For our Annual Meet the Juniors Event, some 20 members and as many Juniors were on hand to celebrate the seventh consecutive Cultural Stipend check to the JYA program. This event is always a wonderful way for Paris Alumnae to get to know the Juniors, who introduce themselves to the group, telling us about their hometown or country, their major, and a “Fun fact” about themselves. A potluck supper followed.
President Macey Smith gave the €1000 Cultural Stipend check to the 2018 JYA program director Mehammed A. Mack, Smith College’s Associate professor of French Studies. Mack’s research focuses on contemporary immigration to France, gender and sexuality, diversity in the banlieues, and the relation between culture and politics. His larger teaching and research interests include Franco-Arab cultures, travel literature, the development of French Islam and media studies.
Also in attendance was Rebecca Hovey, Dean for International Study and Director of the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith College. She started at Smith in 2010 and is responsible for oversight of the Smith study abroad programs and the strategic global learning goals at Smith.
The event was hosted at Lois Grjebine’s home. Our heartfelt thanks for doing it yet again, Lois – it’s becoming a tradition! Below are a few photos so those who were able to attend can remember this lovely evening and for those who weren’t able to make it, to see what they missed! We hope to see you in the fall of 2019 for a new edition of this ultra-popular “kick-off” event of the year.
This year’s SCCF Annual General Meeting was attended by relatively few members, as many were caught up in the aftermath of the holiday season or still away, but the “hardcore” (mainly board members but a couple of new smiles as well) were steadfast and present, so we were all able to add our two cents at leisure. We reviewed what needed to be fixed and came up with a lot of new ideas on how to make the club even better. So stay tuned!
Gretty Mirdal ’65, the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, located at the prestigious Hôtel Lauzun, was recently the Guest of Honor at one of the SCCF’s “Life So Far” dinners, given at the home of Macey Smith ’75, SCCF President. Dr. Mirdal recounted her extraordinary personal and professional history; she was born in Istanbul, educated at Smith College and then got her Ph.D. at the University of Copenhagen. She then gave us a short talk about her work and research on the subject of Stress and how it affects our bodies and our ideas. Gretty is one of the many fantastic and interesting Smith alumnae who have been our Guests of Honor at these dinners, which are open to all SCCF members. Another good reason to become a member so you can attend the next one!
For more on the Paris IAS, a globally-recognised research center in the field of the humanities and social sciences, check out http://www.paris-iea.fr/en
As a final event before the summer break, the JYA students hosted an informal Summer Party at the Maison Verte at Reid Hall to mix, mingle and share their year’s experience in with Paris with Smith alumnae. They were also able to discuss career opportunities and networking skills with these seasoned veterans and, most of all, say goodbye to one and another, have fun and laugh at memories of the good times passed. And, of course, make plans to meet up once again in what has now become their home-away-from-home.
Seventeen Smithies and Yalies had the privilege of hearing a talk by Smith professor of religion Suleiman Mourad on April 13 at Reid Hall. Mourad discussed his new book, “The Mosaic of Islam” which discusses the many interprétations of Islamic precepts and traditions. It’s safe to say that there are plenty of different interprétations of the Koran and its Hadiths, depending on the sources of the translations and the countries that have divided into the various branches of the religion, like Shi’ite, Sunni, Wahhabis, Alawite, Sufi, Salafi, and so on. Even focusing on the traditional “Five Pillars of Islam” yields different results depending on each culture. The book- which is available at WH Smith or on Amazon- is a lively Q & A format with Mourad (who go this Ph.D. from Yale) answering questions from a history professor at Berkeley.
We had plenty of questions for Mourad after the talk, and enjoyed mingling with the participants from Yale over drinks and snacks. Here are some photos from the event.
The Smith College and Yale University Clubs of France joined in an evening with professor John Davis, devoted to Yale University architect Maya Lin’s game-changing design for the new Smith College library.
John Davis, currently executive director of the international Terra Museum of Art and professor at Smith, participated in the architect selection process and shared his insights with us about this major project.
Thanks to all of you and your guests for being there for a terrific lecture. I’d like to hear your feedback, as what I heard was, overwhelmingly, “Let’s do this again when the Library is finished!” John Davis is an exceptional speaker, but in 2019, who knows where he will be? His leave in Paris ends next year.
Also important is that the Yalies loved it and were happy to be included.
Garrette with John Davis & Macey, our Co-Presidents
John Davis is currently the Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College, in Northampton, MA, where he has taught for over 20 years including 5 years as associate provost.
Professor Davis is taking a three-year leave from Smith to head the Terra Foundation’s Paris Center & Library, as Executive Director of Global Academic Programs.
Before moving to Paris in 2015, John served on the search committee that selected Maya Lin to redesign the Neilson Library.
The Terra Foundation
Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. It has an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945 and is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, supporting exhibitions, academic programs, and research worldwide.
Maya Lin is a world-renowned architect best known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, and one of the most important public artists of this century. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale, where she studied architecture and sculpture. Her parents fled China just before the Communist takeover in 1949, eventually settling in Athens, Ohio, where both became professors at Ohio University. Her mother wrote poetry and taught literature; her father, a ceramic artist, became the Dean of Fine Arts. On November 22nd, 2016, President Barack Obama presented Maya Lin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Office of Alumnae Relations and the Office for International Study commemorated the 90th anniversary of Smith’s JYA in Paris program, and the incredible experiences of the nearly 1,700 women who have studied here, with a two-day gala in Paris. Special events included exclusive tours, lectures and private receptions celebrating women’s education and Smith College’s strong and lasting ties with the City of Light.
For an insider’s view of this memorable and exciting occasion by current JYA director Denise Silber, click here Long live the JYA!