The MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, the Department of International Studies, the Department of Performance Studies, and the Houston Russian Cultural Center hosted our annual Russian Film Festival. We showed “Gorbachev. Heaven” on February 2nd in Rudder Forum. Vitaly Mansky, the film’s director, was present for a Q&A session after the screening of the film. Additionally, the event was sponsored by MaroonBase, and attendees could be entered into a monthly drawing for $500. More information on MaroonBase and other events can be found here.
On February 4th, MSC L.T. Jordan partnered with the Carlos H. Cantu Foundation and MSC CAMAC to present a virtual screening of the documentary film, American Exile, that will be followed by a Q&A session with the film’s producer, John J. Valadez. The film explores the underreported issue of the U.S. government’s deportation of American veterans. Through the story of Valente and Manuel Valenzuela, brothers and Vietnam War veterans, American Exile seeks to surface one of the many aspects of the U.S. government’s practice of detaining and deporting illegal immigrants.
We hosted a social media campaign through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram designed to educate viewers about the environmentalism and how they can become involved in the Bryan-College Station community. We posted about global environmental facts and how they apply to our lives. A Jordan committee member will also be involved in a social media “takeover” to provide a personal account of the day’s theme. Followers will be able to complete a daily challenge to compete for an environmentally themed prized. This event is intended to raise awareness about our Fall 2021 program: The Intersection of the Global and the Local in Environmental Grassroots Activism.
As a part of our weeklong program The Intersection of the Local and the Global in Environmental Grassroots Activism, we hosted a screening of the documentary Chasing Coral, a film that explores the disappearance of coral reefs around the world. After the screening, there was a Q&A with the chief scientific advisor for the film, Dr. James Porter, as well as with two Aggies who research coral reefs, Dr. Brendan Roark and graduate student Alyssa Schultz.
The Intersection of the Global and the Local in Environmental Grassroots Activism
To conclude our program, we held an Environmental Grassroots Activism Panel for students to hear from international environmental grassroots activists Blake Dyason, Nanticha (Lynn) Ocharoenchai, and Nalleli Hidalgo from T.E.J.A.S., with moderator and Texas A&M professor Dr. Leslie Ruyle, about their incredible and inspiring experiences as advocates for environmental justice. Our panelists discussed their experiences from all across the world, whether their home is as close as Houston, TX or as far as South Africa and Thailand.
Venezuela: Fighting Oppression in a Starving Nation
On Tuesday, March 3rdthe MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, in partnership with the Venezuelan Student Association, hosted Carlos Alfredo Vecchio to speak at Texas A&M on the humanitarian and political crisis that is happening in Venezuela. The discussion was be moderated by Bush School of Government and Public Service professor Dr. Mathias Poertner. Over 622 students attended event, and many of them noted the impact the personal impact the program had. The Ambassador and his team were able to interact with Venezuelan students for a significant amount of time before and after the event. This created meaningful connections and significantly enriched everyone involved. This program marks the biggest event the Venezuelan Ambassador has ever been a part of in the United States.
During the month of March, the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute launched an innovative online program called “Coffee Breaks.” Every week, we posted information on different aspects of coffee including: Coffee Bean Basics, Coffee Around the World, Specialty Coffee Flavor, Biodiversity and Climate Change, and Staying Involved. We hosted our program on our social media sites: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Many Aggies, One World Podcast
In the Fall of 2020, we launched Many Aggies, One World, a bi-weekly podcast discussing international experiences shared across the Aggie family. We shared inspiring and uplifting stories with the hope to inspire others to think globally and to wander beyond the scope of their imaginations. Our podcast started with the revolutionary Professor Shayla Rivera as she gave our listeners so much joy and laughter. Professor Rivera said, “We must search and find laughter each and every day” as she highlighted the importance of happiness and joy. We continued with a student’s story, Faris Zaibaq. Faris’s storytelling abilities and perspective on the middle east allowed us to enjoy a unique and inspiring episode. Dakota Plesa taught us that traveling does not have to be fancy or expensive while he reflected on his extensive time traveling in college. Dakota, who has been to over 40 countries, shared with us how different cultures can shape someone’s mindset and career and the independence he found abroad. Finally, Dr. Gary Wingenbach showed us that a kid raised on a farm in the Midwest can become an international traveler and study abroad leader.
The MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness hosted a musical performance and conversation in Rudder Theatre on Friday, March 1 at 6:00pm for our previous program “Soul of an Island: A Response to Hurricane Maria”. The audience got to hear firsthand how one Puerto Rican community became a beacon of hope in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Community leaders Christine Nieves and Luis Rodriguez shared their stories and musical talents to demonstrate how community, creativity, and the arts help us to persevere even in the hardest of times.
Fellows Lecture Series
This year, we continued our annual Fellows Lecture Series where our Jordan Fellows from the previous year give a presentation on their research. This years presenters were Sarah Brinkley, Manuel Flores, Taryn Johnson, Simon Kiacz, and Mackenzie Pryor.
TREEES: Russian and Eurasian Studies in Texas Today
On Saturday September 28th, 2019, the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute was proud to sponsor the Texas Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (TREEES) society as they conducted their academic conference, Russian and Eurasian Studies in Texas Today. Throughout the day, they conducted four panels full of subject matter experts from all over the United States. The panels included topics such as: Pedagogy, Slavic Images of Self, Eurasian Studies, and Shestidesiatniki (Russia’s Generation of the 1960’s) This conference includes two wonderful keynote speakers, James Olson and Alexander Genis.
The MSC L.T. Jordan Institute, MSC OPAS, and the International Student Association, along with support from Scowcroft Institute, LAUNCH, and Women’s and Gender Studies, worked together to bring the play SEVEN to campus. L.A. Theatre Works performed SEVEN, an enthralling documentary play chronicling the stories of seven remarkable women on Tuesday, October 22nd in Rudder Theatre. SEVEN was created to share the compelling stories of women who brought lasting change to their communities in Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, and Cambodia despite life-threatening adversity.
Russian Film Festival: Putin’s Witnesses
On Wednesday, November 6th, MSC L.T. Jordan partnered with the Russian Foreign Language Program in the Department of International Studies, and the Houston Russian Cultural Center to host the annual Russian Film Festival. This year, the film was Putin’s Witnesses, a documentary about Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. Putin’s Witnesses examines the Russian political machine that allowed Vladimir Putin to rise to power, complete with interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Putin himself. The film highlights the impact that Putin’s rule has on the Russian people and government, capturing a political and cultural moment in history.
On March 27th, 2018, the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, in partnership with MSC OPAS, Muslim Student Association, and International Student Association, held an outstanding program- Made in America: An International Experience. The program featured comedy sets by popular comedians Hasan Minhaj, Azhar Usman, and Mo Amer. Following the sets, the comedians participated in a Q&A session, and interacted with the audience. Minhaj stated, “The audience was really receptive, I think they had a really good time.” Check out more about the program in this article by The Battalion.
Fellows Lecture Series: Joel Taylor
Joel Taylor is a Master’s candidate at the Bush School. Joel and his team traveled to 9 different districts in Uganda in December 2017 to research on existing refrigeration and freezing practices for protecting and preserving perishable agricultural and pharmaceutical products. Through his experience abroad, Joel gained a better understanding of food logistics in East Africa as it relates to temperature controlled supply chains. Joel presented his research as a part of the MSC L.T. Jordan Fellows Lecture Series.
Fellows Lecture Series: Leigh Ellyn Preston
Leigh Ellyn Preston is a DrPH candidate in Epidemiology and Environmental Science at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Leigh traveled to Quito, Ecuador to research the environmental health infrastructure issues and zoonotic exposures that potentially influence diarrheal disease in urban neighborhoods versus rural neighborhoods. While abroad, Leigh also had a goal to identify barrios on the islands of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz with higher incidence rates of parasitic infections. Leigh presented her research as a part of the MSC L.T. Jordan Fellows Lecture Series.
Fellows Lecture Series: Rachel Adams
Rachel Adams is a PhD candidate in the Ecosystem Science and Management department. Her research focuses on deep rooting tropical trees in the seasonally dry forests of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Rachel used this unique opportunity to directly observe and sample tree roots, which are otherwise difficult to study. With genetics tools and stable isotopes, Rachel determined which species can grow deep roots into the caves and how their access to groundwater impacts above ground forest composition and productivity. This interdisciplinary work seeks to understand the functions and benefits of deep rooting in this intriguing ecosystem as well as highlight the inherent connections between the surface and subterranean worlds. Rachel presented her research as a part of the MSC L.T. Jordan Fellows Lecture Series.
Fellows Lecture Series: Brianna Myre
Brie Myre is a PhD candidate in Biology studying sea turtle feeding physiology during reproduction. Her goal is to use physiology as a tool for conservation, as hormones can inform us about the cryptic behavior of these mysterious creatures. The central focus of Brie’s work is to advise the development of more effective conservation plans to aid Olive Ridley sea turtles in having more and healthier offspring. Brianna presented her research as a part of the MSC L.T. Jordan Fellows Lecture Series.
Bee the Change
MSC L.T. Jordan and College Station’s very own Prime Bee Farm discussed how you can promote healthy bee populations locally and how those changes impact the world. The program was followed by a MSC Visual Arts Committee reception with bee artist Nancy Macko in the Reynolds Gallery.
Russian Film Festival
On October 24th, MSC L.T. Jordan showed the documentary Pussy Riot: The Movement, a film that follows the members of the band from their performances to their lives in prison and back again. The producer and writer Carole Keeney Harrington was present for a Q&A session after the screening.
Every year, the MSC L.T. Jordan Fellows publicly present their internationally conducted research, highlighting their personal experiences while being immersed in a foreign culture.
With partial funding provided by the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, Chris Traveled to Calnali, Mexico during Summer 2017 to interview locals in the area about their knowledge of environmental impacts in the river systems, the importance the river health has on them, and their description of the male swordtail fish, Xiphophorus. Additionally Chris will conduct behavioral field trials on female preference for hybrid males, an important aspect of the environmental impacts.
Understanding Human Diplomacy
With partial funding provided by the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute of International Awareness, Brianna traveled to Costa Rica to research the reproductive physiology of the olive ridley sea turtles over a nesting season while also developing non-invasive ultrasound and assay-based tools to determine female health, feeding status and reproductive state.
With partial funding provided by the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, Annah traveled to Tunisia to research the ecological factors driving the distribution of Ixodes ricinus, the tick vector that transmit Borrelia burgdoferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease in Europe and Northern Africa.
Russian Film Screening: Who is Mr. Putin?
With partial funding provided by the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, Camille Goblet traveled to the Chaco region of Paraguay on July 2- July 16, 2017, to conduct physical exams and collect samples for various health parameters on Chacoan and white-lipped peccaries, an endangered species native to the region.
In the fall of 2016 we played Save My Speech Forever, a film about 20th Century Russian poet Osip Madelshtam. The film’s Director of Photography was present to discuss the movie and the message it carried. Over 200 people attended the event and we thank the Department of International Studies, Film Studies, and the Houston Russian Cultural Center for their help.
41st Annual Conference, American Sociological Association
For it’s 41st annual conference, the ASA Political Economy of the World-System in conjunction with the Sociology Department presents GLOBAL MIGRATION. Keynote speakers will be James Fenelon, Walden Bello, Immanuel Wallerstein and Rogelio Saenz. The topics to be tackled are as such: Being a Student in the Age of Trump,”Immigration as Racial Dominance since 1492″ (James Fenelon), “Migration from a World-Systems Perspective” (Immanuel Wallerstein) and topics related to Migration. Please click on this link to view the flyer for this important event.
This is an orchestra about a young gay student, Matthew Shepard. In October of 1998, he was kidnapped, severely beaten and tied to a fence. Matthew was found by a fellow student who had at first thought him to be a scarecrow. He died five days later. This Orchestra is in remembrance of irreprehensible atrocity that took place. For the 20th anniversary, Craig Hella Johnson created his first concert-length work. Considering conspirare.
The performance was at the Rudder Theatre on January 29th and 30th, 2017 at7:30 pm. Composed and conducted by Craig Hella Johnson. The performance is inspired by the legacy of Matthew Shepard and will feature a post discussion panel about the music and the LGBTQ experience at Texas A&M University. Tickets were purchased at the MSC Box Office.