Harvard Pledges $100 Million to Atone for Role in Slavery

Harvard University is vowing to spend $100 million to research and atone for its extensive ties with slavery, the school’s president announced Tuesday, with plans to identify and support direct descendants of dozens of enslaved people who labored at the Ivy League campus. President Lawrence Bacow announced the funding as Harvard released a new report…

New Kenyan Play Targets Gender-Based Violence

Kenya saw a jump in cases of gender-based violence (GBV) during its COVID-19 lockdowns, which heightened social and financial stress.  To address the problem, Kenyan authorities are turning to the dramatic arts. At the Kenya’s National Theatre in Nairobi, some 65 young people are putting their acting skills to use, as part of Kenya’s latest…

Despite Pandemic Easing, Ramadan Drive-Through Iftars Still Commonplace in US

During Ramadan, communal iftars, or breaking of fasts for Muslims in mosques, are the norm in the United States, but since the coronavirus pandemic began, drive-through food distributions have become popular. VOA’s Faiza Bukhari takes us behind the scenes at one of Virginia’s Islamic centers, where a daily drive-through iftar for roughly 800 people is…

Struggling Marymount California University to Close

Marymount California University, a half-century-old private Catholic institution, will close this summer, its board of trustees announced. The liberal arts school located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles has been struggling in recent years due to declining enrollment, rising costs and the coronavirus pandemic, the university said in a statement Friday. “This…

Jon Stewart to Receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

A host of celebrities and comedy royalty will gather Sunday night at the Kennedy Center as comedian, talk show host and political influencer Jon Stewart receives the Mark Twain Prize for lifetime achievement in humor.  Stewart, the 23rd recipient of the prize, will be honored by testimonials and skits from fellow comedians and previous Mark…

Asian Games to Go Ahead in Hangzhou: Malaysian Official

The 2022 Asian Games in China will go ahead, the Olympic Council of Malaysia said Saturday, denying claims that it was facing the possibility of being postponed. The Olympic-sized event is scheduled to be held in September in Hangzhou, a major metropolitan area less than 200 kilometers southwest of Shanghai. Shanghai is currently grappling with…

Female Artists Dominate the Venice Biennale For 1st Time

For the first time in the 127-year history of the Venice Biennale, the world’s oldest and most important contemporary art fair features a majority of female and gender non-conforming artists, under the curatorial direction of Cecilia Alemani. The result is a Biennale that puts the spotlight on artists who have been long overlooked despite prolific…

Iraq Exhibits Restored Art Pillaged After 2003 Invasion

Verdant landscapes, stylized portraits of peasant women, curved sculptures — an exhibition in Baghdad is allowing art aficionados to rediscover the pioneers of contemporary Iraqi art. Around 100 items are on display in the capital, returned and restored nearly two decades after they were looted. Many of the works, including pieces by renowned artists Jawad…

Mask Mandates Return to US College Campuses as Cases Rise

The final weeks of the college school year have been disrupted yet again by COVID-19 as universities bring back mask mandates, switch to online classes and scale back large gatherings in response to upticks in coronavirus infections. Colleges in Washington, D.C., New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Texas have reimposed a range of virus measures,…

From War to Circus: Ukrainian Dancers Find Comfort on US Stage

Onstage, they dance through hoops and perform acrobatics with smiles on their faces. Off it, they hold anguished phone calls with family back in Ukraine. Dancers Anna and Olga have found a sense of calm performing in a circus near New York, but they are still living the war they fled thousands of miles away.…

Cabrera Remains One Hit Away From Baseball’s 3,000 Club

Miguel Cabrera’s pursuit of a rare baseball feat — a 3,000th career hit — remained on hold Thursday, with the New York Yankees taking heat for intentionally walking the Detroit Tigers slugger.  Cabrera needs one hit to become just the 33rd player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, and Tigers fans…

Cristiano Ronaldo Says One of His Newborn Twins Has Died

Cristiano Ronaldo took to social media on Monday to say one of his newborn twins has died.  “It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” the Manchester United striker wrote in a post also signed by his partner, Georgina Rodriguez.  “It is the greatest pain that…

Late US Justice Ginsburg’s Art and Collectibles Up for Auction 

Picasso ceramics, old masters works, and a fur coat are among the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s artworks and personal items to be auctioned off near Washington this month.  Proceeds from the sale will go to the U.S. capital’s Washington National Opera to support an art form close to the iconic Supreme…

Azerbaijani Student Held in Russian Captivity in Mariupol, Ukraine Describes Torture

A 20-year-old Azerbaijani university student is describing near-daily beatings during his time as a prisoner of Russian forces near Mariupol, Ukraine last month. Huseyn Abdullayev, who was studying at Mariupol State University when Russia invaded Ukraine, tells VOA Azerbaijani he was held from March 17 until April 12 after Russian military personnel kidnapped him at…

Holy Days Converging in April Spark Interfaith Celebrations in US

It’s a convergence that happens only rarely. Coinciding with Judaism’s Passover, Western Christianity’s Easter and Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, Buddhists, Baha’is, Sikhs, Jains and Hindus also are celebrating their holy days in April. The springtime collision of religious holidays is inspiring a range of interfaith events. In Chicago, there’s the Interfaith Trolley Tour coming…

Gilbert Gottfried, Actor and Comic’s Comic, Dies at 67

Gilbert Gottfried, the actor and legendary standup comic known for his raw, scorched voice and crude jokes, has died. He was 67. Gottfried died from a rare genetic muscle disease that can trigger a dangerously abnormal heartbeat, his publicist and longtime friend Glenn Schwartz said in a statement. “In addition to being the most iconic…

New Mexico Hails Expanded Free College, but Some Remain Wary

Even after failing a test that set her back a semester, Maribel Rodriguez will be heading back to nursing school this fall with a generous new state scholarship that abandons eligibility criteria to help more working adults get a college degree. New Mexico is expanding its “Opportunity Scholarship,” which has already paid for Rodriguez’s tuition…

‘Cabaret,’ ‘Life of Pi’ Win Prizes at UK’s Olivier Awards

Sultry musical “Cabaret” and fantastical literary adaptation “Life of Pi” were among the winners Sunday at British theater’s Olivier Awards, which returned with a live ceremony and a black-tie crowd after a three-year gap imposed by COVID-19. The celebration of London theater, opera and dance came back to London’s Royal Albert Hall for the first…

‘Sonic 2’ Steals Weekend Box Office, but ‘Ambulance’ Stalls

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” sped to the top of the charts in its opening weekend, earning an impressive $71 million according to studio estimates Sunday. Paramount’s PG-rated sequel easily bested the weekend’s other major newcomer, Michael Bay’s “Ambulance,” which faltered in theaters. “Sonic 2,” which brings back the first film’s director, writers and cast, including…

Smith Gets 10-Year Oscars Ban Over Slap 

The motion picture academy on Friday banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years following his slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.  The move came after a meeting of the academy’s Board of Governors to discuss a response to Smith’s actions.  “The 94th Oscars were meant…

Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Case Over 2017 Hit ‘Shape of You’ 

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Ed Sheeran won a U.K. copyright battle over his 2017 hit “Shape of You” on Wednesday, then slammed what he described as a “culture” of baseless lawsuits intended to squeeze money out of artists eager to avoid the expense of a trial. The British pop star and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John…

At Masters, Some Come to See Golfers, Others to See Gnomes

The boxes weren’t flying off the shelves. They weren’t even making it onto the shelves.  The Masters has gone gnome-mad.  Yes. Gnomes. The must-have item at the Masters this year isn’t any of the shirts or pullovers or caps with the tournament’s logo that can only be bought by those who are lucky enough to…