When: Thursday, September 9th @ 12pm
Where: In Person at MidWest One Bank (across from the Pentacrest, University of Iowa)
Speakers: Dr. Sara Mitchell and Yufan Yang
Dr. Sara Mitchell and Yufan Yang will discuss how climate change and natural disasters influence the chances for war and peace between countries. They will review what we know about this important topic, connect to their ongoing research, and discuss the policy implication of their findings.
Dr. Sara M. Mitchell is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. She is the author of six books and more than 55 journal articles and book chapters. She has received over 1.1 million dollars in external grants. Her areas of expertise include international conflict, political methodology, and gender issues in academia. Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior IR women. She received the ISA Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2015), a distinguish alumni award from Iowa State University, and she served as President of the Peace Science Society.
Yufan Yang is a doctoral candidate of political science at the University of Iowa. She studies international relations and political methodology. Her areas of expertise include political violence, environmental politics, and text analysis. She is the author of a journal article in Defense and Peace Economics and a book chapter in What Do We Know About War (Third Edition).
When: Wednesday, September 22nd @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Dr. Maxime Boutry
The double crisis, political and sanitary, that Myanmar is currently undergoing, sheds new light on the political and social transformations that have affected the country over the last ten years. Whilst the February 1st military coup literally kidnapped the hopes of a whole generation of citizens thirsting for democracy, it also revealed a failed transition, where the ghosts of decolonization continue to haunt any effort at nation building. Based on fieldwork among “ordinary citizens” in Myanmar as well as discourses in social and news media, Dr. Boutry will discuss diverse notions such as "legitimacy", “clientelism” or "federalism", and how their different understandings may reveal the underlying causes of the current crisis. Finally, although the current period is definitely a dark episode, he will explore some possible positive outcomes.
Dr. Maxime Boutry obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology in 2007 and has been living in Myanmar since then. His scholarly interests revolve around forms of continuity in the sociocultural changes affecting Burmese society through the study of “frontiers” (borderlands, transition spaces, interstices). Maxime is an associate researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE - CNRS) and the laboratory on “Local heritage, environment and globalization” (PALOC – IRD/MNHN). He also works for several NGOs particularly in the field of land tenure security. His publications include “The backdoors of resistance. Identities in the Malay Peninsula’s maritime borderlands”, in A. Horstmann, M. Saxer and A. Rippa (eds), Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands (2018), and “How far from national identity? Dealing with the concealed diversity of Myanmar”, in Robinne, F. and Egreteau, R. (Eds.), Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in Myanmar (2015).
When: Monday, September 27th @ 7-8:30pm
Where: In Person at Old Capitol Building, Old Senate Chamber
Speakers: Dr. Brian Lai, Dr. Michael D. Hais, Carolina Herrera, Amelia Thoreson, and Amna Haider
Americans born since 1997 are known as Generation Z (Zoomers). They grew up as part of the most racially and ethnically diverse population in U.S. history and are the most digitally capable generation. They turned out to vote in in record numbers in 2020 and comprise 10% of the American electorate yet they often feel their views on critical issues such as global climate change are not taken seriously enough by political leaders. This panel comprised of different generations of experts, including two university students, will discuss how Gen Z differs from previous generations regarding their views on international issues and American foreign policy and how those differences will shape public policy in the future.
Dr. Brian Lai is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa. His research and teaching are on US foreign policy, public opinion on US foreign policy issues, military alliances, and terrorism.
Dr. Michael D. Hais is retired as Vice President, Entertainment Research at communications research and consulting firm, Frank N. Magid Associates. While with Magid, Mike handled both quantitative and qualitative research in 48 states and a dozen foreign countries primarily, but not exclusively, focusing on television news and entertainment programming.
Prior to joining Magid in 1983, Mike was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Detroit, where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in American government and political institutions, the legislative process, the U.S. presidency, and political behavior. He also conducted political polls for the Michigan Democratic Party, a number of candidates and office holders including Governor James Blanchard and U.S. Senator Carl Levin as well as media outlets such as the Detroit Free Press and the Booth newspaper chain.
Mike earned a B.A. with honors from the University of Iowa (1965), an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison (1967), and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland (1973), where he was the first student in the department’s history to pass his comprehensive exams with distinction. His doctoral dissertation focused on American political party realignments.
Since retiring from Magid in 2006, Mike has co-authored three books on American generational change and its impact on society and politics—Millennial Makeover (2008), named a New York Times favorite book, Millennial Momentum (2011), and Millennial Majority (2013) as well as Healing American Democracy (2018), that focused on defending and preserving the constitutional order in the United States.
Mike now resides with his wife, Reena, within walking distance of the Rose Bowl Parade route in Pasadena, California where he hopes to watch the University of Iowa marching band on a future New Year’s Day.
Carolina Herrera is from Tiffin, Iowa studying International Relations with a minor in German. Since her freshman year at Iowa she has been actively involved with the United Nations Organization at Iowa. As a sophomore, with the help of other current members, she revamped the club and better expanded its reach on campus. Within the same organization she has served as the Events Coordinator, President, and is currently a Student Advisor. Additionally, she currently serves as the Midwest Campus Fellow for UNA-USA. Other organizations she has been involved in on campus is Young Life College where she was a leader, she was a Fellow for the Joe Biden Campaign and the Treasurer for Students for Biden, as well as a Research Assistant for an Iowa Caucus Research project under the vigilance of a professor. After graduation, Carolina hopes to attend graduate school and work for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, or any other governmental affairs.
Amelia Thoreson is a senior from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She is pursuing bachelors degrees in Spanish and International Relations on the Conflict and Foreign Policy track with a minor in Latino/a/x Studies. Her research interests include civil conflict mediation, peace agreement implementation, and gender issues as related to civil conflict. Amelia interned virtually with the U.S. Department of State's Embassy in Quito, Ecuador during the summer of 2021 and she is currently a virtual intern with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council. She plans to earn a graduate degree in International Affairs before pursuing a career in the Foreign Service.
Amna Haider is a senior from Omaha, Nebraska. She is studying for B.A. degrees in Philosophy and International Relations (on the Conflict and Foreign Policy track), and a Certificate in Human Rights. Amna's involvements with the UI Department of Political Science spans from serving as a Resident Assistant for the Political Matters Living Learning Community, acting as a peer mentor for the department's first-year students, and working as a research assistant for Dr. Menninga's research on cooperation in civil wars. Amna also interns with ICFRC and is an undergraduate representative for both the UI Lecture Committee and Center for Human Rights Advisory Board. Other campus involvements include being an Honors Writing Fellow, President of the Walk It Out Multicultural Fashion Show, and the founder/President of the new global peace activism student organization called Peace by Peace. Upon graduation, Amna hopes to attend graduate school and later work for an international governmental organization focused on international law, security, and human rights.
When: Thursday, September 28th @ 4pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Ambassador Ray
Ambassador Ray will discuss the challenges of race, diplomacy and national security, including the challenges of being Black in the U.S. State Department.
Ambassador Ray has over 50 years of experience in international affairs, with 20 years in the U.S. Army, and 30+ years in the U.S. Foreign Service. His military experience included assignments in Unconventional Warfare Planning, Psychological Operations, Intelligence and Public Affairs. During his Foreign Service career, he managed troubled organizations in Asia and Africa, and was instrumental in reestablishing a mil-to-mil relationship with Cambodia after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As deputy chief of mission in Sierra Leone, he managed the military training program and oversaw USAID’s humanitarian assistance effort. He was also instrumental in brokering democratic elections in Sierra Leone, which saw a peaceful transfer of power from the military junta that had taken over the country the year before his assignment; this election took place during an externally-supported rebel war. He encouraged the government of Cambodia to take a more active role in combatting human trafficking, and implemented a successful Muslim outreach program in that country, which reversed the negative views the small Islamic community had about the United States.
He has served as deputy chief of mission in Sierra Leone, was the first post-war consul general in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, served as ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe, and was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), during which time, he oversaw development of the US government interagency policy on personnel recovery, working with the Department of State, FBI, DEA, and USAID to develop a comprehensive plan to provide proactive and reactive support to USG personnel working abroad.
Since retiring from government service in 2012, Ambassador Ray has consulted with DOD, participating in the development of a training continuum for Defense Attaches in support to chiefs of mission during personnel recovery operations, and provided training support to the US Army as an SME on interagency matters, preparing army units for deployment abroad in noncombat operations. He also conducts a workshop on professional writing for Rangel foreign affairs scholars.
A prolific writer, he has published more than 60 books of fiction and nonfiction, including works on ethics, leadership, and diplomacy. He works with the Potomac Institute for Public Policy, developing a program on the use of diplomacy as a tool to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
He has a B.S. in business administration from Benedictine College, an M.S. in systems management from the University of Southern California, and an M.S. in national security management from the National War College of the National Defense University. He speaks Thai, Vietnamese, and Mandarin, and is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Association of Black American Ambassadors. Ambassador Ray is chairman of the board of the Cold War Museum, at Vint Hill, VA, and chairs the board of advisors of the Institute of Science, Technology, and the Arts (ISSTA), an international boarding school, planned for construction in Orlando, Florida,