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Thursday, November 10, 2005

  • UW looking to help Sri Lanka
  • Award for UW cultural executive
  • Jewish villages live again
Chris Redmond

22 years of Windows

[Sri Lanka]

UW looking to help Sri Lanka

UW researchers are hoping to play a big part in a Canadian project to help Sri Lanka recover from last winter's tsunami, says Drew Knight of the UW international programs office.

"In the context of the recent disasters in the Gulf coast and Kashmir," says Knight, "UW has not forgot the tsunami-affected regions in Asia and is planning a major consortium-based environmental and sustainable livelihoods restoration project."

[Rubble under the palms]

Drew Knight took this shot of a devastated Sri Lankan beach earlier this year.

Funding is expected to come from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which earlier this year issued a request for proposals to help in rebuilding Sri Lanka's coastal infrastructure -- largely washed away by the December 26 disaster -- and to re-establish local livelihoods. CIDA's "Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Strategy" now lists three priorities: environmental rehabilitation and management, fisheries, and local governance.

The most significant environmental damage caused by the tsunami in Sri Lanka was along its north, east and south coasts, including the loss of habitats and livelihoods, damage to reefs and corals, and salt contamination of surface water, groundwater and soil. Coastal infrastructure, fisheries, resorts and transport networks were devastated. Affected communities include the poorest segments of the island country's population -- vulnerable groups such as poor fishermen, small scale farmers and micro-enterprise merchants. Some 27,000 people lost their lives.

In May, Knight took part in a trip to Sri Lanka organized by World University Service of Canada and also involving people from four other universities: Guelph, Queen's, Trent and Manitoba. The ten-day "needs assessment mission" was successful, Knight says, in targeting opportunities for Canadian universities to work with local universities and non-governmental organizations in Sri Lanka to participate in reconstruction initiatives, collaborative research and capacity building programs.

"Based on the collective capacity of our Canadian and Sri Lankan partners determined during the needs assessment mission," he reports, "the group -- hence named the RESTORE consortium -- decided to focus on environmental rehabilitation and management as our key project focus. Thus the majority of interest at UW to participate came from all units in the faculty of environmental studies, including geography, environment and resource studies, and planning. There is also interest from peace and conflict studies at Conrad Grebel University College and the department of distance and continuing education. . . . The concept proposal was recently approved by CIDA and will now proceed to a full project proposal stage with estimated funding of $2.5 million over three years."

The project would focus on restoring environmental assets such as coral reefs, mangroves and other vegetation, lagoons and beaches; helping to restore traditional livelihoods and develop alternative ones linked to the coastal environmental assets; rebuilding or developing community infrastructure using "participatory design, technologies and materials for disaster resilient communities"; building "community-level institutional and human capacity for environmental, livelihood and community restoration and development"; and developing "a post-disaster protocol and intervention of general applicability for integrated community-based environmental and livelihoods restoration and development in the coastal zone".

A group from the five universities will head for Sri Lanka later this month to work on plans with local partners. David Wood of environmental studies will be Waterloo's representative on the trip. Knight notes that UW's involvement so far has been supported by the associate vice-president (academic) and the vice-president (university research).

He's hoping to hear from more people within UW who are interested in being involved in some way. Knight can be reached at ext. 2288 and Wood at ext. 3951.

Award for UW cultural executive -- from the UW media relations office

William (Bill) Poole, director of the Centre for Cultural Management at UW, has received the 2005 ACE Award for "outstanding contributions" to cultural management in Canada.

The ACE Award is presented each year to a member of the Association of Cultural Executives, a national professional organization of cultural leaders. The award will be officially presented at the association's annual general meeting today at the Canadian Opera Company's offices in Toronto.

Poole -- a key figure in ACE -- has been a fixture on the cultural scene in Canada for more than 30 years, since graduating from York University with an MBA in arts administration in 1973. He began his career as assistant general manager of the Shaw Festival, later served as director of development for the National Ballet of Canada (where he more than tripled fundraising during his six-year tenure) and moved to the National Ballet School as administrative director and academic principal. There, Poole oversaw the successful completion of the $10.5 million R.A. Laidlaw Centre, which includes the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

In 1990, he moved to UW as founding director of the Centre for Cultural Management. As CCM director, Poole is responsible for UW's "Cultural Management Specialization" in the honours arts and business co-operative program. Another focus of CCM activity is to address the management development needs of the cultural sector by offering online professional development courses. Also, Poole has been involved, with multiple partners, in developing and delivering six Municipal Cultural Planning forums in Ontario in 2005.

Poole's ability to develop partnerships has played an integral part in the evolution of the Association of Cultural Executives. It was at his suggestion that the ACE secretariat moved to UW in 1997. Poole acts as the liaison between ACE and the CCM, after serving on the ACE board of directors (and as board president from 1998 to 2002).

He has served on the board of a number of arts organizations, including the Centre in the Square in Kitchener and the Dancer Transition Resource Centre in Toronto. Currently he is a member of the board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the Canadian Association of Arts Administration Educators, Visual Arts Ontario and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. He also chairs the City of Waterloo's Cultural Development Committee.

Flu shots for students, staff, faculty and family members, today and tomorrow 10 to 5, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

United Way luncheon at the University Club, climaxing with "pumpkin and white chocolate crème brûlé" each guest pays their own way ($15), gratuities go to the United Way, 11:30 to 2:00, reservations ext. 3801.

Career workshop: "Career Decision Making" for graduating students who want to work in the United States, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, reservations online.

Artist's talk: Kirsten Abrahamson on her show "Diary: Of a River", 7 p.m., UW art gallery, East Campus Hall.

Issues in Native Communities lecture series: Dan Longboat, Trent University, "Mohawk Creation Story", 7:00, St. Paul's College.

Math Society movies: "Enemy at the Gates 7:00, "Schindler's List" 9:00, Math and Computer room 2065, proceeds go to Royal Canadian Legion.

Warrior men's hockey vs. Laurier, 7:30, Columbia Icefield. Men's volleyball tonight at York.

CD release party: Intransit, "Morning Watch", Bombshelter pub, doors open 8:00, $6 at the door.

Pancake breakfast fund-raiser for Breakfast for Learning, sponsored by Engineering Society, Friday 8 to 10 a.m., Carl Pollock Hall foyer (also November 18).

iPod technology presentation at weekly professional development seminar, Friday 8:45, IST seminar room.

Remembrance Day observances Friday 10:45 at St. Bede's Chapel, Renison College, and in Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Yates Cup football, Western at Laurier, Saturday 1 p.m., University Stadium, tickets $25, UW students $20.

'Our Town' drama department production, by-invitation preview Tuesday 7 p.m. (not 8 p.m. as stated yesterday); general performances Wednesday-Saturday 8 p.m., tickets 888-4908.

'Assignment Design' workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, Wednesday 4:30 p.m., details and registration online.

John Meisel, political scientist and former CRTC chairman, gives the 2005 Hagey Lecture, "The Curse and Potential of Greed", November 28, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre, free tickets from Humanities box office.

[Drawing of three men]

Drawings and prints by Stratford artist Scott Fillier, described as "passionately rendered remembrances of his Newfoundland home", continue on exhibition in the Modern Languages building art gallery until December 1. Admission is free.

Jewish villages live again

UW's Jewish studies program and the Waterloo Region Holocaust Education Committee are sponsoring an unusual program in the Humanities Theatre tonight: "Children of a Vanished World", a performance incorporating life-sized photographs with dramatization and live music.

Toronto-based producer and director Judy Kopelow draws on photographs of Jewish shtetls (villages), taken with a hidden camera under difficult circumstances between 1935 and 1938 by the celebrated photographer Roman Vishniac. Vishniac's photographs of the shtetls of Poland, Romania, Russia and Hungary are among the few surviving records of shtetl culture. Some of his most poignant images of children engaged in their daily lives have been compiled in a book that bears the same title as tonight's performance: Children of a Vanished World (University of California Press, 1999).

In this performance, more than 50 life-sized images are accompanied by a selection of Yiddish folk songs and dramatic narration describing the communities preserved in Vishniac's images.

The music has been arranged and directed by conductor and composer Sabatino Vacca, who also performs the piano for this performance, along with cellist Meran Currie-Roberts, soprano Marta Matulewicz, and tenor Joey Niceforo.

A discussion, led by director Kopelow and composer Vacca, will follow the performance.

Admission is free. The event begins at 7:30 tonight in Humanities. It marks the 67th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass" across Nazi Germany, November 9-10, 1938, when synagogues, Jewish institutions, and Jews' homes and businesses were vandalized without government interference.

Tomorrow night, two major lectures are schedule on campus. At Conrad Grebel University College, it's Hildi Froese Tiessen, professor of English and peace and conflict studies at the college, giving the annual Benjamin Eby Lecture. She'll speak on "A Mennonite Novelist's Journey (from) Home: Ephraim Weber's Encounters with S. F. Coffman and Lucy Maud Montgomery." The talk begins at 7:00 tomorrow night in the Grebel chapel.

Meanwhile, St. Jerome's University will be giving its Fr. Norm Choate Distinguished Graduate Award to Eva Kmiecic, a senior executive of United Way of Canada, and hearing her speak on the topic of "The Greater Good: Enacting Personal Values to Build Community". Her lecture will start at 7:30 Friday night in Siegfried Hall at St. Jerome's.


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