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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

World Issues Forum: Winter 2012

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: Paths to Global Justice include: Anthropology, Art, Canadian-American Studies, Cold Beverage Fund, Communication, WWU Diversity Fund, Womenís Studies, Political Science, AS Social Issues, Center for Law, Diversity and Justice and Mark Lehman.


Winter 2012 Schedule
Date & Time Lecture

Wed 1/11

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



Seeking Salaam-- Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis in the Pacific Northwest

Sandra Chait, immigrant from South Africa and currently an independent scholar in Seattle


Description: Prolonged violence in the Horn of Africa, the northeastern corner of the continent, has led growing numbers of Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis to flee to the United States. Despite the enmity created by centuries of conflict, they often find themselves living as neighbors in their adopted cities, with their children as class-mates in school. In many ways, they are successfully navigating life in their new home; however, they continue to struggle to bridge old divisions and find salaam, or peace, with one another. News from home of continuing conflict fuels historical grievances and perpetuates tensions within these communities, resulting in ongoing enmity that can undermine attempts at reconciliation. Such involvement with the past can also delay acculturation and sabotage opportunities to attain the American Dream. In conversations with more than forty East African immigrants living in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, Sandra Chait captures the immigrants' struggle for identity in the face of competing stories and documents how some individuals have been able to transcend the ghosts from the past and extend a tentative hand to their former enemies.

Wed 1/18

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



The World Water Crisis: Challenges of access to clean water in Kenya

Mark Purington, Executive Director of Eleos Project, an international non-profit clean water initiative in Kenya. Sara Purington, a Fairhaven student from Kenya


Description Millions die each year from a lack of clean drinking water. Eleos Project is a non-profit clean water initiative working in Kenya to find and implement sustainable solutions to this global water crisis. This initiative works directly on the ground in rural Kenya to develop and coordinate projects in clean water by working in partnership with communities. As developing countries become increasingly affected by a lack of access to clean water, what will be next for these developing nations?

Wed 1/25

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"San Quentin-a monstrosity"

Reginald Pulley, former Warden of San Quentin


Description When Reginald L. Pulley was appointed warden of California State Prison at San Quentin in February 1982, he happened to be the first Black person to be appointed in California to head a maximum security prison. During his tenure as warden he was quoted at a public hearing as calling the prison a "monstrosity" that should be closed down. Mr. Pulley will discuss his views on the reality of the prison system and his involvement in it.

Wed 2/1

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"Art and Social Engagement"

Harrell Fletcher, Associate Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University. Wendy Red Star Adjunct Professor of Art at Portland State University


Description: Wendy Red Star and Harrell Fletcher will present and discuss various examples of community-based art projects they have generated. Fletcher's socially engaged art practice focuses on participatory site-specific projects that reference issues and histories of specific communities and places, and asks community members to actively contribute to the realization of each project. Red Star concentrates on subjects related to her experience of growing up on the Crow Reservation, examining the history and current culture of Native Americans. Among the recent projects she will discuss is her photographic series, "My Home is Where My Tipi Sits (Crow Country)", which documents the everyday aspects of the reservation.

Wed 2/8

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"Let Us Water the Flowers: The Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran"

Jafar Yaghoobi , former political prisoner in Iran


Description: The 1980s were the bloodiest decade in Iranís recent history. Based on his memoir, Let Us Water the Flowers, Jafar Yaghoobi will recount the 1979 revolution, the torture, arrests and mass killings under the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, to the struggle that continues for freedom, democracy and justice with the youth of Iran. His story seeks to understand the complexities of Iranian politics and the nature of the current regime, many of whose leaders were involved in the events described February 15 "Doing Good in Africa: Lessons from traditional agencies of self-help in the continent."

Wed 2/15

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"Doing Good in Africa: Lessons from traditional agencies of self-help in the continent"

Yomi Durotoye, Director of the African Studies program, Wake Forest University in North Carolina


Description: The constructed image of Africa as a luckless and helpless continent forever in need of foreign aid unjustly ignores the strong tradition of self-help and self-reliance that is found across African societies. Drawing from specific cases from his home community, Okemesi, in the Yorubaland of Nigeria, the speaker will describe the processes, practices, and enabling values of traditional agencies of self-help and explore how these can be adapted to foreign aid to make the effort more effective, respectful, and enduring.

Wed 2/22

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"How our way of life is killing Africans"

Gary Geddes, renowned Canadian author


Description: Every time your cell-phone rings or you reach for those cheap items on the shelves at the food store, a child dies or goes hungry in Africa. Why? Because the coltan that is an essential heat-resistant component in cell-phones, computers, play stations and all the new electronic gadgets that clutter and consume our hours is being mined by starving children working barefoot in unsupported mines shafts that often collapse. Our low food prices are achieved through government subsidies that make it impossible for Africans to sell their agricultural products on the world market. And many of our pension funds are invested in mining companies that care nothing for human rights or the environment. These are just a few of the issues that emerge in Gary Geddes's new non-fiction book Drink the Bitter Root: A search for justice and healing in Africa (Counterpoint Press), the story of his human rights interviews with women raped and infected with HIV, victims mutilated by the Lord's Resistance Army, former child soldiers, refugees, displaced persons and poets turned freedom fighters.

Mon 2/27

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"Libya from Dictatorship to Revolution"

Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, University of New England


Description: Addressing the structural causes of the February 17 Libyan Revolution, Professor Ahmida will analyze causes of the current revolution and its success in liberating Libya from the control of the Qaddafi forces: the Qaddafi regimeís failure to address the question of political reform and its alienation of important elite groups; the impact of demography, urbanization, and global social media; and, the success of an enterprising revolutionary leadership that was able to obtain diplomatic and military support from the United Nations, the Arab league, and NATO. The main thesis here is that the inability of the Qaddafi regime to make serious political reforms appropriate to the changes in the economy, education, and society eventually led to conflict between a dynamically changing social structure and a rigid political system that inhibited new social forces - especially unemployed youth ñ from having their social demands and grievances met The gap between the Libyan youth and the ruling elite undermined all the gains achieved by the regime during the 1970s and eventually led to the formation of a revolutionary coalition that became alienated from that regime. Had Colonel Qaddafi responded with openness to the calls for reform and not overreacted to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the urban elite in Libya might have been placated and the violent rebellion might have been avoided. Qaddafi miscalculated and overreacted. Once his army and police shot at protesters, the pent-up disaffection of Libyan society was unleashed, and it was too late for the regime to restrain it.

Wed 2/29

12:00 - 1:20pm

Fairhaven Auditorium



"Routes to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Simona Pinton, a researcher and professor of international and human rights law at the University of Venice, Italy, recently joined the Seattle University School of Law as an adjunct professor in international criminal law.


Description: The length and viciousness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem to preclude any lasting peace in the Middle East. The international community has not proven yet to be effective enough to bring the two parties to an acceptable settlement despite the several legal developments occurred in the last years (Opinions and judgments by the International Court of Justice and the Israeli Supreme Court on the conflict, the recent admission of Palestine to UNESCO, the Road Maps offered by international organizations and governmental leaders). In any case, the international efforts will not prove to be successful without the joint work of the civil society to the rebuilding of confidence and respect within and between the two societies. The Magnificat Institute in East Jerusalem is a special project that, through music, aims to produce a peace impact on children and youthsí everyday lives, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or nationality. The Magnificat Institute is a place of encounter for healing and understanding showing to the Israeli and Palestinian communities the advantages of working together for mutual benefit and for full development of personality. 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, Mark Lehman. All events are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call 650-2309 or visit our website:





Speaker Biographies


Sandra Chait, currently an independent scholar in Seattle, received her doctorate in English from the University of Washington where she taught African literature and served as Associate Director of the universityís Program on Africa. She is the author of Seeking Salaam: Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis in the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, 2011. She also taught British and American literature and co-edited with Elizabeth Podnieks Hayford Hall: Hangovers, Erotics and Modernist Aesthetics, Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.

Mark Purington and Sara Purington

Reginald Pulley

Harrell Fletcher received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from California College of the Arts. He studied organic farming at UCSC and went on to work on a variety of small Community Supported Agriculture farms, which impacted his work as an artist. Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990ís. His work is shown internationally at such prestigious institutions as SF MoMA, the de Young Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Seattle Art Museum, The Royal College of Art in London, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He was a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. His work also appears in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, and The New Museum in New York. In 2002, Harrell started ìLearning To Love You Moreî, a participatory website with performance artist and filmmaker, Miranda July.


Wendy Red Star was born in Billings, Montana just outside of the Crow Indian reservation where she was raised. She grew up in a multi-cultural family. Her mother is of Irish decent, her father a full blood Crow Indian and her older sister is Korean. Wendy left the Crow Indian reservation when she was eighteen to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana where she studied sculpture. She then went on to earn her MFA in sculpture at UCLA. Wendy currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she is an adjunct professor of art at Portland State University. Wendy Red Starís work explores the intersection between life on the Crow Indian reservation and the world outside of that environment. She thinks of herself as a Crow Indian cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society. Her work has been shown at Helen E. Copeland gallery, Bozeman, MT, The Fondation Cartier LíArt Contemporain, Paris, France, The CSULB gallery, Long Beach, CA, Research & Development, Chicago, IL, The Museum Tower at MOCA, Los Angeles, CA, And/Or gallery, Dallas, TX, The UCLA New Wight gallery, Los Angeles, CA, The L.A. Municipal Art gallery, Los Angeles, CA, The Domaine De Kerguehennc, Brittany, France, The Hudson D. Walker gallery, Provincetown, MA, The Plush Gallery, Dallas TX, The Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, England, The Luckman gallery, Los Angeles, CA,The Volitant gallery, Austin, Texas, Eiteljorg Museum of Native American & Western Fine Art, Yellowstone Art Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

Jafar Yaghoobi, PhD, was arrested in 1984 for opposition to the brutal regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, and was tortured and imprisoned for more than four years. He was released from prison in 1989 and subsequently escaped to Turkey before joining his wife and daughter in Germany. After settling in the United States, he worked as a genetics research scientist at the University of California, Davis, until his retirement in 2005. Since his retirement, besides writing his memoir, Let Us Water the Flowers: The Memoir of a Political Prisoner in Iran (Prometheus Books, April 2011), he has been active in bringing attention to human rights violations and abuses in Iran. Let Us Water the Flowers is a memoir of his experiences of the 1980s in Iran as an activist and a political prisoner. To date, it is the most comprehensive English-language memoir by a survivor of the 1980s mass killings, in which he recounts his personal experiences as a political prisoner as well as testimonials of those who shared the ordeal. It includes an introduction that explains the events of the 1980s within the larger context of the twentieth century Iranian history, an epilogue that describes the traumatic effects of imprisonment on survivors and their families, a glossary, and a list of resources for further research.

Yomi Durotoye received a PhD in political science from Duke University. He has previously taught at the North Carolina A & T University and the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria where he served as the Chair of the Department of Political Science. He is currently the Director of the African Studies program at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where he teaches courses in international studies, African studies, and African American politics. He teaches a study abroad course in Ghana during the summer. The course includes a service learning component.

Gary Geddes has written a much-anticipated book called Drink the Bitter Root: A search for justice and healing in Africa, based on his trauma and human rights interviews with victims of violence in Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland. Ottawa's Ian Smillie describes the book†as ìa deeply textured journey without maps into the†the unexplored rifts of sub-Saharan Africa, the human experience and the psyche. It's also the masterful handling of a full pallette." Foreign Affairs Editor Jonathan Manthorpe calls it ìA splendid piece of work†that brought back many memories, some I'd tried hard to bury, but also all the light and joy of Africa.î Gary Geddes has written and edited more than forty books and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt.-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence (BC), and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile, awarded simultaneously to Nobel laureates Vaclav Have and, Octavio Paz as well as to Ernesto Cardenal, Rafael Alberti and Mario Benedetti. Gary Geddes was born in Vancouver, BC in 1940. He completed a doctorate at University of Toronto and has taught at various institutions in Canada and abroad, including at Western Washington University, where he was Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture.

Ali Abdullatif Ahmida was born in Waddan, Libya and educated at Cairo University in Egypt and University of Washington, Seattle. He is a professor and chair of the Department of political science at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, USA. His specialty is Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and Historical sociology. His scholarship focuses on power, agency and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa especially modern Libya. Professor Ahmida has lectured in universities throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He has contributed book reviews and published major articles in Italian Studies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Arab Future, Third World Quarterly and the Arab Journal of International Studies. He is the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance, New York University Press, 1994, 2009; and also translated into Arabic and now is published in second edition by the Center of Arab Unity Studies, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. He is the editor of Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib: History, Culture and Politics, published by Palgrave Press in 2000 Routledge press published his book, Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya, 2005, an Arabic edition was published in 2009, and currently it is being translated into Italian edition which will be published in 2011. Cambridge Scholars Press has publish his edited book, Bridges Across The Sahara, September 2009, and The Center of Arab Unity Studies, Beirut, Lebanon, published his book Post-Orientalism: Critical Reviews of North African Social and Cultural History in August 2009. Ahmida has been awarded the Social Science Research Council national grant award, the Shahade award, and the Keannely Cup Award for distinguished academic service of the year at University of New England and in 2003. In 2010, he was awarded the Ludcke Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences for 2010-11 for excellence in teaching and scholarship at the University of New England.

Simona Pinton, a researcher and professor of international and human rights law at the University of Venice, Italy, recently joined the Seattle University School of Law as an adjunct professor in international criminal law. She holds a Ph.D. in International Law and International Relations from the University of Padua and an LL.M in International Law from UC Berkeley, Boalt Hall. Dr. Pinton served on the prosecutorial team for the UN Tribunal for the Genocide in Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania, and practiced law with the law firm of Grimaldi & Clifford Chance in Padua, Italy. Since 2005 she supports and promotes the Magnificat Project in East Jerusalem.





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




Shirley Osterhaus is the Coordinator of the World Issues Forums:

Shirley's Faculty Profile >