Harvard increases undergraduate financial aid by 9 percent for 2010-11

first_imgHarvard College will increase financial aid for undergraduates by 9 percent, to a record $158 million, for the upcoming 2010-11 academic year. This $13 million increase will help keep Harvard affordable and ensure no change in the financial burden for the more than 60 percent of students who receive aid. The estimated average need-based grant award is approximately $40,000.As a result of this investment, families with undergraduates receiving aid at Harvard will pay an estimated average cost of approximately $11,500 next year, which is unchanged from the current year. Additionally, Harvard will continue its efforts to keep overall tuition growth moderate for all families, holding this year’s increase to 3.8 percent, for a total cost of $50,724.“Harvard remains committed to a fully need-blind admissions policy that will enable us to continue attracting the most talented students, regardless of their economic circumstances,” said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “In light of the challenges confronting families across America, we continue to expand our already generous financial aid program so that Harvard will remain accessible to families from all economic backgrounds.”In 2007, Harvard introduced a new financial aid plan that dramatically reduced the amount that families with incomes below $180,000 are expected to pay. Families with incomes above $120,000 and below $180,000 with assets typical for these income levels are asked to contribute 10 percent of their incomes. For those families with incomes below $120,000, the parental contribution declines steadily from 10 percent, reaching zero for those with incomes at $60,000 and below.last_img read more

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New Ash Center report lauds successes, proposes reforms for Indonesia

first_img Read Full Story Formerly an authoritarian state, Indonesia has made impressive gains over the last 10 years as the world’s first majority Muslim, multi-party democracy. The country’s successes and challenges as a new democracy are the subject of the new report titled “From Reformasi to Institutional Transformation: A Strategic Assessment of Indonesia’s Prospects for Growth, Equity, and Democratic Governance.” The report, authored by the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, offers an assessment of Indonesia’s governance and socioeconomic climate, and concludes that the country must move beyond current reforms to effect a dramatic institutional transformation in order to compete successfully in the global economy.Indonesia’s current economic and social conditions are described in the beginning of the report. It documents the nation’s struggles with inequality, corruption, and institutional failure, and outlines the many economic challenges that it faces, including a growing trade deficit with China, the continued exporting of its natural resources and the importing of many finished goods which could be produced domestically. According to the report, slow job growth coupled with inadequate infrastructure and public health services impede Indonesia from achieving its full potential.Recommendations for ReformThe report’s authors contend that the following short- and medium-term measures could set Indonesia back on the right course toward a path of prosperity:Electoral Reform: Indonesia’s current election processes vary across the country and are often plagued by corruption. Solutions like creating a single-member district (SMD) system and semi-closed list voting processes, or adopting Germany’s mixed SMD and closed-list system, could reduce the complexities and thus curb some corruption, incentivizing politicians to act more in the public interest. Reforming Decentralization: While decentralization has increased avenues for democratic participation, its speed and lack of coherent functions threaten to undermine its civic benefits. The report calls for inter-governmental review bodies, such as the Council for Deliberation on Regional Autonomy, to improve efforts in overseeing and coordinating decentralization. Creating a clear set of standards and criteria for the establishment of new administrative entities could provide much needed consistency and accountability of functions.center_img Adopting International Standards: China has had much success attracting foreign business by adopting international standards of accountability and transparency while involving international executives and board members. By following China’s example, Indonesia could make a stronger commitment to international rules and halt business-as-usual practices influenced solely by domestic interests.last_img read more

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‘Crisis in Japan: The Way Forward’

first_imgLike grief, like aging, like rocket launches, a disaster unfolds in stages. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that struck Japan March 11 may be entering another stage as the multiple effects ripple through the island nation’s economy, politics, and society.These ripples and the exact nature of the next stage in what is now being called 3/11 were discussed Wednesday (March 23) by a panel of Harvard Japanese analysts and Japanese officials, including Takeshi Hikihara, the consul general of Japan in Boston.Hikihara updated statistics that continue to worsen. As of March 22, there were 9,500 deaths, 16,000 people missing, 3,000 injured, and 260,000 evacuated. Low levels of radioactivity were seeping into produce and raw milk.But Hikihara emphasized areas of improvement. “Emergency supplies are beginning to reach suffering people,” he said. “I am happy to say [that] as of yesterday all the power was connected to each of the six [nuclear] power plants.”Only 12 days had passed since the initial earthquake, noted Susan Pharr, the Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics. “We can start to think about some of the broader questions that all of this raises,” she said, “such as: What will it mean for the future of Japan? What will it mean for Japan’s leadership, including the Democratic Party of Japan, and [the] prime minister, and the future of Japanese democracy?”Institutional changes are inevitable and have already begun, the panelists said.“For the first time in Japanese history, Japanese military established a joint task force,” said Yoji Koda, a retired vice admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and now a senior fellow in the Harvard University Asia Center. A single commander has taken charge of all three of Japan’s services that are providing rescue operations, he said.Japan’s economy may be overhauled, said Kotaro Tamura, a former elected official in the Japanese Diet and currently a research associate in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations in the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.While the areas hit hardest by the disaster account for only 7 percent of Japan’s GDP, the rest of the country is suffering too, he said. Tokyo, for example, has lost 30 percent of its electricity, and people are not only conserving energy but are holding off on purchases. Toyota has slashed production; entertainment companies that have lost venues are declaring bankruptcy.Harmful rumors about radiation levels are playing a part. “People don’t shop, people don’t produce, people don’t go out,” Tamura said.  “We are losing purchasing power.”Citing the slogan “Disaster is a mother of reform,” Tamura outlined economic strategies that he believes should be considered. They include eliminating income taxes (as in Nevada, in which case gambling would have to be allowed); eliminating consumption taxes (as in New Hampshire); cutting corporate taxes; and creating favorable tax situations for the wealthy elderly to encourage them to stay.  He also urged the central government to give more discretionary power to local governments on taxation, regulation, and legislation.“Although the damage caused by this extreme event is much, much bigger than I can explain, Japan will come back with huge and extensive reforms that will be very good for the future,” Tamura said.Koda detailed the massive relief effort by the Japanese military and police and fire departments, showing slides of relief efforts amid scenes of devastation. “Since everything is gone, the only means to get to persons in the distressed area is by manpower,” he said.His voice cracked while describing small miracles: the baby found amid the rubble; the man found at sea on the roof of his house.  More than 19,000 people have been rescued. “There’s hope,” he said. He showed a slide of people patiently waiting for water with “no struggle, no fight,” a sign of the Japanese power of patience.Every possible measure is being taken to cool down the nuclear reactors damaged in the earthquake and tsunami, he said, describing progress as “two steps forward and 1.5 steps back.”“It’s clear we’re entering a new stage in how this disaster is evolving in Japan,” said Michael Reich, the Taro Takemi Professor of International Health Policy.In a disaster, Reich said, there is “the heroic stage of saving people, the stage where people are in shock, then moving into a stage of disillusionment as people get angry at what has happened to them, and a stage of reconstruction.”  Japan is now emerging from the first, emergency stage, he said.“A disaster is an opportunity to regain a sense of national purpose. But this is going to require some visionary leadership,” he said. “The question is who is it today in Japan who can do this?”To ensure that the historical record of the unfolding disaster is preserved, Andrew Gordon, the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, said Harvard has launched a digital archive project to preserve the Internet records of the event — such as Twitter feeds, web pages, and social media observations —  that might otherwise disappear.“We’re part of something that’s going to have an important impact for many years,” Gordon said. “We need to be attentive to preserving the record of what’s happening.”He requested that material be sent to daishinsai-archive@fas.harvard.edu.The panel was sponsored by the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Program on U.S.- Japan Relations, the Asia Center, and the Takemi Program in International Health.last_img read more

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Chinese Language Program showcases student talent in poetry competition

first_imgThe Chinese Poetry Recitation Competition, organized by the Chinese Language Program of Harvard’s Department of East Languages and Civilizations (EALC), began last Friday (11/9) at 3:30 when two student MCs, donning East Asian Studies t-shirts, performed a brief comedic skit and then instructed the audience to turn off its cellphones in Chinese. The event’s brochure promised the audience a chance to “explore the Chinese literary heritage” and this promise was certainly delivered, with a little bit of humor and a lot of dramatic flair.Dozens of members of the Harvard community flocked to the Yenching Auditorium at 2 Divinity Ave. to listen to students declaim poems and songs in Chinese, usually accompanied by glossy PowerPoint presentations with English translations and traditional music. The competition’s three judges, Jennifer Liu, Emily Huang, and David Wang, all EALC faculty, could be seen throughout the competition nodding with approval, as the 37 participants masterfully worked their way through such verses as “Regret for Peony Flowers” by Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi and Meng Haoran’s classic “Spring Dawn.”last_img read more

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Walk like a man

first_imgFor decades, scientists have recognized the upright posture exhibited by chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans as a key feature separating the “great apes” from other primates, but a host of questions about the evolution of that posture — particularly how and when it emerged — have long gone unanswered.For more than a century, the belief was that the posture, known as the orthograde body plan, evolved only once, as part of a suite of features, including broad torsos and mobile forelimbs, in an early ancestor of modern apes.But a fossilized hipbone of an ape called Sivapithecus is challenging that belief.The bone, about 6 inches long, is described in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) co-authored by Michèle Morgan, museum curator of osteology and paleoanthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and colleagues including Kristi Lewton, Erik Otárola-Castillo, John Barry, Jay Kelley, Lawrence Flynn, and David Pilbeam. The finding has raised a host of new questions about whether that upright body plan may have evolved multiple times.“We always thought if we found this body part, that it would show some of the features we find in the living great apes,” Morgan said. “To find something like this was surprising.”Where modern apes have large, broad chests, Sivapithecus is believed to have had a relatively narrow, monkey-like torso, but facial features that closely resemble modern orangutans. That mixture, showing some ape- and monkey-like features, has left researchers scratching their heads about the arrangement of the primate tree, and raises questions about how the stereotypically ape-like body plan evolved.“Today, all the living great apes — gorillas, orangutans, chimps — have very broad torsos … and people had commonly thought that this torso shape was shared among all the great apes, meaning it must have evolved in a common ancestor,” Morgan said.“We initially believed that Sivapithecus, with a narrow torso, was on the orangutan line, but if that is the case, then the great ape body shape would have had to evolve at least twice,” she added. “There are a lot of questions that this fossil raises, and we don’t have good answers for them yet. What we do know is that the evolution of the orthograde body plan in apes is not a simple story.”“What we do know is that the evolution of the orthograde body plan in apes is not a simple story,” noted Harvard’s Michèle Morgan, co-author of the paper. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhat Sivapithecus may ultimately demonstrate, said Flynn, assistant director of the American School of Prehistoric Research at the Peabody Museum, is that evolution doesn’t occur in a straight line, but happens as a mosaic across many species.“What this speaks to is a rich tree with a lot of branches,” Flynn said. “There are not just one or two branches that reach back into the Miocene (epoch). It’s a very rich and complex tree.“I think we sometimes take the easy route of trying to understand these fossils based on creatures we find today,” Flynn said. “But what we’re finding out time and again is these 10- or 12- or 15-million-year-old creatures were their own entities. Today is not always a very good model for the past.”To fully understand where Sivapithecus belongs in the evolutionary tree of apes, Flynn said, more fossils must be found, and additional research must be conducted.“It’s a very easy thing for people to ask, why do we need to go find more fossils; don’t we already know everything? The answer is no,” he said. “We’re only just beginning to understand what we don’t know. And as we learn more, there are more interesting and exciting questions we can ask, and hopefully we can answer.”last_img read more

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Clean Power Plan promises health benefits

first_img Read Full Story The health benefits federal officials predict would result from implementing President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan —which calls for reducing carbon emissions from power plants by nearly one-third of the 2005 level by 2030 —are realistic, according to Jonathan Buonocore, research associate, Center For Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and co-author of a study in the May 2015 issue of Nature Climate Change.In a Modern Healthcare article on August 4, 2015, Buonocore said the standards could boost health by slowing climate change, and thereby reduce the number of extreme storms like hurricanes and heat waves, which can lead to water and food shortages and deaths. Also, by boosting air quality, known as a “co-benefit,” there would be fewer premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, and stroke.“The nice thing about these co-benefits is you get them immediately,” Buonocore said in the article.The plan, if adopted, promises to help reduce other climate-related public health issues, such as higher ozone levels, which can worsen respiratory problems like asthma, he told Wired in an August 4, 2015 article. “Ozone is usually a problem in the summer,” Buonocore said. “With climate change you’re basically extending the ozone season.”Federal officials say the Clean Power Plan by 2030 would prevent 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, 1,700 heart attacks, and 300,000 missed days of school and work.last_img read more

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‘Tremendous resilience’ observed among war-affected children

first_imgChildren traumatized by war can still go on to lead normal lives, according to Theresa Betancourt, associate professor of child health and human rights and director of the research program on children and global adversity at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.In an interview with DW.com published Aug. 21, 2016, Betancourt said that adult family members play an important role in helping children endure the trauma of living in a war zone. “The children see and experience war through the experiences of their parents,” she said, and they suffer when they see their parents suffering. But the soothing comfort provided by a parent can help them manage frightening events.Positive relationships with caregivers and community members, as well as access to school, can help protect children from developing post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Betancourt.While some children act out after experiencing trauma, Betancourt said that the majority do not. “In fact, there is often tremendous resilience observed among war-affected children, with many able to overcome trauma and lead a normal life,” she said. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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Crimson Catering Collects for Cambridge Residents

first_imgEach year, as the hectic holiday season comes to a close, the team at Crimson Catering gathers to have a team celebration. Typically, that includes an ornament swap, with team members bringing a single decoration to exchange with colleagues.This year, notes Amy Goodrich, general manager for Crimson Catering, “Our team donated toys for the victims of the East Cambridge fire instead.” During the holiday lunch, almost 25 toys were collected and then delivered to Phillips Brooks House.“It was a great way for us to share our good fortune,” says Goodrich.last_img

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Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging releases discussion draft

first_imgThe Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging has released a discussion draft of the executive summary of their upcoming report.The Task Force was convened in Fall 2016 by President Faust to consider a set of important and interrelated questions designed to advance Harvard on the path from diversity to belonging. Over the past year, the Task Force has worked to consider issues of inclusion and belonging on campus through meetings with a variety of community groups, outreach workshops, a day-long retreat, and an afternoon of engagement.The discussion draft outlines the core elements of their proposed strategy through a set of “Shared Standards for Inclusive Excellence” to guide decision-making at all levels of the University.With the release of the discussion draft, the Task Force is soliciting feedback and input from members of the Harvard community. Comments and suggestions can be submitted via the Solution Space through November 30.To learn more about the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging and read the draft executive summary, visit https://inclusionandbelongingtaskforce.harvard.edu/comment-discussion-draft.last_img read more

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