World Issues Forum Spring 2017

Next World Issues Forum Speaker

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World Issues Forum Spring 2017

Wed 4/5 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM

Fundamental to the teaching of the Buddha is the recognition that although it should be the goal of his followers to seek ultimate transcendence of the world, following the path to Nirvana (Pali, Nibbana) has to take place within the world. This has meant that Buddhists from the very beginning of the religion have had to engage rather than shun politics, and these politics are shaped by the societies Buddhists live in. In this talk Dr. Keyes will discuss some of the recent political controversies involving Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, with particular focus on incidents that have involved Buddhists promoting violence against non-Buddhists.


Charles will join us via Skype and Judith Pine, Associate Professor, Anthropology Department, Western Washington University, will be present to aid in the presentation.

Charles Keyes, professor emeritus of anthropology and international studies at the University of Washington, has since the early 1960s carried out extensive research primarily in Thailand, but also in and about Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma and southern China. His research has focused on religious practice in Buddhist societies, ethnicity and national cultures, transformation of rural society, and political culture.

He has authored, edited or co-edited 15 books, monographs or special issues of journals and published over 85 articles.

Although formally retired at the end of 2006, Keyes continued until 2011 to teach part time at the University of Washington. In 2013 he and his wife moved to Portland where they now live.

Wed 4/12 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


The 2014 Adventure Learning Grant recipients have returned from their travels! In their talk, Mikhaila, Becca and Kathryn will discuss their experiences in Central and South America.


Mikhaila, Becca, and Kathryn are the 2014 recipients of the Adventure Learning Grant, a $20,000 grant given to three students annually to travel anywhere in the world for 9 months. In their talk, each of them will discuss their experiences traveling on their own. They will detail the original purpose of their trip as well as what they found along the way.
Mikhaila Thornton traveled to Peru and Nicaragua in 2015-16 exploring the cultural importance of shoemaking and the effects that the shoe industry has on other cultures. Her concentration title is "Designing for the Body: Movement, Materials & Aesthetics" which focuses on the ins and outs of footwear design.
Becca Pelham traveled to the Dominican Republic and Cuba in 2015-16 to study Women in Education, Tourism, and Sex Work. Her concentration is Reclaimed Voices: Empowering Women across Cultures through Creative Writing and Counter-Narratives.
Kathryn Durning’s concentration is "Law, Immigration, and Queer Studies". She has built on her ALG experience (Queer Migration Experiences in Nicaragua and Costa Rica) by returning to CR and is completing her senior project: "How do trans women experience migration and resettlement in Costa Rica".

Wed 4/19 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Dr. Onuf will reflect on the importance of history in the era of partisan political polarization and "fake news."  Through better understanding the past's complexity we can discover who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming.  Thomas Jefferson has served as a particularly controversial--and therefore particularly important--touchstone in the ongoing construction of American national identity.

Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History Emeritus, University of Virginia, was trained as a colonial American historian at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Jack P. Greene.  He is an expert in the history of the American founding era and the early republic, with particular interest in democracy, federalism, political economy, geopolitics, and race.  His most recent work focuses on the political thought of Thomas Jefferson. 

Wed 4/26 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Through an analysis of the stoning trial of Amina Lawal, a peasant woman from Northern Nigeria, for committing adultery, Dr. Eltantawi will analyze the history and present tense symbolic value of sharia in Northern Nigerian society, paying special attention to the theological history of stoning in Islam and the role of gender and the western reaction to Amina Lawal’s case.

Dr. Sarah Eltantawi is a scholar of Islam. She is Member of the Faculty in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA (Asst. Prof), and a Research Scholar at the Middle East Center of the University of Washington.  She earned her PhD in the Study of Religion in 2012 from Harvard University, where she was the Jennifer W. Oppenheimer Fellow and Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has academic fellowships at Brandeis University, UC Berkeley, and at the Forum Transregionalle at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin as well as the Freie Universit├Ąt in Berlin.  She obtained an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a BA in Rhetoric and English literature from UC Berkeley. Her forthcoming book Sharia on Trial:  Northern Nigeria’s Islamic Revolution (University of California, 2017), examines why Northern Nigerians took to the streets starting in 1999 to demand the reimplementation of sharia law.  Dr. Eltantawi is currently at work on a new book that takes up the rise of the of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1928 – the present, focusing on the question of the group’s “political theology” and its place in traditions of political theory.  Dr. Eltantawi has also published on issues ranging from early Shi’ite jurisprudence to perceptions of “post-modernity” in Nigeria to the revolution in Egypt.  Eltantawi is on the steering committee for the Contemporary Islam and Politics and Religion Sections of the American Academy of Religion, and is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for Humanities Washington, a National Foundation for the Humanities sponsored organization dedicated to fostering critical thinking in the state of Washington.

Wed 5/3 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Immigration has been one of the most contentious issues of our time, not just in the United States, but throughout the world.  Anyone who ventures into this thicket needs to think about some hard questions.  First, are immigrants’ rights a type of civil rights, human rights, or some other approach to justice and fairness?  Second, how have mass migrations of people fleeing war, the breakdown of civil society, or environmental degradation challenged traditional perspectives on immigration?  Third, is it possible or desirable to think about immigration without a path to citizenship?  And fourth, how should economic inequality inside the United States or any other destination country influence immigration policy?  I will discuss why these questions are so hard, how they are tied to each other, and why they are unavoidable if there is any common ground to be found on immigration issues.


This Forum is brought to you by: The Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice at Fairhaven College, The Ralph Munro Institute for Civic Education, and the Border Policy Research Institute

Hiroshi Motomura is the Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.  He is the author of two award-winning books: Immigration Outside the Law, and Americans in Waiting, and the co-author of two law school casebooks, one on immigration and citizenship, and the other on refugees and asylum.  He is a founding director of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Law Center.  He has received several teaching awards, including the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014, and was one of just 26 law professors nationwide profiled in What the Best Law Teachers Do.

Wed 5/10 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Shurla Thibou




Wed 5/17 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Set against a background of polarization and global division, Debbie Lester will share her journey of bridging worlds through her work with the Adara Group. Adara’s out of the box thinking and creative approach has not only empowered people working in financial services to use their mastery for a purpose, but has also had a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in poverty across the globe. Join us to hear from  a leader in Global Health, as she shares how bridging worlds and bringing different disciplines together can change lives

Deborah Lester is the incoming CEO of Adara Development.

Deborah is a clinician with 25 years of experience in the field of Maternal and Child Health, specializing in Global and Public Health. In particular, Deborah’s expertise lies in maternal and child health in an international development context, focusing on diverse and underserved populations in resource-limited settings. 

Deborah spent the first twelve years of her career building maternal and child health programs in Bermuda, working in both the tertiary and public health setting. In 1998, Deborah moved to Seattle to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Washington and joined Adara Development to form their clinical programs. For the next ten years, Deborah worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the care of critically ill infants and was hired on the leadership and management team as the Clinical Educator of the Neonatal ICU. In 2008, Deborah joined Adara Development full-time to grow their clinical programs and has been managing that work ever since. 

Wed 5/24 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM


Following his humanitarian and journalistic work in Rwanda and the DRC, Olivier joined the United Nations Peace Keeping Operation in Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire, where he supported the process of demobilization and the reintegration of former combatants and other community self-defense armed groups involved in the war of liberation, which led to the resignation President Gbagbo. His talk will cover his experience as an investigative and journalistic researcher, the struggle of African journalists for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the Rwandan genocide, and the post-genocide crimes that occurred in Rwanda and DR-Congo. He will also discuss weaponization and rebel recruitment in DR Congo, Unity and Reconciliation efforts, Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, and the strengths and weakness of the United Nations under the Right to Protect restrictions. Please watch in advance his co-production documentary A Must Reconciliation at .

Ndikumana Olivier is a professionally trained journalist from Rwanda. After witnessing numerous murders and wide-spread humanitarian chaos during the Rwandan genocide, he committed himself to helping rebuild Rwanda, which was nearly destroyed by the genocide and the anger which characterized the post-genocide period. In support of peace and reconciliation, he assisted and led several journalistic investigations of issues related to the genocide and associated armed conflicts in the DRC, including the use of child soldiers in rebel militias. He also participated in and documented initiatives to foster peace, security, and political development, including unity and reconciliation efforts. These included the Transitional Justice and Gacaca-Traditional Court movement in Rwanda.