Events 2012-2013

2012-2013 Events (reverse chronological)

Dr. Richard Hopper

          President, Kennebec Valley Community College

               “Building Education Systems in the Developing World”

December 11

      Dr. Hopper has come to KVCC from the World Bank where he was most recently Senior Education Specialist for the Europe and Central Asia Region.  A technical specialist in education reform with the World Bank since 1999, Dr. Hopper has 27 years of professional experience in teaching, higher education administration and international development. His formal academic training is in economics (George Washington University), international affairs (Geneva, Switzerland), and education policy (Harvard University). In addition to teaching for several years in France, Switzerland, and Japan, he has managed US higher education programs abroad, assisted in the establishment of new universities, and advised governments and individual institutions on reforms.  He is a recognized expert in higher education governance, finance and quality assurance.  During his graduate studies Dr. Hopper was a teaching fellow in statistics (Harvard), a Fulbright Scholar in the office of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus at Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), an Aspen Institute Fellow (Washington), a Harvard Advanced Doctoral Fellow, a Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Traveling Fellow (Bangladesh), and a Mombusho Fellow with the Japanese Ministry of Education (Japan). He was an HIID researcher for the World Bank-UNESCO Task Force on Higher Education which published its 2000 report entitled Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise.

He has well over a decade of experience with World Bank project preparation, implementation and supervision in countries of South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, and most recently in Europe and Central Asia.  He has overseen stakeholder consultations for higher education reforms in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, and Thailand. He was also a key contributor to the World Bank’s 2003 report on tertiary education entitled Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education. He has published and spoken widely on higher education in developing countries.

   Friday, November 1

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs

“A Deeper Look at Israel: Reflections from Rabbi Rachel Isaacs”

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs is the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville, the Hillel Director at Colby College, and serves on the Jewish Studies faculty at Colby.   She graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude in 2005, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011. Rabbi Isaacs lived in Israel for three and a half years, and was a research assistant for Dr. Michael Oren, the current Israeli ambassador to the United States.  She also taught at ALMA : The Home for Hebrew Culture in Tel Aviv under the tutelage of Dr. Ruth Calderon, currently one of the most influential members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament.)   Isaacs lived in Israel through three wars, and gained a unique perspective into Israeli politics and culture.   She will speak about current events in Israel, including contemporary domestic political struggles and current Israeli perspectives on a changing middle east.

Former Ambassador Laurence Pope

In conjunction with the the Margaret Chase Smith Library, now part of the University of Maine. This event was held on Friday, October 18, 11:45 at the Library in Skowhegan. 

Pope served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1969-2000, retiring at the rank of Minister Counselor after having held a number of senior posts in the Department of State. He was the Director for Northern Gulf Affairs (1987–1990), Associate Director for Counter-Terrorism (1991–1993), U.S. Ambassador to Chad (1993–1996), and Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command (1997–2000). In 2000, President Clinton nominated him as Ambassador to Kuwait.

He served as Charge d”Affairs in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed.
Laurence Pope retired from the U.S. Foreign Service on October 2, 2000 after 31 years of service. He continues to consult with various institutions and is a respected author.
A graduate of Bowdoin College, Chargé Pope also had advanced studies at Princeton University and is a graduate of the U.S. Department of State Senior Seminar, and is a Senior Fellow at the Armed Forces Staff College. He speaks Arabic and French, and resides in Portland, Maine.

                                               Thursday, September 26

                     Maung Maung Than (Tony) & Mya Nandar Aung (Nandar)

                                          The Plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya People

In western Myanmar, a Muslim minority faces persecution by Buddhist extremists and an unsympathetic government. Communal violence has displaced 140,000 Rohingya, pushing them from their homes and forcing them into makeshift camps. Human rights groups have called this the worst case of ethnic cleansing in decades.

The 2013 Oak Human Rights Fellows are Maung Maung Than and Myanandar Aung, who have worked with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to protect the rights of stateless people in western Myanmar and who are working with various organizations to encourage Buddhist-Muslim reconciliation. The state of Rahkine in western Myanmar has a history of tension between Buddhists and Muslims, many of whom are not officially recognized as citizens of Myanmar. One marginalized group, the Rohingya, faces a wide variety of human rights abuses, including extortion, forced eviction, destruction of property, forced labor, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. The fellows understand both sides of the conflict in Rahkine, as one fellow identifies as Muslim, while the other was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother. Despite their different upbringings, both Maung Maung Than and Myanandar Aung work to protect the rights of local peoples and improve their living conditions through monitoring and reporting abuses and educating community members about universal human rights.

August 15 at Colby College, the annual event:

“Secure or Second Rate?: Austerity, Defense Budget Cuts,  and the Future of US Global Engagement”

                                           Professor Gordon Adams

      The defense budget is going down.   It is not just “sequester” that is forcing it down. The end of combat and fiscal and economic dilemmas are the driving force and the budget will continue to go down, probably quite deeply.
     Will we end up secure, or second rate? Will we manage that military draw down successfully?    
     We can do it right. We could tackle the things that make the defense budget big.  Not the “threats” and international crisis, but the constantly rising costs of our weapons programs, the ever-rising pay and benefits we provide for the forces, and, above all, our expensive “back office” – Pentagon administrative overhead.  
    We need to redetermine the nature of our global engagement, redefine the right tools to carry it out, and have a fair degree of modesty about our global role.
      Gordon Adams is a Professor in the US Foreign Policy Program at the School of International Service, American University.  He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center. He was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and, for seven years, a Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and Director of the School’s Security Policy Studies Program. For five years he was Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, the senior White House budget official for national security. He has been an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Adams’ most recent book (with Cindy Williams) is Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Security at Home (Routledge 2010).  He has published books, monographs and articles on defense and national security policy, the defense policy process, and national security budgets. He appears frequently in the press and national media on defense and foreign policy subjects, testifies before the Congress, and writes a regular column and blog ( for the column and for “The Sheathed Sword” blog).

For Gordon’s recent writings please see:

Wednesday, June 5 2013: “America’s Refocus on Asia: Why, How, and Why it Matters”.

Ambassador Burghardt has for many years been one of the State Department’s leading experts on Asia.  He will draw on his extensive experience, including 22 years living in East and Southeast Asia, to explain the importance of the region for America’s strategic and economic interests; the complex mix of rivalry and cooperation between the U.S. and China; and how the Obama Administration, following withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, is shifting Washington’s focus and attention toward the dynamic Asian region.

Mr. Raymond F. Burghardt served as ambassador in Vietnam under President George W. Bush. Ambassador Burghardt has for many years been one of the State Department’s leading experts on Asia.  He will draw on his extensive experience, including 22 years living in East and Southeast Asia, to explain the importance of the region for America’s strategic and economic interests; the complex mix of rivalry and cooperation between the U.S. and China; and how the Obama Administration, following withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, is shifting Washington’s focus and attention toward the dynamic Asian region.” Mr. Burghardt is the the Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Before that he was the American Consul General in Shanghai – a position he held from 1997-1999. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Manila (1993-96) and Seoul (1990-93) and as Political Counselor in Beijing (1987-89).

Tuesday, April 30, “Cuba Today”

Bill Lee and the Colby class last January in Cuba, studying life and economic and political changes going on in Cuba, including human rights information.

Wednesday, March 27, “Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village: Cooperative Approaches to Affordable Housing”

Scott Guay

Scott  explored the Global Village program, and compare and contrast housing challenges—and Habitat’s efforts to meet them—in different regions around the world. A particular emphasis will be placed on how Habitat is working cooperatively with local administrators and grassroots organizations to increase its ability to serve more families while emphasizing the importance of local investment in affordable housing initiatives.

Monday, March 11th, “The Transition Out of Afghanistan: American Troops in Afghanistan and at Home”

Quil Lawrence, Messalonskee High School, Oakland, Maine.

Quil is an NPR reporter who spent ten years in Afghainistan and also covered the Iraq war. He published a book on the Kurds of northern Iraq.

Wednesday, February 13th, “Vietnam and the United States: Ghosts of the Past, Challenges of the Future” 

G. Calvin Mackenzie

Cal Mackenzie, spent the first six months of 2012 in Vietnam as a Fulbright Scholar. During that time he worked with the Institute for American Studies in Hanoi, a Vietnamese government agency that provides information and counsel to the country’s leaders about the United States. Mackenzie traveled and lectured widely in Southeast Asia. He will discuss the current state of American relations with Vietnam, the contemporary legacy of the war between those countries, and the issues that are likely to shape U.S. policy in Asia in the years ahead.

Wednesday, January 23rd, “A Race to Win Hearts and Minds: The Use of the Apollo Program in Public Diplomacy During the Cold War”

Teasel Muir-Harmony

Through the nation’s civilian space program, officials in the State Department and the United States Information Agency sought to sell an image of America as a technologically capable, prosperous, and powerful nation, marketing this image to the global public by, among other means, touring space capsules around the world, exhibiting Moon rocks in over 100 countries, and broadcasting the latest space accomplishments on radio and television in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Ms. Muir-Harmony will examine how and why spaceflight came to play a distinctive and critical role in American public relations and national image-making during the 1960s.

Tuesday, October 9, “Streets of Pain and Valleys of Sorrow for Young Girls: Restoring Social Fabric in KwaZulu-Natal”, Zandile Nhlengetwa, Colby’s Oak Fellow.

Zandile Nhlengetwa, from South Africa, was chosen as this year’s Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights Fellow. For her talk with the Global Forum she will address her work on gender-based violence in Kwa-zulu Natal, and interventions with survivors and perpetrators challenging those traditional practices that contribute to the problem.  For more information on Ms. Nhlengetwa please see

Monday, September 17, Alfond Youth Center, 2nd floor library. Afghan Scholars Initiative–from the Student Perspective.

In October 2008, Qiam Amiry spoke to the Mid-Maine Global Forum about his opportunity to attend the United World College which led him to study at Colby. Wanting to help other students from Afghanistan, he worked diligently to form the non-profit Afghan Scholars Initiative (ASI). Both the MMGF and the Waterville Rotary have heard updates from Qiam since, and the Rotary has provided two grants to ASI to help get the program launched. ASI has brought 14 scholars to the U.S. As Qiam has returned to Afghanistan to operate the program from there, we have the opportunity to hear about ASI directly from two students. In addition to their personal experiences, they will talk about ASI’s unique use of technology in its tutoring program which prepares Afghan students before they start attending secondary schools in the United States. This is a combined meeting with the Waterville Rotary.