Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And What Will You Be Doing Over the Spring Break?

Although the forecast is calling for one of the coldest days of this relatively mild winter and it is now only 14 degrees in Amherst, Massachusetts, I hear the woodpeckers outside my window and the rest of the week is supposed to be quite mild.

This past week, in addition to getting ready for a risk management and optimization workshop that will take place this Friday at UMass Amherst, working on my two courses, helping a student with a dissertation, and many other activities, I have been preparing a set of talks that I will be giving in Sweden.

Indeed, I will be spending my spring break in the north, rather than in the balmy south. I will be in the city of Gothenburg, which, by Swedish standards, is quite mild. I am very much looking forward to my first trip there as a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics, and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

I have prepared 4 lectures, 3 of which I will be giving at the University of Gothenburg, and the other at the Chalmers University of Technology, also in Gothenburg. The Gothenburg lectures are on: Financial Networks, Financial Networks and Disruption Management, and Grand Challenges in Supply Chain Network Analysis to Design. The title of my Chalmers talk is: Perishable Product Supply Chains in Health Care. I am looking forward to meeting new colleagues across the Atlantic!

I have lived in Sweden (in Stockholm) and am enamored of the people and culture.

Being Ukrainian, I probably have some Swedish blood in me.

I always enjoy hearing about what the students are doing on their spring break and, over the years, have noticed how the spring migrations have changed from Florida to Mexico and, now, to even community service trips in the US and beyond.

My daughter, who is a student at Deerfield Academy, has chosen, for the third year in a row, to spend part of her spring break helping out in a boys orphanage in the Dominican Republic. She has collected school materials and small gifts to bring to the children. Along with a friend, and with the support of the elementary school that she graduated from -- The Bement School -- she has raised money through the sales of bracelets to support the library and the librarian at the orphanage. The library had been locked up. My daughter is going back to see, how through the efforts of many, the situation for the children there has, hopefully, improved. The conditions are difficult but love and caring speak eloquently in any and every language and which child doesn't cherish seeing and holding a book?!