Previous WWAC Events

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in Person
Members & Friends Salon, with wine, cheese and chocolates
WWAC members were invited to gather with WWAC board members and friends for wine and cheese and non-structured networking and sharing about our work and interests in global affairs

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, via Zoom
Lithuania and Ukraine: Regional Security Challenges Today
Deputy Chief Of Mission at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington Dovydas Špokauskas explored the layers of history regarding tensions in the Baltic Region and how they reflect on the current situation with Russia. Honorary Consul to Lithuania to Vermont and Brattleboro resident Kerry Secrest, moderated the discussion.

Friday, March 25, via ZOOM,
Panel Discussion entitled “Marking Seven Years of War on Yemen.’
WWAC in partnership with Action Corps brought Vermont peace activists, Yemeni Americans, and local leaders together for a discussion about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the war that has caused it, and what Vermonters and everyday people around the world are doing to stop the US-backed bombing and blockade of the country.

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, 118 Elliot
Journey to the Safest Place on Earth
Film Screening & Community Discussion

Film documents the huge quantity of radioactive waste and spent fuel rods being stored at various locations on the planet. Following the film, participants in WWAC’s nuclear study group shared details on the Biden Administration’s plans for new and continued nuclear energy production and a new generation of nuclear weapons deployment and held a discussion on how these plans impact our community and world. 

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, Lilac Ridge Farm
Members only! WWAC 60th anniversary party
We celebrated our 60th anniversary with new and returning members and invited guests .There were music, refreshments, and special guests. From the lineup of past speakers Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jody Williams and Ambassador Peter Galbraith participated.

Aug. 5, 2021 “Taking Root” Film Screening –
The award-winning film celebrates the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. This film by local filmmakers Lisa Merton and Alan Dater was shown in Brattleboro for the first time in over 10 years and marks a decade since the death of Maathai.

Thursday, July 8, 2021 Brattleboro premiere of Sisters Rising
Sisters Rising is an award-winning film by Brattleboro-area filmmakers Willow O’Feral and Brad Hek. Screening was followed by Q&A with the filmmakers. It is is a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal & tribal sovereignty.

Sunday, March 21, 2021, Zoom webinar 
“Ten Years and Counting: Our Fukushima Journey”: A Conversation with Chiho Kaneko and Norma Field

March 11, 2021 marks 10 years since an earthquake and tsunami touched off three nuclear meltdowns and multiple hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Chiho Kaneko and Norma Field, two women with close ties to the Fukushima region, met in this conversation moderated by WWAC board member Lissa Weinmann, a citizen appointee to the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. Kaneko and Field shared their perspectives on the accident’s ongoing environmental, social and economic impacts.

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, Zoom Webinar
“A New Pattern for Democracy”: Lessons from South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winner Albert Luthuli
Rev. Dr. Scott Couper, minister and teacher of Centre Congregational Church and member of the WWAC Board

Scott’s lecture covered Albert Luthuli’s biography, emphasizing the United States and American Congregationalism’s influence on his theology and politics. Luthuli’s biography will be used as a springboard to comment on fundamental ingredients of effective and moral governance: democracy, education, and human rights. The lecture will offer a warning against blind political allegiance to either a political party or to a cult of personality. Instead, a primary accountability to values and principles ought to supersede obeisance to partisan politics and individual fealty.

Sunday, January 17, 2021, Zoom, Webinar
“The Intersectionality of Gender-Based Violence”
This was an online Zoom panel discussion by five panelists – Willow O’Feral (Haptic Pictures), Aida Oualate (Justice and Dignity for the Women of Sahel), Patricia Pedroza González (Keene State College), Mei-Ling Ellerman (Brandeis University), and an advocate of the Women’s Freedom Center. They dialogued about the intersectionality of gender-based violence (GBV) and answered these key questions:
How do patterns of social injustice, marginalization, discrimination and cultural bias shape GBV?
How have these dynamics shifted in the context of the pandemic?

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, Zoom Webinar
“Code Name Madeleine: A conversation on courage and compassion” Arthur Magida, Marlboro Alumni, award-winning journalist
Arthur Magida is the author of “Code Name Madeleine,” the Pulitzer Prize-nominated new biography of Noor Anayat Khan, who served as a secret agent for the British in France during World War Two, organized cells, invigorated the Resistance, and sent messages to London indispensable for D-Day, all while constantly on the run from the Gestapo. He will discuss how we can harness Noor’s strengths and unique qualities for the greater good today.

Sunday, Nov 15, 2020,  Zoom Webinar
“Harvesting Bolivia’s Royal Quinoa”
Dr. Tamara Stenn, Fulbright scholar, development economist, and author

Dr. Stenn shared her work studying the culture and markets that support ancient varieties of Royal Quinoa, hand planted by indigenous Bolivian producers for thousands of years. She shared her experience of arriving in Bolivia at the brink of the quinoa crash, and her observations on the faith and communal values that helped the industry survive. Juxtaposing the ideas of Bien Vivir, the Andean way of living well, and the capitalist model of living better, she examined the worldview and tenacity of ancient people in the midst of a competitive capitalist world.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, Zoom Webinar
Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith
US National Security and the Election: What is at Stake?”
In his annual lecture for the WWAC, Ambassador Galbraith discussed how the choices U.S. voters make will affect US national security interests with regard to the pandemic, climate change, NATO, Europe, the Near East, Iran, China, Russia, and the endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and against terrorism.

Sunday, September 27, 2020, Zoom Webinar
Discussion with Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams
“Stepping Up and Taking Action on Killer Robots and the New Nuclear Arms Race.”

Williams, who grew up in Brattleboro, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for founding and leading the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, an unprecedented cooperative effort that brought governments, United Nations bodies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and more than 1000 NGOs in 90 countries together to pass the Ottawa (Mine Ban)Treaty. A staunch defender of human rights globally, Williams studies modern warfare to promote new understanding about security today. She recently penned a chapter on “Nukes, Land Mines, and Killer Robots” in A World Free From Nuclear Weapons, a book released this summer to commemorate 75 years since the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan and boost Pope Francis’ global efforts to ban nuclear arms as part of a new framework for international peace. Williams helped establish the Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2006 to use the visibility and prestige of the Nobel prize to spotlight, amplify and promote the work of grassroots women’s organizations and movements around the world

The Covid Era shadow forced the Windham World Affairs Council to cancel monthly events in Spring 2020. WWAC returned in September 2020 with fresh Board members committed to create participatory Zoom talks.

Friday, February 21, 2020 @ 118 Elliot
Ambassador Adrian Basora and Dr. Andrew Wilking debate the topic

Can Democracy Be Saved? (and Why Bother?)
The program started with a debate between Dr.Wilking and Ambassador Basora, which was followed by questions and dialogue.

Friday, January 24, 2020
Degrowth: How our blessings have become a curse”
A Talk by Dr. Julie L. Snorek, Research Associate, Environmental Studies Department, Dartmouth College
Dr. Snorek traced the vast ecological shifts, human and environmental disasters, and unequal social, ecological and economic conditions to an economic model based upon uninhibited growth. In response to the resulting anthropogenic climate change, Dr. Snorek proposed new patterns of development, a future of regeneration, sustainability, justice, and degrowth.

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

Friday, Nov. 22, 2019
“Movement of People – Trafficking and Migrating in Southeast Asia Today”
A Talk by Braema Mathi, Global Fellow, Keene State College’s Holocaust and Genocide Program and Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation
The presentation was an overview of how people in Southeast Asia are moving from one country to another or within their own country, a discussion of the factors and causes of these trends, and an examination of measures that ought to be available so that those who move and are forced into work in deplorable situations are protected.

Friday, Nov. 8, 2019
“The Betrayal of the Kurds”
A Talk by Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith
Ambassador Galbraith gave a firsthand report from Northeast Syria including an analysis of the consequences of President Trump’s “green light” for the Turkish invasion, the Rojava revolution, Russia’s triumph and the loss of American dominance in the Middle East and what it means for ISIS. He will also cover his efforts to get children out of the ISIS camps in NE Syria.

Friday, October 25, 2019:
“Beheading in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility”
A Talk by WWAC Board Member Clare Morgana Gillis, PhD
Dr.Gillis, examined Isis propaganda and its afterlife in news and in the popular imagination, and considered the effect of those images on human rights issues surrounding thousands of captured Isis foreign fighters held in Kurdish jails in eastern Syria. Aa the USA abandoned its Kurdish allies, a Turkish military operation inside Syria raised the possibility of mass prison breaks and a resurgence of Isis. The continued unwillingness of the international community to address the situation of those fighters ensured that the problem will continue.

Friday, Oct. 11, 2019
An Economy Under Siege: Building Socialism in Cuba Today”
Dr. Jourdy James Heredia, Subdirector and Lead
Researcher of the Global Economy Research Center in Havana, Cuba
As part of her national tour, Dr. Heredia, sponsored by Witness for Peace and The Christopher Reynolds Foundation, spoke about the current economic situation in Cuba;  historical and contemporary impacts of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States on Cuba; advances Cuba has made in food security, understood in a comparative and contextualized lens; and ongoing challenges in the construction of Cuban socialism given perennially hostile external circumstances.

Friday, Sept. 6, 2019
The Cultural Links Between Judaism and China
A Talk by Tiberiu Weisz, Independent Scholar
The speaker proved that Jews were present in China since antiquity by his translation of two 2 “stella” or tablets found in Kaifang. He concluded that the purpose of these tablets was to document the long history and religious beliefs of the Chinese Jewish community, and that their language use in their era showed them to be both well-educated and acculturated in Chinese and familiar with the Biblical customs of Judaism.

Thursday, July 25, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Screening of the Israeli creative documentary “Within the Eye of the Storm”
The film was followed by small group discussions with members of the community and the Israeli, Palestinian and American youth leaders from this year’s Jerusalem Peacebuilders Vermont Leadership Institute.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
“Youth Demand Action on Climate Change”
A panel of youth activists presented their ideas, facilitated by Dr. Julie Snorek, Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College and Lissa Weinmann, WWAC
Dr. Snorek reported on the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland that she had attended in December. Then we heard from the young people and were inspired by their activism and ideas. Finally members of the community worked together with them in small groups on recommendations and plans to support them in their activities.

Friday, May 24, 2019
“Kyrgyzstan: Heart of Central Asia”
A talk by NYU faculty member Christopher Edling
In this talk, Edling talked about his time as a Fulbright researcher in Kyrgyzstan, a small post-Soviet republic at complex crossroads of tradition and modernity, including his study of bride kidnapping in the region.

Friday, May 10, 2019
 “The Uyghurs of Xinjiang: Perfecting the Surveillance State in China’s Muslim Borderland,“
A talk by Professor Eric Schluessel, University of Montana
Dr. Schluessel illustrated how, since 2017, China has built a police state of unprecedented sophistication in Xinjiang, a vast region home to the Uyghur people, and how an estimated 1 million people have been disappeared, incarcerated, and forced into reeducation camps, while millions more are watched closely for thoughts and actions that might threaten the Communist Party’s rule.

 Friday, April 12, 2019
“Scientizing Chinese Medicine”
A talk by Stefan Grace, Licensed Acupuncturist and Master of Science in Oriental Medicine

Grace briefly surveyed the development of Chinese medicine and showed how its contemporary global practice is bound up with a modern national project, the People’s Republic of China, which has  institutionalized the diverse body of knowledge and practice of traditional Chinese medicine into a canonical form which is now exported, taught, and practiced around the world.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
“Ethics for a Connected World, part of the WWAC/Marlboro ”Engaging the World Series”
Joel Rosenthal, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
Dr. Rosenthal showed how we are all connected in the natural world, the cyber world and the political world and need to find ways to behave ethically toward one another.

Friday, March 15. 2019
“Were the House Still Standing”
Robert Katz, Professor of Art, U. of Maine, Augusta
Professor Katz began the program with a compelling talk about family remembrance and the Holocaust. He then presented his innovative project, Were The House Still Standing:  Maine Survivors and Liberators Remember the Holocaust,” which is on permanent display at the Michael Klahr Center, the permanent home of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in Augusta, Maine.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019
“Transparency and Corruption”
Kirk Talbott, Expert Advisor, The World Bank, part of the WWAC/Marlboro ”Engaging the World Series”
Kirk Talbott focused on promoting transparency as a way to resolve environmental conflicts. He highlighted his experience in counteracting  environmental degradation in Indonesia.

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019
 “Understanding Religion(s) in International Affairs: One Foundation’s Experience.”
Michael Gilligan, President of Henry Luce Foundation, part of the WWAC/Marlboro ”Engaging the World Series”
Dr. Gilligan explained the activities of the Henry Luce Foundation in promoting understanding of different religions.. He highlighted U.S. errors in foreign policy due to a lack of such understanding.

Friday, January 18. 2019
“An Interfaith Dialogue on Resistance”
This was a panel discussion based on the format of a Florida podcast called The Three Wise GuysFriends Talking Faith. A founder of the podcast, Rev. Bryan Fulwider, was our guest representing a Christian point of view.  Professor Amer Latif  of Marlboro College represented an Islamic perspective and Dr. Jim Levinson, former spiritual leader of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Center, represented a Jewish perspective. Rev. Scott Couper of Centre Congregational Church acted as moderator. With Martin Luther King Day as inspiration, “Resistance,” was chosen as the theme for the dialogue.

Saturday, December 9, 2018
WWAC joined with Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust to present

“Liberty in a Soup”
In this film we learned about the revolution that won independence for Haiti in 1804,  and then enjoyed a meal of “Soup Joumou,” the soup that Haitians prepare every year when they celebrate their independence on New Year’s Day. All proceeds from donations were utilized to support HOST’s mission to meet basic needs for food, education, medical care, and other essentials for the children living at Foyer Evangelique Orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.

Friday, November 30, 2018
“The US versus Iran: Will a proxy fight in Syria, Iraq and Yemen lead to War? “
Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith
Ambassador Galbraith analyzed the situation in each of the three countries and found the American positions there confused and not entirely incompatible with those of Iran. Is there a risk of war with Iran  just because some in the Trump Administration want war? Or is there a risk of war due to the unintended consequence of muddled policy, broken agreements, harsh rhetoric and diplomatic isolation?

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018
“Honoring the Victims of the Pinochet Years at Chile’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights”

Patricia Perez Valdes, KSC-AIPR Global Fellow, Keene State College
Patricia addressed this topic drawing from her years of experience in the Education and Audience Department of the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, located in Santiago, Chile. Her talk focused on the legacy of Chile’s military dictatorship from 1973-1990, the importance of memorialization in the construction of memory as a society, and the challenges faced by the museum since it was inaugurated in January of 2010.

Friday, September 14, 2018
“The Importance of Feminist Knowledge in Political Change: The Case of ‘Velvet Revolution’ in Armenia”
Nelli Sargsyan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Marboro College
In this talk Professor Sargsyan discussed the practices that women in Armenia have used in the past decade as they raised issues of social injustice. She described the key role they played in the mass movement of the 2018 “revolution of love and solidarity” through their creative approaches as a way of imagining a better future for Armenia, the larger South Caucasus region and beyond.

Friday, August 24, 2018
Two Speakers: Wendy Wallas spoke about community media in El Salvador and Radio Victoria´s role in the struggle against transnational gold mining companies.  Jaime Armando Sánchez spoke about the challenges Salvadoran youth face getting access to university careers and how education can be a dynamic driver for development.

Friday, May 11, 2018
“Revisiting the Nuclear Agreement between Iran and the US, the JCPOA”
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, former nuclear negotiator for Iran and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University
Dr. Mousavian’s talk was scheduled for the eve of a decision by President Trump on whether or not to confirm that Iran was in compliance with the JCPOA. When Mr. Trump announced, ahead of schedule, that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement, Dr. Mousavian had to discard the PowerPoint slide show that he had prepared about the U.S. options. Instead of examining possibilities, Dr. Mousavian presented a history of Iran-U.S. relations, focusing of the lack of trust on both sides and the repercussions of the U.S. decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, the only conflict with a Middle Eastern nation which had been partially resolved through diplomacy. You can learn more about the Iran Nuclear Deal and this talk here. You can learn more about Seyed Hossein Mousavian here and by visiting his web site:

Saturday, April 7, 2018 
WWAC joined with HOST, Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust to present “An Introduction to Haiti Today”
Introductions to the local members of HOST were followed by a talk by Rose Albert called “Haiti Before and After the Earthquake”  a Haitian dinner (by donation) and a screening of a Haitian film, “Serenade for Haiti.”

Friday, March 9, 2018
WWAC Continued the Series: Understanding Iran Through Film
Screening of “The Hidden Half,” directed by Tahmineh Milani
Presented by Professor Eric Hooglund, Q & A followed
“The Hidden Half,” was the first Iranian movie to depict the 1978-79 Revolution from the viewpoint of the secular groups that “lost” the Revolution.  Tahmineh Milani is Iran’s leading professional woman film director

Friday, February 16, 2018
Edward Cameron,  specialist in public policy, climate change, and European Union affairs; one of the architects of the Paris climate accord.
“Brexit and the European Union
Dr. Cameron analyzed the causes of the BREXIT vote, assessed the current negotiations, and explored the potential consequences for both the UK and EU.

Friday, December 8, 2017
WWAC Continued the Series: “Understanding Iran Through Film” with a screening of “The Color of Paradise,” directed by Majid Majidi.
The film explored the world of a gifted blind boy at the mercy of his father’s crippling sense of shame.  It was presented by Michael Pittman, Ph.D. with Q & A to follow. Dr. Pittman has taught and written about Iranian films, especially the work of director Majid Majidi.

Friday, November 17, 2017
Jim Freedman, a global leadership consultant, with extensive business experience in Korea, China, and the Philippines.
“One Belt, One Road:   Why Is China Rebuilding The Silk Road and Reclaiming the ‘Mandate of Heaven’?”
Jim discussed the One Belt, One Road’s impact on international trade and geo-political affairs if the current US administration continues on its “Fortress America” insular political strategy.

Saturday, November 4, 2017 
The Uncondemned, “ presented as part of the Brattleboro Film Festival, WWAC co-sponsored this Screening & Discussion
The Uncondemned is a riveting documentary about an underdog group of lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime. The post-screening discussion was led  by Director Michelle Mitchell and Honorable Patricia Whalen (War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2007 – 2012) .

Friday, October 20, 2017
Peter Woodard Galbraith, American author, academic, commentator, politician, policy advisor, former United States diplomat, and State Senator for Windham County.

“The Axis of Evil Revisited: North Korea, Iran, Iraq (and Syria) Fifteen Years Later”
In his annual WWAC talk, Ambassador Galbraith brought us up to date on the consequences, many of them unintended,  of the 2002 designation President George W. Bush gave to North Korea, Iran and Iraq, and the additional effects they have had on Syria. His insights revealed many misjudgments and missed  opportunities in dealing with these countries.  He also gave us an insider’s view on the tragic history of the Kurds in Iraq.

Friday, October 6, 2017 
Mr. Lloyd Dakin, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Ret.)
“The Current State of Refugees and Forced Displacement in the World”
In his talk Mr. Dakin focused on the current state of refugees and forced displacement in the world. From his extensive experience, he has learned that not all refugee situations are the same, but ultimately their resolutions are very similar. Refugees either return home, stay in the country they fled to, or seek resettlement in another country. He gave us his perspective on on how these processes are progressing globally and locally at this moment in time.

Friday, Sept. 13, 2017
Ida Meftahi, Assistant Professor,  Contemporary Iranian Culture and Societ, Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland.
“Understanding Iran through Film”
Our new series “Understanding Iran through Film,” began with this talk and an Iranian dinner by donation and RSVP. Our speaker, Professor Ida Meftahi presented on a few key genres and showed some clips as an introduction to Iranian film.

July 27, 2017
WWAC, Jerusalem Peacebuilders, and 118 Elliot
jointly sponsored a screening of “Disturbing the Peace,” a documentary by Stephen Apkon, who introduced the film.
Following the screening, a dynamic group of Israeli, Palestinian and American youth leaders participating in Brattleboro’s Jerusalem Peacebuilders Interfaith Leadership Institute led small group discussions with the audience, including a large group of Iraqi teenagers in town for a program at the School of International Training (SIT).

Friday, June 23, 2017
Amer Latif, Professor of Religion, Marlboro College
“An Islamic Christmas Tree? What Developments in Cognitive Science
Teach Us About Making Peace”
This talk outlined a way of using reason and imagination in forging a rigorous method for making peace at a deep level between apparent religious contradictions, a way of finding harmony and unity that accommodates difference and multiplicity. The talk also discussed how this method for finding common ground appears from the perspective of contemporary cognitive science about the nature of human understanding.

Friday, May 12, 2017
Photojournalist Randy H. Goodman
“Reflections on Iran: The Hostage Crisis to the Nuclear Agreement – – through a photojournalists lens”
Photojournalist Randy H. Goodman captured life in the Islamic Republic of Iran during  the hostage crisis and the Iran-Iraq war.  She recently returned to Iran after thirty-three years to photograph at yet another pivotal time in US-Iran relations: the signing of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  Her portraits and street scenes, from both periods, presented a unique perspective on that country’s past and future, which she shared in her talk and slide show presentation.

From February to April 2017 WWAC and Marlboro College jointly sponsored a series of 6 lectures.
Full descriptions can be found on the Marlboro/WWAC Lecture Series page.

January 3-10
Javed Chaudhri, Board member of the Windham World Affairs Council
3-Part Lecture Series Entitled “Islam and Muslims”
Brown Bag Lunches held in Brattleboro’s  River Garden. The topics were:
The Last Prophet  The faith of Islam, its theology and tenets, its relationship to Judaism and Christianity, and its attitudes towards Muhammad, the prophets of Israel, and Jesus.
The Rise of A New World Order  How a spiritual and social movement morphed into a culture and civilization as it spread across the globe, its evolution both in politics and society.
The Fall and The Renaissance  The rise and fall and the resurgence of Muslim societies in the modern age, how Muslims responded to Western colonialism, imperialism and the Cold War, and the ongoing struggle to reframe the rationales for sustaining traditional values in the Post-Cold War world and Post- Industrial 21st Century.

Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
Rai d’Honoré. Ph.D.
“Occitania: The Forgotten Brilliance”
Our speaker was a contemporary troubadour, who not only discussed Occitania’s origins; the influences that shaped it, and the reason for its importance today, but also took us back in time by performing some of its songs!
Occitania (today southern France) had a radically different culture from the rest of twelfth-century Europe and in some ways was more advanced than many contemporary societies. Powerful lords built impregnable castles, yet townspeople governed themselves, and those of lowly birth rose up to fame and fortune. At its foundation was the concept of paratge — a code of ethics that was practiced as well as preached — combined with the troubadour’s theory of Fin’Amor.  So brilliant and sophisticated was this society that the Renaissance might well have begun here had it not been for a dreadful event.

Friday, Oct.13, 2016
Professor James Galbraith
“Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know”
What does “economic inequality” mean? How is it measured? Why should we care? Why did inequality rise in the United States and around the world? What should we do about it? In his latest book, Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know, Professor Galbraith takes up these questions and more in plain and clear language, bringing to life one of the great economic and political debates of our age. He has compiled the latest economic research on inequality and explains his findings in a way that everyone can understand. His talk was based on this research

From September to December 2016, we held a 4-part series entitled “Understanding Cuba Through Film. Details of this series can be view on our 4-Part Cuban Film Series page.

Friday, June 10, 2016
Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith
“The New Map of the Middle East:The Disastrous Centennial of the Disastrous Sykes-Picot Agreement”
In May of 1916 representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reached an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, dividing the Arab lands that had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. One hundred years later, looking at the area divided by this agreement,  Ambassador Galbraith reviewed their current conflicts, focusing on Iraq and Syria and on the Kurdish minorities in these countries.
Read an examination of this historic agreement on its centenary anniversary
Read a proposal for a return to the nation state with shared ethnicity, language, and religion
Compare maps from 1916 and 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016
Dr. John Hagen
“American Engagement with Niger:
A Case Study on Confronting Violent Extremism in Africa”
As the academic lead for a U.S. State Department initiative that is helping to develop professional military education for the army of Niger, John Hagen was in a good position to analyze the situation in that country. He showed us why Niger offers a valuable case study that the U.S. must consider when engaging with African countries to curb strategic threats on that continent due to the spread of violent extremism in Trans‐Saharan Africa.

Friday, April 15, 2016
Therese Seibert, Ph.D.
“Post-Genocide Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Rwanda”
Dr. Seibert has travelled many times to Rwanda in order to develop courses on Rwanda that she now teaches; she has returned to Rwanda frequently to work with Never Again Rwanda, which sponsors a two-week Peacebuilding Institute each summer for college students such as Keene State student Shannon Cavanaugh,  who joined Dr. Seibert in reviewing the state of peacebuilding and reconciliation in Rwanda.

Friday, March 25, 2016
Special screening of film, followed by Q&A with local Afghan residents
“FRAME BY FRAME” follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape – reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves.

Friday, March 18, 2016
Dr. David Adams
“The Culture of Peace”
Based on his experience as an scientific expert on aggression, and his experience working as a director in the United Nations (including responsibility for the United Nations International Year for the Culture of Peace), he proposed a two-pronged approach. He said that first we need to continue developing consciousness that a culture of peace is possible. And second, we need to begin developing an institutional framework for a culture of peace to replace today’s institutions mired in the culture of war. He publishes a monthly bulletin ( ) and blog ( ) on the Internet devoted to the culture of peace.

Friday, Feb. 19, 2016
Dr. Paul Morgan, Ph.D.
“The Paris Climate Agreement: Emissions Accomplished?”
Dr. Morgan reflected on the ‘Paris Agreement’ reached at the most recent UN climate change conference (COP21). After reviewing the history of climate change science and prior attempts at international agreements, he shared what he learned while attending COP21 as an official observer, and addressed whether and to what extent the agreement helps put the world on a path that avoids climate catastrophe.

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016
Thomas M. White
“The Power of Place: Encountering Auschwitz 70 Years After Liberation”
Thomas M. White is the Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. He based his talk upon his visit to Auschwitz I and II in November 2014 with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR). White explored how ordinary people committed extraordinary evil.  Weaving together archival images from a project by two Nazi photographers from the  lab/identification service project in Auschwitz with pictures from the 2014 trip, he explored the process of genocide and the “moral universe” the perpetrators created. He explored the deliberate structures created to serve the needs of the SS, architects and businessmen in exploiting and destroying human beings. He also explored the challenges of encountering such a place, making room for mourning, and refusing to normalize the feelings of outrage. Finally he asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Friday, Dec. 11, 2015
Hon. Patricia Whalen

“Proving Genocide”
Judge Whalen served on the War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo from 2007-2012. In her talk she examined the evidence used to establish and prove the genocide at Srebrenica. After giving a helpful background review of the events leading up to the events in Srebrenica, she focused on the investigation of the crime.
Pioneering Woman Judge in an International Court
Judge Patricia Whalen Teaching at Keene State

About the Court
For information about the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, this UN site is helpful
For additional help putting this topic in context, here is an explanation of the history of the Former Yugoslavia by the BBC
About Genocide
Genocide Against the Yazidis and Others in Iraq
Genocide: Worse Than War | Full-length documentary | PBS

Friday, Nov. 6, 2015
Ambassador Carlos Alzugaray
“Cuba and the United States: The Opportunities and Challenges of Normalization”
When presidents Obama and Castro decided in 2014 to re-establish diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after a half-century of estrangement, there were never any illusions that the path to normalization would be easy. Dr. Alzugaray, writer, professor, and consummate raconteur analyzed the opportunities and challenges of a normalization process complicated by very different values and social and economic models.
Read more about Ambassador Alzugaray

Friday, Oct. 23, 1015
Stephen F. Minkin

“The Tragedy and Destruction of the Bangladesh Floodplain”
Background Readings:
Read about Stephen Minkin’s Efforts to organize support for national plan for the eradication of rickets in Bangladesh
Here is an article in the NY Times on the environmental threat to Bangladesh

Friday, Sept. 18, 2015
Dr. Geoff Dolman, PhD
Topic: “Can wealthy countries help poor countries and improve regional peace?”
Dr. Dolman reflected on the experience he has gained in the various countries where he has worked, including Oman, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. In his opinion only permanently-established, long-term projects have a chance to foster the kind of prosperity that can improve regional peace. Short-term projects he was involved in, such as the cultivation of edible oil plants in Egypt, guaranteed rice marketing in Nigeria, and replacement of poppy crops in Afghanistan, had only limited success. More successful were a longer-term project to provide water for desert crops in Oman sponsored by an oil company and various initiatives in education and infrastructure organized by the highly respected NGO Mercy Corps.

Friday, Sept. 1, 2015
Professor James Galbraith
The 2nd in the “Hot off the Press” Series
“The Greek Drama: An Inside View”

Learn more about Professor Galbraith’s Views and Activities
Check out his page on The U. of Texas site for a list
Professor Galbraith heads the University of Texas Inequality Project, a research group consisting mainly of Ph.D. students working under his supervision.
Read about his theories on inequality
James K. Galbraith holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair of Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent book, The End of Normal, was published in September, 2014 by Free Press. His previous book, Inequality and Instability, was published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, and his next one, Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know, will also be published by Oxford.
Like to read more of Professor James Galbraith’s articles on the Greek crisis?
Check out his page on The U. of Texas site for a list
Professor Galbraith heads the University of Texas Inequality Project, a research group consisting mainly of Ph.D. students working under his supervision.
Read about his theories on inequality

Friday, July 24, 2015
Ambassador Peter Galbraith
The 1st in its new “Hot off the Press” Series
“The Iran Nuclear Agreement:
Why it is good for America and how it may change the Middle East”

Link to Article in The Commons About Event

June 19, 2015
Tom Redden, Professor of History and Politics at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vermont
on “A Buddhist View of US Foreign Policy.”

May 8, 2015
Two exchange students from Russia, Maria Kononova and Eduard Ovsejchuk, made presentations about their country

Feb 20, 2015
Dr. Renate Gebauer of Keene State College spoke on “Sustainability in Developing Countries: A Case Study from Nepal

January 14, 2015
Ambassador Donald Gregg spoke on “The Dangers of Demonization of North Korea”

Dec. 12, 2014
Ambassador Peter Galbraith spoke on “Syria, Iraq and the US strategy to combat ISIS”

November 14, 2014
Exchange students from Nigeria, Indonesia, and Pakistan made presentations about their countries.
In addition they prepared recipes from their own country’s cuisine

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