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  • August 03, 2018 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    Thanks to Yeou-Cheng Ma, The Children’s Orchestra Society is Almost 50 Years Old

    By Andrea Kirsh, HR'73

    The Children's Orchestra Society logo reads, Teaching Children the Language of MusicWhen Yeou-Cheng Ma turned to ClassACT to solicit help for the Manhasset-based Children's Orchestra Society (COS) I was delighted to offer planning assistance; I knew how demanding small arts organizations are, and how much of her life Yeou-Cheng had given to the organization. Her father founded the Orchestra as a way for his music students to play in ensembles, but for seven years following his retirement it lay dormant. When Yeou-Cheng and her husband, Michael Dadap took over in 1983, they expanded the ambitions of COS with a mission: to cultivate and nurture children and teach them teamwork and life skills through music-learning and performing in orchestral and chamber music settings. What had been an 18-member group has grown to more than 200 students from across the New York City area participating in four orchestras, chamber groups, chorus, and individual instruction in all the orchestral instruments and musicianship. Professional musicians take on students, regardless of their ability to pay and the organization has raised funds to subsidize students' participation in tours across the U.S., Canada, Europe and most recently, to China. 

    Yeou-Cheng was a serious violinist when her family moved from Paris to New York in 1963, a very shy student suddenly forced to function in a new language. When she entered Radcliffe she was still a reserved musician, taking pre-med courses; she became a pediatrician specializing in children with developmental disabilities, a career which has supported her ongoing musical activities. 

    The responsibilities of running COS have forced the shy musician to become skillful at administration, public relations and fundraising. Yeou-Cheng told me she's gotten used to asking strangers for money, and when they can't contribute she says, "That's all right; COS need lots of other things: volunteers, marketing help, board members and an audience at recitals." She will do whatever it takes to keep the organization going--during one financially stressful period she and Michael raised money by mortgaging their house.

    COS is committed to a child-centered program where children are encouraged to strive for their personal best, rather than competing with peers. Students are placed in ensembles according to their abilities rather than their age or grade level. Since arts education has been eliminated in so many public schools, the orchestra may be their only chance to study music. It has also served as a voice for children with academic and social problems, and all participants have gained experience in cooperation and team spirit. 

    Ten years ago I attended a COS concert at Carnegie Hall which was reviewed by the New York Times the following day. I was astonished. The accolade is obviously a reflection of COS's musical stature, but most of its graduates are not headed for professional careers as musicians. Many will continue to play for pleasure and all of them will be enthusiastic audience members for classical music. In approaching its 50th year, the challenge for COS is ensuring the viability of what has become much broader than a family project. 

  • August 01, 2018 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    This year’s lecture, on Thursday, October 11th, at the very beginning of Class of 1973's Reunion, will be delivered by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, National Public Radio’s distinguished journalist reporting on Africa.

    Quist-Arcton obtained a BA with honors from the London School of Economics and then completed a yearlong course in radio which included two internships at the BBC. She then joined the BBC in 1985. Pictured right: Ofeibea Quist-Acton

    Quist-Arcton was appointed the BBC West Africa correspondent in 1990, heading the regional bureau and covering 24 countries. In 1994 she returned to the BBC in London, where she served as a host and senior producer on the BBC World Service flagship programs, Newshour and Newsday, as well as a contributing Africa specialist for other BBC programming. Beginning in 1995 Quist-Arcton began work in the United States of America for the joint BBC-PRI production, The World.

    Quist-Arcton joined National Public Radio in 2004 at the newly created post of West Africa Correspondent in Dakar, Senegal. She reports on all aspects of life and developments on the African continent. Quist-Arcton was awarded the 2015 Edward R. Murrow prize for her reporting on the 2014 Ebola epidemic and Boko Haram, which she shared with photojournalist David Gilkey.

  • August 01, 2018 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    ClassACT is proud to support the Rama Mehta Lecture at the Radcliffe Institute. From Mark Graney of the Radcliffe Institute we received the following nice news: "On behalf of all of us at the Radcliffe Institute, thank you for rallying support for the Mehta lecture during your reunion year. These funds will help to prolong the lecture series, thereby broadening public understanding of the challenges facing women in developing countries.”

    The Mehta Lecture was established by John and Kitty Galbraith in honor of their friend, an influential Indian woman scholar, and the lecture was delivered shortly after its founding by Benazir Bhutto. Donations to the Radcliffe Institute in support of the Lecture qualified as gifts to the University in our 45th Reunion year and demonstrate a commitment to the BBLP through ClassACT.

    Banner reading Experience 73

  • July 26, 2018 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    Natasha Jehangir Khan and Roohi Abdullah have just matriculated at the Kennedy School’s Mason Program, under the auspices of BBLP.  We are delighted with the outcome of our efforts: both are Pakistani women with substantive experience. After years of policy making, for Natasha in Pakistani government and for Roohi, in many countries for the World Bank, they can use the year in Cambridge at the Mason Program to prepare for return to Pakistan to transition into formal roles of authority. 

    Holly Weeks, Roohi Abdullah, Natasha Jehangir Khan, and Marion Dry.

    Natasha Jehangir Khan has 15 years of experience in constitutional, administrative and regulatory work. Having received an LLM at University College London in 2001, she began her career in the office of the Attorney General of Pakistan, and later went on to join the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator of the corporate and financial sector of the country except banking, where she eventually served as the Head of Legislation and General Counsel Department. A licensed Advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan, she has worked creating performance manuals, structures and systems to contribute strength to the institutions employing her, a necessity in a developing country where power so often resides in individuals instead of institutions. Natasha has worked as a consultant with several Asian-based development organizations advising the Government of Pakistan on regulatory reforms and enhancement of the investment climate in the country, and was instrumental in developing legislation for transitioning Pakistan’s electricity sector from a single buyer to a competitive market structure. 

    Natasha plans to use the year at the Mason Program to acquire the connections and skills to facilitate her transition to a role of authority. 

    Roohi Abdullah graduated from MIT In 1999, where she learned how “the creativity of an architect and the social thinking of a planner” can converge. With over 15 years of experience in international development within the larger scope of infrastructure—ranging from finance, poverty, institutional reforms, water utility management, housing, environment, and carbon finance—she has worked in Iran, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Albania, Romania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Nigeria, among other countries. “Today I am a long way from Karachi but working in a sector that is largely male dominated, I am reminded that geography aside, women are constantly struggling to attain some level of legitimacy. I am proud to say, that currently I am working with a team developing water investment lending projects in Pakistan. Life has finally come full circle—my thesis work at MIT was on the water sector in Karachi.”

    Both Fellows wrote to say that receiving a fellowship with Benazir Bhutto's name on it inspires them to the core. Roohi wrote in her essay, “As the first female prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto remains enshrined in our collective global consciousness as someone who forged a new trail for the daughters of Pakistan.”

  • July 10, 2018 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    Co-Chairs Jonathan Sprague and Marion Dry traveled to Chicago for the first ever ClassACT Midwest regional weekend, April 21-22. The weekend's work agenda was to introduce ClassACT and the ways classmates and their spouses/partners can engage for work and fun. The weekend was the brainchild of Chicagoans, Gina and Roger Myerson, who have been keen advocates for ClassACT. 

    Left: ClassACT Co-Chairs Marion Dry and Jonathan Sprague. Right: Chicagoan hosts Roger and Gina Myerson. Image Credits: Rick Weil

    With invitations going out to classmates from four states, we wanted to make sure that we had a weekend of fun, so Andrea Kirsh, Craig Coit, Gina Myerson, Rick Weil and Marion Dry all worked to put it together. Though this was a Midwest event, when all was said and done, we had attendees from 7 states: Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. There were numerous classmates from the greater Chicago area who could not attend due to previous commitments. 

    Karen Peterson, Arunus Paliulis, Patty Potter, Roger Myerson, Andrea Kirsh, Diane Lauderdale. Image Credits: Rick Weil

    The group met Saturday afternoon at the Bridgehouse Museum operated by the Friends of the Chicago River. Craig Coit, the former chair of their board, arranged to have the museum opened especially for us (it is seasonal) and for Director Josh Coles to lead us on a private tour. Both Josh and Craig told us about how effective the work of the Friends has been cleaning up and beautifying the river.  Craig then guided us down the river via water taxi, telling us, in docent fashion, about the river and the architecture surrounding it as we went. Pictured Right: Craig Coit. Image Credit: Rick Weil.

    We all gathered at the beautiful party room of the Myersons’ building for cocktails and a presentation about ClassACT by Marion and Jonathan. The Myersons were the ultimate gracious hosts, in a setting that gave us views looking north to the Loop and to the east, of Lake Michigan.

    Left: Deborah Davidson and Ken Bolyard. Right: Karen Peterson, Arunus Paliulis, Andrea Kirsh, and Sandy Weissent. Image Credits: Rick Weil

    From there, the late “night crowd” headed to Buddy Guy’s for some blues. 

    Sunday morning, we met up near the University of Chicago for brunch at The Promontory and then headed to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where Andrea Kirsh gave us insights into the extraordinary collection of ancient artifacts and art from the Middle East. 

    We had a weekend of community and fun. We shared our time, broke bread and advanced the work of ClassACT. The wonders of Chicago—its recovering river, its artistic resources, and its musical backbone—enriched our time together.  

    The group gathers and smiles for the camera during their tour.Arunus Paliulis, Jonathan Sprague, Bill Komaiko, Patty Potter, Roger Myerson, Craig Coit, Sandy Weissent, Marion Dry, Rick Weil, Karen Peterson, Andrea Kirsh,  Diane Lauderdale, Vance Lauderdale, Mel Furman, Boris Furman. Image Credit: Rick Weil

    Attendees: Ken Bolyard and Deborah Davidson, Craig Coit, Marion Dry, Ellen Fireman and Michael Weissman, Boris and Mel Furman, Andrea Kirsh, Bill Komaiko, Vance and Diane Lauderdale, Thomas Mustoe and Katie Stallcup, Roger and Gina Myerson, Arunas Paliulis, Karen Peterson, Patty Potter, Jonathan Sprague, Rick Weil, Sandy Weissent

  • May 21, 2018 6:34 PM | Anonymous

    JusticeAid’s double feature in Washington, D.C. around the 2018 theme The Criminalization of Poverty: 21st Century Debtors Prison was the best yet. On April 17 classmate Seth Waxman hosted a discussion at WilmerHale, featuring the Executive Directors/ Founders of the two beneficiaries: Alec Karakatsanis of the Civil Rights Corp and Gina Clayton of the Essie Justice Group. The panel highlighted the human and civil rights issues around “human caging” and the 70% of prisoners who are in jail because they don’t have the resources to afford bail; and then the incredible toll on those left behind—primarily women, who have to pick up the pieces to support their families emotionally and financially. The panel was live streamed over Facebook.

    The April 24 sold-out concert at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C. featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant, Paula Cole, Dom Flemons, Marshall Crenshaw and Kandace Springs raised over $120,000 for the two beneficiaries. Charles Bush and Jim Rowe served on the Host Committee for the concert. Jim Rowe underwrote a ClassACT table, hosting Seth Waxman and his wife Debra Goldberg, George Haywood, Holly Weeks and JusticeAid (and ClassACT) Board member Therese Steiner; and Charles Bush brought his daughter. Left Image Credit: Therese Steiner

    Left: Jim Rowe, George Haywood, Debra Goldberg. Right: Holly Weeks, Seth Waxman, Therese Steiner, Charles Bush. Image Credits: Katie Sundstrom

    ClassACT's own assistant Katie Sundstrom was working double time, helping JusticeAid with its social media posts and platforms, as well as overseeing the Facebook Live post of the panel.  She’s been nothing short of amazing. Katie also shot more #WhatJusticeMeansToMe videos with all the artists—in the bathroom off the Green Room, our makeshift recording studio. Thank you Katie!

    Jim Rowe, Therese Steiner, George Haywood. Image Credit: Katie Sundstrom

    The panel and the concert included short films on JusticeAid's mission and purpose, Civil Rights Corps, and Essie Justice Group. These set the stage for both events, and were great for positioning all initiatives. 

    Gina Clayton (Founder/Executive Director, Essie Justice Group), Alec Karakatsanis (Founder/Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps), Therese Steiner (Board Member, ClassACT and JusticeAid), Steve Milliken (Founder/Executive Director, JusticeAid). Image Credit: Katie Sundstrom

  • May 21, 2018 5:43 PM | Anonymous

    Update from classmate sponsor Rick Weil: "I went to Sue Press’s annual Nu and Old Fellas Social Club ball a few weeks ago.” Sue’s social club embodies a form of social work that Rick calls “retail mentoring,” hands-on work with children in the Treme neighborhood which ClassACT has supported previously. “At a panel on tikun olam, the Jewish concept of service, at seminars on Jewish learning, two presenters who run the service program at Tulane were interested in the idea of helping coordinate the neighborhood mentor network I’ve been talking with Sue about developing.” 

    Rick also called our attention to a lead story in the New York Times in March 2018 about a new study about race and inequality out of Stanford & Harvard by Raj Chetty. “It was one of the best-done studies yet, and they concluded that mentoring might be one of the only things that works. Pretty cool from my perspective.”

  • April 22, 2018 6:51 PM | Anonymous

    Don't forget to send in your Class Report submission for Reunion Red Book. You should have received an email and snail mail about this recently. Although the deadline of April 27 may be a bit soft, timely submission will be important if you do not want to be left out! Also be sure to mark your calendars for Reunion October 11-14, 2018.

  • April 22, 2018 11:48 AM | Anonymous

    Erum Sattar, BBLP Associate, authored a book review of Indus Waters Treaty: Political and Legal Dimensions by Ijaz Hussain, Oxford University Press. The review was published on Dawn.com; don't miss it! 

    View of the River Indus near Skardu

    "All those who desire a more peaceful and prosperous future for the region must undertake some clear-headed study of the long history of water-sharing and development in the Indus basin. To that end, this book is a critical contribution." - Erum Sattar

  • April 21, 2018 6:32 PM | Anonymous

    ClassACT Bridge Project JusticeAid Presents:
    Songs for Lady Day, The Music of Billie Holiday

    Songs for Lady Day: The Music of Billie Holiday celebrates jazz and blues legend Billie Holiday during her birthday month of April with performances by Grammy Award-winning artists Cecile McLorin SalvantPaula Cole, and Dom Flemons, along with legendary singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw and contemporary star and repeat JusticeAid performer Kandace Springs

    Concert Poster

    100% of ticket sales will benefit JusticeAid’s 2018 beneficiaries, the Civil Rights Corps and Essie Justice Group. Both of these organizations are fighting inequality in our legal system.  

    Suzan E. Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, will be the emcee for the evening. Susan Shaffer and the Honorable Truman A. Morrison III will be recognized for their heroic efforts to end financial barriers to justice.

    Check out JusticeAid's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for clips, photos and updates on the concert!

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