Resmiye Oral, Tuesday December 1, 2015

Picture1“International Systems Building on Child Protection: From the University of Iowa to Turkey and Beyond…”

This presentation will summarize the collaboration between the U of I Child Protection Program leadership and numerous universities in Turkey, multiple ministries including the Ministries of Health, Justice, Education, Interior, and Social Services, and non-governmental organizations. The positive outcomes in systems building for child protection in Turkey have been expanded to other countries including Portugal, Greece, Pakistan, and Colombia. All these efforts have been supported by the U of I International Programs that led to the second Provost’s Global Forum focusing on global child protection issues.

Resmiye Oral, MD, is a professor of pediatrics, who is a board-certified expert in child abuse pediatrics. She has completed her child abuse pediatrics fellowship at Ohio-State University and is currently working as the director of the Child Protection Program at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa. She has published numerous articles in Child Abuse and Neglect. She became involved with child abuse and neglect in 1993 and established the first multidisciplinary child abuse and neglect follow-up team in Turkey, her country of origin. She wrote a book and three book chapters on child abuse for Turkish physicians. She also co-authored two training kits published by Ohio State University on physical and sexual abuse. Her interests are international systems building to address child abuse and neglect, drug endangered children, shaken baby syndrome, and early intervention with child abuse to prevent severe and usually irreversible consequences of abuse including fatality. In order to do that, she believes that recognition of subtle findings of abuse is of utmost importance, which calls for training of all professionals involved with child abuse. She gives 50-60 lectures a year to medical and non-medical professional audiences on child abuse and neglect to regional, national and international audiences.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Humanitarian Issues, University of Iowa

Jennifer Blair, Wednesday November 18, 2015

Picture1“Crossing Cultural Lines and Changing Students’ Minds: Tippie’s International Buddies Program”

In 2014 the Tippie College of Business was home to 498 international students, with a further 691 declared as pre-business majors.  Together, these students constitute around 22% of the business and pre-business population at the University of Iowa.  The rise in international student enrollment at the College of Business has been dramatic, with just 55 international students enrolled in 2007.   The significant international student presence in the College creates extraordinary opportunities for our domestic students to learn about the world without leaving Iowa City, but it also presents challenges that often come with cross-cultural interaction – language barriers, cultural divides, and misunderstandings.

In Spring 2014 the Undergraduate Program Office at the College of Business launched International Buddies at Tippie, a program pairing international and domestic business students for a semester-long friendship.  Since its inception the program has doubled its membership, has received positive media coverage both locally and nationally, and has succeeded person-by-person, in breaking down cultural barriers between many of our students.  Jennifer will share her insights about the program, and two buddies will also share their thoughts and experiences.

Jennifer Blair is the Assistant Director for Global Community Engagement at Tippie, where she oversees efforts to connect international and domestic students in meaningful ways.   A 1998 graduate of the University of Iowa (BA History) and 2000 graduate of Trinity  College, Dublin (M.Phil), Jennifer qualified as a lawyer (solicitor) in Ireland and practiced private client law in one of Ireland’s largest law firms.  She returned to Iowa in 2009, first overseeing international student admissions and services at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and most recently returning to her alma mater to continue her work with international students.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, University of Iowa

Rebecca Arnold, Wednesday November 11, 2015


 “Capacity Strengthening for Health Communication in Bangladesh”

Rebecca Arnold is a global health professional specializing in health communication and behavior change. She works for Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs and has been based in Dhaka, Bangladesh since 2012. Currently, she is the Director of BKMI, a USAID-funded project that provides capacity strengthening and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh. Rebecca previously led a global health consulting business, worked in Tanzania for a multi-media entertainment-education initiative and served as a community health volunteer for the Peace Corps. Ms. Arnold, a native of Rock Island, holds an MPH in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa College of Public Health.  She received her BA from Northwestern University. Ms. Arnold is in Iowa City to receive the University of Iowa’s International Impact Award.

In recent years, Arnold has directed the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  BKMI is a USAID-funded project to strengthen the capacity of the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as it attempts to develop a national communication framework for health, population, and nutrition, which is currently absent in Bangladesh.  As part of this effort, she is developing digital resources (eHealth) for community-based, non-clinical field health workers to use in counseling at the household level.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Health & Medicine, Past Events

James D. Fielder, Wednesday November 4, 2015

Picture1“Putting Theory into Practice: Applying Political Science To Afghanistan Operations”

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In this presentation, Lieutenant Colonel James Fielder, USAF discusses how he applied two political science models to respectively improve Afghan Air Force communications and to forecast the 2014 Afghan Presidential election outcome, the latter which drove force protection decisions for fellow Airmen stationed in Kabul. In addition to a personal account of using scientific in a combat environment, his presentation also touches on debates surrounding positive and normative science.

Lieutenant Colonel James Fielder is the Assessments and Lessons Learned Division Chief at Headquarters, 25th Air Force, Lackland AFB, Texas. Lt. Col. Fielder enlisted in U.S. Army in 1994 as a Persian Linguist and electronic warfare specialist and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 1999 to attend the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. Lt. Col. Fielder has served in a variety of intelligence positions and from 2006 to 2009 was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was then sponsored for an Air Force-funded Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Iowa, graduating in 2012. From October 2013 to September 2014 Lt. Col. Fielder was the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Senior Intelligence Officer and Advisor to the Afghan Air Force Kabul Air Wing, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement in operations against an opposing armed force.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Past Events, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Ahmed Souaiaia, Wednesday October 28, 2015

Picture1“Genealogy & Ideology of ISIL & its Future”

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The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State” has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give ISIL confidence that it will succeed but give others reason that it will fail. Mixing a puritan religious and political discourse, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name. An attempt will be made to place the rise and future of ISIL in religious, historical, and political contexts.

Ahmed E. Souaiaia is an Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies with join appointments in Religious Studies, History, International Studies, and College of Law at the University of Iowa. He is the author of a number of books, articles, and essays.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Todd J. Edwards, Tuesday October 20, 2015

Picture1“Après Paris: COP21 as the Climate Action Runway”

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Climate change is one of the most complex challenges of our time and there is no answer yet in sight for solving the global commons dilemma before it is too late, now with the critique that the formal international negotiation process reached a grid lock, a new approach is sought at the next Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015. This approach allows states to submit their intended Nationally Determined Contributions rather than negotiating targets and timelines.  Unfortunately, it is already foreseen that the agreement will not produce a safe climate world from the intended Nationally Determined Contributions made by state-actors.  As time is running out, the presentation shows that progress and a chance to reform states’ positions for finding a cooperative path to safe climate world is feasible through introducing alternative pathways – the groundswell of climate actions, clubs and coalitions.  This presentation will proscribe that a secretariat function could usher the alternative pathways into a formal process as a mechanism to unlock global cooperation and what is currently being done.

Todd Edwards is the program officer for climate change at the Stanley Foundation, where he focuses on improving all levels of global climate change governance, from enhancing greater state-level ambition to building momentum for climate change action from states, regions, cities, businesses, and civil society. He has a background in energy, sustainability, and strategy consulting. Todd has a Ph.D. in political sciences from Vrije Universiteit Brussel with a focus on global climate change governance. Todd enjoys supporting farmers’ markets and local food cooperatives.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2015, Past Events

Rachel Rose, Wednesday October 14, 2015

Picture1“Creating and Nourishing Community Through Poetry & Food”

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Food literacy is a growing concern for industrialized nations such as Canada and the U.S.  Today’s children are the first generation whose life expectancy is less than that of their parents.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, sugary drinks such as soda “are the top calorie source in teens’ diets,” followed by pizza.  In Vancouver, a new citywide project is inviting writers of all stripes–new immigrants, students, and seniors—to focus their artistic attentions on their favorite local chefs, urban farmers, food bank workers, beer makers, bakers, café owners and beekeepers, by interviewing them, photographing them at work, and then writing poems about the experience, as well as poems about their own food legacies.  Rachel Rose will discuss how what we write and teach about food has broader implications for social well-being, and how these lessons might be transported to Iowa

Canadian poet and nonfiction writer Rachel Rose is a recipient of the 2013 and 2016 Pushcart Prize, and of the Pat Lowther Poetry Award and the Andre Lorde Poetry Award for 2013.  Her poetry books include Notes on Arrival and Departure and Song and Spectacle.  Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood.  She regularly contributes to Malahat Review and Prism International.  She is participating in the International Writing Program’s Fall Residency Program courtesy of the British Colombia Arts Council and Canada Council.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2015, Past Events

Eric Tate, Thursday October 8, 2015

Picture1“Monsoon Harvests: Water Sustainability & Rainwater Harvesting in South India”

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Rainwater harvesting, a “soft path” approach towards water management, is increasingly recognized as a key strategy for combating food insecurity and water scarcity.  This presentation uses the South India as a case study to explore the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of rainwater harvesting systems for smallholder agriculture.  Our research team has evaluated the viability of centuries-old rainwater harvesting tanks under current climate and population pressures, culminating in a new approach for developing water sustainability indicators that better reflect interacting human and environmental processes.

Eric Tate currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa’s Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of flood hazards, water resources and social vulnerability, primarily focusing on the development of geospatial indicators to examine environment-society interactions.  Dr. Tate earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering at Rice University, an M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of South Carolina.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2015, Past Events, Technology

Ray McGovern & Coleen Rowley, Tuesday September 29, 2015

Picture1“Can We Wade Out of the Big Muddy and Get Back to Some Moral High Ground?”

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Ray McGovern was an Army officer in the early 60s, then a CIA analyst from the administration of John Kennedy to that of George H.W. Bush. Ray prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In March 2006, in protest against CIA torture, Ray returned the Intelligence Commendation Medallion awarded to him at retirement. In January 2003, he cofounded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and began commenting publicly on intelligence and foreign policy. He also helped establish the annual Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, whose recipients include Larry Wilkerson, Thomas Drake, Thomas Fingar, and William Binney. The winner of the first Sam Adams Award was Coleen Rowley.

Picture2Coleen Rowley grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1980. She joined the FBI and served as Division Legal Counsel in the Minnesota FBI office at the time of 9-11. She wrote a whistleblower memo in May 2002 in connection with the Congressional Joint Inquiry about the FBI’s failures. This served to launch a Department of Juctice Inspector investigation. She testified to the US senate in June 2002 and was named, along with two other women, as TIME’s “Persons of the Year.” She retired from the FBI in 2004 after nearly 24 years of service and now writes and speaks on ethics and law, especially regarding the post 9-11 wars and war crimes.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Rochelle Potkar, Tuesday September 22, 2015

 9-22-2015 Rochelle Potkar photo“Putting Childhood Back into the Child: Rights and Realities of Children In India”

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Rochelle Potkar is the author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories, and has three works in progress—a novel, a book of prose, and a book of poetry. Widely published online and in print, Rochelle is the co-editor of Neesah magazine, and an active member of Poetry Couture, which hosts poetry readings at cafes across India.

Her participation in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The International Writing Program is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world. In 2015, the IWP has brought together 34 of the world’s emerging and established writers to participate in the Fall Residency’s unique intercultural experience. Over the course of 10 weeks, aside from working on their own projects, writers will give readings and lectures that share their work and cultures, collaborate with artists from other genres, and travel and interact with literary communities across the United States.

The talk will be an overview of child rights in India, through the prisms of child education, nutrition, health, development, and protection.  What is it to be an underprivileged child in India?  Readings of real-life stories will explore how the world of grownups shapes the children of India and what can be done before these children grow up, bereft of a childhood, into equally fissured adolescents.


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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2015, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Andrey Sazonov, Wednesday September 16, 2015

10959533_418712668285750_1303954258318720487_n (2) “Ramzan Kadyrov, Leader of Chechnya: Putin’s Frenemy?”

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Ramzan Kadyrov is currently serving as a head of the Chechen Republic and is notorious for being the most prominent and controversial figure in the North Caucasus region of Russia and for having a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin. Over the years Chechen leader was able to rebuild Chechnya and consolidated a significant amount of influence and power thus signaling the changing status and rising importance of Chechnya. These factors have led to a renewed debate over whether the Kremlin’s political control over the region, and over the Chechen republic in particular, won back after two gruesome wars in the post-Soviet years, may be loosening.

Andrey Sazonov is a senior majoring in International Relations at the University of Iowa and is originally from the North Caucasus region of Russian Federation. In 2014 Andrey represented the University of Iowa at the prestigious conference in the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and was a part of a workshop which developed a strategy to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In 2015 he participated in European Student Conference at Yale University where he authored a paper on issues of European Identity – which was later send to the European Parliament – and took part in creation of European Student think-tank “European Horizons.” During the same month Andrey represented newly created think-tank at Harvard’s annual European Conference. Currently he is working on establishment of a “European Horizons” chapter at the University of Iowa and is largely involved in the local and the university community.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2015, Governance Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Tibi Galis, Wednesday September 9, 2015

Tibi Galis

“Early Prevention of Mass Atrocities: Fulfilling Our Responsibility to Protect”

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Many scholars argue that had the world known about the horrors of the holocaust, something would have been done to stop the systematic ethnic cleansing. Today, such genocides still exist throughout the world yet it seems nothing is done to alleviate them.  This presentation will analyze the existing institutional infrastructures for mass atrocity prevention in various states and at the multilateral level. It will invite the audience to consider the effectiveness of the current arrangements and it will propose ways to continue the work that has been started in order to truly fulfill our responsibility to protect.

Tibi Galis has been the Executive Director of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation since 2006. As a result of his efforts, AIPR, a small non-profit with the vision of making the world a better place, has developed into a major force within the international movement to combat genocide. In addition to his work for AIPR, Dr. Galis received his Ph.D., which explores the relationship between transitional justice and regime consolidation around the world, from Clark University. Dr. Galis has previously worked as an associate researcher for the UK Parliament, where he helped to develop the UK position regarding the Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention to the UN Secretary General, and also as a rapporteur for the Swedish government at the 2004 Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide.

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Mariola Espinosa, Wednesday September 2, 2015


“Cuba, US, and Public Health: A History of Strained Relations”

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As tensions between the United States and Cuba begin fitfully to subside, a better understanding of the sources of the strained relationship between the two countries can help illuminate potential stumbling blocks to further progress.  One often-overlooked point of contention over the past 150 years has been public health.  U.S. concern over disease on the island was an important cause of the Spanish-American War, and efforts to fight disease were a much-resented aspect of the U.S. domination of Cuba afterwards.  The consequent development of Cuban capabilities in medicine and health, in turn, played a crucial role in Cuban foreign policy after the Revolution, not least as a means of discrediting the U.S. government.

Mariola Espinosa, Associate Professor, History, is a historian of medicine and public health in the Caribbean.  Her 2009 book,“Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878-1930”,  was awarded the 2007 Jack D. Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award of the American Association for the History of Medicine.  In 2010 she was recognized as the 2010 Virginia and Derrick Sherman Emerging Scholar.  She is currently working on a book project that looks into medical understandings of fever in the British, French, Spanish, and U.S. Caribbean empires.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Health & Medicine, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Anne Villamil, Tuesday August 25, 2015


“Implications of the Conflict between Greece & the EU”

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Greece’s financial woes dominate headlines across the globe, with images of angry citizens and protests across the Internet. Greece has requested a third bail out from the European Union and its creditors. How did Greece get to be in this crisis? What steps can the Greek people and state take to move forward? What steps will the European Union take following this chaos? What lessons about economic policy can we learn from this financial misfortune? These questions and others from the audience will be answered by Professor Villamil.

Anne Villamil is a Professor of Economics & Finance and a Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow at the University of Iowa. She earned her B.A. at the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on financial contracts, with emphasis on firm finance, bankruptcy and enforcement, and the quantitative effects of institutions and policies on financial markets and development. She holds recent grants from the NSF, NCSA, and the Kauffman Foundation. Villamil has been a research scholar at the IMF, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austria, the National University of Singapore, University of Paris 1-Pantheon-Sorbonne, the Hallsworth Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, and the Peter Moores Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. She is the Editor of the Annals of Finance, and an Associate Editor at Economic Theory and the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.

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Filed under Economics, Europe, Fall 2015, Past Events

Quinn Hejlik, Julia Julstrom-Agoyo, Daniel Goering, Tuesday July 21, 2015

 “2015-2016 Fulbright Scholars Discuss Their Plans”

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 The Fulbright award is one of the most prestigious academic award in the world. Established to increase global perspective between the US and other countries via exchange of students, through an exclusive application process those awarded represent the best Picture1international scholars. This year the University of Iowa had record-setting thirteen Fulbright Recipients, three of these recipients will discuss their exciting research and future plans.

Quinn Hejlik graduated with a B.A. in History and International Studies in May. With his Fulbright U.S. award, Hejlik will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Russia, where he hopes to develop a deeper understanding of Russian culture and language while extending the same understanding of English language and American culture to his Russian students.

Picture3Picture2Daniel Goering is a Ph.D. candidate in organizational behavior and human resources in the UI Tippie College of Business. Goering will study work-life balance issues and investigate methods to increase resilience to work-family      stress with experts at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan.

Julia Julstrom-Agoyo graduated with a B.A. in International studies with a focus in human rights, a certificate in sustainability, and minors in Political Science and Spanish in May. Julstrom-Agoyo will use her Fulbright U.S. award for an English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia to create a dialogue about the cultures and values of Malaysian and American people in terms of the arts, environment, and values to build friendships.

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Filed under Business, Education, Past Events, Summer 2015, University of Iowa

Colleen Theisen, Thursday July 16, 2015

UI Main Library - Staff Photos, September 2012

“The International Magic of Chef Szathmary”

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When describing his life in 1985, famed chef, entrepreneur, writer, entertainer, and bibliophile Louis Szathmary began by saying, “I can’t recall a time I did not have books around me. My family in Hungary was rich in books, not money.” Arriving in the U.S. in 1951 with less than two dollars in his pocket he spent the next 45 years developing frozen foods for the Armour company, running the prestigious Chicago restaurant “The Bakery”, appearing on radio and television programs, and advocating for the culinary professions, all the while compulsively amassing a book collection spanning 37 rooms above the restaurant. “The collection never rests,” the chef stated. Collen Theisen will join us to discuss the famed chef’s life spanning the intersection of cuisine and collecting and the restless life of the collection here at the University of Iowa as it grows and lives on inspiring culinary life on campus, informing research pursuits, activating community participation, and delighting book lovers across the Internet today.

Colleen Theisen is the Outreach and Instruction Librarian for the University of Iowa  Special Collections. She coordinates the social media team including the UI Special Collections Tumblr, named “New & Notable” by Tumblr in 2013, and she directs and hosts the YouTube channel “Staxpeditions.” A 2015 Library Journal “Mover & Shaker,” Theisen holds an MS in Information from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in Archives and Records Management.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Past Events, Summer 2015

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Thursday May 14, 2015

6270f68d-3d33-4e23-88f7-073a47091bd1“Foreign Policy Perspective from a New Zealand Point of View”

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Sir Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer served as the 33rd Prime Minister of New Zealand from August 1989 until September 1990, leading the Fourth Labour Government. He was responsible for major reforms of the country’s legal and constitutional framework, such as the creation of the Constitution Act 1986, New Zealand Bill of Rights, Imperial Laws Application Act and the State Sector Act. A highly regarded lawyer, In 2010 Palmer was chosen to chair a UN Inquiry panel into the fatal Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, supporting the Israeli Security Forces’ legitimate use of force. Sir Geoffrey is also a renowned Environmentalist, in 2002 he was appointed as New Zealand’s representative to the International Whaling Commission. In 1991 he was listed on the UN Global Roll of Honour.

Palmer was educated at the Victoria University of Wellington and at the University of Chicago receiving a Juris Doctor in 1967. He worked as a solicitor for a Wellington law firm before turning to teaching, becoming a lecturer in political science at Victoria University of Wellington, Professor of Law at the Universities of Iowa and of Virginia, and Professor of English and New Zealand law at Victoria again. After joining the New Zealand Labour Party in 1975, he was elected to Parliament in 1979. He became personal assistant to the Prime Minister Wallace Edward Rowling and soon was deputy leader of the party and deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015, U.S. Foreign Policy

Margaret Carrel, Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3d1b4056-3f91-4123-bdce-322dff752817“Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies Of Food”

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In 2015, 13.1% of people on Earth are undernourished and at risk of starvation. While governments compete for diminishing oil, water, and other resources to fuel their economics, at least 20,000 children a day die from hunger. What we choose to put on our plates is the direct outcome of a complex set of interactions, from the individual scale to the global, that have serious implications for both population and environmental health.  With forces such as drought, global climate change, infectious disease and income inequality posing imminent threats, how will food production be affected in the coming decades? Professor Margaret Carrel presents the theme “Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies of Food.”

 Margaret Carrel serves as Assistant Professor in the UI Department of Geography. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.   Her research interests include the geography of infectious disease, landscape genetics and disease ecology. The focus of her research is how to understand how complex interactions between people and environments result in disease outcomes and the evolution of human pathogens. She has also conducted disease research in rural Bangladesh on the correlation of flood control measures and the prevention of diarrheal events. Most recently she has begun research in Iowa surrounding residential proximity to swine and its relation to MRSA infections.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2015

Leo Eko, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

bfb71e60-279c-4258-92f0-8edfeaf9bbe4“Publish or Perish: The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack & Freedom of Expression”

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The January 2015 terrorist attacks  against French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, exposed the the acute tension between freedom of expression and respect for religious sentiments.  Newspapers around the world wrestled with the problem of whether to publish or not to publish the cartoons that ostensibly provoked the attacks.  After Charlie Hebdo published its now famous cover with Mohammed holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign, newspapers  in all continents were divided on whether to republish the newsworthy cover or not to republish it. Research shows that the decision to republish or not to republish the Charlie Hebdo cover depended on specific journalist cultures and contexts.

Before joining The University of Iowa, Leo Eko was an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Media Law at the University of Maine. He has served as a journalist and producer at the African Broadcasting Union (URTNA) in Nairobi, Kenya, and at Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation. Professor Eko has produced several video documentaries on African topics. Three of them won honorable mention at festivals in Germany and Canada and are part of the holdings of several American and Canadian university libraries.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Valerie Bunce, Thursday, April 23, 2015

1d66dcc6-d07c-4af5-ad47-34b597f2c890“Putin’s Game in Ukraine”

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Why did Russia invade and annex Crimea last year and then aid and abet popular rebellion in eastern Ukraine?  The answer is that political changes in Ukraine were a “perfect storm” for Russia, whether we look at the threats to Russian security posed by Ukraine’s desire to join the EU and NATO or Putin’s fear that regime change in Ukraine could spread to Moscow.  What was at stake, in short, was Russia’s national security and Putin’s job security.

Valerie Bunce, Director of European Studies at Cornell Institute, is the Aaron Binenkorb Professor of International Studies and Professor of Government. Her primary field is comparative politics and, secondarily, international relations. Her research and teaching addresses comparative democratization, international democracy promotion, and inter-ethnic cooperation and conflict. Her geographical focus is primarily east-central Europe, the Balkans and the Soviet successor states, though her comparative interests extend to Latin America.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015, War & Conflict

David Thoreson, Thursday, April 16, 2015

c19f405b-5ef5-4821-9d9b-d774a1d61e6d“Navigating the Northwest Passage

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18 years ago, sheets of ice made the Northwest Passage impassable for David Thoreson and his sailing crew. However, global rises in air and water temperatures as a result of humankind-powered changes in climate have since made this area (and others) accessible to transit, and just five years ago David circumnavigated the American continents on a 28,000-mile journey spanning our hemisphere. Today, our oceans are expanding as ice melts, filling with plastics and chemicals as consumption skyrockets, and losing their bounties of biodiversity as degradation overwhelms fragile ecosystems. David will share with us tales and visions of his adventures which led him from a small town in Iowa into the Arctic expanse – a realm of threatened wonder and evolving history in which one cannot evade the precarious implications of our growing society.

David Thoreson is a modern explorer, writer, and expedition leader of Blue Water Ventures – a supplier of eco-adventures for students and adults. A resident of Sprit Lake, Iowa, David became, with his Cloud Nine crew, the first American sailors to fully span the Northwest Passage in both directions. Capturing memories in film and writing, David’s experiences have risen to focus in the media, including highlights in the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the Wall Street Journal, PBS, and a recent TEDx presentation in Colorado. His ABC documentary on the 28,000-mile, scientific journey was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Ari Ariel, Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ariel Picture“Illustrating Impacts of Foods on Identities & Migration: The Hummus Wars”

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Some Middle Eastern nations are bringing the classic concept of ‘food fights’ to a new level—the Guinness World Records have inspired intense competition to craft the world’s largest dish of hummus, attempts have been made to trademark this Levantine delicacy which has captured hearts and stomachs around the world, and calls for boycotts of nationalized food-producing enterprises have politicized the consumption of this modest yet peerless dish. Dr. Ariel will join us for a meal of hummus, falafel, and other Middle Eastern favorites from Iowa City’s very own Oasis while he discusses these “hummus wars” and legacies of food as an arena for both international conflict and coexistence.

Ari Ariel, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, an MA from Tel Aviv University, a BA from the City College of New York, and a Diploma in Classical Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York. He studies ethnic, national, and religious identities, migration, and ‘foodways’—the intersection of food in culture, tradition, and history—particularly in Middle Eastern Jewish communities.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2015, The Middle East

Mariano Magalhaes, Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mariano Magalhaes Photo

“How the Brazilian Worker’s Party Will Shape the Nation’s Future”

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The 2014 presidential election in Brazil was the closest—and dirtiest—contest since the first elections in 1989, post-military-rule. At the election’s start, Brazilians were reeling from nationwide protests against government corruption, a failing economy, and the use of public funds for World Cup stadiums and ineffective public services. The election divided the nation between incumbent Dilma Roussef of the Worker’s Party and her opponent, Governor Aécio Neves, with yet more would-be voters fed up with politics. Mariano Magalhães, with the assistance of his student, Samantha DeForest-Davis, will discuss some of the concerns rising from President Dilma’s reelection, amid a still ailing economy and serious allegations of party corruption, for the leadership’s capacity to administer the country at home and abroad over the next four years.

Mariano Magalhães, Professor, Political Science at Augustana College, served as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011 at the Universidade de Brasília where he led a course in Democracy in Latin America and researched the confederate strengthening of Brazilian municipal governments. Similarly, he has also written on the decentralization of power to state and local governance in Brazil and on civil-military relations during the state’s democratic transition. In 2013, he returned to Brasília (the capital) to interview past and current members of a federal ministry for its role in the development of state feminism. At Augustana, Dr. Magalhães has over the past decade helped university students to study abroad by leading students on visits to Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico, and by developing a Brazil Term program which he directed in 2012 and 2014.
Samantha DeForest-Davis, is an undergraduate student of Dr.  Magalhaes’.  She is completing a triple major in Political Science, Sociology, and Africana Studies.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Sarah Lande, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sarah Lande Picture“Visionaries to the Grand Celebration in Beijing—The Iowa Xi Jinping Story”

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“For me, you are America,” then-Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, told Sarah Lande during a 2012 return visit to Muscatine, Iowa. This visit brought Muscatine to the national spotlight, but the visionaries behind this landmark event and the benefits enjoyed by Iowa as a result are less widely known.  These visionaries, such as Governor Bob Ray, Paul Engle, and Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for Iowa-China cultural exchanges and international cooperation.  Sarah Lande will reflect upon those who started it all, the recent celebration commemorating Iowa-China relations, and what the future holds for the two of us together.

Former President and Executive Director of the Iowa Sister States organization, Sarah Lande in 1985 facilitated a visit to Muscatine by a delegation of the Chinese government including Xi Jinping (then an up-and-coming agricultural official from Hebei Province). In February of 2012, Sarah and her husband, Roger, hosted a tender reunion in their Muscatine home with old friends including Xi Jinping. Later that year, Xi in kind hosted Sarah and other Iowa friends in China, and he has since become President of the country. For her diplomatic endeavors, in 2013 Sarah was named an “Honorary Friendship Ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Beyond this, she has proactively served the Muscatine community throughout her lifetime. Sarah is a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from the University of Iowa, from which she graduated with her BA and MBA degrees.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2015, U.S. Foreign Policy

Anthony Sudarmawan, Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anthony Sudarmawan Photo“Why We Should Care About Foreign Fighters and Paramilitary in the  Middle East”

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Why should we care about foreign fighters and paramilitary forces in the Middle East? People tend to overlook the rationality behind the reasons why the number of foreign fighters and paramilitary forces has been increasing significantly in the last few years. Many of the rational factors that contribute to the rise of the Islamic State and other paramilitary forces can be found in historical documents.  Anthony Sudarmawan will lay out historical context  to give us a more accurate perspective of the situation.

Anthony Sudarmawan was born in Indonesia to a family who owns a small business. His family members encouraged him to study science or engineering, yet he was determined to pursue a career in international relations after participating in a political conference in Washington, D.C. and New York. He graduated from the University of Iowa in May 2013 with honors in political science and international studies. Since then, he has been active in conducting research on paramilitary forces and foreign fighters in the Middle East while finishing his Master’s study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Anthony Sudarmawan is one of the four recipients of Findley Fellow Award—a highly prestigious award named after Congressman Paul Findley and awarded to those who achieve academic excellence.  As one of the recipients, he delivered a speech in Washington, D.C. last year at the annual U.S.- Arab Policymakers Conference.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2015, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Renu Pariyadath, Thursday, March 5, 2015

 Renu New“Bhopal (1984 – ?): The 30th Anniversary and the Ongoing Disaster”

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Thirty years after Methyl IsoCyanate (MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, the disaster has claimed over 25,000 lives and over 150,000 people are chronically ill. Water and soil contamination from the abandoned factory have multiplied the impact of the disaster and have left women and children particularly vulnerable. The Bhopali survivors have waged a 30-year struggle for justice on a transnational scale, seeking adequate compensation, medical care, clean water and a comprehensive cleanup of the abandoned factory and its surroundings. Renu Pariyadath will discuss the disaster’s continuing health impacts in Bhopal today and the status of the transnational campaign produced in its wake.

Renu Pariyadath is a Ph.D. Candidate  in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Iowa with a minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. Renu researches migrant activism within the Indian diaspora and has been a volunteer with the international movement for justice surrounding the Bhopal gas disaster for over three years. She is interested in the barriers to and the possibilities for forging a transnational environmental and reproductive justice movement in the context of the Bhopal disaster. Renu is the Chapter and Volunteer Coordinator of the Association for India’s Development (AID-US) and former Community Outreach Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB). She got involved with the ICJB in 2012 when she visited Bhopal for her Ph.D. field research supported by the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Ric Lumbard, Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lumbard Pic“Understanding the Role of Restoration in Human Trafficking”

Despite movements advocating its abolition, the practice of slavery persists as a global injustice. In contrast to systems of free labor and chattel bondage in past centuries, human trafficking involves the abduction, coercion, sexual exploitation, and illegal trade of, primarily women and children. Despite its apparent domestic invisibility, trafficking in persons is both an international issue and  domestic issue.  Ric Lumbard will discuss his experience with a national movement which seeks to secure and restore the freedom, safety, and health of victims of trafficking worldwide.

Ric Lumbard is the Director of the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) which provides communication infrastructure for the governmental agencies of Iowa, as well as the three state universities.  Ric has also served in senior management with Raytheon, and US West.   In addition, Ric has served leadership for several organizations including House of Hope Women’s Shelter, and founded the Center to Restore Trafficked and Exploited Children.  Nationally, he is a speaker and trainer in the Human Trafficking industry, focusing on building and equipping organizational responses to restore the victims of Human Trafficking.  Ric has advanced training in restorative modeling and emotional restoration of those in crisis, working with Terre des Hommes International Federation, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security.


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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Jerry Shnoor, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

schnoor pic“Environmental, Economic & Social Impacts of the Transoceanic Canal in Nicaragua”

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The Nicaraguan government awarded a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal to a Hong Kong based company owned by a little-known Chinese billionaire. This concession was given without bidding, or completion of impact assessments. The project may damage regional biodiversity and rare ecosystems like Lake Cocibolca, (a.k.a. Lake Nicaragua), a unique freshwater tropical lake which serves as Central America’s main freshwater reservoir.  Jerry Schnoor will discuss these issues as well as the socio-economic impacts on local people and regional interests.

Jerry Schnoor is a Professor in the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Occupational & Environmental Health. He joined the University’s College of Engineering in 1977, and holds the esteemed Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering. His research interests include carbon sequestration, water quality modeling, phytoremediation, and the causes of global warming. Schnoor earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1975 and an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering in 1974 from The University of Texas. In 1972, he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University.  Jerry is Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Science and Technology (American Chemical Society).

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Kelsey Frisk, Thursday, February 12, 2015

Frisk pic 1“Indigenous Struggles: 
A Sámi Perspective”

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The Finno-Ugric Sámi people of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland are the only indigenous population to be recognized and protected in Scandinavia. Sámi people have inhabited Fenno-Scandinavia for over ten thousand years. But the combined forces of climate change, technology, increased industrial activity, and land-loss have led to a large shift in the traditional Sámi diet, lifestyle, and mental health status. Kelsey will discuss the impacts of these changes on the somatic and psychosocial health of reindeer-herding Sámi and ways in which these changes may shape their future.

Kelsey Frisk is a fourth-year undergraduate Honors student with the Interdepartmental Studies major.  She studies global health with a strong interest in the health and human rights of indigenous populations. She recently received a Stanley Award for International Research to study perceptions of health among the Sámi people in northern Sweden from January—July 2014.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Past Events, Spring 2015

James L. Watson, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

 J Watson, Harvard office, 2007 (edited)“Does Hong Kong Have a Future? Postcolonial Developments Since 1997”

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Will Hong Kong remain a distinctive, quasi-autonomous outpost on the southern tip of China, or will it become just another Chinese city?  This talk explores the history and cultural traditions of Hong Kong in an attempt to understand the recent pro-democracy demonstrations: Why now? Who are the leaders? What do ordinary people in Hong Kong think about their future as citizens of China?  The speaker, an anthropologist, seeks answers in Hong Kong’s ethnic and linguistic distinctiveness (Cantonese combined with English) and its legacy of British colonialism (1842-1997).

James Watson was one of the first students to study Chinese at the University of Iowa (BA 1965) and received his PhD (1972) at the Univ. of California at Berkeley. He was, until his retirement in 2011, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. Watson also taught at the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Hawaii, and Houston. Together with Dr. Rubie Watson, he has conducted anthropological research in Hong Kong’s New Territories since the late 1960s. His publications include Emigration and the Chinese Lineage, Kinship Organization in China, Death Ritual in Chinese Society, The Cultural Economy of Food and Eating, and Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. The Watsons’ current project is a jointly authored book entitled The Last Colony: Everyday Life in British Hong Kong, 1898-1997.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

William Reisinger, Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reisinger PicHow Do You Solve a Problem Like Vladimir: Russia’s Future Between East and West

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Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine challenge European security and raise questions about what might come next. The answers lie with President Vladimir Putin, who holds an uncommon degree of personal control over Russian politics. Professor Reisinger will discuss Putin’s political regime, how he and his team view world affairs, and what we should expect in the years ahead.

William M. Reisinger is Professor of Political Science at The University of Iowa.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1985.  His research concerns politics in the former communist states, especially Russia.  He has written several books, as well as over 50 articles or book chapters.  He travels frequently to Russia and has conducted research on Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  He teaches courses on democratization, authoritarian politics and the politics of the post communist countries.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, in 1986.  He is a former chair of the Political Science Department and, from 2003-2008, served as The University of Iowa’s Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Margaret Mills, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mills pic

“From Soviet Supremacy to Major Restructuring: Health Care Issues in Russia Today”

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Russia is going through a health care crisis.  Population decline, re-emerging infectious diseases, a growing HIV/AIDs epidemic, tobacco and alcohol-related deaths, low life expectancy and declining birth rates are plaguing the nation.  Individual attitudes toward “health” and social responses to reduced access to basic health care in Russia recently are contributing the urgent problems.  Professor Mills will provide an overview of the history and on-going challenges to create a better health care system.

Margaret H. Mills is a Professor of Russian language and linguistics and the former Chair of the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages at the University of Iowa. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan and her MPH from the University of Iowa . She has devoted over 30 years to studying, consulting, and conducting linguistic and public health field work research in the Soviet Union and Russia. This work has resulted in over 40 trips to the Soviet Union and Russia since 1977, including escorting delegations of UI Family Medicine and Family Dentistry faculty to medical sites and conferences in Moscow. Among her health-related work, she is the co-editor and chapter author of a monograph (with Vicki Hesli) entitled Medical Issues and Health Care Reform in Russia (1999).

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine

Ron McMullen, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

McMullan, Ron

 “Elephants, Ivory & Yao Ming”

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Africa’s remaining elephants are being machine-gunned so China’s burgeoning middle class can buy ivory knick-knacks for their living rooms.  Can 7’6” former center of the Houston Rockets, Yao Ming, save the day? Ambassador McMullen will explore the fate of Africa’s elephants in the hands of a former NBA star.

McMullen, currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea.  Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 91 countries.  In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups.  While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament.   He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin.  He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.  Between foreign assignments, Ron served for three years as Visiting Professor at the Military Academy at West Point, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Politics.  He was Diplomat-In-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin 2010-2012.  He has authored many scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.  A native of Northwood, Iowa, he earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa.

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Filed under Africa, China & East Asia, Economics, Fall 2014

Ron Reed, Wednesday, November 19, 2014


An International Comparison of Health Care Systems: Coverage, Cost & Quality

The US health care system in the most expensive in the world.  But does the quality of the care outweigh the cost?  Thousands of Americans go bankrupt each year due to medical bills, and childbirth in the US costs twice as much as any other country.  Ron Reed will look at the cost and quality of international health care systems in comparison to the US.

Ronald R. Reed has been the President and CEO of Mercy Iowa City since 1995.  Mr. Reed received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.  He is a recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and was named a University Scholar for his academic achievements at the University of Pittsburgh.  He currently serves on the Boards of the Iowa Hospital Association, the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and Health Enterprises.  Moreover, he serves as Past Chair of the Health Enterprises Cooperative Board and Past Chair of the Chamber’s CEO Roundtable.



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Filed under Fall 2014, Health & Medicine, Past Events

Elizabeth Heineman, Thursday, November 13, 2014

Elizabeth D Heineman (online picture)“Gendering International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law”

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According to international humanitarian law, sexual violence is a grave crime in times of war.  Yet many states have inadequate laws to protect women from intimate partner violence.  Other domestic issues covered under the human rights framework, ranging from girls’ right to an education to marriage by consent, suffer similarly.  Professor Heineman will argue that citizenship is embedded in war and discuss how international feminists have gotten further when women’s equal citizenship is linked to war – and less far on issues that seem distant from war.

Elizabeth Heineman is a Professor in the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and in the Department of History, where she also serves as Chair.  Her specialties include modern German and European History, gender and sexuality, and the history of human rights.  Her most recent books include Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights (2011), Before Porn was Legal: The Erotica Empire of Beate Uhse (2011), and the memoir Ghostbelly (2014).

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict, Women's Issues

Hans House, Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ImageHansHouse “Ebola: Lessons From the Hot Zone”

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Ebola has captured attention as a major health crisis.  From West Africa to the United Kingdom and United States, the spread of Ebola has become  increasingly pervasive.  Hans House will examine the current Ebola outbreak in and around Guinea and review the history of Ebola as a disease.    Understanding how Ebola emerged as a new disease gives us insight into how new diseases have developed and will continue to appear over time.

Dr. House is a professor and head of the educational programs in the department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa.  Dr. House attended  medical school at University of Southern California and completed a dual residency in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medical at University of California,  Los Angeles.  He also studied at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  He studies new and emerging infections and regularly lectures on travel  related and emerging infectious diseases.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Health & Medicine, Past Events

Rob Hogg, Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Rob Hogg Official 07-01-13 (1) “Climate & Sustainability: The Defining Challenge of Our Century

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 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.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Past Events

Jim Olson, Thursday, October 23, 2014

jim olson photo“Iowa and the United Nations”

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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.


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Filed under Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Mujib Mehrdad, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10-15-14 PHOTO Mujib Mehrdad“Right Friends, Wrong Enemies”

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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.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Education, Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“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.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Alan Riach, Thursday, October 2, 2014

pciture“Reflections on Scottish Literature, Nationalism, Referendum, & Recent Elections”

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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.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Fall 2014, Past Events

Nathan Miller, September 23, 2014

Nathan Miller“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.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Jovana Davidovic, September 18, 2014

Davidovic Pic“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.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Elizabeth Bowen, September 9, 2014

Elizabeth Bowen photo 2 preferred“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.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2014, Past Events

Ana Merino, September 2, 2014

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.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2014, Past Events

Judy Polumbaum, August 28, 2014

Polumbaum pic“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.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Past Events, Uncategorized

Robin Hemley, July 22, 2014

Hemely pic 2“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.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Education, Past Events, Summer 2014

Barry Butler, July 9, 2014

“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.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Summer 2014

Nicholas Colangelo, June 24, 2014

Merrill pic“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.

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Filed under Education, Past Events, Summer 2014