Archive: 15 Luglio, 2013

• Saving Russian Academy of Science

Moscow, 4, July, 2013
 
Dear colleagues,
 
The Russian Government is currently trying to push through the Parliament (Douma), well known for its docility, a reform draft concerning the Russian Academy of  Sciences, which involves the transfer of all assets of the Academy along with its institutions to the hands of a special group of so-called “efficient managers”. No serious and elaborated program of reform is proposed, except for some drastic  measures with unpredictable consequences. Among them, the abolition of different regional branches of the present Academy, as well as of various other institutions (the Academy of Education etc.), and the creation of a new Russian Academy, which will be a sort of club for a few outstanding scientists endowed with annuities for life. What will happen to the numerous academic institutions and their fellows is not clearly articulated in the project.
 
The main purpose of this “reform” is  evident from its priorities: to deprive  the Russian Academy of Sciences of its independent status and to seize its property, which will allow  bureaucrats to dictate to scientists what they should do.
The project appeared all of a sudden on June 28th, , at the onset of summer holidays, and came as  a surprise even for the newly elected president of the Academy of Sciences, not to mention the other fellow members. It was prepared in secret, away from the scientific community, under flagrant violation of ethical standards and mandatory procedure, involving discussion and peer review (Government Decree N 159 of 22 February 2012 “On Approval of the Rules of the public discussion of draft federal constitutional laws and federal laws”). The first reading took place on July the 4th, the second one, contrary to the procedure according to which for the matters of such importance a period of 60 days is provided for introducing amendments, will take place on Friday 5th July. So, only 2 days for “discussion” no time for amendments. And this raw and adventurist project will pass the main steps of ratification! Could one imagine something like this in any democratic country!
While declaring to focus on improving the efficiency of scientific research, the project does not contain any constructive ideas that would promote science. Adoption of the law will strike a blow to the country’s science, the backbone of which the Academy has been and continues to be. Many scholars are scandalized by a humiliating attempt to persuade members of the Academy to support the “reform” by promises of status and cash handouts.
 
The 300-year history of the Russian Academy of Sciences – is not an empty phrase. It is the only social institution that for centuries embodied the unity of Russian history, culture and national identity. The history of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a unique example of a centuries-old succession – it should not be interrupted by a subjective hasty decision.
 
Our government’s attempt to create an efficient management of the Defence Ministry’s property culminated in corruption and collapse. Projects to create an oasis of 21st century  science in “Skolkovo”  brought  nothing but huge costs. All this inspires serious concerns about the future of science in Russia. We do believe that our colleagues all over the world must know what is going on in “democratic” Russia and have a right to express their opinion thereon.

 
Prof. Dr. Sergei Nikolsky
Deputy Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

• Assistant Professor, Human Geography (Hawaii)

Assistant Professor, Human Geography with specialization in geopolitics or environmental governance
 
Department of Geography, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

position #084917

9-month appointment, permanent, general funds, full time, tenure track

to begin August 1, 2014, subject to position clearance and availability of funds.
 
Duties: Teach undergraduate and graduate courses; advise undergraduate and graduate students; conduct an active research program; publish research results; seek extramural funding; engage departmental, university, and professional activities.

Minimum qualifications: Ph.D. in Geography or allied field from an accredited college, university or foreign equivalent, record of scholarly achievement as evidenced by teaching, publications, and research.

Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience.
 

To apply: Upload all application materials to http://surveys.socialsciences.hawaii.edu/ework/. Send curriculum vitae, cover letter stating how you satisfy the minimum qualifications, statement summarizing your teaching and research interests, and evidence of teaching effectiveness. The names and contact information for three references should be submitted.
 
Inquiries: Dr. Krisna Suryanata, (808) 956-7384, email: krisnawa@hawaii.edu. Review of applications will begin on October 1, 2013, and will continue until the position is filled. Applications received by that date will be given priority. EEO/AA Employer.
 
Department and University Background: The Department of Geography celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2012 and currently has fifteen faculty members with expertise across the breadth of the discipline. We offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental geography, human geography, and geographic technologies. Our students regularly win research grants and awards and over 300 graduates have pursued careers in academia, government service, NGOs, and in the private sector. Department website: http://www.geography.hawaii.edu/
 
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is the only research intensive (R-1) university in Hawai‘i and one of only a handful of land grant, sea grant, and space grant universities in the United States. The university has an extensive library collection, including a world class Asia Collection. The East-West Center, which is adjacent to campus, provides many opportunities for funding and collaboration with other scholars from the Asia-Pacific region. UH is located in the lush Mānoa Valley of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Honolulu is a cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse city of approximately 800,000 with all the amenities of a large American city.

• Prof. Newman’s Award

Prof. David Newman to receive

Award from the Queen

 

Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday that Prof. David Newman is among the more than 1,000 people being presented an award by the Queen as part of her Birthday Honours list.
 

 
Newman will receive an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his promotion of the academic partnership between Britain and Israel. He has been a leading advocate of the academic partnership between the countries, and a key campaigner against the British academic boycott of Israel.
 
The awards presented by the Officer of the Order of the British Empire are given for a significant achievement or service in a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.
 
Newman grew up in the UK and studied at the Universities of London and Durham. He has lived in Israel since 1982 and been at BGU since 1987. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, a faculty encompassing 21 academic departments, 250 tenured faculty members and almost 5000 students. Newman founded the Department of Politics and Government in 1997, and the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society in 2002. He has been Dean since 2010 and has just been elected for a second three year term.

Newman works in the field of political geography and is currently the senior editor of the International Journal of Geopolitics. He has written extensively on territorial issues relating to conflicts, with a focus on Israel-Palestine. In recent years he has researched and published widely on the role of borders in the contemporary world. He is currently part of a 19 university European consortium (funded by the EU) entitled EUROBORDERSCAPES. In recent years he has represented Israel’s universities against the boycott attempts in Europe and the UK. In addition to his academic work, Newman writes a weekly political column in the Jerusalem Post.
 
Responding to announcement of his award, Newman, “I am very honoured to receive this award. Promoting scientific cooperation between Israel and the UK is of utmost importance, proving that science reaches beyond the borders of conflict.  Scientific cooperation benefits humankind as a whole and does not differentiate between peoples because of their ethnic, national or religious backgrounds. Science must never be allowed to become captive to the political attempts to boycott or exclude. I am particularly pleased that the award has been given to someone who promotes scientific cooperation in the Humanities and Social Sciences, as this is an important component of scientific and philosophical thought, complementing the many cooperative projects which exist between the two countries in the fields of life sciences and medicine.”
 
Commenting on the award, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said, “Prof. Newman has been an important and powerful voice for academic links between Britain and Israel, at a time when such links have been criticized by some. I am delighted that he is being honoured for his work.”

 

Professor David Newman has been a member of the CPG Board for three years.
The Cerimony will take place on October 3rd 2013

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