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:
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.)
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
The U.S. and Asia: Tensions on the Rise
Presented by Thomas Hanson, Former U.S. State Department Foriegn Service Officer and 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.
Fall 2013 International Lecture Series
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.
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.
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.
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.
THE FOLLOWING LECTURE HAS BEEN RE-SCHEDULED TO:
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
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.