Category Archives: Fall 2012

Prof. Wenfang Tang & Prof. Brian Lai, December 4, 2012

“China’s Leadership Transition”

Watch the program here.

The world has been watching with interest the recent 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) because it will bring in a new generation of leaders who will likely rule the world’s second largest economy, the most populous country, and the largest authoritarian state for the next 10 years. Professors Wenfang Tang and Brian Lai will discuss the leadership transition in China and its significance for US-China relations.

Wenfang Tang

Wenfang Tang is the Stanley Hua Hsia Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Iowa. 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 including American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Public Policy, China Quarterly, and Journal of Contemporary China, among others.

Brian Lai

Brian Lai, also from the University of Iowa’s Political Science Department, is an  Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies. His areas of emphasis are International Relations, American Foreign Policy, Terrorism and Conflict Processes.  He has contributed articles to academic journals including, Conflict Management and Peace Science, American Journal of Political Science and Journal of Conflict Resolution.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Former Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, November 14, 2012

“The Eurozone Debt Crisis”

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The current euro zone debt crisis centers on Germany and is an existential crisis about European Union political integration. Chancellor Angela Merkel explained that “if the Euro falls, Europe falls.” She described the challenge as “the most difficult since the Second World War.”  The Eurocrisis is reminiscent of two European conflagrations lasting three decades, the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) and the two twentieth-century World Wars (1914-1945).

Over the past two decades, a united Germany has accepted its EU integration responsibility to move toward a European Monetary Union, to introduce the euro, and now to resolve the current Euro crisis.  There is little doubt that Germany is obligated to support EU integration: constitutionally, historically, and morally.

In a recent article published in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel discussed the Eurozone debt crisis and its importance to the global economy, and he will share his views on the crisis for this ICFRC program.

Ambassador Bindenagel is an expert on German politico-military history and policy.  He is a former U.S. Ambassador and career diplomat who served in East, West and united Germanys during the end of the Cold War. He had a part in the reunification of Germany, the Balkan Wars, debates on North Atlantic Treaty Organization security policy and expanded membership, and in German national security from 1972 to 2002. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999 as U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues.  He was a consultant and interviewed as an eyewitness for “The Wall: A Country United”. A Houston PBS documentary about the fall of the Berlin Wall, produced, written and directed by Eric Stange.

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Filed under Economics, Europe, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Past Events

John Seager, November 2, 2012

“World Population – Seven Billion and Growing Rapidly”

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Rapid population growth impacts all areas of human life and the environment. Serious social problems are also exacerbated by rapid population growth. It is very difficult—if not impossible—for families to climb out of poverty when couples begin childbearing early and have more children than they can afford to educate. And to complete the cycle, less educated children tend to grow up and have their own large families. Global population grows by approximately 80 million people annually. What can we do? This talk will give an overview of root causes, impacts and ways to meet the population challenge and will illustrate the intersections between population stabilization, the environment, social equity, and women’s empowerment.

 John Seager is the President and CEO of Population Connection, the preeminent grassroots group for population education and advocacy. He joined the organization for the first time in 1996 and previously served with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration. Seager was also Chief of Staff for former U.S. Representative Peter H. Kostmayer (D-PA), a senior member of the House of Foreign Affairs and Interior committees.

 A graduate of Trinity College (CT) with a B.A. in Political Science, John travels throughout the country making presentations on global population growth. John has written articles on population stabilization, including its connections to poverty, its future outcomes, and the concern about population decline in some highly developed nations. He has lectured and presented at the University of Chicago, Smith College, and the University of California, San Diego, and many others.

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Filed under Economics, Environmental Issues, Fall 2012, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Prof. Jeff Hoover, October 29, 2012

“Conflict Minerals and the Ongoing Agony of Eastern Congo”

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a reputation as a failed state and a bottomless quagmire. There are many Congolese realities, however, separated by geographical factors, and some parts of the Congo are doing quite well at the current time. Professor Hoover will be talking about Eastern Congo and the very real tragedy of the areas neighboring the west branch of the Rift Valley. They owe as much or more to the technology of mining coltan, gold, and other minerals of this area than to Congolese capacities to form an effective administration in the area.

Dr. J. Jeffrey Hoover earned his Ph.D. in African History from Yale University, specializing  in Tribal Structures in the Congo. His doctoral research was on the origins of the Lunda political system during the 17th through 19th centuries, doing pioneer work with historical linguistics in investigating how a multilingual commonwealth could spread over a thousand miles of African savanna without modern transportation and communications. He also has a degree from Luther College, in Iowa.

He and his wife Ellen, also a Yale Ph.D. in African History, have taught and raised a family in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1979. He is a senior professor in the Department of History at the University of Lubumbashi, and the Director of University Libraries. He also teaches at Katanga Methodist University at Mulungwishi and has served as dean and library head there. In 1985-1991 he served as director of a medical infrastructure rehabilitation project funded by USAID in western Katanga, and has been a consultant to various international organizations and companies. The Hoovers are employed by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

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Filed under Economics, Environmental Issues, Fall 2012, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Dr. Anel Okic & Dr. Nina Jovanovic, October 24, 2012

“Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Small Country with a Big Government”

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Bosnia and Herzegovina and its capital city of Sarajevo, often called the European Jerusalem, has the most diverse demographic and political structure in Europe, and perhaps of any other country in the world.

Dr. Anel Okic

Placed in heart of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been a place of numerous conflicts and wars. During the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the years of 1992-1995, both Dr. Jovanovic and Dr. Okic remained in the country, but Dr. Okic experienced the difficulty of being a refugee apart from his family.

Dr. Nina Jovanovic

Nina Jovanovic and Anel Okic are both medical doctors and graduates of the University of Sarajevo School of Medicine.  Dr. Jovanovic is a resident in Ophthalmology at the County Hospital of Zenica and a Junior Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health in the College of Public Health in Zenica. Dr. Anel Okic is a resident in the Surgery department at County Hospital of Zenica and a lecturer at the Nursing High School in Zenica. Dr. Okic also holds a Masters Degree in Sports Management from the University of Travnik.

Both doctors were actively involved as leaders of the Medical Student Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina and officers in IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Associations). They are both very active in organizing numerous student, medical doctor and health worker activities. They have visited more than 50 countries all around world, organizing and attending different educational projects and trainings.

In September of 2012, Jovanovic and Okic organized a conference on trauma and injury prevention on behalf of the University of Iowa that attracted 200 participants and was the first international conference of its kind to be held in Zenica. Currently they are both visiting scholars at the University of Iowa studying trauma and injury prevention in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events

German Zarate-Durier, October 8, 2012

“Free Trade Agreements’ Impact on Colombians”

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German is an International Peacemaker from Colombia and a peace and justice activist.  His efforts focus on the promotion of human rights. He works with social justice organizations, especially those devoted to victims of violence, and with the Presbyterian Accompaniment Program for Peace. Based on his experience in community organizing, he believes profoundly in peace based on justice to resolve political, social and agrarian economic conflicts.

He will focus on resolution of conflict rooted in the physical displacement, abuse, and economic inequities imposed upon Colombians by multinational companies in subversion of the Free Trade Agreement; the violence situation within Colombia and new changes for hope and peace; participative citizenship for peaceful change; and justice and Christian faith in the Colombian context.

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Filed under Economics, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Greg Churchill, October 17. 2012

“Ten Realities of Doing Business Globally”

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Gregory S. Churchill is the Executive Vice President of Rockwell Collins International and Service Solutions, an organization that combines all of Rockwell Collins’ International and Service operations into one entity. He will be sharing a high level overview of some basic, but very real, truths about doing business in the international marketplace based on experiences that he has developed over many years of serving a broad range of customers. Churchill is responsible for approximately $2B in orders capture, $900M in sales and 3,000 people in approximately 30 countries.

Before being appointed to lead this organization in February 2010, Churchill was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Government Systems for Rockwell Collins.

Churchill, a 30 plus year veteran of the company, also served as Vice President and General Manager of Business and Regional Systems since June 2001. He held several business development and program management positions before being named Vice President of Business Development for Government Systems in February 2000.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Churchill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial administration from Iowa State University. Churchill is also a member of the Engineering College Industrial Advisory Council and the Business College Advisory Council for Iowa State University and serves on the board of directors for the Cedar Rapids Baseball Club.

Churchill is a member of the following organizations:  American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Airlift Tanker Association, Army Aviation Association of America, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, American Helicopter Society, Association of the U.S. Army, Navy League and the National Defense Industrial Association.

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Filed under Business, Economics, Fall 2012, Past Events, Technology

Ramaswami (Balu) Balasubramaniam, October 5, 2012

“Living with Indigenous People”

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Dr. Balasubramaniam (Balu) is the founder of one of India’s largest development organizations, the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, and has lived and worked with the indigenous people in the forests of the state of Karnataka, India. He will be sharing his experiences of the last 25 years of his life with these people, their development journey, and their struggle to retain their tribal identity amidst the pressures of rapid mainstream acculturation.

Dr. Balu is a physician and alumnus of Harvard University, and is currently the Frank Rhodes Visiting Professor at Cornell University, and an Adjunct Professor of International Programs at the University of Iowa. He is a development activist, social innovator, writer and a leadership trainer. He is also a physician and has an Mphil in Health Management as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard.  Dr. Balu is a Tata Scholar, a Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management, and was a Fellow at the Hauser Center for Non-Profits at Harvard.

Dr. Balu teaches and lectures on issues related to Globalization, Leadership, Managing and Governing NGOs, Poverty and Development, and Global Health. He has served as the Professor and Head of the Vivekananda Chair in the University of Mysore and regularly runs leadership workshops for NGOs and corporations, both in India and abroad. He is now associated with the renowned Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development at Mysore and has been a part of anti-corruption movements in Mysore and Karnataka.

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Filed under Economics, Education, Fall 2012, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Rachel Gerber, September 25, 2012

“Never Again: How Genocide and Other Mass Atrocities Can Be Prevented”

Video Unavailable.

More than six decades after the Holocaust, ongoing violence in Syria is a vivid reminder that the systematic targeting of civilians remains a consistent reality of global politics. In 2005, the full array of global leaders at the United Nations World Summit committed to the principle known as the “Responsibility to Protect,” which outlines a series of shared commitments to prevent and halt atrocity violence, specifically genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. This discussion will consider the many challenges the international community faces as it seeks to implement these commitments, as well as the potential to better protect populations under threat and give new resolve to the promise of never again.

Rachel Gerber

Rachel heads the Stanley Foundation’s atrocity prevention program, which seeks to draw policy focus to the mutually reinforcing obligations reflected in the responsibility to protect framework and supports the development of deliberate, strategic, and balanced approaches to mass atrocity prevention and response. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked for the United Nations Office at Geneva and UNHCR on issues related to refugee resettlement, interagency collaboration, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2004 to 2006, she worked in sustainable development with the United States Peace Corps in Mlyniv, Ukraine, where her work centered on secondary-level education, curriculum development, and local capacity building. Gerber holds a B.A. in Government and International Relations from Cornell University and an M.A. in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (IHEID), where she specialized in conflict analysis, human rights, and humanitarian law.

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Filed under Fall 2012, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Catherine Hale, September 20, 2012

Hale-photo“New Geographies in African Art: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Museum and the Field”

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One of the challenges of curating the so-called non-Western arts in a North American museum space is thinking about how to connect diverse audiences with the unique objects on display and their complex and sometimes unfamiliar histories. Catherine Hale will discuss her integration of GIS technology in her projects at the University of Iowa Museum of Art as well as her fieldwork in Ghana, West Africa, in terms of its potential for cross-cultural connections and education, both local and global.

Catherine Hale is Curator of African and Non-Western Art at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. She is currently completing her PhD in African Art at Harvard University, where her research focuses on the Asante peoples of Ghana, West Africa. Her recent curatorial projects include Interplay: Material, Method, and Motif in West African Art at the Figge Museum, Davenport and Conversation Pieces: African Textiles from Barbara and Bill McCann’s Collection at the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa.    

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2012, Past Events

Kathy Kelly, September 12, 2012

“The Cost of War, The Price of Peace”

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Following a month-long trip to Afghanistan, Kelly will speak to the ICFRC about Afghan Peace Volunteers, their perspectives on their country’s future relationship with NATO and the ISAF, and methods of nonviolent resistance used by Afghans to demonstrate against US warfare. Kelly, co-coordinator of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Non-violence, an organization that campaigns to end US direct and economic warfare. She’s no stranger to the fruits of conflict – after spending seven years from 1996-2003 bringing badly-needed supplies to children and families in Iraq, she lived through the 2003 “Shock and Awe” campaign in Baghdad, as well as 2009’s Israeli action “Operation Cast Lead” in the Gaza strip. She is returning now from her third month-long trip to Afghanistan, where she lived among ordinary Afghan people.

Kelly received a B.A from Loyola University at Chicago and a Masters in Religious Education from the Chicago Theological Seminary. She has written, contributed, and been published in more than 23 newspapers and websites. Additionally, she has received approximately 40 awards in areas of free speech, peace, social justice, and war resistance. Kelly has been nominated three times for the Nobel peace prize.

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Filed under Fall 2012, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Sally Mason, August 28, 2012

Sally Mason President of the University of Iowa Studio portrait“The University of Iowa as a Global Institution”

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President Mason, fresh from a UI recruitment trip to several cities in China and Taiwan, lectured the audience on the importance of expanding international ties between students and universities – as well as how much the UI has done in that arena.”International education and the internationalization of our students remains a core focus of the globalization of our campus,” Mason said, highlighting the UI’s Hong Kong MBA program as well as the growing number of international undergraduates attending school at Iowa.At the same time, more and more Iowa students are studying overseas. As Mason pointed out, the share of Iowa undergrads who have done so is nearing 20%.”We think it’s important to encourage our students to study languages, cultures, and histories of other peoples around the world,” Mason said. “We also think it’s important obviously to learn in diverse environments. Interacting with people, cultures, and ideas that are different than their own has been a strong foundational approach we have in the curriculum that we try to deliver.”

Mason highlighted alumni connections during her lecture, pointing out the many successful government officials, business leaders, and journalists living and working in Asia who have graduated from Iowa.


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Filed under China & East Asia, Education, Fall 2012, Past Events