Seeking Global Stories
Keeping pace with 10,000 alums outside the U.S.
Writing this at the tail end of 2021, I’m still not sure whether paper mills will deliver the paper needed to print this issue in January. In 2020, many mills switched production over to cardboard to meet demand for shipping boxes; while some are now switching back, freight delays and resurging demand have contributed to a national shortage. So I’m hoping this magazine reaches you on schedule, in January, but it may be delayed and the paper itself may look a little different. Whatever happens, we’ll make sure the BAM is easy to find online, on social media, and in your email inbox. And if you haven’t seen our email newsletter, but would like to, please check your spam folder (we’ve been hearing it sometimes ends up there) or email email@example.com.
One of the things I’ve been wondering is how the magazine’s content should evolve and what kind of stories you’ll want to see in the BAM, to respond to—or perhaps provide a respite from—this rapidly changing world.
I’ve been talking with the amazing folks on the BAM Board of Editors with this in mind. They suggested that to keep pace with the number of Brown alums who live outside the United States—currently almost 10,000, or roughly 12 percent of the alumni body, and growing—we bring you more stories from around the world. So please, if you or a friend or loved one live outside the U.S., drop us a line.
With a global perspective in mind, inside this issue you’ll meet Arn Chorn-Pond ’90, who escaped genocide in his native Cambodia as a child and now is back in Phnom Penh, working to restore to Cambodia some of the cultural richness the Khmer Rouge tried to erase. You’ll also find Professor Jonathan “Jake” Kurtis ’89, ’95 PhD, ’96 MD, who is featured on our cover. After a bout with cerebral malaria during his junior year abroad, Jake has spent his career zeroing in on an effective way to stop malaria from killing half a million people a year, more than half of them children. His approach is the first of its kind—and he’s gotten thrillingly close. But with malaria primarily affecting nations in sub-Saharan Africa, funding for human trials is short.
Sachi Cunningham ’94.5 has also traveled the world as a multimedia journalist, but her greatest love is big-wave surf photography—a profession almost as dangerous as surfing itself. Her quest certainly resonates right now: to distill and celebrate moments of clarity in the chaos around her.
Finally, I want to recognize our writing intern Ivy Scott ’21.5, an international journalism concentrator whose first story for BAM was about an alum living in Paris. Ivy’s writing has gone from strength to strength; her work was part of a racial-justice series that scored an international award last summer; she wrote “Ghost Dose,” a 2021 feature about the CIA’s experiments with LSD; and her story about critical race theory is in this issue. Ivy has more in the pipeline at the BAM, and now that she’s graduated, she’ll continue her work at the Boston Globe and, we hope, the BAM. We’ve felt privileged to work with her and look forward to bringing you more.