Hamline emphasizes social media during International Education Week

Hamline’s International Education Week discussions focused on social media and international affairs. The conference emphasized four different angles: social movements, society, a student panel and public policy.The discussions covered a wide range of aspects of social media: from their influence on conventional media to their role in enormous international events, such as the Arab Spring. From academics, including Dr. Michael Jäckel (President of the University of Trier) through journalists, including Ann Alquist or Ahmed Tharwat (Arab-American TV), and activists such as Maya Dusenbery (Feministing), and public employees, such as Graham Lampa (Department of State), viewpoints varied and showed the difficulty of living in a world with easily accessible and democratized tools of social media.The common theme of the conference sessions was the importance of direct participation of the citizenry and, at the same time, audience in ways that were not easily achievable before social media became so widespread, including the production of information and media content.The exhaustive analysis of Social Media left no place for excessively optimistic or pessimistic claims. While Tharwat and Dr. Leila DeVriese – professor at Hamline University and expert in the role of Social Media in Middle Eastern politics – explained their huge influence in the Arab Spring, hints of realism were also highlighted. The International Education Week initiative, created by the U.S. State Department and U.S. Education Department, was cosponsored by the State Department, State of Minnesota, Certificate in International Journalism program at Hamline and the Hamline departments of Communications and Global Studies. Four panels included 13 speakers of diverse academic and professional backgrounds.Speakers:Dr. Leila DeVriese, “Reinventing Contentious Politics in the Digital Age: New Publics, Counter-Narratives and Oppositional Frames”Ahmed Tharwat, “Between Toppling Mubarak and Toppling Revolution”Maya Dusenbery, “Reflections on Social Media in the US Feminist and Reproductive Rights Movement”Dr. Firas Atrakci, “Has Social Media Let Down?”Dr. Michael Jäckel, “The Judging Audience”Ann Alquist, “The Role of Social Media and Public Broadcasting”Dr. Christa Ward, “The Use of Social Media and Skype as Education Tools”Kendra Boyle Hoban, “The News Framing of Chinese Twitter Weibo”Jenna Potter, “The U.S. News Framing of Palestinian Twitter”Eleanna Mathioudis, “Democratization from Below: A Study of the Role of Contentious Politics in Morocco”Dr. Philip Niemann, “Social Media and Elections in Germany”Graham Lampa, “Realizing the Promise of Digital Diplomacy”Maura Youngman, “Balkanization of the Internet in Russia”Relating to current situation in Egypt and the power of Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, Tharwat said: “What we witnessing today is the defeat of Facebook (…) When you look at the most successful movement in Egypt they used traditional media.”On the other hand, Dr. DeVriese used the example of Bahrain to show that the potential ties to promote social movements through social media are not necessarily strong enough to make the change happen.The Arab Spring was not the only social media-related phenomenon considered. Dr. Christa Ward, from Walden University, discussed the possibility of using of Skype for educational purposes; Dusenbery and Lampa linked social media to topics more closely related to American citizens, such as feminism and reproductive rights movements and outreach to “regular people” from the administration, respectively; Alquist and Dr. Jäckel considered the coexistence of conventional and new media in a “judging audience” environment, such as the project of introducing social media tools into PBS on-line broadcasting to guarantee the sustainability of the channel. Continue Reading

Little Africa campaign launched in St. Paul

Snelling Café hosted the presentation of the Little Africa campaign on November 14, a marketing and branding campaign that is part of the World Cultural Heritage District along University Avenue in St. Paul. The campaign is a project of African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) of Minnesota. The celebration focused on values of entrepreneurship and was a “marketing and branding campaign to bring visibility the more than $1.4 billion African Immigrant economy of Minnesota.” According to Gene Gelgelu, the Executive Director of AEDS, the project includes 28 businesses which created “at least 100 jobs” producing a big “impact on immigrant communities”. The mission of AEDS is to “build wealth within African communities. Continue Reading

St. Paul’s Avalon School: A place for busy students

Avalon School in St. Paul is a place of truly busy students. Once the lunch time ends, all of them leave the dining hall to continue working. Most of them do not have time to answer any questions, but Mali M. O’Neal, 16, agreed to relate her experience since last winter, when she transferred from Highland.“I really realized this was the place for me,” she said, “but I think it took going to a very traditional public school and studying for a while for me to figure that out.”Students like Mali and their parents “really were looking for something different” when Avalon started 13 years ago, said Carrie Bakken, who is a program coordinator and advisor at Avalon. We talked while sitting next to students who were completing their projects at a nearby table. Continue Reading

2013 Minneapolis Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises nearly $800,000

The 2013 Twin Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised  more than 95% of its goal: $782,745.52 out of the $820,000, with participation from almost 4,000 walkers and more than 400 teams. The registered participants walked from Target Field along Twins Way on September 21. Some of the participants were particularly successful: the  Ocuppational Therapy Assistants at Anoka Technical College raised more than $1,000 for the Alhzeimer’s Association.The walk started with a short greeting and introduction from some of the organization’s supporters and participants. Target Field suddenly bathed in a colourful garden of blue, yellow, purple and orange flowers, which were given to the walkers to show their support. Blue flowers were for those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia; yellow for those who were supporting or caring for someone with these diseases; purple, for those who had lost someone to Alzheimer’s; and orange for those who supported the cause.The official website of the association says,“The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide.”Their event almost reached its fundraising goal and it is still open for new donations.This is one of a number of articles produced by student interns at the TC Daily Planet. Continue Reading

Kicking off Saint Paul Open Streets

The first St. Paul edition of Open Streets kicked off on Sunday, September 15. University Avenue from Hamline Avenue to Marion Street was closed for all motor vehicles from 11 AM until 6 PM  to promote healthier and eco-friendlier means of transportation. The event, which was organized as a fair, suffered the inevitable consequences of cloudy, cold and windy weather, which seemed to deter some families from enjoying a walk or a bicycle ride through the avenue.Despite that, the people who dared to visit University Avenue had the chance to approach a diversity of commercial, organizational and non-profit stands and activities, among which stood out concerts and those activities focused on children. Also, the event has been used as a forum for Midway neighborhood-related reflections and initiatives.Stands started closing before the scheduled hour, around 4 PM. Continue Reading