All posts by WorldAffairs

“The Importance of Diplomacy”

Event Date: December 4

Presenter: Ms. Kathy Johnson

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Location: Club Room, Hoogland Center for the Arts

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Ms. Kathy A. Johnson’s presentation will be on “The
Importance of Diplomacy”. She will take us behind the scenes
of diplomacy to look at how diplomacy really works, what
diplomats do, and how diplomacy benefits Americans.
Ms. Johnson is a thirty-one-year former career member
of the U.S. Foreign Service (ret). She was the Director of
the United States Diplomacy Center (2014-2017), the first
museum and education center in the United States dedicated
to telling the story of American diplomacy. She led the Center
team from ground-breaking to opening of this award-winning new museum, including the design and launch of an innovative nation-wide education program on diplomacy.

As Management Counselor, Ms. Johnson managed operations for U.S. Mission Australia (2011-2014), the U.S. Embassy and three Consulates General. As Diplomat in Residence in Chicago (2010-2011), she advised and spoke on a variety of diplomatic issues. As Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commanding General of USTRANSCOM (2007-2010), she advised the Commander and worked with U.S. embassies in Europe and Central Asia to successfully negotiate air, land and sea transit agreements. This enabled
the U.S. Department of Defense to bring supplies to our troops in Afghanistan via intermodal routes saving U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in transportation fees.

Ms. Johnson was selected for a prestigious corporate fellowship to serve as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Exxon Chad Pipeline Project in Houston, Texas. She led team-building and organizational development for team members from seven multinational corporations and advised teams on interactions with host governments, tribes and villagers. Her other overseas assignments with the Department of State included Syria, Mexico, Austria, and Poland, as well as policy formulation and management in
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Johnson is currently working as an independent consultant and the CEO of the Veterans Memorial Foundation. She is the recipient of numerous Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the Department of Defense Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Civilian Award and Defense Transportation Industry Award for the Northern Distribution Network, as well as Industry awards for the design and construction
of the U.S. Diplomacy Center. Ms. Johnson is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Aurora College, with a B.A. degree in History, a M.A. degree in National Security Strategy from the Air War College and an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University.

“Terror Capitalism: Uyghur ‘Reeducation’ and the Chinese Security Industrial Complex”

Event Date: November 8

Presenter: Dr. Darren Byler

Location: Brookens Auditorium, University of Illinois at Springfield

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Terror Capitalism represents a new system of control by the Chinese government. It is made up of a multi-billion dollar industry of computer- vision technologies, militarized policing, and the mass mobilization of Chinese civil servants and Han industrialists. Its purpose is to transform Uyghur and other Turkic minority societies in Northwest China.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the Uyghur region, Dr. Byler’s presentation will focus on the history which produced these forms of surveillance and their effects in Uyghur society. He argues that this system of “reeducation” is, in fact, a social engineering system that works in concert with a Chinese form of illiberal capitalism.

As this system is implemented, it has the effect of partitioning and radically disempowering those already marginalized within political systems. These new automated forms of surveillance, coercive Han-centric education systems, as well as new modes of state-enforced capitalist discipline amplify the power of those who engineer and implement these systems. It results in the disintegration of minority social systems.

Dr. Darren Byler received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington in 2018. His research focuses on Uyghur dispossession, culture work and “terror capitalism” in the city of Ürümchi, the capital of Chinese Central Asia (Xinjiang). Professor Byler has published research articles in the Asia-Pacific Journal, Contemporary Islam, Central Asian Survey, and the Journal of Chinese Contemporary Art. He also has contributed essays to volumes on ethnography of Islam in China, transnational Chinese cinema and travel and representation. Professor Byler has provided expert testimony on Uyghur human rights issues before the Canadian House of Commons and writes a regular column on these issues for Sup China. In addition, he has published Uyghur-English literary translations (with Mutellip Enwer) in Guernica and Paper Republic. He also writes and curates the digital humanities art and politics repository, “The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia”, which is hosted at livingotherwise.com.

The United States and Latin America:Challenges and Opportunities

Event Date: October 10

Location: Brookens Auditorium, University of Illinois at Springfield

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Ambassador John F. Maisto’s presentation on “The United States and Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities” will explore current U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. He will place special emphasis on U.S.- Venezuelan relations and U.S. diplomatic relations with several Central American nations.

Ambassador Maisto will also serve as the keynote speaker for the Midwest Association for Latin American Studies(MALAS) conference, which will be held at the University of Illinois Springfield the following days, October 11-12.

John F. Maisto, Ambassador (ret.) is a thirty-seven year former career member of the U.S. Foreign Service. He was Ambassador to Nicaragua (1993-1996), Venezuela (1997- 2000), and the Organization of American States (2003-2006). He was Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council and, concurrently, Special Assistant to the President, 2001 to 2003. He was Foreign Policy Adviser at the U.S. Southern Command, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America, and he served in Argentina, Bolivia, CostaRica, Panama, and the Philippines.

Maisto writes and speaks on Western Hemisphere issues; U.S. foreign policy; Southeast Asia and the Philippines; trade, investment and growth; democratic transitions; international organization issues; security and defense matters; and international education.

A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, he has a Master’s Degree in Latin American History from San Carlos University, Guatemala.

A Tribute to Syria

Event Date: September 10

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Location: Brookens Auditorium, University of Illinois at Springfield

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Mariela Shaker strives to build understanding and nurture peace through her discourse and her music. She will inform us with her words and her music about the plight of Syrian refugees and the families that are left behind in violent war-torn Syria.

She will also describe an odyssey that begins with a harrowing escape from Aleppo, continues with obstacles surmounted to acquire her music education at Monmouth College and follows with performances at the Kennedy Center, in the White House, and for the queen of Jordan. She would like those hearing her story to reflect on their own life journey.

Born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1990, Mariela began her study of the violin at age nine. For five years, she taught violin at the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo, after which she furthered her musical studies in London. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Aleppo University and also from Monmouth College, which she attended on a full scholarship. Mariela Shaker has appeared as a concert soloist at engagements across the world and as a moving speaker about the refugee experience.

The European Union and Its Neighborhood

Event Date: May 9

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Annual Meeting 6:00 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Location: Club Room, Hoogland Center for the Arts

Speaker: Konstantinos Kourtikakis, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

The European Union is surrounded by countries with political and economic systems that do not conform to its values in two important ways. First, while the EU supports democracy and good governance, most
of its neighbors in North Africa and Eastern Europe have embraced authoritarianism, despite occasional outbursts of democratic movements, such as the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine or the Arab Spring. And second, while the EU relies on the principles of the free market economy, many of its neighbors pursue economic policies that significantly distort market competition for political purposes.

The EU actively seeks to reduce these differences with neighboring countries by promoting pro-democracy and pro-free market reforms in its foreign policy. In this talk, Dr. Kourtikakis examines two types of foreign policy action the EU takes in this regard. The first is reaching out directly to governments with formal agreements that include penalties and rewards in exchange for reforms. And the second is providing technical support to government agencies, the civil society and business organizations, with the aim of helping them adopt democratic and free market norms and practices.

Dr. Kourtikakis is Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a specialization in comparative and international politics. He also holds affiliations with the European Union Center and the Center for Global Studies. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007, and his BA in European and International Economics and Politics from the University of Macedonia, in Greece, in 1997. His teaching and research interests revolve around the European Union and its external relations. His research examines the role of business and civil society networks in relations between the EU and its “international partners”, particularly the countries of Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and most recently in EU-US relations.

The Political Culture of Mexico Through the 2018 Election

Event Date: April 9

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Program: Brookens Auditorium, University of Illinois at Springfield

Dinner & Reception: PAC Restaurant, University of Illinois at Springfield

Speaker: Christina Tapia Muro, Professor of Political Science, University of Colima, Mexico

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Dr. Tapia’s presentation will explore the history of Mexico’s political leadership, placing emphasis on the political, social, and economic factors that contributed to Manuel Andres López Obrador’s 2018 election as president. She will discuss clientelism (a system of political patronage and corruption) and efforts of the current government to eradicate it. An advocate of the working class and supported by the National Regeneration Movement, President López Obrador is a critic of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that has dominated national politics.

Dr. Tapia earned a Ph.D. in economics and administrative sciences from the University of Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. She also has a post-doctoral specialization on public policy and gender justice from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences and the Latin American College of Social Sciences, Brazil. She has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on clientelism in Mexico in such venues as Estudios Sociologicos and the Asian Journal of Latin American Studies.

“INF and the Future of US-Russia Arms Control”

Event Date: March 27

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Program: Conference Room C/D, University of Illinois at Springfield

Dinner & Reception: Conference Room C/D, University of Illinois at Springfield

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) has long stood as a symbol of the end of the Cold War. However, this icon of the arms control regime appears to be on its last legs with the announcement that the US is withdrawing from the treaty in response to Russian violations. The announced withdrawal has drawn both criticism and applause.

What are the arguments for staying in or leaving the INF Treaty? What does the end of the treaty mean for the future of the nuclear reduction treaty, New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)? What does it mean for arms control in general? Finally, what does all of this say about the relationship between the US and Russia and the international order?

Jeffrey Edmonds, an expert on Russia and Eurasia, will address these questions. Edmonds’ research focuses on the Russian military, foreign policy, Russian threat perceptions, and Russian information and cyber operations. Most recently, Edmonds served as the Director for Russia on the National Security Council (NSC) and acting Senior Director for Russia during the 2017 presidential transition. Edmonds was also the lead director during a review of United States policy towards Russia, culminating in a presidentially approved strategy that had global impact.

Prior to serving in the NSC, Edmonds served as a military analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, covering Eurasian militaries. He has served in the U.S. Army on both active duty and the reserves for 22 years, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Edmonds holds an M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, an M.A. from Boston University in Religious Studies, and a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The Opioid Epidemic:  How we got here and where to go now

Event Date: February 5

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Program: Student Union, University of Illinois at Springfield

Dinner:Student Union ,University of Illinois at Springfield

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Dr. Kari Wolf will  trace phases of opioid epidemics in the United States and around the world with a focus on the current epidemic.  She will highlight the role the medical community plays in the current epidemic. 

Dr. Kari Wolf joined SIU School of Medicine in 2016 to serve as Chair of Psychiatry. Dr. Wolf came to SIU from Austin, Texas, where she built the psychiatry department to support the new University of Texas Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. Wolf served as CEO of Seton Mind Institute, CMO for Seton Shoal Creek Hospital, and as Associate Professor of Medicine at UT Austin. Prior to the creation of UT Austin Dell Medical School, Dr. Wolf led the Austin Psychiatry Department for UT Southwestern Medical School. During her tenure in Austin, she dramatically expanded educational programs for psychologists, psychopharmacologists, medical students, and psychiatry residents and fellows. She also led the development of numerous new clinical services including outpatient clinics, telemedicine, integrated behavioral health clinics, consult-liaison services, school-based services, and a psychiatric emergency department.

Dr. Wolf completed a psychiatry residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after earning her medical degree at the University of Iowa. Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, she is a member of numerous organizations including the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry. Dr. Wolf has significant expertise in curriculum development, mentoring, quality improvement processes, health policy development, change management and strategic planning. 

 

Colombia after the Drug War

Event Date: December 12

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Program: Club Room , Hoogland Center for the Arts

Dinner:Club Room , Hoogland Center for the Arts

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

 

Dr. Stan Ruecker is the Anthony J. Petullo Professor in Design at the University of Illinois. For the past three years, he has been working with colleagues at the National University of Colombia, focusing most recently on design for peace in post-conflict zones. Dr. Ruecker will discuss the 50 years of civil war in Colombia involving jungle fighting among four armies. In July 2017 the communist guerrillas known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace treaty with the government. FARC unilaterally disarmed and began a process toward reincorporation into society that led to convening a diverse group of people to attend the International Development Design Summit, “Building Peace, Reconciliation through Co-creation”. It envisioned the design for a new future for all stakeholders to achieve reconciliation.

Mr. Andrew Koch was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a minor in Spanish. From 2016 through 2018, Mr. Koch served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia where he supported small business development, micro-finance projects, and financial literacy initiatives. He will share his experience and perspective on day-to-day lives of people in the rural Caribbean region of Colombia, the Peace Corps, and small business development and micro-finance in Colombia. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Mr Koch lived and worked for two years in the community of Fundación, Magdalena, Colombia. It has an estimated population of 60,000 residents, the majority of them are living in vulnerable conditions at or below the poverty line.

Dr. Adriana Piatti-Crocker joined the UIS faculty in 2006. A native Argentinean, she is a professor of Political Science and teaches comparative politics and international relations courses with an emphasis on Latin American politics. Her 2017 book, Gender Quotas in South America’s Big Three: National and Subnational Impacts, focuses on policies intended to promote the inclusion of women in Latin America’s legislatures and their effects. Dr. Piatti-Crocker received the distinguished 2016 Pearson Faculty Award that recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS commitment to excellence in teaching. In 2018, she became the first Presidential Fellow from UIS. Dr. Piatti-Crocker will moderate a panel discussion during the Question & Answer session.