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Economist Glaeser’s edX course examines benefits, potential risks of increased urbanization

Economist Glaeser’s edX course examines benefits, potential risks of increased urbanization

February 14, 2018

After three decades studying cities, Harvard economist believes the worldwide spread of urbanization offers significant opportunities to elevate the human condition.

But in “CitiesX: The Past, Present and Future of Urban Life,” a HarvardX course that begins on Thursday, he warns that we need creative thinking to guard against the drawbacks of high-density living.

“Urbanization of the world is proceeding at an enormous rate. The United Nations tells us that we became a majority urban...

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Exhibit at Harvard Semitic Museum casts new light on ancient epics

Exhibit at Harvard Semitic Museum casts new light on ancient epics

February 14, 2018

In the earliest days of civilization, walls told stories. Spreading for miles on the distant and now ghostly palaces of Mesopotamia, bas-reliefs narrated epic tales of kings wielding power through war and ritual.

At the Harvard Semitic Museum, part of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, the writings on the wall are being read again.

From Stone to Silicone” — the only exhibit of its kind in North America, according...

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At conference on migration, panel debates human rights vs. state security

At conference on migration, panel debates human rights vs. state security

February 12, 2018

To some, it seems obvious that migrants are human beings forced to move, rather than amorphous threats against the state. But little about human beings is simple. On Friday, at the inaugural Mahindras Humanities Center conference on “Migration and the Humanities,” a panel of academics tackled different facets of the many population movements now crisscrossing the globe.

And no surprise: The experts raised more questions than answers as they discussed a complicated problem worsened by...

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Harvard names Lawrence S. Bacow as 29th president

Harvard names Lawrence S. Bacow as 29th president

February 11, 2018

Lawrence S. Bacow, one of the most experienced and respected leaders in American higher education, will become the 29th president of Harvard University on July 1.

Currently the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership, Bacow served with distinction for 10 years as President of Tufts University, where he was known for his dedication to expanding student opportunity, fostering innovation in education and research, enhancing collaboration across schools and disciplines, and...

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Forum marks publication of ‘Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy’

Forum marks publication of ‘Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy’

February 6, 2018

As China flexes its muscle as a global economic force, a fresh look at Eastern philosophical traditions in dialogue with Western ideas can shed light on dilemmas accompanying the country’s rise, according to scholars at a Harvard roundtable discussion Friday.

Speakers in the forum, at Tsai Auditorium, included Harvard philosopher Michael J. Sandel, whose books and lectures have earned him a robust following in China and across East Asia. The event was organized by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and moderated by the institute’s...

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Harvard makes climate pledge to end fossil fuel use

Harvard makes climate pledge to end fossil fuel use

February 6, 2018

A new Harvard University climate action plan, announced by Harvard President Drew Faust today, clears an ambitious path forward to shift campus operations further away from fossil fuels. The plan includes two significant science-based targets to reduce emissions dramatically: a long-term goal to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050, and a short-term one to be fossil-fuel-neutral by 2026.

The plan builds on Harvard’s...

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Show at the A.R.T. connects Nigerian women to #MeToo

January 29, 2018

In America, social change and cultural reckoning can be driven by the internet, as they have with the #MeToo movement.

In Nigeria, playwright Ifeoma Fafunwa hopes they can be driven from the stage.

Female empowerment and speaking out are the key themes in her “Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True,” playing at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) through Feb. 11.

...

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Expert examines complex relationship between two Koreas

January 17, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, may prove to be much more than a sporting event. The governments of North and South Korea have agreed to begin formal negotiations and military talks aimed at reducing tensions on the peninsula, while the North has announced its intention to send athletes to the Winter Games for the first time in eight years. World leaders are keeping a close watch on these developments, but whether this case proves to be a successful example of “sports diplomacy” remains to be seen.

Harvard...

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Professor becomes first responder on the U.S.-Mexico border

Professor becomes first responder on the U.S.-Mexico border

January 9, 2018

Ieva Jusionyte has always been drawn to border tensions. As a graduate student, she went right to the heart of the drug and human smuggling nexus of Puerto Iguazú, a town at the tri-border area of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, to research how the media reported on crime. While there, she developed a deep interest in the experiences of firefighters and rescue workers, and later, in the U.S., trained to become a certified emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, and wildland firefighter.

Most recently, Jusionyte...

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Harvard study illuminates botanical bias

Harvard study illuminates botanical bias

December 22, 2017

When botanists began collecting plant samples for herbaria more than a century ago, their goal was to catalog and understand the diversity of the natural world. These days scientists use the collections to understand the transformative effects of climate change.

The issue, says Barnabas Daru, is that the collections are a flawed fit for that use.

Daru, a postdoctoral fellow in organismic and evolutionary biology working in collaboration with Charles Davis, a professor...

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