Monday, February 23, 2015

Wave Week Moldova! You can support their work

Wave Week Moldova is a wonderful program that trains volunteers and inspires young people to become civically engaged in Moldova.

I have spoken at previous training sessions -- and have worked with Wave Week volunteers -- and I can tell you this is a great program.

I just made a contribution using this firstgiving page to support their work. Here is the link, if you want to help, too!


Wave Week Moldova page

Wave Week Moldova fundraising page

my previous blog posts about Wave Week Moldova
Speaking with the Wave Week volunteers in 2012

Betty Castor, Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board

Congrats to Betty Castor -- former President of the University of South Florida -- on being selected to be the Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board! 

You can read more about Betty Castor and this appointment in this article in the Tampa Bay Times

At the 2012 USF Fulbright Breakfast with President Genshaft, Carnegie Fellow from ULIM Larisa Patlis, and                      the Hon. Betty Castor

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fulbright Association Mid-Florida Chapter, visit with scholar from ULIM

There is a Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association that organizes events and activities for our visiting Fulbrighters to experience life and culture in our region -- and to get to know other Fulbrighters who are here.  I am sorry to say that my schedule often prevents me from attending these activities. 

However, I wanted to make a special effort to attend one of these events this year so that I would have the opportunity to visit with Svetlana, a Fulbrighter from ULIM now conducting research at USF.

I was delighted when the activities brought Fulbrighters to the Dali Museum (right next door to our beautiful USFSP waterfront campus) in January 2015.  Sadly, I was not able to get out of the office in time to visit the Dali Museum, which is a real treat (see Dali Museum website ), but I was able to get over to the Hangar restaurant to visit with Svetlana over dinner.

I hope we are able to see each other again before she returns to Chisinau!

with Svetlana, a Fulbrighter at USF this year, from ULIM, at the Hangar restaurant in St. Petersburg

USF Fulbright Breakfast 2014: ULIM scholar awarded USF Fulbright Medal

Each Fall, USF honors its Fulbright Scholars from USF and those who conduct research at USF from around the world.

I was delighted to meet a scholar from ULIM at this year's Fulbright Breakfast! 

Those of you who follow this blog know that I taught at ULIM, the Free University of Moldova, when I was in Chisinau on my Fulbright, and ULIM was our partner university and host for our USFSP-ULIM Joint Course (when my USF students traveled to Moldova for my study abroad course). And our collaboration continues!

Svetlana is not the first ULIM scholar to attend the breakfast.  My colleague Larisa joined me in 2012 when she was here at USF as a Carnegie Fellow.

Svetlana receiving her USF Fulbright Medal

With Svetlana from ULIM at the USF Fulbright Breakfast
(As I am trying to catch up on my Moldova blog posts, I am realizing that I did NOT (yet) post from last year's (2013) breakfast, at which I was a speaker....)

Intercultural Human Rights Law Review article published

My article, "The Rule of Law, Judicial Reform and the Protection of Human Rights in Moldova and Transnistria," was published in Vol. 9 (2014) of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review.

In the article I provide an overview of human rights violations in Transnistria, with an emphasis on the cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights.  The role of human rights NGOs (such as Promo-LEX), reform-minded civil society, and the influence of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova in the PMR are explored.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

2014 Moldovan Parliamentary Elections, polling location in Orlando, Florida

Those of you who follow this blog know that I was intimately involved with the 2014 mid-term elections here in Florida.

There were important elections for Moldova in November 2014 as well.  The parliamentary elections were expected to serve as a referendum on the voters' confidence in the governing coalition's pro-Western path towards closer association with the EU. Leading up to the election, polls showed a dead-heat between the pro-European liberal parties and the Moscow-oriented Socialist and Communist parties, with voters evenly split between continuing on the path towards integration with the EU or moving closer to Russia and the Eurasian Customs Union.

As with the gubernatorial election in Florida, voter turnout was expected to be the decisive factor in the election results in Moldova. Many Moldovans were (are) disillusioned and frustrated by the corruption scandals and were (are) still suffering economic setbacks. (Moldova has the unfortunate distinction of being labeled "the poorest country in Europe.")  There was also speculation as to how the vote of the Moldovan expat community would affect turnout and election results.  (See also "Moldova at a Crossroads" article)

Under Moldovan law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assists with setting up polling locations abroad where Moldovan expats can vote. Some 95 polling stations were arranged outside of RM.  There were 6 polling locations in the U.S., one of which was in Orlando, FL.

Peggy and I drove over so that we could observe the elections on Sunday, November 30th.  The polling station was at a Holiday Inn near Universal Studios.  (This is also a polling location for Orange County, so recently a polling location for the 2014 gubernatorial election in Florida.)

We saw Moldovans travel from all over Florida, and even some who made the trip from Atlanta, to vote in the parliamentary elections.  We enjoyed meeting with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the US and the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Moldova (based in Miami) as well as Moldovans living in Tampa Bay.

Alegeri: "Elections"

With the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the US and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova (based in Miami)

The ballot boxes

For more about the 2014 parliamentary elections, see the  IFES Guide to the 2014 Parliamentary Elections

For further analysis of the election results, see Hill: "Moldova's Woes make it Fair Game for Russia" article

While more seats were won by the pro-European parties in the November election, the difficult task of coalition-building and forming a new government remained.  It took nearly 2 months for a Speaker of the Parliament to be elected (Andrian Candu, on January 23) and, as of today (February 12), the Parliament rejected the government proposed by Prime Minister Iurie Leanca. Leanca said the vote "'raises questions about the functionality' of a landmark economic and political accord Moldova signed with the European Union in June. . .President Nicolae Timofti must now nominate a new candidate to try and form a government." (See Radio Free Europe article)

(See posts on this blog from August 2010 and from November 2010 for more about my time observing the constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections in Chisinau.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

bus stops

I recently came across this video about Christopher Herwig's project photographing Soviet bus stops:

Soviet Bus Stops video

I love it! I can't wait to see the book when it comes out in September.

I took many pics of bus stops when traveling around Moldova, like this one, on the road to Tipova;

(You can see the original blog post, here:  on the road to Tipova blog post )

Impressive examples of public art, in the middle of nowhere.

Friday, February 6, 2015

World Partnerships, Moldovan delegation visit to St Petersburg, FL

I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit with a Moldovan delegation hosted by World Partnerships:  "Community Policing and Police Training" Program.  (March 2014)

I teach courses about criminal procedure in the US and co-authored (with my mentor, Prof. Milton Heumann, and J.F. Kirkpatrick) a book chapter on the Police Corps Program (“Panacea or Palliative?  An Analysis of the National Police Corps Program"), so I would have been delighted to speak with any delegation about US criminal procedure.

I always learn a great deal from the international visitors during the exchanges organized by World Partnerships, but I especially enjoyed meeting with this delegation, because of our shared interest in law enforcement, crime, and punishment in Moldova. 

To learn more about the wonderful work done by World Partnerships, click here World partnerships website

World Partnerships, Inc. is a private, 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization (FEIN: 59-3651710) with a worldwide mission for educational, cultural, commercial and professional exchange with current and emerging global leaders. World Partnerships is the official US Department of State partner for hosting global leaders under the Department’s “International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)” in Florida’s seven-county Tampa Bay area. World Partnerships, Inc. was established in 2000, and is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. Contributions to World Partnerships are deductible as charitable donations for Federal income tax purposes.

Symposia Studentium, USFSP-ULIM

Upon our return from the Spring Break course to Moldova (March 2013), USF students continued to work on their research papers.  (Each USF student worked with one of the ULIM students in a research partnership, to exchange ideas and for needed assistance with locating (and translating) source material.)

USF students were able to participate in ULIM's annual student research conference, the Symposium Studentium, via skype videoconference, in April 2013.  Here are a few pictures of USF students presenting their research papers.

The ULIM students, with our partner, Professor Larisa Patlis

And with the wonderful head of ULIM libraries, Zina

Dean Heller of the Bishop Center greets our Moldovan colleagues (a course development grant from the Bishop Center provided the funds needed for us to carry out our service learning projects in Moldova)

ULIM and USF students

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Diploma from the Government of the Republic of Moldova and Medal from ULIM

As I am working with my colleague Larisa on an article about our USF-ULIM Joint Study Abroad course in Moldova, I am reminded of how behind I am in posting about the course.

I have not yet shared all of the wonderful memories and once-in-a-lifetime experiences from that trip (Spring Break 2013).  (Though I did post a video that includes many of the highlights:  USF ULIM Joint Course video )

My colleague from ULIM Larisa, presenting the Diploma

At our celebratory dinner on our last night in Chisinau, I was  humbled and honored to have received a medal from ULIM. I am profoundly grateful for my Fulbright Award, which brought me to Moldova -- and for the opportunity to work with wonderful colleagues at ULIM.  I am looking forward to many more years of collaboration!


And I was deeply honored to have been awarded this Diploma from the Government of the Republic of Moldova in appreciation for my fruitful collaboration with colleagues at ULIM

Lasting Impact of the Moldovan Study Abroad Course, a few examples from USF

I have been working with my colleague from ULIM, Larisa, on an article "Cultivating Global Citizenship in Higher Education: Civic Engagement and Service Learning in Joint Study Abroad Courses."

Since it has been 2 years since we taught the joint Study Abroad course (in which USF students traveled to Moldova to study with students from ULIM in Chisinau) we can see the long-term impact of the course on its participants.

USF Examples:

Jared returned to Chisina as intern in the US Embassy in Chisinau.  He worked in the Political/Economic section of the Embassy where he learned a great deal about the Moldovan government and US foreign policy.   Following his work in Moldova, Jared interned with the US Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is now working at the State Department in Washington, DC. He hopes to embark on a career in the foreign service.

On an excursion to Moscow.
At the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg on a "casual Friday"
(more pics from Moldova to come)
Lauren participated in the Moldova Study Abroad course as a Political Science graduate student. While in the MA program at USF Lauren was a Fulbrighter in Serbia for a year. Her MA Thesis -- "Key Ingredients in the Rule of Law Recipe: The Role of Judicial Independence in the Effective Establishment of the Rule of Law" -- included a chapter analyzing case studies of rule of law initiatives in Serbia and Moldova.  Lauren was able to incorporate her research and data gathered while in Moldova on Moldova's Justice Sector Reform in that chapter.  (I enjoyed continuing to work with Lauren as a member of her Thesis committee. She did an outstanding job!)  Lauren is currently attending law school at Notre Dame and plans a career in international law.

Lauren defending her MA thesis on rule of law initiatives in Serbia and Moldova

Marissa was an undergraduate at the time of the Joint Course. The course sparked her interests in Moldovan's European ambitions and how the frozen Transnistrian conflict is affecting prospects for EU accession. She is now an MA student finishing up her thesis "Stabilizing De Facto States in the Post-Soviet Space: The Role of the EU in Conflict Resolution in Moldova."  I am proud to say I am chairing her Thesis committee and that she is doing a stellar job as a Graduate Assistant.  She is applying to PhD programs in Political Science and hopes to teach European politics at the university level.

Marissa at the domestic violence shelter we visited in Chisianu