United States and North Korean officials emerged from two days of meetings in Geneva agreeing they had narrowed their differences about negotiating on the North’s nuclear program, but they parted without fixing a date for further bilateral or multilateral talks.
Speaking outside the United States mission after the talks ended on October 25th, Stephen W. Bosworth, the American special envoy and Civilitas honorary board member, called the talks “very positive and generally constructive.”
CivilNet.TV hosted Stephen W. Bosworth, the Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, and Civilitas honorary board member, on the set in Yerevan in an interview about student diversity and the diplomacy program for young Foreign Service professionals at Fletcher school, higher education standards in diplomacy.
University of Winnipeg (U of W) President and Civilitas honorary board member, Lloyd Axworthy held a press conference on September 9th to announce updates and changes at the University this year. One of the more notable updates was the enrollment; the University shattered the 10,000-student mark for the first time this year.
In the first week of the U of W 2011 fall semester, preliminary enrollment was 10,003 undergrad and grad students, up 3.6 per cent from the 2010/2011 academic year. "We all feel there's a real surge going on in Winnipeg now," said Mr. Axworthy on Friday.
One thing that surely spurred the enrollment jump at U of W is the huge growth in attracting aboriginal students. U of W has 970 self-identified aboriginal students, up 24 per cent from last year, bringing aboriginal enrollment at the downtown campus to 12 per cent of the student population. That's one of the highest proportions of the student body at any Canadian university.
Other changes Axworthy announced were campus and community renewal projects, new degree programs in human rights and disability studies and other community learning initiatives.
A few hours after the press conference, the University celebrated one of it's well-known non-academic traditions, the 40th Anniversary of the Great Rock Climb. The competition features teams of three who race down Wesley Hall’s front lawn and scale the 25-ton granite "Rock of Remembrance" in the fastest time possible. The record for getting to the top of the rock in front of the campus is 9.8 seconds which was set in 1979. The climb takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Civilitas honorary board member and Canadian-Armenian acclaimed film maker Atom Egoyan is at work on a feature film about the West Memphis Three case based on Mara Leveritt's non-fiction book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. The project had originally been developed at Dimension Films, and when it was put into turnaround, producer Richard Saperstein, former Dimension president, took it over. Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman, who wrote The Exorcism of Emily Rose, have written a screenplay, which Boardman has been reworking with Egoyan, who boarded the project, about two months ago.
FOR the past five months, President Bashar Assad has engaged in a vengeful suppression of those Syrians demonstrating for the right to participate in Syria's transition to democracy. The president has, from time to time, offered promises of reform, but he has failed to follow through. The escalating violence of the past few weeks against his own people, with more recent events in Latakia that much more concerning, has left hundreds dead and heightened the need for more decisive and bold moves by the international community.
Unfortunately, the statement earlier this month by the United Nations Security Council condemning Assad's actions was a weakly worded outcome of months of deliberation and discussion while the Syrian people paid the price. The statement is so much less desirable than a resolution because it is not backed by any definitive action. It holds no party to account and, as we have seen since, has held no influence on Assad's reactionary violence against his own people.
I am neither a young girl, nor a fan of rock music. I am a grown-up person and I have been to many countries and seen many singers and other people. It is almost impossible to surprise me.
But Serj Tankian astonished me many times. First, he astonished me as a singer.
He was said to perform one or two songs at the opening of TUMO Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan, while he held a real concert there in terrible conditions.
No singer would ever agree to torture their vocal cords in such dust. Even the audience could hardly breathe but Serj Tankian went on singing out of his love for his compatriots and himself.
The University of Winnipeg, headed by Civilitas honorary board member Lloyd Axworthy, is set to capture close to one million dollars of Canadian federal funds for research in the humanities this year.
Awarded through the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the monies will go towards research and student scholarships.
"This funding is most welcome and reflects the exceptional talents of our faculty, researchers and graduate students," said U of W president Lloyd Axworthy. "UWinnipeg is renowned for its excellence in liberal arts, sciences, business and education teaching and research, and this support is recognition of that fact."
Close to $800,000 has been earmarked for faculty research but students have also netted more than $200,000 in scholarships.
Some of the largest grants will go towards research in women’s and gender studies, history and education.
World-renowned rock band System of a Down will tour South America this fall. The band will play concerts in three major cities – Sao Paulo, Brazil (October 1st), Buenos Aires, Argentina (October 5th), and Santiago, Chile (October 7th).
Lead singer and Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Serj Tankian will also lead the band in the Rock in Rio Festival on October 2nd. System of a Down is co-headlining with Guns and Roses.
System of a Down recently toured Europe this past June playing concerts in Milan, Nuremberg, and Paris.
The Armenian ex-premier, rector of the Russian-Armenian Slavonic University (RAU), and Civilitas foundation honorary board member Armen Darbinyan, rector of the Swiss Business School Volve Bert and the Armenian Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan participated in the commencement ceremony of the Swiss Business School (SBS), implemented jointly with RAU. The school awarded Master of Business Administration (MBA) diplomas to its first twelve graduates.
Mr. Darbinyan noted that it has been a great honor for the University to be the founder of the first business school of such caliber in Armenia, while Mr. Bert expressed his certainty that the Armenian graduates of the school will successfully apply their knowledge and skills to work in future.
The program teaches with several specializations, such as marketing, finance, and banking. The agreement to collaborate between RAU and SBS was signed on March 21st, 2009 in Yerevan. SBS is a prestigious business school in Zurich with accreditations in Switzerland, Germany, Latvia, Slovenia, and the USA.
Civil society representatives, politicians and experts in Turkey are discussing what a new constitution for Turkey should look like, at the 23rd meeting of the Abant Platform. Participants will be discussing what the new constitution should be like as well as by what means it should be prepared.
Professor and Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Murat Belge has joined the discussion. The first session was on the fundamental principles and philosophy of drafting a new constitution. Opening speeches were delivered by State Minister Egemen Bağış, who is also Turkey’s EU chief negotiator, Ergun Özbudun, a constitutional law professor at Başkent University and Abant Platform Term President Levent Köker.
Participants will also discuss the possibility of Turkey’s transition to a presidential system, which has become a heated debate in recent months.
Civilitas honorary board member Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and Stuart Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) signed a memorandum of understanding that will see their organizations work jointly to fulfill their common goals of promoting human rights education and encouraging people to take action for human rights.
It is because of my admiration for Turkey that I find it difficult to understand its insensitive position on the Armenian issue. After all, it was not this generation that spilled the blood 100 years ago.
I have achieved a great success: Finally the Knesset plenum has enabled its Knesset Education Committee to conduct a public discussion of the genocide of the Armenian people. This is the discussion that was prevented for decades. For generations our governments firmly opposed it.
The tenth Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 20 - May 1, has announced its jurors, among whom the Canadian filmmaker, director and Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Atom Egoyan. Egoyan joins the eclectic quartet of moviemaker David O Russel, Whoopi Goldberg, actor Michael Cera and funnyman Denis Leary on the panel. The festival features six competitive categories with 38 judges divided across the categories. The winning films, filmmakers and actors in those categories will be announced at the Tribeca Awards Night ceremony on 28 April streamed live on TribecaFilm.com.
A Canadian leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre company Canadian Stage announced programming details for the Festival of Ideas and Creation - the company's annual festival, supporting the development of artists and new works, taking place at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto from May 9 to 21, 2011. The Festival will include over 30 exciting free events that explore the future of theatre with award-winning artists including Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Atom Egoyan.
The Armenian ex-premier, Rector of Russian-Armenian Slavonic University, and Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Armen Darbinyan questioned the absolute necessity of a nuclear power plant (NPP) for Armenia in a public lecture at the University. He underlined that Armenia needs to give a serious thought to local NPP issue especially after the disaster in Japan. “Even Japan, with all of its technological development, failed to prevent that terrible disaster,” he said. “ Armenia, however, insists on having enough capacity to withstand a similar catastrophe. Our source of certainty is unclear, considering the country’s lack of relevant technologies. ”Darbinyan noted that the Armenian NPP’s operating period “cannot by any means be called a period of scientific and technological development in this field. ” He underlined the need for proper technological development in Armenia and offered to consider policy alternatives to the NPP, such as solar and wind power plants, to ensure a safer and more controllable energy environment in Armenia. The discussion also evolved around what lessons Armenia should extract from Japan’s case and the advantages other policy options entail.
This May, Serj Tankian will be rejoining his System Of A Down band mates for one of this year’s most anticipated tours. However, before he takes the stage with System, Tankian is conquering a new world: the theater. ‘Prometheus Bound,’ Tankian’s collaboration with acclaimed playwright Steven Sater, is currently in the middle of its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sater believes that Tankian is doing something totally unique. “He’s brought a sound to the theater like you’ve never heard before,” says the playwright. “We’re doing a very ambitious and radical show. We’re taking an ancient, classic piece of theater and wedding it to real rock’n’roll music. I think this show reveals Serj as a composer in ways we’ve never heard before.”
For Tankian, many aspects of working in the theater are totally new experiences. Sitting in the audience while hearing somebody else sing his words is a very different role for a man quite used to being on stage. The shift in perspective took some getting used to.
Tankian also presented his newest poetry collection ‘Glaring Through Oblivion’ on March 29 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Glendale. The collection is a book of Tankian’s original poetry, strikingly illustrated by Roger Kupelian. Unique illustrations punctuate nearly 70 poems - almost none of which have ever been published before. ‘Glaring Through Oblivion’ is Serj’s second poetry book and a complimentary title to Cool Gardens, Tankian’s well received debut collection of prose.
The University of Winnipeg recently unveiled the $1 Garnet Kyle scholarship, which was created by a $500,000 donation from the Garnet Kyle estate and was matched by the university.
University president and Civilitas honorary board member Lloyd Axworthy said a scholarship of this size is rare. “This will be in effect one of the largest scholarships given by the university,” he said. “Once it fully ramps up you could have four students (at the university at once).”
The scholarship will be given to someone whose grade 12 average is 90 per cent or higher. Graduate students must have an undergraduate grade point average of 4.00 or higher. Preference will be given to a Roseau Valley School student. If no student qualifies it will go to a Border Land School Division or Hanover School Division student.
Roseau Valley School principal Jason Mateychuk said this gives the school an amazing opportunity to level the playing field financially. “Personally I know of gifted students with top level marks who simply couldn't move on to post secondary education due to financial limitations,” he said. “I think this scholarship may give hope to students to increase their engagement in school and improve achievement.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has appointed Ambassador and Civilitas honorary board member Stephen W. Bosworth as Special Representative for North Korea Policy. Ambassador Bosworth will be State Department’s senior official handling North Korea issues, reporting to the Secretary of State, as well as to the President.
The Secretary has asked Ambassador Bosworth to oversee U.S. efforts in the Six-Party Talks to achieve the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. He will serve as the senior emissary for U.S. engagement with North Korea, in close consultation with our allies and partners.
Ambassador Bosworth's experience both in government and in the private sector makes him an ideal candidate for this task. He served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 1997 to 2000. He was Executive Director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization from 1995 to 1997 and previously served as Ambassador to Tunisia and the Philippines. He has visited North Korea several times and currently serves as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
The leader of the Democratic Movement “United Georgia” and Civilitas honorary board member Nino Burjanadze is on a visit to France. During the visit she is scheduled to meet with members of the French government, representatives of legislature.
On March 16, Mrs. Burjanadze wrote a message in a condolence book for victims of the unraveling tragedy in Japan. Mrs. Burjanadze also met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Audronius Ažubalis that day together with other representatives of Georgian opposition. “The meeting lasted longer than expected because the minister was interested with the details of the current situation in the country and Georgia-Russia relations,” stated Nino Burjanadze afterwards.
Armen Darbinyan, Civilitas honorary board member is the rector of Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, which launched the second semester of “Leadership school” for the managers of South-Caucasian Railways cjsc (SCR) on March 14th. The memorandum of establishing the school was originally signed in August 2009 by Mr. Darbinyan and the General Director of South Caucasian Railways Mr. Shaydullin.
In the second semester top-managers and young specialists of the company will focus on project management, client management, management of human resources, strategic management, taxes and taxation, communication skills and negotiating.
When the Ergenekon investigation began four years ago, it was believed that company officials were involved in planning some assassinations. As such, the investigation was an attempt to uncover Trurkish officials with plans to overthrow the government. Recently, the investigation’s legitimacy was shaken when ten journalists and writers, including two self-proclaimed human rights reporters Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, were arrested.
Civilitas honorary board member Murat Belge has also been targeted by the Ergenekon investigations. Belge said in his column for the Taraf newspaper that “If Ahmet Sik can be arrested, then I, too, may very well be.”
Sik, while a reporter for Nokta in 2007, was responsible for writing a story that led to the Ergenekon investigation in the first place. Sener had recently written a book entitled Red Friday – Who Broke Dink’s Pen, which exposed the fact that Turkish security forces knew about Hrant Dink’s planned assassination. Dink, who was the Turkish-Armenian editor of the Agos newspaper, was killed in 2007.
The prosecutor on the case has denied that either journalist was arrested for his ideas. He added that the state had hard evidence against the two, though he was not at liberty to reveal the nature of the evidence.
Professors at the University of Winnipeg have ratified a new collective agreement. The university president and Civilitas honorary board member Lloyd Axworthy said he is very pleased with the outcome of the process. “This collective agreement is both fair and fiscally responsible, and will ensure we are able to recruit and retain top-quality faculty, and addresses many important administrative issues for our faculty,” further clarified Axworthy.
The deal includes a 5.41 per cent salary increase and other benefits over three years, increased pension contributions and other improvements. The pact is retroactive to April 2010 and will expire at the end of March in 2013.
The University of Winnipeg Faculty Association had originally been seeking 8.4 per cent while the university countered with 3.7 per cent. Negotiations came down to the last minute before a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. The faculty association represents 350 professors, librarians, coaches and athletic therapists at the university.
Civilitas Foundation honorary board member and Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan is among the jurors for the ninth annual Glenn Gould Prize – an international award bestowed by the Glenn Gould Foundation in memory of noted Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. It is awarded every third year to a living individual in recognition of his/her contributions to music and communication.
The jury for the so-called “Nobel Prize of the arts” also includes British actor, writer and director Stephen Fry, Chinese singer/songwriter Dadawa, pianist Gary Graffman and two Canadians, singer and vocal producer Elaine Overholt and film producer Phoebe Greenberg.
The prize laureate will be announced April 1. The winner receives $50,000 and chooses a young artist to receive The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize of $15,000.
The Academy Award-nominated filmmaker will also direct his first major play in Canada for Canadian Stage's 2011-2012 theatre season. In addition, Egoyan plans to direct his wife, Arsinee Khanjian, in British playwright Martin Crimp's Cruel and Tender next year.
Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Serj Tankian is reuniting with fellow band members of System of a Down - drummer John Dolmayan, guitarist/volcalist Daron Malkian and bassist Shavo Odadjian – to make a comeback. Their first concert will be in North America on Tuesday, May 10 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The date is part of a seven-city tour with gypsy punk Gogol Bordello and includes stops at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Seattle, Mountain View, Denver, Albuquerque, and Las Vegas.
The band has not toured North American in five years. In June the band will also travel to Europe to give concerts in UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Russia. More tour dates will be announced on systemofadown.com along the way.
Recently Tankian also collaborated with Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson. Their track “The Hunger”, taken from Serj’s rock musical “Prometheus Bound”, was released on iTunes on March 1st with all proceeds to benefit Amnesty International.
Following North Korea’s offer to resume disarmament negotiations, Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Stephen W. Bosworth returned to Asia in early January 2011 as the Obama Administration’s special envoy to North Korea. Bosworth consulted with South Korea, China and Japan about resuming the six-party talks, which would also include Russia and the US.
The talks have been on hold for nearly two years, and the result of the meetings is still unclear. Many have expressed agreement that North Korea will have to prove its credibility and show that disarmament talks would be meaningful and fruitful.
At the end of the trip, Bosworth stated that the parties “are talking about and moving forward in our attempt to address the questions of the Korean Peninsula.” On January 14, Bosworth plans to meet with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Defense Minister of South Korea to continue discussing diplomatic issues.
In response to a campaign by the Armenian National Committee of America, Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Serj Tankian, urged his Facebook fans to call Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and request that she schedule a vote on Armenian Genocide Revolution. The Armenian Genocide Resolution calls upon the President to ensure that American foreign policy reflects an understanding of the human rights related issues connected to the Armenian genocide.
As the Obama Administration’s special envoy to North Korea, Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Stephen W. Bosworth will be heading to Seoul this week. Suspicions arose when Stanford University Professor, Siegfried Hecker, was shown a new uranium facility on Pyongyang. North Korea claims that the facility is designed to produce electricity. However, it is believed that Pyongyang has secretly developed the ability to enrich uranium. This discovery has raised concerns that the regime’s nuclear program is more advanced than previously thought. Bosworth will also visit Tokyo on the trip to discuss how the region plans to respond to the situation.
To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia, Canada will be honoring ten Canadian filmmakers. Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Atom Egoyan is one the ten filmmakers being spotlighted. The Festival will focus on filmmakers who inspire through their art, embody important voices in the Canadian cinematic landscape and are shining examples of what the Whistler Film Festival is all about. The Whistler Film Festival runs from December 1 to December 5, 2010.
Civilitas Foundation honorary board member Stephen W. Bosworth is the Obama administration’s special envoy on North Korea. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Bosworth will visit South Korea, Japan, and China to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. New satellite images show construction under way at North Korea’s main atomic complex. That, combined with reports from two American experts who recently travelled to the Yongbyon complex, appear to show that Pyongyang is making good on its pledge to build a nuclear power reactor. The trip also comes in the wake of rising tensions in the region. Last week, North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island, killing one person, setting homes ablaze and triggering an exchange of fire as the South’s military went on top alert.
Swissinfo.ch reports that, in light of their reputation of unrestrained mercenary activities, sixty private security contractors, including American company Blackwater, recently signed an international code in Geneva. They pledged to respect human rights and humanitarian law. However, experts are skeptical that any real change will occur since the code does not establish an oversight mechanism.
French Author Gérard Chaliand, who has written extensively about these firms, noted that “regulating this industry seems indispensable… with extended activities requiring new rules. But it shouldn’t just be declarations of intention: there should also be sanctions.” Furthermore, while these companies are supposed to establish a steering committee that will form an independent oversight mechanism, Chailand says “it seems unlikely that it will happen for the big American companies since they don’t even have to answer to Congress. The code is there to reassure, but it is more likely to be symbolic rather than effective.”
Reported by Swissinfo.ch on November 22, 2010.
Filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration) has, over the course of three decades of movie-making, probed such disparate characters as strippers and comedians in provocative and artful ways. Egoyan further demonstrated his artistic curiosity at The Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday during a public conversation with curator Michael Taylor commemorating the recently opened retrospective on modernist painter Arshile Gorky.
The Armenian-Canadian director shared his thoughts on Gorky, also Armenian, after whom Egoyan named his son. Gorky plays a major role in one of Egoyan’s most known films, Ararat, which dramatizes the Armenian genocide, and in Portrait of Arshile, a short film with footage of his son the director made in the nineties. But the painter has been with the director his entire life, from his childhood in Egypt and Canada with his parents, both painters, to his experiences in young adulthood trying to articulate his identity as both English and Armenian.
Murat Belge: The Importance of the Book is Obvious Since No Paper Except Milliyet Has Written a Single Line About It
For Turkey, the number should have been a bombshell.
According to a long-hidden document that belonged to the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, 972,000 Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from 1915 through 1916.
In Turkey, any discussion of what happened to the Ottoman Armenians can bring a storm of public outrage.
Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian Foreign Minister (1996-2000), has been elected International President of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM). Headquartered in New York, the WFM is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that has consultative status with the United Nations. Axworthy succeeds another Canadian, former Senator Lois Wilson, who had replaced the actor and humanitarian Sir Peter Ustinov upon his death in 2004.
The World Federalist Movement was created in 1947 by those concerned that the structure of the new United Nations was too similar to the League of Nations which had failed to prevent World War II. Both organizations are loosely structured as associations of sovereign nation-states, with few autonomous powers.
Haaretz.com -- The defense minister paid a visit to Turkey this week. They say it was a success. If so, it is possible to renew the conspiracy of silence and the silencing.
I was filled with revulsion and my soul wanted to puke. The person who telephoned me was an example of the ugly Israeli who had disgracefully been at the forefront of those who denied the Armenian Holocaust.
Mr. Jivan Tabibian, political theorist, diplomat, teacher, government affairs consultant, design and cinema consultant, food critic and restaurateur, cigar aficionado, systems designer and the Civilitas Foundation honorary board member, passed away in Vienna, Austria, on July 31, 2009.
Mr. Tabibian, whose rich career in academia, international organizations, government and business took him all over the world, had been for the last decade, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He retired from that post in 2008. For most of that period, he was also Armenia’s ambassador to Hungary, Austria, Czech and Slovakia.