Culture in Global Affairs

CIGA Seminar Series

2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010 | 2008-2009 | 2007-2008 | 2006-2007

Fall 2011 – Spring 2012

Jemilah MahmoodThe Future of Humanitarianism: A View from the South

May 3, 2012

Jemilah Mahmood, Founder, MERCY Malaysia

In 1999 Dr. Mahmood founded the humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), held the position of President for a decade, and led Mercy Malaysia's growth from rather humble beginnings to become one of the world's leading aid agencies. In August 2009 she became Chief of Humanitarian Response at the United Nations Population Fund.

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Humanitarian Governance Program

Eben KirkseyFreedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power

April 12, 2012

Eben Kirksey, Mellon Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center

Eben Kirksey first went to West Papua in 1998 as an exchange student. During his later study of West Papua's resistance to Indonesian occupiers and the forces of globalization, he discovered that collaboration, rather than resistance, was the primary strategy of this dynamic social movement. The revolutionaries have a knack for getting inside institutions of power and building coalitions with unlikely allies, including many Indonesians.

Dr. S. GregoryKudumbashrees in Kerala, India: Women-Oriented Community Development

April 9, 2012

Dr. S. Gregory, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Anthropology, Kannur University, Kerala, Indian & Fulbright Scholar, University of Chicago

In the late 1990s, India's Kerala state embarked on a democratic decentralization process. One of the major development initiatives established Kudambashrees, women's neighborhood groups, to take up micro initiatives that would lead to empowering poor women and improving their livelihoods. The talk examined how the Kudumbashrees in Kerala have emerged as a bottom-up attempt to tilting contemporary gender inequalities.

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Global Gender Forum

Burma PanelBurma After the By-Elections: Taking Gender and Human Security Into Account

April 3, 2012

Democratic parties' participation in the April 1 by-elections in Burma reflect a partial political opening and the expectation that some of the country's pressing challenges can be addressed. This panel will highlight human security issues, taking into account the ways in which men and women may be differently affected, and will consider how the US government and US organizations might be able to play a supportive role. Read blog post.

Christina Fink, Professor of Practice, the Elliott School of International Affairs, GW
Tom Malinowski, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
Mark Taylor, Senior Coordinator, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, State Department
Wenchi Yu, Senior Advisor, the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues, State Department

Moderated by: Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Global Gender Program and Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Peter Van BurenLessons for Afghanistan (and Elsewhere) from the Reconstruction of Iraq

April 2, 2012

Peter Van Buren, Foreign Service Office, U.S. Department of State; Author, We Meant Well: How I helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraq People

Peter Van Buren, State Department Foreign Service Officer, will speak about lessons for foreign assistance in war-torn countries from his experience in U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Using examples from his work with two Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq from 2009 to 2010, he will discuss principles of "armed humanitarianism" as practiced by the United States. His presentation will raise the question for discussion of whether such foreign aid efforts can ever succeed. Van Buren is the author of the new book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

Moderated by: Inder Sud, Director, Master of Arts Program in International Affairs; John O. Rankin Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, GW

This event was co-sponsored by GW's International Affairs MA Program and International Development Studies MA Program

Fiona McConnellRehearsing the State: The Governance Practices of the Tibetan Government in Exile
March 2, 2012
Fiona McConnell, Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Fiona McConnell's research engages with political geography around issues of sovereignty, state practices and the (re)pluralising of political space, with a particular interest in how communities officially excluded from formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft. Her doctoral research focused on the sovereign practices of the exile Tibetan government based in India and she has ongoing interests around issues of legitimacy, diplomacy and geographies of peace.

Rob BailisArresting the Killer in the Kitchen: The Promises and Pitfalls of Commercializing Improved Cookstoves
November 3, 2011
Rob Bailis, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Professor Bailis reviewed the impacts associated with dependence on solid fuels as a source of residential energy throughout the developing world and discussed the current state of household energy interventions.

Yongdrol K. TsongkhaRewriting the Medieval History of Tibet: A Field Survey of the Great Tombs and Relics of the Tibetan Empire in the Western Kokonor Region
November 3, 2011
Yongdrol K. Tsongkha, Professor for Ethnic and Tibetan Studies, Lanzhou University; Research Associate, Indiana University

Since the 1983 discovery of plundered imperial tombs in Dulan in the western Kokonor Region of the Tibetan plateau, thousands of tombs dated to the period of the Tibetan Empire (7-9th centuries) have been discovered in the area. A great number of tomb relics such as gold, silver and silk artifacts and Tibetan inscriptions on stone tablets and wood slats are now circulating in public museums and private collections in Europe, North America, Japan and China as well as in antique markets in Hong Kong, Beijing, Lanzhou and elsewhere. Based on extensive field studies, Professor Tsongkha's lecture gave a survey of the tombs, relics from the tombs, and recent academic studies, all detailing the significance of these discoveries for understanding the medieval civilization of Tibet.

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