Urban Sustainability Lecture @ uOttawa

Eric Zeemering, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is currently the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Administration at the University of Ottawa. On Tuesday, April 22nd he’ll be delivering a free public presentation entitled “Collaborative Strategies for Urban Sustainability: Investigations in Canada and the United States”. Click on the image below for complete details!

Eric Zeemering, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is currently the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Administration at the University of Ottawa. On Tuesday, April 22nd he'll be delivering a free public presentation entitled "Collaborative Strategies for Urban Sustainability: Investigations in Canada and the United States". Click on the image below for complete details!
Eric Zeemering, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is currently the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Administration at the University of Ottawa. On Tuesday, April 22nd he’ll be delivering a free public presentation entitled “Collaborative Strategies for Urban Sustainability: Investigations in Canada and the United States”.

Celebrate Earth Day 2014 with Us!

U.S. Embassy Ottawa and the Embassy of Japan invite you and your family to join us for an afternoon of planet-friendly activities including arts and crafts, snacks, and a screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (Walt Disney, 2008). Children aged 5-12 are also encouraged to enter the Earth Day art contest by bringing along an original work of art (see rules for details).

The event will take place April 12 at 1:30pm at the Japanese Embassy, 255 Sussex Drive. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP, either by phone (613-244-6959) or by email (infocul@ot.mofa.go.jp). Click on the poster below for more details!

Join us for an Earth Day screening of Ponyo!
Join us for an Earth Day screening of Ponyo!

Tayyibah Taylor in Ottawa

Tayyibah Taylor was in Ottawa last week on a mission to dispel myths and empower Muslim women. Ms. Taylor, the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Azizah Magazine, spoke to a crowd of fifty in the conference room at the Ottawa Citizen on the evening of February 25th. The event was co-sponsored by the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women (CCMW) and the Cordova Academy.

Panoramic view of Ms. Taylor's presentation. (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)
Panoramic view of Ms. Taylor’s presentation. (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)

Ms. Taylor highlighted the importance of interfaith cooperation to counter negative stereotypes of Muslim women, which includes depictions of them as victims, terrorist, or the exotic “other.” She described her own spiritual and professional path, and using extraordinary Muslim women achievers in the U.S. as examples, she showed that Muslim women need not be defined by others’ negative perceptions, but can chart their own path of excellence.

A lively Q&A followed her presentation, and participants were delighted to have the opportunity to meet Tayyibah as the program concluded.

Four of our exchange alumni attended Ms. Taylor's presentation, including representatives from the CCMW and Cordova Academy. (L-R: Sana Khalil, Tayyibah Taylor, Ferrukh Faruqui, Naima Sidow, and Erica Bregman) (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Four of our exchange alumni attended Ms. Taylor’s presentation, including representatives from the CCMW and Cordova Academy. (L-R: Sana Khalil, Tayyibah Taylor, Ferrukh Faruqui, Naima Sidow, and Erica Bregman) (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

On Wednesday, Ms. Taylor was the guest speaker for the University of Ottawa’s Religion and Diversity Project‘s lunch and learn program, Building Bridges. She focused on dispelling myths about the role of women in Islam and explaining the rights of the Muslim woman within the fait. The audience of 30 was made up mainly of students and faculty of the university’s Department of Classics and Religious Studies.

Ms. Taylor was interviewed by the <a href="http://artsites.uottawa.ca/ommi/en/" target="_blank">Ottawa Multicultural Media initiative (OMMI)</a>. (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)
Ms. Taylor was interviewed by the Ottawa Multicultural Media initiative (OMMI). (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)

Ms. Taylor had a number of interviews while in town. You may have heard Ms. Taylor on your commute home Wednesday evening when she was featured on CBC Radio’s All in a Day with Alan Neal. We look forward to hearing about Ms. Taylor’s impact on our community as print and web articles are published.

Read more about Ms. Taylor and Azizah Magazine at www.azizahmagazine.com.

Related Links

Podcast interview with Ms. Taylor (6:41, 8.9MB MP3)

Tayyibah Taylor in Ottawa:

Matuto Comes to Ottawa

Categories: February 2014
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Published on: February 20, 2014

Ottawa experienced a bit of a mid-February thaw last week when jazz group Matuto brought its warm Brazilian beats to town.

Based out of New York City, Matuto describes their sound as “Appalachia-gone-Afro-Brazilian.”(It’s not like anything else you’ve heard, but it’s compelling — Hear for yourself!)

Matuto: (L-R) Rob Curto, Richie Barshay, Michael Loren Lavalle, Clay Ross and Mazz Swift. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Matuto: (L-R) Rob Curto, Richie Barshay, Michael Loren Lavalle, Clay Ross and Mazz Swift. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

The band, whose name comes from Brazilian slang that means a man from the backcountry, is made up of six members who play violin, guitar, accordion, bass, drums, and various Brazilian percussion instruments to produce a unique genre of music.

Funded through a U.S. Embassy grant, the band performed to a receptive young audience at Ridgemont High School on the morning of February 13. They also led a percussion workshop alongside Ridgemont music teacher Kate Dickson. Students clapped, stomped, banged on buckets… and did improvised solos on triangles. They were buzzing with excitement.

Ridgemont percussionists find their inner rhythm. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Ridgemont percussionists find their inner rhythm. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Ridgemont students with the band and teacher Kate Dickson (far right). (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Ridgemont students with the band and teacher Kate Dickson (far right). (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

Matuto led an advanced lesson on Farro, a form of Brazilian folk music, at Carleton University later that evening. The workshop turned into a workout when the group educated the students in the basics of Samba dancing!

Carleton music students feel the rhythm. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Carleton music students feel the rhythm. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

The final Ottawa show for Matuto was its performance at the Mercury Lounge on the night of February 14th as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival’s winter lineup. Audience members put the wintery weather aside and spent their Valentine’s night sweating it out on the dance floor.

Clay Ross during the sound check at Mercury Lounge. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Clay Ross during the sound check at Mercury Lounge. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
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Mazz Swift during sound check. (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)
Mazz Swift during sound check. (Credit: US Embassy Ottawa)

Tayyibah Taylor: Empowering Muslim Women

Categories: February 2014
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Published on: February 11, 2014

On Tuesday, February 25th, the Embassy, the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and the Cordova Academy will be hosting a discussion with Tayyibah Taylor, founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Azizah Magazine, and winner of two Folio Eddie Awards and a New America Media Award. For more details, click on the image below. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot on Eventbrite!

Tayyibah Taylor: Empowering Muslim Women - February 25th!
Tayyibah Taylor: Empowering Muslim Women – February 25th!

Workshop for Ottawa Music Students

Categories: February 2014
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Published on: February 10, 2014

The Ottawa Jazz Festival and the US Embassy present Matuto Workshop at Carleton University

Matuto
Matuto

Thursday, February 13, Studio A, 6:00 pm: Jazz / Brazilian Folk Music Workshop with Matuto from NYC!

Music students of all ages are welcome to participate. Please contact Petr Cancura to RSVP, at petr@ottawajazzfestival.com.

For directions, visit carleton.ca/music.

With an honest love for roots music, genuine Brazilian styles, and improvisational experimentation, Matuto creates a unique and inspired sound from the heart of New York City’s diverse musical culture. The group combines Brazilian folk music, American Roots music and Jazz in a seamless, virtuosic way. Matuto shares their deep knowledge of these traditions in this workshop.

Clay Ross – guitar, vocals
Rob Curto – accordion
Richie Barshay – drums
Mike Lavalle – bass
Mazz Swift – violin

Clay Ross delivers colorfully satirical lyrics reminiscent of David Byrne, Tom Ze, and Caetano Veloso. A virtuosic guitarist, his unique style combines the flat picking prowess of bluegrass legend Tony Rice with the sonic depth of jazz master Bill Frisell, plucking three chord folk melodies or sophisticated Brazilian Choros with equal ease.

Richie Barshay has established himself as a prominent musical voice of his generation according to JazzTimes magazine. In 2004 he was named an American Musical Envoy by the U.S. State Department for outreach tours in Asia, South America, and Europe. On tour and on recordings, his eclectic resume so includes Herbie Hancock (the work for which he is perhaps best known), Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, The Klezmatics, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Natalie Merchant, David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, Claudia Acuña and Pete Seeger among others.

Rob Curto is widely regarded as forró’s foremost ambassador in the States. An early devotee of North American swing music, bebop piano, funk, rock, and blues, he has combined these influences with his mastery of their Brazilian counterparts forró, chorinho, samba, maracatu, and frevo to produce stunning new results. He spent years living and playing in Brazil, completely absorbing and interpreting the country’s musical traditions.

Michael Loren Lavalle was raised by his musician parents on all genres of American Music. Now, matched with a profound knowledge of musics from Brazil, he has become an in-demand bassist and percussionist on NYC’s creative music scene. He has worked with a vast and diverse array of artists and co-produced the album Edge of Everything by Greta’s Bakery which was released by Decca/Universal Music Group in 2009.

Mazz Swift is a native New Yorker, who began playing the violin at age 6. She graduated from the High School of the Performing Arts, during which time she made her solo public performance debut on the stage of New York’s Alice Tully Hall, performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She later attended The Juilliard School of Music, but left in the middle of her 3rd year to pursue a more organic approach to music making. Consequently, she has recorded and performed with a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Kanye West, Com¬mon, and Jay-Z.

For more on Matuto, visit matutomusic.com. For more on the Ottawa Jazz Festival, visit ottawajazzfestival.com.

Related: U.S. Embassy Ottawa and the Ottawa Jazz Festival present Matuto

U.S. Embassy Ottawa and the Ottawa Jazz Festival present Matuto

Categories: January 2014
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Published on: January 31, 2014

The U.S. Embassy is partnering with the Ottawa Jazz Festival and Mercury Lounge to bring the American music group Matuto to Ottawa. Based out of New York City, Matuto describes themselves as an experimental Brazilian jazz band producing “Appalachia-gone-Afro-Brazilian sound.” The band, whose name comes from Brazilian slang that means a man from the backcountry, is made up of six members who play violin, guitar, accordion, bass, drums, and various Brazilian percussion instrument to produce a unique genre of music. Last year, Matuto released their second album, The Devil and the Diamond, bringing us more beautiful Appalachian-Brazilian tunes.

Matuto will be playing Friday, February 14, 2014, 10:30 p.m. at Mercury Lounge. Click on the flyer below for ticket info and more details!

Check out Matuto at Ottawa's Mercury Lounge February 14th!
Check out Matuto at Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge February 14th!

Guest Blog: Cason Crane

When the US Embassy in Ottawa contacted me last summer to come up to speak in Canada about my Rainbow Summits Project, I had no idea what to expect. My sense of anticipation was heightened when my proposed trip was postponed in October due to the government shutdown. Following several weeks of radio silence, the final plans were made: I would come up to speak in the third week of December, visiting Halifax, Ottawa, and Calgary each for two days. The trip turned out to be unexpectedly exciting for several reasons.

As I drove to Newark Airport, I kept refreshing my flight status on the United Airlines app. The snow was at least a foot deep and the storm had been moving Northeast – directly to Nova Scotia, my first destination. The morning flight to Halifax had already been cancelled along with about 30% of the total number of flights for the day. I waited anxiously in line to check in, where the agent assured me the flight would depart. It wasn’t, however, until I was in the air flying North that I could relax. After a very bumpy landing (I was clenching the armrests the entire time), I finally arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was greeted by blowing wind, deep snow, and thick clouds. In other words, I couldn’t see a thing.

At the Consul General's residence in Halifax (Credit US Consulate Halifax)
At the Consul General’s residence in Halifax (Credit US Consulate Halifax)

Despite the blizzard, I had a fantastic two days in Halifax. I got to meet and talk with local activists and allies, LGBT youth, educators, and law enforcement officials. I also had the incredible opportunity to meet Scott Jones, a young man not too much older than me who is already making an inspiring change following his life-changing October stabbing. I had heard that Nova Scotia was one of the more conservative parts of Canada, which was reinforced by local stories of tragedy such as Scott, but also the deaths of Raymond Taavel and Rehteah Parsons. However, I discovered that local Nova Scotians are eagerly and ambitiously challenging the existing issues in their society and working to improve the climate for LGBTQ youth in the province.

My second stop, Ottawa, started on a chilly note. Having arrived from stormy Nova Scotia, I expected Ottawa’s weather to be an improvement. But what improved in terms of weather conditions was negated by the freezing temperatures. My first activity was a run with the local chapter of the LGBT running group Frontrunners. I had looked forward to this run since I first saw it on the itinerary, and I even specifically brought cold weather running clothes so that I would have the appropriate gear. It turns out that I wasn’t quite as prepared as I had thought. My first realization that I was actually woefully underdressed was when I saw the first runner show up…in a full balaclava and down mittens. I hadn’t worn gear that intense since summit day on Everest! Luckily, I was able to borrow an extra pair of gloves and we set out on a beautiful evening run through downtown Ottawa, including a jaunt over to Gatineau to appreciate the incredible view of the Parliament from the other side of the river.

The freezing temperatures of the run, however, did not reflect the warmth of the local Ottawan’s welcome for me. Everyone I met was keen to discuss opportunities for cooperation so as to make more progress on the issues of anti-bullying, cyberbullying, and LGBT acceptance in the nation’s capital. A public reception at the City Hall headlined by Deputy Mayor Desroches and Charge d’Affaires Sanders created a public forum to discuss these local issues and the inspiring stories of change happening to address them every day.

Chargé d'affaires Richard Sanders, Cason, and deputy mayor Steve Desroches. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Chargé d’affaires Richard Sanders, Cason, and deputy mayor Steve Desroches. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Cason getting goofy with the Christie Lake Kids. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)
Cason getting goofy with the Christie Lake Kids. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

Despite an hour and a half long de-icing setback that delayed my arrival to Calgary, the time I spent in my final stop was beautiful. Unlike the clouds and snow of Halifax and Ottawa, Calgary was bathed in that clear winter sunlight that warms up even the coldest of days. Upon arrival, I joined a group of local Calgarians of all sorts for a lunch roundtable to, once again, discuss the local issues. I was impressed to discover that Calgary hosts the largest LGBT rodeo association in the world (and that they offer clinics on the Friday of the rodeo – a day I certainly don’t plan to miss next June!), that they have an LGBT-focused outdoors camp every summer called Camp fYrefly, and that they have an active network of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) that meet monthly. I then joined this GSA network for their December meeting and worked with them to come up with strategic action plans for initiatives within the community. Finally, I spent time volunteering at the Calgary Drop-In Center – a homeless shelter that is the largest of its kind in the country and a city institution for community reform around issues of poverty and homelessness.

Cason with US Consul General Peter Kujawinski and Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup. (Credit: US Consulate Calgary)
Cason with US Consul General Peter Kujawinski and Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup. (Credit: US Consulate Calgary)
At the Gay Straight Alliance meeting. (Credit: US Consulate Calgary)
At the Gay Straight Alliance meeting. (Credit: US Consulate Calgary)

As the week ended, I felt a sense of loss. Each day had been an adventure, full with unexpected challenges and highlights. It had also been an incredible learning experience for me. Not only was I able to share my Rainbow Summits Project with hundreds of Canadians, but I was also able to learn more about the strategies being successfully employed in Canada to help make more accepting communities for LGBTQ youth. Most of all, I was grateful. Grateful to the people I met, to the people who planned my trip, and to the US State Department for sponsoring the trip. Now that I’m back in the US, all I can think about is the one thing that every Canadian, be they Nova Scotian, Ottawan, or Albertan, said to me: that I must come back to visit in the summer. Well, Canada, I’m determined to visit again and so I hope to see you again soon!

For more on Cason’s visit, check out the video below!

Event: The “Shale Revolution” in the U.S. and the New Geopolitics of Energy

Categories: January 2014
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Published on: January 22, 2014

The Shale Revolution in the U.S.  and the New  Geopolitics of Energy

Interview with Lauren Onkey of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Published on: December 6, 2013

Last night in at the City of Ottawa Archives, the Embassy and the City of Ottawa hosted Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Dr. Onkey was visiting Ottawa to take part in the “Ottawa Rocks!” exhibit. Before speaking at the event, however, she sat down with us to talk about what she does. Watch the video below, or head over to the Embassy’s podcast page to download the full interview!

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Welcome , today is Saturday, April 19, 2014