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AU in the News
Showcasing AU programs, professors, students and alumni
in the news
January 20-26, 2007
Amigos Judíos Agradables
Earlier this month, 11 American University students and two Hillel staffers traveled to Havana and to rural parts of Cuba reported Washington Jewish Week. They visited the sick and elderly and danced with Hebrew school kids. The trip's objective was to "connect with other Jews, to reach out to other Jewish communities, to teach and to learn and to be of assistance," said Kenneth Cohen, a rabbi on staff at American who escorted the group. Reuters ran a similar story on the students and their unique religious experience.
Power of the Plea -- Not the Purse
Just one day after the State of the Union Address the Senate Foreign Relations Committee condemned Bush's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, reported Agence France-Presse. "There was a note of resignation about him, almost pleading with the Congress and the American people to please give me one last chance in Iraq -- and knowing that he wasn't going to change one opinion," said Allan Litchman, a professor of political history at American University in Washington.
Yet Another Divided Country
New research by political scientists challenges the belief, widespread following the hotly contested 2006 presidential election, that Mexican society is divided by deep political divisions reported Hispanic Business. Among them is American University professor Todd Eisenstadt. In his article "The Origins and Rationality of the 'Legal versus Legitimate' Dichotomy Invoked in Mexico's 2006 Post-Electoral Conflict", he traces the process by which Mexican parties have engaged in post-electoral renegotiations of the results since 1988-setting the context for Lopez Obrador's election challenges in 2006.
Participating in Partisanship
Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, and Donna Brazile, chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, discussed divisions between the political parties in front of a live studio audience including several American University students on NPR's Talk of the Nation.
This may Cut into the Year's Profits
Anti-corruption measures are gaining popularity in both private and public enterprise. The Dallas Morning News reported that more than 120 corporations around the world, have developed a tool they hope will reduce bribery by focusing on the people and the companies who pay the illegal money. Kathleen Getz, a professor of corporate citizenship at American University's Kogod School of Business said, "to have the companies themselves initiating this is unusual."
Federal managers got an earful last week about one issue that's not going away - the pressure to improve performance. The problem, according to Federal Times, begins at the executive level. Robert Tobias, director of the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation at American University, said "performance won't actually improve until it's a priority of the president." Tobias told members of the Government Enterprise Integrators Group, that "George Bush, like presidents before him, is more concerned with policy creation than policy implementation."
Sex offenders, who were supposed to be transitioning from prison life back into society, at Dallas' Way Back House, have been romancing managers and staff members responsible for supervising them, according to state investigative reports published by McClatchy Newspapers. Nationwide, just 45 percent of correctional staffers accused of improper relationships were arrested or referred for prosecution. Brenda V. Smith, a professor at American University 's Washington College of Law and a member of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, said cases involving female staff members often aren't prosecuted.
The government of Argentina is investigating allegations of human rights abuses, most recently requesting the detention of former President Maria Estela de Peron in Spain. WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show looked at the recent push for justice, and why some observers feel it's motivated primarily by short-term political considerations with American University professor Hector E. Schamis.
Iraq: the '08 Election Question
Americans will not elect their next president for 22 months, but already the 2008 presidential campaign seems to have reached a fever pitch. American University expert James Thurber told Voice of America News, Iraq's impact on the upcoming presidential race is one of the great mysteries of the 2008 campaign. "The war will be the issue for everybody and there are no simple answers. So will Iraq affect the election? Yes. Do we know how? No, at this point," he said.
Enriching Historical Perceptions
The legacy of Robert E. Lee who became both a Southern and an American hero endures, reported the Knoxville Sentinel. In an era of political correctness and racial obsession run amok, however, it has become chic to try to demonize him as a defender of slavery and racism. Professor Ed Smith, head of the American Studies department at American University and director of that school's Civil War Institute said, "I fear that the virtues he represents may become lost in the overly simplistic characterization of him as just some guy who fought for the Confederacy in a war that was only about slavery. The level of ignorance of Civil War history among many people is abysmal."
Why not Mars
NASA scientists have focused space exploration on the moon to much criticism from scientists who claim Mars is a much more suitable pursuit. One of the leading experts on NASA's methods and policies, Howard McCurdy of American University in Washington, DC, told Britain's Sunday Times, "The purpose of going to the moon is to practice technologies that are necessary to get humans into the inner solar system...but by investing heavily in the first step, NASA may be precluding the possibility of taking the second step."
AU in the News Archives