Thursday, April 22, 2010

URGI MInutes 4/19/10

Theme this month: Genocides in History

Upcoming Events:
* Refugee Campus: TOMORROW April 22nd 3pm ( to set up)

Banaa update
-students in process of interviewing, planning an event for September 24th to introduce student and make an event about humanity appreciating other cultures (Douglass dinner), for community too, want keynote speaker, 6 student speakers ( promoting harmony through diversity, symbolism)
- new scholar every year, full scholarship, house students HERE instead of DC over the summer. If any members here this summer. LET US KNOW so we can better help them get acclimated.

Refugee CAMPus: 5-9
6:30-8:30pm Adrienne, Bridget and Brinda
8:30-9pm Justin and Luke

West African dance group comes at 6:30, perform then do a workshop.
Genocide Jeopardy
-print out powerpoints! Images, information that will be quizzed on for jeopardy
Collaborative Visual:
-question: If you were a world leader, what would your first step be towards creating a more peaceful world?
Guerrilla theater:
- Justin!

Order of events;
5-5:30 videos/chill
530-630 sports/games/eating
630-730 west African dance
730-830 jeopardy
8:30-9 chill/ wrap up
*visuals the whole time

Ongoing projects:

* Orientation Volunteering Application
o Due May 14th
o Elena, Cassie, Luke, Bridget, Justin
* - Bridget, Joseph, Luke
* Build schools in Kenya - Suresh Eswarathasan

Thursday, April 15, 2010

URGI Minutes 4/12/10

Theme this month: Genocides in History

Upcoming Events:
* Refugee CAMPus: April 22nd 3pm

Shropshire at Eastman

-In places like Kosovo, Darfur will teach kids music (therapy through music and its healing power)
→need awareness help (perhaps a powerpoint on Uganda), will co-sponsor and help them out.
→April 29th-as a study break in Hirst. Send some volunteers

Awareness- Joe
Joe’s big question! What do we do post-genocide?
- issues in Kosovo, South American (Chile), Holocaust, oppression in Burma/Sri Lanka or even NYC and yet the international community always vows not to let it happen again
- Darfur- we had the chance to help and stop it but we didn’t. why?

What happens after and why is there an inadequate response? 3 things: trials/ tribunals and truth commissions, reparations

benefits: air the issues, create an aura of fairness, accountability, re-establish/establish cause, learn from past atrocities, serve to warn others about consequences if they continue their violence, public records
problems: retroactively apply to international standards (Guantanamo bay), international tribunals rely on politics, effect: they prosecute low ranking officials and not the greater people responsible, process doesn’t HEAL- people subject to intense questioning, cross-examinations

2)truth commissions (when govts officially investigate wrongs committed ex. Congressional hearings for Iraq war in mid 2000s)
benefits: seek to have a more complete record, emphasize plight of vict ims and those affected. (ex. Hutu were writing history. Commissions interviewed Tustis- often time journalists), help victims tell experience and feel better, non-involved bystanders can tell stories as well.
Problems: unrepresented populations that still remain (Iraq-Sunni’s experience with Saddam were left unaccounted for while Shiite’s weren’t.) , those who establish commissions impose constraints on time/ area., do not test witnesses assertions so they don’t criticize them

3)reparations- consist of money/ other valuable assets as a symbolic representation of violence that has occurred, shouldn’t replace, should be more explicit and those responsible should be more public about acknowledgement of atrocities.
benefits: process for seeking them builds public support, builds awareness, gi ves victims recognition
problems: lead society to believe the people no longer need to discuss atrocities because government has given amends.
-restitution (form of reparation) – returns property seized. Seems lke morally correct thing to do but, it is difficult to find artifacts after some time. When a new government gets into this, difficult to return because the people that have gained them over time will be upset as well- dissonance between those people and the ones who it has been seized from.
Symbolic; significant items (ex. holy land)
Pure: return everything

: admission of an error with expression of regret. Official apologies can be made which will help in healing
Problems: fail to change behavior, fail to acknowledge acts that have been committed. May also be deficient when made by others than those who actually committed crime (Japanese and Chinese)- words without action ( not fulfilling) , makes it hard for apologies to be effective.

→Emotions: vengeance, forgiveness, - variables that make those three topics ineffective.
→mix of the three the best idea and can there be peace?

Ongoing projects:

* Old and new e board members meet
* – Bridget, Joe, and Luke
* Saturday Volunteering:
o *Meet at ITS at 9:40* About 2 hours
o Orientation Volunteering Application
+ Due May 14th
+ Elena, Cassie, Luke, Bridget, Justin

URGI Minutes 4/5/10

Theme this month: Genocides in History – Today: Holocaust

Upcoming Events:
* Potluck and Bracelet Making: April 12th (Mon) at the meeting
* Refugee Campus: April 22nd 3pm


* Orientation Volunteering Application
o Due May 14th
o Old and New E-board meet
o Refugee CAMPus
+ Committee: Adrienne, Bridget, Suresh, Robert, Julia, Brinda – head: Bridget
+ Meeting today after meeting
+ Awareness Discussion: Danielle

URGI will be participating in the bookstore buy-back competition.

Awareness-Danielle on Bosnian Genocide

Josip Tito was Bosnia’s authoritarian dictator for many years. His death in 1980 sparked strong nationalist sentiments. Also, the existing system of checks and balances between conflicting groups was abolished. At the same time, Serbia and Croatia were becoming militarized. Also, an election in 1990 polarized the groups even further as nationalist parties gained power. The combination of these events caused a 3-sided civil war between t! he Bosnian-Serbs, Bosnian-Croats, and Bosnian-Muslims. In 1992, Bosnia declared itself independent. During the war, the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse certain parts of Bosnia of the Muslim populations to create a “Greater Serbia” led by Slobodan Milosevic and a “Greater Croatia” in neighboring states.

Between 1992 and 1995 (only 3 years), over 200,000 Muslims were starved, tortured, raped, and murdered in concentration camps. The bodies were buried in mass graves.

Srebrenica Massacre: July 1995, Serb troops entered the town of Srebrenica, which was supposed to be a UN safe area. They held the town under siege while depriving the 400,000 Muslim inhabitants of food, water, and supplies. They also shelled homes and buildings. The UN soldiers did little because they were ill-prepared and had no back-up. Between 8,000 and 9,000 men and boys were killed, and the remaining 25-30,000 inhabitants were forced to leave the area. Another s! ource (ICRC—International Committee of the Red Cross) said that up to 200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes. This was the largest massacre in Europe since WWII.

Although most consider the ethnic cleansing to be genocide, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group and a specific intent to commit such destruction. By this definition, only the Srebrenica massacre has been found to be a genocide by the ICTY. Even the Massacre was not considered to be genocide by some because supposedly only the men really seemed to be targeted. It was not established that those accused of ethnic cleansing (former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik) had genocidal intent. Only one of the 30 pe! ople indicted for genocide was found guilty in an international court (Radislav Krstic).

What happened to stop this? NATO.

*Update: UN voted on DRC and they are going to continue with supervised intervention in DR Congo.

Ongoing projects:

* – Bridget, Joe, and Luke
* Saturday Volunteering:
o *Meet at ITS at 9:40* About 2 hours

URGI Minutes 3/29/10

Upcoming Events:
* Saturday Volunteering:
o *Meet at ITS at 9:40* About 2 hours
* Potluck and Bracelet Making: April 12th (Monday) at 8pm in Gleason (one of the Studios)
*Refugee Campus: April 22nd

Refugee CAMPus
o Committee: Adrienne, Bridget, Suresh, Robert, Julia, Brinda – head: Bridget

Douglass Advocacy event – PPAC
- got a good amount of signatures
- people who signed were interested (contact for women’s caucus)
- need to reserve a table
- maybe send an email to other groups so they know we are tabling if we do have to move to Wilson Commons
+ Do it again? Week before Refugee CAMPus where we have flex machine.

President: Bridget
Vice President: Cassie
Business Manager: Luke
Social/Fundraising AND Webmaster: Justin
Publicity Chair: Kelli
Secretary: Julia

Awareness Discussion, open forum:
1) Elections tomorrow! Bashir trying to kick out people who are attempting to regulate the election. About international election monitors “ Cut off their fingers…under our shoes”
2) In DR Congo, Lord’s Resistance Army kill/massacre people in villages, if they try to es! cape they cutting off lips/ears/tongues to scare people into not telling media. December 14th-17th in at least 10 villages, just got released. Conflict minerals are funding individual members of the LRA them. Kill most of men, took women and children and forced them to walk 60 miles, any who were too slow were executed.
3) Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe- process of colonization before and during they came in. Major part is religion- helped people conform.

Ongoing projects:

* – Bridget, Joe, and Luke

Thursday, March 25, 2010

URGI Minutes 3/22/10

Theme this month: Democratic Republic of Congo

* FLIERS are now in URGI mailbox in Ruth Merrill Center (across from Common Market, mailbox is on left wall and sign up places listed below)

* Douglass Advocacy Event: March 25th from 12-2pm
- sign the petition for the U of R to divest from companies that use conflict minerals. More information:
- NEED PEOPLE TO TABLE from 1-2pm. Email if you can.

* Elections NEXT meeting, March 29th- WC122 at 9pm

Upcoming Events:
* Saturday Volunteering:
o *Meet at ITS at 9:40* About 2 hours
* Emergency Volunteering: March 27th at 11 am at the field house
* Potluck and Bracelet Making: April 15th (Mon) at 8pm in WC 122
* Refugee Campus: April 22nd

Newsletter: everyone flier! pick up fliers from mailbox! ( for newsletter and elections)
Wilson Commons: Julia
Phase: Justin
Lattimore/Morey: Danielle
Dewey/B+L/Hoyt: Cassie
Goergen/Carlson: Kelli
Hutch/Hylan: Suresh
Rush Rhees/ITS/Gleason: Bridg! et
Towers: Elena
→ for elections March 29th
o Positions: Pres (2 co- or pres and vp), Secretary, Awareness and Advocacy (2), Social and Fundraising (2), Business manager, Webmaster, Banaa Chair
o see our constitution for further descriptions of each position on CCC

Refugee CAMPus
o Committee: Adrienne, Bridget, Suresh, Robert, Julia, Brinda
o Meeting with Stacey March 26th at 5:30 pm in her office

Douglass Advocacy event
- 12pm-1pm: Justin and Bridget
- 1pm-2pm: ???
o Wall of paper with message will be sent to either University of Rochester’s Investment office, board of trustees, or Presidents office – Bridget and Kelli
o Visuals
o Advocacy: Company Divestment, Socially Responsible Investing group on campus sending few members to help explain in more detail.

Awareness Discussion: Adrienne
- Most recently in March, DR Congo government requested UN remove their troops by June 2011, other experts say the government should continue work with the forces→MONUC. (group of people on specific mission, biggest UN peace keeping mission, group working to establish peace and the only force left in DRC)
-East is the worst right now, most violence: massacres, rape, looting and other attacks against civilians AND humanitarian agencie! s.
- the MONUC has 20,000+ personnel and 5000 civilian staff! (native to area) helping in policy, humanitarian affairs. 2007 UN secretary general proposed benchmarks to be met before the MONUC withdrew including stabilization in areas where conflict is worst, creating national armed forces to defend people and completion of demobilization of armed groups (none of these benchmarks have been met)
-Recently, call for a new civilian protection plan but military operations have come at a high humanitarian cost. Civilian loss greater than rebel damage. Estimated 1400 dead (in last 9 months) and over 7,500 women and girls sexually abused. These have been attacks by Congolese soldiers therefore people are urging the UN to find other ways to establish security and stop supporting the military operation.
- UN Security Council scheduled to vote to renew peacekeeping mission and keep UN in DRC even though humanitarian cost has been high recently.

Dinner for Kenyan Orphanage

-UR Families across Borders ( aim to transform lives of orphans around world by helping them be responsible citizens of tomorrow)
- this orphanage gave URFAB a list of material/resources they need. Trying to raise money for this. Hosting international dinner in MAY ROOM this Sunday March 28th from 7-9pm, catered by local restaurants, cost is $10 at common market or $12 at door. Performances by: Yellow Jackets, UR Bhangra, Celtic Dance Team, Ethiopian Dance team, Sihir, Korean Poongmul and FASA .

Tutoring Congolese refugees- good if they have some knowledge of French for next year- one student in high school one is age 7, parents need help with mail and other stuff. Contact

Ongoing projects:

* – Bridget, Jo! e, and Luke

Sunday, March 21, 2010

URGI Minutes 3/15/10

Theme this month: Democratic Republic of Congo

Upcoming Events:
• Water for Sudan: March 18th in Sloan from 7-8pm
• Zev Kedem (Holocaust survivor): March 18th in Strong Auditorium at 7:30 pm (tickets are $3)
• Saturday Volunteering: starts March 20th at 10 am – (if interested, contact Suresh)
o **Meet at ITS at 9:30am **About 2 hours
• Emergency Volunteering: March 20th at 11 am at the field house
• Elections: March 29th at WC 122 at 9pm- positions on CCC website and below.


• Next Douglass Advocacy event- Thursday 03/25
o Wall of paper- Bridget and Ke! lli
o Reserve projector and get visuals- Brinda!

• String Bracelets – Elena and Adrienne
o Demonstration- braiding! All bracelets will be the same colors- two shades of green and black.
o Money? – Luke!
o Flex? – Bridget- April 26th-30th reservation.

• Fundraising ideas – Dmitriy

• Refugee CAMPus – Joe and Kelli
o Committee: Adrienne, Elena, Bridget, Suresh, Robert, Julia, Brinda – head?
• Meeting next Monday after regular time to discuss what we need to speak with Stacey about.
o Meeting with Stacey March 26th at 5:30 pm in her office
o Ideas from last time:
• Have it in the afternoon (3-9pm?) in Hirst on Thursday (4/22)
• Reservation is made ☺
• No go on the tents
• Invite Greeks to j! oin (have representatives)
• Have fun activities! Woot!

• World Water Day co-sponsorship
o Luke!

• Freshman Orientation Volunteering?
o Email Joe/Kelli if interested in coming, benefits: move-in early!

• Reminder: Elections March 29th
o Get the word out! – Elena on facebook/CCC
o Fliers – Danielle! By Monday 1/4 sheet.
o Positions: Pres (2 co- or pres and vp), Secretary, Awareness and Advocacy (2), Social and Fundraising (2), Business manager, Webmaster, Banaa Chair

• Newsletter
o Luke-money!
o DR Congo on this month’s
o Upcoming events
o Will flier on Monday

• Awareness Discussion on DR Congo: Bridget
o Violence against women: widespread rape, limbs cut off, sold into sexual slavery, forced to eat flesh of dead relatives (also doing auto-cannibalism now, making them eat their own hands-perhaps as another form of degradation)
o Court system isn’t good- there is much corruption and women cant afford to pay legal fees (huge issue), many times its people in the militia and police who are committing these crimes and women are therefore less likely to charge them. (often occurs during clashes with political rivals) – one of the solutions is education, gives women self-respect as well as respect from others.
o Why is rape used as a weapon? Perhaps to instill fear, rid of invading groups, for the brutality itself (for power) in a system with no infrastructure/organization
o 7 soldiers arrested for raping 2! 00 women, but then set free after that.
o If Democratic Republic of Congo had a unified government, it would be one of the wealthiest nations due to natural resources.

Side notes:
→ does micro-loans given out to farms/individuals. Possible donations for the future?
→Workshop on 26th for policital activism 3:30 Friday all day Saturday
- On the UR website- dean of students part-
- Email Joe for more information

Ongoing projects:
• – Bridget and Joe and Luke

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

URGI Minutes 3/1/10

March Theme: Democratic Republic of Congo


-Congo’s Tin Soldiers in Gleason: March 4th from 7:45-10pm
- Look for additional clips if you’d like and share them after the movie!
-Saturday Volunteering: starts March 6th at 10 am- 12pmish? meet at ITS at 9:30am (if interested, contact Suresh) as well as Saturday AFTER break
-Emergency Volunteering: March 20th at 11 am at the field house- games, arts and crafts (if you have crafts at home, shoeboxes, paint, etc bring it!)

Next Douglass Advocacy event
- guerilla theater- Midnight Ramblers will bring it up to see if members are interested and get back to us. perhaps the Thursday after the first week back from break.
-Alternative plan? Paper petitions. Visuals (movie clips, projectors), wall-wide pet! ition ( huge piece of papers, write petition on top and everyone signs underneath) –for week after break.

Bracelets – Elena, prices:
-50-100 bracelets @ .90cents each.
-we could just make our own- for group income
flex reservation for April- common connection. Bridget!

Refugee CAMPus – Joe and Kelli
Volunteers? Adrienne Elena Bridget Suresh Rob Julia Brinda and Kelli. Email Joe/Kelli if interested!
o Meetings after normal meetings
-Open to anyone who wants to do it- perhaps the people doing the fasting for Refugee for a week being hosts?
• *An all day event, 4-9/10pm.
• *Hirst Lounge-With option of going outside.
• No tents.
• Thursday ,April 22nd- reserve Hirst- Kelli!
•&nbs! p; Screen a movie, music, fun things
• Dinner/night event, April 19th-23rd
• Scavenger hunt outside
• Approach all groups, can you give 3-5 volunteers→ these are people attending the event

World Water Day co-sponsorship

- WWD event- speaker from Water for Sudan, by Pan African Students Association-John Turner speaking about what the organization does in Southern Sudan ( which is improve water quality) March 18th in Sloane auditorium 7-8pm. We advertise for event and help post/print a few flyers.
- Money for flyers- Luke! 100 flyers.
- co-sponsoring Zev Kedem with CAB and Hillel at same time.

: March 29th – start thinking about the position you would like
-Positions: Pres (2 co- or pres a! nd vp), Secretary, Awareness and Advocacy (2), Social and Fundraising (2), Business manager, Webmaster, Banaa Chair

Awareness Discussion – Brinda
Brief History of Democratic Republic of Congo
-independence from Belgium in 1960
in 1965 army chief Joseph Mobutu seized power, his reign was full of corruption, - demanded his portrait be hung in public buildings and his face on money
-renamed country Zaire in 1971
- used the threat of communism from neighboring Angola to receive aid from US and other countries and instead of putting this money towards infrastructure and economy, he pocketed much of it for himself.
-debated that US aid also could have been for their own commercial interest in the country’s vast mineral resources
- Post cold-war the US lost interest, so in 1997 when Rwandans and Ugandans invaded the country to attack the Hutu militia that had leaked in, they overthr! ew Mobutu’s government with the aid of anti-Mobutu politicians.
-Laurent Kabila in power at this point, renamed country the Democratic Republic of Congo, though there was some hope for Kabila’s rule, he began acting like a dictator and didn’t have a plan for the country either. He created unrest amongst his former allies (Rwanda and Uganda) by demanding they leave the country and by receiving support for new countries-Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
-This marked the start of a war between multiple foreign armies and rebel groups within the country. Kabila assassinated in 2001 and his son Joseph came into power- Joseph instituted peace talks but conflict reignited. Finally talks between Ugandan rebels and Kabila came to a peace accord with agreement they would share power. In 2006 Congo had first multi party elections-Kabila won.
Stats: 5.4 million dead (mostly due to starvation/disease, many are children, much sexual violence)
**commercial interest in Congo’s resources* seems to be why most foreign countries are still involved and conflict continues.

Ongoing projects:

· – Bridget and Joe and Luke