Africa Rising: Diversity, Development and Diplomacy

Africa Rising: Diversity, Development and Diplomacy

Dr. Robert Hitchcock, UNM
August 23, 2019

Africa, a continent of 54 countries, 3,600 ethnic groups, and over 7,700 languages, is ‘the cradle of humankind,’ the place where humans originated. It is the continent with the highest rates of urbanization and population growth and is a world leader in strategies for dealing with climate change. Sometimes seen as a continent in decline, Africa today is experiencing a significant renaissance – in diplomacy, the use of digital technologies and sustainable development. Dr. Hitchcock will address lessons from African including the unique ways that are being used to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

Aroop Mangalik

Politics and Paranoia: India from Gandhi to Modi

Dr. Aroop Mangalik
August 11, 2019

India is unique, not only for its diverse cultures, but also for its turbulent politics, which Aroop Mangalik will explore in this lecture. After independence from Britain in 1947 and traumatic turmoil as the subcontinent was separated into Muslim Pakistan and secular India, the country settled into imperfect democracy under the India National Congress Party. Although 80 per cent of Indians remained locked in poverty, the middle class bloomed. But India’s Hindu majority, particularly those who had prospered, began to feel uneasy about the growing power of the Muslim minority. By 2014 a charismatic politician, Narendra Modi, fanned that unease into outright paranoia and became Prime Minister. All dissent was suppressed. Even the constitution, which explicitly declared that India was a secular state, is under attack. How did India’s leadership evolve to this state and what’s next?

Futures, Design and Global Security

Futures, Design and Global Security

Elizabeth Kistin Keller, Ph.D., Sandia National Labs
August 23, 2019 (Fri) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Albuquerque Journal Auditorium
7777 Jefferson NE

This lecture has been cancelled due to a schedule conflict with the speaker.

Muslims in India

Muslims in India

Abbas Akhil, NM House of Representatives
July 19, 2019

The roots of Islam in India can be traced to the 6th and 7th centuries along the Western coast to Arab traders and in the North to Turkic invaders and Persian conquerors who came later in the 12th and 14th centuries.  The influence of Islam through these two separate routes took different forms.  Abbas Akhil will focus on the spread of Islam through these two origins to eventually become the largest minority religion of 200 million in a dominantly Hindu country.  He will explore the cultural and linguistic influences of Muslim culture, the complex political ramifications of the Muslim identity, the partition of India along religious lines in 1948 and the more recent rise of Hindu nationalism that lead to the overwhelming victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections last month.

Nicolasa Chavez

The Spirit of Flamenco

Nicolasa Chavez, Curator, International Folk-Art Museum
July 14, 2019

Passionate, fiery, sensual, intense—these words describe flamenco’s highly expressive and distinctive dance and music. Nicolasa Chavez will explore the cultural roots and forces that allowed for its transformation from the caves of Andalusia to the cafés and theaters of Europe and New York and, inevitably, to the heart of New Mexico’s art scene. She will also discuss the popularity of flamenco around the world in such far away places as Argentina and Japan.

US Approach to Nuclear Weapons in the Trump Administration:  Is the World Safer or More Dangerous?

US Approach to Nuclear Weapons in the Trump Administration: Is the World Safer or More Dangerous?

Jill Hruby, former President, Sandia National Labs
June 21, 2019

It is customary for a new US president to issue a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) within the first 18 months after taking office.  President Trump followed this tradition with the release of his administration’s NPR in February 2018.  This talk will focus on what is the same and what is different about this new nuclear policy and how it may stabilize or destabilize the behavior of other nuclear nation states.  Finally, this talk will briefly address how Trump’s nuclear policy effects New Mexico. 

Chilies Around the World

Chilies Around the World

Stephanie Walker, Ph.D., New Mexico State University
June 9, 2019

New Mexicans love chilies, but do we know everything about them? Chile peppers, members of the genus Capsicum, are native to the New World. After discovery of the crop by European explorers, chile peppers spread around the globe, were embraced by many disparate populations and incorporated into local cuisines. Different regions preferred different heat profiles and flavors, and specific preferences led to selection of unique varieties that contribute to the incredible diversity we see in chile peppers today. Stephanie Walker will explore the unique varieties of chile peppers grown in New Mexico and around the world.  

The Islamic Republic at 40: The Struggle for the Future of Iran and Challenges for the US

The Islamic Republic at 40: The Struggle for the Future of Iran and Challenges for the US

Alex Vatanka, Middle East Institute
May 17, 2019

Under massive American sanctions, Iran is today faced with a long list of problems. And yet, there is a deep split among the Iranian people, and within the ruling elite, about the best way forward. The Trump administration’s Iran policy is disjointed, but Iran’s problems are overwhelmingly of its own making and go back to 1979 when the Islamist model was first born. The question is, can the Islamic Republic survive if it stays on the same course?  Another question is whether Iran can depend on China to be “rescued” while under US sanctions?

Nandini Kuehn

Vibrant Cinema in India

Nandini Kuehn, Ph.D.
May 12, 2019

Commercially successful films from India which originated in Mumbai and are now called “Bollywood” have influenced movies like Slumdog Millionaire – but what makes Bollywood films so popular remains a mystery. Why do millions of Indians, and a growing number outside of India enjoy three-hour films with fantastic themes, non-stop songs and dances, and unbelievable plots? Nandini Kuehn will help us understand what defines these films and their success, and glimpse the emerging market for new, vibrant cinema in India. 

Monika Ghattas

Beirut: Gateway to the Middle East

Monika Ghattas, Ph.D.
April 14, 2019

Dr. Ghattas will take us on a virtual tour of Beirut, a city that is a polyglot mixture of East and West—in languages, food, and in many cultural nuances.  She will focus on the city’s reputation as the gateway to the Middle East.

Afghanistan After 9/11

Afghanistan After 9/11

Douglas Wise, Senior Intelligence Officer
April 5, 2019

In the aftermath of the devastating attack on September 11th, 2001, the Nation came together and mounted a response which took the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan.  CIA was tasked with developing, leading, and coordinating this effort.  Fifteen days after 9/11 the first of several CIA teams landed in Afghanistan and, working with the forces of the Afghan Northern Alliance, began operations against al-Qaiida, the Taliban and the Afghan Army.  This is the story of one of those teams; a team deployed to the far eastern side of Afghanistan in an isolated camp near Asadabad at the southern end of the Konar Valley along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Eighteen years later, US troops are still in Afghanistan. What’s happening? What are the prospects for the future?

Declassified Stories of US Spies

Declassified Stories of US Spies

Domini Hofmann, Executive Producer & Director
March 24, 2019

NOTE: Due to the unavailability of the speaker, this talk has been CANCELLED. +More Info

What is Hinduism?

What is Hinduism?

V.M. (Nitant) Kenkre, UNM
March 10, 2019

Dr. Kenkre will discuss aspects of Hinduism including its scriptures such as the Bhagwad Geeta, considered a central representative of Hindu philosophical thought, and also Patanjali’s Yogasutras, associated often with the practice of Yoga. He will describe some of the varied religious practices of the Hindus including Yadnya and Pooja, and touch upon the origin and aspects of a few customs puzzling to outsiders, for instance the notorious caste system.

NATO in the 21st Century

NATO in the 21st Century

Lt. General Frank Kisner
March 1, 2019

The NATO Alliance’s first 40 years were focused on a defense of Western Europe from USSR attack, but following the events of the last decade of the 20th century there was much speculation on a change for NATO strategic guidance, and yet nearly two decades after the Fall of the Wall, and after NATO opened its membership to nations from the former Soviet Union, why does Russia maintain its top-of-the-list position as the principal antagonist? Frank Kisner will provide an overview on NATO, on what the Alliance is doing today, and share perspectives on how member nations have been influenced by the past, affected by the present, and what that might mean for future relations with Russia.

China’s Great Gamble:  Can China’s Government Create a Technological Superpower?

China’s Great Gamble: Can China’s Government Create a Technological Superpower?

Barry Naughton, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
February 22, 2019

Over the past several years, China’s government has launched an unprecedented effort to steer its economy through a new technological revolution and create a vast new infrastructure network knitting together China and its Asian neighbors.  Less widely noticed, China’s leaders are attempting to achieve this through an entirely new model of a “government-steered market economy.”  China’s efforts create new sources of risk and have already led to intensified friction with the United States.  Professor Naughton will describe and discuss what we know right now about the bigger picture, the likely balance of success and failure, and what is at stake.