Ambassador John Lange, Tuesday October 25, 2016

picture1“Global Health and Sustainable Development”

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From 1991 to 1995 at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva, Lange managed humanitarian and refugee assistance channeled through international organizations.  He also had tours of duty in the State Department Bureaus of African Affairs, Western Hemisphere Affairs and Management in Washington and at U.S. Embassies in Togo, France and Mexico. The United Nations Foundation was launched in 1998 with a $1 billion gift from Ted Turner to support the United Nations causes. The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations.    Ambassador Lange’s visit to Iowa is sponsored by the Iowa United Nations Association, the state affiliate of the United Nations Association of the USA, a program of the United Nations Foundation.

Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.) serves as the primary focal point for the UN Foundation’s global health diplomacy activities. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2013, Lange spent four years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with African governments to improve public health.  He has served as co-chair of the Global Polio    Eradication Initiative’s Polio Partners Group since its launch in April 2012. Ambassador Lange had a 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, including service as Special Representative on Avian and        Pandemic Influenza; Deputy Inspector General; Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the inception of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and Associate Dean at the Foreign Service Institute. He was Ambassador to Botswana from 1999 to 2002 and simultaneously served as Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Fall 2016, Health & Medicine, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

zp dala, Thursday October 20, 2016

picture1“Sister Wives: Female Comrades in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Struggles”

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South Africa’s long struggle to transcend Apartheid has been widely documented, both pre- and post-democracy (1994), with an enduring focus on figures such as the late Dr. Nelson Mandela and the late Dr. Walter Sisulu. Less well-known are the stories of the women comrades of the African National Congress, activists or loyal wives, or both, whose lives and losses have drawn too little notice. Such is the case with the personal story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, “Mother of the Nation,” whose multiple arrests, extended time in solitary confinement, and torture at the hands of the governing National Party took an enormous toll. And there are many Winnies who built the history of modern South Africa. Author zp dala will explore their stories.

zp dala is a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a writer. Her first nove, What About Meera, won the 2015 South African Minara Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Literary Prize, and made the top 15 African Novels of 2015 list. A second novel, The Architecture of Love, is forthcoming in 2017. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Women's Issues

Valon Murtezaj, Friday October 14, 2016

picture1“U.S.-Kosovo Relations”

Valon Murtezaj was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo in March 2016. Dr. Murtezaj was appointed to this position after a long and successful, professional and academic, experience. Before being appointed to this position, Murtezaj was Principal Advisor for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Isa Mustafa  Professor Murtezaj, among others, is a permanent professor in the prestigious IESEG School of Management in Paris, France, being the first Kosovo Albanian lecturing on diplomacy and international negotiation in a world diplomacy centre such as Paris.  His education and work and life experience is inter-disciplinary, multicultural and global.

The United States has been joined by over 100 countries in its recognition of Kosovo as an independent, sovereign state. The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Kosovo and international partners to strengthen Kosovo’s institutions, rule of law, and economy and build a democratic, law-abiding, multi-ethnic, tolerant, and prosperous country. U.S. policy priorities are: ensuring improved rule of law and governance that meets citizens’ needs; ensuring Kosovo has sustainable, inclusive economic growth that supports its stability and integration with Europe; ensuring Kosovo contributes positively to regional stability, including by legally transforming its security sector, countering violent extremism, promoting minority rights, and integrating into Euro-Atlantic structure.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

H. Glenn Penny, Wednesday October 5, 2016

picture1“German Iowa & the Global Midwest: How to Do Global History Locally”

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German immigrants consistently accounted for the largest number of foreign-born people in Iowa from the 1850s through the 1970s. While today we focus on recent immigrants from Latin America and Southeast Asia, our state remains deeply impacted by an earlier group of newcomers. This lecture presents the efforts of H. Glenn Penny in teaching his students about Germany, and in turn the Professor learned about Iowa and it’s history. Through the Iowa/Germany case study we can see that it is not only possible to do globally history locally, it is also imperative if we want to better understand the place in which we live.

H. Glenn Penny is a Professor of Modern European History at the University of Iowa. Much of his work is focused on relations between Germans and non-Europeans over the last two centuries. He has written many books on the topic. Currently, he is engaged in an in-depth study of German interactions with Guatemala and completing a book manuscript titled: Networked Spaces: German Schools in Latin America since the 1880’s.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Janine di Giovanni, Thursday September 29, 2016

picture1“The Human Face of Middle East Refugee Crisis”

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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.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, The Middle East, War & Conflict

Anna Barker & John Kenyon, Wednesday September 21, 2016

“Celebrating the City of Literature”

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Iowa City is the only “City of Literature” in the United States, and the Iowa City Book Festival will celebrate books and writing by leveraging the unique mix of local resources that helped earn that designation. The oldest creative writing program in the country, and is regarded as the best. With more than forty Pulitzer Prize winners from Iowa City, and featured program partners like the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and International Writing Program, this years’ book festival celebrates the enigmatic academic culture found in Iowa City.

anna-barker-photoAnna Barker is an Assistant Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature. In addition to being involved with the book festival each year, Anna has taught courses in the English Department, in Cinema and Comparative Literature, in Asian and Slavic Languages, and in the Honors Program. This fall’s book festival public reading will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Crime and Punishment.

john-kenyon-photoJohn Kenyon is the Executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. John spent 20 years in journalism in the Corridor, most recently as editor of the Corridor Business Journal. He is a Des Moines native, graduate of the University of Iowa and currently lives in Iowa City.

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Filed under Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events

Marina Zaloznaya & Bill Reisinger, Wednesday September 14, 2016

“Everyday Corruption in Russia & Ukraine; Who, Why and With What Consequences?”

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Zaloznaya and Reisinger have conducted first-of-their-kind surveys that reveal how Russian and Ukrainian citizens interact with a variety of officials and how often corruption plays a part. They will share their findings about which patterns emerge and why they matter politically.

zaloznaya_marina_a4x6-photoMarina Zaloznaya is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Iowa. Her Research interests include organizational and economic crime, non-democratic governance, and comparative-historical research methods. Zaloznaya’s book, The Politics of Bureaucratic Corruption in Eastern Europe explores the impact that hybrid political regimes of Ukraine and Belarus have on informal economies of local University.

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William Reisinger is Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. His research concerns authoritarianism and democracy in the former communist states, especially Russia. His most recent book is The Regional Roots of Russia’s Political Regime, co-authored with Bryon J. Moraski, which will appear from University of Michigan Press later this year. This is his eighth presentation to the ICFRC since 1988.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Past Events

Raj Rajagopal, Wednesday September 7, 2016

Picture1“Iowa’s Award-Winning India Winterim Program”

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The Iowa India Winterim program is an intensive, three-week  field-based study-abroad program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course in the program is based in one or several locations throughout India. This program is designed for UI undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members with related interests and experience. The India Winterim program sends about 135 students to India annually, and has sent approximately 900 students and 30 faculty members to India in the ten years since its creation. In 2016, the India Winterim program received the Heiskell Award for its efforts.

Dr. Raj Rajagopal is a Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences and Sustainability at the University of Iowa. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of environmental modeling, water quality monitoring, management, and public policy.  He has been invited to serve as a nominator for the annual Japan Prize (Japanese equivalent of the Nobel), since its inception in 1985. He is the founding editor of the journal “Environmental Practice” (formerly known as the “The Environmental Professional”) published by the Oxford University Press. His current interests include the provision of safe drinking water, reduction of adult illiteracy, and improvement of opportunities through micro-credit for women entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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Filed under Fall 2016, Past Events, University of Iowa

Christopher D. Roy, Thursday September 1, 2016

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“Continuity and Change in the Political and Cultural Life of a Small West African Country”

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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.

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Filed under Africa, Arts & Culture, Fall 2016, Past Events, War & Conflict

Wenfang Tang, Tuesday August 23, 2016

Picture1“Chinese Political Culture and Authoritarian Regime Resiliency”

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Traditionalism. Communism. Liberalism.

All these values and more are evident in current Chinese political culture, but with the coming of China’s political modernization or lack thereof the cohesion of these ideologies will forever change the future of China and her global influence. ICFRC presents a master of the Chinese political landscape, UI Professor Wenfang Tang, who will address the current trends, existing government and future predictions.

Wenfang Tang is Stanley Hua Hsia Professor of Political Science and International Studies. His current research focuses on public opinion and political change in contemporary China, as well as comparative political behavior. He has authored and coauthored several books published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Stanford University Press, and many articles in academic journals icluding American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Public Policy, China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, among others.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Fall 2016, Governance Issues, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

2016 Fulbright Student Awardees: Sarah Lucas, Lauren Darby, Amanda Kloser, Destinee Gwee, Wednesday July 20, 2016

“Fulbright Scholars Discuss Their Assignments”

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Sarah-LucasSarah Lucas is a Ph.D. candidate travelling to study and research in Hungary on Bartók’s First Piano Concerto using manuscripts, letters, scores and newspapers found only in the Bartók Archive an
d Széchényi Library. She will use her research to better understand patterns of cultural exchange between Hungary and the U.S. in the 1920s.

Lauren DarbyLauren Darby is pursing an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany where she will have the opportunity to work with a diversity program that places grantees in schools with significant numbers of students with minority backgrounds. Darby has studied German history and language and plans to become a social studies teacher.

Amanda-Kloser3Amanda Kloser is pursuing an English Teaching Assistantship in Turkey to further explore the similar literary styles she has found studying Turkish and Native American multicultural literature. As a future high school English and language teacher, she hopes to nurture her Turkish students English usage with skills she developed while pursing her Master’s degree.

DestineeDestinee Gwee is travelling to Taiwan where she will use her background in health care and athletics to promote healthy living to children in the community. As a future physician, she hopes to use her English Teaching Assistantship to learn how to effectively communicate with patients who may not speak English as a first language.

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Filed under Education, Past Events, Summer 2016, University of Iowa

Mandela Washington Fellows: Tochukwu Ikpegbu, Ameth Diallo, and Stephennette Taylor, Tuesday July 12, 2016

mandela washington fellowship“China’s Emerging Influence in Africa”

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The U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, started in 2014
as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative created by President Obama, empowers young people from Sub-Saharan Africa through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. This year the Fellowship is providing 1,000 young ambassadors with the opportunity to hone their skills at U.S. higher education institutions. The Iowa delegation of Fellows will spend six weeks in Iowa taking entrepreneurial classes and touring the state.

speaker 1Tochukwu Ikpegbu is a mechanical/production engineer from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka with over seven years experience in pork production. He has won two national awards and hopes to apply his experience into growing local businesses to reduce youth unemployment.

speaker 2Ameth Diallo is a PhD student in African and Comparative Literature at Université Gaston Berger. In 2014 he ventured into an agricultural-based project in the Senegalese River Valley which earned him the Jeunes Agriculteurs prize and a grant from the US Agency for International Development. Diallo is currently working on a project he hopes to implement in his home village of Koalack.

speaker 3Stephennette Taylor holds a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and a postgraduate diploma in Procurement Management. Taylor has several years experience as a manager at New World Finance and envisions establishing a microfinance bank to support agricultural products and rural emerging markets.

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Filed under Africa, China & East Asia, Economics, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Summer 2016

Come to ICFRC with us!

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Our friends at the University of Iowa Honors Center put together a video showing what it’s like to attend an ICFRC program!

 

 

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Remember, Honors Students eat free!

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Keep checking back for more information on our first summer program on July 12th!

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See you soon!

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Filed under Information Posts, University of Iowa

Adam Bobrow, Wednesday May 11, 2016

Adam Bobrow headshot

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

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

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

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

Jeffrey Ding, Tuesday May 3, 2016

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

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Jeffrey Ding was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Iowa City since age three. Jeffrey is a UI Senior majoring in Political Science, Economics and Chinese. Jeffrey is the recipient of several prestigious academic awards including the Truman and Udall Scholarships, a Boren Scholar, and this fall he will begin two years as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Oftentimes, when American observers view Chinese foreign policy, the message from Beijing is interpreted as homogeneous – in line with a party – state that closes off channels for dissent. In fact, multiple interests multiply along increasing globalization, and more and more interest groups are influencing China’s foreign policy decisions. One of these powerful groups is composed of the powerful state-owned oil companies. This presentation will shed light how these companies play a role in the escalation of the South China Sea disputes.

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

Joan Kjaer, Tuesday April 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theodore Powers, Tuesday April 19, 2016

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

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

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

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

Ron McMullen, Wednesday April 13, 2016

Picture1“Iowa, Heroin, and Afghanistan”

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

Ron McMullen, currently the University of Iowa’s Ambassador in Residence, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea.  Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 98 countries.  In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups. While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament.  He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin.  He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.
Between foreign assignments, Ron served three years as Visiting Professor at the Military Academy at West Point, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Politics.  He was Diplomat-In-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin 2010-2012. He has authored a number of scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.  In 2015 he received the University of Iowa’s Honors Program Teaching Award. A native of Northwood, Iowa and a graduate of Drake University, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa.

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

Hans House, Thursday April 7, 2016

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

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

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

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2016

Craig Just, Tuesday March 29, 2016

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

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

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

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