Ambassador John Lange, Tuesday October 25, 2016

picture1“Global Health and Sustainable Development”

From 1991 to 1995 at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva, Lange managed humanitarian and refugee assistance channeled through international organizations.  He also had tours of duty in the State Department Bureaus of African Affairs, Western Hemisphere Affairs and Management in Washington and at U.S. Embassies in Togo, France and Mexico. The United Nations Foundation was launched in 1998 with a $1 billion gift from Ted Turner to support the United Nations causes. The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations.    Ambassador Lange’s visit to Iowa is sponsored by the Iowa United Nations Association, the state affiliate of the United Nations Association of the USA, a program of the United Nations Foundation.

Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.) serves as the primary focal point for the UN Foundation’s global health diplomacy activities. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2013, Lange spent four years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with African governments to improve public health.  He has served as co-chair of the Global Polio    Eradication Initiative’s Polio Partners Group since its launch in April 2012. Ambassador Lange had a 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, including service as Special Representative on Avian and        Pandemic Influenza; Deputy Inspector General; Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the inception of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and Associate Dean at the Foreign Service Institute. He was Ambassador to Botswana from 1999 to 2002 and simultaneously served as Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2016, Health & Medicine, U.S. Foreign Policy

zp dala, Thursday October 20, 2016

picture1“Sister Wives: Female Comrades in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Struggles”

South Africa’s long struggle to transcend Apartheid has been widely documented, both pre- and post-democracy (1994), with an enduring focus on figures such as the late Dr. Nelson Mandela and the late Dr. Walter Sisulu. Less well-known are the stories of the women comrades of the African National Congress, activists or loyal wives, or both, whose lives and losses have drawn too little notice. Such is the case with the personal story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, “Mother of the Nation,” whose multiple arrests, extended time in solitary confinement, and torture at the hands of the governing National Party took an enormous toll. And there are many Winnies who built the history of modern South Africa. Author zp dala will explore their stories.

zp dala is a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a writer. Her first nove, What About Meera, won the 2015 South African Minara Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Literary Prize, and made the top 15 African Novels of 2015 list. A second novel, The Architecture of Love, is forthcoming in 2017. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Women's Issues

Valon Murtezaj, Friday October 14, 2016

picture1“U.S.-Kosovo Relations”

Valon Murtezaj was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo in March 2016. Dr. Murtezaj was appointed to this position after a long and successful, professional and academic, experience. Before being appointed to this position, Murtezaj was Principal Advisor for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Isa Mustafa  Professor Murtezaj, among others, is a permanent professor in the prestigious IESEG School of Management in Paris, France, being the first Kosovo Albanian lecturing on diplomacy and international negotiation in a world diplomacy centre such as Paris.  His education and work and life experience is inter-disciplinary, multicultural and global.

The United States has been joined by over 100 countries in its recognition of Kosovo as an independent, sovereign state. The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Kosovo and international partners to strengthen Kosovo’s institutions, rule of law, and economy and build a democratic, law-abiding, multi-ethnic, tolerant, and prosperous country. U.S. policy priorities are: ensuring improved rule of law and governance that meets citizens’ needs; ensuring Kosovo has sustainable, inclusive economic growth that supports its stability and integration with Europe; ensuring Kosovo contributes positively to regional stability, including by legally transforming its security sector, countering violent extremism, promoting minority rights, and integrating into Euro-Atlantic structure.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

H. Glenn Penny, Wednesday October 5, 2016

picture1“German Iowa & the Global Midwest: How to Do Global History Locally”

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German immigrants consistently accounted for the largest number of foreign-born people in Iowa from the 1850s through the 1970s. While today we focus on recent immigrants from Latin America and Southeast Asia, our state remains deeply impacted by an earlier group of newcomers. This lecture presents the efforts of H. Glenn Penny in teaching his students about Germany, and in turn the Professor learned about Iowa and it’s history. Through the Iowa/Germany case study we can see that it is not only possible to do globally history locally, it is also imperative if we want to better understand the place in which we live.

H. Glenn Penny is a Professor of Modern European History at the University of Iowa. Much of his work is focused on relations between Germans and non-Europeans over the last two centuries. He has written many books on the topic. Currently, he is engaged in an in-depth study of German interactions with Guatemala and completing a book manuscript titled: Networked Spaces: German Schools in Latin America since the 1880’s.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Janine di Giovanni, Thursday September 29, 2016

picture1“The Human Face of Middle East Refugee Crisis”

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Janine di Giovanni, Middle East Editor of Newsweek, contributing editor of Vanity Fair and contributor to The New York Times and The Guardian, is one of Europe’s most respected and experienced reporters, with vast experience covering war and conflict. Her reporting has been called “established, accomplished brilliance” and she has been cited as “the finest foreign correspondent of our generation”.

She recently became an Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University in recognition of her work on violence and war and the trauma it brings to society, and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people reducing armed conflict by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). She is also an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Policy Studies. Her themes are conflict, stability, transitional justice and security.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Anna Barker & John Kenyon, Wednesday September 21, 2016

“Celebrating the City of Literature”

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Iowa City is the only “City of Literature” in the United States, and the Iowa City Book Festival will celebrate books and writing by leveraging the unique mix of local resources that helped earn that designation. The oldest creative writing program in the country, and is regarded as the best. With more than forty Pulitzer Prize winners from Iowa City, and featured program partners like the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and International Writing Program, this years’ book festival celebrates the enigmatic academic culture found in Iowa City.

anna-barker-photoAnna Barker is an Assistant Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature. In addition to being involved with the book festival each year, Anna has taught courses in the English Department, in Cinema and Comparative Literature, in Asian and Slavic Languages, and in the Honors Program. This fall’s book festival public reading will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Crime and Punishment.

john-kenyon-photoJohn Kenyon is the Executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. John spent 20 years in journalism in the Corridor, most recently as editor of the Corridor Business Journal. He is a Des Moines native, graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in Iowa City.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events

Marina Zaloznaya & Bill Reisinger, Wednesday September 14, 2016

“Everyday Corruption in Russia & Ukraine; Who, Why and With What Consequences?”

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Zaloznaya and Reisinger have conducted first-of-their-kind surveys that reveal how Russian and Ukrainian citizens interact with a variety of officials and how often corruption plays a part. They will share their findings about which patterns emerge and why they matter politically.

zaloznaya_marina_a4x6-photoMarina Zaloznaya is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Iowa. Her Research interests include organizational and economic crime, non-democratic governance, and comparative-historical research methods. Zaloznaya’s book, The Politics of Bureaucratic Corruption in Eastern Europe explores the impact that hybrid political regimes of Ukraine and Belarus have on informal economies of local University.


William Reisinger is Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. His research concerns authoritarianism and democracy in the former communist states, especially Russia. His most recent book is The Regional Roots of Russia’s Political Regime, co-authored with Bryon J. Moraski, which will appear from University of Michigan Press later this year. This is his eighth presentation to the ICFRC since 1988.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Past Events

Raj Rajagopal, Wednesday September 7, 2016

Picture1“Iowa’s Award-Winning India Winterim Program”

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The Iowa India Winterim program is an intensive, three-week  field-based study-abroad program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course in the program is based in one or several locations throughout India. This program is designed for UI undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members with related interests and experience. The India Winterim program sends about 135 students to India annually, and has sent approximately 900 students and 30 faculty members to India in the ten years since its creation. In 2016, the India Winterim program received the Heiskell Award for its efforts.

Dr. Raj Rajagopal is a Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences and Sustainability at the University of Iowa. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of environmental modeling, water quality monitoring, management, and public policy.  He has been invited to serve as a nominator for the annual Japan Prize (Japanese equivalent of the Nobel), since its inception in 1985. He is the founding editor of the journal “Environmental Practice” (formerly known as the “The Environmental Professional”) published by the Oxford University Press. His current interests include the provision of safe drinking water, reduction of adult illiteracy, and improvement of opportunities through micro-credit for women entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Past Events, University of Iowa

Christopher D. Roy, Thursday September 1, 2016


“Continuity and Change in the Political and Cultural Life of a Small West African Country”

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The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council presents an expert in the field of African art, Professor Christopher Roy. In his myriad of adventures throughout the past 45 years in Burkina Faso, he has observed a multitude of changes in the cultural life of the Burkina. Professor Roy will lead a discussion on how the Burkina culture reacted to bloodshed, change of governance and development.

Christopher Roy has been teaching about art and life in Africa at the University of Iowa for 38 years. He also teaches about the art of ancient Mexico, Native American art and the art of the Pacific Islands. For many years he served as Curator of the African collection at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and was deeply involved with Maxwell Stanley and Elizabeth M. Stanley in the creation of the Stanley collection. He is currently teaching an online course on African Art that has an enrollment of 300 undergraduates.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events, War & Conflict

Wenfang Tang, Tuesday August 23, 2016

Picture1“Chinese Political Culture and Authoritarian Regime Resiliency”

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Traditionalism. Communism. Liberalism.

All these values and more are evident in current Chinese political culture, but with the coming of China’s political modernization or lack thereof the cohesion of these ideologies will forever change the future of China and her global influence. ICFRC presents a master of the Chinese political landscape, UI Professor Wenfang Tang, who will address the current trends, existing government and future predictions.

Wenfang Tang is Stanley Hua Hsia Professor of Political Science and International Studies. His current research focuses on public opinion and political change in contemporary China, as well as comparative political behavior. He has authored and coauthored several books published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Stanford University Press, and many articles in academic journals icluding American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Public Policy, China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, among others.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

2016 Fulbright Student Awardees: Sarah Lucas, Lauren Darby, Amanda Kloser, Destinee Gwee, Wednesday July 20, 2016

“Fulbright Scholars Discuss Their Assignments”

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Sarah-LucasSarah Lucas is a Ph.D. candidate travelling to study and research in Hungary on Bartók’s First Piano Concerto using manuscripts, letters, scores and newspapers found only in the Bartók Archive an
d Széchényi Library. She will use her research to better understand patterns of cultural exchange between Hungary and the U.S. in the 1920s.

Lauren DarbyLauren Darby is pursing an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany where she will have the opportunity to work with a diversity program that places grantees in schools with significant numbers of students with minority backgrounds. Darby has studied German history and language and plans to become a social studies teacher.

Amanda-Kloser3Amanda Kloser is pursuing an English Teaching Assistantship in Turkey to further explore the similar literary styles she has found studying Turkish and Native American multicultural literature. As a future high school English and language teacher, she hopes to nurture her Turkish students English usage with skills she developed while pursing her Master’s degree.

DestineeDestinee Gwee is travelling to Taiwan where she will use her background in health care and athletics to promote healthy living to children in the community. As a future physician, she hopes to use her English Teaching Assistantship to learn how to effectively communicate with patients who may not speak English as a first language.

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Filed under Education, Past Events, Summer 2016, University of Iowa

Mandela Washington Fellows: Tochukwu Ikpegbu, Ameth Diallo, and Stephennette Taylor, Tuesday July 12, 2016

mandela washington fellowship“China’s Emerging Influence in Africa”

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The U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, started in 2014
as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative created by President Obama, empowers young people from Sub-Saharan Africa through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. This year the Fellowship is providing 1,000 young ambassadors with the opportunity to hone their skills at U.S. higher education institutions. The Iowa delegation of Fellows will spend six weeks in Iowa taking entrepreneurial classes and touring the state.

speaker 1Tochukwu Ikpegbu is a mechanical/production engineer from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka with over seven years experience in pork production. He has won two national awards and hopes to apply his experience into growing local businesses to reduce youth unemployment.

speaker 2Ameth Diallo is a PhD student in African and Comparative Literature at Université Gaston Berger. In 2014 he ventured into an agricultural-based project in the Senegalese River Valley which earned him the Jeunes Agriculteurs prize and a grant from the US Agency for International Development. Diallo is currently working on a project he hopes to implement in his home village of Koalack.

speaker 3Stephennette Taylor holds a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and a postgraduate diploma in Procurement Management. Taylor has several years experience as a manager at New World Finance and envisions establishing a microfinance bank to support agricultural products and rural emerging markets.

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Filed under Africa, China & East Asia, Economics, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Summer 2016

Come to ICFRC with us!


Our friends at the University of Iowa Honors Center put together a video showing what it’s like to attend an ICFRC program!




Remember, Honors Students eat free!


Keep checking back for more information on our first summer program on July 12th!


See you soon!

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Filed under Information Posts, University of Iowa

Adam Bobrow, Wednesday May 11, 2016

Adam Bobrow headshot

“U.S.—China Cyber Agreement: Is It Enough of a Good Thing?”

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Cybertheft is a popular issue. I will offer my reflections on the continued need for concrete action to match the rhetoric of the norm against cybertheft. Informed observers have not yet detected a decline in the intrusions from China focused on U.S. business. Now is the time for the Administration to return to the sanctions process that was reported to be close to completion before the Xi visit several months ago.

Adam Bobrow is the President, CEO and Founder of Resilience Strategies, a strategic consultancy based in Maryland. Foresight provides advice to clients on the impact of government policy decisions and strategic decisions, particularly cyber-enabled enhancements to their products and services. Adam was recognized for his cybersecurity expertise as a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Adam served the Obama Administration in a variety of positions over five years. Most recently, he was the international lead for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Adam is an attorney, having received his JD from Washington University in St. Louis and is a member of the DC Bar. Adam’s undergraduate degree is in Chinese language from Georgetown University.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2016, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy

Jeffrey Ding, Tuesday May 3, 2016

Headshot - Jeffrey“An Interest Group with Chinese Characteristics—The Role of National Oil Companies in the South China Sea”

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Jeffrey Ding was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Iowa City since age three. Jeffrey is a UI Senior majoring in Political Science, Economics and Chinese. Jeffrey is the recipient of several prestigious academic awards including the Truman and Udall Scholarships, a Boren Scholar, and this fall he will begin two years as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Oftentimes, when American observers view Chinese foreign policy, the message from Beijing is interpreted as homogeneous – in line with a party – state that closes off channels for dissent. In fact, multiple interests multiply along increasing globalization, and more and more interest groups are influencing China’s foreign policy decisions. One of these powerful groups is composed of the powerful state-owned oil companies. This presentation will shed light how these companies play a role in the escalation of the South China Sea disputes.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Economics, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Joan Kjaer, Tuesday April 26, 2016

Joan Kjaer“Preserving the Magic and Poetry of Havana: A Delicate Dance”

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Joan Kjaer directs the Communications and Relations unit of the International Programs at the University of Iowa.  She exercises strategic oversight and daily management of all facets of internal and external communications for the International Programs, international alumni relations, event management, and media engagement. Kjaer is the creator and host of the monthly television/ radio / internet program World Canvas, which features interdisciplinary discussions of international topics.  Before joining International Programs, Joan spent more than thirty years working in public radio as a classical music host, producer, program director and general manager of WSUI and KSUI, and was director of communications for the state network Iowa Public Radio.

Havana’s 500-year history lives in its mix of ancient and modern architecture: in the colonial fortress protruding into the bay, in the elegant urban design and architecture of El Prado, in the streets of El Vedado, a tree-lined district developed in the early 20th century to suit the tastes of Cuba’s economic elite.

Times are changing in Cuba, partly because of a new generation of Cubans pushing for greater engagement with the outside world and partly because of Obama administration’s historic re-calibration of the U.S. / Cuba relationship.  Although Cubans have been allowed to open small businesses, guest housing, and paladars (private restaurants), the economic and social changes that are likely to come are both anticipated and feared.  Uncertainty is the word of the day.

Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the desire to revitalize the city has been on the minds and hearts of Cuban architects and urban planners for decades.  Kjaer’s recent experiences in Havana attending two international workshops based in the Master Plan for 21st Century Havana will be the focus of this talk.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Theodore Powers, Tuesday April 19, 2016

Theodore Powers“Milestone Breakthroughs in the Fight Against AIDS in South Africa”

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Theodore Powers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa and Research Associate with the Human Economy Program at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the politics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in post-apartheid South Africa. The aim of this work is to better understand the relationship between pathogens and social change in the contemporary phase of global integration.

The South African HIV/AIDS epidemic is the world’s largest in both absolute and relative terms with 6.8 millions infections and 18.9% of the adult population living with the disease. The epidemic has produced both a complex political history and the world’s largest treatment program. The presentation will briefly review the exponential growth of the epidemic and the key milestones in reaching universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 2012. Finally, the challenges ahead in ending the South African epidemic will be reviewed.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Ron McMullen, Wednesday April 13, 2016

Picture1“Iowa, Heroin, and Afghanistan”

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This presentation will focus on the connection between U.S counter-narcotics policy, the deteriorating rule of law situation in Afghanistan, and Iowa’s surge in opioid and heroin abuse.

Ron McMullen, currently the University of Iowa’s Ambassador in Residence, 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 98 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 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 a number of scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.  In 2015 he received the University of Iowa’s Honors Program Teaching Award. A native of Northwood, Iowa and a graduate of Drake University, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Hans House, Thursday April 7, 2016

HansHouse_Headshot2015“ZIKV, CHIKV, and Dengue: The Viral Gifts of the Tiger Mosquito”

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Dr. House is a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa. He attended medical school at USC, and completed a dual residency in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine at UCLA. He also has a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Tropical Medicine. He has published several articles on travel-related infections and regularly speaks about travel related diseases and emerging infectious diseases.

The Aedes species of mosquito is responsible for three of the most significant vector borne diseases to affect the Americas in the last decade. For years, this pest has spread unchallenged, bringing regular waves of epidemic Dengue Fever. The arrival of Chikungunya and now the teratogenic Zika Virus is providing a new impetus for vector control efforts.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Craig Just, Tuesday March 29, 2016

Just Craig Photo“Rural Water Sustainability: Good Intentions Revisited”

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In April 2009, Dr. Craig Just addressed the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council with his talk titled “To Hell With Good Intentions?: Reflections on the Consequences of ‘Saving the World'”. Since then, Dr. Just has continued his work in developing countries, focused mostly on sustainable water resources development projects. But, increasingly, the issues faced by communities in developing countries parallel the challenges rural communities face in developed countries like the United States. In this talk, Dr. Just will revisit his “good intentions” toward achieving rural water sustainability both locally and abroad.

Dr. Just has served the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa since 1993. He earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and science from the University of Iowa in 2001. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an assistant research engineer at IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering. Dr. Just teaches Design for the Developing World, an interdisciplinary course targeted toward upper class students interested in advancing sustainable development in resource-poor countries. Dr. Just was awarded the University of Iowa, President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 for creative utilization of service-learning and for engaged scholarship through teaching. Dr. Just is the faculty adviser for the University of Iowa, Engineers Without Borders USA student chapter and for the Bridges to Prosperity student chapter.

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Filed under Africa, Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Katherine Ryken, Tuesday March 22, 2016

Ryken Headshot“The Role of Physicians in Combating the Aftermath of Mass Rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina”

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Katherine Ryken is a third year medical student in the Carver College of Medicine with plans to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, with a focus on global health and human rights. Katie was the Fulbright Scholar to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the 2014-2015 academic year, pursuing research in post-traumatic injury and working at primary care clinics serving survivors of sexual violence during the war. She is also a certified member of Physician for Human Rights’ Asylum Network, and completed training in forensic medical services for asylum seekers.

Between 1992 and 1995, an estimated 20,000-50,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Twenty years later, victims of war rape continue to experience severe mental health disorders.  A recent comprehensive study of rape survivors who have utilized non-governmental organization (NGO) services demonstrate alarming reports of chronic gynecologic problems. This lecture will discuss the role of war-related sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and examine the role of medical professionals in post-conflict societies, through documenting human rights abuses and providing clinical care for victims.

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Filed under Europe, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, Women's Issues

Nicholas Martini, Thursday March 10, 2016

Picture1“Foreign Policy and the Role of the Public”

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Nicholas Martini is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 2012. His research focuses on the intersection of international relations and political behavior. His current research explores the factors driving public opinion (e.g., ideology, beliefs, and religion) and how they shape preferences around foreign policy issues. He has published articles in Political Research Quarterly, Foreign Policy Analysis, Electoral Studies, Social Science Quarterly, and other journals.

Dr. Martini’s presentation will concentrate on the vital influence that public opinion plays on the policy considerations of democratic leaders.  This is especially important as alliances around the globe are being pressured from outside threats. He will focus on public attitudes around US alliances and how recent work with survey experiments are aiding in understanding public preferences and leader assessments.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Melissa Tully, Thursday March 3, 2016

Picture1“We Are One Kenya: Representations of the Nation, Leadership & Identity on Reality TV”

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Melissa Tully studies digital media technologies, international communication with a focus on media in developing countries, and philanthropy and nonprofit communication. Tully has conducted research in Kenya, Ghana, and Burundi. Generally, her research focuses on the use of digital media by a variety of actors in civil society. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her presentation will focus on Uongozi, a massive multimodal civic education campaign in Kenya that culminated in the Uongozi reality television show. Tully’s analysis suggests that Uongozi framed and promoted a version of leadership that is tied to an idealized progressive, youth leader despite the lack of quality youth “candidates” on the show. The campaign also endorsed a message of national unity and identity, articulated through the promotion of a non-ethnic collective Kenyan identity. Uongozi contributed to a larger pre-election narrative promulgated through mass media efforts that encouraged Kenyans to move beyond ethnicity in their voting and participate in a peaceful election.

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Filed under Africa, Past Events, Spring 2016, Technology

Victoria Morozov, Tuesday February 23, 2016

Picture1“Moldova’s Legacies for its Children & Families”

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Victoria Morozov is the founder of The Moldova Project, a charitable trust organization that reaches out to Moldova’s most underprivileged and abused youth and offers resources and opportunity. A fierce advocate for the poor, Morozov has devoted her life to advocacy and serves as liaison to a number of United Kingdom-based groups, helping to identify sustainable initiatives for The Moldova Project and creating partnerships with local authorities and government ministries.

Throughout the course of her career, Morozov has played host to more than 800 international volunteers, working to implement 14 individual projects focused on medical and structural support for poor families and social orphans. She is the coordinator of five annual award ceremonies aimed at giving awards to the most dedicated and exemplary volunteers in Moldova.

In 2013, Morozov was named The Most Active Youth in Civil Society by the Ministry of Youth of the Republic of Moldova.

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Filed under Europe, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Abdulaziz Al-Hussan, Tuesday February 16, 2016

Picture1“The Need for International Exposure to Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia”

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Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Hussan is a lawyer and reformist born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In late 2011, following the Arab Spring, Al-Hussan represented the cases of political detainees and spoke out against government injustices via Twitter. After threat of travel ban and imprisonment, Al-Hussan moved to the United States to study law and provide a voice for those who remain voiceless in the Kingdom.

Al-Hussan has been a scholar in the Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana Law School, and is now working towards his doctorate dissertation in the Iowa College of Law. His work focuses on the study of constitutional change in Saudi Arabia and how a transition from absolute monarchy to limited monarchy would affect the Arabian country. He recently founded the Dir’iyah Institution (DIW) in Washington D.C., an independent non-profit dedicated to studies of the Arabian Peninsula with a focus on constitutional law, reform, and history.

Al-Hussan’s talk will provide a broad overview of the current Saudi legal system and the nature of human rights in the Kingdom before delving into the complex and tenuous relationships that exist between the Saudi government and Western nations. Al-Hussan will present paths toward human rights progress in Saudi Arabia and offer solutions to the violence and secrecy that have plagued the country for decades.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, The Middle East

Maureen “Micki” McCue, Wednesday February 10, 2016

Picture1“The Global Humanitarian Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: What, Why, Who and Where”

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Dr. Maureen McCue has traveled, consulted, and worked extensively around the world as a physician, researcher, and peace maker. She served as physician to 500 US and Soviet Citizen Diplomats during the Cold War walking from Leningrad to Moscow in the former Soviet Union. Her Ph.D. research included working with leading medical professionals and former female combatants during the Sandanista Revolution in Nicaragua. In 2005 she met and subsequently interviewed for an award winning film, Dr. Salam Ismael founder of Iraqi Doctors for Peace. As an adjunct Clinical Professor in the Colleges of Public Health and of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Dr. McCue teaches a variety of Health and Human Rights topics including War or Health. She has coordinated the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) since 2003 working to halt the gravest threats to human health and survival, specifically the threat of climate disruption and nuclear proliferation.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Carol Moss, Wednesday February 3, 2016

Picture1“Dissemination of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in the Guercif Province, Morocco: A Community Approach”

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Carol Moss is a Research Associate in the UI Department of Family Medicine and a recent graduate of the UI College of Public Health (MS, Epidemiology) with a Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies. She is interested in alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low resource settings, primarily in the countries of Guatemala, Cuba, and Morocco. She received a UI Global Health Studies Travel Award in 2015 to conduct work in Morocco where she has established ties over the past thirty years.

In 2010, a national program for early detection of cervical cancer in women aged 30-49 was implemented in Morocco. The program is under the auspices of the Foundation Lalla Salma, a non-governmental organization (NGO), and also encompasses a breast cancer screening component. The program initially covered five of sixteen regions of the country but was expanded to additional regions in subsequent years. The aim of the present study, conducted over a two-week period, was to both determine knowledge of the NGO and the indigenous peoples it served as well as increasing general awareness of the NGO and cervical cancer screening programs.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Sara Mitchell, Wednesday January 27, 2016


“Cross—Border Troubles? Interstate River Conflicts & Intrastate Violence”

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Sara McLaughlin Mitchell is Professor of Political Science and Department Chair at the University of Iowa.  She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Michigan State University in 1997 and her B.S degree in Economics and Political Science at Iowa State University in 1991.  An accomplished author, Mitchell has published many books on global conflict and resolution, and has been the recipient of several major research awards from the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development.  Her areas of expertise include international conflict and political methodology. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior women studying international relations. She received the Faculty Scholar Award (2007-2010), the Collegiate Scholar Award (2011), and the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (2012) from the University of Iowa and the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015) from the International Studies Association.
Her research examines the relationship between interstate river conflicts and intrastate violence such as riots, strikes, demonstrations, and civil wars in the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe, and the Middle East.  She argues that interstate disagreements over cross-border river basins increase the potential for intrastate conflict by creating unequal access to water resources, displacing populations through damming and diversion projects, and increasing demands for freshwater as population growth occurs.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, War & Conflict

Janice Weiner, Wednesday December 9, 2015

Picture1“The Collapse of the Berlin Wall; The Reunification of East & West Germany”

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Janice G. Weiner was a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service for nearly 26 years.  She then worked for two years as professional issues and policy adviser for the American Foreign Service Association.  Her first Foreign Service assignment was to the then-U.S. Embassy to the GDR where, from April 1988-June 1990, she served as a political/economic officer during a momentous period in modern German history, spanning the period of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the GDR’s only free elections.

From 1990-1992, Ms. Weiner served as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium. From 1993-1996, she was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey as embassy human rights officer, where she won AFSA’s Rivkin Award for her work.  Subsequently, Ms. Weiner was Officer-in-Charge of German Affairs in the State Department’s office of Austrian, German and Swiss affairs, where she also served as the office’s deputy. She also held posts in Warsaw and Toronto. She returned to Ankara from 2005-2008, where she worked as the U.S. Embassy’s Political Counselor.  She then served as press attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico (2008-2009), prior to her final overseas tour as Consul General in Düsseldorf, Germany (2009-2012).  She returned to Washington to work as a Legislative Management Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs until her retirement in September 2013.   She speaks German, French, Turkish, Polish, and conversational Spanish and Dutch.

Ms. Weiner was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, where she recently returned. She graduated from Princeton University Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Comparative Literature, and earned a J.D. from Stanford University Law School.

Please join us again in late January for more ICFRC programs!

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

Resmiye Oral, Tuesday December 1, 2015

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

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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, Past Events, University of Iowa

Jennifer Blair, Wednesday November 18, 2015

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

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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”

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

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