Category Archives: War & Conflict

Andrey Sazonov, Wednesday September 16, 2015

10959533_418712668285750_1303954258318720487_n (2) “Ramzan Kadyrov, Leader of Chechnya: Putin’s Frenemy?”

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Ramzan Kadyrov is currently serving as a head of the Chechen Republic and is notorious for being the most prominent and controversial figure in the North Caucasus region of Russia and for having a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin. Over the years Chechen leader was able to rebuild Chechnya and consolidated a significant amount of influence and power thus signaling the changing status and rising importance of Chechnya. These factors have led to a renewed debate over whether the Kremlin’s political control over the region, and over the Chechen republic in particular, won back after two gruesome wars in the post-Soviet years, may be loosening.

Andrey Sazonov is a senior majoring in International Relations at the University of Iowa and is originally from the North Caucasus region of Russian Federation. In 2014 Andrey represented the University of Iowa at the prestigious conference in the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and was a part of a workshop which developed a strategy to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In 2015 he participated in European Student Conference at Yale University where he authored a paper on issues of European Identity – which was later send to the European Parliament – and took part in creation of European Student think-tank “European Horizons.” During the same month Andrey represented newly created think-tank at Harvard’s annual European Conference. Currently he is working on establishment of a “European Horizons” chapter at the University of Iowa and is largely involved in the local and the university community.

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

Tibi Galis, Wednesday September 9, 2015

Tibi Galis

“Early Prevention of Mass Atrocities: Fulfilling Our Responsibility to Protect”

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Many scholars argue that had the world known about the horrors of the holocaust, something would have been done to stop the systematic ethnic cleansing. Today, such genocides still exist throughout the world yet it seems nothing is done to alleviate them.  This presentation will analyze the existing institutional infrastructures for mass atrocity prevention in various states and at the multilateral level. It will invite the audience to consider the effectiveness of the current arrangements and it will propose ways to continue the work that has been started in order to truly fulfill our responsibility to protect.

Tibi Galis has been the Executive Director of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation since 2006. As a result of his efforts, AIPR, a small non-profit with the vision of making the world a better place, has developed into a major force within the international movement to combat genocide. In addition to his work for AIPR, Dr. Galis received his Ph.D., which explores the relationship between transitional justice and regime consolidation around the world, from Clark University. Dr. Galis has previously worked as an associate researcher for the UK Parliament, where he helped to develop the UK position regarding the Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention to the UN Secretary General, and also as a rapporteur for the Swedish government at the 2004 Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Governance Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

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

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

Elizabeth Heineman, Thursday, November 13, 2014

Elizabeth D Heineman (online picture)“Gendering International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law”

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According to international humanitarian law, sexual violence is a grave crime in times of war.  Yet many states have inadequate laws to protect women from intimate partner violence.  Other domestic issues covered under the human rights framework, ranging from girls’ right to an education to marriage by consent, suffer similarly.  Professor Heineman will argue that citizenship is embedded in war and discuss how international feminists have gotten further when women’s equal citizenship is linked to war – and less far on issues that seem distant from war.

Elizabeth Heineman is a Professor in the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and in the Department of History, where she also serves as Chair.  Her specialties include modern German and European History, gender and sexuality, and the history of human rights.  Her most recent books include Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights (2011), Before Porn was Legal: The Erotica Empire of Beate Uhse (2011), and the memoir Ghostbelly (2014).

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict, Women's Issues

Nathan Miller, September 23, 2014

Nathan Miller“The More Things Change: The Old Politics of South Sudan’s New War”

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Sudan has been in civil war since the mid-1950’s.  Although punctuated by brief bouts of peace, that war persisted through South Sudan’s independence and continues today.  It is as much, if not more, about political participation and control over economic resources as about religion or ethnicity.

Nathan Miller is an Assistant Director of the Center for Human Rights and the Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Iowa College of Law. He is the director of the International Legal Clinic at the College of Law, where students provide legal assistance to governments and nongovernmental organizations on projects related to human rights, development, and the rule of law. Miller joined the College of Law in 2011 after ten years of international advocacy in more than twenty countries, including what is now South Sudan, where he lived for three years as a legal advisor to the government. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1998, where he studied Spanish and philosophy, and from the New York University School of Law in 2002.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Jovana Davidovic, September 18, 2014

Davidovic Pic“The Changing Character and Theories of War”

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In the past few decades war has changed drastically so as to little resemble classic examples of Just War theory and international humanitarian law. The character of war has changed with constant technological advancements. What is less obvious, however, is the change in the nature of war and its participating actors. In addition to war itself, theories of war have evolved as well. Professor Davidovic will explore the changing nature of war, and the extent to which theories of Just War should reflect those changes.

Jovana Davidovic is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa, working in the fields of political philosophy, and philosophy of law and military ethics. Before coming to the University of Iowa Jovana was a Visiting Research Associate at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in Canberra, Australia, where she worked on the Australian Research Council Discovery project “Jus Post Bellum and Transitional Justice”.  She received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota. Her publications include works on humanitarian military interventions, transitional justice and the moral and legal status of combatants.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Chris Anderson, Elena Osinskaya & Jill Anderson, April 23, 2014

“Regional Views of Ukraine’s Current Crisis” 

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The most urgent issue in international diplomacy continues to be the developing crisis in Ukraine.  policy makers and analysts around the world anxiously await developments to what some fear could become the largest forced annexation of European countries since the fall of the Soviet Union.  But, what started this crisis? Who are the Ukrainian people?  What is their relationship to Russia, and what are their perspectives on the crisis?  Three Iowans with substantial ties to the country will share insights on Ukrainian society and history and how regional differences have shaped recent events.

Chris Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in the UI Department of Political Science studying comparative politics.  He has a BS in Economics from Iowa State, and a MA in Russian Studies from Jagiellonian University in Poland.  He is interested in democratization and nationalism in Ukraine and Georgia.   He has made more than a dozen trips back to Ukraine since 2004.

Elena Osinskaya was born in Ukraine, eventually earning her undergraduate in Moscow.  She is the Language Initiatives Manager in the UI Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.  She is working towards  a Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education.


Jill Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in the UI Department of Political Science, focusing on International Relations and Comparative Politics.  She holds a BA in Political Science from Central College.  As spent a 2 years teaching English in Yarmolyntsi, Ukraine as a Peace Corp Volunteer.

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Filed under Europe, Governance Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Adrien Wing, April 17, 2014

wing photo“Women’s Rights in Egypt After the Arab Spring” 

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In 2010, the small North African country of Tunisia received global attention when its citizens managed to overthrow their authoritarian government. The turmoil quickly spread to neighboring countries, resulting in massive protests and demonstrations across North Africa and the Middle East. In Egypt, long-time president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. Many Egyptians hoped Mubarak’s deposition marked the beginning of a new time for Egypt, but that has seemingly not been the case. Professor Adrien Wing will discuss how the Arab Spring in Egypt has the lives of women. Have their lives improved? Worsened? Are the human rights of women more or less secure in post-revolution Egypt? Using thirty years of experience in the fields of law, history, and gender politics, Professor Wing will assess these questions.

 Adrien Wing is the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, where she has taught since 1987. Additionally, she is the Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. She served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development 2006-2009 and the on-site Director for the London Law Consortium semester abroad program 2010-12. She earned her B.A. at Princeton University, her M.A. at University of California Los Angeles, and her J.D. at Stanford Law School. Author of more than 100 publications, Wing is the editor of Critical Race Feminism: A Reader and Global Critical Race Feminism: An International Reader.


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Filed under Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Nick Grossman, April 2, 2014

Grossman pic“The Future of Drones and Unmanned Systems”

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In the last few decades, semi-autonomous killer machines have migrated from science fiction to a central role in real-world international relations.  The United States utilizes unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as “drones,” to strike targets both in and outside of military contexts.  Though the US is at the forefront of unmanned technology, all advanced militaries use robots to perform a variety of tasks. From surveillance to ordinance disposal, drones are used in the air, water, and on land.  With the US and other militaries’ increasing reliance on unmanned systems, the FAA endorsing commercial drones in 2015, and Google developing a self-driving car, the prevalence of robots is increasing exponentially.  As Grossman points out, technology often develops faster than humans’ understanding of it.

Nicholas Grossman is a lecturer in the political science department of the University of Iowa, where he teaches classes on terrorism and insurgency, national security policy, and 21st century technology and warfare.  He received a PhD in International Relations from the University of Maryland with a dissertation titled “Robotics and the Future of Asymmetric Warfare.”  Before coming to Iowa, he presented on preemptive warfare at the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, and on terrorism to the Applied Physics Laboratory.  As a technology enthusiast, Grossman finds developments in robotics to be both exciting and highly concerning.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, Technology, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Kurt Wall, November 15, 2013

Kurt Wall Photo“Witchcraft and Racism Threaten Tanzanians with Albinism”

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People with albinism have faced widespread discrimination and violence in east Africa for centuries, but only recently has this problem garnered significant international attention. Nowhere is this human rights issue more pronounced than in Tanzania, where a half-hearted government response to the problem has failed to stem waves of attacks against members of the albinism community. In the summer of 2012, Kurt Wall spent 11 weeks in Mwanza, Tanzania to try to determine what must be done to adequately address the unique social and healthcare-related issues facing this vulnerable population. He will share his experiences as a medical student at a healthcare clinic in rural Tanzania.

Kurt Wall is a third-year MD/MPH candidate at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 with a major in Neuroscience. This spring he will be conducting an international health practicum project as part of his Master of Public Health degree.

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Filed under Fall 2013, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Vicki Hesli Claypool, November 6, 2013

vicki picture“Egypt’s Revolution & Regional Dynamic: Current Status?”

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Recently eyes have been turned to the Middle East. Not just the recent Arab Spring, but also the revolts in Egypt have people more interested in that part of the world. Since Mohamed Morsi was removed as president by the Army Chief General, Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, the idea of democracy has been threatened. Vicki will talk about the departure of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s 30-year dictator; the rise, via democratic elections, and fall, via military coup, of the Muslim Brotherhood; the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of the coup; and the regional realignments occurring in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Vicki Claypool is a professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa.  She has served in numerous UI service positions over the years including Chair of the University of Iowa Research Council  and Chair of the Faculty Assembly.  She created and then coordinated the University of Iowa Middle East and Islamic World Studies Group. She serves on the editorial board of the flagship journal of the American Political Science Association. Her publications include six books, numerous book chapters, and over forty peer-reviewed journal articles.

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

Jim Leach, October 24, 2013

1267“What is Old, New, and Unprecedented in America’s Relationships with the World”

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Jim Leach will address the United States’ relationships with key countries in the context of a global setting in which weapons of mass destruction have proliferated and terrorism has been globalized. Such countries include: Syria, Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea. He will conclude by emphasizing the role of the United Nations and of diplomacy in general.

Following a thirty-five year Congressional career, Jim has been very active. Since leaving Congress, he has taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at Princeton. He served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2009 until earlier this year.  This fall, Leach, 70, has returned to Iowa. He has joined the faculty as a visiting professor in the UI College of Law as the University of Iowa Chair in Public Affairs. He will work with the UI Center for Human Rights, advise law students, and help secure field placements in Washington, D.C. He also drives a black and gold Mini Cooper, which he’s owned for several years, proving his Hawkeye bona fides pre-dates his membership on the UI faculty.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2013, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, War & Conflict

Robert Naiman, May 2, 2013

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


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

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

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

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

Prof. Ahmed E. Souaiaia, March 25, 2013

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

“The Arab Spring: Syria & Bahrain”

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

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


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March 25, 2013 · 8:54 AM

Rachel Gerber, September 25, 2012

“Never Again: How Genocide and Other Mass Atrocities Can Be Prevented”

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More than six decades after the Holocaust, ongoing violence in Syria is a vivid reminder that the systematic targeting of civilians remains a consistent reality of global politics. In 2005, the full array of global leaders at the United Nations World Summit committed to the principle known as the “Responsibility to Protect,” which outlines a series of shared commitments to prevent and halt atrocity violence, specifically genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. This discussion will consider the many challenges the international community faces as it seeks to implement these commitments, as well as the potential to better protect populations under threat and give new resolve to the promise of never again.

Rachel Gerber

Rachel heads the Stanley Foundation’s atrocity prevention program, which seeks to draw policy focus to the mutually reinforcing obligations reflected in the responsibility to protect framework and supports the development of deliberate, strategic, and balanced approaches to mass atrocity prevention and response. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked for the United Nations Office at Geneva and UNHCR on issues related to refugee resettlement, interagency collaboration, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2004 to 2006, she worked in sustainable development with the United States Peace Corps in Mlyniv, Ukraine, where her work centered on secondary-level education, curriculum development, and local capacity building. Gerber holds a B.A. in Government and International Relations from Cornell University and an M.A. in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (IHEID), where she specialized in conflict analysis, human rights, and humanitarian law.

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Filed under Fall 2012, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Kathy Kelly, September 12, 2012

“The Cost of War, The Price of Peace”

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Following a month-long trip to Afghanistan, Kelly will speak to the ICFRC about Afghan Peace Volunteers, their perspectives on their country’s future relationship with NATO and the ISAF, and methods of nonviolent resistance used by Afghans to demonstrate against US warfare. Kelly, co-coordinator of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Non-violence, an organization that campaigns to end US direct and economic warfare. She’s no stranger to the fruits of conflict – after spending seven years from 1996-2003 bringing badly-needed supplies to children and families in Iraq, she lived through the 2003 “Shock and Awe” campaign in Baghdad, as well as 2009’s Israeli action “Operation Cast Lead” in the Gaza strip. She is returning now from her third month-long trip to Afghanistan, where she lived among ordinary Afghan people.

Kelly received a B.A from Loyola University at Chicago and a Masters in Religious Education from the Chicago Theological Seminary. She has written, contributed, and been published in more than 23 newspapers and websites. Additionally, she has received approximately 40 awards in areas of free speech, peace, social justice, and war resistance. Kelly has been nominated three times for the Nobel peace prize.

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Filed under Fall 2012, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Alan Brody, June 7, 2012

“Human Rights Hypocrisies in the ‘Holy Land’”

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Alan Brody will present excerpts from the memoir of his youth, most of which describe the experiences of his 1967 trip to Europe and Israel. He will also reflect on his present-day thoughts about the continuing conflict between Israelis and their Palestinian and Arab neighbors. Brody is allotted an hour and a half, during which he will speak, offer a short break, and continue with some Q. and A.

Alan Brody entered the International Realm in 1967 when he participated in a Jewish Study Mission to Europe and Israel. At only 20-years-old his perception of the world changed to include what he had learned about the Holocaust response of “Never Again”, and the related Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Shortly after, Brody joined the Peace Corps in Ghana, where he met his wife, Mary, and settled for almost ten years. Before coming to Iowa in 1978, Brody worked in other Third World countries where he developed empathy and an ability to identify with aspirations of Third World peoples. For many years he has experienced an internal conflict that is similar to the competing narratives that Israelis and Palestinian Arabs have been struggling over for the past six decades and more.

Brody is originally from Indiana, Pennsylvania. He studied English and Creative Writing as an undergraduate at Yale, served in the Peace Corps, and then came to Iowa to pursue a Ph. D. in Journalism and Mass Communication. From 1984-2006 he worked for UNICEF in Nigeria, Turkey, Afghanistan, China, and Swaziland, where he spent six years as a representative. After UNICEF, Brody returned to Iowa City where he currently resides.

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Filed under Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Summer 2012, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Jennifer Smyser, April 11, 2012

“The Importance of Global Nuclear Security”

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On Wednesday, April 11, Jennifer Smyser gave a lecture on the state of the on-going international and domestic efforts at guaranteeing worldwide nuclear security. As a Program Officer in Policy and Outreach at The Stanley Foundation, Ms. Smyser is a member of Fissle Materials Working Group (a nongovernmental coalition of over 40 experts representing many of the top nonproliferation and nuclear security organizations).

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The entirety of global nuclear security depends on accounting for, stockpiling, and securing of nuclear materials, especially Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium.  Thirty countries depend on nuclear power as a source of electricity (which utilizes Low Enriched Uranium). Of these countries,  only the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have successfully detonated nuclear weapons (although it is widely believed that Israel is also in possession of nuclear arms). South Africa is the only nation to have successfully built a nuclear weapon and, as a result of intense international pressure, has since dismantled its weapons program. It is crucial that the nuclear capable nations (and especially those that maintain an active weapons program) take all necessary pre-cautionary measures to ensure that their own stockpiles are well documented, centralized, and secured. These efforts, however, are far from complete. According to a report released by the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA), there were more than 2,100 reports of loss, theft, and illegal acquirement of nuclear materials by the member nations from 1993 to 2011, of which about 400 incidents involved unauthorized possession, movement, or attempts to illegally trade or use nuclear and radioactive materials. Various attacks on nuclear facilities, and high-profile incidents of theft and sale of HEU on black markets have led to increased concerns of a nuclear terrorist plot. Known somewhat infamously as the “Khan” network (named after Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan), the presence of a number of “black markets” have enabled states like Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan to illegally acquire weapons-grade nuclear materials. Additionally, as Ms. Smyser noted, there are significant security concerns regarding the storage of nuclear isotopes at medical laboratories and research facilities, which would be especially vulnerable to attack.

With the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, Russia’s efforts at securing its nuclear facilities are absolutely essential for international security. However, Russia’s stores are spread thinly all across a vast amount of space and are thus difficult to secure and account for effectively. According to the CRS, “reports of Russian nuclear materials for sale on the black market, when combined with evidence of weaknesses in the security system have raised concerns about the possible theft or diversion of nuclear materials from these facilities” although the United States and Russia have cooperated on a number of fronts to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation and war. This has included, among other initiatives, the conversion of weapons-grade plutonium to non-weapons-grade, sharing early warning data, agreements to transparency, safeguards, and irreversible talks, and economic initiatives for proliferation prevention (IPP) programs. Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has also been a subject of significant international concern, as the political integrity of the Pakistani state is sometimes threatened by political instability.

To address some of the significant problems with the current state of international nuclear security, in April of 2010, the United States hosted the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, wherein leaders and representatives from forty-six governments convened to discuss measures to better safeguard weapons-grade plutonium and uranium and to prevent nuclear terrorism. The results of the summit were largely symbolic, with only a handful of governments committing to new, detailed initiatives to increase domestic nuclear security. However, at the conclusion of the summit, seven countries had agreed to the removal of HEU from their facilities and a number of others committed themselves to begin converting weapons-grade uranium and plutonium to non-weapons-grade. A detailed list of the committments made at the summit (by country) can be accessed here. And again, in March of this year, another Nuclear Security summit was convened in Seoul, South Korea, wherein member nations reported on the statuses of fulfilling their committments and addressing questions regarding the production of nuclear isotopes.

Ms. Smyser concluded her discussion with a brief assessment of the current state of affairs in global nuclear security. She remarked that there is significant disagreement among various nations regarind the nature of the nuclear threat. Some nations, like the United States, are deeply worried about the possibility of a nuclear attack, while others are less inclined to give it attention. Additionally, she highlighted the need for more bilateral and multilateral cooperation among participating nations. Non-nuclear powers must also committ to initiatives concerning nuclear security as proliferation networks extend all across the world. And finally, Ms. Smyser emphasized the need to sustain previous committments. If global nuclear security is only as good as its weakest member, then the whole community must actively cooperate with one another to ensure that the nuclear materials of the world are well accounted for and secured.

Links to the Stanley Foundation’s work:

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2012, War & Conflict

War Veterans, March 27, 2012

“Telling Iowa City: War Veterans’ Experiences: Putting Our Stories on Stage”

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Telling: Iowa City was created from the stories of local veterans whose military experiences ranged over 40 years, from Vietnam to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unlike other shows, this play was performed by the veterans themselves, each telling their own stories of enlistment, deployment and return to civilian life.   Members of the cast will be talking about what it was like to be in the show and to share their very personal stories with the community. The show was co-produced by Working Group Theatre, the University of Iowa Veterans Association and The Telling Project. The Telling Project works with communities and organizations around the country to bring attention to the public ignorance of the immediate impact of war on individuals and communities, as well as the difficulties and danger that ignoring the rift between veterans and civilian populations poses to communities and the nation as a whole.The Cast of Telling: Iowa City includes: Joe Gasperetti (United States Amy 1966-1968), Charles Lynch (United States Army 1968-1971), Randy Miller (United States Navy 1973-1975), Theodore John (United States Marine Corps 1986-1992), Amanda Irish (United States Marine Corps 2002-2006), and Chris Deyo (United States Army 2006-2011). Jennifer Fawcett, the Associate Artistic Director of Working Group Theatre and co-writer and co-director of Telling: Iowa City, will be introducing the group. A native of Canada, she came to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa’s MFA Playwriting Workshop. Fawcett is now preparing to write and direct Telling: Des Moines

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Filed under Past Events, Spring 2012, War & Conflict