Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I am, for the [insert shameful number here] time, restarting "Doctor Who". A few of my besties from the LLM haven't seen any of it and have expressed interest...a dangerous thing to do near me. We finally got ourselves organised and now having Tuesday telly nights lined up for the rest of the year. 2-3 episodes a week is going to take a while...but it will be nice to get a regular dose of The Doctor and watch folks who have never seen it engage.
Yesterday was our first round, to high review - even though we only watched the first two episodes of Chris, hardly the greatest few hours in BBC history. I am excited for next week's "Aliens of London"...though we have to make it through "Unquiet Dead" first and then see if the girls decide to push through a two-parter or leave themselves in suspense!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DRD Article on "Beyond the Bombs"

Bringing together various sectors of my life, I wrote an article about Dorm Room Diplomacy for my AMENDS mate Ashley Lohmann, who runs a journalism website highlighting stuff in the Middle East other than the ugly military-political trends so dominant in Western mainstream media. Check out:

Birthday and Bowling

Not my birthday.
Julia's birthday!
One of my best mates from the LLM programme turned 24 on Saturday. Since Saturday was Burns Night and there were many, many activities going on in the grand ol' Scottish city, we all met up on Friday at Julia and Sean's flat for birthday festivities.
Saturday afternoon, Sean came over and made cake. This included a fudgy chocolate cake that took FOREVER (seriously, forever. It was in the blasted oven three times longer than the recipe said it would need) to bake - but Sean decorated it adorably and it was super cute. It also included my first go at a flourless chocolate cake, which turned out brilliantly! (Though it *also* took way longer to bake. I think my oven may not actually get up to the claimed heat. Note for future.)
This evening, weekend festivities continue via tenpin bowling. America is being called on once again to trump England (i.e., I am hoping to once again kick Will's butt). Here we go!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Ramblings" is properly back!

In case you missed it, I'm putting real content on "Ramblings" for the first time in a while. This week's series is on the basics of international law as a whole. The week kicks off here:
Happy Rambling!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crowd funding for Afghani Girls' Education

One of my very beloved friends from AMENDS has just launched a campaign to support the education dreams of two young Afghan girls. Crafted, a project of Sabera's that empowers Afghan women through handicraft skills and financial independence, is donating gifts to offer as thank yous for support. This is a really wonderful chance to make a serious difference in two strong young girls' lives. Please take a moment to hear from them and give as generously as you are able: 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First week of classes

I've completed the first week of classes for 2014 back at the University of Edinburgh.
Instead of "syllabus week" for my (only) new course on International Climate Change Law, we were asked to attend a special launch event for Climate Policy's special issue on The Changing Geopolitics of Climate Change. Guest and local lecturers spoke on the issue's themes and summarised the papers, which were exploring questions of how global regimes around climate change have and have not made progress since the Kyoto Protocol and why. Lots of talk about "China vs. the West", as climate discussions often are. These themes tend to bug me a bit given their often nationalist and racist undertones, but there were some other interesting additional points and observations, and it was nice to have a more politically than legally oriented session for the first time in a while!
My other two courses are year-long and thus continuing from last term. No syllabus week for us - just diving straight into things! Today, a seminar on the dichotomy (or lack thereof!) between civil-political and socioeconomic-cultural rights for International and European Human Rights Law and a fun (no, seriously, it was fun. Yes, I know I have a problem) look into regulations for ship pollution.

And, finally: Some people have been asking me what an "LLM" is. Just in case you'd like a ramble on it and some other things, today's "Ramblings" episode is here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The NIFS Process

I was asked by Michigan State University's Office of National and International Fellowships and Scholarships to make a five-minute video about the application process. My attempt to persuade students about the benefits of writing up lengthy essays in the midst of busy college life is here.

Looking back, I truly can say that the application was entirely worthwhile, completely independent of winning the Marshall. I wrote many, many other applications that were unsuccessful, but with each, I learned a bit more about myself and how to articulate where I wanted to go. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me with draft after draft after draft...those personal statements shaped me as much as any of the activities I was writing about. :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I am back in bonny Scotland after a week in Turkey. The weather was lovely and all, but I am enjoying my grey clouds and tea once again.
I was lucky enough to score an empty row on the first flight and had one on the second...until after we took off and some parents moved into my row to sit nearer their children but I couldn't find the heart to object. Also the flight home, we were serenaded by a toddler with "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" as we took off. It was rather adorable.
Some favourite photos from the trip are below. The last is from the Turkish Bank Museum (!!). Tagline: "AMENDS: Making 'Change' in the Middle East". (Yes, thank you, I am Kendall's daughter.) 

Classes start Monday - I am likely in hibernation until then to sleep off conference and essay writing exhaustion in combination with a wee cold!

Monday, January 6, 2014


I am in Istanbul! (Not Constantinople.)
The American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford is holding its first Forum in the region. Fellows who attended the week-long collaboration, training, and sharing Summits at Stanford in 2012 and 2013 are coming together to continue building the network, dig into our initiatives, and figure out how we can grow and expand our individual and group work.
And, of course, we also happen to be in Istanbul. The President of Koc University, one of the most significant unis in Turkey, is a Stanford alum who taught there for several years. The AMENDS Koc Forum is building links between the two universities as well as providing a space for our work.
I flew in on New Year's Day and spent a few days with Elliot's family. (Elliot is a good friend and one of the co-founders of AMENDS.) The Forum kicked off on Saturday with opening remarks from the University President. I led a team management workshop today, and we have a formal networking dinner this evening.
I head back to Scotland 9 January...and the new term begins on Monday 13 January!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


It is 2014 in Scotland - Happy Hogmanay!

Auld Lang Syne is actually a Scottish poem - that virtually no American actually knows the words to. So, here you are, in Scots:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

There is an English translation, other than "drunken mumble mumble". But I'll leave you to Google that for yourself, should you wish to be the smarty-pants at the office party. 

In the meantime, I am off to Istanbul for my AMENDS Reunion Conference. Best wishes to all for a happy and rejuvenating transition between Gregorian units! ;)