Archive for Education

UEP 2008 Applications

Posted in Bosnia & Herzegovina with tags , on Tuesday 16 October 2007 by amanda

Announcing the Open Society Institute’s Undergraduate Exchange Program

The Undergraduate Exchange Program (UEP) supports students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, and Ukraine* in the United States for one year of non-degree academic studies. Applicants must currently be enrolled as a second-year student at a university in their home country to be eligible. *Applicants from Ukraine must be studying in the regions of Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizhzhya or Donetsk to be eligible.

The program seeks to assist educational and civic development in Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Mongolia by exposing participants to a liberal-arts curriculum, different models of classroom instruction, community service work, and civil society–related programming. UEP combines the U.S. liberal arts academic experience with exposure to American social issues and civic development through involvement in community service–related work. The program aims to create lasting ties among participants and their American colleagues, thereby contributing to cultural understanding and tolerance.

Participants attend a university or college in the United States for one year. While in the United States, grantees agree to complete 25 hours per semester of community service work in an area of interest to them. At the end of the year, they are expected to return home to complete their degrees. Once back in their home country, grantees complete a community service project in their own community.

For more information and an application form, please see Applications are due Monday, December 3, 2007.


under the banner of heaven – leaving me disgusted with religion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Saturday 8 September 2007 by amanda

i just finished reading Jon Krackauer’s book, “Under the Banner of Heaven”. I wanted to read this one after reading “Into Thin Air”, which was amazing. “Under the Banner of Heaven” jump-starts with the murder of a young mother and her daughter. They were killed by the mother’s brothers-in-law, who believed that god had told them to kill her and her baby. The book is two-fold in my mind – it is a history of Mormonism (and I might add that it’s noted at the end of the book that the Mormon church (LDS) highly disapproves of this book and has disputed many of the points contained in it), but also a look at FLDS, which is fundamentalist Mormons, that have been excommunicated from the church or never belonged to LDS proper in the first place, and how they developed, what they believe, and where their particular beliefs come from.
I think that a major reason that Mormonism comes off in a less-than-shiny light in this book is that I think that the author feels the need to explicitly explain where these fundamentalists broke away from the main – for example, on the topic of plural marriage, celestial marriage, polygamy (whatever you want to call it) he attempts to trace back the practice to Joseph Smith, and points out the although the LDS church has renounced polygamy, the revelation to Joseph Smith in which god told him to engage in polygamy is still part of the accepted doctrine of the church. It’s been out of accepted mainline LDS church practice for a very long time, and I think many Mormons would prefer that everybody just let it freakin’ go (and who can blame them?) but it’s still an important part of history in examining the rising of these fundamentalist groups.
That said, it’s a very stark portrait of the development of the Mormon church. Other than a PBS special about the history and development, this book is the only major source of information that I have on the subject. I find it very interesting…it’s a portrayal of a people less than 200 years ago, that were trying to forge out their new faith, and were being strongly persecuted for it. The author posits this as a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario – he asserts that the early Mormon community had little to no regard for laws outside of the ones they set for themselves, and formed insular communities, isolating themselves from the outside world. I feel that it’s a bit of a scenario where depending WHAT one considers to have happened first, different people are to blame for tensions between communities. Of course, it’s rare that one side of a conflict can be simply blamed anyway, whether you’re talking about the early LDS church or any other group of people.
I feel like I’m rambling, and so I guess the crux of the matter is that I read this book and kept thinking to myself “How could they be so callous towards others? How could they be so self-righteous to think that they are the only ones with some kind of ‘truth’?” And I kept having to pull myself back – after all Mormonism only does what every other faith does – they assert that they have the one truth from god himself, and everybody else is damned. They believe that to protect their children, they should be shielded from teachings outside the faith, as many Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others do. After all, isn’t that what home-schooling, parochial school, madrassas and Hebrew school are mainly about – to make sure that kids are taught what’s right according to a particular faith system?
In the end, the book left me upset about pretty much every faith. The very end of the book a former fundamentalist Mormon name DeLoy Bateman, now an atheist, is interviewed. He talks for a while about the intolerance of the church to have people question the inconsistencies in teachings – they’d rather have blind following than critical thinking, according to Mr. Bateman. His final quote in the book is, “If ou want to know the truth, I think people within the religion – people here in Colorado City – are probably happier, on the whole, than people on the outside. But some things in life are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself.”
I agree – any religion, government, or person that tells me it’s more important that I just follow the rules, believe exactly what I’m told, and do what they say than to critically examine evidence and make my own conclusions and choices is bloody out of their minds.
(as a small after-note, i want to emphasize again that my knowledge of mormonism is limited, and this post isn’t meant to be a slam against it or any other religion in particular – reading this book simply brought up some strong feelings about religion in general)

looking for grad school.

Posted in Life in general with tags , on Tuesday 20 February 2007 by amanda

i’m in a place i haven’t been in for a long time.  i’m grad-school searching.  ola finishes with his residency in summer 2008, and we’re planning to leave new york in search of some grass, space, a kickass fellowship program for him, and a rock-star grad school program for me.  so far we’ve ruled out the deep south, most of the midwest, hell, most of the country.  still under consideration is a fairly lengthy list of cities though…our criteria is pretty strict.  since ola has multiple departments that he wants to work with, we can’t just go to any teaching hospital.  moreover, i want to do a joint degree (JD/MA) and that is not offered everywhere.  plus, i don’t want just any MA, but an IR MA, maybe with a focus on development studies, which let me tell you is not offered everywhere.  add in that we both want to attend good programs and have jobs when we’re done, the list is further narrowed. 

by the way, we’re accepting donations for moving expenses. 🙂

so.  if you live in a place with a great teaching hospital with good pediatrics departments as well as a city with a good law school and IR department, let me know!  i can use any inside info i can get.

by the way, denver is still in the running, kansas city is not, but st. louis is also still on the list…

there’s a lot more pressure with grad school than i felt in undergrad to figure out what to do.  i feel like grad school ends up dictating what you do more than undergraduate and i’m terrified of limiting my options.  i’m not a decider.  i like to know i can change course.  that doesn’t mean i’m going to…it just means i want to be able to think to myself, “if i wanted to i could do something else”.   wimpy?  yes.  normal?  i think so. 

travel and stuff

Posted in Bosnia & Herzegovina with tags , , on Saturday 13 January 2007 by amanda

tomorrow morning i’m heading out on my third international trip in four months. this is, i believe, a record, even counting my time in belfast. it doesn’t cease to be exciting for me, and a little bit scary. i have a brand-new challenge this trip. i will be traveling directly from thailand to mongolia in the middle of january. this means that i have to pack for a very warm climate, and also one of the coldest on earth on the same trip. i’ve spent 3 hours this morning working on my packing and i think i’m getting it figured out. my answer?


i’m asking martha, my boss, to bring home a bag for me when we’re done in thailand, and i’ll just continue on with my stuff for the colder climate. i’m also packing a backpack and leaving my big suitcase at shona’s office in chiang mai while i run around the country for a week for work. i’ll be gone total for about three and a half weeks, with about a week in thailand, then on to mongolia (just ulaanbaatar), a day in moscow, belgrade, sarajevo, zagreb and finally home. this is my second trip that i’m literally going around the world. last year i did something similar but didn’t go to thailand.

i am a little nervous because this is the longest that i’ve ever travelled for work in one go…but that’s it for today. off tomorrow and hopefully more once i hit chiang mai on tuesday.

LGBT Scholarships – Point Foundation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on Friday 12 January 2007 by amanda



January 8, 2007, Los Angeles CA– Point Foundation, the national non-profit foundation supporting academic achievement in higher education among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, announced the opening of its 2007 application season.  Students who will be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs for the 2007-08 school year are eligible to apply for the prestigious, multi-year scholarships. The application deadline for this year’s scholarships is March 1, 2007.

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Scholarship for Burmese Students

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on Thursday 11 January 2007 by amanda

Call for Applications for the Supplementary Grant Program –
 The Supplementary Grant Program–Burma is now accepting applications for the 2007-08 academic year.  The SGP – Burma was established in 1994 to address primarily—but not exclusively—the needs of Burmese refugee students whose college education was disrupted due to political instability in
Burma. The mission of the program is to assist students in achieving their academic goals.
Grants are awarded on the basis of academic record, applicant’s long-term goals, and financial need. Grants are given to students who not only meet the program criteria but who are willing and likely to return to
Burma to work for the democratic and economic rebirth of the country.
The program is designed to provide additional funds to students enrolled in academic programs in accredited colleges, universities, and community colleges leading to a degree (BA, MA, PhD, etc.).To ApplyProspective applicants may apply through the online application system at and find more information at  Online and paper applications will be equally considered.   Application DeadlinesFor students studying in Asia and Australia: March 15, 2007.

For students studying in Europe and North America: May 15, 2007.Applications must be postmarked by the application deadline or they will be disqualified.