Work with the Central Asia Institute / Greg Mortenson (Co-Worker at the Central Asia Institute ) Central Asia Institute (CAI)
FIRST TIME TO PAKISTAN
While on her first a trip to Pakistan to see the #Karakoram Mountains in the mid 1990s, she travelled with a wealthy friend who chartered a #Mi-17 #helicopter to take his friends to see #K2. On the trip, they had to make a short forced landing on a field nearby #Korphe School. Although she did not initially make the connection, she later realized that the Korphe School she had seen up on a hill had been ironically funded by her cousin Jennifer Wilson’s husband, the late Dr. Jean Hoerni (1924-1997) who was co-founder of Central Asia Institute (CAI). Julia Bergman met me soon after her trip to Pakistan, and began to actively support, raise funds, and advocate for the #CAI schools, and continued to do so until her death two decades later. While on CAI board, Julia brought on a fellow CCSF professor, Dr. Abdul Jabbar, who later became CAI chairman. On behalf of the tens of thousands of students, teachers, women and dozens of communities that Julia has helped change in a profound way, we will remain forever grateful to her.
Initially in 1998, Julia began to collect books to help set up a small #library in Korphe school. Later, she delighted in setting up even more libraries in the CAI schools that were being established in Baltistan, Pakistan. Over time, she collected, purchased and sent thousands of books to send to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The books varied from children’s picture books, to STEM training manuals, to books on constitutional law for the Afghan government, and medical textbooks to the Kabul Medical University.
Later she transitioned from procuring books in the USA to purchasing and getting books donated in #Pakistan and #Afghanistan. Julia carefully selected books that were to be placed in the schools and libraries. Julia would not accept worn, disheveled romance novels, disbanded books or worthless hand-me-downs, but meticulously researched and planned comprehensive libraries for small schools, and later large #schools and universities. The books included children’s books, #teacher training manuals, art, music, theater books, training childbirth manuals for illiterate women, books on natural flora and fauna of the region, and much more.
On her second visit to Pakistan, Julia be-friended the late Saeed Jan Qureshi, (died of heart failure in September 2015), owner of the renowned Saeed Book Bank store in Islamabad and Peshawar. Julia frequently visited Saeed Qureshi sahib on every visit and the two of them would spend hours reviewing lists of books and planning libraries for remote schools over many cups of green cardamom tea. Afterwards, Julia would go to her favorite restaurant nearby, Afghan Grill, where she enjoyed lamb and chicken kabobs.
Over the course of a dozen years, Julia helped establish more libraries in Gilgit-Baltistan. Her pride and joy was to set up the region’s first Dewey decimal and computerized library system at Jinnah Public School in Skardu, Baltistan. Later, she helped fill a library at the Cadet College military academy, which is the top institution in the region. Julia was also instrumental in providing thousands of library books in dozens of schools in the Gilgit-Baltistan region and help organize libraries - in Julia’s words “get ship shape and in order”. With her friend and former CAI Board director Sandra Cook, Julia helped to get remote 'library in a box' libraries to CAI schools in the Wakhan corridor, Afghanistan. For several years, Julia also was involved in the vision and establishment a comprehensive university library to serve Pakistan’s western tribal areas. Under the direction of former CAI-Pakistan director, (ret) Col. Ilyas Ahmad Mirza, CAI built and established a 34,000 sq. ft. library and resource center at the Bannu University of Science & Technology which opened in 2013.
TEACHER TRAINING BALTISTAN
For several summers after 9/11, Julia traveled to Pakistan to oversee and create a teacher-training program for CAI teachers in Baltistan. Although the training covered basic teaching methodologies, curriculum, and skills, Julia also introduced more cognitive teaching skills, psychological tools, learning in a cross-cultural context, and spent time in Islamabad with Pakistan Ministry of Education curriculum to lobby for long overdue improvements and upgrades in school textbooks. Julia recruited two close friends and fellow librarians, Joy Durghello (who taught ESL) and Bob Irwin, and her former husband, the late Bernhardt Scholand (passed away in 2015). Julia was beloved of the Baltistan teachers. She took time to know each of them well, and constantly encouraged and pushed them to improve their teaching skills. She continued to be friends with several teachers for the rest of her life, and kept in touch with them via Facebook and email. Over the years, after Julia stopped traveling overseas due to health issues, she would always ask me for an update, one by one, of all the teachers she had befriended. She dearly loved the children, teachers, communities and peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan and held them close to her heart.
In the spring of 2002, Julia Bergman traveled to Afghanistan with me to launch schools in the country. I had been to Afghanistan in December 2001, and was concerned for Julia to travel in such rugged conditions, with horrible roads, a lack of electricity, cellphones, Internet and clean water. Although the country was in ruin, Julia insisted that a female CAI board director travel to Afghanistan to check the feasibility of establishing girls’ school in the country, and she actively sought out government officials and tribal elders to initiate relationships with them. Julia rose to the occasion, was on the go from early in the morning until late at night, and had the time of her life.
Julia had brought three boxes of books to Afghanistan from USA and Peshawar, which she eventually decided to distribute to Durkhani School in Kabul. Durkhani was a school with over 1,000 students that had just begun classes in the spring of 2002. It had shattered walls, few windows and bullet holes everywhere. Julia had two lengthy meetings with Uzra Faizad, the Durkhani headmistress, in her gutted-out office. At the time, there were few standing classrooms, and students were in tents, outdoors, and gutted out rooms. During their visits, Julia and Uzra went through every book as if they were gold, and their friendship was forever cemented.
Over the course of five years, she was instrumental in creating the “Balti workbook”, which was an in-depth school book designed to teach the Balti children about their own culture, ancient language, heritage, traditions, oral history, and much more. Julia worked painstakingly on the Balti workbook, both with Balti scholars, educators, government education advisors and especially the teachers. Originally in English, it was later published in Urdu in Pakistan and extended into more schools.
Over several visits to Baltistan, Julia befriended Yusuf Hussainabadi, a local scholar and historian, Tibetologist and, founder of Jinnah Public School. Hussainabadi had methodically translated the Holy Quran into #Balti and compiled the history of Baltistan for which he received a national 'Pride of Performance' award. He is the national expert on the Balti language spoken in NE Pakistan Karakoram Mountains, which is originated from classical Tibetan, and from where the local Balti people in NE Pakistan migrated from several centuries ago.
In 2006, Julia encouraged Hussainabadi to pursue establishing a local Balti cultural heritage museum. For seven years, he painstakingly gathered over 1,700 artifacts and 600 old books, manuscripts, and writings. With Julia’s own financial support - and a few other people - the Balti Museum finally opened in the spring of 2013. The artifacts included books, doors, cooking and home utensils, farming tools, clothes, weapons, and an audio archive with folk-songs, the Kesar Khan ballad, photographs and centuries old historical documents. The #Balti #Museum is west of #Skardu city, next to the Karakoram University and on beautiful grounds with gardens, birds, animals, snack kiosk and playground.
It is hard to believe Julia is no longer with us. I just learned of her passing a few hours ago by phone, and have yet to even process the immensity of the loss for all of us around the world. We recently received a personal letter from Julia over the holidays. In it she wrote that “one of the greatest joys in my life has been the many adventures in Pakistan and Afghanistan to help the teachers and children . . . (and) they’re in my heart forever”. In the next few days and weeks, please remember Julia’s family in your thoughts and prayers and remember to thank a librarian and teacher.
You’re now with the angels in eternity Julia and we hear you singing and dancing. You have given the children light through #literacy and #education, and now they are forever free. Ameen. Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji'oon
The Diego Rivera Project / William Maynez (Partner in the Diego Rivera Project ) I am overwhelmed with sadness for Julia, my dear Diego Rivera partner of 20 years (“We were welded at the hip” as she put it). This past summer we had a wonderful trip to British Columbia to research some long lost Rivera papers for which we had searched for 15 years. It took us three more years to find a window to go because of our caregiving duties. There was no other person I would have trusted to read half of the 2000 pages. She had a glitch in her foot and it took us 25 minutes to traverse the three minute walk from the hotel to the museum. I would have none of her apology, she was my buddy. On our last day over drinks and lunch at a sidewalk table with the mountains around us, we relished our friendship and over a toast reiterated that we weren’t meant to live diminished lives. She is in a better place.
We often said that if no one remembered who we were, the Rivera work and our friendship had been reason enough to do it. People would marvel at the wondrous things that would happen to us. We just assumed the cosmos loved us and we tried not to get in the way. She taught me to drink tequila in Mexico City in 1999. I’ve attached a picture of her and I on top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. It took her a while to get to the top, but she told me to go ahead because she “was built for comfort, not speed.” Indeed! Her legacy is alive in the enriched lives of her family, friends, and young women in faraway places.
Since she moved to Grass Valley we’d gotten use to communicating from a distance, often without a phone. That will not change.
Diego Rivera Mural Project
City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Ave, Mailstop S-4
San Francisco, CA 94112
"There is a pool of good. No matter where you put in your drop, the whole pool rises."
Julia and the Nevada County Historical Society / David Bard (Fellow Volunteer at the Nevada County Historical Society ) I did not know Julia for a long time, but I felt that I knew her well. A fine person, a good soul. She made the world a better place.
I will always treasure the time we had working together at the Nevada County Historical Society this past year. Nearly every Monday afternoon she would join me in my office there and put her nose to the grindstone, helping to re-organize the administration files and to put 72 years of Society history into archival storage. For that, we are genuinely and deeply grateful. She enjoyed the work as it put to good use her professional skills and gave us a chance to swap travel stories.
It was the beginning of a friendship, and she will be dearly missed by me and many others who met her through her interest in Nevada County history.
More of Julia's Work at CCSF / Madeline Mueller (Co-Worker at CCSF ) Regarding the Save the Reservoir campaigns from 1986 to 1991, Julia really spearheaded the four campaigns for Propositions E, B, L & L, plus the additional campaigns necessary for gathering signatures to put three of them on the ballot to begin with. This really involved Herculean efforts and she was magnificent in organizing these seven campaigns. She had a basic team of six faculty, one neighborhood representative, plus two student reps.
At issue was the giving away of many acres of public land adjacent to the main campus and used at one time for years as the West Campus of City College, to a private developer to put in so- called affordable housing on the so-called Reservoir land which had (and has) been used by City College, in particular for parking for the students, since the 1940s.
Although we narrowly lost the first campaign, we learned a lot and with Julia's leadership, organization and writing skills we won the following 3 propositions, in each case by getting a majority of "no" votes, and kept the land for college needs. Half of the property was deeded over to the school to complete the campus, in particular to have space for an auditorium and what we had hoped at the time would have become the site for the new library . The other half was to have become finally an actual Reservoir with requisite student parking on top.
My favorite campaign activity with Julia was during one of our "Vote No on L" Propositions when we took fortune cookies to all Bingo players in San Francisco each containing the 'fortune':
" L no! ". Julia's idea of course.
City College would not have been able to become the outstanding institution that it developed into if it had lost the property that Julia saved. In 2007, CCSF was considered one of the top 11 community colleges in the nation according to research sponsored by the New York Times. Julia really does deserve much of the credit!
But how ironic that the exact scenario is now being played out again under the current Mayor of San Francisco. Julia and her current team, some returning from the original group of 30 years ago, had already met on several occasions to gear up and fight off this new attack. We are going miss her so much.
During the time of the Proposition B campaign, Julia also organised a National Master Plan competition which generated some very exciting professional plans for future facilities at City College. At that time, Julia's team also worked with the college's Facilities Committees on major updating of the college's Facilities Master plans, both internally and for the City of San Francisco.
Given Julia's encyclopedic knowledge of the history of City College, in particular its buildings and programs, it is logical that she, in collaboration with faculty author Valerie Mathes, and using research from faculty historian Austin White, compiled and published "City College of San Francisco" as part of "The Campus History Series" presented by Arcadia Publishing. This was done in 2010 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the College. Noted as "a pictorial journey of this city treasure from 1935 to the present", her book is also an excellent example of the work and dedication of one of the College's finest treasures : Julia Bergman.
Julia's Work at CCSF / William Maynez (Co-Worker at CCSF ) Julia Bergman loved City College. As pointed out at her retirement, her DNA had the CCSF logo embedded in it; her mother had taught at CCSF before her. As an advocate for City College, like in the fight to save the reservoirs, she was “at the barricades.” If Julia was on a side, it was the right side.
A founding member, she was the heart & soul of the Diego Rivera Mural Project for 20 years. The Rivera archives she gathered are a wonder to all who come to do research in a Rosenberg Library building she helped raise. For many outside scholars whose only contact with the College was Julia, the College was the beneficiary of their good opinion. When the library didn’t have books on Diego Rivera, she bought them herself.
For over 20 years the Works Of Art committee flourished under her leadership. She could perfectly juggle multiple projects. Many large pieces of art had conservation work done under her stewardship. She retired, but she didn’t go away. City College was enriched by her presence long after she quit getting paychecks. Her stamp of professionalism and attention to detail watermarked everything she did. This was Julia’s signature.
When Great Trees Fall / Sara Schultz (Niece) When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou
"When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down
in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber to safety
When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe briefly, see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks, never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us, They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."
Julia's Work at CCSF / Karen Saginor (Co-Worker at City College San Francisco ) With great sorrow I must report the passing of retired librarian Julia Bergman on Monday, January 9th from complications following knee surgery. For many years, both before and after her retirement in 2008, Julia contributed significantly to the library, the college as a whole, and to innumerable students.
In the late eighties, Julia spearheaded the successful effort to retain possession of crucial land on the west side of Phelan Avenue necessary for completion of the Ocean campus. She was instrumental in the building of the Rosenberg library and in the integration of all CCSF library collections through several generations of automated systems. She was a champion and supporter of CCSF artworks, especially the Diego Rivera mural, collecting an archive of information shared internationally. She collaborated in the Arcadia Press History of CCSF based on the research of Austen White. These are just a few of her many achievements that strengthened and enriched City College.
Julia was mentor, advisor, and encouraging colleague to many. Her energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and luminous mind will continue to inspire all of us who knew her.
Julia - My friend for 50 years . . . / Gail Anderson (College Friend ) I first met Julia exactly 50 years ago at San Francisco State. I had been teaching ESL in Greece and decided to travel, alone, to San Francisco to begin graduate work. I was something of a lost soul. Through a friend I had known in Greece, I learned of a group that met for lunch daily outside the student center. For six months these folks (including Maggie, Ron, Annie, and more) were my dear friends and companions. Julia was the ringleader of this merry band. Many days after class we walked to Bernhard's and Ron's apartment and hung out. On weekends we enjoyed festive camaraderie, sometimes in Mill Valley at the home of Julia's very gracious parents. Julia and Bernhard - and my husband Jerry and I - were married on the same day: June 25, 1967. We spent the whole day together, attending each other's weddings. Maggie and Ron were there for the fun.
During the ensuing years we met again and again - in Lincoln, Nebraska, where my husband was teaching at the university, in California, and in Berlin (in the coldest, darkest December of 1972). They later visited us in Virginia (to celebrate our 10th anniversaries), In Tampa (where they arrived from Europe on a freighter), and more than once in Knoxville, Tenn., where we now live. Just a few years ago they made a significant pilgrimage to Knoxville - commencing in Memphis and then traversing the entire width of our state, stopping at more scenic and historic sites than I have ever known of as a 35-year resident of the state. I had planned to visit her this spring in Grass Valley.
As recently as this past fall, when I was experiencing a major life crisis, no friend contacted me more often than Julia did.
Julia was the most generous person I have ever known. Loving. Adventuresome. Energetic. Fun-loving. Wise. Loyal. I will miss her for the rest of my life but feel so privileged to have been among her vast circle of friends for half a century.
Love to each of you. I am so sorry for your loss - and mine. Gail Anderson
A Light in the World / Bonnie Lindauer (colleague at City College of SF )Read >>
A Light in the World / Bonnie Lindauer (colleague at City College of SF )
Julia is one of those people that are positive, bright lights in our world of frequent darkness-- righteous people who radiate joy, caring, love, kindness and compassion. But not only radiate this but also carry out acts of loving kindness and repairing the world.
After Julia died, I worried that one more light had been extinguished. At one level it has, but at another level, Julia's lasting influence on others has and will continue to spread the light and goodness.
She taught me to always consider the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. May her passing be for a blessing! Close
Julia's Years in Mill Valley Schools / Shonnie Berry (grammar school friend )
Julia grew up in a time of innocence when the tiny school at the end of the eucalyptus and fennel-scented valley held great promise. Sand-bottomed creeks were the home of polliwogs, which we gathered in half-pint milk cartons while counting our footsteps in the paths of our friends. We all lived close enough to
walk––I don’t recall there being any choice during those early years at Tamalpais Valley Elementary School.
The school playground extended into a rural landscape with horses grazing on surrounding hills and a very old janitor living in a tiny house above the school. Julia attended Tam Valley Elementary from kindergarten through third grade before her family moved to Mill Valley proper. It’s funny that I don’t even remember her moving––I don’t remember a time when Julia was not in my life, even though we were separated for many years.
The Tam Valley kids were a small group and many of our friends left the area even before high school. But Julia reconnected with her Tam Valley friends at Edna McGuire Junior High and we all went on to Tamalpais High School together. I was seated behind her in many classes (Bergman, Berry) and especially remember sneaking peeks at her well-studied vocabulary notes and competing for Miss Stump’s piñata when our favorite teacher retired. We reconnected again at San Francisco State University during post grad studies in 1968-70.
During our 30 years apart, I thought of Julia often. When I returned to Marin for our 30th reunion, we picked up as if it had been yesterday. Prior to our 50th rolling around, Julia and I talked about forming a reunion committee for the Big One.
Making our 50th high school reunion special was essential to Julia and no one could have worked as tenaciously as she did. Julia made it her goal to search the globe for every classmate she could possibly find. When she found someone, anyone, she sent a note of joyous celebration to her team––Mary Alger, Yvonne Coleman, Lauretta Smith, Bob Cogswell, Charlie Kelly and myself. I remember the joy I personally felt when Julia caught and hooked Jeannie Norton from Australia and Jackie Furchack, elementary school friends who had not been seen for 50 years! Her untiring and inclusive spirit made our reunion the best celebration ever! Close