Footnotes from the British Underground

This blog began as venue for my stories as I traveled in Africa. 18 months later, I return to it as I travel to study as a Marshall Scholar in the United Kingdom. My hope is that this blog can be a conduit for you - my family, friends and secret/strange admirers - to track my movements, see a photo or two and get a glimpse of my days in the UK. Apologies once again to Dostoevsky for the blog's name...

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Location: Bradford, United Kingdom

After graduating from Notre Dame, I'm off to England for graduate study. I'll be studying for a M.A. in International Politics and Security Studies. When not studying, I'm continuing to coordinate Uganda-CAN's efforts to end the 20-year war in northern Uganda!

5.10.06

Notes from the Margins of Manchester...

I'm writing now from at the Britannia Hotel in Hale (a suburb of Manchester) where I'm spending the night; I'm flying off early tomorrow morning back to Washington D.C. for the Northern Uganda Lobby Day and Symposium that we've been working on for the last six months. Michael's done a helluva job, and it looks to be a truly special and hopefully impactive couple of days. But to be honest, I'm most excited to see old friends and colleagues...and especially a certain visitor from South Bend whom I'll be spending the weekend with. And finally of course, I'm excited to get back to my favorite Washington pub: the Ghana Cafe!

The last week in Bradford has been more or less stable and ordinary; a nice change from the madness of the first week. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Bradford is a remarkably diverse town with people and communities from all over the globe. In particular, it has large Middle Eastern and South Asian communities...and its well known across Britain as the land of the best curries. And after dinner last night at Kashmir Restaurant, I can testify to that. So even though it gets a bad rap for being small and industrial (wow, sounds like another place I went to college), it'll be a fascinating town to explore and experience for the year...

Yesterday, I went with other international students for tea with the Lord Mayor of Bradford City and a tour of the Town Hall Building. As you can see, it's has quite the architecture, making it the undisputed center of the city.

Three other quick notes:

1.) I'm officially a Liverpool fan.

2.) I'd take Gordon Brown over David Cameron for British PM any day of the week. Substance over style. Though of course a vibrant and competitive Liberal Democrat would be welcome...

3.) Even though, I expected it, I've been surprised by the level and intensity of anti-Americanism here among folks from the UK and elsewhere. With Iraq plunging deeper into civil war and Afghanistan continuing to unravel (in warlord competition to control the opium trade), people are blaming the US for a more unstable and unpeaceful world order. If the US is to regain its standing and reputation in the world as a principled power, we've got quite a task ahead of us in public diplomacy, humility and ultimately (my take): humanitarianism.

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