Friday, August 21, 2009

Lecture and a Discussion!

Hello AWAC friends!

Here is an upcoming event that may be of interest to you folks. It is hosted by the UAA Bookstore, so go on and check it out!

Gypsy Theaters in the Soviet Union
On September 25, 2009, Professor Brigid O'Keeffe from Brooklyn College will host a lecture and discussion on the history of Gypsy theaters and entertainers in the Soviet Union. The paper is titled, "Pornography or Authenticity? Performing 'Gypsiness' on the Early Soviet Stage, 1921-1939." The event is open to the public and will take place at the UAA Campus Bookstore from 4-6PM.

So, to recap-

What: Lecture and Discussion

Topic: History of Gypsy Theaters in the Soviet Union

Location: UAA Bookstore (campus map)

Date&Time: September 25th, 4-6p.m.

Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The World Trade Center of Alaska Presents Mark Begich Monday, June 1!
The World Trade Center of Alaska in Cooperation with the Alaska World Affairs Council
and the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation,
the Associated General Contractors of Alaska,

the Northern Forum,
the Resource Development Council,
and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce
a Major Address by the Honorable Mark Begich

A Report from the Battlefield:
Progress in the Middle East and Washington

Just back from a week-long tour of Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Senator Mark Begich will provide his perspective on progress in the world's most
dangerous region and give an update on current developments in Washington, D.C. As the first Alaskan on the Senate Armed Services
Committee since 1968, Senator Begich will report on his meetings with top military commanders and some of the thousands of Alaskan soldiers serving in the Middle East. In his first major speech in Alaska since his swearing-in, the Senator also will discuss congressional efforts to address the major issues facing the nation, including the economy, health care and international trade.

Monday, June 1, 2009
Hotel Captain Cook Ballroom
12:00 - 1:30 PM
(doors open at 11:30)

The cost is $45 per seat or $500 for a table of 10.

For more information or to make reservations,
please call the Alaska World Trade Center at 278-7233
or send an email to

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Susan Martin on Friday, May 29th

On Friday, May 29, the Alaska World Affairs Council will feature Susan Martin, of the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, speaking on the topic "US Immigration Policy: Challenges for the Future" as our last event of the 2008-2009 program year!

Susan Martin holds the Donald G. Herzberg Chair in International Migration and serves as the Director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Dr. Martin is also Co-Director of the Certificate Program on Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. Previously Dr. Martin served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, established by legislation to advise Congress and the President on U.S. immigration and refugee policy, and Director of Research and Programs at the Refugee Policy Group.

Her publications include Refugee Women, The Uprooted: Improving Humanitarian Responses to Forced Migration, Beyond the Gateway: Immigrants in a Changing America (ed.), and Managing Migration: The Promise of Cooperation. Dr. Martin earned her MA and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in History from Douglass College, Rutgers University. She is the President of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and serves on the U.S. Comptroller General’s Advisory Board, the Academic Advisory Board of the International Organization for Migration, and the Board of the Advocacy Project.

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Friday, May 22nd, the Alaska World Affairs Council will feature Joe Montville,
Director of Toward the Abrahamic Family Reunion and Founder of Preventive Diplomacy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Joseph Montville is director of Toward the Abrahamic Family Reunion, the Esalen Institute project to promote Muslim-Christian-Jewish reconciliation. He is also Senior Adviser on Interfaith Relations at Washington National Cathedral, and has appointments at American and George Mason Universities. Montville founded the preventive diplomacy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1994 and directed it until 2003. Before that he spent 23 years as a diplomat with posts in the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked in the State Department's Bureaus of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Intelligence and Research, where he was chief of the Near East Division and director of the Office of Global Issues. Montville has held faculty appointments at the Harvard and University of Virginia Medical Schools. He defined the concept of “Track Two,” nonofficial diplomacy. Educated at Lehigh, Harvard, and Columbia Universities, Montville is the editor of Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies (Lexington Books, 1990) and editor (with Vamik Volkan and Demetrios Julius) of The Psychodynamics of International Relationships (Lexington Books, 1990 [vol. I], 1991 [vol. II]).

As always, you can find more information about our programs on our web site,

On Friday, May 15th, we hosted Dr. Paul Dunscomb, Associate Professor of East Asian History at UAA, who spoke on the topic "Whatever Happened To Japan: The Economic Superpower That Never Was"

Paul Dunscomb is Associate Professor of East Asian History at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Director of UAA’s Confucius Institute. He has graduate degrees from the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Kansas. He is a specialist in modern Japanese history focusing on the domestic political aspects of the Japanese intervention and occupation of Siberia, 1918-1922. His book manuscript on this topic, the first ever complete narrative of Japan’s Siberian Intervention in English or Japanese, is currently under consideration by the University of Hawaii Press. His work has appeared in the Military Review, the Journal of Japanese Studies, and East-West Connections. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship for study in Japan and co-recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant to lead a study tour of the Russian Far East. Prof. Dunscomb teaches East Asian Civilization, Modern China, Modern Japan as well as specialty courses in the evolution of the Samurai and the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dr. Julian Dierkes

On Friday, we will feature Dr. Julian Dierkes speaking on the topic "Fewer Children, More Customers? Changes in Japan's Supplementary Education System."

Julian Dierkes is an assistant professor and the Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he teaches Asia Pacific Policy Studies At UBC, Julian serves as the Associate Director of the Centre for Japanese Research and as the Coordinator of the Program on Inner Asia.

His past and on-going research has examined portrayals of the nation in history education in postwar Japan and the Germanys. Julian's current research focuses on Japanese education, specifically on educational reform.

In this context he is investigating the impact of the for-profit nature of Japanese "shadow education" (juku) on the diversity of teaching and learning cultures within Japanese education.

In his research interests on Mongolia he focuses on the mining sector, especially on mining policy and on artisinal mining. Julian received his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University after previously studying at the Univ of California at Berkeley, Sophia University and the Free University of Berlin. He came to UBC in 2002 after holding the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Fellowship at the University of Cambridge.

The program is at noon on Friday, May 6. Doors open at 11.30. The cost for lunch is $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and $6 for coffee. Students may eat lunch for free thanks to a grant from BP. Please email to make reservations!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Herb Meyer: "What's Going On In The World?"

Herb Meyer is an expert on international events and policies. He is the host and producer of an internationally best selling DVD entitled "The Seige of Western Civilization," which analyzes threats to America's security, economy, and culture. He has served under the Reagan administration in the CIA, and was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal after his forecast of the Soviet collapse. He is currently working on a book, How to Analyze Information: a Step-by-Step Guide to Life's Most Important Skill

Meyer's many experiences with international intelligence will make for a very exciting, timely speech relevant to the concerns of Alaskans and the world. We look forward to a very interesting program this week! It is also our annual board elections; if you are member in good standing please don't forget to come and vote! There are several incumbents as well as newly applying board members, and you can help us make a difference in the Council. We will see you at the Hilton Chart Room at 11:30 am this Friday, May 1st! Please RSVP to 276-8038 or Lunch program is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, and coffee is $6. See you there!

Follow us on Twitter! AKWorld.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Patrick Yack's presentation

Last Friday, the World Affairs Council welcomed over 80 people for a program by Patrick Yack. We were back in the newly renovated Chart Room on the top floor of the Hilton, our usual spot. The last few months have given the room a new shine, and we were glad to be back. Patrick Yack, Atwood Chair of Journalism at UAA, was our speaker. He's held many prestigous journalism and editor positions around the country, and reported from around the globe. Yack's main point was the ever-changing journalism industry and the quality of news that comes from the many media systems we have today.
"The 24-hour news turnaround has become the 24-second."

With the prevalence of at-your-fingertips news sources such as Google Alerts and Twitter, there isn't time for journalists to draft stories. The goal for new and emerging journalists, Yack said, is to have them be as versatile and efficient as possible, and adept at all the different sources of journalism.
While these new forms of news are not necessarily bad, they do run soem risks. Anyone can sign up to write a blog, and there is no way to check soemone's credibility on the Internet. Yack stressed the importance of using legitimate new sources to gain information.
Yack's speech was quick and to the point, allowing lots of time for question-and-answer with the audience. Questions crossed a wide number of topics relating to foreign journalism, the internet news sources, and more. We enjoyed Yack's knowledge on this timely and relevant issue, as all our lives are changing because of it.

Join us this week for Dr. Joseph Ha, Vice President for International Business and Government Relations for Nike Corporation. His speech topic is "Points of Conflict and Cooperation between the United States and China."

--Chloe Miller

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Patrick Yack "The Collapse of Foreign Journalism in the American Press"

Patrick Yack speaks this Friday on a both national and interntaional issue-- the fall of foreign journalism in American newspapers and other media. With the journalism industry changing in so many ways, making way for the internet and such, this is a timely issue that is sure to be an interesting lecture.
Yack is the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He has held many high journalism positions such as DC Bureau Chief of the Denver Post, National Editor of the Atlanta Constitution, and more. He has worked in South Korea, the Soviet Union, and Honduras, and has a great interest in foreign policy. He is an advocate of open governemnt and First Amendment rights.
Join us for Yack's presentation, this Friday, April 17 beginning at 11:30 a.m. Lunch is at the Hilton Hotel, $25 for nonmembers, $20 for members, and $6 for coffee. Students are free with a valid student id. Hope to see you there!
--Chloe Miller

Friday, April 10, 2009

Afghan Panel Presentation

Last Friday’s speech was a panel of four service men who have served time in Afghanistan over the last several years. COL Daly, Lt. John M. Romspert, Sergeant Major Patrick Meegan, and Master Sergeant Scott I. Anderson shared with us their insight of their overseas duty. For biographies of our panel, please see
The program began with a slideshow of pictures by COL Daly. The pictures ranged from combat images, maps, landscapes, portraits, and humanity-building projects currently in Afghanistan. COL Daly shared not only his experience from a military standpoint, but also his cultural experiences in Afghanistan. The panel of four then participated in a very dynamic and engaging question and answer session. Though time did manage to get away from us and there were many questions still floating around the audience, we learned a lot about the four men’s different experiences. Common interests were the language barriers they experienced and the political situation in Afghanistan right now.
The presentation was an interesting and relevant topic to today’s events. We thank our panel for their wonderfully engaging perspective!

---Chloe Miller

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Marshall Goldman Detained in Seattle by Redoubt's Ash; Diddy Hitchens Saves the Day

Redoubt’s ash cloud has created several inconveniences for Anchorage residents. One major disappointment of last week’s weather was flight service, and AWAC was not spared the annoyance. Highly anticipated Russia expert Marshall Goldman traveled all the way to Seattle only to get stuck there, receiving delay after delay until he had to cancel his Friday speech in Anchorage. Many of us were disappointed that he couldn’t make it, but fortunately the day was saved by Diddy Hitchens, PhD.

Diddy Hitchens is a professor Emerita of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She received notice that Marshall Goldman might not make it on Thursday afternoon, and spent the next 18 hours impressively preparing herself to stand in his place. As a fan who has read Goldman’s books and used them in her classes, Ms. Hitchens was a great candidate for the topic. She had not, however, read Goldman’s most recent book, Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia. Therefore, she took it upon herself to read his book and summarize his main stance on Russia’s energy politics on Thursday night, in preparation for her Friday speech.

After such a stressful night, we were all very pleased with Ms. Hitchens’s delivery of a beautiful, polished summary of Goldman’s book. She demonstrated great knowledge of Goldman’s opinions as well as Russia history and politics. She answered many questions that were perhaps more suited to the author of the book, but she answered them quite satisfactorily. All in all, it was a great presentation and we give our greatest thanks to Diddy Hitchens for saving the day on such short notice!

--Chloe Miller

Monday, March 23, 2009

Marshall Goldman: "Putin, Power, and the New Russia"

Marshall I. Goldman is a Professor of Russian Economics at Wellesley College and Senior Scholar at the David Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. He obtained his degree in Russian studies in 1952 from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Wellesley staff in 1958 and has since met with and advised Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, George Bush, and George W. Bush. He is an expert on Russian economy as well as high-technology economics, and the author of Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia.

His speech this Friday of the same title examines many of the driving forces behind Russia’s political power in relation to their oil economy. As the world’s largest producer of petroleum, Russia has recently overtaken all privately owned oil fields and turned ownership over to the government. This has stabilized the Russian economy and centralized power in Moscow, an effort that has given them the upper hand in many international dealings. Join us this Friday at the Anchorage Hilton as Goldman examines the fluctuating oil economy in Russia and its effects on worldwide politics.

Marshall Goldman speaks this Friday, March 27 at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel. Doors at 11:30 a.m., lunch begins at 12 pm. Lunch is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers; coffee is $6. Please RSVP to or 276-8038. Goldman's book Petrostate will be available for purchase for $27.95.

--Chloe Miller

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lobsang Nyandak, Dalai Lama's Representative to the U.S.

Lobsang Nyandak

Kalon Lobsang Nyandak is the Representative of The Dalai Lama to the Americas. He is also the former Tibetan Minister of Finance and Health. He worked as the Founding Executive Director of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a member of the Tibetan parliament, Tibetan Youth Congress and the National Democratic Party of Tibet. He has held his current position since September 2008, and works with the Office of Tibet in New York.

Bringing his knowledge of the nation of Tibet and the current situation with China’s occupation, Mr. Nyandak will be speaking on “A Future Prospect for Tibet” this Friday, March 20th, at the Hilton Hotel at 12 p.m. He will also be speaking in Juneau on Wednesday, March 18. We hope you come to take this opportunity to hear an amazing speaker and learn more about the people of Tibet and current and future political situation in their country.

Mr. Nyandak is an advocate of recognizing Tibet as a “de facto colony of China.” He is also helping to encourage the release of political prisoners, stating that more than a thousand Tibetans are being “arbitrarily detained by China.” Over 70% of these prisoners are Tibetan nuns and monks. Working to resolve differences with China and help these prisoners gain freedom is part of Nyandak’s goal as he shares his knowledge with the United States.

If you are interested in Mr. Nyandak’s presentation, please RSVP to Alaska World Affairs Council at 276-8038 or Lunch is $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and coffee is $6.

--Chloe Miller

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nick Lawson

     Doctors without borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization founded by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. Today DWB is responsible for providing clinical aid to over 60 countries, those threatened by war, violence or poverty. The organization itself bases its actions on being ethical and objective and impartial. The true idea behind DWB is supporting and helping people, not necessarily governments or any political objective. Still that doesn't mean they are politically inactive or impotent, far from it. In 1985 they publicly objected to the Ethiopian government moving thousands of individuals, most recently DWB was adamant in calling for the international community to recognize the atrocities happening in Darfur.

     In the end, DWB is continually working to provide high quality health care to the third world through its 27,000 members. The idea that only those with money should be treated is ludicrous, and goes against everything which doctors should stand for. In the end, it really is about the patient. If only others would remember what the Hippocratic Oath actually says....

     Todays speaker is Nick Lawson, current Director of Director of Field Human Resources for Doctors Without Borders. This man began work in 1997 as logistical and administrative expert in southern Sudan during a civil war. During his time with DWB he has held 11 other positions and supported everything from wars to natural disasters. Prior to joining the DWB organization, Mr. Lawson worked in a variety of other fields in both Australia and internationally.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Representative from India YES program

YES (Youth Exchange and Study) Program is an innovative high school exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State's Burearu of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program has been described as follows: "This public diplomacy initiative builds bridges of international understanding, especially between Americans and people in countries with significant Muslim populations."

There are currently YES students in Alaska, and AFS Alaska (the foreign exchange program) expects to sponsor three students in the upcoming school year. The students may be coming from: Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand or Turkey.

A representative of the YES program from India will be visiting Anchorage March 23, 24, 25 and is available to talk with anyone who is interested in learning about this program, hosting students and working to foster international cultural understanding.

Please let me know if anyone is interested in meeting or discussing the YES program.
Thank you,

Nancy Wainwright
AFS Alaska
volunteer Support Coordinator

Monday, March 2, 2009

Come find out more about the program Doctors Without Borders on Friday March 13th

Have you ever wanted to know more about the program Doctors Without Borders? Come to the Alaska World Affairs Council program on Friday the 13th of March to hear:

Nick Lawson, Director of Field Human Resources, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Nick will be speaking about - “Managing an Emergency: Behind the Scenes at Doctors Without Borders”

Friday, March 13th, 2009 – Hilton Hotel
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. - Program begins at 12:00 p.m.

For Reservations
Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 11th to the Alaska World Affairs Council
by telephone 276-8038 or by email to .
Lunch Program $20 for Members - $25 for Non-Members - $6 for Coffee

Nicholas Lawson, Director of Field Human Resources for MSF-USA, began working for the organization in 1997 as logistical and administrative expert in an MSF project in southern Sudan, during that country’s brutal civil war. Since then he has held 11 other positions within the organization, which have taken him to humanitarian hotspots like Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor, and Malawi. Over his years of experience with the organization, he has risen through the organizational ranks from logistician, to field coordinator, logistical coordinator, and finally head of mission. Nick’s extensive field experience prepared him for the headquarter role of Recruitment Officer for Field Human Resources at MSF-Australia in Sydney. Today, he continues to use these skills to lead the New York-based human resources team that recruits and places American in MSF projects.

Prior to joining MSF in January 1997, Nick worked in the finance, construction, education, and hospitality industries, both in Australia and internationally. He studied Anthropology at the University of Western Australia.

For more information about Doctors Without Borders, please visit

-Lise Falskow

Links to CSPAN recordings of some National Conference Presentations

I'm back in Anchorage. 70 degrees and SoCal beaches/hiking in Malibu Canyon yesterday. Jet travel is an amazing thing...

Several members of the Alaska World Affairs Council attended the National Conference 19-20 Feb 2009 in Washington DC. CSPAN-2 taped four of the presentations from the conference, the topics and URLs to access the videos are below:

Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade -

David Stafford, Northrop Grumman - The Economic Impact of Climate Change -

Dr. Charles MacCormack, Save the Children - The Global Food Crisis -

Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization - Trade in the Obama Era -


Thursday, January 8, 2009

General Carrol H. Chandler

January 9th, 2009

     This week the Alaska World Affairs Counsel presents General Carrol H. Chandler, presenting "An Airman's Perspective: Executing Air, Space and Cyber Power To Fly, Fight and Win in the Pacific". This should provide interesting insights into the military persepective on conflicts in the Pacific. General Chandler is presently the current Commander, Pacific Air Forces.
     The general graduated in 1974 from the United States Air Force Academy and has commanded a numbered air force, two fighter wings, a support group and a fighter squadron. Previous to his current assignment as Commander of PACAF, Gen. Chandler completed two tours at the Pentagon, as well as two tours at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. Some of the generals experience in the Pacific was gained in his prior command. Prior to assuming his current position the general served as Commander of Alaska Command (ALCOM), Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, 11th Air Force and Joint Task Force - Alaska which has its headquarters at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.