June 24, 2024

Monday Memo | Israel-Hamas truce,  Bilateral talk between the US and China, Budget cuts to the NYC’s budget 

Israel-Hamas truce extends

After 48 days of conflict following Hamas’ October 7 attack, a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas commenced with the exchange of captives and prisoners starting on Friday, November 24. The original four-day truce has been extended by two days, as Qatar’s foreign minister announced on November 27. Combat ceased after seven weeks of Israeli bombardment in Gaza that killed more than 14,854 Palestinians after Israel declared war in response to the killing of 1,200 Israelis and the abduction of 240 hostages by Hamas. No major bombings or attacks were reported, although both sides claimed minor shooting incidents. 

People in Tel Aviv celebrated news of the release of hostages on Friday. Image credit: Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

Four prisoner-captive exchanges by Monday resulted in the release of 50 Israeli captives by Hamas and Israel releasing 150 Palestinian prisoners, as decided in the initial agreement. Hamas also released 17 Thais, one Filipino and one Israeli-Russian, on the first three days as a part of reportedly separate agreements made with Hamas.

Despite the brief relief, the temporariness of the ceasefire remains a concern. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has committed to continuing the fighting after the truce ends for “the elimination of Hamas” and “ensuring that Gaza does not return to what it was.”

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Zama, right, hugs his mother after being released from an Israeli jail in exchange for Israeli hostages released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, at his home in Halhul village north Hebron in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
Image Credit: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

Setting a tone for engagement over estrangement: Bilateral talk between the US and China

A potentially pivotal dialogue unfolded between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on November 15, 2023, on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco. Setting a tone for engagement over estrangement, Biden hailed their discussions as exceptionally constructive, opening the door to a stronger US-China relations. The leaders moved to reinstate military-to-military communications. However, they disagreed over Taiwan, the most sensitive issue in the US-China relationship. Moreover, in a move to address a grave health crisis, China committed to curbing fentanyl production, a leading cause of overdose deaths in the US. 

Joe Biden greets Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting in Woodside, California, on Nov. 15. Image Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Global conflicts were on the agenda, with Biden urging Xi to use his influence to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Hamas and to refrain from supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Economic issues were not left behind, with Xi urging Biden to ease US sanctions that Beijing sees as a barrier to its technological and industrial ambitions. Despite these appeals, there was no immediate indication that the US would relax export controls, particularly on advanced computer chips vital to China’s tech sector development and military capabilities.

The discussions on artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons systems remained unresolved. Simultaneously, protests against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) outside the summit highlighted the international community’s concerns over China’s governance.

Adams explains FY24 budget cuts

New York City Mayor Eric Adams claimed fiscal challenges faced by the city have led to significant budget cuts to the city’s budget for FY24. Adams released the November Financial Plan Update for Fiscal Year 2024 on November 16, 2023. The Adams administration attributes the $7 billion budget gap to the burgeoning costs of the asylum seeker crisis, the depletion of federal COVID-19 stimulus funding, and a slowdown in tax revenue growth. 

In confronting these financial headwinds, the administration underscores the urgent need for federal government support to effectively manage the city’s fiscal responsibilities. Adams asserted, “No city should be left to handle a national humanitarian crisis largely on its own.”

Initial reductions included hiring freezes in the NYPD, cuts in overtime and civilian vacancies in FDNY, $1 billion in education cuts, and reduced sanitation services. Furthermore, many public libraries will suspend Sunday operations starting in December. Adams suggested another reduction round is on the horizon, with city agencies given until December 8 to propose further cost-saving measures. As part of a possible second round of budget cuts, the city will slash migrant services by 20%, according to a letter from NYC’s budget director. 

Groups protested outside City Hall on November 17 in response to the austerity measures, particularly against cuts to education and social services. 

Tuesday, November 28, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM ET

The Wasserman Center for Career Development is hosting the “Grad Level Salary Negotiation” workshop, aimed at helping students prepare for negotiation research, practice negotiation tactics, and understand key considerations in job offer negotiations. (RSVP

Thursday, November 30, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET

The Social Impact Career Hub and Professor Susan Davies are hosting the “Grant Writing for Social Change” workshop. This session will teach you how grant writing can be a powerful tool to secure funding for organizations and drive meaningful social change. (RSVP

Thursday, November 30, 6:00 PM-8:30 PM ET

Wasserman’s Creative Career Hub offers “Get It Done: Creating an Arts Startup,” a workshop on for-profit vs nonprofit models and fiscal sponsorship. Ideal for early to mid-career individuals, open to all, including alums. Participants should bring an arts startup idea for activities. (RSVP)

Tuesdays- Fridays through December 8, 12:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU is hosting “Our Inner Quarters: Spaces of Work & Care“. This exhibition, curated by Yin Q and Chong Gu from Red Canary Song (RCS), explores the work and history of RCS, a grassroots collective of migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies from the Asian diaspora.

Mondays- Fridays through December 7

The Latinx Project at NYU presents “Allow Me to Gather Myself” by artist-in-residence Mildred Beltré at 20 Cooper Square. This exhibition, curated by The Latinx Project and Urayoán Noel, showcases Beltré’s unique art made from natural materials, reflecting her Afro-diasporic heritage and the experiences of Dominican migrants in New York City.

The National Review Institute Internship Program

The National Review Institute is looking for interns for the Spring semester. The NRI is looking for interns for the New York City and Washington DC offices. These interns will work part-time for 20 hours, compensated at $15 per hour, and receive hands-on mentorship while working on projects vital to the operation of the Institute. Interns may choose between publishing, writing/editing, or non-profit programs. More information can be found here

Dolores Zohrab Leibmann Fund Fellowships

The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund provides U.S. graduate students fellowship opportunities in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Recipients benefit from tuition coverage and a yearly stipend of $18,000, with applications due to GSAS Fellowships by January 5, 2024​. More information can be found here.

US Teaching Assistantship Program by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research (BMBWF)

Fulbright Austria’s program invites U.S. graduates to teach English and experience Austrian culture as teaching assistants in secondary schools. Applications for the one-year term starting October 1, 2024, are open from November 15, 2023, to January 15, 2024. Participants will gain classroom experience and serve as informal cultural ambassadors​. More information can be found here.

2024-25 Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF)

The DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship is open to U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. The program offers two tracks—Science & Engineering, and Mathematics/Computer Science—for doctoral students focusing on high-performance computing. The application deadline is January 17, 2024​. More information can be found here.

Boren Fellowships

Boren Fellowships funds research and language study proposals by U.S. graduate students in world regions critical to U.S. interests. The application deadline is January 24, 2024. More information can be found here.

International Research Experience “Bioinspired Autonomy in Natural Environments”

The IRES program begins with a prep week in Blacksburg, VA, before moving to Brunei for field research on bat biosonar sensing, with further studies at KAIST and NUS. This biodiversity-focused research informs engineering applications, with participants receiving a $5,000 stipend, international travel expenses, and lodging. Applications are due by February 15, 2024. More information can be found here.

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