Category Archives: Spring 2019

Dan Caplan and University of Iowa Students, Thursday, May 9th, 2019

“University of Iowa Students’ Experience with the International Student Observership Program in India”

Caplan_D_12_18_07Web.jpgDr. Caplan participates in intramural dental practice and studies outcomes related to endodontic treatment; decision-making in endodontics; relationships between oral and systemic diseases; and evaluation of diagnostic tests. He has put together numerous global research programs for University of Iowa dental students and global health students including the Pondicherry International Student Observership Program that Kayla and Monika will be discussing with him.
Kayla Erps photoKayla grew up in Grimes, Iowa and is a second year student at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She is very passionate about community outreach, working with underprivileged populations, and traveling the world! Kayla is excited to share her experiences from India with you all and hope to paint a vivid picture for you that will be informative, educational, and eye-opening.
Picture_Monika Reddy Bhuma.pngMonika is a student of the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. She has been in health case competitions and global projects focused on sustainability and global health.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, South Asia, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Adam Knight, Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

282363_10152161315100062_1324644158_n.jpg“The Need for International Voices in American Theater” 
Adam Knight, Producing Artistic Director of Riverside Theatre, will speak about his activities bringing international plays to the American theatre. In particular, his work developing Russian and Georgian works in translation and his association with Red Lab Productions, an international collective dedicated to cultural diplomacy through performance. He will outline his vision for Riverside Theatre’s programming to include more international and international-themed works, and why there is a social imperative for theatres to expand the range of stories that we tell.
Adam Knight is the new Producing Artistic Director of Riverside Theatre. For fourteen years, he was co-Artistic Director of Slant Theatre Project, an Off Off-Broadway company that produced more than two dozen world premieres, working with a large roster of emerging artists.Adam also served as Executive Director of Red Lab, an international collective led by Irina Gachechiladze dedicated to cultural diplomacy through art and performance.
In 2016 he produced the world premiere of Boris Akunin’s “Hamlet. A version” Off-Broadway. Also in 2016, Red Lab produced “The Georgian American Theatrical Feast,” a festival of plays and readings by playwrights from Georgia. He has also worked with the Lark Theatre’s US-Russia Exchange and, most recently, Voyage Theatre Company on new works in translation.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

University of Iowa Fulbright Student Awardees, April 25th, 2019

University of Iowa Fulbright Student Awardees Discuss Their Future Assignments
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Jeffrey Clark.jpgJeffrey Clark
Bio: Jeff was born in Virginia on December 6, 1996, to a Korean mother and an American father. He did not speak Korean growing up, but he traveled to South Korea from 2017-2018 through a University of Iowa study abroad program where he studied Korean history and language at Ewha Woman’s University. He is currently planning on a long term career in United States Foreign      Service.
Destination and Assignment: South Korea. English Teaching Assistant
Alex BareAlex Bare
Bio: Alex will graduate in May 2019 with a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish alongside a minor in Arabic. Originally from about two miles outside Maysville in the Quad Cities area, he studied abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia in Fall 2018 and went on to become the Outreach Director of Spectrum UI and Director of Justice and Equity in the executive cabinet of the University of Iowa Student Government. He is very excited to embark on what he hopes to be the start of a long career in Colombia and Neighboring countries.
Destination and Assignment: Colombia, English Teaching Assistant
Alexa FrankAlexa Frank
Bio: Alexa Frank is a MFA candidate in creative writing (fiction) at the Iowa Writers Workshop. She grew up in the suburbs of New York city and attended Bard College as an undergraduate. Alexa is the current fiction editor of The Iowa Review and a creative writing instructor at the University of Iowa. In her free time, she tries to catch up on reading, TV and sleep.
Destination and assignment: Tokyo, Japan. Research. Alexa will research canonical and contemporary depictions of mental illness in Japanese literature in support of a novel in progress.
Michael Parisi Mercado.jpgMichael Parisi-Mercado
Bio: Michael is a third year Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health student at the University of Iowa. He completed his undergraduate education in Guayama, Puerto Rico where he calls home. He aspires to work with underserved populations in the field of infectious diseases. Michael is bilingual in English and Spanish, he enjoys cooking, listening to music, taking pictures, and exploring new places.
Destination and assignment: Romania. Research. Michael’s research will involve working with pharmacists to help improve the health and care of patients living with HIV/AIDS


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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized, University of Iowa

Elizabeth Marilla-Kapp and Caitlin Chenus, Thursday, April 18, 2019

image1.jpg“The Relationship Between Mental Health Access and International Human Rights Standards”
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Elizabeth Marilla-Kapp will earn her MSW from the UI School of Social Work in May with an emphasis in access to mental health resources and creative mental health interventions. She also earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has worked with several local agencies serving people experiencing homelessness, crisis, and mental illness and is honored to have directed the local free breakfast cafe for several years. She was a Kenneth Cmiel intern last summer which supported her work exploring the relationship between mental health access and international human rights standards.

4-11-2019 Chenus head shot.png“France’s Flawed Asylum Policies; Changes Needed in Today’s World” 

Caitlin Chenus is a senior at the University of Iowa and a Rex Honey Intern at the University site of Iowa Center for Human Rights. She pursued a research project in France this past summer with support from International Programs and the Stanley family. She will be graduating in May of 2019 and going on to attend law school. She plans to study international and comparative law with a focus on immigration.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Chris Buresh, Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Chris Buresh“Update on the Current Condition in Haiti”

          Chris Buresh works as an ambassador to Haiti through the Haiti Community Health Initiative (CHI). He specifically continues to invest healthcare resources into the rural community of Arcahaie, Hiati, with 5 medical and 2 surgical trips per year along with a CHI staff of local Haitians who work year around.
          The most important aspect of CHI is its ability to provide healthcare in solidarity for the Haitian community in hopes that someday the Haiti will acquire the resources to be self sufficient in their care and perhaps even assist us. Fostering a relationship of support, local education and local community helps CHI most effectively treat patients and provides the framework for Dr. Buresh’s talk on the current condition of local Haitians.
Further Haitian Healthcare Background
          Haiti is situated on the Western third of the island of Hispaniola. Of the country’s estimated 10.5 million citizens, 75% are estimated to live below the poverty line, with the majority of the population living on less than $2 per day. Various natural disasters including the earthquake of January 2010 have only worsened the situation. Much of the Haitian population can be diagnosed with deficiencies of iron, vitamin A, iodine, protein, calories, or any combination of these. Overarching malnutrition leads to stunted growth and development in the Haitian population. Infectious diseases including HIV, TB, and lymphatic filariasis, among others, add another layer to the multitude of factors that play into health inequity throughout Haiti.
          Dr. Chris Buresh grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. and from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He did his pediatrics residency at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, followed by an emergency medicine residency back at the University of Iowa. Since then, he has been the assistant residency director in emergency medicine at UI. He has done medical work in India, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, and has been working in Haiti since 2002. Chris lives in Coralville with his wife and 3 kids.
         He also serves as the American College of Emergency Medicine Medical Director, Keokuk County Ambulance Service Representative, and State EMS Advisory Council Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Jonathan Carlson, Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Jon Carlson“The End of Multilateralism and the Post-WWII International Order?”

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For nearly 75 years, the United States has championed a world order based on multilateral cooperation and the rule of law. While U.S. policies have never matched U.S. rhetoric over that time period, it would be fair to say that the United States has been a leader in promoting and supporting a rule-based international order. Professor Carlson will examine the Trump Administration’s actions and rhetoric with respect to the international rule of law and consider whether the Trump administration’s behavior reflects a sharp change from the past or merely a more honest and straightforward presentation of a longstanding “American First” approach.
An honors graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law where he served as Topics and Comments Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, Professor Carlson began his legal career clerking for Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Thereafter, he entered private practice with the Washington, DC, law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow. He joined the faculty of the University of Iowa College of Law in 1983.
Professor Carlson’s research focuses on international law and the environment. He is the author of several law review articles, co-author of International Environmental Law and World Order: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook, and editor of International Law and World Order: Basic Documents (Transnational Publishers, 5 vols., 1994–).
Professor Carlson frequently lectures abroad, In Fall 2006 he served as the Fullbright/FLAD Distinguished Chair in International Commercial Trade and Business Law at Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon. In Spring 2017, he was the Fulbright Distinguished Professor in Law at the University of Trento, in Trento, Italy.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, U.S. Foreign Policy, Uncategorized, War & Conflict

Edith Parker, Thursday, March 28th, 2019

parker_edith.jpg“Public Health is Global Health”

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          Nationally recognized expert in community-based participatory behavior Dr. Edith Parker promotes innovative ideas to improve major social determinants of health and health disparities. She is a renowned researcher in community-based participatory analysis, which emphasizes the active involvement of community members in all aspects of the research process. Her extensive background in research as well as her interest in aiding in the prevention of diseases and helping people live healthier lives qualifies her as a well rounded specialist in her field of work. Dr. Parker’s research focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of community health promotion interventions to improve health status and reduce racial disparities in health. Her expertise also includes translating and disseminating research findings for program and policy change.

Dr. Edith Parker serves as Dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health. She also directs the Prevention Research Center for Rural Health, based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. She formerly served as Departmental Executive Officer of the University of Iowa Department of Community and Behavioral Health. Her work centers on engaging community members in the design, implementation, and evaluation of research interventions, and translating and disseminating research findings for program and policy change.

Dr. Parker holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, as well as Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She served on the faculty of the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan before joining the University of Iowa in 2010.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Gabriele Villarini, Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

villarini_gabriele-20151012-no-04bis.jpg“Flooding and Rainfall Associated with Tropical Cyclones”

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          Rainfall associated with landfalling tropical cyclones plays a crucial role in terms of rainfall extremes and climatology in many areas of the world, from the tropics to the mid-latitudes. The flooding caused by these storms have been responsible for significant societal and economic impacts, with hundreds of fatalities and losses in the billions of dollars. In the United States alone, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (2017) and Hurricanes Florence and Michael (2018) represent some of the latest examples of the devastation associated with these storms. Therefore, an improved understanding and prediction of the heavy rainfall and flooding associated with tropical cyclones can provide basic information towards improving our preparedness, mitigation and management of these hazards.
          This presentation will provide an overview of the heavy rainfall and flooding associated with tropical cyclones using a combination of observations and outputs from climate models. The results will provide a broad geographical and temporal view of the hazards associated with landfalling tropical cyclones, as well as recent insights into their predictability.
          Gabriele Villarini is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa, and the Director of IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering. He received his M.S. in Civil Engineering in 2003 from the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” and his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2008 from the University of Iowa; he also received his Executive MBA from the Tippie School of Business at the University of Iowa in 2018. He was a researcher and Willis Research Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University from 2008 to 2012.
         His research interests focus on flood hydrology, extreme events, hydroclimatology, and climate predictions and projections. He has received a number of national and international awards, including the “Hydrological Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist Award” by the European Geosciences Union (2013), the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and the Editor’s Award – Journal of Climate” by the American Meteorological Society (2014), and the James B. Macelwane Medal by the American Geophysical Union (2016). He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2016). He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers, including articles in Nature, Science, Nature Climate Change and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as a member of the American Geophysical Union Precipitation Committee and of the U.S.-CLIVAR Working Group on Hurricanes and Climate.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Danielle N. Lussier, Thursday, March 7th, 2019

20161026Lussier_Danielle“Political Elites in Putin’s Russia: Ideology, Foreign Policy and Public Support”

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          Danielle N. Lussier uses thought-provoking analysis on why democracy succeeds in some countries but not others, such as comparing the post-transition experiences of two cases of contemporary democratization: Russia and Indonesia. Following authoritarian regimes, democracy eroded in Russia but flourished in Indonesia – so confounding dominant theories of democratization that predicted the opposite outcomes based on their levels of socioeconomic development and histories of statehood.
          Over the course of this luncheon, Lussier will be discussing the key behaviours and patterns of political participation as a factor in Russian democracy and its political elite.
          Danielle N. Lussier is an associate professor of political science. Her research focuses on democratization, political participation, and religion and politics, with geographic expertise on post-communist Eurasia and Indonesia.
          She is the author of Constraining Elites in Russia and Indonesia: Political Participation and Regime Survival (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Her research has also been published in Journal of Democracy, Religion & Politics, Problems of Post-Communism, Post-Soviet Affairs, and Slavic Review. Lussier is completing a second edition of The Many Faces of Political Islam with Mohammed Ayoob (Michigan State University) and is also developing a book manuscript on the role of houses of worship in the political lives of Muslims and Christians in Indonesia. Her research has been supported by the Global Religion Research Initiative, the Kennan Institute, and several programs at Grinnell College.
          Lussier teaches courses on Russian politics, democratization and regime change, Islam and politics, and comparative politics. She also participates in the Russian, Central, and East European Studies concentration.
          If you would like to know more about her research, visit:

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Filed under Governance Issues, Past Events, Russia and Central Asia, Spring 2019, U.S. Foreign Policy, Uncategorized

Menevis Cilizoglu, Thursday, February 28th, 2019

img_2122-e1501191872543“Imposition and Termination of Economic sanctions: Their Domestic and Economic Effects”
         Just over the last year, sanctions on Iran and North Korea led to troubling economic and humanitarian consequences. Professor Menevis Cilizoglu researches the results of sanctions imposed on such countries. She draws from current events, researching high-profile cases like Iran, North Korea, and Russia, reflecting on their domestic, economic, and humanitarian consequences. In the postwar era, states are increasingly utilizing economic sanctions as a tool of coercive diplomacy.
          Theoretically, the threat of sanctions should convince target governments to acquiesce to the sender’s demands, if credible (Drezner, 2003; Smith, 1995). However, a remarkable observation about economic sanctions is that they often fail to generate significant costs. According to the Threat and Imposition of Sanctions (TIES), 82% of imposed sanctions between 1945 and 2005 produced only minor costs to the target state. This observation may explain why Iranian President Ahmadinejad, North Korea’s Chairman King Jong-Un and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro all dismissed sanctions as toothless and ineffective.
          Menevis Cilizoglu is a Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College. She got her Social and Political Science B.A. from Sabanca University in Turkey and her Ph.D and M.A. in Political Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research examines the processes connecting foreign policy to international economics, primarily economic sanctions. She primarily examines governments’ decision to impose and terminate economic sanctions, as well as domestic and economic effects of sanctions on imposer and targeted states.
          If you would like to know more about her research, visit:

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Filed under China & East Asia, Economics, Governance Issues, Past Events, Russia and Central Asia, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Keith Sahm, Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Force_Blue_Keith.jpg“Saving the World’s Coral Reefs”

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          For over the last 20 years, Keith has been in a managerial role of Sunset House in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. He is an accomplished diver, strategist, hotelier & marketer. Offering a rare blend of creative and operational strengths, he is a former board member of the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) and Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). Keith was one of the first to install coral farms in the Cayman Islands and co-founder of the island’s NGO “Save Cayman”. He has been a guest speaker at numerous DEMA events and was named “Diver of the Year” in 2015 by Beneath the Sea for his role in promoting SCUBA recreation, training, safety and advocate for the seas. He is also the Co-Founder of a “mission therapy” nonprofit known as Force Blue.
          FORCE BLUE is the only nonprofit organization in the world that provides “mission therapy” for former combat divers – individuals in whom governments around the world have invested millions to create the best possible underwater and maritime operators – by retraining, retooling and deploying them on missions of conservation, preservation and restoration.
          By uniting the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine science and conservation in one, mission-focused program, FORCE BLUE has created a model of caring, cooperation and positive change with the power to restore lives and restore the planet.
          If you would like to know more or contribute to their cause, visit:

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

T. Bram Elias & Stella Elias, Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Bram Elias“Immigration in the Era of Trump and Brexit”

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Professor Bram Elias joined the clinic in 2014 and has directed the Clinic’s immigration practice since 2015. He previously worked as an immigration attorney in private practice in downtown Iowa City, where his work focused on federal immigration law, removal defense, immigration-related family law issues in state court, and immigration-related post-conviction review and habeas corpus litigation in state and federal courts. Professor Elias’s students practice before federal immigration courts and administrative bodies, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, and state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels.

       Stella Burch Elias joined the Iowa Law faculty in 2012, after a two-year appointment as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She teaches civil procedure, foundations of international law, immigration law, and comparative law, and directs Iowa’s London Law Program. Her research involves public international and comparative law, with a focus on United States and foreign immigration and nationality laws.
elias       Professor Elias was voted Professor of the Year by the law school student body for 2017-18. In 2016-17, she was nominated by the College of Law faculty and students for the University of Iowa’s campus-wide President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2014-2015 she received the James N. Murray Faculty Award, given each year to one tenure-track faculty member at the University of Iowa, in recognition of outstanding teaching and assistance to students, exceptional research and writing, and dedicated service to the University and the surrounding community


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Filed under Domestic Issues, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, U.S. Foreign Policy, Uncategorized

Blake Rupe, February, 6th, 2019

rupe“Plastics in the Oceans”

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       Blake is the Sustainable Water Development Program Coordinator in IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering. She comes to the College of Engineering after a background in startups and conservation.
       Blake received her Master’s degree in International Studies and focused her research on the different human drivers behind waste proliferation and marine debris presence. She conducted projects in several areas of this field – from conducting field research in quantifying and classifying the waste problem all the way to identifying and critiquing systemic, institutional obstacles to improving the waste situation.
       After graduation, Blake utilized her passion for conservation and skills in web design and development to build mobile conservation and sustainability apps, known as Re-App. She has taken part in the Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids and was named a finalist for the Iowa Women of Innovation award.
       As a conservationist, Blake is passionate about promoting clean water and community engagement to improve environmental health.


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Filed under Domestic Issues, Environmental Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

Dimy Doresca, Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Doresca, Dimy“Trade and Small Businesses in Africa”

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       Dimy Doresca is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) and an International Business Specialist and Consultant. He sits on the following boards and councils: Iowa District Export Council Department of Commerce, Engage Cuba Coalition, State of Iowa Council, National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE International), YALI Regional Leadership Center – Dakar, Senegal, and Community Health Initiative, CHI – Haiti.
       He is the Director of the Institute for International Business and a Lecturer in International Entrepreneurship at The University of Iowa. He is also the Academic Director of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program at the University of Iowa. In the last two years, he has hosted three cohorts of Mandela Washington Fellows from more than 25 Sub-Sahara African countries in the business and entrepreneurship field.
       In the last 18 years his professional experience includes international market research, doing business overseas, risk analysis, strategic planning, budgeting, financial management, business development and operations, contracts administration and negotiations, claim analysis, and international banking. During his career, Dimy has set many international offices, worked with local suppliers, recruited local representatives, negotiated contracts and terms of payment, and dealt with foreign banks, insurance companies, and foreign government officials in many countries in the Middle East and Asia.
       Dimy holds a BA in International Business from Augustana College and an MS in Foreign Service (International Affairs) from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole.

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Filed under Africa, Business, Economics, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized

John Reitz, Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

reitz.png“The Chinese Model of Democracy is a Major Competitor to Liberal Democracy”

Fluent in French and German, conversant in Dutch, Italian, and Spanish, and currently studying Chinese, Russian, Persian, and Turkish, as well as a variety of ancient languages, Professor Reitz’s love of foreign languages led him to focus his professional career on comparative law and transnational transactions. Formerly Executive Editor of the Michigan Law Review, a Fulbright-Hays Scholar at the University of Munich (1970-1971), and an extern in the Office of the Legal Advisor to the Department of State, Professor Reitz spent eight years in private practice with the Washington, DC, law firms of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and Crowell & Moring, periodically involved with foreign clients and problems of transnational litigation.
     He is a Director of the American Society of Comparative Law, has served several two-year terms on the Executive Committee of that organization and chaired a variety of other committees. He has also served as the chair of the Comparative Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools.
     Prior to joining the faculty of the College of Law in 1983, Professor Reitz served as an American Fellow to the faculty of the Salzburg Seminar on American Law and Institutions.
     The author of numerous articles and book chapters, Professor Reitz’s scholarship reflects his teaching interest. In 1989-90, he held Fulbright and German Marshal Fund fellowships to conduct research in Germany. Recent teaching and scholarship have focused on two fronts: the development of the rule of law in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union; and the comparative study of economic regulation and deregulation. He is an editor of Constitutional Dialogues in Comparative Perspective (London & NY: Macmillan Press, 1999) (with Kenney and Reisinger) and currently is studying (1) the specific ways in which the legal systems of Western European nations and the United States reflect differences in political and economic structures and (2) the export and import of foreign legal models in newly democratizing states.


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Filed under China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2019, Uncategorized