Julia Smith

Development Associate, Marianopolis College
Montreal, Canada

About Julia

Bio

A graduate of McGill University in Humanistic Studies and Social Studies of Medicine, I aspire to teach myself for the rest of my life, continuing the education that began with my BA. I love to cook and eat, to drink good wine with my friends and family, and like so many others, to travel. I currently work in Development & Alumni Affairs at Marianopolis College, where I'm learning every day and hoping to give back as much as I receive. Someday I hope to escape to a little cottage on the sea like so many other people. I'm a vegetarian, an atheist, a compassionate capitalist, and many other things which change as I grow!

Languages

English, French

Areas of Expertise

Humanistic Studies, Social Studies of Medicine, Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Art history

An idea worth spreading

That hopefully, someday, we will all live to wonder how we could ever have been so ignorant in the past, rather than idealizing it and stagnating in nostalgia; that to embrace our future is to pay homage to our past - not denigrate it. That forging forwards is never bad so long as it is not reckless or thoughtless.

I'm passionate about

Human & animal rights, vegetarianism, cooking, wine, travel, writing, reading, films, music, astrobiology and astrophysics - some are clich├ęs, but only because they are so universal and so wonderful.

Talk to me about

Urban planning; environmental innovations; sci-fi; food, cooking and eating; and, most importantly, the clever, dramatic and sometimes even brilliant ideas of my fellow Good Humans.

People don't know I'm good at

analyzing myself and seeing all my flaws in blinding clarity!

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

177000
Julia Smith
Posted almost 2 years ago
Charmian Gooch: Meet global corruption's hidden players
Your comment was originally posted, received two replies, and then was deleted - the two replies were therefore deleted as well. Luckily TED sends you an email to let you know this has happened and records what your comment was in case you wish to repost it, so that's what I'll do. This was my original response to your comment above: I apologize: if English isn't your first language perhaps it isn't so obvious. Her accent is, to anyone familiar with various accents, obviously British (from the UK). It's easy to understand why you might not have picked up on that, but what I find quite telling is that you decided to assume she was American and attack her based on that without making any effort to actually confirm your assumption. Regarding your focus on American involvement, I would say that the point of her talk was not to place the blame on any one nation - quite the opposite. Her talk is trying to underline to root causes of corruption - what allows it to exist, rather than who is perpetrating it. She talks quite scathingly about British involvement in international corruption; considering she is British, I think this is evidence that she is certainly not trying to point fingers at every country except her own.
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Julia Smith
Posted almost 2 years ago
Charmian Gooch: Meet global corruption's hidden players
I find your comment very surprising. First of all, she is obviously not American. Second, I don't know why you think she is pro-American - she is ripping into big multinationals and very clearly stating that it is in fact the enablers of these 'petty' corrupt local people, who are but the tip of the iceberg, that are the real problem. Her entire talk is driving home the point that it is the big multinationals that fund and enable corruption to take place globally and pervasively, and that shell companies which stem from our legal system in the 'developed' world that allow these massive secret dealings to take place.
177000
Julia Smith
Posted almost 2 years ago
Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive
Thanks for the reply - it's such a seemingly touchy subject, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't coming across as snidey judgey my-country's-better-than-yoursy! That's why I love these videos - they really do encourage discussion.
177000
Julia Smith
Posted about 2 years ago
Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive
Please don't assume that by asking about Saudi and laying out some of the negative things I've been told about it, that I'm claiming to come from a perfect country; my comment came from a genuine desire to know more about daily life in Saudi from the perspective of an educated and relatively well-to-do woman. I also wasn't asking why she loves her country, but what about it she loves - it's a subtle distinction, but I think an important one. Of course you love your country because you were born there, but you love it for varying reasons: perhaps the cultural heritage, the current public sphere, the social organization, the rights you enjoy - there are many reasons after all. If all one hears about a country are the negative elements, it's always nice to get the other side of the coin and learn about the positive aspects; that's all I was looking for.
177000
Julia Smith
Posted about 2 years ago
Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive
To answer your questions: What I know about Saudi is from three main sources: my university studies (I studied Islam and the Middle East), from media coverage (both international news sources and journalistic writing), and from two friends who have lived and worked there. All these sources are biased, like everything is - the reason I would like to hear more about daily life in Saudi is that I am always interested to learn more about other cultures and perspectives, and I believe the only way to do that is to listen to all viewpoints with an open mind and then evaluate them based on context and related facts.
177000
Julia Smith
Posted about 2 years ago
Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive
When Manal says she loves her country, I wonder what about it she loves? It's a genuine question, not a rhetorical or snide one - we don't hear much about daily life in Saudi. All I hear about is the mistreatment of foreign workers, the inequality between men & women, and the religious law that results in some very overtly violent and oppressive 'justice'.
177000
Julia Smith
Posted over 2 years ago
Erik Schlangen: A "self-healing" asphalt
Apologies for what I'm sure is an obvious question to many, but can anyone chime in with thoughts on how this would work in a climate like the one we have here in Montreal (extremely cold winters, extremely hot summers, but more importantly winters that can fluctuate from -35 to +5 in a matter of days or weeks)? A lot of the problems we have with our roads (apart from damage from heavy trucks etc.) are related not so much to cold itself, but to thawing and freezing repeatedly. Water seeps in, but then freezes and expands causing massive cracks and potholes, then thaws, then more water gets in, then freezes even larger, and so on and so forth. I would imagine that in a more porous material this problem would be greatly increased. Thoughts? It would be phenomenal if we were able to truly get a handle on our roads - they cost a spectacular amount of money at the moment, and are in terrible shape anyway.
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Julia Smith
Posted almost 3 years ago
Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone
Amen to that. I often wonder about this supposed culture of wanting ever-cheaper products. It seems like consumers are willing to buy just about anything at any price as long as its marketed to them effectively - iPhones and iPads for instance are clearly vastly overpriced and yet people rush to get the latest one with minute changes from the one they already paid too much for. I don't think it would really be that hard for companies to just make the switch and charge whatever they need to charge - it's what they do anyway. We're all so attached to our electronic devices, I doubt a significant or even measurable amount of people would give them up just because they had to pay a little more ... and would they really? The profit margins are so high on these things, if companies had the vaguest interest in producing them I'm sure it wouldn't bankrupt anyone. Like you say, the push really has to come from all sides. The public has to make their demands known to corporations, corporations have to make their policies reflect ethical principles, and governments need to make sure the laws of the land protect both human rights and the environment. In a sense, everyone keeping everyone else in check.
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Julia Smith
Posted almost 3 years ago
Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone
Sigh... so discouraging. That's really what was bugging me about the girls' comments too - it was that they were so concerned with the appearance of doing the socially correct thing rather than the substance of it. In that particular case, they could all have passed around the one answer key I had printed for them, but they opted to make photocopies so they could take it home... and then were condescendingly belittling a classmate regarding the double-sided printing. Really missing the point there, ladies...
177000
Julia Smith
Posted almost 3 years ago
Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone
I was just thinking about this the other day, sitting in front of a class of 13 year olds who were chastising a classmate for making photocopies that were not double-sided. All I could think was, 'It's admirable that you want to be green with paper, but you're all holding iPads while you say this with incredible superiority." We all need to be much more aware of what our consumer purchases fund, as Mr. Mbubi says, just as we increasingly do with food and clothing. It's not good enough to blindly buy whatever is presented to us without questioning how it got to that shelf.