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UMaine Extension Bulletin Bolsters Cross-Cultural Communication

University of Maine Cooperative Extension has published a new bulletin about strengthening a community’s capacity for cross-cultural conversation.

Jane Haskell, UMaine Extension professor, and Ashley Storrow, assistant program manager with Language Partners and Refugee and Immigration Services of Catholic Charities Maine, co-authored Using Refugee Voices to Improve Cross Cultural Conversations: Research with New Mainers.

Researchers in 2013–2014 investigated communication methods to better understand newly arrived refugees’ perceptions and experiences. Agencies can implement the findings to help ensure new Mainers’ voices are heard and to build effective programs that meet communities’ needs. The four-page bulletin discusses immigration and resettlement, and includes an explanation of the scope of the research project, along with recommendations.

More information and free downloads are available online and by contacting 207.581.3792 or

Environmentalist, Author McKibben to Speak at UMaine Oct. 7

Environmentalist Bill McKibben will speak about “Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” at the University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

The lecture, which runs from 3:30–5 p.m., is hosted by the UMaine Honors College as part of its Honors Read program in which entering students read and discuss an important recent book as part of the curriculum. The Honors Read for 2014–2015 is McKibben’s book, “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

Described by The Boston Globe as “probably America’s most important environmentalist,” McKibben is the author of 15 books and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside and The New York Review of Books. His 1989 “The End of Nature” is often regarded as the first book on climate change written for a general audience. McKibben is founder of — a worldwide, grassroots climate change movement — and he currently serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, McKibben received the Gandhi Peace Award and the Thomas Merton Award for his ardent environmental activism.

Honors students who chose “Eaarth” as this year’s Honors Read were persuaded by McKibben’s argument that the “reality of global climate change is not up for discussion.”

The event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsors include the UMaine Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series; School of Policy and International Affairs; School of Marine Sciences; Maine Business School; College of Education and Human Development; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; College of Engineering; UMaine Humanities Initiative; Department of Chemistry; School of Earth and Climate Sciences; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; and Department of History.

UMaine Faculty to Speak About Science in Film at Penobscot Theatre

Neil Comins, a University of Maine professor of physics and astronomy, and Marcella Sorg, a medical and forensic anthropologist at UMaine, will be part of a panel discussion about how science is represented on film Sept. 15 at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor. “Good, Bad and Ugly: Science in Film,” begins at 7 p.m. and will touch on the silver-screen portrayals of topics from physics to zombies. The discussion is free and open to the public, and is a preview event for the first Maine Science Festival to be held in March 2015. Donations to support the festival are welcome. More information is on Facebook.

UMaine Extension Whips Up Family Fun Cooking Class

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and FoodCorps announce a free cooking class for families 5–6 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 2–30, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan.

The five-session class is designed for income-eligible families with children living at home. Parents will learn to prepare quick and easy main meals while youth make healthy snacks. For more information, including about eligibility, as well as to register or request disability accommodations, contact 207.474.9622 or

Free Training Workshop for Women Interested in Politics

A free training workshop for women interested in political campaigns and want to sharpen leadership skills will be held Saturday, Sept. 27 at Wells Conference Center.

Elect Her — Campus Women Win participants will learn leadership skills and basics of running a successful student government campaign, as well as meet local campaign winners.

The event, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is co-hosted by UMaine, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start. Complimentary breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be served.

Registration is online. More information about Elect Her training is available on the AAUW website or on the Elect Her Facebook page.

Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarships Awarded

The Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarships for 2014–2015 have been awarded to two University of Maine undergraduates pursuing independent research.

Joshua Paredes, a marketing major from Bangor, Maine, will study the effectiveness of public health marketing strategies for hazing prevention. He will work with the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention.

Jesse Clark, a political science major from Calais, Maine, will use computer modeling to explore the impact of gerrymandering for his project titled “Determining an Expected House Majority Using Pattern Analysis.” He will work with UMaine political science and spatial information science and engineering researchers.

The scholarships are awarded annually for independent undergraduate research on a topic of public policy relevance. Students in all majors are eligible. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith’s abiding belief was that real progress would be attained through the education of young people. In honor of Sen. Smith’s many years of service to the citizens of Maine and to the nation, this scholarship provides assistance to undergraduates who have demonstrated an active interest in public affairs and who show promise for future leadership in, and contribution to, public affairs.

More information is online.

UMaine Extension Updates Foliage Facts Bulletin

University of Maine Cooperative Extension has updated its classic publication explaining why leaves change color in autumn.

While some people believe frost causes the color explosion, some leaves begin to turn red, orange or yellow even before the first frost. In Bulletin 7078, Facts About Leaf Color in Maine, UMaine Extension Professor Kathryn Hopkins explains the science of fall foliage. The bulletin also includes leaf projects that can be done at home and in the classroom.

For more information, bulletin copies for 50 cents each and free downloads, visit the UMaine Extension online publications catalog, call 207.581.3792, or email

UMaine Department of Art Accepting Applications for ArtWorks! Program

The University of Maine Department of Art is accepting applications for the fall 2014 session of after-school art classes for area children in grades K–8.

The ArtWorks! program provides children an opportunity to explore the world of art through: hands-on experiences with a variety of visual media, the history of art, and the viewing of art.

Classes will be held in Lord Hall on the UMaine campus from 3:30–5 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 17 through Nov. 14. A $25 fee covers the cost of materials, and a limited number of scholarships are available. Applications are online and will be accepted until Oct. 3.

The program consists of four teaching sessions and one children’s exhibition. The lessons are taught by art education students under the supervision of art professor Constant Albertson. Class sections are organized by age or grade level, and are limited to 22 students per group. Acceptance is determined on a first come, first served basis.

Parents or guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the program.

For more information, call Albertson at 207.581.3251 or email

Study Abroad Fair Sept. 11

The University of Maine International Programs’ Study Abroad Fair will be held Thursday, Sept. 11 to inform students about the variety of programs available for all majors to study, intern, research or teach abroad. The fair will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the first-floor ballroom of Estabrooke Hall. The fair is free and open to all UMaine students, faculty and staff. Information will be available on UMaine’s direct exchange and recommended programs, as well as scholarships and financial aid. Former UMaine study abroad and current exchange students will be available to answer questions. More than 50 students typically participate in study abroad opportunities, according to C K Kwai, director of the Office of International Programs. More information on UMaine’s study abroad program is available online.

Retired U.S. Ambassador to Syria to Speak at UMaine

A decorated, retired diplomat who was U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2011 until earlier this year, will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and the Middle East at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, in the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine.

Robert S. Ford, who served 30 years in the U.S. Department of State and Peace Corps, will address how domestic politics and U.S. strategy intersect in Syria in a free talk titled “Syria and Washington Politics — Hard to Agree.”

In 2011, after Syria’s civil war erupted, he traveled to Hama in a display of solidarity with Syrians protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad. Ford then worked with Syrian opposition forces and was instrumental in bringing them to the Geneva peace talks. He served three times in Iraq between 2003 and 2010, including as the ambassador’s senior political adviser during elections for the new Iraqi government. From 2008 to 2010, as deputy ambassador in Iraq, he led a team that developed logistical and security plans that the Obama administration utilized to establish diplomatic posts in Iraq. Ford also served in Cameroon during a civil war, as well as in Egypt and Turkey. Ford, who speaks Arabic and French, began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

His efforts have been recognized and lauded; he has received the Presidential Honor Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, he was presented a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for “courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.”

The resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. also teaches at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Alison Barkley, who is a Foreign Service officer.

The School of Policy & International Affairs (SPIA) is sponsoring Ford’s talk at UMaine.


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