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Standing for Parliament

Win or lose, Todd Foreman ’95 will start a new chapter in his political life on May 7, 2015, election day in the United Kingdom. Foreman is the Labour Party candidate for North East Somerset, a constituency in southwest England. If elected, he’ll serve in the House of Commons along with 649 other Members of Parliament.

“This was the right time in my life to stand for Parliament,” Foreman says. “I don’t like what the current government is doing to health care nor the widening gap between rich and poor,.” Foreman says.

“Politics is something I’ve been passionate about for as long as I can remember,” says Foreman, a political science and French double major. He won a Watson Fellowship that set him firmly on the political path.

During his yearlong fellowship, he worked for the Labour parties in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He examined the ways the party could advance equality for women, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. “My fellowship shaped my political values and political thinking,” he says. “I knew that in the Labour Party I had found my political home.”

Foreman earned a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2001 moved to London to practice law with an international law firm. He’s currently taking a break from his job with Axiom, an alternative legal services provider, where he specializes in banking and financial services law.

Banking is one of the issues Foreman cares deeply about. He earned a master’s in banking and finance law from King’s College, London, and his experience in the banking field is one of the reasons the Labour Party selected him to stand for this election.

“During the financial crisis in 2008 where taxpayers had to bail out banks and are still paying for it, that issue really resonates with people in North East Somerset,” Foreman says. “Bankers are not being held accountable. I think my experience as a lawyer will be valuable in Parliament.”

If he wins his election, Foreman has promised to be a full-time MP and not take outside work. And if Labour wins enough seats, Foreman says the party will crack down on MPs being allowed to have second jobs. He notes that his opponent, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative elected in 2010, works for a hedge fund in addition to his MP duties.

“I’m standing against one of the most right-wing MPs sitting in Parliament now,” Foreman says. “I don’t think he’s serving the priorities of the vast majority of people living in North East Somerset.”

If Foreman wins, this will not be his first successful race. In May 2014, he completed a term as a councilor, an elected position at the city government level, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Foreman has since moved to the North East Somerset constituency with his spouse Mark Sutter. The two were married Dec. 22, 2014. “We are a partnership politically as well,” Foreman says. They’re both working full-time, unpaid, on the campaign.

Election campaigns in Britain are “very focused on door-step campaigning, going out and knocking on doors and meeting people,” Foreman says. Approximately 70,000 voters live in the constituency near Bath.

Money is needed, of course, but much less than in U.S. campaigns, he says. Money is raised for running the campaign headquarters, staff, leaflets, etc. Individual candidates aren’t allowed to do television or radio advertising.

Originally from Kansas, Foreman became a British citizen in 2006.

The Music Composer

Dan Ehrlich ’14The Grinnell experience is different for every student. For Dan Ehrlich ’14, that experience took him from the chemistry lab, to the recital hall, and eventually to graduate school in music composition.

“I’ve been a saxophonist since I was 7 years old,” Ehrlich remembers. “Someone just put the horn in my hands and I went for it.” With a strong interest in jazz, Ehrlich, a Canadian citizen raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., played the saxophone through high school, where he also sang in the choir.

However, when he arrived in Grinnell, Ehrlich decided not to focus solely on music, but to double-major in music and chemistry. “I like to work hard — especially when I feel I have a lot at risk,” Ehrlich says, and he initially found chemistry to satisfy that desire.

Pursuing a double major allowed him to pursue multiple interests — in part for the love of learning — even if a major doesn’t result in a career.

As his studies progressed, Ehrlich found himself returning again and again to his “two loves,” saxophone and voice. After spending a semester abroad in Italy studying only music, Ehrlich decided to devote his remaining time at Grinnell to music. “I wouldn’t say I lost interest in chemistry,” Ehrlich says. “I just realized I didn’t want to be a chemist.”

With his focus solely on music, Ehrlich completed two Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs) in composition, one with Eric McIntyre, associate professor of music, and another with John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music. Over the course of these projects, Ehrlich completed a string quintet, a choral piece for the choir of his high school, and several works for solo voice. He also conducted the Grinnell Singers in the premiere of his original work, Hine ma tov.

After his graduation —  and after winning numerous honors, including the Steiner Award for Creativity in Music —  Ehrlich went on to graduate school. He currently studies composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he receives instruction from such distinguished clinicians as Anders Hillborg, Zoe Martlew, Oliver Knussen, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

At the Royal Academy, Ehrlich is required to compose five to six pieces at once. “I was only working on one piece at a time at Grinnell, but I was also working on a paper, and a lab report, and research for another paper,” Ehrlich says. “So my splitting of my academic brain hasn’t changed, it’s just all focused on one thing now.”

Once he completes his studies at the Royal Academy, where will he go from there? Ehrlich isn’t sure. “I’m very much in the phase of realizing my potential as an artist and a person,” he says. Wherever life takes him — whether to the recital hall or even back to the chemistry lab — Ehrlich knows that he will use the skills he honed at Grinnell.

“You have to seek out your own opportunities,” Ehrlich says, “and Grinnell offers you those opportunities — MAPs, concerts, awards — and teaches you to seek them out.”

Artists/Writers@Grinnell: Dan O’Brien

Dan O'BrienAward-winning poet and playwright Dan O’Brien will be in residence March 1–7 and April 16–19, sponsored by Writers@Grinnell and Artists@Grinnell.

O’Brien is giving a free public works in progress talk about his creative process at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Faulconer Gallery.

His plays include The Body of an American, winner of the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and other awards. His poetry collections include Scarsdale and War Reporter.

In March, O’Brien is teaching an English and theatre short intensive course on the creation of a one-act play. Students of the course are learning the fundamentals of dramatic structure and will write, rehearse, and present their own completed one-acts during his second visit in April.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Gulag Town, Company Town

Alan BarenbergJoin historian Alan Barenberg for a free public talk, “Gulag Town, Company Town: Reconnecting the ‘Archipelago’ to Soviet Society and History.” He will speak at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, in ARH Auditorium – Room 302. Refreshments will be provided.

Barenberg is assistant professor of Russian history at Texas Tech University where he specializes in the social and economic history of the Soviet Union, especially from 1930s-70s. His research covers a range of topics of the Russian Empire and the USSR. 

According to Yale University Press, Barenberg’s book, Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta ”offers a radical reassessment of the infamous ‘Gulag Archipelago’ by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. [His] eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial nonprisoner population where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life.”

Barenberg has a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College. He has earned several fellowships.

Barenberg’s visit is sponsored by the Department of History and the Russian, Central, and East European Studies Concentration.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

A Century of War: Vincent Sherry

Vincent SherryVincent Sherry will present a free public lecture, “Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Sherry will consider the fate of “sacrifice” as a category of value in the political, military, and personal experience of the Great War of 1914-1918. There was an exorbitant reliance on sacrifice in the political rhetoric of the war: “sacrifice” provided a tonic and resolving note, it offered a way to explain and absolve the millions of deaths being undergone, it became increasingly clear, for no overt purpose.

Sherry will reconstruct the cultural understanding of sacrifice before the war and following the fate of this established understanding through the course of the conflict, concentrating mainly on the prose fiction of combat. He will consider the implications of this development for the future through engagement in particular with Giorgio Agamben’s much discussed work Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Sherry will show how the atrocities of mid-century begin in the circumstances of the Great War, where the value of life essential to the value of sacrifice is undone.

Sherry is Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Sherry's free public lecture is the latest in the Center for the Humanities year-long theme "A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Leader of the Band

Dr. Frank L. Battisti Festival poster with image of directorJoin the Grinnell College Symphonic Band and Frank Battisti in an free public open rehearsal and seminar beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The seminar begins at 8 p.m.

Frank Leon Battisti is director emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Under his leadership the ensemble established a national and international reputation for being one of the most innovative and premiere ensembles of its kind in the world.

Event organizers describe Battisti as “the world’s foremost living authority on the growth, expansion, and proliferation of wind band commissioning over the past 60 years. His teaching, conducting, writing, and arranging, worldwide, has had an immeasurable impact on wind band education for generations.” They add, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Battisti in Iowa."

This event is part of a Frank Battisti Festival Week (Feb. 23 - March 1) held mainly at Central College and co-sponsored by the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble and Grinnell College. 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

A History of the Noose

Jack ShulerJack Shuler will present a free public lecture, “The Thirteenth Turn:  A History of the Noose,” at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in ARH Room 102 - Kallaus Lecture Hall.

Shuler is an associate professor & John and Christine Warner Professor of English and the author of a new book of the same name. His other works include Blood and Bone:  Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town. Assistant Professor of History Albert Lacson saysShuler's interest in race, violence, and historical memory animate both books.”

Shuler’s lecture is co-sponsored by the American studies and history departments.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Handel’s ‘Esther’

The Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a professional period-instrument ensemble from Minneapolis, will join forces with the Grinnell Singers to perform Handel’s Esther.

The Performance

The concert will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. Although the concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required. Tickets may be picked up at the Bucksbaum Center box office beginning at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. For more information, call the box office at 641-269-4444.

Members of the orchestra will perform on replicas of instruments in use during the 18th century, including a full complement of string instruments, as well as oboes, horns and trumpets. Iowa Public Radio plans to record the performance to be broadcast across the state at a later date.

Handel’s oratorio tells the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, as she acts courageously to save her people from destruction.

The production will feature guest soloists:

  • Linh Kauffman, soprano, as Queen Esther
  • Seth Keeton, baritone, as the villain Haman
  • Richard Joseph, tenor, as the King of Persia
  • Craig Lemming, tenor, as Esther’s Uncle Mordecai
  • Nicholas Miguel, baritone, as the Priest of the Israelites

Grinnell College Blanche Johnson Professor of Music John Rommereim will conduct.

The Panel Discussion

The performance will be preceded on Friday, Feb. 20, by a panel discussion titled “Stories Told and Retold: Handel’s Esther and Narratives of Oppression and Genocide from Biblical Times to the Present.”

The discussion will start at 4:15 p.m. in Lawson Lecture Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts Room 152. The panel will include Rommereim as well as:

Jacque Ogg, musical director of Lyra Baroque Orchestra will play harpsichord. The orchestra also includes Grinnell Music faculty member Guinevere McIntyre playing on natural horn.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the rear of the building north of Sixth Ave., and Sebring-Lewis Hall is fully accessible. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.


Grinnell a Top Peace Corps School

Sachiko Graber '12

Sachiko Graber ’12 (left) with her teachers on day of cultural celebration.

For the third year in a row, Grinnell College has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. Moving up 11 places, Grinnell ranks No. 10 among small schools nationwide with 11 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 374 Grinnell graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

Sachiko Graber ’12 makes a difference as an education volunteer in Namibia. She teaches eighth grade math and leads several sports programs, including soccer, rugby, and track and field. Arriving in Namibia in July 2012, Graber chose to extend her service a third year to teach English and develop a science laboratory.

Graber graduated from Grinnell in May 2012 with a degree in physics

“Grinnell gave me was a self-sufficiency and self-motivation that has helped me immensely in Peace Corps,” she said. “At Grinnell, I always filled my schedule with every possible activity — organized or not — and I have been lucky enough to bring that same mentality to the village. I have found or created a lot of new projects, such as starting a science laboratory project, and I think that I was able to do this in part because of the confidence and willingness to branch out into many different disciplines that I acquired at Grinnell.”

Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category.

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and work on sustainable development projects in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development.

Volunteers return home as global citizens with cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching, and community development skills that position them well for advanced education and professional opportunities in a 21st-century job market.

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.

Iowa-based Peace Corps recruiter Ryan Cairns, a returned volunteer who served in Bulgaria, advises Grinnell candidates.

Approximately 68 Iowa residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 2,316 Iowa residents have served since the agency was created in 1961.

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development. 

Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit Peace Corps' website and follow Peace Corp on Facebook and Peace Corp on Twitter.


Artists@Grinnell: Stelios Manousakis

Artists@Grinnell welcomes artist-in-residence Stelios Manousakis for a two-week residency February 15–28, 2015.

Stelios Manousakis (Crete, Greece, 1980) is a composer, performer, sound artist, and researcher. He operates across the convergence zones of art, science, and engineering / composition, performance, and installation / the rich tradition of western sonic art and ‘digital-folk’ idioms. He studied music and linguistics in Greece, Sonology in the Netherlands, and is currently finishing a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts at the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS, University of Washington). You can view Manousakis’ portfolio online.

Manousakis will be visiting campus to share his process, produce work, and connect with students, faculty, and staff.

Please come to the following events in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Email Artists@Grinnell Residency for more information.

Scheduled Events

Student Lunch

Noon Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Bucksbaum Room 152

Artists@Grinnell and the Music Student Educational Policy Committee invites you to learn more about Stelios over an informal pizza lunch open to all majors and interested students.

Installation Tours

4:15 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, & Friday, February 20, in Faulconer Gallery

Manousakis’ sound installation titled "Act so there is no use in a centre" (2014) can be experienced in the Faulconer Gallery throughout his residency. The installation tours will be informal to give viewers a chance to ask the artist a few questions. The piece is an interactive radio-transmitted spatial play using text from Gertrude Stein’s “Rooms” (1914) and Manousakis’ audio archive.

Works in Progress Talk: Creating with Systems

4:15 p.m. Monday, February 23, in Faulconer Gallery

Stelios Manousakis will talk about feedback, musical cybernetics, and working with systems, processes, and texts. He will present some of his recent artworks and will discuss the creative processes involved while keeping an eye on a wider historical, scientific, and artistic context.

This talk is the first of a series called "Works in Progress Talks" where visiting artists are asked to speak about their processes.

Artists@Grinnell is an Innovation Fund project and a collaborative effort by Faulconer Gallery; the art and art history, music, and theatre and dance departments; and Writers@Grinnell. Manousakis’ residency is co-sponsored by the music department and Center for International Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts and Faulconer Gallery are accessible. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.