Category: Education

EU in Focus: An Insight into European Politics Day 1

Let’s start from the very beginning. Which, and I am definitely not complaining, would be incredibly early in the day. 4:45 am to be exact. You know they do flights around these hours so people end up missing them. You just know it.

The first batch of students, Antonio Di Meglio, Dylan Liang, Brian Wang, WanChen Zhao, Jordin Tafoya, and me, Oriana De Angelis, were the lucky winners of Lufthansa’s 6 am morning flight to Frankfurt. From there, we would catch a second plane to Brussels.

Yet, you know what was beautiful? The fact that despite it being 4:45 am, the time when Ana Dicu—the head coordinator—requested we meet up and ride together to the airport, everyone was up on that bus, radiating smiles and 110 percent ready to take on this journey. We had been waiting for this ever since that first EU in Focus session with the distinguished NYU Florence Professor, Nicolò Conti.

Fast forward to 2 pm when we arrive to the hotel—I slept through most of the flights, sorry kids. We drop off our bags, then instantly set out in search for food and do a little sightseeing around the city, waiting for the next set of students to reach Brussels.

A brief description of Brussels: aligning the streets are christmast-townish looking homes, the after-math of the city’s Art Noveau oriented design. The skies are cloudy, and the temperature slightly chilly, Brussel’s climatic characteristics.

It was 3 pm when the rest of the students arrived. Around an hour after they joined us, we were taken to the House of European History by our lovely coordinator. It was an astonishing museum, with tablets guiding you through their exhibits and narrating the history behind every piece on display.

NYU Florence student Syanne Rios gave her opinion on the museum, saying how “the way everything was displayed was very contemporary. It presented very interactive and engaging exhibitions.”

Isabel Giacomozzi, a NYU junior stuyding abroad in Florence as well, expressed a positive experience too, describing the museum as “wonderfully self-aware of all the flaws and triumphs underlying Europe’s history”.

The museum’s appeal was evident, large credit goes to the wide variety of artifacts that put emphasis on every historical event, giving Europe’s history a strong feel of realness, even to non-Europeans (most of the NYU student body).

Afterwards, we all walked back to the hotel, where we had dinner with another of NYU Florence’s star professors, Gian Luca Sgueo. Professor Sgueo provided students  with a brief overview of his work in the European Parliament Research service. Sgueo described his work as a policy analyst, claiming that the institution “takes requests from European Institutions to conduct research on certain policies, particularly European citizen’s rights, lobbying, and democracy”.

The professor answered several questions from the students as well, creating an immersive dialogue and providing us all with an ever more extensive understanding of the European Union’s values and tasks.

And this was just day one. Can’t wait to see what else Ana has in store for us!

(View this post on LPD’s new blog)

We The Students

«Istruitevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutta la nostra intelligenza. Agitatevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutto il nostro entusiasmo. Organizzatevi, perché avremo bisogno di tutta la nostra forza.»

“Instruct yourselves, because we will need all our intelligence. Stir yourselves up, because we will need all our enthusiasm. Organize yourselves, because we will need all our strength.”

(Antonio Gramsci, the first issue of L’Ordine Nuovo, May 1 1919)

On the evening of Wednesday, April 13th, over thirty NYU Florence students gathered around a banquet table in Villa Sassetti to participate in a discussion around the mobilization of identity and revolutionary activism. Among the students sat two great political activists and scholars: Angela Davis and Gina Dent.  “We the Students” created by Wendy Koranteng was the first student-organized La Pietra Dialogue of the semester.

Read more

#R2XNYU Guest Spotlight 7: Jason Gregory King

Jason King is currently an associate professor and academic director of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Read King’s bio from the Tisch department webpage:

“Jason King is a cultural critic & journalist, musician (performer, vocal arranger, producer, musical supervisor), manager, strategist & consultant to artists and labels, and live event producer. Founding full-time faculty member of the department; served as interim chair in 2002; and associate chair from 2003-2006, and Artistic Director from 2006-2012. He teaches classes on: record producing, music entrepreneurship, branding, rock music, hip-hop, r&b, soul, jazz, Asian American and African American culture.

Read more

Unity in Diversity Global Mayor’s Conference Featured speakers

By Palak Mistry, NYU Florence student

Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2004, is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. She was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field. Read more

Unity in Diversity Global Mayor’s Conference Featured Projects

By Palak Mistry, NYU Florence student

The Protection of Iraq’s Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage

The City of Florence is undertaking a new initiative, ‘High training for the protection and valorisation of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Iraq’, endorsed by the Foreign Affair Ministry, which consists of several activities among Baghdad and Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. This collaboration between Italy and Iraq aims to protect the cultural heritage of Iraq. There are two main components of the initiative; digitalization of the books contained the Iraqi National Library and Archives (INLA) of Baghdad in order to protect the national literary heritage, and the collaboration with the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization  to enhance the Citadel staff’s competence in managing and promoting an UNESCO website through training courses and study visits that will be held in Iraq and Italy. This peace-building strategy is undertaken by the City of Florence to foster the mediation process in conflict areas such as Iraq. Read more

Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems

The upcoming conference on Tobacco and Public Health will bring together top tobacco control experts from countries all over Europe. The conference is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a philanthropy organization which has granted hundreds of millions of dollars towards tobacco research and is credited as a major contributor to the awareness campaigns that have considerably shifted American social attitudes towards tobacco. Health policy work to reduce the harm of tobacco is fought on two fronts. The cheapest and most politically attractive option is prevention policies, which are policies aimed at stopping young people from using tobacco in the first place.  The second and more complex policy issue is harm reduction, which is aimed at finding the most cost effective way to reduce the health burden of people who are already using and are addicted to tobacco. As action continues to be taken to prevent new people from picking up a cigarette, the health community is still faced with the question of how to decrease the health burden of millions of tobacco users today whose smoking continues to have important social consequences. Read more

NYU Professor Richard Sennett on the Greek Crisis in Italy’s La Repubblica

NYU Professor of Sociology Richard Sennett was interviewed by Italian journalist Giulio Azzolini on the Greek crisis for an article published in Italy’s La Repubblica on July 5, 2015. Professor Sennett was in Italy to receive the 2015 Hemingway Prize in Lignano for his lifetime work. The Hemingway prize “recognises writers, thinkers, artists and journalists whose contemporary work captures the spirit and culture of Hemingway’s work as a novelist and journalist.

On the eve of the Greek referendum Professor Sennett supported the holding of the vote and added that, if he were Greek, he would vote No. “Better poor than subjects,” he added.  But there are also risks for Europe: “The European Union is meaningful only if it is a political project deeply rooted in a shared culture. The roots of that culture could only be Greek and the democratic idea. If Europe forgets it, it will fatally end up in the hands of bankers and bureaucrats”.

See the full article in Italian below. Learn more about the European Union in LPD’s Fall 2015 EU in Focus series.

Sennett's interview_La_Repubblica

Higgs Boson: A Breakdown

(The above video explains the function of the Higgs Boson)

By Blair Simmons, NYU ’16

The 2013 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert for the theorization of the Higgs Boson particle. So…what exactly is it (for us laymen)?

Ernest Rutherford discovered protons, neutrons and electrons (the most basic elements of the atom, which is the most basic element of matter) when he boldly shot radioactive materials through a sheet of gold in 1907. It has turned out that over the years, what makes up matter is a tad more complicated. There are tons of other particles in existence, even one that humorously goes by the name of ‘charmed’. So what is next? Twelve particles have now been discovered, are there more or is that it? There are atomic behaviors that still need to be accounted for. One such behavior is the existence of mass. Why does a bowling ball have more mass then a balloon?

The Higgs Boson particle is what gives other seemingly massless elementary particles their mass. On the surface, the way in which all the different particles “appear” is symmetrical. There is nothing that apparently distinguishes different masses. This symmetry is broken down when particles interact differently with the Higgs Boson. Some have more and less interaction, which determines the mass of a particle.

John Ellis (his video is linked here) explains the function of the Higgs Boson as a field of snow that covers the entire universe. Particles without mass are like skiers who skim across the snow without any resistance. A particle with mass is like a person with snowshoes, they walk slowly across the field of snow with effort. A particle with extremely high mass is a person with only boots on. They sink and have extreme difficulty moving about. When the Higgs Boson is put this way, it can be both a comical visual and more easily understood.

NYU’s very own Professor Nemethy, who was on CERN’s team that discovered the Higgs, will present a digestible presentation on what went into one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century. This dialogue takes place on March 26 at 6:00 pm at NYU Florence, Villa La Pietra.