Archive for October 3, 2011

Internetization of Education: The University of Wherever

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

Bill Keller

It’s true that online education has proliferated, from community colleges to the free OpenCourseWare lecture videos offered by M.I.T. (The New York Times Company is in the game, too, with its Knowledge Network.) But the Internet has so far scarcely disturbed the traditional practice or the economics at the high end, the great schools that are one of the few remaining advantages America has in a competitive world. Our top-rated universities and colleges have no want of customers willing to pay handsomely for the kind of education their parents got; thus elite schools have little incentive to dilute the value of the credentials they award.

Two recent events at Stanford University suggest that the day is growing nearer when quality higher education confronts the technological disruptions that have already upended the music and book industries, humbled enterprises from Kodak to the Postal Service (not to mention the newspaper business), and helped destabilize despots across the Middle East.

One development is a competition among prestige universities to open a branch campus in applied sciences in New York City. This is Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to create a locus of entrepreneurial education that would mate with venture capital to spawn new enterprises and enrich the city’s economy. Stanford, which has provided much of the info-tech Viagra for Silicon Valley, and Cornell, a biotechnology powerhouse, appear to be the main rivals.

But more interesting than the contest between Stanford and Cornell is the one between Stanford and Stanford.

The Stanford bid for a New York campus is a bet on the value of place. The premise is that Stanford can repeat the success it achieved by marrying itself to the Silicon Valley marketplace. The school’s proposal (unsubtly titled “Silicon Valley II”) envisions a bricks-and-mortar residential campus on an island in the East River, built around a community of 100 faculty members and 2,200 students and strategically situated to catalyze new businesses in the city.

Meanwhile, one of Stanford’s most inventive professors, Sebastian Thrun, is making an alternative claim on the future. Thrun, a German-born and largely self-taught expert in robotics, is famous for leading the team that built Google’s self-driving car. He is offering his “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online and free of charge. His remote students will get the same lectures as students paying $50,000 a year, the same assignments, the same exams and, if they pass, a “statement of accomplishment” (though not Stanford credit). When The Times wrote about this last month, 58,000 students had signed up for the course. After the article, enrollment leapt to 130,000, from across the globe.

Thrun’s ultimate mission is a virtual university in which the best professors broadcast their lectures to tens of thousands of students. Testing, peer interaction and grading would happen online; a cadre of teaching assistants would provide some human supervision; and the price would be within reach of almost anyone. “Literally, we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for about 1 to 2 percent of the cost,” Thrun told me.

The traditional university, in his view, serves a fortunate few, inefficiently, with a business model built on exclusivity. “I’m not at all against the on-campus experience,” he said. “I love it. It’s great. It has a lot of things which cannot be replaced by anything online. But it’s also insanely uneconomical.”

Thrun acknowledges that there are still serious quality-control problems to be licked. How do you keep an invisible student from cheating? How do you even know who is sitting at that remote keyboard? Will the education really be as compelling — and will it last? Thrun believes there are technological answers to all of these questions, some of them
being worked out already by other online frontiersmen.

“If we can solve this,” he said, “I think it will disrupt all of higher education.”

Disrupt is right. It would be an earthquake for the majority of colleges that depend on tuition income rather than big endowments and research grants. Many could go the way of local newspapers. There would be huge audiences and paychecks for superstar teachers, but dimmer prospects for those who are less charismatic.

Disrupters and Adapters, Continued: Will the Internet Save Newspapers?

It’s ironic — or maybe just fitting — that this is playing out at Stanford, which has served as midwife to many disruptive technologies. By forging a symbiotic relationship with venture capital and teaching students how to navigate markets, Stanford claims to have spawned an estimated 5,000 businesses. This is a campus where grad school applicants are routinely asked if they have done a startup, and some professors have gotten very, very rich.

John Hennessy, Stanford’s president, gave the university’s blessing to Thrun’s experiment, which he calls “an initial demonstration,” but he is cautious about the grander dream of a digitized university. He can imagine a virtual campus for some specialized programs and continuing education, and thinks the power of distributed learning can be incorporated in undergraduate education — for example, supplanting the large lecture that is often filled with students paying more attention to their laptops. He endorses online teaching as a way to educate students, in the developing world or our own, who cannot hope for the full campus experience.

But Hennessy is a passionate advocate for an actual campus, especially in undergraduate education. There is nothing quite like the give and take of a live community to hone critical thinking, writing and public speaking skills, he says. And it’s not at all clear that online students learn the most important lesson of all: how to keep learning.

As The Times’s Matt Richtel recently reported, there is remarkably little data showing that technology-centric schooling improves basic learning. It is quite possible that the infatuation with technology has diverted money from things known to work — training better teachers, giving kids more time in school.

THE Stanford president is hardly a technophobe. Hennessy came up through computer engineering, used his sabbatical to start a successful microprocessor company, and sits on the boards of Google and Cisco Systems.

“In the same way that a lot of things go into the cost of a newspaper that have nothing to do with the quality of the reporting — the cost of newsprint and delivery — we should ask the same thing about universities,” Hennessy told me. “When is the infrastructure of the university particularly valuable — as it is, I believe, for an undergraduate residential experience — and when is it secondary to the learning process?”

But, he notes, “One has to think about the sustainability of all these things. In the end, the content providers have to get paid.”

I see a larger point, familiar to all of us who have lived through digital-age disorder. There are disrupters, like Sebastian Thrun, or Napster, or the tweeting rebels in Tahrir Square. And there are adapters, like John Hennessy, or iTunes, or the novice statesmen trying to build a new Egypt. Progress depends on both.

Who could be against an experiment that promises the treasure of education to a vast, underserved world? But we should be careful, in our idealism, not to diminish something that is already a wonder of the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/03/opinion/the-university-of-wherever.html?pagewanted=2

2011 Nobel Prizes

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education, Science

Israeli Scientist Wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

Dan Shechtman in Haifa, Israel, on Wednesday after winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering quasicrystals.

An Israeli scientist won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering quasicrystals, a material in which atoms were packed together in a well-defined pattern that never repeats.

An atomic model of an Ag-Al quasicrystal.

Recent Nobel prizes have generally split credit for scientific advances among two or three people, but this year’s chemistry prize and the accompanying 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million) went to a single scientist: Dan Shechtman, 70, a professor of materials science at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. Dr. Shechtman is also a professor at Iowa State University and a researcher at the United States Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

The citation from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences states simply, “for the discovery of quasicrystals.”

Regular but nonrepeating patterns, defined by precise rules, have been known in mathematics since antiquity, and medieval Islamic artists made decorative, nonrepeating tile mosaics, but the phenomenon was thought impossible in the packing of atoms.

Yet Dr. Shechtman discovered the same type of structure in a mixture of aluminum and manganese. During a sabbatical in Maryland at the National Bureau of Standards, now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he took a molten glob of the metals and chilled it rapidly. The expectation was that the atoms would have been a random jumble, like glass. Yet when he examined his metal with an electron microscope, Dr. Shechtman found that the atoms were not random.

His notebook recorded the exact date: April 8, 1982.

Scientists believed that crystals in materials all contained repeating patterns. For example, a square lattice has fourfold symmetry. Rotate it by 90 degrees, and it looks identical. A repeating lattice with fivefold symmetry, however, is impossible. On that morning in 1982, the electrons Dr. Shechtman bounced off his aluminum-manganese alloy formed a pattern that indicated tenfold symmetry. He could not quite believe it. He wrote in his notebook, “10 Fold???”

While a periodic lattice could not produce that pattern, a quasicrystal could.

It took years for Dr. Shechtman to convince others.

During the announcement, the Nobel committee noted that one colleague initially said, “Go away, Danny,” because he thought there was a simpler explanation for what Dr. Shechtman had observed. Many scientists — notably Linus Pauling, the Nobel-winning giant of chemistry — argued vehemently that Dr. Shechtman’s data could be explained by “twinning,” where two ordinary periodic crystals are fused together at an angle.

“That must have been intimidating,” said Nancy B. Jackson, president of the American Chemical Society. “When he first discovered these materials, nobody thought they could exist. It was one of these great scientific stories that his fellow scientists thought was impossible, but through time, people came to realize he was right.”

Even the definition of crystal had to be changed. Previously, a crystal had been defined as having “a regularly ordered, repeating three-dimensional pattern,” according to the International Union of Crystallography. The new definition, adopted in 1992, states that a crystal is simply a solid with a “discrete diffraction diagram” — that is, something that produces patterns like the ones Dr. Shechtman saw.

That leaves the door open for yet more different kinds of crystals in the future. Quasicrystals have since been found in many other materials, including a naturally occurring mineral from a Russian river. Materials scientists have been exploring quasicrystals because of their distinct properties — they are hard, brittle, slippery and, unlike most metals, poor conductors of electricity.

Quasicrystals have so far had a modest impact in the everyday world. For example, one kind of highly resilient steel, consisting of hard steel quasicrystals embedded within softer steel, is now used in razor blades and thin needles for eye surgery.

“The applications haven’t panned out,” said Patricia A. Thiel, a colleague of Dr. Shechtman at Iowa State and Ames Laboratory who also studies quasicrystals. “But they revolutionized our understanding of how atoms arrange themselves in solids. It was a scientific revolution.”

Israeli leaders expressed delight and pride at the 10th Nobel Prize won by a citizen of Israel, which has a population of less than eight million. Two years ago, Ada E. Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, shared the award for chemistry as well.

Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, spoke by telephone to Dr. Shechtman at a news conference in Haifa and said, “Professor Shechtman, you today brought an enormous gift to the State of Israel, truly.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called and told him, “Every Israeli is happy today, and every Jew in the world is proud.”

Dr. Shechtman was born and educated in Israel. At the news conference, he said, “The celebration is not only for the Technion and the State of Israel but also for science worldwide. There are today thousands of scientists around the world working in this field that I developed, and I am certain they all see this prize as their accomplishment and they really deserve it. Without these thousands, this science would not be where it is today.”

Dr. Shechtman added, “The main lesson that I have learned over time is that a good scientist is a humble and listening scientist and not one that is sure 100 percent in what he reads in the textbooks.”

Ethan Bronner contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/science/06nobel.html?_r=1&ref=science

Israeli wins chemistry Nobel for quasicrystals

APBy KARL RITTER and MALIN RISING – Associated Press STOCKHOLM (AP) — Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for a discovery that faced skepticism and mockery, even prompting his expulsion from his research team, before it won widespread acceptance as a fundamental breakthrough.

While doing research in the U.S. in 1982, Shechtman discovered a new chemical structure — quasicrystals — that researchers previously thought was impossible.

He was studying a mix of aluminum and manganese in an electron microscope when he found the atoms were arranged in a pattern — similar to one in some traditional Islamic mosaics — that appeared contrary to the laws of nature.

He concluded that science was wrong — but it would take years for him and other researchers to prove that he was right.

Since then, quasicrystals have been produced in laboratories and a Swedish company found them in one of the most durable kinds of steel, which is now used in products such as razor blades and thin needles made specifically for eye surgery, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. Quasicrystals are also being studied for use in new materials that convert heat to electricity. They were first discovered in nature in Russia in 2009.

Despite the initial reluctance in the scientific community to accept his discovery, it “fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter,” the academy said in its citation for the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award.

“The main lesson that I have learned over time is that a good scientist is a humble and listening scientist and not one that is sure 100 percent in what he read in the textbooks,” Shechtman, 70, told a news conference Wednesday at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.

Shechtman is a professor there and at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He will receive the award along with the other Nobel Prize winners at a Dec. 10 ceremony in Stockholm.

Israel has won 10 Nobel prizes, a source of great pride in the country of just 7.8 million people. Shechtman was congratulated by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize as Israel’s foreign minister in 1994, and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Every citizen of Israel is happy today and every Jew in the world is proud,” Netanyahu said.

In chemical terms, a crystal is traditionally defined as a regular and repeating arrangement of atoms within a material. As a results of these repeats, traditional crystals can have only certain shapes.

What Shechtman found was a material that seemed to have a forbidden shape. Eventually, scientists realized it was a new kind of matter, a quasicrystal, in which the atomic patterns show a more subtle kind of repetition that allows forbidden shapes.

“His battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter,” the academy said.

Nancy B. Jackson, president of the American Chemical Society called Shechtman’s discovery “one of these great scientific discoveries that go against the rules.” When Shechtman announced it, other experts hesitated.

“People didn’t think that this kind of crystal existed,” she said. “They thought it was against the rules of nature.”

Only later did some scientists go back to some of their own inexplicable findings and realized they had seen quasicrystals but not realized what they had, Jackson said.

“Anytime you have a discovery that changes the conventional wisdom that’s 200 years old, that’s something that’s really remarkable,” said Princeton University physicist Paul J. Steinhardt, who coined the term “quasicrystals” and had been doing theoretical work on them before Shechtman reported finding the real thing.

Steinhardt recalled the day when a fellow scientist showed him Shechtman’s paper in 1984, reporting the kind of result Steinhardt had predicted. “I sort of leapt in the air,” he said.

Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy, said Shechtman’s discovery was one of the few Nobel Prize-winning achievements that can be dated to a single day.

On April 8, 1982, while on a sabbatical at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. — now called the National Institute of Standards and Technology — Shechtman first observed crystals with a shape most scientists considered impossible.

It had to do with the idea that a crystal shape can be rotated by a certain amount and still look the same.

A square contains fourfold symmetry, for example: If you turn it by 90 degrees, a quarter-turn, it still looks the same. For crystals, only certain degrees of such symmetry were thought possible. Shechtman had found a crystal that could be rotated one-fifth of a full turn and still look the same, which was thought to be impossible.

“I told everyone who was ready to listen that I had material with pentagonal symmetry. People just laughed at me,” Shechtman said in a description of his work released by his university.

For months he tried to persuade his colleagues of his find, but they refused to accept it. Finally he was asked to leave his research group, and moved to another one within the National Bureau of Standards, Shechtman said.

He returned to Israel, where he found one colleague prepared to work with him on an article describing the phenomenon. The article was at first rejected, but finally published in November 1984 — to uproar in the scientific world. Double Nobel winner Linus Pauling was among those who never accepted the findings.

“He really was a great scientist, but he was wrong. It’s not the first time he was wrong,” Shechtman told reporters Wednesday.

In 1987, friends of Shechtman in France and Japan succeeded in growing crystals large enough for x-rays to repeat and verify what he had discovered with the electron microscope.

“The moment I presented that the community said, ‘OK Dani, now you are talking. Now we understand you, now we accept what you have found,'” Shechtman told reporters.

Cesar Pay Gomez, a structural chemistry expert at Uppsala University in Sweden and an adviser to the prize committee, said research on quasicrystals is ongoing “in the field of thermal-electric applications, where waste heat can be converted to electrical currents or energy.”

The Nobel Prize in chemistry announcement capped this year’s science awards.

Immune system researchers Bruce Beutler of the U.S. and Frenchman Jules Hoffmann shared the medicine prize Monday with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, who died three days before the announcement. U.S.-born scientists Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess won the physics prize on Tuesday for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.

The Nobel Prizes are handed out every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

___

Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, Malcolm Ritter in New York and Aron Heller in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

___

Follow Karl Ritter at http://www.twitter.com/karl(underscore)ritter

Vindicated: Ridiculed Israeli scientist wins Nobel
By ARON HELLER – Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — When Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman claimed to have stumbled upon a new crystalline chemical structure that seemed to violate the laws of nature, colleagues mocked him, insulted him and exiled him from his research group.

After years in the scientific wilderness, though, he was proved right. And on Wednesday, he received the ultimate vindication: the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The lesson?

“A good scientist is a humble and listening scientist and not one that is sure 100 percent in what he read in the textbooks,” Shechtman said.

The shy, 70-year-old Shechtman said he never doubted his findings and considered himself merely the latest in a long line of scientists who advanced their fields by challenging the conventional wisdom and were shunned by the establishment because of it.

In 1982, Shechtman discovered what are now called “quasicrystals” — atoms arranged in patterns that seemed forbidden by nature.

“I was thrown out of my research group. They said I brought shame on them with what I was saying,” he recalled. “I never took it personally. I knew I was right and they were wrong.”

The discovery “fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in awarding the $1.5 million prize.

Since his discovery, quasicrystals have been produced in laboratories, and a Swedish company found them in one of the most durable kinds of steel, which is now used in products such as razor blades and thin needles made specifically for eye surgery, the academy said. Quasicrystals are also being studied for use in new materials that convert heat to electricity.

Shechtman is a professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He is the 10th Israeli Nobel winner, a great source of pride in a nation of just 7.8 million people. Shechtman fielded congratulatory calls from Israeli President Shimon Peres, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Every citizen of Israel is happy today and every Jew in the world is proud,” Netanyahu said.

Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy, said Shechtman’s discovery was one of the few Nobel Prize-winning achievements that can be dated to a single day.

On April 8, 1982, while on sabbatical at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington — now called the National Institute of Standards and Technology — Shechtman first observed crystals with a shape most scientists considered impossible.

The discovery had to do with the idea that a crystal shape can be rotated a certain amount and still look the same. A square contains four-fold symmetry, for example: If you turn it by 90 degrees, a quarter-turn, it still looks the same. For crystals, only certain degrees of such symmetry were thought possible. Shechtman had found a crystal that could be rotated one-fifth of a full turn and still look the same.

“I told everyone who was ready to listen that I had material with pentagonal symmetry. People just laughed at me,” he said in an account released by his university.

He was asked to leave his research group, and moved to another one within the National Bureau of Standards, Shechtman said. He eventually returned to Israel, where he found one colleague prepared to work with him on an article describing the phenomenon. The article was at first rejected but was finally published in November 1984 to an uproar in the scientific world.

In 1987, friends in France and Japan succeeded in growing crystals large enough for X-rays to verify what he had discovered with the electron microscope.

“The moment I presented that, the community said, ‘OK, Danny, now you are talking. Now we understand you. Now we accept what you have found,'” Shechtman told reporters.

Shechtman, who also teaches at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, said he never wavered even in the face of stiff criticism from double Nobel winner Linus Pauling, who never accepted Shechtman’s findings.

“He would stand on those platforms and declare, ‘Danny Shechtman is talking nonsense. There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.'” Shechtman said. “He really was a great scientist, but he was wrong. It’s not the first time he was wrong.”

Shechtman’s battle “eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter,” the academy said.

Nancy B. Jackson, president of the American Chemical Society, called Shechtman’s breakthrough “one of these great scientific discoveries that go against the rules.” Only later did some scientists go back to some of their own inexplicable findings and realize they had seen quasicrystals without understanding what were looking at, Jackson said.

“Anytime you have a discovery that changes the conventional wisdom that’s 200 years old, that’s something that’s really remarkable,” said Princeton University physicist Paul J. Steinhardt, who coined the term “quasicrystals” and had been doing theoretical work on them before Shechtman reported finding the real thing.

Steinhardt recalled the day a fellow scientist showed him Shechtman’s paper in 1984: “I sort of leapt in the air.”

___

Science writer Malcolm Ritter in New York and Associated Press writers Karl Ritter, Malin Rising and Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm contributed to this report.

http://news.yahoo.com/vindicated-ridiculed-israeli-scientist-wins-nobel-183256852.html

Scientist wins Nobel for medicine days after death

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A pioneering researcher was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday, three days after dying of pancreatic cancer without ever knowing he was about to be honored for his immune system work that he had used to try to prolong his own life.

The Nobel committee said it was unaware that Canadian-born cell biologist Ralph Steinman had already died when it awarded the prize to him, American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann.

Since the committee is only supposed to consider living scientists, the Nobel Foundation held an emergency meeting Monday and said the decision on the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) prize will remain unchanged.

“The Nobel Prize to Ralph Steinman was made in good faith, based on the assumption that the Nobel laureate was alive,” the foundation said.

Steinman, 68, died Sept. 30, according to Rockefeller University in New York. He underwent therapy based on his discovery of the immune system’s dendritic cells, for which he won the prize, the university said.

“He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, and his life was extended using a dendritic-cell based immunotherapy of his own design,” the university said.

Beutler and Hoffmann were cited for their discoveries in the 1990s of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms as they enter the body, and activate the first line of defense in the immune system, known as innate immunity.

Nobel committee members said the work by the three is being used to develop better vaccines, and in the long run could also help treatment of diseases linked to abnormalities in the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and chronic inflammatory diseases.

The work could also help efforts to make the immune system fight cancer, the committee said. A new treatment, Provenge, uses this concept to attack advanced prostate cancer.

Nobel committee member Goran Hansson told The Associated Press that hoped-for vaccines are in the pipeline.

“I am very touched. I’m thinking of all the people who worked with me, who gave everything,” Hoffmann said by telephone to a news conference in Paris. “I wasn’t sure this domain merited a Nobel.”

Beutler said he woke up in the middle of the night, glanced at his cellphone and realized he had a new email message.

“And, I squinted at it and I saw that the title line was ‘Nobel Prize,’ so I thought I should give close attention to that,” Beutler said in an interview posted on the Nobel website. “And, I opened it and it was from Goran Hansson, and it said that I had won the Nobel Prize, and so I was thrilled.”

Still, he was a “little disbelieving” until he checked his laptop, “and in a few minutes I saw my name there and so I knew it was real.”

Since 1974, the Nobel statutes don’t allow posthumous awards unless a laureate dies after the announcement but before the Dec. 10 award ceremony. That happened in 1996 when economics winner William Vickrey died a few days after the announcement.

Before the statutes were changed in 1974 two Nobel Prizes were given posthumously. In 1961, U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize less than a month after he died in a plane crash during a peace mission to Congo. Swedish poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt won the Nobel in literature in 1931, although he had died in March of that year.

“The Nobel Foundation thus believes that what has occurred is more reminiscent of the example in the statutes concerning a person who has been named as a Nobel Laureate and has died before the actual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony,” the foundation said following its meeting.

Nobel officials said the situation was unprecedented, and that Steinman’s survivors would receive his share of the prize money. It wasn’t immediately clear who would represent him at the ceremony in Stockholm.

Nobel Foundation chairman Lars Heikensten, who started his job in June, said he was stunned when he found out that Steinman was dead.

“My first thought was: ‘Wow, this is a remarkable thing to happen now that I’m involved in this for the first time. How do we handle this now?'” he told AP.

Hansson said the medicine committee didn’t know Steinman was dead when it chose him.

“It is incredibly sad news,” he said. “We can only regret that he didn’t have the chance to receive the news he had won the Nobel Prize. Our thoughts are now with his family.”

Beutler, 53, holds dual appointments at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and as professor of genetics and immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. He will become a full-time faculty member at UT Southwestern on Dec. 1.

Hoffmann, 70, headed a research laboratory in Strasbourg, France, between 1974 and 2009 and served as president of the French National Academy of Sciences between 2007-08.

Steinman had been head of Rockefeller University’s Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases.

“We are all so touched that our father’s many years of hard work are being recognized with a Nobel Prize,” Steinman’s daughter, Alexis Steinman, said in the Rockefeller University statement. “He devoted his life to his work and his family, and he would be truly honored.”

Hoffmann’s discovery came in 1996 during research on how fruit flies fight infections. Two years later, Beutler’s research on mice showed that fruit flies and mammals activate innate immunity in similar ways when attacked by germs.

Steinman’s discovery dates back to 1973, when he found a new cell type, the dendritic cell, which has a unique capacity to activate T-cells. Those cells have a key role in adaptive immunity, when antibodies and killer cells fight infections. They also develop a memory that helps the immune system mobilize its defenses next time it comes under a similar attack.

The medicine award kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements, and will be followed by the physics prize on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The winners of the economics award will be announced on Oct. 10.

The coveted prizes were established by wealthy Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel — the inventor of dynamite — except for the economics award, which was created by Sweden’s central bank in 1968 in Nobel’s memory. The prizes are always handed out on Dec. 10, on the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.

Last year’s medicine award went to British professor Robert Edwards for fertility research that led to the first test tube baby.

___

Associated Press writer Malin Rising contributed to this report.

http://news.yahoo.com/scientist-wins-nobel-medicine-days-death-144736288.html

Speeding universe work wins Nobel

By Anna Ringstrom | ReutersSTOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The “astounding” discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up won the Nobel physics prize on Tuesday for three astronomers whose observations of exploding stars transformed our view of the world, and of how it may end.

Honouring two global teams of stargazers whose findings shook cosmology to its foundations in 1998, the Nobel Committee said Americans Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess showed how the universe that emerged from the Big Bang may fly apart so far, cooling as it goes, that it “will end in ice.”

Their work gave birth to the theory of dark energy, a kind of inverse gravity, that causes the expansion to accelerate. Up to three quarters of the universe seems to comprise dark energy — but just what it is is a matter of speculation, notably at facilities like the Large Hadron Collider at Geneva. Many hope an answer could reconcile apparent anomalies in physics.

The teams studied dozens of exploding stars, or supernovae, expecting to confirm theories dating back to the 1920s that the universe has expanded for 14 billion years since Big Bang, but ever more slowly. Astonished, they found the opposite was true.

“We ended up telling the world we have this crazy result — the universe is speeding up,” the Montana-born Schmidt, based in Australia, said by telephone to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, where the 2011 prizewinners were announced.

“It seemed too crazy to be right, and I think we were a little scared,” added Schmidt, 44, who led the High-z Supernova Search Team that included the Baltimore-based Riess, 41. Schmidt is at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Perlmutter, 52, from the University of California at Berkeley, said: “The chain of analysis was so long that at first we were reluctant to believe our result.

“But the more we analyzed it, the more it wouldn’t go away … It was the longest ‘Aha!’ moment ever.”

If data continues to improve, he believed theorists may be able to understand dark energy within 10 to 15 years.

“ALL BETS OFF”

Riess told Reuters he was “stunned and incredibly honored” by the award. But he was cautious about predictions energy would propel the universe ever outward until it was spent and froze. “It is what we see,” he said. “But the truth is all bets are off. The universe could still recollapse.”

Before, it was thought gravity would eventually reverse its expansion, until a fiery collapse brought the end of the world.

Recalling how it felt to have assumptions confounded, Riess said he spent weeks thinking “I did something stupid” and looking for what he thought must be a mistake in his work: “If you tossed a ball into the air and it kept right on going up instead of falling to the ground, you’d be pretty surprised,” he said. “Well, that’s about how surprised we were.”

With the expectation that gravity would slow the expansion of the universe debunked, the fact that the opposite was true revived an idea Albert Einstein once rejected as his “biggest blunder” — that vacuum of space might create “anti-gravity.”

“Suddenly that idea made sense,” Riess said.

He and Schmidt will share half of the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.5 million) prize money. Perlmutter won the rest.

Having turned theory on its head, Perlmutter viewed the world’s distant future with equanimity: “It is a tough choice between ending up in the cold or ending up in a fiery blast,” he told Reuters. “I tend not to dwell too much on ultimates.”

“CURIOSITY DRIVEN”

Swedish Academy member Lars Brink told Reuters practical developments from the findings were not obvious: “This is very curiosity driven research,” he said. “It tells us something about the basic laws of nature. We are putting together pieces of what are the basic laws of nature. This is one brick.

“It is not that we are going to use it for new gadgets.”

Mark Sullivan, a physicist at the University of Oxford, said: “Their … discovery … has rewritten textbooks, and was one of the landmark breakthroughs of 20th-century physics.”

Among exciting possible developments from the study of dark energy would be a way to reconcile anomalies between laws of physics observed at the subatomic level — quantum mechanics — with those Einstein described for the world we see.

Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, praised the prizewinners but criticized the Nobel Committee’s rules that a maximum of three people could share in an award: “It would have been fairer, and would send a less distorted message about how this kind of science is actually done, if the award had been made collectively to all members of the two groups,” he said.

There was no repeat of the drama in Stockholm on Monday, when the Nobel Committee, whose rules forbid posthumous awards, discovered it had just given a share of the prize for medicine to a man who had died three days earlier. In the end, the award was confirmed to Ralph Steinman, who used his own discoveries to treat his cancer but succumbed to the disease on Friday.

In keeping with many recent prizes, the Committee noted, the winners of the physics category were all relatively young.

At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Riess, who was still in his 20s when the research was published, joked to a colleague that he had been quick to react to a pre-dawn call from Stockholm: “When I picked up the phone early this morning and I heard Swedish voices,” he said, “I knew it wasn’t IKEA.”

(Additional reporting by Mia Shanley, Patrick Lannin and Simon Johnson in Stockholm, Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland in London, Ian Simpson in Baltimore, Michelle Nichols in New York and Jonathan Weber in San Francisco; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

Studies of Universe’s Expansion Win Physics Nobel

Johns Hopkins University; University Of California At Berkeley; Australian National University

From left, Adam Riess, Saul Perlmutter and Brian Schmidt shared the Nobel Prize in physics awarded Tuesday.

By

Three astronomers won the Nobel Prize on Tuesday for discovering that the universe is apparently being blown apart by a mysterious force that cosmologists now call dark energy, a finding that has thrown the fate of the universe and indeed the nature of physics into doubt.

NASA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An exploding star known as Type 1a supernova. The Nobel prize winners used them to measure the expansion of the universe.

The astronomers are Saul Perlmutter, 52, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley; Brian P. Schmidt, 44, of the Australian National University in Canberra, and Adam G. Riess, 41, of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“I’m stunned,” Dr. Riess said by e-mail, after learning of his prize by reading about it on The New York Times’s Web site.

The three men led two competing teams of astronomers who were trying to use the exploding stars known as Type 1a supernovae as cosmic lighthouses to limn the expansion of the universe. The goal of both groups was to measure how fast the cosmos, which has been expanding since its fiery birth in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, was slowing down, and thus to find out if its ultimate fate was to fall back together in what is called a Big Crunch or to drift apart into the darkness.

Instead, the two groups found in 1998 that the expansion of the universe was actually speeding up, a conclusion that nobody would have believed if not for the fact that both sets of scientists wound up with the same answer. It was as if, when you tossed your car keys in the air, instead of coming down, they flew faster and faster to the ceiling.

Subsequent cosmological measurements have confirmed that roughly 70 percent of the universe by mass or energy consists of this antigravitational dark energy that is pushing the galaxies apart, though astronomers and physicists have no conclusive evidence of what it is.

The most likely explanation for this bizarre behavior is a fudge factor that Albert Einstein introduced into his equations in 1917 to stabilize the universe against collapse and then abandoned as his greatest blunder.

Quantum theory predicts that empty space should exert a repulsive force, like dark energy, but one that is 10 to the 120th power times stronger than what the astronomers have measured, leaving some physicists mumbling about multiple universes. Abandoning the Einsteinian dream of a single final theory of nature, they speculate that there are a multitude of universes with different properties. We live in one, the argument goes, that is suitable for life.

“Every test we have made has come out perfectly in line with Einstein’s original cosmological constant in 1917,” Dr. Schmidt said.

If the universe continues accelerating, astronomers say, rather than coasting gently into the night, distant galaxies will eventually be moving apart so quickly that they cannot communicate with one another and all the energy would be sucked out of the universe.

Edward Witten, a theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein’s old stomping grounds, called dark energy “the most startling discovery in physics since I have been in the field.” Dr. Witten continued, “It was so startling, in fact, that I personally took quite a while to become convinced that it was right.”

He went on, “This discovery definitely changed the way physicists look at the universe, and we probably still haven’t fully come to grips with the implications.”

Dr. Perlmutter, who led the Supernova Cosmology Project out of Berkeley, will get half of the prize of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million). The other half will go to Dr. Schmidt, leader of the rival High-Z Supernova Search Team, and Dr. Riess, who was the lead author of the 1998 paper in The Astronomical Journal, in which the dark energy result was first published.

All three astronomers were born and raised in the United States; Dr. Schmidt is also a citizen of Australia. They will get their prizes in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

Since the fate of the universe is in question, astronomers would love to do more detailed tests using supernovas and other observations. So they were dispirited last year when NASA announced that cost overruns and delays on the James Webb Space Telescope had left no room in the budget until the next decade for an American satellite mission to investigate dark energy that Dr. Perlmutter and others had been promoting for almost a decade. Indeed on Tuesday the European Space Agency announced that it would launch a mission called Euclid to study dark energy in 2019.

Cosmic expansion was discovered by Edwin Hubble, an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, Calif., in 1929, but the quest for precision measurements of the universe has been hindered by a lack of reliable standard candles, objects whose distance can be inferred by their brightness or some other observable characteristic. Type 1a supernovae, which are thought to result from explosions of small stars known as white dwarfs, have long been considered uniform enough to fill the bill, as well as bright enough to be seen across the universe.

In the late 1980s Dr. Perlmutter, who had just gotten a Ph.D. in physics, devised an elaborate plan involving networks of telescopes tied together by the Internet to detect and study such supernovae and use them to measure the presumed deceleration of the universe. The Supernova Cosmology Project endured criticism from other astronomers, particularly supernova experts, who doubted that particle physicists could do it right.

Indeed, it took seven years before Dr. Perlmutter’s team began harvesting supernovae in the numbers they needed. Meanwhile, the other astronomers had formed their own team, the High-Z team, to do the same work.

“Hey, what’s the strongest force in the universe?” asked Robert P. Kirshner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and a mentor to many of the astronomers on the new team, told a reporter from this newspaper once, “It’s not gravity, it’s jealousy.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. Perlmutter described the subsequent work of the teams as “a long aha.” The presence of dark energy showed up in an expected faintness on the part of some distant supernovas: the universe had sped up and carried them farther away from us than conventional cosmology suggested.

As recounted by the science writer Richard Panek in his recent book, “The 4% Universe, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality,” neither team was eager to report such a strange result.

In January 1998, Dr. Riess interrupted preparations for his honeymoon to buck up his comrades. “Approach these results not with your heart or head but with your eyes,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We are observers after all!”

In the years since, the three astronomers have shared a number of awards, sometimes giving lectures in which they completed each other’s sentences. A Nobel was expected eventually.

“No more waiting!” Dr. Kirshner said Tuesday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/science/space/05nobel.html?pagewanted=2&ref=world

Swedish Poet Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Maja Suslin/European Pressphoto Agency

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer at his home in Stockholm on Thursday after receiving the news that he won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy praised Mr. Transtromer, saying that “through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.”

The assembled journalists cheered upon hearing that Mr. Transtromer, who was born in Stockholm, had won the prize.

Mr. Transtromer, 80, has written more than 15 collections of poetry, many of which have been translated into English and 60 other languages.

Critics have praised Mr. Transtromer’s poems for their accessibility, even in translation, noting his elegant descriptions of long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric beauty of nature.

“So much poetry, not only in this country but everywhere, is small and personal and it doesn’t look outward, it looks inward,” said Daniel Halpern, the president and publisher of Ecco, the imprint of HarperCollins that has published English translations of Mr. Transtromer’s work. “But there are some poets who write true international poetry. It’s the sensibility that runs through his poems that is so seductive. He is such a curious and open and intelligent writer.”

Neil Astley, the editor of Bloodaxe Books in Britain, called Mr. Transtromer “a metaphysical visionary poet.”

“He’s worked for much of his life as a psychologist, and the work is characterized by very strong psychological insight into humanity,” Mr. Astley said.

Mr. Transtromer was born in Stockholm in 1931. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father a journalist. He studied literature, history, religion and psychology at Stockholm University, graduating in 1956, and worked as a psychologist at a youth correctional facility.

In 1990, Mr. Transtromer suffered a stroke that left him mostly unable to speak, but he eventually began to write again.

On Thursday afternoon, the stairwell in Mr. Transtromer’s apartment building filled with journalists from all over the world seeking reaction, the Swedish news media reported.

Visibly overwhelmed, Mr. Transtromer finally appeared, accompanied by his wife, Monica. Speaking on his behalf, she said her husband was most happy that the prize was awarded for poetry. “That you happened to receive it is a great joy and happy surprise, but the fact the prize went to poetry felt very good,” she said, addressing him at a gathering that quickly moved into the vestibule of their home in Stockholm.

There was also a celebration among Swedes, many of whom have read Mr. Transtromer since his first book of poems, “17 Poems,” placed him on Sweden’s literary map when he was just 23.

“To be quite honest it was a relief because people have been hoping for this for a long time,” said Ola Larsmo, a novelist and the president of the Swedish Pen association. “Some thought the train might have left the station already because he is old and not quite well. It felt great that he was confirmed in this role of national and international poet.”

John Freeman, the editor of the literary magazine Granta, said: “He is to Sweden what Robert Frost was to America. The national character, if you can say one exists, and the landscape of Sweden are very much reflected in his work. It’s easy because of that to overlook the abiding strangeness and mysteriousness of his poems.”

But in the United States, Mr. Transtromer is a virtual unknown, even to many readers of poetry, despite the fact that he has been published in English by several widely known publishers.

Mr. Halpern said that “Selected Poems,” originally published in 2000 by Ecco, part of HarperCollins, would be rereleased within days. On Thursday morning, print copies of his books were already backordered on online retailer sites, and electronic versions were difficult to find. New Directions, an independent publisher, released “The Great Enigma,” a poetry collection, in 2006; Graywolf Press, a publisher based in Minneapolis, released “The Half-Finished Heaven” in 2001.

Jeff Seroy, a spokesman for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, part of Macmillan, said Thursday that the imprint had acquired a volume of Mr. Transtromer’s work, translated by Robin Robertson, called “The Deleted World,” originally published in 2006. Mr. Seroy said the book would be released by year’s end.

Much of Mr. Transtromer’s work, including “The Half-Finished Heaven,” was translated by his close friend and fellow poet Robert Bly. Mr. Bly has been named as one of the central people who introduced Mr. Transtromer to a small but devoted group of American readers.

The selection of a European writer for the literature Nobel — the eighth in a decade — renewed criticisms that the prize is too Eurocentric. The last American writer to win a Nobel was Toni Morrison in 1993. Philip Roth has been a perennial favorite but has not been selected.

The committee noted after the announcement on Thursday that it had been many years since a Swede had won. It last happened in 1974 when Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson shared the prize.

Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the academy, said this week that the literature jury had increased the number of “scouts” it employed to scour for books in non-European languages.

And once again, the jury proved its inscrutability. In previous years, the choice of relatively unknown writers like Herta Müller of Germany has surprised Nobel watchers; in other years, winners like Harold Pinter or Orhan Pamuk have raised questions about whether the Nobel committee is overly influenced by politics.

While Mr. Transtromer has been a longtime favorite to win the Nobel, he has also won other prizes, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, the Petrarch Prize in Germany and the Bellman Prize.

The Nobel Prize comes with an honorarium of nearly $1.5 million.

Chinese Engineer Killed In Attack On South Sudan Oil Field

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Chinese oil worker killed in Sudan conflict state: embassy

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

KHARTOUM — A Chinese oil worker was killed and another wounded by unidentified gunmen in South Kordofan, Sudan’s only oil producing state where the army is battling insurgents, the Chinese embassy said Monday.

New recruits for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) attend camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan in July (AFP/File, Trevor Snapp)

“There was a violent incident against Chinese workers by unidentified armed men, which caused one death and one wounded,” an embassy spokesman told AFP, adding that the attack took place in South Kordofan last Wednesday.

He said the embassy had raised its concerns with the Sudanese government, urging action to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals.

South Kordofan has witnessed heavy fighting since June between the Sudanese army and Nuba militiamen loyal to the SPLM-North, with which Darfur’s main rebels movements has formed an alliance aimed at toppling the regime in Sudan.

A leader of the local Misseriya tribe said criminals had carried out the attack on the Chinese workers, as they were travelling on the road between the town of Kielak and Heglig, one of Sudan’s main oil fields.

“They stole some money and some vehicles from the oil company and disappeared into the mountains,” Omar al-Ansari said.

State-owned Chinese oil giant CNPC dominates the Sudanese industry and operates the two main oil producing consortiums, one of which is based at Heglig.

This was not the first time its employees have been targeted in the volatile, ethnically-divided state, which borders Darfur and the newly independent south.

Five Chinese oil workers were killed in 2008 after being abducted in the Kordofan region in 2008, with officials in Khartoum blaming Darfur rebels.

The latest attack is a blow for the cash-strapped government, which is urgently seeking foreign investment to boost its crude output to help offset the loss of oil revenues after the formal independence of South Sudan in July.

The south produces three-quarters of Sudan’s total output of around 470,000 barrels per day, but is locked in a bitter dispute with Khartoum about how much to pay for the use of the north’s pipeline infrastructure, on which it depends to export its oil.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jIVIKsb1WcpkQNi0zd8Gq1XX_k9w?docId=CNG.63f3ecd569de01fd9d60c41e9a017daa.a11

Chinese Engineer Killed In Attack On South Sudan Oil Field

(RTTNews) – A Chinese engineer has been killed and another wounded when an armed gang attacked an oil field in South Kordofan province of South Sudan.

Quoting a Chinese diplomat in North Sudan capital Khartoum, the Xinhua news agency reported on Monday that the assailants opened fire at workers in the oil field belonging to a Chinese oil company on Wednesday night, killing the Chinese engineer and wounding another.

He said local police launched an investigation into the incident which he described an isolated one.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial

http://www.rttnews.com/Content/GeneralNews.aspx?Id=1725960&SM=1

South Sudan Job Vacancy; October 3rd, 2011

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Oct 5th, 2011

Dear all,

THESO is currently looking for a qualified candidate to fill in its Programme Director position in its head office.

Please help circulate this advert widely even to the rest of Africa.

Kind regards,

Jeff

Dr. Okello Jeff Franz Moses

Chief Executive Director

The Health Support Organisation

Head Office Help Age Compound

Off Ministry  Road opposite ministries complex

Mobile: 0955 065 096

Email: director@thesoworld.org / franzany@gmail.com

Skype: franzany

Website: www.thesoworld.org

Programme Director (Readvertised).doc Programme Director (Readvertised).doc
558K   View   Download

 

Please help distribute widely.

Mike M. Leju

Admin Officer CDC-South Sudan; US-Embassy Juba, Email: Mleju@usaid.gov, 1-202-216-6279 ext.192; Mob:+249 912114394

Please ensure the widest distribution of the below Vacancy Announcement that has been posted today:

Position

Vacancy Announcement #

Opening Date

Closing Date

Public Health Specialist (Strategic Information) – JUBA

VA-11-46

September 27,2011

October 12, 2011

Public Health Specialist (Prevention)-

JUBA

VA-11-47

September 27,2011

October 12, 2011

 

 

 

 

Internet:   http://sudan.usembassy.gov/job_opportunities.html

Within Embassy Intranet:   http://diplopedia.state.gov/index.php?title=Embassy_Khartoum_HR_Section

Dear All,

Save the Children is the World’s largest independent children’s organization, making immediate and long-lasting improvements to children’s lives in over 120 countries world wide. We work for a world which respects and values each child, which listens to children and learns, and where all children have hope and opportunity. We’re determined to achieve dramatic change for the world’s most vulnerable children and we have a huge sense of pride in what we do.

SCiSS is currently recruiting suitable South Sudanese for the Field Positions of 1- Community Case management Health Officer  and  Health Officer to be based in Kapoeta North – Riwoto.
Pass this Vacancy Positions to your colleagues at large.
Attached are the Posts.

Regards,

Alison John
Human Resources Officer
Save the Children
Juba
South Sudan Program

Skype:  alison200811

2 attachments — Download all attachments
CCM Health Officer.doc CCM Health Officer.doc
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Health Officer.doc Health Officer.doc
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Oct 3rd, 2011

 Dear all                                          

Please directly contact the employer if you have any further questions.

To anyone of interest, please circulate the following job vacancies: -Office Manager with Slage

Thanks,
Reec Akuak
Treasurer

The Southern Sudanese Community
Advocating — Mentoring — Nurturing

202.656.TSSC (8772)
Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009
Fax: 202.280.1007

R.Akuak@TSSC.us
http://www.TSSC.us

Office Manager Vacancy.pdf

Performance Management Plan Development Consultant, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
Performance Management  Plan Development Consultant, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan
 

 Project/Proposal Summary: 
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150
 
Position Summary:
The Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy is captured under DO 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained, which incorporates activities under Health, Education, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation. For post-conflict countries, the Agency’s Education Strategy requires that at the early stages of state reconstruction/recovery, development efforts should be focused on the expansion of education opportunities and establishment of institutions, structures and systems, and human capacity development in order to create the enabling institutional environment and education delivery platform for long-term improved education outcomes. The two evaluators will develop a new Performance Management Plan (PMP) to regulate the monitoring, reporting and evaluation functions related to implementation of the Transition Strategy in South Sudan. This PMP is expected to align the design of new activities, and the reporting of results and evaluation of context and other performance evaluation under ongoing and new activities with the programming and reporting requirements contained in the Agency Education Strategy. The assignment is for approximately 36 LOE days from October – November 2011.
Responsibilities:
The team member will assist in developing for implementation, a Performance Management Plan (PMP) that will support the monitoring and reporting of results and the evaluation of program performance and/or impact and other contextual analysis that could inform evidenced-based programming under the Education component of Development Objective (DO) 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy. Specifically, the specialists will:
  • Review the Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and its results reporting framework to determine the extent of alignment with the programming considerations for post-conflict countries as outlined in the Agency’s Education Strategy.
  • Perform an indicator gap analysis between the results framework indicators of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and the proposed indicators of the Agency’s Education Strategy and advise on how future interventions under the Transition Strategy may be designed to better align with Agency’s Education Strategy.
  • Prepare a graphic results framework that presents the DO and IR statements as well as the proposed indicators on a single sheet.
  • Prepare detailed narratives for the DO and IR level (incorporating relevant outcome and output indicators outlined under Goals 1 and 3 of the Agency’s Education Strategy). The narratives should discuss what result is expected to be achieved and why/how the proposed goal, result and activity level indicators will successfully measure progress toward the achievement of the DO and IR; ensuring that performance indicators are direct, objective, useful for management, adequate and attributable to USAID.
  • For each selected indicator, and as part of development of respective indicator reference sheets, outline appropriate plans for performance data collection and analysis, for performance reviews.
  • Prepare Performance Indicator Reference Sheets for each selected indicator.
  •  Establish baseline data collection and processing framework for each selected indicator.
  • Document data validation and quality assurance processes to enhance the year-on-year integrity of reported performance data.
  • Establish Audit Readiness mechanisms to enhance the maintenance of effective internal controls over data processing and an audit trail to safeguard the integrity of performance data reporting processes.
  • Determine the range of evaluations and other studies required to enhance evidenced-based programming over the life of the Transition Strategy.
  • Package materials/narratives into a draft Performance Management Plan for submission to the DO.
  • Prepare a final draft of the DO PMP that incorporates feedback received from the DO Team for final submission.
Qualifications:
·         Bachelors Degree and minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible work experience OR Masters Degree and a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience with a USG foreign affairs agency, large international assistance organization, or non-governmental organization.
·         Strong skills in PMP development, performance indicator measurement and reporting processes of USAID projects (preferably 10 years or more)
·         Experience in the design of development assistance projects in conflict-affected contexts (preferably 5 years or more)
·         Strong skills in descriptive and inferential statistical analysis and data presentation
·         Strong research and writing skills
·         Extensive experience working in East Africa and in South Sudan
·         Facilitation experience, experience leading participatory program strategy designs that include intended program beneficiaries as active participants in the design processes
Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

To apply, please visit our website: www.msiworldwide.com

Operations Specialist, Juba, South Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
Operations Specialist, Juba, South Sudan
Project/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150Position Summary:
The Operations Specialist will be responsible for all facilities management of the MSI Office, oversight and control of local procurement systems and procedures, and for ensuring smooth systems and operations throughout the MSI office. The Operations Specialist reports to the Chief of Party. The period of Performance is from the end of October through March 2012.Responsibilities:
• Oversight of procedural responsibilities toward national authorities
o Ensure relationship with the Labor Office is smooth and file is appropriately opened and maintained
o Understand and ensure that all MSI systems are in accordance with the Labor Law and all regulatory agencies such as the Taxation and Social Insurance Departments
o Review and assist with the development and updating of the MSI personnel manual, according to local requrements
• Facilities management of MSI Office
o Provide supervisory assistance to the Logistic Manager (LM) to ensure the office facility functions smoothly. (Power, Internet, Cleaning etc)
o Ensure necessary daily supplies are sufficient for the office compound (Fuel, Water, Stationary)
o Deal with local vendors and subcontractors for internet, vehicle rental, vehicle insurance, security, legal assistance and other needs
o Relate to the landlord and obtain necessary action from him, as per the rental agreement
o Ensure smooth vehicle management, including fuel management, vehicle maintenance, and logbook maintenance. Ensure all vehicles are fully equipped with took kits, First Aid kits and other relevant equipment
• Oversight of local procurement systems and procedures
o Create purchase requisitions, upon receipt of requests, for appropriate approvals
o Develop template justifications (or bid matrices), according to the MSI Procurement Manual
o Ensure all local procurement rules are vigorously followed and updated, according to feedback from the COP and DCOP
o Create purchase orders for appropriate approvals
• Feedback and assistance on large procurements
o Review RFP’s for gaps and additions
o Provide estimates of costs, research and analysis for effective RFPs
o Identify vendors for RFP distribution
o Monitor responses to MSI procurement email
• Smooth systems and operations throughout the MSI Office
o Maintain weekly contact list for MSI Sudan staff
o Monitor all contracts with local subcontractors and flag lapsed contracts to MSI Home Office for prompt action
o Track all visa and work permit expiration dates, for the necessary action of the LM
o Suggest policies, for adoption by the COP/DCOP on phone use, procurement, assets distribution and other tracking mechanisms
o
o Along with the COP, monitor Task Order Plans (TOPs) as part of local procurement to assist in ensuring that purchases do not exceed the cost estimates therein and that costs appropriately apportioned
o Track movement of MSI assets, including items issued to visitors and consultants.
o Maintain the MSI inventory list and submit to Finance monthly utilizing FER and procurement documentation
o Maintain logs for phonecard and personal transport use
• Proper security procedures
o Give advice on critical communications components in MSI projects, such as PowerTrack, radios, sat phones and cell phones
• Representation of MSI to other international and national entities, as appropriate
o Liaise with local authorities as appropriate
o Liaise with NGOs, other companies, and vendors, as appropriate

Qualifications:
• Relevant Degree or comparable professional qualification in the related fields of procurement or logistics

• Minimum of five years of relevant professional experience.

• Experience with USAID procurement and contracting essential

• Thorough knowledge of USG rules and regulations required

• Previous East African experience, preferably time spent in Sudan

• Strong Organizational Skills

• Ability to manage several tasks simultaneously and to work effectively under pressure

• Strong operational understanding of word processing and excel is required
Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

To apply, please visit our website: http://www.msiworldwide.com.

M & E Short Term Technical Assistant, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
M & E Short Term Technical Assistant, Juba, South SudanProject/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150

Position Summary:
USAID/Sudan is seeking a consultant to provide short-term M&E assistance to USAID/South Sudan during the first quarter of 2012. This short-term assignment is for approximately 40 LOE days from approximately October 10, 2011 November 25, 2011.

Responsibilities:
Consultant will provide support and assistance in the following areas:
a. Provide technical guidance to evaluation and assessment teams on the ground (1-3 teams are anticipated) – for example: evaluation/assessment methodologies, framing questions and SOWs, putting reports together
b. Provide management support (liaising with operations and travel/events coordinators) – for example: scheduling meetings/interviews, travel and accommodation arrangements/advances, supplies/materials needed, time management support
c. Provide technical support and guidance to USAID technical offices in:
i. Providing management support in compiling and checking data for USAID/South Sudan’s annual reporting to Washington
ii. Conducting data quality assessments and follow up
iii. Any additional relevant program monitoring tasks/activities that arise

Qualifications:
• Experience with USAID.
• Experience working in South Sudan is preferable but not required.
• Experience working with USAID’s reporting cycle specifically within Monitoring – program management plans, data quality assessments, etc.
• Experience managing evaluation/assessment activities.
• Providing technical guidance and quality control on these activities.
Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, SudanProject/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150

Position Summary:
The Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy is captured under DO 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained, which incorporates activities under Health, Education, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation. For post-conflict countries, the Agency’s Education Strategy requires that at the early stages of state reconstruction/recovery, development efforts should be focused on the expansion of education opportunities and establishment of institutions, structures and systems, and human capacity development in order to create the enabling institutional environment and education delivery platform for long-term improved education outcomes. The two evaluators will develop a new Performance Management Plan (PMP) to regulate the monitoring, reporting and evaluation functions related to implementation of the Transition Strategy in South Sudan. This PMP is expected to align the design of new activities, and the reporting of results and evaluation of context and other performance evaluation under ongoing and new activities with the programming and reporting requirements contained in the Agency Education Strategy. The assignment is for approximately 36 LOE days from October – November 2011.

Responsibilities:
The Lead Consultant will be responsible for overseeing the team and ultimately responsible for the submission of the final deliverables to the Mission. The objective of assignment is to develop for implementation, a Performance Management Plan (PMP) that will support the monitoring and reporting of results and the evaluation of program performance and/or impact and other contextual analysis that could inform evidenced-based programming under the Education component of Development Objective (DO) 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy. Specifically, the specialists will:

1) Review the Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and its results reporting framework to determine the extent of alignment with the programming considerations for post-conflict countries as outlined in the Agency’s Education Strategy.
2) Perform an indicator gap analysis between the results framework indicators of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and the proposed indicators of the Agency’s Education Strategy and advise on how future interventions under the Transition Strategy may be designed to better align with Agency’s Education Strategy.
3) Prepare a graphic results framework that presents the DO and IR statements as well as the proposed indicators on a single sheet.
4) Prepare detailed narratives for the DO and IR level (incorporating relevant outcome and output indicators outlined under Goals 1 and 3 of the Agency’s Education Strategy). The narratives should discuss what result is expected to be achieved and why/how the proposed goal, result and activity level indicators will successfully measure progress toward the achievement of the DO and IR; ensuring that performance indicators are direct, objective, useful for management, adequate and attributable to USAID.
5) For each selected indicator, and as part of development of respective indicator reference sheets, outline appropriate plans for performance data collection and analysis, for performance reviews.
6) Prepare Performance Indicator Reference Sheets for each selected indicator.
7) Establish baseline data collection and processing framework for each selected indicator.
8) Document data validation and quality assurance processes to enhance the year-on-year integrity of reported performance data.
9) Establish Audit Readiness mechanisms to enhance the maintenance of effective internal controls over data processing and an audit trail to safeguard the integrity of performance data reporting processes.
10) Determine the range of evaluations and other studies required to enhance evidenced-based programming over the life of the Transition Strategy.
11) Package materials/narratives into a draft Performance Management Plan for submission to the DO.
12) Prepare a final draft of the DO PMP that incorporates feedback received from the DO Team for final submission.
Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s Degree and minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible work experience OR Master’s Degree and a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience with a USG foreign affairs agency, large international assistance organization, or non-governmental organization.
• Strong skills in PMP development, performance indicator measurement and reporting processes of USAID projects (preferably 10 years or more)
• Experience in the design of development assistance projects in conflict-affected contexts (preferably 5 years or more)
• Strong skills in descriptive and inferential statistical analysis and data presentation
• Strong research and writing skills
• Extensive experience working in East Africa and in South Sudan
• Facilitation experience, experience leading participatory program strategy designs that include intended program beneficiaries as active participants in the design processes

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

 

Travel and Events Assistant, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
Travel and Events Assistant, SUPPORT, Juba, South SudanProject/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150

Position Summary:
The Travel and Events Assistant will be responsible for planning travel, logistics, and conferences in Sudan and at times may be required to travel with delegations. This is a critical position and the person must be extremely organized, adaptable, and professional. The Travel and Events Assistant reports to the Travel and Events Coordinator.

**Please note: This is a local position. Only Sudanese nationals are eligible to apply**

Responsibilities:
• Plan travel for MSI teams in Sudan, including lodging, ground transportation and flights
• Assist in planning conferences, including preparing checklists, participant lists, nametags, table tents, delivery receipts, etc.;
• Develop relationships with air service providers, travel agents, hotel operators and caterers; obtain quotes for services as required;
• Track conference inventory and be responsible for MSI conference facility functions;
• Track all local hotel reservations, flights, and events;
• Check incoming invoices to ensure accuracy and record against relevant tracker
• Maintain all files related to travel and conferences;
• Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:
• Prior experience arranging travel and logistics in Sudan required;
• High degree of professionalism, adaptability and organization;
• Strong sense of self-direction and the ability to carry out tasks with little oversight;
• Attention to detail and a willingness to learn;
• English fluency required and Arabic proficiency strongly preferred;
• Strong IT stills including proficiency using Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook required;
• Qualification in a relevant field is required;
• Minimum of three years of experience is required.

Integrated Health Service Delivery Program Design Consultant Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
 Integrated Health Service Delivery Program Design Consultant Juba, Sudan
Project/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150Position Summary:
USAID/Sudan is seeking to support the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide comprehensive primary health care services to southern Sudan in two states, Western Equatoria and the second to still be determined. Currently, USAID supports the bilateral activity, Sudan Health Transformation Project II (SHTP II), in 14 counties across all 10 states of South Sudan. SHTP II is USAID’s flagship bilateral program and a close partner to the GOSS in the provision of essential primary health services at the local and county level and in provision of system strengthening at the central, county and community levels. The consultant will build upon current data and analyses by USAID and the donor community, including a comprehensive SHTP II Mid-term Evaluation and the 2010 South Sudan Household Health Survey to design a new five-year primary health care service delivery and health systems strengthening activity. This short-term assignment is for approximately 34 LOE days from October until November 2011.Responsibilities:
The Lead Consultant will be responsible for overseeing the team and ultimately responsible for the submission of the final deliverables to the Mission. S/he will provide team leadership and plan and coordinate meetings. S/he will lead the preparation and presentation of the deliverables to USAID/Sudan and other major partners. Ideally, the Lead Consultant will have a broad public health technical background including substantial experience in designing integrated service delivery programs and some professional background in implementing and evaluating integrated primary health care (including community-based) programs and health governance.

Qualifications:
• Bachelors Degree and minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible work experience OR Masters Degree and a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience with a USG foreign affairs agency, large international assistance organization, or non-governmental organization in at least one area of following (child health, nutrition, malaria, maternal health, family planning, water hygiene and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS).
• Demonstrated knowledge of project design in health systems with a minimum of 15 years of senior-level experience. Extensive experience and knowledge in project design for integrated service delivery.
• Experience designing USAID health programs, policies, and procurement mechanisms.
• Familiar with USAID’s Global Health Initiative, BEST Action Planning, and the USAID Forward Initiative Agenda
• Demonstrated experience working with host-country led initiatives with multiple stakeholders and a variety of financing arrangements.
• Demonstrated ability to effectively cooperate with national governmental, donors and non-governmental agencies in the design, and dissemination of required tasks.
• Demonstrated technical competence to design practicable and feasible integrated health programs.
• Knowledge of Southern Sudan, or familiarity of working in similar low-resource countries and in East/North Africa.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

To apply, please visit our website: http://www.msiworldwide.com

Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
Lead Strategy Alignment and PMP Development Specialist, SUPPORT, Juba, SudanProject/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150

Position Summary:
The Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy is captured under DO 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained, which incorporates activities under Health, Education, Nutrition and Water and Sanitation. For post-conflict countries, the Agency’s Education Strategy requires that at the early stages of state reconstruction/recovery, development efforts should be focused on the expansion of education opportunities and establishment of institutions, structures and systems, and human capacity development in order to create the enabling institutional environment and education delivery platform for long-term improved education outcomes. The two evaluators will develop a new Performance Management Plan (PMP) to regulate the monitoring, reporting and evaluation functions related to implementation of the Transition Strategy in South Sudan. This PMP is expected to align the design of new activities, and the reporting of results and evaluation of context and other performance evaluation under ongoing and new activities with the programming and reporting requirements contained in the Agency Education Strategy. The assignment is for approximately 36 LOE days from October – November 2011.

Responsibilities:
The Lead Consultant will be responsible for overseeing the team and ultimately responsible for the submission of the final deliverables to the Mission. The objective of assignment is to develop for implementation, a Performance Management Plan (PMP) that will support the monitoring and reporting of results and the evaluation of program performance and/or impact and other contextual analysis that could inform evidenced-based programming under the Education component of Development Objective (DO) 3: Essential Services Developed and Sustained of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy. Specifically, the specialists will:

1) Review the Education component of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and its results reporting framework to determine the extent of alignment with the programming considerations for post-conflict countries as outlined in the Agency’s Education Strategy.
2) Perform an indicator gap analysis between the results framework indicators of the USAID/South Sudan Transition Strategy and the proposed indicators of the Agency’s Education Strategy and advise on how future interventions under the Transition Strategy may be designed to better align with Agency’s Education Strategy.
3) Prepare a graphic results framework that presents the DO and IR statements as well as the proposed indicators on a single sheet.
4) Prepare detailed narratives for the DO and IR level (incorporating relevant outcome and output indicators outlined under Goals 1 and 3 of the Agency’s Education Strategy). The narratives should discuss what result is expected to be achieved and why/how the proposed goal, result and activity level indicators will successfully measure progress toward the achievement of the DO and IR; ensuring that performance indicators are direct, objective, useful for management, adequate and attributable to USAID.
5) For each selected indicator, and as part of development of respective indicator reference sheets, outline appropriate plans for performance data collection and analysis, for performance reviews.
6) Prepare Performance Indicator Reference Sheets for each selected indicator.
7) Establish baseline data collection and processing framework for each selected indicator.
8) Document data validation and quality assurance processes to enhance the year-on-year integrity of reported performance data.
9) Establish Audit Readiness mechanisms to enhance the maintenance of effective internal controls over data processing and an audit trail to safeguard the integrity of performance data reporting processes.
10) Determine the range of evaluations and other studies required to enhance evidenced-based programming over the life of the Transition Strategy.
11) Package materials/narratives into a draft Performance Management Plan for submission to the DO.
12) Prepare a final draft of the DO PMP that incorporates feedback received from the DO Team for final submission.
Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s Degree and minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible work experience OR Master’s Degree and a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience with a USG foreign affairs agency, large international assistance organization, or non-governmental organization.
• Strong skills in PMP development, performance indicator measurement and reporting processes of USAID projects (preferably 10 years or more)
• Experience in the design of development assistance projects in conflict-affected contexts (preferably 5 years or more)
• Strong skills in descriptive and inferential statistical analysis and data presentation
• Strong research and writing skills
• Extensive experience working in East Africa and in South Sudan
• Facilitation experience, experience leading participatory program strategy designs that include intended program beneficiaries as active participants in the design processes

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

 

Health Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor (7 mos), Juba, South Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description

Health Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor (7 mos), Juba, South Sudan

 

Company Profile:  Management Systems International (MSI) is a global international development firm based in Washington, D.C. providing specialized short- and long-term technical assistance. MSI is part of Coffey International Development, a global international development consulting firm. Together with Coffey ID, MSI now has more than 1,500 development professionals worldwide, a corporate presence in 11 countries and manages more than 200 projects worldwide. It currently manages more than 20 long-term projects in countries, including Iraq, Sudan, Colombia and Russia. Broadly, MSI implements a range of analytical and field projects in its core technical areas, including democracy and governance, strategic management and performance improvement, organizational capacity building, human development and natural resource management. For more information on MSI, please visit our website at www.msiworldwide.com.

Project/Proposal Summary: 

MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI is currently establishing an office compound suitable for USAID and partner meetings in Southern Sudan, hiring technical and support staff and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150

 

Position Summary:

The USAID/Sudan Health Team is responsible for managing a portfolio that includes HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, reproductive health and family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, rational pharmaceutical management, and integrated disease surveillance and response.  The Specialist will need to play a significant role in helping to manage and strengthen systems to assess and monitor program performance across the Health portfolio.  S/he will work closely with Health Team technical staff, MSI M&E staff, PEPFAR staff, and implementing partner organizations, as well as the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) Ministry of Health (MOH), multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, and UN technical agencies. This short-term assignment will be based in Juba, Sudan from September 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012.

Responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership in the aggregation, management, and analysis of partner program data.
  • Responsible for accurate representation of indicators, established baselines, targets, data sources, and data quality issues.
  • Backstop and provide interim support for PEPFAR Strategic Information Advisor as needed.
  • Undertake a minimum of monthly monitoring and supervision visits to Health Team project sites.
  • Draft technical narratives and performance reports for multiple audiences.
  • Develop Scopes of Work and management of relevant health team assessments or evaluations.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, International Affairs, Public Administration or a related field and at least 8 years of relevant experience, or a Masters Degree and 6+ years of experience;
  • Prior experience living and working in developing countries;
  • Experience working with local NGOs;
  • Prior experience working in Southern Sudan preferred;
  • Excellent verbal, writing, and communications skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in teams;
  • Fluency in English.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

Outreach and Communications Officer, Juba, Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description
 Outreach and Communications Officer, Juba, SudanProject/Proposal Summary:
MSI was awarded a three-year contract with USAID/Sudan on a project named SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking), and tasked with the responsibility of executing functions normally associated with USAID’s Program and Communications offices. As a part of the SUPPORT project, MSI hiring technical and support staff, assisting USAID with logistics, and facilitating VIP visits. For more information on our Sudan project
(Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking – SUPPORT) please follow this link: http://www.msiworldwide.com/index.cfm?msiweb=project&p_id=150Position Summary:
The Development Outreach and Communications Officer (DOC) for USAID South Sudan reports to the SUPPORT Chief of Party and to the USAID designate in Program Office, as an ICS. The DOC collaborates closely with all USAID technical teams, DOC counterparts in Washington, as well as implementing partners to design, develop and implement USAID’s communications and outreach strategy in South Sudan. The DOC collaborates with the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in Juba to ensure that USAID and State Department messaging are aligned and supportive of USG foreign policy objectives for South Sudan, and that the Embassy is fully apprised of USAID communications activities and projects. .
The DOC will support USAID/South Sudan in the achievement of its objectives by producing and disseminating public information about the Mission’s activities, for South Sudanese and American target audiences, to increase understanding of, and support for, USAID programs. The DOC will manage the collection, production and distribution of information associated with the USAID assistance program in South Sudan.

Responsibilities:
• Implement the Mission’s Communications and Outreach Strategy to increase host country and international external target audiences’ understanding of, and support for, USAID programs.
• Work with communications representatives of Implementing Partners (IP) to ensure appropriate branding and marking of communications materials, products and events sponsored by USAID.
• Conduct USAID’s media relations with representatives of the host country and international media to encourage placement of positive stories in print, broadcast and on-line media. Write and place op-eds in local media.
• Prepare Front Office and staff for interviews and public appearances with talking points to deliver a clear and consistent message.
• Monitor local and international press coverage, awareness and attitudes of USAID programs and monitor effectiveness of the communications strategy. Provide feedback to the Mission to inform ongoing activities and future programming.
• In conjunction with the Embassy, USAID Program Office, technical teams and implementing partners, organize and coordinate press events for USAID projects, such as inaugurations, ribbon-cuttings, and completion of projects. Support includes: writing press releases, organizing background briefings for media, compiling and disseminating press packets and on-site coordination of media. Follow-up with media to ensure coverage of public events.
• Assist in the preparation of briefing materials and scene setters for VIP visits. Participate in VIP activities as appropriate to document with still photographs and videos as well as to work with any media attending the activities.
• Maintain a calendar of USAID program events in close coordination with USAID technical staff and implementing partners.
• Design, develop and disseminate outreach materials to promote USAID programs to target audience and media, including outreach folders and fact sheets, newsletters, brochures, website, photo essays, video for broadcast, print and on-line media.
• Work with technical teams to produce videos and stills showcasing success stories and impact of project on beneficiaries. Videos (mini-documentaries) will be used for broadcast in South Sudan as well as to showcase USAID South Sudan’s work via on-line media (YouTube, links on USAID South Sudan Facebook page, Flicker and Twitter).Monitor comments on all social media and in consultation with the Mission respond to any comments/questions.
• Market and maintain current USAID/South Sudan website.
• Produce weekly reports highlighting program developments and achievements.
• Produce stories that focus on beneficiaries of USAID-funded programs. Develop, produce and disseminate success stories.
• Write articles and produce a monthly newsletter on activities in USAID South Sudan.

Qualifications:
• Master’s degree in the field of public relations, communications or a related development area is preferred.
• Prior experience on international development programs, particularly USAID funded, and in depth knowledge of development issues required.
• Minimum of ten years of professional experience in public relations, or related field is required. Proven track record of producing and disseminating information to a variety of target audiences under tight timeframes is required.
• The successful candidate must be capable of crafting messages in various media formats (press releases, websites, stories, etc.) targeting a variety of audiences.
• Demonstrated coordination and organizational skills within multi-cultural work environment are required.
• Ability to manage several tasks simultaneously and to work effectively under pressure. Take initiative and be creative.
• Knowledge of USAID-funded communications is highly desirable.
• Good written and oral communication skills; strong interpersonal skills and understanding of print, TV and social media are required.
• Knowledge of word processing and excel is required.
• Familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and website development preferred.
• Experience with social media including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flicker is required.

Additional Considerations Regarding work in South Sudan:

• Position requires travel throughout South Sudan

**Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.**

Food Security Specialist, Juba, the Republic of South Sudan
Location: South Sudan

Description

Food Security Specialist, Juba, the Republic of South Sudan

Position Summary:
The Food Security and Food Aid Monitoring Specialist will ensure effective management and targeting of FFP resources in South Sudan. His/her primary responsibilities are to monitor food security in South Sudan, the need for international food assistance, and the effectiveness and quality of implementation of Title II-funded food aid programs and to prepare reports to inform the USAID Mission, FFP/Washington and the regional FFP Office in Nairobi. Successful candidate will be monitoring both emergency and non-emergency programs being implemented in South Sudan.

** Please note: This is a local position. Only Sudanese citizens are eligible for this position.**

Responsibilities:
• Review, evaluate and apply complex policies and regulations.
• Provide rapid, concise, accurate reporting, both verbally and in writing.
• Grasp and theorize the complexities of food security, the wide variety of dynamic, influencing factors and the potential influence of international food assistance.
• Collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data related to complex concepts of food security and influencing factors.
• Work cooperatively in teams and multicultural environment.
• Willingness to regularly undertake extensive field work assignments for weeks at a time, often in austere conditions, spending approximately 50% of the time away from his/her base of operations.

Required/ Preferred Qualifications:
• Education: Bachelor’s degree is required in a field relevant to food security and food aid program management, such as agriculture, nutrition, international development or economics.
• Experience: At least five years of progressive responsibility in Humanitarian Assistance including experience working in South Sudan and food aid or related field work experience is required.
• Language ability: Must be fluent in English and South Sudan Local Dialect including Speaking, Reading, and Writing. (This will be tested)
• Knowledge of Arabic and additional languages is highly desirable.
• Competency in computer basic skills, to include knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel, e-mail, and internet required. (This will be tested)
• Ability to review, evaluate and apply complex policies and regulations.
• Ability to provide rapid, concise, accurate reporting, both verbally and in writing
• Ability to grasp and theorize the complexities of food security, the wide variety of dynamic, influencing factors and the potential influence of international food assistance
• Experience collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data related to complex concepts of food security and influencing factors
• Ability to work cooperatively in teams and multicultural environment.
• Willingness to regularly undertake extensive field work assignments for weeks at a time, often in austere conditions, spending approximately 50% of the time away from his/her base of operations.
• Good interpersonal communication skills.
• A solution-seeking attitude.

Salary Grade:
This is an FSN 10.

This assignment will be for a period of one year subject to renewal based on availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

To apply, please visit our website: http://www.msiworldwide.com.

SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN: What the analysts are saying post-secession

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

201107110844230335.jpg

Photo: Tim McKulka/UN Photo
Celebrating independence

JUBA, 3 October 2011 (IRIN) – It is two months since the euphoria surrounding South Sudan’s peaceful secession from the north after decades of civil war, but violence in the border regions has flared since May. In a split still lacking clarity over border demarcations and the division of resources, several reports have outlined escalating tensions that have killed scores of people and pushed tens of thousands to leave their homes.

A report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), Sudan – Avoiding a new crisis, released on 1 October, says the lack of political inclusivity and the heavy-handed approach of President Omar al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to crush rebels and dissent could lead to a civil war in Sudan and destabilize the whole region.

The think-tank says that “conflict is spiralling out of control” in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following Sudan’s attempts to forcefully disarm and dissolve the northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) that fought against Khartoum for autonomy with the South for years.

Sudan’s refusals to pull troops put of the contested Abyei region and listen to marginalized people in eastern states and western Darfur could lead to mass unrest. The group also fears South Sudan being dragged into its first war, as accusations from both countries amplify over the funding of rebel groups to destabilize each other’s fragile political and economic situations.

In late August, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International documented civilians in South Kordofan talking about the daily, indiscriminate bomb attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces that have killed many civilians and displaced more than 150,000 people since June.

Despite calls from these agencies to allow humanitarian aid to reach conflict areas, Bashir has steadfastly refused anyone but the Sudanese Red Crescent access since late August. On 29 September, foreign minister Ali Karti said Sudan could only allow aid groups to work in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan once a ceasefire was in place.

On African Arguments, author and expert on the Nuba people Nanne op’Tende says that after a 2001 ceasefire between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLM Nuba in South Kordofan, she wrote about why this ethnic group needed to return home. She hoped that the Nuba could turn their SPLM rebel movement into a political force, capable of negotiating themselves a better deal under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Op’Tende now thinks that neither side was ready to end the war, while the Nuba are once again trapped in a cycle of conflict.

Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow of the Rift Valley Institute, accuses too many people “addicted to the pornography of bloodshed” who know too little about Sudan of meddling in its affairs. He criticizes NGOs for spurring on rebellions in Blue Nile from ousted SPLM governor Malik Agar and Abdal-Aziz al-Hilu’s operations in South Kordofan in the belief they will bring down Bashir’s regime. He explains why calling for US military intervention, the imposition of a no-fly zone over Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile and the destruction of the government’s offensive aerial assets are as bad at fomenting further unrest as hardline pledges of fighting until dissent is stamped out.

At end-September, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 25,000 people had fled over the border to Ethiopia in the previous three weeks to escape air raids in Blue Nile state. With fighting continuing between the Sudanese army and rebels in Blue Nile, UNHCR said many refugees were taking beds, animals and televisions in expectation of a long exile. With another 10,000 expected arrivals, UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration have launched an US$18.3m appeal for Blue Nile refugees.

When Sudanese Armed Forces stormed into Abyei in May, the George Clooney-sponsored Satellite Sentinel Project claimed footage showed that one-third of civilian buildings were destroyed by tanks and looting. More than 110,000 people fled south of the border and have been stuck in South Sudan ever since in areas hit by flooding and food insecurity, as the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (OCHA) requested humanitarian access to Abyei.

The former southern minister Luka Biong Deng also called for access to the disputed territory from both sides of the border on legal and political grounds that mean the area of “special status” belongs to no one until both countries reach an agreement.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) warned that escalating inter-communal violence in Jonglei from cattle raids threatened to destabilize the new country. UNMISS Special Representative Hilde Johnson said containing the increasing brutality and sophistication of these armed attacks to a state the size of Bangladesh was the peacekeeping mission’s highest priority. "If it gets out of hand, we will be in a situation where the cycle of violence will escalate to unknown proportions in South Sudan," she said on 27 September.

Darfur

In Darfur, the impact of rebel Khalil Ibrahim’s return from Libya following Col Muammar Gaddaffi’s fall could spell further trouble in the war-ravaged area as the region’s strongest rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), regains a leader who is hell-bent on toppling Sudan’s government.

Meanwhile, Dissent Magazine mourns the loss of the UN Panel of Experts for Darfur set up in 2005 to monitor an embargo on the movement of arms and military supplies and a UN Security Council ban on military flights into the Darfur region. It claims the region has been bombed more than 100 times this year, and Sudan’s government has succeeded in closing down the most authoritative body investigating reports of indiscriminate aerial attacks, and those targeting civilians.

A Human Rights Watch report in July also lamented the world’s apparent disinterest in Darfur since South Sudan’s independence. It said that during this period, Sudan stepped up bombing attacks on civilians, displacing more than 70,000 people, largely from ethnic Zaghawah and Fur communities linked to rebel groups.

hm/mw

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93874

Oil Conflict Threatens to Break Out

Posted: October 3, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Charlton Doki*

Southern Sudanese soldiers from the armed faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. / Credit:Peter Martell/IRIN
Southern Sudanese soldiers from the armed faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

JUBA, Oct 3, 2011 (IPS) – The communities living on the South Sudan-Sudan border may face genocide if the conflict between the two countries disputing control of oil reserves is not resolved.

There have been recent clashes between the Sudanese army, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as fighting between communities along the border. Southern Kordofan lies south of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum and borders the war-ravaged region of Darfur to the west. Blue Nile state lies south east of Khartoum and borders Ethiopia to the east.

This comes as the communities in these oil states become progressively militarised with arms increasingly available to civilians, according to a report by a local non-governmental organisation.

"One day the communities on the border may end up either facing genocide or there may be a very heavy war as the governments in both countries do not value the lives of the people but the resources they are sitting on. These resources will undermine the value of the lives of human beings," Edmund Yakani, the coordinator for the local NGO Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), told IPS.

"The governments in the two countries look at the border from the perspective of economic gains rather than from the perspective of the communities living here," he added.

Yakani said the borders are important as the economic strength of the two countries is defined here. "If you talk about petroleum it is found here, at the border. That is why the (National Congress Party) NCP-led government in Khartoum is now saying that areas like Heglig, near Unity state, and Kaka, in Upper Nile state (where there is a high production of petroleum) are disputed areas," he said.

About 85 percent of the oil produced in Sudan and South Sudan combined comes from South Sudan. Much of the oil produced in South Sudan comes from the border states of Bentiu and Upper Nile. However, there is also oil in Jonglei state, which is in the interior.

A CEPO report released on Sep. 17 found that the communities on the South Sudan-Sudan border are highly militarised and experience a lot of insecurity and violence. The report found that there was a "rapid flow of arms into the hands of the civil population" on the Sudanese side in order to instigate violence with those living across the border.

"On the South Sudanese side civilians have acquired guns, supposedly for self-defence against – what they see as – Khartoum aggression and invasion," the report said.

This situation could eventually lead to a war.

"The South has displayed extraordinary restraint in the face of extreme aggression from Khartoum," Eric Reeves, a Sudan analyst and researcher at Smith College in the United States, told IPS.

"It hasn’t responded with force despite continued bombing of its own territory that began almost a year ago last November, systematic assaults by military aircraft on Southern territory as well as the military seizure of Abyei; it has thus far avoided joining forces with the fighters in the Nuba Mountains of (South Kordofan) or in the Blue Nile. But this can only last for so long," Reeves said.

If Khartoum’s assault on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border town of Kurmuk – the dominant stronghold of the SPLA-N – continues, the likelihood of a united front between disparate forces fighting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir’s troops increases.

"Khartoum is moving with a full armoured brigade towards Karmuk, the capital of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)," Reeves told IPS. "If that falls it’s going to signal a continuing guerilla warfare of the sort we are seeing in South Kordofan."

"This is no ordinary guerilla warfare," he added. "The men fighting (Khartoum) may not have as much equipment as the SAF, but they are highly motivated and too well trained to be easily defeated."

"A senior official of the SPLM-N, told me that many Northern soldiers have no stomach for this fight. This has caused Khartoum’s generals to rely more on the use of artillery, tankfire and military aircraft – which is a great way to kill civilians but not a strategic way to dislodge a military (guerilla) force. So we are definitely looking at a protracted conflict," Reeves told IPS.

"If South Sudan and the Nuba fighters link up with the SPLA-N military forces in Blue Nile and the rebels in Darfur, we will see a war stretching from the Chadian border to the Ethiopian border and potentially up the Eritrean border as well," Reeves told IPS.

The CEPO report recommended an immediate demarcation of the border to "minimise settlement along the border line, save the lives of the communities, minimise displacement and violence along the border line."

The conflict has also affected oil production as oil contractors move away from areas of violence. Currently 98 percent of South Sudan’s revenue comes from oil.

Undersecretary at South Sudan’s South Petroleum and Mining Ministry David Loro Gutbek told IPS that oil production in both Sudan and South Sudan has decreased in the border areas. "As of now our production in South Sudan has gone down from 85,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 60,000 bpd."

The reduced production is in three oil well blocks in Unity state where most of the country’s oil is found. Production in Melut in Upper Nile, which is not affected by violence, continues as normal. "On the Sudanese side of this area of the border, oil production has reduced from 60,000 bpd to only 48,000 barrels," Gutbek added.

Gutbek said that if production was normal, South Sudan would produce 300,000 bpd. He said amidst the violence it was not possible to provide security around the oil production areas and as a result "unknown people" were sabotaging the oil industry.

"They cut cables in the fields and these then need to be fixed, which slows down the work and lowers the quantities of oil produced per day," he said.

Gutbek told IPS that if the violence continued the oil production would continue to decrease. However, he was hopeful that a solution would be found and the border area would be secured.

"Some measures will be taken by the two governments in Juba and Khartoum to ensure that nothing interferes with the quantities of oil produced along the border. A security committee comprising officials from both Sudan and South Sudan has agreed to monitor the situation and improve security along the border area," he said.

Environmental economist and World Bank consultant on Private Sector Development in South Sudan, Spencer Kenyi told IPS that he believed the violence along the oil rich border would – as he put it – push South Sudan to develop its own oil infrastructure to avoid relying on Sudan. It had been a long-term plan of South Sudan, but the country may have to do this sooner than expected.

"Although violence is not a welcome thing, it is going to create some positive move in South Sudan where the government will think about setting up its own oil, facilities like pipelines and refineries," he said.

South Sudan plans to build three refineries and has discussed as a 3,600 km pipeline from South Sudan to then Kenyan port of Lamu.

South Sudan currently pays what it calls exorbitant fees for the use of Sudan’s pipelines and support services. The bulk of the infrastructure that supports the oil industry is in Sudan. Sudan has three refineries located in Khartoum, Port Sudan, and El-Obeid. The Khartoum refinery was expanded in 2006 from a capacity of 50,000 barrels per day to 100,000 bpd. The Port Sudan facility is located near the Red Sea and has a refining capacity of 21,700 bpd.

"It will lead the government of South Sudan to refocus its strategy in the oil industry. They will speed up the idea of setting up transport systems for oil export from South Sudan in order to circumvent the violence that’s going on in the border areas," Kenyi said.

He added that if the violence continued South Sudan may have to completely shut down the oil sector, though temporarily. "The government may close the oil sector completely for a certain period and focus on areas like livestock farming and agriculture as the biggest income earner for the economy," he said.

He explained that this would in turn "break the back of the violent conflict arising out of the oil wealth along the border" and any subsequent efforts to demarcate the border will be much more amicable and peaceful.

*Kanya D’Almeida in Washington contributed to this report. (END)

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