Friday, April 06, 2007

NY Event: Mediterranean Dialogues: Judaism and Islam at the Roots of Modern Europe - 4/16

Many thanks to Ms. Natalia Indrimi who passed this information on! Please do forward

Centro Primo Levi

Italian Studies at the Center for Jewish History


Visit the Press Room at

Contact: or 917-606-8202


Mediterranean Dialogues: Judaism and Islam at the Roots of Modern Europe.

Roundtable, gala concert, and reception.


April 16, 2007 at 6:00 pm


Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16 Street. Tickets are $30 including refreshments. Box office: 917-606-8200,


Panel discussion moderated by Ross Brann (Cornell University) among fellows of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania addresses the historical crossover of imagery and ideas in Mediterranean lands, its relevance within academia, and its impact on the society at large. Gala concert features Italian-Libyan singer Miriam Meghnagi whose work in Hebrew and Arabic beautifully represents the “rich tapestry of Jewish art in the multicultural world in which we live”.


Centro Primo Levi is dedicated to study and foster interest in the history, culture, and traditions of the Jews of Italy.

This program is held in collaboration with the American Sephardi Federation and the Italian Cultural Institute.

More info available here:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

NY Event: Sheikha Haya on Arab Women - 5/7

H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa

President of the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly

who will give opening remarks on:

Towards the Rise of Women

in the Arab World

presented by

Amat Al Alim Alsoswa

Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP


Christa Salamandra

Anthropology, Lehman College, CUNY

The Arab Human Development Report 2005: toward the rise of women in the Arab world, released in December 2006, argues that women in the Arab world still lack equal opportunity and consequently are not able to realize their full potential. This situation constitutes a problem not just for women, but for progress and prosperity in Arab societies as a whole. The region should now assure that all Arab women be afforded full opportunities across the social spectrum, particularly to access basic health services, to generate and acquire knowledge on an equal footing with men, and to engage in activities outside the home.

Monday, May 7, 2007, 6:008:00 p.m.

Room 9205-9207

Persons wishing to attend please email:

Sponsored by the Ralph Bunche Institute and the Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American Center at the CUNY Graduate Center

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

NY Event: 1st Annual Asian American Student Conference - 4/14

1st Annual Asian American Student Conference

Break the Silence


Break the Silence is an all-day conference designed to inspire young minds to learn, grow, and lead their own ways to success through the exploration of issues in race and identity, as well as empower young Asian Americans into becoming proactive in issues within the Asian American community in New York and beyond.

This conference is FREE for everyone and includes breakfast and lunch.

Saturday, April 14th
9:30AM - 10:00PM
Tisch Hall (Stern Undergraduate Building)
New York University
40th W. 4th St. New York, NY


  • Keynote speech by Carmen Van Kerckhove of New Demographic
  • Workshops tackling racial identity and community activism, bringing out various issues that affect Asian Americans daily.
  • A series of professional panels followed by a networking reception.
  • Break the Silence Charity Concert with performances by VudooSoul, Stone Forest Ensemble, and a sneak preview of director Michael Kang's new film West 32nd Street.


REGISTER online by THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 7th and ALSO recieve a FREE ticket to the Break the Silence Concert!

Please contact us at if you have any questions!
Or visit our Facebook page at

This year's conference is brought to you by:
Asian American Alliance @ Columbia University
Asian Pacific American Awareness Month@ Columbia University
Asian American Women's Alliance @ New York University
Asian Cultural Union @ New York University
Asian Heritage Month @ New York University
NAASCon (National Asian American Student Conference) - Representative from The New School

Co-sponsored by:
A/P/A Studies @ NYU
Alumni Hall Council @ NYU (pending)
College of Arts and Science Student Council @ NYU
Center for Multicultural and Educational Programs @ NYU
General Studies Program Chamber of Deputies @ NYU
Greenwich Hotel Hall Council (pending)
Inter-Residence Hall Council @ NYU
LGBT Office @ NYU
The Little Cafe (Entrepreneurial Exchange Group) @ NYU's Stern School of Business
Multicultural Greek Council
Office of International Students and Scholars @ NYU
Office of Student Activities @ NYU
Palladium Unified Government @ NYU
Program Board @ NYU (pending)
SUNY Buffalo Asian American Student Union
Water Street Hall Council @ NYU

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My article: For whom the bell tolls

I dont know how much my readers/visitors have been keeping up with their current affairs and general knowledge, but Pakistan is in dire straits these days because of a blunder on a grand scale committed by our very "moderately enlightened" President, General Pervez Musharraf. He sacked the country's Chief Justice and didnt defer to any higher authority or rule of law while doing so, naturally causing an uproar in the country's legal community, which has now spread to every corner. All are asking for his resignation.

The question then becomes, how many of us here in the West are cognizant of what's going on in Pakistan, a key "ally" of the U.S.? The fact of the matter is, the mass media has yet again proven that it is unreliable and so we are compelled to go to alternative sources for our information. Thank God!

Copied below is an article I wrote for my column, published last week. Apologies for the delay in posting this, but I look forward to comments.

For whom the bell tolls

It was the fall of 1999 when General Pervez Musharraf took the reins of government in Pakistan after a bloodless coup. I was at a friend’s place and as I was leaving, his mother informed us of this tragic change in the country’s political climate. She was worried and sullen and I decided it was in my best interest to head straight home, lest I should worry my family.

At that point, and in the following days – which I frankly cannot remember – we did not see many changes. Same politics, different day. We embraced it and hoped Musharraf’s liberal reform agenda would work wonders. Who were we kidding?

Now over seven years later, we have a competitive economy, a vibrant media, and at least more prosperity than under the Bhutto and Sharif regimes in the 1990s. But it was not until the sacking of Chief Justice Chaudhry that it all hit home for me: this was all an illusion; an army general will always remain a general. His place is on the country’s border. His job? To protect. Not to govern civil society.

When I found out about the public outcry over the way CJ Chaudhry was dismissed, my heart yearned to be with my countrymen. For once, the people who I least expected to take to the streets – were actually first to be seen on them. For once, our civil society could boast of a peaceful protest. I was going to say bloodless, but then I recalled the images of the dozens who were beaten for defending the rule of law, for defending the interests of the masses, for keeping the layman in mind when they fought for that which was taken from them: justice.

Today, Musharraf’s empire is slowly crumbling, eroding at the peripheries, and we all know that what erodes from the borders, slowly but steadily makes its way to the centre. Is this the start of a revolution? God knows we do not need one of those! But I do sincerely hope, for our people’s sake, that change does come. Just like Muslims need reform – not the religion, but those who interpret it – this process must begin from the inside and must remain true to the cause. Collective action must not turn into personal struggle. The struggle will always be one.

In the process, though, I fear that my greatest fear will see its realisation: that Pakistanis will lose heart if they do not see their desired needs met and requirements fulfilled. I hope through this column I can explain to them, that they have already proved whatever they needed to prove, that their voices have come out strong and resilient and that they will not live in fear anymore.

GEO TV’s station may have been vandalised and almost destroyed, but Pakistanis are smart enough to know that intimidation is the first of many tactics a state employs to silence and repress its public. Years ago it happened to Najam Sethi of The Friday Times, and today it happens under Musharraf. He will not remain king forever, but when the next one comes around, we must remain bonded and hold our heads high.

Musharraf wanted so badly that his countrymen adopt the idea of “enlightened moderation”. Today, many more have instead become entranced by violent fanaticism, while many more never even paid heed to his theories to begin with. He was a good talker, but those who talk the talk, do not always walk the walk. Musharraf’s gait should now show us a hint of hesitance and tremor, instead of the arrogance we are accustomed to seeing. He has shaken our world for too long; soon, the quaking will stop.

I can see it in the twinkle of a young child’s eye.

“Hum dekhain gay…Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhain gay…Woh din ke jis ka waadah hai…Jo Loh-e-Azl pe likha hai…Hum dekhain gay” (We shall see…It is necessary that we shall also see…That day which has been promised…Which is written with God’s ink…We shall see) – Poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translation by Ayesha Kaljuvee.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NY Event - Iran and the U.S.: Preventing Conflict by Promoting Civil Society and Diplomacy - 4/7

Iran and the U.S.:
Preventing Conflict by Promoting
Civil Society and Diplomacy

co-sponsored by the Hunter College Chapter of
Americans for Informed Democracy

Saturday, April 7, 2007 | 11 A.M. - 2 P.M. | Hunter College

How significant of a threat does Iran pose to the U.S. and Israel? How can the international community promote civil society without undermining Iranian national pride? How can we effectively discuss issues that are politically and religiously sensitive?

Ervand Abrahamian (Baruch College) will discuss Iranian foreign policy, the autonomy of the Iranian people, and civil society's role in Iranian politics

Alice Slater (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation)
will discuss the effectiveness of grassroots efforts and how to mobilize Americans to promote diplomacy toward Iran

Bob Zuber (Global Action to Prevent War) will discuss substantive entry-level jobs in conflict resolution and social entrepreneurship in the field

A brief panel discussion will be followed by an open dialogue between the experts and attendees. Come share your views on the topic and find out how to have the most impact on conflict resolution. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP to for details.