Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Polus Center Guests

The Geography Department is hosting two very special guests who will be visiting BSU this Wednesday, December 14.

Michael Lundquist Michael holds a CAGS in education from BSU (then BSC), and has made several campus visits, including one supported by a social entrepreneurship secured by the Maxwell Library. He has also supported our Geography of Coffee study tour in Nicaragua, most notably by introducing us to projects in which coffeeland landmine victims develop their own communities, through a clinic, a wheelchair factory, and a cafe. He is also the Executive Director of the Polus Center for Social and Economic Development, based in Massachusetts but serving communities both locally and throughout the world. (http://poluscenter.org/).

The Center's newest project is the Coffeelands World Gifts Espresso Cafe in Clinton, Massachusetts. This is both a storefront and online store (http://worldgiftscafe.org/) that employs universal design and provides an outlet for fairly and directly traded products from throughout the world, mostly in coffeelands. It also provides employment opportunities for people in and near Clinton who have disabilities.

I encourage you to spend a minute browsing the web sites above to see some of the many ways in which the Polus Center is helping communities to develop their own capacity to address what are often dire needs. Aside from compassion, the theme that unites all of the work of the Polus Center is deep listening to help communities identify their own most important needs. Michael's presentation on Wednesday will focus on just such a fact-finding mission, examining the provision of health care among spatially dispersed riverfront communities in Amazonas, Peru.

Michael will be accompanied by renowned Massachusetts artist Gregory Stone (http://www.gregorystoneartist.com/), whose many works include the Polus Center cafe projects in both Clinton and Leon, Nicaragua. Greg will be here as part of the process of deciding on educational public art for the Science and Mathematics Building.

Both Michael and Greg will be available in the Global Education conference room (#272) on the second floor of the new Science and Mathematics Building, from 11:30-1:30. Feel free to drop in for any part of that time for casual conversation about their work. Light refreshments will be available.

Michael's more formal presentation about his recent visit to Peru will follow at 1:50 in the Science & Math Lecture Hall, room 122.

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