Can you believe it’s been 20 years since we started our final semester at UMaine? My long nights in Chadbourne Hall don’t feel that far away — maybe because I’ve been looking through my old Maine Campus clips of late, reluctantly Marie Kondo-ing to lighten our load for a cross-country move. (They still spark joy, BTW).
Darcie Umel Fournier is the new assistant superintendent and curriculum coordinator for School Administrative Districts 41 and 31, serving the students of Atkinson, Brownville, Edinburg, Enfield, Howland, Lagrange, Maxfield, Milo, and Passadumkeag. Darcie comes to the position after 15 years of working in education in Orono, including a six-year stint as principal of the Asa C. Adams Elementary School.
Kyle Parker recently made international news (stick with me here, this is a little more complex than most alumni updates). These days, Kyle works with the US Helsinki Commission, a Congressional agency that promotes human rights, and he occasionally guest lectures in a political science class at UMaine. Kyle also previously held a staff position on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he helped draft legislation that informs international policy. One of these documents, called the Magnitsky Act, allowed the US government to set sanctions (including freezing assets and banning travel visas) on foreign nationals accused of human rights violations. While the legislation does not target Russia exclusively, it was named for a Russian lawyer who was killed after uncovering corruption in Putin’s government.
As a result, Kyle was among about a dozen Americans named by Vladimir Putin last July as those he seeks to interrogate in a criminal investigation. You might remember that repeal of the Magnitsky Act has been reported as a topic of conversation between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Kyle recently told the Portland Press Herald that he fully expects to be convicted in a Russian court, “making it all but impossible” for him to return to Russia, but he’s not worrying. He joked on Twitter that he was “honored to have made the cut,” and has spoken publicly of the sacrifices of those working for human rights in Russia. “I have the great fortune of doing meaningful work, rubbing shoulders with people from these countries who are heroes in every sense of the word, who have survived poisonings and assassination attempts, and their freedom and courage is infectious,” he said in a December 2018 talk to the Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations in Northport, as reported by the Press Herald.
And about that move — as of March I moved to the desert. Please note the change above.
So share your news and your photos and — send snow!