Past Programs Directory

Programs: 2003 - 2024

MMGF Book Club, Wednesday March 27 2024

Secrets of the Sprakkar, by Elizabeth Reid

Date: Wednesday March 27th 2024 at 12 Noon in the Colby College Chace Center, Main St., Waterville, ME


Iceland is the best place on earth to be a woman—but why?

For the past twelve years, the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Iceland number one on its list of countries closing the gap in equality between men and women. What is it about Iceland that makes many women's experience there so positive? Why has their society made such meaningful progress in this ongoing battle, from electing the world's first female president to passing legislation specifically designed to help even the playing field at work and at home? And how can we learn from what Icelanders have already discovered about women's powerful place in society and how increased fairness benefits everyone?

In her book, Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, examines her adopted homeland's attitude toward women—the deep-seated cultural sense of fairness, the influence of current and historical role models, and, crucially, the areas where Iceland still has room for improvement. Reid's own experience as an immigrant from small-town Canada who never expected to become a first lady is expertly interwoven with interviews with dozens of sprakkar ("extraordinary women") to form the backbone of an illuminating discussion of what it means to move through the world as a woman, and how the rules of society play more of a role in who we view as "equal" than we may understand. Secrets of the Sprakkar is a powerful and atmospheric portrait of a tiny country that could lead the way forward for us all.


March 12 2024

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs will speak on Understanding Israel at This Moment.

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs is the Dorothy “Bibby” Levine Alfond Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and the Director of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College. She also serves as the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville, Maine. In 2014, Isaacs was named one of America’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis” by the Jewish Daily Forward, and in 2016, she was chosen to deliver the final Hanukkah benediction of the Obama administration.  She was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College where she also served as her class graduation speaker.


Having recently returned from Israel, Rabbi Rachel Issacs, will give her informed and unique perspective on the pressures and conditions in Israel that have and will continue to impact Israeli's domestic and international actions. In Israel there are currently several internal conflicts that will determine the future of the country and Israel's relationship with its neighbors.  


February 23, 2024

Oleksandr Tyutyunnyk will speak on “In the Shadow of Autocracy: Ukraine's Fight against Russia for Self-determination”

Oleksandr Tyutyunnyk will provide an insiders view of the War in Ukraine. His knowledge, education and training in the Ukrainian military has given him a unique perspective of Russia's aggression and the devastating war in Ukraine.  

Oleksandr's background and awareness of Russian military operations has given him insight into the state of this war.  

Oleksandr believes the state of Democracy in Ukraine is strong. The problem, according to Oleksandr, is that outside players impacting Ukraine's government largely do not interact directly with the Ukrainian Civil society, volunteer organizations, and the idealistic youth. 


Dec 4, 2023

Vitaliia Tomakhiv, Ukrainian Journalist and academic currently in the US will speak on her work on frontlines of the Eastern Front of the largest war in Europe since WWII.

Vitaliia Tomakhiv is from Ukraine, but currently getting my Master degree in University of Maine with School of Policy and International Affairs, focusing on Foreign Policy and Security.

Vita was born in Ternopil, but moved to Kyiv when she was 17, where she got my Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Master’s degree in Political science. During her studies in Kyiv, she also worked as journalist with Radio Liberty (Radio Free Europe), and she was an intern in Parliament of Ukraine.

After beginning of full-scale invasion Vita initiated fundraising to buy car for combat tasks for the Armed Forces in Ukraine.

This summer 2023, Vita went to Ukraine and was able to make a short documentary “Dimension of the war: those who hold the Independence” (YouTube: ) about Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline, who were participating in one of the biggest battles for independence in Europe — Russian-Ukrainian war.

Through listening to the warriors, getting their perspectives, thoughts, feelings — it’s why Ukraine is fighting and what they are fighting for. Pieces of recording with broken, damaged and burnt houses show that Russia destroyed, and keep doing so. There are humorous moments and sad ones, there are questions that are so easy to answer and the ones that take silence before answering, because it hurts to answer. As in that song “Zombie” by Cranberries, “When the violence causes silence — we must be mistaken”. To avoid regretful mistakes of silence — Vita is committed to spread the word about this war.

The location took place at the Eastern front-zone, Donetsk region, including Lyman route and Bakhmut route. Cities of Lyman, Kramatorsk, Sloviansk are under control of AFU, while Bakhmut is still the biggest unreachable goal for occupation forces of the Russian Federation, the severe hostilities are taking place there.


November 16, 2023 at The Margaret Chase Smith Library

Professor Daniel Sandweiss will present the Margaret Chase Smith Library's Leeke-Shaw Lecture speaking on “El Nino, Disaster, and Resilience on the Coast of Peru”

The Mid-Maine Global Forum and The Margaret Chase Smith Library will present the annual Leeke-Shaw Lecture on International Affairs from noon to 1 PM at the MCS Library. The speaker will be Prof. Daniel Sandweiss from the University of Maine. In keeping with the current climate change theme of our co-sponsor, the Mid-Maine Global Forum, his talk, "El Nino, Disaster, and Resilience on the Coast of Peru" will look at the societal effects of changing weather patterns over many centuries in the Andes region.
If you are interested in attending, email or phone 474-7133 to reserve a spot. Lunch will be provided.
Dr. Sandweiss is a renowned geoarchaeologist who studies the effects on cultural development of climate change, particularly the prehistory of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, as well as environmental change, such as rising sea level during the last deglaciation period. He also investigates the development and organization of complex societies in the coastal setting. Most of his research has taken place in Peru, but he has also worked in Guatemala, Honduras, and Cuba. He has been on the faculty of the University of Maine since 1993.


October 18, 2023

Colby Professor Stacy-ann Robinson 

spoke on “Adapting to climate change in small island developing states”

Colby's “Climate Change Superstar” Dr. Stacy-ann Robinson, presented a talk on the near and far-reaching consequences of climate change on small island developing nations. She is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Dean of Global Engagement at Colby College. She primarily teaches International Environmental Policy and Global Climate Policy. Dr Robinson has made a name for herself not just in Climate change research, but also in her ability and passion for including her sudents in her research and publishing.

Her scholarship investigates the human, social, and policy dimensions of climate change adaptation in small island developing states (SIDS), with a special focus on climate justice, and on adaptation finance, an area in which she is a Certified Expert.

Dr. Robinson was a contributing author to Chapter 15 (Small Islands) of Working Group II’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was released in February 2022. Her work has appeared in Nature, Nature Climate Change, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs): Climate Change, Climate Policy, and other leading journals.

Prior to Colby, Dr. Robinson was a Voss Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environment and Society at Brown University, and before that, the Fox-Zucker Fellow (Environmental Stewardship and Multilevel Governance) at Yale University, where she researched climate resilience and transformation in the Caribbean. She was the 2022/2023 Lightning Scholar at Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for global policy engagement.

Dr. Robinson earned her Ph.D. in global environmental change from the Australian National University and was an Australia Awards Scholar and Leadership Awardee. She also holds a B.Sc. in international relations and political science from the University of the West Indies, Mona, postgraduate qualifications in environmental diplomacy and oceans law and policy, and an M.Sc. in international development with a specialization in environment and development from the University of Manchester, where she was a Chevening Scholar.


August 9, 2023

2023 Linda Cotter Speaker Series Event

Abrahm Lustgarten; ““Unlivable: How a changing climate will force a global migration”

at the Colby College Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center

Abrahm Lustgarten, the 2023 Linda Cotter Speaker, is a nationally recognized writer and thinker about climate change. He writes for ProPublica, and works frequently with the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and PBS Frontline, among others. He is also an Emerson Collective fellow at New America, and lectures on narrative writing about climate change at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

His most recent work has focused on global migration in response to a warming climate, which was the subject of three cover stories he wrote for the New York Times Magazine and of his forthcoming book, Unlivable, from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. His other recent investigations include an examination how the IMF and the World Bank keep climate-vulnerable countries paralyzed by high-levels of debt, of the global palm oil trade, the climate drivers behind pandemics, and global water scarcity. 

Climate change is making the same parts of the world that are the most populated hotter and drier, leading to growing food scarcity and widespread economic impact that is together expected to drive large-scale migration over the coming decades. In this talk we’ll look at the climate-driven migration already underway, consider how it affects the U.S. border and security, and also what a hotter climate means for where people live inside the U.S.



July 7 - 16 

Maine International Film Festival

MMGF Sponsors two films for MIFF 2023



May 15, 2023

Kyle Knight:

Kyle spoke at both a MMGF noon lecture event and at Messalonskee HS

“Fleeing Persecution, Seeking Safety, and Finding Only Sporadic Support: LGBT People and Global Migration”

Kyle is a senior researcher on health and LGBT rights at Human Rights Watch. Previously he was a fellow at the Williams Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, and a Fulbright scholar in Nepal. As a journalist he worked for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Nepal and for the UN’s humanitarian news service (IRIN), reporting from Burma, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia. He has worked for UNAIDS, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and in the children’s rights and health and human rights divisions at Human Rights Watch. He sits on the editorial board of the Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health Journal. He has a BA in cultural anthropology from Duke University and a Masters of Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


April 25, 2023

Mid-Maine Global Forum Bookclub: 

"The Devil’s Highway: A True Story", By Luis Alberto Urrea

In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national bestseller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern classic.


April 5, 2023

David Plumb

“Conflict and Inspiration: How Chile is Leading Actor in the Transformation Around Energy and Climate”

David Plumb is a mediator, facilitator, trainer, and researcher with experience managing complex development and public policy issues in a variety of environments, including Nigeria’s Niger Delta, northern Chile, and urban United States. David is CBI’s Director for Latin America and also co-leads the organization’s Corporate Community Engagement practice. Prior to CBI, he directed the Sustainable Business Practice at Search for Common Ground. He also spent eight years working as a financial journalist and correspondent, mostly for Bloomberg News.


January 20, 2023

Chace Center, Waterville

Mehr Sher, Journalist with The Bangor Daily News

“Afghan Refugee Resettlement”

The Margaret Chase Smith Library and the Mid-Maine Global Forum invite you to a presentation on the Afghan refugee resettlement program on Friday, January 20th at noontime. Our speaker will be Mehr Sher. Ms. Sher is the new statewide environmental reporter on the investigative desk for the Bangor Daily News, as well as a Report for America corps member. She brings a global perspective to the topic, having served as a journalist in Pakistan for six years. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations at North Carolina State University and earned a master’s in investigative reporting from the Columbia School of Journalism.

Because of Ms. Sher’s work schedule and the uncertainty of winter weather in Maine, the event will be held via Zoom. 


December 7th, 2022 

Program will run from 12-1 pm

Bowdoin Professor Page Herrlinger

Yale University BA, Phd University of California Berkeley

Wartime Migration and Gender Disruption in Ukraine A Historical Perspective on the Contemporary Crisis

See Bowdoin College


November 28, 2022

Chace Center, Maine Street, Waterville

Chris Asch

Chris Myers Asch serves as CANMP’s Executive Director. A native of Washington, D.C., Chris teaches history part-time at Colby College and is the author most recently of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital. He and his wife live in Hallowell and have three children.

See New Mainers Project

America’s Whitest State? Migration to Maine Yesterday and Today

This was a live event with no Zoom component.


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Colby Chace Center

Main Street, Waterville


Linda Cotter Speaker Series Evening was held

in collaboration with the Colby College Goldfarb Center

Mid-Maine Global Forum Linda Cotter Speaker Event

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, Colby College

6:00 pm

Heather Conley

President of the German Marshall Fund US

Ukraine War: The Holiday from History is Over

Ms. Conley arrives at GMF after 12 years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she most recently served as senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and as director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program. At CSIS, Ms. Conley developed the acclaimed Kremlin Playbook series, a dedicated research effort that examined the doctrine and methodology of Russian malign economic behavior and its methodology across Europe. She also is a recognized expert on the Arctic region, focusing on the Russian Arctic, climate transformation and U.S. policy toward the region.

Ms. Conley previously served four years as executive director of the Office of the Chairman of the Board at the American National Red Cross, where she supported the first comprehensive reform of the governance structure of the American Red Cross Board since 1947, incorporating modern best-governance practices. She worked closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the International Movement’s policies and programs in the Middle East and elsewhere.

From 2001 to 2005, Ms. Conley was deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for U.S. bilateral relations with the countries of Northern and Central Europe. She co-led the U.S. interagency effort to enlarge NATO and secure Senate ratification of an Amended NATO Treaty, and she created a senior level U.S. dialogue with the eight Nordic and Baltic states, the Enhanced Partnership in Europe (e-PINE).

Earlier in her career, she worked at an international consulting firm led by former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.

Ms. Conley began her career in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She was selected to serve as special assistant to the coordinator of U.S. assistance to the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, and she has received two State Department Meritorious Honor Awards.

Conley frequently appears as a foreign policy analyst and Europe expert on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and PBS, among other prominent media outlets. She received her B.A. in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).


Monday, April 25th 2022

In collaboration with the Waterville Rotary

Masibonge Ian_Lawre Ngidi-Brown

Director of International Student Programs and Associate Director of the Pugh Center

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


February 28th 12 noon on Zoom

Kimberly Flowers, Director of the Goldfarb Center at Colby College


Global Food Insecurity: Covid, Conflict, & Climate Change

Ms. Flowers has two decades of experience in public policy, international development, and strategic communications and has been a frequent speaker and moderator on global food security trends. She joined Colby College in March 2020 as the executive director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs. Previously, she served since 2015 as director of both the Humanitarian Agenda and the Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. Her work at CSIS predominately addressed the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance programs and policies that impact poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in the developing world. While at CSIS, she led a high-level congressional task force on humanitarian access and conducted field research in more than a dozen countries. Her career path has taken her around the world, including working for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Ethiopia, Jamaica, and Haiti, serving twice as a Peace Corps Volunteer and leading multiple congressional staff delegations overseas. A frequent speaker and moderator, Flowers has authored numerous articles on global food systems and humanitarian aid. She graduated magma cum laude from William Jewell College and studied at Oxford University.


December 6, 2021

John Hanley

Living Between The Lines – My Experience Working with Children at the Haitian/Dominican Border

Upon completing my BA in Psychology I worked in a Children’s Residential Treatment Center in Florida from 1995 – 2006. During that time I completed masters degrees in Social Work and Healthcare Administration. In 2007 my wife Melissa and our 6 year-old daughter Kate moved to the Dominican Republic. From 2007 – 2010 we were on the North Coast where I helped an organization establish an accredited primary care clinic serving the community. In 2010 we moved to Jimani on the southern border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. We initially worked with a different organization to get another clinic established and accredited, but they also wanted to establish a Children’s Home in the community. Upon getting both projects up and running, unfortunately in 2015 due to internal conflict the organization stopped it’s work in the Dominican Republic. At that point my wife and I decided to establish our own 501(c)3 to continue the Children’s Home and continue to care for the 18 children in our care. A few months later we expanded and opened a second home, a Youth Shelter, in the neighboring Haitian town of Fonds-Parisien. We currently have 16 kids between the ages of 2 – 17 in our Children’s Home, 6 young men and women in our Transition Program as they have aged out of care, but remain part of our family, and average 10 – 12 kids a day in our emergency/shelter program. Our focus on the DR is children that at some point immigrated from Haiti to the DR with a parent or parents. However, while they were in the DR came to the attention of the Child Welfare system and were placed in our care. On the Haitian side of the border, we focus on at-risk kids that are likely attempting to cross the border alone, and our goal is to reunite them with their families or provide care to keep them from crossing the border by placing them in our shelter, enrolling them in a local school, and working with both them and their families to provide permanency and stability


2021 Oak Human Rights Fellow: Olga Sadovskaya
Now November 9, 2021
The Oak Fellow for Incarceration and Human Rights is Russian human rights lawyer Olga Sadovskaya. Olga is vice chair of the Committee Against Torture, the largest and most notable anti-torture organization in Russia, which she and three other activists launched in 2000.

Olga Sadovskaya is a human rights lawyer working as the vice-chair of the Committee Against Torture in Russia, who has been working on issues surrounding torture for over 18 years. She began this human rights initiative in 2000 along with three other activists; Now the Committee against Torture is the largest and most notable anti-torture organization in Russia.

For the last 13 years, Olga Sadovskaya has served as the Deputy Head of the organization, during which time she and her colleagues have built a dedicated team that has won many international awards, including the PACE Prize of the Council of Europe and Martin Ennals Award Frontline Defenders Human Rights Award. Sadovskaya, individually, has received the Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award and was included in the shortlist for Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

During the early years at the committee, Sadovskaya’s role as an investigator included collecting evidence of torture in colonies, prisons, police, and psychiatric institutions. Over time, she transitioned to analysis and international defense with the European Court and UN bodies. Sadovskaya also trains lawyers on how to work with the European Court of Human Rights.

After years of experience with torture cases, Sadovskaya and her team have written and published a methodology for public investigation, which is now widely used by human rights organizations in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Olga has personally represented more than 300 victims of torture before the European Court of Justice, two of which have been included in the list of 20 most important cases that changed Russia.

The Committee Against Torture has created accountability for torture that was previously missing in Russia. Torture as an issue was scarcely talked about and often victims were scared and ashamed to speak out or believed it was not possible to get justice. However, the problems are still very prevalent. Investigations into torture are still very low in quality. This problem is amplified in the Chechen Republic, where Sadovskaya’s organization is the only one that continues to work on cases of tortures and abductions.

While working against state-sanctioned torture, Sadovskaya has faced personal threats, including the threats of murder, particularly for her work in Chechnya. The Committee’s office has been burned down several times and their cars have been destroyed. Olga is also periodically monitored and constantly at risk of being accused of baseless crimes.

Sadovskaya hopes to use the Oak Human Rights Fellowship as respite so that she can continue her work in Russia, as well as an opportunity to connect with Colby students and raise awareness on issues of torture and incarceration in Russia and around the world.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Margaret Chase Smith Library Leeke-Shaw Lecture

The Margaret Chase Smith Library is pleased to announce Pamela White as the speaker for the 2021 Leeke-Shaw Lecture on International Affairs, which is cosponsored by the Mid-Maine Global Forum.

Ambassador White had a long career as a diplomat. Following graduation from the University of Maine in 1971, she served in Cameroon as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 1978 she joined the United States Agency for International Development. Over the next two decades, she worked on a variety of foreign aid projects, primarily in Africa. In 2010 she was appointed US Ambassador to The Gambia and two years later she became Ambassador to Haiti.


Inaugural Linda Cotter Speaker Event
Ambassador Dennis Ross

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 

Dinner Program at Colby College

Topic: What is the Biden administration facing in the Middle East? Will there be a deal with Iran? Can the next blow-up between Israel and Hamas in Gaza be prevented? Are there any positive developments in a region that seems to know only conflict?

Ambassador Dennis Ross will discuss these and other issues

The Mid-Maine Global forum is pleased to host Ambassador Dennis Ross as the speaker for our inaugural Linda Cotter Lecture. Ambassador Ross is a leading expert on the Middle East, former Middle East peace envoy, former senior U.S. diplomat, and currently counselor and distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The Mid-Maine Global Forum is thrilled to be able to host our distinguished guest this summer.


May 24, 2021
The Mid-Maine Global Forum presents Tarlan Ahmadov, State Refugee Coordinator for the Office of Maine Refugee Services at Catholic Charities Maine. “Global Migration, US Refugee Resettlement, and Maine’s Unique Challenges and Opportunities” A free virtual presentation on Monday, May 24th from 12 – 1 p.m. This talk will provide an overview of refugee resettlement in Maine and will touch on topics including global migration and International, national and local refugee resettlement processes, the history of Catholic Charities Maine as a resettlement agency, Catholic Charities Maine integration services, some figures and stories of populations that have resettled in Maine, and the barriers and challenges that refugees face in Maine and how others can help. Tarlan Ahmadov is the State Refugee Coordinator at the Office of Maine Refugee Services Catholic Charities Maine, where he has worked since 2004. Prior to his immigration to the USA, Tarlan worked in the education field in Baku, Azerbaijan, and later joined the non-profit sector, combined with a consulting business to the Consulate of Azerbaijan in Tehran, Iran. Tarlan had the privilege of working in various capacities with local and international NGOs, such as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems providing training to the newly established municipalities in Azerbaijan, and Social Research Center by screening refugees from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. He graduated from the Baku State University with a master’s degree in history and social sciences. He is the father of two children. Tarlan speaks several languages. Travel is one his passions: during the last two decades, he has visited over 40 countries for business, training, and teaching purposes. 

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
A panel discussion with three area young New Mainers Moderator: Chris Asch, Capital Area New Mainers Project Student panelists:
Duha Al Edany, Hadeel Alseleh, Halah Al Subaihawi,
“Adjusting to School in a New Country”

This program will involve classes in area high schools
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Marwa Hassanien
The Mid-Maine Global Forum in partnership with the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine presents a free program: Marwa Hassanien – Challenging Misconceptions of Women in Islam Tuesday, March 16, 2021 – 12 – 1 p.m. Mid-Maine Global Forum will continue its focus on women around the world with a program presented in partnership with the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine on Monday, March 15th from 12 – 1 p.m.

February 22, 2021
Professor Christel Kesler
Women and Work-Family Reconciliation: Lessons from Comparative Social Policy
        Christel Kesler is Associate Professor of Sociology at Colby College. She also currently serves as the Faculty Associate Director of Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs. Kesler holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California-Berkeley, and has previously held positions at Barnard College and Oxford University. Kesler’s research focuses broadly on issues of inequality and social policy. One recent line of her research, which will inform this talk, concerns racial, ethnic, and social class variation in work-family reconciliation in the United States and other advanced democracies. 


Monday, December 13, 2020
in partnership with the Waterville Rotary
Steven Simon is Professor in the Practice of International Relations at Colby College, following stints as John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of History at Amherst College and lecturer in government at Dartmouth College. He is also a research analyst for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the US and Middle East.  From 2011 to 2012 he served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He also served on the NSC staff 1994 – 1999 as senior director for counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the U.S. Department of State.

Between government assignments, he was a principal at Good Harbor Consulting, LLC in Abu Dhabi; Goldman Sachs & Co. visiting professor at Princeton University; Hasib Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; analyst at the RAND Corporation; and deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He has held fellowships at Oxford University, Brown University and the American Academy in Berlin.

He is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations; The Next Attack, a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, and one of the “best books of the year” in the Washington Post and Financial Times; Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change; The Sixth Crisis: The US, Israel, Iran and Rumors of War; The Pragmatic Superpower: The United States and the Middle East in the Cold War; and Our Separate Ways: The Struggle for the Future of the US-Israel Alliance. He is now working on a new book, The Long Goodbye: The United States and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring.

December 14, 2019

George Ritz
Healthcare for the Indigenous People of Paraguay
George Ritz, a forester from Bradford, Maine is a University of Maine graduate.  He has been recognized by the School of Forest Resources as Distinguished Alumni and by the Society of American Foresters as Outstanding Field Forester in the Northeast region. He and his wife, Sylvia, are recipients of the Bernard Lown Humanitarian Award which is awarded by the University of Maine Alumni Association. The last half of his career George was a district forest land manager for the Maine Bureau of Public Lands and he is now retired.

George served in the Peace Corps 1968-1971, working with the Agricultural Extension service and Forestry Institute of Chile.  From 1982-87, he served as Director of natural resource programs, and Acting Director of Peace Corps Paraguay.

In 1995, George and Sylvia’s 12 year old daughter, Andrea, died suddenly.   Remembering the many parents and children in Paraguay who suffer with inadequate or no heath care, George and Sylvia felt the most appropriate memorial to Andrea would be to promote health and health care services in unserved rural areas of Paraguay. Their experience working in Paraguay pointed toward the need to address three important areas; the provision of medical clinics, safe drinking water, and education to ensure long term health and sanitation. They established a non-profit organization, Andrea Ritz Clinics in Paraguay, to work toward these goals.

For the last 22 years George has made annual trips to Paraguay ranging from one to 4 months in length.  Over these years and in conjunction with local communities, three full time clinics, three part-time clinic/dispensaries, running water systems for 11 villages, ten  elementary schools,  one agricultural vocational high school, and one combination village food kitchen /clinic have been constructed and are in operation.

Each year a doctor from Maine has accompanied George for part of the trip to provide care to patients and training for local staff. Clinics have become largely self-sufficient with staff and basic medications now provided by the Ministry of Health. We located one of our first clinics near an indigenous Mby’a tribal settlement and was able to serve their medical needs.  As we gained this group’s trust, other Mby’a communities in the province also approached us to work with them. After first meeting with the villagers to learn of their needs and priorities, we got to work. Our focus has been on clean water, education, first aid/health training, agriculture, and income generation allowing the Mby’a to begin to enter the cash economy while retaining their traditional culture.

Our intent has always been to work ourselves out of a job as local communities and authorities take over the task. Since the original clinics are now largely independent, our current focus is primarily with Mby’a and Ache communities as these resettlement areas are largely abandoned by local governments.


The Margaret Chase Smith Library
Leeke-Shaw Lecture

Lora Pitman
Thursday, October 22, 2019
At Easter time in 1949, Margaret Chase Smith gave a radio speech over the Mutual Broadcasting System expressing regret “that so few women have been chosen to participate in the United Nations.”  In the aftermath of two World Wars, Senator Smith went on to assert that: “Wars are man-made. Peace could be partially woman-made.” 

Seventy years later, the 2020 Leeke-Shaw Lecture on International Affairs will examine the role of women in global issues.  The speaker will be Lora Pitman, who holds a Ph.D. in International Security from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Pitman has interned at the Joint Forces Staff College and consulted with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  In her presentation, she will explore theories about women in international security, their achievements in the field, the professional challenges they encounter, and their role in conflict zones.

Friday, September 25, 2019
2020 Oak Human Rights Fellow: Nasim Lomani
Nasim Lomani is a human rights defender and migrants’ rights activist working both in the field and at the political level in Greece and the greater EU for over a decade.</p>
<p>Lomani arrived in Greece nearly two decades ago as a 16-year-old from Afghanistan. Upon arrival, he was arrested and charged with illegal crossing of the Greek border, ultimately serving a two-year prison sentence. During the process of appealing to the court for having his rights as a refugee abused and violated, he learned about the bureaucratic difficulties that all migrants face while on the move to Europe. He joined a number of solidarity groups, such as the Network for Social Support to Immigrants and Refugees and the Migrants’ Social Center in Athens, where he coordinated free language classes and the Athens Anti-racist Festival. He also engaged in solidarity work that included lawyers, human rights defenders, as well as refugees and migrants.
<p>Lomani, together with other solidarians, founded and served as one of the key organizers of City Plaza – Refugees Accommodation Solidarity Space in Athens, where he organized daily life for migrants, managed media communication, coordinated international volunteers, and served as the public representative to researchers, students, and academics.City Plaza, once one of the largest solidarity migrant accommodations in Athens, was a repurposed abandoned hotel in central Athens that offered people on the move (400 at a time, 3,000 in total and for almost three and half years) the right to live in dignity in the urban space with access to social, economic, and political rights. Lomani lived inside the now-suspended City Plaza as long as it was open, organizing to create international solidarity.
<p>Lomani faces increasing risk, as migration solidarity work and defending human rights in Greece, and Europe at large has been criminalized in recent years. Helping refugees and criticizing human rights violations by authorities is now a major offense by both national and European law. In Greece, this has led to large-scale evictions of refugees and asylum seekers from housing sites and increased arrests and prosecutions of activists.
<p>Lomani has been active in the human rights field since he was a child. The Oak Fellowship will offer some much-needed respite. As the 2020 Oak Fellow, he will teach students at Colby about the Balkan Route, solidarity organizing, and anti-racist politics.

Friday, December 13, 2019
Colby College Professer Jennifer Yoder
The Afterlife of the Berlin Wall
The lasting impact of walls – physical, mental and symbolic – in Germany and Europe including  Angela Merkel’s Legacy and National-Populism in Germany
Jennifer Yoder is the Robert E. Diamond Chair of Government and Global Studies at Colby College where she has taught since 1996. Yoder’s courses include European Politics, German Politics, Memory and Politics, the Transformation from Communism, and the European Union. She is the author of two books: From East Germans to Germans? The New Post-Communist Elite and Crafting Democracy: Regional Politics in Post-Communist Europe. Her latest book project analyzes the European Union’s efforts to foster a sense of common history, collective memory, and trans-European identity. Yoder’s articles have appeared in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, German Politics and Society, German Politics, German Studies Review, East European Politics and Societies, Europe-Asia Studies and Regional and Federal Studies. She lives in Waterville, Maine with her husband and three children. 

November 13, 2019
Colby Professor Patrice Franko
“Brazil: Still the Country of the Future?”
Patrice Franko, a specialist in development economics in Latin America, came to Colby in 1986. She teaches classes in the economics of globalization, contemporary economic development in Latin America, and in microeconomics principles. She has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil (2012/2013), was a AAAS fellow in 1990 and a Pew Faculty fellow in 1992. She has been active as a consultant to Georgia Tech’s Executive Masters in International Logistics, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the National Academy of Sciences. The fourth edition of her text book, The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Development, will be released in 2015. She is currently working on  a project on defense industrialization in Brazil and a new book  The Economics of Globalization (with Stephen Stamos). Patrice is married to Government Professor Sandy Maisel.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Jamila Bargach
Colby College’s Oak Fellow
  “Riding the Wave: Reflections on Fog Collecting in Morocco”
  She is an activist and anthropologist who has dedicated her life to serving under resourced communities in Southwest Morocco, creating sustainable initiatives through education and scientific innovation. She is the co-founder of Dar Si Hmad, which operates the largest functioning fog collection project in the world, a system which fosters the independence of Amazigh women in Ait Baamrane, a Berber region, by delivering potable water to their households.


Friday, September 27, 2019
Main Street, Waterville
 Join Steve and Molly Saunders from Wayne, Maine 
Catastrophe on Southern Border
 Join Steve and Molly for a talk about their experience volunteering recently in El Paso, Texas. As former Peace Corps Volunteers in El Salvador, Steve and Molly  heard about the need for Spanish speakers at a church-run shelter for asylum seekers coming from Central America upon their being released from detention camps in  EL Paso.They will share their experience and describe what they found during their 3-week stay at Casa Romero, a shelter that held up to 200 migrants, and one of several being used to facilitate their journey to sponsors’ homes throughout the U.S. Who are there asylum seekers? Why do they choose to make this dangerous journey? How are they treated while in ICE detention camps?How are they helped on their way Northby volunteers at these shelters once they are released from detention? Where are they now? And what can be done in the future about this human situation?

Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, Colby College
August 7th, 2019

wine/beer reception
7 pm Dinner followed by keynote address and Q & A
Professor Stephen Walt
Harvard Kennedy School
The Hell of Good Intentions: American Foreign Policy and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

June 11, 2019
Prof. Dan LaFave
Economic Development in Africa and China’s Role
Chace Center, Colby College, Main Street, Waterville

  Dan LaFave is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Faculty Affiliate of the East Asian Studies and Global Studies programs at Colby College. His research focuses on the interplay of health, human capital, and labor markets in developing settings. Dan works closely with undergraduate researchers and teaches courses in econometrics, development economics, health economics, and microeconomics. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke

Friday, May 17, 2019
Kyle Knight
9 am Erskine Academy


12 noon Regular GF Program

Colby College Chace Center, Main Street, Waterville

     Kyle Knight is a researcher in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. Prior to joining the LGBT rights program, he was a fellow at the Williams Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles and a Fulbright scholar in Nepal. As a journalist he has worked for Agence France-Presse in Nepal and for IRIN, the UN’s humanitarian news service, reporting from Burma, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia. He has previously worked for UNAIDS, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and in the children’s rights and health and human rights divisions at Human Rights Watch. He studied cultural anthropology at Duke University.

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Film: Transmilitary
Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville
The film will be followed by a discussion led by Kyle Knight of Human Rights Watch (see information below on Friday’s talk) and Katherine (Katie) Taylor, whose bio appears here:
Katherine Taylor is a USCG veteran. She is the founder of Kennebec Valley Queer Coalition. She also does peer support facilitation for Maine Trans Net and NAMI Maine. Katie has provided LGBTQ+ veteran trainings at Togus Maine VA as well as at the White River Junction, Vermont VA Medical Center. Katie is hopeful that her being transgender is the least interesting facet of who she is.

TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four individuals (Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace and First Lieutenant El Cook) defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve. The ban was lifted in 2016, but with President Trump now trying to reinstate it, their futures hang in the balance again.

Around 15,500 transgender people serve in the U.S. military (notably the largest transgender employer in the U.S.), where they must conceal their gender identity because military policies ban their service.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019
12 noon (lunch ready by 11:30)

Chace center, Colby College, Main Street, Waterville
Jim Friedlander
        Contemporary Africa-China and Corruption-Challenge or Curse?
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1966, Jim joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in  Malawi.  Thus began a half century international career.  He was legal advisor to Malawi’s Foreign Ministry, followed by stints  with the World Bank, Citibank and international law firms both large and small. He has lived for extensive periods in the DC area, Nairobi, Moscow and now London and  has worked directly in 25 African countries as well as in the Soviet Union/Russia and Eastern Europe. Jim has worked as both a lawyer and banker and served on the boards of a listed bank and a listed mining company.  He is currently on the board of a renewable energy company.
   During this semi-annual trip to the States, he will join other 1966 Malawi volunteers in Florida.

Friday, March 1, 2019
12 noon (lunch 11:30)

in conjunction with the Holocaust and Human Rights Center

Michael Klahr Center,  46 University Drive

University of Maine

Considering 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World
Featuring Indira Williams Babic, director of photography and visual resources at the Newseum
    The Mid-Maine Global Forum and Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine are proud to host a luncheon program featuring Indira Williams Babic, the director of photography and virtual resources at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Ms. Williams Babic will discuss the creation of the exhibit 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World. The event will be held on Friday, March 1st at noon, at the Michael Klahr Center, 46 University Drive, Augusta, Maine. Lunch will be available at 11:30 for $12, advance registration required.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World is a photographic exhibit created by Howard G. Buffet in partnership with the Newseum. The exhibit is currently on display at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine through March 22nd. The process of photographing the effects of hunger throughout the world also inspired a best-selling book by the same title. To learn more about the exhibit, visit

Indira Williams Babic is the director of photography and visual resources at the Newseum. In this role, she oversees the research, acquisition, digital processing, rights management and preservation of the Newseum’s collection of more than 500,000 historic images. Indira has managed and curated all images that have appeared in Newseum exhibits since the museum opened in its current location in 2008, including the original 14 galleries and more than 35 changing exhibits. Indira has more than 20 years of experience working in photography. Prior to joining the Newseum, she was a researcher for one of the first online stock photo services, a co-producer for a television variety show in Spain, and an editor for a book publisher in Panama.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

12 noon (lunch available at 11:30)

Chace Center, Colby College, Maine Street Waterville

Professor Doreen Stabinsky
College of the Atlantic
What does the Paris climate agreement mean for African countries?
   Doreen Stabinsky is professor of Global Environmental Politics at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA. Her research focuses on political and policy responses to the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security, with a particular interest in impacts on the African continent, and primarily within the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. In 2015-2016, she held the first Zennström visiting professorship in Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University, Sweden.

   She actively researches and writes about the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security, and on the emerging issue of loss and damage from slow onset impacts of climate change. She also serves as advisor to a number of governments and international NGOs on issues related to agriculture and loss and damage in ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Doreen has represented various NGOs and the College of the Atlantic in numerous intergovernmental forums, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and the World Trade Organization. She has also held positions with and advised non-governmental organizations on topics related to genetic engineering and agriculture, including ten years as an agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace.

Her most recent publications include: Environmental Politics for a Changing World: power, perspectives and practice (written with Ronnie Lipschutz) and Missing Pathways to 1.5 *C: the role of the land sector in ambitious climate action (published by the Climate, Land, Ambition and Rights Alliance, with several co-authors).


Friday, December 14, 2018
Professor Linda Beck
12 noon
Colby’s Chace Center, Main Street, Downtown Waterville

Les Sénégalais d”Amérique: The “Push Pull” of Senegalese Emigration

 Professor of Political Science/Director of International and Global Studies has a MA and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin; 1991 MA University of Wisconsin. Her  areas of expertise are Political Science: Comparative Politics (Africa, Muslim World), Environmental Politics, Political Philosophy. Since joining the faculty in 2006, Linda Beck has developed several new courses that reflect her research interests, such as Civic Engagement & Social Accountability in which students work on a service-learning project with one of Maine’s many non-profit organizations.
 Linda has herself conducted research on social accountability in both Africa and Asia. She has also worked with Maine’s environmental community, serving as president of the Maine Conservation Alliance. Her work on environmental issues in the US and overseas informs her newly developed course, Environmental Politics in Comparative Perspective. Linda has published various articles, chapters in edited volumes and a book on ethno-politics and democratization in Senegal (W. Africa), and has conducted research for various development organizations such as the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, Freedom House, and the International Budget Project.

Friday, November 9, 2018
Program starts at 12 noon: lunch available about 11:30

Colby’s Chace Center, downtown Waterville
Enter the door on Main Street across from Portland Pie

Professor Laura Seay
“Understanding Violence in Central Africa.” 
Laura is an assistant professor of Government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Her research is centered around the study of community responses to conflict and U.S. foreign policy in Africa’s Great Lakes region.  She is currently finishing a book, Substituting for the State, about the role non-state actors play in governing the eastern DRC in response to the Congolese state’s weakness in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri. She is also engaged in a new project on the effects of U.S. legislation designed to mitigate conflict in central Africa and in 2014, She is leading an impact evaluation of a large community-based reconstruction (CBD) governance intervention in four Congolese provinces. Her research and teaching interests include qualitative and mixed methods, African politics and development, and post-conflict state reconstruction. She has also worked with the World Bank in Nigeria on efforts to improve the national primary health care system through evaluating the implementation of a results-based finance system, with particular attention to reducing instances of maternal, infant, and child mortality by removing demand-side barriers to system access.

At Colby, Laura teaches African politics, conflict, and research methods. She blogs about African politics, development, and security at Texas in Africa and am a contributor to the Duck of Minerva, the Christian Science Monitor’s Africa Monitor blog, and The

Lunch will  be sponsored by Jorgensen’s for $12. Of course you are welcome to bring

Friday, October 19, 2018
University of Maine Professor Seth Singleton
Does Trump + Putin = The End of The West?
Margaret Chase Smith Library, Skowhegan
This program is part of the Forum’s collaboration with the MC Smith Library
 Seth Singleton teaches international relations at the University of Maine. He studied Russian history at Harvard and received his Ph.D in International Relations at Yale.  He won the American Political Science Association prize for best dissertation in International Relations while at Yale University and has held grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Council on Soviet and East European Research, the Fulbright program, and the Open Society Institute. He has lived and worked at universities in Russia, Tanzania, Ecuador, and Vietnam, and consulted in China, Mongolia, and Bolivia. Along with teaching, he has been faculty research associate at Harvard and academic dean in universities in the US and overseas, most recently Associate Provost in charge of curriculum and faculty at the new Tan Tao University in Vietnam. Seth and Charlotte Singleton live in Mount Desert.

     Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Andrew Stancioff
Climate Change, Conflict and Migration-An Example From Africa
Mr. Stancioff is a geologist, natural resource planner, analyst, and manager with 35 years of experience in geology, hydrology, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, climatology, and oceanography. He has 40 years of experience in developing countries and 24 years in Africa. During the last ten years, Mr. Stancioff has worked to develop methods and models to monitor and evaluate poverty and conflict in areas under stress from overpopulation and overuse of natural resources and other forms of degradation. He has been involved in modeling, demographic health and environmental data in support of early warning systems. For six years, he mapped the geologic, mineral, hydraulic and natural resources of Zaire, Guinea, Central Africa, and Mauritania. From 1991‑96, he was the USAID “team leader” at the AGRHYMET Center in Niamey, Niger where he developed maps for agricultural and health development projects for 13 African countries. In recent years, Mr. Stancioff has focused climate change and its effects on water resources and on reducing atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by reforesting areas in north Africa.   He is presently seeking support for an effort to reforest some of the most appropriate areas in the Sahel of Africa to sequester Carbon and to provide improved living conditions to people in that region.

June 5, 2018
Chris Asch
Capital Area New Mainers Project
    Chris Myers Asch serves as CANMP’s Executive Director. A native of Washington, D.C., Chris teaches history part-time at Colby College and is the author most recently of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital. He and his wife live in Hallowell and have three children.

Please register by Monday, June 4th, 12 noon. The lunch is as usual $12 and you are free to bring your own food!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville
As part of our Oak-Grove grant to provide programs in schools and for the broader community, the Forum is please to host this documentary film.

Soufra follows the unlikely and wildly inspirational story of intrepid social entrepreneur, Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon. The film follows Mariam as she sets out against all odds to change her fate by launching a successful catering company, “Soufra,” and then expand it into a food truck business with a diverse team of fellow refugee woman who now share this camp as their home.

Monday, April 30, 2018
12 Noon at the Alfond Center
Pious Ali
From Town Square to City Hall: 
Maine’s first elected African born Muslim immigrant’s journey from community organizing to policy making and lessons learned
Pious Ali, a Youth and Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service, has spent the better part of his life focused on community engagement.

Pious is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to public office in Maine, becoming a member of the city’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013 and an at Large- City Councilor in November 2016.  He also founded the Maine Interfaith Youth Alliance and is the co-founder of King Fellows, a Portland-based youth group dedicated to creating meaningful opportunities for youth through leadership and civic engagement based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pious is an alumnus of the Institute for Civic Leadership (now known as Lift360), and in 2015 he was named Lift360’s Most Distinguished Alumnus.

A native of Ghana, Pious migrated to the United States (NY) in 2000 and has called Portland his home for the past decade where he lives with his children ( daughter and son). He is also a gifted photographer and has worked as a photojournalist for a range of print publications in Ghana.

April 12, 2018
    5 PM
In collaboration with the Colby Art Museum

Miles and Katharine Culbertson Prentice Distinguished Lecture: Yoshua Okón

Given Auditorium, Bixler Arts and Music Center, Colby College

Mexican artist Yoshua Okón’s videos blur the lines between documentary, reality, and fiction. He collaborates closely with his actors (often amateurs) to create sociological examinations that ask viewers to contemplate uncomfortable situations and circumstances. In this talk, he will focus on a select group of works produced over the last twenty years including Oracle, now on view at Colby, and Octopus, a piece made in Los Angeles in 2011. Public reception to follow in the Museum’s William D. Adams Lobby.

Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. His solo exhibitions include: Yoshua Okón: Collateral, MUAC, Mexico City; Yoshua Okón: In the Land of Ownership, Tokyo; Saló Island, UC Irvine, Irvine; Piovra, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan; Poulpe, Mor Charpentier, Paris; Octopus, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and SUBTITLE, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Colección Jumex and MUAC, among others.

Facebook Event Page:

To register for the Thursday event, go to: Colby College


Friday, April 13, 2018
3-5 pm
DREAM Action: Voicing Challenges in Our Own Communities

Friday, April 13, 2018, 3:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Colby College Museum of Art

Holocaust and Human Rights Center
University of Maine Augusta
12 noon: lunch at 11:30
Nick Mills
Failed Interventions and Lessons Unlearned — Vietnam to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria
In this presentation we will discuss the history and the successes or failures of some of America’s foreign interventions. Since the end of WWII the United States has intervened in more than 70 countries, sometimes overtly militarily (Korea, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan), clandestinely (USSR, Chile) or with the use of proxies (Afghanistan in the 1980s, Syria today). Many of these interventions have had the stated aim of deterring the spread of Communism but in so doing they propped up brutal authoritarian regimes (Nicaragua, Guatemala), and in at least one case led to the assassination of a democratically elected leader (Chile). Today many are accusing Russia of intervening in the 2016 presidential election. When, and how, is foreign intervention wise, necessary — or reckless?

Nick B. Mills is a global strategic communication consultant with many years of experience as a teacher, trainer, adviser, spoken-word presentation coach, public relations counsel, broadcaster, and professional storyteller.  Mr. Mills taught broadcast and print journalism for 26 years at Boston University, managed educational programs for Boston University in London, Oxford University, and Washington, D.C.; and managed programs at B.U. for visiting Portuguese journalists.

He made thousands of news broadcasts on major Boston radio stations and nationwide on the ABC Radio Network; and coached high-ranking government, military and corporate leaders in the effective use of spoken-word communication in a variety of media.  Clients have included the president of Panama, the Defense Minister of Colombia, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the commander of the Indonesian armed forces, and many others.

Mr. Mills served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 as an adviser in the Division Public Affairs Office; in 1992, after the first Gulf War, he recruited and trained Iraqi Kurds in visual journalism, in northern Iraq. In 2004 Mr. Mills served as a trainer and adviser in the press office of President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan; his experiences in the presidential palace in Kabul led to his collaboration with President Karzai to produce a book, KARZAI – The Failing American Intervention and the Struggle for Afghanistan.  Years before that in Peshawar, Pakistan he trained a hand-picked group of Afghans in journalism and established the first full-service Afghan news agency, AMRC, now based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Mr. Mills’s experience as an Army combat photographer in Vietnam led to the publication of two books, Combat Photographer (Boston Publishing/Time-Life) and The American Experience in Vietnam – Reflections on an Era (Boston Publishing/Zenith).  He has also written for Huffington Post,, Foreign Policy, Yankee Magazine, and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He has written and produced award-winning radio commercials, and has been a featured storyteller at the Maine Lobster Festival.  Mr. Mills is a past president of the Board of Directors of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a member of the board of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, and president of the Upper Dam Camp Owners Association.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018
In the Name of the “People”:  The Rise of Populism in Europe
Dr. James Richter
Alfond Youth Center, 126 North St., Waterville
Dr. Richter’s current research pursues two different but related tracks. First, following upon earlier scholarship on the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Russian governance under Putin, he is working on a long-term project that compares and contrasts the relation between state and society in Russia and China. He is particularly interested in tracing continuing patterns of governance back through the imperial period of the 19th century.


January 17, 2018
Alfond Youth Center, North Street Waterville

Dr. Richard Hopper

President, Kennebec Valley Community College
Higher Education in the Palestinian Authority
Last June Dr. Hopper visited universities in the Palestinian Territories to help them develop the process for accreditation and quality assurance. He will talk about his trip and what is happening with higher education in the challenging environment of the occupation.


November 2, 2017
Margaret Chase Smith Library
This program is part of the collaboration between the Global Forum and the MC Smith Library

An End to Pacifism? Japanese Remilitarization and Outlooks for Global Stability
Dr. Kristin Vekasi
   Dr.  Vekasi will present the annual Leeke-Shaw Lecture on International Affairs at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan on Thursday, November 2nd. Japan’s postwar constitution prohibits the country’s use of force as a way of settling international disputes. For decades, Japan’s pacifist stance has had broad support from the Japanese public, limiting the options for hawkish politicians like current Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Recent conflicts in East Asia including Chinese actions in the East and South China Sea and nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula, however, have pushed Japan closer to becoming a “normal” military power than any other time post 1945. This talk will cover the ramifications of possible Japanese remilitarization for Japan, the United States, and global stability.

Dr. Vekasi is a professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. She received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has conducted extensive research and fieldwork across Northeast Asia, particularly in China and Japan. She has been a visiting fellow with the Japan Foundation at Tokyo University, a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow at the Harbin Institute of Technology, and a Fulbright Fellow at Tohoku University. She is a member of the US-Japan Network for the Future through the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation and Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership. Her research focuses on China-Japan relations, and how multinational firms manage political risk in a globalized and politicized world. Her most recent publications in the Chinese Journal of International Politics and East Asia Forum Quarterly discuss how private firms use cultural exchange programs to improve tense international relations.


October 19, 2017
Alfond Center
Colby College’s Oak Fellow Jinyan Zeng
Jinyan Zeng, a Chinese filmmaker, blogger, activist, and scholar, has been named the 2017 Oak Human Rights Fellow at Colby. This is the first time in its nearly 20-year history that the Oak Institute for Human Rights has selected someone from the People’s Republic of China.

“Video Confession, Surveillance, and Sousveillance in Digital China”

 How do government, private sector, and individuals use video for their own ends in China? This talk will explore practices of video confession, surveillance, and sousveillance (inverse surveillance) in China.

Zeng has spent more than a decade and a half fighting for people with HIV-AIDS, women facing discrimination, factory workers suffering exploitation, a natural environment threatened by pollution, and political dissidents experiencing repression. This work sometimes upsets the Chinese party-state, which at different times has detained and surveilled her.

In 2006 Zeng made her first documentary, Prisoners in Freedom City, about living under house arrest in Beijing. Her most recent film, We the Workers, had its world premier at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in January 2017. During the production of that film, the Chinese party-state detained several of the featured labor activists, placed a few of them under house arrest, and forced still others to make “confessions” on state television. Zeng is cofounder of the Chinese Independent Documentary Lab in Hong Kong and the leading curator of an independent Chinese film series.

In 2017 Zeng earned a Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong, where she studied film, gender, and cyber-activism. Her dissertation focused on the work of Ai Xiaoming, a feminist professor of literature and a documentary filmmaker in China.

During the fall, when Zeng will be in Maine, she looks forward to editing footage for a new documentary on the pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” in Hong Kong. And she is eager to talk with Colby faculty, staff, and students who are curious about China, film, and human rights. Zeng arrives in Waterville in August.

Wednesday, September 20
Alfond Center 12 Noon

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Alfond Center 12 Noon
Colby Professor Hong Zhang

Political Satire and the Authoritarian State in Contemporary China
This program is sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council as part of its “World in Your Library programs. We are grateful to the Council for its support and collaboration.
   One new social phenomenon in China’s post-Mao reform era is the resurgence and wide-spread popularity of political satire. Diverse and pungent satirical sayings of reform-era China poke fun at corruption, hypocrisy, bureaucratic inefficiency, as well as voice outcries at new social ills and injustices.  This talk explores the popularity and role of political satire as a form of protest to vent dissent in the authoritarian China, and argues that as a social barometer, the political satire provides us an important window to understand how Chinese people develop their political astuteness through producing, circulating, and consuming political humor and satire in contemporary China.

“Political Satire and the Authoritarian State in Contemporary China”

This program is sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council as part of its “World in Your Library programs. We are grateful to the Council for its support and collaboration.
   One new social phenomenon in China’s post-Mao reform era is the resurgence and wide-spread popularity of political satire. Diverse and pungent satirical sayings of reform-era China poke fun at corruption, hypocrisy, bureaucratic inefficiency, as well as voice outcries at new social ills and injustices.  This talk explores the popularity and role of political satire as a form of protest to vent dissent in the authoritarian China, and argues that as a social barometer, the political satire provides us an important window to understand how Chinese people develop their political astuteness through producing, circulating, and consuming political humor and satire in contemporary China.


Thursday, August 10, 2017
Colby College
Ambassador Derek Mitchell

The Value of American Foreign Policy in Asia and the World
The Mid-Maine Global forum is pleased to host Ambassador Derek Mitchell as our guest speaker at our annual summer dinner program.  Ambassador Mitchell is senior advisor to the Asia Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  His most recent position in his distinguished career was as Ambassador to Myanmar (2012-2016).  He was director of the Southeast Asia Initiative at the  Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., and worked for the Department of Defense specializing in Asian security policies.  Ambassador Mitchell has authored numerous books, and articles on Asian security affairs, and co-authored China: The Balance Sheet – What the World Needs to Know about the Emerging Superpower (Public Affairs, 2006).  Ambassador Mitchell will bring his expertise and experience to us with his discussion of the value of American foreign policy in Asia and the world.


May 15-16, 2017

Adotei Akwei
  Managing Director of Government Relations for Amnesty International
Washington, D.C.

Adotei Akwei is Managing Director for Government Relations for Amnesty International USA. Before rejoining AIUS he was Deputy Director for Government Relations for CARE USA. As CARE USA Deputy he worked on Climate Change, Emergencies, Countries in Conflict and Micro-Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining CARE he worked for 11 years for Amnesty in a number of positions including Africa Director for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and Human Rights Director for the American Committee on Africa and the Africa Fund. He received a Masters in International relations from the College of William and Mary. He is originally from Ghana.

See website: Amnesty International USA

Adotei will be involved in three programs:

Monday, May 15, 2017
Film: The Heart of the Nuba
This film has been shown all over the world, including in the British Parliament, the US Congress, The Hague, the Italian Senate  and at many film festivals. The film has some graphic scenes and may not be appropriate for younger students.
Railroad Square Cinema

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
The Role of Amnesty International in the World
Erskine Academy
South China, Maine
Open to the public!

Tuesday, May 16 12 Noon
Amnesty International’s Work in Human Rights and Immigration
Alfond Center, 12 noon

  Thanks to a generous grant from the Oak-Grove Foundation the Forum is able to bring this distinguished speaker and film to our community and provide a program for high school students and faculty.

April 14, 2017
Waterville Public Library
Elizabeth Helitzer, Executive Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center
Bob Greenham, Program Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights center
“Yearning to Breathe Free: The Immigrant Experience in Maine.”
The story of immigrants in Maine is older than the state itself. From Verrazano’s first glimpse of Maine in 1524 on, immigrants have played a key role in shaping Maine and her people. This program, inspired by our 2015 exhibit of the same name, provides an overview of Maine’s immigrant past, and serves as a reminder of the important role that immigrants will play in our future.

March 6, 2017
in collaboration with the

Holocaust and Human Rights Center
This event will be at the UMA Michael Klahr Center
University of Maine, Augusta
From Everywhere to New Mainer
Join the Mid-Maine Global Forum and the HHRC for This is ME, Too: From Everywhere to New Mainer. This event will include a panel discussion with three New Mainers: Somali refugee Abdi Iftin; Iraqi refugee Nawar Al Obaidi; and Cambodian refugee Makara Meng. In this panel discussion, Abdi, Nawar and Makara will speak about their experiences coming to Maine, misconceptions and stories we don’t hear in the news about their home countries, and answer questions.

January 12, 2017
Alfond Center
UMF Professor Scott Erb
Maine Humanities Council

               The Crisis of the Syrian Civil War and Refugees in The EU
   Scott Erb is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine at Farmington, whose specialty is German politics and the European Union.   In this talk, Professor Erb will discuss both the background of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, and the profound impact this has on Germany and the European Union.  The crisis has challenged the core principles of the EU and
brings to the forefront the dilemmas of modern politics in the age of globalization and terrorism.

 December 7
Steve Ball
Vietnam: Dealing with Explosive Remnants of War
      Steve Ball, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and MMGF Board Member, will give a talk on current efforts to address the ongoing problems associated with un-exploded munitions left from wars in Vietnam.  Steve spent last year as the Vietnam Country Director for Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, a Nongovernmental Organization working globally to safely and effectively remove explosive remnants of war.  Steve will talk about the extent of the un-exploded munitions problem in Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia and Laos and what actions are being taken by Vietnam and partnering countries to alleviate the associated damaging social and economic problems.   Steve retired from the Army in 2005 after over 27 years of active service.  His last tour of duty was as the U.S. Defense Attaché to Vietnam.  After his tour he has returned to Vietnam  on two occasions working for humanitarian organizations operating largely in the central provinces of Vietnam.

November 15, 2016
at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan

Note the earlier starting time, so get there 15 minutes early if you are having lunch.

Professor Loring Danforth of Bates College

Saudi Modern: Contemporary Art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

   The images most Americans have of Saudi Arabia are frighteningly predictable – deserts, camels, and oil; Sharia law, Islamic fundamentalism, and jihad; rich sheikhs in white robes, oppressed women in black veils, and terrorists. In this talk I challenge these destructive Orientalist stereotypes by introducing the relatively unknown world of contemporary Saudi art. The work of young Saudi artists presents a unique insiders perspective on Saudi society and culture that offers more nuanced and complex portraits of Saudi Arabia than those that circulate in the American media. An open air mosque made out of chain link fencing. Yoda sitting next to King Faisal as Saudi Arabia joins the United Nations. And a Saudi woman painting a junked car pink.
 Loring M. Danforth is chair of the Anthropology Department at Bates College, where he has taught since 1978.  He is the author of five books and has written extensively on Greece.  His latest work, Crossing the Kingdom: Portraits of Saudi Arabia (University of California Press) is based upon a trip to the country he took with sixteen students in 2012.

October 19, 2016
Khalid Albaih
Colby College’s Oak Fellow

The Threat to Journalists in the Sudan

      Khalid Albaih is a political cartoonist from Sudan. He is Colby’s 2016 Oak Fellow at the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights.
Albaih uses his daring, often biting cartoons to champion freedom of expression and democracy in the Arab world, while criticizing Western Islamophobia and U.S. practices including torture and drone attacks.
Albaih draws simple but evocative images that are primarily displayed online. Many of those images have gone viral, earning him international recognition. Huffington Post mentions him first in its list of the world’s leading Arab cartoonists.
During the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, Albaih’s images were turned into stencils and reproduced on city walls in Cairo and Sana’a. He acquired thousands of followers on his Facebook site (“Khartoon!”—a play on his artistic medium and his former home in the capital of Sudan). His work also has appeared in exhibitions in Vienna, London, Montreal, Detroit, Bahrain, and The Hague and has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times and Al-Jazeera.
The son of a diplomat and a social justice activist, Albaih was born in Romania and grew up in Sudan and Qatar, where he now lives. He received a B.A. in interior design engineering from the Ajman University of Science and Technology and worked as a graphic designer and multimedia specialist before becoming head of installations and design for public art in Qatar Museums Authority.

September 21, 2016
Colby’s Professor Catherine Besteman
Somali Bantu Refugees’ Journey to Lewiston

Alfond Center, 12:30
How do people whose entire way of life has been destroyed and who witnessed horrible abuses against loved ones construct a new future? How do people who have survived the ravages of war and displacement rebuild their lives in a new country when their world has totally changed? In Making Refuge Catherine Besteman follows the trajectory of Somali Bantus from their homes in Somalia before the onset in 1991 of Somalia’s civil war, to their displacement to Kenyan refugee camps, to their relocation in cities across the United States, to their settlement in the struggling former mill town of Lewiston, Maine. Tracking their experiences as “secondary migrants” who grapple with the struggles of xenophobia, neoliberalism, and grief, Besteman asks what humanitarianism feels like to those who are its objects and what happens when refugees move in next door. As Lewiston’s refugees and locals negotiate coresidence and find that assimilation goes both ways, their story demonstrates the efforts of diverse people to find ways to live together and create community. Besteman’s account illuminates the contemporary debates about economic and moral responsibility, security, and community that immigration provokes.

Catherine Besteman is an anthropologist who has taught at Colby since 1994. After conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Somalia in the late 1980s, she reunited with her former neighbors from Somalia when they began moving to Maine as resettled refugees in 2006. Her new book, Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine, chronicles their journey from war-torn Somalia, to Kenya’s massive refugee camps, and, finally, to Lewiston. Besteman is a recent Guggenheim fellow, and her research for this book was also supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies.


Annual Dinner Program!! August 11, 2016
Nicholas Burns
Colby College

Mid-Maine Global Forum – Annual Dinner Invitation

Why America Matters: Foreign Policy Advice for the Next President

The Mid-Maine Global forum is pleased to present Nicholas Burns as our special guest speaker at our annual summer dinner program.  Dr. Burns brings his 27 years of experience in the U.S. foreign service, and his expertise as Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, to the Mid-Maine Global Forum for an insightful presentation regarding the significance of foreign policy for the next President of the United States.  Not only is Professor Burns a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, but he is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, and Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group.  Nicholas Burns writes articles and opinion pieces for numerous publications including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Harvard International Review, and the New York Times.  The Aspen Strategy Group released its latest policy book, Blind Spot:  America’s Response to Radicalism in the Middle East, edited by Nicholas Burns and Jonathon Price, December 2015.


June 10, 2016
Nicholas Record
Bigelow Laboratory spoke on the situation of the Bay of Fundy and the world’s oceans.


Maine International Film Festival

The Forum has sponsored two films:

May 2, 2016
Railroad Square Cinema
Soft Vengeance


May 3, 2016

9:30 am Messalonskee High School

“The Civil Rights Movement in the United States”

12 Noon Rem Center
South Africa Today

Prexy Nesbitt

Rozell “Prexy” Nesbitt was born and raised on Chicago’s West Side. After graduating from the Francis Parker School in Chicago, Nesbitt enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After graduating from Antioch in 1967, Nesbitt continued his education, attending the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania; Northwestern University; and Columbia University.

Even before completing his Ph.D. in 1975, Nesbitt was highly active in labor and equality movements; by 1976, he had become the national coordinator and field organizer for the Bank Withdrawal Campaign for the American Committee on Africa. Two years later Nesbitt was named the director of the Africa Project at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. In 1979, Nesbitt became the program director and secretary for research at the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Nesbitt returned to Chicago in 1984, where he continued his work as a labor organizer. In 1986, Chicago mayor Harold Washington named Nesbitt as a special assistant. The following year, the government of Mozambique appointed Nesbitt to serve as a consultant to help them represent their interests to the United States, Canada, and Europe; he remained in this post until 1992.

In 1990, Nesbitt took a post as a lecturer with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and in 1993, became the senior program officer with the Program on Peace & International Cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation. Nesbitt remained with the MacArthur Foundation until 1996, when he was named the dean of community engagement and diversity. In addition to his foundation work, Nesbitt worked as an African and American history teacher at his high school alma mater, Francis W. Parker School. Nesbitt also taught African History at Columbia College, and served as a consultant on diversity for the Francis W. Parker School; the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; and the East Educational Collaborative in Washington, DC. In 2001, Nesbitt became the South African representative of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the interim director for the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program. From 2003 on, Nesbitt worked as the Senior Multiculturalism and Diversity Specialist for the Chicago Teachers Center at Northeastern Illinois University.

Nesbitt has lectured both in the United States and abroad, and has written extensively, publishing a book and articles in more than twenty international journals. Nesbitt also served as a co-writer on the BBC production of The People’s Century programSkin Deep, about racism in the United States and South Africa. Over the course of his career, Nesbitt made more than seventy trips to Africa, including trips taken in secret to apartheid torn South Africa; his work has garnered him numerous awards throughout his career.

Friday, April 8, 2016
12 Noon REM Center

Kyle Knight
LGBT Human Rights Movement Around the World

Here’s a bio: Kyle Knight

    Knight will be about the global LGBT human rights movement and how the uptick in support from some governments has been met with backlash elsewhere–and what those of us who care about human rights can do about it in such turbulent political times. Gay rights work has very little to do with the wealth of a nation and far more to do with courage and creativity at a local level.
See Caravan Magazine

March 4, 2016
Reza Jalali
12 Noon

at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center UMA Augusta

Michael Klahr Center

New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors

  Immigration to Maine has been part of the American narrative for the past few centuries. America, as a nation of immigrants, has historically, with a few exceptions, welcomed the world’s persecuted by offering them safety and a chance to start a new life. Maine’s recent immigrants, most of them refugees fleeing wars, religious and political persecution, arrive from war-torn countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Rwanda, to name a few. The Book, New Mainers, Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors tells the stories of 29 New Mainers. Reza Jalali will discuss the book and the need to tell the stories of today’s immigrants.

 Reza Jalali is a writer, educator, and a community activist, who has taught at the Bangor Theological Seminary and the University of Southern Maine (USM) as an adjunct faculty. Jalali has written the Foreword to New Mainers (©2009, Tilbury House, Publishers) a book on immigrant’s lives in Maine. His children’s book, Moon Watchers has received a Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural Book. Jalali’s short story collection, Homesick Mosque and Other Stories was published in 2013. His play, The Poets and the Assassin, which is about women in Iran and Islam, was published in 2015. He has been a storyteller in the National Public Radio’s nationally-acclaimed The Moth Radio Hour. He coordinates the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at USM and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College.

February 16, 2016
at the Colby Art Museum 12:30

Assistant Professor Marta Ameri
The Role of Seals in the Ancient World

Marta Ameri received her Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2010. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Art History at Colby College where she teaches courses focusing on Ancient, Medieval and Islamic Art. Her research focuses of the role the seals play as markers of identity and as indicators of intercultural exchange in the Ancient Near East and South Asia. Her dissertation catalogued and examined a group of seals and seal impressions found at the Chalcolithic site of Gilund in Western India. Her current research focuses on the visual analysis of seals of the Indus Valley Civilization. She is also co-editing a major volume which examines the production, use and iconography of seals in the Ancient World, from the Aegean to South Asia. She has excavated in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, India and Oman.

In the ancient world, stamp and cylinder seals were one of the primary tools of administration and played a significant role as markers of social and individual identity. They could be use to identify the carrier, sign documents, seal containers, and lock doors. Like cell phones today, a person could feel lost or naked without his or her seal. At the same time, however, most seals were also extraordinary examples of art in miniature, carved with everything from the seal owner’s name and position to entire mythological scenes featuring numerous gods and goddesses. This lecture will focus on the ancient Mesopotamian seals, tablets and sealings on loan to the Colby College Art Museum for the Spring 2016 semester. By examining both the artistic and functional aspects of these objects, it is possible to develop a deeper understanding of the practical and ideological concerns of the people of Ancient Mesopotamian, and how these may still be relevant in the modern world. 

January 12, 2016
Bill Farrell

William Farrell serves as Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at Mercy Corps, a leading relief and development organization with ongoing operations in 43 countries, nearly 4,500 staff, and an annual operating budget of over $300 million. He helps develop partnerships to increase the reach and results of Mercy Corps’ work. Prior to this position, Farrell was Mercy Corps’ Vice President for Program Development, managing the design and support of high impact programming globally. A graduate of Tufts University and of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Farrell has worked with international donor agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the United States Government over the past two decades. His experience in transitional countries has given him significant background in confronting the challenges of instability through community-led and market-driven programming. Seconded by the United States Department of State to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Farrell was substantially involved in the formal peace negotiations between Georgians and South Ossetians as well as between Tajiks, during the civil war in Tajikistan. His work with the United States Agency for International Development in Central Asia helped communities and governments develop stronger partnerships to enhance the lives and well-being of citizens. He has worked in support of emergency response in Sudan, as well as assessing large parts of the Sahel for concrete ways in which development assistance can be used to counter extremist activity. Farrell is proficient in Russian and German. He lives with his wife and five children in Maine. He is Adjunct Faculty at the University of Maine Business School.


Monday, November 30, 2015
Roger Launius
12 noon Alfond Center

in conjunction with the Waterville Rotary

Space: Journeying Toward the Future

     In the more than fifty years since the beginning of the space age in 1957, much has been accomplished, our knowledge advanced, and a future made more positive. This presentation offers a survey of spaceflight history and offers comments on what might be expected in the next fifty years.

     Roger D. Launius is Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. He has written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history. Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A graduate of Graceland College, he received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1982. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Astronautical Society. He also served as a consultant to the ColumbiaAccident Investigation Board in 2003 and presented the prestigious Harmon Memorial Lecture on the history of national security space policy at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues, and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and all the major television network news programs.


Thursday, November 12, 2015
at the Waterville Public Library
2015 Oak Human Rights Fellow: Jodi Koberinski

Soils Based Economies and the Future of Food in Celebration of the 2015 United Nations Year of Soils

Koberinski is launching the Beyond Pesticides Network to transform Canada’s food systems. Professionally, this represents a bold move. Not so long ago Koberinski was an entrepreneur operating a café and a small-scale food processing project. Then she spent six years as the executive director of the Organic Council of Ontario, working to create change from within the corporate-industrial food complex. Now she is a frontline activist who supports farm families, rural communities, and those living in poverty in their fight for food sovereignty.

Although Koberinski hails from a country that has earned a global reputation as a champion of human rights, she says she feels increasingly vulnerable in Canada. For one thing, this outspoken critic of industrial food production says powerful agribusiness interests that benefit from the status quo are ever more vigilant in their efforts to discredit her. For another, she believes Ottawa has grown hostile to activists like herself.

In recent years Voices-Voix, a network of Canadian civil society organizations, has documented what it calls “the shrinking democratic space for dialogue on public policy and for dissent” in Canada. In a 2013 report it claimed that environmental groups, in particular, are being “systematically silenced” by the government. A researcher at Queen’s University in Ontario believes that Canada is gripped by a “green scare,” and that federal agencies routinely spy on such organizations—a claim denied by law enforcement.

Koberinski, who calls herself a “town crier,” comes to Colby College as the political environment grows increasingly fractious back home. She will arrive in late August and spend the fall semester here, leading a human rights seminar on food systems, consulting with members of the campus and Maine communities, and building the Beyond Pesticides Network.

At the moment, Koberinski is working without pay, relying on crowdsourcing to finance her grassroots campaign. She is known as an unflagging source of innovation, an activist who tirelessly helps others and furthers the cause of food sovereignty. She is a global leader on this issue and is recognized for her vital work transforming—not just reforming—agriculture to provide sustainable, safe, and secure food systems around the world.


Thursday, October 1, 2015


Global Health Monitoring and Evaluation

Margaret Chase Smith Library

56 Norridgewock Avenue


Denise Vaillancourt will discuss the topic of evaluation as a learning tool for improving the effectiveness of global health investments. She will focus on two of her recent evaluations – one on malaria control in Benin and the other on health care modernization in Albania.

Ms. Vaillancourt is a native of Mexico, Maine, who has gone on to a long and successful career as an expert in the field of international health. She holds a master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, where she also has studied health policy and management. In addition, she is an instructor in the Department of International Health at Georgetown University.

In 1976, Denise moved from the staff of Senator Edmund Muskie to a position with The World Bank. She has served as a member of the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group since 2003 and in that capacity, has evaluated health projects and programs in countries around the globe. Her name may be familiar to many people as Monica Wood’s BFF in the author’s poignant memoir about growing up in a Maine mill town during the early 1960s, When We Were the Kennedys.


Professor Paul Josephson

“Putin, Putinism and Russian-American Relations”

September 23, 2015

12 noon REM Center, Waterville

Russia annexed Crimea and began a proxy war in eastern Ukraine a few months later. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has cracked down on democratic institutions, rapidly increased military spending, and engaged in an old-style propaganda war with the west. While the Russian economy is cratering, Putin’s popularity remains high among citizens. In this talk, Paul Josephson will analyze Putin’s policies and programs, especially as they have an impact on relations with the United States.

Paul Josephson, a specialist on the former Soviet Union, teaches history and history of science and technology at Colby College. Fluent in Russian, he travels to Russia and Ukraine several times a year for research and lectures.


August 8, 2015
Annual Dinner Invitation

“U.S. Role in the World: Challenges of the 21st Century”

Senator George Mitchell
Born in Waterville, Maine; attended the public schools; B.A. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine; J.D. Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

The Mid-Maine Global forum is pleased to present Waterville’s esteemed native son George Mitchell as our special guest speaker at our annual summer dinner program.  After earning his law degree Mitchell remained in Washington, working as an attorney for the Department of Justice’s antitrust division (1960–62) and as an assistant to U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie (1962–65). Mitchell left Washington to work for a law firm in Maine, but he maintained his political ties. He chaired the Maine Democratic Party (1966–68).  Senator Mitchell was US Senator from Maine from 1980 to 1995 and Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995.  He was instrumental in peace negotiations in Northern Ireland in the 90s and, more recently (2009-11) was special envoy to the Middle East.  His latest book is The Negotiator: A Memoir.  Copies of The Negotiator will be available for purchase and signing.

Please join us as Senator Mitchell shares his insights on the role of the U.S. in the world and the challenges of the 21st century.  We look forward to sharing an enjoyable and enriching evening with you!

Date:  Thursday, August 6th, 2015


June 3, 2015
Lady Borton

“Legacies of the War, the Lingering Human Cost”

   March marked Lady Borton’s fiftieth year working with Việt Nam, her forty-fifth since first working for the American Friends Service Committee in South Việt Nam, and her fortieth since her time in North Việt Nam. For many years, Lady was the “dean” of the INGO community in Việt Nam.

As she says, “I’ve made more mistakes than any foreigner.”

Lady is the author of Sensing the Enemy: An American Among the Boat People of Vietnam (Dial/Doubleday, 1984), the only book written from inside the Boat People exodus, and of After Sorrow: An American Among the Vietnamese (Viking/Penguin, 1995), the only book written from inside Việt Nam as the country began its process of opening (Đời Mới, Renovation or Renewal). She brought the first HIV-AIDS materials from the West to Việt Nam through a special arrangement with Book-of-the-Month Club. Lady had researched residual wartime dioxin since the first request from Hà Nội in 1975, during the war. Some years later, on a restaurant napkin, she framed out the intervention for Agent Orange “hot spots” of residual wartime dioxin. Previously, she had been looking at 15% of the southern half of Việt Nam. Now, the intervention was simple—not a spread of color on a map but dots—a list, which could be prioritized.

For years, particularly before normalized relations between the United States and Việt Nam, Lady worked in people-to-people diplomacy. She framed the possibility of the Clinton visit in the president’s “lame-duck” period and, with a co-founder of Veterans for Peace, went around Hà Nội testing the idea with Vietnamese officials. Her American colleague, a former aide on Capitol Hill, had many friends in the Clinton administration. Once the Vietnamese were on board, he and Lady went to Washington and took the idea “around town.” They made a second trip close to President Clinton’s visit, taking with them language they had crafted and taken around Hà Nội for what the president could say to address the touchy issue: the legacy of war. The suggested language was “shared pain” without a list. (A list prioritizes. An attempt to prioritize pain creates anger and resistance.)

Lady’s attempt in 1995 to facilitate release of long-term residents of post-war re-education camps dead-ended because of the US side. The Vietnamese were on board, all the way to the top, the newly opened US embassy was on board, but the US government in Washington had shut down. The window-of-opportunity with a lame-duck period on the Vietnamese side passed while the US government remained closed.

Lady continues her people-to-people diplomacy efforts. Since 2006, she has also been working as a researcher and as translator of works by Hồ Chí Minh, Võ Nguyên Giáp, Nguyễn Thị Bình, Phạm Hồng Cư, and Lê Cao Đài. She was co-editor and a co-translator for the bi-lingual anthology of a thousand years of Vietnamese women’s poetry (2007), the first book co-published from the outset by a Vietnamese and a US press, a project she organized.

Lady is an American citizen. She lives in Hà Nội.


May 20, 2015
Yvonne Davis at Erskine Academy
“Millennials in A Very Flat Future World” –

Davis will share insights about her international business expertise and personal experience working around the global to inspire and give students the tools to adapt, embrace and successfully thrive globally for a meaningful future.
Yvonne Davis is an international relations expert specializing in politics and world affairs around the globe. She has worked in dozens of countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe studying and reporting on critical economic and socio-political issues.
Davis was a Presidential Appointee of George W. Bush, and serves as a guest lecturer and speaker for the U.S. Department of State and Universities worldwide.
Davis holds a M.S. in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University, and a M.A. in PoliYVONNE DAVIS PHOTO 1tical Science with an emphasis in International Relations, Comparative Politics and Political Theory from the University of Connecticut. She completed graduate leadership studies in Belgium, and completed “The Art and Practice of Leadership,” at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Executive Leadership Program at Cornell University.
  In October of 2013, Davis returned from a public diplomacy trip as a speaker for U.S. Embassy Tokyo; conducting 12-speaking engagements in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Osaka. Quoted by the U.S. Cultural Attaché, he said, “Your presentation inspired the Japanese, especially women, to be proactive and take challenges to become leaders in their local communities.” Davis was the last officially invited speaker to come to Japan in advance of Ambassador Caroline Kennedy taking her post as the first woman appointed by President Barack Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to a Japan.
  Davis works closely with high-level officials and key stakeholders to create a unique vision and market branding to develop strong leaders who affect sustainable results. It is her deep knowledge of public affairs, media, and messaging that enables her to design, launch, and administer far-reaching, social marketing campaigns that educate and influence thinking and behavior.

April 15, 2015     

Eric Hooglund
“Civil War in Syria: Domestic, regional and international repercussions” – Syria’s “Arab spring” of March 2011 had transformed into a tragic sectarian civil conflict within six months, fracturing the ‘glue’ that for centuries had held together the mosaic of diverse Christian and Muslim communities that comprised Syria. Since 2012 thousands of militant foreign Islamist fighters—often called Jihadis and determined to rid Syria of what they consider to be an anti-Muslim regime, have overrun the country, thanks to tacit support they received from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  Al-Qaeda in Syria was the most infamous of these groups during 2012 and 2013, but in 2014 a new group entered Syria from Iraq, proclaiming itself to be the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and later the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  The presentation will examine the role—both intentional and unintentional–of Jihadi intervention in fostering religious strife in Syria and assess the prospects for Syria’s multiple Christian and Muslim communities to return to confessional harmony.

Eric Hooglund, a Waterville native, is professor emeritus of Middle East Studies at Lund University in Sweden, an internationally recognized scholar of contemporary Iran, and editor of the journal Middle East Critique. During a 40-year academic career, he has taught about the culture, international relations, and politics of the Middle East at colleges in Asia, Europe and the United States, including Oxford University and both Bates and Bowdoin in Maine. He is the author or editor of 7 books and more than 100 scholarly articles. He currently resides in Belgrade Lakes.


March 5, 2015
Andrew Goodrich

Assistent Special Agent
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
The Soft Power of American Law Enforcement
        A conversation on American law enforcement as a diplomacy tool. Andrew
Goodridge will share personal observations and experiences regarding
international law enforcement and business community partnerships during
his five years living in the Middle East.

     Andrew Goodridge is a Maine native and resident employed as a federal criminal investigator for the past 22 years working domestically and internationally. He began his law enforcement career with the United States Marshals Service shortly after graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington. His career progressed over several agencies working primarily within the National Capital Region to international assignments and postings predominantly in the Middle East to include a two year assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). He lived five years in the Middle East with his wife and children. Returning to the United States in the summer of 2013 for a twelve month tour at the NCIS headquarters, Andrew is now assigned as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) for the NCIS Northeast Field Office in Newport, Rhode Island. Andrew holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Geography. Presently, Andrew is writing his Master’s thesis to complete his program in Intelligence Studies at American Military University (AMU).


February 17, 2015 
Birgit Schneider
12:00 Waterville Public Library

Global Image Warming:

Climate Visualization from a Visual Studies Perspective

Dr. Birgit Schneider, University of Potsdam, Germany

Rising red curves, glowing red globes and red bars belong to the well-established graphic repertoire of climate research. Even though the graphs originate from science, climate pictures today should be called political images: In climate change discourse they not only have become an important vehicle to transport the risk-relevant findings of climate research to policy makers, stakeholders and the public; often they are used as instruments in the fight for convictions, decisions and actions. When popularized, the images can trigger strong repercussions of urgency, fear and concern; it’s the symbolic complexity of the color red in particular which serves as color for temperature, highlight, devastation and alarm at the same time. Therefore mythical narrations of the end of times return with new clothes: in the scientific dry and sober language of “future scenarios” and “pathways”. In my talk I will address some of the widespread icons of climate change expert graphs from a visual studies perspective. I will compare the scientific pictures to contemporary works of art that explicitly make use of scientific graphs and climate data to critically question concepts of knowledge production, perception and imagination in art and science.

Dr. Birgit Schneider studied art history and media studies, philosophy, and media art at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Goldsmiths College, London, and the Humboldt University of Berlin. From 1998 to 2003, she worked as a graphic designer. From 2000 to 2007, she was a research associate in the project Das Technische Bild (The Technical Image) at the Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik, Humboldt University, where she wrote her dissertation on the history of punched-card weaving (Textiles Prozessieren. Eine Mediengeschichte der Lochkartenweberei, Berlin: diaphanes, 2007). In 2008 she worked as a content developer for an exhibition on the subject of sustainability and climate change for the media design company art + com, Berlin. Since 2008, she has been Senior Fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation at the Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam, writing a visual history of climate since 1800. She paused her fellowship 2009, when was a substitute professor at the Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar and in 2014, when she was visiting fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and senior fellow at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy in Weimar.

Her recent publications in English are the co-edited volumes: Image Politics of Climate Change. Visualizations, Imaginations, Documentations, edited with Thomas Nocke, Bielefeld: transcript / Columbia University Press, 2014 and The Technical Image—A History of Styles in Scientific Imagery, edited with Horst Bredekamp and Vera Dünkel, University of Chicago Press, 2015.


January 20, 2015
Professor Ken Rodman


    The International Criminal Court is the first permanent tribunal designed to hold individuals criminally accountable for the most serious war crimes and human rights abuses.  When it became operational in 2002, it was welcomed by the human rights community as a deterrent to mass atrocity through the globalization of law and opposed by the Bush administration as a threat to its freedom of action to use force abroad.  Thirteen years later, neither the hopes of activists nor the fears of the US government have been realized, as ICC investigations have been limited to Africa, some of which have triggered a backlash from the African Union.  Professor Rodman will explain how the ICC’s dependence on voluntary cooperation of states to enforce its decisions has limited its ability to promote justice, referencing recent events, such as the dismissal of the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the suspension of the investigation in Darfur, and the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture.

      Professor Ken Rodman is the William R. Cotter Distinguished Teaching Professor of Government at Colby College, where he has taught since 1989. Ken was the first Director of Colby’s interdisciplinary International (now Global) Studies Program and the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights. He is the author of two books – Sanctity versus Sovereignty: The United States and the Nationalization of Natural Resources in the Third World (Columbia University Press, 1988) and Sanctions Beyond Borders: Multinational Corporations and Economic Statecraft (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001). His current research on international criminal justice and conflict resolution has been published in Ethics & International Affairs, Human Rights Quarterly, the Leiden Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, International Criminal Law Review, Human Rights Review and the International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

He is the author of Sanctity versus Sovereignty: The United States and the Nationalization of Natural Resource Investments (1988) and Sanctions Beyond Borders: Multinational Corporations and U.S. Economic Statecraft (2001). His earlier work on economic sanctions has appeared in International Organization, Political Science Quarterly, and Ethics & International Affairs.

He is currently working on a project on the relationship between justice and negotiation strategies in international conflicts. He has spent the last year at the International Court of Criminal Justice in La Hague.


December 8
In conjunction with Waterville Rotary, Alfond Center

12 noon

Dr. Dransfield, Physicians for Social Responsibility will speak at the Rotary meeting in the Alfond Center.
Doug Dransfield,M.D. is a retired pediatrician. He was a member of the Pediatric Department at Maine Medical Center for 25 years and for the first 20 years was a neonatologist caring for infants in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. He is member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is on the Board of Directors for the Maine Chapter.

October 28, 2014
Professor George Markowsky
The Leeke-Shaw Lecture at the Margaret Chase Smith Library
Skowhegan, Maine

Professor George Markowsky is at the  University of Maine  and the “Bangor Forum.”
Cyber Warfare: Past, Present and Future
     Cyber warfare can be thought of as the latest embodiment of military intelligence. The ubiquity of computing devices has blurred the distinction between kinetic and non-kinetic forms of warfare. This talk will survey the precursors of cyberwarfare, the current state of cyberwarfare and some scenarios for how it might develop in the future. We will discuss how cyberwarfare relates to cybercrime, terrorism, hacktivism, and citizen action. We will also name the most active parties in the cyberwar space and what their strategies are. Cyber warfare is a real phenomenon and is a major force in the political landscape. Cyber warfare has the capability to engage the individual citizen and we will discuss how people can avoid being collateral damage in the constant cyber warfare that is taking place on the Internet.


September 18, 2014
Jennifer Wilcox
Assistant Professor of Energy Resources Engineering
School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University

Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Storage for Climate Change Mitigation
ABSTRACT: Carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere and its permanent storage involve a portfolio of techniques, some more intrusive and more speculative than others, aimed at reducing further global warming. The scale by which CO2 must be mitigated worldwide dwarfs the existing chemical industry, making utilization of CO2 as a chemical feedstock a minor component of the portfolio of mitigation options. Carbon capture and storage is one strategy that could potentially mitigate gigatons of CO2 emissions per year, provided geological storage of CO2 is feasible. The scale and energy requirements associated with CO2 separation processes will be presented. Strategies based upon adsorption and catalytic membrane separation processes in particular, will be of focus, as will reliable storage.
Jennifer Wilcox is an assistant professor of Energy Resources Engineering and head of the Clean Conversion Laboratory in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University.  She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Emmet Interdisciplinary Program for the Environment and Resources. She received an NSF Career Award in 2005 and the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award in 2009. Her research efforts include sorbent design and testing for carbon and trace metal capture from fossil fuels, adsorption studies of CO2 on coal and gas shales, and membrane design for N2 and H2 separations. Wilcox earned a BA in mathematics from Wellesley College and an MA in physical chemistry and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona. She recently authored the first textbook on Carbon Capture. In addition, she has served on several study groups including the American Physical Society to the National Academy of Sciences to investigate CO2 mitigation and adaptation strategies.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Colby College: Professor Judith Shapiro

American University

    “As China Goes, So Goes the Planet.”
China’s huge environmental challenges are significant for us all. They affect not only the health and well-being of China but the very future of the planet. Noted China specialist and environmentalist Judith Shapiro will speak about China’s struggle to achieve sustainable development against a backdrop of acute rural poverty and soaring middle class consumption. Drawing on a lifetime of living and traveling in China, she will pay particular attention to the role of environmental NGOs and the challenges posed by the displacement of environmental harm to vulnerable populations, both within China and at the transnational level.
Dr. Judith Shapiro is on the faculty of the Global Environmental Politics program and directs the Dual Degree in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (NRSD) with University for Peace in Costa Rica. She first visited China in 1977 and has been deeply involved with the country ever since. She is the author of China’s Environmental Challenges (Polity 2012), Mao’s War against Nature (Cambridge 2001) and the co-author of Son of the Revolution (Knopf 1983) and other books on China. Her website is She has a PhD in International Relations, American University; MA in Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley; MA in Comparative Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana; BA in Anthropology and East Asian studies, Princeton University.

Charles Data Alemi
“South Sudan: Struggle for Democracy in Ethnically Divided Country”
June 6, 2014

Charles Data Alemi (or Charles Data for short) is a South Sudanese born in the then united Sudan. He was raised as a refugee in Uganda following the outbreak of the 21-year civil war in the southern part of the country, which finally became independent in July 2011.  After ten years of living in Uganda, Charles was offered a scholarship to attend high school at the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway.  He later enrolled at Colby College as a Shelby Davis UWC scholar. He completed a one-year master’s program in Costa Rica, in 2005, which coincided with the signing of the peace agreement that ended the conflict in his home country. Determined to revisit his native land, Charles returned to Sudan in 2005, where he saw his country recover from the ashes of Africa’s longest civil war, and witnessed the birth of his country through a referendum in 2011.
Over the nearly 8 years he spent in South Sudan, Charles held positions in three different organizations.  Mr. Data worked as Team Leader for South Sudan Micro-finance Development Facility, a government owned institution tasked with the mission of building the capacity of emerging retail micro-finance institutions in South Sudan.  Last year, Charles received a scholarship from the World Bank and is currently enrolled as a student at the Harvard Kennedy School pursuing a Masters in Public Administration in International Development, and he looks forward to returning to South Sudan at the end of his program.

March 19, 2014
        The Waterville Area Kotlas Connection with  Kotlas, Russia.
     Now in its 23rd year, it is a good time to update the community on the sister city relationship between Kotlas, Russia and the Waterville area.  Toward that end the Global Forum will host a Powerpoint presentation by members of the Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City Connection.  The presenters will be Carl Daiker and Phil Gonyar.  The program will review the beginnings of the sister city program, trace its development, and look at Kotlas today.
     Carl and Phil have been members of the Kotlas Connection Executive Committee for several years.  Both have visited Kotlas several times since 1991.  Their most recent visit was in May, 2013.  They have experienced the many changes that have occurred in Kotlas over the years.
     Also in attendance at the Global Forum will be a teacher of English in Kotlas, Anna Lobanova, and two high school students from Kotlas, Anna Mitianina, and Danil Osminin.  The three Kotlians will be in the Waterville area to participate in the Russian Sampler, a one-day program of things Russian held on the Colby campus for over 200 area high school and junior high school students.  The Russian Sampler is co-sponsored by the Colby Russian Department and the Kotlas Connection.  The teacher and students will be available to answer questions at the conclusion of the Powerpoint presentation.

Safe Passages:
                      The Guatemala City Dump and School
                        Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville              March 10, 2014
A selection of short video pieces highlighting the work of Safe Passage/Camino Seguro, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working in Guatemala City to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the City’s garbage dump. Unrated. In Spanish with English subtitles. 60 Min. Carley Peats, who has volunteered in Guatemala and who attends Quinnipiac College, will be present to answer questions.
See Safe Passages for more information
Hanley Denning founded Safe Passages after a visit to the Guatemala City Dump. Today the organization services approximately 550 children.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Waterville High School
                         Volunteering at Safe Passages in Guatemala
Carley Peats, a student at Quinnipiac College, has volunteered at the Safe Passages school and she will share the experience. There will also be a representative from the Safe Passages main office in Yarmouth to help explain the program.
                                                                  Dr. Julie Fisher

     Building Democracy
In conjunction with the Waterville Rotary
        International Prospects for Democracy and the Contribution of Democratization NGOs
      The world needs stable governments, accountable to their people; instead it is filled with dictatorships and failed states.  Democracy is clearly the solution, but the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have demonstrated that it can’t be exported, that it must be built from within, and that democratization is a long, hard slog.  In her new book, Julie Fisher shows how nongovernmental organizations in struggling democracies (South Africa and Argentina) and a dictatorship (Tajikistan) import democratic ideas and combine them with the recovery of local democratic traditions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
                       Dr. Stephen Mulkey, President, Unity College
“Higher Education Reform in the Environmental Century”

Stephen Mulkey assumed the post of president at Unity College on July 1, 2011. Aspresident, Dr. Mulkey is a champion of sustainability science, which he sees as the defining framework for academic programming at Unity College.

In just under two years, he has set an agenda for the College that is bold and visionary. It is driven by ethical imperatives that he feels are non-negotiable. In November 2012, the Unity College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to divest from investment in fossil fuels. As the first college in the nation to do so, Unity provided a measure of leadership that is unrivaled.

Prior to setting Unity’s agenda for initiating the spark to encourage higher education to take a stand on the mitigation of global climate change through the first step of divesting from investment in fossil fuels, Mulkey organized the College’s academics with a forward thinking approach. He pivoted the curriculum to focus on the “what’s next” of environmentalism, sustainability science, and the trans-disciplinary (collaborative) approach to ecological problem solving.

Since his arrival accolades have followed, including multiple “green” architecture awards for the design (student/faculty and staff collaboration with award-winning green architecture firm GO Logic of Belfast, Maine) and building of Terra Haus, the first college residence hall in the United States built to the Passive House standard, today’s highest energy rating.

As a scholar of the interdisciplinary literature in climate change and sustainability, Mulkey is an active public interpreter of climate change science. As an expert climate change scientist with study spanning over three decades he has pursued research on the functional ecology of forests in Eastern Amazonia, tropical forest canopies in wet and dry forests of Central Panama, and tropical alpine rosette species in East Africa.Mulkey’s book,Tropical Forest Plant Ecophysiology, takesreaders out of the laboratory and into the humid tropical forests exploring the most recent advances and important insights into the behavior of tropical plants.

Mulkey is a tireless champion of Unity College’s science-based liberal arts curriculum, holding it aloft as a source of inspiration for students who strive to be leaders in sustainability science, imagining and enacting solutions to 21st century environmental issues. As a result Unity’s graduates will contribute to the renewal of civilization.

From 2008 through 2011, Mulkey was a faculty member at the University of Idaho and served as director of the program in environmental science. In this role, he led a grant proposal initiative obtaining National Science Foundation funding for the creation of a new professional science master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. In addition and with major funding from NASA, he directed a statewide project focused on climate change education.

From 1996 to 2008, he served as a tenured faculty member in the University of Florida’s Department of Botany and as a research associate with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He also served as director of research and outreach/extension for the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida, and as a science advisor to the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida.

Mulkey co-founded and directed the International Center for Tropical Ecology, a nationally ranked graduate training and conservation program during his tenure at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He also worked for many years as a research associate for the Smithsonian Institution, Tropical Research Institute. Mulkey holds a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife, a master’s degree in ecology, and earned his doctorate’s degree in ecology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.


Dr. Richard Hopper
         President, Kennebec Valley Community College

              “Building Education Systems in the Developing World”
December 11, 2013

     Dr. Hopper has come to KVCC from the World Bank where he was most recently Senior Education Specialist for the Europe and Central Asia Region.  A technical specialist in education reform with the World Bank since 1999, Dr. Hopper has 27 years of professional experience in teaching, higher education administration and international development. His formal academic training is in economics (George Washington University), international affairs (Geneva, Switzerland), and education policy (Harvard University). In addition to teaching for several years in France, Switzerland, and Japan, he has managed US higher education programs abroad, assisted in the establishment of new universities, and advised governments and individual institutions on reforms.  He is a recognized expert in higher education governance, finance and quality assurance.  During his graduate studies Dr. Hopper was a teaching fellow in statistics (Harvard), a Fulbright Scholar in the office of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus at Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), an Aspen Institute Fellow (Washington), a Harvard Advanced Doctoral Fellow, a Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Traveling Fellow (Bangladesh), and a Mombusho Fellow with the Japanese Ministry of Education (Japan). He was an HIID researcher for the World Bank-UNESCO Task Force on Higher Education which published its 2000 report entitled Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise.

He has well over a decade of experience with World Bank project preparation, implementation and supervision in countries of South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, and most recently in Europe and Central Asia.  He has overseen stakeholder consultations for higher education reforms in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, and Thailand. He was also a key contributor to the World Bank’s 2003 report on tertiary education entitled Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education. He has published and spoken widely on higher education in developing countries.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs

“A Deeper Look at Israel: Reflections from Rabbi Rachel Isaacs”

Rabbi Rachel Isaacs is the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville, the Hillel Director at Colby College, and serves on the Jewish Studies faculty at Colby.   She graduated from Wellesley College summa cum laude in 2005, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011. Rabbi Isaacs lived in Israel for three and a half years, and was a research assistant for Dr. Michael Oren, the current Israeli ambassador to the United States.  She also taught at ALMA : The Home for Hebrew Culture in Tel Aviv under the tutelage of Dr. Ruth Calderon, currently one of the most influential members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament.)   Isaacs lived in Israel through three wars, and gained a unique perspective into Israeli politics and culture.   She will speak about current events in Israel, including contemporary domestic political struggles and current Israeli perspectives on a changing middle east.

Former Ambassador Laurence Pope

In conjunction with the the Margaret Chase Smith Library, now part of the University of Maine. This event was held on Friday, 


October 18, 2013

Pope served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1969-2000, retiring at the rank of Minister Counselor after having held a number of senior posts in the Department of State. He was the Director for Northern Gulf Affairs (1987–1990), Associate Director for Counter-Terrorism (1991–1993), U.S. Ambassador to Chad (1993–1996), and Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command (1997–2000). In 2000, President Clinton nominated him as Ambassador to Kuwait.

He served as Charge d”Affairs in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed.
Laurence Pope retired from the U.S. Foreign Service on October 2, 2000 after 31 years of service. He continues to consult with various institutions and is a respected author.
A graduate of Bowdoin College, Chargé Pope also had advanced studies at Princeton University and is a graduate of the U.S. Department of State Senior Seminar, and is a Senior Fellow at the Armed Forces Staff College. He speaks Arabic and French, and resides in Portland, Maine.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

                    Maung Maung Than (Tony) & Mya Nandar Aung (Nandar)

                                         The Plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya People

In western Myanmar, a Muslim minority faces persecution by Buddhist extremists and an unsympathetic government. Communal violence has displaced 140,000 Rohingya, pushing them from their homes and forcing them into makeshift camps. Human rights groups have called this the worst case of ethnic cleansing in decades.

The 2013 Oak Human Rights Fellows are Maung Maung Than and Myanandar Aung, who have worked with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to protect the rights of stateless people in western Myanmar and who are working with various organizations to encourage Buddhist-Muslim reconciliation. The state of Rahkine in western Myanmar has a history of tension between Buddhists and Muslims, many of whom are not officially recognized as citizens of Myanmar. One marginalized group, the Rohingya, faces a wide variety of human rights abuses, including extortion, forced eviction, destruction of property, forced labor, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. The fellows understand both sides of the conflict in Rahkine, as one fellow identifies as Muslim, while the other was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother. Despite their different upbringings, both Maung Maung Than and Myanandar Aung work to protect the rights of local peoples and improve their living conditions through monitoring and reporting abuses and educating community members about universal human rights.


August 15, 2013

Colby College, the annual event:

“Secure or Second Rate?: Austerity, Defense Budget Cuts,  and the Future of US Global Engagement”

                                          Professor Gordon Adams
     The defense budget is going down.   It is not just “sequester” that is forcing it down. The end of combat and fiscal and economic dilemmas are the driving force and the budget will continue to go down, probably quite deeply.
    Will we end up secure, or second rate? Will we manage that military draw down successfully?    
    We can do it right. We could tackle the things that make the defense budget big.  Not the “threats” and international crisis, but the constantly rising costs of our weapons programs, the ever-rising pay and benefits we provide for the forces, and, above all, our expensive “back office” – Pentagon administrative overhead.  
   We need to redetermine the nature of our global engagement, redefine the right tools to carry it out, and have a fair degree of modesty about our global role.
           Gordon Adams is a Professor in the US Foreign Policy Program at the School of International Service, American University.  He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center. He was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and, for seven years, a Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and Director of the School’s Security Policy Studies Program. For five years he was Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, the senior White House budget official for national security. He has been an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Adams’ most recent book (with Cindy Williams) is Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Security at Home (Routledge 2010).  He has published books, monographs and articles on defense and national security policy, the defense policy process, and national security budgets. He appears frequently in the press and national media on defense and foreign policy subjects, testifies before the Congress, and writes a regular column and blog ( for the column and for “The Sheathed Sword” blog).
For Gordon’s recent writings please see:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

“America’s Refocus on Asia: Why, How, and Why it Matters”.

Ambassador Burghardt has for many years been one of the State Department’s leading experts on Asia.  He will draw on his extensive experience, including 22 years living in East and Southeast Asia, to explain the importance of the region for America’s strategic and economic interests; the complex mix of rivalry and cooperation between the U.S. and China; and how the Obama Administration, following withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, is shifting Washington’s focus and attention toward the dynamic Asian region.

Mr. Raymond F. Burghardt served as ambassador in Vietnam under President George W. Bush. Ambassador Burghardt has for many years been one of the State Department’s leading experts on Asia.  He will draw on his extensive experience, including 22 years living in East and Southeast Asia, to explain the importance of the region for America’s strategic and economic interests; the complex mix of rivalry and cooperation between the U.S. and China; and how the Obama Administration, following withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, is shifting Washington’s focus and attention toward the dynamic Asian region.” Mr. Burghardt is the the Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Before that he was the American Consul General in Shanghai – a position he held from 1997-1999. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Manila (1993-96) and Seoul (1990-93) and as Political Counselor in Beijing (1987-89).


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“Cuba Today”

Bill Lee and the Colby class last January in Cuba, studying life and economic and political changes going on in Cuba, including human rights information.

Wednesday, March 27, “Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village: Cooperative Approaches to Affordable Housing”

Scott Guay

Scott  explored the Global Village program, and compare and contrast housing challenges—and Habitat’s efforts to meet them—in different regions around the world. A particular emphasis will be placed on how Habitat is working cooperatively with local administrators and grassroots organizations to increase its ability to serve more families while emphasizing the importance of local investment in affordable housing initiatives.

Monday, March 11th, “The Transition Out of Afghanistan: American Troops in Afghanistan and at Home”

Quil Lawrence, Messalonskee High School, Oakland, Maine.

Quil is an NPR reporter who spent ten years in Afghainistan and also covered the Iraq war. He published a book on the Kurds of northern Iraq.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

“Vietnam and the United States: Ghosts of the Past, Challenges of the Future”

G. Calvin Mackenzie

Cal Mackenzie, spent the first six months of 2012 in Vietnam as a Fulbright Scholar. During that time he worked with the Institute for American Studies in Hanoi, a Vietnamese government agency that provides information and counsel to the country’s leaders about the United States. Mackenzie traveled and lectured widely in Southeast Asia. He will discuss the current state of American relations with Vietnam, the contemporary legacy of the war between those countries, and the issues that are likely to shape U.S. policy in Asia in the years ahead.


Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

“A Race to Win Hearts and Minds: The Use of the Apollo Program in Public Diplomacy During the Cold War”

Teasel Muir-Harmony

Through the nation’s civilian space program, officials in the State Department and the United States Information Agency sought to sell an image of America as a technologically capable, prosperous, and powerful nation, marketing this image to the global public by, among other means, touring space capsules around the world, exhibiting Moon rocks in over 100 countries, and broadcasting the latest space accomplishments on radio and television in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Ms. Muir-Harmony will examine how and why spaceflight came to play a distinctive and critical role in American public relations and national image-making during the 1960s.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

“Streets of Pain and Valleys of Sorrow for Young Girls: Restoring Social Fabric in KwaZulu-Natal”, Zandile Nhlengetwa, Colby’s Oak Fellow.

Zandile Nhlengetwa, from South Africa, was chosen as this year’s Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights Fellow. For her talk with the Global Forum she will address her work on gender-based violence in Kwa-zulu Natal, and interventions with survivors and perpetrators challenging those traditional practices that contribute to the problem.  For more information on Ms. Nhlengetwa please see


Monday, September 17, 2012

Alfond Youth Center, 2nd floor library. Afghan Scholars Initiative–from the Student Perspective.

In October 2008, Qiam Amiry spoke to the Mid-Maine Global Forum about his opportunity to attend the United World College which led him to study at Colby. Wanting to help other students from Afghanistan, he worked diligently to form the non-profit Afghan Scholars Initiative (ASI). Both the MMGF and the Waterville Rotary have heard updates from Qiam since, and the Rotary has provided two grants to ASI to help get the program launched. ASI has brought 14 scholars to the U.S. As Qiam has returned to Afghanistan to operate the program from there, we have the opportunity to hear about ASI directly from two students. In addition to their personal experiences, they will talk about ASI’s unique use of technology in its tutoring program which prepares Afghan students before they start attending secondary schools in the United States. This is a combined meeting with the Waterville Rotary.


Past Season: 2011-2012

Thursday, September 29, 2011

”Untouchability and Human Rights: Fighting Poverty and the Caste System in India” with Colby Oak Fellow, Fatima Burnad.  India’s caste system was officially ‘eradicated’ in 1950, and yet it continues to undermine the economic well-being and human dignity of thousands of people – especially the Dalit or “untouchables.” Colby’s 2011 Oak Fellow, Fatima Burnad, will focus on the efforts being made by one organization in India to defend the human rights of the country’s most oppressed peoples.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

”Global Family Literacy” with Dr. Jane Hale (Waterville Public Library, 4th floor reading room).  Professor Hale, Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Brandeis University, will present her literacy projects to develop and distribute beautiful picture books for very young children to homes in Lesotho, Boston, and Haiti. She will speak particularly about the need for children to see themselves and hear their family language in early reading experiences.
Tuesday, December 6, at 7 p.m.  Mekong: Exploring the Mother of Watersscreening with filmmaker Hutch Brown (Railroad Square Cinema; Admission $6.00 or free with student ID; no advanced registration required).  Local peoples call it ‘Mae Nam Khong’ which means ‘Kong, Mother of Waters.’  The Mekong Basin, is one of the worlds most diverse natural and cultural environments. Until this film, significant portions of the rivers mainstream had not been navigated, explored, or filmed at ground level. Exploring the Mother of Waters uses the historic first full exploration of the river by Mick O’Shea from its source in Tibet to the South China Sea, as a medium through which to expose the natural and cultural wonders of the region and some of the more pressing issues that threaten it’s future.  Dam builders in China are in the process of constructing a series of mega dams that will flood around 13% of the Mekong’s entire length and forever compromise the ‘Mother of Waters’ ability to deliver the water, silt and fisheries upon which millions of people and a myriad of environments depend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 

”Mekong River Hydro Dams” with Hutch Brown. Hutch was cameraman and still photographer for the historic first complete exploration and navigation of the Mekong River.  In addition to the thrill of the adventure, Hutch gained an awareness of the Mekong Cascade hydropower scheme and the environmental and social impact on the area.  This adventure was the basis for the film, Mekong: Exploring the Mother of Waters, co-directed by Australian Mick O’Shea and native Waterville explorer Brian Eustis.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“Is This Brazil For Real?” with Dr. Patrice Franko. There is an old saying that “Brazil is the country of the future — and always will be.”  Is this dictum finally proving wrong? Has Brazil entered a new period of its history — one of sustainable, more equitable growth? How will Brazil wield its growing economic power on the global stage? If the last decade was the China decade, will the next be defined by Brazil? Patrice is the Grossman Professor of Economics at Colby College and a Mid-Maine Global Forum board member.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 

“Patterns of Consensus in the New Middle East: The Post Arab Spring Predicament” with Prof. Shelley Deane (Wateville Public Library, 4th floor reading room). Shelley Deane received her PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is an Assistant Professor of Government at Bowdoin College, specializing in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.  Shelley studies the way in which some conflicts mend and end and others are protracted and long lasting.  Shelley has studied in Israel and Palestine, Belfast and Beirut, Dubai and Dublin in an attempt to discover patterns and mechanisms that help regulate if not remedy conflicts.  Shelley is working on a book looking at the negotiating mechanisms of Waterville’s own Senator George Mitchell in North Ireland and with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Shelley will provide a post-Arab Spring update, focused on patterns of consensus in the New Middle East.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 

“Protests, Petroleum and Putinism: The New Politics of Russia” with Prof. Laura Henry.   After the political uncertainty and wild capitalism of the 1900s, Russia’s government under the leadership of Vladimir Putin attempted to create a new social contract, which traded steady economic growth and improved standards of living for political quiescence on the part of citizens. Are we now witnessing the fraying of this broad consensus? In response to voter fraud in Russia’s December 2011 parliamentary elections, thousands of Russian citizens came out to protest, with some yelling “Russia without Putin.” Are we witnessing an Arab Spring, Russian style? Does Russia now have an internet-savvy emerging middle class that will force another effort at democratization? What do these protests mean for Putin and Russia as a whole? This talk will examine these questions and consider the sources of political change and stability in contemporary Russia.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Transitions in the Two Koreas: What’s Ahead on the Korean Peninsula with Bradley O. Babson.  2012 is shaping up to be an important year on the Korean Peninsula.  Not only is North Korea working through an earlier than expected leadership transition, but April is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the Founding Father Kim Il Sung, and there are high expectations internally of signs that North Korea has what it takes to become a “strong and prosperous nation.” At the same time, South Korea is back on the global stage, hosting the second Nuclear Summit after successfully hosting the G-20 in 2010, while preparing for provincial elections in April and Presidential elections in December that are likely to bring less conservative political leadership. The US is now back in the nuclear negotiations and food aid business, which affects our relations with both Koreas, despite the overhang of an election year. And China, which has become an increasingly dominant player, is also preparing for a leadership change in 2012. This talk will assess the dynamics of change at work on the Korean Peninsula in 2012 and the prospects for significant new developments in the months ahead.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched an Obsessive Quest to Save the Oceans with Capt. Charles Moore (12:30 at Messalonskee HS and 4:00 at Colby College). Listen to a podcast of the event at Colby College.  Oceanographic Research Vessel Captain Charles Moore wasn’t doing research in the middle of the North Pacific ocean in 1997. He was on a return voyage from Hawaii after testing a new mast in the Transpacific Yacht Race, when he was becalmed in the doldrums and began to notice scraps of trash floating by every time he came on deck, mostly broken down bits of former things. His now famous discovery led Captain Moore to become a scientist-activist investigating what others had passed over — the plastic “confetti” created from our floating plastic discards by ultraviolet sunlight and the turbulent waters of a salty sea. In his presentations and new book, Plastic Ocean, Moore chronicles his scientific investigations of our ocean’s plastic load aboard ORV Alguita. An acclaimed speaker and international authority, Moore explains in vivid detail his first-hand experience of the alarming consequences millions of tons of our persistent plastic waste is having on the marine environment, and ultimately, on us.
Monday, May 14. Seeds of Peace with Tim Wilson, Senior International Advisor and Director, Maine Seeds of Peace Program (cosponsored with Waterville Rotary Club). Founded in 1993 by journalist John Wallach, Seeds of Peace is dedicated to inspiring and equipping new generations of leaders from regions of conflict with the relationships, understanding and skills needed to advance lasting peace.  Over the last 20 years, Seeds of Peace has intensified its impact, dramatically increasing the number of participants, represented nations, and programs.  From 46 American, Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian teenagers in 1993, they have expanded their programming to include young leaders (“Seeds”) from across the Middle East, South Asia, Cyprus and the Balkans.  Their leadership network now encompasses nearly 5,000 Seeds.  Currently, they are actively working in the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 

Will The Euro Survive? A Perspective on the European Sovereign Debt Crisis with Edwin M. Truman, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics. Over the past two years, the European sovereign debt crises have been the single greatest drag on economic recovery not only in Europe but also in the United States and the rest of the world. In his remarks, Edwin M.Truman will trace the origins of the crises against the background of sixty years of European economic integration, the resulting incomplete economic and monetary union in Europe, and the birth of the euro 13 years ago. The causes of the specific euro-area country crises are many and differ across countries, but collectively they pose an existential threat to the euro and to the future of the European integration project. Will the project move forward and, if so, in what form? Or will Europe break apart and with what consequences for the global economy and financial system? What are the social implications for people in Europe and the U.S.? He will not have definitive answers on August 8, but hopes to clarify the issues and assess prospects.


Past Season: 2010-2011
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jim Fleming, “Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control”. Fleming, a professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College, will discuss his new book, Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control. Professor Fleming examines the problems and solutions to the global warming crisis from a historical perspective. His absorbing history is filled with scientists, soldiers, and salesmen, and weaves together stories from elite science, cutting edge technology, and popular culture. Jim’s writing is accessible, compelling, and will speak to anyone who has a stake in sustaining the planet. Copies of the book will be available for signing.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Mary Benziger and Regina Coppens, “Partners in Health of Maine: The Filtrón Clean Drinking Water Project”. Cost for lunch: $12. A joint program with Waterville Rotary. Please RSVP to by noon on October 13th. Mary Benziger will give a brief overview of Partners in Health of Maine and Regina Coppens will present her exciting project of introducing a simple home water filtration system to the underprivileged people of the north Atlantic coast of Nicaragua using a micro-financing model. Water born diseases are prevalent in Puerto Cabezas, especially in young children. The Filtrón (essentially a clay pot housed in a plastic bucket with a spigot), which was developed by a Nicaraguan businessman (Ron Rivera) and has been used successfully in 40 countries around the world, offers a solution. Gina’s challenge is to identify local point people and retail outlets, set up payment schedules, market the product, and educate people on its importance in disease prevention.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010 

Jestina Mukoko, “Marriage of Inconvenience: Will Zimbabwe Slide Back Into Crisis?” Ms. Mukoko, the 2010 Colby Oak Fellow and the National Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, will discuss the likelihood that Zimbabwe will return to the state of crisis associated with the violent 2008 elections.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ellen Tipper, “Managing the ‘Double Burden of Disease’ in Southeast Asia” Ms. Tipper will discuss how international global health organizations are using their experience in the prevention of communicable diseases, such as HIV, malaria, and diarrheal disease, to address the increasing public health burden of noncommunicable “lifestyle” diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, road accidents, and drug use, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kenneth Rodman, “Nuclear Deterrence and Nonproliferation Strategy in the Obama Administration”. Last year in Prague, President Obama proclaimed his vision of a world without nuclear weapons and over the past two years has sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy and strengthen multilateral cooperation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials. Colby government professor Kenneth Rodman explains how the administration’s deterrence, arms control, and proliferation policies differ from those of its predecessor and assesses their prospects both for the near-term goal of reducing the risks of nuclear war and the long-term goal of a non-nuclear world.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Qiam Amiry and John Campbell, “Building Bridges: the Afghan Scholars Initiative and Access to Education in the 21st Century”. The Afghan Scholars Initiative (ASI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes diversity, understanding, and human development by providing scholarship and placement assistance to young Afghans of exceptional talent, who will go on to become the agents of change in both America and Afghanistan. Each sponsored student touches the lives of hundreds of his or her American classmates and has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of Afghans. By bringing these students together, ASI promotes the universal values of education, diversity and understanding, the foundations of a just and prosperous world.

Amiry spoke to the Global Forum in October, 2008, while a student at Colby College, and captivated us with his description of the perils of selecting two Afghan students for scholarships to Gould Academy. Since that time ASI has successfully placed seven students at secondary schools in the United States and India. ASI’s pilot scholars, Meetra Sroush and Sikandar Ahmadi, currently attend Smith College and Williams College, respectively. Additionally, ASI has eight students in their tutorial program in Kabul, Afghanistan. ASI will place these students with partner schools for the fall of 2011.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alex de Sherbinin, “The Effects of Climate Change on Displacement and Migration”. Please note change of venue: “Care and Comfort” Conference Room, corner of Main and Appleton Streets in Waterville (parking in Concourse). Mr. de Sherbinin will examine the evidence for migration due to recent climate change and the potential for future migration. He will also discuss four research approaches for addressing the climate-migration connection: 1) examining the evidence for migration being induced by environmental causes or natural disasters, 2) examining migration systems and their susceptibility to climate influences, 3) examining future impacts and the likelihood of displacement, and 4) using a livelihood framework in which the focus is on climate change impacts on natural resources and productive systems. What are the likely needs for resettlement of populations owing to climate adaptation and mitigation projects?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“Recycled Life” (film) at Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville. In collaboration with Railroad Square Cinema, the Mid-Maine Global Forum presents the Academy-Award nominated short documentary Recycled Life by Leslie Iwerks and Mike Glad. The 38-minute film focuses on the lives of those who work in the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. It will be introduced by Sarah Carter and Amy Eklund who have volunteered with the non-profit Safe Passageorganization. There will be a Question and Answer period following the film. See a trailer at: Admission: $6.50; free for high school students (with school ID).


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Safe Passage: Student Volunteers at the Guatemala City Dump”, at Lawrence High School multi-purpose room (upstairs in the Williamson Center) in Fairfield. Safe Passage or Camino Seguro is a non-profit organization that provides school enrollment and after-school support for poor children whose families scavenge the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. It was founded in 1999 by the late Hanley Denning and assists over 550 children. Colby students Sarah Carter and Amy Eklund, and Falmouth High School student Evan Eklund will be sharing their personal experiences as volunteers with this worthy organization. Snacks and beverages will be provided in the foyer.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lenny Reich, “Oil Supply and the American Economy: The Decades Ahead”. Historically, worldwide oil supply has increased when needed to keep up with growing demand. But as they say on a stock-fund prospectus, past performance is no guarantee of future results! Professor Reich will analyze the current situation and, based on information from the International Energy Agency published in November 2010, project the relationship of supply to demand, including what that will mean for oil prices–and for the American economy–over the next ten to twenty years. The presentation may contain upsetting conclusions; audience discretion is advised.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

 7:00 pm, Annual Dinner at Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, Colby College. Drs. Martha Campbell and Malcolm Potts, “People and the Planet–Why Population Matters”. This year the world’s population will surpass 7 billion and the UN is projecting that it will rise to over 10 billion people by the end of the century. Rapid population growth drives many of the world’s problems: poverty, economic development, environmental protection, and conflict. Drs. Potts and Campbell have many decades of experience taking family planning to poor countries. Their message is important: birthrates can be lowered in a purely voluntary way. Slowing population growth benefits women, their children, countries, and the planet Earth.


Past Season 2009-2010

Friday, September 25, 2009

Michael MacCracken, “Working Toward International Agreement and Climate Protection”. As greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to increase, projections are that the rate of warming will accelerate if emission controls are not put in place. With fossil fuels providing over 80% of global energy, and increasing use apparently inevitable in many developing nations in order to raise the standard-of-living, formulating an international agreement that will sufficiently limit the increase in global average temperature is quite problematic, with neither developed nor developing nations ready to commit to an agreement without commensurate action by both sides. Michael MacCracken will discuss an approach that will bridge the differences in viewpoints to achieve the reduction necessary.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colby’s 2009 Oak Fellow, Hadas Ziv, “Can Health be a Bridge to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?” Ms. Ziv is the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel). She is responsible for guiding the mission of PHR-Israel and managing a full-time staff of 17 and over 1,500 members. Even as executive director, Ms. Ziv continues to be on the front line of human rights work, leading her team in their campaigns including helping Palestinians under siege in Gaza to gain access to health care, the promotion of health rights of Palestinian women married to Israelis but denied civil status, the promotion of the rights of migrants living with HIV/AIDS in Israel without health insurance, and perhaps most successfully, a campaign to pressure the Israeli Health Ministry to support health care provision for the influx of refugees and migrants from African conflict zones seeking asylum in Israel.

Ms Ziv’s presentation will be followed by discussion of her work with PHR and the difficulties in Israel today. For more information on Ms. Ziv and her work please see Colby Oak Institute-Hadas Ziv.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Visiting Professor of Politics at Bates College, Eric Hooglund, “The Politics of Protest in Iran”. Professor Hooglund is an authority on the culture and politics of Iran, with 30 years experience in researching, teaching, and writing about the domestic politics and international relations of Middle Eastern countries, and U.S. foreign policy in the region. Since 1995 he has been editor of the internationally acclaimed journal Middle East Critique. He is the author of several books including Twenty Years of Islamic Revolution (2002), and is currently writing a book about Iran and the international community.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Colby government professor, Walter Hatch, “The Party-State and Civil Society in China”. Western observers have long anticipated a political transformation in China, a change that would make that country more democratic, more pluralistic, more — that is — like the United States. Thirty years ago, they assumed that economic liberalization would transform the country. But the communist party-state accommodated those reforms and consolidated its power. Then they assumed the internet would transform the country. But the party-state responded by building a Great Firewall. Now observers have begun to assume that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will transform the country…


Monday, March 8, 2010

Dr. Joseph Tulchin, “Crime and Violence in Latin America”. An unanticipated consequence of the transition to democracy in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s was a marked increase in violent crime, street crime, gangs, and organized crime — most notably drug cartels. This increase in crime and insecurity transforms the political debate into a race to the most undemocratic responses to crime, and puts enormous stress on the institutions of law and order that were not robust to begin. Now, in nations from Mexico to Argentina, the fragility of the rule of law threatens democratic governance. What is the appropriate response to this increase in crime? Does the United States have a role to play? Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to hear from a leading Latin Americanist.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Col. Richard Klass and Dr. Ira Helfand, “A Fork in the Road on Nuclear Weapons: Which Path to Security?” Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Colonel Richard Klass of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation will help sort the facts from fiction in a broad discussion of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and the dangers of nuclear proliferation and potential use. With more than fifty years combined military and medical experience, they will address current nuclear weapons issues and legislation, the public health consequences of nuclear weapons use, and how Maine Senators may influence this critical debate.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Adam Cote, “Hands-On Help in Haiti” at the Williamson Center Multi-Purpose Room, Lawrence Junior/Senior High School, Fairfield.

Though he had seen the streets of Bosnia and Iraq as a soldier, the devastation in Haiti was unlike anything Adam Cote of Portland had ever encountered. Mr. Cote will recount his experiences in Haiti in the aftermath of the disastrous January 12th earthquake. Working for Global Relief Technologies, he hit the ground running in his quest to gather data on amputees who needed artificial limbs, and on the structural integrity of buildings in the wake of the earthquake. Mr. Cote’s team worked with New England Brace, a New Hampshire-based maker of prosthetics, gathering names, measuring limbs, and collecting photos for a medical database. The company will use the amputee data to begin crafting artificial limbs and will share the data with other prosthetics manufacturers to speed up the process. It’s estimated that at least 2,000 people had amputations after the earthquake. Global Relief Technologies also examined building destruction, to help the Haitian government plan reconstruction.

Monday, August 16th, Annual Dinner at Colby’s Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, with Keynote address by Erik Peterson: “Addressing the Global Challenge of Water.” 6:15 Wine/Beer Reception, 7:00 Dinner. Peterson’s topic is timely and critical. If oil is the key geopolitical resource of today, water will be as important, if not more so, in the not-so-distant future. Registration details, etc., to follow.


Past Season 2008-2009

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nayan Chanda on “From Coffee to iPod: Tales of Globalization”. A sweeping look at the rise of globalization through history. Please join us as we kick off the 2008-09 MMGF slate of events with our special guest, Nayan Chanda, a distinguished expert on globalization.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Qiam Amiry, “Student from Afghanistan Makes a Difference”. Amiry will speak about how the opportunity to attend the United World College program led him to study at Colby. Wanting to help other students from Afghanistan, Qiam returned home during the summer of 2007 and worked to get his country’s government to allow two students to attend school at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. He will describe his efforts and the results of his quest. Qiam will also take questions about his trip home this past summer.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Colby Oak Fellow Afsan Chowdhury introduces and answers questions about his film, “Who Cares If Bangladesh Drowns?”, Railroad Square Cinema ($7.50). No one is more immediately threated by global warming than Bangladesh, which stands to be literally submerged if the rising of ocean waters caused by the melting of polar ice caps continues.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Janette Bulkan and John Palmer, “Hand in tiger mouth” — Forest management and mismanagement in Guyana and Maine. What is the meaning and relevance of the Guyanese proverb “Hand in tiger mouth?” What can happen when Jeffersonian concepts of the separation of powers in government are set aside by the State acting as a vehicle for criminal enterprise in Guyana? What are the consequences of the pursuit of private profit by a dominant industry? How does it affect civil society in Maine?


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cynthia Thomashow, “Climate Change — at the Local Level”. Against the backdrop of the global issues of climate change, Cindy Thomashow will consider the question, “What can individuals and local organizations do to help address these problems?” As the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Education at Unity College, Cindy has some answers for you. She has worked with Al Gore and is an expert on the “inconvenient truth.” At Unity Ms. Thomashow directs a program using green buildings as educational platforms to teach about sustainability and lowering our carbon footprint.

Wednesday, March 18th, 7 pm at Railroad Square Cinema, Juan Mandelbaum and his film, “Our Disappeared” “Through a casual Google search, director Juan Mandelbaum finds out that Patricia, a long lost girlfriend from Argentina, is among the thousands who were kidnapped, tortured and then ‘disappeared’ by the military during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Juan embarks on a journey to find out what happened to her and others he knew who disappeared and re-examines his own choices.” (from the website: Q & A with Mandelbaum will follow the film. Admission $7.50. Free for high schools students with ID.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dr. John van Wyhe, “Mind the Gap!” This is the bicentennial year of Charles Darwin’s birth and Dr. van Wyhe, an historian of science at the University of Cambridge and the founder and director of Darwin Online, is visiting Maine as part of a series of lectures in the United States. Van Wyhe’s recent research has challenged the long-held view that Darwin held back or kept his theory secret for 20 years (Darwin’s delay).


Monday, May 4, 2009

Hassan Bility, “Standing up for Human Rights”, at the Williamson Arts and Technology Center, Lawrence Junior/Senior High School, Fairfield. Unfortunately, Bility, editor of the local independent daily “The Analyst” in Monrovia, Liberia and a lead witness at the trial of Charles Taylor at the Hague, was unable to appear. Instead, Steve Knight (Lawrence High School) and a representative of Amnesty International made a presentation and led a discussion with students.

Thursday, June 18th, Robert Rotberg, “Stealth Democracy: Zimbabwe and the So-Called Unity Government”. Professor Rotberg is Director of the Program on Intrastate Conflict at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, President of the World Peace Foundation, and a long-time friend of C. Sylvester Whitaker, Jr., to whom this program is dedicated. Syl, who passed away this winter after a battle with cancer, had a distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and administrator. He was the first African-American male to graduate from Swarthmore College (in 1956) and the first African American to earn a PhD in Political Science from Princeton University (in 1962). His work on the emirates of northern Nigeria set the standard for scholarship in Nigeria, and remains essential reading for those who study political development, political change, and issues of democratization. We were privileged to have Syl on the board of directors of the MMGF and we miss him.


Thursday, July 23, 2009, 

Annual Dinner at Colby’s Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, with Keynote address by Richard Vietor on “How Countries Compete: the role of government in national development strategies during the global economics crisis”. 6:15 Wine/Beer Reception, 7:00 Dinner.


Past Season 2007-2008

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alfond Youth Center Library, “Somali Bantu Refugees in Lewiston, Maine”, featuring Professor Catherine Besteman and Somali refugee, Sheik Mohammad. Prof. Besteman will offer a short program that provides some background history on the 1992 war in Somalia that drove many from their homes into refugee camps in Kenya. After over a decade in refugee camps, they were resettled to the United States. A few years ago, Somali Bantu refugees from all over the US began moving to Lewiston, Maine, eventually forming the largest Somali Bantu refugee community in the US. Sheik Mohammad will talk about his experiences in Maine. No registration required. Please note time and venue! The Alfond Youth Center is at 126 North Street in Waterville. The library is upstairs (elevator available).

Tuesday, October 16th, Richard Falk on “The Repudiation of International Law Since 9/11”. (Please click name for biography and link to extensive curriculum vitae.)


Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Center with Nancy Sanchez, 2007 Oak Fellow at Colby. Wine and cheese reception. Nancy has been involved for nearly two decades in human rights work in Putumayo, Colombia, one of the most conflictive areas of Colombia, torn between several fronts of the guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and paramilitary forces. No registration necessary.


Monday, January 28, 2008

a joint program with Waterville Rotary, Brent Sansom on “Opportunity – Atlantica”.The Atlantica Council is a group of respected business leaders, representing various sectors throughout the Atlantica region, that has been formed by the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce (APCC) to guide efforts required to significantly enhance the economic prosperity of the region of Atlantica (a region of potential economic cooperation that includes the Northeastern United States, the Atlantic Provinces, and southern Quebec). Reporting to the president of APCC and working with and on behalf of the Atlantica Council, the Vice President of Atlantica, Brent Sansom, is responsible for planning, managing and implementing programs that support the Atlantica Council.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

at the Williamson Performing Arts Center (at Lawrence HS) in Fairfield, Dr. William Bicknell on “Managing HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries”. Dr. Bicknell is Chairman Emeritus and Professor of International Health at Boston University School of Public Health, and founder of the Center for International Health. He is currently involved with the government of Lesotho in designing and implementing multi-sectoral, long-term programs to mitigate the impact of HIV/AiDS. Lesotho, a small African nation roughly 1/3 the size of Maine, with a population of 2,000,000, has one of the highest percentages (27% and growing) of people afflicted with HIV/AIDS in the world. How is this impacting the country? What can be done about it? What are the obstacles? What are the goals? For more information on the project, see Lesotho Boston University Health Alliance


Monday, March 10, 2008

A joint program with Rotary: Larry Durkin on “The World Water Crisis — What is more precious than our children?”. One in five globally lack clean water and two in five lack adequate sanitation. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene claim the lives of over 1.5 million children under the age of five every year according to UNICEF. Lack of water is arguably the No. 1 preventable health crisis facing humanity today. The status of the crisis will be discussed along with the disproportionate burden placed on women, how communities are unable to break out of the cycle of poverty, and possible solutions.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Diamond 142 (Ostrove Auditorium), Colby College — “The Quiet Catastrophe: Iraqi Refugees and Contemporary Politics”, featuring Jake Kurtzer of Refugees International and Jennifer Kemp of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq. What if four million people fled their homes -and no one noticed? What if nearly 1/6 of a nation’s population became refugees -and the world did nothing? With notable exceptions, this is very much the case in and around Iraq today. Since the beginning of war in 2003 huge segments of Iraqi society have been trying to escape a living nightmare. Most now live in Jordan, Syria, or remote parts of Iraq. Most are women and children. In a joint program with Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, Kurtzer and Kemp will talk about their experiences and about the solutions their organizations support. No registration required.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Quil Lawrence, PRI/BBC correspondent, on “Kurdistan: America’s Accidental Success in Iraq”. “Kurdistan is an invisible nation, and the Kurds are the largest ethnic group on Earth without a homeland, comprising some 25 million moderate Sunni Muslims living in the area around the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Through a history dating back to biblical times, they have endured persecution and betrayal, surviving only through stubborn compromise with greater powers. Yet, like the Basques in Spain and the Chechens in Chechnya, they have yearned for official statehood—and in the denouement of the conflict in Iraq, they could take a giant step toward that goal. But will they?” — from Quil’s new book, “Invisible Nation: How the Kurds’ Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East” (Walker Books).


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Williamson Arts & Technology Center, Lawrence Junior/Senior High School in Fairfield: “Child Soldiers” featuring Grace Akallo, former child soldier and author of the book “Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope For Northern Uganda’s Children”, and Cynthia Gabriel of Amnesty International. High school teachers should register the number of students and teachers attending by May 1st, otherwise no registration is required. Snacks and beverages will be provided in the foyer.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Colby Professor Nikky Singh on “Punjabi Women in the Global Market”

Thursday, August 14th, Annual Dinner at Roberts Dining Hall, Colby College, featuring Michael Klare on “America’s Future and the Permanent Energy Crisis”. Cocktail reception at 6 pm, Dinner and Keynote Address at 7 pm. $25 per person. Please note that the film “Blood and Oil”, based on Klare’s book of the same name, will be playing at Railroad Square cinema in Waterville on August 13th at 7:00 pm.


Past Season 2006-2007

Friday, September 29, 2006

Dolfine Gumba Dawa on “A Kenyan Response to the AIDS Crisis.” Ms. Dawa, founder of the Korando Faith Widows and Orphan Group, will speak about her work in rural Kenya. The care of orphans is a difficult task that calls for love, discipline, education, and hard work. From making bricks, soap, and pottery to cultivating rice and maize, this African response to AIDS is focused on the basics of survival.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Robert Rotberg on “The Horn of Africa”. Rotberg, one of a handful of the country’s truly continent-wide experts on Africa, addresses the region that encompasses Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The area’s complex history, poverty, and instability, and its geographic location near the Middle East make it vulnerable to terrorism and a significant global concern.


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Joan Umaming Carling, “Dangerous Journey: Tales of an Indigenous Activist”. Carling focuses on the environmental and social impacts of dam and mining projects that are displacing indigenous peoples without their consent, violating their collective rights, and threatening their livelihoods.


Monday, December 4, 2006

 John Martin’s Manor, Quil Lawrence on “Accidental Nation Building: The Unintended Consequences of American Policy”. Co-sponsored with the Waterville Rotary Club. Lawrence reports for the PRI/BBC radio news program “The World,” dividing his time between Washington, Afghanistan and Iraq.


Friday, January 5, 2007

Christine and Jim Owre on “Nigeria and Malawi: Promoting Economic Reform, Democracy and Social Justice”.This is a free, “brown bag”, bring-your-own-lunch event. No registration required.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Prof John Turner on “Iran, Nuclear Power, and the Bomb”. The Historical context for the Iranian reaction to the U.S. and the international community in the context of the current Middle East predicament. How did we arrive at the current international situation with Iran? How can we explain the behaviour of the Iranian government? Is Iran seeking the bomb? Where is the situation likely to go in the future?


Monday, March 12, 2007

Prof William Moomaw on “A Trajectory for Reducing Our Heat-Trapping Emissions: The 3% Solution”, 11:45 in the Smith-Hurd-Robins Rooms, Roberts building, Colby College. Science calls for a 75-80% reduction in emissions to have a chance of keeping the climate system in bounds and to avoid the worst of the irreversible effects. This is scary. Bill Moomaw has a plan that provides multiple options for individuals, communities, corporations, and national and state governments to develop a strategy for meeting this goal in a timely fashion. There is a major role for the private sector and for institutions to play, and there are surprising numbers that are doing just that. Come learn about some exciting efforts that are underway. This is a free, “brown bag”, bring-your-own lunch event.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Dan Harris on “Iraq”. Harris, anchor of ABC’s “World News Sunday”, will be with us to share his insights on Iraq. His recent broadcast featuring interviews with the young Iraqi Dan Azad caught the attention of Colby Trustee Paul Schupf, who was compelled to sponsor Azad as a student at Thomas College. We are pleased to welcome both Dans, and are looking forward to hearing first-hand accounts of the situation in Iraq.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lawrence High School in Fairfield, “Genocide in Darfur”. A special forum with the participation of students from three area high schools.The keynote speaker, Tom White of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State University, will address the history of the current situation, including geographic and political causes, as well as what individuals or small groups can do to help. He will be joined by Halima Abdelgadir, of Sudan, and Colby students Lauren Pongan ’09 and Amanda Hilton ’07.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Maine Congressman Michael Michaud on “NAFTA” and related issues. Michaud has made economic development a top priority, and recently introduced legislation to create a Northern Border Economic Development Commission. The Commission would invest federal resources for economic development and job creation in the most distressed areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

“Iraq and Afghanistan: Four Personal Experiences” featuring panelists with on-the-ground experience in Iraq or Afghanistan: Sen Lisa Marrache recently visited the area with Pentagon officials. Dr. Ahmed Aldilaimi, a recent graduate of the Maine Dartmouth Family Practice Residency, is a native of Iraq. Sgt First Class John Knoblach recently completed a tour in Iraq with XVIII Airborne Corps. Master Sgt Douglas Hayes was part of an Engineer Brigade in the eastern part of Afghanistan with the Maine National Guard.


Past Season 2005-2006

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Olin Science Center, Room 1, Colby College: Mia Bloom, University of Cincinnati, “Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror”. Dr. Mia Bloom is an expert on terrorism, martyrdom, rape in war and child soldiers. She is currently an assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati and consults for the NJ Office of Counter Terrorism and for federal agencies. She has held research or teaching appointments at Princeton, Cornell, Harvard and McGill Universities. Dr. Bloom speaks nine languages and began focusing on international terrorism in 1990.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Adam Cote, the “Adopt an Iraqi Village” Program. As platoon leader with the 133rd Engineer Battalion, Adam Cote served with the Maine Army National Guard in Mosul, Iraq from March 2004 through March 2005. The 133rd was responsible for rebuilding schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in Northern Iraq. Among other work, Adam created the “Adopt an Iraqi Village” program where he coordinated the distribution of donated clothing, toys, and household necessities to different local villages. He received two Army Commendation Medals for his service in Iraq. He is still currently a member of the Maine Army National Guard. Please join us for an eye witness account of what’s been happening in Iraq.


Monday, November 7, 2005

John Martin’s Manor: David Brancaccio, “From Kennebec County to Timbuktu”. Co-sponsored with Waterville Rotary. David Brancaccio, host and senior editor of the program “NOW” on PBS, will talk about how the security of faraway places may have more connections than you think to our own security and well-being here at home. David grew up in central Maine and has traveled extensively in developing countries. For three years he served as the London-based European editor for the public radio program “Marketplace” and the radio service of the Christian Science Monitor. He recently completed a television documentary on global public health and a radio documentary on global security issues.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Oak Fellow Dr. Frances Lovemore, “Human Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe”. Frances Lovemore, the 2005 Oak Human Rights Fellow at Colby, is the medical director of the Amani Trust, which is the key organization in Zimbabwe providing services and support to victims of human rights abuses. Dr. Lovemore is a medical doctor who has been involved in the documentation and treatment of victims of torture and organized violence. She has been involved in research into methods of empowering survivors to address issues of reparation and redress, both locally and internationally. For more information about Dr. Lovemore and the Oak Institute, please


Friday, January 13, 2006

Shenna Bellows, “Challenging U.S. Torture in the Courts and Congress”. Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, will talk about ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuits pertaining to torture, including the ACLU and Human Rights First lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld, and the most recent ACLU lawsuit against former CIA director George Tenet, on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, challenging the abduction, detention and interrogation of foreign nationals under the extraordinary rendition program. For more information about the ACLU, please see


Friday, February 17, 2006

Raymond Baker, “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel”. Raymond Baker is an internationally respected authority on governance, growth, and foreign policy issues as they influence developing and transitional economies. After more than 40 years of experience in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe and extensive research he has written a book entitled “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free Market System.” In his book Baker chronicles the widespread illegal flow of money around the world through schemes like fictitious pricing, dummy corporations, and fake transactions. The practice bolsters international crime and contributes to global inequality and poverty. Please join us for a glimpse at the way criminals, terrorists, and business people move money around the world, and the resulting deleterious effects. Bring along your book for a signing.


Monday, March 6, 2006

John Martin’s Manor: Local physicians on “Global Health Volunteerism: Efforts and Impacts on Health in Impoverished Areas”. Co-sponsored with Waterville Rotary. Pathologist John Benziger works with Partners in Health of Maine to rebuild and improve the health system in the northern Atlantic region of Nicaragua. Emergency medicine physician Michael Klein works with Maine-based Masons on a Mission building efficient wood-burning cook stoves for indigenous Mayan families in Guatemala. Dr. Guy Nuki runs the Himalayan Health Center, a new nonprofit organization that provides medical care to the rural destitute in the Indian Himalayas.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Philip Brown, Assistant Professor of Economics at Colby College, “China’s Economic Growth: Prognosis and Challenges”. Brown recently returned from China where he led a Colby January course, visiting factories, talking to business leaders and touring Shanghai’s container port terminal. The port loads approximately 10,000 twenty-foot containers per day, making it the third largest in the world. Please join us to learn more about China’s rapidly growing economy.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

G. Calvin Mackenzie, Professor of Government at Colby College, “Beyond Ideology: America, China, and the Realities of the Twenty-First Century”. Although their histories and cultures are very different, China and America enter the 21st century as partners and rivals, but also as political societies struggling with similar problems and challenges. Poverty, pandemic, surging demands for fuel, trade imbalances and many of the other plagues of modern life crowd the agendas of both countries. But the primary struggle each will face, though from different directions, is the chronic need of every society to balance freedom and order. Cal Mackenzie spent six months in China in 2005 and will share his thoughts on the character of these challenges and their likely impacts on both countries.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

“Seeds of Peace”. Each summer students from Israel and Palestine gather at the International Seeds of Peace Camp in Otisfield, Maine to live and work together on conflict resolution regarding the difficult issues confronting the Middle East. Please join us when a panel of students from 3 area high schools (Lawrence, Winslow, and Messalonskee) will have a dialog with Seeds of Peace graduates Anastasia Netta Artemyev Berg and Hazem Zoun. World history/social studies classes from the four area high schools will also attend and participate in the dialog following the panel discussion. Global Forum members will also be given the opportunity to participate with their own questions.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006

10th Anniversary Dinner with special guest speaker Zbigniew Brzezinski. Please join us as we celebrate ten years of bringing high-caliber speakers on global topics to central Maine. We are excited and honored to have as our speaker, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Mr. Brzezinski, who served as National Security Advisor from 1977-81 and is an internationally recognized scholar and statesman, will speak about “Restoring U.S. Global Credibility.” Time: 6:00 Cocktails (cash bar), 6:30 Dinner. Location: Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, Colby College. Cost: $25 per person or $175 per table for eight (reservations required). For more information, please email: .


Past Season 2004-2005

Sept 15, 2004

“United Nations Population Fund” — Jane Roberts. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the world’s largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs. Since 1969 it has provided nearly $6 billion in assistance in over 140 developing countries to help plan families, promote safe and healthy pregnancies, avoid STIs, including HIV/AIDS and combat violence against women. In July the U.S. Administration decided, for the third time, not to release the $34 million appropriate by Congress for the UNFPA, arguing that the money supports coerced abortion in China—an allegation that UNFPA argues is baseless. To bridge the funding gap Jane Roberts and Lois Abraham have formed the “34 million friends of UNFPA” to urge 34 million people to donate a dollar to the Fund.

Please come to hear Ms. Roberts discuss the work of UNFPA and its integral role in achieving global development goals. She will also touch on why the US is the only developed country that does not contribute to the Fund – and why and how citizens can take action and make a real difference in individual lives.


Friday, Oct 22, 2004

“Courage to Refuse” — Dani Vos. Courage to Refuse is an organization of Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers who refuse to participate in the Occupied Territory of Palestine. They believe that the Occupation has nothing to do with the security of Israel and has, as its sole purpose, the perpetuation of control over the Palestinian people. Courage to Refuse, which has grown from its initial 52 to over 620, and its founder, David Zonsheine, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.


Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

“Blood and Oil” — Michael Klare, author of the recent book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency.


Friday, Dec 10, 2004

Patrice Franko (Grossman Professor of Economics at Colby), “Challenges to Sustainable Growth in Latin America”. A new buzzword in financial markets is BRIC–the set of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (and sometimes South Africa) that a startling research report by Goldman Sachs has identified as likely to outstrip the US and Europe. By 2050 China’s GDP could be 30% larger than the US, India’s four times that of Japan, and Brazil and Russia at least 50% larger than the United Kingdom. Overall, BRICs, which currently compare at 15% of all the GDP of major industrial economies, are forecasted to outstrip the six largest economies by 2039–a startling change in world economic power.

But achieving this change is a delicate balancing act of maintaining growth rates contingent on confidence and credibility in domestic political and economic institutions. This talk will focus on one of the BRICs–Brazil–and analyze how its president, a labor unionist without a high school degree has charmed Wall Street and achieved surprising macroeconomic success. But is Brazil’s emergence as a BRIC sustainable when built upon huge infrastructure gaps and glaring social deficits that threaten stability? What are the obstacles to genuinely emerging as a force in the international arena?


Tuesday, Feb 1, 2004

Ariel C. Armony (Assistant Professor of Government at Colby), “Focus on Argentina”. Professor Armony will present an overview of the current social and economic situation in Argentina. He will discuss the country’s economy, its recent insertion into the global arena, and the challenges for democracy.


Thursday, February 24, 2004

James R. Fleming (Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Colby), “Weather and Climate Modification: Science Policy Meets the History of Science and Technology”. Professor Fleming will link the history of weather and climate modification, with special emphasis on the United States, to current public policy. He’ll provide insights into the failures of cloud seeding and enumerate a series of massive and immodest intervention strategies for “geoengineering” the climate system. Fleming will also discuss two recent policy milestones: “Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research,” a report published by the US National Research Council in October 2003 and “Macro-engineering Options for Climate Change Management and Mitigation,” a symposium held in Cambridge, England in January 2004. Such proposed technical fixes reflect larger social tensions, values, and public apprehensions while subverting or at least submerging more fundamental and perhaps more reasonable aspects of cloud physics and climate dynamics.


Thursday, March 10, 2004

Richard Alley (Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University), “‘The Day After Tomorrow’ was so Yesterday”. Richard Alley studies ice cores – samples of ice that record Earth’s past climate. His research focuses on abrupt climate change, glaciers, ice sheet collapse and sea level change. In the 1990s Dr. Alley and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. What conclusions can be drawn from the evaluation of this data? Is global warming a natural phenomenon? What has been and will be the human impact on climate change? What do we need to know in order to understand and perhaps overcome climate changes in the future? Please join us for the second of a two-part Global Forum series addressing climate issues.


Tuesday, March 15, 2004

Peace activist Shadia Marhaban, “The Struggle in Aceh”. A few months ago, not many folks were familiar with Aceh Province on the island of Sumatra. Now, in the wake of the tsunami disaster, here is a chance to learn about a different facet of that region. On March 15th the Colby Goldfarb Center and the Mid-Maine Global Forum welcome peace activist Shadia Marhaban to Colby. Marhaban came to the U.S. as a political refugee in 2003, after having organized a peaceful mass rally for 2 million people in Banda Aceh in 1999. She is involved in Humanitarian Pause, the first peace movement in Aceh to represent women activists from civil society, and she works with the Srikandi Foundation distributing aid to refugee camps in Aceh. Please join us to learn more about The Struggle in Aceh. Free and open to the public. No registration required.


Thursday, April 14, 2004

Ambassador Robert Gelbard, “The Balkans: Ten Years After the Dayton Agreements”. In 1985 Robert Gelbard was the Special Representative for President Clinton on the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the wars in the Balkans. Please come to hear Ambassador Gelbard’s views on this important and volatile region.

The series of wars in the Balkans, beginning in 1991 and culminating in NATO’s attacks on Serbia in 1999 because of Milosevic’s genocide in Kosovo, marked the first (and so far) only period of actual warfare in Europe since WWII. While conflict had occurred in what is now Croatia earlier due to the conflicts initiated by Milosevic in southwestern and eastern Croatia, the most devastating warfare took place in Bosnia, beginning in 1992. The November 1995 Dayton Agreements, brokered by the US Government, caused that to end. The Kosovo War resulted in the end to Milosevic’s dictatorship.

Now, with the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Agreements upon us, is an appropriate time to examine the aftermath of that decade of horrible violence, intense and unprecedented involvement by the International Community, and concerted efforts to instill democratic governance and market-oriented economies in the entirety of the former Yugoslavia. Have these efforts succeeded. If not, why not? What does this mean for other international peacekeeping and nation building efforts?


Thursday, May 5, 2004

Dr. Christopher Foote, a Senior Economist in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, “Economic Policy and Prospects in Iraq”. Based upon his experience as advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Dr. Foote will discuss attempts to stabilize and reform Iraq’s economy along market lines. As suggested in his recent paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, he argues that while security concerns remain serious, Iraq’s economy has not been crippled by violence. However, sustained economic growth will depend on whether Iraq’s future leaders pursue the pro-market approaches the Coalition has advocated. If the Iraqi economy is to reach its potential, it will need to go even further than the Coalition did, implementing reforms the Coalition did not pursue because of security concerns.


Past Season 2003-2004

September 17, 2003

“Cyberterrorism” — Thomas A. Longstaff, Carnegie Mellon and CERT Research Center

October 24, 2003: “The Pinochet Case” — Geoffrey Bindman, a leading human rights activist and visiting professor at University College London.


November 10th, 2003

“Can the US Succeed in Rebuilding Iraq?” — Dr. Johanna Mendelson Forman from the United Nations Foundation. (Co-sponsored by Rotary.)     more


December 11, 2003: Congressman Tom Allen on foreign policy issues.


January 7th, 2004

”The Global Implications of Aquaculture.” — Sebastian Belle, Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Assocation.


January 28th, 2004

“The Kiva and the SUV: Cultures, Courts, and Consumers” — Peter Sly How American courts and institutions have wrestled with the relationships between Native and European cultures.


March 12, 2004

“Utopian Visions, Geopolitical Realities: Russia’s Nuclear Power Program in the 21st Century” — Paul Josephson, Associate Professor of History, Colby College


April 7th, 2004

“Directions in American Foreign Policy: Two Views from Off the Hill” — Martin Lancaster (Democrat, North Carolina, 1987-1995), a member of the Armed Services Committee and one of the House members to the Geneva Convention that looked into Chemical Warfare; and Jim Ross Lightfoot (Republican, Iowa, 1985-1997), a member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.


May 19th, 2004: 

“Providing Health Care in Developing Countries” — David and Janet Preston share their experiences in Cameroon, Africa. Location: The Living Water Spiritual Center, 93 Halifax St., Winslow.


June 3, 2004: 

“The Role of Women in Social and Economic Change in Africa.” — Sandra Sohne, Assistant Dean of Students, Colby College.