Category Archives: Fall 2016

Jim Leach, Thursday December 15, 2016

picture1“Post-Election Perspectives for International Relations”

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James A. Leach joined the Iowa College of Law after serving most recently as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach is best known for his 30 years of service as a representative in Congress where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Following his time in Congress, he was a Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and Interim Director of the Institute of Politics and Lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Under his leadership at the NEH, they created a Bridging Cultures program designed to promote understanding and mutual respect for diverse groups within the United States and abroad. As part of this effort, NEH-supported programs designed to expand citizen understanding of American history and values, the civil rights movement, and foreign cultures. In addition, the agency helped launch a National Digital Public Library to establish a unified gateway to digital collections of books, artworks, and artifacts from libraries, museums, and other cultural sites across the country. Leach presided over the culmination of decades-long projects such as the publication of the Autobiography of Mark Twain and the Dictionary of American Regional English.

He holds thirteen honorary degrees, has received decorations from two foreign governments, and is the recipient of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, the Edgar Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club, the Norman Borlaug Public Service Award, and the Woodrow Wilson Medal from Princeton. He has served on the board of several public companies and a series of non-profit organizations, including the Century Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Kettering Foundation, Pro Publica and Common Cause, which he chaired.

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

Zubair Shafiq, Thursday December 8, 2016

picture1“Tracking and Surveillance in the Online Advertising Ecosystem”

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A large fraction of services on the Internet are supported using online ads. Websites such as Google and Facebook rely on online advertising to support free services such as search, email, social networking, video, etc. In this talk, Zubair will highlight a new tussle in the online advertising ecosystem. Online publishers track user activities, e.g., using cookies, to target customized ads. The online advertising ecosystem has come under fire recently. For example, latest research has shown that most ads degrade user experience and some even spread malware. Furthermore, Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed large-scale surveillance programs by government spy agencies that use cookies to profile individuals. To counter the negative impact of online advertising, ad blocking tools have become increasingly popular over the last few years. The rise of ad blocking tools has started an arms race between end-users and publishers.

M. Zubair Shafiq is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Iowa. He is also a part of the Iowa Informatics Initiative. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University in 2014. He received his bachelor’s degree from National University of Sciences and Technology Pakistan in 2008.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Past Events, Technology

Moe Shakally, Thursday December 1, 2016

Monzer Moe Shakally“Bullets and Bombs: The Background Music for an Average Day in Damascus, Syria”

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As the Syrian civil war continues, the average Syrian person is dehumanized to a number, a casualty, or a cost on a neighboring state. While the media has mainly been focused on the outflow of refugees, little is known about what daily lives look like in the capital Damascus; a place where contradictions occur at every corner.

Monzer “Moe” Shakally. UI junior and Asylum seeker from Damascus, Syria. Evolutionary Biology major and a minor in International Relations, pursuing a career in dentistry. Activist in the Syrian conflict in Damascus and has been in the United States for 4 years.

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

Janice Weiner, Wednesday November 16, 2016

Picture1“The Sad State of Turkish Democracy: Why We Should Care”

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Just a few short years ago, Turkey was viewed as an anchor of stability in the Middle East, a situation that is now changing rapidly. Following coups in 1960, 1971, and 1980, a new constitution designed to bring democracy and stability was enacted in 1982. Turkey also has the misfortune to share a border with Syria and Iraq. Democracy has now eroded, especially following an attempted military coup against President Recep Erdogan in last July in which 240 persons died. Following the failed coup, more than 100,000 citizens, military personnel, and journalists have been arrested jailed or suspended, and more than 170 media outlets have been shuttered.

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. 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. She returned to Ankara from 2005-2008, where she worked as the U.S. Embassy’s Political Counselor. 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.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East

Janet Lyness, Liz Dupuich, David Gonzales, and Andy Rich, Thursday November 10, 2016

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“Murder to Justice—Iowa to China: A Cross-National Collaboration”

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“Tong Shao, a Chinese student, attending Iowa State University, was murdered in September 2014.  Her body was found on September 26, 2014 in Iowa City where her boyfriend, Xiangnan Li, lived.  The police investigation lead to the Johnson County Attorney’s Office obtaining an arrest warrant for Xiangnan Li, for the murder of Tong Shao.  Mr. Li, a Chinese student at the University of Iowa, fled back to China within 2 days of when Tong Shao was last seen alive.  Because the United States does not have an extradition treaty with China, there were fears that Mr. Li would not be brought to justice.  Not to be deterred, Iowa authorities requested the Chinese prosecute Mr. Li in China for Tong Shao’s death.  Iowa City Police Det. David Gonzalez, Det. Andy Rich, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness, and  Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Dupuich will discuss the investigation of Ms. Shao’s death, how they coordinated with Chinese authorities to have Mr. Li found and prosecuted in China, and the actual trial in China.

Janet Lyness is serving her third term as Johnson County Attorney, having been first elected in 2006.  Prior to that she was an Assistant Johnson County Attorney, working in both the criminal and civil divisions.  She clerked from the Seventh Judicial District Court of Iowa following law school.  Janet received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Iowa and her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council.

Liz Dupuich has been with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office since November of 2013. She currently supervises the marijuana diversion program, is the lead prosecutor assigned to the Johnson County Drug Treatment Court, and prosecutes a majority of the Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Cases in Johnson County. Prior to coming to Johnson County, Liz worked as a Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice.

Det. Rich has been with the Iowa City Police Department for 13 years and has been assigned to the investigations division for 5 years of his 13 years as a police officer. Det. Rich is currently assigned to Investigation Division working general crimes. Det. Rich has worked in the following capacities: patrol division, sex crimes, financial crimes, crimes against children, violent crimes, death investigations and robberies. Det. Rich is also a board member with the Iowa Sex Crimes Investigators Association.

Det. Gonzalez has been with the Iowa City Police Department for 21 years and has been assigned to investigations division for 16 of his 20 years as a police officer. Det. Gonzalez is currently assigned to the investigations division working general crimes. Det. Gonzalez is currently a board member with the IDIA (Iowa Death Investigators Association).

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

Michael Zmolek, Thursday November 3, 2016

mikezmolekatstus“Seven Myths About Immigration”

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Immigration flows and their regional impacts are increasingly taking center stage in global politics. With mainstream journalism focusing more on the reaction to immigration than on its causes, the result is that immigrants are widely vilified as (potential) criminals or even ‘rapists’, or more specifically as people who want to take your jobs. This talk will challenge seven myths fueling the rising tide of hysteria by exploring often-ignored truths about immigration, starting with the re-structuring of the global labor market during the past several decades of neoliberal globalization. Mass movement of peoples across borders, we will argue, is here to stay, and the numbers are only bound to increase even more dramatically. Also, given the built-in contradictions of neoliberal economic policies in relation to immigration, the pursuit of policies aimed at achieving ‘stabilization’ are also unlikely to succeed in the short term.

Michael Žmolek teaches World History, International Studies and Development Studies at the University of Iowa. He received a BA in Linguistics and a Certificate of African studies at Iowa before going on to complete his Ph.D in Political Science at York University in Toronto, where he served as an executive of the Graduate Students’ Association for four years. As a legislative assistant in Congress, his work focused on addressing the plight of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina and on drafting articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for representatives Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH). As an activist he has worked on the campaign to abolish apartheid in South Africa; opposing tuition hikes for students in Canada; and opposing the bombing, sanctions and military occupation of Iraq.

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

Ambassador John Lange, Tuesday October 25, 2016

picture1“Global Health and Sustainable Development”

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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, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

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

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.

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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

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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

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