In what has been considered the most politically charged speech by a foreign official in years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear treaty deals with Iran before a joint session of Congress. In his speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared President Obama’s potential deal with the Iranians a “bad deal.” “This deal won’t be a farewell to arms,” Netanyahu says. “It would be farewell to arms control.” Currently, the Obama administration is attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran that would allow an international organization including Russia, France, China, Britain, and Germany to limit and inspect Iran’s nuclear power development in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. Netanyahu claimed the deal would only start “a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.” The prime minister would rather the United States break off any negotiations with Iran until the country “stops aggression against its neighbors,” “stops supporting terrorism around the world,” and “stops threatening the annihilation of [his] country, Israel.” According to the New York Times, Obama did not watch the speech and instead held a video conference with European leaders about Ukraine. Despite a bipartisan support for Israel, Netanyahu’s appeal to the United States forged a deeper rift between Republicans and Democrats. Conspicuously absent from the chamber were 53 Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, the leading House Democrat, claimed she was “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations” and “by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.” After reading a transcript of the speech, President Obama commented on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech claiming the leading Israeli official did not offer a plausible alternative to the growing threat of nuclear power in Iran. “The alternative that the prime minister offers is no deal, in which case Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they’re doing, and without constraint,” says Obama. Back home, the responses to the prime minister’s speech were of mixed feelings with Netanyahu’s chief rival for the prime minister position, Isaac Herzog, describing the speech as “a harsh blow to American-Israeli relations.”
April 21, 2015On March 2, 2015 the Mo Ibrahim Foundation officially awarded former Namibia president Hifikepunye Pohamba the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Ibrahim Prize is “the largest annually awarded prize in the world, consisting of $5 million over ten years and $200,000 per year for life thereafter.” The foundation maintains that the recipient of the Ibrahim Prize must be a democratically elected Executive Head of State of an African country, must have left peaceably left off office in the last three years, and must have “demonstrated exceptional leadership” among other qualifications. Hifikepunye Pohamba was one of the founding members of SWAPO, the lead party for Namibian independence from South Africa. He was jailed in 1962 for political activism against the South African government. Pohamba later became Namibia’s second president in 2004 and was re-elected to a second, five-year term in 2009. In 2015, Pohamba was peacefully succeeded by Hage Geingob. Salim Ahmed Salim, the Chair of the Prize Committee, says, “During the decade of Hifikepunye Pohamba’s presidency, Namibia’s reputation has been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.” Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, also commented on Pohamba’s accomplishments. “He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy.” Pohamba intends to use the prize money to fund the Hifikepunye Pohamba Foundation, a source of money to encourage underprivileged youth to pursue higher education. Pohamba is only the third leader to have received the prestigious award in the last seven years. The last recipient was Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires of Cape Verde in 2011.
March 30, 2015“I have done nothing productive today.” Has someone ever told you this with a sigh (or maybe a laugh)? Have you ever said it? Maybe it was a weekend, a sunny Saturday or a rainy Sunday when finishing up that essay kept getting shoved further and further down your list of things you wanted to do until it occupied the last possible spot. You then spent your day ticking off some of the items that had crawled their way to the top: Netflix, a nap, a trip down to the river with some friends. A few Facebook visits and long talks with your roommate later, you might look back over the day’s events and activities only to arrive at our opening statement: “I have done nothing productive today.” Call me optimistic, but I see the potential for productivity in just about every event and activity. It may be a different kind of productivity than we’re used to thinking about, but I believe it’s productivity just the same. That trip to the river? That talk with your roommate? There are few things in life are more fruitful than friendship or the chance to laugh. What about that trip to your Facebook feed? With the wide variety of articles and blogs shared, chances are you might have learned something besides who just got engaged. That Netflix you spent some quality time with? You’re taking in plot and character, empathizing and sympathizing with people you feel you know. And even if you’re not thinking too deeply about any of these elements—or if you end up transitioning from watching to sleeping—you’re still giving your mind a rest, something that some pretty smart people seem to think is vitally important. So the next time you feel that “confession” about to slip from your lips, think about holding it back—because there’s a good chance it might not be true.
March 16, 2015ASC recently announced they will be adding to new positions to the ASC Central Committee. In addition to the six positions already established, ASC is adding “Vice President of Commuter Life and “Vice President of Multicultural Life.” These positions have been long overdue according to Jake Vanier, the current president of ASC. “These positions are necessary because they will be representing groups on campus who have traditionally been underrepresented in ASC,” says Vanier. “These groups can tend to feel disconnected and we needed to address that.” Four commuter representatives will serve under the vice president of commuter life and two multicultural and two international representatives will serve under the vice president of multicultural life. Supposedly, these eight additional representatives will also vote on issues during regular representative meetings. Outside of their voting responsibilities, they will serve under the vice president of commuter life and the vice president of multicultural life, respectively. After much deliberation, the Central Committee has decided these positions will be decided through a hiring committee consisting of current Central Committee members, next year’s Central Committee members, and a couple of faculty advisors. “It was the longest conversation we had,” says Vanier of the debate between election and hiring for the inaugural year. “In the end, we wanted the people who filled these positions to be passionate and qualified.” After the 2015-2016 school year, the 10 new positions will be voted on by the students of GFU along with the other ASC positions. Vanier is confident these changes will be effective for a multitude of reasons. “I think the reason this is going to work is we are starting now. Also, we are working alongside the ASC Central Committee of next year. The new team is bringing the ideas, and the current team is bringing the experience.” Vanier also mentioned possible changes could include splitting Coffin and Edwards, Pennington and the suites, in order that the distinctive living areas may have better representation in ASC. In a separate conversation, ASC is considering even more changes to their decision making process. Possible alterations to ASC could include a greater allocation of power to the representatives by allowing them to take on voting responsibilities for fund proposals. The hope is these changes would allow the ASC Central Committee to engage in more advocacy for the students while also utilizing the role of the representatives.
March 11, 2015On Feb. 19, President Barack Obama delivered a speech addressing the heightened threat the Islamic State now poses to vulnerable Muslims worldwide. The speech was prompted by the elevated tensions in the Middle East following the execution of a Jordanian pilot and 21 Egyptian Christians. The Jordanian pilot Moath al-Zarqawi was being held hostage by the extremist group and a negotiation exchanging the al-Zarqawi for two ranking members of ISIS. When Jordan requested proof their pilot was still alive, ISIS sent a video of al-Zarqawi being burned alive. In response, Jordan executed the two prisoners and unleashed a fury of air raids on key ISIS military depots. Similarly, Egypt launched an offensive against a branch of ISIS in Libya following the release of a tape containing the grisly murder of 211 Egyptian Christians. These events, all occurring within the past month, have forced President Obama to implore the Muslim community to undertake the burden of counteracting the lure of Islamic extremism. “So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations,” Obama said during the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Muslim religious leaders everywhere have responded to Obama’s appeal but they have recently found neutralizing ISIS’ recruiting machine is a taller task than anyone imagined. Imam Magid, an imam, reported to the New York Times, “The recruiters wouldn’t leave [the boy] alone. They were on social media with him at all hours, they tweet him at night, first thing in the morning. If i talk to him for an hour, they undo him in two hours.” Many Muslims around the world have been swayed by the relentless assault. The New York Times reports approximately 1,000 French citizens have gone to Syria to fight alongside the Sunni extremists. Close to 150 Americans and 600 English citizens have also attempted to travel to the Middle East within the past year. As Muslim leaders continue to fight the extremist influence at home, the terror in the Middle East continues to afflict thousands of Arabs daily.
March 11, 2015Last Friday more than 200 volunteers from George Fox University and the community gathered at Newberg Christian Church with the sole purpose of brightening some very special individuals’ lives. Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, The Night to Shine event was a prom for men and women with special needs. Many of the GFU student volunteers were assigned a special needs “buddy” with whom they remained through the evening. It appeared all eighty of the guests had the time of their lives. Beginning five months ago with an email to Newberg Christian Church’s newly hired intern and GFU student, Katlyn Kronschnabl, the process involved countless hours of investment. Kronschnabl estimates about ten to twenty hours per week on her part alone. Although many of the volunteers served on an individual basis, the GFU lacrosse team also participated in lieu of practice that night. “Going to Night To Shine was no doubt worth missing practice,” said lacrosse player Mikaela Easterlin. “[We] know that building God’s Kingdom is of greater importance than making ourselves great through sports. I am so proud of what my teammates did that night, they overcame their discomforts so that others would get a night to shine.” Easterlin noted the karaoke bus as one of her and her buddy’s favorite parts. “That was so much fun- we didn’t care if we looked like fools because everyone went along with it,” she said. “My buddy even took the mic at one point and sang along. During that point in time, we were all on the same level.” Another volunteer, Jonathon Stein, also noted the joy of the evening, “The name of the event, Night To Shine, could not have been more fitting. The guests at the prom were beautiful people with special needs who shine in the light of their own joy every day, something that is evidenced by their ever-smiling faces, but this was a night where they were the center of attention, and allowed to shine brighter than ever before, with their joy radiating and reflecting off one another.” The joy experienced by many of the volunteers for the first time springs from the camaraderie of the group. According to volunteer Kaylee Velin, “I was surprised by how close knit the special needs community is. Julie [her buddy] kept moving from one friend to the next, talking with and encouraging them. They watch out for each other and … love each other.” Kronschnabl also noted that hearts were encouraged in both the participants and the volunteers. Stein couldn’t agree more, “I personally look forward to writing a letter to my buddy and sending a picture or two. It brought so much joy to my heart to see him so full of joy and life in everything we did. George shined like none other on this evening, just as he shines everyday.” For Easterlin, “It was really touching to go out on the dance floor and see the women that I share the field with dancing and not giving a hoot to what others might think of them, because they were doing what their buddy wanted.”
March 11, 2015The George Fox University Center for Peace and Justice has a new director, Rebecca Hernandez, who is is hoping to take the Center in a new direction while staying true to its history. Hernandez worked previously at Goshen College in Indiana. According to her, since Goshen College is a Mennonite school and has a lot in common with the Quaker values at GFU, the transition felt natural. “Every director does it their own way and has their own spin on it,” Hernandez said, explaining the new vision she brings to the Center. “I think Clint [Baldwin] was more externally-focused and I’m interested in being externally connected but really thinking about what it is at GFU, between our faculty and students and staff, that we can actually move towards action,” she said. Action is a key word for Hernandez. She wants students who are unfamiliar with the message of the Center to know that “peace and justice are very active today… We believe it’s very much a part of Christ’s call for us today.” Hernandez plans to continue that call to action through the Center’s two main events: the Woolman Peacemaking Forum and the Global Issues Forum. The Woolman Peacemaking Forum is named after John Woolman, an 18th century Quaker and abolitionist. The annual forum brings guest speakers to GFU who are passionate about effecting peace and justice in the world. The Global Issues Forum takes place in the fall and, according to Hernandez, “It’s really to think about what are the issues in the world that we’re facing, and then what are some ways that peace and justice through Christ can work in those places?” This forum also features guest lecturers from a variety of fields. Education is an important part of the Center. The Center hosts the curriculum for the Peace Studies minor, which gives students the ability to study peacemaking in a variety of different topics. Students can also apply for the Steinfeldt Peace Studies Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship participate in a project to demonstrate how they hope to promote peace in their field of study. However, Hernandez emphasizes that just learning about peace is not enough. “There’s a knowledge about peace that we can learn through study . . . And then there’s also action attached to that,” she said. Hernandez doesn’t have any concrete plans yet for the future of the Center. However, she has a clear vision of why peace matters, both for GFU students and for the world at large. “Peace is not just the absence of violence, but it is the presence of blessing,” she said. “What I feel like the future is about is both the study of and the action of Christ. . . in the world.”
March 11, 2015George Fox University’s Fox 360 system is in its second year running. Fox 360 is a program dedicated to improving the overall college experience for GFU students. It is designed to assist students in academics as well as make GFU a safer environment for all. “Our main objective is to help students to be able to participate and enjoy their time at George Fox,” said Rick Muthiah, associate director of Learning Support Services. “It is an early intervention approach. We are here to show students our support and let them know that someone is looking out for them,” he said. Fox 360 allows GFU faculty to log on and send alerts to the Fox 360 student support network. Depending on the type of alert given, the support network will react accordingly. This could include: emailing the student regarding the alert, asking a residential assistant to check in on the student, or alerting other professors about the concern. “I think it is a good protection for students as well as receiving additional academic help,” said GFU English professor Polly Peterson. “The program is designed in a way that it checks and balances itself out.” Peterson continued to say if one professor sends an alert about a failing student, the student’s other professors will receive a notification. If they say the student is failing in their class as well, it’s most likely a problem with the student. If the other professors say the student is doing great, then it is clear the problem resides elsewhere. Another major factor to Fox 360 is student access. Students are also able to log on and send alerts regarding another GFU student if they feel a member of the student body is having a hard time whether it be in the classroom or elsewhere. “I think this program sounds like it could really benefit the students of GFU. This is one of the perks of attending a smaller university. The faculty cares for the students on a deeper level,” said junior Zach Mode. “However, I do not think that other students should have the ability to report an alert. They shouldn’t be given the authority to decide if someone needs additional help.” To learn more about Fox 360 or to send an alert visit http://www.fox360.georgefox.edu.
March 10, 2015On Jan. 20 George Fox University hired Kayin Griffith as the new Director of Housing. Griffith took over the position from Keith Schneider, he had held the position for three years prior. The Director of Housing has several responsibilities, as described by Griffith: “I figure out who needs to live on campus and place those people into campus housing based upon the information we know about them,” said Griffith. “Then as changes and accommodations come up we work with the puzzle of housing to figure out new arrangements to best fit students needs.” The Director of Housing plays an important role in making sure that the process students go through in order to live on campus, goes as smoothly as possible. Griffith is uniquely qualified for this position because she has already worked at GFU for seven years in the office of Spiritual Life Inclusion and Student Leadership (SPIL). This gives her insight into how the culture of GFU works and shows she will be invaluable to her position. “I stepped down from the position of assistant director of Spiritual Life Inclusion and Student Leadership last February,” said Griffith. In her year away from the GFU community, Griffith went on to make a positive difference in the world. “[When] I transitioned out of SPIL a year ago, I began working at Word Made Flesh (WMF). WMF is a global non-profit that works with and among the world’s most vulnerable,” Griffith said. “I’ve been the Director of Development and Advocacy there. It is bittersweet for me to transition out of that community.” Despite this vocational change being bittersweet, there are some aspects that Griffith is looking forward to. Griffith lives in Newberg so instead of having an hour long commute to southeast Portland, and she is glad that she won’t have to make that drive anymore. Griffith is also excited to explore her new role as director and to help make any improvements that she can. “My first goal is to understand and do well with the simple ins and out of this role, there are a lot of technical responsibilities.” Griffith states, “My hope is that as I develop in this role, I can help streamline processes to make the housing process and living accommodations even better for students.”
February 26, 2015Last week the Board Game Club, a recent addition to George Fox University’s official clubs, met for the first time. Gabe Louthan, president of the club, and Scotty Strickland, vice-president, commented on its success. “Game Night’s first official Wednesday night meeting in the Bruins Den went exceptionally well, with a turn out of around twenty people,” said Louthan. Many lingered on after the official event was over and the club officers have received plenty of positive feedback. With an emphasis on strategy games the club seeks, “to learn new games and relax from the stress of school. Even if it is only for an hour and a half on Wednesday nights, our goal is to have some healthy competition.” In the grander scheme of things, Louthan wants to see, “a sustainable club that is about the people more than the games. We want to make a lasting impact.” Games played include: Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Love Letters. In addition, the top-ranked Terra Mystica and Power Grid are on order. “The future of this club is looking up and exciting,” Louthan said.
February 25, 2015On Thursday, five finalists from George Fox University will be going to Nike’s campus to participate in an event called Training Day. These five students are in the final round of an application process for a summer internship position with Nike’s North American Customer Service Logistics office in Hillsboro, Ore. For this particular internship, Nike is looking for students who are interested in operations, data analytics, and supply chain management careers who also have a strong customer service aptitude, as they will be interfacing with Nike’s U.S. sales team and national accounts. On Thursday the GFU finalists will meet with the high level executives at Nike for panel interviews, will be given the opportunity to tour the Nike campus, and will also be given the opportunity to visit the Nike Employee Store. “[If selected,] I would be working with a retailer, [for instance,] Dick’s sporting goods, as [Nike’s] account representative to ensure that shipments come in on time,” said JJ Switzer, one of the five finalists. This internship is very selective as only three or four students in the entire state will make the final cut. If selected, interns will participate in a ten to twelve week program, working for pay, forty hours a week during this upcoming summer. The application process for this internship began a few weeks ago. This opportunity was advertised on the Daily Bruin and an informational meeting was put on by the IDEA center. Sixty students attended this meeting. Through a weeding out process, the number of students interested was brought down to eighteen. Applicants were then asked to attend LinkedIn sessions, both 101 and 202, to make sure that they had “optimized their profiles and the Nike reps would be able to see their qualifications, degree pathways and get a feel for the student’s areas of interest,” said Deb Mumm-Hill, director of Student Success. Eleven managers from Nike came to Newberg on Feb. 5 to begin the interview process. They interviewed all eighteen applicants and provided a networking time afterwards. From the eighteen students who interviewed on campus, five were selected. The IDEA center worked very hard to make sure that each applicant was fully prepared for their interview. Mumm-Hill stated: “The entire process took close to 90 hours of the IDEA Center’s staff time to fully prepare each of the students, as well as [countless] hours [of preparation] on the the students side.” “The IDEA center provided mock interviews, resume reviews, and other forms of coaching throughout the pre-interview process. This was immensely helpful as I felt prepared and ready for my interview,” Switzer recalls. All of that hard work and extra effort were not in vain. “The managers from Nike all commented on how very well prepared our students were compared to other campuses they recruit from. They informed our office that they had a really hard time getting to the final five as they were very impressed with twelve [of our applicants],” said Mumm-Hill. The skills learned through this Nike application process will help students to be better prepared when then apply for other internships and jobs in the future. “I feel we have wonderful students here at Fox and all they need to wow the world is to take the time to prepare themselves to be presented to the world of work,” said Mumm-Hill. “It’s just like training for a marathon, you have to create a strategic plan, put in the time and effort to come out successful on race day. Ninety percent of it is the student taking initiative and putting in the effort, like the Nike motto says — ‘Just Do It’!”