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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

Lecture Series

"I’m guilty of murder of innocent men, innocent women, innocent children, thousands of them! My planes, my money, my guns, my soldiers, my blood on my hands, it’s all my fault."
John Doe and Exene Cervenka

Spring 2014, PolS 393, the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs, Mondays 4-6:40, Peterson Gym 242.

Instructor: Professor Jonathan Graubart, Ph.D. in Political Science and J.D. in Law.

Blood on our Hands: Moral Responsibility in World Affairs

Throughout the semester, several classes will feature prominent outside speakers, listed below. These events are free and open to the public. All public lectures with the exception of the February 24 and April 14 events will begin at 5 (4-5 will be reserved just for the enrolled students). The lecture series is funded by the Fred J. Hansen Institute for World Peace.

Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis (February 24, 4 pm starting event), Beans, Bullets and Bitter Fruit

Ms. Yates is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker on themes of human rights, international law and public activism. Four of her films - When the Mountains TremblePoverty OutlawTakeover; and The Reckoning: the Battle for the International Criminal Court — were nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. When the Mountains Tremble won the Special Jury Award in 1984. Her film, State of Fear: the Truth about Terrorism, has been translated into 47 languages and broadcast in 154 countries. She is based at Skylight Pictures, a film company she co-founded that uses digital media to advance human rights awareness. Ms. Yates will be discussing her 2011 film, Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, which reviews the efforts to prosecute former Guatemalan President Rios-Montt for genocidal acts perpetrated in the 1980s. The film also addresses US complicity in providing aid and diplomatic support.

Mr. de Onis is a documentary film producer and partner with Ms. Yates at Skylight pictures, where he produced Granito: How to Nail a Dictator. He previously produced documentaries for PBS and National Geographic. Mr. de Onis’ 2006 film, State of Fear: the Truth about Terrorism, which captures the story of the escalating violence in Peru,won the Overseas Press Club Award for “Best Reporting in Any Medium on Latin America.”


Josef Olmert (March 3), Historical Narrative, Political Solutions, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Dr. Olmert is a long time scholar, diplomat, political insider, and journalist. Under Israel’s Prime Minister Shamir, he was Director of the Government Press Office and a member of the Israeli delegation at the Madrid peace talks with Syria. He belongs to one of Israel’s most prominent political families, which includes his brother Ehud Olmert, a former Prime Minister. Dr. Olmert also headed the Syrian and Lebanon desks at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. He has authored three books on the Middle East and numerous scholarly and popular articles. Dr. Olmert is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina.


Huwaida Arraf (March 10), International Solidarity on Behalf of Palestinian Human Rights and Self-Determination

Ms. Arraf is a Palestinian-American human rights activist and lawyer. In 2001, she co-founded the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement of activists and community organizations working to promote Palestinian human rights and self-determination and to end the Israeli occupation. Ms. Arraf later worked with the Free Gaza Movement, which organized solidarity flotillas to challenge Israel's closure of the Gaza Strip. In February 2009 she took part in a National Lawyers Guild delegation to Gaza which investigated Israeli actions during Operation Cast Lead for war crimes and crimes against humanity. She is presently a human rights attorney in New York.


Katherine Gallagher (March 24), Making the World’s Superpower and the Military-Industrial Complex Accountable for War Crimes

Ms. Gallagher is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization devoted to advancing and protecting the rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She focuses on holding individuals, including US and foreign government officials, corporations, and private military contractors, accountable for serious human rights violations. Her cases include ICC Vatican Officials ProsecutionArar v. Ashcroft; and Estate of Atban v. Blackwater. Ms. Gallagher previously worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and was a member of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice for the international Criminal Court. She is Vice President on the International Board of the International Federation for Human Rights.


Richard Falk (April 7), Building a Global Framework for Human Rights and Justice: Looking Back, Moving Forward

For six decades, Dr. Falk has been a prominent scholar of international law and international relations as well as an activist and frequent public investigator for the UN, regional bodies, and human rights groups. A Professor Emeritus of Princeton, he has authored and edited close to fifty scholarly books and hundreds of scholarly articles and contributes to popular journals, such as the Nation, Al Jazeera, and the Huffington Post. He first gained prominence for his legal and moral analysis of the US war on Vietnam, where he applied the rulings and underlying norms from the post-WWII Nuremberg tribunal to US actions. Dr. Falk has served on multiple international delegations and task forces, including the Kosovo Commission, which investigated the US-NATO military intervention in Serbia-Kosovo. He was also a legal consultant for the citizens-based World Tribunal on Iraq, which investigated US and UK officials for aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity with regard to the war on Iraq. Dr. Falk presently teaches at UC Santa Barbara and has recently completed his appointment as UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (April 14, 4 pm starting event), Responsibility to Protect and the US Role in the World

Dr. Cobbs Hoffman is a historian and novelist whose work focuses on America's changing role in the world since 1776. She holds the Dwight Stanford Chair in American Foreign Relations at San Diego State University, and is a National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. A prize-winning author of multiple books, she most recently published American Umpire with Harvard University Press (2013). Professor Cobbs Hoffman also served two terms on the Historical Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department, and has received research grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Organization of American States, American Philosophical Society, Rockefeller Foundation, and other distinguished institutions. She previously served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History, and currently writes op-eds for the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Washington Independent, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Reuters.


Tod Lindberg (April 28), The United States and Moral Accountability

Dr. Lindberg is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His publications include The Political Teachings of Jesus (HarperCollins, 2007) and Means to an End: U.S. Interest in the International Criminal Court (Brookings, 2009, with Lee Feinstein). Dr. Lindberg coordinated the task force for the United States Institute of Peace on Preventing and Responding to Genocide and Major Human Rights Abuses, and co-chaired the working group on anti-Americanism for the Princeton Project on National Security. Dr. Lindberg is completing a study of heroism in the ancient and modern world. He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.


An Additional Hansen Event to be Held Outside of Class:

Mouin Rabbani (February 26, 7-8:30pm, in Storm Hall West 011), How to Resolve the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Mr. Rabbani is a Middle East analyst and journalist, focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He was formerly Senior Analyst on the Middle East with the International Crisis Group, recognized as the world’s leading independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to governments, the UN, and other international bodies on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. Mr. Rabbani is currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, based in Amman, Jordan. He co-edits Jadaliyya and writes for the Journal of Palestine Studies.