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International Lecture - Archives

Past Alworth International Lectures: Fall 2010

On the Ground: U.S. Policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Iraq
Presented by Thomas Hanson, former career U.S. Foreign Service Officer
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

Thomas Hanson Thomas Hanson is serving as the Alworth Institute's Diplomat in Residence for his second semester. While serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, his postings included East Germany, France, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Georgia. He also assisted in opening new embassies in Mongolia and Estonia. Mr. Hanson has worked on the Foreign Relations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.  Most recently, he was Director for NATO and European Affairs at the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, D.C.  Currently he serves as Program Secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations and as a lecturer/consultant for the Great Decisions program at the Minnesota International Center.  He is an occasional foreign affairs commentator on Minnesota Public Radio. Mr. Hanson is also working with the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, which is based in Norway, to establish a center in Minneapolis. He will discuss policy issues and prospects for the U.S. involvement in "AIP" - Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Thomas Hanson will also speak to individuals interested in careers in the Foreign Service and State Department on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. in Solon Campus Center 42 (KMC),UMD. He will discuss The Foreign Service and Careers in International Affairs. Reservations are required for this presentation. Please send and e-mail to This event is co-sponsored by UMD Career Services.
The Diplomat in Residence Program is offered with support from the Office of the Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Role of the United Nations in the International Community 

Presented by Robert Flaten, Former U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

In honor of United Nations Day (October 24, 2010), Ambassador Flaten argues that the U.S. will not be the sole super power much longer, so we must find a way to integrate our interests with the rest of the world, especially China, India, Brazil and Africa.  The UN is the place for the U.S. to work its way through this new reality. He will examine the reasons for his assertion and also describe some of the work of the 36 UN specialized agencies and commissions. Flaten currently serves on the Board of Directors of The United Nations Association of Minnesota. He was ambassador to Rwanda from December 1990 to November 1993. He retired from the Foreign Service in May 1994. Before serving in Rwanda, Ambassador Flaten held several positions in the U.S. State Department, including director of affairs for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. He organized and spearheaded a legislative plan for continuing assistance to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and subsequently was part of the team that negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

The Political Import of the Construction of Childhood: International Perspectives  

Presented by Dr. Jean Webb, Professor of Children's Literature and Director of the International Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Literacy and Creativity, University of Worcester, United Kingdom Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

Dr. Jean  WebbIn this lecture, Dr. Jean Webb will demonstrate, through a comparative analysis, the ways in which children's literature from a number of countries is an integral part of social systems. Along with her work at the University of Worcester, Dr. Webb was an instigator and executive member of the Nordic Children’s Literature Research Network for the duration of this internationally funded project. She is an executive board member of the Children’s Literature Association, India and serves on the Executive Board for ChLA. She is on the editorial board of a number of journals including The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, ChLA India, and Children’s Literature in Education. Her research interests include children’s literature from international perspectives and 19th and 20th c. English and American children’s literature. Her teaching interests include Irish Literature, Children’s Literature and English Literature from the Romantic period.


Democracy Promotion in the Middle East 

Presented by, Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor, Cairo
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

Kristen ChickHow effective, and how desirable, is US democracy promotion in Egypt and the Middle East? Since the Camp David peace accords in 1978, the US-Egypt relationship has been a partnership in which Washington gives Egypt more than $1 billion in aid each year and generally stays out of its domestic affairs. In return, Egypt maintains peace with Israel and is a stalwart US ally in the region. The Bush administration changed that dynamic when it began pressuring Egypt to enact democratic reform in 2004-2005, before abandoning that approach in 2006. The Obama administration has not made democratic reform a visible priority in Egypt or in other allies in the region. Kristen Chick will explore the effects of both administrations' approaches to democracy promotion in the region. She will also address whether the US must choose between strategic alliances in the region and democracy promotion, and the effects of abstaining from democracy promotion out of fear of Islamist movements. Chick covers Eqypt and the Middle East for The Christian Science Monitor. She reported on the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and has worked as a reporter for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C. She was a Fulbright scholar to Egypt, and speaks Arabic. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Alabama.

Dr. William HendersonCoalition Politics: Adjusting the Political Discourse in the United Kingdom
Presented by Dr. William Henderson, Alworth Institute International Associate
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

The outcome of the 2010 election in the United Kingdom was a hung Parliament. Coalition governments are fairly common in the rest of Europe but relatively rare in the UK. On the face of it, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives make an odd alliance. Coalition politics in the UK is a challenge for those who have to make policy as well as for those who have to evaluate it. What does coalition government hold for the nature of the British constitution, for relationships within the Cabinet and Parliament, and the future direction of politics and policy? How does this coalition work and will it survive? Dr. Henderson will examine these questions in this presentation. For more information on Dr. Henderson go to

Dr. Alexis PogorelskinRussia Today: An Historian's Perspective
Presented by Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin, Professor, UMD History Department
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda, UMD

Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin spent three months in Moscow while on a Fulbright Fellowship in the spring of 2010. While there, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU) and was also a Senior Researcher in the former Communist Party Archive (RGASPI). She also lectured on Soviet history at the Historical Faculty of Moscow State University (MGU). She will discuss her observations about the country and share her insights about changes in the country over the years. She will examine what remains of the old Russia given the development of Putin's new Russia. Dr. Pogorelskin holds a PhD from Yale and was a Rhodes Visiting Fellow at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. She teaches all areas of Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet history, as well as 20th century Europe. Her areas of research include "Karelian fever" and the life of L.B. Kamenev, a significant rival to Stalin.

Fall 2010 Special Events

Anchee MinSpecial Lecture - Anchee Min
Author of the bestselling memoir, Red Azalea
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 7:00 p.m. - Marshall Performing Arts Center, UMD. 

In Red Azalea, Min describes growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. At the age of 17, she was sent to a labor camp near East China Sea. She endured mental and physical hardships, which included a severe spinal cord injury.  She worked for three years before talent scouts spotted her toiling in a cotton field.  Madame Mao, preparing to take over China, was looking for a leading actress for a propaganda film.  Min was selected for having the ideal “proletarian” look.  Mao died before the film was complete, and Madame Mao, blamed for the disaster of the revolution, was sentenced to death.  Min was labeled a political outcast by association.  She was disgraced, punished, and forced to perform menial tasks in order to reform herself.  In 1984, with the help of a friend overseas, Min left China for America.  She spoke no English when she arrived in Chicago, but within six months had taught herself the language in part by watching “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” on American television. She has subsequently written six works of historical fiction - Katherine, Becoming Madame Mao, Wild Ginger, Empress Orchid, The Last Empress, and most recently, Pearl of China. Min will discuss how her memoir and fiction may inform our understanding of modern China.  Min states, “The way that we look at Chinese history will impact our policy with China in the future."  For more information on Anchee Min, go to This lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing.


St. Andrew’s Night Celebration
Tuesday, November 30, 2010- 6:00 p.m.- UMD Ballroom

Evening includes dinner, local Scottish entertainment, and a presentation by Dr. William Henderson, Alworth Institute International Associate, entitled, Sir Walter Scott and the Border Country. Last year, Dr. Henderson talked about South-west Scotland. This time attention shifts to South-east Scotland and from Robert Burns to Walter Scott. Scott united Scotland into a common landscape of the imagination. This talk will focus on the beautiful soft countryside of the Borders and on Abbotsford where Scott chose to live. It is a land of ruined abbeys, gentle hills, fast-flowing rivers and handsome stone-built towns. The talk will weave details of Scott’s life into the landscape. For more information, ticket price and reservations call 218-726-7493 or send an e-mail to

United Nations Day Celebration
Wednesday, October 20, 2010- 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Visit the UN table in the Kirby Student Center across from the UMD Bookstore to learn more about the United Nations.

Fall 2010 International Reading Group:

The Alworth Reading Group will meet three times throughout 2010-2011. New members are welcome at any time.  For more information, call (218) 726-7493 or send an e-mail to

Tuesday, November 9, 20107:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Discussion of Pearl of China (Bloomsbury, USA; 2010), the newest work by Anchee Min, author of Red Azalea, Empress Orchid, and The Last Empress. In this fictionalized account, Min examines the friendship of Nobel Prize-winning Pearl S. Buck with a Chinese woman named Willow. Anchee Min will be present at the meeting.