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“NATO is wise to create a new rapid-reaction force. A firm stand by NATO is a good thing.

“In the short term it will increase tension with Russia, but the long-term result will be to encourage Putin to limit his expansionist ambition. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine threatens the peace and stability of all Europe.

“It is important to defend the hard-won current order in Europe and to discourage further Russian adventurism. By mixing such firmness with continued diplomacy, NATO can remind Russia that, fundamentally, the two sides have every reason to be friends and to settle disputes peacefully. Peace through strength is a time-tested recipe for success.”

Barry Strauss, an expert on the history of warfare and professor of history, commenting that NATO’s proposed rapid-reaction force initially will increase tensions with Russia, but will ensure order and peace in Europe over the long run

The killing of an unarmed Michael Brown Aug. 9 has triggered a national dialogue of passion and protest. On Wednesday, Sept.10, at 4:30 p.m. the Cornell Africana Studies and Research Center and Cornell Law School will hold a forum to examine some of the reasons for – and the consequences of – that killing. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Africana Studies and Research Center Multipurpose Room, 310 Triphammer Rd, Ithaca.

Forum participant Travis Gosa, a social scientist who is an assistant professor of Africana Studies at Cornell, has researched and written about the social and cultural worlds of African-American youth. He notes that research shows that “awareness of racial inequality doesn’t seem to motivate white Americans to support policies that address police violence – it can have the opposite effect, while media reports of blacks rioting and looting can reinforce stereotypes of black criminality.”

We know that what happened to Michael Brown was not a unique incident but part of a larger phenomenon—and that it will happen again, soon,” wrote forum participant Lanre Akinsiku in an editorial for The Gawker. Akinsiku is a student in Cornell’s MFA Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The third forum member, Joe Margulies, is visiting professor of government and law at Cornell’s Law School. He has been a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer who has worked on police shootings in both the civil and criminal contexts.

The forum will be moderated by Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell.

At locations across campus Aug. 25, faculty, staff and administrators led student discussions about the book chosen for this year’s New Student Reading Project , “Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio” by Amara Lakhous. 
“The idea of identity plays into why this book was chosen, I think,” said Flaminia Cervesi, professor of Romance studies, in a discussion in Lincoln Hall with 13 first-year students. “You all come in, new students to a new place, and it’s a question of how you relate, what identity you bring, and who are you going to become.”

At locations across campus Aug. 25, faculty, staff and administrators led student discussions about the book chosen for this year’s New Student Reading Project , “Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio” by Amara Lakhous. 

“The idea of identity plays into why this book was chosen, I think,” said Flaminia Cervesi, professor of Romance studies, in a discussion in Lincoln Hall with 13 first-year students. “You all come in, new students to a new place, and it’s a question of how you relate, what identity you bring, and who are you going to become.”

For the past several months, stories of unaccompanied minors making the overland journey from Central America to the United States have caught the attention of the media, the public, and policymakers. In 2014 alone, an estimated 50,000 children arrived at the U.S. border, prompting the United Nations to ask for their international protection, instead of deportation.
Such turbulent times are not new to Central America however, as history professor Maria Cristina Garcia points out. She is the author of “Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, The United States, Canada,” which recounts the history of political upheaval and consequent migration.

For the past several months, stories of unaccompanied minors making the overland journey from Central America to the United States have caught the attention of the media, the public, and policymakers. In 2014 alone, an estimated 50,000 children arrived at the U.S. border, prompting the United Nations to ask for their international protection, instead of deportation.

Such turbulent times are not new to Central America however, as history professor Maria Cristina Garcia points out. She is the author of “Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, The United States, Canada,” which recounts the history of political upheaval and consequent migration.

Students will be up all night this weekend, working to create short plays from scratch and perform them, all within 24 hours.

The 24-Hour Playfest begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 29, and the plays resulting from the process will be performed at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 in the Schwartz Center’s Flexible Theatre.

This start-of-the-school-year tradition at the Schwartz Center is organized by Jillian Holch ’16. The exercise gives students from across campus an introduction to the Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) and to each other, and to creating performances during their Cornell careers.

The theme and “twist” for this year’s Playfest will be announced when students meet at the beginning of the 24 hours on Friday. The writers among them will then create short plays, due at 6 a.m. Directors will read the scripts and cast actors by 7 a.m., then rehearsals will begin, props and costumes will be gathered, and finally all of the students – directors, playwrights, actors, stage managers and crew – will regroup for performances at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Before the Playfest, PMA invites Cornell students to attend the department’s Town Hall Meeting, Aug. 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the Flexible Theatre. Students can tour Schwartz Center facilities, learn about classes in dance, film and theatre and department events – there will be 150 events in 2014-15 in honor of Cornell’s sesquicentennial – and how to get involved in set design, costumes, lighting and sound design and other activities.

What a simple lot we were, but she,
raspingly clever, kept us breathless,

our innocuous moxie cresting to order.
– Phyllis Janowitz, “The Necessary Angel”
Poet and Professor Emerita of English Phyllis Janowitz died Aug. 17 at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls, New York. She was 84.
Janowitz taught creative writing and poetry at Cornell for nearly 30 years and served as director of the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English twice, from 1980-83 and 1986-91. She retired as a full professor in 2009.
Colleagues remembered Janowitz fondly for her generosity, sense of humor and creative talents.
“Phyllis was one of the funniest and kindest people I’ve ever known,” said her former student Alice Fulton, MFA ’82, the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English. “She had a delicious sense of the absurd and a warm heart, an unusual combination. Her poetry exhibits these qualities; on the page, as in the world, she was an original. Phyllis’ work was brilliantly eccentric, and its singularity made it an important influence for me and for countless other poets.”

What a simple lot we were, but she,

raspingly clever, kept us breathless,


our innocuous moxie cresting to order.

– Phyllis Janowitz, “The Necessary Angel”

Poet and Professor Emerita of English Phyllis Janowitz died Aug. 17 at Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility in Montour Falls, New York. She was 84.

Janowitz taught creative writing and poetry at Cornell for nearly 30 years and served as director of the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English twice, from 1980-83 and 1986-91. She retired as a full professor in 2009.

Colleagues remembered Janowitz fondly for her generosity, sense of humor and creative talents.

“Phyllis was one of the funniest and kindest people I’ve ever known,” said her former student Alice Fulton, MFA ’82, the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English. “She had a delicious sense of the absurd and a warm heart, an unusual combination. Her poetry exhibits these qualities; on the page, as in the world, she was an original. Phyllis’ work was brilliantly eccentric, and its singularity made it an important influence for me and for countless other poets.”

Neurodinners resume tonight, Thursday, Aug. 28th, for graduate students, post-doctoral students, and faculty interested in finding labs and ideas for neuroscience research.  

This first Neurodinner of the semester will be a continuation of the “Meet the New Faculty” series and will feature Assistant Professor Jesse Goldberg and Assistant Professor and Miriam M. Salpeter Fellow Melissa Warden, both from the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior.

The meeting will take place in the Morison Room of Mudd Hall (1st floor atrium) at 5 PM. 

Reading, teaching  and writing books have been transformative experiences for Daniel Schwarz, Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow. On September 27, he’ll be reading for a cause: the second annual Tompkins County Public Library Readathon.
As Schwarz writes on his Crowdrise fundraising page, he is participating in the Readathon “to support this essential community resource so that others can have the joy in reading and learning that I have been fortunate to have.”

Reading, teaching  and writing books have been transformative experiences for Daniel Schwarz, Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow. On September 27, he’ll be reading for a cause: the second annual Tompkins County Public Library Readathon.

As Schwarz writes on his Crowdrise fundraising page, he is participating in the Readathon “to support this essential community resource so that others can have the joy in reading and learning that I have been fortunate to have.”

Benedict Anderson’s essays have established the tone and framework for understanding Thailand’s American Era, writes history professor Tamara Loos, M.A. ’94, Ph.D. ’99 in her introduction to a new collection of Anderson’s essays, “Exploration and Irony in Studies of Siam Over 40 Years.”

Anderson’s decision to study Thailand has painful roots: Originally a dedicated Indonesianist, in 1966 he co-authored an analysis of General Suharto’s bloody coup in Indonesia that was published as a book in 1971. The general responded by banning Anderson from Indonesia; it took 27 years and Suharto’s death before Anderson was allowed to return.

“But I got to be very fond of Thailand,” says Anderson, the Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government and Asian Studies.