Alumni Profile: Savanna Washington ’10

Maura Christopher, director of communications, (left) greeting Savanna Washington (right) at the 2010 New York Life Symposium on Civic Engagement.

“Is there a place for me in the Powell Center?” I get this question from prospective students frequently, but none ask with more frequency than the students studying Media Arts.  They wonder aloud if it is possible to successfully connect their passion for film, television, and performance with their interest in policy and service. That is when I tell them about Savanna Washington(Graduate Powell Fellow ’10).

Continue reading “Alumni Profile: Savanna Washington ’10”

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CUNY Grad to Speak About Careers in Public Service, Washington, DC

On Thursday evening September 6th, Lehman College graduate and Bronx native Elias Alcantara will give a lecture on his career in Washington, DC and the importance of public service. Elias currently serves as Staff Assistant in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Elias Alcantara
Elias Alcantara, Intergovernmental Affairs, the White House.

On Thursday evening September 6th, Lehman College graduate and Bronx native Elias Alcantara will give a lecture on his career in Washington, DC and the importance of public service.  On graduating from Lehman, Mr. Alcantara, served in Chile as a Fellow for the Organization of American States. In Chile he earned a Master of Arts in International Studies at the Universidad de Chile’s Institute of International Studies. Elias currently serves as Staff Assistant in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. The lecture will take place in NAC’s faculty dining room at 7.  The presentation kicks off a season of policy, career development and other events hosted by CCNY’s MPA program.

Breathing Easier in Myanmar

Vince Boudreau, director of the Colin Powell Center, and a specialist in social movements and transitional regimes, especially in Southeast Asia, assesses the differences between a trip to Burma under Than Shwe’s repressive regime in 1998 and this summer, when he returned to Myanmar to deliver a talk on the transitional experiences on other Southeast Asian regimes to military, government, and civil service personnel.

Monks Protesting in Burma
Monks protest for democracy in Burma in 2007. Photo by Robert A. Coles/Creative Commons.

By Center Director Vince Boudreau

The first time I went to Burma was in 1998, traveling on a tourist visa despite the fact that I was intending to conduct research about the country’s bloody 1988 democracy protests.  An old friend had set up interviews for me, as well as a program of visits to tourist spots (where I was to wear loud Hawaiian shirts to assure authorities that I really was just a tourist). Establishing that I was a tourist, he said, was essential—not for my safety, but for the well-being of the brave women and men who agreed to talk to me.  And then he told me the following story:

All of the universities in Burma had been closed for several years. Students are an important political force in Burmese society, and when things got restive, the soldiers simply shut down the campuses and sent everyone home.  In this way, the decades following 1988 produced lost generation after lost generation—young people who came of age when schools were closed, students who went to jail and remained there for decades, and in consequence of both, a society without a reliable strata of educated youth. Continue reading “Breathing Easier in Myanmar”

Inside Project 18: Laying the Foundation for HIV Prevention

By Arielle Elmaleh-Sachs, Colin Powell leadership fellow

HIV testing
HIV testing is part of a broader strategy of intervention, counseling and support through the Project 18 research program. Photo: Creative Commons/Johnnyalive

I am sitting across from Marvin, and even though we just met fifteen minutes ago, he is sharing with me some of the most intimate aspects of his life—his social support, his sex life, his drug use, his feelings about HIV and his understanding about HIV prevention. We are the same age, and we are having an honest and open conversation about trust in relationships. He grapples with understanding how trust in a relationship can possibly protect him from HIV transmission.

At the end of our conversation, he will be administered an HIV test, and take a computerized self-interview where he will answer 300 questions concerning different aspects of his daily life. Then I will conclude the interview, sending him off with a bag of condoms, community referrals, and of course, his financial incentive.

Continue reading “Inside Project 18: Laying the Foundation for HIV Prevention”

Service-Learning Faculty Fellow Links Community Voices to Neighborhood Needs

Professor Mary Lutz presents the results of the West Harlem community needs assessment project.
Professor Mary Lutz presents the results of the West Harlem community needs assessment project to members of Community Board 9. Photo: Genéa Stewart

By Mary Lutz and Jonathan Bennett

How do you find out what New York City communities need? You stop people on the street and ask them.

This simple and ingenious technique for assessing community needs has been tested successfully in two of New York City’s 59 Community Districts and is the subject of a 43-page report released this month by CCNY’s Center for Worker Education Professor Mary Lutz, a service-learning faculty fellow and public scholar with the Colin Powell Center.

“It’s easy to imagine that this method, in combination with local political action, could be an important step to bring creative small-town democratic decision making into big city life,” says Professor Lutz. “It is a promising alternative to the top-down decision making that is currently favored by the Bloomberg administration.”

Continue reading “Service-Learning Faculty Fellow Links Community Voices to Neighborhood Needs”

From the Field: Simone Gordon Shares Her Experience as an Intern in the Distict of Columbia Public Schools

Working in the nation’s capital – one of the country’s most diverse and highly watched school districts – I have had the opportunity to learn and contribute to the work of managing an urban school district. Through the Urban Educators Leadership Initiative Program (UELIP) I have spent the last three months interning in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Central Office. It is great, as a future educator, to witness how reforms are made at the district level and then communicated and implemented at the school level.

Working in the nation’s capital – one of the country’s most diverse and highly watched school districts – I have had the opportunity to learn and contribute to the work of managing an urban school district.  Through the Urban Educators Leadership Initiative Program (UELIP) I have spent the last three months interning in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Central Office.  It is great, as a future educator, to witness how reforms are made at the district level and then communicated and implemented at the school level. Continue reading “From the Field: Simone Gordon Shares Her Experience as an Intern in the Distict of Columbia Public Schools”

Four Great Reads to Make You a Great Leader

The Center staff picks books

By Alex Davies, Center Coordinator

Here at the Colin Powell Center, we’re all about teaching young people to be leaders. As much as we emphasize the value of learning by doing, there’s plenty to be gained from others’ experiences.

With that in mind, I asked the Center staff to select one book they appreciate for its lessons in life and leadership. It may be a bit late in the summer to get through all of these before school starts: Continue reading “Four Great Reads to Make You a Great Leader”