Monday, April 27, 2015


Even before the recent devastating earthquake, Nepal was a country facing a number of challenges.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been active there for a number of years seeking to "reinforce recent gains in peace and security, stabilize the transitional government, strengthen the delivery of essential social services, expand proven health interventions, and address the global challenges of food insecurity and climate change." To read more about the country both before and since the disaster, see this page from USAID:

To read about the additional aid now being offered by USAID, and to see how you can help too, see this page:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Electronic Cigarettes

"Mind if I vape?"  If you've heard that question, you're likely aware that the usage of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) is on the rise in America.  We don't yet know if e-cigs are a healthier alternative to their tobacco counterparts, but we do know that they sometimes explode unexpectedly.  This October 2014 report from the U.S. Fire Administration discusses incidents of fires and explosions related to e-cigs:

As for the overall health effects of these devices, the Food and Drug Administration is collecting public comments through July 2 to assist them with making appropriate rules.  See this site:  Until e-cigs are carefully studied and regulated, if you must vape, vape with great caution.

Monday, April 13, 2015

American English

Like Americans themselves, American English is complex and ever changing, which makes it a great challenge for people from other countries to learn.  The U.S. Department of State offers a variety of resources for those who are trying to learn American English, or to teach it to others, including this page on poetry:

Reading a few poems written by foreign students celebrating the wonders of education might even be motivational and/or inspirational for some of the less enthusiastic American students studying English.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Open World Leadership Center

For those of you who often wish we could all just get along, the Open World Leadership Center offers a step in that direction:

The mission of the Center is, "To enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and its free-market system."  Qualified organizations in the U.S. can apply for grants to host young leaders from the 18 participating countries. 

I don't know if American hosts are required to buy these young leaders a Coke and sing in harmony with them, but I suppose it's possible.