Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Humphrey Fellow alumni N’nyapule Madai awarded 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

Humphrey Fellow (83') alumni Mister N’nyapule Madai from Tanzania was recently awarded with the 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals (DLAI). 

While his stay in Humphrey, he was a Social Welfare Officer in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, where he was involved especially with the rehabilitation of the disabled. He was also the Executive Secretary of both the National Committee for the Disabled and the National Committee of the World Assembly on Aging. Some activities of that time included undertaking a survey of rehabilitation facilities in Tanzania. He is currently officially retired but remains as an Assistant Commissioner for Social Welfare in Tanzania.

Since 2003, ten Humphrey International Fellows at the University of Minnesota—from Brazil, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Nigeria, Philippines, Tanzania, Turkey, and Uganda—have been awarded the DLAI.

Mr. Madai holds a Diploma in Social Work from the National Social Welfare Institute, Dar E Salaam (1976). In 1980 he was awarded the Joseph P. Kennedy fellowship in Mental Retardation and Public Policy, sponsored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, which enabled him to study for six months at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Congratulations to Mr. N'nyapule! His life's work has changed lives and played a key role in changing the way children with disabilities are perceived in their society and by their government. We are truly inspired by his work and can only hope to follow in his footsteps to do work that positively impacts people's lives in our community.

Oct 20 Government and Nonprofit Job Fair

If you’re looking for a job or internship where you can make a difference, you’re invited to attend the University’s Government and Nonprofit Career Fair. This is a great chance for students from all Humphrey School programs to learn about employers and opportunities in government and nonprofit sectors. More than 85 employers are participating. The event is free for U of M students and alumni, and doesn’t require pre-registration. It’s on Friday, October 20, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. in the Great Hall, Coffman Union.

Oct 24 Freeman Seminar: Global Urbanity, Global Corporatism - 21st Century Challenges

A Freeman Seminar: Global Urbanity, Global Corporatism - 21st Century Challenges

Richard Bolan, Professor Emeritus
Humphrey School of Public Affairs

October 24, 2017 12:45- 2:00 PM

The Stassen Room 170 - Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Professor Bolan’s discussion, based on a book manuscript in preparation, will focus on critical trends of the 21st century, how these trends might interact, and their implications for urban planning and development over the next 20 years. These trends include:

· The Urbanization of World Population
· The Demise of Free Capitalism and the Rise of Corporate Oligopoly
· The Decline of Governmental Sovereignty
· Ongoing Technological Innovation
· Climate Change

Richard S. Bolan, professor emeritus of planning and public affairs first joined the Institute in 1985. Before his official retirement in 1998, he served as the Institute's Acting Associate Dean from 1988 to 1990, and at various times directed the master of planning program. He chaired a task force that designed the Institute's initial curriculum for the current Master of Urban and Regional Planning program. He was also a participant in the Institute's Center for Nations in Transition. Before joining the Institute in 1985, he was professor of social planning at Boston College and edited the Journal of the American Institute of Planners. He earned a B.E. in civil engineering from Yale, a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from New York University.
Bolan worked primarily on the theoretical issues of planned social change. He has co-written major planning documents in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria and wrote a major research report, "Poland's Path to Sustainable Development: 1989-1993".

HHH Prof. Ron: "Is the UN a friend or foe?"

Reprinted from Brookings Blog: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/10/03/is-the-un-a-friend-or-foe/

"As the annual United Nations General Assembly convened in September in New York, anxiety over relations with the United States under President Trump loomed. The United States is the most powerful member and largest contributor to the U.N.

James Ron
Harold E. Stassen Chair of International Affairs - at the University of Minnesota
Associated Professor - CIDE 

Charles T. Call
Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Latin America Initiative
David Crow
Associate Professor of International Studies - CIDE
Former Director - Americas and the World survey project

U.N. officials had worried the president would engage in another round of world-body bashing, but wound up relieved by his faint praise for U.N. peacekeeping and refugee assistance.

However, Trump’s calls for state-centered sovereignty echoed long-standing conservative skepticism of global organizations. According to a 2016 Pew survey, a majority of Republicans believe the United States should not let its interests be affected by the U.N. or other multilateral bodies like the World Trade Organization. In this view, the U.N. is a tool used by other countries, including America’s enemies, to curb U.S. interests.

But do other countries see the U.N. this way? What do people around the world think of the U.N. and the Unites States? In conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly, we examined our survey data of 8,885 people from six countries in all regions of the global South. The polls took place from 2012 to 2016, and were representative either of countries (Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador) or of major cities and their rural environs (Lagos, Mumbai, Rabat, and Casablanca). We used established local survey companies to conduct these interviews face-to-face. 

Trust in the U.N. among publics in the developing world

Surprisingly, the publics we polled all have middling to negative views of the U.N. On a scale of 0 (no trust) to 1 (a lot of trust), Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and Nigeria fall ever so slightly on the trusting side of the midpoint (.5), ranging between .54 and .56. Mumbai is slightly distrustful (.46) and Rabat/Casablanca are highly skeptical (.29) (see Graph 1).

These low trust scores are hardly the ringing endorsement we would expect if—as American conservatives sometimes argue—weaker countries and enemies of America use the U.N. to enhance their power, secure international aid, and curtail U.S. sovereignty. Our findings are also surprising since some other polls, notably one by Pew Research Center in 2013, found that publics viewed the U.N. more positively. That poll drew from seven Latin American countries and six African countries, finding that people had a “favorable” view of the U.N.

Our polls include more recent opinions, and find a slightly less positive view of the United Nations.

Trust in the United States among publics in the developing world

Perhaps less surprisingly, publics in these locales have slightly negative views of the U.S. government, with trust averaging between .43 and .49 (again, on the 0-1 scale) in India, Mexico, and Ecuador. Morocco weighed in at a negative .24. These polls were all carried out before the election of Donald Trump, whose speech at the U.N. reinforced an “America First” perspective that has dismayed allies and reinforced detractors’ suspicions. Other polls have shown plummeting support for the United States during 2017. In our surveys, even backing from people in pro-U.S. countries was lukewarm (Colombia, .53, Nigeria, .59). 

Links between Trust in the U.S. Government and the U.N.

Our most interesting finding, however, is a strong, statistically significant link between trust in the United States and trust in the U.N. The more people mistrust the U.S. government, we found, the more they also mistrust the U.N., controlling for a wide variety of factors. The reverse is also true, logically: The more people trust the U.S. government, the more they trust the U.N.

Graph 2 shows the magnitude of this linkage via regression analysis. Trust in the U.S. government and U.N. are both scored on the same 0 (no trust) to 1 (a lot of trust) scale. Across all six countries/cities, when respondents trust the United States a lot (the scale is at its maximum of 1, to the right of the graph), trust in the U.N. is .62. When trust in Washington falls to the minimum of “no trust” (0, to the left of the graph), respondents mistrust the U.N. (average of .45)—a whopping decrease of 17 percentage points—even controlling for a wide range of attitudinal and socio-demographic factors.

This result is surprising given the American public’s understandings of the U.N. Whereas many Americans view the U.N. as opposing or constraining U.S. power, our poll suggests that people in developing countries think otherwise. We can infer that many people in the global South see the U.N. and the United States as advancing a common agenda. What’s good for America is good for the U.N., and vice versa. 

Explaining the U.S.-U.N. link

Why are distrust in the U.N. and U.S. government linked? For starters, it seems likely that attitudes toward U.S. authorities are influencing attitudes toward the U.N., rather than the other way around; the United States is clearly far more important and visible on the world stage.

It is possible, however, that mistrust in the U.N. and U.S. government are both driven by a general mistrust in international actors. To investigate, we included measures of respondents’ mistrust in the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in our statistical analysis.

Both the EU and IMF are more popular than either the U.N. or the U.S. government in our countries of interest. Regression analysis, moreover, shows that the inclusion of attitudes toward the EU and IMF does not wash out the effects of distrust in the United States on distrust in the U.N.

Respondent distrust in the U.N., in other words, may be driven by distrust in the U.S. government, over and above any feelings respondents might have for multilateral institutions in general.

Respondent distrust in the U.N., in other words, may be driven by distrust in the U.S. government, over and above any feelings respondents might have for multilateral institutions in general.

It is also possible that distrust toward the U.N. is driven by fear of unwanted human rights scrutiny, most likely by the U.S. State Department under prior administrations. One could certainly imagine this being the case in war-weary Colombia and Nigeria.

Our survey, however, shows that respondents generally have positive trust in local human rights organizations, contrasting their disposition toward the U.N.

When we include “trust in local human rights organizations” in our regressions, moreover, the association of distrust in the U.S. government with distrust in the U.N. remains.
Popular belief: The U.N. does Washington’s bidding

The U.N.-U.S. association, we believe, is driven by respondents’ view of the U.N. as a tool of intervention by its dominant member, the United States.

Given the U.N.’s role in Afghanistan and Iraq in the prior decade, and its growing role in global counterterrorism, people across the global South see the U.N. as reflecting colonial-style intervention, despite the U.N.’s prominent role in advancing decolonization in the 1960s and 1970s.

This finding of an association between U.N.-U.S. distrust is remarkable, insofar as it cuts against the prevalent perception among conservative politicians in the United States that the U.N. acts against U.S. interests and in favor of its global critics, especially in the global South.

Thus, our sampling of the rest of the world suggests a perspective that the U.N. is advancing U.S. interests, not undermining them.

The Trump administration has taken up the banner of ensuring that the U.N. serves the United States and its security imperatives, a theme invoked in Trump’s inaugural address to the body on September 19. It may also wish to ensure that the U.N. is not perceived even further to be a tool of Washington in order to enhance the global body’s legitimacy. The U.N., which should enjoy a modicum of public support, must work to improve its mediocre or outright negative reputation."
Professor James Ron holds the Stassen Chair for International Affairs at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs & Department of Political Science, and is also affiliated with Mexico's Centre for Economic Research & Teaching (CIDE). For more details, please visit www.jamesron.com.

UMN Prof. Ní Aoláin profiled for human rights work in Minneapolis Star Tribune



 Photo and text from Star Tribune

University of Minnesota law professor takes rights battle to global stage
U professor takes her defense of civil liberties to global stage as United Nations adviser

By Maura Lerner
October 14, 2017 — 8:40pm
photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin is the University of Minnesota’s newest regents professor.

For a law professor, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has seen more than her share of violence.

She grew up in the shadow of one war zone and dodged land mines in another to bring war criminals to justice in the 1990s.

Since then, she has quietly built an international reputation as a human rights lawyer at the University of Minnesota, where she has taught for 13 years.

Now she's embarking on her highest profile assignment yet — as a special adviser to the United Nations.

On Wednesday, the 49-year-old native of Ireland (whose name is pronounced Fin-oola Nee Ay-loin) will address the U.N. General Assembly in New York about the need to protect human rights in the age of terrorism.

"In countering terrorism, human rights protections are not secondary, not irrelevant," she says in her prepared remarks. But they are, she maintains, in serious danger.

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin is the University of Minnesota’s newest regents professor and will appear before the U.N. in New York this week.

Since becoming a U.N. special rapporteur this summer, she's already weighed in on a controversy over the treatment of human rights groups in Egypt and another on a new French security law that, she warns, will weaken the civil liberties of ordinary citizens.

In a sense, her job is to act as the U.N.'s watchdog, to call out what she sees as violations of basic human rights. It's a mandate that could take her almost anywhere in the world in the next three years, including its most volatile hot spots.

"Conflict follows me, or maybe I follow conflict," she told the Board of Regents in September, when she received the U's highest academic honor, the title of regents professor. Looking back, she mused, armed conflict has been "the motif of my career."

And not just as an outside observer.

"Fionnuala has never shied away from putting herself in conflict when she thought that may help," said her husband, Oren Gross, who is also a law professor at the U. "There are so many people who write about human rights from the comfort of the couch. And that's not her."

From Belfast to Bosnia

As a child in Ireland, Ní Aoláin had to cross military checkpoints to visit her grandmother across the border in Northern Ireland. She remembers hearing news of bombings and other atrocities on the radio, and even from a safe distance, the sectarian strife over British rule in the north seemed inescapable. At 18, she entered law school in Belfast, ground zero of the conflict, where military helicopters would fly overhead and city streets were barricaded.

The rifts in what she called this "deeply segregated and divided society" played out in her classroom, where Protestants clustered in the front rows and Catholics in the back. A few, like her, would sit in the middle, refusing to take sides.

As a first-year law student, she joined a human rights group that would shape not only her career, but also the peace process in Northern Ireland.

As part of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Ní Aoláin and a few dozen other activists worked behind the scenes to craft segments of the 1998 Good Friday peace accords. They cajoled the politicians and warring parties to include explicit protections for minorities, women and victims in a postwar bill of rights.

As her reputation grew, she caught the eye of a U.N. team preparing for a war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. They wanted to send a lawyer to Sarajevo in the aftermath of the Bosnian war, to monitor how local courts were handling suspected war criminals. But it was still a dangerous place, with curfews and land mines and bombed-out buildings. "My guess is, they thought, 'She won't be scared of going to a war zone because she grew up in a war zone,' " said Ní Aoláin.

They were right.

Redefining war crimes

During her year in Sarajevo, as she met the civilian victims of wartime horrors, she was struck by the accounts of women who had been held in "rape camps." "It was a widespread phenomenon, and not just on one side," she said.

Later, while teaching at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she pored through the testimonials from hundreds of Holocaust victims, many hinting at the same kind of sexual brutalization during World War II. At the time, she said, rape wasn't even considered a war crime.

"I started writing about what I saw as a gap in international criminal law," she said. "Saying rape is a war crime, and not simply some accidental thing that happens along the way, is important. It's important for victims."

Her articles, in a series of journals, were among the first to define sexual violence as a weapon of war — and help change the conversation. Today, she notes, rape is recognized as a war crime by all international courts.

She returned to Northern Ireland in 2003 to co-found the Transitional Justice Institute, a program at Ulster University that specializes in the study of peacemaking in violence-torn countries. At the time, she was also juggling an international commuter marriage — her husband, an Israeli, was teaching in Tel Aviv. In 2004, just as the couple were looking for a neutral place to live and raise a family, the University of Minnesota came calling.

"As a scholar, she's really quite remarkable," said David Weissbrodt, a law professor who helped recruit both Ní Aoláin and her husband to the U faculty. At the time, he noted, she was already a superstar in human rights circles, known for her "ability to bring action" as well as her academic achievements.

Since then, the honors have piled up — she has served on the European Court of Human Rights, won several prestigious fellowships and published eight books. Her new U.N. job will add to an already full plate: In addition to teaching and doing research at the U, she co-directs the institute she founded in Ulster. Now, though, she has an assistant in Geneva to help keep tabs on the global crises that demand her attention.

"We are thrilled that the U.N. gets the benefit from her service," said law school Dean Garry Jenkins. "We should all be grateful that there are people like Professor Ní Aoláin willing to put forth that effort and take that risk on our behalf."

To her, the battle for human rights is a lifelong struggle. "When we make gains, people will push back," she said. But that, she says, is exactly what makes it worthwhile. "You're part of something bigger."

Despite everything, she remains optimistic.

"I'm frequently reminded of that famous line from Anne Frank's diary, that she still believes in the goodness of people," said Gross, her husband. "I think in some sense Fionnuala is like that. She has seen horror. She really has seen horror. And she still comes back and believes in the best that humanity has to offer."

Oct 20 Webinar Invite: Civil Service Schedule A Hiring at US State Dept

Civil Service Schedule A/Non-Competitive Hiring at the US State Department
Friday, October 20, 2017
3:00pm ET

With Amanda Richard, Strategic Communications Manager, Office of Accessibility and Accommodations and David O’Neill, Deputy Division Chief for Recruitment Outreach.

As you may know, Schedule A covers hiring for people with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and intellectual disabilities.

No advance registration necessary.

Oct 18 Tropical and Travel Medicine Seminar

Tropical and Travel Medicine Seminar

They will be in Ben Pomeroy Room 215 on the Saint Paul Campus. Parking information and maps are below.

October 18, 2017
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Introduction to the Syrian Crisis by Abdel Ghani El Rafei and Future for Syria Q&A by Hind Aboud Kabawat and The Health Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Refugees by Dr. Aref Al-Kali.

Register here.

Location here.

Parking for a nominal fee is available in the Gortner Ave Ramp.
Link to Saint Paul Campus Map.
More information can be found at the Parking and Transportation Services website.
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