Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I'm still camera-less so these all come courtesy friends who took pictures before, during & after the show. Dr. Myo took the cast photo and the one of me giving the post show wrap-up. Nate Tanes took the picture of Notes and Ayo & me to the right. I'm holding the most gorgeous and enormous bouquet of flowers I've ever gotten, a gift from Sarah Blakeslee, my fellow wife of Abraham (there are 4! of us at UPEACE).


For the past 6 years, UPEACE has been part of the annual V-Day experience, producing 2 performances of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler's performance art, women's empowerment extravaganza. I directed this year's event and also performed the monologue "The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could" and I must say, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was overflowing with pride in our fantastic cast and gratitude for all the support we got from our fellow UPEACE students. I'm posting below my director's notes from the program:

The past month, working with our amazing cast of women has been an extraordinary experience for me, not just because I’ve been a privileged witness of unknown talents and unfettered courage but because of the many conversations we’ve all had, conversations that would have remained unspoken without the inspiration of The Vagina Monologues. Talking about vaginas and the taboos attached to talking about vaginas and the experiences that attach to having a vagina is a sensitive, difficult issue for many. There are social, cultural, generational and personal restraints at work. With this production, our aim is not to shock or upset, but to celebrate and challenge our relationships, men and women alike, with vaginas and the people who have them. We want to question our restraints and if it happens that we do shock or upset someone, we hope that can be the beginning of a conversation. For at its heart, The Vagina Monologues is not a series of monologues, but rather a chain of dialogues to which everyone in this room is linked. It’s a dialogue about gender and power and the construction of our identities, a dialogue we are always having, whether we know it or not, a dialogue we cannot escape, even in silence, because we speak with our silences too.

We look forward to sharing this evening with you and to hearing you speak with your laughter, your silence, and your engaged presence.

And here's a link to the V-Day website if you'd like more information: http://www.vday.org/home (ps. on the map, the little V in Costa Rica- that's us!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nile-Side View of Egypt

I have been (and continue to be) ferociously busy with my current class- Curricular Design for Peace and Conflict Studies. I'm currently working on designing a course for high school seniors called Non-Violence: Practices and Processes. I love this class! (Both the one I'm taking and the one I'm making.) It has been an amazing experience bonding with all the GLP scholars from the Great Lakes region of Africa who design not one but 2 Masters levels courses as their final requirement for graduation. They will then go home and teach the classes they designed at their home universities. I don't have time to gush on and on about all the different reasons this is an incredible program. Really, I just hopped on the blog to say something about what's happening in Egypt.

Our Vice Rector, Amr Abdalla is Egyptian and it so happens he's in Egypt right now, having gone to visit family more than a week ago. We just got an email from him, which you can read online at The Peace and Conflict Monitor. He has a unique perspective to offer and we were also really glad to hear that he's well and hopeful.

I want to encourage everyone to watch the coverage at AlJazeera in English, which Amr points out (and I completely agree) is far superior to the CNN coverage. I've been checking in with AJE pretty regularly since Friday morning and it's both great and somewhat disorienting to get straight, spinless reporting from the streets. Just people telling us what they see and hear. Very few talking heads and the ones they do have are actually Egyptian, not pundits speculating from a thousand miles away. That's the badge of honor I want my news outlets to wear- Pundit Free!

Now back to my curriculum. It's a good thing I can actually use the Egyptian example as a discussion point for one of my lesson plans. I can be distracted and working at the same time.