Past Lectures

Fall 2017 Lectures

October 11, 2017 - Carol Rojas - "The Feminist Resistance in Colombia"

Carol Rojas discussed education and intersectional organizing in a dynamic of escalating violence in post-accords Colombia. Carol is an organizer with the Feminist Antimilitarist Network, a grassroots organization in Colombia, recognized for its popular education model that supports demilitarization and eradication of systems of oppression based on sex, class and race.

September 28, 2017 - Gary Prevost - "Venezuela-The End of the Chavez Era?"

In 1998 Hugo Chavez, a former Venezuelan army officer was elected president of his country in a stunning upset of the long established political order.  In the ensuing years he worked to transform the socioeconomic conditions through a program called "twenty-first century socialism." Significant improvements were achieved for poor and working class citizens through programs of education and health care.  The revenue to support these programs came from greater government control over the country's natural resources, especially oil and natural gas. 

Chavez died of cancer in 2013 and his successor, Nicolas  Maduro has attempted to continue the social programs but in the context of lower oil prices he has been much less successful.  As a result, the political opposition, based in the country's upper classes, has pushed back seeking to regain political control of the country through elections and demonstrations that have sharply polarized the country.

Dr. Gary Prevost is Professor Emeritus at CSB/SJU having retired in Spring 2017 after 40 years of teaching.  He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on Latin American affairs, most recently, Politics in Latin America-The Power Game, Sixth Edition just released in July and The New Global Politics: Global Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century (Rethinking Globalizations), which was published in March.

Fall 2016 Lectures 

October 25, 2016 - Mazen Halabi - Film discussion - "Salam Neighbor"

“Salam Neighbor” is an award-winning film and part of a campaign to connect the world to refugees. Chris and Zach are the first filmmakers allowed to be registered and given a tent inside of a refugee camp. It is an opportunity to immerse yourself into the life of a Syrian refugee.

October 11, 2016 - Adrian Pantoja - "Latino Politics in the Era of Bad Feelings"

(co-sponsored by LLAS)

Dr. Adrian D. Pantoja, is Senior Analyst for Latino Decisions and Professor of Political Studies and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges.  He received his B.A. from the University of San Francisco and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Claremont Graduate University.  Adrian is a leading expert in Latino public opinion and voting patterns and his academic research is published in over three-dozen journals and edited volumes.  He has delivered nearly one hundred presentations at public forums.  He has offered expert commentary on Latino politics to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Time, The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, National Public Radio, La Opinion and many other news outlets.

October 5, 2016 - Martín Fernandez of MADJ (the Movement for Justice and Dignity)

"The Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras: Justice for Berta and Beyond"

The 2009 military coup in Honduras cemented the Central American nation as a hotbed of human rights abuses, the new frontier in the US-led War on Drugs, and an all‐out plunder of national territory and resources.

Those who resist are targeted and killed with a level of impunity unheard of in the 21st century in Latin America; the March 2nd assassination of beloved Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres is an example of state crime and impunity amongst many. Those who head North are often sent back to the very violence and poverty from which they fled. The heart of the crisis is the US policies of militarization, the legitimization of a brutal Honduran State, and the promotion of crony capitalism. For the Honduran people, the results are violent and devastating, but their inspiring resistance continues.

September 13, 2016 - Gloria Rolando, Legendary Afro-Cuban filmmaker

Gloria Rolando recently premiered her new  film "Dialogo con mi Abuela (Dialogue with My  Grandmother). Gloria Rolando has extensive film work on the African and Caribbean roots of    Cuban culture and has  addressed important events of Cuban history, such as Oggun:  An Eternal Presence, about Cuban Yoruba singer Lazaro Ros; My Footsteps in Baragua, a recounting of the history of a West Indian community in Cuba; Eyes of the Rainbow, a documentary on Assata Shakur, the case of the massacre of the Independents of  Color. In 2014, Rolando premiered Reembarque (Reshipment), which focuses on the process of repatriation of Haitian immigrants who were brought to Cuba as cheap labor to work for the sugar industry.

This time, Gloria Roland approaches her own family history, starting with the close relationship she had with her grandmother, Inocencia; a testimonial narrative (told in first person) that brings us closer to the everyday life of Cuban women of African descent.

Gloria Rolando's career as film director spans over 35 years at ICAIC, the Cuban national film institute. She heads an independent film-making group, Imágenes del Caribe, based in Havana.         

September 6, 2016 - - "Foreign Policy Issues in the 2016 Elections"

Retired US Foreign Service Officers, Dick Virden and Tom Hanson

Spring 2016 Lectures

March 16, 2016 Rev. Dr. Gary Mason: "Faith Based Peace Building in Northern Ireland"

Rev. Dr. Gary Mason directs a conflict transformation organization based in Belfast called "Rethinking conflict." Prior to this Gary spent 27 years as a Methodist clergy person in Belfast and has played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. He played a key role in establishing the Skainos project which is a world class urban center developed in a post conflict society as a model of co-existence and shared space, it is acknowledged as the largest faith-based redevelopment project in Western Europe.

Mason is a close advisor to Protestant ex-combatants on the civilianization efforts of paramilitaries. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials, and in 2007 his contribution was formally recognized by the Queen.

Fall 2015 Lectures

November 17, 2015  Ayotzinapa + 43

In Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico during the night of September 26, 2014, more the 100 students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa were attacked by local police forces.  During this encounter, the police killed 3, injured more than 20, and kidnapped 43 students.  The disappeared students have yet to be located.   Student survivors Omar Garcia & Francisco Sanchez shared their story.

November 12, 2015  Tomas Fernandez Robaina: "The Complexity of the Struggle of  African Descendants in Cuba Today" 

Tomas Fernandez Robaina is a researcher at la Biblioteca Nacional in Havana and a professor at the University of Havana, Tomás Fernandez Robaina is a prolific author on AfroCuban issues.  He started writing in 1968 and in 1994 wrote El negro en Cuba 1902-1958: Apuntes para la historia de la lucha  contra la discriminacion racial (The Blacks in Cuba 1902-1958: Notes on the history of the struggle against racial discimination). He is also Asesor of the Fundacion Ortiz and a member of UNEAC and of the Cuban National Comittee on Slave Routes.

October 13, 2015 Alfredo López: Afro-Indigenous Hondurans in Resistance: U.S. Drug War, Violent Displacement, and Migration

Since the 2009 military coup, murders and attacks against Honduran human rights defenders have reached alarming levels. Indigenous communities, including the Garífuna, have been among those targeted. The U.S. continues to send tens of millions of dollars in Drug War aid to the Honduran police and military who have been involved in  human rights abuses. Additionally, the U.S. backs neoliberal projects that lead to displacement and migration.

Alfredo López works with OFRANEH (the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras) to protect and defend the Garífuna people's right to their culture and their ancestral land on the Caribbean coast. Lopez will discuss his people's struggle against the negative impacts of tourism and other mega-projects, and the role of state security forces-many of which receive funding from the U.S.-in their displacement. He will also describe how U.S.-backed projects and U.S. aid to the military and police contribute to violence and fuel Honduran migration.  

Spring 2015 Lectures

April 7, 2015  Judge John R. Tunheim, United States District Court: "Developing Rule of Law Around the World"

Judge John Tunheim discussed his work on rule of law development projects in more than 15 countries around the world.

He worked in Kosovo helping the United Nations to re-establish and improve the legal system, and from 2007 to 2008 as a principal advisor in the development of the Kosovo Constitution.  He is currently working on a team at the United Nations helping police, prosecutors and judges in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives and Singapore, to become fully prepared to handle terrorism cases fairly and effectively.

Fall 2014 Lectures

October 28, 2014 Carlos Oliva: "Cuban-Latin American Relations in a Changing Hemisphere"  

Carlos Oliva is a Professor of History, University of Havana.  For many years he served as executive director of the Association for the Unity of Our America, an NGO based in Havana. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Texas and John Hopkins University. He is the author, co-author, and editor of numerous books including The Bush Doctrine and Latin America and Panamericanism and Neo PanAmericanism: The View from Latin America. 

October 21, 2014 Josefa Gomez and Leonardo Luna Alzate: "These Roses Have Thorns: Flower Workers and US Free Trade with Colombia"

  • Flowers are one of Colombia's biggest exports (with 76% imported to the US) - and a priority sector in the Labor Action Plan created as part of the US Free Trade Agreement.  US consumers and tax payers have a direct relationship to Colombian flower growers, and this lecture will provide insight into the working conditions of laborers in Colombia.

    The workers, 65% who are female, have few protections.  They are often forced to take pregnancy tests and birth control to avoid the common birth defects.
    Workers are exposed to 127 different pesticides, 3 the World Health Organization has labeled as extremely toxic and 20% are known carcinogens or toxins and use is prohibited or restricted in the U.S.
    Pesticides are sometimes sprayed directly onto workers.
    During the busy season, workers can be forced to work 12-16 hour days, 6 days a week.

    The speakers are involved in CACTUS which is a Colombian advocacy organization that encourages women flower workers to fight for their rights by offering legal advice and support programs. CACTUS supports the women in workers' rights movements, promotes participation in local decision-making processes and supports professional and organizational skill development.

Spring 2014 Lectures

April 14, 2014  Arnold August - "What Does Democracy Look Like? Cuba, Its ALBA Allies, and the United States"

Arnold August has an MA in political science from McGill University. He is an author, journalist and lecturer living in Montreal. He is the author of Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections (Editorial José Martí). He has also contributed a chapter entitled "Socialism and Elections" for the volume Cuban Socialism in a New Century: Adversity, Survival and Renewal (University Press of Florida).  His current book is entitled Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion (Fernwood Publishing and Zed Books). It will also be published in Spanish and French.                                 

March 12, 2014  Dr. Fouzia Saeed - "Women Taking Charge for the Future of Pakistan"

Dr. Fouzia Saeed, is a brave social activist who has repeatedly raised issues when it was not acceptable to talk about them. She is a social scientist with a PhD from the University of Minnesota, is the author of "Taboo! The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area," based on 8 years of field research among prostitutes in Pakistan.   Dr. Saeed returned to Pakistan to pursue a  career in social change. She has worked for the United Nations and other international development organizations. Her main identity remains her activist work on women's issues, social justice and democracy. She is currently the Director of Mehergarh, a human rights institute.  Dr. Saeed is well known in Pakistan's social movement, having worked for decades on women's issues especially those linked to violence against women, prostitution, women in the entertainment business, women's mobility and sexual harassment. Her work on violence against women spans over 20 years and includes founding the first women's crisis center in Pakistan in 1991. Her work has helped our society to recognize these issues, and others, by initiating open debate around them.

February 12, 2014 Coleen Rowley - "Massive Spying and Governmental Secrecy Are Unethical, Illegal, and Counter-productive."

Coleen Rowley is a retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel. In May of 2002 Rowley brought some of the pre 9-11 lapses to light and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community. Rowley's memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee's Inquiry led to a two year long Department of Justice Inspector General investigation. In April 2003, following an unsuccessful and highly criticized attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her (GS-14) legal position to go back to being a (GS-13) FBI Special Agent. She retired from the FBI at the end of 2004. Rowley authored a chapter in a 2004 book published by the Milton Eisenhower Foundation entitled, Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense: Restoring America's Promise at Home and Abroad and another chapter on civil liberties in the 2012 book Why Peace.

Fall 2013 Lectures

November 20, 2013 Alfred P. Montero: The Brazilian Turnaround: A Serious Country At Last?

At the beginning of the 1990s, Brazil was described as having a "feckless" political system and an economy "drunk" on hyperinflation. By the mid-2000s, it was the 'B' in the BRICS. How did this turnaround happen? Is it real? Has Brazil become a serious country at long last?  Prof. Alfred Montero argues that Brazil has secured a notable turnaround in political governance, economic management, and most impressively, in social indicators. But much more is left to do to improve the quality of democracy. The mass demonstrations that have plagued the Dilma Rousseff presidency's preparations for hosting the World Cup in 2014 are a reflection of a public that has grown frustrated with the pace of change and the priorities of public policy.  Video of the lecture.

October 23, 2013 Francisco Cerezo, Founder of Comite Cerezo  "Drugs, Guns and U.S. Policies in Mexico: Lessons from a Mexican Human Rights Organization."

Militarization, fueled by over 1.1 billion in military aid from the U.S. and justified by the War on Drugs, has contributed to increased violence, political repression, and human rights violations in Mexico.  The 2001 arrest of three Cerezo brothers for student activism provides one powerful example; they were incarcerated in federal prison for over seven years where they were physically and psychologically tortured.  The Cerezo brothers were not alone.  Over 900 individuals have been detained or persecuted for political reasons since 2000.  Family members and allies, including brother Francisco Cerezo, formed Comite Cerezo in response.

September 25, 2013 John Keller: "Immigration Reform 2013 - Fixing a Broken System in Washington: Opportunities, Warnings."

John Keller has been the Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota since 2005.  Prior to that, he was a staff attorney at ILCM from 1998 to 2004. Mr. Keller graduated Cum Laude from Hamline School of Law in 1996 and received his B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Minnesota in 1992. After law school, Mr. Keller served as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals (1997-1998). He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota Immigration Clinic from 2004-06, and as Vice Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Immigration Chapter. Mr. Keller was named Attorney of the Year 2007 by Minnesota Lawyer, and received the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 2007 Advocacy Award on behalf of ILCM for work he led in response to immigration raids in 2006.

Spring 2013 Lectures

March 7, 2013. Professor Noburo Noguchi, "Palestine and UNESCO: The Success & Consequences of Palestinian Membership in UNESCO."  Professor Noguchi is currently serving as the Director-General of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan, and was the Vice-President and a Professor at the Bunkyo Gakuin University.

April 9, 2013. Jordan Ash, from the Jewish Voice for Peace on the Global Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Fall 2012 Lectures

September 18, 2012. Jason Lindsey, chair of the Political Science Department at St. Cloud State University spoke on "Putinism and Russia's Political Dead End" highlighting the ramifications of the recent concentration of political power in Russia in the hands of Vladimir Putin and his One Russia Party. Professor Lindsey received his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and a certificate in Russian Area Studies from the Harriman Institute. He is the author of several articles on Russian affairs and a book, The Concealment of the State: Exposing and Challenging the Postmodern State. In spring semester 2013 he was a Fullbright Scholar at the National Law Academy in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

October 9, 2012. Professor Ragui Assaad, Professor of Public Affairs at the Humphrey Institute "Making Sense of Developments in Post-Revolution Egypt". Professor Assaad holds a Ph.D. degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is a non-resident senior fellow at the Global Economic and Development Program of the Brookings Institution (U.S.A.) and a Research Fellow of the Economic Research Forum (Egypt). He served as Regional Director for West Asia and North Africa for the Population Council, based in Cairo, Egypt, from 2005 to 2008.

Spring 2012 Lectures

March 14, 2012.  Prof. Masako Tanaka presented on "Reconstruction efforts after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan."  Professor Masako Tanaka is from Bunkyo Gakuin University, our partner institution in Tokyo, Japan. She is an expert on development assistance and has spent many years working in the development field in South Asia.

April 2, 2012.  Drs. Anuradha Chenoy and Kamal Mitra Chenoy presented on "India's Challenges: Kashmir and Maoist Insurgency."

Fall 2011 Lectures

9/21/11: Martin Loken, Canada's Consel General in Minneapolis, "Friends, Partners, Allies: The Canada-U.S. Partnership." Wednesday, September 21, 2011,7:30pm, Quad 264, SJU. Mr. Loken is Canada's senior representative for the Upper Midwest states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

10/4/11: Dr. Mary West, Professor of Literature at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, "Welcome to South Africa: A Road Map to 'Race' in Words and Images." Tuesday, October 4, 7:30pm, Quad 264, SJU.

10/19/11: Nancy Garcia, Center for the Orientation of Migrants (COMI), Oaxaca, Mexico presented "Railroaded by NAFTA/CAFTA: The Perilous Journey from Central America to the States" Wednesday, October 19 at 7:30pm in Quad 264, SJU. Co-sponsored with the Latino/Latin American Studies Program.

Fall 2010 Lectures

Dr. Rodney Cunningham, United States Foreign Service Officer and former Professor of Political Science at CSB/SJU "Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy: The African Context" September 22, 2010

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, Pakistani Human Rights and Peace Advocate "The Struggle for Peace, Environmental Justice, and Women's Rights in Pakistan" October 4, 2010

Padre Jesus Alberto Franco, Executive Secretary, Colombian Inter-Church Commission for Peace & Justice "U.S. Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Colombia" October 26, 2010

Dr. A. K. Pasha, Fulbright Scholar and Professor School of International Studies, Jawaharal Nehre University, New Delhi "India's Emergence as a Regional and World Power" November 17, 2010

Panel Discussion: "Understanding Recent Events in Egypt and the Middle East," March 8, 2011

Thomas Melville, author "Through a Glass Darkly: The U.S Holocaust in Central America"

Judith Yaphe, National Defense University and former CIA Intelligence Analyst "Iranian Ambitions, American Options, Iraqi Consequences"

Raymond Baker, author "Capitalism's Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free Market System"

Greg Hall, Chair, Department of Political Science, Morehouse College "The Great Game Revisited - The United States in Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea"

Stefan Fritsch, University of Salzburg and Bowling Green State University "The European Union as a Global Actor "

Yanar Mohammed, Director, Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq "Hope in Time of War - Iraqi Women Today"

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, Pakistani Human Rights and Peace Advocate "The Struggle for Peace and Environmental Justice, and Women's Rights in Pakistan"

Emile Nakleh, Director of Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, CIA (Retd.) "Political Islam and the Obama Administration"

Ursula Mahlendorf, author, and Maria Segal, author "Stories of Serving and Surviving the Nazis"

Roy Glover, US Foreign Service Officer (Retd.) "The War in Afghanistan - An Insider's View" February 3, 2010

Khalil Nakleh, SJU '67 "The Future of the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict"

Dr. Rajmohan Ghandi, Professor, University of Illinois, author "Peace, Justice, and Environmental Sustainability"

Anousheh Ansari, First female private space explorer, CEO, Prodea Systems Inc. "Reaching for the Stars and Getting There"

Joleen Steyn Kotze, Professor of Political Science, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University "The Significance of the Victory of Jacob Zuma in the 2009 South African Elections"

Shamsia Ramadhan, Kenyan Muslim Woman Leader "Muslim - Christian Cooperation for Peace in Kenya"

Lydia Lopez, President, Colombia Flower Workers Union "Sowing the Seeds of Resistance: Colombis Flower Unions, US Policy and the Struggle for Dignity"

Edward Greaves: Professor of Political Science, St. Cloud State University "The Role of Civil Society in Michelle Bachlet's Chile"

Ana Trišić Babić, Deputy Foreign Minister, Bosnia and Herzegovina "Bosnia and Herzegovina: Thirteen Years After the War" September 17, 2008.

Juan Cole. "An Assured Peace" or "A Victory Hope For?" September 29, 2008 Co-sponsored by the University Chair in Critical Thinking and Academic Affairs

Ernesto Cardenal, poet "Faith, Politics and Poetry: A Poetry Reading by Ernesto Cardenal" "Reflections on the Nicaraguan Revolution" 

Abbas Mehdi, Chair, Union of Independent Iraqis "Military Intervention and Democracy in Iraq" 

Vera Eccarius Kelly, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Siena College

"Proactive Change in the Highlands of Guatemala: Mayan Women's Initiatives" 

Mode Wani, Actor "Trial at Rivonia: Solo Performance by Mode Wani on Nelson Mandela's Trial" 

Ligia Inés Alzate, Colombian Trade Union Leader "Combating a Culture of Violence: Alternatives to the Colombian Civil War" 

Cuatrotablas, Peruvian Theatre Group "The Ship of Memory/ La Nave de la Memoria

Fernando Ramos, actor "Gorillas Walking on the Balls of their Feet/ Gorillas en Puntas de Pie"