Launch of ‘Communicators Without Borders’

The National University of Singapore, Purdue University, and Team Rubicon officially launched a new joint programme for communication students on Dec. 4. The programme, titled “Communicators Without Borders”, seeks to give NUS and Purdue students the opportunity to work with NGOs such as Team Rubicon on humanitarian and social change efforts around the world.

“[We want to] bring students into situations where they, in fact, have an opportunity to really grow, and to be challenged, and to make a difference.” Prof. Howard Sypher said in his speech at the launch event held in the CNM Playroom. Prof. Sypher is the head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, Indiana, US.

Prof. Sypher also noted how Singapore’s global interconnectedness made the nation-state the perfect location to commence “Communicators Without Borders.”

Prof. Mohan Dutta, Head of the Communications and New Media department at NUS, highlighted the centrality of communication in the programme. “If there is one theme that I think connects these organisations together, that is the vision for understanding the role of communication in how it has an impact on society,” Prof. Dutta said. “I believe that’s a strong thread that flows through what we do here at CNM.”

Team Rubicon is an early NGO partner of “Communicators Without Borders.” The three-year-old American humanitarian organization is made up of military veterans who provide emergency aid in crises and disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy which recently devastated the US east coast.

“A lot of us have extensive experience, sadly, in war, but it teaches you a lot,” Team Rubicon Regional Director Ford Sypher said. “We’re taking that experience, and we’re taking these hands that were trained for war, and we’re re-tooling them to deliver aid, both domestically and internationally.”

To launch “Communicators Without Borders,” Prof. Sypher, Ford Sypher and Dr. Tracy Loh, representing the communication management team at CNM, put together a large three-piece jigsaw puzzle. Each piece represented the three major partners of the programme.

Ford Sypher from Team Rubicon, Prof. Mohan Dutta from NUS and Prof. Howard Sypher from Purdue launched the “Communicators Without Borders” program in NUS.

While the launch of “Communicators Without Borders” is a significant step, there is still much to do before students can be sent to work with NGOs. “Collaboration is always hard,” Prof. Sypher said. “There are misunderstandings, there are difficulties. But if it was easy, there wouldn’t be the rewards that come along with it.”

Watch the launch of “Communicators Without Borders”

CARE launches CARE&SHARE seminars

By Daniel Teo

The Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) recently began its seminar series. For the inaugural seminar on October 27, A/P Shiv Ganesh from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, presented a two-part seminar on social movements. On November 15, CARE’s own Dr. Kang Sun discussed his dissertation on peasant workers in China.

CARE&SHARE 1: Community Resilience, Social Justice Activism, and the New Dialogic

In the first session, entitled “Community Resilience: Resistance and Renewal in an Age of Ecological,” Shiv discussed the need for a new theoretical vernacular to explain how communities organise, especially in a global and ecological context. He argued that conventional theories on social movements focus on their absence, rather than their emergence.

In the following session, “Coordination, Connectedness and Exchange: The New Dialogic in Social Justice Activism,” Shiv spoke about how local social movements were connected to and transformed by larger global movements. He drew heavily from his ethnographic work on the Occupy movement in Wellington, New Zealand.

For more detailed notes and video clips on Sessions 1 and 2 of Shiv’s presentation, please visit the respective blog posts by CARE researcher Jagadish Thaker and seminar participant Cheryll Soriano.

CARE&SHARE 2: Manufacturing Identity: Peasant Workers’ Spatial Production in China

Kang regaled the seminar participants with stories from his childhood in rural China and graduate student days in Ohio. He connected these experiences of Chinese and American identities to his dissertation on how identities are constructed, not just socially and symbolically, but spatially and materially as well. Kang also spoke about his ethnographic work on Chinese factory workers who had left their villages in the countryside to pursue their fortunes in the city.

For more on Kang’s presentation, please read CARE Director Prof. Mohan Dutta’s blog post on his reflections on the seminar. A video of the seminar can be found on the CARE website.

CARE is a global hub for health communication research that uses participatory and culture-centered methodologies to develop community-driven health communication solutions. The center is currently funded by a $1.9 million grant from the National University of Singapore. To learn more about CARE, please visit our website.