University of Minnesota Duluth

International Lecture Series

In addition to the Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Memorial Lecture, forums and conferences, the Institute provides a series of international lectures by local, national and international authorities on subjects of timely interest. The Alworth Institute draws not only upon the rich store of local academics with expertise in a variety of areas, but also visiting international faculty.

Lecture Series Information:

Check back at the end of August for information on Fall 2014 Lectures

2014 International Lecture Series

Spring 2014 International Lecture Series

All lectures are at UMD unless noted otherwise; a reception follows each lecture.

(Lecture information listed chronologically.)

Wednesday, March 5th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

*To hear KUMD's podcast of this lecture click here

Freeing the Grid from the Global Carbon Infrastructure: Distributed Solar Energy as a Public Good

Presented by Dr. Kathryn Milun
Associate Professor of Anthropology, UMD

With the recent oil boom supplying "cheap" petro-energy from Canada and the Bakken oil fields, US residents may be lulled into passivity as the over-capitalized, higher-pressurized pipelines of a new carbon infrastructure tear up nearby farmlands and bring increased risk to wetlands and watersheds across the country. With the promise of short term profit, energy companies are currently building a fossil fuel-based infrastructure designed to bring into the atmosphere vastly more carbon than the tonnage set by the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Accord that aims to avert the most dangerous effects of anthropogenic climate change by stopping global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celcius. Electricity grids around the world are tied to the power produced by a global carbon economy. Milun will speak about the role of distributed solar energy in this larger picture of our energy infrastructure. How and where has community-scale solar energy succeeded in freeing the grid from this global carbon infrastructure? In addition to presenting successful solar initiatives in Germany and Brazil, Milun will discuss her own work to design and build community-based solar energy projects in Arizona and Minnesota. Oil and gas pipelines gain power, authority, and protection by being considered a "public good" throughout the US. How are communities in the US and around the world challenging the cultural assumptions that underpin the carbon economy and, most importantly, creating new, culturally specific values that move citizens to care for and protect distributed solar energy as a public good?

Milun is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her published work emphasizes environmental, social and cultural dimensions of commons: renewable energy commons (community- based solar energy production); global commons (in international law); and urban commons (public space in Euro-American modern city design). She uses methods from the humanities and social sciences to investigate cross-cultural systems of land, water, and energy tenure (western and non-western) and their potential for conceptualizing and building equitable public domains. Milun's Solar Commons project was chosen as the US Green Building Council's 2009 Greenbuild Legacy Project. Milun has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the US. Green Building Council, and others. She is a Resident Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Wednesday, March 12th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

*To hear KUMD's podcast of this lecture click here

The U.S. and Asia: Tensions on the Rise

Presented by Thomas Hanson
Former U.S. State Department Foriegn Service Officer
Alworth Institute Diplomat in Residence

In the wake of the U.S. "pivot" toward Asia, tensions in the region are on the rise, most dramatically between China and Japan, but also among and within various states in the region. What are the implications for U.S. policy of a new Asia poised between cooperation and conflict?

While with the U.S. Department of State Hanson's foreign postings included East Germany, France, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Georgia. He also assisted in opening new embassies in Mongolia and Estonia. Hanson has also worked on the Foreign Relations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He was Director for NATO and European Affairs at the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, D.C. 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, and serves on the board of the Minneapolis chapter of the Oslo Center for Peace as well as the board for the new UMD program in CUltural Entrepreneurship. Hanson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in International Relations. He holds graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; the Geneva Institute of Advanced International Studies in Switzerland; and the National School of Administration (ENA) in Paris, France.

Thursday, April 3rd - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 70

*To hear KUMD's podcast of this lecture click here

Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship: A Global Comparison

Presented by Edna Dos Santos Duisenberg
Alworth Institute Visiting Fellow
Founder and Former Chief of the UNCTAD Creative Economy Programme

Five years after the financial crisis, the American economy is recovering. The global creative economy is booming, since world exports of creative goods and services exceeded US$ 624 billion already in 2011. World consumption of digitalized creative products such as music, films, videos, cartoons and video games remained stable during the global recession. As recovery takes hold, demand for creative products is resuming its previous brisk growth, as nowadays people seem eager for products and services associated to culture, social events, entertainment and leisure. Moreover, in the knowledge-based era, creativity, culture and technology are drivers of jobs, innovation, trade and social cohesion. The creative economy can contribute to growth and prosperity, if appropriated policies are in place to allow the optimal functioning of the creative nexus to attract investments, technology and creative business. Creative entrepreneurship can provide the basis for product-specific marketing strategies and improve the competitiveness of creative products in the domestic and global markets.

The creative economy relies on ideas, knowledge, skills and the ability to seize new opportunities. The management of creative business requires specific skills in both the entrepreneurial and the artistic or cultural aspects of the business operation. Enhancing capacities of creative entrepreneurs, is a pragmatic way to bring culture and creativity closer to business and markets.

For more information on dos Santos Duisenberg, click here

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Tuesday, April 15th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Global Sustainability of Human Rights

Presented by Alice Kimani and Ehtasham Anwar
University of Minnesota Law School Hubert H. Hunphrey Fellows

Kimani will speak about Challenges of Sustainable Development in a Protracted Refugee Crisis: The Case of Dadaab Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya. And, Anwar will speak on Global Peace and US Citizens.

Anwar is a member of the Pakistan Administrative Service. He has held senior-level positions in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, including serving as the Additional Deputy Commissioner. Besides being a medical graduate, he holds an LL.B. and a Master's degree in History. He is a qualified barrister and a member of Lincoln's Inn in London, one of the four Inns of Court for barristers. He has done various consultancies with national and international NGOs on issues related to law and human rights. He is a visiting faculty member at a police training school and other institutes in Islamabad. He has contributed numerous articles on legal and administrative issues to major English daily newspapers of Pakistan.

Kimani is the Regional Policy, Liaison and Reporting Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to that, she worked as a Counter Trafficking Program Officer in the IOM offices in Kenya and Tanzania and was also instrumental in providing support to several initiatives in the region, notably in Uganda, Rwanda, and Somalia. Through her work at IOM, she has worked directly with victims and provided training and education about human traffickingto community members, government officials, journalists, civil society organizations, and foreign diplomats. In collaboration with other members of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking in Kenya, her role at IOM was instrumental in pushing for the enactment of the first comprehensive legislation addressing human trafficking. Kimani is a graduate of Kenyatta University with a Master's in Education and is an alumni of the Refugee Service Centre in the Department of International Development, at the University of Oxford, England.

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Monday, April 21st - 4:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

*To hear KUMD's podcast of this lecture click here

Urban Sustainability and the Technopolitics of Order

Presented by Dr. Ivan Bialostosky,
Professor of Geography, Century College, White Bear Lake, MN

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

At the broadest level, this talk is concerned with how issues of social justice fit within agendas of sustainability. To get at this, Bialostosky approaches sustainability as a discourse and a policy agenda that serve to order urban space and urban society. In the pursuit of sustainability certain kinds of spaces and social positions are privileged, others are stigmatized, and yet more are erased from view. In looking at how sustainability agendas work and for whom, we can begin to explore the kinds of possibilities and capacities that sustainability produces and those that it forecloses. In doing this we find that sustainability is neither the triumphalist solution for a better tomorrow that some environmentalists advocate nor is it a barely functional band aid to the exploitative functioning of global capitalism as others argue. Instead, Bialostosky argues that sustainability is a complicated agenda that at times works to magnify exclusion and at other times it can serve as a catalyst for both a progressive politics of the environment and a politics of social justice. As an example, Bialostosky uses Minneapolis from 2002-2005 and its Homegrown Minneapolis program – a program designed to build a local food economy.

Ivan Bialostosky earned his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2013. Currently he teaches Geography at Century College. His main areas of interest are environmental politics, environment and development, and the political economy of social justice.

Tuesday, April 22nd - 7:00 p.m. - Teatro Zuccone (222 E. Superior St., Duluth, MN)

City Planning and the Creative Urban Economy

Presented by Edna Dos Santos Duisenberg
Alworth Institute Visiting Fellow
Founder and Former Chief of the UNCTAD Creative Economy Programme

We are living in a period of far-reaching economic, social and technological transformation. Over the last 20 years the world has changed, as well as Duluth and the contemporary society. Recently, the global economy has been through turbulent times and virtually all cities have been affected by the economic crisis. Paradoxically, times of crisis offer opportunities to look at new options, approaches and strategic directions. Cities have always been the melting-point to foster creativity and innovation. Moreover, in the post-industrial era the increase of intangible services and the creative economy are driving the revitalization of many cities in the world. Innovation and investment are crucial for a vibrant city. The art of city-making is a collective undertaking involving local citizens in the search for a balance between the economic and environmental goals from one side and the quality of life and urban solutions on the other. The main challenge is to find creative ways to put together an harmonious, sustainable and inclusive city.

For more information on dos Santos Duisenberg, click here

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Monday, April 28th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Long-term effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster on the Swedish Saami

Presented by Dr. Hugh Beach
Professor’s Chair in Cultural Anthropology
Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Hugh Beach was raised in a Swedish-American family in the US, took his BA in anthropology at Harvard College and his PhD at Uppsala University, Sweden, where he has resided for the past 40 years. Over the years, he has studied changes in reindeer herding practices as well as the the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the Saami. In this lecture, he will discuss his work on lthe effects of the disaster on the lifestyle, health and livlihood of the Saami.

Beach has worked as a reindeer herder in Alaska with the Inuit NANA Regional Corporation herd, and in general is specialized in the study of indigenous circumpolar peoples. He has been chairman of the Swedish Minority Rights Group and expert advisor on Sámi affairs to Sweden's first two ombudsmen against ethnic discrimination. He has led and been engaged in a number of inter-disciplinary and international research projects,including "Managing the Wilderness and the Dilemmas of Cultural Ecology: Laponia—Sámi Landscape and World Heritage Site: Post-Soviet Political and Socio-economic Transformation among the Indigenous Peoples of Northern Russia Current Administrative Policies, Legal Rights, and Applied Strategies;" and, "The Challenges of Modernity for Reindeer Management: Integration and Sustainable Development in Europe's Subarctic and Boreal Regions." Currently he is Principal Investigator for the American NSF funded IPY project "Dynamics of Circumpolar Land Use and Ethnicity (CLUE): Social Impacts of Policy and Climate Change." Beach was an early spokesman for the recognition of human-influenced climate impacts. His main research interests and expertise include: pastoralism, Sámi and other circumpolar peoples, political ecology, climate change, identity issues, and indigenous/State relations.

Wednesday, April 30th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Creative Economy Report - 2010: The United Nations Perspective

Presented by Edna Dos Santos Duisenberg
Alworth Institute Visiting Fellow
Founder and Former Chief of the UNCTAD Creative Economy Programme

The Creative Economy Report - 2010: Creative Economy a Feasible Development Option was the second policy-oriented report to present the UnitedNations perspective on this innovative topic. The report brings fresh approaches identifying trends, strengths, weakness, as well as challenges and opportunities to be addressed by governments and the creative community. It reviews the market situation for all creative industries, as one of the most dynamic sectors of the world economy. Overall, the report examines economic, cultural, social, technological and environmental developments that took place at global level.

During the first decade of the XXI century, the topic of the creative economy became well-inserted into the international economic and development agenda, calling for new insights and policy responses. Adequately nurtured, creativity fuels culture, infuses a human-centered development and constitutes the key ingredient for job creation, innovation and trade while contributing to social cohesion, cultural diversity and environmental sustainability. Despite the turmoil of the global economy, global trade of creative products more than doubled in only 8 years, with an annual growth rated of 10.7% in the period 2002-2010. This reflects the new lifestyle of our society which is increasingly associated with creativity, innovation, connectivity, as well as with cultural and social experiences embedded around the creative economy. It is time to move towards a more holistic approach to promote sustainable growth and a more inclusive civilization. Governments are re-orienting policies in order to better capture the interface between economics, technology, culture and the environment in re-shaping their growth path. Key elements in any package to formulate a long-term strategy for the creative economy requires concerted cross-cutting actions as well as an appropriated regulatory and institutional framework. While policies, investments and technology are essential, the primary inputs to support a robust creative economy are intellectual capital, knowledge and education. It is also important, to reconcile cultural and social objectives with instruments of trade, technology and tourism.

For more information on dos Santos Duisenberg, click here

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. - Kirby Student Center Rafters

Sustainable Duluth: Local Actions for a Global Imperative

Panel discussion featuring -
Mindy Granley, UMD Sustainability Coordinator (Moderator)
Greg Benson, Loll Designs, Inc.
Eric Faust, Duluth Coffee Company
Brian & Mary Grover, Solglimt (B&B)
Kristi Heintz, Sustainable Twin Ports
Jodi Slick, Ecolibrium3

Local businesses and non-profits engaged in green practices will be examined. The work of these groups, a sample of what exists in Duluth, will be highlighted. Questions will focus on the social, economic and environmental contributions made to Duluth as well as to a global balance. The challenges of "doing sustainability" will be discussed.

This lecture is part of the lecture series, Confronting Global Modernity: The Challenge of Sustainability

Fall 2013 International Lecture Series

Wednesday, October 23rd - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Britain and the EU: In, out, shake it all about

Presented by Dr. William Henderson, Alworth Institute International Associate

The British government, never wholly enthusiastic about the EU, has undertaken a broad consultation exercise in order to analyze its membership. Henderson will analyze the Cameron government’s response to the on-going crises in the EU and its wavering commitment to it. He will also examine the impact the EU debate might have on the 2015 general election.

Henderson served as the former director of the Alworth Institute at UMD from 2006 through 2009. He holds a D. Phil in African Studies from the University of Sussex (UK) and has spent time living and working in Botswana, Ghana and Zimbabwe. More recently he was Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Birmingham, UK. He has published work on the political and economic development of Botswana, sub-Saharan Africa’s economic success story. He has published works on pioneering 19th century women economics educators; on John Ruskin, Victorian socio-economic critic of Classical economics and of the social consequences of economic thinking narrowed and stripped of notions of ‘virtue’; and, on the history of development economics.

Tuesday, October 29th - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 80

In case you miss this lecture, it will be broadcast on KUMD radio (103.3 FM) on Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM.

The Crises in the Middle East

Presented by Thomas Hanson, Alworth Institute Diplomat in Residence and retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer

Hanson will offer a historical analysis of the current crises in the Middle East, especially that in Syria and Egypt. He will provide a context for understanding the religious, ethnic, political and economic nature of these situations. He argues that these events are the culmination of the centuries old division of the Middle East dating back to the Ottoman Empire. He will also discuss the implications of Iran’s position, especially with regard to Syria.

During his career with the US State Department, Hanson served in East Germany, France, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden and Georgia. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights in Minneapolis, as well as the advisory board of UMD’s new Cultural Entrepreneurship program. He holds graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; the Geneva Institute of Advanced International Studies in Switzerland; and the National School of Administration (ENA) in Paris, France.

Tuesday, November 5th - 7:00 p.m. - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

In case you miss this lecture, it will be broadcast on KUMD radio (103.3 FM) on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM.

The World We Will Live - 2025

Presented by Dan Mullins, Manager, Africa Coastal Program, CARE-WWF Alliance (offered as part of the Sustainability series)

CARE and the WWF have joined together to tackle the underlying causes of the poverty of women and children as well as the protection of the ecosystems that these people rely on. Their alliance began the Primeiras & Segundas Program in northern Mozambique in 2008, after 5 years of important ground work established by WWF Mozambique and local partners. The program works to preserve and improve the environment of the area and enrich the livelihoods of the people that depend on the area’s natural resources. As manager of the coastal program, Mullins will discuss this work and its importance to global sustainability. One issue he will focus on is the vulnerability of women to environmental degradation.

Thursday, November 21st - 7:00PM - Library 4th Floor Rotunda

Coffee and Sustainability: Good to the Last Drop?

Presented by Dr. Hugh Smeltekop, Director General, The Unidad Académica Campesina-Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP) or the College, Bolivia (offered as part of the Sustainability series)

The Unidad Académica Campesina-Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP or the College) is dedicated to making higher education available to young Bolivians through programs that address the most pressing concerns of rural people—health, education, agriculture, animal husbandry, and the environment. One of the College’s academic programs is agronomy, including coffee production. Smeltekop will discuss the importance of organic coffee production that helps create an agricultural product that improves the financial situation and future of area farmers. The connection between the coffee we drink and the farmers that grow that coffee will be examined.

Smeltekop is the Director General of the UAC-CP. He previously served as Vice Director of the College for four years. In total, he has more than eleven years of experience at the College. During his tenure there, he has taught classes, developed and implemented extension and research projects, and coordinated international projects with collaborating universities. He is also credited with developing the College’s successful Research Institute and Thesis Boot Camp in 2006. Smeltekop holds a PhD in Agronomy from Michigan State University and an M.S. in Soil Science from South Dakota State University. For more on UAC-CP click here.


Wednesday, December 11th - 7:00 PM - Montague Hall 70

In case you miss this lecture, it will be broadcast on KUMD radio (103.3 FM) on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM.

Global Warming and the Forests of the Lake Superior Region

Presented by Dr. John Pastor, Professor, UMD Department of Biology (offered as part of the Sustainability series)

Pastor argues that the greatest amount of global warming will occur in Minnesota northward. In 2006, he stated in an interview with Bob Kelleher of Minnesota Public Radio that "So here we are. We're sitting right now, right in the bullseye of the greatest amount of warming that will happen on the face of the earth." He states that there is no more important or complicated problem in science than global warming. He will discuss the implications of this for the forests surrounding Lake Superior as informed by his research. There are local, regional and international implications if warming continues creating what has been called “the new normal.”

Pastor received his Ph.D. in Forestry and Soil Science in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did post-doctoral research in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has been a Senior Research Associate at NRRI since 1984, Professor in Biology since 1996, and Director of Graduate Studies in Biology since 2000. His research and scholarly interests include the structure and function of northern ecosystems, applications of mathematics to ecological problems, and scientific illustration.

Martha B. Alworth Memorial Lecture

The Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies is collaborating with the Alworth Center for Peace and Justice at the College of St. Scholastica on the first Martha B. Alworth Memorial Lecture

Mitchell Auditorium - St. Scholastica - Thursday, November 7th - 7:30 PM

The End of American Exceptionalism

Presented by Andrew Bacevich, Professor, Boston University

Andrew Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel. He is the author of “The New American Militarism and The Limits of Power,” among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He has held fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin, at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, at the Kennedy School of Government and at the Council on Foreign Relations. He will offer a critique of the US propensity for intervention and empire building, and that even American citizens have condoned military service as an economic endeavor to fulfill our need for resources.

This lecture is also funded in part by the Warner Lecture Series of the Manitou Fund, the DeWitt and Caroline Van Evera Foundation and from Mary C. Van Evera in memory of William Van Evera. Additional support has been received by the Global Awareness Fund of the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation and from Reader Weekly of Duluth.

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