Great Issues Scholars Program, Celebrating 10 Years at Dartmouth

Great Issues Scholars Program, Celebrating 10 Years at Dartmouth


– Good afternoon, I’m Daniel Benjamin, I’m the director of the
John Sloan Dickey Center, I’m delighted to welcome you to this tenth anniversary celebration of the Great Issues Scholars Program. I’m delighted in particular to welcome members of the great classes of 1957 and 1982. Both of whom have played a great role in supporting what we do at Dickey. (audience applauds) They have both been integral to the innovation funds that we have, and we are really, really
grateful for their support. I also want to welcome recent GIS scholars and members of the current
crop of GIS scholars. We have an excellent panel to
discuss world affairs here, but before we get to that I just want to say a few
words about this anniversary. As most of you know, this program has its roots
in John Sloan Dickey’s Great Issues course, which he instituted shortly
after becoming president in 1945, and which ran I believe until 1966. And when you go upstairs
to the reception after the heavy weather part of this event you will see a whole
bunch of different panels that discuss President Dickey and the Great Issues course, as well as the GIS Scholars Program. Anyway, that course was by all accounts a formative and indeed
tremendous experience for Dartmouth students of that era and it brought a really
extraordinary array of leading figures to
the college every year. And anyone who imagines that
somehow before the interstate it was a lot harder to get to Hanover has to look at this list of people, because it’s extraordinary. The people who came and the
amount of time and effort they made to get here. I really commend to you in particular the list of speakers who appeared in the Great Issues course. I know for example that the class of ’57 met with Supreme Court
Justice William O. Douglas and that must have been an
extraordinary experience and I won’t try to be too partisan by saying I wish he were here today. I should also note that I have a very powerful sense of what is deeply moving
and formative experience the Great Issues course was because seemingly every alum that I have ever met who took the class has urged me to tell President
Hanlon to recreate it. And as you might imagine this is a task I take on with great seriousness. 10 years ago the Dickey Center undertook to establish a program
for first year students that would carry forward
the legacy of that class and create a year-long
introductory experience for first-year students
who were interested in the outstanding issues
in international affairs and security and diplomacy, health development and climate. I’m told that Professor Darrel Press, who I fear it’s not here at the moment played an instrumental role in this when he was faculty adviser for the War and Peace Fellows and raised the notion that something was needed for first years, and I want to thank him and
my predecessor Ken Yalowitz, and Chris Hardy who is here, who was then Deputy Director of Dickey, and Amy Newcombe who is still here, and I mean that in the most positive way, for putting flesh on
the bones of this idea for 30 or 40 students. After a successful pilot year, alums Tom and Gina Russo, who are two of the Dickey
Center’s best friends began funding the program
and have done so ever since, and we’re hugely grateful to them, sorry they couldn’t be here. Soon GIS as it has become to be known doubled in size, and it has been read
brilliantly in recent years by Casey Aldridge and Peter Jenkinson you are here and who I want to thank for the great job they do. (audience applauds) So in the years since
Great Issues scholars have done things like lunch
with Madeline Albright, mull over the state of
the world with Jim Madis, talk with Jim Notway about
his extraordinary photographs. Read with Jacqueline
Novogratz and Denviso Moyo. See the climactic footprint of humanity in the ice core lab, and of course experience every year the collapse of North Korea or a clash in the South China Sea with Professor Jennifer Lynn, who has gotten the group
going with a bang on a retreat and really started off the
program brilliantly every year. I’m really grateful to her
for being such a stalwart. Over the 10 years the GIS program has had 756 scholars. That’s not approximate, that’s the number. We’ve had scholars from 56 countries, 479 of them have been US citizens and 277 have been international students. So this is one of the places where Dartmouth’s diversity really shines. We have hosted nearly 300 globally focused events
for first year students. Right now between 13 and 15% of every incoming freshman
class applies to take part, and 80 to 100 scholars are selected each year to participate. The program has also had 117
student mentors over the years, and I think without exception these are students who
were Great Issues scholars you actually couldn’t
separate from the program and had to come back and work
at it year in and year out because they liked it so much, so we are grateful to them too. GIS is a program that pulls together all of the pillars of the Dickey Center, so I really want to thank
Professor Ross Virginia, and Melanie Berkins, Lisa
Adams, Anne Saucin, Ken Bauer, Ben Valentino and everyone
else at the center who has pitched in and contributed so much to make it a success. For many years GIS has
been a central experience for Dartmouth undergrads, and it’s given them a group of friendships that has carried on through
the years and beyond. Of the many different presentations that Dartmouth students have done to the Board of Visitors of Dickey Center one of my all-time
favorite moments was when a student named Gercon
Singh described GIS as the gateway drug to the Dickey Center, I thought that was a
memorable way of putting it. But beyond the nonnarcotic
benefits of the Dickey Center, I think it’s really had an impact on a lot of students in
a really positive way. And one of my favorite remarks about GIS came from student Freya Jameson, he was a Dickey star just a few years ago when she said that GIS taught
me the value of my own voice, the program gives a room full of freshmen the power to lead conversations
with global leaders and world-class scholars who
appreciated her questions and ideas and responded thoughtfully. And after that experience speaking up in class was a lot less intimidating. That could be secretary
Maddis, I don’t know. – [Man] No, it’s Donald Trump. – Oh, hang up. Anyway, I would also
note that Amy Newcombe has informed me that we will soon have a marriage of two former GISer’s, I’m not sure if this is the first, I think it’s the first we know of. It’s only a matter of time before we have second gen GISer’s. And I think it’s not only because of that inspiring prospect, but also because I think GIS truly does put Dartmouth undergraduates on the fast track to being global citizens, that I believe John Sloan Dickey
would be very, very proud. So with that introduction, I would like to turn it over
to our distinguished panel. I will only mention their
names and they will then I hope introduce themselves as to who they are And how their lives have
unfolded from Dartmouth in the world of international affairs. So I will say why don’t we
start off with Chris Wren, and then of the class of ’57, and then we’ll go on to Sam
Carlson of the class of ’82, Anna Ganuly who is in the class of ’16, and then Namrata
Ramakrishna, who is a ’20. So Chris, over to you. – Me? – You have to introduce
yourself now, yes you. (audience applauds) – When I have an obituary
it’s going to say he should have spent
more time in the office. And I’m going to tell you how. Can you hear me Chris? – Talk into the mic. – I can holler louder if
you want, that’s alright. I just want to begin by telling you a little bit about the
original Great Issues, and I want my colleagues
who took Great Issues in its original form to raise their hands. If you look. And what we did, we
met was it once a week? – [Man] Monday nights. – On Monday nights, and you’d go in there and they’d tell you all about the world, you have people coming in, it’s very much like now in fact. And I was so impressed I didn’t know what to do with my life, I said
what am I going to do? And I realized, I looked and I said, we were reading the New York Times, I said, I wonder if I could become a reporter for the New York Times, that would be great,
but it’ll never happen. As you know be careful what you wish for. So I decided could I do that? I didn’t think so. But I began because of Great Issues, I thought I’m going to give it a try, and I don’t think I’ll ever get there. And it made a big difference
because I was able to come out, I had never been abroad before, I didn’t know anything about it, later I was ROTC and I
got over in a deployment to Korean Infantry and
then I was Special Forces. But beyond that I didn’t really know much. And then I began working and I realized, my gosh, people can make a living being a New York Times reporter. And I’ll never make it. Well, I made it. It’s a little strange that I did it, I covered a lot of wars for them and that really makes, they don’t have people
lining up to cover them. So I just thought this program has made a total difference to me And I hope as we get into discussions, my colleagues, my mates, can also talk about how
it affected their life. And it was terrific. And rather than bore you
with all the details, I went out I thought I could do something. I ended up working in I think going to 60 countries, I covered wars in about
eight or nine of them, major wars. I got expelled from Iran, they tried to throw me
out of the Soviet Union and I refused to go. And then a couple of other
places where they did put me. But they’re supposed to take you to the airport and put you on a flight, and they were really sloppy expulsions. We used to complain about
how we got expelled. Do it with a little more class if you’re going to throw out this dump. So I want to tell you about, I’m just going to tell a
few things that I wrote down that I remember from being
a foreign correspondent that I can pass on to you that I think helped me in my career. And two things, if your mother says she
loves you check it out. If you want a friend, get a dog. Somebody said, a great
correspondent in New Zealand said it’s not the bullet with your name that will get you killed, it’s a billet address to
to whom it may concern. So I wrote a bunch of
rules that got me through as a reporter, as a foreign correspondent, from having come out of a
program very much like this. And I wrote them down. Here’s the rules if you want
to trust them, I don’t know. First one, always eat breakfast
because you never know when you get another meal, because if you’re chasing a story you don’t know when you’re going to eat. In Bosnia I put a banana
once in my flak jacket and it melted, and it all got
into my, it was disgusting. The second is when you
pass a bathroom, use it. Don’t travel with anything you can’t carry in a dead run for a quarter of a mile. When you get into a place
start planning how to get out. And this is the most important thing, because I didn’t plan once when I was covering something with the crazies and I thought I nearly got killed. So the other is don’t stand between a crowd and a hard place, or don’t stand behind a teenager with a rocket propelled grenade. And when a bomb goes off
you don’t run towards it, let the photographers, you run the other direction because there’s always a second bomb. So these are notes I made. And my career, I was able to
go out and satisfy my curiosity on somebody’s expense account,
and that is really cool. Where you’re not only
doing these wild things, but somebody else is paying for it. That’s great. I’m going to just give you an example of some of the people I
met and then I’ll shut up. But I was a couple of things, I was working in the Middle East and I was taken up to meet
some of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, they’d been blowing up airliners, they were a tough crowd. And I got up there and I began to, and I went up there in a jeep
on back roads and everything, and I got there and the
guy he was the leader said, “I don’t want you here. “You’re a Zionist, you’re a traitor.” Such and such. However he says, “My brother
is studying engineering at “the University of Texas, what’s it like?” So I told him. He said, “Is it really like that?” And these guys embraced me, and then I had to get back
to Iman from the hills. And these guys said, “We’ll
take care of you don’t worry.” And they had three guys all around me with loaded weapons ready
to fire to get me through, because his brother had been studying at the University of Texas. Another case when I was
covering another war, where was that one? In Fata when they were
shelling between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And I went into this
area with a photographer and we got up there and
it was clear that some of the Israelis were going
to take this place out. So you wanted to get out and get back. And I began talking with the guy who was the Fata captain up there, and he drove me up through this, and I said, “What’s on your mind?” He said, “You want to
know what’s on my mind, “I’ve got a daughter who’s
in a school here in Lebanon “and she gets beaten up by the other kids “and she’s not getting the education, “and I worry about that.” He says, “I don’t care about
what the Israelis are doing, “I want my kids to be (mumbles).” And so I realized when
you go out and cover stuff you have to always find
out what the real story is, there’s always a story under the bravado. And so, I thought this
part was what you do. If you look at where all
hell is breaking loose now, there’s a reason for, and it’s not because
these people are crazy, it’s because there’s been
something that drove him to it. I’ll shut up and move on, we can return to some of this if you want. – [Daniel] I should just
say that even though I wasn’t an undergrad at Dartmouth, that the Great Issues
course had an impact on me because I grew up reading Chris Wren, and it informed a lot of my
understanding of the world from all those garden
spots he was reporting in. So Sam, how about you? Would you ever eat at
a place called Mom’s, or play poker with a guy named Doc? I’m just following up on
Chris Wren’s litany there. – Thank you, I appreciate that. Thank you all for coming. I feel a bit like an imposter here, I’m not exactly sure. – We all feel like imposters. – It’s the modern condition. What sorts of experiences
are lessons I have to share, but anyhow I appreciate the opportunity. There’s no question that my life, my career was influenced by Dartmouth. I was in International
relations government major with an education minor, went through the education
certification program here, and like all Dartmouth
students studied abroad, and did a language. So my Great Issues that emerge from that were inequality around
the world and education. So I ended up working for
21 years for the World Bank on international education
in developing countries. So that included stints
in southern Mexico, in Oaxaca and Chiapas and Guerrero doing indigenous bilingual
training materials for primary education. Working in Haiti on a
school nutrition program where we first thought we’d
be doing teacher training and the kids were eating
cookies made out of clay on their way to school, because they had nothing to
eat and they were so hungry, they couldn’t pay
attention to the teachers. So we figured we had to start
with nutritious muffins. I was four years in Bamako, Mali, where Timbuktu is. And we worked to get the
primary education rate from 25% all the way up to 40%, which seems ridiculously insufficient, but at the time it felt
like an accomplishment. My last stint with the World
Bank was in New Delhi, India, working on a program called
(speaks in foreign language). Which basically means education for all, it was the largest education
for all program in the world, operating in over 200,000 schools, reaching about 180 million students. So it had some scale. And I had the rather absurd, talk about being an imposter, responsibility to track $5
billion that was being sent out to 180,000 schools. And looking the board of
directors at the World Bank with a straight face telling them I really didn’t know where it was going, but if you wanted me to
tell them that I did know, I’ll tell them that. And they got the loan of $750 million. So I did that for 21 years working on international education, and again, that really
was stemmed exactly from what I did at Dartmouth, learning some of the
principles of education, but really learning about
the international relations and a nation state system, and what I would argue
are the weaknesses of the nation state system. And that allows me to segue to what I feel is the great issue of the day, no surprise is the climate crisis. And our inability as a nation state system to deal with that crisis, because the climate crisis requires nations to make sacrifices, do things that they may not want to do For the sake of
civilization and the planet. And we don’t have the international
organizations in place to deal with that crisis. So I am just trying to make the link between my international politics class with Professor McNamara, freshman fall, who was a
wonderful wonderful professor who inspired me at the time. I will end by saying I left
the World Bank in 2010, moved to Vermont, went into rehab at the University of Vermont and studied the ecological economics that rinsed my brain a little bit from all the neoliberal economics that I had been practicing at
the World Bank for 20 years, and I became a solar developer in Vermont, and now I’m trying to take
some of that overseas again. In terms of lessons learned, I think any time one works in developing countries one
has to learn to be humble, because we realize how little we know and how often we are
put in the impostor role of trying to provide solutions
that are really half baked. Be flexible, because nothing works the way you think it is going to work. In Uganda we were working to connect secondary
schools to the internet with satellite dishes in rural Uganda and the internet kept breaking down. We couldn’t figure out why, and finally I did a site
visit up in northern Uganda, and it was because the monkeys
were pissing on the wires and the wires were corroding the internet connection kept going down. So we had to build cages
around the satellite dishes, which really made for a
very loud angry monkeys. And I would say also quiet the noise, you’ll have lots of people telling you what you ought to do with your lives, whether it’s your parents or your friends or your classmates or whatever, you’ve got to listen
to the voice inside you and try to push that noise aside and listen to what’s inside you. And I would say lastly, have hope. Hope is, to paraphrase Von Cliff Havel, is not the same thing as optimism. Hope doesn’t mean you think
it’s going to work out and it’s going to be successful. Hope just means you’re doing something because you think it makes sense, because it’s the right thing to do. It’s an orientation of the spirit. And I think at this time
we all need lots of hope. Thank you. (audience applauds) – [Daniel] Thank you very much, I think I’m not going to
be able to mentally un-see that image of the monkeys
for quite some time. Anna, over to you? – Hello I’m Anna, I have way less life experience so I’m probably not the best
person to dole out advice. But I graduated three years ago and all throughout high
school over the summer’s I would go abroad and it was
usually in Asia or Africa and then I took a gap year
before coming to Dartmouth. So when I got here freshman year I was really excited to delve
into international issues, and so I enrolled in the introduction to international development course in the geography Department. And then I heard that this
really cool program called GIS, and I thought oh my gosh
this sounds so cool. I spent the longest weekend writing the longest application ever because I had to make sure
I got into this program. And I’m very glad I did because it really was the
gateway drug to Dickey and I ended up trying to
get involved with Dickey as much as possible for the
rest of my four years here. I ended up working as a student adviser, and then I also taking development classes through the geography department. Dartmouth is awesome because
by being on the quarter system I was able to do three study
abroad’s and three internships, and everyone thought I hated Dartmouth because I was always gone. But I said I love this school, because it allows me all these amazing opportunities to go abroad. And then the hardest
decision was senior year, and everyone is figuring out
what to do with their lives. And I just did some personal reflection and thought about what is an
issue that really stuck out to me throughout my
travels and my classes, and it was sanitation. And thankfully the Dickey Center gave me a Lombard Public Service
Fellowship to work at the World Toilet Organization, the lesser-known WTO in Singapore. And my dad was like I don’t know what you’re doing but that
sounds great and I love you. So I was at the WTO, and when I got there my
main task that they gave me was coming up with an impact evaluation
of their organization. And they had been around
for about 15 years and they never had done any
sort of impact evaluation. And I did not know anything about that and it was at that time that I thought maybe grad
school would be a good idea to learn more tools to
really work in development. So I applied to grad school and I got this fellowship through the US Agency for
International Development, it’s a fellowship that’s been around since about 2013 so it’s fairly new. And essentially they
help cover grad school and in return you serve as
a foreign service officer after you graduate for
at least three years. So I’m in my second year at Columbia, and after I graduate I’ll move to DC where I’ll be trained for a year, And then they’ll send me somewhere for two years for my first tour. And last summer I said I wanted to work on sanitation in Asia, and they sent me to Ukraine
to work on Belarus issues. So I learned a lot about
the Bell Road initiative and China’s relationship with Belarus. So honestly based off that I
have no idea where I will be. But I’m very happy now because my program, it’s called a Masters of Public Administration
in Development Practice, so it specifically geared
towards preparing people to actually work in development, and yeah that’s all I have to say. (audience applauds) – [Daniel] Okay, and last
but not least, Namrata. – Hi everyone. If Anna doesn’t have advice to give, then I definitely do
not have advice to give. But I really appreciate being here and listening to the
advice and observing it, because I don’t know what
I will be doing next year. So I’m in that panic. But yeah, I started the Great Issues
Scholar Program my freshman year, and I think I was so, so lucky for applying to live in that community, because I came into
Dartmouth and I was like, hm, I don’t know if I
know how to make friends, so what I’m going to do is
put all my effort out there my freshman fall, I’m going to make the
friends and then it’s done, I’m never going to make another friend. And it ended up, it ended up working so well because it was a community
of people that I thought were interested in what
I was interested in, and it ended up being true. And I met some of the best people I’ve ever met on this
campus through the program and it really became a community for me. I came back as a mentor and as the UGA, which is the residential adviser for the floor my junior year. Because I guess I couldn’t get
enough of the gateway drug. And I’ve done a lot of programs
through the Dickey Center because it’s really given me opportunities to explore my interest in global health. I’ve been really lucky
to be able to experience what global health looks like at the governmental level at the CDC. Going into a huge office every single day Working on small projects and hopefully someday will
have a very big impact. The Dickey Center has also
given me the opportunity to go to Kosovo this past summer and work on a global
health policy project. It was really awesome because
I didn’t necessarily know what health policy looked like and what that work looked like, so it has helped me narrow down things I like about all these
different experiences and potentially what I
would want to pursue next. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Okay, why don’t we open
it up to the audience, I would ask everyone what
keeps them awake at night, but I think I really want
the audience to ask that, or what makes you happy,
what surprising developments. So why don’t we start right here? And why don’t you wait till
you get the microphone, otherwise posterity will
not record your question. – [Melissa] Thank you, Melissa Cook, ’82. And Chris, I’ve read almost every word you’ve ever published
in the New York Times, so thank you for that. – Oh my God. I apologize, I apologize. – Every time there was
something really big going on I knew you would help us understand it. And I make my living trying to bring private sector
for-profit investment to Africa so that’s my Dartmouth legacy from my father who was a ’53. When I speak to audiences about Africa I always say everyone is
here in the room gets it, how do we get other people to get it? Talk to your neighbor,
talk to your co-workers. So I’m going to ask you
all the same question. We are also privileged to be associated with an institution like Dartmouth, we’re educated, we’ve had a chance to look outside. And so many of the
problems I see going on in the world and our country have to do with people with a closed mind and without understanding of anybody else. So what can you all,
what can we all do to try to bring more people
into this conversation? – [Daniel] Which brave
soul will take that one on? – I worked four years in Africa, and I was bureau chief and I got– – [Woman] Microphone. – I worked for years in Africa and it was one of my favorite experiences, the people were so great
and they have Ubuntu, did I get it right? Where they look and they say I see who you are, I see the person that’s inside you and I relate to that person. And it was just great, and one of my favorite stories was I covered Mandela when he got out of jail. And that was my first really big headline. And to deal with him, he was such, I have four or five people
I really wanted to cover. I liked him so much, he was terrific. He was so good that they had
to keep changing his jailers every month, because he won these white Afrikaners over with him, and when he got out of jail, the first person he went out
and ate with was his jailer. And they were just anyway,
I’m very enthusiastic. I worry about what’s happening there and I worry about the
rhetoric that’s coming out that denigrates people
who are from Africa, shit hole countries the
people that I like best, people I covered from shit hole countries. I should say that my
son-in-law was born in Africa. So anybody else? – So I’m not sure how
you do it all the time, but I think programs like
GIS are an important part, there are many more I would
say committed globalists to use a charged term today
than there ever were before, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t more committed nationalists as well, it’s a kind of a constant struggle. It is certainly the case that one event doesn’t
typically change someone’s life, but we hope that we can acclimate and acculturate and
all those other things, and create really
genuinely global citizens. And we hope that they carry the spark on elsewhere through the
people that they meet. And that’s really I think
a good place to start. Other questions? – Hi. So given that you guys seen a lot of experience with
developing countries and the issue of development
and renewable energy, I had a question regarding actually the constant development. I have a little bit of an issue with that because the concept of
underdeveloped, developing and developed countries is
such a westernized concept that the rest of the world has adopted and it makes it seem that
this has to go in stages. You have to go this, do
this, then that, then that, which leads to a cycle of
consumption in other countries. Non-Western countries, which is really bad, especially countries like India and China. I’m from India by the way where everyone wants to live like the West and live like Americans even know that high level of consumption
here is not sustainable. So I want to know if you had any ideas on how we could combat that or how we could try and
not give everyone the idea that we should all live like
the Western world does today or go in the stages like the Western world did
to reach where they are, because while the standards
of life on amazing if all the world did that then
planet Earth’s resources would pretty much dry up pretty quickly. So that’s one thing I wanted
to put up for discussion, thank you. – Sam, that one sounds like it
has you written all over it. – I feel a target on me
on that one, bullseye. So absolutely fair point, and indeed in graduate school Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, very similar to where you’re studying. In fact the development was
presented as a series of stages, and in fact there was
the famous lift off stage where if a country hit
a certain percentage of primary education enrollment and a certain maternal mortality rate and a certain electrification rate and a certain degree of
urbanization or something, the country would lift off. And it had this wonderful metaphor. It was living in India that I became disenchanted with development. And it’s not hard to see the effects of the burgeoning middle class in India, and I would argue that India
is literally cannibalizing itself in many ways in order to develop, and yet there is this thirst
for a better material life. And I had a great discussion with a woman named Sunita Naraign in India, about India’s right to develop and the right to develop includes a right to emit greenhouse gas emissions. And what is the ethical
right of China and India, a Nigeria, a Brazil, for them to be able to emit
the greenhouse gas emissions that they feel they ought to
be able to emit just as we did, and yet if everyone does
that just as you said, we end up with a completely
unsustainable use of resources. So it’s a bit of a paradox, but that’s in part what drove
me to leave the World Bank as I became disenchanted with
the concepts of development and went back to study
ecological economics and the ideas that development or economic growth whether it’s in developing countries
or developing countries, or Western or Eastern or however we want to categorize them really
can’t go on indefinitely, economic growth ultimately
has to be bounded by the planet’s biophysical limits, which neoliberal economics doesn’t accept. So there’s a fundamental flaw with our economic growth mantra that
we have in the United States where we’re just focused on GDP and where we project the same
obsession with economic growth as a good thing an all
developing countries. I would agree with you
about your time in Africa is where I learned a whole lot
more about the human spirit and the values that people have are much more important than what they own or what they have. So I don’t know if I’m
answering your question, but I think that the good news, at least on development and energy is that now renewable energy, solar energy and wind energy
in developing countries, and I’ll use that word
just for convenience it is now cheaper on a per kilowatt hour basis than natural gas or diesel, and that’s going to allow
countries to basically decouple their economic
development from their energy use. And I will use that as
a source of my hope. – [Daniel] More questions? Right here. Can you just wait for the mic? – I was talking to Chris
earlier about language, the importance of language, and he was telling me that it was very important in his career and Dartmouth gave him a platform to be able to do the
things he did because of the language programs here at Dartmouth, any comments Chris? – Yeah. I have people coming to see– – Chris, talk into the mic. You won’t be heard otherwise. – I have people come to me and say, oh I’d love to be a foreign correspondent. I said well what languages do you speak? Oh I don’t speak, well then you’re never going to cut it as a foreign correspondent. Because you have to learn languages in order to be on the same wavelength that the people you’re covering. I am appalled at how few
people are learning languages. I did Russian at Dartmouth, it was great and I was very lucky, and then when I went to Russia I continued my Russian and
I could pass for Estonian, I had an accent they told
me, but it made a difference. And then when Time sent me to Beijing to really open up their bureau there, they sent me to learn Chinese, so I spent year at
Cambridge learning Chinese and being able to read and write it. And got my best stories when I met somebody I could write them. I also traveled with a
five string banjo in China, and that really opened all
kinds of doors for people. So I guess I’ve had some languages, you cannot get through this world at this point without knowing
more than one language. And I don’t know how
you deal with that here. And it but to me it liberates, because people think in ways that are far more concise then we do. And I did some French, I did
some Spanish and everything. But every time you learn a language you learn more about the
people you’re covering. – Do any of our other panelists
want to comment on that? – Well I studied Chinese while I was here, I did the one two three and then I went on a summer abroad trip to China. I can tell you that the
only time I speak now is in the back of a cab, and I make the driver very happy when I know how to say a
few things in his language. But I completely agree, that even if you can’t get fluent in it, when you are abroad and
you just know some words, it immediately just shows that you’re interested and you care, and everywhere I go I
think that’s mandatory when I’m preparing to go anywhere. – It’s a courtesy to anybody
that you are covering or you’re working with that you have to know more than one language I think. – [Daniel] More questions? In the back. – Good afternoon, I’m
Sarl, I’m from Jamaica, so being in Jamaica I was exposed to lots of the issues faced by
developing countries, and my parents and I would always discuss all of the issues that we faced. And we came up with solutions to problems, but then there was always the issue of who do you bring these solutions to, or who do you go to for advice for a feasibility study to
see if it would actually work or play out in the real world. So I wanted to ask about
platforms that’s already in place for presenting
solutions to any of the great issues of the world. Also, I would like to ask
about ways to get involved with international development
outside of the classroom, because I’m currently deciding whether to do international
development or medicine. So I wanted to know if
I have to isolate them, one, or how I can get involved in international development
outside of school so I can determine which one I want to do? – Let me take a crack at the
first one just by saying, come by and talk to us
at the Dickey Center, because we have all kinds of ideas for things for you to do
in off terms on development as well as things for you to do on campus. Though not necessarily in the classroom about the development piece, and I’ll turn it over to the panelists the question about platforms. Platforms for bringing
solutions, any thoughts? – I think the whole development– – Chris, the Mac? – I’m trying very hard not
to get quoted anywhere. I think one thing that’s
changed certainly in journalism is cell phones, we filed our stories on rocks
with chisels when I started. And I think to be able to have that access to the rest of the
world through a cell phone, even I handle mine
badly, I’m able to do it. I think it’s made a big difference and that’s broken down a lot of walls, now how you put that
together I don’t know. But there’s enough ways
to get information out and to talk in a way
that was not possible. I remember how we had
to smuggle stories out when I was working in various places. And hope they would get to the person. Well you don’t have that problem. I have friends who
covered the war and sadly they were filing live from the battlefield with the Marines in Iraq, I know a friend of mine, he would file his stories and it would go right
in and be in the paper, or right away. So the whole idea of
technological progress is going to make this a
little easier for everybody. – I think it also helps to find people in your immediate environment who they have a little more experience in a particular field, whether it’s agricultural
development or health or whatever and bug the hell out of them
for answers on platforms. Okay, other questions? We’ll take two more and then we’ll go have some refreshments. – [Chris] Can I just, oh sorry. – Yes Chris, you can. – I’d like to ask some
of the people who were in the original class of ’57 who were in the original program for Great Issues and what difference it made for them, if that’s not too bad? Yeah, Charlie maybe? – Thank you, this is more of
a comment than a question, but I was one of those ’57’s
who experienced that class. And a couple of things I’ll never forget. These are lessons learned. Hans Monerthor from the
University of Chicago talked to us about political
science and I’ll never forget him saying that any sovereign nation in a diplomatic situation would never do anything
to assist another nation if it wasn’t in their own interest. And I being a renegade kid saying that’s a bunch of nonsense. So after the lecture on Monday, Tuesday morning we had a question, so I had a question I thought
I would nail this guy. And he ended up nailing me. But I said what about in 1826 when the Ottoman Empire
when the Greeks were getting their independence from
the Ottoman Empire, England came to their assistance. And I went on to say that it was a wonderful noble thing for them to do. It wasn’t noble at all, they wanted to get to the Ottoman Empire. So I’ll never forget it, it
was a proxy war for the Brits. But I thought that I really knew that one. But he also I remember saying that in a diplomatic situation you always have to remember to put yourself in the
shoes of the other person, the other foreigner or whatever. And I learned a lot from that
one statement that he made. And then I was an architectural
art history major, I was interested in
architecture or archeology, and I wasn’t sure. And I’ll never forget Professor Scully, who was a young professor
at the time at Yale, and he was an architectural
critic, architectural historian, and he ended up being
an extremely fine one. He was a very young man at a time, he was already teaching at Yale. And he gave me an insight
into architectural criticism that I hadn’t got to that
sophistication level yet. And he in a way assisted me in choosing to go into architecture
rather than archeology. And I remember I was thinking about that and that helped me very, very much. And then I have a funny story. President Dickey required all
of us to wear a coat and tie. Now you can imagine Dartmouth scene is like what the hell is this all about. So we used to go down
to White River Junction and by the ugliest ties
you’ve ever seen in your life, and we would wear these proudly, and this great individual
would be giving a lecture looking at all these terrible goddam ties. But anyway, that was an aside. – [Daniel] History has not
recorded that about the ties, and now we will have to amend it. Okay, one last question please? – If I could just say one word about ties? – [Daniel] Chris you can
say anything you want. – If you travel, we used
to call it take a king tie, even if you’re working in the worst areas you took a tie with you. First it could be a nice
tourniquet if you needed it, but the other thing is you
got to talk to somebody and somebody would pop out here or there and then you put on a tie, and who’s the guy going to talk to looks at a bunch of journalists. The guy with the tie. And some of the best
stories were putting this, shaking it out and putting on a tie. – Well we could end on that note. But are there any final
questions, if not we will. Don’t be shy, it’s your
last chance, going, going, oh, there we go. – So I live in Washington DC and usually when I leave I worry less than
I do when I’m in Washington, and you have not all helped that today. So let me just ask, we are doing I think it’s not the smartest thing I’m going to say today, observe that a lot of damage
is being done to our reputation and the reputation of the United States. So you talked about hope and
I really try to be hopeful. What did you think we
can all be doing today and as we move forward to address that, and do you think I’m right about it? – [Daniel] Who will venture forth? – Well I’m very upset as to
what’s happening to the Kurd’s. When I worked in Iran and we had a system we worked out that if we got overrun and had to get out of there, you went north and you
linked up with the Kurd’s and the Kurd’s would
get you somewhere safe. Because they were reliable. And now, they’re being blown apart, and I get angry about that because you need allies in this world. And I can’t get a story
without people to talk to me and you can’t get anything
done unless you have allies. And I think we’re in a real crisis. – [Daniel] Yes Anna? – At the beginning of the
year I went with Colombia on this trip to Israel and we spent some time in Palestine and they were talking about how there used to these great programs where they would have Palestinian doctors
train under Israeli doctors and they would learn a lot under them, they would become friends and then they would go back and treat people on the other side, and it was this great program and then we learned that
it was funded through USAID because when Trump cut a
lot of programs like that and it made me really sad. But also working at just
in Ukraine this summer, it’s the only USAID mission
I’ve ever worked at, but just hearing from some of these implementing partners
who are funded by USAID, really how grateful they are and how highly they think of America, because Belarus, it’s a
really authoritarian country and US is not their friendliest ally. So to hear from some of these
Belorussian’s on the ground how grateful they are that USAID is trying to help with these
pro-democracy movements, despite who the president may be, they really, really
appreciated the agency itself. So yeah, that makes me kind of hopeful. – [Daniel] Did you want
to add something Sam? – I’ll dive into that at the
risk of being provocative. But obviously voice and vote are important and engaging in the political process in any way we can is important. I am now convinced on
the climate crisis issue that it’s time for climate disobedience, and I think it’s only when
we start to put our bodies on the line the way that
the civil rights did, the way that so many larger
social movements have done that there will be any
change, real change. And I think in this respect
the youth movement on the climate crisis gives me great hope. And I’m certainly willing
to follow their lead, but I think all of us adults need to really respect
what they are trying to do, whether it’s marching or
striking or extinction rebellion and starting to throw some, what’s the term? Something in the spanner, the spanner in the works. I think actually on the issue of climate I’m personally at that point. So I think we have to do everything we can through the political process, but I also think our political process has failed us on that
particular great issue and we’re going to have to go
a little bit above and beyond what we’ve been doing until now. Thanks. – Imrata, did you want to chime in or do you want to have us
adjourn to refreshments? – I think the audience might
want us to adjourn and refresh. – There’s a couple of questions here. – Who could stop? Yes, wait for the mic though. – Leah.
– Leah. – No, just wait for the mic. – [Leah] Can you just
say a little bit more about what climate
disobedience looks like? – Hm-hm. So I think it’s a very
wide range of things, but just September 27th you had a bunch of people down
at the last coal fired electricity plant in Beau, New Hampshire, why there is a coal-fired
electricity plant and it’s the last coal-fired electricity plant in New England, it doesn’t come along very
often, it’s a peaker plant. But a bunch of people went and trespassed, they were shutting down the plant, it wasn’t operating but they were going to
prevent any operation. They were arrested for trespassing. I had a fun time a couple of years ago we blockaded the federal court at the federal courthouse building in Boston to the protesting the Keystone pipeline. And we were expecting to be arrested and the federal officials had said you’ll be in jail for 30
days and it’s a $5000 fine. We had blocked the courthouse
and we were marching and we had drums and large tubas and puppets and all of that. And for an hour we were there
blocking the courthouse. And then finally the federal
marshal came up to us and said, ironically enough that
Republicans have beat you to it. They’ve shut down the government and no one can even get in today. (audience laughs) So I wasn’t arrested and it was a complete failure of
climate disobedience. I was thwarted by the Republican
shutdown of the government. But it’s marching, even today or yesterday there was someone in London who was on a plane, who was preventing the
plane from taking off. It’s making life a
little more inconvenient. And making people aware that every time we are burning fossil fuels we’re taking a little bit away out of the next generation’s opportunities for a sustainable planet. So I respect people’s efforts to do that. – So I’m going to suggest, since I see more than one hand, that we go upstairs and
have some refreshments and feel free to harass
your favorite panelist with follow-up questions, because that’s what they’re here for. And I want to thank you all for coming. And I particularly want
to thank our panelists for a really entertaining
and enlightening afternoon. (audience applauds)

One thought on “Great Issues Scholars Program, Celebrating 10 Years at Dartmouth

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