in the world Spring 2008
Emory University Since 1836 Atlanta, Georgia USA
mory is celebrating international partnerships at home and abroad. Early this year in India, Emory celebrated the launch of innovative partnerships involving medical and health sciences faculty, which is the subject of the feature story in this issue. Here in Atlanta, Emory celebrated the launch of Korean language classes with support from the Academy of Korean Studies, and this spring the launch of Chinese studies in Atlanta public schools through the Confucius Institute led by Emory and Nanjing University faculty with support from the Chinese Ministry of Education. Emory’s international award winners are also featured inside this issue. The long-standing Atlanta-Tbilisi partnership was celebrated with the presentation of this year’s Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award to Emory Law School alum from Georgia David Tkeshelashvili. Professor Rey Martorell, a major force in Emory’s international research partnerships and chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health, received the Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization. Emory continues to welcome increasing numbers of international students and scholars with some 2,530 from 123 countries in 2008. At the same time, each of Emory’s schools sends many students and scholars abroad, in a variety of diverse programs. The Halle Institute brought a political science senior seminar to Berlin and Brussels over spring break to learn more about Germany and the European Union, with generous support from Atlantik-Brücke and The Halle Foundation. Among the trip’s architectural highlights were tours of Germany’s national Parliament in Berlin, and the European Parliament building in Brussels where they met Hans-Gert Pöttering, president of the European Parliament.
In this issue, learn more about Emory’s study abroad programs from undergraduates on the Journeys program trip into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, professors leading fascinating study trips in Ecuador and Israel, and graduate students conducting pioneering research in Thailand and Nepal. You will also find a story from an Emory senior whose service-learning experience took her to Lhasa the summer before the violent clashes began this spring.
Top: The Halle Study Trip group in front of Germany’s national Parliament. Top right: Kenya’s award-winning cartoonist Gado signs a copy of his book for President and Executive Officer of The Carter Center John Hardman after a lecture at Emory. Bottom right: At the launch of the Confucius Institute in Atlanta, founding Director Rong Cai (right) is presented with a scroll by Dean of the Institute for International Students of Nanjing University Aimin Cheng (left) and Associate Vice President of Nanjing University Xian Zhou. The scroll features a quotation from Confucius that reads “The benevolent have kindness for all.” All photos by Alma Freeman
Cartooning in conflict was the theme addressed by Kenya’s award-winning editorial cartoonist Gado, when he came to Atlanta in February 2008 at the close of the “Cartooning for Peace” exhibition in the Schatten Gallery. He spoke at Emory and on CNN about the challenges of cartooning in the election’s violent aftermath. Finally, read about a remarkable international conference at Emory this spring on the reality of virtual worlds, where businesses have already found that gross sales transactions rival those of some small countries, that generated much attention among networks that span the globe. Read more inside about what Goizueta Business School’s Benn Konsynski describes as an event that looked “like the bar scene from Star Wars.” Holli A. Semetko Vice Provost for International Affairs Director, Office of International Affairs & The Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning Professor of Political Science
Emory University Since 1836 Atlanta, Georgia USA
in the world 24
2 Studying the Mind of an Elephant
16 Reading with Rushdie
PhD student researches elephants in northern Thailand.
PhD student reveals what it’s like as a student of novelist and professor Salman Rushdie.
4 Lessons from a Rainforest Oxford professor Michael McQuaide tells of his class’s study trip to rural Ecuador.
6 Pushing the Boundaries Kenyan cartoonist explores a nation in conflict.
8 The Messenger Emory College senior volunteers in Tibet on a service-learning grant, and delivers a message from Lhasa to the Dalai Lama.
10 A Global Collaboration Newly-launched ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center in India tackles world’s deadliest diseases.
14 The Reality of Virtual Worlds, Revealed Scholars and practitioners convene for a conference on virtual worlds.
18 Exploring the Roots of Western Civilization
Emory student volunteers join professor Oded Borowski on an excavation project in Israel.
20 After War, Child Soldiers Fight a New Battle
MD-PhD student explores how child soldiers in Nepal have the ability to heal after a lifetime of war.
22 International Awards Night Emory honors professor of International Nutrition Reynaldo Martorell and Emory Law School alum David Tkeshelashvili.
24 Reflections on a Journey Two Emory College students share their experiences on a Journeys program-sponsored trip to the Middle East.
Office of International Affairs | Box 52, Administration Building, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 Tel: 404.727.7504 Fax: 404.727.2772 | www.oia.emory.edu Editor: Alma Freeman, Editorial Board: Holli Semetko, Mari Frith | Designer: Saba Sungar, blendedimage.com | Cover: Indian cloth lanterns. Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/anyaivanova
By Josh Plotnik
Karl Cullen, a mahout (elephant caretaker) from Australia has been caring for an older male elephant at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for more than four years. The elephant at left has been treated with Gentian violet (a purple disinfectant spray) for surface abrasions on her trunk. Photo by Josh Plotnik
s soon as I wake up, I glance at my watch. It’s 6 a.m. Outside, it sounds like the brass section of the Emory Symphony Orchestra. I roll out of bed, and as I step towards the door, one foot in front of the other, the first finds the floor, while the second cleanly goes right through it. I smile. Bamboo floors are, after all, made of bamboo. I open the door as I throw on a sweatshirt. It feels like 60 degrees now but in three hours it will be pushing 100. I stroll out to my balcony made of – you guessed it, bamboo – and sit comfortably watching the giant grey jumbos enjoying an early morning meal. Four months ago, I packed up my Toco Hills apartment and moved to Thailand. Four years ago, when I first came to Emory, there was little chance I would have predicted that I would now be studying elephants as a PhD dissertation project. I became interested in animal behavior as an undergraduate, and came to Emory to work with Frans de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology, specifically to study chimpanzee social behavior. When he presented me with an opportunity to work with a larger, similarly intelligent (yet remarkably understudied) mammal two years later, I jumped at the chance. In 2006, he and I, along with Diana Reiss of
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CUNY Hunter College, conducted the first successful test of mirror self-recognition (MSR) in Asian elephants, at the Bronx Zoo in New York. By demonstrating that elephants are capable of recognizing themselves in their mirror images, we were able to add the elephant to an already small group of intelligent animals: humans, the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas) and dolphins. The question of what the mirror test actually tells us about the animal mind is hotly debated, but its indication of an animal’s self-awareness may have links to other cognitively complex capacities, including empathy. Such behavior is remarkably unique to the same small group of MSR-capable animals: dolphins will help injured and tired conspecifics to the water’s surface to breathe, chimpanzees will help injured birds try to fly or reach for crying infants in trees, and elephants will coordinate the lifting of a dying conspecific, followed by the covering of its body if it passes. The mirror study, although easy to understand and seemingly simple to explain, raises a ton of new questions. Non-human primates have been continuously studied for decades, with a wealth of literature on both their cognition and behavior available with a few clicks within the Emory on-line databases. But elephants have received remarkably little attention in terms of the links between their minds and their behavior.
In only a few short months in Thailand, I’ve seen some incredible social behavior, such as instant reaction to an elephant infant’s distress calls, whether they are serious or benign, the latter often a result of a fluttering garbage bag or a barking dog; conflict between adult females over a magnificently tall yet stubbornly old bull elephant; and female pairs that bully other females, until their respective families come to their rescue. Often, some of the most incredible interactions center around the young 1- to 3-year-old elephant calves. A calf may wander away from its family, and come across a snake or something as small as a twig. He lets out a squeal, and immediately, his mother and aunties, the latter not always individuals closely related to him, perk up. Their ears come straight out – indicating close listening, but also a sign of distress or alertness – and they immediately make a bee-line for the baby (elephants can move as fast as 15 mph, so it’s best to not be in their way). With trumpets, deep rumbles that sound like an approaching thunderstorm, and high-pitched chirps, repetitive sounds a bit like bird song, the adults swarm around the infant, creating a large, grey cocoon that is virtually impenetrable. With the baby on the inside, the adults, constantly touching each other and the calf, stay alert towards any possible threat on the outside. With a few trunk smacks on the ground – a loud popping noise the elephants make to keep others away, seemingly by blowing air out of their trunks as they smack them on the ground – the incredibly emotional interaction is over. I split my time in Thailand between two research sites, one for conducting behavioral observations (the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai) and the other for conducting cognition experiments (the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang) similar in style to our mirror study. In captivity, one mahout, or elephant caretaker, is responsible for a single elephant’s care. Because I spend each day working with the elephants and their mahouts, I have had the opportunity to develop strong bonds with both the animals and the men. I recently emailed John Ford, senior vice president and dean of Campus Life, and Tim Downes, director of Athletics and Recreation, for some help in getting surplus Emory gear for the mahouts. Within 24 hours, they had already prepared a box of clothes. I haven’t had a chance to distribute the Emory T-shirts yet, but I know that a single T-shirt will likely double the wardrobe of most of the mahouts. You can feel pretty guilty walking around with expensive camera equipment that is equal to the 6-month-salary of most of the people around you. Having the luxury of watching elephants for a living suddenly doesn’t seem all that glamorous. The sanity comes, however, from sitting in a field with a mahout and his elephant. As the mahout carves a small wooden elephant to sell to tourists, I speak softly into my voice recorder as his elephant carefully touches the face of one of the young calves. The mahout looks at me and smiles – the only concrete form of communication when our languages are so markedly different – and suddenly it’s about the elephant and tranquility. And then, being a graduate student feels pretty good. a Josh Plotnik is a PhD student in psychology from New York, NY. He is currently studying in Thailand as a 2007-08 U.S. Dept. of Education Fulbright-Hays Fellow.
Top: A bull elephant with his mahout at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang. Photo by R. Lair; Center: Elephants at play at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Photo by Josh Plotnik; Bottom: (from left) Josh Plotnik, Frans de Waal, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Eric John, and U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai Michael Morrow at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Photo by K. Highet
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uring the fall of 1997, I was preparing to enjoy a sabbatical during the next semester. This was to be my third break from the minutiae of professorial life. Goodbye to committee meetings, long office hours, and the demands of academic advising. I focused my reading on medical history, as this was to be the intellectual emphasis of my time away from the classroom for the spring semester of 1998. I love teaching my medical sociology course each year, and wanted to shore up my knowledge of the early, pre-modern aspects of healing. Among many other texts, I had read Mark Plotkin’s Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice. This story of his visit to the Amazon basin to work with indigenous healers fired my own imagination to the point where I decided to reach as far into that great unknown as I could.
Standing on the sacred “frog rock” near the Misahualli river, Augustin Grefa, the host and guide of an Oxford student group in Ecuador, narrates a story of the origin of the Quechua people. Photo by Michael McQuaide
Lessons from a Rain Forest By Michael McQuaide
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So, in March 1998, I flew to Quito, Ecuador, to begin the most outrageous travel of my life. Traveling has always been attractive to me – the more remote and strange, the better. I got what I was looking for during those 10 days in South America. I traveled literally to the end of the road in Napo Province, Ecuador, before leaving the vehicle to take a dugout canoe down the largest tributary of the Amazon River. After some miles on the river, the indigenous boatman pointed to the muddy bank and motioned for my guide and I to begin our hike here. When my guide asked for directions to our final destination, the indigenous man just said to turn left whenever we were confused about the trail. We anticipated a three-hour walk into the indigenous village of Rio Blanco. We made every mistake possible during our walk that stretched all day and into the evening. At places, the trail disappeared entirely into the tangle of tropical growth. At one point, the trail simply appeared to dead end at a tall mud bank. The guide made three attempts to scale this wall of mud, sliding back to the flat ground each time. It was only at this point that it dawned on me to ask him how many times he had walked into Rio Blanco. “Never been there, thought you had,” was his answer. We agreed that the Quechua who regularly walked that path would not create a trail that required them to crawl up that mud bank. Eventually, we discovered that the trail followed a shallow stream for about a quarter mile before becoming visible again. After dark, we arrived in Rio Blanco and were greeted by the Grefa family who hosted us for the next several days. That trip took place just over 10 years ago and I have returned to Ecuador more than a dozen times since then. My wife, Stacy Bell, and myself have become good friends with the Grefa family and were recently invited to the shaman Augustin Grefa’s 50th birthday party in the jungle. I returned to Atlanta after that first trip in 1998 with an emerging idea to develop a sociology course that would allow undergraduates the chance to visit that awe-inspiring place and work with the Quechua who live there. With the endorsement of the Oxford faculty and solid support from then Dean Bill Murdy, I developed a course titled “Social Change in Developing Societies.” The course was taught for the first time in 1999 and has enjoyed full enrollment
Top: Grefa returns with Oxford travelers from a visit to the mermaid falls on Rio Humbuano. Photo by Michael McQuaide; Bottom: Michael McQuaide holds a Quechua girl after a cultural exchange event in the indigenous village of Rio Blanco. Photo by Stacy Bell McQuaide
each spring semester. During the classroom work in January and February, we read and discuss issues relating to the pros and cons of globalization and explore comparisons and contrasts between western medicine and the types of healings we witness while in Ecuador. For 10 days over the spring break, we travel to remote areas in Ecuador and work with people very far removed from what the students define as normal. We return to Rio Blanco by the same route I first traveled and learn from the Quechua how they survive in the tropical rainforest. We walk through torrential rains and are sometimes turned back from our original itinerary due to local labor disputes or washed out roads. Through all of it, though, our groups maintain a positive morale because we are all in it together and no one gets favored treatment. We eat what the Quechua serve us and all get soaked when the canoe leaks and fills with water. To date, more than 100 Oxford and Emory College students and faculty have participated in this special academic course of study. Many have described this course as the single most meaningful academic experience of their lives. We have spent considerable time trying to dissect why this course has the demonstrated consequences that it does. From a purely academic perspective, the students are told that they must write the best 16-plus-page essay that they ever have, and the majority of them do just that. Paper topics over the years range from the many promises of globalization, comparisons between shamanism and early Christianity, contrasts between North American birthing practices and Amazonian midwifery, the role of the placebo effect in shamanism and modern medicine to the relative status of working women in South America and rural Ecuador. In the process of present-
ing their papers, the students develop their seminar skills as we discuss each paper and its implications. In addition to these formal skills, the group spends much time in conversation while in Ecuador. These conversations include the history of indigenous knowledge and its appropriation by pharmaceutical companies, the effect of American consumption on the rest of the world, and the many ways in which our every decision, no matter how private, has public consequences. These latent but social consequences become apparent to us while we visit with the people who are on the receiving end of American policies and practices. In my view, this consideration of our effects on others is the most important consequence of this study and travel program. The students come away with a new understanding of conflicting arguments on both sides of controversial issues. They begin to realize the possibilities of a just and caring community that can transcend the boundaries of nations. a Michael McQuaide is a professor of sociology at Oxford College. EMORY in the world
Pushing the Boundaries: A Kenyan Cartoonist Explores a Nation in Conflict By Alma Freeman
ews of Kenya’s disputed presidential elections in December 2007, which resulted in more than 1,000 people killed and 300,000 displaced, filled newspapers and television screens across the globe. As East and Central Africa’s most syndicated cartoonist, Godfrey Mwampembwa (Gado) faced a unique challenge of negotiating the complexities of the conflict through cartoons. “Editorial cartooning is a confrontational art, so a cartoonist is always in conflict with either the authorities or the society at large,” said Gado during the public lecture “Cartooning in Conflict: Can Cartoons Help Bring Peace to the Political Crisis in Kenya” in February. Sponsored by The Halle Institute, Gado’s visit was a continuation of the “Cartooning for Peace” forum held at Emory in November 2007. The week-long event featured 10 acclaimed cartoonists from Algeria, France, Israel, Japan, Palestine, Turkey, and the United States for a series of public panels, class visits, and public lectures on the topics of controversy, gender, conflict, global health, and political leadership. Over 100 of their cartoons, including 17 from Gado, were on display at the Schatten Gallery. The brainchild of Le Monde’s editorial cartoonist Plantu, the inaugural event of “Cartooning for
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Peace” was held at the United Nations headquarters, cosponsored by The Halle Institute, in New York in 2006. Although he was one of the participants in that inaugural event, and has since participated in a number of other “Cartooning for Peace” forums, Gado was unable to come to Atlanta in November 2007 due to prior commitments to cover the presidential campaign in Kenya at the time. This also meant that he was unable to travel to the Netherlands in December 2007 to receive the Prince Claus Award for his “courageous cartooning, for using humour to expose aspects of social and political conflicts, and for his inspirational role in the struggle for free expression.” Instead Laetitia van den Assem, the Dutch ambassador to Kenya, honored Gado at her residence in Nairobi with a gathering of over 300 people. Born in Tanzania, Gado works as a freelance cartoonist in Nairobi. Although his work explores a wide range of topics, from corruption and terrorism to deforestation and HIV/AIDS, his most recent cartoons offer commentary on the characters and issues surrounding the presidential elections. During times of conflict, said Gado, it is critical that a car-
toonist carefully examines the issues at hand before drawing a cartoon. A cartoon’s potential to evoke conflict reached a pinnacle in 2006 when protests broke out over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published in Danish newspapers. Well over 100 people were killed as a result of the conflict. Although the issue has largely quieted, threats against the offending cartoonist have reignited concerns. “As much as a cartoonist wants to arrogantly give his opinion, it is always a situation where you really have to weigh the issues, and decide to what extent do you consider [such issues],” Gado noted. “[Cartooning] is not only a conflict of interest for me, but a conflict of my very existence.”
“Editorial cartooning is a confrontational art, so a cartoonist is always in conflict with either the authorities or the society at large.” During his visit, Gado also visited classes hosted by Emory professors where he spoke to students about his career as an editorial cartoonist, the political situation in East Africa, censorship, corruption in leadership, drawing technique, and more. A regular contributor to the Daily Nation (Kenya), New African (U.K.), Courier International (France), Business Day (South Africa), and Sunday Tribune (South Africa), his work has also been published in Le Monde, Washington Times, Der Standard, and Japan Times. In addition to his published work, Gado holds a free drawing workshop every Monday at his office for young, aspiring cartoonists in an effort to encourage them to pursue a trade that might otherwise be considered unattainable. “Cartoonists can help push the boundaries in Africa,” he said. “That is one of the small benefits of being a cartoonist, you are able to portray issues, and in a small way, educate the masses and help fight for justice.” Gado joined the Ardhi Institute in Tanzania to study architecture in 1991, but left one year later to become the editorial cartoonist and illustrator of Nation Media Group, the largest media house in East and Central Africa. Before joining Nation, Gado freelanced with the Tanzanian publications Daily News, Business Times, and The Express. Gado has also published three books: Abunuwasi, a short
Gado signs one of his cartoons on display at the “Cartooning for Peace” exhibition at the Schatten Gallery from October 2007 to February 2008. Photo by Alma Freeman
story comic book, Democrazy!, and The End of An Error, and the Beginning of a New One!, both collections of his editorial cartoons. Passing through the CNN headquarters on his way to an interview by Femi Oke for the program “Inside Africa,” Gado overheard encouraging news of a possible power sharing deal between Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga from overhead television monitors. “This should be fun to draw,” Gado said with a sigh of relief, chuckling as he walked towards the studio.a Alma Freeman is the communications specialist for the Office of International Affairs and The Halle Institute.
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A white yak and his owner rest in front of Namtso, a high altitude saltwater in Nagqu Prefecture, Tibet.
The Messenger By Paige Wilson
When I met Phurbu, an apprentice sculptor of Tibetan religious statues, his straightforward attitude initially shocked me. He spoke openly about his hatred of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and wore an illegal amulet depicting the Dalai Lama around his neck. Photos of His Holiness had been classified as “reactionary literature” and banned more than 10 years ago. Still, Phurbu, like a number of defiant Tibetans I knew, refused to denounce his leader and to cooperate with the Chinese government. Arriving in Lhasa in summer 2007 on a service-learning grant from Emory’s Center for International Programs Abroad (CIPA) to volunteer at a Tibetan orphanage, I had not known what to expect. My Tibetan friends living in exile in Dharamsala, India, had described to me the tall snow-capped mountains, grassy plains, and black yaks. Nonetheless, when I stepped out of the airplane, the Tibetan landscape took me by surprise. I had never imagined the extent of the Sinicization of Lhasa. In many ways, Lhasa looked like any other Chinese city. Recently constructed concrete buildings flanked the broadly paved roads. A large military barracks stood at the west of the city, and a vast military parade ground called the New Potala Palace Square sat at the foot of its namesake. Nightclubs, karaoke bars, and plastic palm trees lined the streets. Mandarin characters covered shop signs and advertisements.
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As I toured the city and its surroundings outside of my time teaching at the orphanage, I began to gain a better sense of Tibetan sentiment toward the Chinese government inside Tibet. Watching a cadre of Chinese troops march by the Jokhang, the holiest temple in all of Tibet, my friend Lhakpa whispered to me, “People say Tibet is surrounded by mountains, but I think it is surrounded by the Chinese police.” Gesturing towards graffiti on a wall near the Jokhang that read “UNKWWFT,” Lhakpa quietly barked, “See! United Nations Knows We Want Free Tibet.” Like the other Tibetans with whom I had become close in Lhasa, and all of the Tibetans I knew in exile in Dharamsala, Lhakpa had become frustrated waiting for Tibet to regain independence, or at least some degree of autonomy. Whenever I let it slip that I had spent a few months studying in India last year, Tibetans asked me if I had met the Dalai Lama or if I had any pictures of him. In some cases, I quietly refused. “La me,” I told them. “No, I do not.” It is well known in Tibet that the Chinese Public Security Bureau hires undercover Tibetan informants, some of whom even pose as monks in the monasteries. I had heard stories of foreigners deported for bringing illegal pictures and videos of the exiled Tibetan leader into Tibet. Other times, however, I revealed that I had met His Holiness and that I carried pictures with me. Near the turquoise blue Lake Yamdrok, I showed three yak-herding nomads the digital photos of the Dalai Lama that I had on my iPod. One after the other, they studied the smiling face of the elderly monk, touching the device to the crowns of their heads in a Tibetan act of reverence.
All photos by Paige Wilson
would give my life for Tibet,” Phurbu told me over a cup of cha ngarmo (Tibetan sweet tea), in a small teashop in the back streets of Lhasa, Tibet, behind the Potala Palace. “And I dream of meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama before I die,” he added.
Top: The sacred Jokhang Temple, one of Lhasa’s most recognizable structures, remains a leading destination for pilgrims. Bottom, left: Paige Wilson (right) with a student of the Jatson Chumig Welfare Special School in Lhasa where she served as volunteer. Bottom, right: Inscribed with prayers and mantras, Buddhist prayer flags, commonly seen on the hillsides and mountains of Tibet, are meant to bring happiness, long life, and prosperity.
Toward the end of my stay in Lhasa, I told Phurbu that the Dalai Lama was coming to my school in October. “Gunchoksum?” he asked. “Swear to the three jewels [the Buddha, his teachings, and his disciples] swear to God?” “Gunchok,” I replied. “I swear.” “If I write a letter to him, will you give it to him for me?” he asked. “I will do my best,” I replied. A day before I left Lhasa, Phurbu met me at the teashop behind the Potala and handed me the letter he had written, wrapped in a khata, a Tibetan ceremonial silk scarf. “Promise you will not let anyone read it,” he told me. Once I arrived home, I stashed Phurbu’s letter amongst my Tibetan books on my bookshelf. I told Geshe Lobsang Tenzinla, a Tibetan scholar, former monk, and professor at Emory, that I had a letter from inside Tibet to give to the Dalai Lama. Geshe-la assured me that I could give the letter to His Holiness while he was visiting. He said he would arrange a brief audience with His Holiness for Students for a Free Tibet, a group of which I was president. A week before the event, I began practicing what I would say to the Dalai Lama. At the Drepung Loseling Institute, the local Emory-affiliated Tibetan Buddhist center, Tsepak, the Tibetan assistant director of the Institute, assisted me with my Tibetan grammar.
By the time I stood outside the exit of the “Mind and Life Conference” where the audience was to be held, I had recited my short speech in my head at least 100 times. Tibetans have a phrase to describe what happens when one meets the Dalai Lama – ma sem joe me – which roughly translates as “rendered completely speechless.” Seconds before he arrived to greet us, I continued to mumble my words under my breath. When His Holiness finally emerged from behind the door, I held up towards him an ashi, a ceremonial silk scarf of the highest quality, and Phurbu’s letter. He stopped in front of me and his entourage circled around me. As I began speaking, he looked into my eyes and listened closely to my words. Halfway through my speech, he reached out his hand, touched my face, and chuckled to help calm my nervousness. When I finished, he accepted the letter, opened it, and began reading. He read aloud certain sentences to the other Tibetans traveling with him. Looking up, he muttered, “sad,” and passed the letter to his attendant. Then he lifted the ashi from my hands, touched it slowly to his head, and placed it around my neck as a blessing. Elated, I began thinking about the coded email I would soon write to Phurbu’s friend to let him know that the letter had been delivered.a A second-place winner of CIPA’s study abroad writing contest, Paige Wilson is a senior from Atlanta, Ga., majoring in Asian and Asian-American Studies. EMORY in the world
A Global Collaboration By Rebecca Baggett
The ICGEB is an international organization with facilities in New Delhi, Trieste, Italy, and Cape Town, South Africa. It focuses on research and training in molecular biology and biotechnology with special regard for the needs of the developing world. Its new joint venture with Emory is the ICGEBEmory Vaccine Center, which was founded to develop vaccines for some of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases with an emphasis on those that disproportionately affect people living in low- and middle-income countries. Diseases that are of particular interest to researchers at the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center include HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, dengue fever, and malaria. The primary ob-
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jectives of the new center are to: 1) conduct basic research on viruses and immune responses and methods of determining a vaccine’s protective effect; 2) test vaccines it develops in both the laboratory and ultimately in human subjects; 3) partner with the Indian Ministry of Science and the Indian Council of Medical Research to develop and implement clinical trials for vaccine safety and effectiveness; 4) develop policies for safe global vaccine use and delivery; and 5) enhance vaccine development and implementation in India through continuing education efforts. One of the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center’s first major projects will address the development of a protective AIDS vaccine that targets the strain of HIV most prevalent in India and sub-Saharan Africa. This will mark the first time such a vaccine has been researched in India specifically for the people of India, according to Ahmed. These efforts are desperately needed, as approximately 2.5 million people in India are currently living with HIV, a number that puts those Indians who are not infected at high risk of contracting the virus. “Disease burden due to HIV, TB, HIV/TB co-infection, and malaria is enormous in India, and therefore the development
Photo by Laura Anderson
magine a world where HIV/AIDS no longer threatens the lives of people across the globe. Imagine a future when infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis have joined the ranks of eradicated diseases like small pox. This is what Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, and Virander Chauhan, director of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), imagine daily through their work on a new joint ICGEB-Emory venture based in New Delhi, India.
of effective vaccines against one or all three major diseases will have a profound impact on the health of the Indian population. Plus we are confident that the success of this effort can be translated to populations in other parts of the world,” Ahmed said. “Without innovative partnerships such as our new center, this lifesaving and groundbreaking research would not be possible. The HIV vaccine development project is generating great interest from the Indian government, and we hope they will become a third partner with us in this exciting endeavor,” he added. “What is even more wonderful about this arrangement is that further down the research and development pipeline we have the potential to conduct translational research (e.g., clinical trials) of a viable vaccine candidate in India with Indian partner organizations and the Indian government.” Of all the vaccines that the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center will be working on, Ahmed said he believes that HIV vaccines, particularly this prophylactic HIV vaccine for the dominant strain of HIV found in India (Clade C) is the most promising at this time.
A UNIQUE ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP In addition to approaching vaccine development in a novel way, the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center provides a unique model for institutional collaborative research. Emory researchers working for the center will reside in India so that they are able to work alongside researchers at ICGEB on a daily basis. “This new center permits direct in-person collaboration with
top scientists who would otherwise not be on the Emory campus. It markedly increases our intellectual and physical attributes for vaccine discovery, and it is also exciting, creative, and novel and, as such, attracts and retains high quality scientists for Emory,” said Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health and director of the Emory Global Health Institute, one of the Emory units supporting the joint vaccine center. Claudia Adkison, associate executive dean for Administrative and Faculty Affairs at the Emory School of Medicine, agrees that the joint center offers a unique opportunity for Emory researchers. “It provides a wonderful educational opportunity for our medical fellows and a great exchange program for researchers at both institutions,” she said. “This partnership is based on faculty-to-faculty interaction, conceptualization, and effort. For such scholarly pursuits to be successful, faculty members have to be the driving force. In this case, we have a true partnership driven by world-class scientists. Their joint efforts should deliver wonderful benefits in scientific outcomes, which will quickly translate into diseases averted and lives saved,” added Koplan. In addition to enabling Emory and ICGEB researchers to work side by side for extended periods of time, conducting research onsite in India has other advantages. Among these are access to patient populations, biological material, and Indian epidemiological data that are not readily available in the United States, said Adkison. While the two lead partners are Emory University and the ICGEB, the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center also partners with the YRG Center for AIDS Research and Education, the Tuberculosis Research Center, and the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases International Center
Left: Rafi Ahmed (left) shakes the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal’s hand during the opening ceremony. Right: Thomas Lawley (left) and Claudia Adkison light the ceremonial lamp to launch the opening of the Vaccine Center, as Minister Sibal looks on. Photos by Charles Sparkman
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Chennai-based Center Battles Growing Global Diabetes Epidemic In addition to being vulnerable to infectious diseases that researchers at the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center are working to prevent, chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are also prevalent in India due to Indian society’s adoption of unhealthy “western” behaviors such as smoking and consuming high-fat diets. Venkat Narayan, Hubert Professor of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health and an Emory Global Health Institute Distinguished Faculty Member, is working to address India’s battle against one chronic disease through his leadership in another collaborative research center located in Chennai, India. Narayan leads the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF)-Emory Population-based Global Diabetes Research Center, which received start-up funds from the Emory Global Health Institute in spring 2007. Researchers at the center will work to fund solutions to the growing global diabetes epidemic. The center will serve as the research leader and hub for population-based research and large intervention trials throughout South Asia and globally. The center’s specific objectives are to: • Build the scientific research capacity within India so that effective and mutually beneficial collaborations become routine; • Develop data management, quality assurance, and analysis processes within India so that collaborators from Emory and the MDRF can leverage global skills and cost advantages regarding these issues; • Provide increased educational and research opportunities to Emory University faculty, staff, and students; and • Strategically leverage Emory resources to identify and secure long-term funding from governments, foundations, and industry.
for Excellence in Research, all with offices in Chennai, India. Ahmed and Chauhan are also working to develop partnerships with the Indian government and a major Indian pharmaceutical company as part of their HIV vaccine development work. Developing partnerships such as these would help the center’s work as it would lead to the development and largescale manufacturing of new generations of vaccines and biotherapeutics for global needs, said Ahmed. Ahmed believes the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center also serves as a good model for other Western universities that are seeking to improve health around the world. “Expertise in infectious disease and vaccine research in Western universities will have a major impact on the control of emerging and re-emerging infections if appropriate partnerships are forged between institutions of the developed world and developing countries that have adequate scientific and technological infrastructures. The success of our efforts in the joint center will definitely provide a model for other American universities that contemplate partnerships to tackle global health issues,” he said.
ESTABLISHING THE JOINT VACCINE CENTER The ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center builds on previous collaborations between the ICGEB and Emory. For example, Emory’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center has tested a malaria vaccine candidate that was developed by the ICGEB on its research monkeys, and researchers at ICGEB and the Emory Vaccine Center have previously worked together on HIV vaccine development studies. However, there were many steps taken by numerous players between the conduct of this initial collaborative work and the official founding of the joint vaccine center.
The center will advance a long-term reciprocal partnership between Emory and the MDRF and will bring influence and added value by promoting cultural compatibility in science and innovation, lowresource solutions, and complementary strengths in collaborative, interdisciplinary global diabetes research.
The joint center is the result of the hard work of numerous Emory players who include Ahmed, Adkison, and Koplan as well as Abdul Jabbar, scientific project manager at the Emory Vaccine Center; Walter Orenstein, professor, School of Medicine; David Stephens, executive associate dean of research, School of Medicine; and Thomas Lawley, dean of the School of Medicine. Key players from ICGEB included Chauhan and Francisco Baralle, ICGEB director-general. Ahmed initiated discussions with representatives from ICGEB in 2005 to discuss the potential of more formal collaborations between researchers at both institutions. These discussions led to researchers from each institution visiting the other, and the eventual signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in summer 2007 to establish the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center.
For more information about the center, contact Venkat Narayan at email@example.com.
Adkison was instrumental in developing the MOU between Emory and the ICGEB. “I spent two and a half years work-
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A view of a neighborhood in New Delhi, the site of the new ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center.
ing to help develop the center, and I’m prouder of this than of anything I have done in my 30-plus years of medicine. The center just needs one hit to make a significant difference in world health,” Adkison said. The grand opening of the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center took place in New Delhi in January 2008. A team of Emory senior scientists and administrators attended the event as did Shri Kapil Sibal, India’s Honorable Minister of Science & Technology and Ocean Development.
ing the Emory Center for AIDS Research, the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, the Emory Global Health Institute, the Emory Vaccine Center, and the School of Medicine. While Emory has made a large initial investment, the belief is that the joint center will bring even more research dollars to both collaborating organizations. “The ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Center will bring together experts in immunology from Emory and India who would otherwise not be able to work together. It will also allow Emory and our Indian partners access to research funds that are not available to either one alone,” said Dean Lawley.
“There was incredible enthusiasm and a packed audience at the opening,” said Roseanne Waters, While there is much ex“Without innovative partnerships such as our new administrator of the citement surrounding Emory Global Health the joint vaccine cencenter, this lifesaving and groundbreaking Institute and a memter and the potenresearch would not be possible.” ber of the Emory contial its Emory and tingency that attended. ICGEB researchers have “Leaders from all of the center’s partners voiced their com- in making significant breakthroughs, Ahmed recognizes the mitment to the partnership and their belief that we were going challenges he and his team face as well. to have some major scientific breakthroughs,” she added. Adkison, who also attended the opening, echoed this sentiment “In spite of our best efforts, successful translation of cutting and said that the opening was regarded as a major scientific edge vaccine research leading to the discovery or development of effective vaccines could pose real challenges in human clinievent in India. cal trials,” he said. “However, the joint center will be well Both Emory and the ICGEB have committed significant re- positioned to address these challenges because of its expertise sources to the venture. The ICGEB has provided space and in the study of the mechanisms of infection and immunity in a infrastructure for the center’s operating facilities in New multitude of pathogens.” a Delhi, while Emory’s commitment to this venture is evident through both the enthusiasm that its leadership has expressed For more information, visit www.vaccines.emory.edu. and through the approximate $2.3 million in funds it has provided to support scientific researchers. Several Emory units Rebecca Baggett is the communications and program and departments have contributed to this investment includ- manager of the Emory Global Health Institute.
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The Reality of Virtual Worlds, Revealed By Alma Freeman
ight now, roughly 0.3 percent of the global population is involved in some sort of virtual world, said Indiana University’s Edward Castranova at the two-day conference in February “Virtual Worlds and New Realities in Commerce, Politics, and Society.” If this rapidly growing percentage rate doesn’t seem overwhelming, he continued, consider that the gross sales transactions that take place in these virtual worlds already rival those of some small countries. Virtual worlds allow a person to create a digital character, or avatar, representing him- or herself, who interacts with other computer-generated avatars and virtually-run global businesses and in-world institutions in real-time. Through on-line communities such as Second Life, which according to its website is “an on-line, 3-D virtual world imagined and created entirely by its residents,” avatars interact with millions of residents from around the globe to buy, sell, and trade “virtual” property, furniture, and equipment. A number of sales of goods in the virtual world have resulted in demand in the real world for those equivalent items. Avatars have the opportunity to engage in a multitude of entertainment events such as fashion shows, St. Patrick Day parades, art exhibition openings, nightclubs, and more. Co-sponsored by The Halle Institute, Goizueta Business
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School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Emory forum brought together academics, entrepreneurs, social scientists, and experts on synthetic worlds as panelists to explore the potential influences and possibilities the virtual world phenomenon can – and already does – have on the real world. A Sunday afternoon expert workshop brought more than 60 scholars and practitioners together for informal discussions and debate. During the public conference the next day, an audience of more than 160 scholars and practitioners had the opportunity to engage on the topic with nearly 20 panelists, including pioneering entrepreneurs such as Chris Klaus, founder and CEO of Atlanta-based virtual world Kaneva, and John Zdanowski, CFO of Linden Lab, creator of Second Life. While there have been many forums on the topic of virtual worlds, explained conference co-chair and George S. Craft Professor of Business Administration Benn Konsynski, most have been made up of either technical or current users who share their own, isolated experiences. Emory’s conference, however, offered the rare convergence of panelists and participants who offered a range of backgrounds and areas of study. “Through this conference, Emory has been able to assemble a remarkable and unique mix of researchers from the United Kingdom and North America, including social scientists, in-
formation systems specialists, economists, bankers, lawyers, health care leaders, media and military representatives, and academic researchers from public and private institutions,” Konsynski said. “I told the audience in the beginning that this event would look like the bar scene from Star Wars. It was just the right mix of backgrounds to generate many perspectives.”
of freedom and flexibility,” said Zdanowski, who describes Second Life as having “handed over the creation keys to its residents.” Yet, this level of user-generated flexibility comes at a cost, presenting unique challenges in regulation and real world procedures, he continued.
“In a virtual world, anything can be created or imagined. What we’ve seen is that there’s a big demand for that type
Alma Freeman is the communications specialist for the Office of International Affairs and The Halle Institute.
Kaneva, which claims 750,000 users at present, serves mostly The impetus for the conference grew from a paper published as a virtual social world, with a touch of entrepreneurship. on the history and growth of virtual worlds by Konsynski, who The company uses entertainment as a hook to encourage peohas his own island in Second Life called “SIMsim,” and PhD ple to adopt the technology, said Kaneva CEO Chris Klaus. candidate David Bray. After generating significant interest on- Kaneva partners with a number of real world companies, inline, the idea emerged to offer a course for both political science cluding Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting, to create virtual and business students on the topic. Taught by Konsynski and world programs. Last year, the company signed a one-year political science professor contract with Kaneva to Holli A. Semetko, with build virtual world spaces “I told the audience in the beginning that this assistance from Bray, the using an embedded video course was offered in fall event would look like the bar scene from Star player to stream content. 2007. Konsynski and The Wars. It was just the right mix of backgrounds As technology advances, Halle Institute are planKlaus predicts that an into generate many perspectives.” ning a similar conference creasing number of comfor next year. panies will catch on to the possibilities of virtual worlds. Gartner, a leading research and Moderated by Cornell University’s Robert Bloomfield the final technology company, predicts that over 250 million people panel, a mixed reality event, took place in three worlds: the will be in virtual worlds by 2011. real world at Emory and the virtual worlds of Second Life and Kaneva. Panelists at Emory were joined by Second Life CFO What will virtual worlds look like in five years? It’s hard to Zdanowski live from Second Life. While his avatar, known as say, said Klaus. “It’s a similar parallel to asking someone in “Zee Linden,” sat casually in a svelte, black suit, participants 1994 or ‘95 ‘where is the web going?’ No one would have prediscussed the future of virtual worlds and the challenges that ex- dicted an Amazon, a Google, or an eBay, but ultimately those ist with technology, currency, and regulations. Konsynski and did manifest themselves using a new technology platform. I Bloomfield were both in Atlanta and in Second Life with Zdan- think [virtual worlds] have the same potential,” he said. a owski, while Chris Klaus was both in Atlanta and in Kaneva.
Left: Benn Konsynski’s avatar, Rejin Tenjin, on “SIMsim” island in Second Life. Right: Panelists at the public conference included: (front row, from left) Holli Semetko, Emory Univ.; Inga Vailionis, Intel Corp.; Benn Konsynski, Emory Univ.; Robert Bloomfield, Cornell Univ.; second row: David Bray, Emory Univ.; William Dutton, Univ. of Oxford; Rhonda Lowry, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.; Chris Klaus, Kaneva; (third row) Byron Reeves, Stanford Univ.; Edward Castranova, Indiana Univ.; John Clippinger, Harvard Univ.; Rachel Gibson, Univ. of Leicester; (back row) Gregg Kaminsky, Emory Univ.; Dmitri Williams, Univ. of Southern California; Gregory Gahm, Army Behavioral Health Technology Office; Diana Mutz, Univ. of Pennsylvania. Photo by Alma Freeman
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Reading with Rushdie By Roopika Risam
POP QUIZ: If you take a class with Professor Salman Rushdie, you might: a) Learn lots of intriguing details about his literati friends. b) Spend three hours a week doubled-over with laughter. c) Find a dissertation topic. d) All of the above. This spring marked writer Salman Rushdie’s second graduate seminar in Emory’s Department of English. As part of an agreement with Emory, Professor Rushdie has donated his papers to the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library and will teach courses and visit classes for five years. In its first incarnation, during the 2006-07 academic year, Professor Rushdie’s course, “Contemporary World Writers,” featured short stories and novels by authors whose work had influenced his own: Günter Grass, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, and Jorge Luis Borges. On the first day of my class, Professor Rushdie announced that the short story collection and novels he had chosen for our syllabus this year had their own organizing principle: authors that are friends of his. Predictably, this announcement earned a chuckle from the class. For me, it elicited a bit of nervousness as well. What if we simply did not like his friends’ texts? Would he be open to disagreements or to critique? These worries were unfounded. Although Professor Rushdie was invested in the literature he had chosen for our class, he seemed excited about revisiting the books in our graduate seminar and hearing our opinions – both positive and negative. a) Learn lots of intriguing details about his literati friends. In other English seminars, students and professors approach our reading material together, trying to make sense of the
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material before us. While Professor Rushdie encouraged a similar cooperative approach to literature, his course afforded something that not every professor can offer: intimate knowledge about the authors and long histories of friendship with them. At the beginning of each course, Professor Rushdie spent some time contextualizing our reading assignments. He offered details about their lives and education, indicating influences on these writers such as the importance of Hanif Kureishi’s relationship to his father for his novel The Buddha of Suburbia. Greatly knowledgeable about both literature and culture, Professor Rushdie could point out important allusions that we might have missed like quotations from the most marginal British poets in Anita Desai’s In Custody. Additionally, Professor Rushdie spoke most generously about his fellow writers, telling us, for example, of The Remains of the Day author Kazuo Ishiguro’s – or Ish, as he calls him – immense modesty about his own talents. b) Spend three hours a week doubled-over with laughter. Most notable about Professor Rushdie’s seminar, however, is the large percentage of time that we spent laughing at his jokes, as well as at the anecdotes he shared about his friends. In our first class, he shared stories about Angela Carter’s cocktail party quirks, the details of which complemented our reading of Burning Your Boats, her short story collection. And this is precisely what is most enjoyable about Professor Rushdie’s course; the high hilarity and entertainment value of the class offered a new perspective on the authors and books we read, rather than detracting from them. c) Find a dissertation topic. Lest you think that Professor Rushdie’s class was all giggles,
we read a novel or short story collection for each class and wrote a paper as well. After Professor Rushdie’s introduction to the text and author, he called on each of us in turn, asking for our request as if he were deejaying our class discussion. Because our class included English, comparative literature, anthropology, and history PhD students, and even a student from the medical school, our discussion interests were quite diverse. Conversation flowed easily between Professor Rushdie and us students. He responded to our comments, elaborated on them, and used them as springboards to new topics of conversation. Because many courses that we otherwise take are so focused on specific themes or theories, we do not always have the chance to have the free-flowing class discussions that Professor Rushdie facilitated. Also, because he is more of a writer than a literary critic, Professor Rushdie’s approach to literature is entirely different from those who are trained primarily as literary scholars. As a result, the course focused frequently on craft – how authors were shaping their stories and why they made certain decisions about points of view or narrative techniques. Professor Rushdie’s position as a writer also made for some of the funnier moments in the course. He famously dislikes the way theory has become so important in English departments, particularly because he is a writer. Additionally, towards the end of our course, Professor Rushdie criticized the class for what he termed our Dickensian desire to find out what happens to characters once a novel or story is over. From his perspective, nothing keeps happening to his characters once his novels are over, and he chastened us by saying with a laugh, “They’re not real.”
Top: Distinguished Writer in Residence Salman Rushdie delivers a lecture to the Emory community. Photo by University Photography; Bottom: Rushdie’s manuscript notebooks and a notebook for an unpublished novel, The Antaganist are part of the author’s archive that Emory acquired in fall 2006. Manuscript photos by Kay Hinton
When I signed up for Professor Rushdie’s class, I had not expected that I would find ideas for a dissertation by taking the class. While my specialization is in postcolonial literature – yes, that includes Professor Rushdie’s work – I have been trying to form an intellectually interesting and coherent project, bridging postcolonial literature with other literatures including African-American. After rereading Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia for Professor Rushdie’s class, I was struck by Kureishi’s descriptions of England’s Asian Youth Movement and the inclusion of elements of black power – such as Angela Davis – in the narrative. I had the opportunity to discuss my ideas with Professor Rushdie, who was able to give me suggestions about other authors I should read or people with whom I should speak. When I told Professor Rushdie that I am specializing in postcolonial literature, I quickly said, “Don’t worry – I’m not studying you.” He replied, “Good! There are far too many people doing that already.” d) All of the above. When I first began to pursue postcolonial literature, I never could have imagined that I would have the opportunity to study under Professor Rushdie. Doing so has offered new dimensions for my own research and fresh perspectives on Professor Rushdie’s own work. As I told him before he left, I hope that he will be teaching a new set of novels next year, so I can have an excuse to take his class again. a Roopika Risam is a first-year PhD student in English from Washington, D.C. EMORY in the world
Exploring the Roots of Western Civilization By Oded Borowski
I have worked at this site off and on since 1976 and to those who might worry if much is still left to explore, I can assure that we have only touched the surface, so to speak. Although it is relatively small, the site contains over 21 strata (layers of occupation) and sub-strata beginning around 3500 B.C.E. to the present, and with the help of modern-day methods, much can be learned with little dirt removed. Tell Halif is located next to Kibbutz Lahav where I was a member in the late 1950s to the early 1960s, so working there is like going back home. Last summer was the first field season of a new phase of research, which I direct. During the previous phases, the expe-
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dition lived in a tent camp and had its own facilities such as showers and a kitchen-dining room. Last summer was the first time that the expedition stayed in kibbutz accommodations. Unlike most other projects, we don’t hire paid workers, but rather, use volunteers who are seeking academic credit or are seeking adventure in a labor-intensive working environment. Most of the financial support for the project comes from these participants, many of whom were Emory students participating in study abroad programs. One of the reasons I keep returning to the site is my wish to further explore the remains of a particular stratum (layer), the end of which is dated to the end of the 8th century B.C.E. The fortified town of that period was within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Judah and it was destroyed in a military campaign as the sling stones, arrowheads, and other military paraphernalia indicate. The sudden destruction of the houses caused most of the household items to be preserved on the floors. Houses that had a second story collapsed and had their contents buried and preserved. The material recovered from these structures is dated to the end of the 8th century B.C.E. when, in the year 701, the Assyrian king Sennacherib attacked Judah, under King Hezekiah, and its neighbors and caused significant damage as recorded in the Bible and in his own records. The materials recovered from these houses can teach us a lot about daily activities and how space was utilized. We learn about diet, the economy, and trade connections with other regions. Much of what we discover has to do with the circumstances of the final days of the town. The inhabitants
Photo by Amnon Gutman
pending one’s summer moving dirt in the hot sun and dusty environment, with an assortment of insects and other creatures like scorpions and snakes for company is not what most people would consider enjoyable, especially when one needs to wake up at 4:30 a.m. Unlike many colleagues who spend their summers doing research in air-conditioned libraries, in the last 35 years I have chosen to spend my summers excavating the remains of ancient societies. My work took me to several sites in different parts of Israel, but my main research is concentrated at one site located northeast of Beersheba at the western edge of the hill country overlooking the coastal plain. Presently, the site is named Tell Halif, the Hebraized Arabic name Tell Khuweilifeh, which means “the mound of the little Calif.” As for its biblical identification, I am among those who identify it with Rimmon, mentioned in Joshua 15:32 as part of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah and in 19:7 as belonging to the tribe of Simeon.
were prepared for a long siege as evident from the large number of storage jars which held grain, oil, and wine. We know that their diet included meat (sheep and goat), grains (wheat, barley, lentils, etc.), fish, grapes, and other fruit. They made wine and grew olives and pressed them for oil, and because they had large numbers of herd animals, they most likely had a variety of dairy products. Some of the major occupations at this site were spinning and weaving. This is evident from the large number of spindle whorls and huge caches of loom weights. Other weaving tools made of bone suggest that the Tell Halif weavers were engaged in pattern weaving. The source of wool and hair were the sheep and goats, the bones of which have been recovered from almost every location. These animals were not only a dietary source, but also a source for other by-products that made Tell Halif a textile-manufacturing center. We know something about their cultic rituals through the different clay figurines we recovered that depicted the deities they worshiped. Other objects related to their cult practices include vessels for libation and incense altars. In one of the houses, we discovered a house shrine that was most likely active until the fall of the town. In later periods, other inhabitants of the site mined its ruins for stones to be reused in their buildings; a cheap and quick way of obtaining building materials. They also dug pits that they used for storage, most likely of grains. These activities hamper our work of recovery because they not only destroyed certain architectural elements that were preserved after the fall of the town, but introduced later material into earlier strata. However, this makes our work interesting because we deal with a three-dimensional
jigsaw puzzle that needs to be resolved in order to make sense. The more we manage to clarify from these ruins, the more we know about the history of the inhabitants of this land and about our own history because the roots of Western civilization are buried deep in this region. a Oded Borowski is a professor of biblical archaeology and Hebrew and director of the program in Mediterranean Archaeology in Emoryâ€™s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies.
Opposite Page: After rising at 5 a.m. for a day of digging, Oded Borowski (first on right) heads to lunch with the group. Top: A group of students, including Emory and Oxford volunteers at Tell Halif in southern Israel near Beersheba where they work to uncover domestic structures adjacent to the city wall. Photo by Oded Borowski; Center: Borowski (left) examines a find at the excavation site. Photo by Amnon Gutman Objects discovered at the Lahav Research Project site: (from left) Fragment of a molded clay bearded male figurine, possibly of a priest (5th-4th century BCE); Carved stone weight used in commerce activities (8th century BCE); Votive oil lamp discovered inside a weaving and dyeing workshop (8th century BCE). Photos by Oded Borowski
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After War, Child Soldiers Fight a New Battle A graduate student explores how child soldiers in Nepal have the ability to heal after a lifetime of war. By Brandon Kohrt
ighting for the Maoist guerillas should have been the hard part – but for Asha, the real fight began when she came home.
As a 14-year-old in rural Nepal, facing an educational dead end and a forced child marriage, Asha (a pseudonym) joined the Maoist People’s Liberation Army, a communist rebel group battling to overthrow the king of Nepal and establish a republic. For two years, she fought alongside other teen recruits battling against the Royal Nepal Army. Although Asha was in constant danger, the Maoists offered her a sense of empowerment, a way out of domestic slavery, and an opportunity to learn from women leaders. For Asha, even gun battles were better than what she faced back home. Given the choice, she would have never returned to her village. In 2006, the decision was made for her. The Nepali government signed a peace accord with the Maoists, ending a decade of bloody fighting and sending more than 6,000 child soldiers home to families and communities unprepared and often unwilling to accept them.
“My parents thought it would be better if I married rather than continue with the Maoists,” she said. “I wanted to go back with the Maoists.”
A Nepali child soldier guards a hillside. In 2006, a peace accord sent more than 6,000 child soldiers home after a decade of fighting. Many children face extreme emotional difficulty immersing themselves back into family life that they were forced to leave behind.
The small, slight, former soldier no longer had a gun to defend herself against her husband’s repeated rapes and his family’s beatings. After a year of abuse, she tried to hang herself. Sadly, Asha’s situation is not uncommon. Over the past year in Nepal, doing my MD-PhD research for Emory’s anthropology department, I have met many child soldiers like her. I started doing anthropology and mental health research in Nepal in 1996, the year the Maoist People’s War began. Traveling between Atlanta and Kathmandu, watching
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All Photographs courtesy of Robert Koenig and Brandon Kohrt
Asha’s return brought shame on her family members, who quickly married off their runaway daughter to a 22-year-old man in a distant village.
Nepali friends and research participants endure the horrors of war, I felt despondent and powerless. I told myself that at least life would get better for them when the war ended. I assumed people disabled by depression and psychological trauma would begin slowly to heal when the guerillas put down their guns. After holding on to that hope for over a decade, I returned to Nepal in 2006 unprepared for what the child soldiers I interviewed were telling me: that peace alone was not going to heal everyone. Working with Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), a nonprofit Nepali organization, I coordinated a study of 380 child soldiers across Nepal for UNICEF. I traveled to the villages of dozens of former child soldiers. In most cases, I found, it is not just the child who needs help – it is everyone around them. With TPO and UNICEF, I helped develop a training course for women and men in the communities with former child soldiers. We trained them not only to assist child soldiers with emotional distress, but to work with teachers, families, and religious leaders, to stop forced child marriage, to promote education for girls, and to reduce the social stigma against the returned children. Schools were the best place for starting these changes. Teachers had been making the child soldiers sit on the floor. They mocked the children, “Hey little Maoist! Where is your army now?” The local staff we trained worked with these teachers, often uncovering the teachers’ hidden fears of the child soldiers. Through development of coping strategies and increased insight into their own actions and discrimination, teachers felt more secure and began to support the returned children. Soon the students and other villagers began to follow the teachers’ positive examples. Six months after her suicide attempt, Asha, now 17, is benefiting from one such offshoot of TPO work. Originally, she said, she joined the Maoist army because they promised her an education, a job, and a life of her own choosing. Now, with the help of a UNICEF-funded program, she’s beginning to realize these goals.
“There are people helping me now,” she said sitting in her family’s hut. “They are getting me sewing lessons so that I can earn money.” I find hope in Asha’s story. But, support for Nepal’s child soldiers is continuously on the verge of collapse. Donors who fund programs for child soldiers favor emergency interventions rarely lasting more than six months. But, in a country with few health resources and endemic poverty, programs require years of support. I realized that drawing international attention to the issue could be a step towards more support for child soldiers. Since October, I have been collaborating with documentary filmmaker Robert Koenig to help Asha and others tell their stories. We hope to complete the film, Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army, later this year. In my studies on the psychological effects of war, I have long focused on violence and trauma as roots of mental health problems. Talking with Asha and other child soldiers changed that. Now I see the importance of daily discrimination, poverty, lack of education, and domestic violence that can erode a person’s psychological being. The flipside of that is the ability of strong community support to build healthy hearts and minds, even in the face of terrible trauma. Now back in Atlanta, I wonder about the effect of community-based mental health approaches here in the United States. If communities can heal through the ravages of a decade of widespread violence in Nepal, how could it transform lives here? I hope community support will continue to increase for Asha and other child soldiers. And, ideally, mental health programs, whether in Kathmandu or Atlanta, will increasingly focus on communities because, ultimately, healing is something that we do together.a Brandon Kohrt is a MD-PhD student in anthropology from Paupack, Penn.
Left: Filmmaker Robert Koenig interviews a child soldier in Nepal for his documentary. Right: Brandon Kohrt conducts mental health and psychosocial training for Nepali villagers.
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Emory Honors Nutrition Expert Reynaldo Martorell By Alma Freeman
ers to design effective programs, has led the Department of Global Health since 1996. During his tenure, the department has significantly expanded the size of its faculty and student body as well as its research base and academic programs. The author of over 170 articles, over 80 book chapters and scientific proceedings, and over 20 books and monographs, Martorell serves as a member of the Advisory Council of Emory’s Global Health Institute, the Institute for Developing Nations, and Emory’s International Affairs Council. Martorell is vice-chair of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, a director of the International Nutrition Foundation, and an advisor to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank. Prior to joining Emory in 1993, Martorell held positions at Cornell University, Stanford University, and the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) in Guatemala. The recipient of a number of awards and honors, Martorell was elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2003, received the International Nutrition Reynaldo Martorell visits a nursery school in Ratchaburi, Thailand. Rates of child malnutrition there have declined rapidly Prize from Kellogg’s and the Ameriover the last two decades. Photo by Pattanee Winichagoon can Society for Nutrition.
s a child growing up in Honduras, Reynaldo Martorell had a front seat to the effects poverty and malnutrition had on his community. Life in Honduras had a profound impact on Martorell, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition and chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH), who later chose to focus on human development and nutrition as a graduate student. Recognized today as a leading nutrition expert, Martorell’s focus and dedication to improving global health has changed very little since. “My father worked as an office clerk for the Standard Fruit Company and I grew up and went to school in settlements that housed workers for banana plantations,” Martorell explained. His father’s position required that the family move often, and by the time he was in sixth grade, Martorell had already attended three different schools.
“I saw plenty of poverty in rural Honduras, particularly in villages outside the plantation sector that depended on subsistence agriculture. I remember feeling fortunate that our family had a reliable income, enough to eat, piped water, a toilet, and electricity – necessities which many Hondurans still don’t have,” he continued.
Martorell was recognized for his achievements as the recipient of the 2008 Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization at the International Awards Night ceremony in March. The Creekmore Award, named for Emory’s first Vice Provost for International Affairs Marion Creekmore, was established in 2000 by Coca-Cola executive and Emory benefactor Claus M. Halle and is given each year to an Emory faculty member who excels in the advancement of the University’s commitment to internationalization. “Dr. Martorell has done much to build Emory’s visibility on the world stage, and I can think of no one more deserving of this honor,” said RSPH Dean James W. Curran. “In addition to his prolific research, writing, leadership, and service, Rey’s steadfast dedication to his family and colleagues is admired by all.” Martorell, whose primary focus is to understand the causes and consequences of malnutrition in pregnancy and early childhood and to use this information to influence policy mak-
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Martorell will soon step down from chairing the Department of Global Health so that he can dedicate significantly more of his time to research and field studies overseas. “I sometimes tease our colleagues who work on domestic issues that they have it easy in that they don’t have to travel to get to their study sites,” Martorell joked. “In order to run a good study, one needs excellent in-country partners, and even if you are lucky enough to find them, you still need to travel to the sites frequently to jointly supervise.” As a result, Martorell must juggle the rising demands of travel. During his 15 years at Emory, he has accumulated about two million miles on Delta alone. Considering that some of the most rewarding moments of his career are happening right now, said Martorell, the demand to travel looks to only increase. He and his colleagues are currently working on a cohort study in Guatemala and recently published a series of papers linking nutrition in early childhood to outcomes in adulthood, including adult heath, schooling, intellectual functioning, and economic productivity. In the medical journal, The Lancet, the team showed that improv-
and young children. States should implement these programs not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is the wise thing to do,” said Martorell. Martorell was recently invited by the Chinese government to open a high-level forum on “Undernutrition, Health, and Economic Development” in Beijing. He hopes that the event will lead to more investment in nutrition and health programs for women and children in China. Despite his numerous achievements, Martorell faces a number of challenges, including remaining optimistic when the magnitude of global health problems is so vast. With colleagues from the Institute of Nutrition of Mahidol University in Bangkok, Martorell visits Ratchaburi to review health and nutrition activities in the area. Photo by Pattanee Winichagoon
ing nutrition during the critical first two years of life increases wages of adult men by 46 percent. “These findings represent a great deal of effort by many colleagues and are the first to directly link a nutrition intervention in children with long-term outcomes such as wages. Our studies are important because they provide an additional ‘economic investment’ rationale for nutrition programs aimed at mothers
“It is easy to get discouraged by the slow progress that is often made,” he said. “We have to keep reminding ourselves that when seen in 5- or 10-year blocks, trends show significant improvement for most indicators in most countries.” Martorell’s award came with a $10,000 gift for research. a Alma Freeman is the communications specialist for the Office of International Affairs and The Halle Institute.
Law School Alum Sheth Award Winner David Tkeshelashvili, a native of the nation of Georgia and graduate of Emory Law School and the State Minister for Regional Issues, was honored during the ceremony as the recipient of the Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award. The annual Sheth Award, established by Madhu and Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, recognizes Emory’s international alumni who have gone on to achieve prominence in their careers around the world. Tkeshelashvili was honored for his work in international law and his service to his country through his dedication to improving human rights law standards and practices. A participant in the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program during his time at Emory from 2005-06, Tkeshelashvili previously served as Georgia’s Minister of Health, Labor, and Social Welfare and from 2006-07, as the Minister of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. Elected to Parliament in 1995 at the age of 25, Tkeshelashvili was re-elected to Parliament on the party list of Georgia’s current President Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement. “In accepting this prestigious award let me remind you that I am a man of the particular generation, that lived in the Soviet Union and experienced the Soviet occupation,” Tkeshelashvili said. “When the Soviet Union collapsed it was our generation that accepted the challenge of building an independent state. … During this decisive period of our history, the United States was one the of first countries to extend a hand of fraternity and friendship to Georgians in support of freedom, democracy, and security.”
Seated: (from left) Sheth Award winner David Tkeshelashvili, Creekmore Award winner Rey Martorell. Standing: (from left) Nino Tkeshelashvili, RSPH Dean James W.Curran, Madhu Sheth, Provost Earl Lewis, Professor Jagdish Sheth, President James Wagner, Emory Law School Dean David F. Partlett, Linda Creekmore, Susan Martorell, Professor Marion Creekmore, Vice Provost for International Affairs Holli Semetko. Photo by Wilford Harewood
As a Muskie Fellow, Tkeshelashvili concentrated on the subject of international law. Active in both his home and host communities, Tkeshelashvili was engaged in projects to create partnerships between Georgians and Americans, including work with the Atlanta-Tbilisi Sister City Partnership and collaboration with Emory faculty on joint projects with the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, and Health of Georgia. While in Atlanta, Tkeshelashvili also received training at The Carter Center Human Rights Program. “David is an outstanding example of what international students bring to our community – a desire to learn about our nation’s laws and institutions and a capacity to impart a comparative perspective to our classes and students,” said David F. Partlett, dean of Emory Law School and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law. EMORY in the world
Reflections on a Journey
erhaps the most polarizing issue in the world today, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seems to divide everyone in society into one camp or the other. Over winter break, our group traveled to Israel and the West Bank in order to learn what was really going on. Sure, I had read everything in the papers, but I wanted to see what was happening on the ground. I came away with a much deeper understanding of the obstacles that stand in the way of peace. I also gained an unexpected sense of empathy with those embroiled in the conflict and the toll that it has taken upon them. Those who examine this conflict from the outside must understand that, at its very heart, it affects people in their everyday lives. We met with an Emory alum, Peter Nasser, who could not even imagine a life without checkpoints and soldiers. We toured a Bedouin camp in the West Bank with buildings that were falling apart or only half constructed and heard the story of an Arabic teacher who no longer has a job because he cannot enter Jerusalem without a proper permit from Israeli authorities. We walked on the land of a Palestinian farmer who has been fighting in court for the past several decades to prevent his land from being seized by the government and used for settlement road construction. He runs a summer camp where urban Palestinian children play sports and foreign volunteers plant olive trees to help solidify his claim to the land.
Tufts of vegetation peak through the upper cracks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo by Chris Megerian
In January, 14 Emory students, administrators, and staff members traveled to Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank on the Journeys program, an inter-religious project sponsored by the Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life Susan Henry-Crowe. Emory College sophomore Jonathan Endelman adn junior Brenton Kinker and share their reflections from the trip with Emory in the World.
In the course of all of this, we learned that there are many more than two sides to this conflict and just as many perspectives about how to resolve it. Bringing peace to this troubled region will not be easy. It will require a delicate balance between peace and security for both nations. I returned to the United States convinced that a two-state solution must be implemented where a strong Israel can live side by side with a strong Palestine. As a Jew, I learned that my support for the state of Israel and concern for the rights of Palestinians are not mutually exclusive. Although we encountered tremendous despair and suffering, we also met with people who were willing to work hard to make this dream one day turn into a reality. While touring a Palestinian refugee camp, we listened, horrified, as a woman told us how Israeli soldiers would stop ambulances containing pregnant women at checkpoints and search them. Surely, such a measure was cold and heartless. But in a meeting with a Knesset member, we heard a different story of terrorists who had attached a bomb to a pregnant woman riding in an ambulance and detonated it, killing many Israeli civilians. Coming to terms with such a complex issue will be challenging, but necessary for true peace to prevail. a Jonathan Endelman is a sophomore from Houston, Tex., majoring in Middle Eastern studies.
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Top: A view of the Western Wall Plaza, which acts as an open-air synagogue, with the Muslim shrine, known as the Dome of the Rock, in the background. Photo by Chris Megerian; Center: The Journeys group stopped by the Dead Sea while traveling from the Jordanian border to Jerusalem. Photo by Chris Megerian; Bottom: (front row, from left) Brenton Kinker, Surabhi Agrawal, Susan Henry-Crowe, Aisha Hidayatullah, Jeff Schram, David Geffen (59C); (second row) Hilary Ford, Glenda Kantor, Jonathan Endelman, Julie Hale, Isaac Payne, Howard Bass (72C), Randi Bass (72C); (back row) Joshua Newton, Reuven Kantor (68C), Jonathan Feldstein (87C), Michael Rabkin, Diana Rowe, Alex Wein, Will Caldwell (07C), Chris Megerian
t is a crisp, early morning in Jerusalem. I wake at 4:30 a.m., and open the windows as wide as they will go. The elegant adhan of a single mosque reverberates throughout the city. Dozens of other mosques soon join in, the words mingling in a beautiful melody, calling the faithful to prayer, and our Journeys group to another day in the Holy Land. We boarded the bus heading for a Bedouin encampment just outside of Jerusalem. As we drove, we began to realize that the Bedouin were not in secluded camps far off in the desert, but were in fact all around us. Just off the side of the road we could see make-shift tents made of whatever could be scavenged from the garbage. Thin sheets of metal covered the tents made of wood, and an assortment of goats and sheep roamed freely about the living quarters. When we arrived at the camp of Abu Iyyad, the situation was much the same. But it was also a little different here. Permanent houses were being constructed out of the ubiquitous limestone found around Jerusalem, and a new white mosque stood in the center of the 100-family community. But what was perhaps most disturbing about this particular location was the dichotomy between settler and Arab. Just across the valley stood a beautiful Israeli settlement. The houses were large, the lawns a beautiful green, and the walking paths lined with streetlights. Nearby, the inhabitants of the Bedouin camp had no access to water or electricity, even though the camp is under the administration of Israeli authorities. As we sat in a tent that belonged to our host, we were treated to coffee and fruit juice. Abu Iyyad used to be an Arabic teacher in Jerusalem before he, like so many others, had their entry permits denied when the political situation changed. His daughter holds
a master’s degree in biology, yet is unemployed because she is not able to get into Israel proper to find a job. His son was doing poorly in school and probably won’t go to college. He works in a small shop making the equivalent of $2.50 a day. “What are your dreams? What do you want for your future?” we asked him. “I have no future,” he replied. When we again boarded the bus with waves and promises to return, we were in a somber mood. The raggedy children gathered around the bus, watching it drive into the distance. Looking out the window, I could not help but think about how lucky I was to be an American. To be a college student. To be welcomed into the house of a man who had all the reason in the world to distrust me as an American, but who was more interested in shaking my hand, smiling, and trying to teach me another Arabic word. a Brenton Kinker is a junior from Rochester Hills, Mich., majoring in international studies. EMORY in the world
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Historic stained glass windows fill the back lobby wall of what is now the European School of Management and Technology building, home of the Hertie School of Governance, a privately-funded graduate school in central Berlin. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the building served as the seat of the Chairman of the State Council, and represented the supreme institution of the East German state governance. In 1998, the building served as the chancellery of unified Germany, and later was given a new purpose as an educational institution. In an effort to maintain the buildingâ€™s historical significance, the windows from the GDR period were retained. Such depictions of happy, agrarian family scenes were commonly used in Soviet artwork as a propaganda tool to shape the hearts and minds of the people. The Halle Institute and the Hertie School co-sponsored a conference in Berlin April 24-26, 2008, on 10 Years of Economic and Monetary Union, with opening remarks from former Bundesbank President Helmut Schlesinger. Photo by Alma Freeman