Category Archives: Spring 2016

Adam Bobrow, Wednesday May 11, 2016

Adam Bobrow headshot

“U.S.—China Cyber Agreement: Is It Enough of a Good Thing?”

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Cybertheft is a popular issue. I will offer my reflections on the continued need for concrete action to match the rhetoric of the norm against cybertheft. Informed observers have not yet detected a decline in the intrusions from China focused on U.S. business. Now is the time for the Administration to return to the sanctions process that was reported to be close to completion before the Xi visit several months ago.

Adam Bobrow is the President, CEO and Founder of Resilience Strategies, a strategic consultancy based in Maryland. Foresight provides advice to clients on the impact of government policy decisions and strategic decisions, particularly cyber-enabled enhancements to their products and services. Adam was recognized for his cybersecurity expertise as a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Adam served the Obama Administration in a variety of positions over five years. Most recently, he was the international lead for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Adam is an attorney, having received his JD from Washington University in St. Louis and is a member of the DC Bar. Adam’s undergraduate degree is in Chinese language from Georgetown University.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2016, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy

Jeffrey Ding, Tuesday May 3, 2016

Headshot - Jeffrey“An Interest Group with Chinese Characteristics—The Role of National Oil Companies in the South China Sea”

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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.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Economics, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Joan Kjaer, Tuesday April 26, 2016

Joan Kjaer“Preserving the Magic and Poetry of Havana: A Delicate Dance”

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Joan Kjaer directs the Communications and Relations unit of the International Programs at the University of Iowa.  She exercises strategic oversight and daily management of all facets of internal and external communications for the International Programs, international alumni relations, event management, and media engagement. Kjaer is the creator and host of the monthly television/ radio / internet program World Canvas, which features interdisciplinary discussions of international topics.  Before joining International Programs, Joan spent more than thirty years working in public radio as a classical music host, producer, program director and general manager of WSUI and KSUI, and was director of communications for the state network Iowa Public Radio.

Havana’s 500-year history lives in its mix of ancient and modern architecture: in the colonial fortress protruding into the bay, in the elegant urban design and architecture of El Prado, in the streets of El Vedado, a tree-lined district developed in the early 20th century to suit the tastes of Cuba’s economic elite.

Times are changing in Cuba, partly because of a new generation of Cubans pushing for greater engagement with the outside world and partly because of Obama administration’s historic re-calibration of the U.S. / Cuba relationship.  Although Cubans have been allowed to open small businesses, guest housing, and paladars (private restaurants), the economic and social changes that are likely to come are both anticipated and feared.  Uncertainty is the word of the day.

Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the desire to revitalize the city has been on the minds and hearts of Cuban architects and urban planners for decades.  Kjaer’s recent experiences in Havana attending two international workshops based in the Master Plan for 21st Century Havana will be the focus of this talk.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Theodore Powers, Tuesday April 19, 2016

Theodore Powers“Milestone Breakthroughs in the Fight Against AIDS in South Africa”

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Theodore Powers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa and Research Associate with the Human Economy Program at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the politics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in post-apartheid South Africa. The aim of this work is to better understand the relationship between pathogens and social change in the contemporary phase of global integration.

The South African HIV/AIDS epidemic is the world’s largest in both absolute and relative terms with 6.8 millions infections and 18.9% of the adult population living with the disease. The epidemic has produced both a complex political history and the world’s largest treatment program. The presentation will briefly review the exponential growth of the epidemic and the key milestones in reaching universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 2012. Finally, the challenges ahead in ending the South African epidemic will be reviewed.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Ron McMullen, Wednesday April 13, 2016

Picture1“Iowa, Heroin, and Afghanistan”

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This presentation will focus on the connection between U.S counter-narcotics policy, the deteriorating rule of law situation in Afghanistan, and Iowa’s surge in opioid and heroin abuse.

Ron McMullen, currently the University of Iowa’s Ambassador in Residence, 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 98 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 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 a number of scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.  In 2015 he received the University of Iowa’s Honors Program Teaching Award. A native of Northwood, Iowa and a graduate of Drake University, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy

Hans House, Thursday April 7, 2016

HansHouse_Headshot2015“ZIKV, CHIKV, and Dengue: The Viral Gifts of the Tiger Mosquito”

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Dr. House is a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa. He attended medical school at USC, and completed a dual residency in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine at UCLA. He also has a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Tropical Medicine. He has published several articles on travel-related infections and regularly speaks about travel related diseases and emerging infectious diseases.

The Aedes species of mosquito is responsible for three of the most significant vector borne diseases to affect the Americas in the last decade. For years, this pest has spread unchallenged, bringing regular waves of epidemic Dengue Fever. The arrival of Chikungunya and now the teratogenic Zika Virus is providing a new impetus for vector control efforts.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Craig Just, Tuesday March 29, 2016

Just Craig Photo“Rural Water Sustainability: Good Intentions Revisited”

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In April 2009, Dr. Craig Just addressed the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council with his talk titled “To Hell With Good Intentions?: Reflections on the Consequences of ‘Saving the World'”. Since then, Dr. Just has continued his work in developing countries, focused mostly on sustainable water resources development projects. But, increasingly, the issues faced by communities in developing countries parallel the challenges rural communities face in developed countries like the United States. In this talk, Dr. Just will revisit his “good intentions” toward achieving rural water sustainability both locally and abroad.

Dr. Just has served the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa since 1993. He earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and science from the University of Iowa in 2001. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an assistant research engineer at IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering. Dr. Just teaches Design for the Developing World, an interdisciplinary course targeted toward upper class students interested in advancing sustainable development in resource-poor countries. Dr. Just was awarded the University of Iowa, President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 for creative utilization of service-learning and for engaged scholarship through teaching. Dr. Just is the faculty adviser for the University of Iowa, Engineers Without Borders USA student chapter and for the Bridges to Prosperity student chapter.

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Filed under Africa, Environmental Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Katherine Ryken, Tuesday March 22, 2016

Ryken Headshot“The Role of Physicians in Combating the Aftermath of Mass Rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina”

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Katherine Ryken is a third year medical student in the Carver College of Medicine with plans to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, with a focus on global health and human rights. Katie was the Fulbright Scholar to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the 2014-2015 academic year, pursuing research in post-traumatic injury and working at primary care clinics serving survivors of sexual violence during the war. She is also a certified member of Physician for Human Rights’ Asylum Network, and completed training in forensic medical services for asylum seekers.

Between 1992 and 1995, an estimated 20,000-50,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Twenty years later, victims of war rape continue to experience severe mental health disorders.  A recent comprehensive study of rape survivors who have utilized non-governmental organization (NGO) services demonstrate alarming reports of chronic gynecologic problems. This lecture will discuss the role of war-related sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and examine the role of medical professionals in post-conflict societies, through documenting human rights abuses and providing clinical care for victims.

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Filed under Europe, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, Women's Issues

Nicholas Martini, Thursday March 10, 2016

Picture1“Foreign Policy and the Role of the Public”

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Nicholas Martini is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 2012. His research focuses on the intersection of international relations and political behavior. His current research explores the factors driving public opinion (e.g., ideology, beliefs, and religion) and how they shape preferences around foreign policy issues. He has published articles in Political Research Quarterly, Foreign Policy Analysis, Electoral Studies, Social Science Quarterly, and other journals.

Dr. Martini’s presentation will concentrate on the vital influence that public opinion plays on the policy considerations of democratic leaders.  This is especially important as alliances around the globe are being pressured from outside threats. He will focus on public attitudes around US alliances and how recent work with survey experiments are aiding in understanding public preferences and leader assessments.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Melissa Tully, Thursday March 3, 2016

Picture1“We Are One Kenya: Representations of the Nation, Leadership & Identity on Reality TV”

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Melissa Tully studies digital media technologies, international communication with a focus on media in developing countries, and philanthropy and nonprofit communication. Tully has conducted research in Kenya, Ghana, and Burundi. Generally, her research focuses on the use of digital media by a variety of actors in civil society. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her presentation will focus on Uongozi, a massive multimodal civic education campaign in Kenya that culminated in the Uongozi reality television show. Tully’s analysis suggests that Uongozi framed and promoted a version of leadership that is tied to an idealized progressive, youth leader despite the lack of quality youth “candidates” on the show. The campaign also endorsed a message of national unity and identity, articulated through the promotion of a non-ethnic collective Kenyan identity. Uongozi contributed to a larger pre-election narrative promulgated through mass media efforts that encouraged Kenyans to move beyond ethnicity in their voting and participate in a peaceful election.

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Filed under Africa, Past Events, Spring 2016, Technology

Victoria Morozov, Tuesday February 23, 2016

Picture1“Moldova’s Legacies for its Children & Families”

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Victoria Morozov is the founder of The Moldova Project, a charitable trust organization that reaches out to Moldova’s most underprivileged and abused youth and offers resources and opportunity. A fierce advocate for the poor, Morozov has devoted her life to advocacy and serves as liaison to a number of United Kingdom-based groups, helping to identify sustainable initiatives for The Moldova Project and creating partnerships with local authorities and government ministries.

Throughout the course of her career, Morozov has played host to more than 800 international volunteers, working to implement 14 individual projects focused on medical and structural support for poor families and social orphans. She is the coordinator of five annual award ceremonies aimed at giving awards to the most dedicated and exemplary volunteers in Moldova.

In 2013, Morozov was named The Most Active Youth in Civil Society by the Ministry of Youth of the Republic of Moldova.

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Filed under Europe, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Abdulaziz Al-Hussan, Tuesday February 16, 2016

Picture1“The Need for International Exposure to Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia”

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Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Hussan is a lawyer and reformist born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In late 2011, following the Arab Spring, Al-Hussan represented the cases of political detainees and spoke out against government injustices via Twitter. After threat of travel ban and imprisonment, Al-Hussan moved to the United States to study law and provide a voice for those who remain voiceless in the Kingdom.

Al-Hussan has been a scholar in the Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana Law School, and is now working towards his doctorate dissertation in the Iowa College of Law. His work focuses on the study of constitutional change in Saudi Arabia and how a transition from absolute monarchy to limited monarchy would affect the Arabian country. He recently founded the Dir’iyah Institution (DIW) in Washington D.C., an independent non-profit dedicated to studies of the Arabian Peninsula with a focus on constitutional law, reform, and history.

Al-Hussan’s talk will provide a broad overview of the current Saudi legal system and the nature of human rights in the Kingdom before delving into the complex and tenuous relationships that exist between the Saudi government and Western nations. Al-Hussan will present paths toward human rights progress in Saudi Arabia and offer solutions to the violence and secrecy that have plagued the country for decades.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, The Middle East

Maureen “Micki” McCue, Wednesday February 10, 2016

Picture1“The Global Humanitarian Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: What, Why, Who and Where”

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Dr. Maureen McCue has traveled, consulted, and worked extensively around the world as a physician, researcher, and peace maker. She served as physician to 500 US and Soviet Citizen Diplomats during the Cold War walking from Leningrad to Moscow in the former Soviet Union. Her Ph.D. research included working with leading medical professionals and former female combatants during the Sandanista Revolution in Nicaragua. In 2005 she met and subsequently interviewed for an award winning film, Dr. Salam Ismael founder of Iraqi Doctors for Peace. As an adjunct Clinical Professor in the Colleges of Public Health and of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Dr. McCue teaches a variety of Health and Human Rights topics including War or Health. She has coordinated the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) since 2003 working to halt the gravest threats to human health and survival, specifically the threat of climate disruption and nuclear proliferation.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Carol Moss, Wednesday February 3, 2016

Picture1“Dissemination of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in the Guercif Province, Morocco: A Community Approach”

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Carol Moss is a Research Associate in the UI Department of Family Medicine and a recent graduate of the UI College of Public Health (MS, Epidemiology) with a Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies. She is interested in alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low resource settings, primarily in the countries of Guatemala, Cuba, and Morocco. She received a UI Global Health Studies Travel Award in 2015 to conduct work in Morocco where she has established ties over the past thirty years.

In 2010, a national program for early detection of cervical cancer in women aged 30-49 was implemented in Morocco. The program is under the auspices of the Foundation Lalla Salma, a non-governmental organization (NGO), and also encompasses a breast cancer screening component. The program initially covered five of sixteen regions of the country but was expanded to additional regions in subsequent years. The aim of the present study, conducted over a two-week period, was to both determine knowledge of the NGO and the indigenous peoples it served as well as increasing general awareness of the NGO and cervical cancer screening programs.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Sara Mitchell, Wednesday January 27, 2016

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“Cross—Border Troubles? Interstate River Conflicts & Intrastate Violence”

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Sara McLaughlin Mitchell is Professor of Political Science and Department Chair at the University of Iowa.  She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Michigan State University in 1997 and her B.S degree in Economics and Political Science at Iowa State University in 1991.  An accomplished author, Mitchell has published many books on global conflict and resolution, and has been the recipient of several major research awards from the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development.  Her areas of expertise include international conflict and political methodology. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior women studying international relations. She received the Faculty Scholar Award (2007-2010), the Collegiate Scholar Award (2011), and the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (2012) from the University of Iowa and the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015) from the International Studies Association.
Her research examines the relationship between interstate river conflicts and intrastate violence such as riots, strikes, demonstrations, and civil wars in the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe, and the Middle East.  She argues that interstate disagreements over cross-border river basins increase the potential for intrastate conflict by creating unequal access to water resources, displacing populations through damming and diversion projects, and increasing demands for freshwater as population growth occurs.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016, War & Conflict