Referring to this blog, my brother wrote me the other day to say, "You've been a busy boy." Well, the last few days I have been even more busy, and I am not sure I can keep up the pace. However, the opportunities for learning and acting are immense and must be taken advantage of. There is nothing quite so heady as feeling driven. I can't relate the content of all the recent activities but will just capsulize them. I will try to get back to events I attend in other postings. These are the meetings and events (some cultural) I have been to over this extended weekend:
a) The first ever meeting of political science instructors at Tidewater Community College, spread out over four campuses, which I organized. There aren't that many of us--I am the only one at my campus--so only four instructors showed up, but at least 3 others indicated they would like to have attended and asked to be kept in the loop about future meetings. There is huge potential through this information sharing and collaborative spirit that came out in the meeting. Many of them teach internationali relations, and I am trying to be the link between IR and Globalization in the college curriculum.
b) Attended the second day-long meeting of the Globalization Seminar at TCC at the Virginia Beach campus, which I have never visited before. Meeting took place at the state-of-the art Advanced Technology Center auditorium--beautiful building--and included presentations by the business development director of Virginia Beach--which is the most populous city in Virginia--and a representative of the State of Virginia Economic Development Department from Richmond, both of whom gave great information on what local and state governments are doing to attract foreign investment and help promote trade abroad. A major educator and former president of two colleges, now involved in promoting international exchanges, including Fulbright Scholarships, gave in-depth perspective of how globalization or internationalization of college education can and should be achieve. The final speaker was a futurologist Dr. Roy Pearson, from William and Mary College, in nearby Williamsburg who gave a fascinating presentation of all the places to go on the Internet to find studies of predictions, estimates and outlooks as well as to find that data needed to make such projections and understand trends. Six faculty (me included) and six students in this seminar will travel to Southern Brazil this May for university and business exchanges related to Globalization.
c) Yeda and I attended a jazz concert at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Friday, by the John Toomey quartet. Hampton Roads, the home of Ella Fitzgerald, has a number of local jazz musicians, hosts the Hampton Jazz festival every year. Jai Sinnett, a jazz drummer himself and a one man promoter of jazz with his own daily radio jazz program, sponsors these concerts. Jai is really Mr. Cool. Oh yes, Wynton Marsalis was also playing here this weekend at the new Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, a beautiful new venue that opened in the heart of Va Beach's up and coming Town Center area.
d) Attended today the kick off lecture for 2009 of the Great Decisions Program of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads at the Contemporary Arts Center in Virgina Beach. Great Decisions is organized by the Foreign Policy Association and takes place at World Affairs Councils throughout the US. First topic was Afghanistan and Pakistan and the speaker was Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, Deputy Commander of US Joint Forces Command (photo above), who led the Navy Seals into Afghanistan in November 2001. Oh yes, I got to ask him what he thought about my Out of the Box Idea about dealing with Afghanistan (see below): General David Patraeus moving his CENTCOM Command to Kabul to assume direct charge of a new strategy there, giving President-elect Obama's commitment to focus attention from Iraq to Afghanistan and to plus up our troops in the latter by some 20,000. I must admit, he did not immediately embrace it, nor would I expect him to, but I was glad I was able to at least introduce the idea to someone of a senior level in the military hierarchy. Nothing he said dissuaded me of the viability of my suggestion.
e) Right after the WAC meeting, I headed over to the Virginia Beach Hilton where Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org/) was holding its annual international conference. Operation Smile is one of a few international nonprofits based in Hampton Roads; it promotes providing operations for children who are suffering from cleft lip and cleft pallet. I heard a fascinating presentation on researching the web to advance Internet communication and marketing by the author of the book Click, Bill Tancer (http://www.hitwise.com/other/click.php). This is the future of Internet marketing and fundraising in the age of Globalization and Information. I also met Operation Smile's Latin America director and heard a presentation on what Operation Smile (Operacao Sorriso) is doing in Brazil
f) This evening Yeda and I attended a play at Norfolk's Little Theater in the company of another couple. The play, a kind of black comedy, was very interesting. Culturally, Hampton Roads has a lot of major cultural offerings: it is home to the Virginia Opera, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the annual Virginia Performing Arts festival, three little theatres, lots of jazz and blues venues. The opening of the new Sandler Center in Va Beach has brought a huge new resource to the community. Next week begins the opening of the annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film.
Here are some conclusions I came to this weekend:
Hampton Roads is the future. Despite the recession, the heavy military presence here has made the area somewhat but not totally recession proof. (A just released ODU study of the local economy bears this out.) Both Presidents Bush inaugurated a new aircraft carrier here last weekend, the George H. W. Bush. A program to build a series of new nuclear subs here has just been approved. In a globalized world, sea power has returned to be a major source of American power and its ability to project that power throughout the globe. Local and state governments are successful in attracting private foreign investment and in promoting trade to this area, which also has fantastic port and rail facilities.
Community Colleges are the Future. TCC is experiencing double digit enrollment growth as the economy forces people to increase their marketability through education. Four year and private colleges and universities are suffering from the opposite. Students and their families can no longer afford expensive education and the credit for student loans is one of the victims of the financial melt down. TCC is not Harvard, but it serves a vast community; almost half of all college students in Hampton Roads attend TCC, about 40,000. Another advantage of community colleges is that people like myself, with a Masters Degree and lots of experience vs. a PhD and perhaps no life experience, can teach. Since the pay for adjuncts is so low, few do it for the money but out of other motivations. There is a pool of instructors out there.
Internet marketing and fundraising is the future. Presidential candidate Obama demonstrated the advantage of a highly sophisticated, networked fundraising and recruiting campaign. Organizations seeking support in an economic downturn, must move to on-line approaches and go for more, smaller donors by using the Internet for communications, research and outreach. Bill Tancer's book and research swirls around the question of why Prom Dresses are getting the highest number of internet search hits in January, when proms are usually held in May or June.