Monday, February 23, 2015

Wave Week Moldova! You can support their work

Wave Week Moldova is a wonderful program that trains volunteers and inspires young people to become civically engaged in Moldova.

I have spoken at previous training sessions -- and have worked with Wave Week volunteers -- and I can tell you this is a great program.

I just made a contribution using this firstgiving page to support their work. Here is the link, if you want to help, too!


Wave Week Moldova page

Wave Week Moldova fundraising page

my previous blog posts about Wave Week Moldova
Speaking with the Wave Week volunteers in 2012

Betty Castor, Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board

Congrats to Betty Castor -- former President of the University of South Florida -- on being selected to be the Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board! 

You can read more about Betty Castor and this appointment in this article in the Tampa Bay Times

At the 2012 USF Fulbright Breakfast with President Genshaft, Carnegie Fellow from ULIM Larisa Patlis, and                      the Hon. Betty Castor

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fulbright Association Mid-Florida Chapter, visit with scholar from ULIM

There is a Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association that organizes events and activities for our visiting Fulbrighters to experience life and culture in our region -- and to get to know other Fulbrighters who are here.  I am sorry to say that my schedule often prevents me from attending these activities. 

However, I wanted to make a special effort to attend one of these events this year so that I would have the opportunity to visit with Svetlana, a Fulbrighter from ULIM now conducting research at USF.

I was delighted when the activities brought Fulbrighters to the Dali Museum (right next door to our beautiful USFSP waterfront campus) in January 2015.  Sadly, I was not able to get out of the office in time to visit the Dali Museum, which is a real treat (see Dali Museum website ), but I was able to get over to the Hangar restaurant to visit with Svetlana over dinner.

I hope we are able to see each other again before she returns to Chisinau!

with Svetlana, a Fulbrighter at USF this year, from ULIM, at the Hangar restaurant in St. Petersburg

USF Fulbright Breakfast 2014: ULIM scholar awarded USF Fulbright Medal

Each Fall, USF honors its Fulbright Scholars from USF and those who conduct research at USF from around the world.

I was delighted to meet a scholar from ULIM at this year's Fulbright Breakfast! 

Those of you who follow this blog know that I taught at ULIM, the Free University of Moldova, when I was in Chisinau on my Fulbright, and ULIM was our partner university and host for our USFSP-ULIM Joint Course (when my USF students traveled to Moldova for my study abroad course). And our collaboration continues!

Svetlana is not the first ULIM scholar to attend the breakfast.  My colleague Larisa joined me in 2012 when she was here at USF as a Carnegie Fellow.

Svetlana receiving her USF Fulbright Medal

With Svetlana from ULIM at the USF Fulbright Breakfast
(As I am trying to catch up on my Moldova blog posts, I am realizing that I did NOT (yet) post from last year's (2013) breakfast, at which I was a speaker....)

Intercultural Human Rights Law Review article published

My article, "The Rule of Law, Judicial Reform and the Protection of Human Rights in Moldova and Transnistria," was published in Vol. 9 (2014) of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review.

In the article I provide an overview of human rights violations in Transnistria, with an emphasis on the cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights.  The role of human rights NGOs (such as Promo-LEX), reform-minded civil society, and the influence of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova in the PMR are explored.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

2014 Moldovan Parliamentary Elections, polling location in Orlando, Florida

Those of you who follow this blog know that I was intimately involved with the 2014 mid-term elections here in Florida.

There were important elections for Moldova in November 2014 as well.  The parliamentary elections were expected to serve as a referendum on the voters' confidence in the governing coalition's pro-Western path towards closer association with the EU. Leading up to the election, polls showed a dead-heat between the pro-European liberal parties and the Moscow-oriented Socialist and Communist parties, with voters evenly split between continuing on the path towards integration with the EU or moving closer to Russia and the Eurasian Customs Union.

As with the gubernatorial election in Florida, voter turnout was expected to be the decisive factor in the election results in Moldova. Many Moldovans were (are) disillusioned and frustrated by the corruption scandals and were (are) still suffering economic setbacks. (Moldova has the unfortunate distinction of being labeled "the poorest country in Europe.")  There was also speculation as to how the vote of the Moldovan expat community would affect turnout and election results.  (See also "Moldova at a Crossroads" article)

Under Moldovan law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assists with setting up polling locations abroad where Moldovan expats can vote. Some 95 polling stations were arranged outside of RM.  There were 6 polling locations in the U.S., one of which was in Orlando, FL.

Peggy and I drove over so that we could observe the elections on Sunday, November 30th.  The polling station was at a Holiday Inn near Universal Studios.  (This is also a polling location for Orange County, so recently a polling location for the 2014 gubernatorial election in Florida.)

We saw Moldovans travel from all over Florida, and even some who made the trip from Atlanta, to vote in the parliamentary elections.  We enjoyed meeting with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the US and the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Moldova (based in Miami) as well as Moldovans living in Tampa Bay.

Alegeri: "Elections"

With the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the US and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova (based in Miami)

The ballot boxes

For more about the 2014 parliamentary elections, see the  IFES Guide to the 2014 Parliamentary Elections

For further analysis of the election results, see Hill: "Moldova's Woes make it Fair Game for Russia" article

While more seats were won by the pro-European parties in the November election, the difficult task of coalition-building and forming a new government remained.  It took nearly 2 months for a Speaker of the Parliament to be elected (Andrian Candu, on January 23) and, as of today (February 12), the Parliament rejected the government proposed by Prime Minister Iurie Leanca. Leanca said the vote "'raises questions about the functionality' of a landmark economic and political accord Moldova signed with the European Union in June. . .President Nicolae Timofti must now nominate a new candidate to try and form a government." (See Radio Free Europe article)

(See posts on this blog from August 2010 and from November 2010 for more about my time observing the constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections in Chisinau.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

bus stops

I recently came across this video about Christopher Herwig's project photographing Soviet bus stops:

Soviet Bus Stops video

I love it! I can't wait to see the book when it comes out in September.

I took many pics of bus stops when traveling around Moldova, like this one, on the road to Tipova;

(You can see the original blog post, here:  on the road to Tipova blog post )

Impressive examples of public art, in the middle of nowhere.