Two articles by Suzanne Blier, Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, have been included in an online anthology of The Art Bulletin.Published to celebrate the 2011 centennial of the College Art Association, the anthology brings together important articles and reviews from past issues — the “greatest hits” of the journal, which has been published since 1913.Blier’s essays included are “Kings, Crowns, and Rights of Succession: Obalufon Arts at Ife and Other Yoruba Centers” and “Imaging Otherness in Ivory: African Portrayals of the Portuguese ca. 1492.”
A University delegation presented a student petition to policymakers in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., in December to advocate for a sustainable peace in Sudan. Social Concerns chair Pat McCormick, men’s lacrosse operations coordinator Kevin Dugan, graduate student Emmanuel Gore and junior lacrosse player Jake Brems met with representatives from the government and Catholic Relief Services during their trip. “The visit to D.C. was the culmination of all the work we had all done as a school, not just student government but also the lacrosse team, the Kroc Institute, the Center for Social Concerns and dorms,” McCormick said. “All of these groups had come together to speak for justice and for a peaceful referendum. What was so exciting was to have the opportunity … to take Notre Dame’s advocacy to Washington and to Baltimore to make sure the voices of Notre Dame students were heard.” The two-day itinerary included talks with Kalpen Modi, associate director of public engagement at the White House, Samantha Power, special assistant to President Barack Obama for Sudan, and Karen Richardson, international affairs liaison. The group also met with Peter QuAranto, the special envoy to Sudan from the State Department, and Catholic Relief Services. “The discussion focused on the students’ campus-wide campaign to raise awareness of the Jan. 9 referenda in Sudan, genocide in Darfur and the critical role that young people play in mobilizing communities around key humanitarian issues,” a press release from Modi stated. The northern and southern parts of Sudan have been in civil war for over 50 years. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) officially ended war in 2005 and called for six years of peace talks between the two regions. The agreement also scheduled a referendum for Jan. 9 in which Southern Sudan would vote on independence from Northern Sudan. Notre Dame’s involvement with Sudan began on Oct. 5, 2010, when a delegation of Sudanese bishops visited the University to speak about the CPA. The bishops then travelled to Washington, D.C. and New York City to meet with national leaders and discuss the crisis. As the referendum approached, the bishops said both sides began stockpiling weapons, and the possibility of violence loomed for the nation. The New York Times reported that while the results of the referendum are not official, nearly 99 percent of Southern Sudan voted for secession after 3 million votes were cast. Voting proceeded with only small local conflicts, but difficult times approach as the country heads to divorce. “In many ways the time of most concern is coming still,” McCormick said. “The referendum itself was a potential flashpoint … but the Comprehensive Peace Agreement will expire over the summer [and the country could split], so these next few months will be critical ones for Sudan. The advice we got from those who were closer to the situation was that we need to do whatever we can to sustain attention on the fact that this is still a moment of tremendous promise for the people of Sudan but also a moment of potential risk.” Gore is a native of Juba, a city in Southern Sudan, and a graduate student at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “My country, which has known little but war and is one of the least developed countries in the world, is in desperate need of peace and stability in order for development to come about,” Gore said. “My view on the current unrest between Northern and Southern Sudan is that it does not have to be resolved by bullets, but through peaceful means and dialogue.” An independent state will soon emerge in Southern Sudan, he said. “Without the tireless and humane efforts of the international community under the leadership of the United States government, this referendum would not have been possible,” Gore said. “And without the active role of Notre Dame and other like-minded international civil society groups … we would have potentially witnessed yet another human catastrophe.” Gore said the meeting with Power, President Obama’s special assistant on Sudan, was especially encouraging. “She assured us that the United States is not leaving ‘a stone unturned’ to make sure the referendum is held in a timely and peaceful manner,” he said. “But she also reiterated that efforts such as Notre Dame’s rally provided the legitimacy policymakers need to engage more robustly in Sudan.” After the appeal from the Sudanese bishops, Notre Dame’s Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution to pledge support for peace in Sudan. The resolution asked the University to stand behind Sudan and to call for full implementation of the CPA. Student government and other campus organizations hosted the Playing for Peace three-on-three basketball tournament and peace rally on Dec. 4 to raise more awareness for the situation in Sudan. Over 600 students attended the rally. McCormick said the Notre Dame delegation delivered a petition signed by over 1,000 students and a copy of the resolution from Student Senate. “We tried to really symbolize the Notre Dame community uniting for peace in Sudan,” he said. “There was a lot of skepticism about whether we could make a difference, and Notre Dame students can confidently say we contributed to peace in Sudan and we will continue to work for peace in Sudan.”
Saint Michael’s College,Saint Michael’s College biologist Dr Mark Lubkowitz and his students join a team of researchers from the University of Missouri, University of Florida, Purdue University and the University Nebraska-Lincoln, on a five-year project to study the genes that control the movement of carbohydrates in corn.Saint Michael’s and the other four institutions, major research universities, have been awarded a $6.6 million grant from the Plant Genome Research Program at the National Science Foundation for a joint five-year research project that will involve undergraduates at each institution.Working with 45 Saint Michael’s students over the next five years, Dr. Lubkowitz and his co-investigators across the country will do research that could lead to increased corn yield, more drought resistant plants, larger plants and easier production of biofuels.‘To be part of a Plant Genome Grant’the first ever awarded in the state of Vermont’is an incredible opportunity for our students,’ Dr. Lubkowitz said.‘As for the actual research,’ he said, ‘people often ask me what Carbohydrate Partitioning (CP) is, and I tell them, think biofuels, crop yields, and the mitigating of global climate change.’The researchers indicate that carbohydrate transport is little understood, but is ‘one of the most important factors in plant development.’ Thus, understanding it better has great potential to improve corn yield and quality.‘Our research,’ Lubkowitz said, ‘may give insights into how we can increase the movement of carbohydrates and could thus affect biofuel production and the rate at which we can pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.’Additional benefits of the grantThe research has the potential to advance society’s understanding of drought stress, biofuel production, food production and carbon sequestration (binding).The work integrates undergraduates at major research universities and at a liberal arts college into all areas of the research.And the project, in collaboration with Vermont EPSCoR, will run a workshop for high school teachers and students on the vital significance of plant genomics and Carbohydrate Partitioning (CP) in plants.Learn What Matters at Saint Michael’s College, The Edmundite Catholic liberal arts college, www.smcvt.edu(link is external) . Saint Michael’s provides education with a social conscience, producing graduates with the intellectual tools to lead successful, purposeful lives that will contribute to peace and justice in our world. Founded in 1904 by the Society of St. Edmund and headed by President John J. Neuhauser, Saint Michael’s College is located three miles from Burlington, Vermont, one of America’s top college towns. It is identified by the Princeton Review as one of the nations Best 371 Colleges, and is included in the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Saint Michael’s is one of only 280 colleges and universities nationwide, one of only 20 Catholic colleges, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Saint Michael’s has 1,900 undergraduate students, some 500 graduate students and 100 international students. Saint Michael’s students and professors have received Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, Pickering, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other grants. The college is one of the nation’s top-100, Best Liberal Arts Colleges as listed in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report rankings.