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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center
The Freeman Center has sponsored a bi-weekly workshop on global economic and other policy issues since 1991.


Unless otherwise noted, sessions are held every other Tuesday from 12:45 to 2 p.m. in the Stassen Room (Room 170) of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs during the fall and spring semesters.

Next Workshop

February 24 – Carrie Oelberger, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on International Grantmaking

Previous Workshop

Prof. Deborah Levison presentation to Freeman WorkshopFebruary 10– Deborah Levison, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will speak on: “Implications of Environmental Chores for Human Capital: Children’s Time Fetching Water and Firewood in Tanzania.”  Cross-sector collaboration is a goal of governments and project funders in low-income countries, yet many connections across sectors remain to be made. Professor Levison will argue that in many poor countries a connection exists between human capital accumulation – via children’s educational success – and environmental conditions. Using a case study in rural Tanzania, she and her colleagues consider whether children’s responsibilities for fetching water and firewood are a link between human capital and environmental conditions. Using quantitative and qualitative data, they explore which children are in school; which children participate in collecting water and firewood; and whether there are systematic relationships between these two behaviors. The evidence presented here suggests tensions between children’s engagement in environmental chores and educational success, especially for girls in relation to collecting firewood, and through the schools’ reliance on children to provide water.

Recent Workshops

Prof. Wm Black presentation at Humphrey School January 2015January 27, 2015, Professor William Black, University of Missouri -Kansas City, speaking  on: Why Financial Regulatory “Reform” Helped the Unprincipled Blow-Up the Global Economy.  How did we go from a situation in 1993 in which financial regulators were lauded for having defeated a raging epidemic of fraud at hundreds of savings and loans despite intense political resistance, to a situation in which the financial regulators became fraud enablers and deniers? How did this happen when finance and law and economics scholars assured us that financial markets were so efficient and honest that it wasn’t even necessary to have a rule against fraud? Bill Black contends that the “Achilles’ heel” of these theories was the implicit assumption that fraud by the people who control seemingly respectable banks (“control fraud”) could not occur. When the CEO is the crook, he can create a “Gresham’s” dynamic (bad ethics drives good ethics) that can make fraud common in an industry or profession. A series of public and private changes made the financial environment so criminogenic that it produced the three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud in history (appraisal fraud, liar’s loans, and secondary market frauds), hyper-inflated the residential real estate bubble, and drove the financial crisis.

Rhone presentation on Islamic FinanceDecember 2, 2014 Karen Rhone, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, speaking on “Islamic Finance.”  Much of the literature about Islamic finance tends to focus on what Islamic finance is - how it differs from conventional finance, for example. Conversely, this project focuses much more on what Islamic finance does - its political and social implications, for example. The project argues that industries for Islamic finance do not merely function as alternatives to conventional economic ideologies and policies. Industries for Islamic finance reveal much about elite structures, political climates, confrontations in law, and the feasibility of a stable global economy.

Fred Morrison videoNovember 18 , 2014. Fred Morrison, University of Minnesota Law School, speaking on “Sovereign Debt Default.”  Although the risk of a sovereign debt default in Europe has eased, the issue continues to create concern.A major hedge fund is pursuing Argentina through courts at various locations in the world for full face-value payment in dollars.There have been proposals for compulsory debt restructuring akin to corporate reorganization.This presentation will examine that possibility and procedural and structural obstacles to achieving it.

November 4, 2014 Lee Munnich, Humphrey School, speaking on" Industry Clusters and Their Implications for International Competitiveness." In 1990 Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations introduced the concept of industry clusters as a framework for understanding why certain industries tend to locate and remain in certain countries and regions.  Porter's diamond of advantage suggests that competitive industry clusters occur where factor conditions, demand conditions, related and supporting industries, and the context for firm strategy and rivalry are aligned to drive innovation and productivity improvement. Twenty-four years after Porter's book was releaed, the industry cluster approach is still influencing national and regional economic development policy thinking.  Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow and Director of the Humphrey School's State and Local Policy Program, has studied industry clusters in Minnesota since 1995.  Munnich recently hosted a conference with Michael Porter at the Humphrey School on "Mapping the Midwest's Future: Regional Innovation Clusters and Economic Competitiveness" The conference was also the official launch of the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool <> developed by Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness for the U.S. Economic Administration.  Munnich will discuss what we have learned about industry clusters and implications for international competitiveness.

Christopher Roberts speaking at Humphrey School Oct 21, 2014October 21, 2014 Christopher N.J. Roberts, Associate Professor, Law School, and Faculty Affiliate, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota speaking on "International Human Rights in History: Letting the Bad Men and Women Have Their Say." The history of modern international human rights is generally told from the perspective of its greatest supporters. But it is impossible to fully understand human rights or address the multitude of persistent and tragic contemporary human rights problems without first understanding the substantial opposition that emerged against the concept after World War II. In this talk, Christopher Roberts asks three questions about three surprising opponents whose stories offer unique insights into what human rights are and how to make them stronger.    Why in 1947 did Mahatma Gandhi suggest that the rights within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) were “usurpation(s) hardly worth fighting for”?  What inspired the acclaimed author E. B. White to ridicule the canonical UDHR in The New Yorker’s Notes & Comment section as a “long, rambling essay that discusses everything except women’s hairdos”?   And why did the 1951 Pulitzer Prize Board award its highest journalistic honor to William Fitzpatrick for his series of articles warning Americans about the grave “threat” of human rights treaties?

Anu Ramswami talk to Freeman Seminar 2014October 7, 2014 Anu Ramaswami , Denny Chair Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs will speak on:"Building Sustainable and Healthy Cities: A Social-Ecological-Infrastructural Systems Approach." Cities would not function without infrastructures that provide water, energy, food, shelter, waste management, public spaces and mobility/connectivity to more than half the world’s people living in them today. How do these infrastructures interact with people, with the natural system and with each other across spatial scale? Is there a unified framework that can help design infrastructures and institutions to achieve multiple (and often competing) objectives encompassing environmental sustainability, risk/resiliency and public health? This presentation will present a systems framework and a pilot program in 5-steps that helps design coupled social-infrastructural solutions to build sustainable and healthy cities.

Freeman seminarSeptember 23, 2014 Gilles Guyot, Professor of Management, Jean Moulin University 3, Lyon on "The University Confronts Globalization." Among the numerous concepts developed around globalization, one of the most relevant is the “knowledge society.” The university stands at the heart of the system that creates and transmits the required knowledge, but it can act with greatest effectiveness only if it is global. Many universities on all continents have evolved from exchanges of students and faculties in the languages decades ago to such exchanges in business and engineering the eighties, to University-wide programs offering double or triple degrees, to offshore programs awarding foreign degrees today. Professor Guyot argues, however, that truly globalized universities must deepen their approach by putting globalization at heart of their strategy and connecting with partners in all of the main regions of the world in all aspects of teaching and research. Professor Guyot has pioneered school and university internationalization in France where he has served as chancellor of Jean Moulin University 3, dean of its business school, and president of the French association of business schools He will share his wealth of experience on schooland university globalization with us.

RonGoldenVideoSeptember 9, 2014 Shannon Golden and James Ron, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Human Rights Cynics: Negative Perceptions of Human Rights in Mexico." Human rights scholars, practitioners, and policymakers often argue that the spread of human rights ideas to the grassroots is blocked by negative public opinion, such as perceptions that human rights: 1) protect criminals, 2) promote urban interests, and 3) promote foreign values and ideas. Indeed, in interviewing human rights professionals in Mexico—a hotbed of local human rights organizing—we found such ideas touted as major challenges to local rights work. To provide an empirical test of these assertions, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of Mexicans (n=2400), measuring their associations with the term “human rights.” We model their negative associations, focusing particularly on the impacts of religious participation, political participation, conservatism, global connectivity, local crime rates, exposure to human rights language, and participation in human rights activities. We find some factors matter less than expected (such as conservatism and connectivity), some matter more (such as Church participation and crime rates), and some matter much differently than we anticipated (such as familiarity with human rights).

Past Workshop videos and PowerPoint presentations:

View past workshops





The Freemans

Orville L. Freeman served as the 29th governor of Minnesota between January 5, 1955 to January 2, 1961. Read more...

Contact Freeman Center for International Economic Policy

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
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Minneapolis, MN 55455