Australian one-person band Tash Sultana has been steadily making their way across the U.S. this fall, wowing new audiences at every turn. On November 18th, Tash hit Terminal 5 for a highly-awaited New York City performance. The multi-talented Aussie didn’t disappoint, working through delicately layered renditions of the material on their debut album, Flow State.This week, Tash Sultana shared a pro-shot live video of Flow State track “Pink Moon” from this month’s New York City performance. Set aside a few minutes, throw on the video, and let Tash sweep you away.Tash Sultana – “Pink Moon” [Pro-Shot][Video: Dara Munnis + Lori Gutman via Tash Sultana]The multi-talented 23-year-old musician played all 15 instruments heard on Flow State, from guitars, bass and drums to piano, saxophone, and flute. All that skilled musicianship is buoyed by Tash’s uniquely dream-like vocals, which can evoke comparisons to Macy Gray, Norah Jones, Christina Aguilera, Chris Martin, and more, depending on the song, while still managing to sound wholly new and original. Flow State moves deftly through a variety of styles and genres, from laid-back surf jams to Lenny Kravitz-style fuzz rock and everything in between, fully showcasing Sultana’s broad spectrum of musical abilities. Even in the wake of enormous hype, Flow State assures what those in the know have been hip to for some time now: Tash Sultana is going to be one of the next big stars. Count on it.Tash Sultana – Flow State – Full AlbumTash Sultana’s U.S. swing will wrap up this weekend with a pair of performances at Oakland, CA’s Fox Theater (11/29, 11/30) and a stop at the Shrine Expo Center in Los Angeles (12/1). From there, Sultana will head back to Australia for a number of dates throughout the early months of 2019. As of now, Tash’s only scheduled 2019 U.S. date will take place at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival, set to take place in early May. For a full list of upcoming tour dates, head to Sultana’s website here.
Friday was not the first time Bill Murray has shared the stage with the roots rock trio. The part-time professional musician previously sat in with the band just a week prior during a Puss N Boots performance at Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn. Murray also took his own musical career to new levels in 2017 when he teamed up with acclaimed cellist Jan Vogler for a classical album titled, New Worlds. Murray and Volver, along with violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez, also spent much of the spring and parts of summer and fall 2018 on a global concert tour in support of the new release. However, Murray was not done performing with the ending of “Blue Christmas”. Buzzed on the energy of the holiday season, he also donned some reindeer bells and bounced around the stage like a little elf after drinking too much hot cocoa while the band played “Shake Your Christmas Butt”. Watch the clip below: On Friday night, Puss N Boots—the folk-rock trio comprised of Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper—hosted their annual Christmas Extravaganza concert at The Bell House in New York City. The show featured all three artists onstage in holiday-themed attire performing a mix of country originals and Christmas covers in front of their hometown fans. To make the night even more magical, the trio was accompanied by one of their more famous fans, actor Bill Murray, who joined the band onstage to help Jones deliver a romantic cover “Blue Christmas”, originally recorded by Elvis Presley.Bill Murray stepped to the microphone on the Bell House’s holiday-themed stage wearing an adorable little elf hat in unity with the band and their own outfits. Murray, Jones, and Popper all shared vocal harmony duties for the relaxed holiday tune, which had its own country swagger thanks to Sasha Dobson’s drum rhythm and Jones’ guitar work. Murray went on to encourage the crowd to join in on the collaboration (“If you know it you can sing along”).You can watch Bill Murray’s sit-in in a video shared by a fan after the performance. The performance sounds pretty impressive thanks to the contrasting vocal tones of Murray and the two female singers. Bill shines just as brightly as those lights on stage when he dials into that higher singing octave to belt out the lyrics, “You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white”. Check it out below:
Harvard College has launched a new online Plan of Study tool to help undergraduates outline the courses they will take throughout their four years at Harvard. This online system replaces paper forms that served the same function, and provides a more intuitive and robust way for undergraduates to plan. The tool’s development was a joint venture between the Program in General Education (Gen Ed), the Office of the Registrar, and the Advising Programs Office.Using the tool located on the Registrar’s Web site, students can create an eight-semester planning grid modeling the courses they will take to meet their concentration and Gen Ed or Core requirements. Students can also use the form to switch concentrations, or to switch between the Core and Gen Ed.Students can update the planning grids each term and share their plans with their advisers to facilitate an ongoing conversation about their plan of study. Students’ response to the new system has been overwhelmingly positive, according to the Advising Programs Office.The Plan of Study tool was first introduced to sophomores, who used this system to declare their concentration on Nov. 18, although all students can access the tool..— Amy Lavoie
A tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine pellet — which in some cases resembles popular candy — could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning in children, according to a new study. The researchers also say the candylike products could appeal to young people and lead to nicotine addiction.The study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Northern Ohio Poison Control Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears in the April 19 online edition of the journal Pediatrics, and will appear in a later print issue.Last year, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. launched a dissolvable nicotine product called Camel Orbs, which, according to the company’s promotional literature, contains 1 mg of nicotine per pellet and is flavored with cinnamon or mint. The company also introduced Camel Strips (0.6 mg nicotine per strip) and Sticks (3.1 mg nicotine per strip).The product apparently is intended as a temporary source of nicotine for smokers in settings where lighting up is banned. However, the potential public health effect could be disastrous, particularly for infants and adolescents, said Professor Gregory Connolly, lead author of the study and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH.Ingestion of tobacco products by infants and children is a major reason for calls to poison control centers nationwide. In 2007, 6,724 tobacco-related poisoning cases were reported among children 5 and under. Small children can experience nausea and vomiting from as little as 1 mg of nicotine.“This product is called a ‘tobacco’ product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children,” said Connolly.The researchers computed, based on median body weight, how much nicotine ingestion would lead to symptoms of poisoning in children. A 1-year-old could suffer mild to moderate symptoms by ingesting eight to 14 Orbs, 14 Strips, or three Sticks. Ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs, 17 Strips, or three to four Sticks could result in severe toxicity or death. A 4-year-old could have moderate symptoms by ingesting 13 to 21 Orbs, 14 Strips, or four Sticks, and could suffer severe toxicity or death by consuming 16 to 27 Orbs, 27 Strips, or five Sticks. The researchers reported that a poison control center in Portland, Ore., a test market for Orbs, reported a case in which a 3-year old ingested an Orbs pellet.R.J. Reynolds says the Orbs packaging is “child-resistant,” but the researchers say adults could unknowingly leave the pellets out in the open where children could easily access them. The researchers also say that the candylike appearance and flavoring and ease-of-use of the product can appeal to children.The report is called “Unintentional Childhood Poisonings Through Ingestion of Conventional and Novel Tobacco Products,” and its other authors are Patricia Richter, Alfred Aleguas Jr., Terry F. Pechacek, Stephen B. Stanfill, and Hillel R. Alpert.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, Massachusetts’ second and third largest health plans, are exploring a merger that would help them to compete against market leader Blue Cross Blue Shield, it was announced on Jan. 25.Harvard School of Public Health health policy experts, including Nancy Turnbull and Meredith Rosenthal, weighed in on the planned merger with a number of Boston media outlets. Turnbull told WBZ NewsRadio that while the merger will provide consumers with fewer options, its increased leverage with hospitals and other providers could help lower health care costs.
The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) will jointly honor former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III with the 2012 Great Negotiator Award on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School.The Great Negotiator Award event will include discussions with Baker and faculty from the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Future of Diplomacy Project about the negotiation challenges he faced during his time as Secretary of State. The discussion is free and open to the public from 1:30 to 5 p.m.The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize individuals whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a significant and lasting impact. The Program on Negotiation is a network of faculty and scholars dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and other Boston-area schools. In 2011 and 2012, the Great Negotiator Award event has been co-sponsored by the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, which aims to explore the importance of diplomacy in a globalized world. Read Full Story
The eyes of several children went wide as Amy Gunzelmann, education specialist at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH), carried a loosely wrapped bundle to the floor of the Valente Branch of the Cambridge Public Library.“We might need to clear some space,” Gunzelmann said. “Because the snake that shed this skin was really long.”As she slowly unrolled the 12-foot skin on the library floor, kids jumped out of their chairs to run their fingers over the scales. One boy shrieked and jerked his hand away — and then immediately lunged back to touch the skin again.Gunzelmann presented a treasure trove of HMNH resources to parents and kids, challenging the standing-room-only crowd to think about the different classifications of zoology, as part of the John Harvard Book Celebration program. Celebrating Harvard’s 375th anniversary and its close ties to the Boston and Cambridge communities, the John Harvard Book Celebration has included the donation of more than 400 books to libraries, 17 lectures by Harvard faculty and members of the University’s Board of Overseers at local libraries, and 18 programs for children and youth. This particular youth-based programming reached more than 200 children in the Greater Boston area this spring, concluding with this last event in late April.“The John Harvard Book Celebration has broadened the boundaries of our campus to include all of Boston and Cambridge by reaching into every public library in those communities,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Public Affairs & Communications. “Harvard faculty, students, and alumni welcomed the chance to share their expertise and ideas with parents and children. That kind of dialogue, which happens regularly in Harvard’s community programs, creates ties that enrich the University and cities we call home.”For Gunzelmann, who also brought fish bones, owl and turkey feathers, shark teeth, animal furs, and vertebrae replicas from HMNH to the library for the kids to examine, the program was “really kind of special.”“A lot of students come to the museum with their school classes,” said Gunzelmann. “But this brings us right into their neighborhood, right to their own backyard. What really gets students engaged is working with the real specimens up close, so that we can discuss it after they take a close look at it. We even concluded today’s programming by talking about how kids can explore the insects and animals in their own backyard, and how they can use the classification systems we learned today to better understand those animals.”For Julia Konrad ’13, vice president of the Student Advisory Committee at the Institute of Politics (IOP), participating in the John Harvard Book Celebration was a way to put her focus on politics and citizenship into real practice in the community. “We created a workshop on citizenship, which we held at the West Roxbury Branch [of the Boston Public Library],” Konrad said. “We based it on the U.S. citizenship exam questions. It was great to see these third- and fourth-graders puzzling through really challenging questions of citizenship and government, talking about freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, what qualities are important in people who are members of a president’s cabinet, and so on.”As Harvard undergraduates, Konrad said, the library workshop “was an invaluable experience. As students, we very rarely leave Cambridge, let alone Harvard Square, and it can be easy to lose sight of what’s going on outside of school — what we’re really arguing, studying, and writing about. In asking these kids questions and challenging them, it felt like we were not only inspiring a love of American politics, but also that we were helping to instill real passion in them for learning, challenging, and staking your claim in the world.”Wendy Derjue-Holzer, education director at the HMNH, said that bringing Harvard resources, researchers, and students into the libraries showed the community that Harvard is part of their lives in a way they hadn’t previously considered. “When they see us in their library, in their neighborhood, it broadens their perspective,” she said. “It gives them new and different connections. It shows that Harvard fits into their lives in another way, not just in the classroom. It’s great to be part of that bridge between the community and other parts of Harvard.”In addition to books, college readiness, and politics, the John Harvard Book Celebration’s children and youth programming also provided opportunities for cultural and artistic performances by Harvard students, including a concert performed by Mariachi Veritas de Harvard at the Boston Public Library’s Connolly Branch in Jamaica Plain. “It was a real family-oriented event,” said George Zuo ’13. “It was great to see all the kids getting excited about our sound. Some members of the audience really appreciated that we were bringing our music to the community, others liked the diversity of our group, and others enjoyed the energy of our sound, but it was great to have an experience where Harvard students and families in the Boston community all got together to celebrate culture and books.”More than 40 students volunteered as part of the program, including representatives from Harvard College Stories for Orphans, Harvard College Class Clowns, Harvard Story-Time Players, the Institute of Politics, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Language and Literacy Masters program.For Konrad, the greatest impact of change may not have been experienced by the kids, but by the students who helped bring the programming to the community. “We can forget that it’s a privilege to go to Harvard,” she said. “Hanging out with those kids in the library was an extension of that privilege. It was a valuable experience for the kids and for us — maybe more for us, because we got a chance to present what we cared about, and then got to see them respond to that and see them get excited about the same things, too. I felt really lucky to be part of it.”
A drawing of 2nd Lt. Thomas Bayley Fox Jr., Class of 1860, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Died July 25. Courtesy of Harvard University Portrait Collection Col. Paul Joseph Revere, Class of 1852, 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Died July 4, 1863. Courtesy of the Special Collections, Fine Arts Library/Harvard College Library A coffin hard to get The story of death in the Civil War is well represented in the tale of one man: 2nd Lt. Edward Stanley Abbot, who entered Harvard College in July 1860 and left in the spring of 1862 to join the Union’s 17th Infantry.At Gettysburg, his unit was at the far left of the federal lines, at Little Round Top. Leading a charge there on July 2, Abbot was felled by a Minié ball that tore through his right lung and lodged near his spine. (Of 19 officers in his unit, 14 were killed or wounded.) Abbot was taken to an aid station five miles away. He lingered on a mat of straw under a hospital tent, and died on July 8. Abbot, who had once called the military “the only profession that rises above the commonplace,” was 21.His brother, Boston lawyer Edwin H. Abbot, Class of 1855, traveled to Gettysburg soon after. It took him five days to find a coffin. When he finally stood at Stanley’s gravesite, he saw a shallow hole, barely covered over. It was marked with wooden boxboard, a battlefield commonplace. Within the grave, said the elder Abbot, his brother lay on a gray blanket, “in so natural a posture,” he wrote, “as I had seen him lie a hundred times in his sleep.”Abbot’s battlefield grave was a mark of class: He had one. (Graves were often denied, at least right away, to enlisted personnel.) His brother’s visit, and the coffin, was a mark of class too, one most often reserved for officers. But the gravesite also represented the war’s breaking of class boundaries. Standing next to the older brother were two soldiers from a sister unit. “He was a strict officer, but all the men liked him,” said the younger soldier. “He was always kind to them,” Edwin Abbot wrote later. “That was his funeral sermon.”Other family members raced south to see their wounded sons. Sgt. John Lyman Fenton of the 9th Massachusetts Battery was one of two enlisted men from Harvard who fell at Gettysburg. He was wounded July 2 and died in a Baltimore hospital on July 28, just hours after his mother and his wife of four months arrived. He had entered Harvard in 1857 at age 22, but left after three terms for financial reasons.Sgt. Edward Chapin, who would have finished in the Class of 1864, left Harvard after two years for different reasons: an eagerness for war that propelled him to sign on as a private with the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers.He was wounded on July 2 but remained on the field unseen until July 5. One ball had hit his right knee; a second struck the same spot; and a ball of case shot had churned into his hip.In an illustration of the slow ambulance services, Chapin did not arrive at a hospital until July 7. But he was recovering when another commonplace of the Civil War took his life on Aug. 1: sepsis and fever from his lingering wounds. Chapin’s funeral, at his grandfather’s house in Whitinsville, Mass., illustrated another common thread of the war, the heavy toll often taken on one family. The grandfather buried three grandsons.Scenes of courageHeroism and death are often linked. At Gettysburg, courage wore both blue and gray.On July 2, Col. Strong Vincent, Class of 1859, climbed to the top of a boulder at Little Round Top. Ten feet above his men from the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, he waved a riding crop and shouted, “Don’t give an inch!” A moment later, a bullet cut through his left thigh and into his abdomen. He died from his wounds five days later.On the same day, Col. Paul Joseph Revere, Class of 1852 and commander of the 20th Massachusetts, spent the late afternoon walking through the ranks. Confederate shot and shell rained in on the federal lines, the center of which was occupied by the 20th. Around 6 p.m. this grandson of the famed Revolutionary War patriot stood to look around. Overhead, a shell exploded, sending a ball through Revere’s lungs and into his abdomen. He died on the Fourth of July.On July 3, at the foot of Culp’s Hill, Confederate troops had captured Union breastworks tucked inside a line of woods. Across a wide expanse called Spangler’s Meadow, Lt. Col. Charles Redington Mudge of the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the Class of 1860 received an order to attack. “Well, it’s murder,” he said of the command to charge over exposed ground, “but it’s the order. Up men, over the works!” In the middle of the meadow, Mudge was struck in the throat and fell dead.Second Lt. Thomas Bayley Fox Jr., Class of 1860, fell wounded in that same 400-yard charge, a 20-minute action that cost the 2nd Massachusetts 134 of its 294 men. Fox, who never packed his battle kit without including works by his beloved Horace and Shakespeare, died on July 25.Second Lt. Thomas Rodman Robeson, Class of 1861, also with the 2nd Massachusetts, was part of a line of skirmishers far in front of the main force on July 3. They were concealed by stones and logs in an open field near the Confederates who were in the line of woods. Robeson joined the main attack and was struck by a ball that shattered the bone in his upper right thigh. He died July 6.Robeson gave proof of the fatalism of many Civil War soldiers at the prospect of death — an attitude that in most cases came with the added comfort that heaven was the next stop. Robeson, a descendant of Puritan separatist Roger Williams, was told in the hospital he would not live long. “Well, I suppose I must go,” he said.The same day, the 20th Massachusetts illustrated the same tragic math of battle: Of the 200-plus members of the 20th Massachusetts who entered the fight, only three officers and 20 enlisted men were left standing at the end.Fighting on the Confederate side was Brig. Gen. Albert Gallatin Jenkins of the 8th Virginia Cavalry. He was wounded in action during the battle, but recovered, only to be killed on May 21,1864, at Cloyd’s Mountain, Va. Jenkins was a 1850 graduate of Harvard Law School and a onetime representative in both the U.S. and the First Confederate congresses. He was also a bold cavalryman who was known for his northern raids into both Pennsylvania and Ohio, a state in which he was supposedly the first to unfold the stars and bars of the Confederate flag.Gettysburg todayToday, the landscape around Gettysburg, much of it rendered sacred ground as a military park, looks the same as it did 150 years ago: low rolling farmland, jutting hills rounded with thick woods, and everywhere ancient boulders scattered over the terrain by a receding glacier. The coloration of the place has a 19th-century look: sere browns, muted greens. Gettysburg is still rendered in sepia.A 10-minute walk from the visitor’s center takes you through undulant thick woods tangled with underbrush and thick with boulders and rocky outcrops. It is frankly spooky, a reminder of a historic place we first experience in old photographs of the dead, strewn on fields or propped against rocks.The landscape is a reminder that the Battle of Gettysburg was a slaughterhouse set in lush farmland rich with crops. There are battle sites named after plums, roses, peaches, and wheat. It was at the Wheatfield — 20 acres of high grain — where more than 20,000 men grappled in battle on July 2, often hand-to-hand. The casualty rate was 30 percent.It was likely there that Lt. Col. Henry Macon Dunwoody of the 51st Georgia Volunteer Infantry died. He was a homeopathic physician who had graduated from Harvard Law School in 1847.That short walk from the visitor’s center opens out onto hilly, bare land. You pass the headquarters of Union Gen. George Gordon Meade, a white clapboard farmhouse so narrow and low that three of them could fit end to end in the atrium of Harvard’s Smith Center.Two hundred yards northwest of the farmhouse, up a steep rise to Cemetery Ridge, is the rectangle of land held so fiercely on July 2 and 3 by the 20th Massachusetts, which was called the “Harvard regiment” because that’s where most of its officers originated. The plot is perhaps 50 yards wide, marked by granite tablets, and 75 yards deep. It was the killing field for Ropes, Paine, Revere, and 28 others from the 20th.To the left, two miles distant, you can see Little Round Top, where Vincent and Abbot were fatally wounded. A short distance to the right is the copse that marked the Confederates penetration into Union lines in the aftermath of Pickett’s Charge, the “high-water mark,” historians say, of the Confederacy. A wrought-iron fence encircles the copse’s seven surviving trees, bent and bare.The plot of ground at Cemetery Ridge, held by the 20th for two days, is about the size of set Harvard Yard. For two days in 1863, you might say, it was. Harvard casualties Second Lt. Sumner Paine, Class of 1865, 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Died July 3, 1863. Courtesy of Harvard University Archives One was reading a Dickens novel. One stood up to look around. Another was running across a meadow.In the first three days of July 1863, in Gettysburg, Pa., death or a fatal wound could come at any time. And in great numbers: There were 51,000 casualties during the epic battle that marked the second and last and furthest penetration into the North by a Confederate army.On the Union side, Gettysburg claimed more sons of Harvard than any other battle. In all, Harvard lost 14 men during the battle. Eleven fought for the Union side — and three for the Confederates.In many cases, the Crimson dead, both blue and gray, fell during the same engagements. The events around and during Pickett’s Charge on July 3, for instance, claimed the lives of three Union soldiers from Harvard, and two Confederates.First Lt. Henry Ropes, Class of 1862, was reading the Dickens novel in the quiet on the morning of July 3. About 60 yards behind him, on Cemetery Ridge, a federal artilleryman stuffed a defective shell into a cannon and touched it off. Shrapnel from the premature airburst knifed through Ropes, a popular officer with the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He died on the spot, his last words being, “I am killed.” Ropes — who had boxed, rowed, and fenced at Harvard — was 24.That afternoon, a Confederate force lined up three-quarters of a mile away and marched in a mile-wide formation toward the federal lines across a vast, upward-sloping field. This was Pickett’s Charge, into which the Confederates poured 12,500 men. By the end of the fighting, 9,000 had been killed, wounded, or captured.Sumner Paine, the youngest Harvard man to die in the war, fell during the last moments of Pickett’s Charge, when Confederate forces briefly broke through federal lines near a copse that still stands at the battlefield. A bullet cracked into one of Paine’s ankles, nearly severing the foot. He fell to one knee, waved his sword in the air, and was struck twice more. Like Ropes, Paine, who would have graduated in 1865, died where he fell. He had been in the war two months and one day.On the other side during Pickett’s Charge was Capt. Elijah Graham Morrow of the 28th North Carolina Infantry. He was wounded and taken prisoner by the Union, had a limb amputated, and died on July 19. He was an 1856 graduate of Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School.Capt. Thomas Watson Cooper of the 11th North Carolina Infantry, an 1861 graduate of Harvard Law School, was killed on July 1. His unit was a microcosm of Gettysburg’s slaughter pen. Of 617 men with the 11th during the battle, half were killed, wounded, or went missing.The Harvard deaths reflect the major facts of death and the Civil War, as outlined in “This Republic of Suffering” (2008), by Harvard President Drew Faust: the unequal match between modern arms and medieval tactics; the deaths from wounds that today could be healed; the lack of ambulance services; the ad-hoc aid stations; the hasty burials in crudely marked graves; the lingering romance of war despite the carnage; the power of class, and how that power diminished; the solace of Christianity on both sides; and — perhaps most surprising of all to the 21st-century mind — the presence soon after battle of family members on the field. First Lt. Henry Ropes, Class of 1862, 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Died July 3, 1863. Courtesy of Harvard Law School Library
Your mission this week, should you chose to accept it, is to attend a conference at Harvard on Friday that will include (academically speaking) war, diplomacy, and heroism, along with enough political intrigue to fill a hundred novels.You guessed right: The gathering of historians is all about the Congress of Vienna, which turns 200 this year. The bicentennial will occasion at least three other events worldwide — two in Vienna and one in Amsterdam. But Harvard’s, called “The Power of Peace,” is the first. (It comes with an explanatory essay.)There is reason to pay attention to a diplomatic gathering from two centuries ago. The congress created, by some measures, a century of relative peace among European nations — until the carnage of World War I. It also anticipated political structures that underlie peace and cooperation today (where it is to be had), including the European Union and the United Nations. And it stands as a transformative political moment for the significant contributions of women.Vienna was at the heart of the Austrian Empire, which along with Russia, Prussia, Great Britain, and defeated France had come to the table to hammer out a peace. Peace was welcome. Europe had been riven by decades of conflict — the French Revolution and its war and then the wars created by Napoleon and his imperial ambitions.Representatives from 200 European states and political entities, great and small, met from September of 1814 to June of 1815. A postwar treaty was not their only objective. “After great conflicts, Europeans were more prone to discuss the madness of war,” said conference co-organizer Stella Ghervas, a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, which will host the event. But the assembled leaders also intended “to avoid war in the future,” she said, by setting up the “Congress System.” The planned series of periodic diplomatic conferences in European cities was designed to establish the political machinery for lasting peace.Co-organizer David Armitage, the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and chair of the Department of History, called the Congress of Vienna a “systematic attempt to restore balance” — the kind of “conclusive conference” that prefigured those that would follow World War I, in Versailles, and World War II, at Yalta. “The very foundations of our international systems,” he said, “come out of the Congress of Vienna. They were thinking on a potentially global scale.”Europe was finally awakening to a spirit of accord that before had only been imagined by thinkers dismissed as utopian visionaries. One was Charles-Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre, a French abbot whose 1713 “Plan of Perpetual Peace” anticipated the reformist liberality of the Enlightenment. (Both Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jaques Rousseau, inspired by Saint-Pierre, made the point that that industry and trade could create lasting peace better than war.) Saint-Pierre also used the term “European Union” for the first time, prefiguring the work of the congress.The abbot’s ideas inspired Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who in turn formulated the “Holy Alliance,” a peace covenant among the great powers for maintaining a war-free Europe “He was inspired by the plan of perpetual peace,” said Ghervas.But at the same time, the Congress was also attended by hard-headed diplomats like France’s Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand and Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich, who rejected the Tsar’s proposal for a common European army. (Ghervas has seen Metternich’s deletions in a manuscript she examined for her 2008 book “Réinventer la Tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance.”)In all, the congress represented a rare historical confluence of visionaries and pragmatists, making it possible, Armitage said, for “ideas and action to come together.” Metternich and Talleyrand are well remembered, but perhaps not the mercurial Alexander I. In his day he was considered, by princes and peoples alike, the liberator of Europe for pushing Napoleon back from Moscow all the way to the Champs-Élysées. In the years immediately after the congress, he also became a pacifist icon.There are others deserving of revived reputations, including the largely forgotten women of the congress. They are the subject of one of the papers being presented Friday.Glenda Sluga of Sydney University will present, via videoconference, “Sexual Congress: Women, Intimacy and ‘International’ Politics in Vienna, 1814-1815.” The female counterparts of male diplomats are often squeezed into just one view of the congress, she will argue — the “dancing congress” of formal balls, inimate salons, and other facets of “an entertainingly salacious tale” that hardly tells the whole story.Mark Jarrett, author of “The Congress of Vienna and its Legacy,” will deliver a paper applying a modern idea — the influence of hard and soft power — to a moment during the congress itself, when war loomed over how to divide Poland in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat. The issue set Russia and Prussia against Austria, Great Britain, and France. Only a secret treaty averted war.Brian Vick of Emory University will touch on matters that make the Congress of Vienna seem modern and global in the way it went beyond the Continent. The congress took on international issues in a way that foreshadowed humanitarian gestures of diplomacy as practiced today, confronting, for example, the African slave trade and the issue of sea piracy as practiced by privateers from ports in North Africa. His paper: “From London to Lübeck to Geneva and Algiers: Abolition of the Slave Trade and Barbary Captivity at the Congress of Vienna.”The idea of the congress as a template for modern peacemaking does come with a caveat, Ghervas said. “The current international organizations and venues for peace tend to represent the interests of the most powerful countries, and may be in need of reform.”That replicates the story of the Congress of Vienna, which started with liberal impulses and the Tsar’s vision of a united Europe, but came to represent a directorate, Ghervas said — “a select club of great powers who made the decisions for all the others,” and ignored the opinions of a restless public. (Starting in the 1820s, the congress was followed by decades of popular uprisings.)“The risk for the European Union today is that it could evolve toward a directorate,” she said.While entities like the EU are facing popular unrest, events in the Crimea echo the Congress’s failure to maintain peace, said Ghervas, who is also writing a transnational history of the Black Sea region. She recalled the recent words of President Obama — that Russia is acting out of weakness in the Crimea. “Russia has been emerging from a situation of disarray since the end of the Cold War,” said Ghervas. “The position of Vladimir Putin today is not as comfortable as that of Tsar Alexander I in Vienna. He had had the prestige of having just defeated Napoleon and liberated Europe.”So what is the lesson? “Leaders who already are in a strong position find it easier to find a peaceful solution to international issues than to use war,” said Ghervas. “All it requires to slide into war is to lose patience. That’s what happened in World War I.”There is a powerful message for today from a diplomatic congress held 200 years ago. “Peace is for the strong,” said Ghervas, echoing the title of the paper she will deliver Friday. “War is for the weak.”For more information on Friday’s conference.
“I’m dealing with a lot of uncertainty,” said Ilian Meza-Peña ’17, whose eligibility under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is due to expire next December. “Is the University going to add more mental health counselors who are aware of the cultural issues?”“I don’t have a passport. I was smuggled over the border to Turkey,” explained Aref Ebrahimi, a candidate for an A.L.B. from the Extension School, a special student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a researcher at Harvard Medical School, as well as a refugee from Iran. “What’s the easiest way to deal with this?”These were only two of the questions raised by members of the Harvard community on Wednesday afternoon when representatives of the Harvard International Office, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, and Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinic held a town hall to offer information and perspectives in light of the new Washington administration’s executive orders on immigration and refugees. A number of Harvard’s Schools have been holding similar sessions for their concerned students.Citing President Drew Faust’s recent “We Are All Harvard” statement, distributed to the University community, Vice Provost Mark C. Elliott opened the meeting. “The University is deeply committed to being an open, welcoming, and deeply international community,” he said. With approximately 10,000 international students and scholars, the largest number in any U.S. university, Harvard is “frustrated and distressed by the effect that this order is already having on our community,” he said.Elliott said Harvard had been active even before the latest executive order was signed, holding meetings “at the highest levels,” not only among University officials, but with officials from other universities and institutions across the country.Elements of that action, as well as practical advice, were then presented by fellow panelists Maureen Martin, director of Immigration Services at the Harvard International Office, and Jason Corral of the Law School’s Immigrant and Refugee Clinic, who had originally been hired to represent students who are undocumented, with DACA support.With the help of a Powerpoint demonstration, the panel first broke down what three relevant executive orders actually say. One temporarily suspends the issuance of visas abroad and the entry into the United States by people from seven predominately Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan). Another order temporarily suspends the admission of all refugees and calls for an indefinite suspension of admission of refugees from Syria. And one calls for the immediate construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and for reinforcement of internal immigration enforcement.Some implications of these orders are clear. “People from those seven countries should not try to travel outside the U.S.,” said Martin. She also noted that rumors of other countries being included in the ban, or in a future one, have made many foreign scholars leery of travel. “Everybody is anxious, and we understand that. We’re here to help you work through it.”The international office, she said, has been in touch with all the scholars from overseas who have registered that they are traveling — and recommends that all members of the University community who are considering travel register their plans. In addition, the Immigration and Refugee Clinic has been providing information and advice.Executive orders, explained Corral, cannot make new law. In fact, if they contradict an existing law, that “law trumps the order,” he said, to laughter. This order of precedence is the basis for legal challenges to the orders, as are the existing visa and DACA regulations themselves. For example, in some cases, visa applications must be considered within a certain time period. “If they take longer, they are in violation of established law,” said Corral.A checklist of documents that international students should carry if traveling was projected: a passport, if possible, or a green card, and a visa with a valid travel signature and valid travel stamp. Other suggested items include a letter from Harvard attesting to one’s status in the University community, a resume or CV, and the phone number of someone at Harvard. (While the director of a scholar’s specific program was mentioned as a contact, it was also pointed out that the University’s travel assistance number, 617-998-0000, is staffed around the clock.)“Even for domestic travel,” suggested Corral. “I’d be very cautious and travel with information.”The panel then took questions that ranged from specifics about possible changes in H1-B and OPT visas to options for housing after graduation. Questions about travel for emergencies, such as a death in the family, or for formerly routine conferences or interviews, were answered with candid concern. “Over-document,” suggested Corral. “Come talk to us first,” advised Martin.As a Baha’i, Ebrahimi counts as a religious minority, which should exempt him from some of the latest orders’ impact. Still, citing his interest in pursuing a career in global health, he remains frustrated and confused. “I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “But this makes the U.S. a big prison for me.”After the roughly 90-minute meeting, Meza-Peña still had questions. “I feel good about Jason being hired,” she said. Still, she worried that some of her issues hadn’t been addressed. As she was explaining, a clinical social worker from the University Health Services approached her, ideally to continue a useful dialogue.