• G. Wayne Miller, Jim Ludes, Jonathan Alexandratos 2

    February 4, 2017 – “Story in the Public Square”

    How we play and how we teach our children to play are tremendously important narratives in public life. Jonathan Alexandratos argues that “toys are texts,” and we should read them with the same analytical eye we bring to books, movies, songs, and other media.

    Jonathan Alexandratos is a playwright and professor of English at Queensborough Community College in New York City. His edited collection of academic essays on the narrative in toys is titled “Articulating the Action Figure: Essays on the Toys and Their Messages,” and will be out in May of 2017 from McFarland.IMG_5245

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on Rhode Island PBS in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

     

  • G. Wayne Miller, Jim Ludes, Dan Fagin 2

    January 28, 2017: “Story in the Public Square”

    Science is simultaneously celebrated, ignored, and criticized in public life. In this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Pulitzer-Prize winning science journalist Dan Fagin to better understand the power of science to explain the world around us, whether we like what it’s telling us, or not.

    Dan Fagin's Book Cover 2Dan Fagin is the director of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, in which he teaches Environmental Reporting and Current Topics in Science, Health and Environmental Journalism. He is also the founder and director of the Science Communication Workshops at NYU.

    Awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Dan’s latest book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation, was described by The New York Times as “a new classic in science reporting.”

    This week’s episode is supported by The Pulitzer Prize Committee and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose commemoration of the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize is RICH_marksexploring the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age.  Their project, “What is the 21st Century Essay?” focuses on environmental issues because of their urgency and relevance to our health, communities, and the economy.

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on Rhode Island PBS in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

  • Newport County Chamber of Commerce and Pell Center Logo

    Pell Center Partners with Newport County Chamber of Commerce

    Newport, R.I. ­­­­­­­­­­– The Pell Center at Salve Regina University’s Cyber Leadership Initiative is partnering with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce to promote cybersecurity and help small and medium-size enterprises prepare for the increasing growth, volume, and sophistication of cyber threats.

    The partnership will continue collaborative events as part of the Pell Center’s Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI) and will aim to educate Newport County’s business leaders about cyber preparedness and cyber risk management.  RICCI, now it its fourth consecutive year, was designed to develop senior business leaders and decision makers who can affect change and make Rhode Island’s business community and critical industries safer, more resilient, and prepared to confront emerging threats.

    “We are excited to partner with the Pell Center on this extremely important initiative.  While all businesses need to take precautions to protect themselves from cyber threats, small businesses are particularly vulnerable.  The Pell Center’s expertise on these matters are a tremendous asset to the local economy and offering their services and workshops to our members will prove to be a tremendous resource in helping businesses to prepare and protect themselves into the future as these threats and attacks continue to become more prominent,” stated Erin Donovan-Boyle, executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

    “Cyber risks affect all industries and all markets and can represent an existential threat – especially to smaller companies that have limited resources and have often built their entire business around one line of products or services,” said Francesca Spidalieri, Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership at the Pell Center. “As small businesses continue to take advantage of technology innovations – from cloud services and industrial automation to social media and online advertisement – in order to promote efficiency, productivity, and economic growth, they must also be able to protect an expanding attack surface and mitigate a growing number of cyber threats.”

    “The Pell Center is part of a remarkable community, and we welcome the opportunity to connect with the local businesses in our neighborhood on an issue as timely and important as cybersecurity,” said Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “Erin Donovan-Boyle has made great strides in helping Newport County’s businesses succeed in their ventures and we’re excited to work with her.”

    The Newport County Chamber of Commerce helps its members succeed through legislative advocacy, economic development, education, savings, networking and increased visibility.

    For more on upcoming RICCI events, please click here.

     

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    January 21, 2017: “Story in the Public Square”

    One of the big stories of the last six months has been the protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline.  This week on “Story in the Public Square,” two Native American activists talk about events on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the role of storytelling in native culture.

    Lorén Spears is a Narragansett educator, author, artist, oral historian and executive director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, R.I., dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Narragansett and Native American history and culture.

    Christian Hopkins is a Native American activist and entrepreneur. A recent business graduate from Haskell Indian Nations University, he traveled to Cannonball, North Dakota, to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, protecting their water and supporting their voice in opposition against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on Rhode Island PBS in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

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    January 14, 2017: “Story in the Public Square”

    The United States finds itself in the midst of an information war with an old adversary.  This week, national security analyst Tom Nichols will help us understand the contours of that conflict, the role of storytelling in it, and also the implications of what he calls “the death of expertise.”

    Nichols is a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College, a former Jeopardy champion, and author of the soon to be published book The Death of Expertise.

    “Russian information operations in the U.S. election are the most visible examples of storytelling’s impact on public affairs today. Tom Nichols brings a lifetime of study and thought to a lively conversation about the challenges facing the United States and what we can do to meet them,” said Jim Ludes, executive director.

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on Rhode Island PBS in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

     

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    “Story in the Public Square” to be broadcast weekly on Rhode Island PBS, SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S.

    Newport, R.I.—The Pell Center at Salve Regina University will broadcast new weekly episodes of “Story in the Public Square” on Rhode Island PBS and nationally on satellite radio provider SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. channel 124 beginning the weekend of January 14, 2017.

    Hosted by Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller, visiting fellow and director of the Story in the Public Square initiative, the new episodes will feature interviews with today’s best print, screen, music, and other storytellers about their creative processes and how their stories impact public understanding and policy.

    “The power of storytelling to shape public life in the United States has never been more obvious,” said Ludes. “We look forward to exploring those issues with audiences, shining light into some dark spaces, and hopefully having some fun along the way.”

    “The heart of this show will always be its guests,” said Miller, a staff writer at The Providence Journal, “and each week we’ll bring incredibly talented individuals and their stories to our audiences.”

    “Story in the Public Square” airs on Rhode Island PBS in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

    Rhode Island PBS is the state’s most accessible learning resource. Committed to the principle of life-long learning and in response to the identified needs and interests of viewers, the mission of Rhode Island PBS is to enhance the quality of life of the residents in its viewing area by delivering programs and services that educate, inform, enrich, inspire and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut.

    SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. channel 124 features non-partisan political talk radio. SiriusXM is the world’s largest radio company with more than 31.3 million subscribers, offering commercial-free music; premier sports talk and live events; comedy; news; exclusive talk and entertainment, and a wide-range of Latin music, sports, and talk programming.

    First published in 1829, The Providence Journal is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States.

    For more information about Story in the Public Square, please visit http://pellcenter.org/story-in-the-public-square/.

  • rehman-a-himalayan-challenge-cover

    Senior Fellow Iskander Rehman Published in Naval War College Review

    Newport, R.I. – Pell Center Senior Fellow Iskander Rehman recently published an article entitled, “A Himalayan Challenge: India’s Conventional Deterrent and the Role of Special Operations Forces Along the Sino-Indian Border,” in the 2017 Winter Naval War College Review.

    Dr. Rehman’s article aims to give a clearer picture of the security dynamic along the Sino-Indian border. It draws on field trips to the Himalayan border states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir as well as close to thirty interviews with intelligence officials and Indian Army (IA) and special forces officers, both serving and retired.

    “Conducting research for this study was both challenging and enthralling. Challenging because few detailed, open source studies have been published on the security dynamic along what continues to form the longest disputed land border in the world. It can also be difficult for foreign researchers to gain access to interviewees willing to discuss, even in general terms, some of the security issues deemed most sensitive by the Indian government.

    It was an enthralling experience  for precisely these same reasons. After many months of careful preparation and groundwork, I had the opportunity to conduct a series of interviews with senior Indian security managers–both civilian and military. Through our interactions, I learned a lot about New Delhi’s special forces, as well as its military posture and challenges along the Sino-Indian LAC, or “line of actual control.” I was also able to travel to some of the most beautiful–albeit remote–portions of the Indian Himalayan belt. My hope is that the Naval War College’s readers will find the insights gained from my research, interviews, and field trips useful for their own reflections on South Asia, special operations, and the future of mountain warfare.”

    The article lays out the operational benefits to be accrued from the tailored employment of Indian special operations forces in a number of potential conflict contingencies along the Sino-Indian border. While warning against an overreliance on special operators,  it argues strongly in favor of a better integration in-between Indian special and general purpose forces.

    Download the article here.

    Find the Winter 2017 Naval War College Review here.

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    “Truth: The First Casualty” – The 2016 National Story of the Year

    Newport, R.I. – The assault on fact and truth in public life, fueled by fake news and propaganda, has been named the 2016 National Story of the Year by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University.

    “The Story of the Year identifies the most important narrative to emerge in public life in the previous 12 months,” said G. Wayne Miller, visiting fellow at the Pell Center and director of the Story in the Public Square initiative. “From international stories to the hashtag narratives of the U.S. presidential election, we had lots of material to consider this year, but the emergence of the ‘post-truth’ era is by far the most consequential.”

    “Facts” and the “truth” have been threatened in American politics for some time. Decades ago, former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously quipped “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Stephen Colbert, in 2005, introduced the word “truthiness” to his audience.  But in 2016, the assault on fact and truth shaped many of our most important public debates. The evidence is unmistakable:

    • Propaganda generated by a hostile foreign power played an important role in the U.S. presidential campaign. In one notable case, an inaccurate account in one Russian propaganda outlet actually made it into the stump speech of then-candidate Donald Trump.
    • According to PropOrNot, a propaganda monitoring research effort, more than 200 websites with an audience of 15 million Americans regularly distribute Russian propaganda.
    • Botnets—computers that behave like actual people on social media networks—combined with paid “trolls” regularly swayed public opinion in social media. In other words, sometimes things trended because someone wanted them to trend.

    The dangers of the post-truth era are becoming clearer with every day.  A fake news story inspired one individual to “self-investigate” a Washington, DC, pizza shop with an assault rifle, believing it to be the center of a human-trafficking operation tied to Secretary Hillary Clinton.  In Santa Maria California, Police confirmed they deliberately used a fake news story in a sting-operation.  During an appearance on The Diane Rehm Show, Trump campaign surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes went so far as to say, “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts” [sic].

    The consequences of this fact-free environment should be alarming to the citizens of a republic such as ours.  “In an information-rich environment where truth and falsehoods compete with the same inherent authority, citizens have to ask hard questions, we have to fact-check, we have to hold people to account,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes.  “We must master critical thinking as a society, or else we risk major policy and political changes guided by something other than the truth.”

    “With bad information and compromised institutions, our most basic freedoms are in peril.  It is not too difficult to imagine a call to restrict First Amendment rights in the face of so much fake news,” said Miller.

    “It’s been said that truth is the first casualty of war,” continued Ludes.  “It shouldn’t be the first casualty of our politics, too.”

    The Pell Center selects a National Story of the Year each December as part of its Story in the Public Square initiative — a partnership between the Pell Center at Salve Regina University and The Providence Journal to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

  • Photo of pinned Providence on a map of USA. May be used as illustration for travelling theme.

    ‘Truck tolls’ roads, bridges plan named R. I. Story of the Year

    Newport, R.I. – Governor Gina Raimondo’s ambitious and controversial plan to modernize aging state roads and bridges – in part, through the imposition of tolls on trucks – has been voted the 2016 Pell Center Rhode Island Story of the Year.

    Raimondo’s blueprint, approved by the General Assembly in February, was selected by a panel of 19 judges from the media and academia. Runners-up in the annual contest were the governor’s failed “Cooler & Warmer” tourism campaign, and Corruption at the State House: House Finance Chair Raymond E. Gallison Jr. Resigns.

    The RhodeWorks plan is “a story that’s going to keep giving, I think for years to come,” said panelist John Howell, editor and publisher of the Warwick Beacon.

    “The story helped the public think about important questions – how, what and why programs are financed and the impact this particular program may have on our state. It fueled discussion and made us question and use our intellects,” said best-selling author Padma Venkatraman, a member of the Pell Center’s Story in the Public Square Story Board.Truck traveling on the road in Rhode Island.

    RhodeWorks aims to improve Rhode Island’s decaying highway infrastructure. While few disagree with that goal, partial financing of improvements through the use of tolls assessed by gantries on 18-wheel trucks created a firestorm of protest, with some companies threatening to leave Rhode Island and industry groups taking political action. The tolls became a factor in some local and General Assembly races; prompted a flurry of letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, and online postings; and kept the talk shows busy.

    Even Vice President Joe Biden weighed in, praising RhodeWorks on a May visit to Rhode Island and urging other governors to follow Raimondo’s initiative.

    “The gov, you took a lot of heat as I understand, at least that’s my impression, but you got the bill passed,” Biden told officials, business leaders and highway workers at a state Department of Transportation garage in East Providence.

    The Local Story of the Year was selected during a process that began with nominations by the 19-judge panel and concluded with voting on a ballot of the three most-nominated stories. Stories that were nominated but did not make the final ballot included Rhode Island’s reaction to the election of Donald Trump; the first woman, Col. Ann Assumpico, named superintendent of State Police; Republican Steve Frias nearly defeating Democrat House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello; St. George’s School reaching a settlement with victims of sexual abuse; the ongoing 38 Studios saga; and the January death of former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci at 74.

    cooler-and-warmerBut “Cooler & Warmer” and “Corruption at the State House: House Finance Chair Raymond E. Gallison Jr. resigns” topped the ballots of several judges.

    “House Finance Chairman Raymond Gallison’s abrupt resignation was a stunning turn of events that left a huge hole in the Speaker’s leadership team and left constituents in Bristol/Portsmouth without representation on Smith Hill,” said Tim White, of WPRI-12 TV and Fox Providence. “It also reinforced the notion that Rhode Island is a hotbed of corruption.”

    John Palumbo, publisher of Rhode Island Monthly, said this of Cooler & Warmer: “This was the first major initiative of the Raimondo administration which was also a major campaign promise… We waited almost a year for the ‘taadaa’ moment. It was much like a vaudevillian pratfall – meaning, it fell flat on its face.”

    “The voting in this election year was tough, particularly with many national developments directly impacting Rhode Island,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes. “But RhodeWorks was topping headlines before 2016 began, and continued throughout the year. rep-raymond-e-gallison-jrAs John Howell said, expect it to be making news into 2017 and beyond.”

    “It is sometimes said that Rhode Island is a theme park for journalists, and that goes for consumers of local news as well,” said G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal staff writer and director of the Pell Center’s Story in the Public Square program. “This year did not disappoint.”

    The 2016 judges were: Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press, Providence; Steve Klamkin, WPRO radio; Steve Forleo, faculty member and student-newspaper adviser at Community College of Rhode Island; Doreen Scanlon, ABC-6 TV; Robert Hackey, Providence College professor; Lorén Spears, executive director of the Tomaquag Museum and a Story in the Public Square governor; Gene Valicenti, WPRO radio and NBC-10 TV; George T. Marshall, executive director of Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival and a professor at Roger Williams University; Carol Kozma, Providence Journal staff writer; Susan H. Areson, former deputy executive editor of The Providence Journal; Dan Paquet, executive producer of The News with Gene Valicenti, WPRO radio; M. Charles Bakst, retired Journal political columnist; Judy Barrett Litoff, Professor of History, Bryant University; and Venkatraman, Howell, White, Palumbo, Ludes, and Miller.

    The winner of the Pell Center National Story of the Year will be announced next week by Miller and Ludes.

    Story in the Public Square is a partnership of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal.

    Readers can weigh in on the 2016 selection on Twitter @pubstory, or Facebook

    Images courtesy of The Providence Journal.

  • trade-agreements-tramantano-cover

    Tearing Up Trade Agreements Won’t Help Workers: A More Responsible Approach Just May

    Newport, R.I. – The current heated debate over international trade is the outcome of a flawed public policy and political framework.

    With growing public sentiment against trade and political leaders on both the left and right opposing international trade agreements, the United States needs a new approach to international trade that addresses the inequities many believe damage America’s national interest while preserving the good that trade does in the world.

    In a new report from the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, Karen Tramontano lays out an ambitious approach to trade.  Building on the “good” in recent trade pacts, Tramontano describes an approach with three critical elements: a more robust social safety net for American workers who lose their jobs due to trade; labor rights protections for American workers and for workers in trading partners to level the playing field; and integration of the benefits of trade into the discussion of foreign assistance.

    “This paper isn’t about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or NAFTA or any other trade deal that’s been negotiated,” said Tramontano.  “It’s about an approach to America’s role in the world and the vital economic and foreign policy tool that is trade,” she continued.  “In the current political environment, we need a new, holistic approach to trade in which everyone, including American workers, win.  Fortunately, such a framework is achievable by building on recent progress.”

    “The United States will never cease to be a trading power,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes. “But the debate around foreign trade today harkens back to some imagined era of American economic independence that simply never existed,” he said.  “The policy framework Karen Tramontano presents here is an important step forward if we are to preserve America’s economic leadership.”

    Author Karen A. Tramontano is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Star Strategies, LLC, an international government and public affairs firm that provides global corporations and foreign governments with results-oriented strategies.

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is a think tank on the campus of Salve Regina University focused at the intersection of politics, policies, and ideas.

    Download the report here.

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