Past Season 2004-2005

Sept 15 at the Waterville Holiday Inn: “United Nations Population Fund” — Jane Roberts. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the world’s largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs. Since 1969 it has provided nearly $6 billion in assistance in over 140 developing countries to help plan families, promote safe and healthy pregnancies, avoid STIs, including HIV/AIDS and combat violence against women. In July the U.S. Administration decided, for the third time, not to release the $34 million appropriate by Congress for the UNFPA, arguing that the money supports coerced abortion in China—an allegation that UNFPA argues is baseless. To bridge the funding gap Jane Roberts and Lois Abraham have formed the “34 million friends of UNFPA” to urge 34 million people to donate a dollar to the Fund.

Please come to hear Ms. Roberts discuss the work of UNFPA and its integral role in achieving global development goals. She will also touch on why the US is the only developed country that does not contribute to the Fund – and why and how citizens can take action and make a real difference in individual lives.


Friday, Oct 22, 12:30 at Colby College: “Courage to Refuse” — Dani Vos. Courage to Refuse is an organization of Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers who refuse to participate in the Occupied Territory of Palestine. They believe that the Occupation has nothing to do with the security of Israel and has, as its sole purpose, the perpetuation of control over the Palestinian people. Courage to Refuse, which has grown from its initial 52 to over 620, and its founder, David Zonsheine, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.


Thursday, Nov 18: “Blood and Oil” — Michael Klare, author of the recent book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency.


Friday, Dec 10: Patrice Franko (Grossman Professor of Economics at Colby), “Challenges to Sustainable Growth in Latin America”. A new buzzword in financial markets is BRIC–the set of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (and sometimes South Africa) that a startling research report by Goldman Sachs has identified as likely to outstrip the US and Europe. By 2050 China’s GDP could be 30% larger than the US, India’s four times that of Japan, and Brazil and Russia at least 50% larger than the United Kingdom. Overall, BRICs, which currently compare at 15% of all the GDP of major industrial economies, are forecasted to outstrip the six largest economies by 2039–a startling change in world economic power.

But achieving this change is a delicate balancing act of maintaining growth rates contingent on confidence and credibility in domestic political and economic institutions. This talk will focus on one of the BRICs–Brazil–and analyze how its president, a labor unionist without a high school degree has charmed Wall Street and achieved surprising macroeconomic success. But is Brazil’s emergence as a BRIC sustainable when built upon huge infrastructure gaps and glaring social deficits that threaten stability? What are the obstacles to genuinely emerging as a force in the international arena?


Tuesday, Feb 1: Ariel C. Armony (Assistant Professor of Government at Colby), “Focus on Argentina”. Professor Armony will present an overview of the current social and economic situation in Argentina. He will discuss the country’s economy, its recent insertion into the global arena, and the challenges for democracy.


Thursday, February 24th: James R. Fleming (Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Colby), “Weather and Climate Modification: Science Policy Meets the History of Science and Technology”. Professor Fleming will link the history of weather and climate modification, with special emphasis on the United States, to current public policy. He’ll provide insights into the failures of cloud seeding and enumerate a series of massive and immodest intervention strategies for “geoengineering” the climate system. Fleming will also discuss two recent policy milestones: “Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research,” a report published by the US National Research Council in October 2003 and “Macro-engineering Options for Climate Change Management and Mitigation,” a symposium held in Cambridge, England in January 2004. Such proposed technical fixes reflect larger social tensions, values, and public apprehensions while subverting or at least submerging more fundamental and perhaps more reasonable aspects of cloud physics and climate dynamics.


Thursday, March 10th: Richard Alley (Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University), “‘The Day After Tomorrow’ was so Yesterday”. Richard Alley studies ice cores – samples of ice that record Earth’s past climate. His research focuses on abrupt climate change, glaciers, ice sheet collapse and sea level change. In the 1990s Dr. Alley and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. What conclusions can be drawn from the evaluation of this data? Is global warming a natural phenomenon? What has been and will be the human impact on climate change? What do we need to know in order to understand and perhaps overcome climate changes in the future? Please join us for the second of a two-part Global Forum series addressing climate issues.


Tuesday, March 15th, 5 pm, Lovejoy 100, Colby College: peace activist Shadia Marhaban, “The Struggle in Aceh”. A few months ago, not many folks were familiar with Aceh Province on the island of Sumatra. Now, in the wake of the tsunami disaster, here is a chance to learn about a different facet of that region. On March 15th the Colby Goldfarb Center and the Mid-Maine Global Forum welcome peace activist Shadia Marhaban to Colby. Marhaban came to the U.S. as a political refugee in 2003, after having organized a peaceful mass rally for 2 million people in Banda Aceh in 1999. She is involved in Humanitarian Pause, the first peace movement in Aceh to represent women activists from civil society, and she works with the Srikandi Foundation distributing aid to refugee camps in Aceh. Please join us to learn more about The Struggle in Aceh. Free and open to the public. No registration required.


Thursday, April 14th: Ambassador Robert Gelbard, “The Balkans: Ten Years After the Dayton Agreements”. In 1985 Robert Gelbard was the Special Representative for President Clinton on the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the wars in the Balkans. Please come to hear Ambassador Gelbard’s views on this important and volatile region.

The series of wars in the Balkans, beginning in 1991 and culminating in NATO’s attacks on Serbia in 1999 because of Milosevic’s genocide in Kosovo, marked the first (and so far) only period of actual warfare in Europe since WWII. While conflict had occurred in what is now Croatia earlier due to the conflicts initiated by Milosevic in southwestern and eastern Croatia, the most devastating warfare took place in Bosnia, beginning in 1992. The November 1995 Dayton Agreements, brokered by the US Government, caused that to end. The Kosovo War resulted in the end to Milosevic’s dictatorship.

Now, with the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Agreements upon us, is an appropriate time to examine the aftermath of that decade of horrible violence, intense and unprecedented involvement by the International Community, and concerted efforts to instill democratic governance and market-oriented economies in the entirety of the former Yugoslavia. Have these efforts succeeded. If not, why not? What does this mean for other international peacekeeping and nation building efforts?


Thursday, May 5th, 4:30 pm, 14 Miller Library, Colby College: Dr. Christopher Foote, a Senior Economist in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, “Economic Policy and Prospects in Iraq”. Based upon his experience as advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Dr. Foote will discuss attempts to stabilize and reform Iraq’s economy along market lines. As suggested in his recent paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, he argues that while security concerns remain serious, Iraq’s economy has not been crippled by violence. However, sustained economic growth will depend on whether Iraq’s future leaders pursue the pro-market approaches the Coalition has advocated. If the Iraqi economy is to reach its potential, it will need to go even further than the Coalition did, implementing reforms the Coalition did not pursue because of security concerns.

Registration is not necessary for this program which is free and open to the public.

Related links:

“An Economist Reports from Baghdad”, Christopher Foote, Regional Review, Quarter 3, 2003, 4 pp plus color photos.

“Economic Policy and Prospects in Iraq”, Christopher Foote with William Block, Keith Crane, and Simon Gray. FRB Boston Series, May 2004, 37 pp.