Nation & World

All Nation & World

  • Stem cells, through a religious lens

    Representatives of three of the world’s major religions tangled over the beginnings of human life, the disposal of surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics, and the conduct of embryonic stem cell research Wednesday (March 14) at Harvard Divinity School. Panelists at the event, representing Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, each briefly presented their faith’s teachings about the beginnings of human life and then embarked on a lively discussion about embryonic stem cell research.

  • Legal, ethical limits to bioengineering debated

    It is a truism that “politics makes strange bedfellows,” but late Tuesday afternoon (March 20), in the Ames Courtroom of Harvard Law School’s (HLS) Austin Hall, bioethics made two sets of philosophical bedfellows as strange as any Washington has seen.

  • Former child soldier gives stirring talk

    Call him Ishmael. But don’t call him part of a “lost generation.” It’s a phrase that “I absolutely detest,” Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier in the civil war in Sierra Leone, told his audience at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government March 14 at an event co-sponsored by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

  • French PM: Cooperation is the key

    French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the world now stands at a major crossroads, but that acting together the United States and Europe could lead the way in solving economic imbalances, ethnic and religious tensions, and the threat to the planet’s natural resources.

  • Strategists tangle at KSG

    Top campaign strategists for Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama brought the early intensity of the 2008 presidential race to Harvard Monday night (March 19), scrabbling for position on a key campaign issue: the Iraq War.

  • The achievement gap, a look into causes

    Paul Tough’s prescription for making children better students sounds like a license to have fun: Read to them, sing, play, emphasize encouragement over criticism, and converse a lot. Research shows a correlation between how many words a child hears in the first three years of life and brain development, he said. The more words, the smarter the child.

  • Bringing hard science to economics

    Guido W. Imbens, now in his first year as a professor of economics at Harvard, was still in high school in the Netherlands when he decided to study economics. For a bright, energetic boy who had always excelled at mathematics, there was nothing dismal about the so-called “dismal science.” At Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Imbens studied econometrics, an academically rigorous combination of mathematical economics and statistics. The tools of econometrics are used to test economic theories using data, and to measure economic variables that are important for public policy.

  • Can science, religion coexist in peace?

    Almost 14 billion years after the big bang, and 3.5 billion years since the first bacteria appeared on Earth, humans occupy just one branch of the tree of life. We share an evolutionary limb with other eukaryotes, creatures whose membrane-bound cells carry genetic material. Our biological neighbors developed over time just as we did, by the evolutionary forces of mutation and natural selection. They include plants, fungi, and slime molds.

  • A message of hope…from Newark

    Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker brought his message of hope and revitalization to the John F. Kennedy School of Government Monday (March 12), describing his own painful odyssey to the mayor’s office and his plans to take Newark from its blighted past to a promising future.

  • Journalism less appreciated, still essential, says NPR’s Daniel Schorr

    The public has a much more jaundiced opinion about journalists than the almost heroic image they had during the Watergate era, but society needs the press to do its job just the same, National Public Radio analyst Daniel Schorr said Tuesday (March 13). “What is clear is that the press can no longer rely on public support in doing its job, but we still have to do the job,” Schorr said. “At crucial points in our history, when rights were threatened, the press was there to defend them.”

  • HGSE sponsors alumni of color conference

    In a crowded banquet hall at the Cambridge Center Marriott, William Demmert Jr. Ed.D.’73 — a Tlingit who grew up in southeast Alaska — finished up a detailed lecture on Native American languages, culture, and early childhood education. And as soon as the talk ended, the 72-year-old writer and researcher was on the crowded dance floor, celebrating the last moments of a two-day (March 3 and 4) Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC), sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

  • HBS sponsors program for NFL pros

    Is there life after pro football? The Harvard Business School (HBS) thinks so. For the third year, it’s sponsoring an executive education program for young athletes from the National Football League. In separate three-day modules, one in February and another in April, experts help the players conserve and invest the dollars they earn on the gridiron.

  • Three Republican campaign strategists say the battle’s just begun

    Iraq, Mormonism, and health care topped the agenda Monday night (March 5) in a 2008 presidential campaign preview featuring top aides to three Republican hopefuls in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Campaign strategists for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, U.S. Sen. John McCain, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that the Iraq War will continue to dominate the national political stage through the 2008 race.

  • Schulz: U.S. should take stand on torture

    “The ancient Greeks would have been ashamed of us.” That was the assessment of Amnesty International USA’s former executive director William Schulz of the U.S. military’s abuses of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004. Schulz said that Greeks and Romans routinely tortured slaves as a way to establish the truth of a situation and that torture was used so widely that they would have been surprised that just two-thirds of the world’s nations today practice torture. Still, he said, the abuses at Abu Ghraib were perpetrated not to find truth, but to humiliate the inmates there.

  • Young scholars show findings at HGSE Student Research Conference

    In a basement classroom in Larsen Hall on Friday (Feb. 23), there was everything young learners need: chalkboards, a screen, bright lights, sturdy chairs – and good teachers. In this case, four good teachers – all of them Ed.M. students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). The four were among 230 young scholars from universities across North America at HGSE’s daylong Student Research Conference. The annual event – in its 12th year, and the only one of its kind in the country – provides a way for first-time education researchers to mingle with their peers, practice presentation skills, and get a sense of emerging scholarship.

  • Rethinking Islam from Pakistan to Texas

    Two Harvard professors are spearheading a new initiative aimed at defeating “a clash of ignorances,” a clash, they affirm, that perpetuates misunderstanding, prejudice, and fear between Muslim and Western societies.

  • Speakers at Ed School say it takes a community to educate a child

    By 12th grade, black students in the United States are four years behind their white counterparts in reading and math scores, according to national statistics that also show Hispanic students falling behind at a similar rate. Yet by the year 2050, the number of blacks and Hispanics in the United States will jump from 26 percent of the population to 38 percent – while whites slip from 68 percent to 49 percent.

  • Student KSG, HBS veterans honored

    Student veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shared hard-won lessons of leadership Tuesday evening (Feb. 20), providing a glimpse of the self-sacrifice, courage under fire, and devotion to comrades needed to lead U.S. troops into battle.

  • Economics in the apple heartland

    A Harvard doctoral student has traveled to the wild apple’s home in the mountains of Central Asia to lend a hand to an international nonprofit working with local apple farmers to improve how they grow, harvest, and sell their crops. Plamen Nikolov, a first-year Ph.D. student in health economics, has designed an assessment survey and is leading data collection teams as they interview local households in two small villages on Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul Lake.

  • Democrats need unified message

    In 1967, Charles E. Schumer, a middle-class teenager from Brooklyn, N.Y., arrived at Harvard College with two goals in mind: to play freshman basketball and to study organic chemistry. At the basketball tryout, the would-be power forward – now New York’s senior senator – never got on court, after admitting to the coach that his dribbling was poor. As for chemistry – that was quickly submerged by a sudden new interest: politics. When Schumer discovered the excitement of getting out the vote (back then, for presidential hopeful Eugene McCarthy), he decided on a social studies concentration, followed by three years at Harvard Law School.

  • Power sees U.S. foreign policy on steep downhill slide

    On Aug. 19, 2003, the first suicide bomb to hit Iraq went off with a roar at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, where the United Nations had been encamped for a dozen years. Among the dead was a Brazilian diplomat, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN high commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Current U.S. renewable energy goal too low, says head of national lab

    The head of the U.S. government’s renewable energy lab said Monday (Feb. 5) that the federal government is doing “embarrassingly few things” to foster renewable energy, leaving leadership to the states at a time of opportunity to change the nation’s energy future.

  • Richardson explores what motivates ‘targeting of noncombatants’

    What do terrorists want? The question has reverberated in the consciousness of the West ever since the dreadful and unexpected events of 9/11. Were these appalling acts of violence perpetrated because “They hate our freedoms,” as President Bush asserted? Are terrorists simply insane, barbaric, nihilistic, as others have theorized?

  • Seven deadly sins on collision course with market forces

    Using the seven deadly sins to examine corporate social responsibility, Kennedy School Professor Herman “Dutch” Leonard explained that today’s market-based economy exploits behavior that is deeply embedded in man’s evolutionary history.

  • HBS models look for new markets while serving the global poor

    At $55 a copy, “Business Solutions for the Global Poor” (John Wiley & Sons, 2007) won’t be a hot seller in what economists call the base of the pyramid (BOP). That’s the informal, localized, and little-known stratum of the global market in which 80 percent of humanity – living on an average of $700 a year – does its buying, selling, and trading.

  • Terror war could strain veterans’ health, benefit systems

    The cost of caring for veterans of the war on terror could reach $662 billion over the next 40 years, while demand from returning soldiers is already clogging the two major veterans’ assistance programs, according to recent research by Linda J. Bilmes, a lecturer in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

  • Experts: Darfur peace depends on coming together of rebel groups

    Peace in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region depends on rebel groups getting stronger, not weaker, and negotiating a lasting settlement with the African nation’s government, experts on the situation said Wednesday (Nov. 29).

  • RFK Visiting Professor comes to DRCLAS

    Merilee Grindle, director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, recently announced the arrival of Cuban scholar Rafael M. Hernández Rodríguez as the 2006-07 Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies. Grindle, who is also the Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government, welcomed Hernández, a senior research fellow at the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello in Havana, and noted, “The center is delighted to welcome Rafael M. Hernández to our faculty. He is a scholar of international stature who will add measurably to Harvard’s expertise in the history and development of Cuba.”

  • ‘Ma Ellen,’ African symbol of hope, returns to Harvard

    In the Liberian capital of Monrovia, children stared in amazement. They had never seen such bright lights illuminating the streets, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told an audience of Harvard students and professors on Monday (Sept. 18, 2006) at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

  • Get-tough measures suggested in Darfur

    A no-fly zone over the southwestern Sudan region of Darfur coupled with beefed-up international forces with a more aggressive mandate could go a long way toward stemming the humanitarian crisis in one of the worlds most troublesome spots, high-level participants at a Kennedy School conference on Sudan recommended Saturday (March 4).