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Charles Hostler Institute of World Affairs, San Diego State University, Serving as a forum for the analysis and discussion of international relations since 1942 San Diego State University

Fall 2015

Seyom Brown, “Faces of Power: Obama’s Foreign Policy in Historical Perspective”

September 9, 2015, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Arts and Letters 101

Dr. Seyom Brown has been a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Harvard University’s Belfer Center, the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and the American Security Project and has served in the US Departments of State and Defense. He has taught at Brandeis. University; Harvard University; Columbia University; UCLA; The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Southern Methodist University; and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

This event is co-sponsored with the San Diego World Affairs Council.

Peter Dorman, “The Challenges of the U.S. Higher Education Model in a Dynamic, Contentious Middle East”

October 27, 7-8:30 PM, Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center

Currently Professor of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Dr. Peter Dorman is a humanist and an international leader in the study of the ancient Near East, in particular the field of Egyptology, in which he is a noted historiographer, epigrapher and philologist. He is the author and editor of several major books and many articles on the study of ancient Egypt and is probably best known for his historical work on the reign of Hatshepsut and the Amarna period.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Amherst (BA, 1970) and his graduate work at the University of Chicago (PhD, 1985). An accomplished academic leader and administrator, before coming to AUB he chaired with great success the distinguished Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Previously, he spent nine years (1988-1997) heading the epigraphic efforts at Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt. From 1977 to 1988, he worked in curatorial positions in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

In July 2008, Peter Dorman became the 15th president of AUB and for seven years led the university in a major expansion of its medical center, invigorated interdisciplinary research across the institution, and initiated the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign. Founded in 1866, AUB is a private, independent, non-sectarian, non-profit institution of higher learning located in Lebanon’s capital city under a charter from the State of New York. AUB bases its educational philosophy, standards, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. A teaching-centered research university, AUB has around 700 instructional faculty, a student body of around 8,000 students, and currently offers more than 120 programs leading to the bachelor's, master's, MD, and PhD degrees.

This event is co-sponsored with the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies.

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Fredy Peccerelli, Executive Director, Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala, “Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala: Truth from the graves, the power of identification, and history clarified”

November 12, 2pm, Storm Hall West Room 12

For over 23 years, we – Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) – have applied forensic sciences to the investigation of crimes against humanity suffered in Guatemala. Each identification adds and clarifies the historical record, which would have remained unresolved for the families of the victims and restricted justice without these investigations. This presentation will explore the FAFG’s Multidisciplinary Human Identification System and explore a few significant cases which had immense impact on disentangling the complex and contested history regarding Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. Some of these cases include the immense exhumation and investigation at La Verbena cemetery searching for victims of enforced disappearance, solving the ambiguous fates of the victims in the Military Diary and cracking its codes, and the case of the former military base, now CREOMPAZ. These cases extend our understanding of violence through time and space through the discovery and excavation of clandestine graves, thus illuminating strategies and disproportionate responses executed by successive military governments.

We, the FAFG, utilize interdisciplinary methods from criminology, social anthropology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, and forensic genetics. The founding of the FAFG was an answer to the request of family members to uncover hidden truths. We work to identify the disappeared, promote justice, and clarify history. Unearthing the truth, recovering the remains of families' loved one(s), and re-burying them with dignity in accordance to cultural traditions brings real impact to the lives of the families and generates progress towards transitional justice. 

Co-sponsored with Forensic Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and ISCOR

Trita Parsi, “Avoiding War and Nuclear Armageddon in the Middle East: Iran, Israel, and Regional Unrest”

November 17, 7-8;30 PM, Arts and Letters 101

Trita Parsi is the 2010 recipient of the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an award-wining author of two books, Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US (Yale University Press, 2007) and A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012). Treacherous Alliance won the Grawemeyer award and Council of Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Award in 2008 (Silver medallion). A Single Roll of the Dice was selected as The Best Book on The Middle East in 2012 by Foreign Affairs. Dr. Parsi is the President of the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the US, the National Iranian American Council and has taught at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University. He currently teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

This event is co-sponsored with the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies.

Trita Parsi, a leading expert on Iran and on Iranian-US relations gave a talk titled “Avoiding War and Nuclear Armageddon in the Middle East: Iran, Israel, and Regional Unrest.” Having observed the negotiations over the past several years, Dr. Parsi shared his insights on how the historic accord on limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity was reached and what are its implications for regional and global politics.
Speaking to a standing room audience of students, faculty, and members of the San Diego community, Dr. Parsi set forth the key elements of the deal, the factors that explained the success of reaching the deal and the long-term value of this historic accord.

In particular, Dr. Parsi emphasized that the deal forestalls all paths for Iran attaining nuclear weapons, enables a more productive relationship between the US and Iran, eliminates the chances of war breaking out between Iran and the US and boosts the long-term prospects of Iran’s modern, youthful population to bring about a democratic transformation.

The deal came about, explained Dr. Parsi, not because of sanctions, but because both the Iran and the US had strong self-interests to come to an accord and because Oman was able to play an effective role as mediator. As such, Dr. Parsi offered a fresh insight into the nature of the diplomatic talks, which will inform the content of his next book.
Dr. Parsi’s presentation was followed by a lively discussion that included spirited questions from students, faculty, and members of the San Diego community. After the event ended, many stayed around to purchase one of Dr. Parsi’s books and ask follow-up questions. The presentation was well received. Former SDSU faculty member, Barbara Filner, remarked: “I loved his sense of balance and his gentle humor.  It's so nice to hear a real expert on such an important topic.”

While this was the last event for the fall series, the Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs will continue its lecture series, entitled “Dissent in Zion”, in spring 2016.

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