Harvard Headlines: Religious Fundamentalism, Juvenile Justice, the Homebuyer Tax Credit, and More

Our roundup also includes items on the percentage of new Harvard M.B.A.s entering finance, Harvard's role in conflict mediation in Iraq, "Netflix for dresses," and a stylish professor of engineering.

Here are our picks from the latest Harvard-related opinion, news, and features:

Among 2009 graduates of Harvard Business School, 28 percent went into finance jobs, Reuters reports. This is down from 40 percent the previous year, but “independent bank consultant” Ray Soifer, M.B.A. ’65, the source of the statistic, still deems this year’s number a “mildly bullish” economic indicator. To read about the career choices of Harvard undergraduates, see “Flocking to Finance,” from the May-June 2008 issue of Harvard Magazine.

Harvey Cox, the Hollis professor of divinity who grazed a cow in Harvard Yard at his recent retirement party, explained why he believes fundamentalism will fail in an article for the Ideas section of the Boston Sunday Globe that offered some thought-provoking historical and cross-cultural perspectives.

Presley professor of global health and social medicine Paul Farmer, best known for his work on infectious diseases in the developing world, writes about juvenile justice on the opinion page of the November 9 Boston Globe. Although individual U.S. states' juvenile-justice laws vary, Farmer says that by and large, current U.S. practices constitute a violation of human rights. He notes that only two nations in the world have not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Somalia and the United States.

Glimp professor of economics Edward Glaeser, who directs the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, says the homebuyer tax credit, passed last week, bodes ill for Americans’ collective carbon footprint because it encourages people to buy larger homes.

The people mediating tribal disputes in Iraq were all trained in conflict-resolution methods developed by Roger Fisher, Williston professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School, the November 9 Boston Globe noted. The group of mediators also includes at least one HLS graduate, Paul Cramer, J.D. ’86, who is quoted in the article.

Rent the Runway, a new business started by Jennifer Hyman ’02, M.B.A. ’09, and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, M.B.A. ’09, allows mail-order rental of gowns and cocktail dresses by high-end designers. The New York Times article billed the service, for which women pay just $50 to wear a gown that might cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, as “a Netflix model for haute couture.”

The Globe last week named McKay professor of the practice of biomedical engineering David Edwards to its list of the 25 most stylish Bostonians. Edwards is in good company: last year’s list included Graduate School of Design Dean Mohsen Mostafavi.

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