F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7
Editor: Philip Tang, A&S '95
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The FBI is negotiating a hostage situation, the International Criminal Court is deciding whether to enter a dispute, and Dan Shapiro is fussing with his wife over who should wash the dishes. In each of these situations, Shapiro believes that "the problem isn't the only problem — it's how to deal with the people."
Shapiro is founder and director of Harvard University's
International Negotiation Initiative. He is a recognized
force in peace psychology and an expert on the emotional
dimension of conflict, developing strategies to make the
world a more peaceful place. After decades of research,
Shapiro believes it is possible to turn almost any
disagreement into an opportunity for mutual gain by
addressing the emotional needs of each negotiator.
|Dan Shapiro, founder of Harvard's International Negotiation Initiative: "The problem isn't the only problem — it's how to deal with the people"||
On the faculty at Harvard Law School and in the psychiatry
department at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital,
Shapiro has used his theories to train Middle Eastern
negotiators, Chinese officials, Macedonian politicians,
Serbian parliament members, and senior U.S. officials, as
well as corporate executives, attorneys, psychologists, and
family mediators. He is an adviser to the International
Criminal Court and conducted conflict management training
in Croatia and Serbia during the Bosnian War.
In 2002, he traveled to Montenegro — then aligned
with Serbia and still quite volatile — to teach
negotiation at a conference designed to give government
officials a better understanding of the political dynamics
within coalition systems. He held a session with members of
the education, judicial, environment, and labor committees
of the Parliament of Serbia, as well as ministerial
representatives and a senior member of the Republic
Parliament. Shapiro shared his theory that emotions are a
major cause of conflict in groups, and that, by
understanding the nature of emotions and how to transform
them, the officials could negotiate in a more systematic
and constructive way.
|"There are core concepts of psychology that are important in all of our relationships, whether you are the president of a country, president of a corporation, or president of the PTA." —Dan Shapiro||
"Take the simple case of a group of friends trying to
decide where to eat," Shapiro says. "It can be 45 minutes
before you decide where to go. Now think about the
complicated dynamics of a 17-party coalition trying to
negotiate serious matters where each party has constituent
demands, multiple internal pressures, and individual
aspirations. As you can imagine, it's quite a challenge,
but negotiation offers a set of tools that can help foster
Shapiro's work stems from a project he started as a psychology major at Johns Hopkins. He had developed a strong interest in Eastern European culture after his family hosted a Hungarian foreign exchange student. After Communist regimes tumbled around 1990, Eastern Europe's reconstruction efforts concentrated on economics and military strategy. Shapiro thought one important area was being overlooked — the emotional dimension of conflict resolution. "Each of the cultures of Eastern Europe has a rich culture, a sense of its own tradition and self. That's what I fell in love with," Shapiro says. "But I think that's what caused many of the challenges in that region — people trying to negotiate over identity."
At Johns Hopkins, Shapiro met renowned psychotherapy researcher Jerome Frank and over four years developed a program to train the next generation of Eastern Europeans how to deal with conflict more effectively. The program is now taught in more than 30 countries in Eastern and Central Europe, in venues ranging from elementary school classrooms to World Health Organization workshops.
In 2005, Shapiro co-authored the bestseller Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate (www.beyond-reason.net), in which he and Roger Fisher articulate five "core concerns" that lie at the heart of almost any conflict. Their advice on how to use those concerns to stimulate helpful emotions has been used successfully by hostage negotiators, disputing marital couples, venture capitalists, and leaders of countries at war. The book's final chapter is a contribution by Jamil Mahuad, president of Ecuador from 1998 to 2000, who documents how he used the core-concerns framework to help resolve a longstanding, violent border dispute with Peru.
Shapiro is now developing theories about how to understand power in a global community where religious and cultural groups are gaining influence over governments. "Power no longer resides solely with states," Shapiro says. "We need to understand the world's new tribal dynamic, where power lies with groups of people willing to die for their cause, and we need to learn how to negotiate and prevent these complex conflicts.
"There are core concepts of psychology that are important in all of our relationships, whether you are the president of a country, president of a corporation, or president of the PTA," says Shapiro. "We are so trained to focus on the substance of a conflict — on money, for example — when the critical challenge is how to deal with those issues beyond reason." —Nora Koch
In more than three decades as a music teacher in
Baltimore-area public schools, Jan Webber has witnessed
firsthand the transformative power of music. Her students
have ranged from the "globally gifted" (from Baltimore's
Gifted and Talented program) to children who are
cognitively or emotionally challenged to those from
disadvantaged neighborhoods. "In all instances, I
discovered personally what current research studies are now
reporting: The study of the arts contributes to student
achievement in the classroom-and in life," Webber says.
Janice Webber has seen firsthand music's transformative
Photo by Will Kirk
One fourth-grade student, for example — a foster
child who refused to speak or look others in the eye
— found his voice through the clarinet, says Webber.
"Within two years of initiating music study, he became the
concertmaster for a 100-piece Baltimore City-wide
elementary school band and earned a scholarship to the
Webber created a course called "The Power of Music," which has been offered through the continuing education program at the Community College of Baltimore County. The course addresses music's positive effects on memory, health, relaxation, and healing. Last year, she also became program director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS), a Maryland nonprofit dedicated to advancing the arts in public education. "Classes in the arts are too often the last to be added and the first to be dropped in times of strained budgets and shifting priorities," she says.
Despite her increased workload, Webber continues to teach clarinet minors at the Peabody Conservatory, though she often considers herself the student. "The students I have taught from 1980 to the present have been from all divisions of JHU," she says. "They continue to inspire me. It has been an honor to be involved with their personal and musical growth through the years — and to learn so much from them." —Philip Tang, A&S '95
Witness to Nuremberg, by Richard W. Sonnenfeldt,
Engr '49, Arcade (2006)
Romare Bearden: The Caribbean Connection, by
Sally Price, A&S '82 (PhD), and Richard Price, Prof. of
Anthropology '74-'88, University of Pennsylvania Press
In the movie Meet the Parents, Robert De Niro's character, a former CIA agent, takes Ben Stiller, his future son-in-law, down to the basement and hooks him up to a vintage polygraph machine. It's played for laughs — the impromptu interrogation is more than a bit nerve — racking and unfair.
Now imagine if, in real life, a government job interview or proof of your innocence hinged on one of these devices, the technology for which has been around more than 80 years. The modern polygraph, invented in 1921, relies on blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and skin perspiration to gauge levels of anxiety.
It was that fact that inspired Steven Laken to build a
better lie trap. A few years ago, Laken, a geneticist who
studied under Bert Vogelstein in the School of Medicine's
cellular and molecular medicine program, asked himself, Why
measure stress in the fingers and skin when you can go
right to the source of a lie, a person's brain?
|Regions in the brain's frontal lobe are activated when a person lies.||
In 2003, he met like-minded Andy Kozel, then a researcher
at the Medical University of South Carolina, who had
recently applied for patents on technology that used
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect
regions of the brain that are activated when someone tells
a lie. The next year, Laken founded the Cephos Corporation
to build on Kozel's work and set out testing and
fine-tuning the technology.
Basically, Cephos uses medical imaging to peer inside a
person's head during deception. The subject lies down in
the fMRI scanner and faces a screen that flashes a series
of "yes" and "no" questions. In clinical trials, Laken and
company first instructed the subjects to "steal" an object,
like a watch or a ring. While in the scanner, the subjects
were then asked simple, 5th-grade-level questions,
generated randomly, such as "Is today Tuesday?"; "Is your
name Mark?"; and "Did you put the watch in your
|"When you tell the truth, the brain moves relatively fast. You simply don't have to think about things. To lie, however, you have to first understand the question and then come up with an alternative communication."||
When the person told the truth, little brain activity was
registered. However, when a person lied, regions in the
brain's frontal lobe were activated, as evidenced by blood
flow picked up by the scanner. In essence, the trials found
that truth is a no-brainer.
"When you tell the truth, the brain moves relatively fast.
You simply don't have to think about things," Laken says.
"To lie, however, you have to first understand the question
and then come up with an alternative communication. What we
believe is happening is that people have to control
responses that don't readily come out of their mouths, or
are signaled another way."
|Steve Laken is using functional magnetic resonance imaging to look for lies where they start: inside a person's brain.||
The results of the clinical trials were eye-opening. Cephos
achieved 90 percent accuracy during the testing, and Laken
believes a goal of 95 percent accuracy is obtainable in the
next four years. The fMRI tests are also relatively
inexpensive and fast, typically lasting only 20 minutes.
Comparatively, a polygraph test takes roughly a half day to
perform and can be anywhere between 60 to 90 percent
accurate. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences in a
major study questioned the validity of polygraph use and
suggested that both false negatives and false positives
occurred too frequently for the device to be used
Part of the problem, Laken says, is the "human factor." "The reliability of the [polygraph] tests is determined somewhat by the quality of the examiner. Some are simply better than others. Also, if someone is pre-conditioned to believe that a person did it, or is lying, they might exhibit subtle nuances that can influence the test," he says. "We try to remove all the human interaction from the testing and analysis with our technology." In Cephos' exams, automated computer algorithms perform all fMRI analysis.
So, in this world of truth and lies, who is buying? The two major target audiences for Cephos' next generation of lie detectors are government and the legal marketplace. Today, the government uses polygraph machines as part of the screening process for granting national security clearances. The Department of Defense alone spends more than $200 million annually on polygraph testing.
In 2006, Cephos secured an exclusive worldwide license to commercialize its technology and plans to bring its products to the marketplace this year. Laken says he realizes there may never be a device that can unequivocally tell if a person is lying or not, but why not strive for that ideal?
"I think our technology can save lives," he says. "There are a lot of people wrongly convicted in our judicial system. I hope our technology can make the system better and more accurate." —Greg Rienzi
|Cort McMeel looks for stories that reveal "the dark side of humanity."||
Staring down the barrel of a 12-gauge shotgun, the menacing
character on the front of this new literary magazine
practically dares a reader to look inside.
The man is Cort McMeel, whose passion (literature) and guilty pleasure (crime novels) inspired him to publish Murdaland: Crime Fiction for the 21st Century, a twice-yearly book-form magazine (www.murdalandmagazine.com ). The inaugural issue, which debuted last fall, is comprised of 16 original short stories — crime noir that will make even the most comfortable reader cringe.
"Not all fiction exists to make you feel good," says McMeel, who works as an energy trader by day. "These stories are all about the outlaws, criminals, outcasts, and life's losers, and their struggle." McMeel's own short story, "Nasty Jay," delves into the life of a washed-up boxer whose actions become murderous when the neighbors try to insinuate themselves into his rather unconventional family.
Along with a staff that includes former classmate Nick Swezey, A&S '92, McMeel read through 267 short story submissions and put together a collection of literary mayhem and gore. The first installation includes works by Mary Gaitskill, author of "Secretary," a short story that inspired the 2002 film of the same name; novelist Richard Bausch; and Tristan Davies, a senior lecturer in Johns Hopkins' Writing Seminars. So far a success, Murdaland received praise from reviewers and sold out in New York City stores and newsstands.
"Murdaland is for anyone who enjoys crime and anyone who enjoys literature," says McMeel. "These stories are the darker side of literature — they're entertaining, but also reveal a little wisdom and insight about the dark side of humanity. If I get a letter from a cop, an inmate, and a college professor, then I will have done my job." —NK
In September, Pär Ahlberger, Bol '91, succeeded Teppo Tauriainen as the Swedish ambassador to Singapore. Prior to his appointment Ahlberger served as deputy head of mission and minister of the Swedish embassy in Beijing, China. He previously served at the Swedish embassy in Copenhagen and also headed the Minister of Trade office in Stockholm.
The British Environment Agency has named the late Rachel Carson, A&S '34 (MA), the number one environmental campaigner of all time. Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, which described the effects of DDT and other pesticides, is widely credited as the impetus behind the modern environmental movement.
Cathy L. Lanier, Bus '03, '04 (MS), is the new chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC). Lanier, who joined the MPDC as a foot patrol officer in 1994, most recently served as commander in charge of the department's Office of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. She is Washington, D.C.'s first permanent female police chief.
James L. Sherley, Med '88 (MD/PhD), was recently named a recipient of the 2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award. He will receive $2.5 million over five years and will work to develop routine methods for the production of human adult stem cells from liver, pancreas, hair follicles, and bone marrow. Sherley is an associate professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Leadership Weekend 2006
Over Leadership Weekend 2006, alumni and friends came together in Baltimore to reconnect with Johns Hopkins, set the course for the year ahead, and celebrate success.
The three-day October event included gatherings of alumni groups and advisory committees, a meeting of the university's Board of Trustees, and the annual meeting of the Alumni Council, the 150-member governing body of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. At the council meeting, Rick Carr, Engr '78, passed the president's gavel to his successor, James A. Miller Jr., A&S '64. Miller will serve as president of the Alumni Association until October 2008.
At a gala dinner in the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center, university President William R. Brody thanked a crowd of nearly 700 guests for helping Johns Hopkins surpass its initial $2 billion goal in the Knowledge for the World campaign and announced a new goal of $3.2 billion. "In the six years since we began this campaign, the world has changed dramatically," Brody said. "Tonight we look out on a very different landscape. Before us is a world of profound new challenges and exciting new opportunities. Together, we will continue to move Johns Hopkins forward to sustain our leadership in education, discovery, patient care, and public service."
Join us in 2007 for exciting opportunities to discover the world with fellow alumni and, in many cases, Johns Hopkins professors:
Sedona and Grand Canyon
Sorrento/Orvieto with Professor Christopher
Barcelona and San Sebastian with Professor Franklin
Berlin, Dresden, and Prague
China and Tibet with Professor Carla Freeman
Sardinia and Corsica
Italian Lakes with Professor Stephen Campbell
Iceland with Professor Sigurdur Gislason
Romance of the Blue Danube
Ancient Mediterranean Family Cruise
Waterways of Russia with Professor Stephen
Seine River with Professor Orest Ranum
On February 12, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding by Baltimore philanthropist George Peabody. (See "To the Letter," p. 38.) To celebrate the institute's sesquicentennial, Peabody alumni set out to hold 150 performances around the globe.
The party's grown.
At press time, more than 220 "anniversary" performances featuring Peabody alumni and faculty were planned, representing some 27 states and 14 countries during the month of February.
On February 12 — the Peabody Institute's official birthday — Jeanine Trent, Peab '94 (DMA), will conduct the Inland Valley Symphony of Southern California, while Ireneus Zuk, Peab '85 (DMA), performs a piano duo during an evening of chamber music at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
Other performances include the Juneau Symphony, featuring violinist Annaliesa Place, Peab '01, in Alaska; the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with guest violist Kim Kashkashian, Peab '73, in the Netherlands; the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, featuring Principal Horn Marci Jackson, Peab '04, in China; Visions in Twilight, by composer Garrett Byrnes, Peab '99 (MM), in Athens, Greece; pianist Robert Miller, Peab '74 (MM), '79 (DMA), at the Sydney Opera House in Australia; and an "I Love Peabody" concert in Pembroke, North Carolina, featuring vocalists Gail Morfesis, Peab '79, '80 (MM), Robyn (Woodle) Stevens, Peab '88 (MM), Deborah Thurlow, Peab '88 (MM), and Laura (Hewitt) Zuiderveen, Peab '89 (AD).
For a complete list of celebratory performances, visit the Peabody Alumni Web page at www.peabody.jhu.edu/alumni. —PT
Ron D. Abrams, A&S '89
These alumni paid $1,000 lifetime dues between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006.
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