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When we discuss the economic problems in a country, we hardly consider the environmental impacts. Although Greece has been in a poor economic state since World War II, rapid urbanization and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games were some of the key factors pushing Athens to the brink of an environmental crisis. Today, Greece is marked with protests and strikes in the midst of a boiling economic crisis, and with the help of the media, the rest of the world is beginning to learn about these environmental issues.

Students taking environmental sociology onboard the MV Explorer recently had the opportunity to witness the current state of affairs in Athens. Listen to Brown University Professor Timmons Roberts and University of Louisville student Samantha Knight as they discuss the environmental effects and solutions that are at the heart of the economic crisis in Athens.

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The Union Seminar Series aboard the MV Explorer facilitates a discussion between students and faculty concerning major topics in the surrounding region. During the first installment of the series, panelists discussed the political and cultural uprisings in the Mediterranean world and the relevant current events taking place in countries on the Summer 2013 itinerary.

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The Union Seminar Series aboard the MV Explorer facilitates a discussion between students and faculty concerning major topics in the surrounding region. During the first installment of the series, panelists discussed the political and cultural uprisings in the Mediterranean world and the relevant current events taking place in countries on the Summer 2013 itinerary.

Listen Now:


"South Africa is a beautiful land.  It can become a paradise for all of us.  Please come to South Africa." -  Archbishop Desmond Tutu addressing the shipboard community.

As he prepares to leave the ship in Cape Town after spending 11 weeks sailing aboard the Spring 2013 Voyage, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu took the time to talk about his home country of South Africa.  In this audio recording of that eloquent presentation, the Archbishop recounts what it was like to gain freedom in 1994, ("How do you describe a rose to a blind person?"), and discusses how South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world.

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Abby Aronson is a Consul of the United States of America as the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai who sailed as an Interport Diplomat on the leg between Burma and India, participating in classes, and talking to students about India, the foreign service, and many other topics.  This was not her first time sailing with Semester at Sea; Abby first sailed as a student in 1990.  Her experiences on the ship inspired her subsequent career in the foreign service.

In this audio interview, Abby explains how someone can join the foreign service, the value of a global education, as well as tips for the hundreds of Semester at Sea students descending into India.

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When he’s not sailing on Semester at Sea, Dean of Student Life Craig Hauser is the Director of Student Services at the American University of Antigua in New York.  In this audio interview, Craig describes the differences of living on a floating campus versus your typical land campus, as well as how he changes as a person every time he sails with Semester at Sea.

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Students in the Global Management Lens course taught by Professor John Girard of Minot State University had the opportunity to hear from a very special guest speaker recently. Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined the class for an intimate Q&A session where students were able to ask him about a wide range of topics — from his work with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa to what it was like to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The full audio podcast of the Q&A period is available here.

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When Dr. Sharon Hostler is not the Academic Dean aboard the Spring 2013 Semester at Sea Voyage, she is a world-renown Pediatrician

In this audio interview, Sharon shares how she picked the voyage's faculty over the course of two years, and her thoughts on the ship as an Academical Village, the benefits of a world perspective for students pursuing a career in medicine, and her hopes for everyone embarking on this voyage.

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In his first voyage as Executive Dean, Dr. Tom Jelke shares with us the unique qualities that make him come back to the ship for his sixth Semester at Sea voyage.  Tom is sailing with his wife Rebecca, and sons Parker (a 4-year-old in his second voyage) and 21-month-old Julian, and hopes the experience is truly life-changing for everyone on this journey.

In addition to being an avid traveler who is passionate about the Semester at Sea program, Tom is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a competitive ballroom dancer, a deep-water scuba diver, and the President of T.Jelke Solutions in Miami, Florida.

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The U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, Jr., arrived yesterday on the MV Explorer to help bring the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil to the forefront of academia.

With only two days on board as the MV Explorer sails to Manaus, Ambassador Shannon and members of his staff are immersing themselves in a variety of classes to help students best understand the changing role of Brazil throughout the world.

Ambassador Shannon began by presenting in Global Studies, speaking about Brazil’s growing economy and democracy, as well as its relationship with other South American countries and the rest of the world.

“Brazil is a country that has completely shifted its social and economic status in the past twenty years,” Shannon said. “As the U.S. begins to look around and determine who they will be working with to try to solve some of the world’s problems, we have in Brazil a country that’s shown how to move from a closed economy to a market economy, and a country that shows that you can face deeply trenched social problems and create democracy.”

This is particularly important now, Shannon said, because it gives other nations a model to present to countries in the Middle East or in other nations striving to overcome obstacles towards democracy, and say, ‘look at what Brazil has done,’ rather than ‘look at what we have done.’

Brazil and the United States have always had a healthy relationship, Shannon said, adding that Brazilians spend $7 Billion per year while traveling through the United States, and that some of the world’s most well-known companies, like Anheuser Busch and Burger King, are owned by Brazilians.

“Every chicken nugget you eat is made by a Brazilian company,” Shannon said. “Those are just a few facts to show you that there’s a movement between Brazil and the U.S. that is new, and it is impacting the way we do business.”

After his presentation, Ambassador Shannon opened up the room to a question-and-answer session in which several students and members of the shipboard community asked about Brazil’s interaction with other South American countries, how certain programs like Scientists Without Borders are impacting Brazilian education on a global scale, and how the Ambassador handles environmental and indigenous issues in the Amazon.

The Ambassador is scheduled to visit a handful of other classes throughout the next two days, and students who attended yesterday’s presentation said it has helped them to think differently about Brazil-U.S. relations.

“The Ambassador's presentation really made me realize the importance of the developing relationships between the United States and Brazil, and what a major player Brazil is in the international community,” said Tucker Kelly, a sophomore at Harvard University.

Charquinta McCray, a political science junior at Duquesne University said the presentation helped her to better recognize the many ways in which Brazil and the U.S. are similar.

“I never realized that Brazil and the United States are so close, and more importantly that we have the same national goals including technological innovation, education, & environmental preservation.”

Listen to the podcast to hear the full Q&A session, which was both informative and enlightening.

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