Western University, Department of Communication & Public Affairs
Westminster Hall, Suite 360, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7
Tel: 519-661-2045 • Fax: 519-661-3921
Western, World Survive and Thrive
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance the misinterpreted Mayan doomsday prediction didn’t come to pass, the Earth is intact and the History Channel is still airing Ancient Aliens, explaining all unknown activities past and present as “extraterrestrial.”
Even though this New Year carries the infamously unlucky 13 as its last two digits, we’re hopeful that aside from a few suffering triskaidekaphobia, the human race will carry on and it will be “business as usual” – for good or bad – on a global scale.
At Western, there are reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead. When I started here in 2004 – after four years at a medical journal in the Research Park – there had already been much buzz around campus about Dr. Yong Kang working on a cure for HIV-AIDS. Eight years later, there is positive news following the first human trials of a preventative HIV vaccine.
Just like becoming a doctor, important research takes time. You can’t rush success. It’s been a two-decade quest to end the deadly disease for Kang. His is the only HIV vaccine currently under development in Canada, and one of only a few in the world.
If you’re concerned about rising temperatures and a change in our weather, you are not alone. Alumnus Brad Dibble, MD’90, decided to investigate further what we can do as individuals to make a difference. The result is a handbook for global warming: Comprehending the Climate Crisis: Everything You Need to Know about Global Warming and How to Stop It.
If your world is the world wide web, you’re a young woman with a great idea and want to teach yourself how to create your own online presence, alumna Amanda Aitken, BA’05, Cert’05, has a learning tool to empower you and alleviate your fears: Girls Guide To Web Design.
If your world is seeing the world and cramming in as much adventure as possible and never saying no to an opportunity, then alumnus John Marcus Payne, LLB’73, has a story for you. Whether it’s England, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, India or the U.S. or Canada, he has found work or hobbies on the backs of elephants, flying in the air, playing polo with rock stars, working for the Saudi Royal family, coaching an African basketball team and teaching law at a university, to name a few.
If you are in charge of the transit system at the Centre of the Universe (a.k.a. Toronto, to the unfortunate people who haven’t lived there), it’s a daunting task. In all seriousness, the TTC is behind only New York and Mexico City as North America’s busiest public transit system. TTC chair, alumna Karen Stintz, BA’92, Dipl’93 (Huron), is no stranger to pressure and politics.
We also enter the worlds of an award-winning composer, a stand-up comedian and comedy writer, a survivor of Canada’s internment camps for Japanese in World War II, the director of Ontario’s Special Investigative Unit and the managing director for McDonald’s Hong Kong.
It’s comforting to know the Editor’s chair was still here waiting for me – and the Alumni Gazette (along with the rest of the world) – when I returned after a year in Advancement Services learning the ways of Prospect Research. It’s good to be back. All the best for 2013.
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