Students spend break in Europe

first_imgBefore he was Pope, John Paul II was Fr. Karol Józef WojtyÅa, a priest living and working in Poland under communist rule. Junior Christina Serena, a Notre Dame philosophy and theology major, wanted to know what impact this Church leader had on his native country. Through a grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Serena traveled to Poland over fall break and interviewed 23 people there. Some were priests; some were ordinary citizens; some knew the Pope personally and called him “uncle” at a time when it was dangerous to identify a Catholic priest as “father,” she said.   “One summer, [the Pope] invited them to the Vatican … and Pope John Paul was making up songs about their memories back in Poland,” she said. “They still called him uncle then – they said it was like he was still their uncle – like he was the Pope, but he wasn’t the Pope … he was still their friend, even as Pope.” Dr. Anthony Monta, associate director of the Nanovic Institute, said the group granted $31,786 allowing 14 students to go to European countries conducting research in a variety of fields. Monta said the Nanovic Institute has a long history of working with the College of Arts and Letters, but recently it has encouraged students interested in science and business topics to apply for grants as well. This year, he said “about half” of the students conducted research related to international economics or topics outside the College of Arts and Letters. “The economic situation in Europe affects us all, so we’re interested in sending students who are interested in those types of problems,” Monta said, “and the scientific community is global.” Alex Yaney, a senior majoring in Science Preprofessional Studies and Italian, said he spent his fall break in hospitals and on the streets of Rome, asking both health professionals and ordinary people about their opinions on Italy’s public healthcare system. “It really gave me the chance to practice my Italian and [learn] about the medical system there,” Yaney said. “That was why I came, to incorporate my two majors together. … It was a good reminder of why I came to Notre Dame and why I’m studying what I’m studying.” The Nanovic Institute, Monta said, encourages seniors in particular to travel to Europe to gather material for their theses. “We always earmark funds for seniors, because we want very much to promote a culture of the senior thesis in concert with the College of Arts and Letters,” he said. “We had five seniors working on theses receive funding to do the kind of original, experiential research that take their theses to the next level … to find bits of research that really amplify the significance of their research.” For his thesis, Matt Cook, a fifth-year architecture student, said he traveled to the Cinque Terre region of Italy for the second time, speaking with community leaders and studying wineries, a significant source of revenue in the area. His goal, he said, is to design a winery and town center for the town of Vernazza. Cook said he hoped to contribute to the discussion about reviving the town, which in recent years has struggled with tourism, environmental degradation and a 2011 flood. “I don’t think there’s a lot of money in Vernazza for a project like this, but it at least gives them some kind of idea about how they can respond to the needs of tourists, how they can accommodate a growing number of visitors, and how they can get people back out into the territories outside of town and respond to the environmental pressures so that people can live safely in Vernazza,” Cook said. Monta said the Nanovic Institute also encourages students to work on philosophical and theological projects, such as Serena’s study of Pope John Paul II’s impact on Poland, which she intends to turn into a research paper and video compilation. “As an institution we like to build connections to the Vatican,” Monta said. “We like to build connections to all the great Catholic universities in Europe, and we have very nice partnerships set up with these.” In addition to gathering insights about John Paul II’s personality, Serena said she found the Polish public, while they didn’t know much about his theological teachings, “loved him in the way that you love your father” and considered him a national icon. “Pope John Paul really became not a direct leader but definitely a spiritual leader for the solidarity movement, which is a movement in Poland of the common people to fight against the power of the Soviet Union in Poland,” Serena said. “… It’s like, ‘We have the strength as Poles to be able to finally become independent.’ They have a lot of respect for him.”last_img read more

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee discusses experience, forgiveness

first_imgOn Nov. 20, 2001, in the early days of the United States’ “War on Terror,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi drove himself to the national police headquarters in Nouakchott, Mauritania — his home country — for voluntary questioning in relation to recent terrorist activity in North America due to a cousin’s relationship with Osama Bin Laden and attendance at the same mosque in Canada as one of the planners of the failed Millenium attacks.Despite no evidence of direct involvement, Slahi was taken into U.S. custody where he would remain for the next 15 years, most of which were spent at the United States prison at Guantanamo Bay where he was subjected to torture before his eventual release.Sunday afternoon, in the Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Slahi discussed his experiences with Notre Dame students and community members via video-chat — due to U.S. government restrictions on his travel stateside — as part of a week-long forum sponsored by the Center For Civil and Human Rights surrounding the release of a revised edition of his international best-seller “Guantanamo Diaries.”“I knew what dictatorship looked like because I grew up in a dictatorship,” Slahi, who was wearing a Notre Dame t-shirt, told the crowd. “What I saw in Guantanamo Bay was a dictatorship.”The forum, which was moderated by Christine Cervenak, the associate director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, also included reflections from Slahi’s editor Larry Siems (‘81) and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and former director of the Notre Dame Center for Civil and Human Rights, Juan Mendez, who had also been a political prisoner, in his native Argentina.Mendez said Slahi’s treatment at Guantanamo was representative of other U.S. abuses during the “War on Terror.”“[His case embodies] this characteristic of the global “War on Terror” that seems to say that the rules apply to everybody else but not the United States … a grotesque version of the exceptionalism of the United States,” he said.Siems discussed how profiling led to Slahi’s arrest and continued imprisonment despite the scant evidence.“There’s some cultural bigotry at play and I think that kind of profiling has trickled down and seeped out in ways that permeate not just post-9/11 detention policies but in immigration and refugee policy as well,” he said.After his imprisonment, Slahi longed to write about his experience, as he had written all his life.Because of his understanding of freedom of expression in the United States, Slahi was surprised when he was told he could not write.“[I thought] this is a democratic country and I have the right to express myself no problem … but they said you cannot have pens,” he said. “That was when I started to steal pens from my neighbors.”Slahi said his motivation to write came from his desire to make the truth known.“As someone who writes, it’s a responsibility to tell the truth, it’s my responsibility, it’s my job, to say everything to be as objective as I could,” he said.  “… Truth is a very powerful weapon, truth is a weapon I have in my arsenal that the [U.S.] government does not have.”Pouring all his time into writing, Slahi eventually produced a 466-page, hand-written manuscript. However, this manuscript was not allowed to see the light of day due to confidentiality restrictions placed on all writing and art produced by Guantanamo prisoners.Eventually, thanks to the tireless work of lawyers, Slahi’s now-heavily redacted manuscript made its way to Siems, who would eventually work with Slahi to get the work published.When the book was eventually published in January of 2015, Slahi was still in jail, still subjected to torture.Despite the torture he suffered at the hands of the U.S. government, Slahi says he forgives all involved in his torture — a forgiveness he realized through his Muslim faith.“I found out that no revenge is as complete as forgiveness,” he said.Tags: Center for Civil and Human Rights, guantanmo bay, Juan Mendez, Larry Siems, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, War on Terrorlast_img read more

This character home was more popular with buyers than any other Queensland home this week

first_img14 Tawarri Crescent, Burleigh Heads.It is listed through Professionals Black & Young – Burleigh Heads.A home which had already sold at auction was the third most popular online listing this week.More than 120 people turned out to the auction of the house at 35 Emma St, Kalinga. The Hamptons style home sold for $1.27 million. 23 Essex Rd, Indooroopilly. Picture: realestate.com.auIt was listed through Ann-Karyn Fraser of Place New Farm. 45 Trout St, Ashgrove. Picture: realestate.com.auA sitting room opened onto a front deck and there were living areas upstairs and downstairs.Both levels also had kitchens and there were lead light windows VJ walls. 45 Trout St, Ashgrove was Queensland’s most viewed listing on realette.com.au this week. Picture: realestate.com.auA CHARACTER home at Ashgrove was the one more potential buyers were keen to check out than any other Queensland home this week.The house at 45 Trout St, Ashgrove had six bedrooms and three bathrooms and retained many of its traditional features. 14 Tawarri Crescent, Burleigh Heads.The four-bedroom home is scheduled for auction on January 27.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach Northless than 1 hour agoNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by It is described as a modern, industrial-style luxury home. The brand new house had high ceilings throughout.The three-level home had open living areas on each level and there was an outdoor entertainment area.center_img 35 Emma, KalingaThe two bedroom home was marketed through Tyson Clarke of Sotheby’s.Next on the list of most popular properties was a five-bedroom house at 7 Alexander St, Aroona on the Sunshine Coast which was listed for offers of more than $559,000.The home was on a 77sq m block and had a swimming pool. 7 Alexander St, Aroona. Picture: realestate.com.auThere was a separate lounge and dining area and the bedrooms all had ceiling fans.It was listed through Jacob Wareham of Coronis – Caloundra.Rounding out the top five this week, was a five-bedroom home at 23 Essex Rd, Indooroopilly. The renovated Queenslander in Blue Chip Location had original heritage features including wide timber floors, bay windows, ornate ceilings and VJs walls.The kitchen and bathroom have both been modernised. 45 Trout St, Ashgrove. Picture: realestate.com.auThe house was listed through Matilda Palmer and Brigette Righton of Ray White – Ashgrove.The second most viewed listing on realestate.com.au this week was a house at 14 Tawarri Crescent, Burleigh Heads.last_img read more