When Morocco’s King Mohammed VI took the throne in 1999, he aimed to modernize the country and reform the corrupt political process. One of his ambitious goals was to increase the involvement of women in government. After much wrangling with the growing list of political parties, an agreement was reached to reserve 30 of the 325 seats in Parliament for women.
The UW’s Center for Women + Democracy—which fosters women’s participation in local and global affairs—sent four teams of volunteers to Morocco over the past year to guide female candidates through the finer points of campaigning. Center co-founder and political consultant Cathy Allen led the trainings. By mid-July, 126 Moroccan women had been trained and 45 had been placed on their parties’ list.
Among the trainers who traveled to Morocco were Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire (‘69), Washington State Supreme Court Judge Bobbe Bridge, local attorney Jenny Durkan, UW Health Professor Dorothy Mann, conservationist and political consultant Teresa Purcell, and other political leaders, many of them Center board members who paid their own way. Seattle Times columnist Jean Godden and KCTS’s Enrique Cerna and Greg Davis also participated. The National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C. paid for room and board for the trainings.
Most of the Moroccan candidates who participated in the training were professional women, including doctors, lawyers, and academics. “There were women from the far-right Muslim party who were completely veiled, as well as young women from new parties,” recalls Jessie Israel, former administrator for the Center and co-chair of the State Women’s Political Caucus. “The first time these women sat in the same room together as peers, it was tense. But by the third training, they were strategizing together. They realized that for women to win, they had to work together.”
The trainings lasted four days, with trainers working with small groups on strategy, organization, campaign messaging, and other aspects of campaigning. “We discussed how to talk to your family about running for political office,” says Israel. “That’s one place where Christine Gregoire, Renton City Council member Kathy Keolker Wheeler and Bobbe Bridge were a huge resource.” Gregoire’s daughter Courtney was part of the team and provided her perspective on having a mother in politics.
Several team members stayed on to offer an additional training for party leaders—if those parties promised support to their women candidates. “Training women to run successfully for political office is a different way of countering terrorism than what’s being proposed by the Bush administration,” explains former Center director Christine Di Stefano, UW associate professor of political science.
The result of all the Center’s efforts? In September, 35 women were elected to the Moroccan Parliament. “This was historic,” says Cathy Allen. “No country has moved from less than one percent representation to more than ten percent in one step.”
\Center staff and volunteers are looking forward to following Moroccan politics to see what happens when women make rapid gains in representation. “These women will change the face of politics in Morocco,” says Israel, “and eventually in the Arab world.”
The Center for Women + Democracy plans to offer similar trainings in South American and other Middle Eastern countries in the future.
Ask Christine Ingebritsen about the connections between Scandinavia and Rome, and she will quickly shower you with examples. Now her students can too—after spending one month in Rome through a new study abroad program offered by the Department of Scandinavian Studies.
A Scandinavian Studies program in Rome? The idea surprises many people. But it shouldn’t, says Ingebritsen, associate professor of Scandinavian Studies and chair of the European Studies Program.
“Italy and the Scandinavian countries are perceived as opposites in politics, religion, temperament... everything,” she says. “What this program tries to do is focus on longstanding connections between the two regions that are not frequently explored or well understood.”
There’s Norway and Italy’s shared focus on the sea. And Henrik Ibsen’s years in Rome, during which he wrote A Doll’s House. When Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated the throne, she spent her remaining years in Rome. And let us not forget the Vikings, who sacked Pisa thinking it was Rome.
While Ingebritsen was aware of all these connections, she didn’t see the potential for a course in Rome—until receiving a University memo encouraging more departments to take advantage of the Rome Center, a UW facility with classrooms and living quarters in the heart of Rome. That’s when she and colleague Katherine Hanson dreamed up a program for the month of September—the quiet period between summer and autumn quarters.
“A lot of students can’t take a whole quarter off due to jobs or other commitments,” Ingebritsen explains. “This gave students an experience abroad but enabled them to return in time for autumn quarter.”
After two years of planning, the program was introduced in September 2002, with 20 students and three professors—Ingebritsen, Hanson, and Kathryn Rogers Merlino—participating. Three courses were offered, covering politics, literature, and architecture. An additional class focused on connections between Scandinavia and Italy.
“The students’ assignment in that course was to find new connections and present them in class,” says Ingebritsen. “It was amazing to see what they came up with. One student focused on Santa Lucia, a Swedish procession that is held the first week of December. It is adapted from an Italian tradition, and she explored how it became a tradition in Sweden.”
Buoyed by the success of the Rome program, Ingebritsen hopes the department can develop similar offerings in other parts of the world. “Anywhere the Vikings have been, we have license to go,” she says. “This won’t be our last stop.”
He was born to Chinese parents and raised in India. He lived in Mexico City during high school and came to the United States for college and a career in academia. Now Anand Alan Yang has moved to Seattle to serve as director of the Jackson School of International Studies.
“I’ve had a very international life,” admits Yang, “that has hopefully prepared me well for this job. The Jackson School fits in with my background and so many of my interests. It feels like a perfect fit.”
Yang says he was attracted to the complexity and truly international nature of the job. “The reputation of the University of Washington was a factor as well,” he adds. He came to the UW from the University of Utah, where he had been a professor of history and department chair.
Yang’s research focuses on India, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He has nearly completed his fourth book but has been too busy with his new job to finish it.
“I’m finding that there is greater buzz about all things international since 9/11,” Yang says, citing the huge turnout for the Jackson School’s Open Classroom Lecture Series last fall. “More people are awakened to the need to know the rest of the world. I’d like that not just to be crises driven. By partnering with other UW units, we can ensure that things international become a major part of the University’s mission.”
When Christopher Ozubko was invited to participate in a UW faculty visit to Beijing in 2000, he had to be convinced. “I knew little about China at that point,” admits Ozubko, director of the School of Art and professor of visual communication design.
Not anymore. Ozubko has since made three more trips to China, the most recent with 14 UW visual communication design students as part of a collaborative project.
It was after meeting faculty and students at Tsinghua University’s Academy of Arts and Design that Ozubko began exploring possibilities for collaboration. The result was a project for visual communication design students at both universities—to research and design posters relating to water awareness—with the potential for international dialogue via the Web.
The project, funded through a Hewlett Global Classrooms grant, began during Autumn Quarter 2001. Ozubko and Doug Wadden, UW professor of visual communication design, visited Tsinghua University for one week to describe the project and work with the Chinese students.
For months, that was the only contact between the two groups. The Web-based dialogue never took off, and an anticipated reciprocal visit by Tsinghua University faculty never materialized. “Up until March, we were trying to get their faculty over here,” says Ozubko. “When we realized that was not going to happen, we changed our plan.”
Ozubko and Wadden secured grants to take their students to China instead, to participate in an exhibit of the completed posters at Tsinghua University.
“We left the morning after commencement with the posters carefully packed in rolls,” recalls Ozubko. “I was apprehensive about what we were going to find when we got there, but when we arrived they had all the panels up and ready to mount—20 for their students, 20 for our students.”
Over the next few days the two groups discussed and critiqued their work, mostly through translators, and visited local sites. That’s when the dialogue really began.
“The UW students were fascinated by how the Chinese students think about design,” says Ozubko. “There really is a difference in their approach to problem solving. It’s much more emotional and less statistical. It’s almost poetic.”
The UW students, without exception, were moved by the visit. “When I asked them whether they’d like to come back, they said, ‘It’s not if I’m coming back to China, it’s when,” recalls Ozubko.
Ozubko hopes that another joint project can be planned, with the UW hosting the next exhibit and visit.
To learn more about this project, visit the project website at http://courses.washington.edu/gcvcd/site/index.html.
The next time you’re hankering to attend a performance or exhibit on campus and wonder what’s available, take a look at the UW Arts website. The site highlights current and upcoming arts events and the departments that sponsor them. It is a collaborative project of the College’s seven arts units—art, dance, drama, music, Burke Museum, Henry Art Gallery, and Meany Hall for the Peforming Arts—and the UW Summer Arts Festival and the Center for Digital Arts.
“With so many A&S units presenting performances and exhibits, there can be six or more offerings in a single day,” says Michael Halleran, divisional dean for the arts and humanities. “Our goal is to provide easier access to arts event information and possibly help people discover offerings they might have otherwise overlooked.”
The UW Arts home page lists events for the current week, but those interested in planning ahead can access a complete calendar with one click. Or they can view listings for a specific art form, such as theater or music. All listings link to additional information, from detailed descriptions of events to ticket prices and on-campus parking options.
As students arrived on campus Autumn Quarter, they were greeted with live music, Husky cheerleaders, and spicy international cuisine. And that was just the beginning. Dawg Daze, a celebration of the new academic year, included a full week of happenings on Red Square.
Now in its third year, Dawg Daze was the brainchild of A&S Dean’s Office staffers Mary Pullen and Vicki Anderson-Ellis. Pullen credits Stan Chernicoff, director of student athlete academic services and senior lecturer in earth and space sciences, with inspiring the idea.
“I was in Red Square two years ago, organizing a program on a smaller scale to welcome students in the UW’s GEAR UP program,” recalls Pullen. “Stan Chernicoff was passing by and asked me, ‘Can we do something like this in two weeks for the start of Autumn Quarter?’” Chernicoff presented the idea to President Richard McCormick, and within days money was available.
Amazingly, Pullen and Anderson-Ellis pulled it off. They organized a week of activities that included performances by local bands, a talk with Husky Football coach Rich Neuheisel, Quad Flicks—a movie presented at night under the stars— and information about majors, careers, and UW jobs. The following year, with additional campus units involved in planning, more activities were added, including food booths with everything from Thai cuisine to catfish.
“Students have come to expect this,” says Pullen. “It’s good to see Red Square so full of life and activity as the year begins.”
Sometimes what seems impossible becomes possible. That was the case for the Baltic Studies Program, which was introduced in 1994 with funding from a federal grant. The program, based in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, sought more permanent support and looked to the Baltic community for assistance. But the prospect of raising enough for an endowment seemed formidable.
By 1996, the community had raised $50,000 for a Baltic Studies Endowment, mostly through small gifts. Now the endowment is up to $775,000, ensuring the Baltic Studies Program’s existence for years to come. Donors celebrated that accomplishment on October 6 at a gathering in Kane Hall, hosted by UW President Richard McCormick.
Baltic Studies focuses on three countries bordering the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. (The remaining countries make up Scandinavia.) Each country has its own language, and Guntis Smidchens, lecturer in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, has taught them all.
“The Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian languages have been marginalized at American universities,” says Smidchens. “They are taught almost nowhere, yet they are the core of the identity for these three nations. So when the UW began offering these languages, the Baltic community was very excited.”
So excited, in fact, that they began organizing community events—a rummage sale, ballroom dance performances, auctions—to raise money for the program. The events led to larger gifts.
“There were moments in the auctions when the auctioneer would pause and ask people to commit to donating $100, $500, for the program, and people would enthusiastically raise their hands,” recalls Smidchens. “When the larger supporters saw this, they began stepping up with bigger gifts.” One such gift was a $250,000 contribution from the American Latvian Association.
“With this endowment, the Baltic Studies Program has a stable source of income,” says Smidchens. “We have been able to hire teaching assistants to teach Estonian and Lithuanian, freeing up my time to teach history and culture courses.”
The next goal? A $3 million endowment, which will provide permanent funding for Baltic history and culture courses, library books, conferences, and scholarships.