You are here

International Lecture Series

Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies

International Lecture Series

In addition to the Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Memorial Lecture, forums and conferences, the Institute provides a series of international lectures by local, national and international authorities on subjects of timely interest. The Alworth Institute draws not only upon the rich store of local academics with expertise in a variety of areas, but also visiting international faculty.

Fall 2019 Schedule

Tuesday, October 1 – 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. – Griggs Center – Restorative Justice & Peacemaking: Creating Glimmers of Hope in the Global Community – Presented by Dr. Mark Umbreit,  Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking,  School of Social Work, University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Refreshments will be served before the lecture - Restorative justice and peacebuilding provides opportunities to address conflict and harm in ways that the people harmed and the person who caused the harm are directly involved in the process of accountability and healing, often times through face-to-face dialogue. In the face of the current massive injustice, cruelty, racism, bigotry, intolerance that is so widespread in our country and the global community, this lecture will provide glimmers of hope based on Dr. Umbreit's work in nearly 30 countries, on every major continent, over the past three decades. He will be presenting brief cases of his work in Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, China (Taiwan and Hong Kong), South Africa, Turkey, and most recently, Brazil. (Co-sponsored by UMD College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Criminology)

Mark Umbreit

Photo of Mark Umbreit

Umbreit serves on the faculty of the Center for Spirituality & Healing in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses on "Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice," and "Forgiveness & Healing." He also serves as a Visiting Professor at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee teaching a course on "Peacemaking and Spirituality." In past years, he has also served as a Fellow of the International Centre for Healing and the Law, and a Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Practice in Society. He is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than forty years of experience as a mediator, peacemaker, trainer, teacher, researcher, and author of 11 books and more than 200 other publications in the fields of restorative justice, mediation, spirituality, forgiveness, and peacemaking. He has conducted training seminars and lectures throughout the world, in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Mideast, and North and South America.  As a practitioner, he facilitates peace-building circles in the community, and restorative dialogues between family survivors of homicide and the offender in their quest for healing and strength. Over recent years he has worked with colleagues in Northern Ireland, Italy, Liberia, and Israel/Palestine on peace building initiatives. HIs multi-site and multi-national research has contributed significantly to restorative justice policy development in the U.S. and other countries, as well as providing resource materials and guidance to practitioners. Umbreit recently worked as a Senior International Consultant with the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Justice in Turkey to support their legislative efforts to implement victim offender mediation throughout the country. At the National Restorative Justice Conference in June of 2013, he was elected the founding President of the new National Association for Community and Restorative Justice in the U.S. and was re-elected to a second term.   

Tuesday, October 15 - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 80 - The Difficult Road to Peace in the Middle East and Afghanistan: Challenges Ahead  - Presented by Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen, former Consul-General, Minneapolis, and former Norwegian Ambassador to Syria - Ambassador Hansen has years of experience in the Middle East from his time with Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansenthe Foreign Ministry of Norway.  He will examine the foreign policy issues facing the international community in the Middle East, from the struggle over reaching a peace agreement between the Taliban and the US to ending the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.  The challenges also include the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the question of terrorist group strength, proxy wars in the region and tensions with Iran.   

Ambassador Hansen started working for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1975. From 1993 to 1994 he was a sub-director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then spent three years as an adviser. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Consul-General in Hong Kong. After being head of department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2005, he served as Consul-General in Minneapolis from 2005 to 2008 and the Norwegian ambassador to Syria from 2008.


Monday, October 28 – 7:00 p.m. - Life Science 185 – Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World  - Presented by Todd Miller, Independent Journalist and Author (Miller’s most recent book, titled the same as this lecture, will be sold at the event - $29.95.) - The twenty-first century has witnessed the rapid hardening of international borders. Security, surveillance, and militarization are widening the chasm between those who travel where they please and those whose movements are restricted. Miller argues that  that is only part of the story and the nature of US borders has changed. These boundaries have effectively expanded thousands of miles outside of US territory to encircle not simply American land but Washington’s interests, enforcing the division between the Global North and South.  The highly publicized focus on a wall between the United States and Mexico misses the bigger picture of strengthening border enforcement around the world.  By examining Syria, Guatemala, Kenya, Palestine, Mexico, the Philippines, and elsewhere, Miller finds that borders aren’t making the world safe—they are the frontline in a global war against the poor. (Co-sponsored by the UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion)

Todd Miller

Miller has researched and written about border issues for more than 15 years, the last eight as an independent journalist and writer. He resides in Tucson, Arizona, but also has spent many years living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TomDispatch, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English, among other places. He has authored three books:  Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World  (Verso, 2019),  Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017), and Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights, 2014). He’s a contributing editor on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its column “Border Wars”.                                                                                                                                

Thursday, November 7 – 7:00 p.m. – Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda  – Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson: "An Enigma Wrapped in a Whoopee Cushion "– Presented by Dr. William Henderson, Alworth Institute International Associate and former Director of the Alworth Institute - Henderson has spoken several times at UMD about the evolving Brexit situation in the UK.  In this talk, he will focus on Boris Johnson. Who exactly is Boris Johnson? How is he best summed up as a political personality? Bumbling Boris, Biking Boris or Boris the ‘Brexit Beast’? Does he even have any defined and consistent political beliefs? Or are all these different, and carefully contrived, manifestations simply a convenient set of disguises for a ruthless personality driven solely by the desire to secure, and now attempt to keep, by a risky high-wire act, the post of Prime Minister?  The timing of the talk means that, whilst maintaining a narrative format, it will, per force, adjust to or even be radically altered by a very fluid political environment. Question time is likely to be very lively given the desire of some to draw parallels with Donald Trump.

William Henderson Henderson served as the Director of the UMD Alworth Institute from February 2006 through December 2009.  Before his time at UMD  More recently he was Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning in the University of Birmingham, UK. He has published work on the political and economic development of Botswana, sub-Saharan Africa's economic success story.  He also worked on the language of economics discourse (a topic that grew out of his experience of teaching economics in the medium of English to students in Africa) and on the intellectual history of economics and of economic development. He has published works on pioneering 19th century women economics educators; on John Ruskin, David Hume, Adam Smith and on the history of development economics.  He holds a D. Phil in African Studies from the University of Sussex (UK) and has spent time living and working in Botswana, Ghana and Zimbabwe. He currently divides his time between Britain, Italy and Poland.