Category Archives: Governance Issues
“Russian Artists vs. the Russian Government”
“Iowa’s Role in Agriculture and International trade: Why Tariffs and Trade Agreements Matter”
Chad Hart is an extension economist and associate professor of economics at Iowa State University. Chad is a native of southwest Missouri, growing up on a rural homestead near Stark City, Missouri. He received his Ph.D. in economics and statistics in 1999 from Iowa State University. His work has concentrated on crop marketing, crop insurance, international trade agreements, and bioenergy policy. Chad is also a partner in FarmRisk, an Iowa firm that develops revenue insurance products for agriculture.
Over the course of the past couple of years, there has been a lot of conversation about international trade and the benefits/costs from it. From the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the volley of tariff announcements between the U.S. and China, international trade policy is in a state of flux. That uncertainty has direct and indirect impacts for the Iowa economy, as Iowa’s (and the U.S.) agriculture sector has developed to meet international needs. In this discussion, we will explore the current set of trade agreements, disputes, and organizations; examine how Iowa agriculture fits in the global economic system; and outline the benefits and costs from international trade.
“The Baltic States, NATO, and Russia”
Ron McMullen, currently the University of Iowa’s Ambassador-in-Residence, served as U.S. Ambassador to Eritrea. Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in over 100 countries. In Burma he worked closely with Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups. He helped prevent civil conflict in Fiji. He was shot at in Sri Lanka, and helped train mongooses to detect heroin. He took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela. Amidst his 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 from 2010 to 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 doctorate in Political Science from the University of Iowa.
The Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – each contain large ethnic Russian minorities, share a border with Russia,
and are highly susceptible to Russian influence through media and money. These factors transform the Baltics into today’s front-line against Russian aggression. The presence of NATO forces within the Baltic states is both misunderstood by the public and contested by regional politics, yet NATO is essential to the security of the Western border against Russian expansionism.
“South African Politics & Their Constitution: 20 Years Plus After Apartheid”
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.
“Guarding Against Forgetting – Breaking the Silence: A Story of Political Awakening and Activist Archives in South Africa”
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.
“Stranger in a Strange Land: Personal and Philosophical Reflections of an EU National in Brexit-Referendum Britain”
Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz (1978) was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She spent the majority of her childhood in southern Spain. After completing her high school education, she moved back to the Netherlands where she obtained her M.Sc. (Master of Science) in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of non-Western Societies from the University of Amsterdam. Furthering her Jewish education, she studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel and was an E. Levinas Fellow at Paideia, the European Institute of Jewish Studies in Stockholm, Sweden.
Esther completed the first two years of her rabbinical training at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, a seminary affiliated with the Conservative/Masorti movement of Judaism and interned as a Rabbinic Fellow at the American Jewish University. She completed the remaining three years of her rabbinical training at Leo Baeck College in London, UK and was ordained a rabbi with this seminary in 2013.
Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz has served as the Associate Rabbi at Sinai Synagogue in Leeds and is very excited to be the new Rabbi for Congregation Agudas Achim, Iowa City, Iowa. She is married to Dave Middleton and the proud mother of preschooler Jonathan and toddler Noa.
In her free time, she enjoys composing liturgical music, songwriting, writing, travelling, photography and cooking. She takes an interest in issues of multiculturalism and social justice and firmly believes in representing a socially-relevant and spiritually-compelling Judaism for today’s world.
“Immigration Hits Home: How New Immigration Policies Affect Iowa City and How Iowa City is Responding”
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.
“Mediation to End Civil Wars: Assembling the Dream Team”
Elizabeth Menninga is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015, specializing in International Relations and Political Methodology. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of international mediation in intrastate wars. Elizabeth teaches undergraduate courses in international relations and research methods as well as graduate statistics courses. Her most recent article, “Kantian fractionalization predicts the conflict propensity of the international system” published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, won the 2016 Political Ties award for best paper published on political networks.
Elizabeth will be discussing her research on when and how multiparty mediation can help the prospects for peace in civil wars. She identifies three characteristics of mediation efforts expected to improve mediation’s chances of success. These three being complementary efforts, balanced mediation, and coordination among the mediators. To evaluate these characteristics, she employs statistical tests on a set of mediation attempts in civil wars between 1989 and 2005. She will also discuss two specific cases of multiparty mediation: Angola and Mozambique. Elizabeth will discuss her findings and what light they bring to how multiparty mediation helps the prospects for peace in civil wars.
“The UN is Our Greatest Hope for the Future”
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.
“Travel Bans: Uncertainties and Real World Consequences”
Steve Schulz is the Senior Director for the Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility organization at Rockwell-Collins. His responsibilities include all recruiting efforts across the globe, foreign national employee strategy, contract labor, relocation, mobility, short and long-term assignments, K-12 STEM efforts, and external diversity partnerships. Steve has been a leader in the talent acquisition efforts for more than two decades spending half his time in the external agency industry and the other half leading talent acquisition functions.
Rockwell-Collins employs 30,000 people worldwide and is one of Iowa’s largest employers with 8,700 employees in Cedar Rapids plus another 1,200 employees in other Eastern Iowa locations including Iowa City. Founded in 1933, Rockwell-Collins is the industry leader in advanced avionics for commercial and military aircraft.
This presentation will focus on Rockwell-Collins foreign national employment strategy and why it is a critical element for our company’s people strategy. Changes to the program including current global and political challenges confronting our organization will be discussed.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“Immigration and the Trump Administration’s First 100 Days”
During the 2016 presidential elections, candidate Trump made immigration law and policy a cornerstone of his campaign. Since assuming office on January 10, 2017, the Trump Administration has begun a far-reaching program of immigration reforms. The immigration policy choices that the new administration has made including those affecting refugees, asylum seekers, international students and scholars, and undocumented immigrants will have far-reaching impact in the years ahead. There will also be major implications for U.S. foreign policy, and our relationships with other countries because the administration’s actions call into question international legal commitments that have been binding on the U.S. for many years. This program will explore these recent developments in immigration law-making with an emphasis on how they are likely to affect our community here in Iowa City and communities like ours throughout the United States.
Stella Burch Elias joined the Iowa Law faculty in 2012, after a two-year appointment as Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard University Law School. Stella teaches civil procedure, foundations of international law, and immigration law.
In 2013, Professor Elias founded the College of Law’s Advanced Immigration Law and Policy Project, which enables law students to work on innovative legal policy projects for organizational clients in Iowa. In 2015 she was awarded the James N. Murray Faculty Award, a University-wide award given each year to a tenure-track faculty member in recognition for outstanding teaching, assistance to students, exceptional research and writing and dedication to the University and surrounding community. Prior to Law School, Professor Elias served as a diplomat in the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She Clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“The Election 2016: Was It Hacked?”
“Post-Election Perspectives for International Relations”
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.
“The Sad State of Turkish Democracy: Why We Should Care”
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.
“Seven Myths About Immigration”
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.
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.
“Everyday Corruption in Russia & Ukraine; Who, Why and With What Consequences?”
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.
Marina 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.
“Chinese Political Culture and Authoritarian Regime Resiliency”
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.
“An Interest Group with Chinese Characteristics—The Role of National Oil Companies in the South China Sea”
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.