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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

World Issues Forums/Paths to Global Justice

Spring 2009 Schedule

The World Issues Forums occur weekly on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:20pm each quarter.

Coordinator: Shirley Osterhaus
All events are free and everyone is welcome. Information: call 650-2309


See our college calendar to view this schedule by date, where the World Issues Forum events are listed in red.


video - Subscribe to our World Issues Forum Channel to see videos as they become available.


download - Spring 2009 Schedule - download the full schedule. Includes speaker biographies and sponsors. (PDF, 134K)



April 7


NAFTA turns 15: Free Trade, Food Security and Migration in Mexico

Baldemar Mendoza Jiménez, Agro-ecologist with the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez, Oaxaca

Tuesday, April 7: 7:00pm, Bellingham Unitarian Church ( I Street)

On tour with Witness for Peace Northwest, Baldemar Mendoza Jiménez will take a deeper look at the effects of NAFTA, including resistance to genetically modified (GMO) corn, the impact of migration on sending communities, and the struggle for food security in Oaxaca's indigenous communities.


April 8

Baldemar Mendoza Jiménez, Agro-ecologist with the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez, Oaxaca

Wednesday, April 8, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium


April 15

Julio Betancourt

Decisions, Decisions: Exotic Grass Invasions and Altered Wildfire Regimes in the American Deserts


Julio Betancourt, Senior Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey and Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona.

Wednesday, April 15, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

Large-scale invasions by Eurasian and African grasses, brought in by chance or to feed cattle and control erosion, have introduced frequent and extensive fires into American deserts that supported little or no burning in the pre-European era. We are standing on a threshold and must now choose between saving the desert or resigning ourselves to these novel and combustible grasslands. What decisions must we make, who makes them, and how will they be implemented across complex physical and cultural landscapes? My own take on these issues is that of a federal scientist with a sense of place and an ongoing crusade to engage the private and public sectors in Southern Arizona, where buffelgrass now threatens to convert a turistic Sonoran Desert into a burning savanna.


April 17

Climate Variability and Climate Change in the Western U.S.


Friday, April 17, 3 pm Communications 125

Two important sources of uncertainty in resource management in the western U.S. are decadal-to-multidecadal (D2M) natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change. D2M variability is characteristic of the instrumental record of the past century, as well as tree-ring chronologies of last two millennia. Resource managers have barely addressed the challenges posed by D2M variability, which makes it that much harder to reckon the impacts of climate change. Abrupt cool season warming beginning 1976-1984, depending on the region, brought on a marked increase in springtime temperatures, an earlier onset of spring by 8 to 10 days, a rise in the elevation at which it rains rather than snows, a decrease in snowpack, earlier snowmelt timing, a shift to an earlier pulse of snowmelt-fed discharge, and an increase in the frequency of large fires. My presentation will rely on statistical approaches to identify spatiotemporal patterns of temperature and precipitation variations in both the past and present to explore their associations with various modes of large-scale climate variability in the context of climate change.


April 20

Elizabeth May

The Climate Crisis: Why US leadership is urgently needed


Elizabeth May, Chair of Canada’s Green Party, an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer.

Monday, April 20, noon-1:15 pm, Fairhaven College Auditorium


Moving Toward a Green Economy

4:00-5:30pm Fraser Hall 3

Sponsored by Canadian American Studies, Fairhaven College and the Sustainability Academy


April 22

Women Resisting War in Colombia


Nidia Castellanos of Colombia is secretary general of the Arauca Peasant Association (ACA), which promotes organic agriculture and defends the rights of its members and their familias. Nidia is a single mother of three children.Photo: Nidia with her youngest daughter Melisa)

Wednesday, April 22, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditórium

7:00pm, 13 Prospect Street (above Rocket Donuts) at the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force.

Nidia will address the role of ACA in defending the rights of small farmers and their families in our state of Arauca which involves facing a lot of risk. Repression by the Colombian government and attacks by the guerrillas have left a number of its leaders fleeing exile and/or killed. "I'm willing to suffer those consequences because I want a better future for my children – Melisa, Camila and Brandon," said Nidia. "We hope that the Obama administration will represent a change in U.S. policy towards our country. Colombia doesn't need any more guns and bombs - there are already enough to kill all of us. We're also aware of the serious economic problems in the U.S. Instead of spending your tax dollars on more weapons, that money could be used to create jobs and support health care and education – in Arauca, as well as Montana." The U.S. government is providing Colombia with more than $1 million per day in military aid. Some of that aid is used to protect Occidental Petroleum's oilfield and pipeline in Arauca. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly documented the human rights abuses committed by the Colombian military. Nidia will be accompanied by Scott Nicholson, who has been in Arauca since July 2006 documenting the human rights situation in the region. The presentation will include some of his photos of Arauca.


April 29

Hiroshi Motumura

Immigration Outside the Law


Hiroshi Motomura, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and an influential teacher and scholar of immigration and citizenship law.

Wednesday, April 29, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

How do we think about illegal or undocumented immigration? Why are some voices so vehement, while many remain ambivalent and uncertain? What will durable, politically viable solutions require? To answer these questions, Hiroshi Motomura will discuss three key issues in public debate: what it means for immigrants to be here unlawfully, the role of states and cities, and the integration of immigrants into U.S. society. He then will explore how these issues are intertwined in ways that are essential to finding solutions.


May 6

Alia Parker

Eric VermeersParticipatory Poverty Alleviation: Rural Development in Guatemala and Bhutan


Alia Parker and Eric Vermeers, Learrning Adventure Grant Recipients in 2008

Wednesday, May 6, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

Eric will highlight development projects in two rural villages he visited while volunteering with the Tarayana Foundation, a pre-eminent indigenous NGO in Bhutan. Ali will speak of her year in Central and South America with a focus on women's reproductive health care. Over the course of her time in Latin America last year, she was inspired by the various forms of human rights activism she witnessed in Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina.


May 13th

Israeli OccupationIsrael and the Pacification Industry: Control of Populations and Public Space

Jimmy Johnson, Israeli citizen, International Representative for International Committee Against Home Demolitions.

Wednesday, May 13, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

The world, even prior to the current economic crisis, has seen increasing economic divergence between wealthy and poor nations, and between the wealthy and poor inside nations. The increasing levels of poverty and inequality have coincided with the ongoing migration to cities worldwide. Military planners for power brokers have characterized the current and foreseen results of this as the "urbanization of insurgency." The lecture and discussion will focus on Israel and the Occupation's role in the young and growing market for "pacification" strategies, equipment and techniques that are already being used in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States and beyond.  


In addition, understanding Israel's control of public space and the built environment is key to grasping the essence of the Occupation.  From the use of radical architectural theory in urban warfare in the Balata Refugee Camp to the zoning and planning of the settlements to house demolitions in East Jerusalem, spatial politics literally define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and chances for a sustainable peace.

May 20

Margaret LeeRe-enter the Dragon: China-Africa Relations in the 21st Century Scramble for Africa


Margaret C Lee, Associate Professor, African and Afro-American Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Wednesday, May 20, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

Africa is experiencing its greatest commodity boom since independence. This is largely as a result of the huge influx of Chinese investors into the continent, estimated at 800, interested in extracting needed resources for China's continued economic development. No sector of the continent has been left untouched by the Chinese, who have not only imposed a very different model of development in Africa, but also have gone deep into the interior of the continent to develop areas that heretofore have remained untouched by the US and Africa's former colonial powers. This presentation places in historical context China-Africa relations from the 1950s to 1995 and from 1995 to the present. It concludes with a specific case study of China-Uganda relations.


Zimbabwe in Crisis: The Struggle within the Struggle

4:00 Room 210 Academic Instruction Center

Zimbabwe, once one of the jewels of Africa, and the breadbasket of the region of Southern Africa, is experiencing a crisis of unimaginable proportion. With unemployment at 88%, it has become the basket case of the region. Currently an estimated 91, 000 people are infected with cholera, while more than 4,000 have already died. The situation is projected to get worse as a large percentage of the population does not have access to basic food supplies. This, along with hyperinflation, has resulted in extreme malnutrition in the country. This presentation will focus on what has gone wrong in Zimbabwe and examine the ongoing struggle between the various political parties (the struggle within the struggle) that has exacerbated the current crisis.


May 27

Amy Hagopian Poaching health workers from poor countries: Is that an ethical way to solve America's health workforce shortage?


Amy Hagopian, PhD faculty at the U.W. School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Wednesday, May 27, noon-1:30, Fairhaven College Auditorium

One in four American doctors is trained in another country, at the expense of the taxpayers in those countries. A growing portion of our nurses are trained abroad, too. Nearly two-thirds of those who come to fill our health professions vacancies are from low or lower-middle income countries. How does U.S. policy lure health workers from abroad, and what are the ethical, economic and educational implications of this policy?

Critical Junctures Lecture Series: 7:00pm at St Luke's Community Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Pkwy.