Sunday, April 22, 2007

Orphans Around World Look up to Silicon Valley Prodigy

Orphans Around World Look up to Silicon Valley Prodigy

New York (April 24, 2007) -- Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) has added Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the social-networking site, to their list of GLOBAL HEROES & ROLE MODELS. This list includes such notables as Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, the Rt. Rev. Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Yitzchak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Elie Wiesel, and many more.

Although Zuckerberg is not a Nobel Prize Winner, OIWW founder and president Jim Luce feels Zuckerberg’s story offers inspiration to OI’s children. “Without saints, secular or divine, sanctity can too easily be viewed as mere abstraction. Our children need heroes. The courage of Mahatma Gandhi and the brilliance of Albert Einstein make sainthood a reality for us all,” states Luce. “Mark Zuckerberg is a hero for the new era, a young man our children can aspire to emulate in addition to our own childhood heroes.”

Zuckerberg had been offered one billion dollars for his company, Facebook, by Yahoo! and turned it down. He claimed he wanted to build something for the long term and believes that the openness, collaboration, and sharing of information is a by-product of the social networking that can make the world a better place. Keeping his company in his own hands at this point allows him to continue on that important path.

“Orphans International is working to raise citizens who are Interfaith, Interracial, International, Intergenerational, and Internet-Connected,” states OI Advisor Lindsay Mure. “It is easy to see how Zuckerberg’s resolve and vision would be an excellent example for OI to hold up as a model for our children. I’m hoping to connect with him soon.” “He is living proof that young people can also impact the world. OI’s goal is to raise young adults who will become global citizens and leaders in the own communities. They need heroes,” she adds.

Orphans International America has received bi-partisan support from leaders such as former president Bill Clinton, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Governor George Pataki, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Orphans International is a non-partisan, interfaith organization incorporated in New York in 2002. OI Worldwide has been accredited by the United Nations Department of Public Information, OI America is designated as a 501(c)3 organization by the IRS.

OI’s children remain in their native countries to become educated to their fullest potential and then to help move their own countries forward; OI does not place children for adoption in America. Projects now are running in Indonesia, Haiti, and will open in May in Sri Lanka and El Salvador. Each OI campus is working towards full programming for their orphaned children, with classes for English, computer science, and a strong emphasis on the arts. Each project is fully integrated into the local community.

More detailed information is available on both OI’s website, and The organization’s monthly e-newsletter is available on-line (pdf), as is the founder’s inspirational story, Riding the Tiger (pdf). Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to “Orphans International,” at 540 Main Street, Suite 418, N.Y., N.Y. 10044. Last year less than 9% of OI America’s income was spent on administration.

– 30 –

Warm regards,
Jim Luce, Founder
Orphans International Worldwide
Associated with the U.N. Dept. of Public Information
540 Main Street #418
New York, N.Y. 10044
O: 212/755-7285
F: 212/755-7302

Saturday, April 21, 2007

El Niño, Rising Waters Create Climate for Destruction

El Niño, Rising Waters Create Climate for Destruction
Growing Link to Natural Disasters

By Allegra N. LeGrande, Ph.D.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Center for
Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, USA

The children served by Orphans International Worldwide predominantly live in poor, tropical countries. These countries are already experiencing climate change – the tropics had about 0.4°C (0.72°F) of warming since 1950 – compared to 0.6°C (1.08°F) worldwide. The wealth of different regions will influence ability of each to deal with changes – since poorer areas of the world are more dependent on local resources and have less free capital to mobilize in the case of hardship, they are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Areas in the tropics, in particular, will likely have more negative impacts as a result of climate change than positive. The stresses placed on these nations will certainly affect these children, as well. I will summarize a few points on climate change of particular importance to the tropics.
Greenhouse gas emissions are likely to cause between 1.5 and 4.5°C (2.7-8.1°F) of warming over the next century according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 4th Assessment Report (IPCC AR4). Initially, the warming will continue at a rate of around 0.2°C (0.35°F) each decade.

Climate is the foundation that sets the stage for the weather we experience every day. Individual extreme weather events cannot be directly tied to climate change. However, extremes are by definition, phenomena that are beyond the norm. Climate change will alter the ‘normal’ for each region. Future human-induced climate change is likely to occur at a rate that exceeds many regions ability to adapt. Many countries in the developing world have a smaller adaptive capability than wealthy nations, making it even more difficult for them to address the effects of climate change.

Media attention has focused on two issues: intense tropical storms and sea level rise. Researchers are still investigating exactly how great the link is between these two phenomena and climate change.

Hurricanes: Briefly, it is not possible to link any particular extreme tropical storm to climate change; however, empirical evidence suggests that when conditions are right for the formation of a tropical storm, it will likely to achieve greater intensity as a result of climate change. These storms will have greater higher wind speeds, storm surges, and amounts of precipitation, and thus be capable of causing greater damage.

Sea level: Sea level rise over the next century will be at least 10-59 cm (4-23 in) according to the latest IPCC report. Sea level rise at this pace (10 cm or 4 in per decade) could be devastating to low-lying coastal areas not only because of land loss, but also because of salinization of low-lying freshwater resources. Coastal erosion may also accelerate (not only because of climate changes, but also because of land use changes). Besides these two widely reported affects, the developing world will almost certainly have many other impacts from climate change.

Rainfall: The water-cycle (hydrologic cycle) is likely to intensify meaning greater frequency of drought and flood events. These extremes of drought and flood are likely to cause problems to much of the developing world. Semi-arid regions are particularly at risk for drought which will likely cause lower crop yields and greater likelihood of malnutrition. Areas already very moist will likely have even greater rainfall, and perhaps flooding.

Temperature: Temperature extremes will affect not only people, but also their crops and livestock. Heat waves become more common, and these can directly lead to deaths. Heat waves may also cause decreased crop yields in areas that are already warm, as well as increased fire likelihood. Areas that rely on freshwater from the melting of snow (e.g., Asian communities whose rivers are fed by Himalayan snow-melt or South American communities whose rivers are fed by Andean snow-melt, etc.) are likely to see flood events as the snow melts too quickly early in the season, then drought and shortage as less water (snow pack) remains later in the season.

Climate change is a very serious issue in the developing world. We can take two tracks to addressing it. First, in the developed world, we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions – this will entail investment for the development of new carbon-neutral technologies and techniques. Second, we can educate the children of developing countries so that as their countries progress, they adopt better, more sustainable technologies and become part of the solution for preventing problematic future climate change.

The above appeared in the April edition of the InterNews (vol. 4., no. 4) and was been condensed due to space limitations. The newsletter is available at For a pdf of the full scientific document including tables authored by Dr. LeGrande, please e-mail

First OI Child Passes Away; Organization In Mourning

The following was released to the boards and staffs of OI Worldwide April 18 by Jim Luce, Founder & Director of OI Worldwide, and Donald W. Hoskins, M.D., President, OI America:

We are very sorry to have to report the death of our precious child, Love, age eight, living at OI Haiti in the City of Gonaïves. Love passed away unexpectedly at 2:45 pm on Saturday, April 14, 2007, in the presence of our housemother and volunteer nurse. Funeral arrangements are being made as we write.

Both Jacques Africot, OI Worldwide Officer at OI Haiti, and Serard Gasius, OI Haiti Director, report Love had a normal day in school on Friday followed by afternoon playtime with our other children and his housemother. Love and the children shared dinner together then Love went to bed. Love remained in bed the next morning, limp and unresponsive. The staff immediately called the director and board members, rushing Love to the hospital emergency room where care was both poor and insufficient.

OI America will assume financial responsibility for the funeral, which our children will attend. Members of our Board who had traveled to Haiti and knew Love have written homilies, translated into Creole, which will be read at the funeral. Our staff and volunteers in Gonaïves are working closely with the children to ease them through this emotional crisis.

After extensive questioning and remote evaluation by medical professionals on our Board, we can still only speculate that the cause of death may have been a ruptured brain aneurysm, an unknown cardiac disease, or an aspiration with tracheal blockage. Injury, infectious disease, and food poisoning have been ruled out as best we can. Due to lack of ability by local officials to perform an autopsy, this is the most we can ever know.

The lack of medical treatment received by Love at the E.R. speaks to the desperate needs for better medical facilities in Haiti. At this point we do not yet have the money to build a health clinic, but we hope to. Even then, our plans do not include emergency medical care. Long term we would like to address that need as well. For now, we can only focus on the living – and grieving – siblings whom Love has left behind.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stanford Leonard Luce House in Togo, West Africa

see obituary for my father at
and for my mother at