Letter From The President

Ghosts, writers and refugees.

Fall is upon us and with it have arrived the latest class of Logan Nonfiction Fellows. These 19 world-class reporters, filmmakers and photojournalists from around the globe will be working on subjects from immigration enforcement, the Khmer Rouge and fertility technology to sex slavery and community responses to sexual violence.

We hope our current class of eminent fellows will be inspired by some of their Logan Nonfiction predecessors. October, after all, means Hallowe’en—a time for ghosts.

Finbarr O’ Reilly and Thomas Brennan’s recently published “Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War” has been met with critical acclaim. Finbarr and Thomas will be returning to the Carey Institute for a dialogue around their combat experiences on Friday, October 27th.  Also in October, we’ll be hosting a launch event in New York City for Jefferson Morley’s revelatory biography of one of the CIA’s most powerful figures: “The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.”

I’ve recently returned from Europe where I attended a global early childhood conference in the beautiful city of Ghent. Dr. Diana Woolis and I presented the early childhood pilots of our Refugee Educator Academy, which we have been developing with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Diana also presented to the global Teachers in Crisis Contexts working group. We are excited by the levels of interest in this work, particularly from organizations working in countries such as Germany which has received 1.4 million asylum seekers since 2015. The need to support teachers of refugees is as pressing in Germany as it is in the United States, where as many as 1 in 5 students are newcomers.

On that same trip, I was also lucky to spend a weekend with a family of Afghan refugees in the Netherlands. I learnt about their plight; the physical threats to their lives; fear of early, forced marriage for their teenage daughters; the financial cost; and the horrors of their flight from a desperate situation. But I also heard of how well they’d been integrated and how much of a contribution they are making to Dutch society—the parents are both doctors and their children are all studying medicine. Additionally, I was reminded of the hospitality and honor prescribed by “Pashtunwali,” the ethical code of the Pashtun people of southern Asia. Basically, this means that all guests are treated to hospitality and protection. I was welcomed unreservedly into their home, treated lavishly and enjoyed hours of informed, erudite and astute conversation. It’s far removed from the common portrayal of refugees we see on an almost daily basis and an important reminder of our common humanity.

On a lighter note, many of you turned up to enjoy Helderfest at the Helderberg Brewery. Our resident brewer, Chris, and guest-brewer, Justin, have had excellent results with the first two beers of our Source NY Raw Grain project. I hope you had a chance to sample the Helderberg Classic Pale Ale and Wrighteous Wheat beers. Delicious.

Cheers or “Sláinte!” – as we say in Ireland.                                                                

Gareth