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ISLE Program

ISLE Newsletter Fall 2005

Story posted October 13, 2010


Issue 2: October 27, 2005

ISLE Website


Welcome to the second issue of the ISLE Alumni Newsletter. Our first issue was published back in the Fall of 2004, and we stated our intent to publish again in the spring of ’05 – however, certain events kept us quite busy, hence our belated 2005 appearance here.

Oppadupa: 2005 ISLE Activities and News

The terrible events that took place at the end of 2004 in Sri Lanka resulted in the ISLE program setting up a relief fund where friends and alumni of the ISLE Program could direct their donations. While international agencies such as the Red Cross can generally be relied on to spend their fundraising monies wisely, those who donated via the ISLE Relief Fund could count, without doubt, on their money going directly where needed.

For details on the money raised and donated (over $23,000), please take a look at our web page. The fund is still active, donations still come in, so if you are interested in helping out, it’s not too late. You’ll find info on how to go about it here. And to all of you who have already so generously donated, and who helped inspire us to start the fund in the first place, we thank you, with deep gratitude.

ISLE FACULTY: At the beginning of this year, Professor Tudor Silva of the Department of Sociology at the University of Peradeniya was invited by Bowdoin to spend six weeks as a Visiting Professor. He taught a course at Bowdoin and gave a public lecture on terrorism and politics in South Asia. We arranged a tour for him to visit some of our member colleges — Bates, Carleton, Holy Cross, and Whitman — where he gave lectures. Professor Silva had previously taught at ISLE affiliated colleges for as long as a year, and he and his family fondly remember their experiences in New England. Although this was a brief visit and came in the midst of a harsh New England winter, Professor Silva says that he had great time teaching Bowdoin students and also meeting former and prospective ISLE students at Bowdoin and other colleges.

Just like Professor Silva, Professor Gerry Peiris visited Bowdoin in 2003 and toured a number of ISLE colleges to give lectures. Since these visits by the ISLE faculty to our campuses have been very well received, we are working to build substantial funding to bring a faculty member to the U.S. every semester.

On a much sadder note, earlier in the year we lost a very precious member of the ISLE faculty, Ms. Kamini de Abrew, to a road accident. Hundreds of former ISLE students know what a tremendous asset she had been for the program; she devoted her whole life to impart communication skills among students and scholars. As a humble tribute to her efforts, the ISLE Program set up a fellowship in her name in the Sinhala department at Peradeniya University. Kamini had graduated from Peradeniya University and had a great respect for it. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please click here to find details.

SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION: Believe it or not, ISLE will be 25 years old in January 2007. We are inviting representatives from ISLE member colleges to visit the ISLE campus, meet the faculty and the host families, and to celebrate our affiliation with the university of Peradeniya in an event that will be held at the university. For this occasion, Professor John Holt from Bowdoin has been collecting and editing essays from our ISLE faculty for a felicitation volume. As of now, we hear that Professor Hans Oberdieck, director for the 1987 program, and Provost Connie Hungerford from Swarthmore are joining President Barry Mills of Bowdoin and his wife Karen on this trip to Sri Lanka.

TWO-SEMESTER PROGRAM: We are planning to add a little more spice to ISLE in its 25th year by introducing a second semester of study. This means that in 2007, ISLE will send two groups of students, one in the fall term and the second in the spring term. The duration of the program will likely be 14 to 15 weeks. The fall program will start in late August, ending in early December, and the spring semester will run from late January to early May. The details of these programs will appear in our web site in August 2006.

2005 Students


This year’s students are about halfway through their ISLE experience as we write this. Faculty Director Lynn Kremer (Holy Cross College, Dept of Theater), who has traveled extensively in Indonesia and India, reports that this year’s group are really quite devoted to their studies and research, and are impressing even the toughest Sri Lankan professors. This year’s assistants are Colin Dieck (ISLE 2002) and Sarah Gettie Burks (ISLE 2003).

Our students were barely situated in the program when national tragedy once again visited Sri Lanka, on August 12: Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated in the capital city of Colombo. ISLE Parents were reassured that the students were safe in Kandy, and the situation has, fortunately, remained somewhat calm since that event. National elections will be held in November, and we look forward to reports from our director about the mood of the country before and during the election, and the response to the outcome.

You can see reports and photos from this years’ group on our web site.

Alumni News

FULBRIGHTERS (Returning Alumni): The ISLE Program has produced quite a number of Fulbright fellows over the years. But their number appears dwarfed compared to the visits of undergraduate alumni to the island in the last seven years or so. Thanks to Freeman and Fulbright grants, a large number of ISLE alumni were able to return to the island as young budding scholars, either before or after they got their undergraduate degrees. Current ISLE Fulbrighters in Sri Lanka include: Gavin Irby (1999); Rachel Clark (2000); Rebecca Ennen (2002) (just returned to the U.S.); Lisa Moore and Coleman Hillstrom (both 2002); Rory Stratton, Ed Stehlick and Peter Franklin (all 2003).

ALUMNI SEARCH: We’ve been busy tracking down alumni from the past 23 years of ISLE, and it’s quite a task! We ask you to pass on the word, should you know of any alumni who are not in touch with us, or who are not getting notice of this newsletter. Just ask them to visit the Bowdoin site, find the ISLE pages, and go from there, or send them this email address: Isle@bowdoin.edu

Here is a list of names currently in need of email addresses in our database. If you can contact any of these people, or help out in any way, we’d appreciate it very much. Also, if you'd like to get in touch with anyone you see in the "Updates" section, let us know and we'll pass on your email address. We want to uphold your right to privacy.

2003: Leanne Sterio; Rebecca Hoffman; 2002: Rebecca Ennen; 2001: Richard Fox; Tera Kelley; Brett Klukan; Ian McCullough; 2000: Shreena Gandhi; Peter Herrick; Melanie Hirsch; Conor Huseby; Elizabeth McDonald; Sarah Silberman; Maria Sparks; 1999: Luke Avery; Laura Campbell; Laura Emerson; Maxwell Leighton; Mary Leroy; Meta Mason; Emily Meltzer; Jesse Newman; Marc Sidel; Alexander Sucheck; Kathryn Uhlmansi; Ryan Weiderman; 1998: Cameron Brown; Katherine Leslie; Elizabeth Meyers; Benjamin Schlitt; John Scripps; 1997: Paige Cogger; Derek Kensinger; Sharon Linden; 1996: Andrew Flanders; Johanna Horn; Kate Jennings; Harold Kyle; Shara Lange; Megan Mitchell; David Pratt; Jolie Thomas; 1995: Denon Alderson; W. Bradford Hunt; Alexis Lyon; David Mezz; Annelise Pedersen; Edward Sapir; Daniel Selikowitz; 1994: Michael Britt; Athena Chang; John Chapman; Dawn Costerisan; Margaret Ladner; Justin Maseychi; Andrew Rice; Jessica Sutton; Ingrid Klass/Torinus: Alicia Wilson; 1993: Jonathan Alford; Stephen Carpenter; Rebecca Gallin; Hannah Gladfelt/Rubin; Sarah Hong; Mary/Molly Johnson; Elizabeth Lowry; Christopher Shore; 1992: Julita Braxton; Dallas Brennan; Andrew Crain; Michael Genovese; James Harvey; Edward Hedin; Matthew Lindquist; Maud Macrory; Kathryn Marlow; Joanne Park; William Riley; Sarah Wilke; Amberlin Wu; 1991: Sarah Brant; Søren Kisiel; Sharat Kumar; Michael Lieber; Jeffrey Morrison; Emily Platt; Nyla Romeiser; Joel Tarbox; Julia Tarczy; 1989: Rafael Baeza; Jody Dick; Patrick Flaherty; Jason Gruber; Alexandra McGee; Tina Rodfong; 1987; Susan Conley; Susan Cordek; Blynn Dorsey; Brian First; Megan Flaherty; Ruth Ann Harris; Sara May; Ruby Spicer; Rose Spielman; Andrea Thabaud; Amy Thompson; Diane Tucker; 1986: Christopher Barclay; Elizabeth Nemirovsky; Christopher Bramley; Jonathan Davis; Robert Drayer; R. Nicho Jackiw; Thalia Llosa; Sarah Maxwell; Joyce Morrissey; Julie Solomon; Anne Starkweather; Sarah Strachan; Kimberly Sultze; Jeffrey Sundberg; Tiare White; 1985: Bradford Anderson; David Belmont; Wiliam Clapp; Loren Crabtree; Susan Doyle; Jonathan Glick; Jennifer Harris; Cynthia Levine; Stephen Lilienthal; Rachel Nevitt; Elizabet Schenck; Melissa Tuck; Alison Wood; Anne Wright; 1984 Susie Adams; Carolyn Anderson; Stephen Antonelli; Jennifer Beaven-Ankner; Anne Enke; Michelle Fromm; Takao Kawata; Celia Kennedy; Jane Levison; Bettina Malone; Paul Martin; Christine Massey; Pamela Safford; Michael Shaler; Karen Swanberg; Rachel Wallach; Beth Wallis; Andrew Williams; 1983 Laura Barnard; Roger Bertsch; Douglas Bridge; Jane Henderson; Delia Hitz; Kristen Hoehler; Steven Hughes; Kevin Muller; Ann Sargent; Arjun Sinha; Kathleen Trainor; Leslie Walker; 1982: Andrew Bartels; Sigrid Carle; Sarah Cressy; Kimberly Crook; Matthew Fisher; Tara Gidwani; Charlott Hecksche; David Jones; Risa Kane; John Keefe, J; Elaine LaValle; Marion Leerburg; Bradford Mills; Debbie Piltch; Mary Rosinski; Joanne Trout; Jack Wiener.



We're so pleased to have heard back from so many of you after the first newsletter. Here are some updates on ISLE participants, going back as far as the 1989 program! Remember, send any ISLE alumni you may know to us at Isle@bowdoin.edu.


Shaun Kadlec (ISLE 1999) returned to Sri Lanka as a Junior Fulbright Scholar in 2002. After suffering through a writer's crisis which found him "writing about writing about writing" and spending time in the "war rooms of progressive American politics," he landed back in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, founding a non-profit research group. He shares this report: From Fulbright to Free Information.

Dave Prins (ISLE 2001) is currently working with Americorps for an NGO that holds workshops teaching high school kids to use art, music, dance and literature as expression. After graduating from Whitman College in '03, he traveled, and spent some time in working with disabled children in India. Dave ended up returning to Sri Lanka after the tsunami, where he "hung out with Fulbrighters and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, building houses near Galle for three months." We asked Dave if he wanted to share more details on his experiences, and are grateful to him for this report: Death, Destruction and Dave in Sri Lanka.

Prescott Hart (ISLE 2002) is clearly devoted to surfing and travel. A real job can wait, he muses in a piece on the life lessons one can learn in pursuit of serious leisure: Notes from South America.

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From Caitrin Lynch, 1987 program:

Hi, thanks so much for calling for donations from ISLE folks for tsunami relief. I am organizing something along with Mark Koyama, an ISLE alum from 1986. We're both wondering if ISLE could spread the word about our initiative ... Please see our website for more information: Rebuild Sri Lanka Solar Initiative.

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From Jennifer Kyle, 1989 program, assistant in 1992:

I am really delighted to see this initiated. My experiences in Sri Lanka have had a lasting impact on my life. Even at 19 years old I knew that I would never look at the world the same again after having gained the ISLE Perspective. 15 years later I still talk about my experiences enough that my current acquaintances have sent emails and called me asking whether the people that I knew in Sri Lanka are safe.

After returning from Sri Lanka I have pursued a career in International Health, and I am currently doing research on dengue virus at UC-Berkeley. It was in Sri Lanka that I first heard of dengue fever, of course, and I always have a small hope that I might find a good excuse to return at some point in pursuit of that research. No matter what, I have maintained a lifelong passion for travel and for learning from people from around the world, whether they work down the hall from me or I am a guest in their own country. And I most decidedly gained that passion from my experiences in Sri Lanka, whose landscape and people I remember with utmost fondness.

Thanks again. I'm delighted to read the Oppadupa from Sri Lanka. That is still my favorite Sinhalese word!

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From Margaret Curtis/Berreth, 1991 program:

Since I finished with ISLE in '91 and then returned in '93 as program assistant, my highlights have been that I returned to graduate school at University of Pennsylvania. I obtained two degrees -- a BSN and MSN -- all towards becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. I work in Lawrenceville, NJ delivering babies and providing full-scope OB and GYN care. I LOVE it! I got married in 1999 to Todd Berreth. We have one daughter, Kate, who is 2 1/2 and I am due next week with our second child. Life is good and I hope to find more time for traveling someday.

Meg Berreth

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From Kendra Wilhelm, 1992 program:

I'm living in New York City and working at a company that publishes textbooks for students in grades K-6. I'm responsible for all technology-related products that are associated with their Reading/Language Arts and Music textbook programs (that means web-based activities, software, audio, and video).

Yes, please do include my information in the newsletter. I look forward to seeing where everyone else is as well!

Kendra Wilhelm

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From Ted Reid, 1992 program:

I've been living in Portland for just over three years and have been self-employed as a furniture/cabinet maker (which I was also doing for a while in Berkeley, CA), but am making the big shift back to school in a week and a half. I'll be entering Portland State University's Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program with an environmental specialization; a big change from my undergraduate religion and South Asian studies focus, but it's not completely out of nowhere as I also worked for a number of years as project manager at a conservation land trust in San Francisco.

I hear that one of the previous ISLE leaders is a professor in the Anthropology department at PSU - I'll have to drop by and say hello to her.

Ted Reid

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From Ted Frisbie, 1995 program:

Just read the Alumni newsletter and was very pleased. Also happy that a disaster relief fund is being established via ISLE …

I am in my fifth year teaching 7-8 grade in Colorado, love it, and all of my students asked soo thoughtfully about how the people I knew in Sri Lanka were, bless their little hearts.

Thanks and best thoughts, Ted Frisbie

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From Michael Trainer, 1996 program:

I've been living in Oakland for the last three and a half years. The Bay Area is treating me well, I spend a lot of time out in nature and listening to live music. I am currently directing enrichment and afterschool programs at Redwood Day School. Together with the kids at my school we raised over $8000 for the tsunami recovery efforts in Sri Lanka. For anyone looking to go back to Sri Lanka, SIT just launched a new graduate program in sustainble development with Sarvodaya which looks interesting. I'd love to connect with ISLE alumni. You can reach me at mtrainer@rdschool.org or 510-996-2150. A special hello to Sarah Buckley and Dave Feinburg.

Warmest Regards, Michael

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From Laura Pyle, 1998 program:

After graduating Swarthmore in 2000, I worked in theatre (lighting, writing, acting, managing, directing, you name it) for a couple of years in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Francisco and on tour before going back to school in Virginia for an MFA. Now I'm living in Chicago, and applying to law schools while I keep writing. I'm especially interested in education and international law.

Laura Pyle

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From Sarah Calhoun, 1999 program:

I'm currently in my third (and hopefully final) year of my MA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, though I'll probably still be here for an undisclosed amount of time for a PhD after that. I'm mainly studying Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia (Thailand and Sri Lanka--what a shock) and am hoping to do some traveling this coming summer.

Best to you all,
Sarah Calhoun

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"On behalf of the Association of War Affected Women, I want to thank you and your organization very much for your generous donation towards our Tsunami rebuilding projects. At the moment, we are building a community center in Kokkilai and the work of the water supply project will commence by early April. We also have undertaken to build vocational training centers for women in eight districts of the country...."
-- Best Wishes
V. Dharmadasa, Association of War Affected Women

From Erin Williams (now Erin Abu-Rish)1999 and 2000 program:

I moved to New York in October to work as a nurse on a transplant floor at Columbia University Medical Center. Jill Jarvis (1999-2000) is one of my neighbors and Ben Maes (fall 2000, assistant fall 2002) is one of my roommates. I graduated from nursing school (my second bachelor's degree) at Johns Hopkins in July and was able to delay starting work to go to Texas for a month as a Red Cross volunteer with Hurricane Katrina (and then Rita) evacuees. So far New York is great — though I haven't had time to check out the Lankawe kaema on Staten Island.

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From Lisa Moore, 2002 program, 2004 assistant:

I'm currently in Sri Lanka finishing the final segment of my Fulbright research. My research examines the ways in which displacement is gendered, and has involved extensive fieldwork with Tamil and Muslim female IDPs in Puttalam, Kalpitiya, and Vavuniya. In addition to focusing on some of the specific consequences that displacement renders for women's lives, I'm also looking at how, in some cases, womens' physical dislocation has enabled a social relocation or repositioning within their community.

(Note: we hope to have a report from Lisa on her recent experiences in the next newsletter.)

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From Cynthia Davies, 2002 program:

Hi! Jocelyn Braddock and I are currently both serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Senegal, she since Sept. '04 and I since Mar. '05 . . . we didn't figure this out until we were both in country and saw ID pictures on a map in the Peace Corps office. At my swearing-in, I also met a volunteer just finishing her service here, Rachel Clark, another ISLE alumni! She’s headed back to Kandy on a Fulbright with her husband, Oct. 1. She's thrilled!


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From Katy Clark, 2003 program:

Currently I am living just outside Boulder, Colorado, working part-time for a wood worker and part-time in a pottery studio -- in addition to trying to make it as a self-employed artist! Life is good and I am still able to get in plenty of backpacking and camping in my spare time! I hope all is well with you all, 2003ers!

Gordak Aadare!
Katy Clark

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More About You

We love to hear from our alumni. It is truly amazing what some of you are doing, and reading about how ISLE helped direct or shape our students' lives in downright inspiring. Please share!

We are interested in the quickest of hellos, with short notes telling us what you are now doing, as well as longer pieces such as those you see here from Dave Prins, Shaun Kadlec and Prescott Hart.

You may send any comments, writings, contact information, well-founded rumors, etc. to us at:


The newsletter will be published twice yearly, producing a spring issue and a fall issue. We are planning the next one for March, 2006.

ISLE Web Site

Be sure to bookmark the ISLE web site for information on relief fund activities, current news, and more.

That’s all for this edition of the ISLE Program Newsletter. Please let us know your thoughts on it, and if you send in comments or writings of any kind, please be clear about whether they are intended for use in the newsletter. Also, be sure to let us know if your email address should change!


Editor in Chief: Sree Padma Holt
Content Editor/Production: Lorry Fleming
Photos: Colin Dieck

To ISLE Web Site


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