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Wednesday, January 16, 2002

  • $3.9 million for China project
  • 'Civic dialogues' begin downtown
  • Viewpoint on terrorism and jihad
  • Native activist speaks tonight
  • The Daily Bulletin's bulletin board
Chris Redmond

Ten years of peace in El Salvador

[Squatting in front of pine trees]

Snow research in UW's civil engineering department is featured on the front page of today's Gazette. Graduate student Bruce Davison and lab engineer Frank Seglenieks are working on computer models of how a land surface changes following a light snowfall. The findings are expected to help in forecasting water supply and preventing floods.

$3.9 million for China project

The federal government announced yesterday that UW and its partners are getting the $3.9 million grant they applied for last spring in support of environmental research in China.

The money was announced at UW by local member of Parliament Andrew Telegdi. Invitations to yesterday's ceremony had said Telegdi would be speaking on behalf of the minister for international cooperation, Maria Minna. But when 10:00 yesterday morning rolled around, prime minister Jean Chrétien had completed a cabinet shuffle. Minna was out, and Susan Whelan was in, as the minister.

A news release said the funding is "for a project to help protect the environment in the Chinese coastal communities of the Province of Hainan and the City of Dalian. . . . The project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), was developed by the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environmental Studies, in partnership with the Dalian University of Technology and Nanjing University, as well as the Hainan Department of Lands, Environment and Resources.

The cabinet shuffle

Allan Rock, previously minister of health, becomes minister of industry. (By coincidence, he was scheduled to visit campus yesterday; the trip was cancelled.) Maurizio Bevilacqua joins the cabinet as secretary of state (science, research and development). Federal news release
"This initiative will help academic institutions, provincial and municipal administrations, and China's growing private sector to improve environmental planning and management in coastal regions that are experiencing substantial development pressure. The coastal fisheries and the region's forests and wildlife are particularly vulnerable."

Said Telegdi in the news release: "The program will strengthen existing links among the Canadian and Chinese partners, provide significant opportunities for the Canadian partners to benefit from shared experiences with their Chinese counterparts, and encourage Canadian faculty and graduate students to become involved with international development issues."

UW's president, David Johnston, said the program will establish "centres of excellence" in environmental management at the Dalian University of Technology and the Hainan Department of Lands, Environment and Resources. "It will also develop an institutional framework for a Canada-China Centre for the Environment at Nanjing University."

UW, Nanjing and Hainan have already been involved in an environmental education project, funded by the Canada-China Higher Education Program to the tune of $1.3 million. The project director is Geoff Wall of UW's department of geography.

[Bank, photo by Barb Elve]

'Civic dialogues' begin downtown

A series of "civic dialogues" will start this afternoon at the new outpost of the environmental studies faculty, at 70 King Street East in downtown Kitchener. Sessions will be held today and January 23, January 30 and February 6, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The free events are described as "informal discussions on current issues . . . open to anyone who wishes to attend, including young people". Topics will be chosen from newspaper articles, similar brief commentary, or concerns raised during discussion. There will be refreshments.

"Dates, times, and place for the first four are firm (and we'll definitely have cookies!)," says an announcement from the sponsors, the civics research group in the Heritage Resource Centre in ES. "However, we welcome suggestions for topics to discuss, ideas for continuing the dialogues, and other statements of interest."

The goal is to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and experience, open avenues for discussion, learning and cooperation, promote understanding of different points of view, identify information or research needs, and "offer opportunities for people to become part of an interactive network of active and concerned citizens", says planning graduate student Beth Dempster, one of the key people in the civics group.

"It is not our purpose to try and reach agreement or consensus on courses of action or recommendations, although we would hope to see a range of viable alternatives explored, discussed and carried away for further thought. These civic dialogues are not intended to be meetings of experts, but rather to be meetings of people with various interests and levels of understanding who wish to learn from one another and to have some fun!"

Topics for the first discussions will start with the new federal law on security, and could move on to "smart growth", urban transportation, hydro deregulation and the role of teenagers in society, she said. "We invite people to submit other topics."

She also noted that the civics research group "is interested in assisting organizations and individual to do research" on such issues as health, education, transportation, and changes to the local environment. "In particular, the CRG is interested in applying what we refer to as a civics approach to promote greater understanding and effective use of good research in the civic arena and to bring together people from the university and other communities." The new ES working space downtown provides "an opportunity for bringing people together, establishing a physical and social space for research and collaboration with many other concerned groups and individuals".

[Smiling from inside the building]

Tuition fee protest at Queen's

The Queen's Journal gave this photo front-page treatment yesterday as students continued to occupy the Richardson Hall offices of the university's principal. Officials said it was "regular business" at the principal's office in spite of the occupation, which is a protest against the much-publicized request by Queen's to be able to set its own tuition fees. After Queen's principal Bill Leggett made that case in the Star on January 1, University of Toronto vice-president Sheldon Levy said U of T favours a similar change but has not formally requested it.

Viewpoint on terrorism and jihad

Tonight brings a "Special Colloquium on Holy Wars, Terrorism and Wars against Terrorism", starting at 7:00 in Davis Centre room 1351. The sponsor is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association, a branch of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement, which says it "endeavours to create awareness and promote religious respect by addressing contemporary religious issues".

Last fall, the group hosted the 21st World Religions Conference at UW. "It was incredibly well received and we thank you for the support and cooperation that made the event such a success. The tremendous accomplishments of the conference and enthusiasm of the participants has impelled the organizers and sponsors of the conference to hold the conference again at UW next fall."

In the meantime, tonight's colloquium features experts from UW, Wilfrid Laurier University, and further afield: "Distinguished Islamic scholars, experts on the subject, will make brief presentations, followed by a cross-examining session by a panel of Professors (from the Department of Religion, Culture and Political Science) and Journalist from various Media outlets. Thereafter, the forum will be open to the audience for questions. Dr. Gerry Boychuk, Professor of Political Science, will moderate the colloquium. Some Provincial and National leaders, members from various religious and multicultural organizations and social service agencies are also expected to be present.

"We are also hosting an Exhibition featuring displays and books on Islam at the event. The event is free and open to all. Refreshments will follow."

[Building has a golden glow]

No place like Rome: The Rome program operated by UW's school of architecture is featured in a front-page story in today's issue of the Record. Reporter Brian Caldwell talks to faculty, staff and students; this photo shows professor Lorenzo Pignatti in front of the 17th-century building that houses UW's studios.

Native activist speaks tonight

[Churchill] "Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss," says Ward Churchill (left), professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a member of the Leadership Council of Colorado AIM (American Indian Movement).

He'll speak at UW tonight -- Humanities Theatre, 7:30 p.m. -- in a talk that was originally to have been given last fall. The sponsor is the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

Churchill's talk is subtitled "Globalization, Genocide, and Resistance". Says a WPIRG news release: "Ward Churchill will draw on his extensive knowledge of indigenous resistance movements, colonialism, and the origins and practice of genocide to trace the move towards corporate globalization back through the tradition of land grabs, exploitation and genocide practiced against Indigenous peoples in North America.

"Blazing a trail through history, culture, politics, and grassroots expressions of resistance, Churchill will argue for an understanding of genocide which challenges North American society to confront its own questionable roots and the new branches that are fast expanding from them. New branches that may be the cause of the recent terrorist attacks in the U.S. There are many examples of why terrorists would want to strike back at the U.S., including the use of sanctions that have killed millions of Iraqi children in an attempt to topple a government."

It will be the first public appearance in Kitchener-Waterloo by Ward Churchill, author of A Little Matter of Genocide, Struggle for the Land, Fantasies of the Master Race, and Pacifism as Pathology.

The Daily Bulletin's bulletin board

The first posting for spring term co-op jobs goes up at 12 noon on bulletin boards and on the Access computer system.

The computer store is resuming its "free lunch and great technology" series this winter; the first session, on products from D-Link Systems, starts at 12 noon today in Davis Centre room 1304. RSVPs for the free boxed lunch go to n2fernan@uwaterloo.ca.

The Greensleeves Renaissance Ensemble plays a free concert at 12:30 today at the chapel of Conrad Grebel University College.

The volleyball Warriors host McMaster's Marauders tonight in the PAC main gymnasium: the women's teams at 6 p.m., the men's teams at 8.

The Waterloo-Wellington Inventors club will meet at 7:30 tonight (and the third Wednesday of every month) at Woodland Christian High School, east of Breslau on highway 7. Information: 886-4756.


January 16, 1964: The board of governors approves changing UW's name from "The University of Waterloo" to just "University of Waterloo". January 16, 1989: Provost Alan George announces "interim administrative procedures" designed to get more women hired for faculty posts.

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