2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge

Reprinted in part from Serve.gov | We are calling on educators and web professionals to join our new effort – the 2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge. The purpose is simple: to connect schools and non-profits that have technology needs, including skills training and mentorship, with web professionals, developers, graphic designers and new media professionals who are willing to volunteer their skills for the common good.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” We ask that you answer his call in 2010 by participating in the MLK Technology Challenge.

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Get the <a href=”http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/mlkdaytech”>MLK Day Technology Challenge</a> widget and many other <a href=”http://www.widgetbox.com/”>great free widgets</a> at <a href=”http://www.widgetbox.com”>Widgetbox</a>! Not seeing a widget? (<a href=”http://docs.widgetbox.com/using-widgets/installing-widgets/why-cant-i-see-my-widget/”>More info</a>)

Typical projects include:
  • Refurbish computers for schools
  • Teach students how to use popular software or online services
  • Build a database for a nonprofit
  • Help out in your school’s computer lab
  • Become an online mentor for students across the country
Read more at Serve.gov, an online resource not only for finding volunteer opportunities in the community, but also creating your own.

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New FS Blog: EF’M: The Life of an FSO Spouse

“Because I’m not just a government acronym!”
EF’M: The Life of an FSO Spouse is a charming new blog with bite and humor by David L. who insists, “I’m not just a government acronym!”  He is married to a foreign service officer on training and will move to Hermosillo, Mexico this summer.”
Excerpt from his first post: 
Somewhere in that process, Natalie becomes an FSO, and I became an eligible family member (EFM). Yuck! Where did the government get the right to turn me into an acronym—and a lame one at that?

Even FSO is a bit acrid, so I’ve re-acronized the government’s distasteful acronyms. These are a little more flexible and can change with the moods. Most often, FSO now means fervent significant other, but the “F” can be upgraded to favorable, fantastic, or fabulous; or it can be downgraded to fascist, fastidious, or when I’m really angry, fatuous.

But what to call myself and others in my position? This was more difficult, because it risks following into the same trap the government did—generalizing us into a group, and in essence, marginalizing us. So generically, I’m fine with efficient familial manager, but like with FSO, I’m sure Natalie will have different EFMs for me such as exhaustive, fat malcontent, or extremely flexible mainstay, depending on how supportive I’m being at the time.

The key, I suppose, is to not let the government dictate too much as to what we are supposed to be. Yeah, I understand for legal purposes, they need some generic terms to cover who gets to travel on the taxpayers’ dime (thanks taxpayers!), but I’m not some generic EFM. So, I say ef’m.

Read his blog here. Other recent entries offer a good read and a bunch of chuckles:
David may not know this, but he ought to be relieved that Natalie did not join in the 60’s. Back then, his performance as a spouse (even if he were not employed by the USG) would have been included in his wife’s employment evaluation.  So her performance and promotion would have depended in no small part on how supportive he was to her official functions and to the mission.  Or back in the 80’s for that matter; back then, if he found work at the embassy he would have been known as a “PIT” not as an AEFM (Appointment Eligible Family Member).  The term formerly applied to most family member employment positions and the employees encumbering those positions. As in “Were you a PIT in Ouagadougou?”  PIT stands for “part-time intermittent temporary;” don’t ask me who thought up these wonderful acronyms.  Thankfully, it is no longer in used.  Additional EFM-related terms are here.  Longer list of acronyms for State is here (253 pages only) in case you’re curious. Nothing in the list is quite in the pits as the “PIT,” I can tell you.

We are definitely looking forward to reading more from David L. 

Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in U.S.

Seal of the United States Department of Homela...Image via Wikipedia

Allows Haitians who were in US on January 12 to stay for 18 months

Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano released a statement on the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Note that those who attempt to travel to the US after January 12, 2010 will not/not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated. USCIS says that to be eligible for benefits, “nationals of Haiti (or persons having no nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) must have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2010.” DHS estimates that approximately 100,000 to 200,000 individuals will be eligible for TPS.  Reprinted in full below:
Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
Release Date: January 15, 2010 | Office of the Press Secretary
As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.
At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way. The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti’s future.
It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy to our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts.
Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should go to www.uscis.gov or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283.
You can also check DHS Haiti Earthquake Response page and the related links below. 
 
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Probe TV Bids Farewell to Ambassador Kristie Kenney

Last week, Probe TV in the Philippines did a profile of the outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney.  The show is also on replay apparently every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and every Saturday at 12 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
“The show that started investigative reporting on Philippine TV is on to a new brand of probing. To explain issues relevant to the public, on its 22nd year, ‘Probe’ takes a harder look at the men and women of the hour.”

Here is Probe TV’s introduction to the video:  Farewell, Ambassador Kenney

In the more than 100-year-old love-hate relationship between the Philippines and the United States, no American envoy was spared of occasional brickbats until Ambassador Kristie Kenney. The first female US ambassador to the Philippines has endeared herself to Filipinos from all walks of life in just less than four years.

Reaching out to Filipinos, Kenney embraced the country’s culture and people in a way that no other envoy did — letting her hair down and dancing on national television, watching her favorite basketball teams in action, mingling with ordinary citizens, and visiting a rebel camp in Mindanao, among others.

As she prepares to leave her post, Ambassador Kenney shares something more with Filipinos — her life story, for the first time, this Wednesday on ‘Probe Profiles.’

In an exclusive interview with Cheche Lazaro, the Ambassador looks back at the milestones of her tour of duty and candidly talks about her childhood and love life that can pass for a telenovela. Through interviews with Kenney’s co-workers in the embassy and her two household staff, Lazaro pieces together a profile of the Ambassador who gave a new meaning to diplomacy in the Philippines.

The show is in Tagalog and English and subtitles in English.  Transcript of the interview in English is here.  I also appended below the link to the Shall We Dance Christmas (episode 20)  from last December where Ambassador Kenney also appeared (cited in part 1 of the video).

I think they did an excellent profile and she came across really well.  They covered topics ranging from her posting in Jamaica as a junior officer, to her stint in the Executive Secretariat (S/ES), navigating being a tandem couple (her husband, Bill Brownfield was first appointed as US Ambassador to Chile and she was going to be the ambassador’s wife),  being offered the ambassadorship to the Philippines by Secretary Rice (while she was serving as US Ambassador to Ecuador), US-Philippine relations and more.  Read the interview here.