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(February 21, 2002, Gazette)

Autism study seeks input
The Health Research Unit at Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, is conducting a study of the prevalence rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in persons 16 years and older within the province. The study will also document current programs and services available and survey parents and caregivers of persons with ASD to determine further program and service needs of individuals, families and organizations in the field of autism treatment, training and support. If you have a family member with Autism Spectrum Disorder aged 16 years and older, please contact Monty Keough at 777- 8539 or; or Ann Ryan at 777-8385 or

Donations sought by university women
The St. John’s Club of the Canadian Federation of University Women is requesting donations of books for its 12th Annual Book Sale, to be held on April 20 at St. David’s Presbyterian Church on Elizabeth Avenue in St. John’s. Proceeds will go towards MUN scholarships and the Newfoundland Art Posters and Schools Project. For information or to arrange pick-up of books call 754-0797 or 754-6065. No text books and no pick-up on day of sale.

Online Canadian research
A new Internet-based magazine dedicated to Canadian research was launched in Ottawa Feb. 18. Dr. David W. Strangway, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, announced the launch of Innovation Canada. The new e-zine features stories about some of the most cutting-edge research that is taking place in universities and research institutions across the country.

“The Internet offers a tremendous opportunity to showcase — both at home and internationally — some of the best research found in Canada,” said Dr. Strangway. “Helping raise public awareness for research and innovation is a key part of our commitment to Canadians.”

The premiere issue features research projects on futuristic concert halls and recording studios as well as on winemaking, flu transmission and babies language learning abilities. A section on Canada’s “Young Innovators” introduces an 18-year old from Saskatoon who has represented Canada at UNESCO’s Conference on the Environment in Paris.

The site is accessible both with high-speed and modem connections at

Folklorist represents country
During the 31st session of the UNESCO General Conference, a decision was made to proceed in drafting an international standard-setting instrument to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, following the widely supported 1972 Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage. Following this decision, UNESCO decided to convene a meeting of international experts who would advise on policy and practice.

Dr. Gerald L. Pocius of Memorial’s Folklore department was chosen by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (in consultation with the federal Department of Canadian Heritage) to represent Canada at this meeting. Eighteen experts from around the world were chosen to help the UNESCO executive draft a preliminary declaration which would cover such intangible aspects of world heritage as oral traditions, festivals and celebrations, cultural spaces, and traditional knowledge that are in need of recognition and safeguarding.

The International Experts Meeting was titled: Intangible Cultural Heritage: Priority Domains for an International Convention, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 2002. The First Lady of Brazil, Ruth Cardoso, opened the meeting, speaking of Brazil’s recent establishment of a Registry of the Intangible Heritage. The director-general of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, provided guidelines for the work of those participating. The draft document from this meeting will now be revised by legal experts, to be eventually presented at the 32nd General Session of UNESCO in October 2003.

University teachers hold hearing
The unique challenges facing Memorial University was the topic of discussion as St. John’s hosted the fifth in a series of cross-country hearings being organized by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

Chaired by former provincial education minister Dr. Phil Warren, the hearing brought together students, alumni, faculty, administrators and members of the St. John’s community to identify and propose solutions to the key issues confronting Canada’s universities and colleges. Topics discussed at the hearings included tuition fees and student debt; funding and finances; faculty renewal and retention; privatization and commercialization; academic freedom and research integrity; and the relationship between the city’s post-secondary institutions and the local community.

Memorial’s new vice-president for research and international relations, Dr. Chris Loomis, made a presentation at the hearing. Dr. Loomis focussed on the urgency of faculty renewal, concern over mounting student debt, and the “increasing and disproportionate allocation of research funding to the larger provinces and the larger universities within those provinces.”

In addition to St. John’s, CAUT is also holding hearings in Prince George, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Montreal, Halifax, and Fredericton.