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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

World Issues Forum: Spring 2010

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

All events are free and everyone is welcome. See our college calendar to view this schedule by date, where the World Issues Forum events are listed in red.

 

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Co-sponsors

 

 

Spring 2010 Schedule
Date & Time Lecture

Wed 4/7

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Oscar BaAyeLife and Stories of the Karen People in Burma

Oscar BaAye, retired engineer and resident of Bellingham, member of Karen Pwo Tribe in Burma Stephen Dun, Karen refugee of the Sgaw tribe from Burma, living in Federal Way.

Over fifty years of civil war have left Burma one of the poorest countries in the world. The military dictatorship attacks its own people, killing thousands, and leaving millions displaced. The Karen people, an indigenous minority, have been struggling for independence against Burma’s military dictatorship all these years. This talk will give a historical context to the situation of the Karen people and highlight the current situation.

 

Wed 4/17

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

 

Gifty Baaba Asmah, World Issues Forum speakerEmpowering People at the Bottom of the Economic Pyramid: a case study in Ghana

Gifty Baaba Asmah, Founder and Executive Director of Daasgift Quality Foundation

 

 

Wed 4/21

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

 

Anne Mosness, World Issues Forum speakerReassessing Aquaculture: Risks of Factory Farms in Our Marine Environment

Anne Mosness is a former Alaska fisherwoman, president of the Women's Maritime Association, a Food and Society Policy Fellow and co-producer of the Bluefestival.

Anne Mosness explores the impacts of industrial production of fish, shrimp and shellfish on coastal ecologies, communities and economies. Similarities to factory farms on land should increase our concerns, yet too often, politicians embrace corporations that are replacing small and sustainable family businesses.

 

Wed 4/28

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao, World Issues Forum speakerChina and the Pitfalls of Neoliberal Globalization: A Communication Perspective

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada

A grand narrative about China’s economic ascendency in the era of neoliberal globalization has gone hand in hand with a widespread critique against the authoritarianism of the Chinese state, especially its repressive media control regime. What are linkages here? This lecture examines the crucial role of communication in establishing the symbiotic dependence between China’s export-led growth and Western consumer capitalism and explores the profound contradictions of China’s market authoritarian developmental path through its rapidly expanding communication system.

 

Wed 4/28 (2nd lecture)

1:30 - 2:30pm

Environmental Studies 413

 

Video unavailable

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao, World Issues Forum speakerReturn of the Repressed? Communication and Class Politics in Post-Reform China (Paths to Global Justice)

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada

 

As China becomes one of the most unequal societies in the world after 30 years of uneven development, social conflict has also intensified. Furthermore, the protagonists of social contestation have shifted from the urban middle class to disenfranchised workers, farmers, and ethnic minorities. Can the "rise of China" sustain itself politically without the rise of China’s vast marginalized social forces? What kind of communication politics will be necessary to achieve social harmony?

 

Mon 5/3

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

Video unavailable

Victor Clark AlfaroViolence on the Border: The Case of Tijuana"

Victor Clark Alfaro, Founder and Director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana and lecturer in the Latin American Studies Department at San Diego

The last two decades have witnessed dramatic growth in violence along the Mexico-U.S. Border as a result of several factors: political changes, changes brought about through globalization, shifts in the drug market, new drugs, corruption, and impunity of government and political leaders. This violence undermines not only human rights but the very quality of life of those living on the border.

 

Mon 5/3

3 - 4:20pm

Communications 110

 

Video unavailable

Victor Clark AlfaroCrossing Borders: Coyotes & Migrants (Paths to Global Justice)

Victor Clark Alfaro, Founder and Director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana and lecturer in the Latin American Studies Department at San Diego

There are many means by which the labor force that sustains key sectors of the U.S. economy gets to the destinations where they are needed. Coyotes – human smugglers – play a fundamental, and not well understood, role in these dynamics.

 

Wed 5/5

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

David Curley, World Issues Forum speakerAbout Afghanistan: or can we learn anything useful about History

David Curley, Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies, WWU

Les Reardanz, Bellingham lawyer who recently returned from working in Afghanistan

An exploration of how scene, character and plot, the basic tools of narrative history, might help us understand the past and plan for the future.

 

Wed 5/12

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Ted Bestor, World Issues ForumWhere West Meets East: Cultural Fusion in the 21st Century"

Theodore Bestor, Professor, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Harvard

 

 

Wed 5/19

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Preventing Harm from Drug Use: Lessons from Thailand to Canada"

Zarina Mulla, World Issues Forum speakerZarina Mulla , Drug Policy Planner City of Vancouver

Vancouver, BC ranks at the top on the United Nations indices of the world’s most livable cities. It also holds the dubious distinction of being Canada’s drug capital with severe drug related problems. The beautiful city of Chiang Mai, Thailand has its own share of addiction woes. This presentation focuses on responses from two different angles: frontline work with youth in Chiang Mai; and the four pillars drug policy of Vancouver with some of its controversial measures like North America’s first Supervised Injection Site.

 

Wed 5/19

3 - 4pm

Communications 231

 

Video unavailable

Zarina Mulla, World Issues Forum speakerConversations on Drug Use (Paths to Global Justice)

Zarina Mulla , Drug Policy Planner City of VancouverThis conversation, with the angle as a project worker in Thailand and a Policy planner/advisor in Vancouver, will explore what these approaches mean for respect of people with drug use.

 

 

Wed 5/26

12 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Ralph Ambruster, World Issues Forum speakerFrom Margins to Center: The Story Behind the Story to Close Down the School of the Americas

Ralph Armbruster –Assistant Professor, Sandoval Department of Chicano Studies, UC Santa Barbara

When and who created the movement to close the School of the Americas (SOA)? This talk will critically explore the commonly accepted narrative and look at the movement’s historical roots in Latin America. This story of the SOA--along with the movement's recent expansion into South America, will examine these omissions and discuss the complex racial and gender dynamics of transnational social movements.

 

Tue 5/ 25

4 - 6pm

Arntzen 225

 

Video unavailable

Ralph Ambruster, World Issues Forum speakerGreat Love Requires Great Risk: Hunger Strikes, Spirituality, Sacrifice, and the Struggle for Social Justice (Paths to Global Justice)

Ralph Armbruster –Assistant Professor, Sandoval Department of Chicano Studies, UC Santa Barbara

In the 1990s, mostly Latina/o students and some faculty members on four different University of California campuses went on hunger strikes to call for the establishment or expansion of Chicana/o, Latina/o Studies departments and programs. These actions took place within the context of the passage of racially charged propositions (to eliminate social and educational services for the children of undocumented residents and to ban affirmative action in the entire state). This talk will focus on the outcomes of these particular actions, and explore the historical and religious/spiritual roots of hunger strikes and fasting, paying specific attention to the relationship between Christian/Catholic-based liberation theology, sacrifice, gender, and movements for social justice as we question how to create social change today.

 

 

Speaker Biographies

 

Oscar BaAye is a retired engineer and resident of Bellingham since 1988 and a member of the Karen tribe. Although he is Karen, BaAye grew up far from the fighting, in Myanmar's capital city, Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). He says he lived a privileged life, the son of an Official in the British Colonial Government, and knew very little of the struggles in the eastern region. He moved to the United States in 1968, and came to Washington State in 1988, but he didn't learn about the Karen struggle until he retired in 2003. "I began meeting Karen refugees in Washington and all over the U.S.," he says. "They told me their stories and I was horrified. I took up Karen awareness as my full-time mission."

Stephen Dun is an ethnic Karen born in Rangoon in 1964. In 1974, due to ethnic persecution, at 10 years old, he fled the Karen State with his family to the Thai-Burma border. In 1980, after completing high school, Mr. Dun served as a teacher in the Karen school established by the Karen Resistance. He also began teaching basic survival skills to local populations in Burma due to increasing seasonal attacks of the Burma army against villagers. In 1988, he increased his survival skills classes to incorporate students who fled to the Karen State to escape the massacres of the Burmese military. A commuter boat accident in 1994 left Mr. Dun paralyzed from the waist down. While recuperating from his accident and going through rehabilitation, the Burma Army overran some of the major Karen bases and Mr. Dun was forced to flee the country. Since that time, Mr. Dun has worked with the Open Society Institute, Burma Project to assist in setting up data communications and Burma Net, an electronic news source focusing mainly on Burma and the immediate region. In 1997, Mr. Dun moved to the U.S., and, in addition to his data communications work, he continues his advocacy on behalf of the Karen and other ethnic peoples of Burma. He has testified numerous times in congress and met with Laura Bush on the situation in Burma. Since 2001 Mr. Dun has continued to provide direct service assistance to the numerous refugees arriving all over the US from Burma, particularly those in Seattle, Washington. Those activities include transportation, interpretation, obtaining documentation, culture awareness for both the refugees and the resettlement agencies and organizing the communities to be self-sufficient. He continues to keep the international community informed on the situation of Burma and has administered many humanitarian aid packages into the many trouble zones of Burma including the Irrawaddy delta during cyclone Nargis.

Mrs. Gifty Baaba Asmah is the founder and Executive Director of Daasgift Quality Foundation. Women’s Economic Empowerment: Microfinance, Business Development Skills, Climate Change. She is a holder of International Professional Managers Association (IPMA) Professional Post Graduate Diploma Certificate in Management and Administration. She is also a holder of Institute of Chartered Accountants Gh. Intermediate Exams. Mrs. Gifty Baaba Asmah is a graduate member of Chartered Institute of Administration and Management Consultants. She also holds a certificate in Community Economic Development and Risk Management issued by MDI-NH/Ghamfin. She is the wife of Mr. Joseph Benjamin Asmah, the Headmaster of Sekondi College: one of the Senior High Schools in Western Region of Ghana. Gifty is forty eight years old and a mother of five children. As a young person who schooled in a poor village, she saw how difficult life was for women and their families and determined to help these women somehow, when she grew up. As she studied and was later employed, Gifty overcame numerous setbacks, but never lost her vision and her passion. She developed a career in banking with thirteen years experience in Rural Banking and Microfinance. During her work as a Rural Banker, she worked with a lot of poor and low income clients, helping them through frustrating and difficult circumstances. This experience increased her passion for women’s empowerment. In November, 2005, she started planning for the establishment of an NGO whose purpose is to support the low income and poor women to improve their livelihoods. Proposals were developed for funding but none was considered, but with her strong passion she invested her own funds to enable her to register the organization. In May 2006, the entity Daasgift Quality Foundation came into being. During Gifty’s spare time, she cooks special meals for her family and friends, trains youth in her church with inspirational songs and visits depressed people.

Anne Mosness, commercially fished for 28 seasons and spent her winters working to improve safety in the maritime/fishing industry, defeat anti-commercial fishing ballot measures, and educate about the risks of aquaculture feedlots. She is a graduate of WWU, president of the Women's Maritime Association, and a Food and Society Policy Fellow. For many years, Anne Mosness was captain of salmon fishing boats in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Through political action and public outreach, she brings attention to threats to wild fish habitat, value of coastal communities, and similarities between family fishing businesses and small family farms on land. Anne developed the "Go Wild Campaign" to educate consumers, media and policy makers about impacts of marine feedlots and how to make health-enhancing and environmentally sound seafood decisions. She co-produced the first annual Bluefestival in October 2009, bringing diverse interests together to focus on 70% of our planet that is aquatic, life-sustaining and increasingly at risk. Anne has worked with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Mangrove Action Project, Food and Water Watch, Sierra Club and other organizations developing campaigns about industrial aquaculture. She has created informational exhibits and spoken about fisheries/environmental issues at the United Nations Forum for Food Sovereignty in Rome; Slow Food in Turin and San Francisco and Slow Fish in Genoa; Public Interest Environmental Law Conference; Pacific Marine Expo; universities, film festivals and public events and has researched salmon farms in Norway, Scotland, British Columbia, Maine and Washington State.

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada. She is also the Changjiang Lecture Professor in Communication Studies at the Communication University of China, Beijing. Dr. Zhao has broad research interests in both the institutional and discursive dimensions of communication and has published extensively on topics ranging from the transformation of China’s media system to global media and democracy. Dr. Zhao’s recent books include Communication in China: Political Economy, Power, and Conflict (2008), Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy (co-edited with Paula Chakravartty, 2008), and Democratizing Global Media: One World, Many Struggles (co-edited with Robert Hackett, 2005).

Victor Clark Alfaro is a native of Tijuana, with a MA in social anthropology from Iberoamerican University in Mexico City & PhD in Sociology from UCSD. After serving as a professor at Autonomous University of Baja California, he has since 1999 taught through the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State. Dr. Clark is the founder & Director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana, started in 1987. He has served on various boards, including the National Commission for Development of Indigenous Communities in Mexico, and grassroots organizations of working women in Tijuana. He has written extensively for media venues, including as columnist for the Pacific News Service and La Opinión (Los Angeles’ largest Sp-lang newspaper), and is also the author of two books (in 1991 and 2009) on Mixtec migrants on the border.

David Curley, Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies, WWU. Trained in history and the study of literature, Curley’s research has focused on using Bengali literature in writing social history. Curley studies pre-colonial Bengal, a region now divided between the states of India and Bangladesh. He has a book published in 2008, Poetry and History: Bengali Mangal-kabya and Social History in Pre-colonial Bengal. His research interests have included changing conceptions of trade and marketplaces and changing roles of merchants, changing roles of men and women in families, warrior culture and the opening and closing of warrior status to some ‘untouchable’ groups, and early intellectual and political responses to British rule. He is currently writing an intellectual history of Jaynarayan Ghoshal (1752-1821) who was the first Indian to found a school to teach English in north India. For several years he has have been studying military culture in precolonial South Asia, and in 2008 published ‘Battle and Self-Sacrifice in a Bengali Warrior’s Epic,’ in a book called Rites of Spring by Ralph Nicholas. Curley’s teaching interests include South Asian history, culture, literature and religion, methods of history in the humanities, and post-colonial novels. Professor Curley received his BA in an interdisciplinary program, The Committee on General Studies in the Humanities, at the University of Chicago; and his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago in South Asian History.

Ted Bestor, Professor at Harvard, is a specialist on contemporary Japanese society and culture, focusing much of his research on Tokyo. He has written widely on urban culture and history, markets and economic organization, food culture, the fishing industry, and popular culture. His most recent book, Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (University of California Press, 2004), is based on research he has being carrying out since 1991 at Tokyo's vast Tsukiji wholesale market, the world's largest marketplace for seafood and the center of Japan's sushi trade. He also researches the development of Japanese food culture broadly, and he is working on a book tentatively entitled Global Sushi that will look at globalization via the interaction of the fishing industry and culinary fashions. He is the co-editor (with Patricia G. Steinhoff and Victoria Lyon Bestor) of Doing Fieldwork in Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2003), a collection of essays on the research experiences of 20 leading foreign scholars of Japan in the social sciences and history. His first book, Neighborhood Tokyo (Stanford University Press, 1989), was ethnography of local social institutions and the invention of community tradition in the daily life of an ordinary middle-class district of Tokyo. It received the 1990 Robert E. Park Award for Urban and Community Studies from the American Sociological Association and the 1990 Hiromi Arisawa Memorial Award for Japanese Studies from the American Association of University Presses. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Bestor taught at Cornell University, where he was Professor (1997-2001) and Associate Professor (1993-97) of Anthropology and Asian Studies. He was on the faculty at Columbia University (1986-93) and served as staff director for Japanese and Korean Studies at the Social Science Research Council (1983-86). Professor Bestor first visited Japan as a teenager, and since then has spent over eight years there as a student, researcher, and teacher. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from Stanford University.

Zarina Mulla, community planner and coordinator of drug policy for the City of Vancouver. Zarina’s understanding of the field of addiction came through witnessing the experiences of marginalized youth in Thailand, where she directed a program for their recovery from drug use.

Ralph Armbruster, Department of Chicano Studies, Ph.D., UC Riverside, Assistant Professor (globalization, labor, social movements, race and ethnic relations, Latin American studies) "Teaching Smoke Signals: Fatherhood, Forgiveness, and 'Freedom," Wicazo Sa Review (forthcoming 2008). Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice in the Americas. New York: Routledge, 2005. "Workers of the World Unite? The Contemporary Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice in the Americas," Work and Occupations vol. 32, no. 4 (2005), pp. 464-485.

 

 

CO-SPONSORS

Fairhaven College is grateful to our valued co-sponsors for the Spring 2010 World Issues Forum:

Mark Lehmann, American Cultural Studies, WWU Diversity Fund, Karen Morse Institute, Anthropology, Canadian-American Studies, Center for Law, Diversity & Justice, Communications, Political Science, Women's Studies.

 

 

Contact

Shirley Osterhaus is the Coordinator of the World Issues Forums:

shirley.osterhaus@wwu.edu
650-2309

Shirley's Faculty Profile >