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Denebola » Jenny Wong http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Native Berliner helps make Newton South Prague program in Central Europe a success http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/native-berliner-helps-make-newton-south-prague-program-in-central-europe-a-success/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/native-berliner-helps-make-newton-south-prague-program-in-central-europe-a-success/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 07:01:14 +0000 Jenny Wong http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4902 Francesa “Franzi Helms of Berlin Germany, high school newspaper enthusiast and Bremen University bound student, is just one of the many people who graciously volunteered their knowledge of Europe and their time to help make this year’s annual Prague program (since 1990) a success.
Helms was a member of her high school’s newspaper magazine since before her freshman year through her senior year, and she eventually held the position of Editor in Chief.
Her commitment to the newspaper was a serious one and her efforts rewarded, as her paper won the prize for the best newspaper in Berlin twice during her time on board.
She most enjoyed writing a column on cinema because she is interested in film, and this interest eventually landed her an interview with Andreas Dresen, a highly successful German filmmaker, who has made 31 films including Summer in Berlin (2005) and Grill Point (2002).
Helms marks this interview as one of the highlights of her journalism career to date, and remarked on the extensive amount of preparation she did for this particular meeting; “I watched many of his films and read books about him¦he was surprised by how much I knew she said.
Another highlight of her high school journalism career occurred last year, when she was invited to the studio of the Berlin TV station RBB Abendschau, the evening show.
Here she spoke about a wide range of topics, from the success of her school’s newspaper to her generation, which has been dubbed “the party generation.
Not least, Helms recalled a trip she won as a journalism assignment to Beijing, China, in 2008 to cover the Paralympics. She and a team of journalists travelled to China for ten days to report on the varied athletic events as well as the wide-ranging Chinese culture they experienced during their time there.
Helms was selected for this particular trip because of her interest as well as her strong language abilities; she has studied several languages at her school, including English, Chinese, French, and Latin.
Helms said that all these experiences were both challenging and enjoyable, and that her favorite aspect of journalism was that “[she] could go up to people [she] normally wouldn’t have been able to talk to and then ask them questions.
Helms’ involvement with Newton South’s Central European Prague program began more than a year ago when she and several colleagues met with Mr. Rinaldi and Mr. White at her gymnasium or high school in February to match interests.
That was February, then in April they organized a Berlin group to show the Newton South students around their city.
The Prague Spring teachers emailed the program’s chief interests in Berlin and the volunteers backgrounded some of the attractions so they would be involved with the process when South students arrived. Helms served to focus communication, as she was the correspondent who was initially contacted by South’s teachers, met with them, and continued all email exchanges to work out the on-the-ground details of the three days of South’s Berlin stay.
In addition to her role as a correspondent and coordinator, Helms also served as an escort and commentor.
Her teachers had added information for the many Holocaust- related sites for South students to see, and Helms was invaluable finding train stations and working out train times for sites as varied as the Brandenburg Tor (Gate) or the Memorial to the Destruction of the European Jews.
Helms said she enjoyed walking around with the students because she appreciated “the conversations [she] had with the students and seeing how interested and prepared they were for German issues and German history.
Helms found herself experiencing something new in Berlin as a consequence of her association with Prague Spring. She visited the infamous 1936 Nazi Olympic stadium (now home to Berlin’s international soccer team) for the first, and said although she knew it was an important place she “had never seen it before because¦[she's] not too much of a sports person.
While Helms says it is unlikely that she will be participating in the Prague program in 2011 since she is no longer affiliated with her Berlin high school and will be out of Berlin at Bremen University, she says that she enjoyed “meeting people from different parts of the world; knew she could “learn something from this experience; and hopes to keep in touch not only with South’s teachers but the students she met.

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UK Foreign Minister Lectures at MIT http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/uk-foreign-minister-lectures-at-mit/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/uk-foreign-minister-lectures-at-mit/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:17:46 +0000 Jenny Wong http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3914 On Wednesday March 10, David Miliband, the UK Foreign Minister, visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology delivering “The War in Afghanistan: How to end it, MIT’s annual Karl Taylor Compton Lecture.

Miliband was a Newton student (Bigelow Junior High, 1977-1978), and has kept his connection with Newton teachers and Denebola.

This series was created to provide the MIT community direct contact “with people who have contributed much to modern thought on important current events. In recent years scientist Steven Chu, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and the late Edward M. Kennedy have all contributed to this series.

David Miliband is currently the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, a position he has held since June 2007. Miliband earned an MA in political science at MIT in 1990,

“The core of my argument is simple, Miliband said in his Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) blog on March 10. “Only politics will end the War in Afghanistan. The immense effort of [the] UK, ISAF and Afghan troops is vital¦[but] the key is a genuine political settlement.

Miliband cited other prominent political figures to back up his argument. “As President Obama put it, ‘Ëœwe are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops.’ Or as Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said, we need ‘Ëœnot just a military push¦ but a political push’ he said.

Miliband specified that a political settlement would include three things in particular.

First and foremost is “the reintegration into Afghan society of low-level insurgents [who are] prepared to lay down their arms and accept the writ of the government.

In his presentation, Miliband stressed that insurgency must be reduced in order for the Afghan authorities to govern effectively in the long run.

He discussed a program of reintegration for these insurgents, which “the UN defines as ‘Ëœthe process by which ex-combatants acquire civilian status and gain sustainable employment and income.’

Miliband explained that this program would work because increased military pressure would force insurgents to reconsider their loyalties. Also, “a serious alternative future for the insurgents, which would include both employment and protection from their former allies would allow a desirably low level of insurgency to be sustained.

Second, his plan for political settlement includes “political engagement with those disaffected by the current settlement, but [who are] prepared to renounce violence, split from Al Qaeda and accept the constitutional framework. While Miliband admitted that some members of Al Qaeda cannot be reconciled with, he argued this is not the case for the majority of the insurgents.

Third, Miliband stated that “a wider regional political settlement that sees all [of] Afghanistan’s neighbors and near neighbors supportive of an independent Afghan state is necessary. After discussing the importance of a new internal political settlement, he stressed the significance of a new external one as well.

Furthermore, Miliband identified two facts that need to be made known to these neighboring countries in order for progress to be made: the first is that “no country in the region, let alone the international community, will again allow Afghanistan to be dominated, and the second is that “the status quo in Afghanistan is damaging to all.

These two facts that will “provide the basis of a shared interest around which the countries of the region can coalesce.

Towards the end of Miliband’s presentation, he shared his vision of Afghanistan’s future in two to five years time. “It is realistic to aspire to see a country on an upward trajectory, still poor but with a just peace, with democracy and inclusive politics bedding down at all levels and with incomes growing, he said.

“The urban population should have access to electricity 24/7¦more children – and in particular more girls – will be going to schools. Most grass roots insurgents¦should be resettled in their villages with at least some of the insurgent leaders reconciling into the legitimate political process. Communities will be increasingly able to rely on the Afghan National Security¦and above all, Al Qaeda will be kept out.

Miliband concluded that his vision “depends on sacrifice and money, but¦is only feaible if politics comes to the fore, [and that] only then will the War in Afghanistan come to an end.

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