2016 FDR Global Fellows Announced

We are absolutely delighted to name this year’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt Global Fellows:

jessJessica Min ’18 of Quincy House and Melbourne, Australia will be traveling to Paris to undertake an internship with the United Nations Environment Program, examining sustainable consumption and production patterns in China and India. Drawing upon her interest in politics in the Asia-Pacific, she will be working on developing regional EU-Asia policy to promote international trade. She will also help set up a conference for trade negotiations between EU countries and China in August, in which she will assist in welcoming a Chinese delegation in Europe.

A sophomore concentrating in economics, Jessica is a news writer for the Harvard Crimson on gender and sexuality issues on campus, the food/in-kind director of the largest undergraduate-run shelter, Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and a unit test grader for Professor Greg Mankiw’s “Ec 10: Introduction to Economics” course. She also serves on the student advisory board of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, providing advice on increasing student interest in China. As someone who hopes to pursue a career in international development, Jess is passionate about examining the nexus of poverty, climate change and migration to develop practical solutions to improve living standards in the Asia-Pacific. Given the historical agreement between US and China to jointly reduce carbon emissions, Jess is both inspired and interested in finding collaborative approaches to minimize global warming’s impact on livelihoods.

In addition to being an FDR Global Fellow, Jess has been named the 2016 Lillian Goldman Scholar.

 

headshot2Farhan Javed ’18 of Currier House and Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be traveling to Dilijan, Armenia this summer to intern at the Central Bank of Armenia to investigate methods of accelerating economic privatization as Armenia moves away from its Soviet centralized-planning past to a free market. During his 9-week program, Farhan will utilize statistical methods to research and propose methods of liberalization that will be aimed at reforming the nation’s current economic system to create an environment conducive to prosperity for the masses that continue to live in stagnation.

A sophomore concentrating in Economics, Farhan is passionate about macroeconomics, specifically its application to foster growth in developing countries. Immigrating to the United States at a young age and growing up as a Pakistani-American, Farhan has felt that he has feet planted in different parts of the world. This background has spurred his curiosity of understanding why there is such global disparity in wealth. Furthermore, Farhan is fascinated by history and culture. He believes that working in an environment such as Armenia, a place that may seem obscure to many, will deepen his understanding of pluralism. Farhan is currently active in the Harvard Pakistan Student Association, writes global affair analysis pieces for the Harvard International Review, works as a Business Associate in the Harvard Crimson, and serves on the board of the Veritas Financial Group. He plans to work in either consulting or finance after graduation and later transition to policy and international affairs.

ID_Photo__1Juliet Kim ’18 of Quincy House and the Bronx, New York, will be traveling to Trento, Italy this summer to participate in the Harvard Summer School program in Mind, Brain, and Behavior. During this eight-week program, she will take two courses on different methods used to study the minds and brains of humans and of other animals, and how the discovery of common structures, mechanisms, and/or behavior between the two can provide a window into the evolutionary pathway that has made us who we are today.

A sophomore concentrating in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, with a potential secondary in Mind, Brain, and Behavior, Juliet is very much interested in learning about the development of human consciousness, and in learning about how this is similar to/ differs from the consciousness of other species. Outside of classes, Juliet is a co-director of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies, a co-Vice President of Harvard Team HBV (Hepatitis B Virus), a Peer Advising Fellow, and a tutor with the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment after school program. As a pre-medical student from a city with one of the nation’s highest rates of income inequality, she is passionate about supporting the underprivileged, and hopes to work in public health in addition to becoming a doctor.

The Foundation in particular wishes to thank the three anonymous donors who made this year’s award possible. Without them, we would not have been able to send any of these wonderful candidates, as our scholarship fund is empty.  If you, or someone you know, wishes to to aid this laudable program, please contact michael.weishan@fdrfoundation.org  For general information about the Global Fellowships click HERE. Award Criteria are to be found HERE.

The Lampoon As Social History

Not to give our neighbors in the castle too much credit, but there is some interesting history to be learned from period pages of the Harvard Lampoon, especially when it comes to determining the mores of FDR’s Harvard. Take the image below, for example,  one that is particularly relevant for today as it mirrors a problem soon to be faced by the new Smith Center that the University is building in Holyoke Center. The Harvard Union was the first attempt to establish a place where alumni and students could co-mingle, and it was a hugely expensive flop, for the very reason depicted below: it, like all of Cambridge, was dry. The only liquor available was at private clubs, which is one of the main reasons that final clubs were (and are) popular today: they served booze.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 11.39.54 AM

Click on this and any of the other images to enlarge.

The next image took me a while to figure out. The key is that the proctor from the floor below is the same character entering the door of the piano-playing student in the first panel. He’s playing, piano dolce, “Babbie Waltzes.” (Hear the tune HERE on a wax-cylinder recording.)  Also note the time. Apparently 10PM was the cut-off for loud noise in individual suites, so to take revenge on the proctor for reprimanding him him the night before, the next day “Sporter” arranges for a little concert with his friends. The music starts with “Honey, Don’t Get Me Wrong” a forgotten ragtime tune of the day, and ends with “Up the Street,” a march still played by the University Band. What caught my eye was the gas lamp on the proctor’s desk. These lamps were attached by rubber “extension tubes” to either a wall or ceiling gas outlet. Frankly, it’s amazing that the whole place didn’t burn down — or explode — many times over. While electricity was available in certain deluxe suites like FDR’s, electrical outlets wouldn’t be invented for several more years.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 11.47.18 AM copyWhat’s interesting about the next panel is not the joke —it’s a play on grub (food) and grub (caterpillar) — but rather something that is almost forgotten today. Those lines above the Square aren’t meant to indicate clouds, they are telegraph, telephone and electrical lines. In 1900, competing companies ran their own wire to each client, so a single large building might have hundreds of wires running to it from all directions. This tangle persisted until the 1930s, when individual concerns were absorbed into larger entities and regulation of utilities became the norm.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 11.51.43 AM copyHere’s a photographic view, looking the other way, that better reveals this crazy-maze of wires. That’s John the Orangeman on the cart, btw, heading for a Harvard rally. (If you don’t know about John, by all means click the previous link as he is critical to the FDR Suite story.)

parade

The panel below explains the grub joke: it shows the interior of Memorial Hall, where most of the undergraduates ate. Notice the gawking guests in the balcony, which was open to the public and used as a viewing gallery by the locals — a perfect spot  for a chaperoned young lady to get an overview of prospective suitors to invite to her next “at home” day.

memhallThis last is one of my favorites, not just because of the great drawing style of S. A. Weldon, a classmate of FDR’s, but rather as it shows just how luxurious life in the Gold Coast actually was. No smelly gas lamps here. There is an electric desk lamp (which had to be plugged into the overhead fixture each time it was turned on, which meant gas or kerosene was still the norm) as well an assortment of comfortable furniture, walls and shelves chock-a-block with personal mementos, even velvet portieres on the door. And of course our boy under the desk has just come up from a dip in Claverly’s “tank,” the first of what would be a succession of ever larger private swimming baths on the Gold Coast. Considering how little we knew about this period in Harvard’s history when we started, it’s always reassuring when pictures like this come along that show many of the very same objects in the FDR Suite today — a gratifying indication that our representation of Gilded Age life at Harvard is reasonably on track.

Claverly Pool copy

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Telling Our Story: 8th Annual FDR Memorial Lecture

Telling our storyOn March 12 1932, America was in crisis: banks closed, industries shut down, many millions thrown out of work. Desperate bands roamed the countryside in search of food and shelter. Worse still, in large sections of the country the weather had changed violently, covering once productive fields and towns with vast quantities of dust that choked out every living thing. People were frightened. It seemed that the very edifice of government was beginning to crumble. But one man was not afraid. That evening, in a calm and steady voice, he sat down to speak to the American people, directly: “I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States…,” he began. “I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be.”

With that simple start, Franklin Delano Roosevelt began to heal a wounded nation. He accomplished this in no small part through the use of positive narrative — ‘storytelling’ — the hallmark of successful presidents from Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt. Throughout his 40-odd Fireside Chats, his over 900 press conferences and his countless speeches, again and again Roosevelt used stories to tap into humankind’s primeval need to understand issues not only in intellectual terms, but on an emotional level as well — a method that drew listeners into the narrative and made them active participants in the outcome of their own story. Color, creed or political stripe didn’t matter, insisted Roosevelt at every opportunity. We were all simply in this together. Later, with the arrival of war, FDR further honed this message. America was not simply fighting the Axis, he reminded us, Americans were fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear — throughout the world, for everyone.

Seventy years later, we in America have for the most part abandoned or corrupted the use of positive narrative in US domestic politics, choosing instead to bury opposition under a deluge of competing noise, slice political discourse with divisive accusations, and worst of all use demagoguery to cloud vital issues that affect us all.

Internationally, the situation is even more bleak. Lacking strong, shared convictions about what America is or represents, we’ve allowed others to hijack our national narrative, twisting and contorting it to their own purposes, often to the danger and detriment of the United States and its allies.

On Saturday, November 14th, The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation will bring together a unique confluence of diplomats, politicians, historians, social scientists and most important of all — professional story-tellers — to examine this problem. Beginning with a study of FDR’s use of narrative, we’ll explore the psychological power of story-telling on the human mind, and propose multi-disciplinary ways to restore and invigorate the narrative of the United States at home and abroad.

The conference will include 8th Annual Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Lecture at 4PM
“‘What is Our Story, Anyway?’ American Narratives in the 21st Century” by Ambassador David Huebner, with a reception to follow.

For tickets and more information, click HERE