“The End of Multilateralism and the Post-WWII International Order?”
Category Archives: War & Conflict
“Political Conflicts Among Ethnic Minorities in China”
Elise Pizzi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. Currently, she is teaching a graduate level course on Chinese Politics and an undergraduate course on Comparative Environmental Policy. Past courses she Elise taught at the University of Iowa concerned political violence and global development. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Colorado in 2015. Before attending graduate school, she taught English in Sichuan, China and spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia (2005-2007). Her research primarily focuses on less developed regions and countries, in particular in China. She studies distributive politics, including government provision of public goods and services, and natural resource management. Her ongoing research focuses on ethnic politics and poverty alleviation in rural China. Elise received a Fulbright grant to study drinking water access in rural China in 2013. She regularly returns to China for ongoing research and to indulge her love of spicy sour soup.
Who are China’s ethnic minorities? Professor Pizzi will discuss the identity and political status of China’s ethnic minority groups and minority autonomous regions. She also will present ongoing research related to political action by ethnic minorities in China.
“RESISTANCE: Reclaiming an American Tradition ”
Jeff Biggers is the American Book Award–winning author of several works of history, memoir, journalism, and theater, including The United States of Appalachia, praised by the Citizen Times as a “masterpiece of popular history”; State Out of the Union, selected by Publishers Weekly as a Top Ten Social Science book in 2012; and Reckoning at Eagle Creek, winner of the Delta Prize for Literature and David Brower Award for Environmental Reporting.
Biggers is the founder of the Climate Narrative Project, an arts and advocacy project for schools, universities and organizations. From 2014-2017, he served as the Sustainability Writer-in-Residence at the University of Iowa. He also served as the Campbell-Stripling Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan College in Georgia. Over the past decade, Biggers has given lectures, readings and performances at over 100 universities and colleges across the country, from the University of California in Berkeley to the University of Mississippi to Yale University. He has delivered keynote addresses at numerous literary, educational, urban planning and environmental conferences and serves as a contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review, and is a member of the PEN American Center.
“In a riveting and inspiring narrative history, Jeff Biggers’ Resistance reframes today’s battles as a continuum of a vibrant American tradition, chronicling the courageous and often squabbling resistance movements that insured the benchmarks of our democracy—and served on the front lines of the American Revolution, the defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the defeat of fascism during World War II, and various civil rights movements. Resistance is a provocative reconsideration of the American Revolution and its unfolding promises. It brings to life early Native American, African American and immigrant struggles, women’s rights, and the pioneering environmental justice movements and their presence today. Biggers shows how a republic of resistance has served as a de facto “Truth and Reconciliation” commission for our history, especially in times when our nation—and its leaders—need to be held accountable.”
“Good Governance? Prison Gangs and Informal Order in the Former Soviet Union ”
Gavin Slade is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who works on questions of criminal justice reform in the former Soviet Union. He has worked at Ilia State University, Tbilisi and the University of Toronto. Directly prior to coming to Glasgow, Slade was a Research Fellow at the Freie Universitat, Berlin. Slade’s work as a criminologist is underpinned by an interest in the social organization of violence in the former Soviet Republics and has focused particularly on organized crime, policing, prison reform and the politics of crime. His first book was published with Oxford University Press in 2013 entitled ‘Reorganizing Crime: Mafia and Anti-Mafia in Post-Soviet Georgia.’
The concept of ‘governance’ has become salient in the study of organized crime. Recent US literature on prison gangs suggest that gangs emerge to meet demands for governance of social and economic interactions where the state cannot or will not do this. As such, prison gangs, far from being a symptom of dysfunction in fact are highly complex organizations that produce public goods, including the control of violence. Gavin’s research analyses data from a research project that analyses penal reform efforts that target prison gang structures in former Soviet prisons, specifically in Georgia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova. His research utilizes a survey and interview data of prisoners in Moldova to analyze the problem of prison subculture and its links to prison violence in this case. Gavin’s research finds that, contrary to some claims in the US literature, where prison gangs are present in Moldova this correlates with a poorer prison environment and greater insecurity among prisoners and staff.
“Patterns of Maritime Conflicts, 1900-2010”
Sara McLaughlin Mitchell is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. She has authored five books, the most recent being What Do We Know About Civil Wars? and has edited several special journal issues and published more than forty journal articles and book chapters. She is the recipient of several major research awards from the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development. Her areas of expertise include international conflict, political methodology, and gender issues in academia. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior women studying international relations. She has received several prestigious awards, the most recent being the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015) from the International Studies Association, and served as President of the Peace Science Society.
There is little understanding of their generalizable patterns with respect to claim onset and management. This project utilizes data from the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) on diplomatic claims over maritime areas globally from 1900-2010 to explore patterns in states’ interactions over territorial and resource issues of the seas. Initial results suggest that potential oil resources are more dangerous for producing militarized disputes than extracted oil resources (or none). Migratory fish stocks also raise the risks for militarized confrontation over maritime claims. Surprisingly, maritime claims are more likely to occur between wealthier and more democratic countries, although escalation of such disputes to fatal militarized disputes is rare. These findings will help us understand how prominent cases like the South China Sea disputes fit into the broader landscape of maritime conflicts.
“Mediation to End Civil Wars: Assembling the Dream Team”
Elizabeth Menninga is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015, specializing in International Relations and Political Methodology. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of international mediation in intrastate wars. Elizabeth teaches undergraduate courses in international relations and research methods as well as graduate statistics courses. Her most recent article, “Kantian fractionalization predicts the conflict propensity of the international system” published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, won the 2016 Political Ties award for best paper published on political networks.
Elizabeth will be discussing her research on when and how multiparty mediation can help the prospects for peace in civil wars. She identifies three characteristics of mediation efforts expected to improve mediation’s chances of success. These three being complementary efforts, balanced mediation, and coordination among the mediators. To evaluate these characteristics, she employs statistical tests on a set of mediation attempts in civil wars between 1989 and 2005. She will also discuss two specific cases of multiparty mediation: Angola and Mozambique. Elizabeth will discuss her findings and what light they bring to how multiparty mediation helps the prospects for peace in civil wars.
“Venezuela in Crisis”
America Colmenares is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She moved to the United States in 1989 to study English and graduated from Augustana College in 1997 with a B.A. in Communications, Political Sciences, and Spanish and Literature. In 2001, America graduated from the University of Kansas with a Masters in Latin American Studies with an emphasis in business and politics. After graduate school, America worked at the University of Miami as a Spanish Lecturer. She came to Augustana College in the fall of 2006. At Augustana, America teaches beginner and intermediate Spanish, Latin American History and Civilization, Business in Latin America, and Latinos in the United States. She is also a First Year Advisor working closely with multicultural and international students. Her passion is to educate people about Latin America in all of its aspects.
What was once the richest country in South America in 2001, Venezuela has found itself in an economic crisis with an increasingly authoritarian government. In the midst of this, food and medicine shortages leave its people in a desperate state. Many of which have fled to neighboring countries to escape the hardship. America Colmenares will provide an overview on how Venezuela, once a wealthy oil country, has now found itself in crisis.
“To Leave in the Afternoon: Inheriting the Language of a Civil War”
Ubah Cristina Ali Farah is a Somali-Italian novelist, performer, teacher and social activist. Her two novels, Madre piccola [Little Mother, Indiana UP 2011] and Il Comandante del fiume [The Commander of the River] tell stories of the Somali civil war and its refugees in Italy. In 2006, she was awarded the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize, and in 2008, the Vittorini Prize. She has a PhD in African Studies from the University of Naples; currently she lives in Brussels. She is participating in the International Writing Program’s 2017 Fall Residency courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Born in Italy to a Somali father and an Italian mother, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah grew up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, attending an Italian school there until the Somalia Civil War broke out in 1991. Ali Farah and her family subsequently relocated to Pécs, Hungary, and then later moved back to her birthplace, Verona, Italy. In the intervening years, she has carried with her a Somali language that was radically re-shaped by the conflict and stories that seem like her own memories. Farah draws on Eva Hoffman’s concept of “postmemory” to describe the effect of these traumatic experiences on the entire generation born after the Civil War. In this lunchtime lecture, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah will share her experiences as a writer addressing violence, civil division, and national memory.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please remember to renew your ICFRC membership.
“The International Order Under Fire: Old Problems and New Threats”
Jennifer Smyser is Vice President and Director of Policy Programming for the Stanley Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s team of policy professionals in advancing multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. Foundation programming is currently focused on nuclear security, genocide prevention, and climate
change. Smyser oversees implementation of the foundation’s programming efforts, which include identifying policy gaps and commissioning relevant analysis, developing and participating in coalitions and working groups, organizing roundtable and other policy dialogues, engaging the media and broader public, and establishing networks.
Before assuming her current position becoming Jen was Director of Policy Programming for more than six years, overseeing the Foundation’s nuclear security policy programming as well as citizen leader outreach. She played a key role in the
creation of the Fissile Materials Working Group and the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group, and fostered the foundation’s involvement in the Nuclear Security Summit process. Smyser also led an effort to improve and refine the
Foundation’s engagement with citizen organizations focused on international affairs and US foreign policy. Smyser spent a decade working in US-based nongovernmental organizations focused on US global engagement and citizen diplomacy. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University.
Keith Porter is President and CEO of the Stanley Foundation. Previously, he was the Director of Policy and Outreach for the Foundation. In that post, he played a leadership role in the Foundation’s transition toward a dynamic advocacy organization focused on specific multilateral policy-change goals. This included developing and implementing a new strategic plan, creating work plans , evaluating progress, and maximizing the foundation’s impact through increased networking and collaboration with a wide range of institutions and individuals.
Porter was Co-Producer and Co-Host of the Foundation’s nationally syndicated public radio program on world affairs, Common Ground, from 1988 to 2004. He also served as Co-Producer and reporter for a number of radio documentaries on international issues. Keith has been recognized him for excellence in broadcast journalism, including the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Headliner Awards, the New York Festivals, and the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Porter holds a graduate degree from Illinois State University.
The post– World War II international order has fostered ongoing cooperation and progress toward shared peace, prosperity and dignity for more than 70 years. Fault lines and fractures in the order are not new– for years rising powers have been
looking for an equitable piece of the decision-making process,
non-state actors have been challenging the systems in unique ways, and many states have been assaulting the system’s founding pillars of international law. However, new threats to the system’s stability have cropped up in recent years. Keith Porter and Jen Smyser will share how the international system can be preserved and improved.
“Vietnam: 1968-1969, New Leadership, Same Stalemate”
In mid-1968, President Nixon appointed Rear Admiral Elmo Zumwalt as the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam, with a promotion to Vice Admiral. The Navy had been in Vietnam since 1954 and this was the first Commander with a three-star rank. Howard Kerr accompanied the Admiral to Vietnam and served as his personal aide. General Creighton Abrams was the Senior Military Commander and Ellsworth Bunker was the U.S. Ambassador. The United States had over 500,000 uniformed military in Vietnam and had been fighting there with significant forces since 1965. Despite the escalation, the Vietnam war was already being lost in the minds of Americans.
After earning his UI degree, Iowa native Howard Kerr served as a U.S. Naval Officer from 1960-1981. During his time as a naval officer, he earned his MA and MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. From 1973-1975, Kerr served as a Military Aide to Vice Presidents Agnew and Ford, and as a Naval Aide and Deputy Presidential Counselor to President Ford. From there he went on to serve as a Military Fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations in 1978-1979. Upon leaving the military, he developed a successful private-sector career, becoming President and CEO of Custom Technologies Corporation, Grabill Aerospace Industries, Ltd., and Pocklington Financial Corporation. In his former hometown of Lake Forest, Illinois, Kerr served on the City Council and as Mayor. Through Rotary International, he is instrumental in providing scholarships to local high school students, and he has returned to the UI campus regularly to speak with students in the Department of Political Science and is a member of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board.
“Gaza: To Exist is to Resist”
Gaza, often referred to as the Gaza Strip, is a narrow piece of land approximately 24 miles long and four to seven miles wide. This home to 1.85 million persons is bound by a border closure by Egypt to the south, Israel to the west, and an Israeli air and sea blockade. Its residents are not free to leave this very hot, arid land which lacks clean water. Founded in 1949 as a self-governing Palestinian Territory, Gaza is part of the wide Palestinian-Israeli conflict. A report release last year by the United Nations stated that if conditions remain unchanged, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020.
Maria Filippone, D.O., is a family physician practicing in Des Moines. She received her degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Bio-sciences. Maria has participated in medical delegations visiting Gaza which were sponsored in part by Physicians for Social Responsibility. She is currently pursuing a life-long dream of learning Arabic at Drake University. Maria is co-founder of the Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre and co-owner of Noce, Des Moines’ premiere jazz club. Maria has also taught yoga for more than two decades.
“Excluded by Definition: Representations of Immigrants in the French Civic Integration”
France established the “Reception and Integration Contract” for non-European migrants in the context of a perceived crisis of integration and a rise in right-wing populism. While the official purpose of this civic integration program is to facilitate migrants’ entry into society by teaching them about French history, laws, and values, the program may actually reinforce the symbolic boundaries, or conceptual distinctions that separate migrants from the national community. This lecture presents data from an ethnography of the program and interviews with program staff and migrant participants to describe how the program discourse draws different combinations of boundaries based on language, religion and culture between the French nation and migrants from three regions: North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia.
Elizabeth Onasch is a Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Plattsburgh, with a Ph.D. in Sociology. Her teaching and research interests are race and ethnicity, immigration, political sociology, critical race theory, ethnography and comparative historical methods.
“Bullets and Bombs: The Background Music for an Average Day in Damascus, Syria”
As the Syrian civil war continues, the average Syrian person is dehumanized to a number, a casualty, or a cost on a neighboring state. While the media has mainly been focused on the outflow of refugees, little is known about what daily lives look like in the capital Damascus; a place where contradictions occur at every corner.
Monzer “Moe” Shakally. UI junior and Asylum seeker from Damascus, Syria. Evolutionary Biology major and a minor in International Relations, pursuing a career in dentistry. Activist in the Syrian conflict in Damascus and has been in the United States for 4 years.
“The Human Face of Middle East Refugee Crisis”
Janine di Giovanni, Middle East Editor of Newsweek, contributing editor of Vanity Fair and contributor to The New York Times and The Guardian, is one of Europe’s most respected and experienced reporters, with vast experience covering war and conflict. Her reporting has been called “established, accomplished brilliance” and she has been cited as “the finest foreign correspondent of our generation”.
She recently became an Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University in recognition of her work on violence and war and the trauma it brings to society, and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people reducing armed conflict by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). She is also an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Policy Studies. Her themes are conflict, stability, transitional justice and security.
“Continuity and Change in the Political and Cultural Life of a Small West African Country”
The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council presents an expert in the field of African art, Professor Christopher Roy. In his myriad of adventures throughout the past 45 years in Burkina Faso, he has observed a multitude of changes in the cultural life of the Burkina. Professor Roy will lead a discussion on how the Burkina culture reacted to bloodshed, change of governance and development.
Christopher Roy has been teaching about art and life in Africa at the University of Iowa for 38 years. He also teaches about the art of ancient Mexico, Native American art and the art of the Pacific Islands. For many years he served as Curator of the African collection at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and was deeply involved with Maxwell Stanley and Elizabeth M. Stanley in the creation of the Stanley collection. He is currently teaching an online course on African Art that has an enrollment of 300 undergraduates.
“Foreign Policy and the Role of the Public”
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.
“The Global Humanitarian Movement to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: What, Why, Who and Where”
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.
“Cross—Border Troubles? Interstate River Conflicts & Intrastate Violence”
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.
In this presentation, Lieutenant Colonel James Fielder, USAF discusses how he applied two political science models to respectively improve Afghan Air Force communications and to forecast the 2014 Afghan Presidential election outcome, the latter which drove force protection decisions for fellow Airmen stationed in Kabul. In addition to a personal account of using scientific in a combat environment, his presentation also touches on debates surrounding positive and normative science.
Lieutenant Colonel James Fielder is the Assessments and Lessons Learned Division Chief at Headquarters, 25th Air Force, Lackland AFB, Texas. Lt. Col. Fielder enlisted in U.S. Army in 1994 as a Persian Linguist and electronic warfare specialist and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 1999 to attend the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. Lt. Col. Fielder has served in a variety of intelligence positions and from 2006 to 2009 was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was then sponsored for an Air Force-funded Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Iowa, graduating in 2012. From October 2013 to September 2014 Lt. Col. Fielder was the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Senior Intelligence Officer and Advisor to the Afghan Air Force Kabul Air Wing, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement in operations against an opposing armed force.
The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State” has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give ISIL confidence that it will succeed but give others reason that it will fail. Mixing a puritan religious and political discourse, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name. An attempt will be made to place the rise and future of ISIL in religious, historical, and political contexts.
Ahmed E. Souaiaia is an Associate Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies with join appointments in Religious Studies, History, International Studies, and College of Law at the University of Iowa. He is the author of a number of books, articles, and essays.