The Student Journalism Program at the DPI/NGO Annual Meeting: Mexico City


Shinji Harada performing at the Peace Concert hosted by Dr Judy. Photo by Brady Collins.


International college journalists hard at work in the press room.

Our trip to the DPI/NGO annual conference in Mexico City this year was truly the culmination and climax of the summer. Being in Mexico, where spirituality, energy and history abound, surrounded by wonderful, intelligent student journalists from all over the world, I experienced amplified feelings of purpose and connection.
Dr Judy and I arrived in Mexico City on Monday. The next day, the flurry of activity began. In the morning, we officially met the student journalists. Dr Judy was directing the program, and has lead the event for several years in different global locations. Last year, for example, the conference was in Paris. We met in a conference room in the Secretariat de Relaciones Exteriores, or Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The room would be come one of two headquarters of our program, at any given moment during the days of the conference, you could peek your head in the doorway and see a handful of journalists typing on their laptops, or peering over each others shoulders to point to the best photo of a recent covered event.
The Student Journalism program was divided into two divisions of International and Mexican students, respectively. College students from Mexico, the US, Israel, Italy, and Austria flew in to attend the event after being selected based on journalism experience, relevant coursework and interest in global studies. Most of the students are actively studying international studies or politics in their universities.
One Spanish and one English-speaking student covered every one of the twenty-four workshops of the conference. The theme of this year’s conference was Peace and Disarmament, and workshops featured noted NGO directors, political figures and volunteers who spoke about the work they were doing in their communities. Titles of workshops like “Trafficking of Women and Girls: Threats to global Development and Security in the 21st Century” and “World Youth against War” dotted the program.
Back to Tuesday.
After meeting the journalists and going in en group to pick up our credentials, Dr Judy and I departed to go to the rehearsal for her band’s peace concert that night. After arranging chairs on stage and meeting with the children who had a small role in the concert, Dr Judy and I left to go put up our posters on peacebuildling between Japanese and Americans through music. We put up both the English and Japanese versions- it was so cool to see them both side by side.
Running back to the concert hall, Dr Judy put on this fabulous black sequined dress and the show began! A sizeable number of people showed up to the event, and the energy was great in the room. Shinji Harada, a Japanese pop star, performed songs like “Hiroshima” and “Yamasde,” and Russell Daisey performed on the keyboard with accompaniment by Dr Judy and the children. A peace flag ceremony concluded the event. We finished the night with drinks and food with Shinji and fellow student journalists at the Sheraton.

Russell Daisey, a Mexican volunteer and performer, and Dr Judy at the concert.

Russell Daisey, a Mexican volunteer and performer, and Dr Judy at the concert.

Wednesday. The opening ceremony of the convention was attended by Moon, the Secretary General of the UN. Three other students and I were chosen to ask a question of the Secretary General at a press conference immediately after the opening ceremony. The topic of the event was the launch of the 100-day twitter campaign
Chendil, Paulina, Eli and I arrived very early to the event, and got our seats. The location was one of the museums with a Diego Rivera mural. The Secretary General arrived and stayed for about thirty-five minutes, in which he spoke about the campaign in the search for nuclear disarmament. Chendil asked a question of the SG, regarding international conflicts, and got a succinct answer. It was very exciting to see Chendil up there!


Paulina, Juliane and Chendil after the press conference.

Wednesday night was work night. That is, Dr Judy, Russell and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning (and Dr Judy didn’t sleep at all…) editing and working on the newsletter. After the lights turning off on us in the Secretariat, we had been forced to relocate to the hotel room.
Thursday came along as expected, and the three of us continued to work all day until Dr Judy’s afternoon workshop. The workshop, all about youth involvement in NGOs, featured youth leaders from around the world who spoke about their involvement in different projects. I wrote my article about this particular workshop for the DPO newsletter, and also featured the event as part of my write-up for the Sophian at Smith College.
We continued to work until dark, with Dr Judy and Russell pausing to attend a reception in the evening. Later that night, Brady and Steph came over to the hotel to finish the day’s work…they stayed until 4am! Sleep is no object when you have work to do; that was the lesson of the night.


Student journalists outside of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico.

Friday, it came so soon. What do you think we did for the majority of the day? Work!! So much to accomplish. The closing ceremony in the evening was an absolute festival, with speakers and an incredible Mexican dance show complete with guitar, beautiful dancers, and 9-foot tall dancing animals! Arriba! A party afterward gave all of the student journalists a much-needed chance to catch up and relax after a hectic few days. The trip concluded with a bang, with many heartfelt goodbyes between international students who felt strangely connected with one another after such a short stay.
Did somebody say Student Journalism 2010: Melbourne?

Sir Ivan hosts Castlestock 2009


Sir Ivan's peace flag, hung on the side of the Castle.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, Ivan L. Wilzig, or Sir Ivan, hosted the most recent of a string of legendary parties in the Hamptons. The event was part charity benefit, part single release party held at his Water Mill castle. Guests, attired in hippie costumes of ranging authenticity, relaxed on sheets on the lawn and on cushioned lounges alongside giant stuffed rabbits (all wearing hippie beads!)

Music alternated between modern dance tunes and 60s classic rock. The overall mood was mellow, although the night was punctuated by a short but intense performance of “Kumbaya” by Sir Ivan himself.

Teri Whitcraft, Dr Judy and Juliane

Teri Whitcraft, Dr Judy and Juliane

We had a great time. Dr Judy sported an incredible pair of authentic flower child jeans, complete with painted words and hearts. Dr Judy’s best friend from ABC – TV had a great elegant hippie outfit, embellished with flowers and colored hair extensions. I had on my mother’s green flower dress, plus a real necklace Dr Judy got from Nepal that she gave me and I made into a necklace.

Guests bussed in from the city boarded the shuttles by 1 am to leave, but as we looked back on the strobe lights, huge daisies and sequined dancing models, it seemed pretty clear that the party was nowhere near over. From the sounds of it, Sir Ivan just may have outdone himself with this legendary party.


Terri Whitcraft, Dr Judy and Juliane in front of the outdoor pool.


Dr Judy, Bunny, and Juliane - matching headbands!


Dancers in the pool just outside of the castle.

The APA Annual Conference- Toronto

We just touched down again in the Big Apple the day before yesterday at 8am. The whirlwind that was the American Psychological Association annual conference had come to an end, a half a day behind schedule due to a cancelled flight.


Rep. Bryan Baird

Thursday we arrived in Toronto, where the APA conference was held this year. After weeks of planning travel logistics, preparing our respective presentation materials, and making sure our commitments were in good shape in NYC, we departed for an amazing weekend . The first evening, we went to an opening awards ceremony where we heard a lively speech by Bryan Baird, elected representative to Washington and clinical psychologist. Speaking about a number of issues in the field of psychology, from overly remedial undergraduate psychology courses to the need for psychology in politics, Baird paused to put a cone shaped piece of aluminum on his head. Why? To poke fun of critics who have grumpily accused him of mind control.


With Rep. Bryan Baird after his speech

We bolted to the front after the ceremony and got a snazzy photo of all of us.

The rest of the weekend was characterized by a blur of division meetings, poster sessions, and social hours. Most of the division meetings were held in hotel suites, and it was fascinating to compare the types of personalities that filled the rooms of respective meetings. The Humanistic division were all very touchy-feely and brought up issues of making a book on compassion, whereas the Media division had more administrative and technical goals to accomplish.

One of highlights of the weekend was an 8AM poster session that Dr Judy arranged for Ryan and me. Walking into the softly lit, classically elegant Royal York hotel suite, Ryan and I were slightly apprehensive about having a good showing. To our relief, a nice collection of people showed up including heads of the division and fellow students. We spoke about the various modes of reconciliation and healing between Japanese and Americans, and it was an honor to have feedback from such distinguished professionals, as well. Julie Levitt, Martin Butler, and Eduardo Diaz all contributed to the discussion, and it was wonderful to see other young people. Gabe Twose, who was responsible for much of the pre event planning and volunteer logistics, was one recent college grad who is active in the division. He and I did some event planning for the evening social, which had an amazing turnout.

Wismick Jean Charles – an intern for Dr Judy at the UN, also presented his poster about overcoming poverty and violence in Haiti. He spoke about work being done to engage Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, in Haiti’s efforts. Organizations recruit Dominican youth to volunteer their time and energy in  performing community service and participating in Youth Conferences. It is also a goal to engage more professional people in the Haiti’s challenges.

Pres. Eduardo I. Diaz, Martin Butler, Juliane Casey, Wismick Jean Charles, Ryan Rasdall, Gabe Twose, and Dr Judy

Pres. Eduardo I. Diaz, Martin Butler, Juliane Casey, Wismick Jean Charles, Ryan Rasdall, Gabe Twose, and Dr Judy

Eduardo I. Díaz, Ph.D., President of the Peace Division; Martin Butler, Juliane Casey, Wismick Jean-Charles, Ryan Rasdall, senior member of the division, Gabe Twose, and Dr J

Eduardo I. Díaz, Ph.D., President of the Peace Division; Martin Butler, Juliane Casey, Wismick Jean-Charles, Ryan Rasdall, Julie Levitt, Gabe Twose, and Dr Judy

Wismick and Dr Judy before his presentation

Wismick Jean-Charles and Dr Judy before his presentation


Ryan and I presenting in the Peace Division

Dr Judy presented in front of a larger audience on Sex, Love and Relationships with two other therapists, and had a book signing in the main convention arena.  A great showing in both, and many interesting individuals in attendance.

Dr Judy and collegues at book signing

Dr Judy and colleagues at the book signing of several of her books in the main convention area.

can you spot the ironic icon?

Casey's Restaurant

Despite our canceled flight, we made the best of the situation and spent our last night in Toronto where we amused ourselves and a classic round of charades.  “A Room with a View” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” were notable hits.

 signature moves at charades

Sunday night, playing charades in the hotel. Above, our signature moves of the night.

Blast! Cancelled flights, but which associate will give us the best deal home?

Juliane, Dr J, Ryan and Warner Spielberg waiting to get our rescheduled flights

Catching up to speed

As the weeks have whizzed by, some important events have gone undocumented. A quick photo summary of some of the highlights:

Dr Judy’s Softball League – July 24
That’s right, our own Dr J is also an athlete! She plays on the Friars Club team, and the last game was on a humid Friday evening in Central Park.

The Joey Reynold’s Show
Good time were made with Dr Judy and two other guests on the  Joey Reynolds syndicated radio show on WOR Radio. The topic du jour? Opinions on the current news on Iran.
After a sobering on-air discussion, Dr Judy and I exited the studio and ran into four comedians, among them a lone jazz musician, Eddie Bruce.

Joey and guests after the show

Joey and guests after the show, including Joe Dillard (far right) from Dr J's Teachers College course

Human Intimacy Class Comes to a Close

For the past 6 weeks, Juliane and I have been Teacher Assistants in Dr. Judy’s course on the Psychology of Human Intimacy at Columbia Teacher’s College.  The class of 38 consisted of students from around the world including: Italy, Ukraine, China, India, Greece, Iceland and of course the United States.

Dr. Judy covered so many topics in intimacy. We discussed recent political scandals, behavior cues, mindfulness, developmental theories, dimensions of attractions, media representations of sexuality, the brain and sex, polygamous relationships, sex changes, fantasies, Teens and Sex Ed, theories of love, stereotypes about the sexes, empowerment, fillicides, paraphilia, STIs, same sex relationships, fetishes, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH (so many topics were discussed but they cannot all be listed). So many things were discussed.Dr. Judy did a great job of making the class interact with one another through music, talking, acting out events, and jokes.

The class met once a week for six weeks. Each class was 4 hours long but the time flew by each time as we all got sucked into the interesting topics and videos show in class. In the beginning of the course, Juliane and I split the class so that we each were in charge of half the class. Each student was responsible for doing their own final project. Juliane and I have been helping each student fleshing out and/or supporting their final project ideas. The last class was last night and some of the students presented their final projects. One student wrote a song and recorded it for You Tube. Another two students worked together in analyzing middle school scx questions. Another two students each did class surveys, one on Purpose In Life and the other on Personality Styles. One of my students did a project on Fairy Tales and wrote a curriculum for elementary student teachers and how fairty tales impose negative sterotypes about female and male gender roles. Another student translated the song “Towers of Light”, which was written to help heal after 9/11 into Italian.

Below, is our class from last night. One of student’s final projects was to choreograph and write up about a native Bolivian dance. The dancers performed for the whole class and it was the finale for the night.

The last night of Human Intimacy Class

The last night of Human Intimacy Class

Everyone did a fantastic job!


Court TV

Before our trip to Toronto, Dr. Judy, Chenlan and I made a visit to Court TV. Dr. Judy was invited to be a guest on Jack Ford’s show : Jack Ford Courtside IN SESSION. Jack Ford is a former prosecutor and has been on Court TV since its debut in 1991. Jack Ford’s show provides live coverage of trials and court cases around the country. The show takes its viewers into the courtroom so it feels almost live and you get to see all the testimony and speeches from the bench.

Jack Ford and Dr. Judy

Jack Ford and Dr. Judy

The court case that was examined while Dr. Judy was on the show was the Mark Jensen case : The State of Wisconsin v. Mark Jensen. The state of Wisconsin was charging Mark Jensen with the murder of his wife Julie Jensen. This case’s roots began in 1998. Here are a few facts:

1. December 3, 1998, Julie Jensen was discovered dead at age 40 by police in her home

2. Autopsy reports from Feb 1999 discovered anti-freeze crystals in her kidneys

3. Official autopsy report in Feb 2002 concludes Julie Jensen died of ethylene glycol poisoning

4. Mark Jensen arrested March 2002

In his defense, Mark Jensen defended himself on the basis that his wife had been depressed for many years and their marrital bliss had declined over the years. Mark concluded that his wife of 14 years had committed suicide and set up her death to look like murder because she found out about his affair.

However, according to Dr.Judy, people wishing to commit suicide, (especially women), do not prolong the death process. Anti-freeze poisoning is a long painful death. Dr. Judy pointed out that women often take pills to kill themselves and that makes for a quicker death.

All the evidence built up against Mark did not help his case either.

1. Days before his wife’s death, Mark did not seek medical attention although he admits to knowing she was not feeling well and was sick in bed.

2. Mark was having an affair with another woman throughout this whole process and weeks after Julie’s death, the woman was spending nights over at his home, moved to Wisconsin soon after and eventually married in 2002.

3. Police found pornographic pictures, online searches for anti-freeze poisoning, unconciousness and weak pulses on his computer and discovered that the histories had been intentionally cleared the day before Julie’s death.

4. In 2007, a letter from Julie predicting her death was allowed into evidence and named Mark as the prime suspect

5. One of the kid’s teacher’s testified that Julie had told her that she thought her husband was going to kill her

6. Another testimony from a man who Mark knew in jail testified that Mark confessed to him about killing his wife.

So all in all, according to Wisconsin and Dr. Judy, Mark had motive, he was not happy in his marriage and he had a new mistress. Often, civil people like us would ask men like Mark, “Why didn’t you just get a divorce?” According to Dr. Judy, divorce is viewed as disgraceful or taking too long. Julie Jensen had actually filed for divorce in 1991 but later canceled it.

At Court TV, Chenlan and I got to sit right inside the studio with Dr. Judy and Jack Ford. There were 3 big cameras with actual people operating them as oppose to CNN where everything is digital and computerized.

Mark Jensen was found guilty after hours of diliberation from the jury. He is currently taking his case to the appeals court.

Julie Jensen’s brothers have set up a website in her memory. It is beautiful. It shows pictures, talks about her life and about what domestic violence is. Please check this out:

Jack Ford and Dr. Judy

Jack Ford and Dr. Judy

Chenlan (Amherst 2011), Ryan and Dr. Judy at IN Session

Chenlan (Amherst 2011), Ryan and Dr. Judy at IN Session

We had a blast!!


Medwiser Awards Gala

Do you know? One out of every two infections of HIV worldwide occurs in a school age child, teenager or young adult.

On Tuesday July 10, Dr. Judy was invited to an event a the 40/40 club to benefit Medwiser, a new organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in young people by educating young people. I went to the event in her stead. Being a sex educator I thought this event would let me meet some more interesting people and perhaps network. I was right!

Medwiser is a nonprofit organization that was started in 2005, devoted to stopping the spread of HIV in youth by concentrating on the prevention aspects of HIV/AIDS to provide an essential resource for patients and healthcare participants to promote health, efficiency, increased communication and better outcomes.

Medwiser has created an integrative website combining multimedia entertainment and critical content to reach at-risk youth. Their goal is for youth to learn about HIV and useful prevention techniques as well as to be motivated to further their education using their site because of its general appeal to people in their age group. Additionally, they provide a search tool for individuals to find testing sites in their area where rapid, free, confidential, or anonymous testing is being provided.

The event ran from 6:30 to 11pm. Free martinis were served from 6:30 to 7:30pm and everyone who attended received a free spa certificate. There was also a silent auction until 11pm. The event was more of a social mixer than a sit down awards show. The awards started at 9:30 and lasted about 15 minutes. After wards Ano Okera from Jamaica played outside. His song was about how AIDS tares families and communities apart.

The people given awards were Robert Lewis( An attorney who has donated his time to Medwiser), James Talbot(Also an attorney who has donated his time to Medwiser), Michael Morgenstern (founder of Medwiser), Jenifer Wei(Medwiser Volunteer).


Michael Morgenstern


James Talbot receiving his award and Michael Morgenstern


Robert Lewis receiving his award and Michael Morgenstern


Jennifer Wei receiving her award and Michael Morgenstern

If you would like to know more about Medwiser or would like to donate or volunteer, please their website at :

This whole event was run by Philanthropic Events. “Philanthropic Events has created a new genre of nightlife that it calls “Philanthropic Entertainment”.  The team partners with different non-profit organizations and hosts events at top tier venues to raise money for charity.”
Visit their website

If you would like to know more about Ano Okera, please visit his site at:

If you would like to know more about the 40/40 club, visit:

~Ryan Rasdall