Where the World Comes to Windham County

Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 @ 118 Elliot
118 Elliot ST, Brattleboro
Talks by Two Marlboro College Students on their Senior Research Projects
Leni Charbonneau will present on “Japan and the Ainu: A Spectacle of Sustainability”.
Adam Weinberg will present on “Compassion for the Inconsiderate: Local Politics, Global Values

7:00  Coffee, Tea & Conversation
7:30  The Talk Begins

Leni’s lecture will focus on the Japanese government’s recent policies regarding the Ainus which have been carried out under the rubric of Sustainable Development. This lecture uses Japan as a case study to more broadly consider the notion of sustainability within structures of global governance. The talk will situate the implications of this discourse within unfolding events in the country, such as the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Leni’s work deals with how a specific conception of sustainability is folded into spectacular mega-events like the Olympics and what the implications are for people and places over which the concept is imposed. Her talk will shed light on the challenges posed by dominant sustainability-based discourses as they are faced by Ainu activists and communities.

Leni Charbonneau, 2019Leni Charbonneau is a senior at Marlboro College, graduating with a Plan of Concentration in Human Geography and Asian Studies. During her time at Marlboro, Leni has been active in the World Studies Program, through which she traveled to conduct research and field work in Northern Japan. Since 2018, she has been a researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Minority Policy Studies based in Sapporo, Japan. With this Centre, she has worked closely with activists and organizations representative of Japan’s Ainu community- the Indigenous peoples of the country’s northernmost island. Through this work, Leni has also worked with transnational Indigenous coalitions, most often assisting with initiatives rooted in Arctic and northern environments. In her academic work, she is interested in the transmission of environmental knowledge across cultures in different geopolitical contexts.


Adam’s lecture will explain how resentment and vindictiveness, not disagreement, must be dealt with in order to stop cycles of retribution.  He will explain the process through the local lens of Marlboro College’s Community Court, where local politics and global values are enmeshed. His lecture will show how Marlboro College’s adjudicating body resolves disputes, how its Community Court uses the mechanism of global values successfully in handling disputes and uses community governance to ensure feelings of equity on all sides.  The lecture will model Marlboro College’s way of identifying common patterns that plague progress and dealing with those patterns with compassion, empathy, respect—and of course, humor.  Adam’s research includes a double-blind survey that he designed and implemented to investigate, first-hand, how people form their opinions.   


Adam Walter Weinberg is a senior at Marlboro College, graduating with a Plan of Concentration in Political Theory and Psychology. During his time at Marlboro, Adam immersed himself in the school’s formal adjudicating body, its Community Court, serving five semesters on the seven-member panel of students, faculty, and staff. As an elected Justice, he organized processes of community governance to recognize those who felt dismissed or disregarded.  An eager immigrant from Los Angeles, Adam has spent 6 years learning the rural way of life in Vermont, even writing in the Brattleboro Reformer as part of an internship program, during which he wrote two front-page articles spotlighting the genesis of two local businesses.  His academic work investigates exposure to disagreement and mechanisms of Community Governance to resolve disputes in daily life. He champions tolerance towards intolerance, and the challenge of asking why people think what they think.


 If you would like to learn more about the subject of our lecture by Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith on “The Betrayal of the Kurds,” here is a link to Galbriath’s soon-to-be-published article in the New York Review of Books:      Read Article




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