The Mid-Maine Global Forum contributes to the local community’s understanding of issues of global significance by organizing and disseminating informed public presentations and discussion. To become a member or be put on our mailing list, email Global Forum  

Unless otherwise indicated, all events are now at the Alfond Center on North Street.

The next regular Global Forum program:


October 19 12 noon

Alfond Center

Colby College’s Oak Fellow Jinyan Zeng

Jinyan Zeng, a Chinese filmmaker, blogger, activist, and scholar, has been named the 2017 Oak Human Rights Fellow at Colby. This is the first time in its nearly 20-year history that the Oak Institute for Human Rights has selected someone from the People’s Republic of China.

“Video Confession, Surveillance, and Sousveillance in Digital China”

  How do government, private sector, and individuals use video for their own ends in China? This talk will explore practices of video confession, surveillance, and sousveillance (inverse surveillance) in China.

Zeng has spent more than a decade and a half fighting for people with HIV-AIDS, women facing discrimination, factory workers suffering exploitation, a natural environment threatened by pollution, and political dissidents experiencing repression. This work sometimes upsets the Chinese party-state, which at different times has detained and surveilled her.

In 2006 Zeng made her first documentary, Prisoners in Freedom City, about living under house arrest in Beijing. Her most recent film, We the Workers, had its world premier at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in January 2017. During the production of that film, the Chinese party-state detained several of the featured labor activists, placed a few of them under house arrest, and forced still others to make “confessions” on state television. Zeng is cofounder of the Chinese Independent Documentary Lab in Hong Kong and the leading curator of an independent Chinese film series.

In 2017 Zeng earned a Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong, where she studied film, gender, and cyber-activism. Her dissertation focused on the work of Ai Xiaoming, a feminist professor of literature and a documentary filmmaker in China.

During the fall, when Zeng will be in Maine, she looks forward to editing footage for a new documentary on the pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” in Hong Kong. And she is eager to talk with Colby faculty, staff, and students who are curious about China, film, and human rights. Zeng arrives in Waterville in August.

Lunch will be catered by the Kennebec Valley Community College Cafe; Please register with your lunch request by Friday, October 13th to Elizabeth Helitzer or call 207-621-3532

Sandwich options include:  Roast Turkey on whole wheat, Tuna salad on a brioche roll, or a Mixed Veggie wrap.

Lunch includes soup, sandwich, coffee, tea and cookies.

Thursday, November 2

12 noon

Margaret Chase Smith Library


This program is part of the collaboration between the Global Forum and the MC Smith Library

An End to Pacifism? Japanese Remilitarization and Outlooks for Global Stability

Dr. Kristin Vekasi

    Dr.  Vekasi will present the annual Leeke-Shaw Lecture on International Affairs at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan on Thursday, November 2nd. Japan’s postwar constitution prohibits the country’s use of force as a way of settling international disputes. For decades, Japan’s pacifist stance has had broad support from the Japanese public, limiting the options for hawkish politicians like current Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Recent conflicts in East Asia including Chinese actions in the East and South China Sea and nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula, however, have pushed Japan closer to becoming a “normal” military power than any other time post 1945. This talk will cover the ramifications of possible Japanese remilitarization for Japan, the United States, and global stability.

Dr. Vekasi is a professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. She received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has conducted extensive research and fieldwork across Northeast Asia, particularly in China and Japan. She has been a visiting fellow with the Japan Foundation at Tokyo University, a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow at the Harbin Institute of Technology, and a Fulbright Fellow at Tohoku University. She is a member of the US-Japan Network for the Future through the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation and Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership. Her research focuses on China-Japan relations, and how multinational firms manage political risk in a globalized and politicized world. Her most recent publications in the Chinese Journal of International Politics and East Asia Forum Quarterly discuss how private firms use cultural exchange programs to improve tense international relations.

This free lecture held in conjunction with the Mid-Maine Global Forum will begin at noon.  The Margaret Chase Smith Library is located at 56 Norridgewock Avenue in Skowhegan.  Light refreshments will be provided.  In addition, a sandwich lunch can be ordered for a $10 fee.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Library at 474-7133.