Children Orphaned by HIV/AIDS in China Deserve Your Attention

“If everyone can live for others, others will live for you. I have no regret.” –Dr. Gao Yaojie

Eight years ago, the short documentary “the Blood of Yingzhou District” introduced me and many people in mainland China and around the world to an extremely vulnerable group—the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in China. The film presents the stories of several of these children. Some lost their parents. Others contracted the disease themselves. Gao Jun, at the age of 3, was isolated in the village—even his relatives were concerned about allowing their children to play with him.

The issues raised significant public attention in those days. However, in the past two years, it seems the initial outrage caused by the issue has faded. Exposure on media is rarely seen. The government has yet to develop a clear national action plan or policy for protecting and empowering the children impacted by the disease. Thus, I believe in the need for increased attention on children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Image from the documentary “The Blood of Yingzhou District”

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Religious Progressivism: A Contradiction in Terms No More


For most Americans, Paul Begala once quipped, the term “religious progressive” makes about as much sense as “jumbo shrimp.” Devotees of cable news or talk radio may be forgiven for their confusion. Religion is often portrayed in those venues as a monolithic force, firmly entrenched on the conservative side of the culture wars.

But cast a net in the sea of public opinion and you may be surprised by your haul. For instance, as part of an extensive survey, respondents were asked to rate their feelings for the poor on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 meaning completely negative feelings and 100 completely positive. The same respondents were asked if religion is “an important part of your life” and (if yes), does it provide “some guidance, quite a bit of guidance, or a great deal of guidance in your day-to-day life?” Across the board, the more religious a respondent was, the higher his professed level of sympathy.

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Election Night: Sanford Reacts

This piece was co-authored by Austen Edwards and Joe Fleming. 

So, Republicans have taken control of the Senate and Thom Tillis is North Carolina’s newest senator. What does it mean for the state and the nation as a whole? We’ve spoken with professors within the Sanford School, getting their reactions to the election, its implications, and what it means moving forward.

Senator Kay Hagan’s loss may come as a surprise given the historically high levels of spending and favorable media predictions, most of which had her tied or edging by as voters went to the polls. Assistant Professor of Public Policy Nick Carnes weighed in on the variation between what pundits predicted and how the race played out.

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The First Year Out: Use Your Network

MUntitled1y time at Duke gave me numerous opportunities, but the one I’ve considered most important to my career was the space Duke afforded me to step back and take a look at what I really wanted to do with my future. Like many of my classmates, I came in with a vague idea of where I wanted my life to go. However, my two years at Duke opened my eyes to new opportunities and experiences that helped me develop some understanding of my future career path, where I wanted to be, and what I hoped to achieve in the long-term. Equally as important, my interactions with students and faculty taught me that there are no fixed paths, no defined roads to where you want to go. Speaking with people helped me learn and understand what I wanted, and what I didn’t want, in the future.

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What Happens When Parents Choose Not to Vaccinate

When I was in elementary school, my mother mistakenly thought I had a blister on my neck and sent me to school. I returned that afternoon covered in spots. By the end of the week my entire class of 36 was out sick with chicken pox.

My mother’s mistake demonstrated just how virulent a disease with an 85 to 90-percent chance of transmission can be in an unvaccinated population. Chicken pox is relatively mild among children, but these days it’s common for school-age children to have vaccinations against it, along with measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, and meningitis. However, these vaccinations are not mandatory. The result? Continue reading

First Impression: Rio goes Dilmais!

"We are all Dilma."

“We are all Dilma.”

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro just two days after the first round of the presidential election. Incumbent President, Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos trabalhadoes) and Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira) had just beat out Marina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro) to move on to the second round. The second round took place one week ago on October 26, with Dilma holding onto the presidency. 

That period between the first round and the second round served as my introduction to Brazil. While we are often taught in the US to avoid discussing politics with new acquaintances, nearly everyone I talked to between my flight, settling into my apartment, the Terra dos Homens field site in Mangueirinha, and getting fresh fruit juice at one of the local markets seemed eager to know my opinion on the election.

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