Open Society Foundations Announce 2023 Soros Justice Fellows

New York, Nov. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Open Society Foundations is pleased to announce the 2023 cohort of Soros Justice Fellows, which includes a mix of emerging and established leaders in the field of criminal justice reform, including public educators, artists, lawyers, activists, non-profit innovators, journalists, and filmmakers from across the United States.

“Over the more than a decade that I have worked with the Soros Justice Fellowships, I’ve seen a great number of fellows go on and continue to serve as changemakers in their local communities, and nationally,” said Adam Culbreath, Senior Team Manager at Open Society–U.S. “This is an incredibly unique program to advance justice in the U.S., which supports the notion that change often happens from the ground up.

“Mass incarceration has an enormous and disastrous toll on our communities and represents one of the most glaring injustices of our nation. Today, nearly 10 million Americans—including millions of children—have an immediate family member in jail or prison,” said Christina Voight, program manager at Open Society–U.S. “Each Soros Justice Fellow can play a role in changing this broken system.”

Each fellow will receive stipends ranging from $100,000 to $140,000 for projects lasting between 12 and 18 months to ensure accountability in the U.S. criminal justice system by developing new ways to combat mass incarceration, youth criminalization, surveillance, immigration policies, racial disparities, and police violence. The Soros Justice Fellowships were founded in 1997 and have funded over 400 individuals working to curb mass incarceration and ensure a fair and equitable system of justice.

2023 Soros Justice Fellows

Ashley Rojas will educate movement leaders and cultivate power between the movement for #PoliceFreeSchools and the broader culture of abolitionist organizing efforts to end harm and punishment.

Avalon Betts-Gaston and Lloyd Gaston will research the scope and impact of Illinois Worker Rights amendment on incarcerated workers.

Betty Washingtonwill create OASIS (Our Aging Seniors Incarcerated Society), a project focusing on advocating for the needs of justice-impacted seniors.

Bridgette Simpson will educate the public and create The Protected Class Network, seeking to make justice-impacted people a protected class.

Cheryl Fairbanks will educate native Indigenous people and strengthen concepts of justice through an Indigenous peacemaking lens.

Dominique Branson will educate, document, and destabilize anti-Black ideologies that legitimize pretrial dangerousness predictions and harm Black communities.

Jenani Srijeyanthan will educate and establish a counter-narrative to carceral child sexual abuse prevention approaches through the amplification, technical resourcing, and proliferation of a nationwide prevention movement that does not prioritize policing, criminalization, or surveillance.

Jordan Martinez-Mazurek will educate the public and start local and regional dialogues around fighting the expansion of mass incarceration in the South and in Appalachia.

Mary Baxter will, through an art piece entitled Reimagining Dignity: A Love Letter to Ourselves, educate the public to reimagine racially-charged and gender-oppressive historical events. The piece will reckon with the fallacies of first- and second-wave feminism.

Omisade Burney-Scott will curate a multidisciplinary initiative and educate the public on reproductive justice, radical Black feminism, gender liberation, and pathways to normalizing menopause and aging for the marginalized Black population.

Rachel Gilmer will educate the public and build a united front of survivors and healthcare providers with the goal of creating non-carceral solutions that address the root causes of violence in our communities.

Talila Lewis will educate and create media and art that highlights how ableism informs and drives racism, anti-Blackness, capitalism, and other forms of oppression, violence, and inequity.

Toshio Meronek will educate the public and justice advocates about the expansion of involuntary medical conservatorship in Arkansas, with a focus on its potential human and financial consequences.

Wendi Cooper and Matt Nadel will organize a statewide screening tour of the documentary film CANS Can’t Stand to educate the public about the archaic 1805 Crimes Against Nature by Solicitation statute and the harsh punishments it imposed.

Open Society Foundations
(212) 548-0378

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Abdullah bin Zayed participates in coordination meeting of Arab foreign ministers, joint meeting with US Secretary of State

AMMAN, 4th November, 2023 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs has participated in the coordination meeting of Arab foreign ministers and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The meeting, which was held in the Jordanian capital of Amman, discussed the recent developments in the region and efforts to enhance response to the current humanitarian crisis. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed also participated in the joint meeting held by the Arab foreign ministers with US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. During the meeting, the ministers emphasised the need for an immediate ceasefire, underscoring the importance of intensifying efforts to provide immediate and sustainable flow of humanitarian aid to civilians. They also discussed the repercussions of the current situation and its effects on the security and stability of the region. H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed emphasised the priority to protect civilians and the need to strengthen humanitarian response to fast-track the delivery of relief and medical aid to them safely and sustainably. He also highlighted the importance of focusing on ways to end extremism, tension and escalating violence in the region. Sheikh Abdullah further reiterated the UAE’s long-standing and firm position in supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The meeting was attended by Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State; and Abdullah Matar Al Mazrouei, Director of the Arab Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: Emirates News Agency

King of Jordan receives Abdullah bin Zayed and ministers participating in Arab coordination meeting

AMMAN, 4th November, 2023 (WAM) — His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the presence of Crown Prince His Royal Highness Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, received H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Alongside Sheikh Abdullah, the Jordanian King also received the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who participated in the coordination meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the recent developments in Palestine. The meeting was attended by Dr. Ayman Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan. During the meeting, all sides reviewed the development of current events in the Middle East and efforts to intensify humanitarian response to the needs of civilians. H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to His Majesty King Abdullah II and his wishes for progress and prosperity for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its people. For his part, His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein conveyed his greetings to President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, expressing his wishes for further growth and prosperity for the UAE and its people. Khoder Nashar

Source: Emirates News Agency

3rd annual conference of Emirates Society of Clinical Microbiology kicks off in Dubai

DUBAI, 4th November, 2023 (WAM) — The 3rd annual conference organised by the Emirates Society of Clinical Microbiology kicked off today at Mohammed bin Rashid University for Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai. The three-day event, held under the patronage of the Emirates Medical Association, features prominent speakers and experts in the field. Day 1 of the event saw Dr. Jens Thomsen, Chair of the conference’s organising committee and President of the Emirates Society of Clinical Microbiology (ESCM), present an in-depth discussion on the patterns and trends of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance in the UAE. Dr. Thomsen emphasised the critical role of AMR surveillance in guiding clinical decision-making, tracking resistance trends in infections, and providing essential epidemiological data to understand the impact of AMR on public health and the effectiveness of control measures within healthcare facilities and the community. “AMR surveillance and Antibiotic Stewardship Programmes (ASP) are essential tools and interventions for slowing the emergence and spread of drug-resistant microorganisms in humans, animals, plants, and the environment. Currently, 45 clinical microbiology laboratories and 341 surveillance sites such as hospitals, centres and clinics participate in the UAE’s national AMR surveillance,” said Dr Thomsen. Analysing the data, Dr. Thomsen observed an overall long-term increase in antibiotic resistance levels in the UAE over the last 13 years but clarified that for some clinically relevant bug-drug combinations it has stabilised or even decreased in more recent years. He indicated that stability could be a result of the growing awareness among healthcare professionals and governments in the country, improved antibiotic stewardship programmes, and other factors. Furthermore, he highlighted the emerging trend of Candida auris, a highly problematic pathogen since 2018, which has been challenging to identify with standard laboratory methods. “There is an emerging trend of Candida auris which has been observed since 2018 as it emerged in many places in the world, and we found it in the region and UAE. It can persist on surfaces for extended periods and is often resistant to Fluconazole, which limits therapeutic options. Furthermore, it is resistant to quaternary ammonium compounds used in hospital disinfectants,” he added. In addition to the conference, a pre-conference workshop on generating a Cumulative Antibiogram and data analysis took place on the preceding Friday. Dr. Thomsen stressed the importance of data analysis, which aids physicians in selecting the right antibiotics from the outset, leading to faster patient recovery and reduced mortality rates, particularly for life-threatening infections. “If the physicians give the right antibiotic from the beginning, patients will benefit much faster and better. It helps to reduce time of treatment.” The 3rd annual conference, organised in collaboration with the American Society for Microbiology, drew over 437 participants, including 27 national and 10 international speakers, delegates, experts, scientists, physicians, microbiology professionals, students, and industry specialists. The conference provided a platform for sharing the latest research, findings, experiences, and guidelines in the field of clinical microbiology. The conference’s agenda comprises 36 lectures covering an array of emerging topics and addressing the industry’s latest developments and challenges. The first day of the conference covered subjects such as antimicrobial stewardship, ventilator-associated pneumonia, climate change and environmental antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and a competition for the best abstract. The sessions delved into topics like antibacterial stewardship, the role of microbiology in achieving UN sustainable development goals, climate change’s impact on AMR, and the global studies exploring the connection between air pollution and COVID-19.

Source: Emirates News Agency

ALC announces winners of Kanz Al Jeel Award 2023

ABU DHABI, 4th November, 2023 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has announced the winners of the Kanz Al Jeel Award 2023, which honours creators and outstanding artistic works that focus on Nabati poetry and have enriched the Arab literary canon. Winners in the Award’s second edition include renowned artists, writers, and poets across various categories. This year, the Kanz Al Jeel Award received a notable increase in submissions with a total of 264 entries across its six categories, with nominees hailing from 27 countries including 17 Arab nations and 10 others around the world. The Arts category saw artist Muntasir Fathi from Jordan win for his piece titled ‘Fiha Zahat Al Anwar’ (In It Blossomed the Lights), which creatively combines calligraphy, lettering, and abstract art. The colour treatment enhances the beauty and unique character of the piece, striking a harmonious balance between design, letters, and colour masses, reflecting an aesthetic perspective that reaffirms the Award’s purpose and the meaning of its name (“treasured sayings”). In the Studies and Research category, Dr. Abdullah Maneh Ghleis from Kuwait won for his book ‘Al-Marjaa al-Wafi fi al-Awzan wal-Qawafi lil-Shi’r al-Fasih wal-Nabati’ (The Comprehensive Reference of Rhymes for Classical and Nabati Poetry), published by Dar Al-Aasma’ in 2023. The study is a notable addition to the Arabic library, characterised by its depth, accuracy, and clear and precise scientific methodology. It offers a systematic comparison between the metrics of classical and Nabati poetry, forming an important reference for scholars and researchers in the field. In the Poetic Publications category, the prize was awarded to Dr. Abdalla Belhaif Alnuaimi from the UAE for his collection ‘Ishq Yatajaddad’ (A Love Renewed), published by Dar Molhimon Publishing in 2022. With its authentic and expressive language, the poetic work offers diverse content and purposes with a fresh and distinctive perspective on Nabati poetry. It maintains the authenticity of Nabati poetry with all its unique features, showcasing rich poetic imagery and vocabulary. This collection represents a significant experiment in terms of its themes and the uniqueness of its poetic language. The Poetry Matching category saw renowned Saudi poet and media figure Ali Asiri, also known as Ali Al Sabaan, win for his poem ‘Qudwat Al Shu’ar’ (The Role Model Poet). The text is distinguished by its coherence, precise style, and rich vocabulary. The poet enriched his work with grandeur in poetry and meanings, offering a remarkable and harmonious poetic matching with elements that align with the original text. The poem maintains the sequence of ideas, deep meanings, and the essence of the authentic concept, striking a parallel balance between tradition and modernity, depth of thought, and simplicity of vocabulary, setting it apart from other works of poetic matching. Emirati poet Saif Al Saadi won the Award’s Creative Personality category. Al Saadi is one of the most prominent poets in the Gulf region; his poems are known for their deep meaning, use of local colloquialisms, and unique poetic imagery. For 30 years, he has presented numerous distinguished poetry programmes and served as a judge on the ‘Raa’i Al Qaseed’ competition on Sama Dubai TV. He also oversaw the ‘Folk Poetry’ section in Al Bayan newspaper, founded by the late poet Hamad Khalifa Bou Shihab in the early 1980s. Al Saadi led the Jawaher magazine for folk poetry and published a collection titled ‘Mythaq’. Saood Al Hosani, Under-Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), said, “The Kanz Al Jeel Award draws its inspiration from the poetic vision, eloquence, and wisdom of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose legacy inspires the work we do to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage. The award aligns with our strategic goal to support and nurture creativity, and to foster pride in our cultural identity through the preservation and advancement of our Arabic language.” Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said, “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is committed to preserving and developing the Arabic language, and poetry is a fundamental pillar of the Arabic literary canon. This year’s Kanz Al Jeel Award honours a diverse group of winners from countries spanning the region and has seen a significant increase in the number of submissions, reflecting the award’s growing status and reach. We are advancing the Arabic language and enabling artistic expression by recognising a new generation of Nabati poets and researchers who, through their works and projects, are promoting and elevating the genre.” Dr. Ali Saeed Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Kanz Al Jeel Award Higher Committee, said, “The Kanz Al Jeel Award is an important step towards enriching the Arab cultural and literary landscape, spotlighting new and innovative poetic masterpieces that showcase the literary artistry of the genre, providing readers with high-quality projects that highlight the aesthetics and unique character of this art form. The winning entries in the second edition of the Award stand out for their unique charm and originality, showcasing the immense creativity in the field of Nabati poetry.” The ceremony to honour the winners will be held on 22nd November at Zayed Central Library in Al Ain, coinciding with the activities of the Al Ain Book Festival 2023, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre from 19th to 25th November. The Creative Personality winner will be presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit, as well as an AED500,000 prize, while winners of other categories will each receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a prize of AED200,000.

Source: Emirates News Agency

SIBF 2023 hosts Nobel laureate to discuss emergence of ‘Afrofuturism’ in global discourse

SHARJAH, 4th November, 2023 (WAM) — As part of the cultural programme curated by the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), the spotlight was cast upon the esteemed Nigerian Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. In an engaging discussion, Wole Soyinka and the distinguished Sudanese poet, Alim Abbas, captivated the audience with their enlightening discussion titled ‘Exploring Afrofuturism: Reimagining Black Identity and Culture in Contemporary Literature’. In a room filled with literary enthusiasts, the two authors explored how Africa should be portrayed in the rapidly growing world of literature. The session began with the moderator setting the stage, emphasising the emerging movement within contemporary African literature, which envisions a future that is firmly grounded in a reimagined and redefined sense of identity and culture. This movement, known as Afrofuturism, is, in the words of Wole Soyinka, “encapsulating a visionary blend of science fiction, historical fiction, and magical realism, serving as a conduit for the exploration and reimagining of the black experience.” By weaving elements of technology, ancient traditions, and a deep-seated cultural pride, Afrofuturist writers carve out a unique space where the past, present, and future converge in exhilarating ways. Through their literary prowess, new authors are crafting tales that challenge conventional notions of time and space while honouring the richness of African heritage. These academic pioneers infuse their works with a vibrant tapestry of mythologies, folklore, and cutting-edge technological innovations, constructing a narrative landscape that celebrates resilience and cultural dynamism. Expanding on this concept Soyinka said, “Within the realm of Afrofuturism, the exploration of identity takes the helm, delving into the complexities of what it means to be black in a rapidly evolving world. Through their protagonists, these writers navigate themes of displacement, cultural erasure, and the quest for self-discovery, offering a lens through which readers can reflect on the multifaceted nature of the African experience.” Alim Abbas, on the other hand, noted that the impact of Afrofuturism extends beyond the realms of literature and permeates various art forms. He further pointed out that the infusion of futuristic elements into traditional African aesthetics has sparked a global renaissance, fostering a sense of empowerment and cultural pride among individuals of African descent. Abbas gave the audience his perspective of the emerging genre saying, “Afrofuturism stands as a testament to the power of storytelling as a vehicle for transformation and empowerment. By embracing the boundless potential of the imagination, Afrofuturist authors continue to redefine the narrative of black identity and culture, forging a path toward a future that is both technologically advanced and deeply rooted in the essence of African heritage.”

Source: Emirates News Agency