Story posted October 13, 2010
Welcome to the Spring 2009 issue of the ISLE Alumni Newsletter. This is a follow up to our Fall 2009 Issue. This newsletter flourishes mostly on your responses and input. The more we hear from you, the more news your fellow alumni will also share. You can write about yourself or the organization you are working for or any other news that would be relevant or interesting to your fellow alumni, reminiscing is encouraged!
Since we wrote to you last semester, the violence in Sri Lanka, although kept to minimum in Colombo and other areas of the south, has dramatically increased in the north with the war between the forces of the government and the LTTE getting quite fierce. Now the war has come to a stage where hundreds and thousands of citizens are holed up in a small territory just north of Mullaitivu and leading to a humanitarian crisis. For details, check the following web sites.
We also recommend that you read an article published in a Sri Lankan newspaper on the current situation by one of our faculty representatives, Professor Arjun Gunaratne from Macalester College.
On the other hand, we are proud to have completed the fall semester successfully and have welcomed our spring group of students on board. The spring program is the same small size (seven students) as last fall and the previous spring. The spring program is lead by Professor Larry Lutchmansingh, formerly of Bowdoin, who also directed the program in 2007 fall. The group has just finished their northern tour and session 1 courses. You can keep up with the current group's activities here on website at www.bowdoin.edu/isle.
We have announced in the last newsletter that our Sinhala instructor, Mr. Bandara Herath, has been hired by Cornell University. This semester, we are happy to announce that Dr. Amarakeerti Liyanage, a University of Wisconsin graduate and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya is coordinating our Sinhala program. Ms. Sandamalli Karunarathna is assisting Dr. Liyanage.
As we announced in the last newsletter, Ben Schonthal (’97), who is in Sri Lanka, has been helpful in meeting and inspiring our students on the program.
We will be accepting applications beginning in late March 2009 for the Program Assistant position for the fall semester 2009 program. If you are interested in applying for the fall 2009 Program Assistant position, please be in touch with the ISLE office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Antonelli (1984) writes, "I now live in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod where I enjoy the wildlife and nature here. I have some contact with a Thai Theravada monastery of monks in Raynham, MA. The Sri Lanka trip affected my spiritual beliefs lastingly. I also attend Quaker meeting here at one of the oldest unprogrammed meetings in the US. I am a vegan. I work as a volunteer at the Cape Wildlife Center, part of the Humane Society's Fund For Animals started by Cleveland Armory. I enjoy nature and the birds that this part of the world offers. I have had many jobs and "lives" since 1984, some good, some bad, all rich in life experience. I live with my long time girlfriend Pamela and our many animals. I wish everyone I met in the program the kindest best wishes. Footnote Flashback: I remember a bizarre night, one among many I think, in Colombo, that had something to do with going to a Chinese restaurant with a few people, including Susie Adams, a good friend to me at that time, where we drank way too much tea in this never emptying large "nil paata" teapot and kept mumbling "Eteda?" and "Ehemeda?" into the wee hours as our minds were hypnotized by that teapot and its contents. ~ Peace and Kindness ~ Stephen ~>'.'<~"
Patrick Flaherty (1989) writes, "I recently returned to grad school to pursue a career change that I hope will put me in the fray in the debate about healthcare policy. I'm in a Master of Public Administration program at Columbia's School of International and Public Relations. Through facebook, I've made recent contact with Isle alums Tom Beer and Cricket Keating and hope to meet up with them face-to-face at some point. The move to Brooklyn with my partner from my Milwaukee home town has been going well."
Meg Curtis Berreth (ISLE '91 and program assistant '93) writes, "My family and I have re-located to Carrboro, NC -- right outside Chapel Hill. I am working as a Certified Nurse Midwife at UNC. Recently I delivered the baby of a Sri Lankan couple and we a fun time talking about Sri Lanka! My own family is doing well -- my husband works as an Architect in Durham and my two children are now 5 and 3. I've enjoyed re-connecting with some ISLE folks on facebook."
Ted Frisbie (1995) writes: "In the summer of 2007, my wife Amber and I visited Sri Lanka for our Honeymoon. While I did take her around much of the island (after 2 Northern tours & 2 Southern tours, I was pretty familiar with the areas), a great highlight was spending time with my former host family, Chandra & Suneel DeSilva. While we stayed with them, we also had wonderful visits with Rosemary, Violet, Chutee & Rupa at the ISLE Center. Rosemary dried our clothes by ironing them after I forgot my kudee (umbrella) while we walked in Peradeniya Gardens. We brought her a copy of 'Across the Universe," knowing her taste for musicals such as "Hair." I was struck again with the beauty and generosity of the people, but also by the weight of inflation and economic troubles that continue to plague the country."
Elizabeth Meyers (1998-99) (now Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti) is married to Jeff Christoforetti and is finishing up her architecture degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Karly Sarita Ford (2001) is in the second year of her PhD in sociology and education at New York University. Her ISLE malli (host family younger brother) found her on facebook! She has enjoyed catching up with him.
Maggie Meyers (2004) is still in regular e-mail and written correspondence with her host parents, Manel and Jayuntha Kulatunga. They moved from the University Quarters to Matale, so they no longer host ISLE students, but they affectionately address her as their ''sudu duwa'' (translation: white daughter), she says that it is wonderful to feel connected to Sri Lanka through them. She also has letters from other friends she made during her independent study in the Ambolangoda area.
Alex McKinley (2006) writes, "I was one of the four Grinnell students on the ISLE 2006 program, which remains one of my absolute favorite experiences during my college career. I am currently working on a year-long post-graduate fellowship program in Macau (one of China's three Special Administrative Regions) teaching oral English to university students."
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 is downright inspiring. We are interested in the quickest of hellos, with short notes telling us what you are now doing, as well as longer pieces. Please contact us with your ideas!
You may send any comments, writings, contact information, well-founded rumors, etc. to us at:
The next issue of the ISLE Alumni Newsletter will come out in Fall, 2009.
Be sure to bookmark the ISLE web site for information on current news, and more.
Thanks to all who send us news and updates about yourselves, and who send us leads on people we are trying to find. We welcome your e-mail, whether you're just saying hello or sending news or updates on your whereabouts. Send to us here: email@example.com. Also, if you see anyone you know on our "missing" list, please let us know!
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, please be sure to let us know if your email address should change!
Editor in Chief: Sree Padma Holt