Fairhaven College launched the World Issues Forum, Western Washington University’s global justice speaker series in September 2001. Fall 2021 marks the twentieth anniversary of World Issues since it was begun and nurtured by Shirley Osterhaus with support from Fairhaven College and dean Ron Riggins.
The WIF challenges students, faculty, staff, and community members to be active and engaged global citizens. Distinguished guest speakers address urgent global justice topics including planetary survival; decolonization and anti-racism; human rights; migrations; and the world economy.
For Fall 2021 we have a fantastic line up of speakers appropriate to the twentieth anniversary of World Issues, and al-Qaeda’s attacks on the United States, and the failures of the global war on terror. We have two speakers on Indigenous Nations and settler colonialism, one on art and Islamophobia, a speaker on Afghanistan’s transitions, and an ACLU attorney on racism in our immigration policies. Fairhaven professor, Yanara Friedland, will read from her new book Groundswell on border landscapes, and two historians will compare accountability for human rights violations in Latin America.
We gratefully thank our colleagues Pedro Cameselle, Ceci Lopez, and Robert Snyderman for speaker nominations. Thanks also to our cohosts: Canadian American Studies; Education and Social Justice; the Western Gallery and Art 109; Department of History; Latin American Studies; Salish Sea Institute; WWU Tribal Relations Executive Laural Ballew; the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; WWU Journalism Department; The Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice
All community and other campus members can watch the forums via Zoom or Facebook Live.
You can access older World Issues Forums 2009-2020 on WWU Cedar.
Sept. 29 -- The Salmon People Project
Darrell Hillaire, Executive Director, Children of the Setting Sun Productions
In this talk, Darrell Hillaire from the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation will describe the Salmon People project by Children of the Setting Sun Productions. It includes a projected multi-part documentary series on how eight Indigenous Nations in the West and Canada are affected by the decline of salmon caused by colonization, dams, and rising water temperatures. Some programs will cover the Klamath Tribes’ struggles to remove four dams from the Klamath River in Oregon and California, and the Colville Tribes’ fight to remove the Enloe Dam from the Similkameen River. The project is also publishing its forthcoming book of interviews with Coast Salish elders, Jesintel in November 2021.
Bio: Darrell Hillaire is the Executive Director of Children of the Setting Sun Productions. He served several terms on the Lummi Indian Business Council including as Chair. Retiring from the Council in 2008 he founded and ran the Lummi Youth Academy. In 2013 he wrote the acclaimed play What About Those Promises? about the Treaty of Point Elliot and founded Children of the Setting Sun Productions to stage the play. He has since led the growth of Children of the Setting Sun Productions into a four-pronged organization: 1) Collecting and retelling Indigenous Stories; 2) Developing youth leadership in digital storytelling; 3) making a full documentary series on Native Salmon Peoples in the Western United States and Canada; and 4) providing commercial video & audio services. He is the coeditor of the forthcoming book Jesintel: Living Wisdom from Coast Salish Elders (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2021).
Oct. 6 – The Taliban’s Return and Afghanistan’s Cycles of Exclusion
M. Bashir Mobasher, Political Scientist, Legal and Institutional Analyst, and Writer.
Bashir Mobasher shares the history of Afghanistan as a history of regimes collapsing primarily due to their decisions to exclude 'others'. By excluding political opposition, women, ethnic and religious minorities, and even educated people and professionals from leadership positions, the Taliban risk repeating history. The recent surge of both civil and military movements such as the Panjshir resistance, the flag movement, women’s rights protests, and public outcry just days after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, have already begun to challenge the Taliban’s totalitarian rule.
Bio: Dr. Bashir Mobasher is an Assistant Professor of political science, an Adjunct Faculty of law, a Legal Consultant, and an Author. He is affiliated with the American University of Afghanistan, Western Washington University, Max Planck Institute of International Peace and the Rule of Law, and International IDEA. Previously, he has worked with the USAID’s rule of law project and INL’s legal education reform project. Dr. Bashir is an expert in constitutional law and electoral designs in divided societies. He has authored, reviewed, and supervised numerous research projects on constitutional law, electoral systems, peace and transition, and identity politics. His recent research projects are centered around Islam and constitutionalism, the voting rights of the displaced population, political decentralization, criminal justice and minorities, and divided legal systems. Bashir obtained his B.A. (2007) from the School of Law and Political Science at Kabul University and his LLM (2010) and Ph.D. (2017) from the University of Washington School of Law.
Oct. 13 -- Why They Didn’t Want You to Know about Residential and Boarding Schools
Brandi Morin, Indigenous Journalist, Treaty 6, Alberta, Canada
Abstract: With the unveiling of thousands of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who died attending Canada’s Indian residential schools the world gasped in horror. How could a perceived peaceful, democratic nation have perpetuated such violence against societies most innocent? The same truths are being uprooted across North America as the United States begins to investigate the Indian boarding schools’ era, its graves, and the aftermath. Join award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French Journalist Brandi Morin as she brings you stories of atrocious secrets fueled by racism and hunger for power, the survivors, reconciliation and the way forward.
Bio: Brandi Morin is an award-winning French/Cree/Iroquois Journalist from Treaty 6, AB, near Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Her most notable work is published/broadcasted with National Geographic, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, The National Observer, The Toronto Star, Power & Politics, CTV National, CBC Newsnet, The New York Times, Huff Post Canada, Elle Canada, Vice Canada, The Walrus, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News, and CBC Indigenous. Brandi won a Human Rights Reporting award from the Canadian Association of Journalists in April of 2019 for her work with the CBC’s Beyond 94 project, tracking the progress of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Her debut memoir, Our Voice of Fire, is forthcoming with House of Anansi in 2022.
Oct. 20 -- Human Rights in Latin America: Accountability and History in Mexico and Uruguay
Eben Levey and Debbie Sharnak, Historians at WWU and Rowan University
During the Cold War, Mexicans and Uruguayans suffered under repressive governments willing to enact state violence on its own citizens. How each nation has dealt with the legacy of this violent period, however, differs dramatically. Considering tools of accountability such as truth commissions and reparations, the panelists examine how Uruguay and Mexico’s own successes and failures to grapple with these abuses can inform discussions on social and racial justice around the globe, particularly in the US. They address the importance of continued grassroots activism and how transnational movements across borders have shifted the norms of impunity.
Eben Levey is a Historian of modern Mexico. His research examines the intersections between religion, indigeneity, and social movements during the Cold War.
Debbie Sharnak is an Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at Rowan University in NJ. Her research addresses issues of transitional justice, the rise of the transnational human rights movement, and the shifting human rights discourse in the 1970s and 1980s. Her book, Of Light and Struggle: The International Histories of Human Rights and Transitional Justice in Uruguay, will be published with the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2023.
Nov. 3 - Unchartered Distance: Performing In-Between Here and There
Venue: Western Gallery
Anida Yoeu Ali, Distinguished Artist
Through performance and video works, Anida Yoeu Ali will present a body of work that provocatively considers the diasporic past and present contours of hybrid identities. Ali discusses the challenges of creating work as a diasporic artist whose experiences and privileges allow for perspectives that shift constantly between “insider/outsider” identities. Her latest performance, The Red Chador unapologetically steps directly into the global face of Islamophobia whether it’s on the streets of Paris after the Charlie Hebdo killings or on the collegiate U.S. playgrounds of wealthy Trump voters. She will speak to the difficulties of work perceived “controversial” and the challenges of a transnational collaborative practice with the goals of engaging an unsuspecting public on social issues.
Anida Yoeu Ali is an Artist, Educator and Global Agitator born in Cambodia, raised in Chicago, and transplanted to Tacoma. Ali’s multi-disciplinary practices include performance, installation, videos, images, public encounters, and political agitation. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to artmaking, her installation and performance works investigate the artistic, spiritual, and political collisions of a hybrid transnational identity. Ali has performed and exhibited around the world from the Palais de Tokyo to the Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design.
Currently Ali serves as an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington, Bothell where she teaches art, performance and global studies courses. Ali, a founding partner of Studio Revolt, spends much of her time traveling and working between the Asia-Pacific region and the US!
Nov. 10 -- Writing at the Border: Reflections on Groundswell
Yanara Friedland, Professor of Creative Writing & Literature, Fairhaven College
In a transhistorical and transnational investigation of borderization, nationalism, and displacement in the Americas and Europe, Groundswell (Essay Press, 2021) investigates the voices and narrative possibilities of the border. For this reading and lecture, Yanara Friedland reflects on developing artistic methodologies that document border landscapes and the narratives they produce. How can testimony, archival work, and oral histories be translated into a literary context? How to engage the invisible landscapes of memory, trauma, and loss that linger at border sites?
Yanara Friedland is a writer and translator born in Berlin. She is the author of two books, Uncountry: A Mythology (Noemi Press 2016) and Groundswell (Essay Press 2021). Matthes & Seitz published Uncountry (2021) in German translation and that of Groundwell is forthcoming (2022). She is the recipient of grants from the DAAD and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Recent work has appeared in Western Humanities Review, Asymptote, and Matters of Feminist Practice. She is Associate Professor at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University.
Nov. 17 -- Confronting Immigration Law: From Racist History to Current Activism
Enoka Herat, Immigration Law & Police Practice Attorney, ACLU of Washington
America’s immigration laws were founded on racism since the First Congress, and these foundations continue to shape federal immigration policy today. Join us to discuss the racial history of immigration law and current federal immigration policy. Take a step further to understand how these federal laws impact all of us in Washington, and what the immigrant justice movement, state and local law makers have done to fight back against the federal government’s cruel and misguided immigration policy, in order to uphold and expand the rights of immigrants.
Bio: Enoka Herat is the Police Practices and Immigration Counsel for the ACLU of Washington. She leads the ACLU-WA’s work on ending local law enforcement collaboration with the deportation pipeline and reducing police violence across our state through state legislation and local advocacy. She is an alumna of Wesleyan University and the University of Washington School of Law. Enoka is the child of Sri Lankan immigrants and lives in Seattle with her husband and two children.