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Archive for the ‘Annual Conference’ Category

Photo by Funky Tee, under Creative Commons public license

By Clare O’Brien

When you arrive in Boston, you will be amazed at the variety of neighborhoods that exist within a relatively small area. While these neighborhoods flow from one to the next, sometimes separated only by a stop on the “T” (Boston’s subway system), each section of the city has its own character and ambiance. This diversity of locales creates a wonderful opportunity to go back in time as you see historical sites, take in the local cultures, and taste foods from around the world. I challenge you to visit as many of these neighborhoods as possible during your free time in Boston.

South Boston/Seaport District
This is not just the home of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. One of the oldest neighborhoods in the area, this part of Boston is well-known for the working class Irish who still live there today. There are now also Lithuanian and Polish communities found here. Several historical sites can be visited in this neighborhood including Fort Point, Dorchester Heights, and Fort Independence on Castle Island.

Downtown
Historical landmarks are tucked in-between modern architecture in this central part of the city. Many Bostonians can be found here as civic employees at Government Center or young professionals working in the Financial District, both subdivisions of this neighborhood. They mingle with the tourists who stop at Faneuil Hall to watch the street performers or get a quick bite at Quincy Market. The Theater District is also located here if you are arriving early and are hoping to see a show, the ballet, or even an opera.

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By Clare O’Brien

As I mentioned in my last blog post, there are an abundance of wonderful restaurants in Boston. Several of these restaurants have well-known chefs and are frequently featured on TV and in “foodie” magazines. I know some of you may not have much free time to do the tourist thing and travel around the city, but if you make a point to get out for a meal, many of these locations will allow you to see some of the best parts of Boston.

I asked my colleagues from the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) to join in and share some of their favorite eateries. Here are a few of their suggestions:

Photo by 6SN7, under Creative Commons public license

LAT Conference Information and Hospitality Co-Chair Adrienne Nussbaum says her favorite Thai restaurant is the Brown Sugar Café, located a short T ride from the Back Bay. Adrienne recommends the Rama Garden, a specialty dish where you can select your favorite meat or veggies, which are steamed and covered in a lovely peanut sauce. Adrienne also highlights Aquitaine, a favorite French restaurant in the South End, or Tapeo on Newbury Street, right in the Back Bay for fantastic tapas.

LAT Special Events Co-Chair Laurien Romito loves Lineage in Coolidge Corner, a quaint neighborhood in Brookline, down the street from the birthplace of John F. Kennedy. She enjoys the $1 oysters they serve every day from 5:00-7:00 p.m. This farm-to-table restaurant offers modern American cuisine and is easily accessible by public transportation.

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By Clare O’Brien

My role for the next two weeks is to whet your appetite as you start to plan your time in Boston for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. I can’t think of a better way to do this than to introduce you to some of the many restaurant options in Boston over the next two blog entries. Get ready, foodies, the possibilities are endless!

In order to get a handle on the variety of cuisines and price ranges, I found it easiest to highlight restaurants according to geographic areas, starting of course with the Seaport neighborhood close to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. For those of you without much time to explore, there are at least a dozen restaurants within walking distance.

Photo by Eric Chan, under Creative Commons public license

Legal Harborside is a three-story seafood eatery offering a casual, family-friendly first-floor restaurant (moderately priced entrees) and a second-floor high-end dining option with fresh catch of the day entrées and floor-to-ceiling views of the Boston Harbor. If you would just like to have a snack or a drink, check out the third-floor rooftop lounge and bar.

Tamo Bistro and Bar is a great place to meet up with friends and share a few small plates because one would not want to miss out on all that is listed on their menu, from sushi to swordfish skewers. Pizza and a tasty variety of sandwiches are also available to patrons.

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Clare O'BrienBy Clare O’Brien

We all know how easy it is to fill one’s schedule with back-to-back meetings, sessions, and events during the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo. But please don’t forget to leave time to explore the beautiful city of Boston during your stay in New England.

The list of things to do in Boston can be overwhelming, so I thought I would try to choose my top 10 favorite activities to share with you in my blog this week. If you can make this trip a family vacation, you will not be disappointed. All the things on my list are perfect for people of all ages!

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Clare O'BrienBy Simon Adams

It’s not every former child soldier who has a memoir on the New York Times bestseller list. Or has the Washington Post’s reviewer declare that, “everyone in the world should read this book.” Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone is a phenomenon, selling 1.5 million copies and even being offered over the counter at Starbucks alongside your morning frappuccino.

A Long Way Gone tells the story of the day the civil war in Sierra Leone came to Beah’s home town. Displaced and separated from his family, he wanders from village to village with his boyhood friends trying to stay ahead of the rebels who are laying waste to everything in their path. Beah eventually becomes a child soldier and, by his own admission, partakes of acts of bloodthirsty revenge against Revolutionary United Front rebels and their supporters. He is then rescued by UNICEF who help him rehabilitate himself. Finally, through luck, talent, and sheer determination, he makes his way to a new life, and high school, in New York in 1998.

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Clare O'BrienBy Clare O’Brien

Greetings from Boston, a city renowned for being the epicenter of American history and a preeminent higher education location where tens of thousands of international students choose to study. I look forward to sharing fun facts, must-sees, and must-eats in and around this vibrant and multifaceted city in the coming months as you prepare for your stay in Boston for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo.

Conference Location: Downtown Boston

You are certain to fall in love with Boston, whether you are a sports fanatic; enjoy art and theater; or just want the opportunity to walk and admire the history, beautiful architecture, and greenery.

The conference will take place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, located close to the waterfront and the famous Boston Harbor. You will find amazing restaurants, museums, and historical landmarks just a short walk from the convention center.

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By William R. Holmes

It is with great pleasure that I write about Malcolm Gladwell who will be our Opening Plenary speaker at the 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in Boston. A renowned journalist, author, speaker, and a recipient of the Order of Canada, Mr. Gladwell’s five books have each made the New York Times best sellers list.

What intrigues me most about Mr. Gladwell’s books is that they seem to speak so clearly to my own experiences, while causing me to reconsider the circumstances surrounding those experiences. While I have never met Mr. Gladwell, I feel a certain affinity with his perspectives. Perhaps it is because we are of a similar age and both grew up in the same region of Southern Ontario in Canada. We also share the fact that both of our fathers were professors at the University of Waterloo.

After my father gave me a copy of Mr. Gladwell’s second book, Blink, which I literally read in one sitting, I immediately rushed out to get a copy of The Tipping Point. Since then I have read each of Mr. Gladwell’s books as soon as they hit the bookshelves. What makes his writing so compelling is that he develops hypotheses to explain what appears at first to be everyday social and economic occurrences, but in reality are fascinating behavioral phenomena.

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By Elaine Meyer-Lee

I am delighted that NAFSA will feature Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman as the Closing Plenary speaker at the 2015 Annual Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, this May. Like many of us, I was inspired in 2011 when I first learned of Karman’s role in Yemen’s revolution and her longer history in nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work.

In 2012, I became more personally connected to the struggle for human rights in the Middle East and North Africa. That year, Saint Mary’s College began hosting an annual U.S. State Department-funded Global Women’s Leadership Institute that included young women leaders from Arab countries in transition like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, and Jordan.

These spirited and determined women taught my students, my colleagues, and me much about their frustrations, hopes, and plans, as we in-turn have also shared women’s progress and challenges in the U.S. with them. As part of the Institute, the participants create action plans to implement when they return home. For example, the Tunisian delegation in 2013 established a successful women’s mentoring program to counter the threat to women’s freedoms by extremist groups. Recently, the Jordanian delegation documented the serious problem of sexual harassment on public transportation, and created a viable business plan for a network of female cab drivers as one solution.

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By Jesse Lutabingwa

I am extremely pleased that Ishmael Beah, a Sierra Leonean author and human rights activist, will be one of the plenary speakers at the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo in Boston. As a young boy, Beah survived a rebel attack during a civil war that killed his parents and two brothers. At the age of 13, he became a child soldier for the government army and fought for more than two years before being rescued by UNICEF.

The plight of children affected by these senseless wars was brought home to me in Tanzania. In 1996, I met a young Rwandan Tutsi refugee who escaped a massacre there in 1994. This boy, who at the time seemed to be between 13 and 14 years old, told a story of how he managed to survive by pretending to be dead by laying amidst bloodied dead family members and neighbors. This boy was psychologically and emotionally traumatized by what he had lived through and was experiencing nightmares at the time. As I listened to his story, I remember thinking to myself, how can this child be rehabilitated so that he can live a normal productive life without fear or the urge to take revenge. It was only later in my adult life that I came to realize that my childhood experience was different than that of many other children, like Beah, in other parts of the world.

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By Kavita Pandit

Recently, NAFSA announced that Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of the Malala Fund as a plenary speaker at the 2015 NAFSA Annual Conference in Boston. Ms. Shahid has been an outspoken advocate for the empowerment of girls through increased access to education ever since she was a young woman growing up in Pakistan.

The importance of the cause that Ms. Shahid is championing may seem self-evident to most of us living in the West. The realities of the lives of young girls in rural and impoverished regions of the world can be quite abstract – even to those like me who was born and raised in India but in an upper middle class, urban household. It was only because of an experience that I had many decades ago when I was in my early 20s that I realized, in an emotionally charged way, what the lives of many girls in these settings can be like.

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