“State of State: One Year into the Trump Administration”
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Laura Kennedy served almost four decades as a U.S. career diplomat. She spent much of her career working in or on the former Soviet Union and served in Geneva and Vienna (thrice) on multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation (conventional, nuclear and bio) as well as a number of temporary assignments in New York, including the 2010 and 2015 NPT Review Conferences. She retired in 2013 but was soon after recalled to service to head U.S. missions in Turkmenistan and Vienna. She retired again in 2015.
Kennedy’s assignments included Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues, Deputy Commandant of the National War College, Charge d’Affaires in Armenia, and Deputy Political section chief in Moscow and Ankara. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and serves on the boards of the World Affairs Council in DC, the Arms Control Association, the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and Foreign Policy for America. She has lectured at various U.S. institutions including the U.S. Army General command and Staff College and the Army War College. A graduate of America’s first women’s college, Vassar, Kennedy also did graduate work at Stanford and American (M.A.) Universities.
It has been over a year since President Trump was elected into office. In this span of time, observable differences can be seen in how the Trump Administration has chosen to handle the State Department from that of his predecessors. Laura Kennedy will draw on her experience and connection to the State Department to discuss its current status under the Trump Administration.
“RESISTANCE: Reclaiming an American Tradition ”
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Jeff Biggers is the American Book Award–winning author of several works of history, memoir, journalism, and theater, including The United States of Appalachia, praised by the Citizen Times as a “masterpiece of popular history”; State Out of the Union, selected by Publishers Weekly as a Top Ten Social Science book in 2012; and Reckoning at Eagle Creek, winner of the Delta Prize for Literature and David Brower Award for Environmental Reporting.
Biggers is the founder of the Climate Narrative Project, an arts and advocacy project for schools, universities and organizations. From 2014-2017, he served as the Sustainability Writer-in-Residence at the University of Iowa. He also served as the Campbell-Stripling Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan College in Georgia. Over the past decade, Biggers has given lectures, readings and performances at over 100 universities and colleges across the country, from the University of California in Berkeley to the University of Mississippi to Yale University. He has delivered keynote addresses at numerous literary, educational, urban planning and environmental conferences and serves as a contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review, and is a member of the PEN American Center.
“In a riveting and inspiring narrative history, Jeff Biggers’ Resistance reframes today’s battles as a continuum of a vibrant American tradition, chronicling the courageous and often squabbling resistance movements that insured the benchmarks of our democracy—and served on the front lines of the American Revolution, the defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the defeat of fascism during World War II, and various civil rights movements. Resistance is a provocative reconsideration of the American Revolution and its unfolding promises. It brings to life early Native American, African American and immigrant struggles, women’s rights, and the pioneering environmental justice movements and their presence today. Biggers shows how a republic of resistance has served as a de facto “Truth and Reconciliation” commission for our history, especially in times when our nation—and its leaders—need to be held accountable.”
“Sui Generis, Kosovo, and Iowa’s Unique Relationship with this New Balkan State”
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Alle McNorton is a 3rd year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law. During the spring semester of 2017, she lived in Prishtina, Kosovo and worked in the Republic of Kosovo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At Iowa Law, she currently serves as an Iowa Law Ambassador, Senior Articles Editor for The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, and is Graduate Member of the UI Council on the Status of Women, and Research Assistant for Associate Dean of Comparative and International Programs Adrien Wing, board member of the Equal Justice Foundation, and a member of the Pro Bono Society Member, Phi Delta Phi, International Law Society, OWLSS, OutLaws, EJF, BLSA, and I.O.W.A.
Alle McNorton will be discussing the historical, legal, and international relations concepts behind Kosovo’s independence and subsequent developments. She will address Kosovo’s goal of becoming a member of the EU and the hurdles they face. Lastly, she will conclude with Iowa’s unique relationship with Kosovo and the field placement program that allowed her to have this incredible experience.
“Immigration Hits Home: How New Immigration Policies Affect Iowa City and How Iowa City is Responding”
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Professor Bram Elias is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Law and directs the Clinic’s immigration practice. Bram received his BA from the University of Michigan, an MA from The Queen’s University in Belfast, an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a JD from the Yale University Law School. He also clerked for Senior Judge Dorothy Nelson of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Denise Casper of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Prior to joining the University of Iowa College of Law, Bram worked as an immigration attorney in private practice in Iowa City, where his work focused on federal immigration law, removal defense, immigration-related family law issues in state court, and immigration-related post-conviction review and habeas corpus litigation in state and federal courts. Professor Elias’ students practice before federal immigration courts and administrative bodies, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, and state and federal courts and both the trial and appellate levels.
Bram will be speaking about the most common problems and changes that are seen locally as a result of the new tenor of immigration politics and policies being spread by the Trump Administration. He will give specific examples in his discussion, such as cases where members of immigrant communities are too afraid to talk to local law enforcement or go to court, children of mixed-status families refusing free and reduced lunch at school, and members of immigrant communities being too afraid to go to the emergency room. He will also speak about his students’ work within the area, such as working with the Johnson County Community ID program, helping set up new organizations like the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Fund, designing bespoke “power of attorney”/ “in case of emergency” legal packets for individual families, and more.
“The UN is Our Greatest Hope for the Future”
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Andrea Cohen is a passionate human rights defender and supporter of the UN. She is Executive Director of the Iowa United Nations Association whose mission is to promote, educate about, and advocate for the entire United Nations system. Ms. Cohen attended the United Nations International School in New York, giving her a special connection with the organization. Ms. Cohen has a Bachelors in Anthropology from Barnard College and a Masters in Anthropology and Education, from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She also has a Master of Science in Teaching (Social Studies and Civics) from the Free University in Amsterdam. Originally Dutch, Ms. Cohen moved to New York City in the early 1960s, living there for 28 years before moving back to The Netherlands. She came back to Iowa City with her family in 2012. She is an Iowa City Human Rights Commissioner and a member of the Board of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.
The fundamental principles of the United Nations are as vital today as they were in 1945; perhaps even more so. Focusing inwards is not a solution when the world is so interconnected. The 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development provide a framework for tackling sticky problems together: for Iowa, the US, and the world. Her remarks will explore why and how the Global Goals urge cooperation and collaboration on a global scale. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“The Election 2016: Was It Hacked?”
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In the lead-up top the presidential election of 2016, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were quoted saying “the system is rigged.” They meant very different things, but the as the election grew closer it became evident that hackers, probably Russian, were actively attempting to break into state voter registration databases as well as engaging in an orchestrated “fake news” campaign with carefully curated and well-timed leaks of hacked e-mails. Conspiracy theories from the left and right pointed to massive voter fraud. What really happened?
Douglas Jones is an Associate Professor in the University of Iowa, Department of Computer Science. Douglas received his B.S. in Physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He is a Member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Honor Society, and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Douglas received the University of Iowa, Office of Services for the Handicapped Certificate of Recognition. He has participated in several non-governmental organizations including Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Douglas has studied, commented and published extensively on voting systems in Iowa and many other states plus several foreign countries.