Category Archives: Spring 2015

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Thursday May 14, 2015

6270f68d-3d33-4e23-88f7-073a47091bd1“Foreign Policy Perspective from a New Zealand Point of View”

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Sir Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer served as the 33rd Prime Minister of New Zealand from August 1989 until September 1990, leading the Fourth Labour Government. He was responsible for major reforms of the country’s legal and constitutional framework, such as the creation of the Constitution Act 1986, New Zealand Bill of Rights, Imperial Laws Application Act and the State Sector Act. A highly regarded lawyer, In 2010 Palmer was chosen to chair a UN Inquiry panel into the fatal Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, supporting the Israeli Security Forces’ legitimate use of force. Sir Geoffrey is also a renowned Environmentalist, in 2002 he was appointed as New Zealand’s representative to the International Whaling Commission. In 1991 he was listed on the UN Global Roll of Honour.

Palmer was educated at the Victoria University of Wellington and at the University of Chicago receiving a Juris Doctor in 1967. He worked as a solicitor for a Wellington law firm before turning to teaching, becoming a lecturer in political science at Victoria University of Wellington, Professor of Law at the Universities of Iowa and of Virginia, and Professor of English and New Zealand law at Victoria again. After joining the New Zealand Labour Party in 1975, he was elected to Parliament in 1979. He became personal assistant to the Prime Minister Wallace Edward Rowling and soon was deputy leader of the party and deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015, U.S. Foreign Policy

Margaret Carrel, Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3d1b4056-3f91-4123-bdce-322dff752817“Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies Of Food”

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In 2015, 13.1% of people on Earth are undernourished and at risk of starvation. While governments compete for diminishing oil, water, and other resources to fuel their economics, at least 20,000 children a day die from hunger. What we choose to put on our plates is the direct outcome of a complex set of interactions, from the individual scale to the global, that have serious implications for both population and environmental health.  With forces such as drought, global climate change, infectious disease and income inequality posing imminent threats, how will food production be affected in the coming decades? Professor Margaret Carrel presents the theme “Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies of Food.”

 Margaret Carrel serves as Assistant Professor in the UI Department of Geography. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.   Her research interests include the geography of infectious disease, landscape genetics and disease ecology. The focus of her research is how to understand how complex interactions between people and environments result in disease outcomes and the evolution of human pathogens. She has also conducted disease research in rural Bangladesh on the correlation of flood control measures and the prevention of diarrheal events. Most recently she has begun research in Iowa surrounding residential proximity to swine and its relation to MRSA infections.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2015

Leo Eko, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

bfb71e60-279c-4258-92f0-8edfeaf9bbe4“Publish or Perish: The Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack & Freedom of Expression”

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The January 2015 terrorist attacks  against French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, exposed the the acute tension between freedom of expression and respect for religious sentiments.  Newspapers around the world wrestled with the problem of whether to publish or not to publish the cartoons that ostensibly provoked the attacks.  After Charlie Hebdo published its now famous cover with Mohammed holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign, newspapers  in all continents were divided on whether to republish the newsworthy cover or not to republish it. Research shows that the decision to republish or not to republish the Charlie Hebdo cover depended on specific journalist cultures and contexts.

Before joining The University of Iowa, Leo Eko was an Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Media Law at the University of Maine. He has served as a journalist and producer at the African Broadcasting Union (URTNA) in Nairobi, Kenya, and at Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation. Professor Eko has produced several video documentaries on African topics. Three of them won honorable mention at festivals in Germany and Canada and are part of the holdings of several American and Canadian university libraries.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Valerie Bunce, Thursday, April 23, 2015

1d66dcc6-d07c-4af5-ad47-34b597f2c890“Putin’s Game in Ukraine”

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Why did Russia invade and annex Crimea last year and then aid and abet popular rebellion in eastern Ukraine?  The answer is that political changes in Ukraine were a “perfect storm” for Russia, whether we look at the threats to Russian security posed by Ukraine’s desire to join the EU and NATO or Putin’s fear that regime change in Ukraine could spread to Moscow.  What was at stake, in short, was Russia’s national security and Putin’s job security.

Valerie Bunce, Director of European Studies at Cornell Institute, is the Aaron Binenkorb Professor of International Studies and Professor of Government. Her primary field is comparative politics and, secondarily, international relations. Her research and teaching addresses comparative democratization, international democracy promotion, and inter-ethnic cooperation and conflict. Her geographical focus is primarily east-central Europe, the Balkans and the Soviet successor states, though her comparative interests extend to Latin America.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015, War & Conflict

David Thoreson, Thursday, April 16, 2015

c19f405b-5ef5-4821-9d9b-d774a1d61e6d“Navigating the Northwest Passage

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18 years ago, sheets of ice made the Northwest Passage impassable for David Thoreson and his sailing crew. However, global rises in air and water temperatures as a result of humankind-powered changes in climate have since made this area (and others) accessible to transit, and just five years ago David circumnavigated the American continents on a 28,000-mile journey spanning our hemisphere. Today, our oceans are expanding as ice melts, filling with plastics and chemicals as consumption skyrockets, and losing their bounties of biodiversity as degradation overwhelms fragile ecosystems. David will share with us tales and visions of his adventures which led him from a small town in Iowa into the Arctic expanse – a realm of threatened wonder and evolving history in which one cannot evade the precarious implications of our growing society.

David Thoreson is a modern explorer, writer, and expedition leader of Blue Water Ventures – a supplier of eco-adventures for students and adults. A resident of Sprit Lake, Iowa, David became, with his Cloud Nine crew, the first American sailors to fully span the Northwest Passage in both directions. Capturing memories in film and writing, David’s experiences have risen to focus in the media, including highlights in the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the Wall Street Journal, PBS, and a recent TEDx presentation in Colorado. His ABC documentary on the 28,000-mile, scientific journey was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Ari Ariel, Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ariel Picture“Illustrating Impacts of Foods on Identities & Migration: The Hummus Wars”

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Some Middle Eastern nations are bringing the classic concept of ‘food fights’ to a new level—the Guinness World Records have inspired intense competition to craft the world’s largest dish of hummus, attempts have been made to trademark this Levantine delicacy which has captured hearts and stomachs around the world, and calls for boycotts of nationalized food-producing enterprises have politicized the consumption of this modest yet peerless dish. Dr. Ariel will join us for a meal of hummus, falafel, and other Middle Eastern favorites from Iowa City’s very own Oasis while he discusses these “hummus wars” and legacies of food as an arena for both international conflict and coexistence.

Ari Ariel, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, an MA from Tel Aviv University, a BA from the City College of New York, and a Diploma in Classical Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York. He studies ethnic, national, and religious identities, migration, and ‘foodways’—the intersection of food in culture, tradition, and history—particularly in Middle Eastern Jewish communities.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2015, The Middle East

Mariano Magalhaes, Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mariano Magalhaes Photo

“How the Brazilian Worker’s Party Will Shape the Nation’s Future”

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The 2014 presidential election in Brazil was the closest—and dirtiest—contest since the first elections in 1989, post-military-rule. At the election’s start, Brazilians were reeling from nationwide protests against government corruption, a failing economy, and the use of public funds for World Cup stadiums and ineffective public services. The election divided the nation between incumbent Dilma Roussef of the Worker’s Party and her opponent, Governor Aécio Neves, with yet more would-be voters fed up with politics. Mariano Magalhães, with the assistance of his student, Samantha DeForest-Davis, will discuss some of the concerns rising from President Dilma’s reelection, amid a still ailing economy and serious allegations of party corruption, for the leadership’s capacity to administer the country at home and abroad over the next four years.

Mariano Magalhães, Professor, Political Science at Augustana College, served as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011 at the Universidade de Brasília where he led a course in Democracy in Latin America and researched the confederate strengthening of Brazilian municipal governments. Similarly, he has also written on the decentralization of power to state and local governance in Brazil and on civil-military relations during the state’s democratic transition. In 2013, he returned to Brasília (the capital) to interview past and current members of a federal ministry for its role in the development of state feminism. At Augustana, Dr. Magalhães has over the past decade helped university students to study abroad by leading students on visits to Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico, and by developing a Brazil Term program which he directed in 2012 and 2014.
Samantha DeForest-Davis, is an undergraduate student of Dr.  Magalhaes’.  She is completing a triple major in Political Science, Sociology, and Africana Studies.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Sarah Lande, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sarah Lande Picture“Visionaries to the Grand Celebration in Beijing—The Iowa Xi Jinping Story”

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“For me, you are America,” then-Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, told Sarah Lande during a 2012 return visit to Muscatine, Iowa. This visit brought Muscatine to the national spotlight, but the visionaries behind this landmark event and the benefits enjoyed by Iowa as a result are less widely known.  These visionaries, such as Governor Bob Ray, Paul Engle, and Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for Iowa-China cultural exchanges and international cooperation.  Sarah Lande will reflect upon those who started it all, the recent celebration commemorating Iowa-China relations, and what the future holds for the two of us together.

Former President and Executive Director of the Iowa Sister States organization, Sarah Lande in 1985 facilitated a visit to Muscatine by a delegation of the Chinese government including Xi Jinping (then an up-and-coming agricultural official from Hebei Province). In February of 2012, Sarah and her husband, Roger, hosted a tender reunion in their Muscatine home with old friends including Xi Jinping. Later that year, Xi in kind hosted Sarah and other Iowa friends in China, and he has since become President of the country. For her diplomatic endeavors, in 2013 Sarah was named an “Honorary Friendship Ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Beyond this, she has proactively served the Muscatine community throughout her lifetime. Sarah is a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from the University of Iowa, from which she graduated with her BA and MBA degrees.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2015, U.S. Foreign Policy

Anthony Sudarmawan, Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anthony Sudarmawan Photo“Why We Should Care About Foreign Fighters and Paramilitary in the  Middle East”

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Why should we care about foreign fighters and paramilitary forces in the Middle East? People tend to overlook the rationality behind the reasons why the number of foreign fighters and paramilitary forces has been increasing significantly in the last few years. Many of the rational factors that contribute to the rise of the Islamic State and other paramilitary forces can be found in historical documents.  Anthony Sudarmawan will lay out historical context  to give us a more accurate perspective of the situation.

Anthony Sudarmawan was born in Indonesia to a family who owns a small business. His family members encouraged him to study science or engineering, yet he was determined to pursue a career in international relations after participating in a political conference in Washington, D.C. and New York. He graduated from the University of Iowa in May 2013 with honors in political science and international studies. Since then, he has been active in conducting research on paramilitary forces and foreign fighters in the Middle East while finishing his Master’s study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Anthony Sudarmawan is one of the four recipients of Findley Fellow Award—a highly prestigious award named after Congressman Paul Findley and awarded to those who achieve academic excellence.  As one of the recipients, he delivered a speech in Washington, D.C. last year at the annual U.S.- Arab Policymakers Conference.

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2015, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Renu Pariyadath, Thursday, March 5, 2015

 Renu New“Bhopal (1984 – ?): The 30th Anniversary and the Ongoing Disaster”

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Thirty years after Methyl IsoCyanate (MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, the disaster has claimed over 25,000 lives and over 150,000 people are chronically ill. Water and soil contamination from the abandoned factory have multiplied the impact of the disaster and have left women and children particularly vulnerable. The Bhopali survivors have waged a 30-year struggle for justice on a transnational scale, seeking adequate compensation, medical care, clean water and a comprehensive cleanup of the abandoned factory and its surroundings. Renu Pariyadath will discuss the disaster’s continuing health impacts in Bhopal today and the status of the transnational campaign produced in its wake.

Renu Pariyadath is a Ph.D. Candidate  in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Iowa with a minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. Renu researches migrant activism within the Indian diaspora and has been a volunteer with the international movement for justice surrounding the Bhopal gas disaster for over three years. She is interested in the barriers to and the possibilities for forging a transnational environmental and reproductive justice movement in the context of the Bhopal disaster. Renu is the Chapter and Volunteer Coordinator of the Association for India’s Development (AID-US) and former Community Outreach Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB). She got involved with the ICJB in 2012 when she visited Bhopal for her Ph.D. field research supported by the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Ric Lumbard, Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lumbard Pic“Understanding the Role of Restoration in Human Trafficking”

Despite movements advocating its abolition, the practice of slavery persists as a global injustice. In contrast to systems of free labor and chattel bondage in past centuries, human trafficking involves the abduction, coercion, sexual exploitation, and illegal trade of, primarily women and children. Despite its apparent domestic invisibility, trafficking in persons is both an international issue and  domestic issue.  Ric Lumbard will discuss his experience with a national movement which seeks to secure and restore the freedom, safety, and health of victims of trafficking worldwide.

Ric Lumbard is the Director of the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) which provides communication infrastructure for the governmental agencies of Iowa, as well as the three state universities.  Ric has also served in senior management with Raytheon, and US West.   In addition, Ric has served leadership for several organizations including House of Hope Women’s Shelter, and founded the Center to Restore Trafficked and Exploited Children.  Nationally, he is a speaker and trainer in the Human Trafficking industry, focusing on building and equipping organizational responses to restore the victims of Human Trafficking.  Ric has advanced training in restorative modeling and emotional restoration of those in crisis, working with Terre des Hommes International Federation, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security.


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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Jerry Shnoor, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

schnoor pic“Environmental, Economic & Social Impacts of the Transoceanic Canal in Nicaragua”

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The Nicaraguan government awarded a concession to build an inter-oceanic canal to a Hong Kong based company owned by a little-known Chinese billionaire. This concession was given without bidding, or completion of impact assessments. The project may damage regional biodiversity and rare ecosystems like Lake Cocibolca, (a.k.a. Lake Nicaragua), a unique freshwater tropical lake which serves as Central America’s main freshwater reservoir.  Jerry Schnoor will discuss these issues as well as the socio-economic impacts on local people and regional interests.

Jerry Schnoor is a Professor in the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Occupational & Environmental Health. He joined the University’s College of Engineering in 1977, and holds the esteemed Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering. His research interests include carbon sequestration, water quality modeling, phytoremediation, and the causes of global warming. Schnoor earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1975 and an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering in 1974 from The University of Texas. In 1972, he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University.  Jerry is Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Science and Technology (American Chemical Society).

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Kelsey Frisk, Thursday, February 12, 2015

Frisk pic 1“Indigenous Struggles: 
A Sámi Perspective”

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The Finno-Ugric Sámi people of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland are the only indigenous population to be recognized and protected in Scandinavia. Sámi people have inhabited Fenno-Scandinavia for over ten thousand years. But the combined forces of climate change, technology, increased industrial activity, and land-loss have led to a large shift in the traditional Sámi diet, lifestyle, and mental health status. Kelsey will discuss the impacts of these changes on the somatic and psychosocial health of reindeer-herding Sámi and ways in which these changes may shape their future.

Kelsey Frisk is a fourth-year undergraduate Honors student with the Interdepartmental Studies major.  She studies global health with a strong interest in the health and human rights of indigenous populations. She recently received a Stanley Award for International Research to study perceptions of health among the Sámi people in northern Sweden from January—July 2014.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Europe, Past Events, Spring 2015

James L. Watson, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

 J Watson, Harvard office, 2007 (edited)“Does Hong Kong Have a Future? Postcolonial Developments Since 1997”

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Will Hong Kong remain a distinctive, quasi-autonomous outpost on the southern tip of China, or will it become just another Chinese city?  This talk explores the history and cultural traditions of Hong Kong in an attempt to understand the recent pro-democracy demonstrations: Why now? Who are the leaders? What do ordinary people in Hong Kong think about their future as citizens of China?  The speaker, an anthropologist, seeks answers in Hong Kong’s ethnic and linguistic distinctiveness (Cantonese combined with English) and its legacy of British colonialism (1842-1997).

James Watson was one of the first students to study Chinese at the University of Iowa (BA 1965) and received his PhD (1972) at the Univ. of California at Berkeley. He was, until his retirement in 2011, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. Watson 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.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

William Reisinger, Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reisinger PicHow Do You Solve a Problem Like Vladimir: Russia’s Future Between East and West

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Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebel forces in eastern Ukraine challenge European security and raise questions about what might come next. The answers lie with President Vladimir Putin, who holds an uncommon degree of personal control over Russian politics. Professor Reisinger will discuss Putin’s political regime, how he and his team view world affairs, and what we should expect in the years ahead.

William M. Reisinger is Professor of Political Science at The University of Iowa.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1985.  His research concerns politics in the former communist states, especially Russia.  He has written several books, as well as over 50 articles or book chapters.  He travels frequently to Russia and has conducted research on Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  He teaches courses on democratization, authoritarian politics and the politics of the post communist countries.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, in 1986.  He is a former chair of the Political Science Department and, from 2003-2008, served as The University of Iowa’s Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015