“Climate & Sustainability: The Defining Challenge of Our Century”
According to NASA and the National Climate Data Center, August 2014 has gone in the record books on a world-wide scale as the hottest August to ever be recorded. Climate change is a pressing issue that requires national action by the United States and international American leadership. This is the world we live in, and every American has the right to become more informed, more involved, and more expressive to fight against climate change and for sustainability.
Rob Hogg is a state senator from Cedar Rapid serving his second term consecutive in the Iowa House. He is a native of Iowa City, graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988 with a degree in history, obtained his M.A. in Public Policy in 1991 and J.D. in 1995, both from the University of Minnesota. In the Iowa Legislature, Senator Hogg is recognized as a leader in energy and disaster preparedness. In 2013, Senator Hogg published a book, “America’s Climate Century”, which he says is the most succinct, accessible, patriotic and practical book available for busy citizens about the climate problem and climate action.
“Iowa and the United Nations”
As we mark the 69th anniversary of the United Nations Charter on October 24, Jim Olson will describe the many connections of Iowan, past and present, with the United Nations system. At a time when the United Nations – and the world – face unprecedented challenges and opportunities, it is important to recall Iowa’s rich tradition of bipartisan support for and engagement with the United Nations and its family of agencies.
Jim Olson is the President of the Iowa United Nations Association. He served as the Vice President for National Programs of the United Nations Association – USA and as the Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. A native of Minnesota, Jim has an undergraduate degree in history from Hamline University in St. Paul and an M.A. and Ph.D. in European history from New York University.
“Right Friends, Wrong Enemies”
The draw-down of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has been accompanied by a pervasive mood of cynicism in relation to America’s Middle East foreign policy. Beyond the mire of the perilous Afghani political situation is a hopeful picture of positive social change. As Mujib Mehrdad argues, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has produced a predominately positive impact on society, including changes in public education and women’s rights. Despite these developments, however, difficult work lays ahead as foreign intervention winds down.
Mujib Mehrdad is the author of poetry collections including Gladiators Are Still Dying (a 2007 Afghan Civil Society literature award winner), and The Fishes Have Fled Our Veins (2008). He has translated Irwin Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, and others, into Dari. He is a board member of the literary organization Kashane Nawesendagan [House of Authors] and teaches Persian literature at Albironi University in Kapisa. His participation is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
“Children on the US-Mexico Border”
Immigration along the US-Mexico border has been a major American issue for decades. In recent years, the plight of immigrants’ children have made national headlines. State and National politicians debate whether these children are economic migrants or political refugees. Professor Valerio-Jiménez will discuss these questions, addressing the historical roots of the current migrant flow and the immigration policies that have contributed to the problem, and draw connections to Iowa and its involvement with this contemporary crisis.
Omar Valerio-Jiménez was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and grew up in Texas. After graduating from MIT, he worked as an engineer for five years before returning to graduate school at UCLA, where he obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees. He has taught at universities in California, New York, Texas, and Iowa. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of Iowa.
“Reflections on Scottish Literature, Nationalism, Referendum, & Recent Elections”
The distinction of Scotland in literary identity was claimed in the 1920s by Hugh MacDiarmid as the rebuilding of political sovereignty in the country. Now, almost a hundred years later, the independence referendum focuses our attention on the relations of artistic exploration and political unrest. The relation between artistic exploration and political unrest has been apparent throughout the history of a democratic United Kingdom, in which the voting citizens of Scotland have been regularly disenfranchised. Professor Riach will discuss the relations between cultural production civic government and social discourse, and their ramifications in a dialogue of Scottish national identity
Alan Riach is Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, working in the fields of 20th century Scottish, Irish, American and post-colonial literatures, modern poetry, and creative writing. His critical writings have appeared in numerous books and journals internationally. Alan was Associate Professor of English and Pro-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He studied English at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate, and then received his Ph.D. in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.
“The More Things Change: The Old Politics of South Sudan’s New War”
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Sudan has been in civil war since the mid-1950’s. Although punctuated by brief bouts of peace, that war persisted through South Sudan’s independence and continues today. It is as much, if not more, about political participation and control over economic resources as about religion or ethnicity.
Nathan Miller is an Assistant Director of the Center for Human Rights and the Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Iowa College of Law. He is the director of the International Legal Clinic at the College of Law, where students provide legal assistance to governments and nongovernmental organizations on projects related to human rights, development, and the rule of law. Miller joined the College of Law in 2011 after ten years of international advocacy in more than twenty countries, including what is now South Sudan, where he lived for three years as a legal advisor to the government. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1998, where he studied Spanish and philosophy, and from the New York University School of Law in 2002.
“The Changing Character and Theories of War”
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In the past few decades war has changed drastically so as to little resemble classic examples of Just War theory and international humanitarian law. The character of war has changed with constant technological advancements. What is less obvious, however, is the change in the nature of war and its participating actors. In addition to war itself, theories of war have evolved as well. Professor Davidovic will explore the changing nature of war, and the extent to which theories of Just War should reflect those changes.
Jovana Davidovic is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa, working in the fields of political philosophy, and philosophy of law and military ethics. Before coming to the University of Iowa Jovana was a Visiting Research Associate at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in Canberra, Australia, where she worked on the Australian Research Council Discovery project “Jus Post Bellum and Transitional Justice”. She received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota. Her publications include works on humanitarian military interventions, transitional justice and the moral and legal status of combatants.
“Climate Change in the Arctic Region specific Challenges”
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The issue of climate change is something we all hear about, but nowhere is it more of a reality than in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, with devastating consequences for the people and animals that depend on their environment to survive. Elizabeth will discuss the impact climate change has had on the plants, animals and people of the Arctic, with a special emphasis on the health implications of global warming in that region.
Elizabeth Bowen is a fourth year medical student at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Before coming to medical school at the University of Iowa, she graduated the University of Maryland, with a B.A. in Russian language and literature. She spent four years working in Russia, primarily in counter-human trafficking. More recently, she worked with the University of Tromsø, in Tromsø, Norway, toward expanding their Arctic health projects to new sites within Russia.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mordzinski
“Graphic Novels and Comics in Spain & Latin America”
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A nation’s culture is often characterized by the history, politics and literature it creates. Within literature, many overlook comic books and graphic novels as a key ingredient to cultural development. When their presence is noted, comics are still often seen as a uniquely American phenomenon. However, comics are have become an integral part of cultures around the globe. In this presentation, Ana Merino reflects on the importance of comics in the Hispanic World and the ways comics represent culture and ideology.
Ana Merino is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Iowa, specializing in Creative Writing. She also works on Comics and Graphic Novels Criticism, Testimonial Representations and theories of Childhood Poverty and Marginality. She has published seven books of poetry, a youth novel, a scholarly book on comics and numerous articles and essays. Her poetry has been translated to several languages and it’s included in more than twenty collections.
“Coming to America: The Chinese Student Experience in the United States”
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Since 2007, the University of Iowa has actively recruited international students and the results are reflected most dramatically in the growth of the undergraduate population from the People’s Republic of China. Of more than 4,000 international students at Iowa in the fall of 2013, mainland Chinese accounting for 2,266, including 1,430 undergraduates; and the university expects more than 500 Chinese students will arrive as freshmen this fall. This growing international presence on campus is heralded as promoting values of diversity, tolerance and global understanding, but as with all change, its opportunities are welcomed and built upon in some quarters and missed or misunderstood in others. Judy Polumbaum will attempt to place these developments in historical context and examine Iowa’s experience in terms of current national and international trends.
Judy Polumbaum did her undergraduate work in East Asian studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and has a Master’s from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Doctorate in Communication from Stanford University. She joined the Iowa faculty in 1989. She is an affiliated faculty member in a number of international and interdisciplinary programs, including the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and International Studies. Her most recent publications include the book China Ink: The Changing Face of Chinese Journalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), based on interviews with twenty young Chinese journalists.
“Exporting American Universities, MOOC’s and Yale in Singapore”
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Exporting American universities—including the University of Iowa and others through MOOC’s—holds considerable fascination today. Robin Hemley will talk about his newest employer, Yale—NUS, Singapore’s first liberal arts college. He will share his thoughts and experiences with this new and exciting venture.
Robin Hemley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in 1980, and subsequently earned a MFA in fiction in 1982. Hemley is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship and others from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Ohioana Library Association, and the Washington State Arts Council. Beginning in 2004, Hemley served as the director of the Non-fiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Many of Hemley’s works have been published domestically and overseas, and has been included in publications including The New York Times, Orion, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and New York Magazine. Most recently, Hemley lives in Singapore and serves as the Director of the Writer’s Centre at Yale University Singapore.
“Wind Energy: A Global View as Seen from Iowa”
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Wind is an increasing source of renewable energy, both domestically and internationally. In recent years, 30-40% of all new electric generating capacity constructed in the U.S. has involved wind energy. Texas, Iowa and California lead the U.S. in wind energy production, but China leads on the global stage. While the U.S. currently produces only 4% of its electric power from wind, a study by the Department of Energy concludes that a goal of 20% could be achieved by 2030. Barry Butler’s goal is to provide the audience with an understanding of wind energy as a global renewable energy source. Butler will give a brief history of the industry as well as illustrate its societal impacts and possible growth in the coming years.
Barry Butler is the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Iowa. Prior to those appointments, Butler was dean of the UI College of Engineering, where he holds the rank of full professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1984, also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1984. He currently serves as co-chair of the American Wind Energy Association’s research and Development Committee.
“International is the Benchmark of a College Education”
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The mark of a major college of education is the vibrancy of its international aspect. This includes international students, international faculty, international partnerships, and international program offerings. Nicholas Colangelo will discuss what the UI College of Education is doing in terms of international education and share future directions. As Colangelo will assert, the idea of being a “global society” is not simply a catch phrase, but a foundation of college education.
Nicholas Colangelo is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Iowa. He is also the Myron & Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education and Director Emeritus of The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. He has authored or edited numerous articles on counseling gifted students and the affective development of gifted and acceleration including Handbook of Gifted Education and co-authored “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students.” Among numerous awards, he has been awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion for Faculty from The University of Iowa In 2013.