ECOWAS, GOL Pay Homage to UNDP’s Dr. Kamaluddeen

first_imgThe Ambassador of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Liberia, Tunde Ajisomo, has lauded outgoing United Nations Development Program Country Director Dr. Kamil Kayode Kamaluddeen for his immense contributions to peace, good governance and infrastructural development as well as the rule of law in Liberia.Director Kamaluddeen, who is affectionately referred to as KK, has left an indelible mark on Liberia as a development specialist by the policies and strategies he helped to draft—leading to some considerable levels of developmental improvement in the country, Ajisomo said.Speaking at a cocktail reception held in KK’s honor in Monrovia, Ambassador Ajisomo said “KK has been passionate about development in Liberia and is a true son and patriot of the African continent.” Ambassador Ajisomo, who is also a Nigerian, added, “Any of our compatriots who come to Liberia on assignment firstly has to get in touch with KK to get an orientation, because of his reputation as someone who helps others integrate in the Liberian terrain; and KK is referred to as the ‘Landlord.’”Dr. Kamaluddeen served Liberia for nine years, though intermittently. His first stint was when he served as Economic Advisor and Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit, UNDP Liberia, from 2002 – 2008 before returning in 2013 as Country Director.KK was very popular in the diplomatic community as well as among his Nigerian compatriots all because of what many describe as his high level of humility, selflessness, commitment to duty and accessibility. Many of them praised him for helping them settle in successfully upon their arrival in Liberia.Acting Foreign Minister Elias Shoniyin said KK will truly be missed because he has been a strong pillar to rely on. “KK has been a true friend to this government and our country. He was very instrumental in the crafting of the Poverty Reduction Strategy that helped us significantly to set us on our path of national development,” the Minister said.The Minister described KK as a “development-oriented” individual who built up on the Community Based Initiative (CBI), which was set up by his predecessor, Antonio Vigilante.The CBI provided the stage for community participation in the country’s decentralization process to provide municipal services in Liberia’s 15 counties—a program that led to the realization of the County Service Centers in some counties.Responding, KK said his tenure may have come to an end, but he is leaving as a very proud man, adding that he is grateful to God for his contribution to Liberia.“We strongly believe we could not have done this alone so we appreciate the capable teams we were fortunate to have worked with. They too, must be appreciated,” KK said. According to him, his greatest achievement is leaving in a peaceful country. “We’re very happy that Liberians have embraced peace and I’m of the conviction that this peace will be sustained because without peace there can be no development,” KK said, adding that he now considers Liberia a second home.“Many of our compatriots from the ECOWAS region made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that peace comes to Liberia. Some of them did this with their lives. So I’m glad that this dream is being realized and I’m also glad to have been a part of transitioning Liberia from its war era to a stable country on the path of development,” he said.KK, who has over 15 years working experience with the UN, replaced Mr. Dominic Sam as UNDP Country Director. He has extensive professional, academic, administrative knowledge and experience.UNDP, the UN’s global development network, advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help empower people and build resilient nations, and has been working in Liberia since 1977.UNDP is currently providing technical assistance within the framework of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2013-2017, which is fully aligned with Liberia’s mid and long term development strategies.According to KK, UNDP’s interventions are meant to ensure that the country is peaceful and has inclusive politics, a diversified economy, and stable institutions. “We have also been helping to ensure the laws are enforced fairly, land tenure problems have been resolved, natural resources are efficiently managed and health and education standards have reached those of other middle income countries,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Scientists Crave Integrity: Can They Evolve It?

first_imgAn important item not found on lab shelves or test tubes has been appearing in science news stories recently: integrity.  That’s a word about character: moral rectitude, honesty, accountability, uprightness, the ability to resist temptation.  It’s the kind of word one might hear in a sermon.  For those who follow Darwin, how did integrity evolve?Obama’s pledge:  After loosening restrictions on embryonic stem cell research (03/10/2009), President Obama issued an edict demanding scientific integrity in the executive branch.  Live Science included the text of Obama’s statement in its report.  Obama’s wide-reaching executive order calls for (1) selection of scientific advisors based on their knowledge, experience, credentials and integrity; (2) well-established rules and procedures to ensure integrity, including peer review; (3) policies and procedures for guarding against compromise; (4) public disclosure of scientific findings used in policy decisions; and (5) whistleblower protections.  The statement was intended to reinforce Obama’s commitment to make decisions based on science instead of ideology when dealing with issues like stem cells and climate change.United for integrity:  The Union of Concerned Scientists website is big on integrity.  Reacting to “Political interference in federal government science” that “is weakening our nation’s ability to respond to the complex challenges we face,” the UCS posted a tutorial called “Integrity 101.”  Other resources include their examples of abuses of science, suggested solutions, and action items for the individual scientist.Anti-plagiarism:  Science magazine posted a Policy Forum article about Scientific Integrity and “Responding to Possible Plagiarism.”1  Plagiarism has become an increasing concern with the rise of internet publishing.  The five authors from the University of Texas concluded, “While there will always be a need for authoritative oversight, the responsibility for research integrity ultimately lies in the hands of the scientific community.”Some other articles and news stories did not specifically mention integrity, but touched on it indirectly by discussing the nature of science:War policy:  Yahoo News bemoaned the fact that the war over Darwin still rages after 200 years since his birth.  The policy of who gets to teach children draws on the nature of science itself.  Robert S. Boyd allowed voices from both sides to get a hearing.  The scientific community stands dead-set against a majority in the public, so whose “knowledge, experience, credentials and integrity” will be brought to bear on this issue?Evolving purpose:  Evolution News commented on a recent address by atheist Richard Dawkins, who tried to explain purpose without purpose.  It goes without saying that a scientist seeking to live with integrity needs to do it purposefully.  Robert Crowther wished luck to Dawkins, who famously has explained away design as an illusion: “you can’t have unintentional intention, or unpurposeful purpose,” Crowther said.  “It seems that purpose is less of an illusion even than design is.”Balanced skepticism:  It goes without saying that science must be defined before its integrity can be measured.  What is science, anyway?  Most people grant science an extra measure of respect over other branches of inquiry.  Some sociologists in recent decades, however, have defrocked science to the point of treating it like a special-interest group.  One of those sociologists has backtracked a bit.  Harry Collins (Cardiff University, UK), in an essay in Nature last week,2 called for a rational balance between scientific triumphalism and postmodern skepticism.  He gave his readers a short history of the Science Wars of the 1990s. It was said that sociologists were trying to undermine science.  But we were not questioning the results of the great experiments, merely examining how the consensus about their interpretation was established.  The conclusions of most of us were moderate: science could not deliver the absolute certainties of religion or morality, and scientists were not priests but rather skilful artisans, reaching towards universal truths but inevitably falling short.  Far from being anti-science, we were trying to safeguard science against the danger of claiming more than it could deliver.  If science presents itself as revealed truth it will inevitably disappoint, inviting a dangerous reaction; even the most talented craftsmen have their off-days, whereas a god must never fail.Collins defended the right of skeptics to ask such questions, but now thinks they went too far.  A science that cannot defend some measure of epistemic priority has no safeguards against abuses: e.g., Lysenko, mavericks who attract politicians against the consensus views, and creationists: “Recently a philosopher acting as an expert witness in a court case in the United States claimed that the scientific method, being so ill-defined, could support creationism.”  One can justify anything with skepticism, he said.    On the other hand, the scientific community is no stranger to abuse: “The founding myth of the individual scientist using evidence to stand against the power of church or state – which has a central role in Western societies – has been replaced with a model in which Machiavellian scientists engage in artful collaboration with the powerful.”    What’s the solution?  Collins called for a new standard: expertise.  Sociologists need to define new classes of expertise, and understand how authoritative consensus is achieved.  They need to develop a “periodic table of expertises,” he quipped.  This is how they can avoid the pitfalls of policy based on maverick or ill-supported science.  “Although in principle the logic of the mavericks’ position cannot be defeated, a policy-maker should accept the position of those who share in the tacit knowledge of the expert community.”    But hasn’t the maverick sometimes been right?  Collins knows that he is dealing in treacherous waters.  He called for understanding by both scientists and their skeptical sociologist critics.  Both have limitations on what can be known.  Here’s where morality came in:It is not only social scientists who would have to change their approach under elective modernism.  If we are to choose the values that underpin scientific thinking to underpin society, scientists must think of themselves as moral leaders.  But they must teach fallibility, not absolute truth.  Whenever a scientist, acting in the name of science, cheats, cynically manipulates, claims to speak with the voice of capitalism, the voice of a god, or even the voice of a doctrinaire atheist, it diminishes not only science but the whole of our society.    In a society informed by elective modernism, free criticism of ideas would be a good thing; the right way to pursue knowledge about the natural world would be through observation, theorization and experiment, not revelation, tradition, the study of books of obscure origin or the building of alliances of the powerful.  Science’s findings are to be preferred over religion’s revealed truths, and are braver than the logic of scepticism, but they are not certain.  They are a better grounding for society precisely, and only, because they are provisional.  It is open debate among those with experience that is the ultimate value of the good society.Collins makes it clear that scholars can no longer assume science’s epistemic authority; “assessing scientific findings is a far more difficult task than was once believed,” he said, “and … those findings do not lead straight to political conclusions.”  Still, he believes that science can provide us with values, if not findings.  Bottom line: “Scientists can guide us only by admitting their weaknesses, and, concomitantly, when we outsiders judge scientists, we must do it not to the standard of truth, but to the much softer standard of expertise.”It’s clear that many of the same voices clamoring for integrity and moral values believe in evolution.  One only has to recall the big celebrations over Darwin last month in all the major science journals to ask a pertinent question: how did integrity evolve by an unguided, purposeless, impersonal process of natural selection?  As a case in point, Live Science printed another article in a long series claiming that belief in God is an artifact of brain evolution.  Reporting on a study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, the article said, “One question that remains unanswered is whether religion evolved as a central functional preoccupation for human brains in early societies, or whether it simply relied on brain regions which had evolved for other types of thought-processing.”  The option that religion might be true was off the list of options.  With that viewpoint, integrity could certainly not refer to any universal moral standard.  A corollary is that scientific institutions can define and govern their own moral standards.  That’s why the piece in Science stated, “the responsibility for research integrity ultimately lies in the hands of the scientific community.”1.  Long, Errami, George, Sun and Garner, “Scientific Integrity: Responding to Possible Plagiarism,” Science, 6 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5919, pp. 1293-1294, DOI: 10.1126/science.1167408.2.  Harry Collins, “We cannot live by scepticism alone,” Nature 458, 30 (5 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458030a.Collins’ essay is informative and thought-provoking.  Read the whole thing if you can get a copy of the March 5 Nature.  But is his advice fatally flawed?  What about his contrasts between the approach of science and that of revealed religion?  Just as religion did in earlier centuries, science now has the most powerful influence on many vital issues that impact government policy and society: global warming, stem cells, nuclear weapons, the economy, and the story of our origins.  Careful thinking on the nature and limits of science is even more vital.    Collins provided a good summary of the Science Wars of the 1960s to 1990s.  It may surprise many who learned respect for science in school that the scientific institutions were being hammered in many parts of society for 30 years.  The collapse of logical positivism left science vulnerable to criticism from many sectors.  It could no longer be viewed in the white-lab-coat model of the objective, unbiased search for truth.  It got tied up in the military-industrial complex, international corporations, and politics.  Philosophers seriously questioned the ability of science to achieve progressive unfolding of truth about nature, and sociologists turned the tables and put scientists in their test tubes.  Postmodernists looked at science as just one other text among many, with no special epistemic status.    Much of that played out by the turn of the millennium.  “Scientific realism” (the science institutions’ own philosophy of science) now predominates, more by endurance than justification.  It’s a toned-down version of positivism that makes less audacious claims.  Typically, scientists will justify their approach to truth-seeking as “the best tool we have.”  They assume that their measurements correspond to what is “out there” in the world.  They reach beyond strict empiricism and allow themselves to speculate on unobservables (like black holes, the interiors of stars, quarks, and dark energy).    What all the secular players fail to realize is how much they are helping themselves to Judeo-Christian concepts.  They leave key questions begging.  How can we have confidence that what we sense corresponds to reality?  How valid is inductive reasoning?  Why can we assume the laws of logic?  Why do we assume that honesty and cooperation are good things?  Where does integrity come from?  By what standard can we measure things?    The solution Collins offers is no help at all.  He thinks that by analyzing a mystical concept of “expertise,” the sociologists and scientists can learn to get along.  Doing that requires objective measures, else it degenerates into following the latest bandwagon or resting on appeals to authority.  Today’s expert can be tomorrow’s dunce.  A thousand French experts can be wrong.  Surely Collins doesn’t think that it is better to follow a thousand experts off a cliff.  He knows of historical examples when the maverick was right.  It seems he just doesn’t want to start another Science War, so he is content to propose a peace treaty: sociologists study expertise, and scientists avoid claiming they have a godlike truth.  Scientific institutions, though, left to their own devices, are like communists: they will not be content till they have totalitarian rule.  They want the sociologist in their test tube, not the other way around.  Before Collins knows what hit him, they will be publishing papers on the Evolution of Sociology.    Consider this radical solution: Bible-based science.  Before exploding in rage, if you are an evolutionist reading this, think for a moment.  Here’s what you get with Christianity.  You get: an absolute standard for morality, the correspondence theory of truth, the validity of induction, the validity of deduction and the laws of logic, curiosity about the world, motivation to seek out the workings of nature, fellowship over the Imago Dei common to all human beings, and the virtues of honesty, integrity, unselfishness, charity and cooperation.  Could science use those things?  Absolutely.  You get all these for free in the Christian package.  Christianity provides the preconditions for intelligibility for science, and offers justification for all the good things in rationality and morals that science desperately needs.    Maybe you were taught to picture Christians as backward, obscurantist, dogmatic bigots whose religious motivations would bring science to a stop.  Every group has its bad apples, but we would argue that you really cannot have science without these things the Bible provides (see introduction to our online book).  Harry Collins scorns religion as enslaved to sacred texts, but the Bible leaves many, many subjects open to investigation.  It even encourages research (Proverbs 25:3, I Thess. 5:21, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 111).  The Bible is a condensed book.  It touches on nature, but its main thrust is on salvation.  Christians believe that prior to the Fall, part of our job was to do science (ICR).  Christians believe God is glorified when we strive to comprehend His works (Psalm 104).    Further, none of the other world views offers these good things – especially secularism.  There is no way to get integrity out of an unguided, purposeless, selfish process like evolution.  Integrity is not made of particles.  It is strongly to be doubted that human rationality has any connection to the world – or even exists – if we evolved from screeching chimpanzees.  Unable to operate consistent with their presuppositions, evolutionists cheat by filching rationality, integrity and morality from the Christian smorgasbord.  Integrity and rationality make perfect sense from a Christian viewpoint.  They make no sense at all in the shifting, aimless world of the materialist and evolutionist.    How would Bible-based science work out in practice?  It would not end controversies in science.  Why?  Because we’re only human.  We don’t know everything.  We can see through a glass darkly that absolutes exist, and we can strive to perceive them as best we can, but our science and our knowledge will always be incomplete in this life.  The medieval period makes this clear; controversies got very lively, even when the Biblical world view was assumed by the majority.  Nevertheless, medieval scholars and nature philosophers never doubted that searching out matters of natural philosophy was worthwhile.  Their Biblical world view gave them a pole star by which to navigate.  Their doctrine of an all-wise, communicating Creator gave them confidence that real progress could be made.  Even aging Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes, found satisfaction in learning, though calling it vain in an ultimate sense (vanity could mean inscrutable or beyond full comprehension).  Newton took heart from Daniel 12:4 that in the last days, knowledge would increase.  He was on a personal campaign to be part of that process.    So how would a modern Bible-based scientific community deal with a Lysenko or other pseudoscientific maverick who runs counter to the consensus?  Collins and other secularists have nothing to fall back on but the political power of the majority and their self-styled measures of expertise.  With the Bible, however, all could assume absolute standards of morality and rationality.  The actual existence of integrity and rationality provide confidence for creating standards of evidence and proof.  Furthermore, believing that one’s character counts, the scientific community would take into account the lifestyle and core beliefs of a scientist making an apparently outlandish claim.  Lysenko could no longer rely on political connections and bluffing; his character record would be part of the judgment on his claims.  The humility and deference of scientists would not deny any maverick a fair hearing at the outset, but they would demand rigorous logic and evidence for any unfamiliar view.  Christianity provides the scientific community with confidence that logic is real and evidence is available to the senses.    Another good outcome is that rank speculation and imagination would be scorned.  Speculation is the Pandora’s Box that Darwin opened in science lab (08/22/2005 commentary).  Scientists of Darwin’s day denounced his speculative theory and demanded rigorous evidence (01/14/2009 commentary), but Charlie and his schemers persuaded the intelligentsia of the day that stringing isolated facts into a broad, all-encompassing hypothesis was acceptable in science (01/15/2004 commentary).  Now we have storytellers running amok with tales of the evolution of self-control (01/01/2009), the evolution of hiccups via your inner fish (12/16/2008), the origin of life on asteroids (03/05/2009) and other fables, trying to outdo each other in silliness and getting away with it.  Biblical science would be a return to a more Baconian scientific method: support your ideas with experiment, and abide by the maxim of Jesus, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”  Good science will once again be aimed at improving the lives of people and advancing good stewardship of the Earth.    Is this a pipe dream?  No; it’s how science was actually done before the Charlietans raided the science labs and took over (12/22/2003 commentary).  Just ask Bacon, Kepler, Harvey, Pascal, Boyle and all the other great scientists in our online book.(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Manuel to co-chair climate fund body

first_img29 April 2011 South African National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has been elected as one of three co-chairman of an international committee set up to design the US$100-billion Green Climate Fund, which was set up after the United Nations’ climate summit in Cancun, Mexico in December. The Green Climate Fund, which will be financed through carbon pricing, will be used to mitigate deforestation and open up new agricultural land in Africa, among other things. Announcing his appointment to journalists in Cape Town on Friday, Manuel said his appointment to the Transitional Committee for the design of the Green Climate Change Fund happened in his absence in Mexico on Thursday night. He joins two other co-chairs, Mexican Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, and Kjetil Lund of Norway’s ministry of finance. He said that the Transitional Committee comprised 40 United Nations representatives and reported to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The committee had three tasks, which were to design the “governance arrangements of a Green Climate Fund, mobilizing resources for this fund and setting out the modalities of spending these resources”. Manuel said that the committee would have to finish its obligations before the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17), which takes place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December. The committee was likely to have at least four meetings leading to the COP 17 meeting. Manuel said that climate change issues were not for scientists alone, and more debate was needed around the matter in South Africa. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

3 Hurdles Twitter Has To Clear To Last Another 7 Years

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#social#twitter Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoscenter_img Happy birthday, Twitter! In just seven years, you’ve evolved from a fringe service dubbed “twttr” to a mainstream phenomenon with more than 500 million registered users and 340 million daily tweets. But the Internet is fickle. Will the microblogging service still be around another seven years from now? To make it to 2020, Twitter is going to have to surmount some mighty big challenges.Ready, Set… GoHere they are in a nutshell. Sound off on what you consider Twitter’s biggest challenges in our poll to the right or in comments:Facebook: Competition from the Zuckerberg brand is huge. Instagram, now part of Facebook, is another giant rival. Both services have copied — and are continuing to copy — Twitter features like the news feed and hashtags. Twitter only stays one step ahead if it keeps rolling out new innovations that its competitors can’t own. It’s done well so far, but one big slip-up to cause irreparable damage.Stagnation and spam: Detractors say Twitter has already peaked. These same folks are also quick to point out that many of its “registered users” — and, as a result, many followers of real users — are actually bots. It’s hard to determine just how many users are actually active, but bots are already a problem for Twitter’s business model, since no advertiser wants to pay to reach fake accounts. More insidious forms of advertiser spam surely lie in Twitter’s future.Weak Ad Platform. When it comes to making money online, many businesses prefer to funnel dollars to Facebook’s fan pages over Twitter’s promoted and sponsored tweets. It can be hard to significantly monetize on Twitter, and advertisers can have a hard time tracking their return on investment there. Twitter is great for engaging, solving customer service issues and even funneling traffic to a website. But direct selling often turns users off. And the advertising model has yet to be cracked here.Photo via Shutterstock Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… adam popesculast_img read more

Cousins looks to make most of chance with US basketball team

first_imgDeMarcus Cousins considers the thought, and one of the NBA’s most recognizable scowls quickly turns into a bright smile.Without saying a word, it’s clear he agrees: For the first time under Mike Krzyzewski, the U.S. Olympic basketball team has a genuine offensive weapon in the middle.The Americans might even have the best center in the world.Cousins had 14 points and 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes of the Americans’ exhibition opener, a 111-74 victory over Argentina. The Sacramento Kings star can score inside and out, and gives the U.S. a dimension it hasn’t had while winning the last two gold medals.“DeMarcus is going to be a force in Rio,” teammate Klay Thompson said.The center spot has almost been an afterthought on recent U.S. teams, who much preferred playing small to pounding the ball inside. Then again, none had a “bulldog” like Cousins, as Kevin Durant called him.“There’s been a lot of great bigs come through this program, so I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Cousins said. “I’m honored to be in this situation. I’m not really in it to say who’s the best at what position, I’m just here to help the team win. So we’ve got one goal in mind, which is the gold, and that’s only thing I’m focused on right now.”Along with that gold, Cousins could bring back something else from the Olympics.His NBA career has been six seasons of bad teams and bad moods, the constant losing in Sacramento and the chaos in the organization often overshadowing his play. He doesn’t hide his unhappiness, and many times if he’s not shouting, it’s only because he’s sulking.The 6-foot-11 center out of Kentucky averaged a career-high 26.9 points last season, fourth in the NBA, and was fifth in the league with 11.5 rebounds per game. But the Kings missed the playoffs again, as they have every season since taking Cousins with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 draft, and his bickering with coach George Karl generated more headlines than anything he or the Kings did on the court.Now he’ll spend a month around a team that does nothing but win, and maybe that mentality will rub off on him.“It can only help him,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.“I think all the players who play for us are better people for it. They become better players. As a result, they get absorbed in the culture and that culture they bring back to their respective teams, and ultimately they benefit.”Colangelo wasn’t certain about Cousins as a young player, saying in 2012 that he needed to be “more mature as a person, as a player” and had “a lot of growing up to do.”He now believes they have a great relationship that’s developed over time.As has Cousins’ role with the U.S. program. He backed up Anthony Davis in the 2014 Basketball World Cup, but with Davis recovering from injuries, Cousins has a good chance to step into the starting role.The Americans started Dwight Howard at center in 2008 and Tyson Chandler in 2012. Both are former NBA defensive players of the year, but neither possesses Cousins’ offensive repertoire.“DeMarcus is a different player,” said U.S. veteran Carmelo Anthony, who then focused not only on what Cousins brings, but what he can bring home.“He’s a big who can shoot, he’s a big who can post, he’s tough, he’s a hell of a rebounder,” Anthony said. “But the most exciting thing I like about having DeMarcus out here now is he gets a chance to see how everybody else is working. Work ethic. To see him jumping into lines, to see him asking can somebody work with him, staying after, coming in before, that work ethic is something that it spills over to everybody else. When you see your peers working that hard, it makes you want to be a part of that.”Cousins doesn’t like comparing the U.S. experience to his pro one, but praises the way the Americans do little things that get forgotten in the NBA. He came to camp in great shape and seems committed to being a good teammate, whether he starts or backs up the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.“He’s totally invested in what we’re doing,” Krzyzewski said.Next up for Cousins and the Americans is their second exhibition game on Sunday against China in Los Angeles.When it’s over, Durant and Thompson will return to an NBA team with title hopes. Cousins’ future might be the usual losing and trade rumors, so he’ll miss being around a winning team.But maybe he can help build one.“When you leave winning situations, it’s always going to be hard. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy winning?” Cousins said. “But I’m also always ready to get back. I’m ready to share my experience with my teammates … get the season kicked off on the right foot.” TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Houston VA Hospital Hosts Art Exhibit Showcasing Paintings By Female Veterans

first_img X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Listen – / 6Texas has the highest population of women veterans in the country and doing artistic work is one of the strategies some of them use to ease the transition to civilian life.The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has hosted an exhibit this month showing some of their paintings.Natalie Lopez, a San Antonio native, is the author of one of the pieces.Actually her painting, which is titled “Forever unfit puzzle” and depicts a soldier in distress, was one of 10 that won a nationwide contest organized by the Veteran Artist Program and the VA’s Center for Women Veterans.“Painting helps me release stress, just like the gym for most people,” Lopez, who was deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and Iraq in 2008 and is now stationed in Abilene, told Houston Public Media.Kayla Williams, director of the VA’s Center for Women Veterans and a veteran herself, explains that one of the goals of the initiative is “to help male patients and VA providers recognize the service and experience of women veterans and help women veterans, when they enter a facility, see their own experiences reflected, so that they can feel more recognized and welcomed.”Lopez is in the process of being discharged due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and says painting has been therapeutic in her journey to cope with the horrors of war.“What I want to do is pursue my degree to become an art therapist because I find that painting is healing and I wanna be able to help the veterans,” she explains regarding what she would like to do when she returns to civilian life.The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has showcased Lopez’s piece and the other nine winning submissions in March as part of the celebration of Women’s History Month. 00:00 /01:12last_img read more