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 -