International Lecture Series

Alworth Institute

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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.

Spring 2018 Schedule

Thursday, February 1 – 7:00 p.m. - Bohannon Hall 90 - Iran: Images, Myths and Complicated Realities  – Presented by Jeremy Iggers, Publisher of the website,, the purpose of which is "to help to create a more vibrant and more inclusive Twin Cities, where residents have increased opportunities to engage across the boundaries of race, class and culture."  Iggers was a writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune where he won awards from won awards from the Overseas Press Club of America and the Columbia School of Journalism.  He was also the Executive Director for the Twin Cities Media Alliance, publishing the Twin Cities Daily Planet.  He currently serves as a term Assistant Professor for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as well as an adjunct instructor in Master of Liberal Studies Program.  In 2016, he traveled through Iran, one of the safest countries in the Middle East.  He will discuss his visits to historical sites and reveal what he learned about the "real" Iran. 

Wednesday, March 14 - 6:00 p.m. - Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - Europe 2018: A New Deal in the Works: Is there a Macron Effect? - Presented by Mr. Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General of France, Chicago (Co-sponsored by the UMD French Program, Department of World Languages and Literatures - Mr. Lacroix will discuss the economic and political future of Europe and the European Union given Brexit and conflict that has emerged in the area in the past few years. The stability and future of European integration has also been stymied by anti-EU elections in France, Germany and the US. French President Emmanuel Macron is a supporter of the EU and may be leading a turn-around in attitudes toward integration. Is there evidence further European of this Marcon effect and will it lead to a new era for the EU?  Guillaume Lacroix became Consul General of France in Chicago on August 29th, 2017. He holds diplomas from Institut d’études politiques de Paris and Université Panthéon-Assas. He speaks Swahili, a language he studied at Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales in Paris and in Zanzibar, Tanzania. He started his diplomatic career in 1997. He was assigned to the Department of African and Indian Ocean Affairs in Paris, then to the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and to the French Embassy in Washington. He was also posted in two other diplomatic institutions: at the U.S. State Department as part of the Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow program and at the European External Action Service in Brussels.From 2013 until 2017, he served in the cabinets of French Foreign Affairs Ministers Laurent Fabius and Jean-Marc Ayrault as Counsellor for African Affairs.

Thursday, March 15 - 7:00 p.m. - Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - CEDAW & Human Rights: Eliminating Discrimination Against Women Locally  and Globally - Presented by Dr. Ellen Kennedy, founder and Executive Director of World Without Genocide, a human rights organization headquartered at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.  Kennedy will discuss the substance and need for the ratification of this 1979 treaty in order to move toward the elimination of violence and discrimination against women around the world.  The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been ratified by 189 countries; all but six: Iran, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga and the United States, have not ratified the treaty.  Kennedy will introduce efforts in Minnesota to rally support for CEDAW. Since December 2015, three major cities and a professional law organization have passed resolutions supporting CEDAW.  Kennedy would like to see cities across Minnesota and the country do likewise.

Wednesday, March 21 – 7:00 p.m. – Solon Campus Center 120 –  US/Russian Relations and the Role of Cultural Diplomacy – Presented by Thomas Hanson, Alworth Institute Diplomat in Residence and retired Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department and Vladimir von Tsurikov, Director, The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis - Hanson and Tsurikov will discuss the power of cultural diplomacy, which is the exchange of ideas, art, language and other aspects of culture among countries and people, to promote understanding.  This form of diplomacy is a way to strengthen not only national security interests but to also keep strong connections between people despite tensions that might exist between governments.  This is an opportune time to examine the role of cultural diplomacy when the relationship between the Russian and US government is uncertain.

Wednesday, March 28 - 7:00 p.m. - Kathryn A. Martin Library 4th Floor Rotunda - The History of Self-Determination in the International System - Presented by Dr. Bradley Simpson, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut - Simpson will examine the global history of self-determination, exploring its political, cultural and legal descent through post 1945 US foreign relations and international politics. He will use contested history of self-determination claims to re-think contemporary notions of human rights, sovereignty and international order as they intersected with the processes of decolonization, Cold War conflict and globalization.  

Tuesday, April 3 - 7:00 p.m. - Montague Hall 70 - Persistent Turmoil in the Middle East: America's Perennial Policy Dilemma - Presented by Ambassador Stephen A. Seche, former US Ambassador to Yemen (2007-2010) and Executive Vice President of the Arab Gulf States Institute, Washington DC - Ambassador Seche will provide an analysis of the difficulty of forming US foreign policy in the Middle East.  He will look specifically at Arab states relationships to the US.    

Wednesday, April 4 - 7:00 p.m. - Solon Campus Center 120 - Yemen: The Forgotten War - Presented by Ambassador Stephen A. Seche, former US Ambassador to Yemen (2007-2010) and Executive Vice President of the Arab Gulf States Institute, Washington DC - Ambassador Seche will share his expert analysis of the causes of the conflict in Yemen, the grievances of the Houthis, the roles played by Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the reasons why this war has gotten so little attention internationally unlike the war in Syria.  

Tuesday, April 10 – 7:00 p.m. – Solon Campus Center 120 – International Lecture - Killing Civilians in War: The Moral, Legal, and Strategic Limits – Presented by Dr. Joshua Andresen, Senior Lecturer in National Security and Foreign Relations Law, University of Surrey, United Kingdom - Given the limit on civilian casualties imposed by the rule of proportionality by international humanitarian law, some observers have asked whether the “good guys” can win with the current law and morality of war in place. Contrary to the lawyers, philosophers, and military practitioners who have sought to liberalize the standard of acceptable civilian casualties in war, Andresen argues that the most promising attempts to morally justify more harm to civilians than harm averted ultimately fail. He will discuss his reasoning and modification of the rule of proportionality in war.