World Issues Forum announces fall lineup

Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 11:35am
Western Today staff

Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies has announced the upcoming fall slate of presenters for its 11th Annual World Issues Forum, with subjects ranging from the impact of tourism on the Himalayas to everyday life in 21st Century Cuba.

The following forums are free and open to the public, and are from noon to 1:20 p.m. every Wednesday in the Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless noted otherwise:

Wednesday, Oct. 3 - “Beyond The Zionist Paradigm - New Hope for Israel and Palestine”

Presenter: Miko Peled, author, activist and son of Matti Peled, Israeli general

In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled: His beloved niece, Smadar, was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That tragedy propelled Peled onto a journey of discovery and pushed him to re-examine many of the beliefs he had grown up with, as the son and grandson of leading figures in Israel's political-military elite, and transformed him into a courageous and visionary activist in the struggle for human rights, equality for all the residents of the Holy Land and a hopeful and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Co-sponsored by Voices for Middle East Peace and the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center.

Wednesday, Oct. 10 - “Tourism, Development and Sacred Peaks in the Himalaya”

Presenters: Julie Tate-Libby, instructor of Anthropology and Sociology at Wenatchee Valley College; James Loucky, professor of Anthropology at Western, will offer a comparative response

The Himalaya range has long been a site for mountaineering and exploration as well as pilgrimage, mountain worship and high altitude farming and pastoral life. Kawa Karpo (Meili Snow Mountain) in Southwestern China is a prominent site for pilgrims from across the Tibetan plateau, and increasingly popular with Han Chinese tourists as well. Government plans for roads to facilitate tourism are likely to have major effects on remote villages. Similar tourism promotion is slated for small mountain communities in Zanskar, in northern India. The fate of community development and mountain worship in these villages provide lessons for tourism, politics and development issues across Southwest China and the Himalaya region overall.

Wednesday, Oct. 17 - “From Che to Castro: Life as an Organizer in Cuba”

Presenter: Daisy Rojas from Martin Luther King Center in Havana, Cuba; accompanied by Diego Benitez of Cuba International and Amy Truax of Witness for Peace NW

What comes to mind when you hear the word Cuba? Might it be images of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro or Hemingway smoking cigars? Or possibly images of drinking rum on a beach, classic cars and beautiful architecture. Or maybe you think of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban Five, and the Bay of Pigs invasion. What about actual Cuban citizens who live and make their home there? In an interactive presentation, Daisy Rojas will offer a rare insight into the daily lives of Cubans in the 21st Century, discuss the state of reforms under Raul Castro and share her experience as an organizer at the MLK Center in Havana.

Wednesday, Oct. 24 - “Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis”

Presenters: Susan Noyes Platt, art historian and art critic

Susan Platt will offer a critical analysis of socially engaged art with a global perspective. From the art of street protest to the work of gallery artists, she will present renowned artists from Latin American, Asia, Middle East, Europe and the United States described in her recent book, “Art and Politics Now, Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis,” that are engaged in issues of war, police state oppressions, racism, borders, and the environment.

Wednesday, Oct. 31 - “Bahrain: The Uncovered Uprising”

Presenter: Jen Marlowe, documentary filmmaker and author

In July 2012, documentary filmmaker Jen Marlowe traveled to Bahrain in order to clandestinely observe and document the continued repression against Bahrain’s Arab Spring. Marlowe's talk explores the central role women play in Bahrain’s Arab Spring, challenging Western stereotypes about women in conservative Middle Eastern societies. She also examines the overly simplistic “Shi’a versus Sunni” analysis characterizing the uprising. Throughout, Marlowe will highlight inspirational Bahraini pro-democracy activists who continue their struggle for freedom at great personal risk.

Wednesday, Nov. 7 - “The 2012 US Election – A Domestic and Global Perspective”

Presenter: Todd Donovan, professor of Political Science, Western Washington University

A post-election overview on what was “normal” about the 2012 election, compared to previous presidential elections, and an assessment of how 2012 was unlike other U.S. elections. The discussion will also consider how Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are perceived overseas, and how American attitudes about their elections compare to attitudes held by citizens in other democratic nations.

Wednesday, Nov. 14 - TBA

Wednesday, Nov. 28 - “Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation”

Presenter: Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Canadian author and Quaker-Jewish activist

Despite the long history of nonviolent campaigns by Palestinians challenging both British and Zionist colonialism, culminating in the overwhelmingly nonviolent first intifada (1987-93) and the present struggle against the Israeli occupation, this aspect of the Palestinian resistance is vastly under-reported. With her recent interview-based book, Kaufman-Lacusta will highlight nonviolent resistance by both Palestinians and Israelis to the Israeli occupation along with ways U.S. citizens can support this resistance.

Co-sponsors of Fairhaven College’s World Issues Forum include Western’s departments of Anthropology, Canadian American Studies, Communications, Political Science, and Women’s Studies; various Associated Students organizations; and local community nonprofits.

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.

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.