Events 2015-2017

Thursday, August 10  6:15 PM

Colby College

Ambassador Derek Mitchell

May 15-16, 2017

Adotei Akwei

   Managing Director of Government Relations for Amnesty International

Washington, D.C. 

Adotei Akwei is Managing Director for Government Relations for Amnesty International USA. Before rejoining AIUS he was Deputy Director for Government Relations for CARE USA. As CARE USA Deputy he worked on Climate Change, Emergencies, Countries in Conflict and Micro-Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining CARE he worked for 11 years for Amnesty in a number of positions including Africa Director for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and Human Rights Director for the American Committee on Africa and the Africa Fund. He received a Masters in International relations from the College of William and Mary. He is originally from Ghana.

See website: Amnesty International USA

Adotei will be involved in three programs:

Monday, May 15   7:15  pm

Film: The Heart of the Nuba
This film has been shown all over the world, including in the British Parliament, the US Congress, The Hague, the Italian Senate  and at many film festivals. The film has some graphic scenes and may not be appropriate for younger students.

Railroad Square Cinema

Waterville

$5.00

Tuesday, May 16   9 am

“The Role of Amnesty International in the World”

Erskine Academy

South China, Maine

Open to the public!

Tuesday, May 16 12 Noon

“Amnesty International’s Work in Human Rights and Immigration”

Alfond Center, 12 noon

   Thanks to a generous grant from the Oak-Grove Foundation the Forum is able to bring this distinguished speaker and film to our community and provide a program for high school students and faculty.

2017

April 14, 12 Noon

Waterville Public Library

Elizabeth Helitzer, Executive Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center

Bob Greenham, Program Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights center

“Yearning to Breathe Free: The Immigrant Experience in Maine.”

The story of immigrants in Maine is older than the state itself. From Verrazano’s first glimpse of Maine in 1524 on, immigrants have played a key role in shaping Maine and her people. This program, inspired by our 2015 exhibit of the same name, provides an overview of Maine’s immigrant past, and serves as a reminder of the important role that immigrants will play in our future.

March 6, 12 noon

in collaboration with the

Holocaust and Human Rights Center

This event will be at the UMA Michael Klahr Center

University of Maine, Augusta

 From Everywhere to New Mainer

Join the Mid-Maine Global Forum and the HHRC for This is ME, Too: From Everywhere to New Mainer. This event will include a panel discussion with three New Mainers: Somali refugee Abdi Iftin; Iraqi refugee Nawar Al Obaidi; and Cambodian refugee Makara Meng. In this panel discussion, Abdi, Nawar and Makara will speak about their experiences coming to Maine, misconceptions and stories we don’t hear in the news about their home countries, and answer questions.

January 12

Alfond Center

UMF Professor Scott Erb

Maine Humanities Council

                The Crisis of the Syrian Civil War and Refugees in The EU

    Scott Erb is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine at
Farmington, whose specialty is German politics and the European Union.   In
this talk, Professor Erb will discuss both the background of the Syrian civil war
and refugee crisis, and the profound impact this has on Germany and the
European Union.  The crisis has challenged the core principles of the EU and
brings to the forefront the dilemmas of modern politics in the age of
globalization and terrorism.

2016

  December 7

Steve Ball

Vietnam: Dealing with Explosive Remnants of War

       Steve Ball, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and MMGF Board Member, will give a talk on current efforts to address the ongoing problems associated with un-exploded munitions left from wars in Vietnam.  Steve spent last year as the Vietnam Country Director for Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, a Nongovernmental Organization working globally to safely and effectively remove explosive remnants of war.  Steve will talk about the extent of the un-exploded munitions problem in Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia and Laos and what actions are being taken by Vietnam and partnering countries to alleviate the associated damaging social and economic problems.   Steve retired from the Army in 2005 after over 27 years of active service.  His last tour of duty was as the U.S. Defense Attaché to Vietnam.  After his tour he has returned to Vietnam  on two occasions working for humanitarian organizations operating largely in the central provinces of Vietnam.

 November 15

at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan

Note the earlier starting time, so get there 15 minutes early if you are having lunch.

Professor Loring Danforth of Bates College

 

Saudi Modern: Contemporary Art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    The images most Americans have of Saudi Arabia are frighteningly predictable – deserts, camels, and oil; Sharia law, Islamic fundamentalism, and jihad; rich sheikhs in white robes, oppressed women in black veils, and terrorists. In this talk I challenge these destructive Orientalist stereotypes by introducing the relatively unknown world of contemporary Saudi art. The work of young Saudi artists presents a unique insiders perspective on Saudi society and culture that offers more nuanced and complex portraits of Saudi Arabia than those that circulate in the American media. An open air mosque made out of chain link fencing. Yoda sitting next to King Faisal as Saudi Arabia joins the United Nations. And a Saudi woman painting a junked car pink.

  Loring M. Danforth is chair of the Anthropology Department at Bates College, where he has taught since 1978.  He is the author of five books and has written extensively on Greece.  His latest work, Crossing the Kingdom: Portraits of Saudi Arabia (University of California Press) is based upon a trip to the country he took with sixteen students in 2012.

October 19

 Khalid Albaih

Colby College’s Oak Fellow

The Threat to Journalists in the Sudan

       Khalid Albaih is a political cartoonist from Sudan. He is Colby’s 2016 Oak Fellow at the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights.
Albaih uses his daring, often biting cartoons to champion freedom of expression and democracy in the Arab world, while criticizing Western Islamophobia and U.S. practices including torture and drone attacks.
Albaih draws simple but evocative images that are primarily displayed online. Many of those images have gone viral, earning him international recognition. Huffington Post mentions him first in its list of the world’s leading Arab cartoonists.
During the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, Albaih’s images were turned into stencils and reproduced on city walls in Cairo and Sana’a. He acquired thousands of followers on his Facebook site (“Khartoon!”—a play on his artistic medium and his former home in the capital of Sudan). His work also has appeared in exhibitions in Vienna, London, Montreal, Detroit, Bahrain, and The Hague and has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times and Al-Jazeera.
The son of a diplomat and a social justice activist, Albaih was born in Romania and grew up in Sudan and Qatar, where he now lives. He received a B.A. in interior design engineering from the Ajman University of Science and Technology and worked as a graphic designer and multimedia specialist before becoming head of installations and design for public art in Qatar Museums Authority.

September 21st

Colby’s Professor Catherine Besteman

Somali Bantu Refugees’ Journey to Lewiston

Alfond Center, 12:30

How do people whose entire way of life has been destroyed and who witnessed horrible abuses against loved ones construct a new future? How do people who have survived the ravages of war and displacement rebuild their lives in a new country when their world has totally changed? In Making Refuge Catherine Besteman follows the trajectory of Somali Bantus from their homes in Somalia before the onset in 1991 of Somalia’s civil war, to their displacement to Kenyan refugee camps, to their relocation in cities across the United States, to their settlement in the struggling former mill town of Lewiston, Maine. Tracking their experiences as “secondary migrants” who grapple with the struggles of xenophobia, neoliberalism, and grief, Besteman asks what humanitarianism feels like to those who are its objects and what happens when refugees move in next door. As Lewiston’s refugees and locals negotiate coresidence and find that assimilation goes both ways, their story demonstrates the efforts of diverse people to find ways to live together and create community. Besteman’s account illuminates the contemporary debates about economic and moral responsibility, security, and community that immigration provokes.

Catherine Besteman is an anthropologist who has taught at Colby since 1994. After conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Somalia in the late 1980s, she reunited with her former neighbors from Somalia when they began moving to Maine as resettled refugees in 2006. Her new book, Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine, chronicles their journey from war-torn Somalia, to Kenya’s massive refugee camps, and, finally, to Lewiston. Besteman is a recent Guggenheim fellow, and her research for this book was also supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Summer Dinner Program!! August 11, 6 pm

Nicholas Burns

Colby College

Mid-Maine Global Forum – Annual Dinner Invitation

 Why America Matters: Foreign Policy Advice for the Next President

The Mid-Maine Global forum is pleased to present Nicholas Burns as our special guest speaker at our annual summer dinner program.  Dr. Burns brings his 27 years of experience in the U.S. foreign service, and his expertise as Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, to the Mid-Maine Global Forum for an insightful presentation regarding the significance of foreign policy for the next President of the United States.  Not only is Professor Burns a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, but he is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, and Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group.  Nicholas Burns writes articles and opinion pieces for numerous publications including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Harvard International Review, and the New York Times.  The Aspen Strategy Group released its latest policy book, Blind Spot:  America’s Response to Radicalism in the Middle East, edited by Nicholas Burns and Jonathon Price, December 2015. 

June 10

Nicholas Record

Bigelow Laboratory spoke on the situation of the Bay of Fundy and the world’s oceans.

May 2

Railroad Square Cinema

“Soft Vengeance”

ALBIE SACHS & THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA | A FILM BY ABBY GINZBERG

May 3

TWO PROGRAMS ON THE SAME DAY!

9:30 am Messalonskee High School

“The Civil Rights Movement in the United States”

12 Noon Rem Center

“South Africa Today”

Prexy Nesbitt

Rozell “Prexy” Nesbitt was born and raised on Chicago’s West Side. After graduating from the Francis Parker School in Chicago, Nesbitt enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After graduating from Antioch in 1967, Nesbitt continued his education, attending the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania; Northwestern University; and Columbia University.

Even before completing his Ph.D. in 1975, Nesbitt was highly active in labor and equality movements; by 1976, he had become the national coordinator and field organizer for the Bank Withdrawal Campaign for the American Committee on Africa. Two years later Nesbitt was named the director of the Africa Project at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. In 1979, Nesbitt became the program director and secretary for research at the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Nesbitt returned to Chicago in 1984, where he continued his work as a labor organizer. In 1986, Chicago mayor Harold Washington named Nesbitt as a special assistant. The following year, the government of Mozambique appointed Nesbitt to serve as a consultant to help them represent their interests to the United States, Canada, and Europe; he remained in this post until 1992.

In 1990, Nesbitt took a post as a lecturer with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and in 1993, became the senior program officer with the Program on Peace & International Cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation. Nesbitt remained with the MacArthur Foundation until 1996, when he was named the dean of community engagement and diversity. In addition to his foundation work, Nesbitt worked as an African and American history teacher at his high school alma mater, Francis W. Parker School. Nesbitt also taught African History at Columbia College, and served as a consultant on diversity for the Francis W. Parker School; the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; and the East Educational Collaborative in Washington, DC. In 2001, Nesbitt became the South African representative of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the interim director for the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program. From 2003 on, Nesbitt worked as the Senior Multiculturalism and Diversity Specialist for the Chicago Teachers Center at Northeastern Illinois University.

Nesbitt has lectured both in the United States and abroad, and has written extensively, publishing a book and articles in more than twenty international journals. Nesbitt also served as a co-writer on the BBC production of The People’s Century programSkin Deep, about racism in the United States and South Africa. Over the course of his career, Nesbitt made more than seventy trips to Africa, including trips taken in secret to apartheid torn South Africa; his work has garnered him numerous awards throughout his career.

2016

Friday, April 8

12 Noon REM Center

Kyle Knight

LGBT Human Rights Movement Around the World

Here’s a bio: Kyle Knight

     Knight will be about the global LGBT human rights movement and how the uptick in support from some governments has been met with backlash elsewhere–and what those of us who care about human rights can do about it in such turbulent political times. Gay rights work has very little to do with the wealth of a nation and far more to do with courage and creativity at a local level.

See Caravan Magazine

March 4

Reza Jalali

12 Noon

at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center UMA Augusta

Michael Klahr Center

New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors

 

   Immigration to Maine has been part of the American narrative for the past few centuries. America, as a nation of immigrants, has historically, with a few exceptions, welcomed the world’s persecuted by offering them safety and a chance to start a new life. Maine’s recent immigrants, most of them refugees fleeing wars, religious and political persecution, arrive from war-torn countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Rwanda, to name a few. The Book, New Mainers, Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors tells the stories of 29 New Mainers. Reza Jalali will discuss the book and the need to tell the stories of today’s immigrants.

  Reza Jalali is a writer, educator, and a community activist, who has taught at the Bangor Theological Seminary and the University of Southern Maine (USM) as an adjunct faculty. Jalali has written the Foreword to New Mainers (©2009, Tilbury House, Publishers) a book on immigrant’s lives in Maine. His children’s book, Moon Watchers has received a Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural Book. Jalali’s short story collection, Homesick Mosque and Other Stories was published in 2013. His play, The Poets and the Assassin, which is about women in Iran and Islam, was published in 2015. He has been a storyteller in the National Public Radio’s nationally-acclaimed The Moth Radio Hour. He coordinates the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at USM and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College.

 February 16

at the Colby Art Museum 12:30

Assistant Professor Marta Ameri

The Role of Seals in the Ancient World

Marta Ameri received her Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2010. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Art History at Colby College where she teaches courses focusing on Ancient, Medieval and Islamic Art. Her research focuses of the role the seals play as markers of identity and as indicators of intercultural exchange in the Ancient Near East and South Asia. Her dissertation catalogued and examined a group of seals and seal impressions found at the Chalcolithic site of Gilund in Western India. Her current research focuses on the visual analysis of seals of the Indus Valley Civilization. She is also co-editing a major volume which examines the production, use and iconography of seals in the Ancient World, from the Aegean to South Asia. She has excavated in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, India and Oman.

In the ancient world, stamp and cylinder seals were one of the primary tools of administration and played a significant role as markers of social and individual identity. They could be use to identify the carrier, sign documents, seal containers, and lock doors. Like cell phones today, a person could feel lost or naked without his or her seal. At the same time, however, most seals were also extraordinary examples of art in miniature, carved with everything from the seal owner’s name and position to entire mythological scenes featuring numerous gods and goddesses. This lecture will focus on the ancient Mesopotamian seals, tablets and sealings on loan to the Colby College Art Museum for the Spring 2016 semester. By examining both the artistic and functional aspects of these objects, it is possible to develop a deeper understanding of the practical and ideological concerns of the people of Ancient Mesopotamian, and how these may still be relevant in the modern world. 

 January 12

Bill Farrell

William Farrell serves as Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at Mercy Corps, a leading relief and development organization with ongoing operations in 43 countries, nearly 4,500 staff, and an annual operating budget of over $300 million. He helps develop partnerships to increase the reach and results of Mercy Corps’ work. Prior to this position, Farrell was Mercy Corps’ Vice President for Program Development, managing the design and support of high impact programming globally. A graduate of Tufts University and of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Farrell has worked with international donor agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the United States Government over the past two decades. His experience in transitional countries has given him significant background in confronting the challenges of instability through community-led and market-driven programming. Seconded by the United States Department of State to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Farrell was substantially involved in the formal peace negotiations between Georgians and South Ossetians as well as between Tajiks, during the civil war in Tajikistan. His work with the United States Agency for International Development in Central Asia helped communities and governments develop stronger partnerships to enhance the lives and well-being of citizens. He has worked in support of emergency response in Sudan, as well as assessing large parts of the Sahel for concrete ways in which development assistance can be used to counter extremist activity. Farrell is proficient in Russian and German. He lives with his wife and five children in Maine. He is Adjunct Faculty at the University of Maine Business School.

2015

Monday, November 30

Roger Launius

12 noon Alfond Center

in conjunction with the Waterville Rotary

Space: Journeying Toward the Future

In the more than fifty years since the beginning of the space age in 1957, much has been accomplished, our knowledge advanced, and a future made more positive. This presentation offers a survey of spaceflight history and offers comments on what might be expected in the next fifty years.

Roger D. Launius is Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. He has written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history. Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A graduate of Graceland College, he received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1982. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Astronautical Society. He also served as a consultant to the ColumbiaAccident Investigation Board in 2003 and presented the prestigious Harmon Memorial Lecture on the history of national security space policy at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues, and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and all the major television network news programs.

Thursday, November 12

at the Waterville Public Library

Koberinski is launching the Beyond Pesticides Network to transform Canada’s food systems. Professionally, this represents a bold move. Not so long ago Koberinski was an entrepreneur operating a café and a small-scale food processing project. Then she spent six years as the executive director of the Organic Council of Ontario, working to create change from within the corporate-industrial food complex. Now she is a frontline activist who supports farm families, rural communities, and those living in poverty in their fight for food sovereignty.

Although Koberinski hails from a country that has earned a global reputation as a champion of human rights, she says she feels increasingly vulnerable in Canada. For one thing, this outspoken critic of industrial food production says powerful agribusiness interests that benefit from the status quo are ever more vigilant in their efforts to discredit her. For another, she believes Ottawa has grown hostile to activists like herself.

In recent years Voices-Voix, a network of Canadian civil society organizations, has documented what it calls “the shrinking democratic space for dialogue on public policy and for dissent” in Canada. In a 2013 report it claimed that environmental groups, in particular, are being “systematically silenced” by the government. A researcher at Queen’s University in Ontario believes that Canada is gripped by a “green scare,” and that federal agencies routinely spy on such organizations—a claim denied by law enforcement.

Koberinski, who calls herself a “town crier,” comes to Colby College as the political environment grows increasingly fractious back home. She will arrive in late August and spend the fall semester here, leading a human rights seminar on food systems, consulting with members of the campus and Maine communities, and building the Beyond Pesticides Network.

At the moment, Koberinski is working without pay, relying on crowdsourcing to finance her grassroots campaign. She is known as an unflagging source of innovation, an activist who tirelessly helps others and furthers the cause of food sovereignty. She is a global leader on this issue and is recognized for her vital work transforming—not just reforming—agriculture to provide sustainable, safe, and secure food systems around the world.

Thursday, October 1

LEEKE-SHAW LECTURE ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

“Global Health Monitoring and Evaluation”

Margaret Chase Smith Library

56 Norridgewock Avenue

Skowhegan

Denise Vaillancourt will discuss the topic of evaluation as a learning tool for improving the effectiveness of global health investments. She will focus on two of her recent evaluations – one on malaria control in Benin and the other on health care modernization in Albania.

Ms. Vaillancourt is a native of Mexico, Maine, who has gone on to a long and successful career as an expert in the field of international health. She holds a master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, where she also has studied health policy and management. In addition, she is an instructor in the Department of International Health at Georgetown University.

In 1976, Denise moved from the staff of Senator Edmund Muskie to a position with The World Bank. She has served as a member of the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group since 2003 and in that capacity, has evaluated health projects and programs in countries around the globe. Her name may be familiar to many people as Monica Wood’s BFF in the author’s poignant memoir about growing up in a Maine mill town during the early 1960s, When We Were the Kennedys.

Professor Paul Josephson

“Putin, Putinism and Russian-American Relations”

September 23

12 noon REM Center, Waterville

Russia annexed Crimea and began a proxy war in eastern Ukraine a few months later. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has cracked down on democratic institutions, rapidly increased military spending, and engaged in an old-style propaganda war with the west. While the Russian economy is cratering, Putin’s popularity remains high among citizens. In this talk, Paul Josephson will analyze Putin’s policies and programs, especially as they have an impact on relations with the United States.

Paul Josephson, a specialist on the former Soviet Union, teaches history and history of science and technology at Colby College. Fluent in Russian, he travels to Russia and Ukraine several times a year for research and lectures.

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