When: Tuesday, April 5, 2022, @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: In-Person: MidWestOne Bank 102 S. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA
Speakers: Dr.Eric Vazquez
This talk examines bitcoin enthusiast's arguments about the viability of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador. It raises specific concerns about bitcoin adoption in a context of growing authoritarianism, a history of unstable monetary policy, and limited technology.
Eric Vázquez is an assistant professor in American Studies and Latino Studies at University of Iowa. His scholarship emphasizes the cultural, political, military, and economic bonds that link populations and institutions in the United States to Central America.His current book project, States of Defeat: US Imaginaries of Central American Revolution, explores how thwarted ambitions for revolution in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala give rise to ambivalent, outraged, cynical, and mournful affects for novelists, intellectuals, immigrants, and military technocrats living in the US. Out of these experiences of defeat and disappointment American intellectuals retreat into questions about the viability and legitimacy of state power. Dr. Vázquez argues that by deploying a mode of analysis that is speculative about the future and discouraged by the past, at once, these texts prefigure later war-on-terror era anxieties about state failure, the rise of non-governmental organizational forms, and raison d'etat secrecy and securitizationIn his research, Eric Vázquez has enjoyed the support of the Ford Foundation with a 2013-2014 Dissertation Writing Fellowship. Dr. Vazquez received his PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015.
When: Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 @12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Andrea Wilson, Chuy Renteria, Eyad Said, Antonia Rivera
Reading, for people around the world, has been one of the primary ways to better understand the vast, complex, and uneven global landscape of immigration. Yet, immigration is not simply an abstract subject of study, not simply headlines flashing on our smartphone screens about distant events, not simply a topic for (often heated) policy debates. When it is, empathy and our ability to understand and appreciate the ways in which we are all interconnected are lost or diminished. Immigration, we cannot forget, is peoples’ lives. And the experiences of refugees, immigrants, asylees—their journeys, fears, and hopes—are as varied and complicated as the individuals living them. Books like The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen and We the Interwoven: An Anthology of Bicultural Iowa, Vols. I, II, and III, edited by Andrea Wilson, are important and necessary counterweights. In them, refugee and immigrant writers bind us together through the power of storytelling and the sharing of personal experiences. They imbue personality, nuance, and contradiction—humanity—to that vast, complex, and uneven subject. Through their words, we see each other with our many similarities and differences, anew. Empathy deepens and understanding grows. Perhaps, too, a call to action—for us, the impetus to welcome and support new neighbors to Iowa. In this session, the panel will discuss what it has been like for them to write and share their migration stories, why they chose to do so, and maybe offer some insights about the craft of writing personal narratives. They will reveal what it has been like to receive readers’ feedback. And they will share their views on what the publication of refugee and immigrant firsthand accounts, theirs and others, offer readers and society and why such voices are so very important today.
Jesus “Chuy” Renteria is an artist, writer, dancer, and teacher, but above all, he is a storyteller. Born in Iowa City and raised in West Liberty IA, both sides of his family are from border towns in Mexico that transplanted to meatpacking towns in the Midwest. Growing up in West Liberty, he oscillated between the Mexican, Laotian, and small-town cultures that made up Iowa’s first majority-Hispanic town. Chuy tells stories celebrating the spaces between cultures, of mangled Spanglish and generational clashes, of the messiness of people finding themselves. In addition to his writing, Chuy is an Assistant Director for the University of Iowa’s Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives Unit. He is the host of The Englert’s Writers of Color Reading Series podcast. His first full length publication, a memoir titled “We Heard it When We Were Young,” released in November 2021 with The University of Iowa Press. He spends his free time with his wife Darcy and their first born Marisol Alana.
Andrea Wilson is the founder and Executive Director of the Iowa Writers' House, a nonprofit supporting the creation and publication of literature in Iowa. She is the founder of the Bicultural Iowa Writers' Fellowship, and the editor and publisher of We the Interwoven, the first series of essays by immigrants, first- and second- generation Americans in Iowa. As a trained narrative therapy practitioner, she develops programs and workshops which use story as a method to support mental health, psychological healing and empowerment. Her most recent workshop, Reframing the Past & Writing the Next Chapter, was taught in Panama. Andrea has a BFA from Iowa State University and a Master’s in Narrative Therapy from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Antonia Rivera was born in Distrito Federal, Mexico. At age six, she crossed the border and spent her youth in California. Eventually, she received temporary protection and a work permit through DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She writes about migration and what it means to be part of the 1.5 generation. She now lives in Des Moines, Iowa and works at Grassroots Law Project.
Eyad Said was born in Damascus, Syria. He lives with his family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He earned a master’s degree in banking and finance from the University of Damascus, Syria, before getting a PhD in mathematics from Louisiana State University. A husband and father of two, he is an assistant professor of mathematics at Mount Mercy University.
When: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: In-Person: MidWestOne Bank 102 S. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA
Speaker: Stratis Giannakouros
This talk will discuss the challenges to a zero carbon transition posed by the simultaneous crises of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the world emerges from the pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains and pent up demand have caused inflation not seen since the oil crisis of the late 70s. This in turn has lead to increased commodity prices from oil to food staples, as well as scarcity in the materials necessary for renewable technology deployment (chip shortages and rare earths). The ongoing Russian Invasion of Ukraine has further destabilized energy markets, supply chains and raw materials procurement. The geopolitical energy landscape has at once been transformed, with Europe redoubling efforts to wean itself from Russian energy through accelerated clean hydrogen R&D, as well as other clean energy targets. At the same time, the US has doubled down on shale oil production and LNG export, while it remains to be seen how we will respond through accelerated renewables R&D. What do all these changes portend for our efforts to address climate change? How does this affect the commitments made at COP(26) in Glasgow? How will this catalyze our energy transition? How will it undo progress?
Stratis Giannakouros is the Director of the UI Office of Sustainability. He comes to the UI from Arizona State University, where he served as project manager and program manager for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Prior to that, he was the assistant director at the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College and sustainability outreach coordinator at Colorado State University. Mr. Giannakouros has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Loras College and a master’s degree in Environmental Politics and Policy from Colorado State University.
When: Tuesday, April 26th @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speakers: Heather Brandon-Smith
Following the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), permitting the president to use force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and those who harbored them. Since then, four presidents have utilized this AUMF to justify using force against an array of groups – many of whom did not exist on 9/11 – in over half a dozen countries around the world. These post-9/11 wars have resulted in over 929,000 people killed, including over 387,000 civilians, and have cost over $8.9 trillion. While President Biden declared to the United Nations in September 2021 that “the United States is not at war,” the Biden administration continues to rely on the outdated 2001 AUMF to conduct lethal strikes and other operations that continue our forever wars. This presentation will discuss the 2001 AUMF, its origins, and how it has been stretched by successive administrations, as well as efforts being made to repeal it and bring an end to U.S. forever wars.
Heather Brandon-Smith is Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in Washington, DC. She leads FCNL’s work to repeal outdated war authorization, promote respect for human rights and international law, and reduce U.S. armed interventions around the world. Prior to joining FCNL, she served as the Advocacy Counsel for National Security at Human Rights First, where she worked to advance U.S. national security policies that are consistent with human rights and the rule of law. Ms. Brandon-Smith is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Her writing has appeared in The Hill, Lawfare, Just Security, and Intercross (the blog of the International Committee of the Red Cross). She holds an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Politics and International Relations, an LL.B., and an LL.M. from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
When: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Brandon Valeriano
Given Russia's aggressive conflict behavior, it is difficult to not fear Russian cyber operations. Much of the knowledge we do have about Russian cyber operations is simply because of their reliance on dramatic action to try to signal displeasure with the international system. Lacking other capabilities, Russia leverages cyber power because it can do little else to affect the shape of bargaining in the international system beyond dramatic mobilization. Russian actions tend to fail to have a coercive impact, but still gather attention and provoke fear. Their willingness to escalate compared to other states makes Russia a potentially dangerous cyber power. This talk will cover past Russia cyber actions, dissect the Russia strategic developments in cyberspace, and cover recent actions in Ukraine highlighting the potential for cyber war.
Brandon Valeriano (PhD Vanderbilt University) serves as a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Foreign and Defense Policy and he is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Marine Corps University. He was most recently the Donald Bren Chair of Military Innovation at the Marine Corps University at the Krulak Center and a Senior Advisor for the Cyber Solarium Commission. Dr. Valeriano has published six books and dozens of articles for such outlets as the Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Peace Research. His two most recent books are Cyber War versus Cyber Reality (2015) and Cyber Strategy (2018), both with Oxford University Press. Dr. Valeriano has written opinion and popular media pieces for such outlets as the Washington Post, Slate, Foreign Affairs, and Lawfare. He has provided testimony on cyber conflict before the United States Senate and the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Ongoing research explores conflict escalation, big data in cyber security, and repression in cyberspace. Dr. Valeriano is the Area Editor in International Relations for the Journal of Cybersecurity and the Series Editor of Disruptive Technology and International Security for Oxford University Press.
"In Recognition of International Women’s Day Food, Gender, and the Challenges Ahead"
When: Tuesday, March 8th, 2022, @ 12pm-1:00pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Emmy Simmons
This presentation will address global food security issues as they affect both the U.S. farming/food systems as well as those systems in other countries. As we look forward to the challenges of feeding a global population of nearly 10 billion and dealing with the extremes of climate change, it is clear that farming/food systems everywhere will face new pressures. Ms. Simmons will highlight the roles that women today play in food systems – as farmer/food producers, in agrifood businesses, in research and technology development, and in making family food choices – and the issues that they will face in the future.
Emmy Simmons is an independent consultant on international development issues with a focus on food, agriculture, and Africa. She is currently a member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, the Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and the Board of DevWorks International. She serves as a non-resident senior adviser for food security programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She has previously served on other Boards and advisory groups, including as a co-chair of AGree, an initiative that brought together a diverse group of interests to transform U.S. food and agriculture policy, and as a co-chair of the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability at the National Academies of Science. She completed a career of nearly 30 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2005, having served since 2002 as the assistant administrator for economic growth, agriculture, and trade, a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position. Prior to joining USAID, she worked in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs in Monrovia, Liberia, and taught and conducted research at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. She began her international career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 1962 to 1964. She holds an M.S. degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022 @12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Vinh Nguyen, Anne Kiche, Mallory Petsche, Rocio Lopez Riveros
Across the globe and here in Iowa, education is seen as a ticket to a better future. The knowledge one acquires and the credentials a degree confers have the power to open previously closed doors and lead to opportunities previously not possible. For refugees and immigrants, navigating the complex systems of higher education in the US are overwhelming and promising. In some ways, the realities are akin to most first-generation families. There may be a steep learning curve about school types and the similarities and differences between them, about the FAFSA, applications, and costs for each school, about existing scholarships and other funding sources, and about the resources available to students new to the tertiary landscape. In other ways, there are realities which are unique to first-generation families newer to the US. For example, comparisons are made to higher education systems in home countries, mostly English-only information makes reading about and understanding the many college options and their requirements challenging, and once enrolled, lines might be blurred between home and school life. Attending all first-gen students are aspirations and pressures both intrinsic and those from the hopes and expectations of not just their parents but of the larger communities from which they hail. In this session, the panel will discuss the lived experiences of refugee and immigrant students and their families as they pursue admission to and persist through Iowa’s colleges and universities. They will explain some of the support programs and resources available in the state. And they will share how increasingly diversifying campuses of all types are more vibrant for everyone, particularly in learning spaces, with the inclusion of the voices, ideas, and contributions of students from all cultural and national backgrounds.
Rocio Lopez is currently a sophomore at Kirkwood Community College studying sociology. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she is now living in Coralville, Iowa. As a work study student for TRIO, Rocio works closely alongside other TRIO students with the goal of making connections and spreading information about how great the program is and what resources are available. For her future, she plans to transfer to the University of Iowa and pursue a career involving student support services.
Mallory Petsche has served alongside refugee and immigrant communities in Iowa for nearly a decade. Her work centers around building innovative, cross-sector partnerships that eliminate barriers for newcomer communities and create space for strategic, community-based solutions in education from pre-k to higher ed. Mallory currently serves as the Director of Kirkwood Community College TRIO Student Support Services - ESL Program. The program provides culturally-specific academic support, social engagement, and career planning for first and second-generation immigrant students who are the first in their families to attend college, low income, or have a documented disability.
Dr. Anne Kiche is adjunct assistant professor in the Global Health Studies Program at The University of Iowa and an adjunct instructor in English Language Acquisition (ELA) at Kirkwood Community College. Her teaching interests include education, immigrant and refugee health, and the connection between migration, diversity, and pandemics on both the physical and mental health of populations. Life experiences living in Kenya and the US have invaluably informed her teaching. She teaches courses such as Health Experiences of Immigrants, Migrants and Refugees; Pandemics and Mental Health; and Mental Health in Diverse Societies. She is the chair of the African Communities Network of Iowa and will be the diversity co-chair of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Linn and Johnson counties starting July 1st, 2022
Vinh Nguyen recently retired from Des Moines Public Schools after thirty-four years of service. He is now Refugee Education Coordinator at Lutheran Services in Iowa. Nguyen earned a secondary math teaching certification from Drake University in 1993, an ELL certification from William Penn University in 2006, and a master's degree in school leadership and supervision from Viterbo University in 2015. As a former refugee, one of the Boat People from Vietnam, he found many difficulties and challenges in adjusting to his new life in 1980s America. With no English language skills, he struggled to communicate and often relied on others to interpret and to help find jobs. He was the recipient of the Passport to Prosperity Award from the Iowa Council for International Understanding in 2004. He was given the Dan Chavez, Beyond the Horizon Award in 2005, a prestigious award given to an individual who demonstrates extraordinary effort on behalf of immigrant, refugee, and non-English speaking populations in Iowa. DMACC honored with the Alumni Award in 2009. In addition, he was presented the Governor's Volunteer Award in 2010; the Special Recognition from Governor Chet Culver in 2010, a Bankers Trust Award for Excellent Volunteers in 2020; and the Impact Award in 2022 from the Iowa Asian Alliance. He is very active in Des Moines's language minority communities and currently serves as the president of the Vietnamese American Community in Iowa. He serves as a storyteller, speaker, and consultant for topics related to Vietnam, Southeast Asia, refugee and immigrant issues, the refugee resettlement process, and second language acquisition.
When: Wednesday, Feb 2, 2022 @12pm-1pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speakers: Dr. William Reisinger, Dr. Sara Mitchell, Dr. Paul van Hooft
For months, Russia has been amassing troops and weaponry along its border with Ukraine and, more recently, in Belarus to Ukraine’s north. It has accompanied the force build-up with maximalist demands for concessions that Western states cannot and would not agree to. Neither diplomacy nor preparations for expanded sanctions have led to a resolution. A Russian military incursion of some sort seems increasingly close at hand. Three specialists on international conflict and Russian foreign policy will address pressing questions about the situation, including what international and domestic factors could be motivating Russian actions, what tools might still be available to deter a Russian attack, and how a new conflict in Ukraine would alter the security situation in Europe and beyond
William M. Reisinger is Professor of Political Science at The University of Iowa. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1985. His research concerns politics in the former communist states, especially Russia. His publications include Energy and the Soviet Bloc (Cornell University Press, 1992), Can Democracy Take Root in Post-Soviet Russia? (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), Constitutional Dialogues in Comparative Perspective (Macmillan, 1999), The 1999-2000 Elections in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Russia’s Regions and Comparative Subnational Politics (Routledge 2012), as well as over 50 articles or book chapters. He travels frequently to Russia and has conducted research as well in China, Georgia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. He teaches courses on democratization, authoritarian politics and the politics of the post-communist countries. He is a former chair of the Political Science Department and, from 2003-2008, served as The University of Iowa’s Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs.
Sara McLaughlin Mitchell is the F. Wendell Miller Professor in the University of Iowa Department of Political Science She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Michigan State University in 1997. She is Co-Director of the Issue Correlates of War Project (http://www.paulhensel.org/icow.html) and an Associate Editor of Foreign Policy Analysis and Research & Politics. She is coauthor of Domestic Law Goes Global: Legal Traditions and International Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Guide to the Scientific Study of International Processes (Wiley-Blackwell 2012), The Triumph of Democracy and the Eclipse of the West (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), and Conflict, War, and Peace: An Introduction to Scientific Research (CQ Press/Sage 2013), she has edited several special journal issues, and she has published more than thirty journal articles and book chapters. She is the recipient of several major research awards from the National Science Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development, as well as numerous research grants from the University of Iowa and Florida State University. Her areas of expertise include international conflict, democratic peace, international organizations, diversionary theory, international courts, conflict management, territorial, maritime, and river issues, and time series analysis.
Professor Mitchell is co-founder of the Journeys in World Politics workshop, a mentoring workshop for junior women studying international relations (http://www.saramitchell.org/journeys.html). Mitchell serves on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals including American Political Science Review, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, and Political Analysis. She received the Faculty Scholar Award (2007-2010) and the Collegiate Scholar Award (2011) from the University of Iowa.
Paul van Hooft is a Senior Strategic Analyst at HCSS and the Co-Chair of The Initiative on the Future of Transatlantic Relations. He was a postdoctoral fellow from 2018 to 2020 at the Security Studies Program (SSP) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including as a 2018-2019 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow. His work focuses on: the origins and logic of American grand strategy; European grand strategy and security; nuclear strategy; Indo-Pacific security, transatlantic relations; alliances; and extended deterrence. Paul attained his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Amsterdam (UVA) and was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) from 2016 to 2018. Paul received the 2016 prize from the Dutch and Flemish political science associations for his dissertation on the impact of experiences with war on postwar grand strategy.
When: Wednesday, February 9th,2022 @12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Dr. Erin Hayward, Adrian Silva, Lata D’Mello , Alyssa Clayden
Since early 2020, the pandemic has had wide-ranging effects on communities across Iowa. A confluence of factors related to the Covid-19 virus have created particular health and wellness challenges for refugees and immigrants in the state. Early during the pandemic, limited reliable information was available to newer Iowans in languages other than English about how to prevent exposure to and spreading of the virus, creating uncertainties about staying safe and protecting others. Along with the destruction from and chaos due to the derecho storm of summer 2020, individuals and families have been faced with new and compounding hardships: dire employment, financial, and childcare concerns, requirements to restrict contact with family, friends, and others in their communities, as well as increasing and often unaddressed mental health stressors related to and separate from the ongoing pandemic. This year, abundant misinformation about vaccine safety and efficacy have resulted in vaccination hesitancy and mistrust in public health officials. In this session, the panel will discuss the health impacts born over the last two years and those which predate them and were exacerbated by the pandemic. Panelists will also share how refugee and immigrant communities have found resilience and strength during these difficult times. And insights will be offered into the ways in which healthy Iowa communities, broadly speaking, are those which listen to, learn from, and support one another across neighborhoods, cultures, and affinity groups.
Erin Hayward, MD is a clinical assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the medical director of the International Family Medicine Clinic. Prior to obtaining a medical degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completion of her Family Medicine residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Dr. Hayward completed an undergraduate degree in International Studies at Kenyon College. She has been employed by Lutheran World Relief and was involved at the inception of Tiyatien Health (now known as Last Mile Health), organizations that are active across the continent of Africa in developing sustainable economic and healthcare models to promote health and bring rural Africans out of poverty. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. Dr. Hayward practices outpatient family medicine at the Scott Boulevard Clinic of UICOM and is a rotating faculty member on the family medicine inpatient service at UIHC. She currently serves on the board of the Congolese Health Partnership of Johnson County.
Adrián Silva is the lead medical interpreter at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He has been interpreting for Spanish-speaking patients and families for the last 11 years and as such, has been in thousands of medical encounters spanning all aspects of patient care. An immigrant himself, his family moved to the United States from Mexico when he was 8 years old, Adrián can relate closely to the struggles many of his patients deal with as Limited-English and non-English speakers. Throughout his career as a medical interpreter, he has experienced both the joy and wonders of medical care: the curing of a cancer, the birth of a healthy baby, as well as the saddest of circumstances for many patients and their loved ones. He comes to us today with a unique perspective as one of the only staff in a healthcare team that truly gets to see a patient’s full scope of care from beginning to end.
Lata D’Mello (she/her) is a Director of Programs at Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity, an organization serving victims/survivors of gender-based violence in Iowa. She is based in Iowa City and oversees victim services in the Eastern, Northeastern and Southern parts of the state; trains and supervises advocates; edits Monsoon’s communication materials; and conducts outreach and education. Lata was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has had about 22 years of experience as a journalist in newspapers in India, Singapore and the United States. Her interests are social and economic justice, gender studies, community health, and arts and culture.
Alyssa Clayden is a mental health therapist, community educator and doctoral level researcher who specifically focuses on decreasing mental health inequities in refugee and immigrant communities. Alyssa has more than two decades of professional experience living on five continents supporting innovative curriculum and best practice interventions for displaced individuals, families and communities. She runs her own community agency and supports refugee and immigrant mental health locally, nationally and internationally through telehealth services.
"THE UNIVERSAL APPEAL OF FOREIGN FILM: A JOURNEY THROUGH LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA & BEYOND"
When: Tuesday,February 15 @12-1pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Ben Delgado
Film is a universal language. This talk will explore the ways in which foreign films are perceived and presented with a primary focus on Latin American and refugee/immigrant cinema. Based on his experience as a programmer for one of the longest running and largest Latin American film festivals in the country, Mr. Delgado will discuss how borders heavily factor into the film's presentation as well as preview FilmScene's own festival plans
Ben Delgado is the Programming Director at FilmScene, Iowa City’s premiere art house theater. He holds a masters degree from The Ohio State University in Arts Policy and a BA in Communication and Culture from Indiana University. Ben began his programming career at Coral Gables Art Cinema in 2013 where he helped develop artists’ services programs to aid local filmmakers and curated a diverse film selection featuring award-winning filmmakers in person for Q&As and workshops. In 2017 he joined the programming team of the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center playing an integral role in presenting over 800 annual offerings with film festivals, repertory, and first run films. While at the AFI Silver, he also co-founded and co-hosted the Silver Streams podcast. In his current role at FilmScene, Ben has overseen the return of several beloved programs alongside special events, repertory offerings, new films, filmmaker guests, and more. This year will see a ramping up of programming including the launch of a new film festival.