May 18, 2023 @ 6:30 pm Surfing as Development: Stories of postwar transformation on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast

 As the dust settled after a decade of war and Nicaragua faced the daunting challenge of rebuilding, surfers sought out the world’s best waves.  By chance they stumbled upon the remote beaches of Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, discovering a previously unknown surfing paradise.  The daredevils of travel, surfers withstand anything for the thrill of a good wave.

Learn how their tenacity and networking created new value and industry for Nicaragua’s sleepy coasts – paving the way for tourism development and eco-communities.

In 2021, at the height of the pandemic, Tamara Stenn purchased a small surf house in Nicaragua.  She has been studying and experiencing the remarkable development of the region ever since. Share in her firsthand stories of Nicaraguan fishermen, restauranters, caretakers, and surfers, and the expats amongst them who have changed the face of Nicaragua’s remote costs. 

After the presentation, join us in an interactive panel discussion with Dr. Jason Old and Dr. Lindsay Usher, surfers and academics, who have been surfing and studying Nicaragua development as well.


The Czech Republic, The European Union and the Rise of Populism-Dr. Martin Nekola

The current political situation in the Czech Republic, a small country in the very heart of Europe, historically considered the crossroads between the West and the East, is the reflection of the latest developments in the entire European Union, currently facing a serious crisis, caused by Brexit, a refugee crisis and the rise of populist tendencies. The lecture will address all these issues, with the further focus on the Czech Republic and other countries of Central Europe.

Join us on April 4 for a presentation by Dr. Martin Nekola.

Dr. Martin Nekola, Ph.D., received his doctorate in political science at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. His research is focused on non-democratic regimes, the era of Communism, Czech communities abroad, and the East-European anti-communist exiles in the USA during the Cold War. From time to time he participates in the election observation missions organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He is a member of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), he is the author of more than three hundred articles and has published twenty books. He is also the Czechoslovak Talks Project ( coordinator.



Ralph Bunche: The Absolutely Indispensable Man by Kal Raustalia

About the Event: 

 Join us for a Zoom lecture/conversation on February 23 @ 7 pm with author Kal Raustalia whose book, The Absolutely Indispensable Man, explores the life of Ralph Bunche, the first black Nobel Laureate and a man who reshaped postwar diplomacy. To many in midcentury America Bunche personified both the promise and perils of the United Nations during the Cold War. Civil rights and colonialism are rarely twinned in our understanding of 20th century politics, but for Bunche they were of a piece–manifestations of white supremacy that required dismantling to achieve a just world. Decolonization was a throughline in Bunche’s career, which spanned Harvard, Howard, the State Department, and ultimately the UN, and also the impetus for several key innovations, including UN peacekeeping and mediation. Although Bunche was once so famous he handed out the Best Picture award at the 1951 Oscars, today his name is seldom mentioned in American history books, the media, the academic community or the African-American community — even in the corridors of the UN. But the legacy of his work lives on in the UN and wherever people fight for equality, justice and human dignity.

About the Speaker:

 Kal Raustiala is the Promise Institute Distinguished Professor of Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School, Professor at the UCLA International Institute, and Director of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations. From 2012-2015 he served as UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for International Studies and Faculty Director of the International Education Office.

Additional sources on Ralph Bunche:

1950 – Ralph Bunche, United Nations mediator in Palestine during the 1948 conflict between the Arabs and Jews  from United Nations website

Ralph Bunche Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech transcript

Ralph Bunche: Hero for Justice  video

The Legacy of Ralph Bunche: In His Own Words video

The Nobel Peace Prize 1950 article 


Vermont Reads 2022 Kickoff Discussion

Vt Humanities LogoJoin three editors of “The Most Costly Journey” for a discussion about migration, farming, cartooning, and more.

Panelists include Julia Doucet from the Open Door Clinic, Andy Kolovos from the Vermont Folklife Center, and cartoonist Marek Bennett. All were deeply involved in the development of the anthology of migrant farm worker comics that became our Vermont Reads 2022 choice.

This in-person presentation will live streamed and recorded so those who can’t attend may view the discussion.

An exhibit at 118 Elliot will share images and stories from migrant workers’ journeys here and of their lives on Vermont farms, brought together from four distinct bodies of work: The Golden Cage Project (2007), Invisible Odysseys (2010), El Viaje Más Caro (2015), and a selection of paintings and sculptures by the migrant artist El Emigrante.

Learn more about Vermont Reads 2022: The Most Costly Journey.

Register for this event here.

This event is co-sponsored by the Windham World Affairs Council, with the support of the Vermont Folklife Center and the Open Door Clinic.

Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams Outdoors at Brattleboro Union High School, May 17 – 10:30 AM

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams addressed Brattleboro Union High School students and interested public outdoors to kick-off a new WWAC-led partnership on youth programming with PeaceJam and Billion Acts of Peace at BUHS.

Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work on a global treaty to eliminate landmines worldwide. She grew up in Brattleboro and attended the Green Street School where she says standing up to a bully helped shape the rest of her life. She graduated from the University of Vermont, the School for International Training and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. She is a powerful speaker who can inspire BUHS students toward becoming active creators of the kind of world they want to see.

Working with students and the WWAC, Williams is planning to launch a PeaceJam ‘Ambassadors Program’ at BUHS this Fall to connect students to issues of peace, social justice, and nonviolence through the study of the life and work of Nobel Peace Laureates from across the globe. The program introduces studen ts to the personal, social, and institutional contexts that shape today’s world, builds core competencies in altruism and compassion, respect and inclusion, as well as global citizenship and civic engagement.

Listen to a Brattleboro Words Trail Segment on Jody Williams:

The Brattleboro Reformer covered the PeaceJam event with Jody Williams.

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