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International Lecture Archives 2008-2009

Past Alworth International Lectures: 2008-2009

"Ruskin's Unto this Last: Elegant Nonsense or Rationale for Fair Trade?"
Presented by Dr. William Henderson, Director of the Alworth Institute
 Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. - Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

John Ruskin’s Unto this Last is a magnificent work of English prose, a reflection on the values and mores of Victorian society at its most exploitative. Ruskin's socio-economic criticism challenged laissez-faire and argued against the unregulated market in a way that is directly relevant to modern and international notions of welfare. Dr. Henderson, drawing from his book on Ruskin’s Political Economy, will argue that Ruskin’s criticism of rampant consumerism in a world defaced by poverty, where those who consumed did not work and those who worked did not consume, still has relevance in today’s globalized and unequal world. There is a direct line that goes from Ruskin’s Unto this Last through to the foundation of Oxfam and so on to Fair Trade. Ruskin, like Dickens, helped shape an agenda in which poverty was recognized as a political rather than simply as an economic challenge.

"Russia-Georgia Conflict: Putin's View"
Presented by Dr. Zefirov Nikolay, Professor of Chemistry, Moscow State University
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 12:00 Noon - UMD Fourth Floor Rotunda

Dr. Nikolay will briefly examine Putin's perspective on the current conflict between Russia and Georgia. He will then answer questions about the situation from the audience.

"Georgia on My Mind"
Presented by Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin, Professor of History at UMD
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
- 12:00 Noon - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin will analyze modern Georgia in the context of the Russian sphere of influence.  She will discuss the recent crisis in Georgia and examine U.S. foreign policy concerning the conflict between Georgia and Russia.  Dr. Pogorelskin is the Chair of the Department of History at UMD.  She holds a PhD from Yale University and was a Rhodes Visiting Fellow at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.  She is an expert on Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet history. 

"Brazil: The Country of the Future has Arrived”
Presented by Robert H. Scarlett, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota International Center
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

Robert H. Scarlett, has more than 40 years experience working in a wide range of international activities with both private companies and global non-governmental organizations. He is currently President of Medical Equipment Exporter's, Inc. and Senior Associate with Grupo Avance, LLC - both in Minneapolis. In addition to his work as chair of the Minnesota International Center, he serves on the President's Council of ACCION International, Boston, Massachusetts, a microlending pioneer. Mr. Scarlett is fluent in German, Spanish and Portuguese and has lived or worked throughout Europe, Latin America and parts of Africa. He is the author, with Dr. Lawrence Koslow, of Global Business: 308 Tips for Taking Your Company Worldwide (1999). Mr. Scarlett will speak about economic changes and growth in Brazil and the political consequences of those changes.

“Peace, Stability and Reform in the Middle East: How will the new U.S. Administration Balance Priorities?”
Presented by Dr. Michele Dunne, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & Editor, Arab Reform Bulletin
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 70

When a new U.S. administration takes office in January 2009, it will face a myriad of challenges in the Middle East. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems more elusive than ever, Iraqi stability is still a distant goal, an assertive Iran is challenging the regional security balance, and calls for domestic political and economic reform have met with mixed results. What can we learn from the successes and failures of the Bush and Clinton administrations to inform more effective U.S. diplomacy in the future? Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin, a monthly electronic journal published in English and Arabic, will examine these questions in this presentation. A former Middle East specialist at the Department of State and White House, she is also an adjunct professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. Dr. Dunne holds a PhD in Arabic language and linguistics from Georgetown University. Her recent publications include "Incumbent Regimes and the 'King's Dilemma' in the Arab World: Promise and Threat of Managed Reform" (with Marina Ottaway) and "The Ups and Downs of Political Reform in Egypt" (with Amr Hamzawy), which appear in Beyond the Facade: Political Reform in the Arab World (January 2008).

“Iran: Political and Cultural Contexts”
Presented by Dr. Rosemary Stanfield Johnson, Associate Professor of History, University of Minnesota Duluth & Dr. Khalil (Haji) Dokhanchi, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin Superior.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. - UMD Library Fourth Floor Rotunda

This lecture, given by two local experts on Iran, provides a view and understanding of that country that is different from that most commonly held in the United Sates.  Dr. Stanfield-Johnson earned a PhD in Middle Eastern History from New York University.  She specializes in religious history, late medieval and early modern Iranian and Middle Eastern history, Safavid Iran, and Shi‘ite Political Culture.  She will discuss the cultural and religious contexts of Iranian society and its orientation to the rest of the world.  Dr. Dokhanchi manages the International Peace Studies major at the University of Wisconsin Superior.  He is a native of Iran and holds a PhD from Binghamton University.  He will examine the internal political structures and processes of Iran and its orientation to the Middle East.

FullerAlexandra Fuller, Award-winning Author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood and Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier, will visit UMD on Wednesday, November 19, 2008.  She will speak on "Race, Responsibility, and Raucous Behaviour - A Meditation on Zimbabwe, Writing and Family." The lecture will be held at 7:00 p.m. in Montague Hall 70. Books will be available for purchase at the lecture.

Fuller was born in England in 1969 and in 1972 moved to her parents’ farm in what was then Rhodesia.  At that time, Africans were fighting for independence from British rule.  Fuller’s parents fought to keep their farm – her father fought against the liberation army and her mother was a Police Reservist – but the family moved to farms in Malawi and Zambia when the war ended in 1980.  Fuller’s experience in Zimbabwe has informed her works which are described as anti-war stories.  While her books which serve as memoirs are not overtly political, she argues that everything we do is political, from the decision to wake up in the morning to the words we have the courage to speak.  “Africa is a great teacher,” she has explained. “We’re not a good example of much, but we’re a terrible warning of power run amok and of the long, high price of oppression.”  Fuller’s first book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, tells of her African childhood played out against the backdrop of war and the African landscape.  In Scribbling the Cat, she shares her experiences of traveling through Zimbabwe and Mozambique with a Rhodesian war veteran.   

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight was a New York Times Notable Book in 2002, the 2002 Booksense Best Non-fiction, a finalist for the guardian’s First Book Award and winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.  Scribbling the Cat won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage in 2004.  Fuller has written extensively for magazines and newspapers including The New Yorker and National Geographic magazines.  Her most recent book is The Legend of Colton H Bryant (Penguin Press, 2008).  She lives in Wyoming with her husband and three children.   

For more information on Alexandra Fuller and her work go to

"Human Rights Issues in Latin America: Environment, Energy and Indigenous Rights"
Presented by Elizabeth da Cunha Sussekind, Dr. Maria del Rocio Bermeo Sevilla, and Juan Carlos Arjona Estévez, 2008 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
- 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

These three experts from Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico, respectively, will discuss environmental and energy issues in Latin America as they relate to the broader issues of human rights, particularly the rights of indigenous communities. They will cover such topics as the production of energy vs. environmental pollution; natural resources such as land and water and indigenous communities; and the Latin American perspective on environmental protection and the potential of a new U.S. foreign policy toward environmental issues. Ms. Sussekind is a professor of criminology and human rights at the Catholic University of Rio de Janiero. She is a human rights activist and has served as the Secretary of Justice of Brazil. Dr. Bermeo Sevilla is one of the founders of CORPORACIO DECIDE, an NGO working on human rights and democracy issues. She is also one of the founders of WAM International Chapter Ecuador, which works to advance women through microfinance with a human rights and gender focus. She earned her doctorate in Juridical Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and a DESS in Arbitration, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution form the Paris Pantheon Assas, France. Mr. Arjona Estévez is a lawyer specializing in international human rights law, as well as international humanitarian and criminal law. He has postgraduate training in human rights from Iberoamericano University in Mexico City and the University of Chile, American University, the National University of Ireland, and the International Institute for Human Rights. He served as the Coordinator of the Human Rights Program at Iberoamericano University from 2005-2007. All three scholars are currently Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.

"Immigration and Globalization"
Presented by Michele Wucker, Executive Director of the World Policy Institute, New York
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
- 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

WuckerMore than 200 million people -a record- now live in countries where they were not born. Policy challenges related to immigration, which is now debated heavily and with much emotion, cannot be resolved through domestic policies alone but must take into account the realities of global interdependence, particularly where economics are concerned. How are countries around the globe responding to record human migration and mobility? What policies will succeed or fail in helping host communities to absorb new immigrants? What can be done to reduce the pressures that force people to leave their countries and families in order to survive? What is the relationship between economic globalization, labor markets, and jobs for immigrants and the native-born? How can policies support the middle classes in both wealthy and poor nations? Through an examination of these questions, Michele Wucker will analyze the new realities of global immigration. In addition to her leadership of the World Policy Institute, Ms. Wucker is a research fellow at the Immigration Policy Center in Washington D.C. and was a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow where she wrote about the changing rules of citizenship around the globe. She is the author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (PublicAffairs Press, 2006/2007) and of Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola (FSG/Hill & Wang, 1999/2000). She is a frequent lecturer at leading universities and a contributor to many U.S. and international publications on the subjects of global immigration and migrant integration, cross-cultural conflict and conciliation, the politics and economics of globalization, and Latin American politics and economics. Ms. Wucker is also an advisor to the Batey Relief Alliance, which specializes in providing medical care to migrant workers in the Dominican Republic; and to the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Project.

"Cuba: The Evolution of the Revolution and the U.S. Response"
Presented by Lissa Weinmann, Senior Fellow & Cuba Project Director at the World Policy Institute, New York
Canceled and rescheduled for Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 80


The long-awaited moment arrived with less fanfare than expected – Fidel Castro was replaced as leader of Cuba, and a peaceful yet uncertain transition is taking place.  This lecture will examine who the current leaders of Cuba are and how they are navigating this new political and economic terrain including their international partnerships and issues.  Lissa Weinmann will discuss how a half-century lack of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will influence possibilities for a new relationship between fresh administrations in both countries, including the role of Cuban Americans. Ms. Weinmann focuses her research, writing and policy work on providing a true picture of modern Cuba to U.S. audiences.  She organized the vast National Summit on Cuba conferences in various U.S. cities, including in Miami with Mikhail Gorbachev.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Cuba Trade Association.  A frequent traveler to the island, she recently worked on SALUD!, an award-winning documentary on Cuba’s healthcare system and its international reach.

“Culturally Speaking: Promoting Cross-Cultural Awareness in a Post 9/11 World"
Presented by Mary Coons, Founder & President, Pen & Ink Communications
Monday, March 30, 2009 – 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 80

Mary Coons, a part-time resident in the Kingdom of Bahrain, will discuss the misconceptions that Bahraini Arabs and Americans have about each other's culture. She has written a book by the same title as her this lecture, and will analyze the generalizations individuals from each culture hold about the other.

“Resonance, The Odyssey of the Bells”
Documentary film screening & discussion led by Paul Creager, filmmaker
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 – 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 80

This documentary film project tells the story of the Duluth Peace Bell that sits in Enger Park in Duluth. The film, now in the final stages of production, traces the paths of centuries-old Japanese temple bells, including the Duluth Peace Bell, that were taken as war trophies by the U.S. military during WWII. Resonance shows Duluth in a positive light as it highlights the city's efforts after WWII to mend the scars of the war and re-humanize a former enemy.

Three lectures in April 2009 will be presented by the Alworth Institute International Fellow. The 2009 International Visiting Fellow is Dr. Marek Wróblewski, Deputy Director for International Cooperation and Research Fellow for the Institute of International Studies, International Economic Relations Section, University of Wroclaw. Dr. Wróblewski holds a PhD in Economic Science with a specialization in International Economic Relations from Wroclaw University of Economics in Poland. He was a Senior specialist for the Department of regional development and international cooperation in Wroclaw. He is a member of the Central and East European International Studies Association and an Expert in the Project of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development Support for Polish Export. He has also been a visiting professor and researcher throughout Europe. His areas of expertise include international economic relations, including international finance and trade; European economic integration and European Union regional policy; and economic transformation and cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. He has published several articles on the globalization and regionalization of financial markets, financial crises, economic integration and the expansion of the European Union.

A summary of Dr. Wróblewski's lectures follow:

"Economic Transformation in Poland: Success or Failure?"
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

Dr. Wróblewski will discuss the structural and macroeconomic changes that have taken place in Poland since it made a shift to a market economy 20 years ago. He will examine the inflow of foreign investment and level of foreign trade, along with other economic indicators, in order to assess the success of the transformation. He will also reflect on the future of further integration and cooperation within the European Union, including the prospects for monetary integration and technology transfers.

"The Development of the Russian Economy and its Impact on Eastern Europe"
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

In this lecture, Dr. Wróblewski analyzes the performance of the Russian economy by examining several development indicators. He will discuss the effects this development has on the economies of Eastern Europe, economic integration in the post-Soviet era, and the prospect of a future role for Russia in the European Union.

"The Financial Crisis and the European Union"
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - UMD Fourth Floor Library Rotunda

The current financial crisis is global in scope, and Dr. Wróblewski will discuss its effects in Europe. He will provide illustrative examples of European Union responses to the crisis and cooperation, or the lack thereof, within the EU in confronting the situation.


2008-2009 Special Events:

Alworth Institute Reception for UMD International Faculty
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 4:30- p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Griggs Center

The purpose of this reception is to give international faculty a chance to hear about the Alworth Institute, to meet other faculty and supporters of the Alworth Institute including community members.  It will also give faculty a chance to meet one another and share experiences of living in Duluth. This reception is supported by the EPC Subcommittee on International Education.

Alworth Institute Film - The Singing Revolution
Monday, September 22, 2008 - 12:00 Noon, Kirby Rafters & Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 7:00 p.m., LSBE 118

In 1991, after nearly fifty years of Soviet occupation, the small Republic of Estonia confronted their occupiers by announcing their independence to the world. Their charge heralded the collapse of the Soviet Union and the freedom of now-suddenly-former Soviet republics. Music played a pivotal role in these historical events .The Singing Revolution, a 94-minute documentary film by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty, tells the story of one country‘s undeniable thirst for self-determination and its unshakable belief in what it means to be free - to be Estonian. At first glance the story of an extraordinary set of circumstances, The Singing Revolution also stands as an intimate portrayal of people: ordinary, every-day people who refused to believe that freedom was out of their reach.

Alworth Institute Morning School - The Palace of Versailles and how French Style came to England
Saturday, October 4, 2008 - 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 Noon - Tweed Museum Lecture Gallery

With the creation of the palace and garden of Versailles in the late 17th century, Louis XIV made a magnificent setting for his court and government, whose influence reached throughout Europe and beyond. Dr. Dianne Barre, a British researcher of historical sites and gardens, will host this well-illustrated morning school to take a broad look at the magnificent palace and expansive gardens at Versailles, used together as a highly effective form of propaganda by Louis XIV. This is followed by a more detailed examination of the influence of Versailles upon English architecture and gardens. This influence can still be seen today at Hampton Court Palace, Chatsworth House (Derbyshire) and Boughton House (Northamptonshire). Louis XIV's persecution of French Protestants (Huguenots) meant that many fled from France to England. As refugees in England they had an enormous influence on English interior design and in silverware and wrought-iron features. Later in the 18th century, and even under Napoleon, French design continued to fascinate and influence the wealthy English aristocracy, who continued to visit Versailles on the Grand Tour whenever peace made such visits possible.

Free to the public, but reservations should be made by calling (218) 726-7493 or by e-mail to

“My Turkish Missile Crisis”
Two readings by Professor Joseph Maiolo, UMD English Department
Thursday, October 30, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Monday, November 3, 2008 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
UMD Library Fourth Floor Rotunda

Instead of Christmas stories this December, fiction writer and UMD English  Professor Joseph Maiolo will read his personal narrative essay. "My Turkish Missile Crisis." In October 1962, Air Force Lieutenant Joseph Maiolo, having been assigned to a six-months' nuclear-weapons maintenance training course two years before, arrived for duty at Cigli Air Base in western Turkey during the first days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was immediately informed that he would be in charge of the nuclear warheads for fifteen Jupiter missiles located three to a site on five sites ranging to within 150 miles of the Russian border.  Americans--and the world--listened to the news and read about what seemed to be going on in and around Cuba during those thirteen fearful days. "My Turkish Missile Crisis," in dramatizing the other story, shows from within the eye of that storm how close we came to global calamity.

This event is co-sponsored by the Alworth Institute and the College of Liberal Arts.

St. Andrew’s Night, Tuesday, December 2, 2008 - 6:00 p.m. ($40 per person, Friend Raising Event)
Scottish Dinner & Lecture - "Scotland's Parliaments", Presented by Dr. William Henderson, Director of the Alworth Institute

The veteran Scottish Nationalist, Winnie Ewing, declared at the opening of the first session of the new Scottish Parliament in May 1999 that “The Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on the 25 March in the year 1707 is hereby reconvened”.   This statement is both right and wrong.  Right because the Scottish Parliament adjourned sine die.  Wrong, because the Parliament of 1707 was the Parliament of a sovereign nation.  There are now three buildings in Edinburgh with the word “Parliament” as part of their title, and there is the kirk’s General Assembly.  What’s more, there is the nationally-sovereign Parliament at Westminster.  This illustrated talk will look at Edinburgh’s Parliament buildings, focusing on the new Parliament.

Get ready for the first WorldQuest Competition!
Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 6:00 p.m. - UMD BallroomThursday, February 26, 2009
- 6:00 p.m. - UMD Ballroom

This is a team competition similar to a College Bowl.  Teams compete against one another on subjects with an international flavor: flags and capitals; geographical features and international borders; people and events in the international news. Teams can be formed by students, faculty, staff, community groups, business firms, family and friends or any combination of all of these. Be prepared for a fun even with a competitive edge, by planning ahead! To view a previous year's game go to

Teams compete for prizes, including a donation to an international charity or non-profit organization of the winning team's choice.

Registration cost is $10 per person or $80 per team. The cost includes a buffet dinner.

Buffet and Registration begins at 6:00 p.m.; Competition is from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Register a team and team name and get thinking! Contact the Alworth Institute at (218) 726-7493 or at to get more information or to register a team.

WorldQuest is the property of the Minnesota International Center, A World Affairs Council, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reservations for this event can be made by calling 218-726-7493 or by e-mailing

Alworth Institute International Reading Group:

This new book group meets quarterly during the academic year to discuss books relating to international studies. The purpose of the group is to promote a greater understanding of the world and to share opinions on the selected book and its analysis. Selections are made by the group members.

Books purchased at UMD Stores will receive a 20% discount.

To register for the group or for more information, call (218) 726-7493 or send an e-mail to

First Quarter Selection: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Random House 2001) & Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (Penguin Books 2004), both by Alexandra Fuller. Book Discussion Meeting - Library 4th Book Discussion Meeting - Monday, February 16, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Second Quarter Selection: The Wormdigger's Daughter (Mercier Press 2008) by John Farrell (For more information go to Book Discussion Meeting - Monday, February 16, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda.

Third Quarter Selection: Iran Awakening (Random House 2007) by Shirin Ebadi. Book Discussion Meeting - Monday, May 11 2009 - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda