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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Growing Up Gay During the Great Depression: A Memoir

Author’s life story addresses homophobia, classism and racism

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – WWII veteran, art educator and world traveler Perry Kelly shares his lifelong struggle to maintain his secret homosexual life in his new memoir “Cosmos Screen.”

This poignant autobiography touches on the alienation Kelly has endured throughout his life, offering encouragement and hope to readers whom may be experiencing similar scrutiny. The pain of having to live a secret life, sexual explorations and seeking companionship and love are all explored without blame.

Readers learn what it was like growing up in rural southern Alabama in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the author’s experiences serving during World War II, his college years, his professional development as an art educator, and his travels to more than 45 countries around the world.

“I wanted to share a richly rewarding life story, to express my appreciation to the many friends who gave me guidance, encouragement and help along the journey,” Kelly said. “Homophobia and religious issues need not be elements of alienation or estrangement.”

“Cosmos Screen” by Perry Kelly
Hardcover, $31.99
Paperback, $23.95
e-Book, $3.99
ISBN: 978-1-48174-641-0
Available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and bookstore.authorhouse.com

About the author

Perry Kelly is a retired university professor. He left home at age 18 and served three years in the United State Air Force. He attended the University of Hawaii, the University of Florida and George Peabody College of Education. He taught art and World Geography in junior and senior high school. He earned his doctorate in 1965 after which he became a university professor who obtained recognition as an acclaimed art educator. He is an artist, a photographer, a world traveler, an atheist and an advocate for racial and gay rights. He has lectured and exhibited in Denmark, Brazil and China. His travels have taken him to 46 foreign countries with one trek along the Silk Route in the Gobi desert of China. He has enjoyed home stays in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Irkutsk, Russia as well as Kunming, China, Uzbekistan and Denmark. He relates the events of his life and examines them from an optimistic philosophical reference in his memoir, “Cosmos Screen.”

Fighting Poverty Is Big Business. But Who Profits The Most?

March 2016“I see multiple colonial governors,” says Ghanaian software entrepreneur Herman Chinery, who the Guardian calls “the Bill Gates of Africa.” “We are held captive by the donor community.”

The award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc. debuts on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD / DVD in North America in March. Embedded here is the trailer.

POVERTY, INC. | Official Trailer from POVERTY, INC. | The Movie on Vimeo.

Fighting poverty is big business. But who profits the most?

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of the development narrative, erecting a multibillion dollar charity and aid industry that often undermines local leadership and employment opportunity.

For example, a Haitian-owned photovoltaics start-up selling 50 solar streetlights per month can only sell 5 in six months following the earthquake, not due to damage, but due to the massive influx of donated solar panels flooding the market from abroad. Co-founder Alex Georges explains, “Power was completely out in Port-au-Prince. NGOs started to feel the need for solar, went to donors abroad that sent the solar equipment from abroad, so then when we managed, after a few weeks, to be able to secure the facility to get some production going again, then the demand stopped, because it’s hard to compete with free. When you had companies sending 1,000 solar panels to Haiti for free, how are you going to sell?”

Whereas past critiques of charitable aid often focus on how little aid actually gets to the poor, the film reveals that aid can sometimes be most harmful when it does reach people.

Another compelling story highlights the lessons adoptive parents Corrigan and Shelley Clay learned in their efforts to start an orphanage in Haiti. During their first year in Haiti after selling everything they owned to move there, they learned that 80% of children in institutional care are economic relinquishments one or more living parents. “I’m spending $20,000 to adopt this child that a mother wants. The injustice of that really took me.” The Clays began to realize that the demand for adoptions was driving in increase in the supply. “We realized the system we have for addressing the needs of orphans is actually a system that’s creating orphans,” says Corrigan.

The film resists recent fashions like microfinance and social entrepreneurship and instead challenges viewers’ fundamental assumptions – from the philosophical to the economic. “It’s less about teach a man to fish versus give a man a fish,” says first-time director Michael Matheson Miller. “It’s really about access to the pond and what happens after you catch the fish.”

Miller’s inspiration for the film stems from his unique background: he taught as a philosophy professor in Nicaragua, studied international development in Japan where he lived for 5 years, and studied international business in Europe. He is now a research fellow at the Acton Institute, a think tank focused on the intersection of market economics and moral philosophy.

Having already screened in over 40 International film festivals, 100 universities, and 140 cities around the world, the film is on its way to making inroads in the very culture of philanthropy and development. Students are calling the film “life changing” and “a tremendous whack on the side of the head.” “Compulsory viewing for anyone interested in social issues,” said Rathna Ramamurthi (India) after a Harvard Law School screening and 75 minute discussion with over 200 in attendance – just one of eight screenings at Harvard.

Tech Coast Angels Invested $13.5 Million into Startup Ecosystem in 2015

Southern California Angel Network Realizes Fourth Highest Investment Total in its 19-Year History

IRVINE, Calif. – February 29, 2016 – Tech Coast Angels (TCA) invested $13.5 million in a total of 58 companies in a diverse mix of industries in 2015. In addition to the $13.5 million of direct investment by TCA or its ACE Fund, the angel network also helped companies in its portfolio obtain $82 million through additional funding sources in 2015.

The angel network’s total direct investment for the year was slightly off its record $16.7 million year in 2014, consistent with the market slowdown in investments towards the end of 2015. The only other years in which TCA exceeded 2015’s total for investments were in 1999 ($16.3 million) and 2013 ($14.9 million). Investment in new companies was 35% of the total last year, compared to 41% in 2014 and 63% in 2013. Please see TCA’s 2015 year-end report for further details, a summarization of 2015, the outlook for 2016, and charts that segment TCA’s investments by industry.

“Notwithstanding the turmoil in financial markets in the latter part of the year, our numbers for 2015 reflect our confidence in adding value to innovative, early-stage companies—as well as expansion investments to our existing portfolio companies,” said TCA Chairman, John Harbison. “Tech Coast Angels remains one of the largest and most influential angel networks because of our commitment to solid and collaborative relationships within the investment and entrepreneurial communities.”

The angel network also had six exits in 2015, including three successful IPOs (Mindbody, CytomX and CRISI Medical Systems) and three acquisitions (Olive Medical, Thermark and Wispry). This brings the total exits since the network’s inception in 1997 to 60.

“Early-stage investing is often a long-term commitment, and Tech Coast Angels members remain steadfast in providing support, both financially and experientially, to early-stage, high-growth companies—especially those in Southern California,” continued Mr. Harbison. “We are looking forward to continuing our success in 2016 with our existing portfolio companies and by encouraging new young companies with great ideas.”

About Tech Coast Angels:

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest angel investment groups in the US. The group comprises over 300 angel members with experience spanning all aspects of successful leadership in almost every industry in five networks that encompass Southern California. TCA is the leader in providing funding, guidance, mentorship and leadership experience to early-stage, high-growth, exciting companies in Southern California. CB Insights has ranked TCA ahead of all other angel groups as the strongest network in the country.

Since its founding in 1997, Tech Coast Angels have invested over $176 million in more than 300 companies and have helped attract more than $1.5 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds, mostly from venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.techcoastangels.com.

DKT International Providing Contraceptives In-The-Trenches To Combat the Spread of Zika

Washington D.C. (March 1, 2016): With an outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, 107 travel-associated cases, and 39 cases in the U.S., many countries are recommending avoiding pregnancy through 2018 due to the high potential risk of babies being born with microcephaly.

“Thousands of DKT employees are working in-the-trenches to inform, educate, and provide contraceptives to those living in the most remote regions of the world to help prevent the Zika virus, unwanted pregnancies, maternal deaths and unsafe abortions,” says Chris Purdy, CEO of DKT International. “As access to digital and mobile technology and social media becomes more prevalent in the developing world, we now have efficient ways to reach rural, underserved, and generally hard-to-reach populations. The ability to communicate broadly with large numbers of people about the dangers of Zika and the importance of using condoms and where to get them has the power to significantly change the current reproductive health landscape.”

The following health initiatives are taking place around the world in an effort to educate and provide access to contraceptives:

  • The Brazil Health Ministry advised Brazilians to delay their child conception plans during the Zika outbreak. In response, DKT Brazil donated 500,000 condoms and distributed them during Carnival. In addition, they launched a social media campaign to include a video on Zika prevention featuring Jairo Bouer, MD, a sexual health educator influential among youth in Brazil.
  • Use of social media this past month has allowed DKT to reach more than 850,000 people in countries like Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador and Guatemala, providing accurate and timely information on how to identify a possible Zika infection, what actions to take and how to prevent and postpone pregnancy.
  • DKT has donated 15,000 Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) to Mexico, focusing on the State of Chiapas, one of the most Zika affected areas. They are also supplying condoms to Chiapas to prevent pregnany.
  • The Mexico City Ministry of Health and DKT are discussing a 7,000 IUD donation to the Community Health Centers that work closely with their main program, “The Doctor at Your Home,” among other services providing prenatal care to low-income women. DKT also provides educational materials for their prevention campaign that utilizes social workers dressed in DKT/Mexico City uniform at Metrobus to disseminate information about preventing teen pregnancy and promoting condom use.

“If Zika were to take hold in the U.S., it is the poor who be most at risk of infection. The U.S. already has one of the highest infant mortality rates among the 14 wealthiest countries in the world – a trend largely associated with economic inequality, poor housing developments, and toxic environments,” says Melissa Grant, Executive Director of Carafem Health in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “Add Zika into the mix and suddenly that trend expands to include microcephaly for those babies that do survive. Increased access to contraceptives provides the simplest solution to the complicated problems presented by Zika, and will make the biggest difference in preventing illnesses and improving quality of life.” Carafem provides free condoms as well as non-judgmental abortions. Grant has just published a blog entitled, Zika Virus Alters Catholic Church Policy on Contraception available on Huffington Post.

Mitsui to Become Shareholder in Forestry Investment Manager New Forests

TOKYO and SYDNEY, February 29, 2016 – Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”, Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 22.5% shareholding in New Forests Pty Limited (“New Forests”, Head Office: Sydney, Australia). New Forests is an investment manager specializing in sustainable forestry and land management in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the United States. Founded in 2005, New Forests has assets under management of AUD 2.8 billion (approximately ¥240 billion) including more than 600,000 hectares of timber plantations, rural land, and conservation investments globally. New Forests is one of the ten largest forestry investment managers in the world and the largest focused on the growing timber markets and plantation sectors of the Asia-Pacific region.

New Forests is also distinguished by its commitment to high levels of environmental performance and positive social and community outcomes in its investment and forestry asset management policies. The company is a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment as well as other industry and membership groups supporting best practices in forestry, responsible investment, and sustainability. New Forests also has a commitment to third-party certification of the sustainability of all its investments and operations.

Over the past 30 years, institutional forestry investment, including funds, direct investments, and timber REITs, has grown to more than USD 100 billion (approximately ¥12 trillion). The sector is positioned for further growth in the coming years as institutional investors seek to increase investment in real assets like timber, agriculture, real estate, and infrastructure. In addition, global timber demand is expected to grow at 1.5-2% per annum, and incremental growth in supply will need to come from sustainably managed plantations. Mitsui’s investment in New Forests is part of its strategy to increase and diversify its investment in forestry to meet the world’s growing demand for sustainably produced timber from well managed forest resources.

Mitsui looks forward to supporting the growth of New Forests and the sustainable forestry investment model, positioning this investment at the centre of its business portfolio. Through this investment Mitsui will contribute to sustainable development while providing a stable supply of wood resources through New Forests’ business.

Mitsui will support the growth of New Forests using its extensive business network and knowledge accumulated through its long-term engagement in the forest sector. Mitsui also has expertise in asset management and financing and the capacity to support New Forests in entering the Japanese institutional investment market. Working together, Mitsui and New Forests hope to expand Japanese institutional investment in the forestry sector.

About New Forests

New Forests (www.newforests.com.au) is a sustainable real assets investment manager providing leading-edge strategies in forestry, land management, and conservation. Founded in 2005, the company offers institutional investors targeted opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States and has over AUD 2.8 billion in assets under management. New Forests’ clients include pension funds, superannuation funds, and other institutional investors. The company is headquartered in Sydney, Australia with offices in Singapore and San Francisco.

About Mitsui

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”) is one of the most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment and service enterprises in the world, with 140 offices in 66 countries as of Feb, 2016. Utilizing its global operating locations, network and information resources, Mitsui is multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields: Iron & Steel Products, Mineral & Metal Resources, Infrastructure Projects, Integrated Transportation Systems, Chemicals, Energy, Food Resources, Food Products & Services, Consumer Services, IT & Communication, Corporate Development Business. Mitsui is actively taking on challenges for global business innovation around the world. For more information, visit http://www.mitsui.com.

New Breakthrough In Fight Against Lethal Amphibian Disease

Amphibians have been treated in the wild for the first time against the global chytridiomycosis (‘chytrid’) pandemic currently devastating their populations worldwide, as part of a pioneering study led by scientists from international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Published in the journal Biological Conservation and conducted in partnership with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the University of Kent, Chester Zoo and the Government of Montserrat, the paper describes how the established antifungal drug itraconazole can be used to treat amphibians in the wild during periods of particular risk from chytrid outbreaks. Frogs were individually washed for five minutes at a time in a bag containing the anti-fungal bath. While this measure was not ultimately able to stop them dying, the paper demonstrates that this technique has potential to greatly extend the likely time to extinction for any given amphibian population in the face of epidemic disease.

Caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), this chytrid variant has so far infected more than 600 amphibian species globally – causing population declines, extirpations or extinctions in over 200 of these and representing the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity ever recorded. Whilst captive breeding programmes offer hope for some, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently estimates that even with the cooperation of the global zoological community, only around 50 species could potentially be saved from extinction through this approach. Proven, field-based methods will therefore play a vital role in mitigating the risk posed by this disease.

Commenting on the paper, lead author Michael Hudson – jointly based at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology (IoZ), Durrell and the University of Kent – said: “This method represents a valuable addition to the currently sparse toolkit available to conservation scientists who are trying to combat the spread of chytrid in the wild. The treatment explored in this paper could be used to buy precious time in which to implement additional protective measures for at-risk amphibian species.”

The study, funded by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the Balcombe Trust, was based on ZSL and Durrell’s long-standing work with the ‘mountain chicken’ (Leptodactylus fallax). This critically endangered species, one of the largest frogs in the world, lives exclusively on the islands of Dominica and Montserrat in the Eastern Caribbean.

Expanding on the study, PTES Grants Manager Nida Al-Fulaij said: “This latest breakthrough provides conservationists with an additional weapon in the global fight against amphibian chytridiomycosis. We’re pleased to be supporting this vital work as part of our wider mission to conserve vulnerable wildlife in the UK and beyond.”

Reference
‘In-situ itraconazole treatment improves survival rate during an amphibian chytridiomycosis epidemic’
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320715302202

East-West Center Begins Search for New President

Current President Charles E. Morrison set to retire this summer

HONOLULU (February 29, 2016) – The East-West Center Board of Governors has begun an international search for a new president to succeed Dr. Charles E. Morrison, who has announced that he will be retiring this coming August after leading the Center since 1998. Exceptional candidates from across the Asia Pacific region and the U.S. will be considered, including residents of Hawai‘i, where the Center’s headquarters are located.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. The Center serves as a resource for information and analysis through programs focusing on higher education, policy-relevant research and international professional exchange.

The EWC Board is committed to finding an inspirational and visionary president to build on the Center’s success, refine its mission, and develop creative new programs that meet the emerging needs and aspirations of new generations throughout the region. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned professional of unquestioned reputation and ethics who has broad familiarity with the Asia-Pacific region, devotion to public service, passion for the mission of the East-West Center and its potential, and a successful track record of securing major funding from public and private sector sources.

SDSU Kyoto Symposium Honors a Pioneer

Scientists around the globe are conducting research based on materials sciences pioneer Toyoki Kunitake’s groundbreaking discoveries.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Feb. 29, 2016) — As part of the 2016 Kyoto Prize Symposium, San Diego State University is hosting pioneering chemist Toyoki Kunitake, who received the 2015 Kyoto Prize — Japan’s highest private award for global achievement — in the area of “Advanced Technology.

The event will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16 in Montezuma Hall of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Students Union. It is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

Kunitake established molecular self-assembly as one of the key concepts in the field of chemistry, which opened new frontiers in the materials sciences.

“I am surprised and honored to receive the Kyoto Prize, as this is one of the foremost scientific awards. I strongly feel that I am obliged to convey the excitement and the responsibility of science and technology to the younger generation,” Kunitake said.

Kunitake was the first in the world to discover that synthetic molecules could spontaneously produce bilayer membranes — a basic structure common to the biological membranes of living cells. The practical implications of his work cover an array of potential uses ranging from drug delivery systems to membranes for desalinization plants and improving the efficiency of fuel cells. Today, scientists around the globe are conducting research based on his groundbreaking discoveries.

Kunitake hopes that his scientific contributions will inspire future generations to explore science and create more technology.

“Some people think we have more than enough technologies. This is not the case,” Kunitake said. “We need more good science and technology. Many new problems appear as we solve some of the problems we face. To maintain proper scientific and technological literacy is essential for the new generation to survive in the future and to create a better world.”

SDSU has arranged for high school students — many from underserved areas of the region — to attend the symposium with the goal of introducing them to the university and the idea of pursuing a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Kunitake’s presentation is one in the three-part Kyoto Prize Symposium hosted jointly by SDSU, University of California, San Diego, University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene. In addition to Kunitake, this year’s Kyoto Prize laureates include:

In “Arts and Philosophy,” John Neumeier, a world-renowned choreographer, has combined traditional ballet techniques and vocabulary through bodily expression and human psychology. Neumeier will present at the USD on March 17 at 10:30 a.m.

In “Basic Sciences,” Michel Mayor, a world-renowned astrophysicist, honored for his discovery of the first extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star. Mayor will speak at the UCSD on March 16 at 3:30 p.m.

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its 35,000 students. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 94 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.

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