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Gail Vida Hamburg
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Gail Vida Hamburg reported for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Daily Southtown, before teaching communications and journalism at Roosevelt University, Chicago. She was awarded a Herman Kogan Meritorious Achievement Award for her enterprise series on child welfare and protection agencies for the Chicago Tribune. Hamburg's first novel, The Edge of the World, about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives was released by Mirare Press, Boston in 2007. It was featured in Bertrand Russell's The Spokesman, at the Graham Greene Festival, and nominated for the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. She is currently working on Liberty Landing, a social novel about America that continues John Dos Passos' USA trilogy. Hamburg studied mass communications at North East London Polytechnic, UK & has an MFA in Literature & Creative Writing from Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. She is the founder of RainWorks OmniMedia, a social innovation company that produces museum experiences to support girls literacy and clean water programs in the developing world. www.rainworksomnimedia.com.

Entries by Gail Vida Hamburg

This Year In Palestine

(20) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 6:16 PM

In 2003-04, after Israel began construction of its 425-mile security fence in the West Bank, a Middle East Affairs listserv I belonged to at the time started circulating news tips, alerts, and sources for those of us interested in developing stories.

One news alert was a catalog of hardships...

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One Man's Crusade for 'Room to Read' for Children Without Books

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 12:15 PM

"Perhaps, Sir, you will someday come back with books." The words were uttered in 1998 by the headmaster of a grade school in Bahundanda, Nepal -- that had a library, but no books -- to John Wood, a stressed out American senior executive at Microsoft, who was trekking...

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Stories to Remember in an Unkind World

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2012 | 12:25 PM

There are some stories one can't bear to hear, for to hear them is to lose a slice of our solidarity with all humanity, and to feel a sense of utter cosmic loneliness.

Last week, the world seemed to have gone mad entirely. Along with stories about cannibalism and...

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From Chicago, Music in the Key of Life

(1) Comments | Posted December 3, 2011 | 2:58 PM

In 2007, Chicagoan, Nicole Sotelo, a Harvard-trained theologian and author, read a searing account of Congolese rape victims. The women, young girls and grandmothers among them, had suffered extreme sexual violence at the hands of the Inerahanwe and Hutu men responsible for the genocide in neighboring Rwanda, the Congolese army,...

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Americans Still Lead the World in Self Regard, Latest Poll

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2011 | 3:00 PM

The Pew Research Center's latest Global Attitudes Project survey brings interesting news. Only half of all Americans believe our culture (which I understand to be an identifier of all the things that resonate with the majority populace) is superior to others.

The earnest reporting to understand...

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Engineers Rule!

(4) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 9:58 AM

By page 41 of Walter Isaacson's important biography of Steve Jobs, I wanted immediately to score some LSD to replicate Mr. Jobs experience, which he called, a profound experience and one of the most important things in his life. "It reinforced my sense of what was important -- creating great...

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A Time for Stories About Heroes

(2) Comments | Posted August 2, 2011 | 1:00 PM

In the wake of the Oslo explosions and the massacre on Utoyo island, we have learned so much, too much, about the protagonist and villain of the whole tragedy. His name, his face, his life, his writings will live on. He can claim something close to victory, because the electronic...

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"Kissing" Books Could Have Saved Borders

(18) Comments | Posted July 24, 2011 | 6:38 PM

In his essay, "Is Nothing Sacred?" novelist Salman Rushdie examines the importance of literature in society, laments the state of fiction (he penned it during the nuclear fallout from his own novel), and recalls his early relationship with books.
"I grew up kissing books and bread,"...

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Understanding Debt Ceiling Politicians Through 12 Angry Men

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2011 | 7:58 PM

Director Sidney Lumet's 1957 classic, 12 Angry Men, a mainstay in law and business school curriculum, that shows the influence of preconceived notions, assumptions and prejudice, and deconstructs coalition building, the art of persuasion, reciprocity, and dealmaking, is a useful film for understanding politicians involved in the debt ceiling talks.

...
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America The Literal: Spectacle and Higher Education

(4) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 11:19 AM

The death of literacy and the victory of spectacle occurred a few feet from my house last week, while I was still reeling from Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion -- The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. It happened at Northwestern University -- a not-for-profit, privately held institution...

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As Iraq War Memory Fades, the Art Endures

(3) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 9:59 PM

The Guardian ran a story two weeks ago, in which Iraqi chemical engineering dilettante, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi -- codenamed "Curveball" by somebody in espionage with an obvious sense of humor -- admitted that everything he told German interrogators about WMD in Iraq was a fabrication, a whopper,...

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Castle Owners of the Fourth Estate Flog Usurper, Julien Assange

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2010 | 1:30 PM

Soon after leaving print reporting and before settling into education and science communications, when people asked me what I did I'd say I was a "recovering" journalist. I'd usually get a laugh out of that line before the enquirer invariably launched into a broadside on biased journalism, sensational reporting, the...

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Money Catches up With Meaning in Social Enterprise

(1) Comments | Posted October 11, 2010 | 2:09 PM

I recently attended social enterprise and impact investing summits on both coasts, where social entrepreneurs, impact investors, changemakers and change-agents gathered to discuss new developments in the field.

In addition to conventional development initiatives addressing a range of social problems including the building of civil society, there were smart solutions...

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Language and Being American in the World

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 10:32 AM

The latest news that a US Government contractor in Afghanistan placed our soldiers at risk by passing off non-Afghan speakers from the US as Pashto translators, reiterates the importance of being versatile in a language other than our own in this interconnected world.

I work as an English communicator for...

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Paris on the Brain: Books for Spring Vacationers and Armchair Travelers

(5) Comments | Posted May 10, 2010 | 3:17 PM

After a dark, cold, and rainy winter, warm weather has finally come to Paris, brightening its days and turning even the most crabby Parisian's mood sunny. Daffodils are in bloom and the cafés, parks, and banks of the Seine fill with people, animating the city. But whatever the weather, the...

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Everyone Blunders on Race Until We Don't

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2010 | 5:04 PM

I spent my childhood in Malaysia, a multicultural, polyglot fusion chamber skewed towards polytheism, where people gave their due to all the gods in order to hedge their bets and cover all the bases. A Unitarian worldview had its advantages even for the secular minded: extended public holidays, every month...

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Republicans: The Party of Whiners

(10) Comments | Posted October 5, 2009 | 1:18 PM

Republicans: The Party of Whiners

Sen. Phil Gramm, economic adviser to John McCain's Presidential campaign, got it only half wrong when he called us a nation of whiners. He would have nailed it if he'd hurled the charge with more accuracy -- at his own party and its...

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President Obama's "Spock" Rationale On Iraq War Investigation Untenable

(58) Comments | Posted May 31, 2009 | 9:03 PM

In a recent interview with Newsweek, President Obama mentioned seeing the latest Star Trek movie and that everybody was saying he was Spock. In another interview a while ago, the First Lady said, "The President is a very rational man."

This explains a lot. The President's refusal to investigate the...

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Wars Made Real: Photography at Dover Air Force Base

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2009 | 11:52 AM

The Obama administration's decision to reverse the 18-year Pentagon ban on photography of soldiers' caskets returning to Dover Air Force Base is an important one for the public. Leaving the decision to military families to accept, or reject, public recognition of the service of their deceased is a respectful, Solomon-esque...

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Hold Your Fire: Children and Civilians In Gaza

(20) Comments | Posted January 7, 2009 | 3:12 PM

In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag's meditation on images depicting the atrocities of wartime, she cites Virginia Woolf's lacerating indictment of war, written in 1936 as the Spanish Civil War was unfolding. Woolf's polemic was a response to a lawyer who had engaged her on the issue of...

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