Thursday, July 5, 2012

First Video Blog from Bangladesh

Just finished editing and uploading my first video blog from Sonargaon, Bangladesh. I hope you enjoy it. Also, below that is the predeparture video blog from before I left for my Peace Fellowship and some photos I've taken over the past week. The rest of my photos can be seen on Advocacy Project's Flickr Page at

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bangladesh and the Subornogram Foundation, Summer 2012 Peace Fellowship

I've been in Bangladesh for almost a week now and things are going really well. The people are friendly and welcoming, the country is beautiful, and there's much to see and experience. I may eventually phase this blog out at some point but in the meanwhile I'll use it to direct traffic and interest to my blog on the Advocacy Project's webpage. Here's the address for my current blog: Also, here's the address for my AP Flickr set, with photos I've taken here so far: Thanks for viewing! Be sure to follow Subornogram Foundation on Twitter @subornogram1 or "like" us on Facebook! -Matt

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Advocacy Project Info Page - Now Taking Donations

Myself and some of the other 2012 fellows now have our short biographies and photos posted on the Advocacy Project's website. Here's the link to mine, please take a look and make a donation if you'd like to support my summer fellowship working with Bangladeshi river gypsies.

Thanks for anything you can provide, every little bit helps! More info to come soon. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Next Adventure - Peace Fellowship with the Advocacy Project in Bangladesh!

I feel very fortunate and excited to let everyone know that I was recently invited to be a Peace Fellow with the Advocacy Project for summer 2012. I will be working in Narayanganj, Bangladesh for 12 weeks, from June to August. My work will be assisting the Subornogram Foundation in support of six schools for the underpriveleged children of Dalit cobblers and fishermen (river gyspies), assisting English language instructors, describing the work of the Subornogram Foundation in videos and blogs, and organizing public health and hygiene workshops.

Here is the link to the Subornogram Foundation's website which outlines its mission, vision, goals and values in greater detail.

The Subornogram Foundation

I will maintain an official blog on the Advocacy Project's website, starting very soon so I probably won't be posting too much on this blog. As soon as my other blog is up, I will post the link on here. Unfortunately the Advocacy Project is a small organization and doesn't have a lot of funding so Peace Fellows are required to find most of the funding for the summer. I am in the process of applying for a scholarship through "America's Unofficial Ambassadors". If I can raise up to $1500, the scholarship will match that and give me an additional $1500. That $3000 will cover the cost of my plane ticket and living expenses for the summer. Any additional money raised will go to the Subornogram Foundation to support its work and projects. I'm still going through the emails and information I've received from the Advocacy Project and will post more details about donations and my upcoming work as soon as possible. Thanks for reading! :)

Months Later....A Wild Blog Post Appears

Months later, I've finally found some time away from school, work,, facebook, and socializing, to post something on my blog. Whether or not it will be worth the wait has yet to be determined. At the risk of sounding like I'm making bad excuses, my reason for not having written lately has come from a mix of being busier this semester than last, having started a part time job, and probably a lack of motivation to get any writing done. Over the next few months, I will attempt to light a fire under my own literary ass and get back to posting regularly, if anything, to contribute to me maintaining my own sanity.

Here's a blog post I started writing a few weeks back but never really got around to finishing:

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write much of anything lately. Perhaps it’s been a funk due to some recent changes in my life or just a long bout of flat out laziness but I’ve decided I really need to start taking time out of my day to write and also to read something outside of the news and what’s required for my classes. I picked up a copy of Hunter S. Thomspon’s “The Proud Highway”, a collection of letters that he wrote to various people during the 50’s and 60’s. I’m about a hundred pages in and loving it so far. I’ve seen the infamous “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as well as the documentary “Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson” so I was always intrigued by this man’s legendary persona, but this is the first book of his I’ve delved into. I’ll continue to read and perhaps make an attempt at writing a legitimate book review when I finish. On to other nonsense…

I was fortunate to have spent three weeks back home in beautiful Colorado over the winter break and it took that time away from New York City for me to realize that I really enjoy it here. Before I left for Colorado I was stressed out and stir crazy, excited about the prospect of relaxing in Colorado with friends and family. It took a week or so into my trip back to realize I wouldn’t be doing much relaxing. Per usual, I made a concentrated effort to catch up with all of my friends across the Colorado front-range. The trip was good though, I got to catch up with friends, spend time with family, enjoy some of my favorite restaurants and bars, and play some basketball. Now I sit here, almost five weeks into my second semester at NYU, stressing out about my inability to prioritize my time and keep up with my readings. The course materials are more interesting this semester. I’m currently taking:

Transformations in Central Asia
International Law
Peacebuilding and Peacemaking
Human Security

So far I enjoy my courses for the most part, though the reading load is even more intense than last semester. What I like about my current load is that it gives me a bit of flexibility with the concentrations I can choose from. I’m currently on the fence with whether or not I should stick with what my idealistic side tells me and focus on humanitarian assistance and development. On the other hand I can concentrate on transnational security, which is a bit different than what I’ve been focused on the past few years but is very interesting me, especially in how it relates to genocide prevention, human trafficking, and humanitarian assistance during violent conflict. To complicate things further, after taking this Peacebuilding and Peacemaking course with Professor Thomas Hill, who’s been working on peacebuilding initiatives in Iraq for the past eight years, I’ve now considered that as an option for my concentration. A lot of the readings and activities we’ve done for this course have really interested me in the possibility of working in this field later on.

More on this later. I have to write a new blog post about my upcoming adventure for the summer!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Semester Down, Decompressing in Colorado

Final papers, hours and hours spent at the library, procrastinating and wasting time mindlessly browsing the internet, listening to music and trying to find anything to do but finish said final papers. That was pretty much the story of the last few weeks. It's now a few days before Christmas and I'm in Colorado, relieved to be done with my first semester of graduate school. I'm anxiously waiting to hear back on the grades for three out of my four classes as I sit here at my mom's house, exhausted. My friend Nik flew out to New York City and we drove to Colorado with my dogs. The trip went really well, car had no issues, dogs pretty much slept the whole time, and we only made one long stop, for a two hour nap at a rest stop. 34 hours or so to drive from NYC to Denver, pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Glad it's over though, my body hurts from being in a vehicle so long.

I'm looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks catching up and relaxing with family and friends, decompressing, and recharging before I head back to NYC in early January. It feels good to be home, now to see about relaxing. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Here's a few pictures I took a couple of weeks ago in Brooklyn when I had some friends visiting from Colorado.