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New program created for AIDS projects on campus

University programs and projects that focus on AIDS now have an umbrella organization that will promote and disseminate research, sponsor educational programs and identify internships and other related opportunities for students.

The Princeton AIDS Initiative (PAI) was created recently to provide a supporting infrastructure and one-stop resource for campus organizations, students, faculty and staff engaged in AIDS education, research and activism.

PAI is co-sponsoring its first major colloquium, "Local Responses to a Global Crisis: Making Sense of AIDS in Haiti, Brazil and South Africa," 2:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7, 300 Wallace Hall. The discussion will be moderated by Carolyn Rouse, professor of anthropology and will include scholars and researchers from the University, the Institute for Advanced Study and Partners in Health.

Hosted by the Program in Latin American Studies, other co-sponsors of the colloquium are the Department of Anthropology; the Center for Health and Wellbeing; the Program in African-American Studies; the Program in African Studies; the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding; the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; and the International Center.

Assistant Professor of Politics Evan Lieberman, PAI faculty director, said Princeton scholars engaged in AIDS-related projects represent a variety of fields and disciplines, including public health, the sciences, public policy and international affairs. Because the international AIDS epidemic requires this multidisciplinary approach, Princeton community members working on the issue believed the formation of a centralized organization would strengthen their diverse efforts through encouraging collaboration, he said.

Last spring, graduate students in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and undergraduate students working on AIDS projects met with Lieberman, several members of the Princeton faculty and Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter to discuss the need to coordinate and unify the numerous programs under a single entity. Slaughter authorized PAI and provided funding and administrative support from the school.

Lieberman was named faculty director. Rachel Tobey was appointed graduate student coordinator, and Timothy Waldron was named initiative coordinator. PAI met one of its primary objectives last month when it launched a Web site that will serve as a clearinghouse for AIDS programs and resources campuswide.

"The Internet is one of the best ways to create an infrastructure to bring together the various entities across the campus," Lieberman said. "That was the first step because there are so many activities going on across the community, and this will help to create a virtual connection."

The Web site will make available information on: courses with AIDS-related content/focus; University and external reference materials that support HIV/AIDS research; information about activities and meetings; a list of individuals conducting AIDS research on campus; links to AIDS-related organizations and institutions and working papers produced by Princeton faculty and graduate students.

PAI also is supporting the activities and efforts of student groups, Lieberman said. According to junior Ariel Wagner, president of the Student Global AIDS Campaign at Princeton, PAI will help the student group gain more access to the larger AIDS activist communities beyond Princeton.

"We are part of a nationwide student organization. But as a student group, it is sometimes difficult to attract high-profile people who are involved in AIDS research or activism to come on campus to give lectures," Wagner said. "With PAI, it will look a lot more attractive to these people now that we have the backing of a larger, faculty-endorsed group. We feel we have a lot more resources now and a greater influence than we had before."

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601

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