Chairman of the Bored
The British Toast Rack Society
Karim is a former school teacher and headmaster of a Massachusetts state charter middle school.
He has also taught at New York inner-city schools in Harlem and the South Bronx and taught at schools in Zimbabwe, England, Lithuania, and several other countries. This includes a stint teaching at The Doon School in the lovely hill station of Dehru Dun in northern India, which is the old school of the Indian Prince Jayasinhji Jhala, the Vice Chairman of the Bored.
Karim is Executive Director of The Educationalist which is an international speaker series.
He is also the Founder and Editor of The Brick Project, a multicultural forum for teachers and students, which was the subject of his doctoral thesis at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is also the Founder and Director of a middle school program in the San Francisco Bay Area which builds community with children in Africa called Pencils for Africa.
He is also the Co-Founder, together with Noble Peace Prize Recipient Desmond Tutu, and the Editor-in-Chief of the African Peace Journal which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. African Peace Journal is currently working on a series on the plight of African land and boat refugees with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.
Together with Founder and Director, Maharaja Jayasinhji Jhala, Karim is Director of The Halvad Revitalization Initiative, which works to reinvigorate a 15th Century citadel in Gujarat, India.
In the great British tradition Karim is also a keen and avid colonizer. Karim oversees a colony of authors and scholars as Editor of the Café Philosophie, a colony of artists and artisans as Editor of Salon de Refusé, and a colony of inventors and engineers as Editor of Frugalis Creativus (‘frugality and creativity’ from Latin) which includes patented education technology applications.
He was born in Nairobi, Kenya and sent off to school at age 7 to London, England to attended Chiswick and Bedford Park Preparatory School. After moving back to Nairobi at age 10 to attend Hospital Hill School, he returned to London to attended Drayton Manor School in Hanwell.
Karim holds advanced graduate degrees from MIT and from Harvard University.
Maharaja Jayasinhji Jhala
Vice Chairman of the Bored
The British Toast Rack Society
A note from Karim Ajania, The Society’s Founder:
Prince Jayasinhji Jhala and I were fellow graduate students together at the Media Lab at MIT where we both received our Master of Science degrees. He now teaches at both Harvard University and Temple University where he is an Associate Professor. As a traditional Hindu, one would expect nothing less than for him to end up at Temple. In his own words…
I am the director of Temple’s graduate and undergraduate tracks in the anthropology of visual communication, and of our visual communication media lab. I have been involved in interpreting culture on film and video for the past thirty years.
I was educated at St. Stephens College, Delhi, India, where I received a BA in English Literature (1968); Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I received an MVS (1983); and at Harvard University, where I received a PhD (1991).
I have produced, directed, filmed and edited over fifteen well-received ethnographic films which illustrate the cultures of India, the USA and Vietnam and speak to various issues in visual anthropology. My films A Zenana and Tragada Bhavai: A Rural Theater Troupe of Gujarat (1981), Bharvad Predicament and Journey with Ganapati (1983), Forgotten Headhunters and Apatani Sacrifice (1978), Whose Paintings? (1995), Morning with Asch (1997), Conversation with a Collector: Dialogue with a Docent (1998), Close Encounters of No Kind (2002), ShaktiMa no Veh (2006), The Last Rites of the Honourable Mr. Rai (2009), and Rejuvenating the Land, Uniting the People (2009).
The above films have been seen by national and international audiences. Information about several of my films is available from Documentary Educational Resources.
My written publications address issues of art and anthropology, nomadism, religious worship, indigenous interpretations of local culture, ethnographic filmmaking and its reception, photography, Hindu marriage, Rajput ideology and politics and Vietnamese rituals.
With my friend and fellow director Karim Ajania, I am pioneering the Halvad Revitalization Initiative in Gujarat, India, of which I am Founder (click here to read more). Below is a Friend of Halvad (click here to see more), my friend and Cambridge, Massachusetts neighbor, Kevin McGrath.
Kevin McGrath was born in southern China in 1951 and was educated in England and Scotland.
He has lived and worked in France, Greece, and India. Presently he is an Associate in the Department of South Asian Studies and the Poet-in-Residence at Lowell House at Harvard University. His research includes Epic Mahabharata and his publications in this field include:
The Sanskrit Hero (2004), Stri (2009), Jaya (2011), Heroic Krsna (2013), Raja Yudhisthira and Arjuna Pandava (forthcoming 2016).
He is a specialist in preliterate poetry and in heroic literature.
He has also written a personal memoir about life in the Kacch: In the Kacch (2015). At present he is building up an organisation that develops water security prospects in the District, including harvesting and conservation. His work in poetry includes:
Fame (1995), Lioness (1998), Supernature (2012), Eroica (2013), and Windward (2015).
Kevin lives in Cambridge Massachusetts, with his family.
Human Rights Lawyer Chris Mburu, Member of the Bored
Chris was born in, grew up in, and attended high school and college in Kenya.
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Masters Program, and is an international human rights lawyer serving as UN Senior Human Rights Advisor in Kigali, Rwanda.
He was previously serving as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, focusing on anti-discrimination work.
A graduate of University of Nairobi (LL.B) and Harvard Law School (LL.M), Chris has worked on human rights, governance, democracy, peace and conflict resolution issues for over 20 years and has served in many countries including USA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Prior to his recent transfer to Kigali, he served the UN in Geneva, Switzerland and as Advisor on Democracy for the UN Regional Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Chris has previously worked with leading human rights organizations and policy think-tanks, including Global Rights, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International.
In 2001, while still working with the UN, Chris started Hilde Back Education Fund, a charitable organization in Kenya that supports scholarship education of bright children from poor families.
He named it after a Swedish woman, Ms Hilde Back, a holocaust survivor who supported his education when he was a poor child growing up in a village in Kenya.
The story of Chris and Hilde became the subject of an Emmy-nominated Hollywood documentary film called “A Small Act” which debuted at the Sundance Festival in 2010 and was voted among the Top-10 audience favorites at Toronto HotDocs Festival and featured extensively internationally.
To learn more about this film please go to: www.asmallact.com.
Documentary Filmmaker Farida Pacha, Member of the Bored
After obtaining a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in filmmaking at Southern Illinois University, USA, Farida has made several experimental, educational and documentary films.
Her documentary The Seedkeepers won the 2006 Indian National Film Award.
My Name is Salt is her first feature length documentary which won her among many others the First Appearance Award at IDFA 2013, Amsterdam as well as the main prizes at Hong Kong, Madrid and Edinburgh. To visit the website of My Name Is Salt kindly click here.
To read Karim’s interview with Farida for The British Toast Rack Society kindly click here.
Human Rights Lawyer Rutendo Urenje, Member of the Bored
Rutendo is Managing Editor of African Peace Journal and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
She is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe and completed a Masters degree in International Human Rights Law at Lund University, Sweden. Prior to this, Rutendo spent five years at Rhodes University, South Africa, studying for a Social Sciences and a Law degree.
During her studies she worked for the Rhodes University’s Community Engagement office as a student liaison officer. Rutendo recently completed coursework at Oxford University.
In her own words:
“I earnestly have a passion to serve people, especially children who may not have developed the capacities to help themselves.”
In Sweden, she actively volunteered at Save the Children Gotland and Save the Children Lund and was a project leader for the Kids in Transit Project in Lund. She is fluent in both English and Shona and has a working knowledge of French, Afrikaans and Ndebele.
To read Rutendo’s blog on Rutendo’s Corner at the African Peace Journal, kindly click here.
Photojournalist Véronique de Viguerie, Member of the Bored
Véronique de Viguerie is a multi-awarded French photographer represented by Reportage by Getty, and based in Paris, France.
Having completed a Master’s Degree in Law in France, she studied photojournalism in England.
She spent 3 years living and working in Afghanistan. Since 2006, she is been covering stories around the world in Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Kashmir, Mexico, Algeria, Guatemala, Pakistan, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and several other countries. Her work “Afghanistan Insh’Allah” was exhibited in Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, in Paris and in the Scoop Festival in Angers.
“The Oil War in Nigeria” was exhibited in Bayeux festival for the war correspondents.
Véronique’s pictures are regularly published in Paris-Match, the New-York Times Magazine, Newsweek, El Pais, Stern, Der Spiegel, Figaro Magazine, Geo, Marie-Claire, Mail on Sunday, the Guardian, l’Optimum and other publications. Véronique was especially noticed for having photographed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pirates in Somalia, the Oil Pirates in Nigeria, the Sicaraias (women killers) in Colombia, and the MNLA in Mali. She bravely takes on these challenging assignments and personal projects in some of the most dangerous places on the planet, often working with her French journalist friend and colleague Manon Querouil.
In 2006 she published her first book, “Afghanistan, Regards Croises” and in 2011 “Carnets de Reportage du XXIe siècle”. In 2012, she was chosen by HBO to be one of the three photographers to be part of the Witness program for her work on the Arrow Boys in South Sudan.
Véronique de Viguerie and her colleague Manon Querouil Bruneel have just completed a book entitled “Profession: Reporter”.
“Profession: Reporter” will be out on the 20th of August, 2015 and will be discussed in the ‘Books’ section of this website by members of The Bored of The Society.
To explore the website of Véronique de Viguerie kindly Click here.
To read Karim’s interview with Véronique for African Peace Journal kindly Click here.
Author Kevin Ashton, Member of the Bored
Kevin Ashton is a visionary technologist.
He coined the term “the Internet of Things,” co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT, and is the author of “How To Fly A Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery,” described by the Toronto Post as “the last book about creativity you’ll ever need to read.”
His writing about innovation and technology has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Politico, and Quartz.
Author and Photojournalist Paola Gianturco, Member of the Bored
Paola Gianturco is an author and photographer who has documented women’s lives in 60 countries.
She has had five books published and is a grandmother. (Click here for Paola’s website).
Her involvement with women’s issues is long standing. She has lectured about them in the US, Canada, France and Spain. She spoke at UNESCO International Headquarters in Paris on International Women’ s Day 2008; her photographs were exhibited there in 2009 and 2011. Paola co-developed and taught Executive Institutes on Women and Leadership at Stanford University, and served on the Board of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). She was a principal in the first women-owned advertising agency in the United States and is a current member of International Women’s Forum.
Paola presented a TED TALK in Dubai in May of 2014.
In 2013, Paola was named one of “40 Women to Watch over 40” – and in 2014, she was named one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews. She serves on the Leadership Council of Let Girls Lead and on the Advisory Board of Global Grandmothers. Paola also serves on the Executive Board of Pencils for Africa, a middle school program founded by Karim.
CEO John Martin, Member of the Bored
I recently became CEO of Sanoma Learning, one of Europe’s leading providers of learning solutions. I am passionate about education and science, and I love to help talented individuals and teams to grow. I’m experienced in leading international content and information service companies going through significant change in the science, education, medical, consumer media, legal and business spaces.
Sanoma Learning serves about 10 million pupils and 1 million teachers in Northern Europe.
We employ about 1600 people with a passion for learning.
Our experience in education dates back to 1833 and these days we are known internationally for two reasons. Firstly, for quality: we’re a leading and integral partner in some of the World’s best performing education systems including Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, as well as Sweden. Secondly, we’re innovative and are frontrunners in the digital transformation and are arguably continental Europe’s biggest edtech company today.
I believe there are three cornerstones of excellence in education:
Skilled teachers, motivated pupils, and high-quality learning materials. And I believe that the next generation of learning is personal: by tailoring pedagogy, curriculum, and learning support to the needs of the individual learner we can improve learning outcomes, enhance workflow efficiency and support engaging learning.
John received both his BSc. (First Class Honors) and his PhD. from the University of Sheffield.
His doctoral research included determining the 3D structure of a human cysteine protease inhibitor implicated in cancer metastasis and a number of other disease states. He used a number of techniques including high resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, simulated annealing, distance geometry and DNA cloning and over-expression. John went on for post doctoral work at Utrecht University and management studies at the Harvard Business School.
Professor Henry Petroski, Member of the Bored
Dr. Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering at Duke University.
At Duke University, he has a secondary appointment as a professor of history.
From 2004 through 2012 he held a Presidential appointment as a member of the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.
Professor Petroski’s current research activity focuses on the interrelationship between success and failure in design. He also has a strong interest in the nature of invention and in the history of technology. Professor Petroski’s research has been sponsored by the Corps of Engineers, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has published seventeen books and hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines, and trade journals.
Besides his history of the pencil, Petroski’s books include The Evolution of Useful Things; The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors; and The Toothpick. His latest book is entitled The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure.
A characteristically eye-opening look at America’s infrastructure…
Anyone with an interest in the way things work will want this book
– and will doubtless emerge as a fan of the ever curious author.
– The Kirkus Review on Henry’s new book, The Road Taken
Professor Petroski is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
His numerous honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Peter Meringolo, Member of the Bored
Peter Meringolo is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A. 1991) and University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D. 1998).
Since 1998, Peter has been a corporate litigation attorney, working at top tier, internationally reputable law firms, including Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Morrison & Foerster. He is presently the managing partner of the litigation firm of Snyder, Miller & Orton, started by former leaders of the Brobeck firm. Peter represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of business litigation, intellectual property, and insurance recovery matters.
Peter is very committed to volunteer work and community service. Among other things, he has volunteered at a drug and alcohol counselling center for teens and performed pro bono legal work on domestic violence and immigration issues.
For several years, Peter served on the Board of Managers for the Embarcadero YMCA. In that capacity, Peter served as the Chair of the Youth Chance High School (“YCHS”) Advisory Committee, a private high school for at-risk youth operated by the Embarcadero YMCA in San Francisco. The YCHS Advisory Committee played a vital role in helping YCHS thrive through an economic downturn — in 2010, YCHS almost closed its doors; in 2012, over twenty young adults graduated with a high school diploma.
In his spare time, Peter enjoys writing: one of his essays was published in the Loyola of Chicago Law Journal; another was published in Notre Dame Magazine in 2012; and a third won first place in the 2014 Marin County Fair. Peter and his wife, Joyce Raffo, live in Marin County with their three sons, Nicolas, Luke, and Mark, two cats named Smoke and Ash, and one fish named Chewy.
The Mission Statement of The Society
The mission of The British Toast Rack Society is to keenly and studiously observe toast racks.
A personal message from the bored president
‘Welcome’, I suppose, to The British Toast Rack Society.
The founder of The British Toast Rack Society, Karim Ajania, has modeled it upon The British Snail-Watching Society originally founded by renowned US diplomat-journalist and compleat conchophilist, Peter J. Henniker-Heaton.
Our British Toast Rack Society founder, Mr. Ajania, seems to think that observing toast racks is on a par with observing snails. Well, I am not so sure about that. I have often observed snails and find them far more riveting than toast racks. Snails, at least, move…
Toast racks, well, they just sit there, don’t they? Motionless. Inanimate. Boring.
I don’t know about you but I find toast racks spectacularly boring. There are few activities more boring than to “keenly and studiously observe” a toast rack. Consequently, in my capacity as president I have duly delegated the observance of toast racks to the bored.
Personally, I would much rather go fishing than observe toast racks.
Richard Schaper, Member of the Bored
Richard studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
He also studied philosophy and religion at Colgate University, theology at the University of Chicago, ethics at Yale University, financial planning at Golden Gate University and the management of nonprofit organizations at the University of San Francisco.
Growing up Lutheran, then worshipping with Quakers and zazen training with Zenki Shibayama Roshi prepared him for nine years as a Benedictine monk at Weston Priory.
Richard’s experiences as a monk, hospital chaplain, parish pastor, and certified financial planner have prepared him for a pastoral and spiritual perspective in financial and estate planning.
His wife, the Reverend Anita Ostrom, PhD., is a psychotherapist.
Richard comes from a seafaring family and enjoys fishing and sailing.
Author Thomas Christensen, Member of the Bored
I’m an author, editor, illustrator, translator, graphic designer, photographer, webmaster, Mayanist, typehead, etc., and a one-time caterer, cherry picker, delivery boy, dish washer, disk jockey, driver, janitor, jellybean maker, laborer, mattress salesman, photographer, poster salesman, railyard laborer, Santa Claus manager, teacher, tobacco cutter …
River of Ink: Literature, History, Art, a collection of thirty essays on various subjects, was published by Counterpoint Press in December 2014.
Landscape with Yellow Birds, a translation of selected poems spanning the career of José Ángel Valente, was published by Archipelago Press in 2013. 1616: The World in Motion, also from Counterpoint, is a global overview of a single year in the age of early maritime globalism. Both Landscape with Yellow Birds and 1616 were finalists for Northern California Book Reviewers Awards, in the categories of translation and general nonfiction respectively. 1616 was named one of the ten best history books of its season by Publishers Weekly.
Previous books include New World/New Words: Recent Writing from the Americas, from the Center for the Art of Translation; The U. S.–Mexican War, a companion book to a national PBS television series; The Discovery of America, an anthology of writings on the discovery and conquest; and Bridge to Understanding: The Art and Architecture of San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, which commemorated the museum’s move to Civic Center. With Carol Christensen I also ghosted a PBS companion book, The American Promise.
Besides the poems of Valente, my other translations include books by such authors as Laura Esquivel, Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortázar, Alejo Carpentier, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Ballets Without Music, Without Dancers, Without Anything by Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a finalist for the PEN America West translation award. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (translated with Carol Christensen) was a national best-seller. I received a special award for dedication to translation from the American Literary Translators Association.
As a publisher, I learned the ropes while serving as senior editor at North Point Press. In the 1990s I was executive editor of Mercury House, an independent literary press. During my tenure we were nominated for a Carey-Thomas Award for excellence in publishing. I am currently nonfiction editor of Catamaran Literary Reader.
I have written critical essays and introductions to such books as Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll, The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson, and Hieroglyphic Tales by Horace Walpole, and have published essays in many books, magazines, newspapers, and journals. Some of these are collected in River of Ink.
The many panels I’ve served on include the National Endowment for the Arts, for which I reviewed translation and creative writing grant applications.
As a graphic designer I have designed and typeset a large number of books, including several catalogues of museum art exhibitions. I received my BA, MA, and ABD in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Carol and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we are constantly chasing deer out of the garden.
Deep Sehgal, Member of the Bored
Deep Sehgal is Executive Producer of Avatar Productions.
After studying for degrees in Philosophy from Dundee and Grenoble universities, Deep trained as a journalist at Leeds University.
His first job was as a researcher on the BBC’s Everyman series in Manchester.
Deep produced his first drama for the BFI and Channel 4 in 1998, before getting his directing break for Channel 4. After making a number of short films for the channel, he was hired by BBC Bristol where he spent nearly ten years making high-end documentaries, including the international Emmy nominated series Soul Deep.
His work has been awarded Broadcast, RTS, BAFTA and international festival awards in categories as diverse as Drama, Sport, History and the Arts.
Deep was the executive producer on “The Kumars at 42” and created “The Indian Doctor”, both shows that have sold around the world.
He lives in Bristol and is generally suspicious of cats.
Deep cannot believe his good fortune in doing something he loves for a living.
Thomas Thwaites, is an experimental designer, who makes things as an excuse to explore interesting topics in biology, psychology, philosophy, economics and whatever else.
For example The Toaster Project, which is what first brought him to the attention of the British Toast Rack Society, was his nine month journey to make an electric toaster entirely himself, from scratch, that is starting with extracting the raw materials from abandoned mines and ending with a slice of warm(ish) bread. The project was a real life illustration of the economics essay I, Pencil.
The Toaster Project, which first brought Thomas to the attention of the British Toast Rack Society, was his journey to make an electric toaster from scratch, starting with extracting the raw materials from abandoned mines.
He is currently trying to take a holiday from the existential pain of being a human, by transforming himself into a goat.
Originally the goal was to transform himself in to an elephant, elephants sharing with humans the distinction of having relatively short necks. However this changed after a visit to a Scandinavian Shaman, who pointed out that he’s lived in London his entire life and thus unfortunately has no shared cultural history with elephants, and so told him he’s much better off becoming a goat.
He has a BSc. in Human Sciences from University College London, and he completed his Masters degree in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art in 2009.
Thomas is currently transforming himself into a goat.
His work has been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum for their permanent collection, and is exhibited frequently and internationally, he lectures at various universities in the USA and Europe, and speaks at conferences across the world, including TED and Design Indaba (Cape Town, SA).
Click here for the website of Thomas Thwaites, who teaches at Rhode Island School of Design.
His first book, The Toaster Project, published by Princeton Architectural Press, has now been translated into Japanese and Korean editions.
His second book, written about his current project to become a goat, is entitled GoatMan.
In the toast rack, Ethan has found a great opportunity to exercise his ingenuity as a designer and to work toward redefining the perception of the oft disregarded member of the British breakfast table setting.
Ethan Nonomura was born in Arizona and has since lived in California, Maine, and Massachusetts. He attended The Thacher School and graduated from Bowdoin College in 2012.
He is an Eagle Scout and worked for some time as a naturalist and outdoor guide, where he found extensive inspiration in the sublime beauty of the wilderness and natural phenomena.
With a background in environmentalism, mathematics, and art, Ethan is currently pursuing his MFA in Industrial Design at California College of the Arts.
He hopes to utilize his ever-broadening span of knowledge to help further the British Toast Rack Society’s observation and development of the toast rack.
Ethan has always been drawn to objects with strong narratives and his approach to design draws on that penchant, utilizing historical context, functionalism, craftsmanship, and a drop of whimsy to bring new and compelling products into fruition. In the toast rack, Ethan has found am opportunity to exercise his ingenuity as a designer and to work toward redefining the perception of the oft disregarded member of a British breakfast table setting. Below is a toast rack design by Ethan:
Author Thomas Cummings, Member of the Bored
Tom Cummings has served as global head of Learning and Organisation Effectiveness for Unilever and ABN Amro Bank; project leader/adviser on planning and learning in companies such as Shell, Compass Group, Fortis, Marakon and BUPA and others. Tom has created and co-designed business transformation and learning vehicles such as Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Center for Strategy Research, Leading Ventures and Common Purpose Netherlands.
He is the co-author, together with Jim Keen, of Leadership Landscapes.
Tom is on the board of directors of the Tällberg Foundation.
He has led the Tällberg Leader Program since 2006. This work has involved him as a designer and catalyst in hundreds of projects and board retreats across many cultures. He works with people who wish to engage with complexity and want to learn how to move between and across different perspectives. The approach helps to integrate experience and anticipate challenges.
His work encourages leaders to be present and mindful of their personal impact while sustaining a perspective on their legacy in the wider world.
Tom (and Marisa and Ty) and Karim have known each other for 35 years, ever since they were classmates at The Netherlands School of Business (Nyenrode) in 1980.
Author Robert Calder, Member of the Bored
Emeritus Professor of English of the University of Saskatchewan, Robert Calder is the author and editor of ten books. Among his volumes published internationally are W. Somerset Maugham and the Quest for Freedom (Heinemann, UK, 1972; Doubleday, USA; Hokuseido Press, Tokyo) and Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham (Heinemann, UK, 1989; St. Martin’s Press, USA; Interdialect, Russia). The latter won the 1989 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in Canada. He has also written the introductions and explanatory notes to four Maugham novels – Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, The Magician, and Mrs Craddock – for the New York Penguin Classics series.
Professor Calder is also the author of Beware the British Serpent: The Role of Writers in British Propaganda in the United States, 1939-1945 (2004), for which he won two Saskatchewan Book Awards, and A Richer Dust: Family, Memory and the Second World War (2004). For these books and numerous articles, essays, and reviews, Calder was given the University of Saskatchewan’s Distinguished Researcher Award in 2005.
He continues to publish eclectically, working on a book about the first contact between the Maya and the Spanish in sixteenth-century Yucatán, and researching a book about film adaptations of the works of W. Somerset Maugham.
Rick Fitzgerald, Member of the Bored
Rick (Richard Patrick) Fitzgerald has been a school of head of three very different independent schools and one unique charter school. He currently serves as Associate Dean at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania where he communes daily with the ghosts of Louis Kahn, Ian McHarg, Julian Abele, Ed Bacon, Ann Tyng, and Frank Furness.
James Capon, Member of the Bored
Englishman James Capon had a successful career in advertising with McCann Erickson in various countries, before he switched sides and became Marketing Manager for Levi’s jeans, first in Germany and then for Europe. Under his management, the advertising agency BBH were appointed and they successfully developed the Launderette commercial – voted best TV commercial of the 80’s by the Art Directors Club. He went on to become President of the US division of Levi’s and of their international casual clothing line, Dockers.
An acknowledged expert in the field of neuromarketing and communication with an MBA from the Solvay Business School in Brussels, he considers himself European first and an Englishman second. (But not when it comes to toast racks. There his taste is very traditional, his own personal specimen being made of porcelain and pinkish in color).
He is proud of being a founder member of The Brick Project, an educational project which was the subject of Karim’s doctoral thesis at Harvard, and a founder member of gapdaemon.com which all purport to help young people’s international cultural dialogue but in reality promote world peace.
Professor Richard Gombrich, Member of the Bored
His father, Sir Ernst Gombrich, was an historian whose book – The Story of Art, has been translated into more than 30 languages and made the family fortune.
After two years of compulsory military service, spent mostly in Germany, he progressed from St. Paul’s School to Magdalen College, Oxford. Half way through his four-year course he changed from Classics (Latin and Greek) to Oriental Languages – Sanskrit and Pali.
In 1961, he won a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard University where he received a masters in Sanskrit literature. However, his interest in Buddhism was even greater than that in Sanskrit, and he wrote his Oxford doctoral thesis on the practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. For this he studied some anthropology and did a year’s fieldwork in a Sinhalese village.
At Oxford, Richard worked as a University Lecturer until 1976, and then was chosen as the Boden Professor of Sanskrit. With this went a Fellowship in Balliol College. Richard held office in the Pali Text Society for 15 years, ending as its President. He is also President of the UK Association of Buddhist Studies, and an honorary life member of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. He also founded the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and is editor of its Journal.