‘Global Power, War And Inequality In The 21st Century’ Is The Theme For The Annual World Affairs Conference

Ann Marie Park
International Education, 308.865.8944

“Global Power, War and Inequality in the 21st Century” is the theme for the annual James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs set for March 10-11 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  
       The two-day event will feature keynote speakers both days. On Monday, Gillian Sorenson, senior adviser at the United Nations Foundation, will present “The State of the UN and Its Future Role.” She will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. Sorenson is a national advocate on topics related to the UN, and the relationship between the United States and the UN.  
       From 1997 to 2003, she served as assistant secretary-general for External Relations on appointment by Secretary-General Kofi Anan.  She was responsible for outreach to nongovernmental organizations, and was the contact point for the secretary-general with parliamentarians, the academic world, religious leaders and other groups committed to peace, justice, development and human rights.
       Before that, Sorenson served from 1993 to 1996 as special adviser for public policy on appointment by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali where her duties included directing the UN’s global 50 Anniversary observances in 1995.  She has represented the World Organization in this country and abroad.
           On Tuesday, Dr. Vali Nasr will present “The Politics of the Muslim World.” He will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the NSU Ponderosa Room. Dr. Nasr will be speaking about the state of U.S.-Iranian relations.
        He is one of the world’s leading experts on the Islamic world and Muslim politics. He has advised senior policy makers, members of Congress and leading executives in the private sector. As a consultant to the Department of State and USAID, he provided expert testimony to the U.S. Senate on the Muslim world, and is a major influence on ongoing public debates on such critical issues as Islam and democracy, Islamic extremism and anti-Americanism, America’s relations with Iran, the war in Iraq and potential global effects of conflict within Islam.
       Dr. Nasr is a professor and associated chair of research at the Department of National Security Affairs at the Navel Postgraduate School and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, Dr. Nasr is the author of several books on politics and Islam, most recently, “Democracy in Iran” and “The Shia Revival:  How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future.”  He has written for “The New York Times,” “TIME” and “The Washington Post,” and is a frequent guest on CNN, BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, 60 Minutes, NOW with BILL Moyers and Frontline.
       Dr. Nasr’s singular understanding of conflicts within Islam and their potential global effects has not gone unnoticed. He has been awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Social Science Research Council.
       The Midwest Conference on World Affairs began in the 1964 as a campus and community activity. The name of the event was changed to The James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs in 1988 to honor a long-time history professor whose vision and dedication significantly affected the continuation of the conference. The conference engenders students to discuss current and pressing world issues. The 2008 conference is sponsored by the College of Natural and Social Science
Conference Schedule:

Other conference speakers and their topics, all of which are scheduled to present in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room, include:

Monday, March 10

9:05 – 9:55 a.m.
Politics of Tolerance and Ethnic Conflict Global War on Terrorism: ‘Home Game’ and ‘Away Game,’ a Canadian perspective.

  • Dr. Joel Sokolsky, from the Royal Military College of Canada, is with the Canadian Consulate of Minneapolis.

Change in the Middle Eastern Power Balance and Its Reflection on Current Politics and Conflicts

  • Dr. Andy David is the deputy consul general of the consulate general of Israel to the Midwest / Chicago, IL. Dr. David spent three years in the Israel Air Force and in RAFAEL, the Ministry of Defense’s Armament Development Authority.  He is also a graduate of the 2007 Executive Combating Terrorism program of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.  Dr. David was recently awarded Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Diplomat of the Year” award.

Politics, Indigenous Rights and Poetry

  • Ramon Palomares, poet, Escuque, Venezuela
  •  Fredy Chicangana, indigenous poet, Cauca, Colombia

10:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Democracy and the War on Terror – A Discussion

  • His Excellency Ambassador Pierre Vimont from the Embassy of France and
  • His Excellency Ambassador Nabil Fahmy from the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
  • His Excellency Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia

1:25 – 2:15 p.m.
Challenges in the Middle-East from an Egyptian Perspective

  • His Excellency Ambassador Nabil Fahmy from the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Foreign Policy Challenges in an Emerging Global Scenario

With an Indian Perspective

  • Sibi George, political counselor at the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C., is a career diplomat. Before being assigned in Washington, D.C., in February of 2007, he served as the political counselor in the High Commission of India in Islamabad dealing with India-Pakistan bilateral relations.
  • Achilles Zaluar, counselor, Embassy of Brazil
  • B. Odonjil, deputy chief of mission & minister counselor. Embassy of Mongolia

Dealing with Strategic Partners in the Muslim World

  • Dr. Thomas Bagger, counselor and deputy head of Political Section from the German Embassy / Washington, D.C. He will be specifically speaking about “Europe, U.S. and Turkey: Dealing with a Strategic Partner in the Muslim World.”
  • Yusri Hazran from Harvard University focuses his attention on the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. From 2005-2007, he taught Introduction to the History of the Religion of Islam, Introduction to the Modern History of the Middle East and the Middle East Between the World Wars.

7:30 p.m.
The State of the UN and Its Future Role

  • Gillian Sorenson

Tuesday, March 11

9:30 – 10:45 a.m.    

Torture and Civil Liberties in the War on Terror

  • Dr. Stephen Soldz is the director of the Center for Research, Evaluation and Program Development at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He will be speaking about the negatives of using psychology in torture.
  • Pardiss Kebriaei is a staff attorney and represents Guantanamo detainees.

Conflict Resolution and Democracy

  • Linda Bishai is thesenior program officer in United States Institute of Peace. The education program is where she focuses on secondary and university education in international relations, conflict resolution, human rights and peace studies.  She is responsible for curriculum development and developing faculty and teacher workshops throughout the United States and in conflict zones, especially the Sudan.
  • Dorina Bekoe is a senior research associate in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, where she specializes in African conflicts, political development, institutional reform and peace agreement implementation.

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

The Science of War: The Uranium Battlefield

  • Dr. Alexandra Miller is currently a senior scientist and principal investigator at the U.S. Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. She will be speaking about the social –environmental consequences of depleted uranium.
  • Dr. Wayne Briner is a psychology professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Victims- Human Trafficking and Global Inequality

  • Kristin Wiebe, director of anti-trafficking programs from World Hope International. She will be speaking about anti-trafficking.
  • Kathleen Murray, program coordinator for the Fort Worth Police Department / Human Trafficking Unit, will also be speaking on anti-human trafficking

12:30 – 1:45 p.m.

Take a Delegate to Lunch – Meet in Atrium of Nebraskan Student Union
2 – 3:30 p.m.

Evaluation of the EU and Challenges Ahead

  • Dr. Robert Zisch is the consul general from the Consulate of Austria in Chicago.
  • Dr. Franz Rossler is the Austrian trade commissioner from the Consulate of Austria in Chicago.

Poetry Reading

  • Ramon Palomares, poet, Escuque, Venezuela
  • Fredy Chicangana, indigenous poet, Cauca, Colombia

3:45 – 5 p.m.            

The Future of the U.S. in a Post-Bush World

Open Discussion
7:30 p.m.

The Politics of the Muslim World

  • Dr. Vali Nasr