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    President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

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    Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

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    Women's Volleyball's Sarah Farnum named Setter of the Week by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC)

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For the 14th year in a row, Norwich University has earned a $20,000 grant from the Olmsted Foundation to support the Peace and War Center’s Overseas Cultural Immersion Trip to Israel for students to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand.

The grant allows seven Norwich students who are on a commissioning track as active duty officers in the United States military to travel abroad to speak to the people and visit the places in person who comprise a relevant international conflict, free of any charge to the student.

“Thanks to the Olmsted Foundation’s focus on internationalizing American military officers, this grant allows Norwich’s future leaders an immeasurable international experience at no cost to the student,” Peace and War Center Director Travis Morris said. “This experience transforms students, tests their leadership skills through task assignments, and deepens greatly their understanding of these complex conflicts. This experience ultimately makes them smarter and more experienced military officers.”

This is the fourteenth year Norwich has received such a grant from the Olmsted Foundation. Since 2005, approximately 60 students have benefitted from this grant and have travelled to: Tanzania, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Croatia, Senegal, El Salvador, Chile, Turkey, Georgia and Israel.

New this year, two additional students not supported by the Olmsted grant will also participate to diversify the group. The Peace and War Center will choose and support a cadet planning to pursue an officer post with the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Coast Guard. An added layer of internationalization will complement the group through the participation of a cadet from and supported by the Royal Military College of Saint-Jean in Montreal. Peace and War Center students will travel up to Montreal to interview candidates for that position, which will fill the role as the Palestinian perspective contact.

Other student roles include team leader; communication officer; logistics officer; team analyst responsible for the out-report; travel coordinator; budget officer; Israeli perspective; and international perspective.

The Olmsted Foundation provides financial support to the three Service Academies and four of the Senior Military Colleges for these short-term immersion trips, which often provide the undergraduates with their first exposure to a foreign culture.

“We developed skills that will help us sort through floods of information and perspectives to form professional and culturally aware analyses, a skill that will be highly valuable in our futures as officers,” Cadet Elizabeth Gregory said of the 2017 Israel trip.

Since 1959, the Olmsted Foundation’s Scholar Program has challenged young military officers to learn a foreign language and pursue graduate studies in that language at a foreign university. The Olmsted Foundation was created through an endowment from Gen. George Olmsted, an Army major general who served with distinction in World War II and went on to become a philanthropist and a successful businessman in the insurance and banking industries.

"I'm interested in finding out what it is to be human as partially defined by the ways in which we are aware of the world around us."

BY SEAN MARKEY | NU Office of Communications

February 6, 2018

Associate Professor of Philosophy Brian Glenney mixes street cred with academic chops. The skater and graffiti artist holds graduate degrees from St. Andrews and USC and has spoken about his work at Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford. At Norwich, Glenney teaches courses on ethics and philosophy and has received research funding from the Vermont Genetics Network. Below, Glenney shares the inspiration behind his teaching and research:

1. Why do you teach?

If I'm honest, I teach because that's how I learn. I'm not [even] sure if I'm the one doing the teaching in the classroom. I'll present a set of ideas and arguments from assigned readings of my choice. (This is one common definition of "teaching.") But during my presentations, my brilliant students launch into reflective, open, and honest criticisms that upend these tidy ways of thinking. It forces us all to work through these ideas with new and fresh thoughts. Thanks students!

2. What drives your passion for your field?

I find humans to be quite strange. We can act in ways that are contrary to our beliefs. We can see, and in fact enjoy, looking at sensory illusions that do not match up with reality. And though we are social beings, we can have very anti-social behaviors. Trying to both resolve and sometimes provoke these human oddities drives my study of human nature. I also find it strange how interested I am by these strange human capacities.

3. What does your scholarship explore and what do you hope to answer?

I study how we perceive the world around us both as sensory and social beings. I'm interested in finding out what it is to be human as partially defined by the ways in which we are aware of the world around us. Awareness that is mitigated by our own sensory modalities, like eyes and ears, and the symbols and terms we use to conceive of others, like the "wheelchair" symbol, and the social pressures we experience amongst our peer groups, such as skateboard and graffiti subcultures. On this later point, I just began a project with several colleagues from UVM Medical school to investigate why skateboarders refuse to wear helmets (including myself) while also acknowledging the real possibility of permanent traumatic brain injury.

Read more about Brian Glenney in "Norwich Labs: The Future Lab"

Faculty and students sitting around a coffee table conversing

For the fourteenth year in a row, Norwich University has earned a $20,000 grant from the Olmsted Foundation to support the Peace and War Center’s Overseas Cultural Immersion Trip to Israel for students to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand.

The grant allows seven Norwich students who are on a commissioning track as active duty officers in the United States military to travel abroad to speak to the people and visit the places in person who comprise a relevant international conflict, free of any charge to the student.

“Thanks to the Olmsted Foundation’s focus on internationalizing American military officers, this grant allows Norwich’s future leaders an immeasurable international experience at no cost to the student,” Peace and War Center Director Travis Morris said. “This experience transforms students, tests their leadership skills through task assignments, and deepens greatly their understanding of these complex conflicts. This experience ultimately makes them smarter and more experienced military officers.”

This is the fourteenth year Norwich has received such a grant from the Olmsted Foundation. Since 2005, approximately 60 students have benefitted from this grant and have travelled to: Tanzania, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Croatia, Senegal, El Salvador, Chile, Turkey, Georgia and Israel.

New this year, two additional students not supported by the Olmsted grant will also participate to diversify the group. The Peace and War Center will choose and support a cadet planning to pursue an officer post with the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Coast Guard. An added layer of internationalization will complement the group through the participation of a cadet from and supported by the Royal Military College of Saint-Jean in Montreal. Peace and War Center students will travel up to Montreal to interview candidates for that position, which will fill the role as the Palestinian perspective contact. Other student roles include: team leader; communication officer; logistics officer; team analyst responsible for the out-report; travel coordinator; budget officer; Israeli perspective; and international perspective.

The Olmsted Foundation provides financial support to the three Service Academies and four of the Senior Military Colleges for these short-term immersion trips, which often provide the undergraduates with their first exposure to a foreign culture.

“We developed skills that will help us sort through floods of information and perspectives to form professional and culturally aware analyses, a skill that will be highly valuable in our futures as officers,” Cadet Elizabeth Gregory said of the 2017 trip to Israel.

Since 1959, the Olmsted Foundation’s Scholar Program has challenged young military officers to learn a foreign language and pursue graduate studies in that language at a foreign university. The Olmsted Foundation was created through an endowment from Gen. George Olmsted, an Army major general who served with distinction in World War II and went on to become a philanthropist and a successful businessman in the insurance and banking industries.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). 

Norwich will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

Media Contact:
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Photo: Ironman Mr. Potatohead action figure, oatmeal, USA Cycling sticker, yellow backpack on office table.

What thank you cards, “Avengers” Mr. Potato Head action figures, and a bowl of oatmeal reveal about NU’s athletic training education program director.

Professor Greg Jancaitis has grit bona fides to spare. A former competitive mountain bike racer, he entered his first 24-hour endurance race his junior year in college — and won. He continued to compete during graduate school, often winning and never failing to finish a race. Some of the appeal of ultraracing lies in the mental component, he says. “That determination, you know: I don’t care what’s going on, I’m not giving up.”

Jancaitis, who directs the athletic training education program at Norwich, brings similar dedication to the classroom, not to mention his scholarship. For his doctorate, he conducted a data analysis of injuries that occur at competitive cycling events. He shares the backstory on nine objects found in his office in Tompkins Hall.

1. Mr. Potato Head “Avengers” Collection: A gift from his wife, who told him his office needed “stuff for people to … nervously fiddle with.” The Avengers theme was a nod to department personalities at the time.

2. “Ironman” Potato Head: Jancaitis won the first 24-hour mountain bike race he ever entered. Black Sabbath’s heavy metal tribute to “Iron Man,” the Marvel Comics character, played when he stood on the podium. He soon adopted Iron Man as his personal mascot.

3. UVA diploma: Jancaitis earned his master’s degree from the University of Virginia and is in the final stages of completing his Doctor of Athletic Training.

4. Oatmeal: “Normally I get to enjoy it at home,” says Jancaitis, whose son recently turned one. “But when you’re packing up the toddler and shipping out the door late, you say, ‘OK, I’ll finish that at work.’”

5. USA Cycling sticker: A souvenir from a 2016 USA Cycling conference in Colorado Springs. It was there that Jancaitis learned the organization had eight years of data on the injuries occurring at USA Cycling sanctioned races. “I foolishly raised my hand and (said), well, if you need someone to look at the data, I’m the doctoral student that can do that for you.”

6. Dog River rock: Jancaitis completed his first Dog River Run in 2014. He says he decided not to be picky when grabbing the symbolic souvenir to carry to the finish. “In the end, I kind of got a cool-looking rock.”

7. Commuter pack: The three-season bike commuter pumps over the hills between his home in Barre and Northfield, Vermont, in about an hour. “The downhills are really fast.” Fatherhood and winter ice complicate his schedule.

8. Candy bowl: “It’s partly getting rid of my Halloween candy” but also a nice to have a welcoming treat to offer students.

9. Thank you cards: A collection of a half dozen thank you cards sent by former students expressing gratitude to Jancaitis ranging from his help with a class to inspiring a life-altering career choice. “Those are my reminders of why I’m really here.”

The author, journalist and former Al Qaeda hostage speaks with Norwich professors Sean Prentiss and Travis Morris about Al Qaeda, U.S. policy, and why the region's children will determine our safety.

BY SEAN MARKEY | NU Office of Communications

October 25, 2017

American journalist and author Theo Padnos was captured by Al Qaeda forces in Syria in 2012. A fluent Arabic speaker, he was tortured and imprisoned for two years. Following his unlikely release, Padnos recounted his experience for the New York Times Sunday Magazine and, later, in the 2016 documentary, Theo Who Lived.

Last month, the Paris-based writer visited the Norwich campus to kick off the 2017-18 Norwich University Writers Series. His appearance was cosponsored by the Department of English and the Peace and War Center (PAWC) at Norwich University. Between classroom visits and a public lecture, Padnos sat down with author and Associate Professor of English Sean Prentiss and PAWC director and terrorism scholar Prof. Travis Morris to share his insights and experience. Excerpts:

MORRIS: In class, you talked about how (Middle East) policy is affecting the view of America and how people interact with us.

PADNOS: I think the thing that (students) might not be getting from the general news media is that we have been on the wrong side of this war, at least in Syria. We have been kind of supporting the rebels. The rebels, they're not all that friendly. They can look like moderate guys. But inside, they're not that moderate. Some of the stuff I've been writing lately has been about (the fact that) after four years of bombing, even if a guy wants to be a moderate, he's not that moderate anymore. He wants revenge. His wife has been killed-and his kids. Or he's seen his neighbor's kids killed.

Do you have any insight into how to stop extremists in the region?

PADNOS: We need to persuade the civilian population from which the extremist groups draw their soldiers--the children. At the moment, they are indoctrinating and focused and just completely prepared. They have a solid, effective strategy for bringing eight-year-olds into the psychology of the Islamic State. It's their hearts and minds. I often felt all the (adults) are gone. We're not getting those people back. It's a competition for the next generation.

They know this too. They would often take me out of my cell and say … "We're doing this for little Ahmed here. He's six. See him with his little Kalashnikov over there? He's gonna build the next Islamic State. He'll be our future." So in a way we need to consider that this is a long-term engagement for us. If we wanna be safe, we cannot fund the rebels. We cannot arm the rebels. Because the arms that we send to the rebels end up in Ahmed's hands in 20 minutes.

PRENTISS: You see how we treat Islam here in America, and we don't always value or respect it.

PADNOS: Among all the Western countries that have significant Muslim populations, we have the least friction between that minority and the rest. Anyone who's not a Muslim can go into almost any mosque in this country, he's gonna be welcomed. That's not the case in France. That's not the case in England, even:

I think in general we do pretty well in the U.S. But they don't like us because of this drone thing. That's what they're most angry about-the drone attacks on weddings in Afghanistan. one drone attack can ruin all the good will that we accomplished by basically having relatively good relationships between the Muslim minority here and the wider population. However, we kill a … bride over there in Afghanistan, it screws up the PR.

MORRIS: What do you think about the rules of engagement for fighting extremists in Syria?

PADNOS: When I left my captors, al-Qaeda in Syria, the U.S. government was focused on a small number of the commanders within al-Qaeda in Syria who allegedly served in Afghanistan and had been with bin Laden. The U.S. government declared, "These are high value targets." I met some of these guys, and they didn't have enough money to put gas in their cars. They would have to come to the contemporary commanders, the guys with the big stacks of cash. "Hi, can we like drive to this town?" You know? They were like stars from yesteryear. Without cash, they had to ask the commanders on the ground, who had the money, for authority to do anything. The U.S. should have been targeting these guys with the cash. Instead they were targeting these nobodies.

What you're saying sounds so subtle and nuanced. That level of detail and knowledge seems totally absent from our political discourse here and what's even discussed in the news.

PADNOS: Our media has done a very poor job of communicating. The situation, for instance, in Syria now is that something like 16-17 million people live under the authority of a functioning government. It's not a democratic government. It's not like Switzerland. You cannot have a gay rights parade down the center of the avenue. They cannot start a newspaper and criticize the president. However, their universities function, the hospitals function-with 16 million people living under this regime. Now there's 2, maybe 3 million living under the rebels.

We as a government were trying to intervene on behalf of the 2 million to overturn the government of the 16 million. That just requires so much work. Even if all the 2 million guys were like angels and all the 16 million guys were really bad, it's a lot of heavy lifting. The easiest way to solve it, if you just want peace, would be to intervene on the behalf of the 16 million against the 2 million. Because it's easier to subdue 2 million than 16. Our media never reported to us the actual numbers involved. I think that most of the officials involved probably didn't realize that there's such a discrepancy.

Last year at this time there was a lot of discussion about Aleppo. Half of Aleppo was in the hands of the government. There was a lot of discussion in newspapers, "What if the rebel half falls? The government will come in and kill all the citizens, civilians here." The rebel half did fall. Most of the civilians ran away to the government side, and they weren't persecuted. Maybe they weren't given library cards. If you have a Kalashnikov in your basement, the government will put you in jail many years for this. That's what the government does, and they might torture you too. But if you play by their rules-no guns-they're basically going to leave you alone.

PRENTISS: The one thing I'm hearing is that if you want peace, it's not always a simple process.

PADNOS: When I was looking at these guys that were my captors, I was thinking, "I really don't care if you kill each other, if you blow yourself up. But if I was designing policy, I would want to figure out some way so that you are not able to blow up your wife and kids as well." These men have their wives and their children-anybody weaker than them-under their physical and psychological control. It's really an abusive situation. It's why so many civilians have died in this conflict. Because the men will not let the women run away.

Interview condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Norwich News

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  • 'So Much to be Thankful for'

    'So Much to be Thankful for'

    • President's Message
  • Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    Norwich students on Boston Policy Excursion learn about hurricane and disaster preparedness

    • Student Experience
  • President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    President Anarumo featured as part of Dartmouth College's Veterans Day Observances on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    • Norwich On The Road
  • Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

    Norwich University Veterans Day observance to feature Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere.

    • Special Events
  • Women's Volleyball's Sarah Farnum named Setter of the Week by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC)

    Women's Volleyball's Sarah Farnum named Setter of the Week by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC)

    • Athletics News
  • Men's Rugby advances to NEWCRC Conference Championship on Nov. 4 vs. UVM.

    Men's Rugby advances to NEWCRC Conference Championship on Nov. 4 vs. UVM.

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