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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Week of May 26 – June 2, 2003

Week of May 26 – June 2, 2003

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May 26, 2003
Peaceful partners again…You’d never know that the United Nations Security Council had been fractured by rancorous infighting over whether Iraq should be invaded, based on how the Council is handling the post-war fallout. Britain and the US, which were previously out in the cold for pushing for the invasion of Iraq, now have the UN Council’s go-ahead to take control of the country until it forms a democratic government. SFU political scientist Lenard Cohen, an expert on Trans-Atlantic politics and tensions, says, "The US and Britain did the heavy lifting and took on the cost and loss of life to get rid of Iraq’s butcher and potential threat. It’s natural that those two countries should have a central role in guiding the use of oil revenue in the first stage of post-conflict reconstruction." Cohen can talk more in depth about the variety of reasons why countries previously opposed to the war are now supporting the US and Britain.

Experts meet on restorative justice…In a recent newspaper editorial SFU criminologist Liz Elliott says "conflict can be an opportunity to understand the brokenness of social connections, and to do something meaningful to repair harms. Restorative justice broadens the circle of engagement for addressing conflicts, and in the process, helps to build stronger communities." With that in mind, leading experts in the field of restorative justice are meeting June 1-4 at Vancouver’s Coast Plaza Hotel for the 6th international conference on restorative justice. They’ll target issues surrounding public/private partnerships in restorative justice programming; youth justice and the new Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act; restorative justice in public schools; aboriginal justice; victims’ perspectives and trauma recovery; and the evaluation of restorative justice processes and practices. Internationally known Australian criminologist John Braithwaite will address the conference June 1. Robert Gordon, director of SFU’s school of criminology (whose specialty is youth justice and policy) is among opening speakers and will later join in a discussion (with SFU gerontologist Charmaine Spencer) of healing approaches to elder abuse. Other SFU speakers include criminologists Raymond Corrado and Irwin Cohen, who are currently studying repeat violent young offenders, and Karlene Faith, who along with Elliott will look at problems associated with punishment.
Conference website:
    Meredith Egan, centre for restorative justice at SFU, 604.291.3644;
    604.832.0954 (cell phone during conference), or hotel messages, 604.688.7711

The realization of a cyberspace dream…The financial sign-on of some computer hardware and software heavy weights has transformed WestGrid, a $44 million computer grid, from being an academic’s cyberspace dream into a reality. Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard, IBM and SCI became involved in advancing the growth of WestGrid. They are contributing research facilities, computing tools and hardware to the development of a computer grid that will lasso the computing power of eight post-secondary institutions, including SFU, in B.C. and Alberta. Edmonton companies Yotta Yotta Inc. and BigBangwidth are also partners. The grid will enable geographically separated computers to share applications, data and computational resources. SFU mathematician Jonathan Borwein can elaborate on what industry investment means to the completion of WestGrid and how the grid’s computing capabilities will ultimately change the face or research, business and education. Initially, only academics and partner researchers will access the grid; 250 research teams will have the kind of computational power that allowed Boeing to completely computer-design and test its latest passenger jet. "As always university models lead the way. Within five years our grid solutions will be common within business," predicts Borwein, one of the pioneers behind the computational giant’s creation.