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DATE: January 5, 2012 10:25:42 AM PST
WWU's Fairhaven College Announces Winter World Issues Forum Slate

Contact: Shirley Osterhaus, Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies coordinator, (360) 650-2309 or shirley.osterhaus@wwu.edu.

 

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies has announced the upcoming winter slate of presenters for its 10th Annual World Issues Forum, with subjects ranging from violence in the Horn of Africa to the overthrow of Libya’s dictatorship.

The following forums are free and open to the public, and are from noon to 1:20 p.m. every Wednesday in the Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless noted otherwise:

 

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Seeking Salaam-- Ethiopians, Eritreans, Somalis in the Pacific Northwest”

Presenter: Sandra Chait, an immigrant from South Africa and independent scholar in Seattle

Prolonged violence in the Horn of Africa, the northeastern corner of the continent, has led growing numbers of Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis to flee to the United States. Despite the enmity created by centuries of conflict, they often find themselves living as neighbors in their adopted cities, with their children as class-mates. While successfully navigating life in their new home, they continue to struggle to bridge old divisions and find “salaam”– or peace – with one another. 

 

Wednesday, Jan. 18

“The World Water Crisis: Challenges of Access to Clean Water in Kenya”

Presenters: Mark Purington, executive director of the Eleos Project, an international nonprofit clean-water initiative in Kenya; and Sara Purington, a WWU student from Kenya

Millions of people around the world die each year because of a lack of clean drinking water. The Eleos Project is a nonprofit clean-water initiative working in Kenya to find and implement sustainable solutions to this global water crisis. This initiative works directly on the ground in rural Kenya to develop and coordinate water projects by working in partnership with communities. As developing countries become increasingly affected by a lack of access to clean water, what will be next for these nations? 

 

Wednesday, Jan. 25

San Quentin: A Monstrosity

Presenter: Reginald Pulley, former warden of San Quentin prison 

When Reginald L. Pulley was appointed warden of California State Prison at San Quentin in February 1982, he happened to be the first African American to be appointed in California to head a maximum security prison.  During his tenure as warden, he was quoted at a public hearing as calling the prison a “monstrosity” that should be closed. 


Wednesday, Feb. 1  

“Art and Social Engagement”

Presenters: Harrell Fletcher, associate professor of Art and Social Practice, Portland State University; and Wendy Red Star,  adjunct professor of Art at Portland State University

Wendy Red Star and Harrell Fletcher will present and discuss various examples of community-based art projects they have generated. Fletcher's socially engaged art practice focuses on “participatory site-specific projects” that reference issues and histories of specific communities and places. Red Star concentrates on subjects related to her experience of growing up on the Crow Reservation, examining the history and current culture of Native Americans.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 8

“Let Us Water the Flowers: The Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran”

Presenter: Jafar Yaghoobi , former political prisoner in Iran 

The 1980s were the bloodiest decade in Iran’s recent history.  Based on his memoir, “Let Us Water the Flowers,” Jafar Yaghoobi will recount the 1979 revolution, the torture, arrests and mass killings under the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the struggle that continues for freedom, democracy and justice with the youth of Iran.  His story seeks to understand the complexities of Iranian politics and the nature of the current regime, many of whose leaders were involved in the events described.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 15 

Doing Good in Africa: Lessons from traditional agencies of self-help in the continent”
Presenter: Yomi Durotoye, director of the African Studies program, Wake Forest University

The constructed image of Africa as a luckless and helpless continent forever in need of foreign aid unjustly ignores the strong tradition of self-help and self-reliance that is found across African societies. Drawing from specific cases from his home community, Okemesi, in the Yorubaland region of Nigeria, the speaker will describe the processes, practices, and enabling values of traditional agencies of self-help and explore how these can be adapted to foreign aid to make the effort more effective, respectful and enduring.     

 

Wednesday, Feb. 22

How our way of life is killing Africans”

Presenter: Gary Geddes, Canadian author

Every time your cell phone rings or you reach for those cheap items on the shelves at the food store, a child dies or goes hungry in Africa. Why? Because the coltan – an essential heat-resistant component in cell-phones, computers, play stations and all the new electronic gadgets that clutter and consume our hours – is being mined by starving children working barefoot in unsupported mines shafts that often collapse. Our low food prices are achieved through government subsidies that make it impossible for Africans to sell their agricultural products on the world market. And many of our pension funds are invested in mining companies that care nothing for human rights or the environment.    

 

Monday, Feb. 27

Libya from Dictatorship to Revolution”

Presenter: Ali Abdullatif Ahmida professor and chair, University of New England Department of Political Science

Addressing the structural causes of the Feb.17 Libyan Revolution, Ali Abdullatif Ahmida will analyze causes of the current revolution and its success in liberating Libya from the control of the Qaddafi forces. The main thesis is that the inability of the Qaddafi regime to make serious political reforms appropriate to the changes in the economy, education, and society eventually led to conflict between a dynamically changing social structure and a rigid political system that inhibited new social forces – especially unemployed youth – from having their social demands and grievances met.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 29

“Routes to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

Presenter: Simona Pinton, Seattle University School of Law

The length and viciousness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem to preclude any lasting peace in the Middle East.  The international community has not proven to be effective enough to bring the two parties to an acceptable settlement, and any international efforts will not be successful without the joint work of the civil society to rebuild of confidence and respect within and between the two societies. The Magnificat Institute in East Jerusalem is a special project that, through music, aims to produce a peaceful, positive impact in the everyday lives of children and youth, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or nationality.

 

For more information on the World Issues Forum speaker series presented by WWU’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, call Shirley Osterhaus at (360) 650-2309 or visit the World Issues Forum Website at http://www.wwu.edu/depts/fairhaven.

WWU's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 1967, is nationally recognized for innovation in teaching and  learning, intensive advising, student-designed majors, narrative assessment, experiential and independent learning and a commitment to social justice.

 

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