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PBS airs documentary 'Refugee Kids' June 16, a film supported by The Puffin Foundation
Refugee kids have been in the news a lot recently. Tune... more
Activst NY...The Book!
New York City's activists have led the way in enacting meaningful change... more
Puffin is proud to have commissioned this new work on the history of social activism in New York City
New York, the Global Capital of Protest Suffragists in New York City promoting... more
Clara Lemlich Awards at the Puffin Gallery for Social Activism
The Puffin Foundation is proud to sponsor this year's Clara Lemlich... more
Foundation News & Blog
Remembering Mayor Parker
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The Puffin Foundation and The Teaneck Creek Conservancy offer our condolences to the family of Mayor Lizette Parker. She was a steadfast friend of Puffin and a former member of TCC's Board of Directors. Lizette had a extraordinary love and commitment to Teaneck. You can read more about Lizette's remarkable life here.

 
The Triangle Fire: An Opera in One Act
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Coming to Puffin on September 11, 2016 at 4pm


 
Professor Moshe Banai shares insights at home and abroad
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Management expert says ignore the propaganda and stick to the facts
JEWISH STANDARD Article by Lois Goldrich April 7, 2016, 3:54 pm



Read more: Professor shares insights at home and abroad | The Jewish Standard http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/professor-shares-insights-at-home-and-abroad/#ixzz45caaxc6h

What do you do with a master’s degree from Tel Aviv University and Ph.D. in management from the London Business School?

Well, you can teach at Tel Aviv University, the London Business School, InterAmericana University in Puerto Rico, Kazan State University in Russia, Kiev National University of Design and Technology in Ukraine, University of Salzburg for Applied Sciences, Shanghai University of Science and Technology, and the Sydney Business School in Australia.

Or, perhaps, you can conduct comparative studies of domestic and multinational corporations — visiting Austria, Belgium, Britain, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Morocco, Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine — and you can publish your findings in 80 academic journals and books.

Or, you can do it all. That’s what Israeli-born Moshe Banai of Teaneck does. Dr. Banai now is a professor of management at Baruch College and the chief editor of the academic journal “International Studies of Management and Organization.”

Dr. Banai’s resume is daunting, listing as areas of expertise “International Management, Management of Multinational Corporations, International Human Resource Management, Cross-Cultural Behavior, Organizational Strategy and Design, Management Development, and Management in Transitional Economies.”

Still, as I recently learned at lectures Dr. Banai has given at Teaneck’s Puffin Center, he is approachable, understandable, and clear-sighted about the business and financial issues facing our country and our world, today. Even more, he is married to Rachel Banai (a former photographer for this paper), who joins him in all his travels, launching photography exhibits in the countries they visit. The couple has two daughters, Noit and Moran.

Actively involved with the Puffin Center since its inception 18 years ago, Dr. Banai sits on the advisory board of the Puffin Foundation and recruits artists for the organization’s cultural center. Ms. Banai has run the group’s photography classes for more than a decade.

While Dr. Banai’s lectures at Puffin focused mainly on the business climate of other nations — notably Russia, China, and the European Union — he has definite views on what our own country ought to be doing. He bemoans the “ignorance” of those who preach or believe what he calls “propaganda.”

For one thing, he believes that “the government should get heavily involved in the creation of jobs. There’s no other choice.” Sometimes, he says, we have an efficient market but unhappy people; at other times, it’s just the reverse. “We can’t have both all the time.” He also believes that our economic culture will change because there are increasing numbers of women, Hispanics, and other minorities in the marketplace.

“You need to have a long-term view to understand the current situation,” he said. “People shouldn’t be swayed by propaganda but should stick to the facts and scientific evidence” — as reflected in statistics and economic theories of trade — “and make their own judgments. The dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats is superficial and has no real meaning. The consultants for the candidates know it, but the candidates want to be popular and tell the people what they want to hear.” And at least one candidate, he added, has bragged that he consults only with himself.

We should care about economic issues, like free trade, because “they have a major influence on our lives,” Dr. Banai said. “Because of free trade, the price of products and services go down. Future presidents criticize this and promise to limit or diminish it. It doesn’t make economic sense.” As for outsourcing, “we outsource some jobs and people in foreign countries make money and can buy our products.” And yes, he said, we are still major producers in some areas, including, for example, medical care, aircraft, entertainment, and communications.

Eliminating free trade “won’t fix the economy because prices will go up. When we put a tariff on foreign products, they put it on us, and the price goes up for everybody.” In addition, if we maintain protection for our industries, “we become inefficient because there’s no competition.”

Between 1993 and 1996, Dr. Banai, who was assigned to oversee the building of a business school in Russia, spent about seven months in that country under a joint program between City University and USIA (now USID). “My biggest challenge was that I had to stand in line for food,” he recalled. While his team was able to finish the school, “it was stolen by the administration,” he said, “hijacked to generate revenue for the professors.” As a state university, it was meant to be free, “but I found out they were charging students $7,000.”

After that venture, he served as a founding professor of an international business school in Israel, “but it didn’t last.” Its success, he said, “was premised on peace, on drawing students from all over the Middle East. But Rabin was assassinated and peace didn’t materialize. They couldn’t see how to generate students.” Dr. Banai continues to visit Israel at least once or twice a year.

The winner of three Fulbright awards — two for projects in Austria and one for Ukraine — Dr. Banai said he’s probably gotten more of these grants than anyone else in the United States. His assignments, often through invitations from universities, have taken him all over the world. For 12 years, he and Rachel spent summers and winters in China.

“I found that when it comes to the individual, people are pretty much the same,” he said. “But when it comes to systems, they differ to a great extent. The greatest difference is between China and the U.S. They have a one-party government, a business monopoly, no freedoms, and no democracy.”

Nevertheless, he said, he was happy to spend the time there, because not only does he enjoy Chinese food, “but I felt good about sharing the principles of a free market with people who needed it the most.” In addition, he said, “The Chinese people are nice hosts, and the reception was always outstanding. I’m interested in their culture, and this gave me motivation.” He said what surprised him most was that “despite my knowledge of the big difference in culture, it was still very difficult to adjust my own behavior. You may know about it, but it’s hard to execute it. It was hardest in China. We are short-term thinkers and executors. It doesn’t work like that in China,” where the norm is long-term thinking and planning.

All these projects — and additional assignments in Australia and Puerto Rico, among other places — “gave me the opportunity to meet colleagues, develop research programs with them, and collect data” for the international research projects he has conducted over the past 30 years, Dr. Banai said. “There have been three basic projects — expatriate managers, the shift from communism to capitalism, and international negotiations.”

With all these experiences under his belt, Dr. Banai said his favorite place still is the United States. “I kiss the soil when I arrive back here, and you can quote me on that,” he said. “Through all my traveling, I’ve learned how strong are the democracy and freedoms we take for granted.”

Read more: Professor shares insights at home and abroad | The Jewish Standard http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/professor-shares-insights-at-home-and-abroad/#ixzz45casXiAr

 
Puffin is proud to co-sponsor Yiddish Theater exhibit now open at the Museum of the City of NY
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NEW YORK'S YIDDISH THEATER: FROM THE BOWERY TO BROADWAY. MAR. 9–JUL. 31, 2016

www.mcny.org/yiddishtheater

From the late 19th to the mid- 20th century, a thriving Yiddish theater culture blossomed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, entertaining over 1.5 million first and second generation Eastern-European Jewish immigrants. Second Avenue became the “Yiddish Broadway,” where audiences of new New Yorkers celebrated their culture and learned about urban life in the city via cutting-edge dramas, musical comedies, and avant-garde political theater. As stars of the Yiddish stage gained mainstream popularity, New York’s Yiddish theater became an American phenomenon. This legacy resonates today through enduring dramatic themes, classic New York humor, and a large crop of crossover actors, directors, and designers who found work on the mainstream New York stage and in Hollywood. Curated by Edna Nahshon and accompanied by a book of the same name.

New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway is a co-presentation of the Museum of the City of New York, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the National Yiddish Book Center, and the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene.

Join the conversation. #YiddishTheater

Buy Tickets

 
Attn Web Designers: TCC Site Request for Proposal
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Our neighbors at Teaneck Creek Conservancy are now accepting proposals for a new website design & development. View PDF here.

 
Fearless, Journalists Win ALBA/Puffin Human Rights Prize
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Fearless, Border-Crossing Journalists Expose Corruption at the Highest Levels:
Lydia Cacho (Mexico) and Jeremy Scahill (USA) Win Human Rights Award




New York—On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) will present the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill. One of the largest monetary awards for human rights in the world, this $100,000 cash prize is granted annually by ALBA and the Puffin Foundation to honor the International Brigades and connect their inspiring legacy with contemporary causes.

“Cacho and Scahill both shine as rare examples of investigative journalists who place human rights at the center of their work,” said ALBA board member and 2012 award recipient Kate Doyle. “Their reporting not only affects government policies, but seeks to champion and protect the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens. ALBA is proud to honor them.”

Working on both sides of the volatile Mexico-United States border, Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill have dedicated their careers to exposing the corruption, violence and abuse of power which go routinely unchallenged in the mainstream media. Cacho’s and Scahill’s work exemplifies the intersections of expository reporting and human rights activism. Their commitment to breaking the most profound silences has prompted investigations into the United States’ shadow wars across the Middle East and Africa as well as Mexican authorities’ use of censorship, torture and corruption.

Part of an initiative designed to sustain the legacy of the experiences, aspirations and idealism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism supports current international activists and human rights causes. The Award was created by philanthropist and visionary Perry Rosenstein, President of the Puffin Foundation, which in 2010 established an endowed fund for the award.

"This award recognizes and encourages individuals or groups whose work has a positive impact on the advancement and/or defense of human rights. Jeremy Scahill and Lydia Cacho have courageously used their investigative journalism to expose reactionary forces and the information they wish to conceal," Rosenstein said.

Award Ceremony – Saturday, May 7th at 2:30pm
Japan Society
333 East 47th St.
New York, NY 10017



PRESS RELEASE
** COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

 
Common Sense Solutions to the Student Debt Crisis. Just one of the many many articles and journalists Puffin supports every year. This one in Vogue no less.
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Here’s How to Solve the Student Debt Crisis: Make College Free

JANUARY 13, 2016 1:45 PM
by ASTRA TAYLOR

Sometime in 2008, I got a phone call informing me I had defaulted on my student loans. I had thought I was in a deferment period, but I had moved several times, and I wasn’t receiving the letters in the mail telling me my payments were past due. Seriously past due. As a consequence of the default, 19 percent was added to my principal. A debt that had once seemed merely enormous now appeared astronomical. I felt guilty: This was the punishment I deserved for having done wrong, for having failed to live up to my obligations.

Today, the average indebted new college graduate owes almost $35,000, compared to $23,000 back in 2008. They may be more indebted, but I hope they feel less isolated. After all, the upside of skyrocketing student debt is that Americans are finally admitting that this is a crisis—one that impacts millions.

President Obama acknowledged as much last night, during his final State of the Union address. “We have to make college affordable for every American,” he said. “No hardworking student should be stuck in the red.” He said that his administration had reduced student loan payments through income-based repayment programs, but also that the cost of college simply needs to be cut. He reiterated his commitment to making two years of community college free. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Back when I defaulted, these weren’t issues commonly addressed by politicians or discussed in the news. As a result, I had no idea just how badly the decks are stacked against student debtors. I didn’t know, for example, that the 19 percent added to my balance reflected so-called “collection costs and fees” arbitrarily determined by the lender. I had no clue that, in some states, defaulters can lose their professional certifications and driver’s licenses—professional certifications they probably went into debt to get, and driver’s licenses they need to get to work so they can pay back their loans. Nor did I know that, unlike most other kinds of debt, student loans were not dischargeable in bankruptcy; you can get out from under your credit card bills, but student loans will follow you to the grave. More fundamentally, I didn’t know anything about the way higher education is financed in this country, that tuition has come to replace state subsidies, and that the price of a year of college has increased by more than 1,200 percent over the past three decades.

Too often, even now, college graduates are told it’s their fault if they have a hard time making monthly loan payments: They studied the wrong subjects or chose the wrong school. And sure, I was a stereotypical white middle-class student who pursued an impractical degree. (Perhaps I should have studied compound interest along with critical theory.) But the reality is that student debt is not a problem only for the privileged. The poorest people end up paying and owing the most under the current system, and student debt disproportionately weighs down people of color. Over half of young black households have student debt, compared to 39 percent of their white counterparts.

Given how serious the problem is, it’s about time it got national attention. Not only is Obama talking about student debt, the Democrats are trying to make it a campaign issue—something that distinguishes them from the Republicans and can lure young voters to their side. Hillary Clinton promises to stem rising education costs and reduce interest rates on new and existing student loans. Bernie Sanders’s platform—which, I confess, I much prefer—is more direct. It calls for all public colleges and universities to be tuition-free, which is how many other industrialized democracies, such as Slovenia and Denmark, already do things. What do the Republicans propose? Marco Rubio has suggested letting investors foot individuals’ college bills in return for a share of their future income. And Donald Trump, of course, founded a for-profit college named after himself.

Most of these politicians likely wouldn’t even be talking about student debt if activists hadn’t spent years fighting to raise public awareness on the issue. In 2012, a small group with roots in Occupy Wall Street organized what they called 1T Day, to call attention to the moment student debt surpassed $1 trillion nationally. That number has since ballooned to $1.3 trillion and is expected to increase to a mind-boggling $2 trillion around 2022.

Raising awareness, though, is not enough. Debtors need to push elected officials to actually act, and they need to get creative about it. Last year, working with some of the folks who planned 1T Day, I helped organize the first-ever student debt strike in the U.S. Fifteen people who had been defrauded by a predatory for-profit college chain banded together to refuse to pay their student loans. Soon, their ranks swelled to more than 200, and they were supported by thousands of others who participated in the campaign in other ways. Under pressure from the strike, the Department of Education promised in June to provide relief to defrauded students, though it has delayed the process and set up unnecessary obstacles to relief. (If the Obama administration is serious about addressing the issue this year, forgiving the loans of people scammed by for-profit schools on the Education Department’s watch would be a good place to start, and it has the legal authority to do so.)

When I defaulted in 2008, I felt ashamed. Today, I think debtors should feel outraged. It is perverse to force students into a lifetime of debt just to get the schooling they are endlessly told is necessary. So here’s my education proposal: How about full-scale student-debt cancellation, and the option of public, tuition-free higher education for everyone who wants to attend college?

Education would then be free—free as in free of cost, but also free as in enhancing freedom. We would no longer need to judge the value of a degree by whether or not a person can pay off the debt he or she went into to get it; knowledge could be liberated from the pressure of earning a return on investment. There are many sound economic arguments for reducing student debt and reversing the college-cost spiral in which we are currently stuck. (For example, according to experts at the New York Federal Reserve, student debt is holding back the economy, since young people are paying back their loans instead of buying homes or starting families.)

But the most compelling reason I can find to change course is this: If college didn’t cost a fortune, everyone, not just the privileged, could afford to learn for learning’s sake.

Astra Taylor is a documentary filmmaker and the author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation fellow and an EHRP Puffin fellow at The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which supported this piece.

Article from Vogue.com

 
Calling All Teachers, Educators, and the Public:
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Puffin is proud to announce sponsorship of a diverse selection of courses, workshops, lectures and events exploring New York's proud activist history at the Museum of the City of New York.  Topics include New York's leading role in Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Urban Environmental Protest, Art in Activism and more.  Professional development for educators, P Credit and the 4th Annual Teaching Social Activism in the Classroom Conference are just some of the activities.  The events are all held in conjunction with The Puffin Foundation Gallery for Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York. See the flyer and PDF below for more info or click here to visit MCNY.

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