October 23, 2013

Upcoming Symposium Events to Highlight Environment, Peace and Justice in Latin America

Three upcoming events in this year’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean highlight Environment, Peace and Justice in Latin America.

On Wednesday October 30th at 7 pm in Ronk Lecture Hall, COE, sisters Pat and Kathy Floerke of the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) will present Justice in Motion: Responding to Changing Needs with Nicaragua’s Poor.  The presentation is co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and the Department of Foreign Languages.

On Monday November 4th at 7 pm in the Trustees’ Room, Upper Convocation Center, OK International Executive Director Perry Gottesfeld will present The Contribution of U.S. Foreign Investment to Environmental Pollution and Health Impacts.  This presentation is co-sponsored by that Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

On Thursday November 7th at 7:30 pm in Ronk Lecture Hall, COE, Dr. Geoffrey Dabelko, Professor and Director of Environmental Studies at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University will present Environment, Peace and Security: Lessons from Latin America.  This presentation is part of the Environmental Lecture Series and is co-hosted by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

Environment, Peace, and Security: Lessons from Latin America

The second event in this year’s Environmental Lecture Series will be a presentation by Geoffrey Dabelko from Ohio University.  That will be Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 pm in the Ronk Lecture Hall, COE.  This event is being co-hosted by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

Dr. Geoffrey D. Dabelko, Ohio University
Dr. Geoffrey D. Dabelko is Professor and Director of Environmental Studies at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University in Athens, OH. From 1997-2012, he served as director of the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP), a nonpartisan policy forum on environment, population, and security issues at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.   Dabelko continues to work as a senior advisor to the Wilson Center where he helps facilitate dialogue among policymakers, practitioners, and scholars grappling with the complex connections that link environment, health, population, conflict, and security.   Dabelko is also a member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. 

Dabelko is co-editor of the 2002 book Environmental Peacemaking, that describes how environmental degradation can catalyze conflict and violence.  On the other hand, cooperation between adversaries with shared environmental concerns can open up pathways to peace and security, by “enhancing trust, establishing habits of cooperation, lengthening the time horizons of decision makers, forging cooperative trans-societal linkages, and creating shared regional norms and identities.”  Dabelko’s most recent research focuses on climate change and security linkages as well as environmental pathways to confidence building and peacemaking, with a special emphasis on management of fresh water resources.   He is a lead author for the 5th assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II Chapter 12 on Human Security.  He also teaches courses on global environmental politics, environmental leadership, climate change, and environmental peacebuilding.    

This year’s Environmental Lecture Series explores “Environmental and Human Health in Latin America,” with perspectives from experts in human ecology, policy, and scientific study related to specific environmental issues.

The Contribution of U.S. Foreign Investment to Environmental Pollution and Health Impacts

with Perry Gottesfeld of OK International

Monday, November 4th at 7:00 pm, Trustee's Room (Upper Convocation Center)

Perry Gottesfeld
The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean is pleased to host Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of Occupational Knowledge International (OK International).

Co-sponsored by the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Mr. Gottesfeld will speak on Monday, November 4th at 7 p.m. in the Trustee’s Room located in the Upper Convocation Center. 
U.S. corporate investment in industrial facilities is often welcomed by countries looking to expand markets, modernize antiquated facilities, create jobs, and improve productivity.  However, such investments are often followed by disappointment as companies continue to operate polluting plants that draw the attention of local regulators. These companies also come under criticism at home for not meeting U.S. standards for emissions and occupational health and safety protections.  This talk will explore two case studies outlining U.S. investments in Peru and Mexico that are resulting in significant environmental and public health impacts.

Perry Gottesfeld has been actively involved in the environmental health field since 1984. He obtained his Masters of Public Health in Biomedical and Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, and in 1988 started Occupational Knowledge, Inc., to offer training and consulting services in the environmental field. In this capacity, Mr. Gottesfeld has conducted environmental audits, training and consulting services to businesses, non-profit organizations, government and universities on hazardous materials and solid waste management issues. In 1999, Gottesfeld founded OK International to address environmental health in developing countries. OK International is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health through innovative strategies to reduce exposures to industrial pollutants. The organization seeks to address inequities in environmental standards between developed and developing countries by working in partnership with industry, government and non-governmental organizations. The organization's web site may be found at www.okinternational.org.


October 18, 2013

Justice in Motion: Responding to Changing Needs with Nicaragua's Poor

with sisters Pat and Kathy Floerke

Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., Ronk Lecture Hall (Schar)

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean will host Pat and Kathy Floerke from the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) which is the Nicaraguan project of the non-profit, faith-based organization Jubilee House Community (JHC).

Co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and the Department of Foreign Languages, the two sisters will offer a public presentation about their work on Wednesday, October 30, 7 p.m., in the Ronk Lecture Hall located in the Schar College of Education. They will also sell handicrafts in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 29 and 30, with proceeds supporting CDCA and their projects.

Working in Nicaragua since 1994, the CDCA seeks to respond to human needs created by poverty in the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The organization works in partnership with communities and cooperatives to facilitate empowerment enabling them to find their own solutions to the problems they identify and to connect them with resources to solve their problems. They focus on working towards freedom from poverty, helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities, specifically in the areas of:    
  • Sustainable economic development which provides financing and access to capital for businesses such as a cotton gin, a carpentry workshop, a concrete construction materials plant,and a security cooperative, as well as several microenterprises.    
  • Sustainable organic agriculture offering aid and organizational support to approximately 3,000 farmers growing organic sesame, cotton, coffee and peanuts.    
  • Appropriate technology use which is implemented in proper context whether it is installing solar dehydrating latrines at a rural school, designing a clinic to encourage natural air flow, or using rocking chairs propped up with paving stones for rural dental exam chairs.    
  • Education which is fundamental to ultimately change the lives for Nicaraguans. Not only for the farmers, businesses, and in public health, there is also a goal to educate people in countries with money and power through offering volunteer experiences, hosting delegations and presentations on three annual speaking tours.    
  • Health care to treat people who need medical care, provide dental care, and offer education and support for healthier lives.
Pat and Kathy joined the JHC in 1987. Pat is a licensed clinical social worker who dedicates much of her time to counseling families, especially women and children, at the clinic. Additionally, She runs the Vision Clinic one day a week, checking eyes and handing out donated glasses to patients. Kathy bears the brunt of the unsung work of the CDCA as the bookkeeper, administrator, bill-payer, bank runner and liaison with the Nicaraguan government. She wades through miles of bureaucratic paperwork to make sure it is accurate, and permission is granted to bring donated medicines and other goods into the country.  The web site for the CDCA is at jhc-cdca.org.

October 12, 2013

US Ambassador Addresses International Adoption Issues

Ambassador Jacobs addressing questions from AU students and faculty
US Ambassador Susan Jacobs, and a member of her staff, Kathy Sacco, arrived in Ashland on October 1 as part of the College of Arts and Sciences Symposium, Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean. During her evening presentation she shared about the importance of intercountry parental-child abduction and adoption treaties for providing a framework for resolving international adoption and abduction issues. Specific cases were discussed, for example what led to Russia banning American citizens from adopting its orphaned children. Ambassador Jacobs also educated the audience about career opportunities in the Department of State in international relations where there are many opportunities to work to help children, or with an international organization that works on children's issues. She emphasized that the Department of State is looking for young men and women to work with them on these issues. Audience members had many questions.

The following day, they met with two classes of Social Work students. Kathy Sacco, whose master's degree is in Social Work, shared how a major in Social Work can lead to a career with the Federal government and be used to help children internationally. Ambassador Jacobs shared her experiences as a woman in the Department of State. Finally, the two met with Ashbrook and Political Science students and, in addition to previous topics, she shared stories about her work as an ambassador in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The Ambassador arrived in Ashland the first day of the government shutdown and after returning to Washington DC was informed that further travel was cancelled due to the shutdown. She said she rarely visits a college campus as she typically speaks with foreign diplomats, government officials and agencies and she enjoyed meeting with college students. We were fortunate that her planned visit could actually take place.