Category Archives: Past Events

Stella Burch Elias, Thursday May 11, 2017

6a00d8341bfae553ef01b7c8d0d159970b-800wi“Immigration and the Trump Administration’s First 100 Days”

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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.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017, U.S. Foreign Policy

Monica Correia, Wednesday May 3, 2017

Monica-Correia3“Exploring the World of 3D Design”

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Monica Correia will discuss the art of designing and detail the many sources of inspiration for her work. Themes will include the intersection of art, technology, and nature. Monica will demonstrate the power that organic forms have to evoke emotions and express the ephemeral qualities of movement seen in dance, music, and nature. She will detail her creative process and how she uses computer technologies to generate her design. The artistic freedom available through design will be demonstrated through Monica’s choice not to limit her work to preconceived forms, scales, or trends.

Monica Correia received Bachelors of Architecture degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Before Monica’s moving to the United States, she taught at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro School of Architecture. She also designed interiors for businesses in Brazil and Portugal. She received her MFA degree in 3D Design from the University of Iowa. She has had multiple exhibitions in London, Milan, New York City, and Ljubljana Slovenia. Her work has also been displayed at the “Salao Design Casa Brasil,” “Abiplast Design Award,” “Liceu de Design Award,” “The Skin of Corian,” the Krasl Art Center ArtLab, Chico Art Center, and the Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art, among others. Her work as Associate Professor and head of the 3D Design Program at the University of Iowa School of Art & Art History was awarded the “ICFF Editor’s Award for Best School” in New York City in 2015. With her students, she also received the “SOFA CNNECT” award for best design environment in Chicago for two consecutive years (2014/2015).

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2017

Keith Porter & Jen Smyser, Wednesday April 26, 2017

JenniferSmyser“The International Order Under Fire: Old Problems and New Threats”

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Jennifer Smyser is  Vice President and Director of Policy Programming for the Stanley Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s team of policy professionals in advancing multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. Foundation programming is currently focused on nuclear security, genocide prevention, and climate

change. Smyser oversees implementation of the foundation’s programming efforts, which include identifying policy gaps and commissioning relevant analysis, developing and participating in coalitions and working groups, organizing roundtable and other policy dialogues, engaging the media and broader public, and establishing networks.

Before assuming her current position becoming Jen was Director of Policy Programming  for more than six years, overseeing the Foundation’s nuclear security policy programming as well as citizen leader outreach. She played a key role in the
creation of the Fissile Materials Working Group and the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group, and fostered the foundation’s involvement in the Nuclear Security Summit process. Smyser also led an effort to improve and refine the
Foundation’s engagement with citizen organizations focused on international affairs and US foreign policy. Smyser spent a decade working in US-based nongovernmental organizations focused on US global engagement and citizen diplomacy. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and a  Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University.

KeithPorterKeith Porter is President and CEO  of the Stanley Foundation. Previously, he was the Director of Policy and Outreach for the Foundation. In that post, he played a leadership role in the Foundation’s transition toward a dynamic advocacy organization focused on specific multilateral policy-change goals. This included developing and implementing a new strategic plan, creating work plans , evaluating progress, and maximizing the foundation’s impact through increased networking and collaboration with a wide range of institutions and individuals.

Porter was Co-Producer and Co-Host of the Foundation’s nationally syndicated public radio program on world affairs, Common Ground, from 1988 to 2004. He also served as Co-Producer and reporter for a number of radio documentaries on international issues. Keith has been recognized him for excellence in broadcast journalism, including the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Headliner Awards, the New York Festivals, and the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Porter holds a graduate degree from Illinois State University.

The post– World War II international order has fostered ongoing cooperation and progress toward shared peace, prosperity and dignity for more than 70 years. Fault lines and fractures in the order are not new– for years rising powers have been
looking for an equitable piece of the decision-making process,
non-state actors have been challenging the systems in unique ways, and many states have been assaulting the system’s founding pillars of international law. However, new threats to the system’s stability have cropped up in recent years. Keith Porter and Jen Smyser will share how the international system can be preserved and improved.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2017, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

James “Woody” Watson, Thursday April 20, 2017

“Culinary Nationalism: Fighting with Food”

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woody_headshotJames Watson was one of the first students to study Chinese at the University of Iowa, earning a B.A. in 1965, and received his Ph.D. in 1972 at UC Berkeley. He was, until his retirement in 2011, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He also taught at the  University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Hawaii, and Houston. Together with Dr. Rubie Watson, he has conducted anthropological research in Hong Kong’s New Territories since the late 1960s. His publications include Emigration and the Chinese Lineage, Kinship Organization in China, Death Ritual in Chinese Society, The Cultural Economy of Food and Eating, and Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. The Watsons’ current project is a jointly authored book entitled The Last Colony: Everyday Life in British Hong Kong, 1898-1997.

In an ever globalizing world, food still operates today as a way of expressing cultural distinction and nationalism. Through globalization, distinct culinary practices are being shared and exchanged in an international market, competing against one another.  James Watson will discuss the idea of Culinary Nationalism including the impact of rice, the global anti-GMO food movement, as well as “American” fast foods and food conglomerates. He will also share his insight into the effect food globalization will have on countries like China. Will China “eat our lunch in respect to food globalization?”

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2017

H.S. Udaykumar & Jerry Anthony, Thursday April 13, 2017

“Women’s Health and the Environment: Going Up in Smoke”

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About one-third of the planet’s people use wood every day for fuel. Jerry Anthony and Udaykumar, along with colleagues across the University of Iowa, have been researching causes and consequences of firewood use in the developing world. This talk will focus on the many multi-disciplinary and global issues that interweave into a web of complex problems stemming from a simple act of sustenance: cooking. The daily harvesting and burning of biomass by women for cooking purposes half a world away
connects to us due to its impact on climate, forest loss, environmental degradation and health affects. Anthony and Udaykumar will discuss the importance of this problem not only to women and children in the global south, but to all of us.

[This year’s Provost’s Global Forum will feature “Women’s Health and the Environment: Going Up in Smoke” from April 12-14! More information is available here.]

Picture1H.S. Udaykumar received a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, India, in 1988 and went on to pursue a Master’s and PhD from the University of Florida. He works with the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research in Hydroscience and Engineering, and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institue of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Udaykumar is passionate about implementing sustainable designs not only in developing countries, but also shifting policies and energy choices in an industrial setting. He initiated and led the India solar cook-stove project, bringing groups of UI students to rural areas in Rajasthan to develop and implement more efficient designs for cooking.

Anthony HSJerry Anthony received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kerala, India, in 1989 and went on to pursue a Master’s in Town Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India, and a Ph.D. in 2000 in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. Anthony’s major research and teaching interests center around housing and community development issues, particularly affordable housing policies; growth management, where he is concerned with the benefits and costs of growth management distribution across different income populations; and land, infrastructure and housing market issues in the developing regions of South Asia and Latin America. He has served as chair of Iowa City’s Housing and Community Development Commission and member of the Iowa City Sit Housing Taskforce, and Director of the Housing Policy Program at the PPC.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, South Asia, Spring 2017

Howard Kerr, Tuesday April 4, 2017

Picture1“Vietnam: 1968-1969, New Leadership, Same Stalemate”

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In mid-1968, President Nixon appointed Rear Admiral Elmo Zumwalt as the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam, with a promotion to Vice Admiral. The Navy had been in Vietnam since 1954 and this was the first Commander with a three-star rank. Howard Kerr accompanied the Admiral to Vietnam and served as his personal aide. General Creighton Abrams was the Senior Military Commander and Ellsworth Bunker was the U.S. Ambassador. The United States had over 500,000 uniformed military in Vietnam and had been fighting there with significant forces since 1965. Despite the escalation, the Vietnam war was already being lost in the minds of Americans.

After earning his UI degree, Iowa native Howard Kerr served as a U.S. Naval Officer from 1960-1981. During his time as a naval officer, he earned his MA and MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. From 1973-1975, Kerr served as a Military Aide to Vice Presidents Agnew and Ford, and as a Naval Aide and Deputy Presidential Counselor to President Ford. From there he went on to serve as a Military Fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations in 1978-1979. Upon leaving the military, he developed a successful private-sector career, becoming President and CEO of Custom Technologies Corporation, Grabill Aerospace Industries, Ltd., and Pocklington Financial Corporation. In his former hometown of Lake Forest, Illinois, Kerr served on the City Council and as Mayor. Through Rotary International, he is instrumental in providing scholarships to local high school students, and he has returned to the UI campus regularly to speak with students in the Department of Political Science and is a member of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board.

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Filed under Past Events, South Asia, Spring 2017, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Karim Abdel-Malek, Thursday March 30, 2017

Picture1“Jordan: People, Culture, Challenges”

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As a native from Jordan, Karim will share his experience growing up in the capital city of Amman. Jordan has historically been a strong ally of the US. Situated in the center of the Middle East’s many conflicts, bordering countries with significant turmoil, Jordan has accepted over one million refugees. Jordan’s economy and political topography has significantly changed. The presenter will first share the beauty of Jordan, its people and provide insights into how Jordan has survived in peace for so many years. He will provide his own personal view of the country’s significant challenges. Because of its strategic location, Jordan’s significance in today’s political scene is paramount to the future of the region.

Dr. Abdel-Malek is internationally recognized in the areas of robotics and human simulation. He is the Director of the Center for Computer Aided Design, a world renowned research center with 7 units and 150 researchers. Dr. Abdel-Malek has led projects with all services of the US Military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines), and industry partners including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, Caterpillar and others. He received his Ms  and PhD  in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Jordan. He has published over 220 technical articles, a book and serves on the board of three companies.  Dr. Abdel-Malek is the Senior Associate to the Provost.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2017, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Masa Yamamoto, Thursday March 23, 2017

Masa Yamamoto 111_300“Bushido (Samurai Spirit) in Modern Japanese Culture, Sports, and Military”

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Masamichi “Masa” Yamamoto is a lawyer qualified in New York, an Adjunct Lecturer of Keio University Law School in Japan, and a former Deputy Director of the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission of Japan. He is currently enrolled in the S.J.D. program of the University of Iowa College of Law, focusing on his dissertation about international securities enforcement. He has an extensive background in both law and business, working for a Japanese company, U.S. law firms, a French company, and the Japanese government. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and LL.B. and B.A. from Keio University.

Bushido is a code of moral principles that the knights (Samurai or Bushi) were required or instructed to observe. It is not a written code, but an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career. Although there are no more Samurai in Japan today, Bushido is deep-rooted in modern Japanese people in both positive and negative ways. Masa will describe how Bushido was born and developed and explain how Bushido has influenced modern Japan by illustrating recent issues in culture, sports, and military.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2017

Douglas Jones, Thursday March 9, 2017

Doug Jones“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.

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Filed under Domestic Issues, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017, U.S. Foreign Policy

Blake Rupe, Thursday March 2, 2017

080415rupe“Health, Wealth, and Waste: Social Entrepreneurship in Global Health and Beyond”

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Each person in the U.S., on average, creates 4.6 pounds of waste each day. What happens to that waste? It affects everything we do in several ways, ranging from human health to environmental wellness. This lecture will define the social and cultural aspects of garbage as well as develop an understanding of the link between garbage, human health and environmental health. The life cycle of our modern waste products, their detrimental impacts on human populations and ecosystems, and implications for the future of global sustainability will be explored. The lecture will end with discussing the past, present and future solutions to the growing environmental threat.

Blake Rupe is an Iowa-based digital content manager, editor, instructor and passionate conservationist. As the digital content strategist for the University of Iowa, Blake publishes web content and tracks data points that drive collegiate efforts. Her strengths lie in identifying trends and providing insights for the management team. As an Adjunct Instructor, Blake uses her tech skills to research, develop and teach tech courses for the Global Health Department that focus on the intersection of entrepreneurship, sustainability and global health.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017

Tama Baldwin, Wednesday February 22, 2017

tama-baldwin-photo“Landscape in the Anthropocene: The High Arctic in the Time of Climate Change” 

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Tama will speak about the landscapes experienced though her work, which includes a book about wilderness civilizations, a collection of photographs of the far northern biome, as well as bodies of work on the absence of natural darkness and landscape as experienced at a high rate of speed. These photographed stories are derived from her experiences in the high arctic and the recent #NoDAPL movement. Her works have been exhibited in the Royal Photographic Society, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and the Minneapolis Photo Center.  In the fall of 2015 she was an artist-in-residence at the Carpenter Ranch on the Yampa River as part of a collaboration between the Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Arts Ranch. Last December she documented the Standing Rock protests.

Tama Baldwin is a photographer and writer with degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Salisbury State University, The State University of New York and Ohio University.  She has received an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artists Fellowship, a Fulbright, as well as residencies at Yaddo, McDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017

Corey Creekmur, Wednesday February 15, 2017

coreycreekmur“The Invisibility of Popular Indian Cinema in America”

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Why is what is often identified as the “world’s largest cinema” virtually unknown in the United States?  This presentation will consider some of the circumstances that have allowed popular Indian cinema (somewhat controversially labeled as “Bollywood”) to be neglected or invisible in America, despite its worldwide popularity.  The presentation will raise questions about the forms that globalization may take and not take in the international circulation of popular cinema.

Corey Creekmur is an Associate Professor of Film Studies (with appointments in English and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies) at the University of Iowa.  His research and teaching interests include American and Indian cinema, American popular culture (including crime fiction and comics), and representations of gender and sexuality in popular media.  He serves on a number of local boards including Filmscene and he edits a book series on comics for Rutgers University Press.

More information on the films discussed in Corey’s presentation can be found here!

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, South Asia, Spring 2017

Maria Filippone, Thursday February 9, 2017

picture1“Gaza: To Exist is to Resist”

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Gaza, often referred to as the Gaza Strip, is a narrow piece of land approximately 24 miles long and four to seven miles wide. This home to 1.85 million persons is bound by a border closure by Egypt to the south, Israel to the west, and an Israeli air and sea blockade. Its residents are not free to leave this very hot, arid land which lacks clean water. Founded in 1949 as a self-governing Palestinian Territory, Gaza is part of the wide Palestinian-Israeli conflict. A report release last year by the United Nations stated that if conditions remain unchanged, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020.

Maria Filippone, D.O., is a family physician practicing in Des Moines. She received her degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Bio-sciences. Maria has participated in medical delegations visiting Gaza which were sponsored in part by Physicians for Social Responsibility. She is currently pursuing a life-long dream of learning Arabic at Drake University. Maria is co-founder of the Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre and co-owner of Noce, Des Moines’ premiere jazz club. Maria has also taught yoga for more than two decades.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Don Letendre, Wednesday February 1, 2017

picture1“The Global Impact of Drugs”

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From small communities to corporate enterprises, drugs and their impact are reshaping the healthcare and economic landscape, making the educational journey of today’s pharmacists highly demanding and competitive. Peoples’ perceptions about drugs and their impact on society are limited to what they see and read. During this lecture Dr. Letendre will shed light on some of the new and fascinating ways in which drugs are impacting society, positively and negatively, including astonishing new medications that are helping to treat and cure maladies that were once thought untreatable and incurable.

Donald E. Letendre is Dean and Professor, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Following completion of his Doctorate in Pharmacy and clinical residency at the University of Kentucky, he served as Assistant Director and Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center; spent nearly two decades on the staff of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) serving, for much of that time, as Director of Accreditation Services; and, was Dean and Professor at the University of Rhode Island and Executive Secretary of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory Commission immediately prior to his responsibilities at Iowa. As a clinical practitioner, educator, association staff member, and now academic administrator, Dean Letendre has been privileged to serve countless students and postgraduate residents throughout his career, and has actively participated in the development and implementation of standards that have helped shape pharmacy practice and residency and technician training programs worldwide.

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Filed under Economics, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2017, U.S. Foreign Policy

David Wu, Wednesday January 25th, 2017

dave-wu-photo“The Evolving Global Commercial Aircraft Industry; Emerging Competitors from China and Russia”

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This presentation will provide an overview of the current global commercial aircraft industry and potential future evolution. The current Mainline aircraft market is dominated by Boeing and Airbus, while Bombardier and Embraer dominate in the Regional category. The lecture will cover new entrants such as Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft, China’s Commercial Aircraft Corporation, and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation. A future scenario on the potential challenge posed by a combined effort from China and Russia will also be discussed.

David Wu is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Iowa with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. With an extensive background in aerospace material design, he has held management positions at engineering firms for the last three decades. He received his MBA from Arizona State University in 1997 and has expertise in strategic development, product marketing, and international
business.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Economics, Past Events, Russia and Central Asia, Spring 2017

Elizabeth Onasch, Wednesday January, 18th, 2017

picture1“Excluded by Definition: Representations of Immigrants in the French Civic Integration”

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France established the “Reception and Integration Contract” for non-European migrants in the context of a perceived crisis of integration and a rise in right-wing populism. While the official purpose of this civic integration program is to facilitate migrants’ entry into society by teaching them about French history, laws, and values, the program may actually reinforce the symbolic boundaries, or conceptual distinctions that separate migrants from the national community. This lecture presents data from an ethnography of the program and interviews with program staff and migrant participants to describe how the program discourse draws different combinations of boundaries based on language, religion and culture between the French nation and migrants from three regions: North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia.

Elizabeth Onasch is a Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Plattsburgh, with a Ph.D. in Sociology. Her teaching and research interests are race and ethnicity, immigration, political sociology, critical race theory, ethnography and comparative historical methods.

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Filed under Europe, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2017, The Middle East, War & Conflict

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