Friday, July 22, 2016

Minds together: Shine bright like a diamond

It is known for those who are involved in the precious stones business and even those who are non-experts but diamonds lovers, that the more faces may diamond has the more expensive, glittering and brighter it would be. This fact is typically true not only in this context, but it is also pretty correct in human communication interaction and brain storming sessions. I always assume that as much as the only one face stone is cheap and dark, the one direction conversation and uni-voice dialogue is worthless and invaluable.  

Speak up, I want to hear you!

It is fine to remember "Read all about it" of Emile Sande, my favourite singer, saying: "You've got the words to change a nation but you're biting your tongue, you've spent a life time stuck in silence afraid you'll say something wrong, if no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song, So come on .. come on", every time we gather as SUSI scholars to have a new knowledge or visit any place I just think about these words again and again, discovering the the beauty of multiplicity and the improvement potentials that are reflected through conversations and listening to different voices from various perspectives.

Focus group discussion

When we talk together at the same point, each one of us add new face to the reality, exactly as adding new faces to the diamond to become brighter and more glittering. I have the same hope every time to listen to more and more voices, so that the ideas in my mind become clearer and brighter. I believe that allowing more voices to speak and giving them all equal opportunity to say what they want is the right way to make our life richer and human even if we are completely disagree with them. The unexpected irony is that we all discovered that areas of similarities, in almost everything, are wider than we thought previously. We become happy of the same things, and upset from same circumstances, laughing of the same joke, respecting same good values, and even tasting and liking same food! Eventually, I am absolutely convinced that respectfulness of difference, whatever it might be, is our only way to survive.  

Friends wherever you go 

The beauty of difference is in its ability to make those who are convinced that it is must to coexist are willing more than others to change themselves and make what they think are necessary adjustments in their behaviour or feelings, these changes would not be happened without this conviction.
 From Hong kong, sudan, Estonia, Romania, Ecuador, Uruguay, Tunisia, Egypt, Malta, Papua New Genie, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Mongolia, Nepal, the scholars built bridges of rapport and understanding to connect their hearts and minds and preserve the connections to keep friendship in all countries of the world and let the diamond shines bright.


Produced & Edited by:
 Fatma El-zahraa M. Elsayed

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Similarities and Differences


Travelling to a new place always fascinates me. I was more curious than excited to visit United States. I only had a vague idea and assumptions of how the land of dreams and opportunities would be in reality. However, I realized US is completely different than what I had assumed it to be.  As I looked down from the plane on the way to Columbus I observed not only skyscrapers but also towns full of greenery. The greenery in the town was similar to that of my village. But the difference was that it was well planned with spacious land and wide roads. Vehicles moved in the speed which I can't imagine in my country.

 I visited USA as guest in Ohio University from Nepal. When our plane landed at Columbus and I moved inside the airport, I searched for the person who was there to receive me. I saw Dr. Yusuf Kalyango, Director of SUSI program with a bright smile and I waived at him. He welcomed me with a warm handshake and an embrace.
Kalyango looked quite simple and humble .In Nepal seniors always maintain a distance with juniors and rarely treat them as friends. They always seek respect and attention. However, Kalyango’s friendly behavior impressed me a lot. I noticed immediately that his assistants were calling him just Dr.K or Yusuf. 
Later we boarded a van to Athens, Ohio and I observed that we were moving in the right lane of the road. In Nepal, vehicles move from the left.  
It was already dark when we reached Ohio University and I was exhausted after 15 hours of travel. After a quick meal Dr. Jatin gave us the key and guided us to the apartment. Before me other three people had already chosen their rooms and two of them were already asleep. When I entered the room Zak from Ghana welcomed me.
The next morning I met Daniel from Uruguay .We introduced each other and went for morning walk. Later after we came back, I got to know Patrich from Papuwa New Guinea. The four of us were from different continents of the world, having different skin colors, diverse language and culture and dissimilar religion but we shared the same apartment and attended the same program. We all represented our countries. We were of different age groups but our professions were similar.

Gradually we started to mingle and talk about our culture, society and even the personal matters. We discovered that our problems are similar, our pains are similar. We started cooking inside our apartment. The ingredients we used were almost similar but cooking methods were different, smell and taste of food were different bme. Zac is Muslim, Patrich and Daniel are Christian and I belong to Hindu religion but we all are humans with similar emotions. Somehow, we all are connected; we are different but also the same so we are together now.
 We are 19 scholars for the SUSI program, from different walks of life but we are friends here. We feel comfortable to call each other by our first names. We value each other's differences and assimilate with similarities.

I am grateful to SUSI for this wonderful life time experience.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

'Necessary Disclosures'

Posted by - 
Mausumi Bhattacharyya
Centre for Journalism &Mass Communication (CJMC)
Santiniketan, WB, India

Oh OHIO !! It has been an incredible journey so far. Have settled down in this beautiful county of Ohio, Athens. Extremely jet lagged but thoroughly excited, bit hesitant and tremendously curious  - explains my state of mind, when I met the SUSI Program Director. Professor Yusuf Kalyango himself at the Colombus-Ohio airport. The warm welcome by him and his wonderful team made me feel at home immediately. Three weeks have flown past till then. Going through an experience of life-time – spectacular campus, my amazing SUSI colleagues and exchange of ideas with them, visiting wonderful places, gathering loads of information and oh, last but not the least , my two friends with whom I am sharing the apartment – calm and quiet Amel from Sudan and cute, naughty Signe from Estonia, always bubbling with energy!
I thought I have seen the best, but wait, what I saw in the collection of the Alden Library of Ohio University, literally bowled me over. An amazing employee of  the library showed us the ‘Treasure House’ and explained in details regarding the library resources. Being the book-worm I am and a cricket buff ( like any other true Indian), I got glued to a ball like structure in the archive. A ball-shaped, purple-coloured, paper-made stuff, which was kept in a square glass box. The kind lady, in charge of same explained to me what it was and I got perplexed! It was a book!! Yes, a book!

'Necessary Disclosures' kept in a square glass box

The 'ball' book !!

The title is 'Necessary Disclosures'. Author is Sarah Peters. The book has been published by Women’s Studio Workshop in 2003. It's a 3.5*3.5*3.5 inches spherical book made with letterpress on cast cloth. It is attached with book cloth and hook-and-loop fastener and when it gets opened, one can see six nested pages of text. The book is about the relationship of our way of interpersonal interactions with the way we interact as an institution. Sarah Peters has raised questions in relation to our 'private' and 'public' behaviours and also showed connections between our private life with the global arena.

Nested pages of the 'wonder book'

‘Necessary Disclosures’ is a great example of creativity at its best! Both in terms of content as well as the design.

I am grateful to my SUSI journey for experiencing such a wonderful book! Waiting eagerly to share the info with my students and scholars back in India.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Say ‘SUSI’

Written and Edited by Rosette Leung
Hong Kong

Athens, OH – Have you ever been to Ghana? South Africa? Egypt? Mongolia? PNG? The SUSI program this year involves 18 scholars (and me) from countries all over the world. This perhaps is the first time for most scholars to meet people from such a multicultural background. In the Ohio University, ‘SUSI’ not only refers to The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) of Journalism and Media, but also symbolises a tiny community that is formed outside the 18 countries’ national boundaries.

The best choice of word for describing the SUSI program, perhaps, is globalisation. 18 scholars travelled from countries miles away to the US, and gratefully, sharing the same language – English. Introducing oneself looks easy, but it can be very difficult if you are asked to introduce yourself to people who come from countries you have never heard about.

Given lots of opportunities to introduce themselves, scholars quickly adapted to a new community called “SUSI”. Names such as Patrick, Daniel, Joanna, Kaman, Jorge and Marina are common and easy to be remembered, but there were names uniquely representing the culture of a country, such as Sofiene, Signe, Thapa, Batzor, Ashfara, Mausumi, Nahria and Fatma. These ‘uncommon’ names in the West became meaningful with their life stories and cultural background exemplified with the self-introductions among scholars.

SUSI scholars introduced themselves for the first time during orientation.(Photo courtesy of program assistants of SUSI)

Mikson Senong, scholar from the South Africa, with his inspector hat and badge from home country. (Photo courtesy of program assistants of SUSI)

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) on Journalism and Media is a summer institute funded by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University. Director of Institute of International Journalism Prof. Yusuf Kalyango, is the program director and Prof. Mary Rogus is the academic director of the program.

Scholars and professional journalists from 18 countries, namely: South Africa, Mongolia, Tunisia, Egypt, Hong Kong China, Romania, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Uruguay, Nepal, India, Estonia, Sudan, Russia and Melta travelled to the U.S. for participating in the six-week SUSI program from June to August. In addition to classes conducted in the Ohio University, these scholars travelled to Cleveland, Chillicothe, Amish Country, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington D.C.

SUSI scholars visited the Republican National Convention venue in Cleveland.

Lifelong learning is embraced in Hong Kong and many countries of the world during recent decades. One of the scholars, Mausumi Bhattacharya from India, said this is the first time for her to live and study with people from so many different cultural backgrounds.

One of the favourite activities the SUSI scholars enjoyed the most was EATING.

“I met people with multicultural background in a number of academic conferences before, but I have never given a chance to stay in the same place with them. SUSI is such a wonderful experience for me to interact with intelligent and high-status journalism scholars and professionals from all over the world," Bhattacharya said.

She added that many academics in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism have strong academic and research background, the SUSI program was definitely a bright start for her inter-scholar exchanges and understanding of the U.S. media system.

Tom Rosenstiel, co-author of The Elements of Journalism, lectured the SUSI scholars via Skype.

“Make it connect”, one of the mottos of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, has been apparently realized in the SUSI program. Two weeks have passed since the scholars first met, a true relationship between scholars and scholars, as well as scholars and academics of the Scripps School, has been vigorously built among the tiny SUSI community, and in this Schoonover Center for Communication.

Motto on the pillar of the E.W. Scripps School of Communication.

Postscript: “Say ‘SUSI’” was a calling by Prof. Mary Rogus for inviting scholars to smile during photo taking. She was excited to meet her ex-student Katy at the RNC venue.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Estonian with a small appetite

Produced & Edited by Signe Ivask
Tartu, Estonia

I have never had problems with eating. While growing up there was a law, that me and my brother needed to obey: not only eat your greens, but eat the other stuff as well. And there were not foods that I did not like. Really. And now, as a grown up, I have changed, there are so many foods that are not my cup of tea. Maybe the law was not that bad after all and maybe the freedom of choice has changed me to worse?

When talking about Estonian food, then it might seem really bland to a person who is used to lots of spices. We love salt and pepper. That is it and all.

The very first time I had Indian food was back in 2012, in England. My friend’s stepfather is indian, so he took us out on Christmas Eve to eat Indian food. It was their tradition. I agreed to join them, but warned everyone, that I do not take spicy and hot food well. The first experience was bad, my mouth was on fire, I swore I was done with testing other culture’s food. It was just too much to handle for this lover of bland taste.


It was after the first shopping tour when my roommate of SUSI2016 asked if she could cook us anything to eat. I was more than happy, because I prefer home cooking to every other food. Everything was going smoothly until Mausumi asked me to chop chilis. TWO of them. “You are a crazy lady!” “Oh you think we should add three?” THREE? I usually add a quarter of a chili to my food (IF ANY). Not two or three!

Probably some kind of voodoo seeds.
To be completely honest, then a huge amount of thoughts crossed my mind, and the thoughts consisted of me and the spicy food and me not eating it. With a brave heart and soul I chopped the chilis like a true champion, considering different strategies in my mind: how to avoid this food and if I manage to do so, what should I eat then?


I was wrong. So very wrong. And I am embarrassed of how wrong I was.

The first food - and every other ever since - that Mausumi made, was excellent. Absolutely perfect. There were hints of hot, but it was not overwhelming. And it was good, believe me, it was very good. It had spices, but they did not damage my stomach or mouth. What is more, she took my weirdness into account and did not add meat to the food. She is lovely. She is a wonderful cook.

Lentils and rice.
The first food was called khichudi, it consisted of rice and lentils and a few of indian spices. Seems such an easy food, but I cannot make it on my own, it would not taste the same. It tasted heavenly. I do not know how she did it. 

This was the beginning of our tradition. We… okay, Mausumi cooks every now and then. I missed her cooking while being on the road. We shop together, but she cooks and makes wonders happen in the kitchen. Amel chops the vegetables and I, well, I take pictures (see below).

Amel preparing a fresh salad.

I must confess that I have cheated my way out of cooking. But maybe this helps: I wash up the dishes. Maybe? Anyone?

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Very glad to contribute in this blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Journalism Academic Linkage Fosters Triangle Collaboration

By Kate Hiller
Ohio University has engaged in student academic and cultural exchange with Leipzig University for more than 20 years, and journalism school director, Professor Bob Stewart, is excited about the new collaborative academic exchange and linkage.
“I couldn’t be happier about our progress to date,” he said. “We’ve gotten faculty, graduate and undergrads involved, in Athens, Hong Kong and Leipzig, all in a very short period of time.”
The idea to add a university in Asia to the preexisting Ohio-Leipzig relationship is something that Stewart and Werner Süss, Honorary Professor of Communication Management at Leipzig University, had been toying around with for some time. The timing was good when lecturers from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) were selected asSUSI scholars to participate in the Study of the U.S. Institute on Journalism and Media, administered by Ohio University’s Institute for International Journalism, for two consecutive summers. The idea to engage HKBU with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism quickly transformed into a reality when SUSI 2014 scholar Bonnie Chiu approached the school to initiate some kind of collaboration.
Most recently, students from Ohio University, Leipzig University and Hong Kong Baptist University met in Hong Kong during the first week of March as part of the recently developed triangle partnership between the three universities. While in Hong Kong, students attended seminars and worked together to develop cross-cultural research project proposals in just four days. They spent most of the time at HKBUs Shaw Campus in Kowloon, and also visited Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
“Hong Kong is an amazing city, and I loved going as a representative of the Scripps school,” said Danielle Keeton-Olsen, a senior journalism major at Ohio University. “My visit strengthened my desire to study communications abroad, as well as to continue my relationship withHKBU and my friends in Hong Kong.”
Over the course of the past couple years, students and faculty members from OHIO and Leipzig University have had the opportunity to visit one another’s schools as part of study abroad programs. But the new triangle relationship with HKBU has introduced new engagement activities such as conferences and research workshops.
“Students and faculty all benefit form having meaningful interactions with colleagues from other parts of the world,” Stewart said. “Our students in Athens gain valuable perspectives and broader world views by engaging with their counterparts in Europe and Asia.”
While in Athens, students from both Leipzig and Hong Kong have participated in homestays with current students. Keeton-Olsen is one such host.
“I did not expect I’d have the chance to reunite with the friends I made while hosting HKBU students this soon,” she said. “It was also really cool to hear about their data visualization and research programs in Hong Kong.”
This mutually beneficial exchange is what makes this level of partnership flourish.
“It’s hard to predict where this leads,” Stewart said. “All I can say is that we never would have guessed back in the mid-1990s that wed still have a vibrant relationship with Leipzig University 20 years later. It continues to thrive because we both benefit from it. As long as everyone in the triangle benefits, the relationship will grow organically, taking a shape we cant even imagine today.”

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Christians Celebrating Christmas in Cambodia

By: Olivia Harlow
Produced & Edited by: Olivia Harlow 

At last Sunday’s annual Christmas-themed church service at the Phnom Penh Church of Christ, Christmas lights decorated the stage, teens reenacted the Bible’s Nativity scene, and a preacher dressed as Santa flung candy into the air.
The congregation was packed with hundreds of Cambodians and several expats. One of the attendants was 24-year-old Phally Ken.
Ms. Ken, who started attending church services in 2013 and was baptized this July, is one of many Cambodians who recently converted to Christianity and celebrated Christmas for the first time this year.
“This Sunday is the first time Christmas has meaning to me,” said Ms. Ken, adding that although she’s attended church for two years, this is her first “real” Christmas. “This year I feel it, I am thankful for it.”

Cambodians gathered after school at the Phnom Penh Church of Christ on Christmas at a party that included various games, dancing, and a massive Christmas feast. 

To celebrate, Ms. Ken—who currently works full-time as a hotel receptionist and part-time as an English teacher—made paper snowflakes with her students, bought herself champagne and chocolates, and attended multiple Bible studies this week with friends.
Additionally, on Christmas Day, she attended a party at church, with dancing, games, a huge feast and a gift exchange.
Ms. Ken said she used to be Buddhist, and that when she first started attending church, she was still unsure of her religious beliefs. She explained that because she comes from a family with “no love”, the compassion she found in the church helped her to feel whole.
After speaking with different pastors and studying the Bible more closely, Ms. Ken said that she became convicted.
Sothea Ket—unlike Ms. Ken, who no longer visits pagodas or practices Buddhism—said that although he too attends the Phnom Penh Church of Christ and considers himself Christian, he also still believes in Buddhism.
“Both Christianity and Buddhism are the same in some ways. It’s interesting. For me, it’s not picking which one is better. It’s whichever one helps me and gives good advice for my life,” he said, adding that he feels rejecting Buddhism altogether is ignoring his cultural roots. “These people who are pure Christian become Western. You know, Asian culture is Buddhist.”
Uong Vibol—former pastor and founder of the National Christian Churches Network Council of Cambodia—doesn’t religiously practice Buddhism, but agrees that it’s important to appreciate its cultural aspects.

Cambodians teens participated in a dance contest at the Phnom Penh Church of Christ's Christmas party. 

“I think it’s part of Cambodian culture. We are Christian, but still Cambodian,” he said, adding that he believes practicing in worship is much different than practicing culturally. “For me, as a learner and seeker, although Buddhism is not the true God, he is a good philosopher and a good teacher.”
In recent years this attitude towards Buddhism and Christianity in Cambodia has become much more accepted, yet according to Khon Dara—Deputy Director of Ministry of Cult and Religion—only about 2 percent of Cambodia’s population identity as Christian.
That said, Mr. Dara explained that very few churches—all within Phnom Penh city limits—existed in Cambodia in the 1990s, and today there are over 1,397 registered churches nationwide.
According to Mr. Vibol, the number of Christians has also increased since the 1990s, when only about .075 percent of Cambodians were Christian.
Mr. Vibol has been an active Christian for 30 years now and said that recently he’s personally witnessed about two or three people be baptized in his church community each month.
“More people open their heart and understanding today, especially young people,” he said, adding that he sees children and teens getting more involved in youth groups and Bible studies. “They come to understand Christianity, sharing the Gospel, and they still have a choice. They choose it.”
Even though the number of Cambodian Christian believers remains relatively small, their faith is strong.
“I am not broken in heart anymore,” said Ms. Ken, adding that she used to not know the meaning of happiness. “I was born again. God is so awesome. He can do everything.”