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CUSP SPEAKER SERIES PRESENTS: 2007-2008

"Sister Ping's America: The Big Business of Illegal Immigration" with Patrick Keefe

 

18 September 2007

The talk will recount the story of Sister Ping, a Chinese woman who arrived in the United States in the early 1980s and became a "snakehead" -- or human smuggler -- in New York's Chinatown. From a restaurant on East Broadway, Sister Ping operated an extensive international network, with contacts in dozens of countries, smuggling thousands of undocumented migrants from China's Fujian Province into the United States, and making some $40 million in the process. Sister Ping fled the U.S. after a mishap on a smuggling ship she helped finance resulted in ten deaths, and became a fugitive, the FBI's most wanted Asian organized crime figure. But at the same time she was revered in China and in Chinatown, as a noble figure who helped thousands realize the American dream. The talk will address what the story of Sister Ping, which started as a 2006 article in The New Yorker, can tell us about America's conflicted attitudes toward immigration; what makes people the world over continue to leave their homes and mortgage their own lives for the perilous journey to the United States; and what it means to be -- and to become -- American.

Patrick Radden Keefe is a fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive policy institute in New York. He graduated from Columbia College in 1999, with a major in history, and was a Marshall scholar at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics. He received his JD from Yale Law School, and published his first book, Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, in 2005. His work on intelligence, international security, emerging technologies, and the globalization of crime appears regularly in The New Yorker and Slate. He is currently finishing his second book, which explores international human smuggling networks and illegal migration between China and the United States. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn. (www.patrickraddenkeefe.com)


"The Role of 'One' Engineer in Protecting Historic Structures" with Andrew Ciancia

17 October 2007

Over the last 10 years there has been a tremendous construction boom in New York City. With a limited amount of available land in prime locations, developers have acquired some sites adjacent to historic structures. Some religious institutions and theaters have even sold portions of their land to developers in return for large financial gains. As a result, developers are building directly adjacent to, and sometimes over, historic churches and theaters to meet their programming needs. How does an engineer "protect" these "fragile" landmark structures from damage while allowing new buildings to be constructed without unnecessary hardship to the developer? The answer lies with a building that was constructed over 25 years ago, when relatively little data was available on the performance of historic structures during adjacent construction. During the late 1970's, Goldman Sachs Headquarters was built at 85 Broad Street, in lower Manhattan. Across the street from the site was the Fraunces Tavern Block, consisting of a series of 150+ year old historic buildings. The information and experience gained by several engineers (including the speaker) from this project developed into a policy by the NYC Department of Buildings on avoiding damage to historic structures; the policy is still enforced today.

Andrew Ciancia holds the position of Principal and member of the Board of Directors with Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, P.C. He received his BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University. Prior to joining Langan in 1996, Mr. Ciancia was with Woodward-Clyde Consultants for 23 years. He is a Professional Engineer (P.E.) in 9 states, a member of The Moles, and for the past 10 years an Adjunct Professor at NYU teaching engineering design to undergraduate students. He was President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACECNY) in 2004/2005, and a member of the ACECNY Board of Directors for 6 years. Mr. Ciancia was on the Mayor's task force to update the NYC Building Code to be in line with the International Building Code. His notable projects have included the US Holocaust Museum (Washington, D.C.), Reuters/ 3 Times Square (NYC), Museum of Modern Art expansion (NYC), the Hearst Tower (NYC) and Giants Stadium (NJ). University projects have included the Columbia University Law School and School of Social Work, NYU Law School Building and Kimmel Center, The City College Dormitory and the Cornell University FDA Building. Mr. Ciancia has been involved with numerous landmark buildings in New York City for the past 25 years, as a consultant to the State of New York, the Landmarks Commission and many developers. He co-authored (with Dr. Melvin I. Esrig) an ASCE paper in 1981 that was the basis for the Department of Buildings Technical Policy and Procedure Notice # 10/88, "Procedures for the Avoidance of Damage to Historic Structures Resulting from Adjacent Construction When Subject to Controlled Inspection by Section 27-724 and for Any Existing Structure Designated by the Commissioner". Notable New York City landmark structures have included The Roger Miller Theater, Bronx Zoo Lion House, Federal Hall, New Victory Theater, Biltmore Theater, and Judson Church.


"Integrating Scholarship & Activism for Social Change" with Dena Merriam

27 November 2007

Development policies are often formulated without adequate appreciation of the historical and cultural context of a region or a people. Similarly, activists often function without a deep enough understanding of the culture and background of the countries in which they work. Scholars, on the other hand, often work at the theoretical level and may not have experience of the on-the-ground realities. Scholars and activists can supplement each other in ways vital for the enhancement of their understanding and the advancement of their work. How can these two fields work more closely together to help societies progress in ways that are in keeping with their history and culture?

Dena Merriam is Founder and Convener of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, an international interfaith organization that develops peace building programs in areas of conflict and post-conflict. She has organized major interfaith summits around the world including the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations. Over the past few years she has worked extensively building dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian women, and has recently launched an initiative to build dialogue among different groups of Iraqi women. Over the past several years, she has been working with the United Nations to develop leadership programs for young adults around the world. She received her Masters Degree from Columbia University with a special focus on Hindu studies. She has served on the Board of the Harvard University for the Study of World Religions and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She currently serves on the board of the Interfaith Center in New York, the All India Movement for Seva and is an advisor to the board of the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.


"Integrating Scholarship & Activism for Social Change" with Dena Merriam

27 November 2007

Development policies are often formulated without adequate appreciation of the historical and cultural context of a region or a people. Similarly, activists often function without a deep enough understanding of the culture and background of the countries in which they work. Scholars, on the other hand, often work at the theoretical level and may not have experience of the on-the-ground realities. Scholars and activists can supplement each other in ways vital for the enhancement of their understanding and the advancement of their work. How can these two fields work more closely together to help societies progress in ways that are in keeping with their history and culture?


"So Much World all at Once: Refugee Resettlement and The Lost Boys of Southern Sudan-Myth, Reality, and America's Darlings" with Donatella Lorch

4 February 2008

More than a thousand refugee youths, dubbed "The Lost Boys of Southern Sudan," came to the United States as part of a government resettlement program. Refugee resettlement may be the least recognized form of immigration, yet, for political and humanitarian reasons, the United States - till 9/11-resettled more refugees than almost all other countries in the world combined. The Lost Boys took the country by storm. This talk, that began as an article in Newsweek and then a book project, will focus on why their story was so appealing and moving to a public that over time mythologized and oversimplified it.

Donatella Lorch has been a reporter and correspondent for almost twenty years and has covered wars and conflicts in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe for The New York Times, NBC News, and Newsweek. Hired by The New York Times, Lorch took more than a dozen trips into Afghanistan, and was the first reporter and only woman journalist to be smuggled into communist Kabul with the Mujaheddin guerrillas to document the guerrilla underground. In the following years, she covered more than a dozen wars, including Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) and the fall of Kabul to the Afghan guerrillas in 1992. As East Africa Bureau Chief for The New York Times, she covered the civil war and famine in Somalia as well as the U.S. and U.N. intervention and pullout, the reign of terror of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, the massacres in the hills of Burundi, and the Rwandan genocide. After joining NBC News in 1996 as an on-air correspondent, Lorch covered Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. As a correspondent for Newsweek, she reported from Africa on refugee resettlement issues, and returned to Afghanistan to embed with a U.S. Army Special Forces A Team and then base herself in the Taliban stronghold of South-eastern Afghanistan to write about the stalled efforts at reconstruction. Most recently, she was the director of the Knight International Press Fellowship, a program funded by the Knight Foundation, which sends American reporters abroad to share the best practices of journalism.

Lorch earned a B.A. in Chinese History from Barnard College as well as an M.A. in Indic Studies and an M.A. in International Affairs, both from Columbia University. A recipient of several reporting prizes, she has been profiled in the Freedom Forum and Newseum exhibit on war reporting, as well as in several books on war correspondents and a BBC/ Discovery Channel "Reporters at War" series. She is currently working on a memoir.


"The Missing Class: The Near Poor in New York City" with Kathy Newman

6 March 2008

New York has long been known as a city with a substantial poor population. But even larger, and generally unknown, is that group of New Yorkers who live above the poverty line, but well below the middle class. Nationwide, this "missing class" consists of 57 million people, nearly 20% of the nation's children. Who are the near poor and how do they differ from those who are below the poverty line? What should we be doing to insure they continue on their quest for upward mobility? Katherine Newman will address these questions based on six years of fieldwork in four New York City neighborhoods.

Katherine S. Newman is the Malcolm Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and the Director of the Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. Formerly the Dean of Social Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Urban Studies in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Newman is the author of eight books on topics ranging from urban poverty to middle class economic insecurity to school violence. Her most recent book (in collaboration with Victor Chen) is The Missing Class (Beacon Press, 2007), an analysis of the condition of the near poor in American society. With colleagues at the Indian Institute for Dalit Studies, she has just completed work on four related projects on labor market discrimination. In the summer of 2006, she completed a five country study focused on the prolonged stay of young people in their parents' homes in Western Europe and Japan which is the basis of her lecture and a forthcoming book. Newman has won a number of awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Prize and the Hillman Book Award, and appears frequently on public radio and television.


"Indigenous Leadership: The Role of Nonprofits in Community Development" with Moisés Pérez

14 April 2008

The recession of the 70's and the rising poverty of the 80's left the newly arrived Dominican community of Washington Heights in terrible shape. Yet, 16 years later, after the initiation of the Alianza Project, Washington Heights became one of the safest communities in the New York City area. Today, the crowded streets are unlike any other in NYC. The older folks still greet you with a "Buenos dias" as if we were still back in a small town. The local barbers rarely speak whenever Pedro Martinez loses a game or argue madly about the team that did not support him with their bat. Merengue and Palo music blast out of bodegas, and women with "pañuelos" wrapped around their heads consult the local "botanicas" for remedies before going to a doctor. As the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit organization in Washington Heights, Alianza preserves this culture by supporting the children, youth, and families of this community. Moisés Pérez will discuss his role in the founding of Alianza as an extension of his long history of civic engagement in New York City.nt of their work. How can these two fields work more closely together to help societies progress in ways that are in keeping with their history and culture?

Moisés Pérez is the founder and executive director of Alianza Dominicana, Inc., a multi-service, comprehensive, integrated human service organization for children, youth and families. With over 350 employees, Alianza is the largest community-based organization in northern Manhattan. Prior to Alianza, Pérez served as the Director for the Center of Organizational Development of the Community Service Society, where he directed the provision of technical assistance and support to over 400 community-based organizations throughout NYC. Pérez also worked as a Senior Staff Associate with P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S., Inc., where he was responsible for the training and provision of technical assistance to over 350 Puerto Rican and Latino community-based organizations. Pérez is a founding member of several organizations, including the Latino Commission on AIDS, the Dominican-American National Roundtable, the Hispanic Federation of New York, El Puente of Williamsburg, and the City-As-School Initiative of the New York City Board of Education. As a distinguished member of the community, Pérez is the recipient of several honors, including the New York Presbyterian Hospital Community Builders Award, the Mailman Public School of Health Dean's Distinguished Service Award, the NYC Department of Health Award for Excellence, the NY State Office of Mental Health Special Achievement Award, the NY State AIDS Institute Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Governor's Award for Hispanic Americans of Distinction under the Honorable Mario Cuomo.


 

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