Author Archives: idahopublicradio2014

Science Diplomacy as a Tool for International Engagement

by Krystal Mullins

Idaho Public Radio

Dr. Bill Colglazier, a former science advisor to the Secretary of State and current advisor to the United Nations, spoke at the University of Idaho in Moscow on September 9 about science diplomacy and its use to generate relations with foreign countries.

“In this globalized interconnective world, I find that every country wants to build up their capacity in science and technology. They see that as key if they’re going to have a secure, prosperous country.” Colglazier said in an interview during his visit to the U of I.

Despite individual priorities each country has, Colglazier believes that common goals of reducing poverty, expanding education, and accelerating economic growth tend to be universally accepted.

“All 190 countries of the world subscribed to these broad goals as targets, and they recognize that if they’re going to make progress moving forward in these areas, they’re going to have to do a better job at harnessing science and technology.” Colglazier said.

“For the U.S., engaging in science and technology is a great asset, because even if the countries don’t like our government, they still want to engage with our universities, high tech private companies, and with our research institutions,” Colglazier continued.

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(Krystal Mullins photo)

Even though there have been some disputes recently on diplomacy, Colglazier still believes that the United States is a leader on this front and many countries still look to the U.S. as a model.

“One of the greatest diplomatic successes of the United States was having our universities attract students from other countries,” said Colglazier, “We have influenced people from around the world by what our universities do and our engagements.”

In his experience, Colglazier believes it is in the United States’ best interest to try and build up every society and make them more knowledge based. This includes working on improving education to ensure more highly trained individuals, leading to other countries contributing to advancements in science and technology globally.

“Young students around the world are very similar. They’re idealistic, they want to make the world a better place and use their expertise to contribute to these greater goals,” Colglazier said.

Science diplomacy can be the tool of engagement when interacting with other countries, and Colglazier believes scientists and experts have a significant part to play in government and public understanding.

“There are these broader issues that affect the globe whether that’s dealing with the climate or oceans, and scientists and technologists have an important role in helping countries understand how they will be affected,” Colglazier said.

Colglazier’s visit was organized by the College of Science, the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, and the Martin Institute at the U of I.

Posted October 17, 2019

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Collaboration, Leadership Were Keys to Pullman-Moscow Airport Runway Project

Collaboration and leadership were keys to the the new runway alignment project at the  Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:07)

Listen:

Elliot Black, the director of airport policy at the FAA,  said the first time he heard about the proposal for a new runway at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, he thought, what could possibly be so complicated?

Elliot Black: “And until I came out, and got the briefing, I didn’t get it. But having come out and heard it, and heard it loud and clear from the communities, and seeing the level of commitment from the universities, from the communities, from the public entities and private entities that came together, that doesn’t just happen by accident. That takes strong leadership.”

Black was among the many speakers at the October 10th ribbon cutting for the new runway who cited collaboration and leadership as keys to the project. Here’s Washington U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers:

McMorris-Rodgers: “It really is an example of a local community coming together, imagining what’s possible, and getting it done.”

Specifically, speakers cited the work of Airport Director Tony Bean over the past several years to see the project through. Bean himself told the crowd that large projects require serious drive, and drive comes from belief, and he said he always believed in this project.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted October 11, 2019

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“Climate Change has clearly become a driver of conflict”

by Glenn Mosley

Idaho Public Radio

“Climate Change has clearly become a driver of conflict,” former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power told a full house at the 2019 Borah Symposium at the University of Idaho.

This year’s symposium centered on “Climate and Conflict,” and Power delivered the keynote presentation on October 9.

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“Unlike threats like nuclear proliferation, or even this human rights recession,” Power told the audience, “Climate is the rare challenge about which each of us can do something immediately. Whether that is working to elect state and local officials who will pledge…to meet and then expand the Paris commitments; or divesting from carbon intensive companies, as a number of religious institutions and philanthropic organizations have already done; there’s lots to be done, and there’s our individual practices, how we live our lives, and how we even think about our emissions and our contribution to the problem.”

Power served as the 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.

She began her career as a war correspondent covering the Yugoslav Wars. From 1998 to 2002, she was the Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and later she was Harvard’s first Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy.

“My family and I have a saying when we’re about to do something hard,” Power said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.

“All of us, I think it’s safe to say, feel small in the face of climate change. All of us prepared to confront the facts and the science are afraid for our kids, our grandkids, and our planet, our natural world.

“But we really don’t have the luxury of allowing ourselves to be daunted by the gravity of the challenge. We, somehow, together, collectively, have to do our part, as citizens, potentially as well as public servants, as members of the private sector, as teachers, in so many roles, in this struggle, but we each have to do our part to return the United States to a leadership role and to help rally the world to address this gargantuan crisis.

“We need to overcome our fear of failure and find the courage and the resilience…to make up for lost time,” Power said.

During her day at the Borah Symposium, Power met with students from the Martin Institute. “I try to meet them where they are,” Power told us in an interview.  “They’re asking the question in a way that I wouldn’t have been at their age. They’re saying, what can I do? I want to make things different than they are right now.”

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This was the 72nd Borah Symposium at the University of Idaho. Since, 1948, the symposium has brought together world leaders, diplomats, scholars and activists to discuss current problems and offer solutions.

Past presenters have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Church, Thurgood Marshall, Stephen Jay Gould, David Halberstam, and  Philip Habib.

Posted October 10, 2019

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Digging into History at Moscow High School

A team of University of Idaho archaeologists, university students, and local high school students are conducting a public excavation at Moscow High School. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:56)

Listen:

As the students and the archeologists dig, their hope is to find clues to the past. Here’s Professor Mark Warner of the UI’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology:

Mark Warner: “There were a bunch of houses here, going back to the 19th century, and the particular places we’re putting holes in the ground right now is to do a couple of things. Maybe, one, to get the history of the 80 years of the high school that’s been here, but two, if we’re lucky, getting the history of some of these houses that go back to the earliest settlement in Moscow.”

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This public excavation in the latest such learning opportunity undertaken by the university scientists– recent stops have included the James Castle House in Boise. Always it’s with the intent of giving students and the public the opportunity to experience archaeology outside of the classroom.

The excavation will continue all this month at Moscow High School. The public is invited on Fridays and Saturdays.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted September 15, 2019.

2016 coverage from the James Castle House excavation in Boise:

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Mike Crapo’s Town Meetings

Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo has been holding town meetings across Idaho during August and September, talking with Idahoans about their concerns. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:53)

Listen:

Senator Crapo says that wherever he goes to host his town meetings, he finds that Idahoans are very concerned, very aware, and well-informed on the issues:

Sen. Crapo: “I go away from every one of my town meetings, even though the discussion cannot be predicted before it happened– I go away from every one of them with a renewed respect for the people of Idaho, with my batteries recharged.”

Crapo previously held town meetings in all 200 of Idaho’s incorporated cities, and has now held meetings in 58 unincorporated areas of the state.

He says that some of the issues raised change over time– lately he’s been talking with residents about everything from China to robocalls– but Crapo says some issues remain the same. Idahoans, he says, are consistently concerned about incivility in government, growth in government, and the national debt.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted September 5, 2019

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UI Arena Seen as Example of Momentum in Mass Timber Industry

Mass timber construction is gaining momentum in the United States, as highlighted by the new sports arena being built by the University of Idaho. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:07)

Listen:

 

When U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen visited the University of Idaho in June, she highlighted the use of mass timber in the new sports arena being built on the university’s Moscow campus:

Vicki Christiansen: “The development of mass timber, or wood-engineered timber, we can use much smaller diameter wood, that’s the products that really need to be thinned from the forests, and we can create it into something economical.”

Mass timber is a term used to describe a group of wood products formed by fastening or bonding smaller wood components to form prefabricated wood elements used as beams, columns, walls, and floors in buildings.

Christiansen says this is a critical time in the mass timber industry. She says a thriving mass timber market could help reduce excess vegetation in forests,  making for safer and more resilient communities, and she says it can support rural economic development.

The market for wood and other related forest products supports more than one million jobs, many in rural America. The Forest Service says that as these markets expand, so will the economic opportunities.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted August 15, 2019

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Funding School Facilities

Moscow Schools Superintendent Greg Bailey says it’s the thing he talks about lot.

“Right now we are one of the hardest states in the nation to pass a bond or to build facilities,” Bailey said. “You have a super majority but we also get very minimal funding from the state.

The superintendent brought the subject up again at a May 22 luncheon hosted by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce to provide a 2019 legislative review from Idaho District 5 legislators.

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(Photo: Paul Kimmell, left, moderates the May 22 discussion between District 5 legislators (left to right) Sen. David Nelson, Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, and Rep. Bill Goesling)

“I would really like to see our legislators start looking at that seriously,” Bailey said. “You look at the facilities in our communities– about the only place that’s passing these bonds for schools are the larger communities. As we’ve told a lot of people– our newest facility just turned 50 years old this past year. There’s a need.”

“This was in our Chamber survey, if you remember, about school facilities and how we fund those” Paul Kimmell of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee, said. “For the Chamber business community, this is a high priority, to figure this out.”

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(Screen grab, Moscow Chamber of Commerce 2019 Legislative Priorities Survey, released December 2018)

“I actually think the superintendent from Moscow School District has the best idea of any I’ve heard,” State Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy (R-Genesee) said. “In that the state would put up some challenge dollars to help support facilities.

“I’ve spent my career as a fundraiser. Everybody likes to think that their dollar can be doubled. And so if there was a way that we could look at these facilities and have the state put up some money to be matched by the community… I think that even if you had a 60% bond…the mountain would be easier to climb if there was a match on the other side,” Nilsson Troy said.

“I think it’s really important to find different methods to fund our schools,”  Sen. David Nelson (D-Moscow) said.

“Since our Constitution was written a hundred and twenty some years ago, life has changed, and we have rural communities with really older schools that are hard to maintain, and we have new, growing communities where they have different problems on getting their schools built,” Nelson said.

The legislature deferred on having a special committee on facilities, Nelson said, in favor of Governor Brad Little’s task force on public education issues in the state.

“One step going forward is the Governor has appointed a new task force to set priorities on education, and I do know they’re taking that as one of their walking points,” Nelson said.

Governor Little announced the members of his new “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” Task Force on May 15. The group is tasked with formulating a five-year blueprint “for improvement of and investment in Idaho’s K-12 public education system,” according to information from the Governor’s Office.

The task force members include teachers, school administrators, education stakeholders, business leaders, and a bipartisan group of legislators from across the state.

Jennifer Parkins, Board Chair, Genesee Joint School District and Idaho School Boards Association President, is on the task force.

Posted May 24, 2019

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