Tag: afghanistan

U of M Alum Awarded Nation’s Highest Military Honor



Next month, President Barack Obama will award the National Medal of Honor to former Army captain Florent A. Groberg. That will make this University of Maryland graduate only the tenth living person to receive the country’s highest military honor for service in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Johns Hopkins Graduate Gets Surprise Visit from Dad Serving in Afghanistan

Photo via the Hopkins Hub
Photo via the Hopkins Hub

This story is adorable, though it probably didn’t start out that way for Johns Hopkins senior Amanda Valledor. According to the Hopkins Hub, during yesterday’s commencement exercises, Valledor was told that her diploma had been misplaced, and that she’d have to wait around for a university staffer to find it for her. But the guy who actually showed up bearing her diploma was her dad, Colonel John Valledor, back on a surprise visit from his military service in Afghanistan. The two hadn’t seen each other in person in 14 months!

Johns Hopkins Honors Student Killed in Afghanistan



Last year, we reported on the tragic death of 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff, a Johns Hopkins graduate and U.S. aid worker who was killed by a roadside bomb. Hopkins students who knew and/or were inspired by Smedinghoff wanted to make sure to honor the young woman’s memory was kept alive. This Friday, as part of the university’s Foreign Affairs Symposium, they’ll be giving away the first annual Smedinghoff Award to honor a person who is working to bring change to the world.

25 Year-Old Hopkins Grad Killed in Afghanistan



All morning, I’ve been looking at photographs of Anne Smedinghoff, the 25 year-old Johns Hopkins grad and U.S. aid worker who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday. She just looks so young.

“Time Zones, Suicide Bombs, Patience”: A Bold Collaboration Between MICA and Afghanistan

Jalil Barati: “His documentary photographs offer images of Afghan people and places that encourage substance over mere recognition,” according to press doc.
Jalil Barati: “His documentary photographs offer images of Afghan people and places that encourage substance over mere recognition,” according to VisArts exhibit release.

Across nine and a half time zones, artists from MICA have collaborated with student artists from the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan (CCAA, Kabul, Afghanistan) to create an exciting and ambitious exhibit that responds to the virtual, long-distance communicative process at hand. That makes it sound almost straightforward or easy; the process hasn’t been simple. In fact, some assigned creative partnerships have even disintegrated.

The Tomboy Princess: Johns Hopkins Grad Student Sees Afghanistan Tragedy Firsthand


Rebecca Zimmerman is a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins’ SAIS studying the evolution of the U.S. military since 2001; Parwana was an eight-year old Afghani girl who was, in Zimmerman’s words, “equal parts tomboy and little princess.” Their very different lives were linked by tragedy this month in Kabul, as Zimmerman writes in the New York Times.

Baby’s First First-Person Shooter


As Baltimore writer Christine Grillo weighed whether to indulge her son’s passion for violent video games, she and her husband entered new levels of parental danger.

“But all my friends are playing them,” said my son.

Then he went on to explain, in actual tears, that he was being left behind and left out. In so many words, we, his parents, were depriving him of critical adolescent alliances in this tender developmental age when being part of the herd is much, much more important than, say, orthodontic hygiene or hanging up a towel after a shower. We were ruining his friendships and, therefore, his life.

The object of his desire? First-person-shooter games. For the uninitiated, first-person-shooter, or FPS, games are video games that allow the player — my 12-year-old son — to engage in close-range combat through the eyes of a buff protagonist, usually an American military squad leader. These games have names like “Call of Duty” (think there are any jokes about that one?) and “Gears of War,” and they feature firefights, sniper weapons, melee weapons, garroting, blood, and sometimes logic puzzles. The graphics can be stunning.

He begged for permission to play them.

And for the usual kumbaya reasons, we weren’t keen on this. We had notions: (1) The military industrial complex uses FPS games to train its soldiers. (2) FPS games minimize the lives lost in combat in real life (IRL). (3) FPS games will desensitize my son to violence IRL. (4) FPS games are a recruiting tool for the military. (5) Our son’s friends’ parents will hate us if we allow him to play FPS games — we’ll be ruining it for everybody.

But we entered into negotiations. Due diligence compelled us to canvass the parents of these friends, all boys, who played garden-variety video games and who, according to my son, were allowed to play FPS games, too. The parents’ comments were nearly unanimous: (1) The boy becomes a bona fide dope when he’s on the screen, regardless of whether that screen is a computer, a television, a handheld device, or something else. (2) The boy is bothering us about playing FPS games, too, and we don’t like them. (3) We want to pile up all the screens in the house and smash them with a sledgehammer. (4) We should take him camping more often. One of them said, “I feel like showing him the WikiLeaks video of the guy in the helicopter slaying innocent Iraqi citizens.” More on that later.

"Embroidered Treasures" at the BMA


Think you’re pretty crafty? Come view the BMA’s current textiles exhibition and knock yourself down a peg.

Embroidered Treasures features more than a dozen nineteenth and twentieth century textile pieces from what are now Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikstan. The pieces are splendid geometrical arrangements of flowers, insects, and animals handstitched by Central Asian women for urban and nomadic homes.

Looking at these ornate wedding canopies, wall hangings, and prayer mats it’s fun to imagine a time when wealth was projected by brightly colored silk embroidery rather than a fancy car or a plasma-screen TV. And in an age where almost everything you own was mechanically produced, these handmade textiles only seem more spectacular.

Embroidered Treasures: Textiles from Central Asia is on view at the BMA through May 13.