, and Vassar University. This way, Bard can expand its community and work with the Higher Educational Opportunity Programs at other schools.
In addition, Jessica hopes to create programs that bring students and alumni/ae together, creating a mentorship program that focuses on internships and highlights achievements. This would encourage students within OEI to partner with alumni/ae around their unique interests through career explorations and increased connections.
Another program she hopes to create in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement is “Giving Back Day,” an initiative she has seen carried out before, where students participate in a wide community service day that helps local towns with everyday tasks that may be neglected—such as gardening, mowing lawns, picking up trash, and more. In her experience, this was a weekend day where students were able to connect with the community beyond the confines of the campus.
The biggest event Jessica hopes to create is “Black Solidarity Day,” held on the Monday before voting day to show respect for the years of Black absence in voting due to systematic oppression. During this day, students would have the chance to learn from Black culture, and would include different workshops and presentations to inform students, and closing with a vigil as a sign of respect.
The Office of Equity and Inclusion has already been creating incredible programs that align with Jessica’s vision, including the recent Fall Festival that brought together communities of color on campus to celebrate the beginning of fall. As we move through the months, different celebrations such as Dia De Los Muertos and other important holidays are emphasized within this office. Jessica states that she hopes OEI and Kappa House, where OEI is hosted, “is a solid and stable foundation of support” for students and the POC community.
Interested in working with Jessica on a community-based project you would like to see with OEI? Stop by Kappa house or contact her at [email protected].
By Sofia Schuhbeck, '26
Studying abroad is one of the most compelling opportunities for civic engagement at Bard College. Not only does studying abroad help us to understand the world beyond our personal histories and lived experiences, but the active engagement with local communities that it offers is a remarkable way to give back to those in need and develop a deeper understanding of systemic problems in the context of another culture.
Jen Murray, the Dean of International Studies and Director of the Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) at Bard, has strong foundations in international education. As a first-generation college student, she studied in the UK, visited East and West Berlin, and began teaching English in Eastern Europe after graduating. This experience confirmed the importance of engaging with communities from all around the world. She encourages students to do the same.
“Bard students who are engaged and go abroad bring their passions with them and can more easily connect with like-minded peers abroad,” says Murray. "Studying abroad is truly a special experience, as it opens the doors for global civic exploration, while simultaneously fostering interpersonal connection and growth."
Many students think they can’t study abroad due to the cost. Fortunately, it’s possible to study abroad at a cost that is equal or less than full-time campus housing in Annandale. Bard has approved options in Austria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and more. There are endless communities to discover, and with planning and advice, your semester abroad can easily align well with your degree requirements and financial planning.
With International Education Week (IEW) beginning on Monday, November 14, there are countless ways to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. The events planned at Bard are led by three talented Bard alums, Arobi Hanif ‘18, Lauren Cooke ‘18, and Abigail Swartvagher ‘20, who made it all happen.
Lauren Cooke, a Bard in Berlin alum and the current Berlin Programs Manager for Bard Abroad, spoke about the experiential education she received while studying abroad, “With these experiences, the topics we were discussing in class were no longer contained within the four walls of our classrooms and became tangible."
As Murray stated, “Civic engagement and responsible citizenship are hallmarks of quality study abroad programs, and are available at all of Bard’s international partners.” Take advantage of study abroad opportunities, and nurture your curious mind! For all students potentially interested in pursuing study abroad, expect ambiguity and practice resilience, as these skills will help you thrive anywhere you end up.
Check out the International Education Week Events below or see the full schedule here.
11/14: Bard International Opportunities Info Table
11/14: Noodles From Around the World
11/15: Post-Bard Opps with CDO
11/16: Study Abroad 101
11/17: Passport Fair
11/17: International Dinner at Kline
11/18: International Fellowships
11/18: Bard International Opportunities Info Table
Bard Executive Vice President and Director of Center for Civic Engagement Jonathan Becker and Bard senior Huba Zaman ’23 speak with WAMC Northeast Public Radio about the legal fight to secure a fully functional polling site on campus. “The outcome or one of the outcomes of Bard’s involvement in this process has been that it contributed to the argument of a new state law, which allows college campuses with 300 or more registered students to have a polling place on campus," Becker said.
“I’m just super excited that Bard has made it that much easier for students to go out and have their voices heard,” said Zaman, adding, “I think everyone should exercise their right to vote regardless of their political leanings, regardless of their benefit, like backgrounds, because that’s the right that you have and a right you should exercise."
Sister-2-Sister, a mentoring project founded by Sakinah Bennett '21 and Skylar Walker '21 at Bard, is one of the recipients for the inaugural Ambition Accelerator Prize, a grant competition created in partnership between the Taco Bell Foundation and Ashoka. The Ambition Accelerator supports youth, ages 16-26, who have an idea to enact change in their communities or the world. “Sister-2-Sister Mentorship through the Arts” was one of 226 projects chosen across the country out of thousands of submissions.
Why do civic engagement leaders get involved in the work they do? What keeps them going in the face of challenges? In this series, What Is Your Why?, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement highlights campus and local changemakers. In this episode, Anna Likhanova ’25 talks with Vice President of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan about her role as head of Bard's Amnesty International Club, organizing events like panel discussions with guest speakers from the UN on immigration, letter writing campaigns to advocate on behalf of people who have been jailed without justice, and banned books trivia night. Her advice for students who are passionate about starting their own activist initiative: Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Bard’s Center for Civic Engagement hosted 12 students from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey in New York City for a 10-day capstone program for the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with Meridian International. The SUSI on Civic Engagement explores America’s great leap into participatory democracy, with the goal of providing participants with the tools and understanding to allow them to become engaged citizens in their own communities.
Over the course of 10 days in October, students met with a variety of speakers to learn more about providing voting rights access to college students, climate change policy, immigration rights, and access and equity through technology. Students also visited the United Nations, volunteered at the Bard High School Early College in Queens, and visited the LGBT Community Center in Chelsea, New York. One of the students described the program as, “a dazzling combination of culture and education, which lead up to relentless personal development.”
These students previously attended a virtual component in the summer of 2021. Their SUSI experience culminated in last month's 10-day capstone project in New York.
By Emily Costello ’23
Arezo was born out of a single woman’s experience of child labor and her wish, or arezo in Farsi, to use her position as a student in the US to affect change in her home country, thousands of miles away. Sonita Alizada ’23 was a child laborer who moved from Afghanistan to Iran when she was five, where she lived for most of her adolescence. Sonita was one of thousands of children who worked hard day after day to help support herself and her family.
When she was 16, Sonita moved to the US and has been here ever since. Living in the US was the first time she could live without having to work. However, she felt guilty leading this life when so many children were still working in Iran and Afghanistan. In 2020, Sonita asked people to donate for her birthday to buy clothes, food, and school supplies for two working children back in Afghanistan. This inspired her to make this a regular project, rather than just a one-time thing. In November of 2020, the project Arezo, meaning “wish” in Farsi, was born. In this format, Sonita and the Arezo team have been able to support over 600 children and their families thus far. In 2021 the program became a TLS project at Bard, allowing Sonita and the team to enhance the work with added support and resources from Bard and the TLS staff.
Managing the project on her own was a lot, so Sonita enlisted the help of friends and family in the US and Afghanistan. A prominent member of this project is Bard student Khadija Ghanizada ’23, who has worked with Sonita since the beginning. “I personally got involved because, growing up I was always privileged enough… I didn’t have to work and be the only source of income for my family. My parents would always buy everything for me,” Khadija told me. She would walk to school and see other kids her age selling gum and snacks instead of going to school. These kids would make only $1 a day, yet would sometimes be the only providers for their entire families. That single dollar is equivalent to the price of 2 pieces of bread or a simple lunch in Afghanistan.
Seeing such child laborers made Khadija wish she could help, yes she could not figure out a sustainable way to do so. When Sonita told her of Arezo, Khadija felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to support these children and their families. Sonita and Khadija both felt that it was their responsibility to use their privilege of living in the US to help the children who did not have any other source of support. As Khadija said, “These kids are the future of my country. Not even the future, the present. Helping them helps me create a better future.”
Bard College has supported Arezo in many ways, including the student body serving as volunteers and donating to the project. “The only reason that Arezo is still running is because of the people at Bard. I hope people can trust Arezo more and see the progress we’ve made," said Sonita. Arezo has fundraising events, opportunities to paint and donate art, tabling events, concerts, art sales, club collaborations, and more. Past events have included the Arezo Wish Concert in fall 2021, a large painting fundraiser where boba tea, paintings, and pottery were sold. The Halloween-themed event allowed participants to create Halloween costumes and bake cookies, sell art, and more.
Arezo continues fundraising at Bard College, in addition to online. The main focus of Arezo is “adopting” families, in which a child and their family is chosen each month to appear on Arezo social media accounts. Followers can agree to be the child’s sponsor for $50 a month. Currently, the majority of the $50 goes to paying for food. However, future plans include taking $10 from that donation to invest in the children's education, potentially for private teachers and classes. Other plans include creating a scholarship program for kids to have easy access to all levels of education. Indeed, the project has come a long way since Sonita’s original wish, her arezo.
If you would like to get involved, learn more, or have any questions, please check out Arezo on the internet or on Instagram or follow Sonita Alizada on Instagram.
By Smriddhi Nair ’26
The second annual Virtual Student Leadership Conference took place October 15–16. This conference was sponsored by the Open Society University Network (OSUN), and implemented by the OSUN Civic Engagement Initiative (CEI) and Student Life Initiatives Project (SLIP), housed at Bard. OSUN is a global network that began in 2020 and currently has 45 higher education partners throughout the world, including research institutions and universities in Ghana, Columbia, Vienna, and more.
Tonery Rogers, who works closely with SLIP, and was a speaker at the Virtual Student Leadership Conference, described how this year’s conference emphasized student engagement across OSUN. This clearly had an impact with more than 500 participants registering for the conference and approximately 200 students attending. This is a significant increase from the previous years and a clear sign of success.
Within this conference, student speaker Hephzibah Emereole from Ashesi University in Ghana spoke about the “Journey of a Leader,” and how her own journey influenced her path to where she is. Emereole was a previous attendee at last year’s conference, and since that time has transitioned to being the managing editor of OSUN’s Global Commons and a key leader within the conference. After Emereole, the conference segued into four workshops including team management, conflict resolution, time management, and team building.
Following the first day, participants were assigned ‘homework’, which helped refortify the next day’s speakers and workshops. On day two, Maria Jose Caicedo, a clinical psychologist at the University de los Andes in Colombia, spoke on the current mental health crisis and its impact on students, as well as the importance of prioritizing one’s own needs. Following her talk, participants joined workshops on handling tough conversations, leadership compass, cross-cultural communication, and how to create safe spaces as students.
The main idea behind the conference, as Rogers pointed out, was “envisioning this as a gateway into different leadership activities.” OSUN, SLIP, and the CEI are working to build the capacity of students as leaders within these spaces. Much of the conference planning happened with the help of students, a majority of which were OSUN Global Fellows. The Fellows developed the conference agenda with staff and will continue to play a key role in building future Virtual Leadership Conferences for students.
By Sofia Belle Schuhbeck ’26
On Sunday, October 16, Red Hook ESL and Culture Connect, two of Bard’s very own TLS projects, hosted a Community Festival, bringing so much light to the participants. Red Hook ESL has provided free English classes to immigrant communities in Red Hook and surrounding areas for over 20 years. They worked in partnership with Culture Connect, which provides free academic support to elementary school students whose families do not speak English at home.
Maddox O'Rourke ’24, a junior at Bard pursuing politics and human rights, has worked with Red Hook ESL since his first year. He led the Community Festival in collaboration with Hannah, Zaina, and Samantha from Culture Connect. Maddox describes the role of student ambition in contributing to the success of the festival: “The event was entirely based on student-led civic engagement; we planned the event, designed flyers, and posted information throughout community gathering places like local businesses, Latin markets, and public libraries in Saugerties, Red Hook, Tivoli, Kingston, and Rhinebeck.” This level of community outreach was made possible by the passionate students who are behind it all, like Maddox.
The festival was an outdoor open house, offering food and games for people of all ages. Paul Marienthal, dean for social action and director of TLS, brought some delicious homemade chili and cornbread as well! The afternoon was spent getting to know the families, as many parents were able to learn more about the English program. Not only was this a beautiful opportunity to spread the word about the program, but in an even larger sense, it demonstrated the lack of a barrier between Bard and the surrounding community.
There are countless ways to become civically engaged at Bard, and luckily, Red Hook ESL is now looking for more people to join! This is truly an inspiring project to get involved with, as Maddox says: “In reality, we are people in the same community sharing our experiences and helping each other reach our goals. I think that encapsulates true civic engagement as well.”
If you are interested in this opportunity, please email [email protected] or [email protected] for more information!
After a fight that has been going on for nearly a quarter century, the Dutchess County Board of Elections (BOE) has finally relented and Bard College will have a fully functional polling site on campus for the 2022 general election, and hopefully beyond. Last week, Election Commissioner Hannah Black informed Bard officials that the poll site at Bard’s Bertelsmann Campus Center would be fully staffed and have the requisite number of polling machines; previously, at the insistence of Republican Commissioner Erik Haight, the site had been the only one in the County to have three instead of four poll workers and one of two to have one polling machine, in violation of election regulations, policies, and practices, and court ordered settlement. The decision occurred after Bard had filed a complaint with the Enforcement Counsel of the New York State Board of Elections following years of litigation to secure an on-campus polling location and ensure equal access to the ballot.
The decision last week appears to be the final chapter in a fight that has been taking place since 1999, when Bard and Vassar students pressed the Dutchess County Board of Elections to cease systematically denying the students the right to register locally, as is their right under New York State election law. The focus shifted to discriminatory regulations concerning student addresses and finally to a poll site on the Bard campus. The victory comes just after the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and outlaws age discrimination in ballot access.
Over the last two decades, students from Bard won four lawsuits, including a federal lawsuit and accompanying consent decree (with students from Marist and the Culinary Institute of America) forcing the cessation of registration rejections due to allegedly invalid student addresses (2012-13); a New York State Supreme Court suit over the counting of votes after students were harassed at polls (2009); and two New York State Supreme and Appellate Court decisions establishing and maintaining a polling site at Bard campus (2020 and 2021). In the latter two cases, students were joined by litigants including Bard President Leon Botstein and Vice President for Civic Engagement Erin Cannan, and supported by The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to making youth voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. In all, the County has spent more than $120,000 in legal fees over the past decade in losing a series of lawsuits.
The Bard cases have had significant reverberations. Last spring, in part in response to Bard’s experience, coupled by the efforts of a statewide voting rights coalition, the state passed a law mandating polling sites on college campuses across the state with 300 or more registered voters. That law is currently being tested at Vassar College, which has yet to be granted a new polling site.
For the 2022 election, the Board of Elections decided to close the second traditional poll site in District 5 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Barrytown, in spite of a court-approved agreement between Bard and the BOE that allowed for polling sites at both St. John’s and Bard. The St. John’s location had been the site of dispute because of its distance from public transportation and its inaccessibility. The site had been one focus of the complaint to the Enforcement Counsel of the Board of Elections, which included evidence that the BOE had conducted an obviously false American with Disabilities Act survey, including listing “N/A” in response to multiple survey questions on the accessibility of ramps and walkways, coupled with subsequent documentation of Commissioner Haight’s decision to block efforts to conduct a new survey in spite of representations to a Supreme Court judge that the Board would conduct a new survey immediately following the 2020 lawsuit.
Counsel on the most recent actions are Michael Donofrio, Esq. of Stris & Maher LLP, Doug Mishkin, Esq., and Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC.
Jonathan Becker, Bard’s Executive Vice President and Director of Bard’s Center for Civic Engagement stated: “This is a victory for voting rights and for youth voters everywhere and for the 26th Amendment. The Board of Elections’ systemic discrimination against students has been a lesson about the need to fight injustice wherever it appears. We are also pleased the Board’s actions, particularly those of Commissioner Erik Haight, have been so egregious that they have impelled the state to implement legislative fixes to curb abuses of power throughout the state.”
Erin Cannan, Bard’s Dean for Civic Engagement and a plaintiff in the 2020 and 2021 lawsuits said: “This victory can serve as a model for other communities and universities where long-standing efforts to limit voter access can be tackled through partnership, education, and trust. Democracy is about more access not less, and it is in the grassroots work where critical concerns that seem out of our reach can actually be changed by working together in our own neighborhoods.”
Oliver Abrams ’25, a Bard anthropology student who works for the student-led initiative [email protected], said: “Bard College’s 23 years of effort have paid off as the Bertelsmann Campus Center is now set to hold an active, fully functioning polling site. This crucial moment is less than a month before the midterm elections, when Bard students will be able to vote on campus without barriers to accessibility. Previously, polling took place in an inaccessible building off campus; now, students can benefit from a direct pathway to civic engagement.”
Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC, a 26th Amendment legal scholar and Special Counsel & Strategic Advisor to the President/CEO of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, who was co-counsel on the recent lawsuits, stated: “The fight for an on-campus polling location at Bard College illustrates the impact that small but mighty victories can have on the state and federal level, and the power of the theory of change endorsed by The Andrew Goodman Foundation which leverages organizing, advocacy, public education, and litigation when necessary. It also exemplifies the power of youth and intersectional voices, particularly when they are supported with cross-generational and cross-organizational leadership.”
What is significant:
Further information is available at: [email protected] website
By Emily Costello ‘23
On September 30th, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement hosted the third Community Partner Celebration at Blithewood Manor. The community partners being honored at the event were the Red Hook Community Center, Radio Kingston, and the Bard College Counsel that helped secure a polling place on Bard’s campus.
The Red Hook Community Center was the recipient of the Community Hero Award in honor of its dedication to provide an inclusive community space with free programming for residents at all stages in their lives. The award was accepted by Sara Ugolini. Radio Kingston was the recipient of the Community Hero Award as well, in honor of its community-building in Kingston through creative programming and commitment to centering diverse voices not often heard in the media. The award was accepted by Jimmy Buff and Kale Kaposhilin. Lastly, the Bard College Counsel, comprised of Yael Bromberg, Esq., Michael Donofrio, Esq,. Doug Mishkin, Esq., was the recipient of the Champion Award in honor of tireless efforts to ensure student voting rights.
During the event, several community partners were interviewed for the CCE “What Is Your Why?” video segments that will be shared soon on the CCE site. The student-moderated interviews examined what the community partners do and why their partnerships with Bard College are so important.
Bard College and the CCE have been deeply involved in the local community for decades through partnerships, volunteer corps, administrative assistance, hosting of community events, and serving on organizing committees. To learn more about the community partners awarded, check out Red Hook Community Center, Radio Kingston, Timeline of Bard College Counsel’s work for voting rights. And stay tuned for upcoming “What Is Your Why” segments posted on the CCE website and social media.
Professor Lauren Rose wants to make sure girls have every opportunity to enjoy and excel at mathematics. Studies show that many girls lose confidence and interest in mathematics as adolescents. To combat this, Dr. Rose founded Bard MAGPIES: Math & Girls + Inspiration = Success, a free program for girls, as well as trans and gender-diverse students, in fourth through ninth grade. Run by Bard faculty and undergraduate students, MAGPIES provides math enrichment and mentoring in a supportive and community-based learning environment.
In this interview, Dr. Rose speaks with Laura Hart, founder and CEO of Bard community partner Robofun, about MAGPIES and their upcoming Girls Math Jam on Sunday, October 30.
Lauren Rose is an associate professor of mathematics at Bard and a senior fellow in Bard's Center for Civic Engagement. She has been on the faculty at Bard College since 1997.
Match by Open Society Foundations as Part of Bard’s Endowment Drive Will Create $50 Million Endowment Supporting Native American and Indigenous Studies in Undergraduate and Graduate Academics and the Arts
Bard College is excited to announce a transformational endowment gift from the Gochman Family Foundation, which will substantially advance its work deepening diversity and equity in American Studies with a Center for Indigenous Studies, faculty appointments and student scholarships, and the appointment of an Indigenous Curatorial Fellow at Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard). The College’s American Studies Program will be renamed American and Indigenous Studies to more fully reflect continental history and to place Native American and Indigenous Studies at the heart of curricular innovation and development. These initiatives, developed in partnership with Forge Project, will be supported by a $50 million endowment created by this visionary $25 million gift from the Gochman Family Foundation, with an additional $25 million matching commitment from George Soros and the Open Society Foundations as part of Bard College’s endowment drive.
The gift will accelerate Bard’s existing work in Native American and Indigenous Studies and develop broader College-wide programming initiatives in consultation with Forge Project Executive Director Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation). These initiatives include public programming and exhibitions, visiting scholars, archive and library acquisitions, and publishing.
The endowment will also support efforts to increase enrollment of students from historically-underrepresented populations and geographic regions, such as Native American and Indigenous communities, through dedicated undergraduate and graduate scholarship funds that cover tuition, fees, materials, and cost of living for students, as well as enhancing recruitment and retention support.
The College will establish a chair for a distinguished/senior scholar of Native American and Indigenous Studies, to be named after a prominent Indigenous woman to recognize the academic contributions of Native women and educators, along with recruitment for additional faculty positions in interdisciplinary fields and Indigenous Studies. Library acquisitions and the development of archives dedicated to Native American and Indigenous history and culture will amplify this work.
Within the American and Indigenous Studies Program, the Center for Indigenous Studies will provide dedicated programming on key topics and methods in Native American and Indigenous studies throughout the Bard network and in public-facing events, including an annual lecture series, arts programming, curricular enrichment programming, and community-focused events.
Forge Project Executive Director Candice Hopkins also joins the CCS Bard faculty as Fellow in Indigenous Art History and Curatorial Studies. Hopkins, who is a class of 2003 CCS Bard alum, will curate a major exhibition in 2023 to inaugurate the gift. The exhibition will center on the development of contemporary Native art through its exhibition histories and via thematic through lines including land, cultural sovereignty and self-determination, culturally-specific institutional critique, and the use and reuse of material and aesthetic practices drawn from the long history of Native cultural production in the United States and Canada. At CCS Bard, Hopkins will also teach one course per year focused on themes related to Native and Indigenous art history and curatorial studies, employing the Forge collection, a contemporary Native art collection, and engaging in conversations with living artists. Hopkins will lead archival acquisitions around Native and Indigenous exhibition histories in order to deepen CCS Bard’s purview in this area, strengthen emphasis on Native and Indigenous curatorial histories and art, and offer greater support to Indigenous students.
“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Gochman Family Foundation for this generous endowment gift to support Native American and Indigenous studies in undergraduate and graduate academic programs,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “This is a fantastic contribution to the study of America, vital to a liberal arts education offering a broader understanding of the country.”
“I’m honored to work with Candice Hopkins and Bard to support Indigenous students’ ability to attend the College, and make possible the broader institutional transformation that will have an impact not just in the immediate term, but for generations of students, faculty, and staff to come,” said Becky Gochman.
“This gift represents institutional change, which has been building at Bard and is core to the vision of Forge Project. These lands are layered with histories that are inextricably bound by the displacement and forced removal of Indigenous peoples, yet also rich with knowledge,” said Forge Project Executive Director Candice Hopkins. “This gift provides the basis for the future building of this knowledge, to shift and expand discourses across fields of study, whether it be in Indigenous and American studies, art history, or curatorial practice. Critically, it also centers the needs of Indigenous students, reducing barriers to higher education, and recognizes that students want to attend programs where they see their interests reflected. Bard is at the forefront of this, and we are honored to be a part of this change.”
“The Gochman Family Foundation’s wonderful generosity allows us to sustain the work being undertaken in the Rethinking Place: Bard-on-Mahicantuck project, a curricular humanities and arts initiative to amplify and expand Native American and Indigenous Studies in partnership with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. We are proud to be in dialogue with and guided by the Tribal Nation whose ancestral lands the college is seated on around American and Indigenous Studies programming and to model such collaboration for peer institutions by our example. Importantly, the Gochman Family Foundation’s visionary gift and our collaborative efforts with Forge Project significantly expand crucial areas of curriculum development, research opportunities, and vital public programming,” said Christian Ayne Crouch, Associate Professor of History and American and Indigenous Studies and Dean of Graduate Studies, who steers the interdisciplinary team implementing Rethinking Place. “They have afforded American and Indigenous Studies a transformational opportunity, emphasizing the necessity of entwining Native American and Indigenous perspectives in our shared history, providing robust support for future scholars and leaders among our undergraduates and graduate students, and illuminating new points of connection between the wider, non-academic community and Bard.”
“This act of renaming of the program is no mere gesture but rather an evolution which offers recognition of how much American Studies as a discipline has changed since the inception of the field in the late 1930s,” said Peter L’Official, Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the American and Indigenous Studies Program. “Path-breaking, multidisciplinary American Studies scholarship has already acknowledged how the study of Indigeneity highlights Native studies’ extant intersections with fields like Black studies, Latinx studies, and Asian and Asian American studies. To paraphrase the Creek-Cherokee scholar Craig Womack, ‘tribal literatures and histories are not a branch waiting to be grafted onto the main trunk. Tribal literatures are the tree, the oldest literatures in the Americas, the most American of American literatures.’ This gift will help make more visible and tangible these essential, intertwined, and interdisciplinary histories and literatures to both our students and to the broader communities around—and beyond—Bard.”
“Graduate students have long driven original research and scholarship around Indigenous art and curatorial studies alongside the faculty and staff at CCS Bard. Candice Hopkins’ powerful writing and exhibitions have been essential material in our curriculum, and it is truly thrilling to have her join our faculty and contribute to the future shape of the graduate program, its resources, and program,” said Lauren Cornell, CCS Bard Director of the Graduate Program and Chief Curator.
Sonita Alizada ’23, Bard College student, international rapper, and human rights activist, participated in the European Council event “Women in Conflicts: Young Voices for Change” on Wednesday, September 21, performing original songs and speaking on a panel of youth advocates. The event featured young women survivors, activists, policymakers, and leaders working in conflict and post-conflict regions. Cohosted by UN Women, Nadia’s Initiative, and the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, the third annual “Women in Conflicts” event took place in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Alizada is a human rights major at Bard, also studying music. She opened the event performing her song “Daughters for Sale,” which passionately criticizes the practice of forced child marriage and draws on her own experience of twice escaping forced marriage in Afghanistan and Iran.
In the panel discussion, she reflected on the anniversary of the Taliban banning girls from attending secondary school in Afghanistan, describing the situation as an emergency. Alizada also criticized global inaction and called on the humanitarian sector and international leaders to listen to and invest in women and girls who are living in crisis situations.
“If another generation is born in poverty and illiteracy, the humanitarian crisis, child marriage, sexual abuse, health issues, (will grow) at an even faster rate,” she said, referring to conditions in Afghanistan and Iran.
Similarly, panelists Nadia Murad, Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist, and Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, discussed inadequate international responses to the plight of women and girls who have survived conflict-related sexual violence in Iraq and Ukraine.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, highlighted the problem of women frequently being characterized as victims of conflict instead of individuals who can play an active role in maintaining peace and security in their communities and countries.
Alizada performs at the beginning and end of the livestream and joins a panel of young activists at 32:18.
Endowment Coincides with CCS Bard’s Permanent Reinstallation of Keith Haring Wall Drawing Created During 1981 Visit to Bard CollegeBard College announced today it has received $3.2 million to endow in perpetuity the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, an annual faculty position that brings a prominent scholar, activist, or practicing artist to teach and conduct research within the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) graduate program and the undergraduate Human Rights Program. The endowment is made possible by a grant of$800,000 from the Keith Haring Foundation and matching funds from the Marieluise Hessel Foundation and benefactor George Soros. First launched in 2014, the fellowship embodies the shared commitment of Bard and the Keith Haring Foundation to imaginatively explore the complex connections between sociopolitical engagement and artistic practice. It also speaks to the historic relationship between the college and Keith Haring, which is further honored with CCS Bard’s permanent reinstallation of a wall drawing the artist created in an act of spontaneity while visiting the campus in 1981.
In conjunction with the gift and reinstallation, Bard simultaneously announced that writer Haytham el-Wardany has been named the 2022-23 recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship and will be in residence on campus during the spring semester to teach and conduct research. El-Wardany brings to Bard students a deep knowledge of philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, history, and literature with a focus on social movements in the Middle East and around the globe. Using collective reading as a vehicle for cultural research and debate, his teaching will bring a richly literary and global dimension to CCS Bard and the Human Rights Program's curricula, advancing Bard College’s mission of cultivating critical thinking and creative action through deeper understandings of human history, society, and the arts.
“To sustain this fellowship as a catalyst for new research and a benefit to our students, I am delighted that the Keith Haring Foundation has generated a permanent endowment for one of our most successful pedagogical and research positions,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. “The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism has, for eight years, drawn a broad array of scholars and activists, both local and international, with a diverse range of interests to Bard’s graduate and undergraduate programs. Responsive to current concerns and urgencies, the fellows are all changemakers in their respective fields.”
"Haytham el-Wardany is a complex and elegant thinker whose work as a writer and a teacher demonstrates the power of close reading for understanding and engaging in both the arts and politics,” said Thomas Keenan of Bard's Human Rights Project. “We look forward to welcoming him on campus to expand on a body of work that actively responds to current debates and provides new frameworks for students to build critical bridges between art and activism."
“The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism has been an enormous source of pride for the Keith Haring Foundation for the last eight years. It is a nod to the spirit and belief of Keith Haring that both art and activism can complement one another and bring about social and political change. We are honored to partner with the Marieluise Hessel Foundation and George Soros to ensure this critical work continues perpetually,” said Gil Vazquez, Executive Director of the Haring Foundation.
About the Haring Wall Drawing
In the early 1980s, Keith Haring was invited by Bard College Professor of Art History Tom Wolf to speak at the Procter Art Center (now the Fisher Studio Arts Building) about his practice and personal ethics around graffiti art. Prior to the talk, in an act of spontaneity, using a fat Magic Marker, Haring drew a series of five crawling babies on the wall of Wolf’s office. During a phase of construction and expansion in the Fisher Arts Studio Building, a portion of the wall with the drawing was carved out and moved to Wolf’s new office located in a different building on campus.
With Wolf’s imminent retirement from Bard College, the work will be transferred from the Department of Art and Art History to CCS Bard to undergo conservation and stabilization. It will be permanently installed in the CCS Bard Library, where students, researchers, and guests will have continued access to Haring’s work, illustrating the connection between Keith Haring and Bard College.
About Haytham el-Wardany
El-Wardany is a writer and translator, living and working between Berlin and Cairo, whose practice combines fiction, essays, prose, theory, poetry, and experimental writings. Reflecting on the experiences and aftermath of protests and uprisings in Egypt and the surrounding region, el-Wardany’s work explores what it means to live together. His current research concerns examining the fugitive and fragile spaces where the process of inheriting a (traumatic) past can take place. His forthcoming book, Banat Awa and The Missing Letters, considers forgotten expressions of hope within Arabic fables—where animals speak and humans listen—as crucial to a moment of post “Arab Spring” speechlessness. In previous publications, including The Book of Sleep (Al-Karma 2017, Seagull Books 2020) and How to Disappear (Kayfa ta 2013-2017), el-Wardany has examined the agency and potential of passivity, through regimes of listening and the dialectics of sleep and vigilance amid social protests.
El-Wardany is the recipient of the Cairo International Book Fair award for best collection of short stories for his most recent book Irremediable (2021); art residencies with Thkio Ppalies (Cyprus, 2020) and Para Site (Hong Kong, 2018); and grants from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut, 2019) and the State of Berlin (2021). El-Wardany has organized and conducted workshops around creative writing and is a member of different collective learning and reading groups. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Cairo University.
El-Wardany’s appointment follows that of Constantina Zavitsanos, who was named the 2021-22 Fellow. More information on the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, as well as previous fellows, can be found at ccs.bard.edu.
Building on years of work supporting and cultivating college-in-prison programs across the United States, this summer the Bard Prison Initiative expanded its programmatic support internationally, formalizing partnerships with universities and affiliated programs in Africa, Europe, and across the Americas. In July, BPI issued 11 capacity-building grants to new and existing programs and began growing a larger community-of-practice with 21 programs across 14 nations and six continents, including educators from Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and beyond. This critical expansion of BPI's work is made possible due to an investment by and partnership with the Open Society University Network (OSUN).
Hannah Arendt saw that in the face of hypocritical quasi-rational structures of power, rage can often appear to be “the only way to set the scales of justice right again.” The real source of rage, Arendt understood, is a sense of powerlessness born of “a much deeper hatred of bourgeois society.” Rage can seem righteous just as today rage against immigrants, white people, and experts is justified by those crusaders who argue that in an unjust and hypocritical system, rage is necessary for radical political change. Such collective rage may inspire virtues of courage, loyalty, and meaning; but the virtues of rage come at a cost: It is the disintegration of the common sense and common viewpoints that unites us beyond our political, racial, class, and sexual identities. We are witnessing, once again, the retreat of reason and the return of rage as a key driver of political and social relations. At a moment when materially comfortable societies are teetering and the visceral attraction of tribalism is rising all around us, we must ask how our liberal democracies can survive and thrive amidst intensifying partisanship and the decline of public reason. While social media is not to blame for the rage that is ravishing our society, the algorithms that drive social media do allow emotional and angry opinions to spread with unprecedented vigor and vitality.
Presented by OSUN, Hannah Arendt Center, and Center for Civic Engagement, the Hannah Arendt Center Conference “Rage and Reason” responds to the undeniable fact that rage and emotions are increasingly a force in our political and cultural lives. The conference asks: How can democratic rage be harnessed in social and political movements? Is rage essential to call out systemic and ingrained injustice? How can a politics of rage acknowledge rational and expert authority? If humans are tribal beings, how can they live in multicultural liberal societies? Are experts and elites themselves simply one tribe defending their self-interests? Must social media contribute to the fracturing of society into raging tribes? Is there a common interest in society knowable through reason? Above all, how can we uphold our liberal institutions and our common world in the midst of the polarization and fracturing of that world?
The two-day conference takes place on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14 in Olin Hall, on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus. Register here.
ALL registrants are REQUIRED to upload proof of vaccination and booster. The full conference will be available via Live Webcast. During registration, you will be asked to choose between attending in-person or virtually via the live webcast. In-person attendees will also receive the link to the live webcast. Online registration will close on Monday, September 26, 2022.
Featured speakers include:
Roger Berkowitz, Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College; Leon Botstein, President of Bard College since 1975, where he is also the Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities; Myisha Cherry, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside; Mike Cosper, writer and podcast producer, and the Senior Director of Podcasts at Christianity Today; William Davies, Professor of Political Economy at Goldsmiths, University of London; Nicholas Dunn, Klemens von Klemperer Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College; Frances Haugen, advocate for accountability and transparency in social media; Catherine Holland, Director of Political Analysis at the Center for Social Computation; Mie Inouye, Assistant Professor of political theory at Bard College; Jamil Jan Kochai, Afghan writer; Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017) among numerous other works; Uday Singh Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center and the 2022 Yehuda Elkana Fellow (awarded by Central European University and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College); Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer at PEN America and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All; Colin Megill, cofounder of pol.is and President of The Computational Democracy Project; Dylan Sparks, Bard student majoring in Global and International Studies; Allison Stanger, Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College; and Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Losing My Cool and Self-Portrait in Black and White.
Arendt Center conferences are attended by nearly a thousand people and reach an international audience via live webcast. Past speakers have included maverick inventor Ray Kurzweil; whistleblower Edward Snowden; irreverent journalist Christopher Hitchens; businessman Hunter Lewis; authors Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Masha Gessen, and Claudia Rankine; Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead; and political activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Previous conferences have explored citizenship and disobedience, crises of democracy, the intellectual roots of the economic crisis, the future of humanity in an age increasingly dominated by technology, the crisis in American education, and American exceptionalism.
Bard College will host an abridged screening of The US and the Holocaust, a new PBS documentary directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein, on September 21. The short 30-minute screening will be followed by a panel discussion with codirector and producer of The US and the Holocaust Sarah Botstein; Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of History Christian Ayne Crouch; Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Human Rights Program Thomas Keenan; Associate Professor and Patricia Ross Weis ’52 Chair in Jewish History and Culture Cecile E. Kuznitz; and Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities Daniel Mendelsohn, author of The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, who shares his family’s story in the film. The event will be introduced by President Leon Botstein and followed by an audience Q&A session. This event will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 pm in the Sosnoff Theater at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. It is free and open to the public.
The US and the Holocaust is a three-part, six-hour series directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with. The series will air September 18, 19 and 20, at 8-10 pm ET (check local listings) on PBS stations, and all three episodes will stream the night of premiere on PBS.org and the PBS Video app. To learn more about The US and the Holocaust, please visit pbs.org/kenburns/us-and-the-holocaust/.
Event sponsors include Bard College’s President’s Office, Dean of the College Office, Center for Civic Engagement, and Human Rights Program.
Why do civic engagement leaders get involved in the work they do? What keeps them going in the face of challenges? In this series, What Is Your Why?, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement highlights campus and local changemakers. In this episode, Chief Sustainability Officer Laurie Husted talks with Vice President of Civic Engagement Erin Cannan about her roles at Bard and in the Town of Red Hook. She discusses the transformative, newly passed federal climate legislation, and how ocean and climate scientist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson inspires her to find purpose and joy.
Achieving climate solutions can feel like a daunting task. Where does one start? Read this article from Generation 180, featuring the venn diagram created by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, which Laurie Husted mentioned in her interview.
What else is happening at the Center for Civic Engagement this month? Join us for the "Who's on the Ballot?" series. Meet the candidates for office and ask questions about the issues that matter to you the most.
“November’s upcoming election serves as an unfortunate reminder that New York still has an election oversight problem,” writes Jonathan Becker, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, in an opinion piece for the Times Union. The issue begins with the appointment of election commissioners, who “are not selected by expertise or commitment to voting rights,” but are instead selected by county political committees and are “thus incentivized to create electoral advantage for their patrons rather than facilitate political participation.” Further, there is very little accountability for election commissioners, as citizens must engage in “costly litigation through Article 78 proceedings” in order to challenge violations of their voting rights. Becker proposes multiple solutions to these issues, including greater consistency and transparency with respect to the operations of election commissioners and county boards. “These steps will not solve all problems with New York state voting,” he writes, “but they will bring accountability and empower citizens to defend this most sacred of democratic rights.”
Bard has admitted approximately 85 displaced Afghan students, the majority of whom are young women whose education was disrupted by the collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government last August. Forty-four have already begun their semesters, and others are still in third countries awaiting visas to move to the United States in coming semesters. “Resiliency is certainly a characteristic that they all have, and they would not be here without that,” says Jennifer Murray, the dean of international studies at Bard. “I think there’s ambition and absolute dedication to their families, and, of course, there’s a lot of sadness and trauma.”
Representatives of Bard College have filed a complaint with the enforcement division of the New York State Board of Elections against the Dutchess County Board of Elections in order to protest “the repeated violations of the New York State and federal constitutions, and state and federal statutes and regulations related to equal protection, the right to vote, youth voting rights, disability accessibility, and election law, that have occurred and continue to take place in District 5 in the Town of Red Hook.”
The complaint outlines a pattern of discrimination and malfeasance by the Board of Elections that includes understaffing and underequipping the polling site at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College, and repeated actions that violate the rights of voters with disabilities. It notes that the polling site at Bard is the only one in the county to be understaffed, and one of only two in the county with just one voting machine. The complaint singles out Republican Election Commissioner Haight for his reported insistence on understaffing the poll site at Bard, ignoring decisions of the State Board of Elections, and making false representations to the New York State Supreme and Appellate Courts. It also highlights his insistence on using a false disability access survey and suppressing efforts for a new survey: a long overdue report released last week by the office oif the County Executive confirmed that the polling site at St. John’s Episcopal in District 5 in Red Hook is neither handicap accessible nor ADA compliant.
The complaint is part of Bard’s longstanding effort to protect the rights of youth voters under the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution and preserve the rights of voters with disabilities. Over the past decade, Bard College and its students have been party to four successful federal and state judgements against the County Board of Elections.
Bard President Leon Botstein, who votes in Red Hook District 5 says, "The continued discrimination against youth voters and the targeting of the polling place at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard is shameful and unfortunately follows a pattern of discriminatory practices in the county. The Board of Elections should encourage young people to vote, not obstruct them."
According to Erin Cannan, Bard College’s Vice President for Civic Engagement, “As a poll worker in Red Hook for over a decade, I was shocked to find only three poll workers, two Democrats and one Republican, at the Bertelsmann Campus Center and object to the plan to have only three poll workers in the upcoming special election. It seems to directly contradict the Dutchess County training I have been required to attend annually, where the emphasis is on equal representation of political parties in all aspects of the voting process and voting accessibility. This understaffing makes for an unnecessarily long and stressful experience and does not reflect the values or the protocols provided by the Dutchess County Board of Elections to its poll workers.”
According to Bard Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Studies Jonathan Becker, “Commissioner Haight’s actions represent everything that is wrong with how elections are carried out in many parts of the United States. He is a public official has ignored the law and the rights of voters and has made repeated false representations to the court. I believe he has chosen to discriminate against voters with disabilities and youth voters for partisan political advantage. His efforts, which have been halted by decisions in numerous federal and state lawsuits, have cost the county nearly $130,000 in legal fees in the past decade, including more than $70,000 in the last two election cycles. We call on the New York State Board of Elections to ensure that all voters in Red Hook District 5 are treated equally at the polling place.”
Find a link to the Full Complaint here.
For the first time in two years, Bard students were able to join in person for the Annual Get Engaged Student Action and Youth Leadership Conference. This year's conference took place June 23–30 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the beautiful campus of the American University of Central Asia, bringing together undergraduate student leaders and mentors from 28 countries and 17 institutions in the Open Society University Network.
Students, faculty, and staff at the Get Engaged conference discussed the civic engagement projects students have been developing and implementing in their respective countries. Students learned new skills, honed leadership styles, and networked with like-minded innovators who are collaborating with community partners across the globe to develop solutions to pressing local and global challenges.
Last year, Yuleisy Aguirre De Jesus was lost and failing in school. Taking college classes has revealed a new path. Yuleisy, a rising senior at Bard High School Early College in Cleveland, writes, “I just finished 11th grade, and it has been one of the most successful years of my life. I have pushed myself to do my absolute best, gaining many opportunities and lots of confidence in the process. My writing, reading, and speaking skills have grown exponentially. I’ve left behind the crushing weight of feeling like a failure.” Yuleisy is now on track to earn an associate’s degree alongside a high school diploma in 2023, and plans to continue her college education after BHSEC.
On Monday, May 23, Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Bard to meet with 34 of the Afghan students currently enrolled at the College. The students gathered at Blithewood, where they shared their stories with Clinton, who has a longstanding interest in helping Afghan women and students.
Most of these students came to Bard after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban last August as part of an effort by Bard, OSUN, and our other international partners to help Afghan students continue their education in safety. Bard has already accepted more than 100 Afghan students to its campuses. Bard expects the Annandale campus cohort to grow to at least 50 students by fall 2022.
In addition to meeting with the Afghan students, Clinton spent time with administrators and campus leaders of several Bard initiatives, including the Bard Prison Initiative, Bard Early Colleges, Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, as well as civic engagement programs such as [email protected], La Voz, [email protected], and Sister2Sister.
Bard Senior Vice President and CFO Taun Toay Discusses the College’s Sustainability Efforts in an Interview for DOE’s Better Climate Challenge “Decarbonization Download” Series
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Bard College for committing to reduce portfolio-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% within 10 years and to work with DOE to share successful solutions and decarbonization strategies. As a partner in DOE’s Better Climate Challenge, Bard College is one of only 50 organizations across the U.S. economy that are stepping up to the Challenge and driving real-world action toward a low-carbon future. As a place of higher education, Bard College’s campus and buildings are its biggest carbon footprint. Bard is the only small liberal arts college in the country that is converting its built environment to carbon neutral as a Better Climate Challenge partner.
Bard College has set ambitious pollution reduction goals including to cut energy use in campus buildings through efficient lighting and HVAC retrofits, to eliminate fossil fuels by converting to geothermal, to generate 10% of electricity with on-campus solar (and micro hydropower), and to purchase off-site renewable electricity for the remaining 90%. This will be supported by Net Zero design goals for all new construction. As Bard College undertakes this challenge, DOE will support its efforts with technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and a platform for the organization to demonstrate its commitment to being part of the solution to climate change.
“Better Climate Challenge partners like Bard College are committing to decarbonize across their portfolio of buildings, plants, and fleets and share effective strategies to transition our economy to clean energy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Their leadership and innovation are crucial in our collective fight against climate change while strengthening the U.S. economy.”
“Colleges and universities should take leadership roles on such pressing issues as global climate change,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “We’re gratified to be working with the Department of Energy as we move forward with our ambitious goals, and we encourage others in higher education to follow suit.”
“Bard is pleased to join a who’s who of 80 global companies committed to mitigating climate change. As an early adopter of geothermal and narrowing in on our carbon neutrality target, Bard is the only college to represent higher education along with four universities throughout the nation to be a first mover with the DOE,” said Taun Toay, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Bard College.
“Decarbonization Download: 5Qs with Bard College” is a video interview featuring Toay discussing Bard College’s sustainability goals, including the development of a Climate & Energy Master Plan that will provide a roadmap to transform campus infrastructure from being dependent on fossil fuels to being operated on 100% renewable energy. Watch the interview here.
In March, Bard College also launched the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice, a flagship event organized by the Graduate Programs in Sustainability (GPS) at Bard College, with support from the Open Society University Network. Bard’s Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice brought together climate-concerned educators and students at universities and high schools from around the globe for bottom-up conversations about changing the future. Building on a foundation of more than 300 participating organizations this year from Liberia to Colombia, Taiwan to Vienna, and Florida to Alaska, the teach-in organizers hope to engage 1,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions next year, targeting at least 100,000 participants worldwide.
The DOE Better Climate Challenge is the government platform that provides transparency, accountability, technical assistance, and collaboration to identify decarbonization pathways and provide recognition for leadership across the US economy. The Better Climate Challenge builds on over a decade of DOE experience through the Better Buildings Initiative. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing emissions, and creating thousands of jobs. To date, more than 950 Better Buildings partners have shared their innovative approaches and strategies for adopting energy efficient technologies. Discover more than 3,000 of these solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center.
The town of Red Hook has moved to stage two of the Audubon certification project, developing a vision plan with action items to support sustainability in areas including agriculture, economic development and tourism, public safety, and transportation. The sustainability designation project is being led by Chief Sustainability Officer at Bard and Chair of Red Hook’s Conservation Advisory Council Laurie Husted and Nick Ascienzo of the Ascienzo Family Foundation. “It’s such a difficult thing to define. We have a system to do it in higher education. It was exciting to think we could look at this as a municipality,” Husted said.
“What I think about as we celebrate our progress is that we inherited decisions that were made before we were born, and we are passing on a legacy to people who aren’t born yet,” said Erin Cannan, vice president for civic engagement at Bard. “What do we want this moment to mean for them?”
Bard College alumnus Gabriel Braunstein ’20 is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope to serve a new community as best I can,” said Braunstein. “I am excited to work in a classroom and meet my new neighbors.”
Braunstein graduated from Bard in 2020 with a degree in literature. He will serve as an education volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, working in cooperation with local community and partner organizations on sustainable development projects.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors—agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development—and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
Zarlasht Sarmast is a recent graduate of the American University of Central Asia, Department of International and Comparative Politics. She has previously served as the Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, Communications specialist for GIZ in Central Asia. Zarlasht is currently working for OSUN as a Program Coordinator for the Global Engagement Fellows program. She is the Director and CEO of the project “Afghanistan Politics on the Verge of Transformation.” Zarlasht recently finished her first MA in the department of International Relations and Security at the OSCE academy in Bishkek and is currently doing her second Masters Degree in applied psychology at AUCA.
Huy is the founder of YUU Organization, a youth-led non-profit organization working to empower ethnic minority children and youth in the Central Highlands of Vietnam through education, employment, and cultural conservation since 2017. Huy follows the servant leadership model, inspired by Mother Teresa, and focuses on work with the Indigenous community in his hometown. In his third year with the Global Fellows Program, Huy aims to amplify the voice of youth in civic engagement across the network.
Mikelison is the C.E.O. and founder of the Earth's Tomorrow Foundation and a Junior at Bard College Studying Environmental and Urban Studies. He is a Posse Scholar and Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow from Atlanta, Georgia who started The Earth's Tomorrow Foundation to assist K-12 students in becoming more environmentally conscious through hands-on sustainability projects. Mikelison's research has been displayed in the T.E.L.L.U.S Museum of Science and internationally recognized at the Genius Olympiad International Science Fair. He aims to make change by using collaborative education methods to encourage young minds to become innovative thinkers and the world's next generation of leaders. As a Global Fellow, he plans to encourage those who want to create positive, sustainable change to get engaged in their communities and guide them in developing projects that will ultimately help better the world.
Henry runs the Bard chapter of Our Revolution, a political organization dedicated to electing progressive politicians who work for the people. He also serves as a member of the Morris County Democratic Committee, and as Sergeant at Arms for the Pequannock Township Democratic Committee. Henry believes that being politically active is an essential part of democratic civic life, and as a Global Fellow, works to promote political civic activities.
During her gap year, Emi, a first-year intended Economics major at Bard College, initiated a community development project in a rural village on the Coast of Kenya. The project is centered around education and addresses issues of food insecurity. Emi built a library for a local primary school, delivered food and supplies to local community members, and created income generating programs to help the community sustain itself. The future of the project is focused around building sustainable infrastructure and educating local farmers to help them increase agricultural productivity. As a global fellow, Emi is committed to mobilizing Bard students to participate in civic engagement. Emi is hoping to bridge the connection between Bard students who feel passionate about social and environmental justice and opportunities to get involved with advocacy and mutual aid.
Aleksandar Vitanov is a sophomore international student from North Macedonia at Bard College studying Political Studies and Trumpet Performance at the Bard Conservatory of Music. He came to Bard after spending his junior and senior years of high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He is on Bard’s Student Honor List, founded a Trustee Leader Scholar initiative called Musical Mentorship Initiative which provides free music education to families that cannot afford it, serves on Bard’s Student Government as the chair of the Pier Review Board, he is the Co-Chair of the Constitutional Court at Bard, and is the founder of the Alexander Hamilton Society Bard College Chapter. His goal as a Global Fellow is to increase awareness of the importance of civic engagement on campus, serve as a resource to fellow students, and connect with other Global Fellows around the world.
A liberal arts student double majoring in Ethics and Politics and Literature and Rhetorics, Lara's main goal is to encourage an approach to life that emphasizes the importance of students’ participation in civic life. As a Global Fellow, she wants to help provide students with the tools they need to take an active role in their community and work with others to help make the change they want to see happen.
Rokhila is the founder of social non-profit projects such as "No to bullying in Tajik schools," as well as co-founder of the Sociological Club AWAKE at AUCA. As a Global Engagement Fellow, I am committed to helping and guiding emerging and future leaders in building structures, organizing ideas, and developing their own projects. She wants to raise awareness and engage bright new minds in civic engagement both on campus and across the network.
As a Global Fellow, Aidin strives to build a strong and proactive community at AUCA that will be passionate about improving local societies. He has been working at the National Democratic Institute and American Councils for International Education as a community mobilizer and coordinated several volunteering clubs with 40 and 80 club members. Through his “Basketball for All” project, he seeks to create an inclusive space for children with autism and Down Syndrome and spread the spirit through AUCA students who volunteer and work one-on-one with children on campus.
Sayed Anwar Ibrahimi is a second year Software Engineering student at the American University of Central Asia. He built his first website when he was in 10th grade and then started to build websites and do back-end programming for different companies. As a Global Fellow he wants to be more active civically, create and implement projects that focus on issues that the community of Afghan students face and experience while integrating into new institutions and societies, in particular the evacuated students from American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) now at other OSUN institutions.
As a social activist in her community and beyond, Sitora joined the OSUN Global Fellowship Program to contribute to society's development by helping students at the AUCA campus and implementing her project in the near future. Having an enriched experience in community service and project implementation, she hopes to gain valuable experiences and contribute to the development of the OSUN Global Fellowship Program.
Patricia is the co-coordinator of CEU Debate Society and the President of the CEU Student Union in Vienna. Her aim as a Global Fellow is to motivate not only students, but every member of the community to make their voice heard. Patricia plans to take the position of a “bricoleur,
who aims to bring together the ideas and initiatives of every student both in CEU and across OSUN in order to build a sustainable channel of communication, debate and solutions.
Code4All is a foundation Chinenye co-founded with five Ashesi University seniors in 2020, and she currently serves as president. The project seeks to empower young students aged between 10-15 years from unreached communities in Ghana, with ICT and programming skills. She wants to see civic engagement on campus reach an optimum high, and also expand the reach for the Code4All project. As a fellow, she expects the qualities instilled from the fellowship will go a long way in assisting her in implementing current and future project ideas and sharpening the way she understands and cooperates with the communities she hopes to transform.
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