Past Seminars/Workshops

Fall 2014

December 2, 2014
Karen Rhone, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, “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

November 18 , 2014
Fred Morrison, University of Minnesota Law School, “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, "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 released, 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.

October 21, 2014
Christopher N.J. Roberts, Associate Professor, Law School, and Faculty Affiliate, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, "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?

October 7, 2014
Anu Ramaswami , Denny Chair Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, "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. 

September 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 school and university globalization with us.

September 9, 2014
Shannon Golden and James Ron, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, "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).

Spring 2014

March 11, 2014
Freeman Center Special Event Discussion: Crisis in Ukraine Panelists: J. Brian Atwood Professor and Global Policy Area Chair, Humphrey School; Kathleen Collins, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science; Alexey Khlebnikov, Master of Public Policy Candidate and Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellow from Russia; and Olga Reshetova, Head Specialist on International Connections, International Relations Department, National Academy for Public Administration, Ukraine. Moderator: Robert Kudrle, Freeman Chair, Humphrey School

February 25, 2014
Professor Kathleen Collins, Department of Political Science speaking on: “Islam and Popular Support for Democracy: Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan in Comparative Perspective.” What kind of political system do Muslims prefer? Is there support for democracy in the Muslim world, and if so, what kind of democracy? Do ordinary Muslims prefer an Islamic regime? These questions have been a source of debate among policymakers, academics, and citizens of many Muslim countries, especially since the Arab Spring. Professor Collins will present findings from her field research and surveys in Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan.

February 11, 2014
Professor Gurneeta Singh, Carlson School of Management, will speak on:"Does a Government’s International Investments Help or Hurt Its Firms? Evidence from Norway?" The emergence of governments as global investors via Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) extends governments’ spheres of influence beyond the home country. Professor Singh’s research suggests that sovereign investments are politicized in host countries because they presage the control of domestic assets by a foreign government, and this bears important implications for the strategic choices that the sovereign’s home country firms make in host countries. Empirical analyses of cross-border acquisitions undertaken by Norway’s SWF and firms during 1984-2011 show that firms are less likely to undertake majority ownership in targets as the SWF’s investments in a host country increase. The findings, which vary by industry, highlight an emergent role of government affecting the international activity of home country firms. By eliciting an institutional change in terms of the norms and regulations concerning foreign investments and bringing about a deviation from the status quo in host countries, government investments via SWFs increase the risk of politicization and policy uncertainty for home country firms, thereby modifying their strategic choices.

January 28, 2014
J. Brian Atwood, Professor and former dean, Humphrey School speaking on: “The Foreign Policy Process: The Role of Institutions.”
The politics of the policy process in Washington garners great media
coverage as individual leaders seek public support for positions that
often reflect ideological rather than pragmatic orientations. Less
attention is paid to the institutions that house the expertise and
theoretically command the authority to persuade political leaders and
the public. These include the departments of government, the
legislative branch, traditional media outlets, think tanks and
international organizations. Are these institutions substantial enough
to prevail over an increasingly ideological debate? Do they still
possess the rational and moral authority to influence the policy
process? Professor Atwood who has served in many of these institutions
offers his analysis and his concerns.

Fall 2013

December 3, 2013
Joseph E. Schwartzberg, Distinguished International Emeritus Professor, UMN Department of Geography. Professor Schwartzberg, author of the new book, Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World, argues that radical transformation of the United Nations system is both necessary and possible. Difficult though this will be, there are multiple ways by which it may happen. Essential to meaningful reform is a reconceptualization of our current paradigm of the "sovereign equality of nations," an unrealistic, outmoded legal fiction. Weighted voting, based on diverse mathematical formulae, each tailored to the functions of a specific UN agency (SC, GA, ECOSOC, etc.), provides the key to effecting needed change, especially the ability to craft binding resolutions. Also essential is increased involvement by additional actors: civil society, ordinary citizens (via a World Parliamentary Assembly) and corporations (via "Global Compacts"). New agencies (e.g., a UN Administrative Reserve Corps) are also needed. The goal is not to implement a utopian vision, but to build a "workable world."

November 19, 2013
Professor Paul M. Vaaler, Carlson School of Management, on: Explaining the Rise of Diaspora Institutions. Why do states establish and empower diaspora engagement institutions? Origin-state institutions dedicated to emigrants and their descendants have been largely overlooked in mainstream political studies, perhaps because they fall in the grey area between domestic politics and international relations. Now, diaspora institutions are found in over half of all United Nations member states. They may be quasi-governmental organizations or government agencies associated with origin-state legislatures or executive branches, sometimes comprising a separate ministry with cabinet status. Yet we have little theory and broad-sample statistical evidence to guide our understanding about when such institutions are more likely to emerge and increase in importance within origin state politics. In response, we identify and then investigate empirical support for three theoretically-grounded perspectives on diaspora institution emergence and importance: instrumentally rational states tapping resources of emigrants and their descendants; value-rational states embracing lost members of the nation-state; institutionally-converging states governing diasporas consistent with global norms. We document support for these alternative perspectives in regression and related analyses modeling diaspora institution emergence and importance in 144 states observed from 1990-2010. Tapping perspective estimations exhibit better overall model fit compared to estimations based on other perspectives. Estimations combining perspectives exhibit the best model fit. Individual terms exhibiting signs contrary to prediction suggest new directions for theoretical and empirical research from different perspectives. We advance international relations research by identifying, distinguishing and testing alternative perspectives explaining diaspora institution emergence and importance. We also advance international relations practice and policy with evidence-guided insight on near-term trends in diaspora institution emergence and importance. A

November 5, 2013
Lecturer Sherry Gray, UMN Humphrey School, on Fearing China, Loving China: 40 years of Watching Americans Watch China. Sherry Gray will draw upon nearly 40 years of watching China, and watching US commentators try to make sense of one of the fastest changing, young-old societies on earth. How far (or not) have US public views moved from fearing Mao’s armies of blue ants—while loving the Great Wall—to fearing today’s armies of Chinese manufacturers—while loving the Beijing arts scene? We fear China’s geographical size, large population, military spending, and group-oriented culture, but we love China’s long political history,diverse regions, and, especially, its ancient high cultures. In defining China, the code words we use—dynamism, debt, and pollution; innovation, corruption, and failings in human rights; opportunism,military aggressiveness, and inequality—define the US as much, or more, than it defines China.

October 22, 2013
Professor Sarah Parkinson, UMN Humphrey School, on The Old Guard and the Die Hards: Generational Effects, Money, and Cohesion in Militant Organizations. How does access to external funding affect militant organizations’ structures and behaviors? Recent events in the Middle East have spurred extensive debate over the impact of providing financial support and non-lethal aid to insurgencies in countries such as Libya and Syria. These deliberations not only force scholars to examine the causes and geopolitical consequences of economic intervention in civil war, but also to study the relationship between rebel finance and militants’ long-term adaptive trajectories. Drawing on over nine months of organizational ethnography among Fateh cadres in Lebanon, this paper argues that the ways militants talk about money provide key insights into their conceptualization of organizational membership and into their reflexivity as political and social actors. Professor Parkinson demonstrates that in Fateh, money-centered discourse—specifically, money talk transmitted through rumors, complaints, and jokes—flows across gender, age, family, and subunit divisions and produces different organizational “generations” depending on time of recruitment. This paper thus challenges extant research on the economics of rebellion by examining non-material aspects of finance and by connecting money talk to militant behavior.

October 8, 2013
Professor Pamm Smith, UMN Applied Economics, on Trade in Genetically Modified Organisms. Professor Smith examines the character and determinants of international trade in crops that are intensive in genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Findings show that land endowments are the primary source of comparative advantage in the GMO-intensive industries before and after GMO adoption. An increase in a country's allocation of land endowments to GMO crops has a positive effect on the country's net exports in the GMO-intensive industries. This positive effect is shown both across countries and time. A country's portfolio of GMO regulations has an insignificant effect on comparative advantage. Nevertheless, some component policies have a positive trade effect, and some other policies, including those about labeling, have a negative trade effect for select industries. September 24, 2013: Professor Myles Shaver,Department of Strategic Management, Carlson School, on Minnesota and the Twin Cities as a Corporate Headquarters Cluster. Citizens of the Twin Cities know that this is home for a number of large corporate headquarters and a dynamic business community. In this talk, Professor Shaver showed what this level of corporate headquarters activity looks like compared to other states and how it has changed over time. The data paint a picture that few people - even within our community – will easily recognize. Although still work in progress, Professor Shaver presented his thoughts on the factors behind the present situation and how his perspective differs from current views of regional economic clusters.

September 10, 2013
Professor Ragui Assaad, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "A Possibly Futile Attempt to Make Sense of Events in Egypt." Professor Assaad tries to make sense of current developments in Egypt by going beyond news headlines and situating them in the recent history of the Egyptian revolution. He lays out the constellation of political actors and the shifting coalitions among them in an attempt to explain the severe polarization that currently exists in Egyptian politics. Rather than seek clarity through simple characterizations of the situation, he instead highlights the complexities of the fast-moving situation and cautions against rushed or simplistic responses.

Spring 2013

February 26, 2013
Professor Samuel Myers Jr., Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on Ethnic Inequality in China- Professor Myers is the special editor of an upcoming edition of the Review of Black Political Economy on the political economy of race and ethnicity in China. He introduces seminar participants to some of the key demographic issues driving the new push by the Xi government and the new National Income Redistribution Plan that aims to reduce disparities between Han and ethnic minority group members. Some technical issues related to measuring ethnic economic disparities are briefly discussed.

February 12, 2013
Professor Paul M. Vaaler, Carlson School of Management, on Defining Regions in International Research: International business and related research in economics, political science, and geography has long acknowledged the importance of supra-national regional factors in explaining important phenomena such as where multinational corporations choose to locate. Yet, ex ante criteria for defining regional grouping schemes vary substantially and undermine development of consensus regarding how and why supra-national regional factors matter. As an alternative, Professor Vaaler grounds an ex post approach in a theory of group structural coherence assuming that: 1)schemes can be classified based on the source of group member congruence (similarity); and 2) schemes within a congruence class can be assessed for their comparative group contiguity and compactness. Models incorporating these preferred schemes should exhibit better fit with less change in fit when schemes are refined. Professor Vaaler will present support for this hypothesis in empirical analyses of regional factors explaining the likelihood of subsidiary location by 100 US-based MNCs operating in 105 different countries in 2000.


November 20, 2012
Professor Lalith Samarakoon, University of Saint Thomas, on the Eurozone Crisis: The Eurozone crisis has become one of the most important issues facing the global economy. It continues to dominate headlines and economic policy debates. This seminar will focus on various policy responses and solutions that have been implemented or proposed to address the crisis and discuss their effectiveness in resolving the crisis. The seminar will consider the crisis and policy experience in the key countries such as the Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, and deal with both fiscal and monetary policy responses by respective national governments as well as by key institutions such as the the European Central Bank, European Commission, and the IMF.

November 6, 2012
Professor Orn Bodvarsson, Saint Cloud State University, on Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes: A popular expectation about immigration’s impact is that inflows of new immigrants will reduce native-born wages and rates of employment, which is also what the basic demand/supply model in economics would predict. Most studies show that immigration actually has a relatively benign effect on native-born labor market outcomes. In this talk, Professor Bodvarsson will provide some reasons for the discrepancy between what the theory would predict and what is revealed by the data. The discrepancy is due to both theory and empirical specifications not capturing all labor market adjustments, both short and long term, to immigration.

October 23, 2012
Professor Chandy John, Pediatrics and Medicine, on University of Minnesota Global Health and Public Policy: The University of Minnesota is home to internationally recognized researchers and experts in public policy. However, the two groups rarely engage each other. In this talk, Dr. John will discuss some ideas about how research done at the university in global health might be better linked to public policy. Specifically, he'll discuss some of the findings from his research in malaria, and the gap he perceives between findings in research and their incorporation into public health and social policies. The talk and examples are designed to be a springboard for very active discussion
and potentially future work in this area.

October 9, 2012
Assistant Professor Mario Solis, Macalester College, on "Tax Policy News and Business Cycle Fluctuations." News about changes in future tax plans -- like the Bush tax cuts during 2010 -- can influence the behavior of economic agents even though these plans may never materialize. In turn, the changes in behavior created by news may have important economic consequences in the short run. Would news about an increase in capital tax rates create a recession? Would news about a reduction in the top income tax rate increase hours worked? This research project shows that news can trigger economic fluctuations even before the policy change takes place. Data to test the theory presented are drawn from a large set of high income and developing countries.

September 25, 2012
Mary Curtin, Former Political Counselor, U.S. Department of State speaks on: “Hubert Humphrey and Politics of the Cold War.” Hubert H. Humphrey was a force in shaping American liberal politics and policies from the onset of the Cold War until his death in 1978. Humphrey was also an ardent internationalist, seeing an imperative for the U.S. to promote democracy and prosperity abroad through both economic and military programs, including the Marshall Plan and NATO, and the creation of USAID and the Peace Corps. Humphrey and fellow Cold War liberals saw the Soviet Union and what they saw as Soviet-sponsored communism as a threat to democracy at home and abroad, but they also reviled isolationists and others who used anti-communism to thwart progress. Humphrey’s views and political style at times led him to ambivalent or contradictory positions, most notably on Vietnam, where his initial support for military action and his loyalty to Johnson were at odds with his growing misgivings. The issues posed by the Cold War for Humphrey and fellow liberals remain relevant for discussion of the United States’ role in the world today.

September 11, 2012
Professor James Ron, Stassen Chair in International Affairs, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on “Popular Opinion and Human Rights: Preliminary Hypotheses for a Four-Country Survey. ” Transnational NGOs such as Amnesty International, along with hundreds of small domestic human rights organizations, are the international community's designated tools for promoting human rights in the developing world. What do ordinary local people think about these groups, and what do they think about human rights language more broadly? Professor James Ron and his colleagues, David Crow, Profesor-Investigador, Division for International Studies, Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE), Mexico and Archana Pandya, Survey Project Manager, Toronto (both of whom will join the session via Skype) are about to launch a unique survey of popular attitudes towards human rights in Mexico, Brazil, India, and Morocco.

February 28, 2012
Professor Aseem Kaul, Carlson School of Management, on "The Changing Nature of Global Integration" Professor Kaul looks at the shift in intra-firm cross-border trade since 1990 and the industry- level factors that have driven the changes. He shows that between 1990 and 2005 US manufacturing saw a significant shift in the way firm operations are organized. The flow of goods in the first part of the period was primarily from the US parent to its subsidiaries. Increasingly, however, intra-firm product flows have originated with subsidiaries until they were the larger part by the end of the period. Analysis at the industry level shows that this shift has been driven by an increase in foreign R&D activities and the rise of strong foreign competitors rather than by the search for low cost manufacturing bases. The important policy implications of these developments will be discussed.

February 14, 2012
Professor Oren Gross, University of Minnesota Law School, on "When Machines Kill: Criminal Responsibility for International Crimes Committed by Lethal Autonomous Robots" For all of the exponential innovation in the technologies of warfare the main component of the modern military has remained human soldiers. With battle space becoming increasingly more complex, with the pace and amount of data that need to be gathered and processed in real time and, quite frequently under fire, increasing rapidly, humans may have already become the weakest links in what is known as the “OODA Loop” standing for “observe, orient, decide, and act.” The increased complexity of the battle space has reinforced by the trend towards the distancing of human combatants from that space. Additional factors now account for the development of a far more significant move towards the future removal of humans from the scenes of war that would usher in a paradigm-shift towards wars that are de-humanized or, perhaps, “post-humanized.” We are faced with the prospects of what may be regarded as practically risk-free wars either among clone armies or when one side controls Lethal Autonomous Robots (LAR). This near-future face of warfare raises significant legal, ethical and policy questions about the nature of warfare in the future as well as the appropriate regulation of future wars.

January 31, 2012
Dean Eric Schwartz, Humphrey School of Public Affairs on "The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Role of Norms in Protecting Basic Rights" Following massacres of civilians in Srebrenica and Bosnia in the early 1990s, NGOs, governments and international organizations undertook a range of "lessons learned" exercises that informed efforts to enhance the worldwide efforts to safeguard civilians threatened by genocide or other grave violations of human rights in the context of conflict. Dean Schwartz will discuss the progression of these efforts and their impacts.

January 29, 2012
Professor J. Brian Atwood, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on The Challenge of Creating a Meaningful Global Partnership for Development: In 2010, Official Development Assistance rose to its highest level ever, to almost $130 billion. Members of the Development Assistance Committee accounted for close to 90% of this amount. However, new providers of assistance had come on stream such the emerging economies of the "BRICS" and large philanthropic organizations such as the Gates Foundation. All this activity created "fragmentation" "ownership" and "dependency" issues for recipient nations. Much needed to be done to rationalize the international system and bridge the gap between traditional donors and South-South providers. How could a comprehensive "effectiveness" forum in Busan, Korea under the auspices of the OECD be used to create a new space for cooperation? How could the dynamic be shifted to end dependency, produce a system of mutual accountability, move from "aid" to development, end the donor-recipient frame, broaden participation for results at the country level, and create a Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation engaging all partners, providers, civil society and the private sector? This was a tall order for a conference sponsored by an organization not affiliated with the United Nations, but Professor Atwood will explain how broad agreement was reached.


December 6, 2011
Professor Ruth Okediji, UMN Law School, on "Innovating Around Intellectual Property: Culture, Traditional Knowledge and Trade in the Goods that Embody Them" The process and substance of efforts to protect the traditional knowledge (TK) of indigenous communities—both at the national and multilateral levels—reflect the resilience of the entrenched assumptions that sustain the global intellectual property (IP) system. For some observers, TK protection is simply another regime of proprietary rights that lacks appropriate mechanisms to support the production of public goods needed for economic development. Importantly, there remains a persistent notion that the two regimes can and will remain in distinct (if related) spheres and will realize independently verifiable objectives. Professor Okediji will argue that this is highly unlikely. Indeed, while negotiations over a TK treaty are advancing, there also has been an acceleration of efforts to strengthen the global network of IP regimes in ways that explicitly undermine innovation and heighten barriers to access to those very goods aimed at improving public welfare. The multilateral space for trade regulation is increasingly designed around strong legal protection for knowledge goods; in light of this TK protection as currently constructed may undermine the public welfare values of IP policy and simultaneously devalue the public interest norms around which TK is ideally organized.

November 22 , 2011
Professor Joel Waldfogel, Carlson School of Management, on "Pop Internationalism: Has a Half Century of World Music Trade Displaced Local Culture?" Advances in communication technologies over the past half century have made the cultural goods of one country more readily available to consumers in another, raising concerns that cultural products from large economies – in particular the US – will displace the indigenous cultural products of smaller economies. In this talk Professor Waldfogel presents research conducted with his Wharton colleague, Fernando Ferreira, that presents stylized facts about global music consumption and trade since 1960, using unique data on popular music charts from 22 countries, corresponding to over 98% of the global music market. Contrary to growing fears about large country dominance, trade shares are roughly proportional to country GDP shares; and relative to GDP, the US music share is substantially below the shares of smaller countries. They find a substantial bias toward domestic music which has, perhaps surprisingly, increased sharply in the past decade. National policies, such as radio airplay quotas, may explain part of the increasing consumption of local music.

November 1, 2011
Rashmi Singh on "The National Mission for the Empowerment of Women." Rashmi Singh was one of Delhi’s first administrative officers selected to study in Minnesota through the Government of India’s Ministry of Personnel and Training. She is back in Minnesota this fall to receive the University of Minnesota’s prestigious International Leadership Award for her work in the poorest neighborhoods of New Delhi. Her latest effort, the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women, builds on the game changing initiative she founded, Mission Convergence, to substantially e-engineered the delivery of human services in New Delhi. Presentation co-sponsored by The Center on Women and Public Policy and the Freeman Center for International Economic Policy.

October 25, 2011
Professor Edward Goetz, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Director, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, on "Urban Planning Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Dar es Salaam." Many urban areas in sub Saharan Africa are growing rapidly and straining the public sector's s ability to provide sufficient housing, transportation, and other infrastructure. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is typical in this respect. Professor Goetz will consider how well infrastructure needs are being met and the challenges that remain.

October 11, 2011
Professor Paul Vaaler, Carlson School of Management, “Saving Politicians from Themselves? How Credit Rating Agencies Constrain Political Budget Cycles in Developing Democracies.” Private credit rating agencies and their assessments of sovereign creditworthiness have a substantial impact on the cost and availability of borrowing by governments to fund projects promoting long-term economic development as well as projects that serve the more narrow short-term interests of incumbent politicians. Do agencies and politicians know the difference between those two project types? In this presentation, Professor Vaaler presents work done with his Oxford and World Bank colleague, Marek Hanusch, in which they develop and test a theoretical framework grounded in assumptions based on political business cycle theory and regime theory. The assumptions imply that: 1) countries with higher sovereign credit ratings borrow more and run more negative budget balances generally; 2) countries will also borrow more and run more negative budget balances in election years; but 3) negative budget balances will be diminished during election years in countries with higher sovereign credit ratings. Support for these three framework predictions for 18 developing democracies holding 41 presidential elections from 1987-2004. Private agencies and their sovereign credit ratings constrain national politicians who might otherwise engage in excessive borrowing during election years for narrow self-preservation. Implications for both developing and developed countries will be discussed. Vaaler Freeman Center Seminar Presentation

September 27, 2011
Assistant Professor Greta Friedemann-Sánchez, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, "Unpaid Caregiving in the Development Process." Taking care of the family and raising children is the most tangible “output” of unpaid labor and care work by preparing present and future workers needed for economic growth and human development. Yet, traditional measures of development render invisible the production of services and goods that occurs within the context of unpaid labor and caregiving in large part because it is not monetized. Demographic and economic changes in developing nations have had an effect on the distribution of housework versus care work, with the former diminishing and the later increasing. As a result, more attention is being paid to caregiving. The two concepts however, continue to be treated in the development literature as if they were interchangeable. While the contributions that unpaid caregivers provide are beneficial to society, they can have negative consequences on the caregiver: they erode physical and mental health, inhibit educational and training opportunities, and contribute to gender inequality. Drawing on the existing evidence from developed and developing nations, the seminar will define caregiving more narrowly, present a framework for understanding its effects on caregivers, highlight gaps in knowledge for developing nations, and present outstanding research questions and policy implications.

September 13, 2011
Scott Gates, Director of the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and Professor at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) on "The Development Consequences of Civil War." This paper conducts the first analysis of the effect of armed conflict on progress in meeting the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, as well as the effect of conflict on economic growth. We find clear detrimental effects of conflict on the reduction of poverty and hunger, on primary education, on the reduction of child mortality, and on access to potable water. More concretely, a medium-sized conflict with 2,500 battle deaths is estimated to increase undernourishment by 3.3 percentage points, reduce life expectancy by about one year, increase infant mortality rates by 10%, and deprive an additional 1.8% of the population from access to potable water. This event co-sponsored with the Minnesota International Relations Colloquium (MIRC, in the University of Minnesota Department of Political Science).

April 26, 2011
Professor Mani Subramani, Carlson School of Management, " Changing Motives for Global Sourcing: From Labor Arbitrage to Innovation" One of the key drivers for global sourcing has been the ability to leverage the lower costs - typically lower labor costs - overseas. While increased competitiveness through the lowering of costs continues to be an important goal, it is increasingly becoming evident that overseas suppliers and a firm's overseas operations can also contribute to firm competitiveness by enhancing the level of innovation in new product development and in business process execution. There are a number of firms on the leading edge of this movement such as GE, Boeing, and PepsiCo and their initial successes offer a variety of lessons for both large and medium sized firms to take advantage of these new opportunities created by the global diffusion of capabilities. Professor Subramani is a faculty member in the Carlson School and teaches an MBA course titled "Managing Globally" that incorporates a field trip to India with the students. He will draw on his experience of the changes he and the students have witnessed in over the past seven years to share his views on how global sourcing can be an important driver of a firm's innovation.

April 12, 2011
Neerada Jacob, Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard University (Ph.D. candidate), " Can Sanctions Prevent the Spread of Nuclear Weapons?" Economic sanctions have long been derided as ineffective instruments of foreign policy. At the same time, however, they continue to remain a principal tool for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations. Drawing on the cases of Iraq and Libya, Ms. Jacob will show that sanctions tend to be more successful when they are one component of an overall coercive strategy. The talk will address factors affecting the impact of sanctions on nuclear programs. Research from the case studies of Taiwan and Iran will also be briefly discussed, ultimately laying out the complexities involved.

March 1, 2011
Associate Professor Deborah Levison, Humphrey School, "The Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work" Professor Levison talks about her recently released book, Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work (Rutgers University Press). In it, Professor Levison and her co-authors argue there is substantial evidence showing that not all work done by children is harmful, and that many aspects of work are beneficial for children's development. The authors believe that current policies often do not serve the best interests of children and propose criteria for doing this better.

February 15, 2011
Assistant Professor Binnur Ozkececi-Taner, Hamline University, " A New “Global” Actor or Just a Regional Power? Perspectives on Turkey and its Foreign Policy" Turkey is now being considered a regional power with a potential to influence global politics in the 21st century along with Brazil, China, Russia, and India. The country’s strategic location and proximity to the world’s most troubled regions: the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, have indeed made Turkey an important player in international political, economic and security realms. Nevertheless, views on what Turkey’s role should or will be differ considerably. Is Turkey to be a “bridge” between the West and the Muslim countries, a “buffer” to prevent the spillover of problems from the surrounding volatile regions to Europe, a “barrier” that could problematize the influence of the West on the Middle East, or a “leader” in its surrounding regions? This presentation briefly charts the evolution of Turkey’s foreign policy since the foundation of the Republic in 1923, discuss the major developments and internal and external factors that have influenced the country’s recent foreign policy, and speculate about the future of Turkey’s foreign policy

February 1, 2011
Assistant Professor Fan Yingling, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, “Can the Urban Poor in China Escape Spatial Mismatch? Employment Distribution and Job Access in Beijing” In many Chinese cities rapid economic growth is associated with job decentralization and an affordable housing shortage, creating a jobs/housing spatial mismatch. Such a mismatch, along with increasing traffic congestion, is likely to reduce employment access and economic opportunity for the low-income population. This research explores how employment decentralization may influence job accessibility of the urban poor in China, with Beijing as the study area. The research also explores how transit improvements may increase equity by mitigating the negative consequences of the spatial mismatch.


December 7, 2010
Assistant Professor Dara K. Cohen, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Explaining Sexual Violence During Civil War" Why do some armed groups commit wartime rape on a large scale, while others never turn to sexual violence? Although scholars and policymakers have made many claims about the rates, severity, and locations of wartime sexual violence, there have been few systematic efforts to gather data on sexual violence during conflict. Using an original dataset, Professor Cohen examines the incidence of sexual violence by both insurgent groups and state actors during civil wars between 1980 and 1999 and uses the data in a statistical analysis to test a series of competing hypotheses about wartime sexual violence. She finds strong evidence that forcible recruitment predicts sexual violence and that rape is used as a method of combatant socialization. She finds limited or no support for several common explanations for wartime rape including ethnic conflict, genocide and gender inequality.

November 23, 2010
Visiting Lecturer Guillermo Narvàez, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Taste for Sustainability: Specialty Coffee and its Claims to Taste and Environmental Quality" The past three decades has seen the proliferation of sustainability labels in the coffee industry. These have emerged along with the specialty coffee industry, which has used the connections between environmental sustainability and quality to distinguish itself from the mainstream coffee industry. Dr Narvaez’s research explores the proliferation of quality and sustainability initiatives as part of new forms of neoliberal governance, where responsibilities and risks weigh unfavorably on farmers who have little support from national institutions, yet increasingly they find themselves performing to new forms of entrepreneurship, rife with standards, protocols and audits in order to satisfy the requirements and expectations of the global market system.

November 9, 2010
Professor Roger Schroeder, Carlson School of Management, on "Manufacturing in America Again?" Over the past thirty years the trade deficit in manufactured goods has skyrocketed and thousands of jobs have been moved offshore. Will this trend continue, and are we inevitably living in a "post-industrial" society? If the trend is be stopped or reversed, what can government, labor and management do? Results from the High Performance Manufacturing research project are discussed. HHH manufacturing

October 26, 2010
Professor Alfred Marcus, Carlson School of Management "Path Dependence and Learning in the Global Clean Tech Industry" Clean tech – the production of electricity and fuels with a smaller environmental impact –saw a mini-investment boom occurred in the first decade of the 21st century. This study investigates the degree to which the strategies of clean tech investors varied over time in response to learning from investment successes and failures and from changes in public policy. The literature on path dependence predicts, all else equal, that initial patterns persist into the future. The past character of the investments will continue into the future without much alteration. Professor Marcus’s model suggests that this pattern can be broken based on the feedback that investors receive from successful or unsuccessful rounds of venture capital funding and from the changes in the clean tech polices of global governments. Thus, there is another theoretical perspective that should be applied to the strategic choices that investors in this domain make, that is learning theory. Its predictions would be that adjustments in strategic choices will take place based on factors included in the model.

October 12, 2010
Professor Raymond Robertson, Macalester College "Better Apparel Factories in Developing Countries" The Better Factories Cambodia program has been hailed as an innovative approach to improving working conditions in apparel factories in developing countries. This presentation describes the Better Factories Cambodia program and its successor, Better Work, and presents new evidence about the effect of this program on wages and working conditions using factory-level data. The evaluation specifically examines changes in working conditions and, importantly, the factory-characteristics associated with decisions to improve working conditions and how these decisions might affect factory profitability. Robertson_BFC_Humphrey_Institute_01

September 28, 2010
Professor Ian Maitland, Carlson School of Management, on "Let Them Eat Rights?" A growing number of human rights scholars and business ethicists argue that corporations have duties to help secure the human rights of the world’s poor and powerless. These duties are owed as a matter of justice and not benevolence. Professor Maitland will argue that this human rights agenda may harm its intended beneficiaries by weakening their capacity for self-sufficiency and by encumbering their benefactors with burdens they are poorly designed to bear. Maitland paper Let Them Eat Rights

September 14, 2010
Dean J. Brian Atwood, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, The "Changing Global Aid Architecture and the Effectiveness Challenge" Dean Atwood, a former Administrator of United States Agency for International Development, discusses the proliferation of private and public aid programs, the need for more consistent standards, results criteria, reliable data,and the absence of mutual accountability between donors and recipients. The Global Development Agenda at wood.

April 27, 2010
Professor Morris Kleiner, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "How Does Government Regulate Occupations in the UK and US? Issues and Policy Implications" Occupational regulation involves the role of government in reconciling the special interests of the members with the general concerns of the public. In the United States, occupational licensing has grown from approximately 4 percent of the workforce in the early 1950s to about 29 percent in 2006 – and as high as 38 percent when some kind of certification or eventual licensing is added. In the United Kingdom, the percentage of the workforce that requires a government license in order to work has doubled in the past twelve years to more than 13 percent. Professor Kleiner’s joint research with Amy Humphries and Maria Koumenta shows that in both the U.S. and the U.K. occupational licensing has a large impact on wage determination. The wage premium associated with licensing stands at approximately 18 per cent in the US and 13 per cent in the UK. For both countries, this is higher than the estimated effect of union membership, and, unlike unionization, in both countries licensing raises the wages of high skilled and high paid individuals thus exacerbating the existing disparity in the distribution of earnings. In view of the minimal evidence of the quality effects of occupational licensing, policy makers may want to rethink their growing support for this form of regulation. Kleiner paper Regulating Occupations in US and UK_v4

April 13, 2010
Lt. Colonel William D. Casebeer, United States Air Force, on "Security and Stories: The Narrative Dimension of National Security Policy" Policymakers and planners in the international security realm sometimes fail to account for the impact their actions will have on the stories and narratives populations use to frame their reactions to change. This is understandable given the complexity of stories and the lack of a common framework to analyze them, but also unfortunate because they play a critical role in our human cognitive economy. Colonel Casebeer will offer a nascent set of story tools and use them to critique US policy in the struggle against violent extremism as well as in international state-building efforts in the Balkans region.

March 30, 2010
Professor Gary Krueger, Macalester College, on "Why Russia is not China: An Economist's View of Thirty Years of Reform and Transition" Discussions of Russia's economic transition and reforms typically overlook the period prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The relative lack of success in the 1990s is usually blamed on ill-conceived IMF/World Bank liberalization policies. Professor Krueger argues that a more complete understanding of Russia's transition can be obtained by a nuanced understanding of the legacies of Russia's Soviet economy and the reform efforts of the late Soviet period, aka: perestroika. This situation contrasts markedly with the situation in China in the 1980s under Deng. The implications of Russia’s legacy for the current economic situation and future prospects are discussed.

March 2, 2010
Thaddee Badibanga and Terry Roe, UMN Department of Applied Economics "Structural Change in China, Malaysia and Ghana" Structural transformation features the production of new varieties of goods of higher unit value. When goods are classified by "cluster," Badibanga and Roe will show that the rapid transformation of the Chinese economy is the result of increasing proximity of the country’s production/export basket to the capital goods and consumer durables clusters and the increasing value of products in these two clusters. The substantial increases in the value of goods in these clusters helped Malaysia reduce the country's gap with China. The structure of the Ghanaian economy, however, is stagnant over time, and the country’s production profile is dominated by primary goods with relatively stagnant changes in unit value. These results suggest that technological spillovers spur economic growth far more easily among some clusters of goods than others. A country centering on the production of primary goods forgoes opportunities to capture the spillovers obtainable from industrial good clusters. This phenomenon can be interpreted as yet another version of the natural resource curse.

February 16, 2010
Associate Professor Ben Ansell, UMN Department of Political Science, on "Politics and Housing Cycles: A Global Perspective" The unprecedented housing boom and bust experienced by most rich nations over the past decade has been the defining economic story of the new millennium. Yet we know surprisingly little about the political ramifications of changes in house prices. How do citizens view government during housing booms? Do they rely more on housing as a private nest egg and less on government-provided social insurance? Does this pattern reverse in housing busts? Does the housing cycle affect the behavior of politicians including in terms of social spending or electoral performance? And what are the implications for international economic coordination of national housing cycles? In this presentation Professor Ansell provides an overview of his recent research on these questions and suggests some likely scenarios for political life in the US and abroad over the coming years.

February 2, 2010
Steve Suppan, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy "Trading Carbon Emissions: Technical, Economic and Regulatory Problems "Proposals to buy and sell carbon emissions credits to meet greenhouse gas commitments dominated the alternatives at the recent climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Dr. Suppan’s presentation will give an overview of the theory of carbon trading and both regulatory and economic problems of introducing a legislatively invented commodity into the commodity futures market. The Over the Counter Derivatives Act of 2009, passed by the House of Representatives on December 11, will affect how carbon derivatives are traded. Will this legislation conform to U.S. WTO commitments to limit the ability of governments to regulate financial services? What kind of regulation will be put in place by the Obama administration? Will it enable the estimated $3 trillion market in carbon emissions trading by 2020that some have envisioned?


December 8, 2009
Professor John Freeman, UMN Department of Political Science, on "Do Americans Believe their Government still has Room to Maneuver in the Global Economy?" Despite the increasing integration of global markets, many scholars contend governments retain policy "room to maneuver." Moreover, citizens presumably support further economic integration because they believe their governments can cushion the impacts of market forces. In this sense, economic liberalization is compatible with popular preferences. Professor Freeman reports and explains the results of an original experiment designed gauge Americans' belief in their government's room to maneuver.

November 27, 2009
Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, University of Minnesota Law School, on "Gender, Transition and Conflict" Professor Ní Aoláin draws on a book in progress to discuss the ways in which women experience transitions from conflicted and violent societies. The book and the talk examine the multiple forms of violence that pervade conflicted societies and how legal sanction often fails to fully capture its effects for women. The discussion focus is on a number of the dimensions that are engaged in transitional societies including amnesty, security sector reform, reparations, and rule of law transformations.

October 27, 2009
Kaye Husbands Fealing, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Incoming Foreign Investment and Race" The huge influx of capital-intensive foreign investment coming into the U.S. in recent years holds the potential to influence significantly domestic occupational employment patterns. While previous studies investigated whether inward FDI in developed countries targeted industries with workforces comprising a large share of skilled workers, there is a dearth of research on whether racial minorities benefited from foreign owners’ demand for high-skilled jobs. Do foreign owners have an incentive to engage in non-discriminatory employment practices? Does increased labor market competition from these owners influence the employment decisions of their domestic rivals? This study finds that FDI is associated with an improved probability of black employment in high-wage and mid-level-wage jobs versus low-wage jobs. These findings are interpreted to suggest that enhanced competition for US workers creates a business environment that can provide greater job opportunities for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in high-paying occupations. What do such findings imply for public policy?

October 13, 2009
Martin Loken, Consul General of Canada, Minneapolis, Minnesota "Canada and the U.S.: Partners in Recovery" The ties between the U.S. and Canada are truly unique. The two countries are the closest of neighbors, friends, and allies. They share a strong, mutually beneficial partnership marked by huge commercial exchanges, deep linkages on energy and environmental matters, and shared perspectives on a range of international issues. Consul General Loken argues that the two countries should work together to build on the strengths of the integrated North American economy as they deal with the challenges facing the global economy. He will discuss 1) how NAFTA has created one of the world`s largest economic regions and how that benefits both Canada and the U.S.; 2) how the competitive position of Canada and the United States relies on the strength and efficiency of our cross-border supply chains, and 3) the challenges presented by protectionism and how those challenges could affect cooperative efforts to get out of the global recession. He examines the key features of the Canada-U.S. relationship and how Minnesota and the Upper Midwest fit into that partnership.

September 29, 2009
Professor Paul M. Vaaler, UMN Carlson School of Management, on “Immigrant Remittances and the Venture Investment Environment in Developing Countries” Immigrants from developing countries number in the tens of millions, remit hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and usually include with those remittances guidance about their use. What happens to these financial (money) and social (ideas) remittances? Researchers and policy-makers in development, public policy and law often hold that remittances to developing countries are used for basic subsistence purposes such as food, shelter, education and healthcare needs of family and friends back home. Their possible impact on new business funding, start-ups and growth has been overlooked. In response, he develops a framework grounded in social knowledge and transaction cost theories to investigate the relationship between immigrant remittances and home country: (1) capital availability; (2) new business creation; and (3) international trade openness. Studying 65 developing countries from 2001 to 2007, he shows that immigrant remittances have positive effects on these entrepreneurial outcomes, suggesting the important role of immigrants abroad in providing venture capital and ideas for developing country growth and integration into the world economy.

September 15, 2009
Gregory Shaffer, UMN Law School, on "The International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods" The transatlantic dispute over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has brought the United States and the European Union into conflict. Professor Shaffer presented the core arguments in his book on this subject, which was published by Oxford University Press this summer. The book investigates the obstacles to reconciling regulatory differences among nations through international cooperation, through the lens of the GMO dispute. It addresses the dynamic interactions of domestic law and politics, transnational networks, international regimes, and global markets, through a theoretical and empirical analysis of the governance of GM foods and crops. The book assesses the impacts, and the limits, of international pressures on domestic US and European law, politics, and business practice, which have remained strikingly resistant to change. A further description and reviews can be found here.

April 21, 2009
Steven Block, The Fletcher School, Tufts University "The Political Economy of Agricultural Trade Intervention in Africa"
How are demography, democracy and agricultural policies related in Africa? Tufts University Professor Steve Block presents initial answers related to this question based on his current research with Robert Bates of Harvard University. Rural populations in Africa are often targeted for higher taxation and price controls on their agricultural output in order to keep foodstuffs cheap and certain non-agricultural groups better off. Opening up the political process and promoting more competitive elections reduces such distortions significantly and substantially. Listen to learn more about how more open and competitive electoral politics apparently change agricultural policies and privileges in Africa.

April 7, 2009
Myles Shaver, UMN Carlson School of Management, ib "How Exporting Facilitates Capital Investment"
Research findings across many countries indicate that exporters are ‘stronger’ firms (e.g., more productive) than non-exporters. For strategy scholars and policymakers, this begs the question of whether stronger firms become exporters (i.e., exporting is an outcome), or if exporting strengthens firms. Most firm level research shows that exporting is only an outcome. In this work Professor Shaver adds to a nascent stream of research that shows how exporting affects firms. He provides evidence that exporting can foster capital investments by enabling greater firm self-finance.

March 24, 2009
Teri Caraway, Department of Political Science, on "Labor Rights in East Asia: Progress or Regress?"
Professor Caraway reports on research that examines the current state of de jure and de facto individual and collective labor rights in East Asia (Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam). De jure collective and individual labor rights have improved in the region. Democracy offers a partial explanation for these improvements--labor laws in democracies provide for stronger individual labor rights than in non-democracies, and countries that have democratized have enacted significant labor law reforms that have enhanced collective labor rights. Nevertheless, the laws in almost every country—democracies included—still violate international labor standards, and poor enforcement erodes these legal gains. Moreover, countries with stronger collective labor rights do not have higher unionization rates, collective bargaining remains rare in most countries, and the right to strike is poorly protected—even in democracies. Unions in East Asia may be freer, but they remain feeble. Powerpoint presentation: Labor Rights in East Asia: Progress or Regress?

March 10, 2009
Arun Saldanha, UMN Geography Department, on "Tourism and Moralism: The Lessons of Battles over Identity in Goa, India"
Professor Saldanha builds on ethnographic findings that go beyond those underlying his Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscosity of Race(Minnesota 2007) to inquire into the rationale of Goan activists trying to mitigate the detrimental effects of global tourism. Goa's tourism sector is strongly promoted by official policy and business on a number of scales, but is very complex on the ground. As in most tourist destinations, concerns have been raised about the environmental and social impacts of tourism on the small coastal state. Professor Saldanha argues that, though these concerns are often legitimate, the moralistic framework in which they are couched prevents a sustainable policy agenda on tourism. In particular, many activist groups' protective stance on cultural identity shows a number of contradictions. Possible policy lessons for other tourist destinations are explored. Powerpoint presentation: Tourism and Moralism: Battles Over Identity in Goa, India

February 10, 2009
Jeffrey Broadbent, UMN Sociology Department, on "Global Climate Change: Explaining Variation in National Responses"
Nations vary greatly in the degree that they take the threat of climate change seriously and try to reduces its causes (principally, take measures to reduce their output of greenhouse gasses). Understanding the sources of this variation is crucial to crafting a workable global agreement on sharing the burdens of the needed GHG reductions. The COMPON project (COMparing climate change POlicy Networks) addresses this question through cross-national comparative research designed to test central hypotheses. Professor Broadbent will discusses the project and its hypotheses, as well as some tentative answers.

January 27, 2009
Barbara Frey, UMN Global Studies, on "Reassessing the Rule of Law: Will the Obama Administration Change the Course of US Exceptionalism"
Exceptionalism has long characterized the US government's attitude with regard to international human rights and humanitarian standards: The US will only be held to international standards to the extent that those standards are contiguous with existing US law. The Bush administration staked out an extreme position with regard to international law, pushing back against even the most well-established human rights standards such as the prohibitions against torture and rendition. It is easy to forget that previous administrations, including the Clinton administration, had been cautious, at best, in embracing international human rights and humanitarian norms. What changes to this exceptionalist course regarding international law will we see in the Obama administration? What changes should be made?


December 2, 2008
Dean J. Brian Atwood, UMN Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Reforming U.S. Foreign Assistance"

US foreign assistance programs are now spread over 23 government agencies and have been described as in disarray and out of step with other policies that impact on the developing world. In the November/December 2008 edition of Foreign Affairs J. Brian Atwood writing with two other former USAID Administrators, Peter McPherson and Andrew Natsios, offers a path to reform.

November 18, 2008
Gurneeta Singh, UMN Carlson School of Management "National Industrial Policy and Fuel Cell Development"
First 30 minutes of presentation. Dr. Singh develops a theoretical framework to explain variations in national innovation systems and firms’ knowledge strategies across industrialized countries. Using an inductive approach, a study of fuel cell innovation demonstrates how a country’s sociopolitical institutional arrangements, characterized by the levels of statism and corporatism, shape the competitive allocation of public resources, engagement with foreign actors, partnerships involving public and private actors, and technological diversity. These technology policies are sources of advantages (and disadvantages) for firms with implications for their knowledge creation and knowledge diffusion strategies. The framework is especially relevant in the context of industry emergence and R&D internationalization. PowerPoint presentation: National Fuel Cell Technology Policies: Implications for Firms' Knowledge Strategies

November 4, 2008
Senior Fellow Robbin Johnson, UMN Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "Food Security and BioFuels"
Food security has a number of different dimensions: access to food at affordable prices; reliable supplies at all times; adequate nutritional content; safety; sustainability of production processes; and healthfulness. Biofuels has come to represent both a rapidly growing market and an emerging threat to global food security. (Robbin Johnson is Advisor to the Global Policy Area, Humphrey School).

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