These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 12, 2011.
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Nashville Preserving Freedom Conference a Rousing Success
The Tennessee Freedom Coalition created another successful event in Nashville yesterday with the well-attended Preserving Freedom Conference which focused on Islamic law. They had a number of really top-shelf speakers and my only quibble was each one had very little time to give his talk. Something like 27 speakers (more if you include the introductions) gave presentations between 10AM and 5PM, so many, if not most, of the speakers were very rushed and there was very little opportunity for attendees to meet them afterward - the schedule was such that if you wanted to talk to a speaker of buy a book you did so by missing another presentation.
That aside, there were some really wonderful speeches given by John Guandolo, David Yerushalmi (by video), Wafa Sultan, Ken Timmerman, Don Feder, Frank Gaffney, Mark Durie from Australia, Paul Diamond from the UK, and Andrew Bostom. Bishop E.W. Jackson gave a spirited invocation to start it off which set the tone nicely.
Bob Smietana covered the conference for The Tennessean. Mr. Smietana was personally singled out for ridicule before the crowd by Kelly Cook from ACT! for America. Nevertheless, Smietana went about his business in a professional manner and gave a fairly evenhanded report, including posting a complete video of Brigitte Gabriel's speech and refraining from using her real name which he had done in a previous article - which action had drawn the barb from Cook.
The much vaunted protests that were so greatly feared by Hutton Hotel and which caused them to cancel the event there, did not materialize at all, at least to my knowledge.
Congratulations to Lou Ann Zelenik and Andy Miller for another of what will undoubtedly be a long line of successful events on this issue. Free speech is alive and well in Nashville, Tennessee.
Cars Torched in Brooklyn on Kristllnacht, 2011 Kristallnacht Cartoon 1938
November 9th was the 73rd commemoration of Kristallnacht- the ‘night of broken glass’ in Nazi Germany.
In our post on Kristallnacht in 2010, we noted the Nazi paroxysm of hatred towards Germany’s Jews in November, 1938:
Kristallnacht was Nazi retribution for the assassination an anti-Nazi German diplomat Ernest Vom Rath in the Paris by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynzspan on November 7th, 1938. That event was seized upon by Herr Hitler and his Nazi SA and SS thugs to unleash a torrent of ‘spontaneous’ violence. That violence was graphically set against the lurid flames of more than 1,000 synagogues torched, several hundred of them destroyed, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes broken into, destroyed and vandalized. 91 Jewish men were killed, thousands beaten and more than 30,000 dragged off to concentration camps. Many of the later would never to return to their frightened families, many of whom were to disappear in the Holocaust. Kristallnacht was the prelude to the Final Solution that murdered six million European Jewish men, women and children.
The Connecticut Jewish Ledgerhas a collection ofgraphic American cartoons on Kristallnacht -see here.
Fast forward to Kristallnacht, 2011 in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Along Ocean parkway, several cars parked between Avenues I and J were torched and vans defaced with “KKK” symbols in a patent antisemitic frenzy. One intrepid neighbor, Abraham Israel caught the attack on video commented to WCBS-TV :
Exclusive video, obtained by CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Friday night, shows the arson spree. Neighbor Solomon Israel took the video and said a closer look shows a clear sign of arson.
“On the middle car that was burning, I saw a red empty can of gas, which obviously made it very obvious that it was a fire lit on purpose,” Israel said.
A wide swath of Midwood looked like “a war zone” after anti-Semites torched cars and scrawled hate graffiti to mark the gruesome anniversary of Hitler’s infamous blitzkrieg on Jews, Kristallnacht.
Residents awoke to find three cars torched on Ocean Parkway between avenues I and J with swastikas and the letters “KKK” spray-painted in the nearby surroundings on benches and cars.
“When you drive down the block, it looks like a war zone,” said one resident.
Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park) is offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. [According to WCBS-TV State Senator Martin Sherman has raised the reward to $2000].
Community leaders denounced the attack and some said that evidence indicated that this was the product of an organized group.
“When you see swastikas in New York City, it’s often a bunch of kids,” said Chaim Deutsch, the founder of the Flatbush Shomrim. “But this one here seems a lot more serious because asides from all the hate stuff, they lit three cars on fire.”
Watch this New York Post video report with Brooklyn councilman, Dov Hikind:
Given that the Ocean Parkway area is inhabited by predominately Syrian Jews, perhaps this was not an ordinary act of juvenile vandals. Rather it could be something more ominous. Could it be this was an attack redolent of Islamic terrorism, terrorism seeking to intimidate these exiles from the tyranny of the Arab Middle East? Stay tuned for further developments as this story unfolds.
[NB: “Ch” is pronounced “sh” in French, which is how “Sharlie Hebdo becomes Sharia Hebdo.]
Over a hundred rockets were fired from Gaza in the space of a few days, aimed at civilian targets, reaching deep into Israel, licking at the road to Tel Aviv when France, in a shocking about-face, voted in favor of the admission of “Palestine” to UNESCO. The Palestinian Authority is licking its chops at the prospects of getting unesco to declare the Tomb of the [Jewish] Patriarchs a Palestinian holy site. Just for starters. A few days later, on the eve of publication of a special Charia Hebdo issue with Mohamed as guest editor, Charlie Hebdo’s brand new unmarked premises were fire-bombed.
Would you be surprised to learn that the same moral and strategic confusion that produced a travesty of cultural justice at unesco informs the Charia issue of the vulgar sardonic weekly that provoked Islamic ire? In voting to admit the unformed state of “Palestine” to unesco, France was presumably trying to balance out its planned abstention on the UN Security Council vote to admit “Palestine.” Wouldn’t the Palestinians magically become a state overflowing with art, culture, and education, if only they were brought into the bosom of the UN organization? And, if Charlie Hebdo could make fun of Islam, wouldn’t it become as tame as Christianity? Why can’t the Israelis see the light?
The 15th page of the 16-page Charia Hebdo is wholly devoted to an interview with David Chemla, French president of Peace Now and European director of JCall [http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/27501 ]. The interview is illustrated by a three-stage drawing of a billboard standing in front of a barren landscape. Stage 1 announces the construction of a Palestinian state in 2011 with the support of Peace Now. Stage 2: one corner of the billboard is broken off, the date is changed to 2023 with the support of Peace Soon. Stage 3: the top 2/3 of the billboard is broken off, the date is changed to 2041 with the support of Peace Someday.
Asked if Abbas is weakened because the “Hebrew State” negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit with Hamas, David Chemla replies that this might lead Hamas to abandon military action and enter into a political process. In any event, he says, no peace agreement can be made without Hamas approval.
What about shari’a in the Islamic rump state of Gaza? Might that have something to do with the delayed construction of a Palestinian state? Don’t expect a Charlie Hebdo journalist to even dream of the possibility. What about the deterioration of relations with Israel when shari’a becomes the foundation of Arab Springtimed governments in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia? What about the persecution of Christians? None of the above would enter into the line of reasoning of Charlie Hebdo. If you can call what they do “reasoning.”
Charlie Hebdo is a below the belt, grabass, gross, laboriously disgusting, sex-cremental niche publication, an outdated survival of a 1960s rebellion against the bourgeoisie, the church, and the powers that be. Such outworn throwbacks are a staple of French culture, kept warm by fresh blood from a constant trickle of young people. We have 16 year-olds who are 100% pure Communists and 60 year-olds who think it is funny to belch in writing.
The Charlies don’t deal in nuance. They call everyone con. Con means stupid, idiotic, dimwit but it has a sexual connotation—another throwback—because it is, literally, c__t, the female sex organ. Calling everybody con is a way for the Charlies to deflect attention from their own slapdash approximations. Like boisterous children, they take pride in their sloppiness. How can you take issue with them, when they are deliberately crude, clumsy, and offensive?
love / stronger than hatred declares the cover of the “rebuttal” issue published on November 9th, a week after the firebombing. A bearded guy with a big nose and Islamic cap, apparently dressed in a kamis, gives a drooling kiss and bearish hug to a juvenile Charlie with a pencil behind his ear. A similarly bearded, similarly dressed Muslim appears on the back page but this time he’s enraged. Arm in arm with an enraged Catholic brandishing a “fundamentalist Bible,” the Muslim brandishes a “fundamentalist Koran.” The legend is “one god…two suspects.”
This week’s issue features countless messages of support, including these words from novelist and filmmaker Gérard Mordillat who sums up the Charlie Hebdo credo: “Religions deserve no respect …. All religions are instruments of oppression that we must combat…” The Charlies gleefully lump together rabbis, priests, and imams for collective spanking. Though, as I mentioned in Part 1, they repeatedly insist that they have nothing against Islam.
Page 15 of the November 9th issue is devoted to Cabu’s friendly sketches of the Occupy Wall Street folks at Zucotti Square. No such indulgence for the Catholics currently demonstrating in front of the Parisian theater that is running Romeo Castellucci’s Sul concetto di volto nel figlio di Dio [On the concept of the face of the son of God] in which a huge portrait of Christ is juxtaposed with a scene in which a son deals with his aged father’s incontinence, leading to confusion between the man’s bed drowned in excrements and the face of Christ soiled with, according to the playwright, India ink. For Charlie Hebdo the small group of Catholic protesters is no less dangerous than the thousands of death threats in the name of Islam. And if the sweetie pies in Zucotti Square are more like the avenging Muslims than the offended Catholics, it doesn’t count. They’re not religious.
Commentators outside of France, unfamiliar with the editorial line of Charlie Hebdo, have imagined a champion of free speech courageously standing up to the jihad battalions. Close up it looks more like a fools-rush-in operation. Infatuated with the illusion of an Arab springtime, the Charlies thought that Muslims are like us. Making fun of Islam was a friendly gesture. They believe Islam is divided like French Catholicism into a liberated, secularized majority and a fringe group of retrograde cons deserving of contempt.
On other issues—President Sarkozy and his government, capitalists, American imperialists, police, Zionists—the usual Leftist dislikes prevail. Charb—the boss-- almost had to apologize for shaking hands with Interior Minister Claude Guéant. He was honest enough to admit that he also has to endure police protection when he appears in public.
Will the scatological, let it all hang out, grossly genital treatment of shari’a fare better than more serious well-informed works of art and politics that have left their authors in limbo when they weren’t brutally slaughtered? A French professor, Robert Redeker, has been in hiding for years, after writing a few simple truths about Mohamed. http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/refugee-in-his-own-country-february-09-france-islam-rushdie-threats A host of writers and intellectuals have discretely retired from public view because of physical attacks and credible death threats. Writers who dare to broach the subject of Islamization are vilified and marginalized. Most publishers turn down their manuscripts; when their works do appear they are not reviewed and many bookstores refuse to handle them.
The torching of Charlie Hebdo’s offices caused a flare up of awareness of the dangers of shari’a. Free speech, including the freedom to criticize Islam, became a cause célèbre supported all across the political spectrum. Leftists circulated petitions. There was a modest demonstration in front of the Paris City Hall. (The joke within the joke is that an official of the anti-racist establishment tried to exclude the vocal apostate Pascal Hillout of Riposte Laïque, accusing him of being on the Far Right.)
What will come of this unexpected shift in public discourse? Is it a flash in the pan? Or a sign that French people are beginning to stand up for their culture and their rights? Has the clumsy half baked punch from a marginal tabloid accomplished what dozens of brilliant thinkers weren’t able to do? History, you know, happens as if it were written by a novelist, not a historian!
Patrick Pelloux, an M.D. who writes for Charlie Hebdo, said “threats don’t scare us.” If so, bravo. But it’s going to be a long hard fight and this first skirmish was deceivingly simple. Remember, the initial reaction to the Mohamed drawings in Denmark’s Jyllands Posten was low key. It took months for a few imams to mobilize the “spontaneous” outburst of rage throughout the Muslim world. We can only hope that all the contingents that rushed to defend Charia Hebdo will be present and accounted for when jihad strikes again.
Death is every life’s inevitable denouement, but La Rochefoucauld told us that we can no more stare it in the face than we can stare at the sun. For the most part, we continue our daily round in a state of presumed immortality, and because we are so unfamiliar nowadays with death—it having been carefully put out of our sight by a host of professionals—we treat it as an unwarranted intrusion into our affairs rather than as an existential limit to our brief earthly sojourn. For many, death has become anomalous rather than inevitable, something to protest against rather than accept. For them, the concept of a good death is entirely alien or antipathetic.
David Horowitz tries to stare his own death in the face. Now 71, he has had cancer of the prostate, and he has diabetes and angina; his diplomatic immunity from death, which we all grant ourselves, has been unmistakably withdrawn. His short new book, which it is both necessary and a pleasure to read in one sitting, is a meditation on the meaning of life, sub specie aeternitatis.
Horowitz begins by reflecting on the nature and character of his dogs, whom he takes for regular walks. Perhaps those who don’t love dogs will think this an odd way to begin a book on the meaning of life, but it seems entirely natural and fitting. Indeed, I was struck by how Horowitz’s meditations paralleled mine, occasioned by my relationship, and walks, with my own dog—a relationship intense and happy, at least on my side and, if I don’t delude myself, on his also. The dog, of course, has no intimation of his own mortality, while the owner’s pleasure in the animal’s company is increasingly tinged with a melancholy awareness of his swiftly approaching dissolution. Yet the dog maintains his passionate interest in the little world around him, his small-scale curiosity in his immediate environment. In the face of the physical immensity of the universe and the temporal vastness that both preceded and will follow his oblivion, is a man in any fundamentally different situation?
As far as we know, we are the only creatures to demand of their existence a transcendent meaning. This can be supplied by various means, most commonly religious belief. Horowitz is unable to accept belief in a personal God, but wishes he could and, unlike many in his position, does not scorn those who do. He is decidedly not the village atheist.
More than most, however, he has reason to know that politics can also give, or at any rate appear to give, transcendent meaning to life. The secular religion of Marxism was particularly adept at supplying this meaning, though nationalist struggles could do the same. To believe that one was a soldier in history’s army, marching toward the predestined final victory when mankind would become terminally happy, and that one’s participation would help bring forward that consummation, was to know that one did not live in vain. Even personal suffering can be lessened by adherence to a political cause: either such suffering is experienced as a consequence of the struggle, or it is at least ameliorated by an acceptance of its pettiness by comparison with the greater goal.
Horowitz offers brief but moving glimpses of his father, a true believer in the ability of Marxism (in what he considered its indubitably correct form) not only to interpret the world but to change it. The preposterous intellectual grandiosity of this belief contrasted comically, and sadly, with Horowitz senior’s position in the world. His son’s depiction has an elegiac quality, portraying the tragicomedy of a man who thought he had penetrated to the heart of existence’s mystery but was really quite weak. Though he embraced a doctrine that had done untold evil in the world, he himself was a gentle soul. His son writes in sorrow, not anger.
The author has reason to know better than most the religious nature of the revolutionary creed. In 1971, when still under the influence of leftism, he edited a book of essays dedicated to the life and work of the Marxist historian Isaac Deutscher. Like Horowitz’s father, Deutscher kept his faith in the immaculate conception of the October Revolution, a revolution that was, alas, subsequently to be corrupted—just as Rousseau thought naturally innocent mankind was corrupted by society. One of the essays in this book, by the Economist’s former Paris correspondent, Daniel Singer, contains the following passage:
Could one trust the statement of a Komintern ready to distort in such a fashion? Isaac was driven to question all authorized versions, to go back to the October revolution, to study the conflicts that followed Lenin’s death. The German heresy thus led him logically to an understanding and rejection of the Stalinist system.
The religious nature of Deutscher’s belief in revolutionary Marxism could hardly have been clearer. Authorized versions give rise to, or at least are the precondition of, heresies. Deutscher went back to the October Revolution, and to Lenin’s words, as Muslim fundamentalists go back to the Koran, for a source of undoubted and indisputable truth. Inside every heretic, it seems, a dogmatist is trying to get out.
Horowitz has put the pseudo-transcendence of a purpose immanent in history completely behind him so completely that he can now write about it calmly and without rancor. His masters are now Marcus Aurelius, the stoic Roman emperor, whom he likes to quote, and Dostoyevsky, who was among the first to grasp the significance of the perverted religious longings of the revolutionary intelligentsia, and the hell on earth to which they would inevitably lead. But the temptations of ideology are always present: Dostoyevsky, so aware of the dangers of the revolutionary intelligentsia, himself subscribed in entries in A Writer’s Diary to an ideology at least as absurd: that of Slavophile millenarianism. It is wrong to oppose one ideology with another, but it is by no means easy to escape the trap of doing so.
If neither formal religious belief nor secular religions like Marxism gives meaning to Horowitz’s life, what does? In large measure, it is his work: a lifetime spent in the crucible of political thought and struggle, first on the left, and then, over the last quarter century or so, as a devout conservative. It is vain to suppose, of course, that any human achievement, even the highest, could possibly be of a duration that would entitle it to the word “eternal.” No literary fame, for example, has so far lasted longer than 3,000 years—not even the blinking of the universe’s eyelid. But we humans must live on a human scale and measure things accordingly. The journalist, while he writes his latest article, thinks it of the greatest significance, though he knows perfectly well that it will be forgotten the day after tomorrow, if indeed it is read or noticed at all. Often I have thought to myself, as I write articles, “If only I can be spared until I have finished it,” though I am aware that even I will have forgotten its content by the week after next.
Significance and importance, however, are not natural qualities found inhering in objects or events. Only the appraising mind can impart such meaning. That is why, in my view, the neurosciences are doomed to failure, at least in their more ambitious claims. A mysterious metaphysical realm exists beyond the reach of even the most sophisticated of scanners, even if we cannot specify exactly where that realm is or how it came to be. The physiologist Moleschott, in the nineteenth century, declared that the brain secreted thought like the liver secreted bile; those neuroscientists who tell us that we are about to empty life of its mystery will come to seem as ridiculous, as absurdly presumptuous, as Moleschott seems to us now.
Horowitz tackles these problems in an indirect and gentle fashion. When he talks of the meaning that his work gives to his life, he is not saying to all his readers “Go and do likewise,” because it is clearly not given to everyone to do so (and thank goodness—a world composed of only one kind of person would be unbearable). The satisfaction of work is not, or at least should not be, proportional to the amount of notice it receives in the world. Perhaps the worst effect of celebrity culture is that it makes fame the measure of all things, and thus devalues or renders impossible not only satisfaction from useful but unglamorous labour, but precisely the kinds of pleasures and deep consolations that are to be had from walking a dog.
David Horowitz’s book is a small but important contribution to the revival of the art of dying well, an art from which most of us, both the living and the dying, would benefit. And to die well, we must know first what we have lived for.
A gold-plated Infiniti sports car being tested in Nanjing. China is predicted to become the world's largest luxury goods market by 2020. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images
Sherry Wang misses many things about China. It's taken time to get used to western food, and day-to-day communication is harder; even requesting goods in a convenience store can be a struggle.
But the wealthy entrepreneur has no regrets about her decision to emigrate to North America two years ago.
The education system "makes my son happy every day", she said, by encouraging personal development, in contrast to Chinese schools' rigid focus on grades. And the family no longer fret about the safety of their food.
Wang's choice is part of a much broader trend: China's rich appear to be increasingly keen to go west. Almost half of China's millionaires are considering moving abroad, according to a survey released recently by Hurun – best known for publishing a Chinese rich list – and the Bank of China.
The report found that 46% of the 980 people surveyed had thought about emigrating; 14% had done so already or applied to do so. Most wanted a better education for their children. The findings chimed with research by China Merchants Bank and consultants Bain this spring which suggested that more than a quarter of those with more than 100m yuan (about £10m) had moved abroad and almost half were considering it.
Many sought immigrant investor status, which grants residence rights to those making large investments. [why ask them only to make investments that they might well make anyway? Why not charge them, say, 25% of their wealth for the great privilege of living in the United States or other Western countries? Or tax non-Western foreigners who buy real estate in London or Paris, even if they are not immigrants, large sums for that privilege?]
"After establishing a decent economic foundation, of course people tend to move to places where a better quality of life is available," Wang said.
Businessman Eric Wen, whose family are considering a move from Shanghai to the US or Canada, agreed: "The biggest motivation is life quality and education for my children. The environment, especially air quality, is much better in these countries," he said.
But Wang acknowledged there was another motive, too: "My husband was worried that China would suffer political turmoil some day and it is safer here."
That instinct – and the resentment that rich people can attract – makes the subject of emigration sensitive for many. Wang asked that her Chinese name, and her new home, should not be disclosed.
Rupert Hoogewerf, of Hurun, acknowledged that some were nervous about stability, particularly before the transition of power to a new generation of leaders next year. But he suggested that people seemed to be seeking an "insurance policy", pointing out that few of the Chinese wealthy wanted to trade in their passports.
While some think another nationality may help protect "ill-gotten" wealth, most seek residency rights. "There is concern about social and economic and potentially political unrest – but the growth far outweighs the potential risk. This is the fastest-growing economy [they could work in] … and this is the place they know best," Hoogewerf said.
A US-based business development consultant said they were investing initially, with a long-term idea of moving – "first their children in many cases, then their wives, then themselves". He said the number of Chinese clients inquiring about emigration had surged. "A year ago I would have these conversations once a month. Now it's dozens of times."
Although education was the big issue, "they are not sure what's going to happen with 2012 coming up and the party leadership in question … It's the possibility all hell might break loose."
As he pointed out, maintaining a lavish lifestyle can prove unexpectedly costly outside China. But while drivers or maids may be a good deal more expensive than at home, that is not an issue for the super-wealthy. One of his clients recently bought a $6.2m mansion in California for his son to live in, snapping up a yacht at the same time so the young man could make use of the property's private dock.
Such indulgences are poorly received by China's less privileged citizens. Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University, told the People's Daily website that rich people had benefited from the hard work of many others in China and should not move overseas with their assets. "In comparison to the behaviour of … patriotic Chinese overseas during the anti-Japanese war, the rich people are carrying money away in the good times, which makes them [morally] small," he said. Others argued it was pointless to expect better of the wealthy.
Fan Zijun, a critic and writer, said that although ideally all citizens should show civic awareness and a sense of responsibility to China, it was "childlike, even naive" to expect them to do so. "If rich people really had such high consciousness and self-discipline, would the wealth gap, social equality and other issues have become the great problem that perplexes us now?"
Challenges And Opportunities And Innovative Solutions And Multidisciplinary Ecosystems And Sustainable Change And Exponential Growth All Over The Place
It's not Siddhartha Yog's gift, but the words, the prefabricated phrases, the unseemly gush of gratitude from various deans who might have expressed themselves with more reserve and dignity -- that's what prompts the desire to hold up for mockery this, the latest example, of what's wrong with American universities, or with those in charge of them
A gift that spans Schools
Siddhartha Yog donates $11,000,001 to Harvard
November 10, 2011
Siddhartha Yog: "Harvard University’s multidisciplinary and collaborative ecosystem uniquely positions it to find innovative and far-reaching solutions to what I consider are the greatest challenges of our times. I am certain that the beneficiaries of this gift will be remarkable individuals who will bring positive and sustainable change to our world.”
Harvard University announced today that Siddhartha Yog, M.B.A. ’04, founder and managing partner of The Xander Group Inc., an India-focused, emerging-markets investment firm, has given the University $11,000,001 to establish two new professorships, fellowships and financial aid, and an intellectual entrepreneurship fund.
The gift is inspired by and honors the teaching and mentorship of Professor Arthur I. Segel at Harvard Business School (HBS). It spans multiple Harvard Schools and focuses on innovative science, educational access, public service, and academic–public policy collaborations.
The Xander University Professorship recognizes an eminent scholar in emerging areas of scientific inquiry, particularly those at the intersection of existing scientific disciplines. University Professorships are a singular honor reserved for faculty members who are both extraordinarily accomplished in their fields and respected leaders in the University community. Noted Harvard stem cell scientist Douglas A. Melton was named to the position in September.
The Xander Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE) recognizes an educator whose work promotes equity, access, and readiness for college, especially for economically disadvantaged and urban students, as well as for students in vocational education programs. Dean Kathleen McCartney has announced that Bridget Terry Long, an economist whose research focuses on issues of access and choice in higher education and the outcomes of college students, will be the inaugural Xander Professor of Education.
The Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund at Harvard Law School (HLS) will provide financial aid for deserving international students and students enrolled in the J.D. program who pursue public interest and public service work. The fund also will provide fellowships for one year of postgraduate public service. The Xander Fund for Intellectual Entrepreneurship at HBS will support novel projects and collaborations engaging both the academic and public policy sectors.
“Harvard’s legacy of teaching and learning has long emphasized intellectual exploration and public service,” said Harvard President Drew Faust, who is also Lincoln Professor of History. “We are grateful to Sid Yog for this generous gift, which will help us to extend that legacy with the support it spreads across three of our Schools and its recognition of emerging areas of scientific research.”
Faust also highlighted the important role of University Professors. “The University Professorships were established almost 80 years ago as a special way to recognize individuals of distinction who are working on the frontiers of knowledge in ways that cross the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines.”
She added, “While the world knows Doug Melton as a scientist who has played a seminal role in the exponential growth of the new field of stem cell science, we at Harvard also know him as an untiring mentor to scientific leaders of tomorrow, and as an academic who is passionate about improving undergraduate education.”
Explaining his gift, Yog said, “Despite the advances we have made as a race, global events are forcing us to confront our most fundamental vulnerabilities — disease, social injustice, and economic disparity — in ways we have never needed to before. Harvard University’s multidisciplinary and collaborative ecosystem uniquely positions it to find innovative and far-reaching solutions to what I consider are the greatest challenges of our times. I am certain that the beneficiaries of this gift will be remarkable individuals who will bring positive and sustainable change to our world.”
McCartney said, “All of us at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are grateful to Sid Yog for endowing this chair and, in so doing, assuring that equity, access, and college readiness remain a focus of our work in perpetuity. Through the work of faculty in this chair, we will improve student opportunity, achievement, and success. I am thrilled to appoint Bridget Terry Long as the inaugural Xander Professor of Education. The policy implications of Professor Long’s research on access to higher education for low-income students is great, which is why she has been asked to testify before Congress and was recently named chair of the National Board for Education Sciences.”
HLS Dean Martha Minow said, “We at the Law School are deeply grateful for Sid Yog’s wonderfully generous Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund. This gift will make a critical difference to our students from around the world who wish to pursue public service, especially during this challenging time. That the gift comes from a person whose own career inspires our increasingly entrepreneurial students is especially significant as we seek to support those who are committed to developing innovative ways to serve the public interest. How truly delightful to share Mr. Yog’s vision and splendid support for our students pursuing initial and advanced law degrees.”
HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said, “We are grateful for Mr. Yog’s generous gift, which will help support our students’ interest in the intersection of business and government, as well as to enhance their study and practice of entrepreneurship, which creates value for society through the pursuit of opportunity and the development of innovative solutions to some of the world’s most difficult challenges.”
Yog has been involved in global real estate and infrastructure since 1993. From 1999 to 2002, he was based in Singapore and Hong Kong as founding director of CB Richard Ellis’s (CBRE) Asia/Pacific strategic consulting practice. From 1994 to 1998, he helped set up CBRE’s India operations and led the consulting, valuation, and research groups. He has also worked at Bain & Co. in New York, Deutsche Bank Real Estate Investment Management GmbH in Frankfurt, and Feedback Ventures in New Delhi.
As managing partner of The Xander Group Inc., an investment firm that he co-founded in 2005, Yog has been responsible for overseeing $1.2 billion of investments in India, concentrated primarily on companies and assets in the real estate, retail and entertainment, infrastructure, and hospitality sectors.
Yog received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with highest distinction and was elected a Baker Scholar. He was also elected president of his class and served on the board of directors of HBS’s alumni association. Earlier, he earned an honors degree in economics from the University of Delhi, where he was elected head of the students’ union of his college.
He serves on numerous boards and foundations, and is a founding member of the International Advisory Board of the Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard University. He splits his time among Boston, London, and New Delhi.
Yog discussed his hopes for the various aspects of the gift. “By spearheading pioneering research in emerging areas of scientific enquiry, the University chair in innovative sciences will have a global impact. It is an honor to be able to create a chair whose first appointee is Doug Melton. His path-breaking work in embryonic stem cell research has probably already changed the future course of the lives of millions of people, especially those suffering from Parkinson’s disease or type 1 diabetes.
“The Harvard Graduate School of Education is playing a critical role in addressing the urgent need for evolved and appropriate systems of education, by enabling teachers and trainers to lead the charge in their respective communities,” continued Yog. “I am confident that Bridget Terry Long will help promote more equitable and inclusive systems of education globally.”
Yog said that the Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund at HLS “will hopefully enable individuals from the developing world to become votaries and implementers of a strong and just legal system in their respective countries, a foundational aspect of any developed society.”
He added that HBS’s Xander Fund for Intellectual Entrepreneurship “will assist in pushing the boundaries of intellectual inquiry to resolve the range of problems our world faces today by rethinking the ways in which business engages with other stakeholders in society.”
Yog concluded with an explanation of the significance of the “$1” in his $11,000,001 gift amount. In Indian tradition, it is considered lucky to add a token of one to any monetary gift. It is believed that adding that 1 to, say, an amount of 1,000 or 10,000 will start off the next series of thousands or tens of thousands for the recipient.
“This is just my way of wishing good luck to all those who will be associated with this gift in times to come, and expressing my hope that they will add exponential value to the gift itself.”