Friday, May 30, 2008

Fulbrights and Palestinians

I was very sorry to read in the news today that Fulbright withdrew scholarships to a handful of Palestinians in the Gaza. Apparently Israel was not going to let them out, and Fulbright decided to use the money for other deserving students. What's not clear is whether Fulbright really tried to get them out--reports from Israel are conflicting. I don't entirely understand why Fulbright couldn't wait another month to push things.

I've learned so much from my Fulbright. I will have a love of Malta until my dying day. I am a better person because of this experience, a more understanding, more confident, more humane, and moderate person. If I had my way, every human being on the planet would get an experience like mine if they liked.

I wish Fulbright had tried harder.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Visit to Mqabba Primary School

I read to primary school children from the Birchbark House, which is about Lake Superior. One thing I try to make clear is that there are many different Native American cultures in the US.

These students were particularly interested in moose.

Yes, all school children (until they get to their last year or so) wear uniforms. This is true of public and private schools. These young ones were particularly snappy-looking because it was school pictures day. The school was lovely-- beautifully done and kept up.

Giving some talks

I'm going to give two scholarly talks. They are open to the public.

Curiously, they are related to a book project on US-Canada relations tentatively titled, Peace Before Prosperity. I came to Malta to teach and to get a fresh perspective on all that I do (and I have not been disappointed), but my research is on the Great Lakes.

Both talks will be at the International Maritime Law Institute, near the University, just outside the new gate (between the bus stop and the gate). 12:30-14:00

Tu, May 27, "The Evolution of Regional Security in the Great Lakes of North America"

W. Jun 11, "Bacteriology and Diplomacy in the Great Lakes of North America"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's blooming 3

What's blooming 2

What's blooming 1

The riot of wildflowers that has enchanted me from November until very recently has gently given way to the creams and tans of the dry season. It is is still pleasantly warm, the real heat has yet to begin. But, the once green island looks now more as it did when I arrived. I need to get out and hike around in the country to see what wildflowers are in bloom, but the change in weather serves to highlight the many gardens in my neighborhood. All winter long roses and geraniums in pots have bloomed, but with the browns of summer the pocket gardens stand out. So, on my walk to pay bills at the post office, I took pictures. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More U Malta visit photos

1. The snow thermometer (if you can't make it out, it's Prof. Caruana, Camilleri (the Rector) and me.

2. Rector and Dave Reed

3. Rector opening a welcome gift from University of Malta (I failed to take a picture at the breakfast meeting of Malta's gifts to Michigan Tech). It's a tradition when schools meet.

4. Left to right: Me, Rector, Tess Alborn, and Caruana at Benedict Lab

Rector's visit to Michigan Tech

I was delighted when University of Malta Rector [like a university president], Prof. Juanito Camilleri, and his Director of International Master's Programs, Prof. Albert Caruana, decided to visit Michigan Tech. I decided it would be good if I came home for a week to help host their visit--and it also happened that it came on my 29th wedding anniversary. We even had good weather, though it had snowed earlier in the day that we arrived. My husband and I took our visitors out "Copper Country Cruising" on a tour of the Keweenaw Peninsula. They saw Lake Superior, which is simply hard to believe until you've seen it--all fresh water. They saw our "snow thermometer" on how many inches of snow we get (another post), they saw trees and more trees, there was a hawk migration going on and that was fun to watch, there was even an inland lake that was still mostly frozen--Dr. Caruana managed to send a rock skittering over the ice. Neither he nor the Rector had seen such a thing.

The meetings at Tech went very well, too! President Mroz, Provost Lovett-Doust, and Vice President for Research David Reed met in the morning with the visitors (and me), then we met a number of faculty and staff throughout the rest of the day. The deans took them to lunch and it was there that a new idea for a joint project emerged--something on restoration ecology. We ended the first day at dinner with Mroz, Lovett-Doust, Reed, and Chief Financial Officer Dan Greenlee--the group toasted happy anniversary to Don and me. That was a unique anniversary dinner for us! The next day was more informal. I took them to see the Benedict Lab (photo next post) that does crucial research into cement and concrete, we visited with more faculty and staff. It was fun and also nice for me to see everyone.

We all hope to build some new programs between our schools. Some ideas on the table as possibilities are in intermodal transportation logistics, digital security, restoration ecology, and perhaps an international experience for Pavlis Leadership undergraduates. In fact, we discussed even more options for faculty and student exchanges. We'll see. In the end, successful exchanges require mutual faculty interest to work.

At the very least, I was happy that Drs. Camilleri and Caruana got to see my school. I'm always talking about it. We joined a "pick up" lunch table on our second day in the student union and the faculty members there had lots of questions about Malta. Afterwards, the Rector said, "I think that Malta must seem like a nearly imaginary place to the outside." I told him that it was the same way with Michigan Tech. Until you see what wonderful, smart places Malta and Tech are, it is just plain hard to believe they exist.