Last summer, Notre Dame senior Marianinna Villavicencio brought the perspective and research skills she gained as an anthropology major to her home country of Guatemala, exploring issues facing the country’s ethnic minority for her senior thesis project. With the help of a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Villavicencio focused on the governmental policies geared toward indigenous populations in Guatemala and the cultural factors that prevent their upward mobility.
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“How do you define the English language in a very complex world in which native English speakers account for less than a third of the number of people who speak English today?” says Tim Machan, professor of English in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
As a college student, Erin Metz McDonnell wanted “to experience a world view as completely different from my own as possible, a way of life that would take me out of my Midwestern comfort zone.” She chose Ghana and fell in love with the country. Now a Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, McDonnell continues to explore the region in her research and teaching.
The genocide in Rwanda, whose 20th anniversary is being observed worldwide this month, began only a few days after Easter. That the hatred that cost the lives of a million people in this overwhelmingly Christian country could be unleashed so near to Holy Week seems paradoxical, ironic, or even blasphemous. But for Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, it is most of all a searing mystery. “This country went through what Jesus Christ went through,” he says of his homeland. “Life, death, and resurrection.”
Rwanda is one of the few countries to have met the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals—which include reducing childhood mortality, improving maternal health, and combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. In her research, Notre Dame senior Catherine Cichon explores how Rwanda’s success may be repeated in other developing countries.
“Everything changed on October 3, but nothing really changed,” says Maurizio Albahari, assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology. In October 2013, several major media outlets covered two tragic shipwrecks off the coast of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which killed more than 400 Eritrean and Syrian migrants trying to reach Europe. Following the first incident, CNN reached out to Albahari for a quote.
Three Notre Dame researchers—combining expertise in psychology, religion, and peace—have been awarded a grant from Notre Dame International’s Global Collaboration Initiative to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The researchers will join with a team of scholars from universities in Israel and Palestine.…
In 1961, Fidel Castro described Cuba’s policy towards the arts: “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing.” In the recently published Cuba Inside Out: Revolution and Contemporary Theatre (Southern Illinois University Press), Notre Dame’s Yael Prizant examines how Cuba’s contemporary playwrights have used theatre to challenge the traditional understanding of the Cuban Revolution.
Danielle Fulmer, a Notre Dame Ph.D. student in sociology and peace studies, has received a three-year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of women on community-level peacebuilding efforts in Rwanda.
“Not only is medieval studies the history behind the things that we do every day and the way that we do things, but it’s also a way of thinking. It presents a new perspective,” says senior medieval studies major Mairead Mumford.
Samantha Lessen, a junior in the College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded the second annual Monteverdi Prize through Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS). The Monteverdi Prize, a scholarship created by the Cioffi family for PLS juniors, will provide Lessen with funding to conduct research this summer for her senior thesis. As part of the prize, she will live at Monteverdi Tuscany, a hotel and center for the liberal arts in Italy, founded by PLS alumnus Michael Cioffi ’75.
The healing power of music, the joyful celebration of faith—Teach Bhríde (the House of Brigid) seeks to enrich these elements of the Notre Dame spirit in a people who helped form this institution’s mission and heart: the Irish themselves. The House of Brigid began in 2009, when recent graduates of Notre Dame, aided by generous donors from the Notre Dame community and the Notre Dame Folk Choir, started a yearlong service program to assist in spiritual ministry and liturgical music in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Ruth Riley, a 2001 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and star player of the ’01 Irish women’s basketball national championship team, returns to Notre Dame on April 15 (Tuesday) to deliver the talk “From Professional Athlete to Humanitarian: How I Became Involved in the Fight Against Poverty and Disease.”
Notre Dame senior Margaret Pickard understands the challenges of integrating into a culture different from her own. The sociology and Japanese double major studied abroad last year in Nagoya, Japan, where she gained a fresh perspective on the difficulties of being a college student in a foreign setting.
“I knew I wanted to do something with French, and I liked solving problems and taking different strategies to solve them, and so I chose the international economics major,” says senior Natalie Boll from Grosse Pointe, Mich. Notre Dame’s international economics major combines coursework in the Department of Economics with advanced instruction in one of eight languages. This cross-disciplinary approach allows students to develop both the analytical and cultural skills needed by today’s business leaders and global citizens.
Notre Dame seniors Ilse Zenteno and Alex Coccia have been selected to receive the Kroc Institute’s 2014 Yarrow Award. The Yarrow Award is given annually to peace studies students who demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to service in peace and justice.
Two prominent South African participants in the anti-apartheid struggle will speak at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday, March 19, and Thursday, April 3, as part of the Africa Working Group’s “Celebrating Nelson Mandela” series. One a liberation theologian and political activist, the other the “Jackie Robinson of South Africa,” they each played a crucial role in moving their nation out of apartheid.
University of Notre Dame junior Nicole Sganga will be going on assignment with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Nick Kristof this summer, The New York Times announced Sunday, March 16. Sganga is the winner of Kristof’s annual “Win A Trip with Nick” contest. Her prize is traveling with the _Times_’ columnist to a developing country to raise awareness about global poverty. During the trip, she will report for a blog and videos that will be published on The New York Times website.
Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P., John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and widely acknowledged founder of the “liberation theology” movement, was in Rome earlier this week, the surprise speaker at a Vatican book launch. Father Gutierrez was helping to launch a book, Poor for the Poor: The Mission of the Church, edited by Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, who directs the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Two of the book’s chapters were written by Father Gutierrez, and its introduction was written by Pope Francis.
Hanna Suchocka, former prime minister of Poland and former ambassador to the Holy See, will deliver the 2014 Nanovic Forum Lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4 in the Carey Auditorium in the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame. Sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the lecture, titled “Democratic Poland: 25 Years After the Fall of Communism,” is free and open to the public. The event is also part of the 2013-14 Notre Dame Forum on Women in Leadership as Suchocka was the first female prime minister of Poland.
“The Ancients need to be made relevant to the concerns that we have today,” says Susan Collins, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. Collins specializes in ancient political philosophy. Her most recent book is a translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, with Robert Bartlett (University of Chicago, 2011), which was nominated for the John D. Criticos prize. She is also the author of Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship (Cambridge 2006).
Adam Cowden, a 2012 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. With the award, he will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge this fall. Cowden is one of only 40 students in the U.S. to receive the prestigious scholarship, from an initial field of approximately 800 applicants.
Laura Miller is part of an international team of psychologists seeking to design effective treatments for children and adults who suffered trauma in the wake of the Arab Spring, the wave of demonstrations, protests, and civil wars that swept the Middle East beginning in December 2010. Miller is an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Along with four other psychologists from the United States and Egypt, she is working to identify the clinical needs of the region by studying the psychological underpinnings of the Arab Spring and its impact on the mental health of people and communities.
University of Notre Dame Associate Professor "Asher Kaufman’s latest book was born out of a coincidence. A research trip in 2001 for his previous book, Reviving Phoenicia, led the historian to diplomatic archives in Nantes, France, where he stumbled upon what he described as “an archival bonanza” of documents, sketches, and maps that told the convoluted story of a decades-long border dispute between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The discovery eventually led to a new book, Contested Frontiers in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel Region: Cartography, Sovereignty and Conflict.
“I started questioning the idea of ‘What do art and literature give to philosophy?’ at the same time as ‘What does philosophy give to the arts?’” says James Martell de la Torre, a sixth-year student in Notre Dame’s Ph.D. in Literature program. He chose to explore those ideas within the Ph.D. in Literature program because of its broad scope. “I was really thrilled by the interdisciplinary approach,” Martell de la Torre says, “and also by all the opportunities with different institutes to travel and to learn languages and to just keep enriching my whole experience.”
Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology made a strong showing at the 2013 conference of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Chicago. Thirteen faculty members, along with seven undergraduate students, were invited to present at the annual event. This year’s theme was “Future Publics, Current Engagements.”
Building on the momentum of its recent Strategic Research Investment—which committed $80 million in internal resources to 14 research projects—the University of Notre Dame has announced the winning proposals in a new strategic hiring initiative. The initiative, which is a key component in the University’s Advancing Our Vision (AOV) program, will create approximately 80 faculty positions in 10 key areas of research across campus, drawing on $10 million in annual funds that have been reallocated from lower-priority expenditures to this academic priority.
Daniel Philpott, professor of political science and peace studies, has been appointed director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR), effective Jan. 1. “Professor Philpott brings an ambitious vision for building the CCHR into a leading center for impactful research to his new role,” said J. Nicholas Entrikin, vice president and associate provost for internationalization. “He is a highly accomplished scholar who will support and enhance the center’s position as a beacon for civil and human rights, guided by the tenets of Catholic social teaching.”
Notre Dame’s Department of Economics is at the forefront of several initiatives that exemplify the University’s commitment to innovative research that can make a difference in the developing world.
Notre Dame junior Farrell Sheehan is a pre-medicine major with minors in theology and in Brazilian and Portuguese studies who doesn’t believe in the term “limits.” A Hesburgh-Yusko scholar from Rockville, Md., Sheehan is passionate about researching global health issues and exploring Latin American languages and cultures. In less than three years at the University, he has already gained experience learning, serving, and working in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Spain.