Fairhaven College announces spring World Issues Forum slate

Western Today staff

Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies has announced the upcoming spring slate of presenters for its World Issues Forum, with subjects ranging from indigenous communities in the Americas (Guatemala and Colombia) to drones in Pakistan, to justice for El Salvadorans, border issues, and women.

The following forums are free and open to the public, and are from noon to 1:20 p.m. Wednesdays in the Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless noted otherwise:

Wednesday, April 10 - “What Does Pakistan Have to do with Haiti?”

Presenter: Ethan Casey, veteran international journalist, editor and author

In the same year, 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake and Pakistan suffered horrific floods leaving some 2 million people homeless and 20 percent of the country under water. Human suffering is human suffering, wherever it happens. The earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan were natural disasters, but they didn’t happen in a geopolitical vacuum. If Haiti meets our need to have someone to pity, Pakistan fulfills our need to have someone or something to fear. Fear, pity and contempt are easy, self-indulgent emotions. Much more demanding is to cultivate and practice respect and work for justice.

Tuesday, April 16 - “Observing and pitching in: Learning in Indigenous communities of the Americas”

Presenter: Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology

4 p.m. in Academic West (AW) 204

In some communities, a prevalent form of learning is through keen observation of ongoing community events in which people collaborate when they are ready. This approach to learning seems to be especially common in Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas, and less prevalent in communities that segregate children from the range of activities of their community. These ideas will be illustrated with research in Guatemalan Mayan, Mexican-heritage, and European-heritage U.S. communities.

Wednesday, April 17 - “Developing Destinies: A Mayan Midwife and Town”

Presenter: Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology

Barbara Rogoff describes changes and continuities across decades in children's and families' lives, in a Guatemalan Mayan town where she has conducted research for many years. The account centers on the life and work of a renowned Mayan midwife and her town. The presentation uses photos and film since 1941 to show the changes. Rogoff's presentation is based on her new book, “Developing Destinies: A Mayan Midwife and Town.” Some of the images can be seen on a 6-minute YouTube video called “Developing Destinies.”

Wednesday, April 24 - “Drone Warfare: The Reality on the Ground in Pakistan”

Presenter: Toby Blomé, organizer with the San Francisco chapter of CODEPINK, a women-led peace and social justice organization.

Toby Blomé will give firsthand accounts about life under daily drone surveillance in Waziristan, Pakistan, the civilians lost to hellfire missiles, the survivors’ stories and the many ways everyday life throughout Pakistan has been seriously altered by the U.S. War on Terror. She will present information on how President Obama's secret wars, using remotely controlled unmanned planes to carryout, what Blomé describes as, illegal targeted killing, have caused significant collateral damage and are ultimately counterproductive by inciting anti-American rage and animosity.

Wednesday, May 1 - “Challenges and Opportunities on the Recognition of the Indigenous Cultural Diversity in Colombia”

Presenter: Amanda Bernal-Carlo, full professor at the Natural Sciences Department at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

This talk addresses the cosmo-vision meaning of land and their way of life of the tribes inhabiting the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Understanding this perception helps us to highlight the importance in acknowledging the cultural diversity and the protection of rights of indigenous peoples enabling them to survive as a culture. The reality of the indigenous peoples in Colombia presents paradigmatic situations. Although they are formally protected by the highest international standards, and by legislative and jurisprudential developments, the effectiveness of these formal mechanisms of protection only partially coincide with reality. Solutions to this situation will be discussed.

Wednesday, May 8 - “Creating Truth and Justice for El Salvador”

Presenters: Marina Ortiz of the Salvadoran Pro-Historical Commission, Bethany Loberg, translator and Share Staff

Twenty years after the Peace Accords and the U.N. Truth Commission Report, Salvadorans struggle to build true peace in a society steeped in violence and impunity. While victims of human rights violations have worked tirelessly for truth and justice, accompanied by the Pro-Historical Memory Commission, the current government has been the first to acknowledge and apologize for the active role of the government in repressing, disappearing, and massacring civilians, and to take initial steps towards reparations. Marina Ortiz will share her experiences as a victim of forced disappearance and as an advocate with the Pro-Historical Memory Commission. Loberg will share opportunities for action and accompaniment.

Wednesday, May 15 - “Violence Against Women in a Global Context: Finding Solutions with Hope, Connection, and Voice”

Presenter: Dana Jack, Professor at Fairhaven College, Jillian Froebe, expressive arts mentor, psychotherapist, spiritual director

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women held their 57th session on “Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls” in March in New York. Holding historical importance, this gathering of U.N. officials, NGOs, and their delegates comprised more than 7,000 women from around the world. Violence is a worldwide epidemic – one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetimes – and the global community is severely impoverished by the resulting harms. Dana Jack, a presenter at the U.N. CSW conference, will outline some of the pressing issues related to violence against women and girls and share her case study of a Nepali NGO, Justice for All. Jillian Froebe, working with an NGO called Maher in India, will share a unique community-based approach to addressing violence against women.

Wednesday, May 22 - “De/signing Discourse: Production, Consumption, and Sustainability in the ‘Age of Aesthetics’”

Presenter: Christine Harold, associate professor of Communication at the University of Washington

Harold’s presentation explores the relationship between industrial design, “grassroots” production, and environmental sustainability. This project builds upon her work on the politics of branding and consumption begun in her book “OurSpace.” The focus of commercial rhetoric is shifting toward the formal components of objects (their shape, weight, footprint, etc.) more than the text and graphics of brands. Through examples such as the handcrafts, makers, and emotional design movements, Harold tracks the political potential of challenging how we understand “the Object” and how we might more carefully consider the larger ramifications of our relationship to the world of things. 

“Brand You!: Ethos, Personal Branding, and Community in Anxious Times”

Presenter: Christine Harold, associate professor of Communication at the University of Washington

4 p.m. Communications Facility (CF) Room 227

Today's globalized workforce means that many workers, even those doing so-called "knowledge work" must compete to be noticed among competitors vying for clients’ attention. This reality has given rise to one professional arena that is becoming a boom industry – personal branding. Personal branding encourages workers to package and market themselves as an advertiser would a product, to distinguish themselves from the pack with coherent online messaging and a distinctive aesthetic. Done well, say advocates, personal brands should convey not only one’s skill set, but one’s personality as well. Harold analyzes the character of the rhetoric promoting personal branding as a kind of "ethos" for the global-network age. She encourages an approach that embraces other people as crucial members of one’s community rather than as competitors (or customers) in a hostile marketplace.

Wednesday, May 29 - “‘Welcome to Homerica’: The Representation of Immigrations Issues and the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence in American Animated Television Series”

Presenter: Julie Dufort, Western visiting assistant professor

This presentation shows that four American animated television series, “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “South Park” and “American Dad!,” are more than mere entertainment and contain political discourses on undocumented immigration and the building of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Relying on Daniel Tichenor’s categorization of the main U.S. currents of thought on immigration, we proceed to a qualitative content and discourse analysis to show how most of these four series valorize liberal views on immigration.

Co-sponsors of Fairhaven College’s World Issues Forum include Western’s departments of Anthropology, Canadian-American Studies, Communications, Psychology, Political Science, Women’s Studies and the Western Diversity Fund; various Associated Students organizations; and local community nonprofits.

For more information on the World Issues Forum speaker series presented by WWU’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, call Shirley Osterhaus at (360) 650-2309 or visit the World Issues Forum Website at http://www.wwu.edu/depts/fairhaven.

WWU's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 1967, is nationally recognized for innovation in teaching and learning, intensive advising, student-designed majors, narrative assessment, experiential and independent learning and a commitment to social justice.