Morning in Belgrade

FPB logoThanks to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, I had the privilege of meeting a number of groups in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Niš last week, to discuss American politics and, separately, online learning.  The first in a series of observations appears at Foreign Policy Association’s ForeignPolicyBlogs.

An excerpt:

“The former ministry of defense buildings still show the considerable damage from U.S.-led NATO bombing in 1999.  Unlike several of its Balkan neighbors, Serbia remains outside of the EU.  Unemployment remains high, especially among the young. And the government is under attack for a recent public relations stunt gone wrong, which ended with a helicopter crash that killed several soldiers, medical personnel, and an infant.

“Meanwhile, ordinary people go about their lives. On the Easter Monday holiday, Kalamegdan Park is filled with people enjoying the warm spring weather…  At night, lively crowds laugh and eat and drink as they stroll along Kneza Mihaila, with a big slice of Caribic’s €1 capricciosa pizza.

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More at ForeignPolicyBlogs.com

How does the Mobile Student study?

In an update to my 2012 survey, at the University of Novi Sad last week I offered the results of an informal follow-up.  In short, university students are studying – reading and writing – on their tablets and phones than ever before.  And in addition to a greater number of students doing their written work on their phones and tablets, they are doing so more frequently.

More on this in upcoming posts.

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Learning in College?

If you’re not learning the skills you need to while you’re
in college (problem-solving, communication, collaboration), then pay $3,000 for a three-week camp to learn them. 

“It’s not that these skills are not learned in college, they are not taught,” said Josh Jarrett, a former official at the Gates Foundation, and a co-founder of Koru.

How long until people decide to just skip the first $200,000 and move right to the boot camp?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/03/31/what-happens-when-colleges-fail-to-prepare-graduates-for-jobs/

The Last Easter in Iraq?

cnn_c_left_logoNew York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and two Hollywood producers share a look at the crises in the Middle East with a challenging perspective:  we risk the end of Christianity in one of its earliest homes.

From their Good Friday op-ed on CNN:  With the rapid advance of ISIS through northern Iraq last summer,  “Iraq’s Nineveh Plain has been emptied of its ancient Christianity community, which existed there for more than 1,500 years.”

Catholic, Eastern,, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians joined to echo the call from Cardinal Dolan, Northern Ireland’s Touched by an Angel actor Roma Downey, and  Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, more).  Downey and Burnett have been active in humanitarian aid for all victims of the wars in Syria and northern Iraq.

The Armenians Remember

Armenian_Genocide_Orphans_ArnavutkoyApril 14, 1915, marks the 100th anniversary of the arrest, exile, and slaughter of hundreds of the Armenian intelligentsia.  Over the next few years, more than a million Armenians were killed. …

Meanwhile, the UN just released a report on ISIL/ISIS/IS with some echoes of 1915:

“It is reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents, considering the overall information, may constitute genocide. Other incidents may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.” UN Report, sec. II.A.1.16.

Commemorations of the 100th anniversary will take place in Washington on May 7-9, 2015.  Read more at the Foreign Policy Association, http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2015/03/24/the-armenians-remember/

FCC Broadband Debate: How We Got Here

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President Obama and the FCC have weighed in on Net Neutrality, increased government regulation, and the debates over universal access, “fast lanes,” taxes and fees, and “general conduct rules” – including possible rules on content. Congress and the courts will have their turn.

In the meantime, where did this debate come from?

It is critically important to the Internet’s evolution that it became widespread and commercial during the 1990s. Netscape, Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Google, Wikipedia, and the Drudge Report changed and created industries during an era of free trade, free markets and deregulation….  

But if the Internet had become mainstream after the security crackdowns after September 11, 2001, or during the re-regulation era following the 2007–08 financial crisis, it might have developed very differently.

More at Foreign Policy Association’s blogs

Eroding Authority of Government?

combo6When a senior defense advisor referred to an “eroding authority of government,” it got me thinking about what impacts that might have on foreign policy making.

I mused about it for the Foreign Policy Association blogs.

If the people don’t trust government, or, to be more precise, if citizens don’t view their government as having the “authority,” expertise, judgment, disposition, or political competency to make foreign policy, how does that impact the process and outcomes?

The “authority of government” has long been acknowledged as essential in successful foreign policy making.  The Weinberger Doctrine and Powell Doctrine noted the importance of the support of public opinion, as did Philip Crowl, head of strategy for the Naval War College.  So did Raoul Castex,Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. …

The Pew Research Center shows that millennials are less likely to identify with a political party – and less likely to trust people in general – than previous generations.  A similar pattern is emerging inscience, with scientists and the public increasingly far apart on climate change, genetically-modified foods, and vaccinations. …

You can read the post here – thanks very much.