New Cybersecurity, Israel, and Trump in Syria: Recent Posts

A review of some of my recent columns:

For the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet):

Blinking Red: Reconsidering U.S. Approaches to Cybersecurity

A former Obama official warns, “There’s no excuse not to know that the system is blinking red when it comes to the potential for a major national security-driven cyber incident to hit our critical infrastructure in a way that causes major economic issues.”

For the Foreign Policy Association’s blogs:

Israel PM candidate: “Biggest Crisis since the Time of Mohammad”

Former Israeli defense minister, General Moshe Ya’alon gave his first public remarks as candidate for Prime Minister.  He began by agreeing with the notion that the Middle East is in its biggest crisis since the time of Mohammad, concluding that the problem is “Iran, Iran, Iran.”

For the Jerusalem Post:

Trump: On the Road to Damascus?

Mr Trump’s “proportional response” of cruise missiles may settle the issue in the short run. But in Syria, in other crises, and in developing his own long-term national security strategy, it will be difficult for Mr Trump to find a third way in between more American war in the Middle East and American withdrawal from global leadership.


#MakeAmericaStrongerTogetherAgain ?

Photo in public domain

What happened to the level of our [un]civil discourse? Why do so many people seem just not to like Hillary Clinton? How did Donald Trump (not really a Republican) and Bernie Sanders (not really a Democrat) do so well in the primaries? What is this “change” we all seem to want? Have Republicans already lost the Hispanic vote, like the African-American vote? Why is trust in the media and in the candidates so low? Is it time for a third party? Could the whole electoral system really be “rigged,” and if so, could it be under foreign influence?  Every pundit has a range of opinions.

Among terribly polarized professional partisans and a vast middle unhappy with the whole thing, Americans of all political persuasions share one idea about this election: it has been a crazy year. Continue reading “#MakeAmericaStrongerTogetherAgain ?”

On Shifting Ground: short film on Nepal post-earthquake

Filming "On Shifting Ground" in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal.

The Hilton Prize Coalition’s first Storytelling project is a beautiful film, On Shifting Ground, by Steve Connors.  The Hilton Prize Coalition and Global Impact are sharing the film globally via webinar on Wednesday, August 17, 11:30am-12:30pm (EDT/New York time) with a discussion to follow. The public may see the film and join the discussion by registering online.

Six winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize were among the many NGOs serving in Nepal when the earthquake hit in 2015. On Shifting Ground is a new documentary that tells the story of collaboration among six Hilton Prize-winning international NGOs and a range of local organizations after the earthquake.

Since 1996, the Hilton Prize has been awarded annually to “a nonprofit organization judged to have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions in alleviating human suffering.” (Its $2 million award is nearly twice the amount of a Nobel Prize.) The Hilton Prize Coalition has begun a Storytelling Program to “highlight…lessons learned by the world’s most extraordinary humanitarian organizations” and to further promote collaboration.

The Coalition’s first Storytelling project is a beautiful film, On Shifting Ground, by Steve Connors.  The Hilton Prize Coalition and Global Impact are sharing the film globally via webinar on Wednesday, August 17, 11:30am-12:30pm (EDT/New York time) with a discussion to follow. The public may see the film and join the discussion by registering online.


CIDRZ Recovery: Transforming a Health NGO


From HIV to Ebola to Zika, the effectiveness of public health responses has never been more critical, and organizations conducting this work are under increasing scrutiny.  In Zambia, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia or CIDRZ addressed an issue shared by many developing-world health institutions: serious gaps in its organizational capacity to fulfill its mission.

I spoke with CIDRZ Director and CEO, Dr. Charles Holmes, about the changes that he and his team have undertaken over the last four years. They have refocused the CIDRZ mission and vision, re-examined its partnerships, and built systems to become a leading scientific and research institute, patient services organization, and local talent capacity-builder.

Read more:

More info at  and


Online learning: What Students Say

Thank you!  

All your help made possible our article here in Educause Review – following a great discussion at the the 2016 Ann Ferren Conference.  You can watch the panel here, or see the PowerPoint.  Special thanks to Dr Melissa Scholes Young, Sarah McKinley ’19, and Chandler Randol ’18.  More from the Ann Ferren Conference is here.  Thanks again for all your help.  And from a prior presentation on MOOCs.

Help!  In preparation for a conference on teaching and learning, a couple of us are asking students:  online courses are popular with students, but what do they like and not like about those courses?

metro-cIf you’ve taken an online course (esp. from a college/university), please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about any or all of these questions.   Please post (anonymously, if you like) at the bottom of this page.  And please share with a friend!  Thanks very much–

Why did you choose to take an online course?  Convenience (“location”)? Asynchronous (any time)? Course topic? Requirement (graduate early, etc.)?  or a combination of these, or something else?

Did you expect the course to be easier or more difficult than a regular course? Was it?

What was the best surprise of the online-aspects of the course?  Not “the book was good,” but something about the course’s “online-ness.”

What was most disappointing about the course?  Not “the book was bad,” but something about the course’s “online-ness.”

Material was presented in a variety of ways: assigned books in hard-copy, online readings, instructor’s videos (on Blackboard, YouTube, etc.), third-party videos (C-SPAN, Disney, YouTube, etc.), instructor’s online PowerPoints or other written notes, etc. Which of these was most helpful/effective? Which of these was least helpful/effective?

How was the “classroom community”? What efforts were made to facilitate discussion among students? What worked, what didn’t?

You have an audience of online instructors – mostly regular university professors who sometimes teach online, or who are about to teach online for the first time. What is the most important thing for them to know?

Thank you so much – please share with a friend or friends – and thanks again!

(Your comments may not appear right away – thanks)

Dayton Accords at 20

Presidents Milosevic, Tudjman, and Izetbegovic formalize in Paris the Dayton Accords initialed November 21, 1995. Photo: U.S. Govt,

The 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords (November 21, 1995) is much in the news.  Continuing trouble in divided societies like Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere illustrates how significant was the Dayton agreement that ended the war in Yugoslavia. But many questions remain.

The task for the EU, for Bosnia’s benefit and for its own, is to help Bosnia find a new path forward.

Read more: