An Opinion Regarding The Actions Of Mitch McConnell

Although Mitch McConnell was entitled to vote no on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, his refusal to be involved with the constitutional process shows contempt for the constitutional democracy. His defense of no standards or time frame being defined by the Constitution regarding advice and consent is considered a smokescreen. Frank Garrison explores all angles in a recent Tennessean opinion piece.

The drafters of the Constitution most likely did not envision an unwillingness of the Senate to participate, or this policy becoming standard when one party is controlling the Senate and another the executive branch. The question is if McConnell really believes not participating regarding a nomination will further our democracy’s interests. There must be a reason McConnell chose to obstruct the process when a majority vote of no would effectively block the confirmation. Apparently, he decided engaging in public defiance is politically better than simply voting no on the nomination for Garland.

The justification attempt by McConnell is not disguised well. The Senators and President have already been elected by the people according to the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide the length of term served by the President, or determine the role of the Senate in the process for advice and consent. McConnell’s Constitutional rights are not being questioned, but he is being criticized for placing partisan politics over Constitutional interests. This may result in disastrous and long-term consequences.

The rule by law is one of this country’s greatest strengths, despite the occasional disagreements regarding the enforcement and formulation. People will not always approve of the judicial decisions made or the laws passed. This does not change the fact America has historically given the rule of law respect, and any changes were approached peacefully through legislation and the courts. A stable society has been created partially due to this respect, and people across the globe envy the society achieved.

As a leader in the Senate majority, McConnell is in a powerful position. He has the freedom to choose what he will recognize in the Constitution. This message is dangerous, irresponsible, and offers encouragement for anyone interested in acting above and beyond the law. McConnell’s message is reckless, and may result in a long-term, irreparably harmful impact. His words and actions are providing ammunition for those wanting to resist the government authority and the law. This threatens our democracy and the rule of law. The actions of McConnell are more than simply a political ploy, they are an assault to the belief in our constitutional democracy by every American.

New Head of School is Settling in at St. George

Hot on the heels of sexual assault allegations at the school, Alixe Callen is joining the staff at St. George as the new head of the institution. Callen, born and raised outside of New York City, was no stranger to the school. Her grandfather and great-father both attended St. George back when it was an all male school. Callen has watched the school turn co-ed, and go through some challenges. Now, after the announcement of her new position, she is honored to be the first female head master of St. George’s School.

If Alixe Callen was ever concerned about how she would be received as the first woman to be head master, her worries were quickly put to rest. When her promotion from school director to head master was announced at an assembly last December, she was immediately surrounded by 50 young women who introduced themselves immediately.

Alixe Callen has plans for the school. In her new role as head master, she has already made goals to keep the momentum of the progressive-thinking school going. Callen is particularly interested in the science, technology, engineering, arts, math, sports and other extracurricular programs. She expressed a desire to continue to improve those areas of the school, and uphold the very high standard that was set previously.

Though she has never worked at a boarding school before, Alixe Callen is enthusiastic about the positive effect living in a small community will have on the students. Callen comments that the campus is essentially a microcosm of community. It presents an excellent opportunity for the staff to teach the students about how to watch out for the greater good.

Alixe Callen also wants this time period to be one of healing for the school and community. Callen is confident that the school can get past the ugly history and cover-ups. Already, Callen has noted, that the school is not the same as it used to be. It is now a “safe and healthy place for kids to grow up”. St. George has brought in outside organizations for audits and training for staff and faculty. Also the school has brought in Boston rape crisis personnel to help with training faculty and counseling the survivors.

St. George is touted as a progressive-thinking school, overcoming adversity and challenges of its past, and preparing for a bright future. Part of that bright future is the new head master, Alixe Callen.

South Florida CEOs offer College Students Business Advice

A group of South Florida college students received training advice from the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable. As follows, this energizing news about Miami-Dade’s future industries would comprise various employments for current graduates.

Also, coming graduates and those who are already taking part in different trades need to concentrate on this strategic information for the community’s new approaching markets.

Therefore, a wealth of facts was presented to them by some of the Roundtable CEO members.

Ron Antevy is a graduate of the University of Florida, 1991. He has gained much experience throughout the years from various trades. Antevy has held managerial positions in companies like Waste Management, Inc., Capital Project Management Software, and Engineering & Construction.

He has much hands-on experience from being involved in several-day to day tasks while training workers in many other projects. Now, he is president of his brother’s company, e-Builder.

As CEO and president of e-Builder, Ron advises students to begin his or her life, now. He encourages them that South Florida is plentiful with specific fields for everyone’s study. Thus, they can gain experience and develop skills while finishing college.

Jackie Soffer ( graduated from the University of Colorado and is Co-Chairwoman and CEO at Turnberry Associates. She is one of many first-rank real estate developers across the country.

Jackie Soffer has many properties such as the Aventura Mall and an increasing collection of iconic brands throughout the globe. With her experience as a leader for the retail industry, she has expanded Turnberry Associates.

Now, under her direction, the prized Destin Commons has set the standard for outdoors fashion centers in Florida’s Panhandle since 10 years ago of its opening.

Therefore, she encourages college students to do the grimy business without fear and without thinking they are above that. She explained to them about finding solutions through learning the process without depending on anyone else.

Further, each student needs to prepare for hard work and perform it. Soffer shared the knowledge they would get would be priceless.

Noah Breakstone ( attended Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Business School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. He is a managing associate at BTI real estate.

Noah encouraged college students to focus on the future while they do their homework on job researching. He assured them that these sought out businesses will be available right at their graduation.

Plus, he suggested that they explored these different job skills and take homework courses that will help them fill these positions when such opportunities are available. And, he rallied them to take notes on favorable openings and know of internship applications with those employers.

Finally, Miami Herald CEO Roundtable- members reminded college graduates and future graduates that there’s a successful day ahead for each one of them.

Returning to Interdisciplinary Roots

Humboldt University of Berlin is one of the birthplaces of interdisciplinarity. Founded in 1810, it was envisioned by educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt as an institution where students would receive an all-around education in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and where teaching and research would be integrated.

Through a number of novel teaching experiments, the university is now seeking to return to its roots.

German universities have had to shorten their degrees because of Europe’s Bologna process, which aims for common degree requirements and certifications across European nations, meaning that some of the longstanding opportunities to study other subjects have been squeezed out, explained Wolfgang Deicke, coordinator of Humboldt’s (ironically named) Bologna Lab, which develops new teaching methods.

So while it might have previously taken six years to train a chemist to a level where “they’re safe, they won’t blow things up,” the necessary content now “gets crammed into three years.”

“While everybody else was shifting from teaching to learning, for five or six years Germany moved the other way,” Deicke said. There is now a sense that “people specialize too soon.”

One of the most eye-catching projects to emerge out of the Bologna Lab is a program called Diversity of Knowledge.

Continue reading…


Emirates Leadership Initiative takes Students to a New Level

Preparing Dubai for the Future
If you’ve been wondering how the UAE Government plans to help educate its budding students, then you may want to stop what you’re doing, grab a coffee, and read this article right away!

We’re going to look at three crucial ways the UAE is helping to expand their students’ educational opportunities. First, we’re going to talk about The Leader of the 21st Century Model. Next, we’ll discuss the Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship. And finally, we’re going to finish up by talking about an exciting public service fellowship aimed at helping UAE students.

The Leader of the 21st Century Model
Created and launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the Leader of the 21st Century Model is geared to develop a strong core foundation for leadership for students. This Model is also mean to implement effective communication and networking among Government leaders. There will also be an emphasis on private-sector relations.

Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship (ELI)
UAE Government also has big plans for the Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School. The five-year program should really help to cement leadership initiatives for students in essential areas such as executive education for top ranking officials, among others. And it’s said that $15 million was put into this program, which comes at a crucial time in UAE Government, where there is added emphasis on developing the economy’s knowledge base.

The Abu Dhabi Leadership Graduate Public Service Fellowship

This key fellowship was created in 2010, buy the Crown Prince Court, at the Harvard Kennedy School. With a strong focus on developing nationals for the Abu Dhabi Government, students are only awarded this fellowship on a merit basis. The fellowship will only go to three fortunate students, who must currently be working for the Abu Dhabi Government.

These programs are sure to prepare students for a successful career in UAE government. The best it yet to come.

Jackie Soffer Added to U Miami’s Board of Trustees

Real estate mogul, Jeff Soffer and his family have pledged upwards of $15 million dollars to help pay for the construction of an indoor training facility for the University of Miami college football team. This donation will cover about half of the $30 million expected cost of construction of the new football team training grounds. Meanwhile, the University of Miami is looking elsewhere to find financing to cover the remaining half or so of the cost needed to complete its new training facility. University of Miami football coach, Mark Richt has also agreed to pledge a sizeable amount totaling $1 million dollars to the cost of construction.

It is important to note that the University of Miami is one of the few top-tier college football teams that lacks an indoor training ground. Getting one is especially important because the Miami area often sees heavy rain and lightening which prevents the team from practicing outside. The Miami Herald reports that the Soffer family which includes Jeff and his sister Jackie Soffer should become extremely popular and respected among Miami Hurricanes fans after their mega-donation to the team’s new training facility.

Meanwhile, Jeff’s sister and CEO of Turnberry Associates, Jackie Soffer has been appointed to the board of trustees at the University of Miami according to the South Florida Business Journal. Jackie Soffer joins ten other new trustee members who will serve out one-year terms as a trustee member. Ms. Soffer is expected to provide her insight of the business world, real estate, management, and finance to the University of Miami.

Jackie Soffer who serves as the CEO and co-chairman of Turnberry Associates is a leading figure in real estate development right now alongside her brother. Jackie Soffer is currently leading a major renovation project that will see an over 300,000 square foot addition to Turnberry Associates’ Aventura Mall in the Miami metro area. The renovation will see the addition of numerous restaurants, new shops, a rooftop terrace, private lounge and a plaza to the bustling Aventura Mall (read more).

Another project that Jackie Soffer is planning to complete is called SoLē Mia. This development will feature over a million square feet of retail space, over 4,000 housing units, a hotel, parkland, lagoons, restaurants, entertainment venues such as theaters and grocery stores. SoLē Mia is expected to be the biggest real estate development project to be undertaken in the history of North Miami Beach.

Israel and UAE Air Forces Fly Side by Side in Greek Air Drill

The conflict between Israel and the many Arab nations has been ongoing since the Jewish state officially came into existence in 1948. But there could be a thaw in relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is most evident with the air forces of the two countries.

Both countries contributed planes to Iniohos 2017, an annual multi-national exercise put on by the Hellenic Air Force. IAF pilots said this type of exercise gives them the opportunity to conduct flight operations in conditions and geography they are not used to in their native land. They also must learn to work with air forces from other nations– not only the UAE and Greece, but the United States and Italy as well. It also aids the Israeli pilots in learning to speak with pilots and personnel from other nations in a language other than Hebrew.

While Israeli and Arab pilots flying together for a joint exercise may seem unique to many, it is not anything new to these two nations. Israel and the UAE sent aircraft and personnel to the Iniohos exercise in 2016. Both nations also flew together at the U.S. Air Force’s annual Red Flag exercise in Nevada last year, which also included a contingent from Pakistan’s air force.

Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, but many in the Israeli Defense Forces say there has been an improvement in their country’s relations with the Gulf States. This is evidenced by a visit from an Israeli Foreign Ministry official to Bahrain last year, who announced the establishment of the first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates.

Along with aerial combat drills, other aspects of Iniohos 2017 included parachuting troops deep behind enemy lines, aerial refueling, and avoiding surface-to-air missile defenses. Of note is that the Israeli and UAE air forces operate some of the same aircraft and equipment. Pilots in both nations fly U.S. made F-16 jet fighters and C-130 transports.

First Female Head of School at St. George’s

Alexandra “Alixe” Callen will take over as the 12th Head of School at St. George in Middletown, Rhode Island on July 1, 2016. The announcement was made on behalf of the school’s Board of Trustees on December 9, 2016. Alixe will leave her current position as the upper school director at Lakeside School in Seattle to return to her New England Roots and become the first female head of St. George.

Alixe Callen has a long and distinguished academic background and professional educational leadership in both public and private schools. She graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, MA, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University, and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University. While at Harvard, she worked as an assistant in graduate courses on secondary school design, school reform, and school leadership. Prior to her current position at Lakeside, she was the principal of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School from 2008-2013 and assistant principal of Needham High School from 2004-2008. Both schools are in Massachusetts.

Alixe’s has family ties to St. George that go back over 100 years. Her great-grandfather graduated from St. George in 1903, her grandfather graduated in 1941, her great-uncle graduated in 1940, and her uncle graduated in 1966. There were many exceptional candidates who applied to become the 12th Head of School St. George, but Alixe’s qualifications, experience, and ties to the area stood out to St. George’s search committee, which was made up of trustees, parents, faculty, and alumni.

Members of the search committee expressed their confidence that Alixe will continue St. George’s commitment to the school’s traditions and academic innovation. The search committee also thanked the outgoing Head of School Eric Peterson and his wife Krista for their 12 years of service and leadership. Alixe is humbled and proud to be a part of a school that means so much to her and her family.


NC State University’s Tyler Confrey-Maloney Study Abroad Grant

Started in 2014, the Tyler Confrey-Maloney Study Abroad Grant is an endowment for students attending North Carolina State University. The endowment is available for Park Scholarship program scholars and was started by Dr. Jere Confrey and Dr. Alan Maloney, parents of 2013 NC State University graduate Tyler Confrey-Maloney who developed date rape prevention product, Undercover Colors, along with three other classmates.

The Park Scholarship program is named for the late Roy H. Park who is a 1931 graduate of NC State University. The program was started in 1996 and is dedicated to education, media and an understanding of the environment. It is a four-year scholarship valued at up to $107,000 for in-state students and up to $186,000 for out-of-state students. Since its inception, the program has seen 17 classes of Park students graduate from the University.

Dr. Confrey and Dr. Maloney were so happy with the impact that traveling abroad had on their son while he was a Park student at the University, they decided to contribute an endowment to ensure other students had the opportunity for travel. While studying at the university Confrey-Maloney traveled to South Africa and Belize. Upon returning from Belize, Confrey-Maloney started to advise other Park students about his experiences and persuaded them to pursue service-learning trips to the country.

In what would have been his junior year, Confrey-Maloney opted out of the Park scholarship to travel to South Africa. While there he furthered his interest in leadership development, photography and environmental preservation. Tyler served as program director for the inaugural TEDxTableMountain, and was able to intern at both the Biomimicry Institute in Cape Town and Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Hoedspruit. He was able to use the relationships he made with the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to persuade six Park scholars to take summer internships there.

Confrey-Maloney graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering. His parents contributed much of Tyler’s development and positive experiences to traveling abroad and learning the ways of different cultures. Dr. Confrey said that she and Maloney “felt that since we saved money as Park parents, we would like to contribute an endowment to support other Park Scholars to study abroad as Tyler did. This is our first philanthropic contribution of this kind.”.

St. George’s Names Callen to Lead School

Alixe Callen was named as the 12th head of school at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island. Callen’s family has a long history with the prestigious school and she will be the first female to hold the post.

Callen was chosen from a field of over 150 candidates and she currently serves as the upper school director of Lakeside School in Seattle. After St. George’s Board of Directors made their decision, they presented her to the school community at a special introduction ceremony on Dec. 9th. Alixe Callen is excited about her new position and said, “My entire career has been spent helping teenagers to be kind, to watch out for each other, and to be contributing community members. To now do that work in a school that has such deep roots for my family makes me humble and proud.”

Callen attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Brown University. She later earned another master’s and a Ph.D. from Harvard. She studied and assisted in graduate level courses about school leadership, school reform, and school design.

Callen also served as the Principal at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, Massachusetts. Before that, she was an assistant principal of Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts. Callens great-grandfather, grandfather, great-uncle, and uncle were all graduates of St. George’s over a time period spanning 1903 to 1966.

The search committee praised Callen as the best candidate for the job, she was chosen from a field of educational executives, including several deans of colleges. They said she best fits their vision for the school and is the perfect addition to their community. The school’s trustees released a statement, “We are confident that Callen will steer the course boldly for St. George’s, continuing to build on our longstanding strengths while at the same time moving St. George’s confidently into the future. She is fully prepared and eager to build upon our forward-thinking curriculum, to foster our safe and welcoming community, and to support our teachers in continually expanding their expertise in teaching and learning.”

Callen will replace Eric Peterson. Peterson headed the school for the past 13 years and announced he would not seek the position for the upcoming school year. The school began a nationwide search for his replacement.