“Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution” – March 1st

Free Lecture Sponsored by the Olympia World Affairs Council

SPEAKER: Dr. Steve Niva, Professor of Middle East and International Politics, The Evergreen State College

TOPIC: Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution: The Military’s Coup and the Conflict Between “Transition” and “Revolution”

THURSDAY, March 1, Olympia Center, 7:30 PM, Room 101

Professor Steve Niva has just returned from Egypt where he met with activists, journalists and academics who are involved in the new round of protests. He will examine the electoral successes of the Islamist political parties and explain the lack of unity among the contenders. The big winner, the Muslim Brotherhood, believes that working through the military sponsored “transition” process will eventually give them the power to shape a new Egypt. On the other side are the mostly younger activists, including many labor advocates, who believe that only by sweeping away the lingering aspects of the Mubarak regime through “revolution”, including the institutional power of the military, will a new democratic Egypt emerge.

Professor Niva will share what he learned from this trip and discuss the rise of new protest movements, including the role of Egyptian soccer fans known as “ultras” and the military counterrevolution largely backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.


“Current Challenges in Vietnam” – February 16

February 16, Lecture
Olympia Center, 222 Columbia, Olympia at 7:30pm
Current Challenges in Vietnam: Select Examples and Their Historical Roots

Professor Christoph Giebel, from the University of Washington, will focus on Vietnam since 1986 when it undertook a dramatic policy change and began its reform and opening policy (Doi Moi). Among the issues Professor Giebel will treat in depth are authoritarianism, religious and other freedoms, national identity in a post-war and globalizing world, the environment and continuing legacies of the war, and China and resurgent nationalism around marine disputes.

Professor Giebel, Associate Professor of International Studies and History, teaches widely on Asian, Southeast Asian, and Vietnamese histories, as well as the Vietnam Wars. He is the author of Imagined Ancestries of Vietnamese Communism: Ton Duc Thang and the Politics of History and Memory (2004).

Sponsored by the Olympia World Affairs Council. www.olympiawac.org


“Public Diplomacy Under the Obama Administration: A New Approach” – January 19

Public Diplomacy Under the Obama Administration: A New Approach

Presented by the Olympia World Affairs Council
January 19, Lecture
Olympia Center, 222 Columbia, Olympia at 7:30pm

President Obama and Secretary Clinton recognize that America needs to do a better job of informing, influencing, listening to and connecting with billions of people around the world.

Are we succeeding? And what will success look like?

Sandra Kaiser explains how this Administration defines public diplomacy and describes the struggle to be heard in a challenging global information climate.

Sandra Kaiser and her family live on the Steamboat Peninsula. She recently completed a 25-year career with the State Department as a public diplomat, directing press, education and cultural programs from U.S. embassies in Europe and Latin America.


World Affairs Council Speaker “Leaving Afghanistan – Easier Said Than Done” on Nov 17

THURSDAY, November 17, Olympia Center, 7:30 PM, Room 101
SPEAKER: Dr. Katya Drozdova, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Seattle Pacific University
TOPIC: “Leaving Afghanistan – Easier Said Than Done”
As the United States and its coalition allies struggle with a coherent departure policy in Afghanistan, there are lessons to be learned from the Soviet Union’s misadventure in that country from 1979-89. Dr. Drozdova is eminently qualified to deal with that subject. Born in the former Soviet Union she has been a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where she was a principal investigator in a study called “Mining Afghan Lessons from the Soviet Era” (MALSE). She studied and translated former top secret records of the Soviet Politburo, the purpose of which was to explore ways that might benefit western forces from the Soviet experience. The results of her study have been used to inform policy-makers, scholars and military leaders.
Dr. Drozdova’s recent research and publications focus on problems of U.S. national and international security and counter-terrorism strategies. In addition to her work at the Hoover Institution, she is also a research fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School and an affiliate with the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. She previously held research positions at New York University’s Alexander Hamilton Center.
One of her publications, Solving the Afghanistan Puzzle, follows the paper trail of Soviet involvement in Afghanistan – and suggests a great deal about our own involvement there today. Other articles include Dark Memories, a brief history of Soviet torturers and assassins; Intelligence Design, describing how terrorists are getting very good at covering their tracks and how their pursuers must become even better at uncovering them; and Security and Liberty, how to protect the nation against terrorism without sacrificing our liberty.
Dr. Drozdova is currently assistant professor of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University. She holds advanced degrees from Stanford University and New York University.

Olympia World Affairs Council Presentation on Slovakia, November 3

Slovakia, 2011
Slovakia’s Transition from Socialism to Democracy: Effects on Daily Life, Family and Culture Thursday, November 3, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, in the Community Room of the Olympian, 111 East Bethel Street
Much as Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing on September 9, 2001, Slovaks and other Eastern Europeans remember how their lives were about to change in the late summer and fall of 1989, when growing protests in East Germany led to the removal of prohibitions on travel to the West, the physical removal of the Berlin Wall and the ensuring collapse of the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe. For Czechoslovaks, the decisive period was from November 17 to December 29, 1989: in just 33 days over 40 years of Communist Party rule can to an abrupt, peaceful end in what Slovaks called their “Gentle Revolution.”
One tends to think of these events in largely political terms of shifting lines and coloration on maps, the fate of empires and within the context of the East-West struggle of competing economic and political systems. But what was this cataclysmic change like for the people? What did it mean for individual lives and the effort to raise and support a family? What were the consequences for daily life, the effects on culture?
The Olympia World Affairs Council is proud to sponsor Dr. Marta Botikova, a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Evergreen State College, to address this subject. Dr. Botikova is a full professor of Ethnology and Chairperson of the Department of Ethnology at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, where she studied and has taught since 1978. She is a member of a half dozen professional associations, is widely published and has taught in short programs at universities throughout Western and Eastern Europe. One of her most recent publications treats Culture and Way of Life through the Eyes of Women in Slovakia.

“Fair Trade Around the World” a Presentation by Olympia World Affairs Council

THURSDAY, October 20, Olympia Center, 7:30 PM, Room 101
TOPIC: Fair Trade Around the World
SPEAKERS: Matt Warning, “African Farmers: Primary Products and Sustainable Livelihoods”
Cherie Fontenot, “How sweet it is! Fair Trade and Theo Chocolate”
Fair Trade implies the practice of using only pure ingredients that are grown sustainably, partnering with growers to ensure they earn a living wage and having access to education for their families, honoring and respecting employees and suppliers, and using green energy power sources whenever possible. The following chart depicts the contrast between a conventional supply chain and a fair trade supply chain:

Matt Warning is a professor of economics at the University of Puget Sound. He has spent 25 years studying rural communities in Africa and Latin America. An authority on the economics of fair trade coffee, he has often been interviewed for articles in a variety of publications. He served as consulting producer for the PBS documentary “Buyer Be Fair” concerning fair trade coffee and certified wood. Professor Warning, who holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley,will speak about the conflicts in the African Great Lakes region, fair trade and its limitations, and quality as a necessary focus for sustainability.
Cherie Fontenot has worked for Theo Chocolate in Seattle for a number of years focusing on outreach work to bring the Theo message of Fair Trade to the public. Theo is the first and currently the only organic Fair Trade certified roaster of cacao in the United States, sourcing cacao from small farmers in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Ghana, Madagascar, Venezuela and the Ivory Coast. Ms. Fontenot will relate how Theo’s small team is guided by a passion forchocolate, care for the environment, and dedication to enriching the lives of everyone involved, including cacao farmers and chocolate lovers.
As an added incentive to attend, chocolate samples will be provided.

The Arab Spring: Revisited

Olympia World Affairs Council Presents

Thursday, October 6, at noon in the Large Meeting Room of The Olympian, 111 Bethel St. NE, Olympia

SPEAKER: Dr. Steve Niva, Professor of Middle East Politics at The Evergreen State College

TOPIC: The Arab Spring: Revisited

Dr. Steve Niva of the Evergreen State College, who analyzed the Arab Spring for a fascinated Olympia World Affairs Council audience last March, returns to the podium to provide a follow-up and update on events in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Turkey and other countries experiencing an Arab democratic awakening. Dr. Niva recently led a group of students on a tour of the Middle East. He will bring to his presentation not only the insights he gained during this visit, but also the results of his own research on and contacts in the area.

Dr. Niva is Professor of International Politics and Middle East Studies, specializing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency. Widely published in academic and professional journals, he is currently writing a book on the history and strategy of Palestinian suicide bombs and is conducting research on the changing nature of warfare in the Middle East today. Dr. Niva is a Seattle native, a graduate of the University of Virginia and received his PhD from Columbia University. He has taught at American University and Georgetown and has been at the Evergreen State College since 1999.

Dr. Niva is an editorial associate of The Middle East Research and Information Project, and has had articles published in the Egyptian English language edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, Middle East Policy, The Jordan Times and Peace Review, Middle East International as well as in the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


“Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World”

“Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World,” a presentation by the Olympia World Affairs Council

Thursday, September 15
7:30 PM
Olympia Center, Room 101

Our speakers will focus on women’s changing roles in the Arab world, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They will discuss the political, economic and cultural issues facing women in these regions and explore the efforts by the United States and the United Nations to improve women’s status.

Our speakers are Dr. Therese Saliba, professor of international feminist studies at The Evergreen State College, and Dr. Savvina Chowdhury, professor of feminist economics at The Evergreen State College

In background, education and experience both of our speakers are eminently qualified to discuss the role of women in the developing world. Dr. Saliba, a former Fulbright scholar in Palestine, has co-edited two collections: Gender, Politics and Islam and Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s novels. She has also contributed essays to numerous journals on Arab and Palestinian feminism, postcolonial literature, media representations and Arab-American experiences. Her current research examines the gendered impacts of post-9/11 policies on Arab and Muslim American communities, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. She is also researching the role of women in the recent Arab uprisings.

Born in Bangladesh, Dr. Chowdhury grew up in Bahrain and Egypt. After coming to the United States in 1991 she has often returned to the Middle East. Her published doctoral dissertation, Everyday Economic Practices: The Hidden Transcripts of Egyptian Voices, was based on her work with the United Nations Development Programme in Egypt. Her past research in the Middle East has included working with informal financial networks where women emerge as community leaders, making small loans, mobilizing savings and investments. Her current research has focused on the role played by women labor leaders in bringing about the demise of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.


Sharia Law in Afghanistan

A free, public lecture on Sharia Law will take place at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St., at 7:30pm on Thursday, November 18th.

Lutforahman Saeed is a professor on the Shari’a (Islamic Law) faculty at Kabul, Afghanistan and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He specializes in Islamic Studies, philosophy and comparative religions. He speaks Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Urdu and English. Professor Said will share his deep understanding of Islamic law as well as the function of other legal systems in Afghanistan.

Sharia Law is one of the most controversial and misunderstood aspects of Islam. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about and better understand the system from one of Afghanistan’s experts. He will be joined by other faculty from the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington.

The event is sponsored by the Olympia World Affairs Council. For more information call 360-867-0919. http://www.olympiawac.org/

World Affairs Lecture – Rwanda Genocide – December 10

A free lecture on Rwanda is set for 7:30pm at the Olympia Center on Thursday December 10th. Retired Supreme Court Justice Robert Utter and Betty Utter will describe their fascinating and important work in Rwanda and Tanzania with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Tribunal is a United Nations court established to prosecute those most responsible for the 1995 genocide.

The event is sponsored by the Olympia World Affairs Council. For more information call 360-867-0919.