So long and thanks for all the hits!

  Sadly, this will be the last post on the DNA and Social Responsibility blog as the project is nearing an end. I hope those who have read the blog have taken away an interest in the life and career of Maurice Wilkins and how the papers that are held in the King's College Archive are a fantastic resource for future research in not only the history of genetics but also the wider role played by science in society in the twentieth century. Helping to catalogue this collection has been an enjoyable experience as it has introduced me to the delights of x-ray diffraction photographs; Fourier Transforms and Electron Density Maps not to mention the myriad political scientific groups most notably, BSSRS.

As a finale,I would like to sign off by sharing my favourite Wilkins' laboratory doodle. Cartoon is somewhat anarchic but does convey how science for Maurice Wilkins is a creative enterprise that still retained a slight hint of alchemy in the proceedings. 

'Ways out of the Arms Race": The Second International Scientists' Congress

During the 1980's, Maurice Wilkins spent a significant amount of time promoting and campaigning on disarmament and development issues. While maintaining his long running membership of British Pugwash, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) and the World Federation of Scientific Worker's (WFSW), he also became honorary President of the Food and Disarmament International (FDI) organisation and an active member of scientists' against nuclear arms (SANA). It was the later that led to his involvement in the 'Ways out of the Arms Race' Second International Scientists' Congress held at Imperial College London, on the 2-4 December 1988. The conference aim was for imminent scientists from across the globe to discuss papers on nuclear, chemical and biological disarmament. It succeeded in doing so with the added benefit of providing political pressure by mobilising its attendance to protest on two concurrent political events: the abduction and imprisonment of the Israeli nuclear plant technician, Dr Mordechai Vanunu and the poison gas attacks by the Iraqi Army in Halabja in 1988. Evidence of the petitions and demonstrations are recorded in the papers of Maurice Wilkins which includes candid replies to him from representatives of the Israeli and Iraqi governments.

Campaign relating to Dr Mordechai Vanunu

Dr Mordechai Vanunu, was a former nuclear technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Center from 1976-1985. In 1986, whilst in Sydney, Australia, he met a Sunday Times journalist and revealed knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons programme before accompanying the journalist to London. It was during his time in London that the Israeli Government decided to capture Vanunu and hatched a plan to remove him from UK territory by getting an undercover Mosad agent to pretend to be an American tourist, named Cindy who Vanunu agreed to accompany to Rome. In Rome he was drugged and freighted back to Israeli where he was imprisoned for treason and confined for 18 years, including eleven years of solitary confinement.

 During the Congress, a demonstration was organised to the Israeli Embassy in London where a petition would be handed in asking for clemency for Mr Vananu. A significant number of the delegates signed the petition including fellow Nobel Prize winners, Dorothy Hodgkin and Joseph Rotblat.

The following summer, Wilkins received a reply from the Israeli Government's Ministry of Justice:


Campaign condemning gas attacks on Kurdish civilians

The Halabja massacre is now well known event due in part to the build up to the Second Iraq war and the fall of Sadam Hussain's regime. However, at the time of their occurence the international response was ambiguous with some international media coverage and western governmental officials siding with the official Iraqi line that no poison gas attacks were used against the Kurdish people. Wilkins sent a letter to the Iraqi ambassador in London and recieved a detailed reply with a number of attachments. The letter provides evidence of the divided media coverage and general lack of facts available allowing for passionate denial of any use of chemical weapons and a dismissal of the claims as part of an anti-Iraqi conspiracy. 

Example of the Second International Scientists' Congress petition against the Iraqi government after the chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja.

Objectifying DNA

  The artefacts within the combined papers of the Maurice Wilkins and Biophysics collection include some of the most striking items in our holdings. Correspondence may have warmth and wit and the experimental notebooks may actually give the how and why but nothing beats the sheer visual punch of the DNA wire model or a X-ray diffraction camera. The artefacts are all the more impressive due to the diversity that the collection holds. Highlights include: original DNA fibres supplied by the Swiss biochemist, Rudolf Signer, which were the main source of DNA used in the X-ray diffraction experiments by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling; several X-ray diffraction cameras including the micro camera used to obtain "Photo 51", the picture of B structure DNA that so sharply showed a helical structure of DNA; DNA models and diagrams that the Biophysics Unit used to construct and refine more detailed models of DNA, with the pride and joy being the several metre long roll of the DNA molecular model ceremoniously nicknamed the "DNA toilet paper". These are a few of our favourite things and they are joined by many other items that directly relate to DNA and previous microscopic research carried out on the subject.

A few of the DNA related artefacts at King's Archives such as the single fibre X-ray camera used by Rosalind Franklin, glass vials containing original DNA samples used in the X-ray diffraction experiments, DNA diagram and Biophysics photo index

The collection has a remarkable degree of preserved DNA samples from the 1950s that not only include the Rudolf Signer Calf Thymus DNA that produced excellent B configuration X ray patterns sample but also DNA samples prepared from other scientists such as Erwin Chargaff and Leonard Hamilton which used a variety of other DNA sources like bacterial cultures and human DNA.

GiveBackMail Launches First Email Service that Donates to Charity

GiveBackMail Donates to the causes users care about every time they use email

Los Angeles, CA – May 23, 2011 – Over the last decade, we have seen a dramatic change in philanthropy and today, with the launch of GiveBackMail, another significant milestone has been reached.

Let’s face it, almost everyone uses email. But that is all they are doing – sending, receiving and in turn creating a huge profit for services like AOL, Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. Instead, what if you could use your email to providemeals for the hungry, clothes for the poor, shelter for the homeless or even funding for cancer research?

Philanthropy is no longer just for the super wealthy. While billionaires such as Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett along with Michael Bloomberg, Vinod Khosla and Mark Zuckerberg have brought philanthropy to the limelight recently with movements like The Giving Pledge, where close to 70 billionaires have committed to give away at least half oftheir wealth to charity, GiveBackMail has made it possible for us all, regardless of how much time or money we have, to get involved and give back.

Because billionaires represent less than .00000018% of the world population, GiveBackMail took a technology that the majority of us already use everyday and created a way for ordinary people to make a positive impact on the causes that matter most tothem.

“People are looking to make a difference and we have provided email users with a way to give back even if they don’t have the resources available. GiveBackMail empowers its users to make the world a better place by doing something they already do – using email,” Rambod Yadegar, Co-Founder of GiveBackMail said. “Email is the most active area of Internet usage and in 2010 alone there were over 2.96 billion active email accounts, so we knew that going in this was an area we could make thebiggest impact. What really separates us from other email service providers is allowing our users to give back to the causes they care about most. Together, we can absolutely make a measurable, positive impact on the world."

GiveBackMail is secure, easy-to-use and donates a quarter of its profits directly to the selected causes its users care about. Additionally, GiveBackMail is compatible with all major POP3/IMAP email providers and offers users advanced features not often found in free email platforms, such as:

Keep your current email address
Large file attachments up to 100MB
Unsend button
Social network and music feeds
Manage multiple accounts – works with AOL, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Gmail and all other POP3/IMAP accounts
Preview attachments without downloading

Join the GiveBackMail movement by May 31, 2011 to nominate your favorite cause to be a recipient of GiveBackMail donations. Register at

About GiveBackMail
GiveBackMail is a free email service that creates positive change around the world by donating to the causes users care about every time they use their email. You can keep your current email address and still take advantage of impressive features including sharing large files – up to 100MB, managing multiple accounts, previewing attachments and viewing all your social media feeds within your email platform. GiveBackMail was developed to empower people who want to help charities, but don’t have enough time or money to do so. GiveBackMail launched in May 2011 and is compatible with all existing email platforms. For a superior, simple, secure and socially conscious email system, visit

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Vodacom Superstar: Fusing Entertainment With Global Social Good

Can entertainment be a vehicle for social good? I've written often on this blog about the emerging fourth sector of the economy, comprised of companies who allocate their capabilities and profits toward the benefit of their community and the world. Could such a model take root in the world of media as well?

Consider this intriguing philanthropic effort spearheaded by R&B superstar Akon and his partner Nickie Shapira, entrepreneur and CEO of Akonic Entertainment, their full-service entertainment company with a global focus. Together Akon, of Senegalese descent, and Shapira have created Vodacom Superstar, a sort of African answer to American Idol, all designed to support emerging singers and potential recording artists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, traditionally a center for musical talent on the continent.

As Shapira told me, "The genesis of Vodacom Superstar was born out of our desire to develop and highlight the talented youth in DR Congo. We saw the attention that DRC was getting from the USA community. However, all of it was focused on showing the horrible effects of war, and we wanted to show another face of the country."

An energetic, youth-driven talent competition in the popular vein, Vodacom Superstar began its second season in March after a wildly popular first season during which episodes ran on five of the top television channels in the country, re-airing night after night until the next episode's premiere, captivating the nation all the while.

The winner of season one, Innocent, claimed a $25,000 prize, plus the chance to record a single with Akon. The track is expected to drop in Congo on June 11th when a second season champion is crowned. You can check out Innocent's finale performance right over here.

Ultimately, though, the show is about exposure, not just for the winner but for all of the contestants, and even the judges and vocal coaches, several of whom have landed their own recording opportunities.

As you might imagine, the rigors of such a production are many. The show is shot entirely on location in DR Congo, a country with little television production infrastructure, where the American crew must cope with electrical outages, transportation problems and a host of other logistical challenges.

But the presence of the show in that nation has been a boon not just for the artists beamed onto television screens around the country, but also for a whole host of ancillary retailers and local businesses, makeup artists, hair stylists getting a chance to develop their skills and grow their own ventures.

Most striking, the venture is solely focused on its agenda of social good. Says Shapira, "In its entirety, the show is a philanthropic endeavor. Akon doesn't make money on the show. We don't turn a profit from the show as a production company. The idea is to develop the musical talent in Congo. Just as philanthropists in our country's history thought it important to foster the arts, it is important for us to help this country that had its first democratic election in 2006 and is emerging after years of war. We are cultivating a new generation of stars."

Equal Justice Works Summer Corps

Congratulations to Han Fang, Benjamin Jones, and Kristen Colburn who are this year’s Equal Justice Works Summer Corps members! The Equal Justice Works Summer Corps program affords law students the opportunity to work in a nonprofit public interest organization, where they work with low-income clients in order to expand the delivery of legal services to a vulnerable population.

Han Fang:
Han will be a legal intern at the Asian Outreach Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services. As an intern Han will conduct in-takes and provide educational services in various settings around Boston, such as the Chinese Progressive Association and the South Cove Community Health Center. Han will conduct interviews, perform research, write briefs and will also participate in educational services regarding accessible legal services.

The Asian Outreach Unit is an extremely vital source in providing legal aid to those who might not normally be able to afford an attorney, or access one due to cultural and language barriers. The staff and interns are culturally adept and speak several different Asian languages, making access for community members feasible. AOU serves as a bridge for many clients who might else have no where to turn. AOU's primary client base are low-income, immigrant Asian and Asian American communities in the Greater Boston area.

Benjamin Jones:
Benjamin will be working for Shelter Legal Services in their office in Newton and in shelters around Greater Boston.

As a Summer Intern, Benjamin will be interacting with indigent clients at a series of shelters around Boston; there will be weekly visits to homeless shelters, veterans' shelters, and a women's shelter. As a part of working with these clients, he will carry his own case load, research legal issues, and confer with attorneys. The clientele of Shelter Legal Services are indigent veterans, homeless, and women. In reaching these groups, the aim is to have those with the greatest need gain the basic legal aid they deserve.

Kristen Colburn
Kristen will be an intern at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services. She will prepare applications for asylum, conduct legal research and research into country conditions, and interview clients. Kristen will meet people who are suffering from international human rights violations.



Contract Dispute With United Nations Could Lead to End of Diplomatic Immunity

Fox News - Fair & Balancedclick here for story

By Ed Barnes

Published May 24, 2011


Kahraman Sadikoglu

Kahraman Sadikoglu

A federal judge in New York has issued an order that could lift the U.N.’s long-recognized diplomatic immunity in the United States involving contract disputes, opening the doors for claims of “hundreds of millions of dollars” against the world body, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Following a ruling by Judge P. Kevin Castel, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on Wednesday will publish legal notices on behalf of Kahraman Sadikoglu, a Turkish billionaire businessman who is suing the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) for $150 million.

Click here to read the notices: 1 and 2.

The notices are a legal substitute for the process of officially serving the lawsuit to U.N. officials, who have refused to accept the authority of U.S. courts in this and other legal matters.

Sadikoglu was hired by the UNDP to clear the Iraqi harbor of Um Qasr, Iraq’s largest port in 2003, so that supplies could be delivered to the war-shattered nation. He has fought since that time to be paid for the work, and according to his lawyers is suing now because the U.N. failed to honor the terms of a 2008 agreement that would have settled the matter.

“But when they learned that money would come from their own funds,” according to George G. Irving, Sadikoglu’s attorney at the time, “they just ignored him.” Most of the reconstruction funds had either come from American or Iraqi coffers.

According to Irving, who once worked in the Legal Affairs Office of the U.N. Secretary General, it could open up the floodgates for hundreds of similar lawsuits.

“It is not unusual for the U.N. to play these kinds of games with contractors. They try to frustrate them at every turn so they give up and go away,” he said. But because those contractors would now have access to the courts, the amounts the U.N. could be forced to pay could “amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in claims.”

One officer at an international aid organization said the problem of non-payment is so bad that organizations now mockingly say the UNDP acronym really stands for “U.N. Don’t Pay.”
UNDP has since rebuffed efforts to reach a settlement, rejected the idea of arbitration, and has even refused to accept notice a lawsuit had been filed.

It was that defiance of legal procedure, and the failure of the organization to follow its own procedures, that prompted Castel to allow Sadikoglu’s lawyers to circumvent the normal requirements of serving notice of the suit. If Castel goes on to hear the case, it would set a precedent by erasing the U.N.’s diplomatic immunity, at least on contract disputes.

Asked about the new development, Stanislav Saling, a public affairs officer with the U.N., emailed this response: “We are aware of the case regarding Mr. Sadikoglu and have been in discussions with him for a number of years in an effort to come to some common understanding. However, since this matter is now under consideration in court, I cannot comment further.”

Sadikoglu’s story was one of the rare cases of early reconstruction in Iraq actually working. Originally hired by Saddam Hussein to clear Um Qasr of wreckage from the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Sadikoglu’s work was suspended because of U.N. sanctions against Saddam and other problems. But he was asked to continue with the project by UNDP after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq forced Saddam from power.

The project was massive. Nineteen sunken ships had to be cleared from the harbor, cut up and sold for salvage. Sadikoglu brought in nine of his own ships to house the recovery crews and perform the work. Despite the chaos and terror of the early years of the invasion, Sadikoglu was able to raise the ships and open the harbor.

Officials from the Coalition Provisional Authority, who had oversight of the port at the time, said Sadikoglu not only completed the work on time, but managed to meet the changing demands of the UNDP as the work progressed. They, too, said they cannot understand why he was never paid.

A Cloud Over Turkish Candidate’s Chances to Lead I.M.F.

LONDON — On paper Kemal Dervis would seem to be the perfect candidate to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as leader of theInternational Monetary Fund.

Currently a vice president at the Brookings Institution, he was Turkey’s economy minister from 2001 to 2002 and was widely credited with bringing Turkey out of a severe financial crisis by privatizing state assets and slashing budget deficits amid fierce political opposition.

He speaks fluent French, German and English and is a veteran of I.M.F.-style bureaucracies like the World Bank and the United Nations. Earlier this week, London bookmakers were giving Mr. Dervis the second-best chance to get the I.M.F. job after Christine Lagarde, the finance minister of France.

But, Mr. Dervis, it turns out, has a secret that could disqualify him from being considered for the job. Years ago, while a senior executive at the World Bank, he had an affair with a female subordinate who now works at the I.M.F., according to a person with direct knowledge of the affair.

This person’s account was confirmed by Stanislas Balcerac, a former World Bank staff economist who worked on the same floor with Mr. Dervis and the woman.

In a brief interview Thursday, Mr. Dervis declined to discuss the details of his personal life. But after Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s departure over allegations of a sexual assault, questions of past impropriety could be enough to hurt a candidate’s chance.

On Friday, after word of the affair was reported, Mr. Dervis issued a statement through Brookings saying, in part, “I have not been, and will not be, a candidate” for the I.M.F. job.

Mr. Dervis, 62, was not married at the time of the affair, but the woman was, according Mr. Balcerac, who says he bears no ill will toward either person. In fact, he praises Mr. Dervis as one of the brightest, most adept and bureaucracy-beating executives at the World Bank at the time.

“He was not your standard bureaucrat,” he said. He made “decisions quickly and was extremely dynamic.”

Indeed, the professional talents of Mr. Dervis are a reason he has been widely mentioned this week as a possible candidate for the top job at the I.M.F. He would represent a potential bridge between the European establishment from which the I.M.F. chief has traditionally been chosen, and the emerging-economy countries that are now demanding to play a bigger role in global financial institutions. Turkey, with its 9 percent growth rate last year and its ambition to become a major regional actor in the Middle East, would certainly fit that bill.

Most intriguingly, perhaps, Mr. Dervis is a close friend of George Papandreou, the prime minister of Greece, whom he has been informally advising over the last two years.

The two men became acquainted in 2001 when Mr. Dervis was in charge of the Turkish economy and Mr. Papandreou was foreign minister for his government. Since then, Mr. Dervis has provided counsel in a variety of ways.

He has been an active participant in Mr. Papandreou’s annual summer ideas conference held on different Greek islands each year. He has huddled with him at the Brookings Institution in Washington. And he has, insiders say, shared many late-night phone calls with the Greek prime minister.

And Mr. Dervis has many professional admirers.

“He is the man for the job,” said Dani Rodrik, an expert on globalization and development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. “He would be a truly meritocratic appointment.”

But Mr. Dervis said on Thursday that he was in no way prepared for this sudden burst of publicity. “Look, I have not put my name forward, nor has anyone called me about the job,” Mr. Dervis said. “I am flattered, of course, but that is all I can say at the moment.”

In his Friday statement, indicating he would not be a candidate for the I.M.F. post, Mr. Dervis said, “I am fully engaged in, happy with, and focused on my global work at the Brookings Institution and look forward to continuing my research and policy work, including work on Turkey.”

No doubt, the affair in question is very old news. Mr. Balcerac points out that years ago the culture at the World Bank was looser and it was not uncommon for senior executives to have affairs with those working for them.

All of this changed in 2007, when the World Bank had its own, more minor scandal: Its president at the time, Paul D. Wolfowitz, promoted a woman he was involved with.

The I.M.F. has not said publicly who it is considering to succeed Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

John Lipsky, an American, has taken control as acting managing director and while there had been an expectation that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would leave before his term ended in October 2012 to run for the French presidency, it is not clear what type of short list, if any, the fund board has drawn up.

'She was always smiling': Wife of top British diplomat plunges four storeys to her death from luxury New York apartment

  • Catherine Hurd is the daughter-in-law of former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd
  • Married to UN Middle East expert Thomas Hurd
  • Neighbour heard voices talking in apartment around midnight on Friday
  • Said Mrs Hurd was 'always smiling'
  • Couple seemed 'perfectly normal and happy'

Tragic: Former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd (file photo), whose daughter-in-law Catherine has fallen four storeys to her death from her New York apartment building

Family tragedy: Former UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd (file photo)

The wife of a top British diplomat has plunged four storeys to her death from the roof of her New York home.

Mystery surrounds the circumstances of Catherine Hurd’s death, just a week before she and her family were due to return to Britain.

The mother of five was married to diplomat Thomas Hurd, the son of Conservative veteran and former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, 81, now Lord Hurd of Westwell.

Mrs Hurd was found in the early hours of the Saturday morning near her home close to the United Nations building.

Her husband Thomas is a Middle East expert working with the UN Security Council.

Mrs Hurd, 46, was rushed to hospital by paramedics.

A police spokesman said she was ‘unresponsive with severe trauma’ and was pronounced dead at Cornell Medical Centre.

Police in New York are not treating her death as suspicious but refused to say whether they believe she committed suicide.

They said no note was found.

'There is no suspicion of criminality at this time,' said a spokesman for New York Police.

Mrs Hurd lived in a family home on E84th Street in New York's fashionable Upper East Side. The building is listed as being rented at $15,000 a month.

Her husband Thomas, 45 is a expert on the Middle East and a member of the UK team attached to the United Nations Security team.

A former investment banker, he studied Middle East Affairs at Oxford University and has been in New York for several years where his official position is a political counsellor.

Tragic scene: The house at 445 E84th Street where Catherine Hurd plunged four storeys to her death. A neighbour told the MailOnline she is believed to have fallen from the back of the house into the garden

Tragic scene: The house at 445 E84th Street today, where Catherine Hurd plunged four storeys to her death. A neighbour told the MailOnline she is believed to have fallen from the back of the house into the garden

He is thought to have been involved with negotiations over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Hurd appeared on a list of alleged MI6 agents posted on the internet in 1999, although the authenticity of the list has been questioned.

The Hurds had been in New York for several years and moved to the rented $15,000-a-month townhouse in a quiet, tree-lined street recently.

Mr Hurd’s posting to the UN had come to an end and the family were preparing to return to Britain next week. Neighbours said they were about to move back to Battersea, South-West London.



Lord Douglas Hurd, 81, has served as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

A widower with five grown-up children, he now divides his time between homes in London and the Cotswolds.

The Conservative politician and writer was the first in his family to attend Eton, the prestigious English boarding school also attended by Princes William and Harry. He said the school 'changed the course of my life'.

From Eton he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1952, after graduating with a degree in history, he joined the Diplomatic Service. He was posted overseas to China, the U.S. and Italy before leaving the service in 1966 to enter politics.

In 1979 he became Minister for Europe, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 1984.

In 1985 he became Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher for four years.

Then, from 1989 to 1995 under both Thatcher and John Major, he took on the role of Foreign Secretary.

Generally well-respected for his experience and intellect, Hurd left the House of Commons in 1997. He was made a Baron and so was entitled to serve in the House of Lords.

He has also authored several political thrillers.

His son Thomas, husband of Catherine, has followed his father's footsteps into the Diplomatic Service.

Lord Hurd married twice. He had three children with his first wife, Tatiana. They separated in 1976. In 1982 he married Judy Smart, his former secretary, and they had two children. She died in November 2008, aged 58, after battling cancer for several years.

They said at least two of their children were already educated in London.

Mr Hurd is a contemporary of British Prime Minister David Cameron having been at Oxford University at the same time.

Hurd was also at Eton where he was two years ahead of Mr Cameron.

Before joining the Foreign Office in 1992 he worked as a investment banker for Credit Suisse First Boston.

A biography on his LinkedIn page reads: 'I have spent almost thirty years covering and living in the Middle East and have particular experience in the political and financial arenas.

'Based now in New York working on the UK UN Security Council team. I am personally keen on studying the interaction between business and geopolitics at present as we witness such major shifts in the way international institutions, both private and public.

The Foreign Office refused to comment on Mrs Hurd’s death. There was also no comment from the family.

On Sunday afternoon an elderly, well-dressed British gentleman who would only say he was a relative answered the door to the four-story town house that Mrs Hurd is said to have fell to her death from. He said he had no comment on what had happened.

Neighbours in the apartment block told the MailOnline Mrs Hurd was a happy mother of five.

One, who did not want to be named, said she had seen Mrs Hurd on the day before she died. 'She seemed perfectly normal and happy when I saw her last,' the woman said.

'The week before she had brought over some boxes of children's books that she was donating for my street fair. She didn't want to carry them back to London.

'We knew she was going back next week. Then on Friday I met her on the street as she was coming home and I was leaving and she told me she would bring me over some more books before she left.

'Next thing I heard a detective called at my door at 7am on Saturday morning and told me what happened. I couldn't have been more shocked or surprised. He wanted to know if I heard anything but I slept right through it.

'She was a lovely woman, very pleasant, always smiling friendly and polite. She always said hello when I saw her in the street.

'Her husband seemed to be very busy when he came and went so I didn't know him much. But they couldn't have been better neighbours.

'They've lived here about six months. I think they had dinner parties occasionally for UN people. They just seemed like a perfectly normal and happy couple.

'She did not seem maladjusted or unhappy but was always smiling. It's terrible what happened. I can't believe it.

Tragedy: 445 E84th Street where Catherine Hurd, the wife of a top British diplomat, plunged four storeys to her death

'Nice, normal family': The house at 445 E84th Street is a family home, not an apartment building

''I came back from the theatre on Friday night and heard voices around midnight. Not an argument but people talking, a conversation. So I don't think she was home alone but I can't be sure. It's just terrible.'

Another neighbour told the MailOnline: ''They were just a typical family. Seemed like a very normal couple. Perfectly happy.

'I would see her coming and going with her kids. She would look stressed some times but no more than any other parent with their children. They kept to themselves but were always polite.'

A police spokesman said Mrs Hurd was found at 4.27am on Saturday.

'Police responded to a call and found a 46-year-old woman outside 445 East 84th St unresponsive and with severe trauma,' said a spokesman.

'She was taken to Cornell Medical Centre where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

'There is no criminality suspected at this time.'

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: 'We cannot comment on the personal circumstances of any of our staff.'

Research Assistance Sought

Professor Siegel is seeking research assistance this summer on projects related to criminal justice and mental health, involving mix of legal, factual and empirical research. Strong research and writing abilities required; familiarity with mental health issues and/or statistical analysis useful. Please email a brief description of interest, resume, writing sample (five pages maximum) and transcript to

Subway Restaurants Take a Bite Out of Hunger

The Subway restaurants chain's community project has taken on the cause of two social issues: hunger and obesity, with  a unique marketing campaign Fit to Fight Hunger. Nearly 1600 restaurants in California, Hawaii and Utah will be participating in this piggyback type campaign, hoping to raise awareness for the rising needs of local food banks, while also promoting their low fat Subway Fresh Fit sandwiches and encouraging customers to make healthier eating choices.

This marketing campaign will be run in these three states with advertising in broadcast and print media and on their website, You Tube and Facebook. Fit to Fight Hunger provides information with some of the harsh statistics of hunger in the communities along with a listing of the food banks that they are supporting with their donation of over $100,000.00. There is an invitation to customers to join Subway in fighting hunger by supporting any of the 20 local food banks listed with donations of food, money, and time.

Here's what I liked about this campaign-

Subway does not tie-in buying their sandwiches with their donations to the cause. This makes their donation to the food banks philanthropic and not based on any surge of customer spending.

While their intentions are to market their healthy line of sandwiches, they are piggybacking their advertising dollars to spread the word about the cause and to create awareness for the food banks.

There purpose seems truly to be to educate and inspire customers to join them in helping the
cause by providing information about locations of local food banks.

There is no mention of which Subways are participating and which are not, so there is no perceived self interest of tying-in sales to their giving.

On the other hand- I have been to several of the restaurants this last week and have seen no mention of the Fit to Fight Hunger campaign, which means they are not directly reaching the customers. I wonder whether Subway could do more to help to promote this cause within their restaurants. While on the website they invite others to join them in fighting hunger, they do not provide any additional support for the customer to become involved other than their invitation. Finally, there is no way to assess the impact of the campaign on increasing donations to food banks. Ads are great but often forgotten.

Subway seems to be trying to makes this as clean cut a cause marketing program as possible
without mingling motives, an often problematic issue in cause marketing.

Besides, just the fight against obesity by providing low fat, yet delicious fast food is to be applauded.


Top 50 companies for women executives

As mentioned in previous articles, we believe companies that hire women are more apt to be socially responsible.

And the "proof of the pudding" is in actually comparing SRI lists.
Cross-checking a sample of names against the highest rated Socially Responsible Companies from lists such as Fortune's Best Companies to Work For, Corporate Responsibility's 100 Best Corporate Citizens, Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship reveals several common names.
  • For example, Pepsico appears on the Top 50 cos for women execs as well as several lists cited above.

The list, which is located at the bottom of this article is mostly geared towards up & coming corporate-types.  This list is courtesy of NAFE (National Association For Female Executives).   For those ladies seeking more broad information on women & work issues, I recommend contacting Working Mother Magazine/Media group.Link

How NAFE's list was created:
In order to make it to NAFE's Top 50 list, each organization had to complete a detailed application covering internal and external programs, etc, that benefited women.  Women companies were selected from a pool of "self-selected applicant" companies and ranked on the data they provided in their application.  Applications were collected by an independent survey research firm.

One Concern is that the data in the applications were not independently audited.  However, we are not worried given the nature of the survey.  In other words, applicants are kept honest by the potential Reputation Risk that would result should an intentional misrepresentation be given.

Attributes of the Top 50 Companies for Women Executives:
  •  Nearly a quarter of the Board of Directors of the Top 50 are female.  This compares with 15% at Fortune 500 companies, in aggregate.
  • 14% of the Top 50 Cos have women CEOs.  This compares to 3% of the Fortune 500 Companies.  However, we're still just talking about 7 women (14% of 50).  However, there is hope...
  • Almost 1/3 (about 30%) of the Corporate Executives at the Top 50 cos are female.  This is almost double the percentage (15%) at Fortune 500 cos.  So, there is a growing "bench strength" of potential candidates to the CEO position.
Further, women executives are likely to progress to high positions in the Top 50 given the potpourri of programs to help them break through the "glass ceiling."  Such programs include: career counseling, leadership training, support groups and other related programs.

Of course, if there's no Management Accountability, the number of programs means nothing to actual success in the workplace.  But, the Survey does represent proof that there is such accountability.  Survey results indicate that among the Top 50 companies:
  1. 82% require managers receive training on how to hire and advance women.  About 78% hold managers accountable for meeting women's advancement goals.
  2. These percentages are far higher for the best rated (Top 10) of the 50 companies. (See bottom of page for Top 10). Link to NAFE's Top 10 profiles
Where is improvement needed?
The NAFE also provided a list of Non-Profit Companies (See list on bottom of page) that were in its Top 50 list for women executives.  For nearly every surveyed item (including the two highlighted above) the Non-Profits outranked the For-Profit Companies.
  • This is, frankly, a sad finding considering the significant improvements publicly-traded companies have made in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and the associated popularity of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
  • On the positive side, as SRI becomes mainstream, these differences are likely to lessen.

The Top 10
Abbott – Abbott Park, Ill.
Aetna – Hartford, Conn.
American Express Company – Suwanee, Ga.
Fleishman-Hillard – St. Louis, Mo.
General Mills – Minneapolis, Minn.
IBM  – Austin, Texas
Johnson & Johnson – New Brunswick, N.J.
Marriott International – Bethesda, Md.
Office Depot – Delray Beach, Fla.
WellPoint – Indianapolis, Ind.


Allstate Insurance – Northbrook, Ill.
American Electric Power – Columbus, Ohio
AstraZeneca– Wilmington, Del.
AT&T – Dallas, Texas
Avon Products – New York, N.Y.
Bank of America – Charlotte, N.C.
Bristol-Myers Squibb – Plainsboro, N.J.
Chubb & Son – Warren, N.J.
Cisco – San Jose, Calif.
Colgate-Palmolive – New York, N.Y.
Diageo North America – Norwalk, Conn.
Dow Chemical – Midland, Mich.
DuPont – Wilmington, Del.
Eli Lilly and Company – Indianapolis, Ind.
Grant Thornton LLP – Chicago, Ill.
Hewitt Associates – Lincolnshire, Ill.
HSBC - North America – Prospect Heights, Ill.
Intel Corporation – Santa Clara, Calif.
JPMorgan Chase – New York, N.Y.
Kellogg Company – Battle Creek, Mich.
Kraft Foods Inc. – Northfield, Ill.
Macy's, Inc. – New York, N.Y.
McKinsey & Company – New York, N.Y.
Merck & Co., Inc. – Whitehouse Station, N.J.
MetLife, Inc. – New York, N.Y.
New York Life Insurance Company – New York, N.Y.
Northern Trust Corporation – Chicago, Ill.
PepsiCo – Purchase, N.Y.
Pfizer Inc – New York, N.Y.
Principal Financial Group – Des Moines, Iowa
Prudential Financial – Newark, N.J.
State Farm – Bloomington, Ill.
Texas Instruments – Dallas, Texas
The McGraw-Hill Companies – New York, N.Y.
The New York Times Company – New York, N.Y.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. – Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Procter & Gamble Company – Cincinnati, Ohio
Verizon Communications Inc – New York, N.Y.
Walmart – Bentonville, Ark.
Xerox – Stamford, Conn.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina – Durham, N.C.
Bon Secours Richmond Health System – Richmond, Va.
March of Dimes Foundation – White Plains, N.Y.
MidMichigan Health – Midland, Mich.
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare – Chicago, Ill.
Pitt County Memorial Hospital – Greenville, N.C.
TriHealth, A Partnership of Bethesda and Good Samaritan – Cincinnati, Ohio
VCU Health System – Richmond, Va.
WellStar Health System – Marietta, Ga.
Yale-New Haven Hospital – New Haven, Conn.

National Small Business Week and Small Business CSR

Well -I didn't get my wish. Last year I wrote about my hope, (I hope you read this one, as it's one of my favorites,) that this year's National Small Business Week conference would include something about Social Responsibility and/or philanthropy in their agenda as important contributions to small business growth. This year there will be two presenters who come from the social venture and non-profit sectors: Seth Goldman of Honest Tea and Steve Case from the Case Foundation. Otherwise no mention in the schedule of the burgeoning trends of social ventures, cause marketing, and strategic philanthropy.

Small businesses have been hit hard by the recession and many of them are looking for more ways to survive and to be profitable. The conference is providing small businesses with wonderful learning opportunities and the support to help build their small businesses. Businesses may feel they have little to give when they are struggling to survive, so it makes sense for the conference to focus on topics about how to build small businesses.

In spite of the downturn, many small businesses have continued their support of their communities and have adopted more sustainable green practices and have engaged in small business cause marketing. see Why Giving is Good For Business and Patriotic . In addition, an ever increasing number of the hybrid social ventures, many of which we have written about, are popping up and have started up in this last year or two.

These businesses need business advice too, some of which could be general to all start ups and some of which need to be addressed the the specific hybrid form they take if they are supporting charities. As for marketing, while many large companies are dedicating their marketing dollars to go directly to cause marketing ,as they know that customers are seeking to support companies that give back.

This kind of knowledge and advice would be useful for small businesses to have so they too can take advantage of  the cost savings as a result of their green practices, can reap the many benefits of giving back to the community, and can experience the rewards from partnering with a cause as part of their marketing strategy. Maybe all of this will make it on the agenda in 2012.