A distinctive honor

first_imgAfter nearly 400 years, there aren’t many “firsts” left for Harvard, but last fall students and alumni got to experience one — courtesy of ESPN.For the first time in its storied history, the annual Harvard-Yale football game, otherwise known as only “The Game,” was featured on ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast.To make it happen, staff in Harvard’s Athletics Department not only had to organize the game that’s annually attended by some 40,000 students, staff, faculty, and alumni, they also had to make sure ESPN broadcasters had the support they needed for a broadcast that would be seen by millions. And they had just five days to get it done.Their hard work and dedication was recognized last Thursday, as they — along with dozens of other Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) staff — were honored at the annual Dean’s Distinction Awards ceremony.“Our faculty are able to do the work they do and our students have access to the exceptional educational programs we offer here at Harvard because of the individuals in this room and the incredible work they do,” said Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith. “To all of our honorees today, you are a fantastic portrait of the best of our staff. Our faculty and students are incredibly fortunate to have your ideas, your engagement, and your partnership. You make Harvard stronger. On behalf of the faculty, I extend my sincere thanks to you.”Smith (left) greeted award recipient Angela Lifsey (right) and her colleague, Kim Zweig. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn all, 63 FAS employees from 36 departments — representing 2.5 percent of the FAS staff — were recognized at the sixth annual awards ceremony and reception, held in the faculty room of University Hall.Among those recognized were teams who streamlined the system for requesting and approving classroom space, who helped promote and support diversity across all facets of FAS, and who maintained and even increased the number of concentrators in the humanities. Other employees were recognized for taking on additional duties as colleagues departed and for helping smooth transitions as spaces shifted.Dean for Administration and Finance Leslie Kirwan also offered congratulations to the winners.“In so many ways and in so many places, you help make the FAS what it is,” Kirwan told the recipients. “We are here today to celebrate your personal commitment, innovative thinking, and hard work.”Among the athletics staff recognized last week was Imry Halevi, director of multimedia and production, who worked closely with staff from ESPN and NBC on a variety of issues leading up to kickoff.“I think it’s great,” Halevi said of getting the award. “It’s nice to be recognized and to know that other people at the University realize what we do for this game and for all the other games. It’s a big undertaking.”The 2015 Dean’s Distinction recipients are:William Anderson, Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative BiologyChristine Benoit, FAS Finance OfficeLauren Bimmler, Department of EnglishNancy Branco, Department of SociologyRonnie Broadfoot, Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative ZoologyLeanne Chaves, Department of African and African American StudiesSarah Cohan, Department of PsychologySusan Cook, Center for African StudiesDiane Cox, FAS Human ResourcesEmelyn de la Peña, Harvard College Office of Student LifeSusan Gilbert, Department of MathematicsAnne Gotfredson, FAS DevelopmentSusan Halpert, Houghton LibraryMike Holmes, Department of Romance Languages and LiteraturesAndrew Laplume, Office of Physical Resources and PlanningMary Magnuson, Harvard College Admissions and Financial AidAndrew Magyar, Center for Nanoscale SystemsMary McCarthy, Department of PhysicsMegan McHugh, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyMia Metivier, Harvard College Program in General EducationEmily Miller, Harvard College Administrative BoardDenise Moody, FAS Research Administration ServicesAlice Moses, Department of StatisticsGabrielle Naglieri, Division of ScienceDenise Oberdan, Department of Visual and Environmental StudiesKaren Pearce, Office for Faculty AffairsJames Peregrino, Division of Continuing EducationElizabeth Quigley, Institute for Quantitative Social ScienceLauren Raece, Office of Undergraduate EducationTristan Rocher, Harvard Museums of Science and CulturePatricia Rogers, Division of ScienceGreg Roy, HUIT Administrative Technology ServicesFu Tham, Instructional Media ServicesSheila Thomas, Graduate School of Arts and SciencesKatherine Zuccala, Department of Chemistry and Chemical BiologyRoomBook Project TeamKatherine Gates, FAS Office of the Dean for Administration and FinanceMichael Kinney, Registrar’s OfficeKaren Ogden, Division of Continuing EducationKatie Phelan, FAS Finance OfficeRichard Schubert, Office of Physical Resources and PlanningBruce Tikofsky, HUIT Administrative Technology ServicesAmy Vest, Harvard College Office of Student LifeCurtis Wilcox, Instructional Media ServicesDiversity CommitteeAnn Marie Acker, FAS Human ResourcesChris Ciotti, FAS Human ResourcesAdriana Gallegos, FAS Human ResourcesAndrea Kelton-Harris, FAS Human ResourcesAngela Lifsey, FAS Human ResourcesBob Mitchell, FAS Office for Diversity Relations and CommunicationsEtaine Smith, FAS Human ResourcesHarvard-Yale Game Day TeamSusan Byrne, Department of AthleticsImry Halevi, Department of AthleticsNicholas Majocha, Department of AthleticsAllison Miller, Department of AthleticsDuane Reeves, Department of AthleticsTimothy Troville, Department of AthleticsAndrew Vatistas, Department of AthleticsTimothy Williamson, Department of AthleticsCaitlyn Young, Department of AthleticsFreshman Dean’s Office Support StaffAbby Cohen, Harvard College Freshman Dean’s OfficeJulie Kligerman, Harvard College Freshman Dean’s OfficeMary Lincoln, Harvard College Freshman Dean’s OfficeTorey Martin, Harvard College Freshman Dean’s Officelast_img read more

Sequencing Ebola’s secrets

first_imgLast June, in the early days of the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, a team of researchers sequenced the genome of the deadly virus at unprecedented scale and speed. Their findings revealed a number of critical facts as the outbreak was unfolding, including that the virus was being transmitted only by person-to-person contact and that it was mutating through its many transmissions.While public health officials are confident that the worst of the epidemic is past, it is not yet over, and questions raised by the previous work still await answers to what it was that happened — and could happen again.To provide some answers, a global team from Harvard University, the Broad Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health), and many other institutions sequenced more than 200 additional genomes from Ebola virus samples to capture the fullest picture yet of how the virus is transmitted and how it changed over the long outbreak. In an effort to enhance the global response to the disease, the team made their data publicly available as it was produced throughout last year.“One of the most rewarding aspects of working in this outbreak response is the connections we have made with so many extraordinary individuals through open data sharing,” said senior author Pardis Sabeti. The global team that assembled as a result has now described its analysis in a June 18 paper published in the journal Cell.“Our early work tracked the virus’s movements over just three weeks as the outbreak emerged in Sierra Leone,” said Sabeti. “Now, with a view of the virus over seven months, we can understand how it has been moving and changing over the long term.”“One insight we gained from this high-resolution sequence data is that later in the outbreak, there was very little cross-border exchange of the virus,” said lead author Daniel Park of the Broad Institute. “That’s important, because the three main affected countries — Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea — are often described as having ‘porous borders,’ which allowed people to travel back and forth.”While cross-border contact helped fuel the early days of the outbreak, Park said it’s now clear that, once on the move, the virus didn’t migrate in the ways many analysts had predicted. “This is very reassuring to know that measures to contain the outbreak at borders can work,” he said. “[It] allows attention to be focused on within-country movement.”The new sequencing also provides insight into viral evolution over the sustained outbreak. Early in the epidemic, as the virus spread rapidly, it accumulated many mutations, a disproportionate share of which could affect protein function. Last August, the researchers noted that most of these were likely to be damaging to the virus, but that the outbreak hadn’t gone on long enough for natural selection to weed them out.The team observed that many of the mutations did not persist very long, and that the rate of change in the viral genome became more in line with what was expected over the longer term. “Ebola has never been exposed to humans for so long. And through so many transmissions, it has begun to weed out mutations that do not benefit it,” Park said.The team also identified other changes to the virus that are expected long-term. For example, in some patients, the team saw evidence of human enzymes editing the viral genome. This had never been seen for Ebola, and previously had been seen only with viruses that had longstanding interactions with humans.“The many mutations we saw early in the outbreak and the evolution we saw over the long term have been observed for other viruses before, and the genomic data only helps illuminate known evolutionary phenomena.” Sabeti said. “The data just remind us what we have always known, that we must get this viral lineage to zero.”The work was funded primarily by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Key institutions in this collaborative team included the Broad Institute, Harvard University, the Centers for Disease Control, Tulane University, University of Edinburgh, Kenema Government Hospital, Scripps Research Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, DNAnexus, Médecins Sans Frontières, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Redeemers University, University of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, University of Sydney, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.last_img read more

In lives of others, a compass for his own

first_imgIt took Pedro Spivakovsky-Gonzalez several years and nearly 10,000 miles, on a journey that included several cities around the world, to find his calling in his hometown.The son of a political refugee from the former Soviet Union, Spivakovsky-Gonzalez, J.D. ’17, was born in Boston and grew up in Spain, Canada, and the United States. He studied economics at the University of California at Berkeley, completed a master’s in development studies at the University of Cambridge in England, and went to work as a research economist in Washington, D.C.It was after his stints in Cambridge and Washington that he experienced “the dissonance” of studying poverty and inequality in wealthy institutions, and the limits to making a direct impact on people’s lives as a researcher.Yearning for a career that resolved that discord, he applied to Harvard Law School. When he was accepted, it felt like a homecoming of sorts. The first house he lived in was three blocks from the Law School.But the real epiphany came while working at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, one of the School’s clinical programs and the oldest student-run organization in the United States. The bureau provides free civil legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney. It was there that he found his passion.“We help people who are often forgotten and live different lives from what we often see either in Washington, D.C., or the Law School,” said Spivakovsky-Gonzalez on a recent morning near Harvard Yard.Entering his second semester as the bureau’s president, he plans to become a public-interest lawyer. As a student attorney with the bureau, he has represented East Boston residents facing eviction in Boston Housing Court, and helped veterans apply for benefits at the Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain. Both experiences left deep marks on him.“Before, I felt a little bit removed from a lot of the populations that are most affected by the decisions and policies that are made in Washington,” he said. “Here, I can help people more directly.”Case in point: In August 2015, Spivakovsky-Gonzalez represented tenants of a four-unit apartment building on Bennington Street in East Boston, who were being forced to either pay twice their past rent or lose their homes. With his legal advice and representation and that of three other students, the cases were settled in favor of the tenants, who stayed put.“Many people are unaware of the law,” he said. “They think they don’t have legal rights but in fact under the law they have rights and leverage to improve their situation.”Spivakovsky-Gonzalez kept his poise throughout the trial, said instructor Eloise Lawrence, who supervised the students.“He was the picture of grace under pressure,” said Lawrence. “For example, he kept  his composure even when he was conducting a direct examination and the interpreter was incorrectly translating the witness’s testimony — which Pedro knew because he is fluent in Spanish — and the judge was berating him for raising his concerns. When the verdict came down in our client’s favor, he would not let any of us smile at counsel table for fear of appearing  that we were gloating.  He’s the opposite of today’s professional athlete who does a victory dance at a mere good play.”As the bureau’s leader, Spivakovsky-Gonzalez has to uphold its dual mission of providing civic legal aid to low-income residents in the Greater Boston area while giving students a chance to practice housing, family, benefits, and wage and hour law. Students practice under Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, which allows them to offer legal assistance under the supervision of clinical instructors who are working attorneys.Students who work on housing issues attend weekly meetings organized by City Life/Vida Urbana, a community group that helps Boston area residents fight eviction, foreclosure, and displacement. That is where they meet potential clients.The bureau’s assistance has proved crucial, said Andres Del Castillo, an organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana, who led a recent meeting in the basement of a church near the Maverick T station. About 30 people were on hand to ask for assistance with problems such as eviction, sudden rent increases, and cockroach infestation.“We have very limited resources,” said Del Castillo. “It’s a miracle what happens here. The law students do their best to help people in the community.”This summer, as well as attending community meetings in East Boston, Spivakovsky-Gonzalez worked with veterans in Jamaica Plain. Both experiences helped him recognize that public-interest law is his calling, and that giving back to the community is a way to honor his own history. His parents came to the United States after living in dictatorships in their home countries.“It’s hard to know where one will end up,” he said of his return to Boston. “But it’s nice to be back to the place where I’m originally from to work in public-interest law and give help to people who need it.”last_img read more

Juan Manuel Santos, Kennedy School alumnus and Nieman fellow, wins Nobel Peace Prize

first_imgColombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for his work to end the 52-year civil war between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist guerilla group also known as FARC. The war, which has left 220,000 dead and displaced nearly 6 million people, is the longest-running remaining major armed conflict in the Americas.Santos, 65, earned a mid-career/master’s in public administration in 1981 from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and was a 1988 Nieman Fellow for his award-winning work as a columnist and reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.Santos, who pledged to end the war when first elected president in 2010, “has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution, and much of the groundwork has been laid for both the verifiable disarmament of the FARC guerrillas and a historic process of national fraternity and reconciliation,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement Friday.In late September, the two sides reached a landmark peace accord that was narrowly rejected by voters in a nationwide referendum last week.Despite that setback, the committee said it hoped the award would encourage Colombians to respect the current ceasefire and cause peace talks to continue. “The fact that a majority of the voters said no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead. The referendum was not a vote for or against peace. What the ‘no’ side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement.”Although Santos was selected for his individual efforts, the committee said “the award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.”“I was very proud to hear this morning of President Juan Manuel Santos’s receiving the Nobel Peace Prize,” said HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf. “This incredible recognition speaks to the tremendous leadership and vision he has shown in negotiating a peaceful solution to his country’s long and difficult civil war. His courage should be an inspiration to the Colombian people and to the rest of the world.”Santos returned to speak at the Kennedy School in 2010 and 2013. During his 2013 address, he described the great strides Colombia had made in the recent years in education, infrastructure, in erasing the country’s deficit, and in narrowing the nation’s wide income gap between rich and poor.“We broke a trend,” he said. describing the inequality gap that has persisted in Colombia for centuries. Income for the poor, he said, was rising six times faster than it has for those in Colombia’s upper strata.Before entering politics, Santos was a celebrated journalist. Two of his Nieman colleagues lauded his choice as Nobel winner and recalled some of their times with him.Rosental Alves, now the director of Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “He was a journalist, but somehow he was different from us. Sometimes we joked this guy one day will become president of Colombia. It was kind of the class joke. A couple of decades later, sure enough he was and is the president of Colombia. I told him this when we met … in the presidential office there, and of course he laughed.”Another former colleague, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at the Washington Post, said that “Juan Manuel became a great friend during our year at Harvard, and our friendship continued uninterrupted right after the Nieman year when he went back to El Tiempo, and I went to Buenos Aires as the Post’s South America correspondent. This was the era of the Colombian drug lords, so I had to go to Bogota a lot. Juan Manuel had some executive position at the paper. On one of my first trips to Colombia, he arranged a lunch in the countryside for me and invited all the young movers and shakers in Colombian politics, along with the U.S. ambassador. It was one-stop shopping. In one trip I knew all the important up-and-comers from all sides of the political spectrum.”Colombian President Santos on Rebel Negotiations and the War on Drugs | PolicyCastColombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a Kennedy School alumnus, speaks about the importance of negotiating with rebel groups that have been fighting the Colombian government for more than 50 years; what progress has been made in those negotiations; whether FARC could become a legitimate political party; if the international community has forgotten about the war on drugs; and if that war is winnable. You can hear more from  Santos in his address at the JFK Jr. Forum, sponsored by the Institute of Politics.last_img read more

Viewing the solar eclipse? There’s an app for that

first_imgThousands of years ago, human beings reacted to solar eclipses with dismay, flooding the streets with pots and pans to scare away whatever had blotted out the sun with a cacophony of banging and shouting.When a total solar eclipse crosses the United States on Aug. 21 people will once again take to the streets with a great deal of anxiety, but most will be concerned primarily with getting a good view.With solar safety glasses available at every counter and an expected 2–7 million Americans traveling to the path of totality — the nearly 3,000-mile-long arc from the coast near Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., in which a view of the total eclipse is possible — it is clear that eclipse fever has swept the country. Seeing an opportunity to educate and inspire a new wave of astronomers, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has released a smartphone app, Eclipse 2017, available on iOS and Android.“We haven’t had an eclipse cross the United States like this in nearly 100 years,” says CfA spokesperson Tyler Jump. “Because it’s such a rare and exciting event, we wanted to create an interactive guide that everyone could enjoy. Even if you’re not in the path of totality, our app allows you to calculate exactly how much of an eclipse you’ll be able to see and get a preview with our eclipse simulation. It’s also a great opportunity to highlight some of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s (SAO) solar research. SAO was founded in large part to study the sun, and we’ve been doing so now for more than a century.”The free app comes with a host of resources for the amateur astronomer. A comprehensive viewing guide offers a crash course in the science behind eclipses and instructions on how to safely observe the celestial phenomenon. Videos from the Solar Dynamics Observatory show the sun in different wavelengths, revealing the many layers of solar activity. Users can also access an interactive eclipse map, which gives lunar transit times and simulated views for any location in the United States.The sun’s corona is visible to the naked eye during a total solar eclipse. Credit: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.beIn Cambridge, a partial eclipse covering most of the sun will be visible in the afternoon from about 1:30 to 4. But along the path of totality, for up to 2 minutes, viewers will enjoy one of astronomy’s most extraordinary sights: the sun’s ethereal corona. Normally invisible due to the amount of light emanating from the sun’s surface, the “crown” of magnetized plasma reaches temperatures over a million degrees Kelvin — nearly 2 million Fahrenheit — and is best known as the site of the sun’s awesome and violent flares.Monday’s will be the first total eclipse to be visible from the United States since 1991, and the first to be visible from every state since 1918. Though this is the first total eclipse to cross the United States in nearly 40 years, there is a total eclipse visible from Earth about every 18 months.For those who will not have a chance to view the eclipse with their own eyes, the app will provide a live stream of the eclipse as it travels across the country. But if it has to be the real thing, in April 2024 the United States is due for a total eclipse that will travel from Texas to Maine. A lucky stretch of land along the Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky borders will see two total eclipses in just seven years.The Smithsonian Eclipse app was made possible by a grant through the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, with content from the SAO, and is powered by SkySafari 5.John Michael Baglione is a writer and author residing in Boston. His work can be found at johnmichaeltxt.com.last_img read more

Brazil at the crossroads

first_img Related On Sunday, Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist with harsh views about women, gays, and blacks, was elected president of Brazil, one of the world’s largest democracies. To understand the factors leading to his election, the Gazette talked with Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor for Brazil Studies at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).Mainwaring spoke about Bolsonaro’s victory as part of the far-right populist wave that is sweeping the globe, the likely impact of Brazil’s election on Latin America, and the danger to Brazilian democracy that may be posed by this presidency.Q&AScott MainwaringGAZETTE: Jair Bolsonaro has been called “the Brazilian Donald Trump.” Can you talk about the similarities between Bolsonaro and Trump?MAINWARING: The similarities are that both have been viewed, I think correctly, as having racist and sexist discourses, with very authoritarian elements. Bolsonaro once said of a member of Brazil’s National Congress, “She’s too ugly; she’s not worth raping.” He also said that if he was ever elected president of Brazil, on the first day he’d shut down the National Congress. Both leaders have publicly supported torture — however, with a difference. Bolsonaro has supported torture of Brazilian and criminal suspects, and Trump has limited his favoring of torture to terrorist suspects. For people who highly value democracy and human rights, the similarities between Bolsonaro and Trump should be of concern.,GAZETTE: Are there any differences between Trump and Bolsonaro?MAINWARING: Bolsonaro is far more extreme than Donald Trump. I’m not aware that Trump has been profoundly homophobic in his public discourse. Bolsonaro has said that if one of his sons were gay, he’d prefer that the son die.GAZETTE: Some have said that Bolsonaro is similar to strongman Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. What’s your take on that?MAINWARING: In terms of extrajudicial killings, rule of law, and human rights, Bolsonaro is much closer to Duterte than to Trump. A few years ago, Bolsonaro said that International Human Rights Day is a “day for losers.” Trump might think that, but I don’t think he has ever said something like that. But there are more similarities between Bolsonaro and Duterte than between Bolsonaro and Trump.GAZETTE: Can you talk about the context that made the election of Bolsonaro possible? His election was unthinkable a few months ago.MAINWARING: The context is one of deep crisis on three issues: the economy, corruption and public security, and the profound discredit of the left, centrist, and center-right establishment in Brazil. Brazil has an alarming public security crisis. It has a homicide rate about 6.5 times that of the U.S., and seven of the 20 most violent cities in the world are in Brazil. Secondly, in recent years, Brazil has had a recession much deeper and much longer than the U.S. recession of 2008‒2009. And the third factor is corruption, which I think was the biggest factor leading to Bolsonaro’s victory. Brazil has had the biggest corruption scandal in the history of democracy. Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva), the leader of the Workers’ Party and formerly beloved president of Brazil, is now in jail, but it’s not only him. One of Brazil’s most important entrepreneurs is in jail, and many Brazilian politicians and entrepreneurs are in jail or under investigation for corruption charges. The corruption scandal affected both the left and the right, so when you discredit both the left and the center-right establishment, who’s left standing?GAZETTE: But why did Bolsonaro, who was a marginal politician as a senator, benefit from the public despair over corruption, crime, and the recession?MAINWARING: Although Bolsonaro was not an outsider, by most standards — he has been in the National Congress for almost 28 years — he is such an extremist that he was able to position himself as an outsider. It’s an exaggerated comparison, but it’s like if Adolf Hitler had been in the German Parliament for 28 years as a very marginal figure. Because of his extremist views, many people saw him as something different. To my knowledge, Bolsonaro has no history of corruption, and at a time when corruption was a salient issue, that worked in his favor. He’s very outspoken, he has a very clear attitude — not proposals — about crime, and that is, “Kill the criminals,” and “Let more people have arms.” When 111 criminals were massacred in a São Paulo prison around 1993, he said, “It’s a shame that only 111 criminals were killed.” This kind of discourse is terrible policy, but it has a profound resonance in Brazil because of the fears over rising crime.GAZETTE: What role did the political parties play in the collapse of the Brazilian political system?MAINWARING: The Workers’ Party governed from 2003 to 2016, and it governed very ineffectually for much of this past decade. And when the commodity boom ended, the space for bad policies shrank radically, and then you got this horrible recession with very high unemployment. Now, half of Brazil profoundly rejects the Workers’ Party. This is not a historic constant. When Lula left office in 2010, he had an 83 percent approval rating. But the corruption scandals, the security problems, and the economic recession changed people’s opinion about the Workers’ Party.A lot of Brazilians who supported Lula in 2010 now hate the Workers’ Party. A lot of this is a vote against that party. In the last two years, the party radicalized, moved to the left, and it presented Lula as the presidential candidate in 2018. But if the paramount concern in Brazilian voters’ minds is corruption, and you put forth Lula as a presidential candidate while he’s in jail on corruption charges, what message does that send?GAZETTE: Were you surprised by the results?MAINWARING: Six months ago, I would have said that Bolsonaro’s chances were low. When he was stabbed in a campaign rally on Sept. 6, he was one of five candidates who could possibly get to the second round, but the outcome was still unpredictable. Three weeks later, it seemed almost certain that Bolsonaro would get to the second round, and it also seemed that he’d have the better chance of winning. Right before the first round on Oct. 7, surveys show he had 38 percent of the vote. Everyone was surprised when he got 46 percent of the valid vote. At that point, I thought it was extremely likely that Bolsonaro would win, and nothing changed in the intervening three weeks.GAZETTE: What are your expectations for his presidency?MAINWARING: One can confidently say that he would be against environmental regulations, and there is every reason to believe that he would be a great supporter of agribusiness. We can be very confident that there will be less respect for the human rights of some groups. Brazil has a long record of high police impunity and many police killings, and we should expect this to get worse. We should expect him to govern in a relatively authoritarian manner.There is a lot of room for doubt about the economy. Bolsonaro’s own past is deeply statist, and his chief economic adviser is a market-oriented economist who had said that Brazil should privatize its public firms, but Bolsonaro came out and contradicted him. Bolsonaro has said he won’t make concessions with the Congress, but his party has 51 seats out of 513 in the lower chamber. He has to make concessions.And what would he do about corruption? His discourse about corruption is laudable, but what he doesn’t say is that it wasn’t only the left in Brazil that was corrupt; far more right-wing politicians have been accused and convicted of corruption than left-wing politicians. This has been an endemic problem in Brazil. You don’t end corruption just by saying “I’m against corruption.” About public security, his proposals have been very thin and sketchy. He did not run on very detailed policy proposals. “The example of Trump made it possible for Bolsonaro with even a far more misogynistic, homophobic, and racist discourse to get elected.” After the triumphs of Trump and Brexit, right-leaning parties see paths to political power In Europe, nationalism rising GAZETTE: What might be the impact of Bolsonaro’s election in the region?MAINWARING: I think this makes it easier for other right-wing populists with outrageous discourses and policy proposals to emerge. We’re riding a wave of conservative populism across many countries in the world, most prominently in the United States. One of my esteemed Brazilian academic colleagues said, “Without Trump, there would be no Bolsonaro.” We can’t know empirically if that’s true, but it seems that there’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis. The example of Trump made it possible for Bolsonaro with even a far more misogynistic, homophobic, and racist discourse to get elected. The countries in Latin America that would be most vulnerable are those with weaker institutions and deeper problems. That’s not Uruguay or Chile or Costa Rica, but it could be the rest of the region. In Latin America, with those three exceptions, states are not strong, party systems are not solid, and the recurrence of populists and often authoritarian ones, both on the left and the right, is frequent.GAZETTE: What can we expect from this wave of far-right populism?MAINWARING: Well, for a while there was a left-wing authoritarian populist wave in Latin America; the worst of it was Hugo Chávez, and the most influential by far. It seems that [Nicolás] Maduro, his successor, has ruined Venezuela. And then came Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Maduro and Ortega in effect have turned Venezuela and Nicaragua into electoral dictatorships, and they cannot hold free and fair elections because they would lose. Correa is out of office, and his successor is prosecuting him. Morales is still in office. But that left-wing wave has ended. The left lost in Argentina in 2015 and in Chile in 2017. Now, we have a right wave. But as long as voters can freely and fairly vote, and the mechanisms of democratic accountability are protected, democracy will be preserved.But we should have no illusions about the erosion of democracy in Brazil. The question is not if it will erode, the question is how much. The best-case scenario is that the LBGT community, the press, and human rights defenders are more vulnerable to harassment and violence but there is not a profound erosion of democracy, and that the democratic institutions remain relatively solid. That’s the most optimistic scenario, but I think that’s too optimistic.last_img read more

Warner Berthoff, 93

first_imgAt a Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on December 4, 2018, the following tribute to the life and service of the late Warner Bement Berthoff was placed upon the permanent records of the Faculty.The Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English and American Literature, Emeritus, Warner Berthoff was born in Oberlin, Ohio, the son of Nathaniel and Helen (née Tappan) Berthoff. After graduating from the Hotchkiss School in 1943, he entered Harvard College. He enlisted in the Navy’s officer training program and interrupted his education to attend Midshipman School in New York and serve in Okinawa, Japan, 1945–46. He returned to Harvard, where he received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in 1947 and his doctorate (on the GI bill) in 1954, with the dissertation “The Literary Career of Charles Brockden Brown.” He met Ann Rhys Evans in a Harvard-Radcliffe graduate class in 1948; they were married in 1949.From 1951 to 1967 he taught at Bryn Mawr College and became a leading historian of American literature. Literature “draws its prime motives from deep within the common culture,” he argued, “but it never speaks for the totality of that culture.” Two major books established his stature: “The Example of Melville” ([1962] 1972), one of the most astute and influential studies of his narrative art in the first major wave of Melville studies that began after World War II, and “The Ferment of Realism” ([1965] 1981), a pioneer attempt to map the contours of an entire era that became a vade mecum for subsequent generations. Both books are still cited and discussed.In 1967 Berthoff joined the Harvard faculty as Professor of English and taught courses on major American writers from Herman Melville to Henry James. In 1981 he became an Associate of Adams House and kept the affiliation honorarily after his retirement in 1990.During his Harvard years he was a most active scholar, publishing numerous books and essays. In “Hart Crane, a Re-Introduction” (1989), he questioned attempts at finding organic unity: “the final organization and sequence of ‘The Bridge’ are in some considerable measure accidental,” yet one could still judge the poem’s achievement. Although identified as an Americanist, he possessed a broad and catholic grasp of letters and was exceptionally well read in modern European literature. He was not a specialist’s specialist or a generalist’s generalist but a rare, special kind of generalist. He partially borrowed the title of “A Literature without Qualities” (1979), a study of mid- and later twentieth-century American letters, from Robert Musil’s novel. He meant the title as a question, one to be debated and answered. In “Literature and the Continuances of Virtue” (1986) he included an extensive, far-ranging reading of “Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften.”He liked to engage in spirited dialogues. In “The Way We Think Now: Protocols for Deprivation” (1976), a skeptical examination of the then fashionable terminology of deconstruction, he deplored what he perceived as its “devalorization of literature itself.” And his “Skirmishing with Edmund Wilson” (1999) opens with a memorable description of his target: “He was hedgehog prickly in argument, resourcefully stubborn in maintaining contended positions, as fond of a literary-critical shootout as his equally patrician contemporary General George Patton was of military campaigning.”In conducting classes Berthoff rarely lectured formally from a set text but preferred to talk instead from notes. He expected deep seriousness of preparation from students and rewarded depth of engagement over immediate polish. His former students remember with uniform enthusiasm his mentoring. “He was alive to the sound and texture of good writing and gave welcome encouragement to those of us who hoped to become not so much scholars as writers,” one wrote. Another reported that Berthoff’s graduate seminar on Henry James changed his attitude toward a writer whom he had detested as an undergraduate, inspiring him to write a dissertation on James and to become a James scholar. A third found that Warner’s “knowledge was immense, but his brilliance flowed out in an abiding humility, geniality, and grace that made him the most engaging teacher and mentor one could ever imagine. . . . He never let me get away with anything, and one of the maxims he drove into me was that imprecise writing is always the product of imprecise thought.” Another described Berthoff as “a theoretically agnostic enthusiast at heart”: “he read every new essay or book as it came out, accepting some, rejecting others, with no discernible methodological bent.” This former student concludes: “Because Warner Berthoff was my teacher, I am more widely read than I might have been otherwise. . . . I am also aware of how much I still have to learn. . . . I understand that enthusiasm is as important to what we do as professionalism and discipline.”Professor Berthoff held a Fulbright fellowship at the Università degli Studi di Catania, Sicily in 1957–58, and he also lectured or taught at the Universities of Rome, Warsaw, and California–Berkeley and at Columbia University, among other institutions. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowship, he also served as President of the Melville Society in 1983.A resident of Concord, Massachusetts, from 1967 until his death, he published a lively series of meticulously formulated memoirs in the Sewanee Review, including “Memories of Okinawa” (2013), “Going South: 1947” (2013) and “Teaching Hawthorne in Communist Poland” (2015), portraying himself as a “New Republic liberal” amid tense political situations. For example, after being ordered to draft a letter requesting the removal of Negro troops from Okinawa, he resolved “to avoid as much as possible . . . any situation in which [he] might have to take unpalatable orders from higher-ups who were not to be argued with. As it has turned out, university teaching and academic scholarship . . . answered very nicely that juvenile resolve.”Warner Berthoff died on August 28, 2018, of congestive heart failure. He is survived by his wife of sixty-nine years, Ann Evans Berthoff; two children, Rachel Douglas of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Frederic Berthoff of Concord; a grandchild, Jessica Ann Berthoff of Melbourne, Florida; and two brothers, Jared Berthoff of Ohio and Michael Berthoff of New York.Respectfully submitted,Lawrence BuellJames EngellJohn StaufferWerner Sollors, Chairlast_img read more

Be Relevant, Or Be Gone

first_imgThe Webster’s definition of “relevance” leaves absolutely no room for misinterpretation: the meaning of relevance is “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.”Today, making that “significant and demonstrable” impact is really about the end-user. How can companies deliver immediate, tangible outcomes for their customers and consumers? Some organizations are doing this already, and harnessing unique technologies to make it happen. You don’t need look any further than Uber, Apple, or Amazon. These are not just companies. These are entirely new operational models that are disrupting their industries, but more appreciably, they are changing end-user expectations. I used to drive myself or take a town car to the airport. Not anymore. Now I Uber every time. The cars are cleaner, booking is easier, service is better, and the cost is often less expensive. Uber has changed my expectation of car service, and now nothing less than better, cheaper, and easier will suffice.The thing about the Ubers of the world is that it’s not just a killer app. Uber and others like it are completely new offerings that put end-users first. So much more than products, they are totally user-centric experiences that deliver real-time and tangible benefits, and true business outcomes.The user-centric, benefit-focused business model is the path forward for businesses today. Customers and consumers increasingly expect and demand solutions that translate to immediate impact and results. Results that are specifically tied to the outcome needed to maintain share, grab share, or create a market. To say it’s exciting is an understatement.  To say it’s challenging companies to be better than ever before is very real indeed.Around the halls at EMC, it’s become a bit of a mantra: customers want solutions that enable opportunity and transformational outcomes. Solutions that make the business better, more efficient, more profitable; that make employees’ lives better, easier, and more productive.  No longer can a salesperson walk into a room and solely compete on technology alone. That person would struggle to connect the product to the desired outcome, and ultimately the changing landscape of buyers.  Because there’s no relevance to the customer, no relevance to the marketplace, and no tie to what the product will enable the business to accomplish.Today’s salesperson must deeply understand her customer’s industry and business, his customer’s specific pain points and opportunities. And from there, the salesperson must architect a solution that is hyper-relevant to the customer, addressing today’s needs and enables tomorrow’s opportunities. Without that relevancy to the customer and its industry, more often than not, there is no sale.So how can companies ensure relevancy? At EMC, we are shifting our model – we still focus on providing best-of-breed, cutting-edge technology, but we are also going deeper into our customers’ businesses to understand what they need, what they want, and the best way to help them achieve their goals. It’s not always about selling the most expensive or the largest amount. That’s a short-term gain and we’re not interested in blips.We know our success depends on our customers’ success. So we are building solutions that have, in the words of Webster’s, “significant and demonstrable bearing” on our customers’ businesses. Often, uncovering the best solution means leaning on our partners’ expertise in specific industries. Our partners play a critical role in diagnosing customer pain points, and helping to prescribe the right solution. This is one of the many reasons I’m so excited about EMC’s Global Alliances, and the ability to leverage the vertical expertise from our partners: the coupling of our world-class solutions and with our partners’ IP and experience not only answers the question of relevancy, but solves the problems facing our customers today.We’ve never experienced a market as fluid as today’s. Transformation is all around us, in every industry and in every operation. To me, it couldn’t be more thrilling to be a part of it, and know that EMC, together with our partners, is driving forward a new reality for many of our customers.last_img read more

VMworld 2016: be_Tomorrow by Modernizing Today

first_imgVMworld 2016 is in full swing! Our EMC crew is amongst the 24,000 attendees that have travelled to Las Vegas to get out in front of the latest virtualization and cloud technology developments.What have we been talking about at the show? Whereas VMware’s theme is be_Tomorrow ours is Modernize. Why Modernize? Because what better way to be_Tomorrow than to Modernize today.Now, the best way to get started is to build a modern data center and for users of VMware technology that means adopting flash, software-defined, scale-out and cloud-enabled technology that’s trusted, protected and optimized for VMware environments – and when it comes to building technology optimized for VMware environments, its hard to top us.Just last week, we put word out about industry-leading enhancements to our storage and converged platforms as well as our data protection technologies that make it easy to make the most of VMware environments and what EMC brings to them.As the clear leader in Flash, we put even more distance between ourselves and the field by unveiling a brand new XtremIO vRealize Orchestrator (VRO) plug-in that allows infrastructure teams to build a self-service catalog of automated, end-to-end, infrastructure workflows. This wasn’t our only bit of XtremIO news – there’s more here.But let’s say you’re thinking above the storage layer to something like a converged platform – something that’ll get you on the fastest path to a modern data center. Whether you’re looking to lay down a system that optimizes your traditional apps or a system that acts as the foundation for your cloud native apps of the future, we just announced two of them, both built on VMware technologies: Enterprise Hybrid Cloud 4.0, which optimizes for the critical business applications of today, and Native Hybrid Cloud, the fast way to enable your business to build the cloud native applications of tomorrow. The most exciting piece of news about our Native Hybrid Cloud is that we’ll be offering a config built on VMware VxRail – the HCI platform of choice for customers standardized on VMware vSphere. For more details, listen to everyone’s good pal Chad Sakac talk about EHC and NHC.Of course, a modern data center isn’t modern unless it’s trusted and protected. Last week we announced that EMC is fulfilling our role as the first replication design partner for VMware vSphere APIs for IO filtering (VAIO) by becoming the first vendor to market fully integrated virtual replication data services through RecoverPoint for VMs. In addition, we made the best HCI for VMware even better by integrating EMC Data Protection Suite for VMware into VxRail. Click here for more on how we’re delivering data protection everywhere for VMware environments.Now, the best way to test out of all this goodness is by grabbing a seat at the VMworld Hands-on Lab, which by the way, runs on XtremIO. I’d also like to draw your attention to what Chad Sakac had to say about the impact XtremIO has had on the VMware HoL.Speaking of experts, we’ll have ours out in full force at the show, whether they’re in our booth (#1223) or leading breaking out sessions.What else is happening with EMC at VMworld? Find the complete rundown of breakouts and demos here. Of course, be sure to follow @EMCcorp on twitter for all the latest developments from Las Vegas as well.last_img read more

Triple Threat: Introducing ECS 3.0 to Modernize, Optimize and Transform Enterprise Data Centers

first_imgToday we’re launching ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage) 3.0, the latest release of EMC’s  cloud-scale object storage platform. Companies around the world are trying to harness the digital economy to engage with customers in new and interesting ways. This digital transformation requires a radically different approach to IT, as traditional infrastructure was not meant to serve the needs of an always connected world generating Zetabytes of data. Not surprisingly, many IT leaders are trying to work through a significant challenge – how do I transform my organization’s IT infrastructure to be more agile, but do so without any disruption to the business?As the third generation of EMC’s object platform, ECS can help customers navigate this tradeoff. With ECS, organizations can not only embrace cloud-native applications that directly enable Digital Transformation, but can also optimize their existing, traditional IT investments. Here are some highlights of the ECS 3.0 release:ECS now certified to run on Dell Servers: Customers have the flexibility of consuming ECS as a turnkey appliance, or as software running on their hardware.ECS Dedicated Cloud Service: A managed offering that allows customers to use dedicated ECS units running in Virtustream datacenters around the world.Ultra-dense tape replacement SKU: The new ultra-dense D-Series ECS nodes can now pack up to 6.2 PB in a single rack, making it a great system for replacing ageing tape librariesWorkload Flexibility: ECS supports multiple protocols like Amazon S3, Centera CAS, NFS, OpenStack SWIFT, and HDFS. This enables organizations to pool data from multiple sources into one, single, global data lake that can be used to eliminated the silos that effect traditional storage platforms With the launch of v3.0, ECS also supports Windows-based (CIFS/SMB) applications.New capabilities for enterprises: New features aimed at large enterprises, such as advanced retention management (ARM), enhanced compliance capabilities, as well as improved monitoring and alerting featuresThe customer response to ECS since its launch has been phenomenal, and our momentum has been recognized by the analyst community as well. IDC analyst Ashish Nadkarni has said that “ECS has one of the best Object Storage architectures suited for 3rd Platform applications,” and ESG recently validated that ECS can help customers achieve upto a 60% lower storage TCO than leading public cloud providers.Learn more about how ECS can enable your transformation , follow @DellEMCECS on Twitter, or try it out – for free!last_img read more