Category Archives: Africa

Chris Rossi, Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

rossi photo“The Migingo Dispute between Uganda and Kenya: What the world’s tiniest island tells us about international law and relations.” 

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Christopher Rossi directs Humanities Iowa and is an adjunct faculty member at the Iowa Law College. He has a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and law degrees from the University of London and the University of Iowa. He worked on deterrence issues for the Arms Control Association, a division of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and on verification issues at the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. He has taught at American University, UNI, the Mongolian Diplomatic Academy, and Pusan National University.

He served on the White House National Security Council as director of human rights and humanitarian affairs. He has published articles on the law of war, legal history, international courts and criminal tribunals, polar affairs, Latin America, and on the law of the sea. He has co-edited two books on international affairs and has authored three books, the latest titled Sovereignty and Territorial Temptation (Cambridge University Press, 2017). He has also edited a chapbook on the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition, which was distributed to 20,000 5th grade students of Iowa history, and a documentary collection of Iowa photographs by the American master, David Plowden. His current research interest is on Whiggish International Law: The Monroe Doctrine, Elihu Root, and International Law in the Americas.

Migingo is a small island in the eastern waters of Africa’s Lake Victoria. It is half the size of the Hawkeye football field. For as long as anyone can remember, it was an uninhabited pinprick that happens to straddle the water boundary between Uganda and Kenya. Recent changes in the Lake Victoria’s water table have turned the island into a perfect waystation for hunting the much-desired Nile perch. This newly discovered value of the islet has turned it into a dangerous flashpoint in the deteriorating relations between Uganda and Kenya. Who owns this island? The answer presents unsettling questions about the history of international law, colonialism, genocide, and the future of the International Criminal Court in Africa.

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Filed under Africa, Fall 2018, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Uncategorized

Mandela Washington Fellows, Tuesday, July 24th

“Young Entrepreneurs Fostering Transformative Changes in Africa”

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image001Luana holds a degree in public relations and advertisements from the University of Istanbul. She currently works at Tiniguena, an NGO in Guinea-Bissau that works with biodiversity, where she assists with communication, youth, and civic duty. She hopes to start her own company and run it with the values of environment and sustainable development at its core.

image2Charles, CEO of “Akili Labs,” is currently completing a Masters of Science in Biotechnology from Rhodes University. Through his research on removal of toxic metals from waste water, he recognized the lack of medical diagnostics, which causes 12 million deaths annually in Africa. In response he built “Lab in Box”, which can perform medical diagnostics in the field.

image3Saeed founded “The Smile Shop Dental Clinics” to improve access to quality dental care in rural and urban communities. To make dental healthcare more affordable, he introduced an innovative dental savings plan. Saeed is currently working on adapting his current model for rural communities, where people can exchange farm produce or livestock. to pay for care.

image4Awa holds a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering from Telecom SudParis. After working in France and Senegal, she founded the Lifantou project in 2016, which uses crowd-sourced geospatial data to link farmers with school canteens. Her goal is to secure food for public school children, reinforce food distribution, and boost the agriculture sector.

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Filed under Africa, Business, Fall 2018, Past Events, Uncategorized

Mark Kende, Thursday, April 19, 2018

large“South African Politics & Their Constitution: 20 Years Plus After Apartheid”

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Mark Kende is the James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law at the Drake University Constitutional Law Center. He has served as a Professor of Law at the University of Montana in addition to serving as a Visiting Professor of Law at several institutions including University of Paris II, University of Nantes, and Notre Dame. As a previous Fulbright Senior Scholar, Mark was invited to serve as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Mark’s areas of expertise focus on Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutionalism, Civil Rights, Cyberlaw, and Civil Procedure. His work in South Africa focuses on many of these topics. He has published book related projects and law review articles addressing South African politics, in particular the current state since the end of the apartheid period. Mark’s most notable work is Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds: South Africa the United States (2009). His talk will address the current state of South African constitutional law.

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Filed under Africa, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2018, Uncategorized

Debora Matthews, Thursday, March 1, 2018

DeboraMatthews“Guarding Against Forgetting – Breaking the Silence: A Story of Political Awakening and Activist Archives in South Africa”

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Debora Matthews worked for seven years as Archival Coordinator in the Struggles for Justice Programme at the South African History Archive (SAHA), an independent activist and human rights archive in Johannesburg. SAHA is an independent human rights archive dedicated to documenting, supporting and promoting greater awareness of past and current struggles for justice through archival practices and outreach, and the access to information laws. Established by anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s, SAHA was closely connected in its formative years to the United Democratic Front, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the African National Congress. Matthews archived the Constitution Hill Collection at SAHA.  Debra  is now an Archives Consult working for the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI), developing and implementing a records and research data management system. She will also be working as a Contract Archivist at GALA, the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action Archives at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Debora will discuss the many roads she has traveled as a middleclass Afrikaans woman. In this quest she continues to better understand her Afrikaner roots, as well as better understand the decades of racial segregation under Nationalist government rule. She has come to terms with these two things through her work with activist archives as she continues to better comprehend the injustices done to millions of South Africans during apartheid. Her talk will be a glimpse into some of the most exciting and prolific activist archives in South Africa.

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Filed under Africa, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2018, Uncategorized

Mandela Washington Fellows, Tuesday July 11, 2017

“Young Entrepreneurs Challenging the Political and Economic African Status Quo: How and Why?”

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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.

leslieLeslie is a broadcast journalist based in Zimbabwe. Leslie is currently a producer and presenter of The Quest on Breeze FM, a mid-morning radio show that deals with business, health, and environmental issues, while also building social entrepreneurship skills to address unemployment challenges within the Victoria Falls community.

maphanoMaphano has four years of experience in the beauty industry. Maphano is currently the Manager and Owner of Phano Ea Bophelo Beauty and Rehab Spa, where she works as a nail technician, makeup artist, leader, administrator, and supervisor.

adewaleAdewale has over five years of experience in middle management and business consulting, with special interest in business development and marketing. Currently, Adewale is the Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Heenspire Foods, a snack and beverage company that focuses on locally made and packaged products from farm produce that could have gone to waste.

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Filed under Africa, Business, Education, Past Events, Summer 2017

zp dala, Thursday October 20, 2016

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

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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

Christopher D. Roy, Thursday September 1, 2016

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“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

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

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

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

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

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

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