Skip to Main Content

WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

World Issues Forum: Fall 2011

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF THE WORLD ISSUES FORUM AND GLOBAL EDUCATION

 

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.

 

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

 

Valued Co-sponsors with Fairhaven College for the Fall World Issues Forums, Paths to Global Justice include: Anthropology, Canadian-American Studies, Communication, WWU Diversity Fund, Womenís Studies, Political Science, AS Social Issues, Center for Law, Diversity and Justice, ACLU Washington, Amnesty International Puget Sound, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, United Ministries in Higher Education (UMHE) Bellingham Veterans for Peace, Mexican Solidarity, Mark Lehman, Canada Haiti Action Network, Mission Justice Board of First Congregational Church. All events are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call 650-2309 or visit our website: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/fairhaven

 

Winter 2011 Schedule
Date & Time Lecture

Wed 9/28/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Execution's Doorstep: A Death Row Exoneree Shares his Story

Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon, exonerated following 17 years on Floridaís death row

 

Juan, a death row exoneree, shares his story which highlights the many problems that plague the death penalty system, including its high risk and inevitability of being imposed on the innocent, its unfair application on the basis of race and ethnicity and its almost exclusive imposition on our most vulnerable members of societyóthe poor.

Wed 10/5/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

As world population reaches 7 billion this fall, how can we create a healthy, just, sustainable future for all?

Roberta Riley, JD, Project Director, World at 7 Billion Project at Americans for UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Action)

 

A world at 7 billion presents multiple challenges. Already, too many people suffer from poverty, discrimination, and violence. Demands for water, land, food, and energy will increase as human numbers climb. But 7 billion also presents opportunities. Never before has humanity been so interconnected; and we have yet to realize the vast human potential of women, girls, and the 2 billion young people who comprise the largest, most global generation ever.

Wed 10/12/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Report Back from Afghanistan: People, Land, War and Peace

Dana Visalli , biologist and organic farmer

 

Dana Visalli, a biologist from Twisp Washington who has been to Iraq four times and to Afghanistan twice in the past two years, will present a brief history of Afghanistan, its current ecological condition, the nature of the Afghan people, and the impact†of 30 years of war.††He†raises the larger question of whether†war can in any way address or resolve the pressing issues of humanity, and if it can not,†he offers some suggestions for what our next steps could be.

Wed 10/19/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

annis

The Challenge of Earthquake Recovery in Haiti

Roger Annis, Director of the Canadian Delegation to Haiti; Coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network

 

In Haiti, more than 600,000 survivors of the 2010 earthquake are still without adequate shelter. In the survivor camps, clean water, sanitation, medical service, schooling and child care are in short supply. Haiti is without a robust reconstruction plan or a functioning national government. How can global aid and relief assistance improve in Haiti? How can international solidarity assist Haiti to recover its national sovereignty?

Wed 10/26/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

What would you do to save your Culture?

Geshe Yonten, Tibetan monk from Zanskar, India

 

Geshe Yonten will discuss both the motivation for and necessity of preserving the Zanskar region and Tibetan culture. Highlighting unique values of Tibetan culture and the impact of losing them in both the Himalayan region and the larger world, his presentation hopes to challenge us to consider the loss of cultures around the world through both globalization and conflict, and to encourage us to find ways to effect positive change in the world.

Wed 11/2/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Immigration Enforcement -- the human and civil rights alternative

David Bacon, a writer and photojournalist based in Oakland and Berkeley

 

Recent enforcement incidents in Forks have sparked a debate over the rights of immigrants in communities near the border. What is driving the criminalization of migration and who benefits from the current situation? Should people in all communities, including those on the border, enjoy basic human and civil rights and social equality? This presentation will present the voices and images of people displaced by U.S. trade and economic policy in countries like Mexico and Guatemala, and who bear the effects of the criminalization of migration here in the U.S.

Wed 11/9/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Sowing Struggle: Urban and rural social movements in Tlaxcala, Mexico

Luz Rivera Martinez, grassroots organizer with Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino in Mexico

 

With 20 years of experience constructing autonomy and resisting free trade, Luz is one of Mexico's most inspiring grassroots organizers. She established the Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino (CNUC, National Urban and Peasant Council in Tlaxcala) to resist NAFTA and works tirelessly to demand government accountability, defend family farms, and build inspiring, community-based health, education, and infrastructure projects. Luzís presentation will speak to those interested in women's, peasant, and labor movements.

Wed 11/16/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium

 

VIDEO >

Food Sovereignty and the Roots of Migration: Defending Corn and Culture in Oaxaca

Eleazar Garcia, indigenous campesino from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca; founding member of the Center for Integral Development of the Campesino of the Mixteca Alta (CEDICAM).

 

In the face of NAFTA and migraton, CEDICAM works with over 1,500 vilagers in 12 communities and accompanies them in sharing knowledge, skills and methods which preserve the cuntryside and livelihoods, and offer a greater level of food sovereignty to some of Oaxaca's most marginalized people. CEDICAM projects have planted over a million native trees and launched model rain catchments programs for family use and that recharge the aquifers feeding thhe mountain springs on which Mixteca communities depend.

   
   

 

Speaker Biographies

 

Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon

Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon spent seventeen years, eight months and one day on Florida's death row for a crime he did not commit. His story highlights the many problems that plague the death penalty system, including its high risk and inevitability of being imposed on the innocent, its unfair application on the basis of race and ethnicity and its almost exclusive imposition on our most vulnerable members of society - the poor. The crime in Juan's case was particularly brutal. The victim, Delbert Baker (a white man), was shot three times and his throat was slashed, leaving the crime scene drenched in blood. Juan, who could not afford an attorney, was convicted and sentenced to death within a week even though there was no physical evidence against him. His conviction rested on the testimony of two questionable witnesses and a police informant with an unsavory criminal record and a co-defendant who was threatened with the electric chair but who ultimately received a sentence of two years probation after he testified against Juan at trial and after Juan was convicted and sentenced to death. In spite of the fact that Juan's case was riddled with doubt right from the start, the Florida Supreme Court upheld his case three times on appeal. Had it not been for the fortuitous discovery of a transcript of the taped confession of the real killer sixteen years after Juan was sentenced to death, he almost certainly would have been executed. Ultimately, it came to light that the real killer had confessed to over sixteen people and the prosecutor had systematically withheld exculpatory evidence. Since his release from death row on January 3, 2002, Juan has shared his story of supreme injustice, survival and hope with hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, Canada and Europe. News reports (Spanish and English) and audience feedback consistently indicate that Juan is a charismatic and captivating speaker who opens hearts and minds about the death penalty and inspires activism. Juan has testified before several legislative bodies in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and New Mexico. He was intensively involved in the New Mexico repeal campaign where, over a six-year period, his story appeared in numerous media outlets and he spoke to thousands of people of faith and thousands more high-school, college and law students. He met with Governor Bill Richardson who cited wrongful death penalty convictions as his primary reason for repealing the death penalty in New Mexico. Juan currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Juan's story is featured in the internationally-acclaimed documentary Juan Melendez 6446, described by Sister Helen Prejean as a powerful [film that is] . . . heartbreaking and maddening . . . and stirs the soul. His story was also depicted in Leslie Lytle's Execution's Doorstep: True Stories of the Innocent and Near Damned, and in the Fall of 2008, Juan's article, Presumed Guilty: A Death Row Exoneree Shares his Story of Supreme Injustice and Reflections on the Death Penalty, was published in the Texas Tech Law Review [41 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 1 (Fall 2008)]. Juan is a member of the Board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Roberta Riley

Roberta Riley leads the World at 7 Billion Environmental Project at Americans for UNFPA. The UNFPA is the United Nations Fund for Population Action, which works in over 120 countries to assure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every woman is treated with dignity and respect. To further the mission of UNFPA, and its 7 Billion Actions initiative, Ms. Riley works to build strong, joint collaborations between environmental and women's health activists. For more information, visit 7 Billion Actions online. In her former role as Legal and International Counsel for Planned Parenthood, Ms. Riley created and lead the Fair Access to Contraception Project, which inspired 89% of American health plans to cover prescription contraceptives. In recognition of her achievements on behalf of women, she has received several honors, including the Planned Parenthood Shining Star Award and a Ms. Magazine Women of the Year Award. Ms. Riley received a law degree in 1986 from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences in 1982 from Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University. She lives in Seattle with her husband and teenage daughter.

Dana Visalli

Dana Visalli is a biologist and organic farmer living in Twisp, Washington. Concerned about the impact of war on people and the planet, he has visited Iraq four times since 2003, and was in Afghanistan in March of 2010 and again in March 2011 to gather firsthand information on the situation on the ground in that country. He has given presentations on Iraq and Afghanistan in all of the major cities along the Pacific coast, from San Francisco to Vancouver B.C. October 19- Roger Annis resides in Vancouver BC and is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN). The network was founded in 2004 as an advocacy agency for social justice and sovereignty in Haiti. Mr. Annis has traveled twice to Haiti on fact-finding missions, in August 2007 and June 2011. He is a frequent writer on Haiti and an editor of the CHAN website, www.canadahaitiaction.ca. The website is a comprehensive repository in English and French of documents, news articles, human rights reports and book reviews on Haiti's history and current affairs.

Geshe Lobsang Yonten

Geshe Lobsang Yonten was born in Zanskar, a remote part of northern India that is historically and ethnically Tibetan. At the age of ten his father presented him with a choice - become betrothed to a girl in the neighboring village or become a monk. He chose to become a monk joining the local monastery and studying there for five years. Upon completing the exams at his local monastery he travelled to South India to begin the twenty-six year program of scholarly study to become a Lharampa Geshe at Drepung Gomang Monastery. This degree is the highest monastic degree in the Gelug School of Buddhism. During these 26 years he was tested on his knowledge of Buddhist philosophy in front of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Upon becoming a Geshe and taking the Bodhisattva vows of compassion, the Dalai Lama asked Geshe Yonten what he would do as his service to others. Geshe Yonten, knowing the importance of the Himalayan region to the survival of the Tibetan Buddhism and its Tibetan Culture, chose to take on the responsibility of educating the children of Zanskar and the surrounding regions of Ladakh. Zanskar is one of the last places on earth where the original Tibetan Buddhist way of life still exists. In 2003, Geshe Yonten brought the first group of children from Zanskar to Tibetan schools in India to receive an education. These schools provide a modern education, while preserving the language, values, and inner learning that mark the traditional Tibetan education. Believing that the heritage of Zanskar can be preserved only if the children of the region receive an ìinner and outer education,î the children would need to leave their families and make the treacherous journey through the Himalayas to reach these schools. The 2010 film Journey from Zanskar: a Monks Vow to Children produced and directed by Academy and Emmy nominated filmmaker Frederick Marx (Hoop Dreams) and narrated by Richard Gere, chronicles one of the yearly journeys Geshe Yonten makes with the children. Geshe Yonten has brought twenty-two children to Tibetan schools. His foundation, Save Zanskar, pays for the studentís school fees and care while they are away from their families. Many of the students have made a commitment to return to the Zanskar region to support the education of the children still living there. The Dalai Lama believes that Zanskar is vital to the survival of Tibetan Buddhism; and Geshe Yonten has vowed to work to educate the children and preserve the culture of this region. In addition to his work with Save Zanskar, Geshe Yonten is a member of a small group of monks selected by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to study English, western philosophy, and science so that he may teach, collaborate and study with scientists, philosophers, educators and others across the world.

David Bacon

David Bacon is a writer and photojournalist based in Oakland and Berkeley, California. He is an associate editor at Pacific News Service, and writes for TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years, shooting for many national publications. He has exhibited his work nationally, and in Mexico, the UK and Germany. Bacon covers issues of labor, immigration and international politics. He travels frequently to Mexico, the Philippines, Europe and Iraq. He hosts a half-hour weekly radio show on labor, immigration and the global economy on KPFA-FM, and is a frequent guest on KQED-TV's This Week in Northern California. For twenty years, Bacon was a labor organizer for unions in which immigrant workers made up a large percentage of the membership. Those include the United Farm Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the International Ladies' Garment Workers, the Molders Union and others. Those experiences gave him a unique insight into changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy and migration, and how these factors influence the struggle for workers rights. Bacon was chair of the board of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and helped organize the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network and the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health. He served on the board of the Media Alliance and belongs to the Northern California Media Workers Guild. His book, The Children of NAFTA, was published by the University of California Press in March, 2004, and a photo-documentary project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Communities Without Borders, was published by the ILR/Cornell University Press in October 2006. In his latest project, Living Under the Trees, sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities and California Rural Legal Assistance, Bacon is photographing and interviewing indigenous Mexican migrants working in California's fields. He is currently also documenting popular resistance to war and attacks on immigrant labor and civil rights. He has received numerous awards for both his writing and photography.

Luz Rivera Martinez

Luz Rivera Martinez is an inspiring speaker and a community leader who, for 20 years, has constructed autonomy and resisted free trade in Central Mexico. She founded the organization the Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino, and in addition to organizing for autonomy in healthcare, education, and agricultural sustainability, Luz and the CNUC have organized sex workers. Her talk will have important lessons for anyone interested in women's, peasant, and labor movements. Luz has been organizing with the Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino (CNUC) in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala for over 20 years and will explain the long history of peasant organizing in Tlaxcala. During the Mexican Revolution, support for Emiliano Zapata was strong in Tlaxcala, and in the 1930s many peasant communities organizing under the slogan of "the land belongs to those who work it", initiated the redistribution of the plantations their families had labored on as serfs for generations. Luz established CNUC in the 1980s to coordinate resistance to the impending North American Free Trade Agreement, especially regarding its dismemberment of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which enshrined peasants' right to communally own lands redistributed during the Revolution. As CNUC's lead organizer, Luz has worked tirelessly to protect peasant's rights and build inspiring, community-based autonomous projects. CNUC groups across Tlaxcala have built health clinics and taught traditional medicine to families. CNUC produces tons of organic fertilizer each year, lessening peasants' dependence on expensive chemical fertilizer. CNUC families also work with local teachers to include people's history and pertinent social issues in educational curriculum. In addition to organizing for autonomy in healthcare, education, and agricultural sustainability, Luz and CNUC also accompany organized sex workers, a bus-drivers' cooperative, and the National Assembly of Braceros. CNUC is also a member of the Zapatistas' Other Campaign, an international network of organizations struggling against neoliberalism and for autonomy from the grassroots.

Eleazar Garcia

Eleazar Garcia, is an indigenous campesino from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. He is an expert in sustainable agriculture and environmental restoration, and is a founding member of the Center for Integral Development of the Campesino of the Mixteca Alta (CEDICAM). Throughout his over ten years of work with CEDICAM, he has served as president and has worked as a promoter and teacher of holistic resource management, organic agriculture, seed preservation, soil conservation and reforestation. In 2007, Eleazar was a delegate for CEDICAM to Cuba to share experiences on themes of urban agricultural and organic farming. Over the past ten years, CEDICAM projects have planted over a million native trees. CEDICAM has also launched model rain catchments programs, which collect rain water for family use and recharge the aquifers that feed the mountain springs on which Mixteca communities depend. CEDICAM works with over 1,500 villagers in 12 communities and accompany them in sharing knowledge, skills, and methods which preserve the countryside, and offer a greater level of food sovereignty to some of Oaxaca's most marginalized people. In 2008, CEDICAMís work was awarded the Goldman Prize, considered the†environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize In his presentation Eleazar will address the devastating impacts the North American Free Trade Agreement has had on the Mexican countryside, including an abandonment of traditional sustainable ways of life as small farmers, as well as a boom in rural Mexican migration to the US. Speaking from his experience of seeing this devastation first hand, Eleazar will not only share the negative impacts of this free trade model, but will also present a hopeful alternative that is being carried out to preserve the land, and†to stem the tide of migrants leaving rural Mexico for the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Co-sponsors

Fairhaven College is grateful to our valued co-sponsors for the Fall 2011 World Issues Forum: Paths to Global Justice include: Anthropology, Canadian-American Studies, Communication, WWU Diversity Fund, Womenís Studies, Political Science, AS Social Issues, Center for Law, Diversity and Justice, ACLU Washington, Amnesty International Puget Sound, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, United Ministries in Higher Education (UMHE) Bellingham Veterans for Peace, Mexican Solidarity, Mark Lehman, Canada Haiti Action Network, Mission Justice Board of First Congregational Church.

 

All events are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call 650-2309 or visit our website: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/fairhaven

 

 

Contact

Shirley Osterhaus is the Coordinator of the World Issues Forums:

shirley.osterhaus@wwu.edu
650-2309

Shirley's Faculty Profile >