WWU's Fairhaven College Announces Fall World Issues Forum Slate

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 5:30pm

Contact: Shirley Osterhaus, Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies coordinator, (360) 650-2309 or shirley.osterhaus@wwu.edu.

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies has announced the upcoming fall slate of presenters for its 10th Annual World Issues Forum, with subjects ranging from death row exonerees to saving the cultural identity of Tibet.

The following forums are free and open to the public, and are from noon to 1:15 p.m. every Wednesday in the Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless noted otherwise:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

“Execution’s Doorstep: A Death-Row Exoneree Tells His Story”

Presenter: Juan Roberto Meléndez-Colón, who was exonerated after 17 years on Florida’s Death Row, 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 society — the poor.  Meléndez-Colón will also give a presentation from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.

Wednesday, Oct. 5

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

Presenter: Roberta Riley, project director of the World at 7 Billion Project. A world with 7 billion human inhabitants 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..

Wednesday, Oct. 12

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

Presenter: Biologist Dana Visalli. Having been to Iraq four times and to Afghanistan twice in the past two years, Visalli will give a brief history of the country, 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 he offers some suggestions for what our next steps could be.  NOTE: Visalli will also give a second lecture at 7 p.m. in the Herald Building conference room, 1155 N. State St., third floor.

Wednesday, Oct. 19

“The Challenge of Earthquake Recovery in Haiti”

Presenter: Roger Annis, director of the Canadian delegation to Haiti and 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?  NOTE: Annis will also give a second lecture at 7 p.m. in the Herald Building conference room, 1155 N. State St., third floor.

Wednesday, Oct. 26

What Would You Do to Save Your Culture?”

Presenter: Geshe Yonten, Tibetan monk from Zanskar, India, 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.

Wednesday, Nov. 2

Immigration Enforcement – The Human and Civil Rights Alternative”
Presenter: Writer and photojournalist David Bacon. 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 in countries like Mexico and Guatemala displaced by the United States’ trade and economic policies who bear the effects of the criminalization of migration.     

Wednesday, Nov. 9

Sowing Struggle: Urban and Rural Social Movements in Tlaxcala, Mexico”

Presenter: Luz Rivera Martinez, grassroots organizer with Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino in Mexico. With 20 years of experience constructing autonomy and resisting free trade, Martinez 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. Her presentation will speak to those interested in women's, peasant, and labor movements.

Wednesday, Nov. 16

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

Presenter: 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 migration, CEDICAM works with over 1,500 villagers in 12 communities and accompanies them in sharing knowledge, skills, and methods which preserve the countryside 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 rain-catchment programs for family use that help recharge the aquifers feeding the mountain springs on which Mixteca communities depend.

For more information on the World Issues Forum speaker series presented by WWU’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, call Shirley Osterhaus at (360) 650-2309 or visit the World Issues Forum Website at http://www.wwu.edu/depts/fairhaven.

WWU's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 1967, is nationally recognized for innovation in teaching and  learning, intensive advising, student-designed majors, narrative assessment, experiential and independent learning and a commitment to social justice.