January 15, 2011

Dr. Abigail Bakan of Queen's University to Guest Lecture on Palestine Solidarity, Israel, and the Boycott. Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement at Mount Allison University (UPDATE: CANCELLED)

Update: This lecture was cancelled due to the winter storm.

I wrote earlier about the controversy surrounding Mount Allison's decision to honor Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books and founder of a charity for Israeli Army Veterans with an Honorary Degree at the 2010 May Graduation Ceremony. 

At the time, despite the controversy the degree was awarded and the ceremony went on apparently without a hitch. In an Argosy article at the time, VP Academic & Research Stephen McClatchie said that fair minded debate around the issue would be engaged at the University had offered to provide funds to arrange a forum on the conflict. 
University provost Stephen McClatchie agreed. “We are an academic institution and academic debate is what we're all about. We should be engaging with such difficult topics and it is important to do so in an open, fair-minded, and respectful way,” he said.
McClatchie said he has offered funds to Thomas to arrange a forum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the upcoming academic year.
Thomas also hopes that this controversy will lead to a revision in how honorary degrees are awarded.

On Thursday, an official University event, sponsored by McClatchie's office, seems to provide just that forum for discussion. 

Arts Guest lecture — Dr. Abigail Bakan, Queen's University
Palestine Solidarity, Israel, and the Boycott. Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement
Dr. Abigail Bakan, Dept. of Political Studies, Queen's University
Crabtree Auditorium (Rm M14)
January 13, 2011. 7:00 pm

Sponsored by the Office of the VP Academic & Research, the Department of Geography & Environment, the Department of Politics & International Relations, the Sociology Department, and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Contact: Dr. David Thomas, 364-2211, dthomas@mta.ca

Palestinian resistance and international solidarity: the BDS campaign

  1. Abigail B. Bakan
    1. Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  1. Yasmeen Abu-Laban
    1. Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada


Israel's recent war in Gaza ('Operation Cast Lead') has both exposed Israel's defiance of international law and provided the occasion for increasing support for an organised transnational boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement is aimed at challenging the Israeli state's illegal military occupation and a host of corresponding repressive policies directed at Palestinians. However, the BDS campaign, and in particular the call for an academic boycott, has been controversial. It has generated a counter-response emphasising, variously, the goals of the movement as ineffective, counterproductive to peace and/or security, contrary to norms of academic freedom and even tied to anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. Utilising a Gramscian approach, and drawing from Charles Mills' concept of 'racial contract', we examine the history of the divestment campaign and the debates it has engendered. We argue that the effectiveness of BDS as a strategy of resistance and cross-border solidarity is intimately connected with a challenge to the hegemonic place of Zionism in western ideology. This campaign has challenged an international racial contract which, from 1948, has assigned a common interest between the state of Israel and international political allies, while absenting Palestinians as simultaneously non-white, the subjects of extreme repression and stateless. The BDS campaign also points to an alternative — the promise of a real and lasting peace in the Middle East.

January 14, 2011

Would you like to be in a video about Mount Allison University?

This weekend I will be filming a collection of videos about various topics related to life at Mount Allison University. If there are any current students who would like to participate please sent me an e-mail with the link below.

Mount Allison University Geography and Environment Professor Brad Walters on CBC discussing Climate Change

'We are seeing, for the first time in Canada, billions of dollars in weather-related disasters'
"Is this just nature...on steroids...or is this the new climate?"

Edit: Unfortunately the CBC hasn't caught up to...virtually every other media outlet in the world in terms of creating embeddable content so you'll have to go to their page to listen to the interview.

From the CBC:

Whither the Weather

January 10, 2011 12:03 PM
On a special edition of Radio Noon, climatologist David Phillips and other guests join host Dave MacDonald to talk about the strange weather that has been affecting the Maritimes. Is it a sign of major climate change - or just another unpredictable winter in New Brunswick?

January 13, 2011

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra to perform at Convocation Hall at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB

In addition to the well known creative artists speaking about creativity throughout the year, Mount Allison will also be hosting the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra this sunday.

The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, which includes 16 Mount Allison University students will take the stage at Convocation Hall in Sackville on Jan. 16.

The Sackville Tribune Post - Living
NBYO to perform at Convocation Hall
Published on January 11th, 2011
Marilla Steuter-Martin
Sackville Tribune-Post
Topics : New Brunswick Youth Orchestra , System of Youth and Children , Venezuela , New Brunswick , Fall River
“Music transcends the everyday experience and can allow a group of people to come together without language. It reaches another level of the human experience that can heal and develop a person. It shows the natural beauty and ability behind the human life,” says Hannah Morgan, a second year Mount Allison student and member of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO).
The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, which includes 16 Mount Allison University students will take the stage at Convocation Hall in Sackville on Jan. 16.
Morgan is a fine arts and history major who will be playing the bassoon in the upcoming NBYO concert to be held at convocation hall. The NBYO is made up of 70-80 New Brunswick students aged 12 to 24, 16 of which are Mount Allison students, who perform classical compositions in venues across the province.
Ali Smith of Fall River, N.S., is a fourth year bachelor of music student and flute player. She describes music as being “one of the greatest and most open and honest forms of expression and communication.” Smith recalls a very memorable experience with NBYO in years past. “It was when Delgado joined us as guest conductor for the piece “Danzon” by Venezuelan composer Arturo Marquez. The passion and energy he was able to pull out of us and the music we created was by far one of the greatest moments thus far in my musical journey.”
Antonio Delgado was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and was a conductor of the renowned Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela (National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras of Venezuela).
Delgado has also worked with a variety of mediums having conducted both ballets and operas. Notably, he has been recognized by the Venezuelan government for his contribution.
Delgado was appointed to the position of conductor of the NBYO late last spring and will act as replacement for Sackville’s own James Mark, who was beloved by many for transforming the lesser-known youth orchestra into an international sensation over the 16 years he spent as conductor.
The concert is to take place on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m. in Convocation Hall. Tickets are available for sale at Tidewater books. Admission prices are 15$ for adults, 10$ for seniors and 5$ for students.
Amelia Shiels plays the French horn in the NBYO and states that listening to an orchestra is “a chance to experience something beautiful; something created only with hard work and prolonged focus and dedication.”
For more information, visit www.nbyo-ojnb.com or call 872-7983.

January 12, 2011

Trying something new...

I've been asking for feedback on what I can add to my blog to make it more interesting and informative and my friend Jill thought adding a video might be a nice change of pace. She volunteered to help make it and so this is the first of what I hope will be many videos highlighting a variety of thing about Mount Allison, Sackville, and various other topics.

Mount Allison University Undergraduate Research Conference: Atlantic International Studies Organization (ATLIS) 2011 Conference Schedule Released

Alternative Solution: Looking to a Sustainable Future
The focus of this year’s ATLIS conference is to identify tangible solutions being applied to global problems of sustainability. Participants will look critically at a particular idea or innovation, evaluate its potential and critique its effectiveness. This will allow attendees to gain pertinent insights into a variety of ongoing issues, pertaining but not limited to health, justice, bio- conservation, security, and technology.

Full registration details can be found on the conference registration form here, which you can download from this website. Registration is available up until arrival for the conference in January 2011.

On Friday evening, a special roundtable will focus on sustainability and community development. Participating organizations will include Community Forests International, Sustainable Sackville, Aliper’s Hearth, and the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra’s Sistema Program. Saturday features presentations by students from Mt. Allison and other universities, and a keynote address by Ian Smillie.

Presented Topics:
Thirsting for Equity: Gender and Water in Latin America

Sustainability in light of the 2007 International Economic Crisis: The Global Financial – Production Interplay

Developing a Global Energy System: Constructing and Designing US and China’s Green Technology

Eco-tourism : Exploitation or Innovation? Exploring the Dimensions of Sustainable Development in Community-Based Ecotourism Businesses in Ecuador

Housing Solutions: Sustainable Living from a Global Perspective

The United States – Pakistan Relationship and its role in Sustainable Global Security

Our keynote speaker, Ian Simllie, a development consultant and independent writer, will speak on the implementation of sustainable practices in the diamond industry. He will focus on how to ensure the production of diamonds benefits everyone in the chain. According to Smillie, the effort to regulate the diamond industry is faltering due to the eagerness of extractive industries for profits. Regulators must continue to regulate, but measures to curb the trade of “blood diamonds” must go beyond regulation. The way society conceives of valuable commodities must also be addressed.

Ian Simillie’s played an integral role in bringing the world’s attention to the link between the diamond trade and violent conflicts in Africa. He worked on a UN expert panel on Sierra Leone and continues to be part of an international effort to stop the cycle of violence associated with “conflict diamonds.” He is also the author of, “Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption, and War in the Global Diamond Trade”, which details his experiences and the challenges of the global certification system.

At the end of the conference, Smillie will conduct a special seminar for students interested in how to become a global career activist.

A full schedule is available here.

Mount Allison Atlantic International Studies Organization (ATLIS) 2011 Conference Schedule
This year's posters:

January 11, 2011

Cirque du Soleil creative director Lyn Heward to comes to Mount Allison

Although I was unable to attend this talk,  I thought I would pass on the word about the ongoing President's Speakers Series. Tonight Cirque du Soleil's Director of Creation spoke at Mount Allison. The next speaker will be Cynthia Dale from CBC's Street Legal on February 7. I will post details ahead of that event.

The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All A lecture by Cirque du Soleil's Director of Creation Lyn HewardClick here to enlarge the poster of Lyn Heward.
Cirque du Soleil is considered one the most innovative and creative companies in the
world, and Lyn Heward has managed that creative fire during much of Cirque's history.
She is the current Director of Creation as well as an author.

Supported by Leadership Mount Allison, the Botsford-Westmorland Lecture Fund,CultureWorks, the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies, and Canadian Studies

Cirque du Soleil creative director Lyn Heward Culture and Creativity Poster

Cirque du Soleil creative director to speak tonight

Published Tuesday January 11th, 2011

Lyn Heward will talk as part of Mount Allison's President's Speakers Series

SACKVILLE - Lyn Heward, director of creation with Cirque du Soleil, will be in Sackville tonight to talk about igniting your inner creative spirit.
Heward will be the first of 2011 in the President's Speakers Series as part of the Mount Allison University's Year of Culture and Creativity. Her talk, entitled "The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All" will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at Brunton Auditorium. Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no admission charge.
Cirque du Soleil is considered one the most innovative and creative companies in the world and Heward has managed that creative fire during much of Cirque's history. She is the current director of creation as well as an author - publishing the acclaimed book, which is also called The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All, in 2006. Heward was also an associate producer for a segment of the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Mount Allison English professor and director of the university's CultureWorks research program, Dr. Janine Rogers says, "We are so pleased to welcome Lyn Heward to Mount Allison to help us celebrate the University's Year of Culture and Creativity. Her work with the Cirque du Soleil is known around the world and her perspective, as director of creation, is a unique one - a perfect addition for the Mount Allison President's Speakers Series. Her talk will explore the ways we can all be creative in our professional lives."