Read Full Story Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) announced today that it will continue to provide a wide range of research opportunities and programming through its Tunisia Office for a further six years, supported by a $2 million gift from Harvard alumnus Hazem Ben-Gacem ’92. The office, which opened its doors in Tunis in January 2017 with the support of an initial gift from Ben-Gacem, provides students and scholars with a bridge to renowned Tunisian archival facilities, serves as an incubator for analysis of the evolving social, cultural, legal, and political movements in the region, and offers an intellectual hub for scholars of, and from, Tunisia, the Maghreb, the Mediterranean, and the wider Middle East region.The Tunisia Office offers a platform for Harvard University students and faculty to learn about and engage with Tunisia and the broader Middle East and to further their scholarly work on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, the Arabic language, and the many civilizations that have crossed North Africa for centuries. Since its founding, the office has hosted approximately 100 Harvard University students and faculty.“Broadening the contexts in which teaching, learning, and research happen at Harvard is a crucial element of the University’s engagement around the world. I am confident that, building on the strong foundation it has put in place over the last few years, the Tunisia Office of CMES will continue to provide valuable resources for Harvard students and scholars and to furnish exciting opportunities for collaboration with local partners that will shape important work across fields and disciplines,” said Harvard Vice Provost of International Affairs Mark Elliott. “We are truly grateful for the very generous support of Hazem Ben-Gacem, which makes all this possible for the Harvard community.”Programs available at the Tunisia Office include Harvard Tunisia Scholarships for Harvard graduate and undergraduate research, funding for Harvard faculty sabbatical research, an Arabic language summer program for Harvard graduate and undergraduate students, a three-week Wintersession course for Harvard students, and an array of topical workshops, conferences, and lectures.Recent special initiatives at the Tunisia Office include Rediscovering Tunisia’s Interwar Literary Milieu, a digital humanities project in collaboration with the National Documentation Center, the National Archives of Tunisia, and the National Library of Tunisia; and “#After Lockdown: Very Short Stories about Enduring a Global Pandemic,” an animated film that premiered as part of Worldwide Week at Harvard 2020 and presents personal narratives collected by the Tunisia Office and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece during the summer of 2020.Founded in 1954, CMES supports research and teaching on a broad range of topics related to the Middle East and North Africa. Generations of scholars have graduated from its degree programs, bringing a deepened understanding of the Middle East to careers that include academia, government, business, journalism, and law.
Publica, Switzerland’s largest public pension fund, has divested its equity holdings in coal companies because of the financial risks posed by their vulnerability to public policy measures to combat climate change.The €34bn pension fund is a “Sammelstiftung”, an independent collective institution that manages the assets of 20 Swiss public pension schemes, seven of which are closed to new entrants.Stefan Beiner, head of asset management at Publica, told IPE the pension fund has sold the totality of its equity stakes in coal companies, worth around CHF10m (€9.2m) at the time, on the back of a decision taken early this year in the context of its annual risk-management review process.“Once a year, we look at risks that are difficult to quantify, which tend to be ESG risks, and last year we prioritised climate change,” he said. The next step was for the pension fund to investigate this risk in three sectors – coal, gas and oil.It did this first by assessing the likelihood of operating conditions changing in the form of a carbon tax, and in a second step by analysing the extent to which the companies in a given sector could adapt.It concluded that, sooner or later, there will be a carbon tax, or any such tax already in effect will be increased.“We don’t know when or by how much, but the probability is high that there will be one,” said Beiner.It decided that oil and gas companies were “relatively broadly diversified and capable of adapting” but that this was not the case in the coal sector.“The companies tend to be very focused, namely on coal extraction, and our view is that they will struggle if carbon taxes are increased,” said Beiner.In a final step, the pension fund considered whether coal companies’ carbon risk was adequately priced in, and decided it was not.“When it comes to coal companies, we don’t think the financial risks are compensated,” said Beiner. “The risks for oil and gas companies are manageable.”A coal company, for the purposes of Publica’s exclusion policy, is defined as such based on the classification applied by MSCI for its GICS coal and consumable fuels sub-industry index.Some 10 companies, mainly from emerging markets, were affected by Publica’s policy.Asked about the roll-out of the policy to other asset classes, Beiner noted that the universe of effected companies was very small and that Publica did not own any bonds issued by them, so the question did not arise.The exclusion of coal is hard-wired into Publica’s compliance system, he added, meaning that the entry into its universe of any company meeting the exclusion criterion is immediately flagged. For the time being, the decision to exclude investments in coal is borne as an active risk by Publica, although, in the medium term, the pension fund intends to adjust its customised benchmark to reflect its new policy on coal.Publica is thought to be the first major Swiss pension fund to divest on climate change-related grounds, although local government schemes are coming under pressure to do so, too.The municipal council of Carouge, a town in the canton of Geneva, for example, has recently unanimously voted in favour of divesting from fossil fuels, according to Swiss news service Le Courrier. The motion was put forward by Green party officials, emulating a move made by their counterparts at the city and canton of Geneva, according to the media report.
Our Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Army Boys Sports Company athletes of Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune put up a sterling performance in the recently concluded Khelo India Games in Guwahati with a rich haul of 22 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals. The games saw notable performances from Uttam Yadav in 1500m and local boy weightlifting prodigy Sidhanta Gogoi who will likely break into the senior elite this year.The ASI boys were responsible for 4 new records in these games. Participating from their respective States, they were the major talent contributors to the two top medal winning States – Maharashtra and Haryana – with participation of 26 boys and 23 boys respectively. The achievements of Army Sports Institute are special as they participated in only five individual sports with a relatively small contingent. The premier institute is the conveyor belt to national camps in seven Mission Olympic Sports. It has produced some of the top sportsmen in the country. Current top players include world No. 1 wrestler Naib Subedar Deepak Punia and world medal-winning pugilists Naib Subedar and Amit Panghal. The institute is aiming towards maiden Olympic glory in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.Also Read: Assam finish at 7th place with 76 medals in 3rd Khelo India GamesAlso Watch: Minister of State for Education Smt. Vibhavariben Dave addresses Academia in Guwahati.
I have been unable to function properly as I recall the early days and years of a fascinating relationship that only became temporarily chilled later in adult life when the political struggle in Nigerian football stretched our friendship without ever been able to destroy it.Nothing could have damaged the foundation of a friendship that we built at the point of evolving into adulthood together, getting an education, playing football, having our families, and ageing gracefully in recent years.I sought out Taiwo in 1972/73 when he was in Higher School at Ibadan Grammar School. He and several other great players, Christopher Stober, Vincent Eburajolo, Victor Giwa, Chris Okolo and so on, students/footballers under the tutelage of former Governor, Lam Adesina, who was then the school’s game master, were stars of academicals football in that year.I went and met them, and convinced 5 of thèm from the school to join me in WNTV/WNBS football club where I was serving out my one-year compulsory Industrial Attachment after OND, and was the young officer (and football player) in charge of the station’s club, to play in that year’s Western State Challenge Cup competition.We had a fantastic team of very young players that put up a very exciting performance, but lost in the only match we played at the Olubadan Stadium, against NEPA or Police FC (I believe).As a result of that experience, we became friends and started a relationship as well as football careers.We were age mates, separated only by months. Yet when the others, including Taiye, played for the Academicals (State and National) I was a senior player for both State and Country.He joined Shooting Stars ahead of Kunle Awesu, Muda Lawal and I, even though in the same year in 1974! We formed a formidable partnership in the team.My relationship with Taiye, as I always called him, was one designed for a good story book. Only he and I, probably, know some of the details of that special relationship.Taiye gave Kunle Awesu, Muda Lawal, Sunday Akande and I (all of us playing for Housing Corporation FC) the confidence we needed to move and to join him in Shooting Stars.I became the key facilitator of his move, on a full athletes scholarship to study in the Clemson University in the US. I was very integral to the wife he eventually married, my ‘sister’ Bukola, an angel from heaven in his life; I facilitated his invitation to the national team; and I smoothened his ascendancy to the captaincy of Shooting Stars FC even after he left to study for 4/5 years and returned to rejoin the team and to assume immediate leadership as captain when Samuel Ojebode was retired due to ‘old age’.There is a depth to our relationship that is reserved for family only. Indeed, we became a family as we joined our parents and siblings in the relationship.Easily, Taiye was closest to me through the years of my football career until I retired, and even after.Our early years in retirement were about unforgettable escapades and adventures meant for the movies. We would recall them occasionally later after he went into club football administration, and I went into the sports business.Nigerian football politics and our quest for positions in it, during another phase of our lives, particularly after his stint as Secretary General of the NFA, created a gulf that we never completely could bridge again since then. Yet, we remained friends, but without the same old, and very strong social bonds.In the past two years the elements brought us together more often and we both tried hard to rebuild the bridge.Unfortunately, a lot of water had passed under the bridge and things never were the same again, even though we never departed from being friendly to each other.Anyone on the outside would think we were still inseparable, and that the original links between us were broken. Between us though, we knew there was a small bridge we spoke about once but never resolved.A couple of weeks ago we met at Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s office in Oshogbo and were the envy of all onlookers as we rekindled our old laughter and jokes.For the first time in a long while inhibitions were completely shattered and we recalled our happiest moments again.He was indeed one of the first people to encourage me and to wish me well on learning of my gubernatorial ambitions in Ogun State.We exchanged several SMS messages, and he actually made me speak with Buky his wife on phone from Oshogbo.To crown a return to our original family relationahip, whilst Wole, my younger brother, was in town a few weeks ago, he spent a whole weekend at Rotimi’ s (Taiwo’s younger brother, Wole’s friend also from secondary school and still green and fresh till now), in Lagos.A few days after that, Rotimi and his wife visited me in my home in Lagos ànd made a hefty donation to my political campaign fund, to my pleasant surprise and gratitude.Taiye’s death is a very big and painful blow.I can imagine how it will devastate a while army of his friends in the sports fraternity, many of whom he courted and often also empowered through the years.His passage is a reminder of our mortality as well as the vanity of the pursuit of materialism and of scoring cheap political points at the expense of genuine friendship and unconditional love.We are all ageing and getting slowly and steadily to the gates of our earthly terminus, waiting for our turn to return to our Creator when the bell tolls.Taiwo was a great administrator and master of the political game. He served football, Oyo and Ogun States, and the country very well.He will live forever in our hearts.His place in the annals of Nigerian football is also well assured.May the Lord console his wife, his surviving siblings, his children and grandchildren.Goodnight my brother and friend, Taiye.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram By Segun OdegbamiHe died this morning.I had to cancel all my appointments today following the very sad and shocking news of the passage of my friend of over 46 years – Taiwo Ogunjobi, this morning.