Issue 5 | Spring 2015
A Magazine of Transnational Connections Special Edition: Local Roots
Gary Conger (Writer): Gary is currently a senior at Rutgers studying economics with a focus on the environment. He leads CGHR’s sustainability movement. He rode his bike across the country raising money and awareness for Brain Injury Alliance of NJ and will bring that drive and passion to lead a multi-disciplinary approach to a more sustainable future.
This magazine is published by the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights. Elena Lesley (Publisher): Elena is Publications Coordinator for CGHR and a PhD student in Anthropology at Emory University studying memory and trauma in Cambodia. She has a master’s in Global Affairs from Rutgers-Newark, where she conducted research on memorial sites in Cambodia and Rwanda. She was also a 2011-2012 Raimondo Fellow with the Eagleton Institute of Politics in New Brunswick. Prior to beginning her PhD, Lesley served as a senior research specialist at Innovations for Successful Societies, a Princeton University research program. Earlier in her career, she spent 18 months in Cambodia monitoring and writing about the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal on a Fulbright Fellowship. Lesley first came to Cambodia in 2004-2005 as a Henry Luce Scholar. She has a BA in political science from Brown University.
Marielle Coutrix (Writer): Marielle is a research intern for CGHR and works as a program assistant at the International Women’s Health Coalition. She graduated with a BA from Barnard College in Political Science and Human Rights. Karina Delgado (Writer): Karina is a recent graduate of Rutgers-New Brunswick, who holds a BA in Philosophy and English Literature. She will be attending law school in the fall where she hopes to continue studying criminal law, punishment, and incarceration, specifically. Eventually, she would like to get involved with criminal law policy and prisoner advocacy.
Nela Navarro (Faculty Advisor): Nela serves as Associate Director/ Director of Education and Member of the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Prevention Executive Committee at CGHR. She received her graduate education at Columbia University Teachers College. She is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Newark) and English Department Writing Program (New Brunswick). Her research and community engagement interests include new literacies studies, critical pedagogy, historical textbook analysis, educational reform, global education, the role of technology in educational access, genocide, human rights and peace education. Her interest in the role of technology, education and language/culture in promoting human rights and social reform has led her to work on training, advocacy and development projects with organizations in countries around the world, including the Ministries of Education in Mexico and Colombia, the Documentation Center of Cambodia, and the Open Society Institute, Thailand.
Kaitlin Banfill (Photographer): Kaitlin is an anthropology PhD student at Emory University studying education among the Nuosu Yi in China’s Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. She hopes her research on programs at vocational colleges will help facilitate education for rural people in the future. Kaitlin was a Fulbright scholar in Chengdu, China and received her BA from the University of Washington in anthropology. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Cool Mountain Fund, an NGO that supports education and sustainable development in Liangshan.
Murad Meshanni (Writer): Murad is currently a junior Honors College student at Rutgers-Newark. He is pursuing a major in Political Science with an emphasis on the preservation of human rights around the world. Murad is fluent in both English and Arabic, has a history of helping others in need, and for the last three years has actively ridden as an EMT at a volunteer squad of his own accord. His intellectual interests range from technology and medicine to politics, poetry, and philosophy, taking to heart the polymath mentality of the Renaissance Man. Murad hopes that his experience with CGHR will allow him to better understand the issues regarding global human rights violations and what it takes to protect them universally.
Jeff Benvenuto (Writer): Jeff is a PhD candidate in the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University. He is completing a dissertation entitled “Against Domestication: Indigenous Peoples, the Right to Cultural Integrity, and the Delegitimization of Forced Assimilation.” He is also the co-editor of the recent volume, Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America (Duke University Press). Born as an American settler on the traditional territory of the Chickasaw people, he now lives on Lenape land.
Lynette Sieger (Writer): Lynette is a PhD student in the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers and a Global Ethics Fellow for the Future at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Her research focuses on global governance and legitimacy with a concentration on legitimacy and accountability in multidimensional peacebuilding operations. She spent the summer of 2014 in Paris at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) as a visiting PhD researcher at the Centre for International Studies and Research.
Laurie Cohen (Writer): Laurie is a PhD Candidate in Rutgers’ Division of Global Affairs. Her research focuses on sites of atrocity as centers of public memory, space, and healing and their role in connecting the past to the present in contemporary post-conflict societies. Her broader areas of scholarly inquiry include the intersections of genocide prevention, human rights and transitional justice. Laura has presented various aspects of her research about the memorialization of the Srebrenica genocide in numerous national and international conferences. She received her Master of Science degree from New York University’s Center of Global Affairs (CGA) in Human Rights in 2012 and a separate Master of Arts degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in 1999.
INTRODUCTION Localizing the Global (Jeff Benvenuto)........................................................................................4
PERSPECTIVES Building a More Sustainable Future at Rutgers-Newark (Gary Conger).............................................................................................................................8 Confronting the Problem of Mass Incarceration in the United States (Karina Delgado)............ 12
Derek Demeri (Writer): Derek is the Project Leader for the Sexual & Gender Minorities Project under CGHR and co-founder of the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, an alliance of activists dedicated to promoting the human rights of sex workers living and working in New Jersey. He is set to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Political Science in May 2015 and plans to move to Atlantic City as a community organizer with sex workers. Derek is professionally committed to advocating for the human rights of those who are marginalized. Maya Horgan (Writer): Maya is Founder and CEO of Ingressive, an impact facilitation firm that connects companies in Africa with international investors. She comes from a background of private equity research and entrepreneurship journalism, and graduated from Pomona College after completing the Cornell University Prelaw Program. Maya has led trips abroad to conduct research and volunteer in Madagascar and Costa Rica, and uses these experiences as a basis to study the way business is used to liberate and empower. She recently moved to Austin from NYC, and enjoys writing and dancing locally when she is not traveling in Africa.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Implications of “Condoms as Evidence” for Queer and Trans* Youth in the United States (Derek Demeri)..........................................................................................................................14 The Case for Privatized Peacekeeping (Marielle Coutrix).........................................................16 Atlanta Celebrates 45 Years of Pride (Photo essay by Elena Lesley)..........................................18
EXPLORATION Remembering Local Legacies of Colonialism in New Jersey (Jeff Benvenuto)........................................................................................................................20 New National Center for Civil and Human Rights Draws Crowds in Atlanta (Photo essay by Kaitlin Banfill)..................................................................................................24 Raphael Lemkin’s Return to the DGA (Lynette E. Sieger and Laura Cohen).............................28 Cambodian Survivor of Khmer Rouge Advocates for Alternative Education (Maya Horgan).... 30
INTERVIEW Interview with Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark (Murad Meshanni)........................................................................................................................30
Claudia Petrilli (Designer): Claudia graduated with a BA in Art & Design from Rutgers-Newark. View her portfolio at www.designbyclaudia.com. ***Special thanks to Professors Alex Hinton and Nela Navarro***
Cover photo: Children explore exhibits in Atlanta’s new National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Photo courtesy of Elena Lesley.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Localizing the Global
Introduction | Localizing the Global
Introduction interactions have accentuated local awareness. Theorists and practitioners across a wide array of fields and disciplines have attempted to link the macro and the micro, combining the global and the local into a single frame of reference. This is epitomized, for example, in the motto of Rutgers University, “Jersey Roots, Global Reach.” In principle, the idea of this pairing is to suggest how even our own actions can have far-reaching impacts.
Jeff Benvenuto “Global” has become one of the major keywords of the early 21st century. The term etymologically derives from a Latin word meaning spherical, as in a globe of the Earth, and it was only by the late 19th century that it picked up the denotation of being universal or worldwide. In the 1960s, the phrase “global village” was coined in reference to the radical transformations created by communication technologies. In this context, the term “globalization” began to be used as a noun of action that has since become ubiquitous, used to describe nearly everything, from identity and violence to capitalism and democracy.
To be sure, there are conceptual problems with the global/local binary. It evokes a vertical spatial metaphor, whereby global phenomena occur “above” those of us at the local level down “below.” By virtue of their global features, according to this misconstrued logic, such phenomena can be seen as somehow being more important than our more parochial concerns. Besides, there are also other levels at which social processes unfold, which in any case may develop across mul-
In this rush towards globalization, there has also been a turn to the roots, as increased global
tiple boundaries. For instance, global discourses of justice move across state borders, and as they are appropriated and translated by local actors, they can feedback into dialogues at other levels, thereby disseminating into various other localities.
that, despite all of the glamour surrounding the idea of globalization, reality is experienced locally. This truism serves as an important reminder, for if we realize how our lives are embedded in broader relationships, then we can continue to change the world.
The articles in this special issue demonstrate such complex and profound ramifications of local issues. The topics covered here are diverse, ranging from environmentalism to peacekeeping, from sexual discrimination to mass incarceration, and from genocide to historical justice and education. While these are all global problems, they all ultimately occur within particular contexts at the most immediate level of peoples’ experiences. As such, these articles serve as important reminders Rutgers students have engaged with the greater local community through events such as Earth Day and a university-wide Day of Service.
Building a More Sustainable Future at Rutgers-Newark
Science & Impacts
What’s going on at the Sustainability Project?
Here at CGHR, we have adopted campaigns to divest our university endowment from fossil fuels, to reduce our use of plastic water bottles, to encourage RU-Newark to utilize solar energy, to encourage people to eat less meat and to advocate for the implementation of a carbon tax.
Gary Conger What will it take to leave a world fit for our grandchildren? We must wake up, envision a sustainable future, be prepared and then take action. People in Newark are creating a movement to shift our lives, community, country and world to a more sustainable future. Sustainability means “being able to meet our current needs without negatively affecting the ecosystem in order to meet the needs of the future,” the future we’re borrowing from generations to come. The Sustainability Project has been reenergized here on campus with CGHR and myself leading the way. We are excited to move forward with goals that individuals can help achieve and will have global impact.
Along with hundreds of other campuses, we are part of a global movement to divest our endowment from the top 200 worst companies that contribute to climate change. The national movement is called 350.org and, along with other institutions, we are signing petitions and organizing to pressure the Board of Directors to divest Rutgers’ 700 million dollar endowment (RU’s savings account) from companies that locate, extract and burn fossil fuels. Recently, Stanford University divested its 16 billion dollar endowment from coal companies.
The Basics of Climate Change Science and Our Changing Planet
For most of Earth’s history, our atmosphere has had an average of 275 parts per million* (ppm) of carbon dioxide (C02).
DANGER Industrial Revolution
CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which means it acts like a blanket that traps heat from the Sun. The more CO2 in the air, the thicker the blanket. Three hundreds years ago humans started burning coal and oil, and the amount of C02 in the atmosphere started going up.1 Now we’re at 400ppm and rising by about 2ppm every year. 350ppm is the safety limit for life on Earth.2 Over 350, we risk hitting dangerous “tipping points” (see next page). At 400 ppm and rising we’re far beyond anything human civilization has ever seen before.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured in parts per 1,000,000 total molecules of air. 400 or 275 may not seem like much compared to a million, but even these small changes can radically disrupt the way our planet works.
100,000 years ago
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, CO2 will need to be reduced from its current [levels] to at most 350ppm.” NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen
put solar panels on campus. Rutgers-New Brunswick has solar panels. NJIT has solar panels. William Paterson has solar panels. With as much space as we have here on and off campus we can drastically reduce our school’s Co2 footprint with Solar Panels.
Next our campaign called “Take Back the Tap” is a national movement and another way we can start making a statement now. Our movement encourages people and the campus to consume fewer plastic water bottles and use more glass or metal bottles and then refill at our hydration stations.
According to the United Nations, one of the main things people can do to reduce their personal Co2 footprint is to “eat less meat and dairy” or adopt a “meatless Monday,” abstaining from animal products once a week. With that goal in mind, we are working with the environmental sciences
We are also calling for Rutgers-Newark to reduce the energy sourced from power plants and 6
We are sending a clear message that it is wrong to profit from ruining our planet and demanding that the university reinvest the endowment into companies that will contribute to a more sustainable future.
Students at Tufts University campaign to divest the university’s endowment from companies contributing to climate change.
400 ppm CO2
Perspectives | Building a more sustainable future at Rutgers-Newark
department to plant rooftop gardens to possibly source fresh, non-genetically modified vegetables to our salad bar or the people of Newark. That will help make it easier to adopt a lifestyle where people consume fewer animal products.
Policy-wise, we are lobbying our senators for a carbon tax. Almost nothing will be more effective in reducing our Co2 footprint than implementing a carbon tax. It’s simple economics: the higher the price, the lower the demand because people will be more likely to search for less costly alternatives, like solar panels or electric cars. This will be highly effective in a country like America where buying habits are relatively price sensitive. Because of this sensitivity, many of our products are produced overseas where labor is cheaper. But transporting it is very Co2 intensive. So if you look at a product’s “cradle to cradle Co2 footprint” and add a tax to every ton of Co2 emitted that it took
Recently, Stanford University divested its 16 billion dollar endowment from coal companies. We are sending a clear message that it is wrong to profit from ruining our planet and demanding that the university reinvest the endowment into companies that will contribute to a more sustainable future.
to get that product from raw material shipped to your hands, it would increase the price. Then you would rationally choose similar products that are made with more sustainable material and closer to your home. Here on campus people in various departments have taken big steps to make the university
People’s Climate Change March, 2014 in New York City.
Newark and in surrounding areas have done a great job of educating and organizing people to move toward a sustainable future. A case in point is Tobias Fox, who runs the group Newark Science and Sustainability, which provides hands-on training and nutrition classes for local urban farming, ecoart and exploration and utilization of clean renewable energy. If you would like to get involved, you can reach out to me at conger. firstname.lastname@example.org or to Nela Navarro.
We are also calling for RutgersNewark to reduce the energy sourced from power plants and put solar panels on campus. Rutgers-New Brunswick has solar panels. NJIT has solar panels. William Paterson has solar panels. With as much space as we have here on and off campus we can drastically reduce our school’s Co2 footprint with Solar Panels.
more sustainable. Some of the highlights include environmental classes offered by Dr. Larson and Dr. Lyons out of the English Department and business school; hydration stations to refill your water bottle with filtered water; bike lanes to encourage the use of alternative transit to school; and vegan lunches in the cafeteria. Some leaders here in Stanford students advocate for divestment. Photo courtesy of Fossil Free 8 Stanford.
Perspectives | Building a more sustainable future at Rutgers-Newark
Confronting the Problem of Mass Incarceration in the United States Karina Delgado
In his scholarship on decriminalization, Rutgers University professor Douglas Husak claims that drugs should be decriminalized because even the best arguments for criminalization fall short of what we would call “good arguments.” Looking at drug policy over the past 50 years, it becomes clear that the United States has been holding on to outdated ideas about drug crimes. As a result of the War on Drugs, the United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This problem has come to be known as mass incarceration. How we can begin to fix the problem of mass incarceration is complicated. First, Americans must acknowledge the problems that exist in the criminal justice system. Only then can we begin to move forward.
The problem with incarceration can be traced back to the 1960s when “get tough on crime” rhetoric became prominent among politicians. Scholar Walker Newell addresses this problem in “The Legacy of Nixon, Reagan, and Horton: How the Tough on Crime Movement Enabled a New Regime of Race-Influenced Employment Discrimination.” He describes the 1960s and early 1970s as “turbulent years, characterized by often violent demonstrations conducted by African-Americans and resistance to the prospect of racial equality on the part of many whites.” As a result, conservative politicians “[capitalized] on overwhelming public opinion in favor of more rigid crime control” and “endorsed policies designed to put more offenders in prison for longer periods of time.” According to Newell, it was this exploitation of genuine public concern for safety that drove the support for “get tough on crime” policies, like mandatory minimum sentences and more
stringent drug policies. Nixon’s campaign rhetoric reflects the “get tough on crime” rhetoric. In a 1967 Reader’s Digest article, Nixon is quoted as saying that the United States was “far from being a great society… [it] is becoming a lawless society.” It is also interesting to note that Nixon was extremely careful not to frame the “lawlessness” as being a race issue. He made it a societal issue. Once politicians began getting “tough on crime,” it became easier for them to convince the public of certain measures that they deemed necessary, such as legislation that would crack down on the prevalence of certain crimes, and more stringent penalties for certain crimes.
As a result of the virulent way politicians addressed those concerns, “get tough on crime” rhetoric became “get tough on crime” legislation. At the same time, conservative politicians took advantage of the American citizens’ concern that drug abuse was becoming a huge problem for the country and began pushing for legislation that would quell these concerns. For a while in the late 1980s, however, not many Americans thought that the “drug problem” was the most pressing issue facing the United States. As Reagan, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, pushed the War on Drugs further, the public’s view on the “drug problem” began to change and “in 1989, 27% of Americans believed that drug abuse was the most serious problem facing the country.” With so many Americans concerned about the drug problem, and with politicians like Reagan pursuing the War on Drugs, it was only a matter of time until legislation began to reflect this “tough” perspective. In 1986, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which set the 100:1 crack-cocaine to cocaine ratio, and the mandatory minimum sentences for possession, was passed.
The Dare Logo. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Nancy Reagan during a “Just Say No” walk at the Washington Monument.10 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Perspectives | Confronting the Problem of Mass Incarceration in the United States
What started as a way of communicating a message to Americans has led to one of the biggest problems that the United States has faced. Though the problem of mass incarceration is nothing if not multi-layered, it is difficult to deny the impact that anti-drug legislation has had. In the article “The Incarceration Explosion,” Dr. John Conyers, Jr. writes, “from 1980 to 1997, the rate of incarceration for drug offenses increased nearly tenfold, from 15 per 100,000 adults to 148 per 100,000 adults. Today, nearly half of America’s federal inmates are in prison on drug convictions.” Any chart based on incarceration data from the 1970s until the 2010s will demonstrate the same assertions that Conyers makes in his article. The rapid increase in incarcerated Americans started with the War on Drugs, which was a result of the “get tough on crime” mentality that many conservative politicians presented to the voters beginning in the 1960s.
As a result of the War on Drugs, the United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This problem has come to be known as mass incarceration. How we can begin to fix the problem of mass incarceration is complicated. First, Americans must acknowledge the problems that exist in the criminal justice system.
To push matters even further, with the rise in incarceration rates came the rise of the disparity among those incarcerated. Conyers continues, “Although the stated purpose of this ‘war on drugs’ was race-neutral, African Americans have been disproportionately arrested, convicted, and incarcerated on drug charges, both relative to their numbers
A drug bust. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
and arrest blacks committing crimes, and it became easier for courts to sentence them to longer prison terms. So, what started as a racially-neutral attack on crime in the city and inner-city eventually became mass incarceration as we recognize it today.
in the general population and among drug offenders.” In his paper “Crack Cocaine, Congressional Action, and Equal Protection” Paul J Larkin, Jr. cites two major contributors to the disparity among those incarcerated. To paraphrase Larkin, the War on Drugs made it easier for police officers to find
It is time that we start to focus on fixing the problem with mass incarceration, rather than perpetuating it. In an August 2013 address to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledges that, though he has the utmost respect for the American legal system, it is time that we all face the harsh reality that it is broken in many ways. He asks whether the “war on drugs” has been truly effective, or whether it is time that we abandon the “tough on crime” efforts in favor of a new approach. Prison, he states, is meant to deter and to punish, not to warehouse and forget. This new approach to drug policy is exactly the kind of change that the United States needs to see in order to begin recovering from the period of mass incarceration.
As Reagan, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, pushed the War on Drugs further, the public’s view on the “drug problem” began to change and ‘in 1989, 27% of Americans believed that drug abuse was the most serious problem facing the country.’
Anti-drug trafficking officers. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Nancy Reagan and the “Just Say No” campaign. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia 12 Commons.
Perspectives | Confronting the Problem of Mass Incarceration in the United States
Implications of “Condoms as Evidence” for Queer & Trans* Youth in the United States
to confiscate and destroy the condoms from the person perceived to be a sex worker. While most documentation of these human rights violations has been concentrated to New York City, reports show this to be a common practice that is found all over the country.
Derek J. Demeri Despite the proliferation of same-sex marriages being legalized across the country, the queer and trans* community continues to face a host of issues that inhibit the community’s full development. Of particular concern is the impact “condoms as evidence” policies have in urban areas.
It is a well established fact that access to condoms is a vital and imperative strategy in reducing the spread of HIV in at-risk populations. With a “condoms as evidence” policy, the U.S. legal system is criminalizing ways communities perceived to be sex workers can protect themselves against HIV and other STIs. In a study conducted by the PROS Network, roughly half of those interviewed claimed that they no longer carry condoms for fear that they will be arrested. In these studies, trans* women of color were more likely to report police intimidation, condom confiscation, and arrest for breaking prostitution laws. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, it is estimated that 40% of the homeless youth population across the United States is trans* or queer. As a means of survival, homeless queer and trans* youth sometimes engage in sex work (known as survival sex) in order to provide for basic necessities such as food and shelter. Knowing this, the NYPD targets this population attempting to crack down on those breaking prostitution laws. For all queer and trans* youth of color, condoms are usually found during stop and frisk incidences and results in further questioning by the law enforcement. It is believed that the more gender non-conforming a person of color is, the more likely the police are going to stop them for questioning; thereby criminalizing those who dare to push the gender binary. For those who are actually homeless or without a stable
Photo courtesy of Bloomberg.
The “condoms as evidence” policy is an issue that has been well documented by Human Rights Watch, The Open Society Foundation, the PROS Network, and many other human rights organizations. “Condoms as evidence” is an unofficial and sometimes official policy of law enforcement to target people who are perceived to be sex workers, and, if found carrying condoms, using the possession of condoms as legal evidence that prostitution laws have been broken. If police decide against making an arrest, they are also reported 14
State and local governments have the authority and responsibility to stop this blatant attack on queer and trans* youth across the country. Thus far, the only jurisdictions in the United States to fully stop using condoms as evidence in prosecuting prostitution charges are Nassau County, NY , San Francisco, CA, and Washington DC. California State passed a law giving judges discretion to disallow condoms during trials related to prostitution charges. The New York State Assembly passed the “No Condoms as Evidence” bill on June 20, 2013, the most comprehensive in the country, and is currently awaiting senate approval. The NYDP has announced they will discontinue their “condoms as evidence” policy except in cases of perceived human trafficking or exploitation which continues to put these people at risk to HIV and other STIs. Activists everywhere are urged to continue putting pressure on local and state governments. U.S. policy makers are called upon to appeal to reason and realize the negative consequences “condoms as evidence” policies have on our communities.
Rally against use of condoms as evidence. Photo courtesy of The Villager.
place to live, this is a daily occurrence since much of their time is spent in public spaces where they cannot avoid the watchful eye of the police. As a result of these practices, queer and trans* youth are fearful to carry condoms. Many report that they think twice before carrying condoms with them in public spaces, or, for those who engage in sex work, will have raw sex because it is too dangerous to carry a condom. Despite the risks of carrying condoms, some defy the law enforcement and hide condoms in bras, wigs, purses, and other places so they have means of protecting themselves against HIV and other STIs. For trafficked victims and others who are forced to engage in sex for money, exploiters will cite “condoms as evidence” policies as a reason to prevent them from carrying condoms for fear that an arrest will stop the exploiter’s flow of money. 15
Perspectives | Implications of “Condoms as Evidence” for Queer & Trans* Youth in the United States
The Case for Privatized Peacekeeping Marielle Coutrix
Since the 1990s, Private Military Companies (PMCs) have been exerting increasing pressure on the United Nations to deploy their private contractors in peacekeeping missions. While Kofi Annan had previously claimed that the world was “not ready for privatized peace,” since 2005, the UN Working Group on Mercenaries has reevaluated its position towards PMCs. The Working Group has agreed for the UN to hire contractors as an agile UN Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) to stabilize erupting conflicts. This renewed interest in integrating PMCs into peaceCover of “Corporate Soldiers and International Security.” keeping troops remains highly controversial, however, as with the case of Blackwater, a PMC hired by the U.S. to wage war in Iraq, and which offered its services to the United Nations’ Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2006. Nevertheless,
Kofi Annan. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Blackwater’s abuses in Iraq and omission of PMCs from International Humanitarian Law (IHL) have made PMC contributions to humanitarian missions a contentious issue on the international stage. First, it is important to clarify that the danger of PMCs comes, not from the privatization of violence itself, but from the ambiguity related to the application of the law of armed conflict (IHL) to PMC practices. In fact, while PMCs are increasing in armed conflict, IHL makes no reference to them and thus fails to regulate their practice, leading many to condemn them as mercenaries. Nevertheless, many states have resisted this association and instead, have compared these private contractors to both combatants and civilians. The status of PMC employees, however, is only one source of IHL ambiguity and thus PMC unaccountability. State control and liability, as well as democratic oversight, are additional issues that have emerged due to the delegation of governmental functions to private military companies.
September 16th, 2007, involved the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians by five Blackwater security guards in Nisour Square, Baghdad. The contractors claimed they fired to protect the convoy from insurgents, but Iraqi officials claim the killing was unprovoked. Iraq revoked Blackwater’s operating license but the shooting has not successfully been prosecuted. The case against the five contractors closed when Blackwater paid each victim’s family $100,000 in reparation, as demanded by the State Department. From the trial, it became clear that the lack of monitoring and regulation in Iraq facilitated Blackwater’s use and escalation of violence and made impossible the collection of incriminating evidence against the contractors. The United States’ liability for Blackwater’s actions seems to have been completely disregarded. Blackwater’s violence and impunity is reflective of democratic oversight posed by PMC activity.
for greater outsourcing of military activities. The Blackwater lobby is also significant in Iraq. In December 2007, three months after the Nisour Square shooting, Blackwater offered $1 million to Iraqi officials demanding they reauthorize Blackwater contractors on Iraqi territory. Blackwater’s parasitic involvement in Iraq clearly points to the increasing power of private military companies in armed conflict and through their fraudulent behavior, PMC’s disregard for both home state and host state’s rule of law.
The case of Blackwater in Iraq helps to concretize the challenges posed by PMC unaccountability under IHL force. Despite these controversies regarding PMC-state partnerships, when acknowledging the inadequacies of the UN to respond and prevent the Rwandan genocide back in 1994, the Undersecretary General Kofi Annan had contemplated using PMCs to organize refugee centers in Kivu. Until 2004, however, such suggestions were met with
Blackwater’s significant contracts with the government – deemed to be more than half a billion dollars in 2006 – also hint at the influence Blackwater has as a corporate giant when lobbying
The United States’ use of Blackwater in the Iraq war and specifically the Nisour Square incident, highlight the dangerous loopholes in international law relating to the private military industry. These loopholes underscore the risks the UN would be taking in contracting PMCs for peacekeeping. The Nisour Square incident on 16
Blackwater Security Company helicopter in Baghdad. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Perspectives | The Case for Privatized Peacekeeping
vehement opposition. Ironically, however, PMCs have been involved in what are called “second rank” UN activities as they assist in peace-building projects by building barracks and transporting supplies.
Since 2005, the UN Working Group on Mercenaries has reevaluated its position toward PMCs and agreed for the UN to hire PMCs as an agile UN Rapid Reaction Force. Nevertheless, the use of PMCs by the UN today is still very limited and constrained. The organization’s shift toward outsourcing begs us to consider whether the world is in fact “ready for privatized peace” and if so what aftermath should be expected of a strong UN-PMC partnership. It can be argued that the UN and the international community would in fact encounter similar accountability and jurisdictional
Fighters from a Private Military Company. Photo Courtesy of 4thmedia.org.
arguments have been put forward in favor of PMC participation in peacekeeping. The International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), a private military trade association, insists that the UN’s forces are stretched thin and that private contractors would make for swift and efficient deployable resources. Skeptics of PMC peacekeeping have softened their disapproval and asserted that PMCs could be hired to stabilize regions before professional peacekeepers can be deployed. Ultimately, while the status of PMCs in accordance with IHL is often ambiguous in that they can be considered combatants, mercenaries, or civilians, contractor integration in peacekeeping clearly identifies them as combatants. Despite the clearer status conferred unto PMC employees in the context of peacekeeping and claims that private companies would do peacekeeping “faster, better, and cheaper,” the privatization of peace remains highly controversial. Even though it would be clear that PMC peacekeepers would take orders from the UN, liability and jurisdiction over their actions remains unclear. While misconduct on the part of peacekeepers is a liability to the UN, the UN does not have jurisdiction over peacekeeping personnel.
Blackwater helicopter over the Republican Palace in Baghdad Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
loopholes and challenges when regulating PMCs for peacekeeping as the U.S. and Iraq have faced with Blackwater. Before discussing the legal dilemmas associated to the UN’s recruitment of PMCs, convincing 18
The UN can terminate troops’ mandates and could thus terminate the PMC’s contract, but further punishment for PMC violations relies on the home or host state. Considering that, on one hand, the host state’s judiciary is often weakened during war and that peacekeepers operating under a Status of Forces Agreement are exempt from host state jurisdiction, and on the other, that the home state may not be a party to the conflict and does not wish to exercise its extraterritorial jurisdiction due to cost of investigations and the ambiguity of PMC contractor status, peacekeeping PMC violations will most likely go unpunished – similarly to Blackwater’s violations in Iraq.
resources may subsidize their PMCs, allowing them to offer their services to the UN at more competitive prices than other PMCs, thereby enabling more developed nations to have a greater say in configuring geopolitics. Just as employing Blackwater in Iraq led to democratic oversight in the United States, the recruitment of PMCs in the UN could also disrupt the UN’s dependence on troop-contributing member states and thus decrease these states’ influence on peacekeeping. By using privatized violence, the UN would itself become a more private organization with a bureaucratic voice distinct from the international community’s. It would thus be possible for the UN to use PMCs to further its own self-interest on the international stage. Perhaps states may need to keep checks on the UN by contributing their own troops to the UN, thereby reestablishing a relationship of dependency that serves to regulate and control the UN.
It can also be argued that PMC’s private motives will also interfere with the UN’s commitment to peacekeeping. First, if PMCs are known to overcharge states for their services and lobby politicians for more contracts, as Blackwater did in the U.S., it is difficult to believe that PMCs would not engage in such unethical activity with UN officials. We can also imagine PMCs breaking peacekeeping contracts when the job becomes too difficult or solely choosing to work when the conflict is winnable and thus profitable to the PMC. PMC’s cost/benefit calculations would resemble those of states when the latter offer troops to the UN, thus suggesting that PMCs are no more helpful than official national forces to peacekeeping missions. PMCs may also find profit in prolonging conflicts and aggravating violence to secure their long-term deployment as peacekeepers.
Despite the impunity of PMCs thus far, if better regulated, they could become beneficial assets to UN peacekeeping troops. Regulating PMC peacekeeping may appear less menacing to nation states than regulating PMCs acting to further their nation’s self-interests. If greater PMC regulation is achieved in peacekeeping, perhaps the accountability mechanisms could someday be transferred and applied to armed conflicts in which PMCs act on behalf of a state. Regulating PMCs in peacekeeping may be crucial to paving the way for the regulation of the private military industry as a whole. someday raise my children to receive the best both worlds have to offer.
PMC involvement in peacekeeping also risks changing the power structure between peacekeepers, states, and the UN. If PMCs are politically tied to their home state, a PMC participation in a conflict may give its home state indirect power in shaping conflict resolution or simply become a proxy for state interference. States that have more
Perspectives | The Case for Privatized Peacekeeping
Perspectives | Atlanta Celebrates 45 Years of Pride
Perspectives Atlanta Celebrates 45 Years of Pride Photos by Elena Lesley This October, Atlanta celebrated its 45th annual Pride, the largest event of its kind in the Southeast. It featured a main Pride Parade, a Trans March, and Dyke March following National Coming Out Day.
Remembering Local Legacies of Colonialism in New Jersey Jeff Benvenuto
In May 2014, a United States federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, threw out a lawsuit filed by members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation against the makers of a recent film produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott. The Rampough are a relatively small Native American group from the Ramapo Mountains in northeastern New Jersey and southwestern New York who have historically suffered discrimination. They claimed that the screenwriters of Out of the
Map of the Lenape territory.
Harrelson, shares the same last name as many of the tribal members who filed the suit, thus strongly indicating that film’s characters were modeled after real-life people. Nevertheless, the judge concluded that there was no case for defamation and dismissed the charges.
For the average American, whose ancestors likely arrived in this country in the past century or so, the only presence of Indigeneity may be apparent through the names of local places, as Indigenous words have been appropriated to identify settler geographies and landscapes.
Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace.
Furnace, which was released in December 2013, falsely and humiliatingly depicted the Rampough as impoverished, lawless, and inbred mountain folk. The antagonist of the film, played by Woody
Ramapough Lenape Nation protest. Photo courtesy of Lohud Rockland blog.
While not widely reported, this incident serves as a reminder that, despite centuries of oppression, expulsion, and forced assimilation, the original people of what we call New Jersey are still here. It is unfortunately all too easy in this country to overlook the survival of Indigenous peoples and to forget the enduring legacies of colonialism. For the average American, whose ancestors likely arrived in this country in the past century or so, the only presence of Indigeneity may be apparent through the names of local places, as Indigenous words have been appropriated to identify settler geographies and landscapes. Familiar place names such as Hackensack, Raritan, and Passaic are all drawn from the Algonquian languages of the Lenape peoples who inhabited these lands since time immemorial. With that said, however, ignorance remains rife. Most residents of New Jersey, which was part
of a region known as Lenapehoking, are likely unfamiliar with the Lenape, on whose ancestral territory we now occupy. Even fewer probably know that tribal communities are still living here. Thus, in order to avoid offending our Lenape neighbors, such as what happened with the film cited above, a more concerted effort must be made by this state’s educational system to inform the people of New Jersey about local histories of colonialism. There is one historical episode in particular that deserves greater commemoration out of respect for the Indigenous peoples of New Jersey. Known as the Pavonia Massacre, it happened on February 25, 1643, in the area of present-day Jersey City, where at least 80 Lenape men, 23
Exploration | Remembering Local Legacies of Colonialism in New Jersey
women, and children were butchered by Dutch soldiers. This atrocity took place in the context of Kieft’s War, named after the contemporaneous Dutch governor of the New Netherlands colony who betrayed the honorable diplomacy of his predecessors.
In fact, Raphael Lemkin, the international legal scholar who famously coined the word genocide, and who also happened to briefly teach at RutgersNewark, was aware of what happened here. In his unpublished archival papers, there is a research notecard that reads: ‘A contemporary describes how babies were hacked to pieces or thrown alive into the river.’ Of the adults he wrote: ‘Some came running to us from the country having their hands cut off; some lost both arms and legs; some were supporting their entrails with their hands, while others were mangled in other horrid ways, too horrid to be conceived.’
Publicity for Out of the Furnace.
Pavonia train station.
Yet when William Kieft was sent from Holland to be the new director-general of the Dutch colony, he dispensed with the formalities of diplomacy and ushered in a wave of violence. He began by levying a harsh tax on the local Lenape peoples, who resisted what they considered to be an indignity. Relations subsequently devolved into warfare, and in 1643 Kieft ordered a brutal attack on a group of Lenape near the settlement of Pavonia. What happened there was so egregious that even the Dutch colonists were aghast, and Kieft was soon removed from his post before the entire colony was eventually taken over by the English.
In the early 17th century, the Dutch were the first Europeans to colonize this region of the continent, stretching from the Connecticut River in the north to the Delaware River in the south. At the geopolitical center of this Dutch colony was the settlement of New Amsterdam, which was at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. From there, the Dutch spread to the western side of the Hudson River, where they founded settlements like Pavonia. They were primarily interested in the fur trade with the Lenape and Iroquoian peoples of the region, and as such they tended to pursue more or less amicable relations with their Indigenous trading partners.
The word genocide comes to mind when trying to convey what happened at Pavonia in 1643. In fact, Raphael Lemkin, the international legal scholar who famously coined the word geno24
paid to the Lenape people, especially those like the Rampough, who still live in their ancient homeland.
cide, and who also happened to briefly teach at Rutgers-Newark, was aware of what happened here. In his unpublished archival papers, there is a research notecard that reads: “A contemporary describes how babies were hacked to pieces or thrown alive into the river. Of the adults he wrote: ‘Some came running to us from the country having their hands cut off; some lost both arms and legs; some were supporting their entrails with their hands, while others were mangled in other horrid ways, too horrid to be conceived.’” Unfortunately, one will be hard pressed to find any commemorative marker of this atrocity in contemporary Jersey City. Pavonia has long since been paved over, and the only remnant of this settlement is in the name of a local PATH station. Yet it is nevertheless profound that the creator of the genocide concept acknowledged this local legacy of mass violence. This serves as an unpleasant reminder that there is blood in the soil beneath our feet, and that our state was forged through violence. Such local legacies of colonialism must never be forgotten, and respect must be 25
Exploration | Remembering Local Legacies of Colonialism in New Jersey
Exploration | New National Center for Civil and Human Rights Draws Crowds in Atlanta
Exploration New National Center for Civil and Human Rights Draws Crowds in Atlanta Photos by Kaitlin Banfill The new National Center for Civil and Human Rights opened this past June in Atlanta, quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Conceived by civil rights leaders Evelyn Lowery, Juanita Abernathy, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and House Representative John Lewis, the museum pays tribute both to the civil rights movement in the United States and the global human rights movement. Among its featured exhibits is “Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection,” which contains the personal effects of native Atlantan Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Displays on modern human rights issues. Visitors at the museum.
A display highlighting the Brown v. Board of Education case.
Visitors learn about women’s rights around the world.
A multi-lingual mural at the museum.
Raphael Lemkin’s Return to the DGA
cablegrams, drafts of unpublished works, reports from the, then nascent, UN, photographs, and all manner of written material—which traced and formed Dr. Lemkin’s life’s work. Included among the abundance of noteworthy documents was the letter from Webster’s New International Dictionary accepting “genocide” as an official word. The event was featured on the NYPL’s blog.
Lynette E. Sieger and Laura Cohen During the Spring 2014 semester, a series of Raphael Lemkin-themed events were co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR) and the Division of Global Affairs (DGA). Dr. Raphael Lemkin (19001959) is celebrated for having coined the term “genocide” and for his indefatigable efforts, and ultimate success, in facilitating the creation and adoption of the United Nations (UN) Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention). Members of the Rutgers University-Newark community take special pride in noting their distinct connection with Dr. Lemkin who, from 1955-56, taught at Rutgers University-Newark School of Law. On March 18, 2014, Dr. Alexander Hinton, DGA Professor and Director of CGHR, along with students from his Spring 2014 graduate class on Genocide, were invited to view the Raphael Lemkin Papers at the New York Public Library (NYPL). As part of the course, students conducted new research based upon Dr. Lemkin’s prodigious scholarship of case studies of genocide, many of which remain unfinished. As an outgrowth from these studies and engagement with this archival material, students developed in-depth research papers related to questions which emerged from the process. Prior to the event, students only had access to Dr. Lemkin’s archives through microfilm.
Then, on April 3 and 4, 2014, CGHR hosted its inaugural international conference, Genocide: Pathways and Passages. Over 30 participants and moderators from across Rutgers University as well as other organizations from around the world took part in the two day event. The conference’s theme coincided with CGHR’s 2014 focal theme and the focus of its UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention. The emphasis was in keeping with the Center’s spotlight on critical genocide studies even as it openly engages issues like prevention and forms of mass violence that might normally fall outside the umbrella of genocide studies.
Photo courtesy of Laura Cohen
These mini poetry readings took “place spontaneously. The purpose
was to destabilize the traditional setting of an academic conference by arousing the curiosity and concern of the attendees while also throwing the proceedings somewhat off-balance—a small yet symbolic representation of the sense of dislocation that genocide survivors face in their everyday lives.
After a roundtable discussion of their individual projects, NYPL’s Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Archives Division, Mr. Thomas Lannon, presented a cart holding five boxes filled with the tangible documents—tattered pages of case studies, letters, newspaper clippings, business cards, 28
comments by Krzysztof Czyżewski, the CoFounder and President of the Borderland Foundation in Poland. The second part of the evening emphasized similarities between the genocide committed during the Ottoman Empire and the ongoing civiliandirected atrocities taking place in Syria. Ms. Thea Halo, President of the Sano Themia Halo Pontian Heritage Foundation, presented her work on “The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks 1913-1923: Myths and Facts,” also the subject of her book, Not Even My Name. Next, following a presentation by Ms. Nela Navarro, the Assistant Director of CGHR, about the experiences of Syrian refugees living in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, attendees were treated to a performance of traditional Syrian music by the Aleppian Music Ensemble.
The conference on Friday, April 4th featured four panels, all covering a range of themes within critical genocide studies. The first panel entitled, “Time and Place,” included discussions about the identification of precursors in World War I that led to the mass atrocities committed during the second world war (by Dr. Manus Midlarsky and Dr. Elizabeth Midlarksy); the shift over time in survivor perceptions of the genocides in both Rwanda and Burundi (by Dr. Bert Ingelaere); and the different ways the histories of North American indigenous populations are represented in four American museums (by Ms. Amy Fagin).
The conference began on the evening of April 3rd with the two thematic discussions. The first, “Genocide, Narrative, and the Arts,” featured
The second panel focused on blockages and flows of genocidal memory and covered topics includ-
Photo courtesy of Laura Cohen
Exploration | Raphael Lemkin’s Return to the DGA
Exploration | Raphael Lemkin’s Return to the DGA
Exploration The conference’s final panel “celebrated the life and work of
ing the impact of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia’s (ECCC) trials within survivor communities (by Dr. Laura McGrew); a literary deconstruction of the novel, Day, written by the political activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (by Dr. Thomas La Pointe); and the importance of conducting more research into mass atrocity—specifically why perpetrators of genocide do not merely kill their victims outright but consistently use torturous and inhuman methods to do so (by Dr. Edward Weisband).
Dr. Lemkin. Mr. Lannon from the NYPL opened the discussion with his comments about the provenance of the Raphael Lemkin Archives as well as both their historical significance and scholarly importance to current and future scholars.
Panel number three emphasized the myriad of “Shades of Grey” that accompany the legacy of genocide. Presentations were given on the “The Pathways of Accountability and the Rule of Law in Cambodia” (by Dr. John Ciorciari and Ms. Anne Heindel); “Shades of Life and Death: Biopolitics and Liminality of Wartime Rape (by Dr. Makiko Oku); and “A Railroad’s Pathway: A Question of Corporate Accountability in the Aftermath of Mass Violence” (by Ms. Sarah Federman).
artist and sculptor, Ms. Nancy Steinson, who was one of Lemkin’s research assistants. Interspersed throughout the day were impromptu readings of cinquains, a distinctive style of poetry created by Adelaide Crapsey (18781914). Crapsey’s poetry uses rhythm and meter innovatively in poems featuring five lines or 22 syllables. Using the didactic cinquain, a variation of Crapsey’s model, several students in Professor Hinton’s graduate course presented poems inspired by their research in the Lemkin Archives. These mini poetry readings took place spontaneously. The purpose was to destabilize the traditional setting of an academic conference by arousing the curiosity and concern of the attendees while also throwing the proceedings somewhat off-balance—a small yet symbolic representation of the sense of dislocation that genocide survivors face in their everyday lives. The conference received press coverage in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Rutgers-New Brunswick’s The Daily Targum, and Rutgers-Newark’s The Observer.
The conference’s final panel celebrated the life and work of Dr. Lemkin. Mr. Lannon from the NYPL opened the discussion with his comments about the provenance of the Raphael Lemkin Archives as well as both their historical significance and scholarly importance to current and future scholars. Four students from Professor Hinton’s DGA graduate class discussed the research they conducted in the NYPL’s Lemkin Archives. Each of the students presented her case study in the unique pechakucha format—using just 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, for a total of six minutes and forty seconds. Afterwards, Dr. Donna-Lee Frieze, a Fellow at the Center for Jewish History, discussed the intricacies involved in Lemkin’s tireless efforts to lobby UN member state politicians to support the Genocide Convention. The panel concluded with musings by the visual 30
Lemkin symposium participants. Photo courtesy of Laura Cohen.
Finally, on April 29, 2014, Dr. Hinton’s graduate class hosted the symposium, Archive Fever: Raphael Lemkin and Critical Genocide Studies. This PechaKucha-inspired event featured presentations based on the students’ archival research at the NYPL. Three themes—language, race and culture, and law—encompassed the diversity of case studies, which included such topics as cultural genocide; drone warfare; racial politics; the semiotics of genocide; genocide and international legal regimes; the conditions for and definition of genocide; and the symbolism of Dr. Lemkin’s archival materials. In attendance were Mr. Joseph Lemkin, whose father was Dr. Lemkin’s first cousin; Dr. Jim Fussell, an international genocide activist who founded Prevent Genocide International, and Dr. Frieze.
Cambodian Survivor of Khmer Rouge Advocates for Alternative Education
and a faculty member at the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online educational institution. Throughout his years in the educational system, he has become all too aware of its shortcomings. Through personal experience and observing the struggles of his peers, Emad said he found that entrance requirements such as the GMAT, GRE, LSAT and even the SAT discriminate against individuals with special needs and learning disabilities. He said that those who cannot afford either treatment or a psychologist’s examination and validation of their circumstances are not provided with testing alternatives.
mother said I must always “beMyintolerant of ignorance but
understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. -Maya Angelou
ed by the subject, but often find the context used to teach and promote business education intimidating and unapproachable.
Emad at the United Nations.
Born under Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, during which an estimated 1.7-million Cambodians lost their lives, Emad Rahim escaped the country as a boy with his mother, fleeing to the United States.
proaches,” he said. “Because of this, I’ve gained access to higher education — I’ve been able to improve my life and subsequently, many others.” After earning a bachelor’s from SUNY Empire State College, which is committed to customized distance learning, he received a master’s of science in management from Colorado Technical University, which offers an applied learning approach to online education.
But in his new country, life wasn’t always easy. Living first in one of Brooklyn’s Section-8 Housing projects and later the Southside of Syracuse, NY, Emad struggled in school. He was weeks away from failing out of high school when he connected with an alternative learning vocational program and received a dyslexia diagnosis.
“From my experience, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are interested in pursuing an education in business and can contribute a great deal to the field, but veer away from earning a business degree because they often believe they lack the necessary background to pursue an MBA,” he said. Emad strongly believes that the images and language used to promote business programs need to be more inclusive.
As a result, he said such exams perpetuate socioeconomic disadvantages. Moreover, the economically privileged have access to resources that help boost testing performance.
The barriers appear even higher if a student struggles with a learning disability, as is the case for one in seven Americans, Emad said. Traditional education does not provide the support many of these individuals need.
Children whose families are able to finance test-prep programs or personal tutoring services will have a far higher chance of success, he said. As an educator, Emad’s teaching philosophy focuses on making business education more inclusive. He explained that many people are fascinat-
Through access to alternative teaching, Emad was given the resources he needed to succeed. He has come a long way from being a struggling high school student in a new country, and he has been able to help others in the process, because of personalized education programs that catered to his learning style.
And he didn’t stop there. After receiving a doctorate of management from Colorado Tech, he completed post-doctoral studies at Tulane University and University of Maryland University College, earning a post-doctorate diploma in management and certificate in online teaching.
He became a believer in alternative education and an advocate for disadvantaged students. The Rutgers Visiting Scholar not only accrued the necessary credits to graduate high school — he went on to succeed in a number of degree programs.
In addition to serving as a visiting scholar at Rutgers, he is the appointed endowed entrepreneur-in-residence at Oklahoma State University
“I have been fortunate in that my educators understood the importance of non-traditional ap32
“The ripple effect of these programs is massive — without them, there would have never been a doctorate or master’s along my path. Not even a high school diploma,” he said. “Alternative education changes lives — and these lives can then change the world.” You can follow Emad Rahim on Twitter: @DrEmadRahim.
Emad and his family.
Exploration | Cambodian Survivor of Khmer Rouge Advocates for Alternative Education
Interview with Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers UniversityNewark
think of all those things in the abstract, but what is really remarkable is when you immerse yourself in it and you really feel a sense of what opportunity means on the ground, and I think just seeing the sense of curiosity and striving and appreciation on the part of so many different groups of students thinking, coming from so many backgrounds and feeling a sense of unity and togetherness in the commitment to making a difference in the world to really seizing the moment and seizing opportunity.
is our moment.” “ This -Chancellor Cantor
Concretely, going through the listening tours and the town-hall meetings, our strategic visioning process just brought it all home. Just getting a sense of what it means when you are sitting in a room of eighty students and students who’ve grown up in Newark itself are sitting and pointing to what it’s like to be in a university where you are meeting so many people [faculty, students, staff] from different heritage backgrounds, from different languages, form a sense of the world right here. A faculty member in FASN pointed out to me that in many other universities that we compete with that are similar to us [in the sense of being a research university with the kinds of disciplines that we have] in many of those instances you send students out to the world to get a sense of the world, but here the world is right here. It really is such a crossroads, and that has been amazing to watch.
During an interview in her office on August 29, the Chancellor spoke of her experiences in the Rutgers-Newark community thus far and about what her plans were moving forward as part of her Strategic Visioning Process.
What have been your most challenging moment(s) thus far?
Dr. Cantor you are about to begin your second semester at Rutgers this fall of 2014. Can you share with us what have been your most rewarding moments on campus?
Cantor: I think the challenge is not so much a moment. I think the challenge is how to capture the richness of Rutgers University-Newark as an identity itself, to extricate it, if you will, from a sense of being hidden in the bureaucracy of a larger system, but yet to figure out how that identity then collaborates with the larger systems within the community and the world.
Cantor: I think, when you think about a place like Rutgers University Newark, you can think of it in the abstract, you know, as “the most diverse urban research university in the country,” as a place that is at the crossroads of new immigration and a historic, iconic city [and old immigration if you will]. You can 34
So, it’s a challenge that is an opportunity, and I think it comes from a good place which is that I feel like we are really developing our own on our rich history. We’re also developing our affirmative sense of who we are and with that comes the opportunity and the challenge of making collaborations across other institutions. Whether it is RBHS and NJIT or other universities within the Rutgers system [Rutgers University New Brunswick and Rutgers University Camden] we have to figure out how we structure ourselves and what we call central services in the system. So, that runs the gamut from the intellectual challenges to the structural or operational challenges.
non-profit sector, with the government, and with our colleagues in higher education in science and environmental science. For example, we have so much to contribute in terms of collaborating around the urban environment and what that phrase means. It means economic development, obviously, and thinking about the public humanities and what it means to create dialogues and what it means in education to create pathways for the children and students of Newark and Greater Newark to really embrace that talent and cultivate that talent here. We have huge opportunities, and I think the fact that there have been structural changes in the system just brings to the forefront the opportunity for Rutgers University – Newark to stand forth as a partner and as an anchor institution. I also think, in that vein, it’s very important for us to chart what it means to be both of Newark and of the world in order to create the kind of combination of learning opportunities organized not just for students from this area, but for students from all over organized around the notion of what local citizenship in a global world means.
Rutgers has welcomed many structural changes, most notably the merging of UMDNJ here in Newark. What role do you think RUNewark plays in the broader RU community in light of these changes? Cantor: So it is more than just UMDNJ, but all of the different health businesses into RBHS. I see, and this came out very clearly in our strategic plan which we are about to roll out, that we are very much an anchor institution in this community and in northern New Jersey more generally. By “anchor institution,” I mean that we are here for the long haul. We are of Newark and not just in it. Sometimes universities see themselves as happenstance located in a place, but we are of this place and we have had remarkable engagements in this community over the years Now we have an opportunity with RBHS and our connection to Essex County College and NJIT, which has always been a piece under the collaborations with higher education.
Last semester you conducted a listening tour with members of the RUNewark community. What do you think were the most memorable experiences? What did you learn about RU Newark from these encounters? Cantor: There were just so many wonderful stories and conversations, but one of the most memorable for me was… well I will give you two examples. One was sitting in a group of faculty members of Arts and Sciences [humanities] faculty members, and
I think we have an opportunity to collaborate in focus areas like arts and culture in the city or strong, healthy, safe neighborhoods, which includes public health and safety. It is not that we lead in these focus areas, it is that we collaborate with the 35
Interview | Interview with Dr. Nancy Cantor-Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark
Cantor: I think that the Charrette groups were amazing because they tackled both what I would call an outside-in perspective on us and in insideout perspective. The outside-in being, “what does the world really need higher education to do?” That question produced conversations about mobility and opportunity in this country about the fact that training needed to be broad because the issues of the world are so complex that you cannot just have narrow professional training or just have liberal arts training.
somebody started talking about how he teaches a class of forty kids and that there are seventeen different heritage languages spoken in that class, and what that means for the richness of experience in dialogue and of learning in that classroom.
Other colleagues picked up on that notion and started talking about the fact that so many of our students are representing lives and translations of not only the languages themselves, but of the culture and experiences that come with that. It was just a rich, rich conversation, so that was one example.
There was also a tremendous appreciation in the Charrette groups, and we have many quotes of this, of getting behind the surface of what it means to be a diverse campus and getting to the nuances of understanding what it means to leverage that diversity.
Another example was talking to students about how exciting it is to not just study the rudimentary elements of administration and public affairs, but to actually be engaged in local non-profits and government groups and how it was really citizenship in action that just felt so empowering. I think one of the things that came out in the visioning process is that there are groups here who are invis-
I think, in many respects, that the Charrette groups were both fundamental in producing real stories about what the world needs, but they were also fundamental in creating a multi-constituency sense of who we are and what we should build on. Everything from historical stories of Conklin Hall to the long tradition that we have in public interest work here at Rutgers University – Newark, to the sense that we are on the cutting edge of the lives of the newest Americans.
It’s our moment because we’re, “geographically, in a place where
if Newark doesn’t thrive, America won’t thrive. The lessons of Newark resonate so much with the lessons of urban centers all across the world because the world itself is relentlessly urbanizing now.
As part of the responses, some great slogans surfaced. There was one about, “RU-N needing to have its own swag,” and that it should not be dominated by the Scarlet Knight mascot. There was a phrase that came out of one group stating that, “we have inclusive admission and elite graduates.” It was a beautiful point-counterpoint. We bring the world here and then produce people ready to take on the world.
ible that need to be made visible because they are such an important part of fulfilling our mission. As part of the Strategic Visioning Process, you and your office introduced and led Charrette groups. In what ways are they valuable to the visioning process?
You have proposed three compelling and important Charrette guiding questions. How 36
have other members of our RU-Newark community responded to these questions?
Cantor: What I think it means is… well, you can parse that up in many levels. One level is a set of things that you actually asked about which is how Rutgers as a system has developed into a much bigger and more sophisticated system and that gives us more autonomy and chances for collaboration which I think give us a strong sense of identity.
• What is higher education being called upon to do right now? • What is our story at Rutgers UniversityNewark? • If this is our moment, what shall we do?
It’s our moment in the sense of “ both people and place and timeliness
It is our moment because the world needs a place like us.
of the things that we are good at thinking about and taking action in, and I think all of that wraps up into the fact that we can make a real difference.
It is our moment because we do in fact reflect the future talent pool of this country and the world, and since the world is here, we are important.
It is our moment because we’re, geographically, in a place where if Newark doesn’t thrive, America won’t thrive. The lessons of Newark resonate so much with the lessons of urban centers all across the world because the world itself is relentlessly urbanizing now.
Cantor: Well, I think there was real buy-in and excitement in the Charrette groups without question [we have pages and pages of commentary about those]. Surprisingly, we had a lot of interest from our external stakeholders in those questions, which was great.
It is our moment because we have an extraordinary history of being a place of social mobility, of being a place of engagement and civic dialogue and multidisciplinary engagement in scholarly work at the cutting edge. Look at the issues that you [CGHR] pursue, certainly genocides happen around the world.
Our advisory board members from non-profit and profit sectors in Newark and Greater Newark really had a lot of interest in how we can really categorize Newark as the right place for this time in history. Clem Price says we are in a place, “Where all roads lead to Newark.” Our argument that came out of the strategic plan would be that we are in a place where opportunity and excellence intersect and that urban research universities are at the center of the future of this country and by extension, the world.
It’s our moment in the sense of both people and place and timeliness of the things that we are good at thinking about and taking action in, and I think all of that wraps up into the fact that we can make a real difference.
The RU-Newark Strategic Visioning Process webpage prominently announces, “This is our moment.” What does this mean to you/ your office? 37
Interview | Interview with Dr. Nancy Cantor-Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark
THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF
CONFLICT GENOCIDE, RESOLUTION & HUMAN RIGHTS
The Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights Facing tomorrowâ€™s challenges today The Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights seeks to enhance our understanding of and find solutions to the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century. To this end, the Center promotes cutting-edge research and scholarship on related issues such as genocide, violence, conflict resolution, environmental change, sustainable development, transitional justice, and human rights.
Contact Info: Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 360 Martin Luther King Blvd. 703 Hill Hall Newark, NJ 07102 USA Tel: 973-353-1260 fax: 973-353-1259 e-mail: email@example.com website: http://cghr.newark.rutgers.edu New Brunswick Office: 64 College Avenue New Brunswick, NJ 08902
Dr. Emad Rahim, Cambodian Survivor of Khmer Rouge Advocates for Alternative Education. Born under Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, during which...
Published on Jun 3, 2015
Dr. Emad Rahim, Cambodian Survivor of Khmer Rouge Advocates for Alternative Education. Born under Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, during which...