When: Thursday, April 1st @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speakers: Valeria Adzo Adzatia, Edgar Munatsi, and Sandra Ejang
We invite you to join us for a discussion with three University of Iowa Mandela Washington Fellow Graduates: Valeria Adzo Adzatia, Edgar Munatsi, and Sandra Ejang. This Iowa City Foreign Relations Council program will feature a panel discussion, moderated by Dimy Doresca, Director of the International Business Institute at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.
These three young entrepreneurs are eager to share with you how their ventures have progressed since they left Iowa City. In addition to discussing their successes, the discussion will include conversation around the current health, political, and economic contexts within their respective countries.
The U.S. State Department's Mandela Washington Fellowship, started in 2014 as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative created by President Obama, empowers young people from Sub-Saharan Africa through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. Each year the Fellowship provides 1,000 young ambassadors with the opportunity to hone their skills at U.S. higher education institutions. Over the years, the Iowa delegations of Fellows spend six weeks in Iowa taking entrepreneurial classes and touring the state.
Each year ICFRC hosts a program featuring the Mandela Washington Fellows visiting the University of Iowa. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are bringing you a virtual discussion from three former fellows. You won't want to miss this new twist on our annual Mandela Washington Fellowship spotlight!
"Impeachment and Empire"
When: Wednesday, April 7th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Michael Zmolek
The United States of America is a signatory to the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions yet routinely transgresses these and other treaties and agreements comprising our system of international law. Why then are presidents not held accountable or impeached? This talk will address this question in light of the ‘informal empire’ that the United States has managed since 1945 and the violations of human rights and international law which have occurred. In sharing personal experiences of helping draft articles of impeachment against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Dr. Zmolek will attempt to help us connect the dots between the assault on civil liberties and the escalation of violence in US foreign policy post-9/11 and the January 6th assault on the US Capitol by a mob incited by Donald Trump. While this resort to violence in attempting to subvert the outcome of a democratic election has been rightly viewed as an assault on domestic political norms, use of the same tactics by parties supported by the United States has been a routine part of managing the US’s informal empire. The fact that impeachment as a mechanism for upholding accountability to the law obviously remains hostage to the partisan politics of America’s two-party system leaves the door open to future episodes involving the turn to the use of force against democracy.
Michael Andrew Zmolek teaches World History, International Studies and Development Studies at the University of Iowa. His book Rethinking the Industrial Revolution (Brill 2013; Haymarket 2014) explores five centuries of English/British history and is part of a broader effort to understand the nature and origins of capitalism. Mike received a BA in Linguistics and a Certificate of African studies at the University of Iowa before going on to complete his PhD in Political Science at York University in Toronto, where he served as an executive of the Graduate Students' Association for four years. As a legislative assistant in Congress, his work focused on addressing the plight of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina and on drafting articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for representatives Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH). As an activist he has worked on the campaign to abolish apartheid in South Africa; opposing tuition hikes for students in Canada; and opposing the bombing, sanctions against, invasion and occupation of Iraq.
This talk is dedicated to the memory of Ed Zastrow.
When: Wednesday, April 14th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Luis Martin-Estudillo
Questioning and reassessing the European Union (EU) is vital for the future of the transnational organization as it struggles to connect with its people. Many works of art of the last few decades pointed to the roots of popular discontent with the EU even before it was known as such. Recent pieces exude a sense of urgency, manifesting deep concern about the European integration project. Their contribution provides new perspectives to debates that are often the monopoly of politicians, technocrats, and academics.
Luis Martín-Estudillo is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa and holds affiliate positions at the Universities of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Groningen (The Netherlands). He specializes in modern and contemporary Spanish cultural and intellectual history, visual culture, and European studies. He has published and edited eight books, including The Rise of Euroskepticism: Europe and Its Critics in Spanish Culture (Vanderbilt University Press, 2018), winner of an inaugural National Endowment for the Humanities' Open Book Award. His latest book, Goya and the Mystery of Reading, will be published this year.
When: Tuesday, April 20th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Professor Ana Rodriguez-Rodriguez
Professor Ana Rodríguez will present and discuss the exhibition she recently curated in Spain, staged by the Cervantes Institute and Spain's National Library, and which also has an online version, where Spain's female writers' lives are celebrated and their works displayed
Ana M. Rodríguez-Rodríguez is an Associate Professor specializing in Early Modern Spanish Literature. She has published many articles on a variety of topics such as Christian-Muslim relations in the Mediterranean, women's writing, and the Asian Spanish empire. In 2013, she published a book exploring Spanish captivity writings during the 16th and 17th centuries (Letras liberadas. Cautiverio, escritura y subjetividad en el de la época imperial española. Madrid: Visor Libros), and she is currently writing a monograph about the Philippines during Spanish colonial rule of the archipelago. Rodríguez-Rodríguez completed a Ph.D. on Spanish Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007 and a second PhD in Philology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in 2021. In 2015 she received the M.L. Huit Faculty Award for her teaching and research, and in 2020 she also received the International Engagement Teaching Award, awarded by International Programs and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa.
"Why Viral Variants Form and What it Means for Global Trends of SARS-CoV2 Now and Moving Forward with Vaccination"
When: Thursday, April 29th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Dr. Christine Petersen
Dr. Christine Petersen, an expert on vaccines, epidemiology and the pandemic, is the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. The focus of this center is to bring together trans-disciplinary research teams to lessen the burden of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases across health settings. These efforts bring together immunologists, vaccinologists and computational biologists/biostatisticians to attack the problem of vaccine-intractable infections through statistical hierarchical modeling of protective immunity. CEID-based efforts have led to published collaborative studies.
Dr. Christine Petersen’s scholarly work has focused on the recognition and prevention of zoonotic diseases, primarily the epidemiology and immunobiology of vector-borne and parasitic diseases and like almost everyone in these fields in 2020, also now SARS coronavirus 2. Dr. Petersen is the scientific program chair for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Dr. Petersen is the US/non-vector borne disease region representative to the international veterinary group that provides recommendations regarding treatment and prevention of infection with the zoonotic protozoan parasite, Leishmania infantum; Leishvet. Dr. Petersen’s collaborative group works in Brazil, India and Ethiopia via NIH/Fogarty International Center and NIAID-funded focused on understanding transmission routes and host species immune susceptibility for vector borne zoonoses including tick borne and sand fly borne diseases. This work has been predominantly evaluating dogs for their role in these infectious disease ecologies, but has spanned work in domestic ruminants (goats, cows and water buffalo) to small rodent reservoirs of Borrelia. Dr. Petersen’s published and patented work demonstrates the ability to target reservoir species for immunologic and parasitologic control of chronic infections to promote disease elimination.