Archive for May, 2008

Smith Grad Building Bridges

Farah Pandith is working to build bridges with Muslims overseas and to help spread the word of integration and tolerance to young people…

From the Boston Globe (Saturday, May 17, 2008)

This recent article in the Boston Globe was just shared with me.  In times of mounting misunderstandings, misperceptions and judgement, Smith Alum, Farah Pandith shares her personal and professional journey from an opportunity on one given day at Smith – to the White House and beyond.  

Article in it’s entirety:

The Messenger

Farah Pandith is working to build bridges with Muslims overseas and to help spread the word of integration and tolerance to young people

By Irene Sege

Globe Staff / May 17, 2008

NORTHAMPTON – Eighteen years after she graduated from Smith College, Farah Pandith, her hair neatly coifed in a flip, her tailored pink jacket and dark skirt accented with a string of pearls, her White House folder in hand, visits her alma mater. A flyer advertising a talk by former Vermont governor Madeleine Kunin catches her attention, and, with a nod of approval, she reads aloud the title of Kunin’s book: “Pearls, Politics, and Power.”
“I’m glad to see that Smith is still bringing in good people to inspire their students,” Pandith says. “I remember when Betty Friedan came in. Gloria Steinem.”On this sunny spring Friday, it’s Pandith who’s bringing pearls, politics, and power to Smith women. Here to meet with students a day in advance of addressing a model United Nations, Pandith is senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, charged with working to counteract the radicalization percolating in some segments of Europe’s Muslim communities.

Pandith, 40, brings to the task a resume that includes stints as director for Middle East regional initiatives for the National Security Council, chief of staff for the Bureau for Asia and the Near East at the US Agency for International Development, and vice president for international business at ML Strategies in Boston. Born in Kashmir, in India, and bred since infancy in Braintree and Milton, she also draws on her personal experiences as a Muslim American.

“When you have a population in Western Europe that is 20 million strong in Muslims, how are we Americans thinking about what’s taking place in Europe?” Pandith asks. “How are we Americans thinking about what’s taking place in Europe in terms of demographics and how are we getting to know that next generation and the generation after it? Are we building bridges of dialogue?”

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Help Victims in Burma (Cyclone) and China (Earthquake)

The devastation of the now two (2) natural disasters: Cyclone in Burma and Earthquake in China are putting international aid agencies and relief organizations on call.  Not since the Asian Tsunami and the Earthquake in Pakistan (& Kashmir) has the urgency of massive aid and relief been called upon in recent years.

I urge you to help in whatever way you are able to.  You can get the latest news on your media outlets.  Below are a list of bonafide and vetted organizations which are working diligently to get the needed supplies and relief workers to their sources. 

 

Cylone in Burma (Myanmar) – May 2, 2008

As many as 1.9 million people in Myanmar are struggling to survive after the most devastating cyclone to hit Asia since 1991, according to the latest UN assessment.  With the military junta slowly and reluctantly allowing aid agencies to deliver relief supplies and provide medical care, the need for funds to continue this relief effort are sorely needed.

On Monday (May 12) the official toll rose to 31,938 dead and 29,770 missing, while the UN’s humanitarian agency reported that up to 100,000 people are dead or missing.

 

Earthquake in Western China – May 12, 2008

According to Government sources, the latest death toll from the quake stands at 8,600 after a series of large earthquakes struck the Wenchuan district of Sichuan at approximately 14:30 hrs (Beijing Time) on May 12.

It is reported that cell phone networks have been substantially affected by the earthquakes. There are additional reports that approximately 5,000 have died in Beichan county alone in Sichuan, with another 10,000 wounded. Reports of additional casualties have also been received from Gansu and Yunnan provinces.

Some ‘on the ground’ agencies which are getting aid to the survivors and injured in both Burma and China:

 

Here are some good news trackers on the disasters:

Burma (Myanmar):

BBC Burma Coverage

 

China:

BBC China Coverage

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