Category Archives: Spring 2013

Robert Naiman, May 2, 2013

“A Critique of the U.S. Drone Strike Policy”


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Since the beginning of the War on Terror, the U.S. has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to remotely target enemy militants. In recent years these attacks have escalated; hundreds of non-combatants have died in countries which are not formally at war with the U.S. This drone strike policy, as it has come to be known, has led to a rise of anti-American sentiment, as well as various contentions within the U.S.

Mr. Naiman will discuss key problems with the drone strike policy, what we know about public opinion, the state of efforts to open up the drone strike policy to public scrutiny, and opportunities for increased pressure on Congress and the Administration.

Robert Naiman is the Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy news summary and writes on U.S. foreign policy for the Huffington Post. He is president of the board of Truthout. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. He has master’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois. In October, he participated in a peace delegation to Pakistan to protest the U.S. drone strike policy.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2013, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Clary Salandy, April 22, 2012


“Building Community Through the Caribbean Carnival Arts”

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Carnival parades have always been vibrant, exciting displays of the visual arts and music in dynamic motion.  New carnival traditions have been created as people have emigrated to other countries, including Canada, Great Britain, the US, Germany, and the Netherlands, to name just a few.  Migrating carnival artists, like Clary Salandy, have taken the traditions and celebrations with them, celebrating the culture of their countries of origin as well as that of the new communities that they now call home.  In an increasingly technological and impersonal world, carnival arts can bridge differences and celebrate human resilience and creativity.

Clary Salandy is an award-winning carnival artist and theatre designer specializing in large scale body sculptures for events such as London’s Notting Hill Carnival and the 2012 London Olympics.

As artistic director of Mahogany Community Ventures Limited, UK, she has established a center of excellence for Carnival, designed to raise awareness of the arts in the community.  Mahogany has presented spectacular performances at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Parade, the Millennium Dome Opening Ceremony, Chingay (a Chinese New Year Festival), the Thames Water Festival, Sweden’s Water Festival, and the Brent Diwali Parade.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2013

Prof. Ron McMullen, April 17, 2013


“WikiLeaks and its Impact on U.S. Diplomacy

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In early 2010, WikiLeaks, a non-profit whistleblower organization, began releasing classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

By the end of 2011, over 250,000 cables had been leaked, constituting the largest security breach in U.S. State Department history. The cables were widely disseminated and provoked significant criticism of U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Ron McMullen will discuss the circumstances leading up to these events and their subsequent impact on U.S. diplomacy.

McMullen, currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea. Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 91 countries. In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups. While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament. He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin. He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.

Between 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 2010-2012. 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.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2013, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy

Peter Eichstaedt, April 9, 2013

“Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak About Their Lives”

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Once international forces finally vacate Afghanistan in 2014, the hope for the country will lie solely with its people. Peter Eichstaedt’s new book, “Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak about Their Lives, Their Country, and Their Future-and Why America Should Listen”, illuminates the people of Afghanistan and how they have lived, and will continue to live, in a country that has been at war for 30 years.

After spending 2004 in Afghanistan working for the non-profit Institute for War and Peace Reporting and helping build Afghanistan’s first independent news agency, Peter Eichstaedt returned to Kabul in 2010. As he worked with Afghan journalists to document their history and collective struggles, he realized that although Kabul itself appeared cleaned up, the optimism of the freshly liberated capital had faded under the rise of insurgency. The war in Afghanistan is often examined from the perspective of a foreign correspondent, political analyst or US soldier. In “Above the Din of War”, Eichstaedt provides a forum for the everyday people of Afghanistan to be heard.

Peter Eichstaedt is a veteran journalist who has reported from locations worldwide, including Slovenia, Moldova, Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, and Uganda. He worked most recently as the Afghanistan Country Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in The Hague, during which time he managed six journalism development programs, including the Afghan Investigative Journalism Fund, a one-year project to build investigative journalism reporting capacity. He is the author of “Consuming the Congo”, “First Kill Your Family”, “If You Poison Us”, and “Pirate State”. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2013, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Dr. Paul Greenough, April 4, 2013

greenough“The Rise, Fall & Rise of International Studies on College Campuses”

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The international landscape is one of constant change. Universities and scholars must adapt to meet the challenges of this ever-shifting international scene. Dr. Greenough will address changes and trends in the development of international studies programs.

Dr. Paul Greenough is a professor of modern Indian history and environmental and global health history at the University of Iowa. In addition to his keen interest in public health, specifically immunization, he is also an expert in the social and environmental history of India.

Dr. Greenough will be sharing his insights on international studies programs on college campuses, a topic with which Dr. Greenough has significant experience. In the late 1970’s he helped establish the Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS) at Iowa, a forerunner of International Programs. His first National Resource Center work, in the late 1980’s, fed into a federal grant of $60,000 to support the Center of International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH). He helped establish the interdisciplinary Global Health Studies program program and directed it from 1994-2007

He worked closely with the Ford Foundation to create the UI-Grinnell Bridging and the Crossing Borders Program, ambitious programs which benefit faculty and graduate students from different fields with international implications.

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Filed under Education, Past Events, Spring 2013

Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek, March 5, 2013

Santos“SANTOS: The Virtual Soldier”

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Santos® is a computer program developed over the past 10 years by a large team of researchers at the Virtual Soldier Research Center at the University of Iowa. It is a human simulator that aids in the reduction of load for the US Marines, tests new equipment, and helps design new vehicles for the manufacturing industry.  Santos operates inside a computer and can check for all types of scenarios before the equipment or vehicle is built, thus reducing cost and time.

Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek is internationally recognized in the areas of robotics and human Maleksimulation.  He is a Professor of  Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa.  He is also the Director of the Center for Computer Aided Design, a world renowned research center consisting of 6 units.  Dr. Malek leads projects with all branches of the US Military (US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and the US Marines), and several industry partners including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, Caterpillar, and others. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Jordan. Dr. Abdel-Malek serves on several national and international conference committees and also serves as the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Human Modeling and Simulation.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2013, Technology

Prof. Ahmed E. Souaiaia, March 25, 2013

Professor Ahmed E. Souaiaia, The Arab Spring: Syria & Bahrain

“The Arab Spring: Syria & Bahrain”

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The protests and demonstrations which began in Tunisia in December 2010 have swept across the Arab world, causing the overthrow of numerous governments and the transformation of societies. Professor Souaiaia will provide an overview of the transformative events of the Arab Spring, discussing the difference between the uprisings that ended the rules of Ben Ali and Mubarak, the armed rebellions in Libya and Syria, and the potential for an new order in the Gulf States. He will further address the current situations in Syria and Bahrain.

Professor Ahmed E. Souaiaia holds joint appointments
in International Studies, Religious Studies, and the College of Law at the University of Iowa. His primary research and teaching interests are Islamic law, social justice in Islamic society, women in Islamic societies, and the politics and religion of Islamic civilization. He is the author of a number of books, articles, and essays. He serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several academic journals and professional institutions. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the “Journal of Islamic and Judaic Multidisciplinary Studies.”


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March 25, 2013 · 8:54 AM

Dr. Viraj P. Thacker, March 14, 2013

“Perspectives on the Myth of Prosperity”

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Globalization creates some major imbalances in a world system increasingly based on market economics. The economic state of Third World nations remains extremely unsatisfactory, with very little “trickling down” to the poor majority. One third of the world ‘s poor are only getting poorer. Dr. Thacker will address globalization and international relations as they relate to North-South economic imbalances, and will also t ouch upon social justice perspectives that are specifically affecting Nepal .

Dr. Thacker has served as the International Executive Director for Manushi Sustainable Development, an international NGO in Katmandu, Nepal for the past 15 years. Dr. Thacker, a graduate of Luther College and Iowa State University, received his PhD in International Relations from the University of Adelaide in Australia. He has published three books, the most recent being “Perspectives on the Myth of Prosperity”, which deals with the severe economic disparities between the Northern and Southern nations and was introduced at the “World Canvas” at the University of Iowa.


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Filed under Economics, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2013

Chaden Djalali, February 26, 2013

Djalali“Education Under Fire In Iran”

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Members of  the Baha’i Faith in Iran have been the victims of relentless religious persecution. After the 1979 Revolution, the new Islamic government fired Bahá’í professors from all universities and expelled Bahá’í students. In response to these serious violations of human rights, the Baha’i community established the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE)  to allow its youths the opportunity to obtain university educations.  Between 1987 and 2011, the government closed the BIHE several times and imprisoned many of its faculty. In response to these injustices, the “Education Under Fire” initiative started in 2011 in the USA,  and has gained momentum with the help of several international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International. It works to bring many in the academic and civic worlds together in support of educational rights for all young people in Iran.

Chaden Djalali is Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. He is an experimental nuclear physicist who has an active research program at the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory in Newport News Va. Prior to joining the University of Iowa, he was on the physics faculty at the University of South Carolina for 23 years. He is a strong advocate of liberal arts education and the promotion of general scientific literacy. He is also interested in interfaith dialogue and the relationship between religion and science.

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Filed under Education, Past Events, Spring 2013, The Middle East

Prof. Jerry Schnoor, February 19, 2013


“The Global Environment and Climate Change”

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Humanity must collectively come to terms with the fact that global climate change has already arrived. The question that must now be answered is what can mankind do about it? Jerry Schnoor, who holds the Henry S. Allen Chair of Engineering at the University of Iowa, will discuss the latest data on global climate change, and what the international community’s response to such information must be.

University of Iowa professor Jerry Schnoor co-founded the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) in 1990. The Center promotes interdisciplinary research on the many aspects of global environmental change. Areas of focus include regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources, and effects on human health, culture, and social systems.

In addition to his work with the CGRER, Schnoor has also served on the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council (ICCAC), testified before Congress to support the Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 and serves as the editor-in-chief of Environmental Science & Technology. His areas of research include carbon sequestration, water quality modeling, phytoremidiation, and the causes of global warming.


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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2013

Diana Rus, February 12, 2013

Diana Rus_1“Romanian Reflections on the EU”

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In February 1992 the Maastricht Treaty laid the groundwork for what would soon become the European Union. From the very beginning, the EU rapidly became one of the largest and most influential intergovernmental unions in the world, and in 2013, twenty years on from its establishment, its 27 member states stretch from Cyprus to Scandinavia. However, in recent years the global economic downturn has left its mark on the European community, and what has become known as the “Euro Crisis” has left many wondering if the EU has done more harm than good.

Diana Rus is a Fogarty Scholar at the Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Iowa, as well as a researcher at the Center for Health Policy and Public Health at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Diana’s research focuses on injury and violence prevention, specifically injury surveillance systems and road safety. She’s actively involved in several European Commission funded research projects and joint actions in the field of safety, including “JAMIE: Joint Action to Monitor Injuries in Europe” and “TACTICS: Tools to Address Childhood Trauma, Injuries and Childhood Safety.”

Diana will present her views on Romania’s role in the EU, and if EU membership has helped or hurt Romania. Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, is one of the newest members of the community and its success or failure in wake of the financial crisis will be crucial in determining the future success of the European Union as a whole.

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Filed under Business, Europe, Past Events, Spring 2013

Frank Vogl, January 30, 2013

Vogl-jpeg“The Challenges of Global Corruption”

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In 1993, a few individuals decided to take a stance against corruption and created Transparency International. Now the leading global anti-corruption non-governmental organization, present in more than 100 countries, the movement works relentlessly to stir the world’s collective conscience and bring about change.

Frank Vogl, a co-founder of Transparency International, will present the key findings of his new book: “Waging War on Corruption”. Fifteen years ago he came to Iowa to highlight the challenges before the new anti-corruption movement and now he returns with a message of surprising optimism .
In addition to his work with Transparency International, Frank has also worked as an economics journalist for Reuters and Times of London, the Director of Information & Public Affairs at the World Bank, and in 1990 he established his own international public relations firm, Vogl Communications. He is a member of the International Council of the New Israel Fund; an advisory council member of the United Nations Association of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area; a member of the “Wisemen” public relations organization, and a former Board member of the Ethics Resource Center.

Frank has served as the Vice Chairman of Transparency International (TI), Member of the TI Advisory Council and Advisor to the TI Managing Director. Frank is also Co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF), which has funded over 200 anti-bribery projects across the developing world.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2013