World Affairs Conference examines roles of technology, social media

What: James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs
When: Sept. 24-25
Where: University of Nebraska at Kearney

Overview: The James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs serves as an opportunity for students to hear the opinions of leaders in the global community and to discuss current and pressing world issues. Through panel discussions, lectures and classroom presentations, participants are exposed to a variety of important issues and afforded the opportunity to interact with distinguished guests from all over the world.

Objectives: (1) introduce important global issues to students and the community; (2) expose conference participants to a variety of viewpoints from other countries; (3) promote global awareness.

On the Web: http://www.unk.edu/worldaffairs/


By SARA GIBONEY
UNK Communications

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is bringing the world to Nebraska.

Experts from across the world will discuss the role social media and the internet have on globalization during the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs Sept. 24-25 in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room.

HARRY WU

This year’s conference, which is free and open to the public, features experts on internet censorship in China, social media and democratization in the Middle East and Africa, cybercrime, linguistics and internet and cyber-racism.

“It’s important that we understand what’s going on all over the world and begin to understand different countries and different cultures,” said Bonnie Payne, international education outreach coordinator and event organizer.

Speakers representing Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Zambia, Bulgaria and India are among those presenting.

The conference aims to spark discussion about the globalization of the world, Payne said.

“Nebraska is connected and we need to care. People should not only come for one speaker, they should come for the entire event,” she said.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Technology and Power: The Global Outcomes of New Media.”

“We’ve been trying to focus on themes that are current, and themes that would be of particular interest to students,” Payne said. “Diplomats have been using new media for public diplomacy, and that’s been a game changer.”

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the event will kick off with opening remarks from Student Body President Moses Moxey, an industrial distribution major from the Bahamas.

Harry Wu, a human rights activist and director of the China Information Center, will give the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. His presentation is titled, “The Involvement of U.S. Companies in Internet Repression in China.”

BONNIE PAYNE

Wu spent 19 years incarcerated by the Chinese government. As a political prisoner, Wu survived beatings, torture and starvation. After his release in 1979, Wu moved to the United States and repeatedly risked his life returning to China to document slavery and human rights abuses. He was arrested in China in 1995, found guilty of stealing state secrets and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was later expelled.

Recently, he has become a prominent voice in the struggle to oppose Chinese efforts to control the internet. In 2009, he provided testimony to the United States Congress on the state of global internet freedom.

Wu is the executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that exposes human rights abuses in China. He also heads the China Information Center, an online Chinese-language news and commentary website.

The world affairs conference began in 1964 to discuss global importance. The name of the conference was changed in 1988 to honor Professor James E. Smith.

 

Full agenda for the World Affairs Conference:

Tuesday, Sept. 24

9:30 a.m - Opening Remarks by Moses Moxey, student body president and industrial distribution major from the Bahamas. Ponderosa E.

9:35 to 10:45 a.m. – “An Impossible Dream Becomes Reality: Nepal Wireless Networking Project” by Dr. Mahabir Pun, founder/director of Nepal Wireless Networking Project and Himanchal Educational Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal. Ponderosa E.

11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – “The Role of Social Media in International Affairs.” Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes, consul, consulate of Mexico, Omaha; Leo Herrera-Lim, consul general of the Philippines, Chicago; and Jonathan Daniel, vice consul of policy and communications, British Consulate-General, Chicago. Ponderos A/B.

11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – “Information Technology, Political Transitions and Development Progress in Africa” by Joseph Siegle, director of research and senior research scholar for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland. Ponderosa E.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. - Take a Delegate to Lunch. Nebraskan Atrium

2 to 3:15 p.m. – “The Centrality of New Media to Public Diplomacy.” Parvathaneni Harish, consul general, consulate general of India, Houston, Texas; Maya Karmely, consul for public affairs, consulate general of Israel, Chicago; Ricardo Valencia, expert in strategic communications, Embassy of El Salvador, Washington, D.C. Ponderosa A/B

2 to 3:25 p.m. – “Narrowing the Gap between Rural and Urban Students in Bangladesh” by Yousuf

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Islam, professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Daffodil International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ponderosa E.

3:30 to 4:45 p.m. - BBC Documentary “How Facebook Changed the World: The Arab Spring,” followed by roundtable discussion. The story of how the Arab world erupted in revolution, as a new generation used the internet and social media to try to overthrow their hated leaders. Mishal Husain charts events in Tunisia and Egypt by meeting those who led the revolts and showing the unique footage they shot. Ponderosa E.

7:30 p.m. – “The Involvement of U.S. Companies in Internet Repression in China” by Harry Wu, human rights activist and director of the China Information Center, Fairfax, Va. Ponderosa E.

 

Wednesday, Sept. 25

9:05 to 9:55 a.m. – “Technology, Power and Rural Development.” James Chisenga, counselor, Economic Embassy of the Republic of Zambia, Washington, D.C.; Yousef Islam, professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Daffodil International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ponderosa A/B.

9:05 to 9:55 a.m. – “Position, Scale, Direction: Aspects of Global English” by Michael Adams, associate professor, Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. Ponderosa E.

10:10 to 11 a.m. – “New Media and Globalization.” Simeon Stoilov, consul general, consulate general of the Republic of Bulgaria, Chicago; Mario Soos, deputy consul general, German consulate general, Chicago. Ponderosa A/B.

10:10 to 11 a.m. – “Social Movements, Cloaked Websites and the Struggle over Ideas in a Global, Networked Society” by Jessie Daniels, professor, Urban Public Health, Sociology and Critical Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College, New York, N.Y. Ponderosa E.

11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. – “Surveillance and Cyber-security in our Globalized World” by Kyle Cronin, director, Information Assurance Lab, Dakota State University, Madison, S.D. Ponderosa A/B.

11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. – TED Talk with Ethan Zuckerman, “Listening to Global Voices,” followed by roundtable discussion. The web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman studies how the whole world uses new media to share information and moods across cultures, languages and platforms. He wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world and talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don’t even know. Ponderosa E

1:25 to 2:15 p.m. – “Gender, Inequality and Social Media.” Jessie Daniels, professor, Urban Public Health, Sociology and Critical Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College, New York, N.Y.; Silvia Ontaneda, J.D., consul general, consulate general of Ecuador, Minneapolis, Minn. Ponderosa A/B.

1:25 to 2:15 p.m. – “Technology Sourcing in Nebraska.” Lance Rall, director of auality assurance; Tyson Hyatt, project manager/product manager; Sandra McNeel-Maxcy, assistant director of automation; Wallace Harwood, automation lead, Xpanxion of Kearney. Ponderosa E.

2:30 to 3:20 p.m. – “Modern Technology and Economic Globalization.” Susan Bigg, president/wwner, Horizon Designs, Inc., Kearney; Travys Woodside, international project manager, Chief Agri/Industrial Division, Kearney. Ponderosa E.

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