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Martin Forums | 2010-11

The Martin Forums for the 2010-2011 academic year included lectures by Consul General Kiyokazu Ota, Keith Haskell and Jawed Zouari. The press release for the events are below.

Consul General Kiyokazu Ota of Japan to Speak at Martin Forum

Kiyokazu Ota, consul general of Japan in Seattle, Wash., will visit the University of Idaho Monday, April 11, to present a Martin Forum.

His discussion, entitled "East Asia: Present Crises and Future Opportunities," will take place at 4 p.m. in the Idaho Commons Whitewater Room, 875 Line St. in Moscow.

Ota notes that East Asian economies have achieved a lot of development over the past few decades. Future opportunities continue to emerge in East Asian countries, and both Japan and the U.S. need to position themselves to take advantage of these markets.

Political challenges exist as well. For example, the Cold War ended in Europe, but continues in East Asia. North Korea is armed with nuclear weapons and is showing military aggression. Ota will address how the U.S. and Japan are going to handle the current dictatorship in North Korea, as well as diplomacy efforts with other countries.

In addition, Ota will discuss the role an ever-growing China plays in regional and international politics and economics. The U.S. and Japan, he suggests, have common challenges and opportunities vis-à-vis China.

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with the consulate in Seattle, and that Consul and Mrs. Ota are visiting the Palouse at this time,” said Bill Smith, director of the Martin Institute.

The Otas also will visit Washington State University and the mayors of Moscow and Pullman, Wash. This is the only public presentation for Ota during his visit.

Former British Ambassador Keith Haskell Speaks at Martin Forum
On Building A World Future With BRICs Diplomat suggests learning Portuguese; US losing influence

Reprinted with permission by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News
(Oct 7, 2010)

The United States emerged as the world’s dominant superpower with the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, but it’s now facing competition from a handful of developing nations that may become serious rivals within the next 20 years.

“The question is, which other countries will stake out the most convincing claims to become great powers alongside or not too far behind the United States?” asked Keith Haskell during his Martin Forum lecture Wednesday evening at the University of Idaho in Moscow. The annual forum is sponsored by the UI’s Martin Institute and Martin School of International Studies.

Haskell’s 38-year career in the British diplomatic service includes ambassadorships to Peru and Brazil. The latter is one of the four BRIC countries that will increase in global importance over the coming years, he said. BRIC stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The United States’ global influence is decreasing with international worries about the country’s demand for oil and its sky-high budget deficit, Haskell said. He said the unique balance of power in the 21st century offers the four BRIC countries the opportunity to use their potential to fulfill the particular conditions needed to become dominant superpowers.

Those conditions include free elections, freedom of speech for media and individuals, an independent and efficient judiciary, low corruption, access to natural resources, a well-educated population, technologically advanced companies and low degrees of threat from internal or external religious, ethnic or frontier disputes in addition to a low risk for natural disasters.

“You might be surprised to realize that China fails most of these tests,” Haskell said to quiet laughter among audience members. “It is undemocratic, hostile to freedom of speech and corrupt. It has relatively few natural resources within its borders. Even water is running short, which is why it has formed alliances with some of the least savory resource-rich regimes in Africa.”

He said China is known for imitation rather than innovation and the practice of cutting corners and sacrificing quality to save money. In addition, 6 million Chinese residents graduate from college each year, but about 2 million of them are without advanced jobs to match their degrees, he said.

However, “China’s main asset is its sheer size,” he said. “No country which contains 20 percent of the world’s population can ever be unimportant.”

India’s similarly massive population is complemented by a stable democracy and many well-educated people, Haskell said, but it has extensive governmental bureaucracy and corruption. It’s a leader in technology but lacks abundant natural resources, and it faces internal religious and ethnic conflicts plus tension with its neighbor, Pakistan.

Haskell said Russia has plenty of natural resources and the technology to use them but is becoming increasingly undemocratic, repressive and corrupt.

“Many people in Russia hanker for a return to the old days of Soviet hegemony and the (two-superpower) world of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” he said.

That leaves Brazil as the leader of the BRIC pack, he said. Its democracy seems firmly established 25 years after the end of military rule, its media is free and lively and it has varied and vast sources of natural resources, such as minerals, oil, gas and agricultural products like soybeans, coffee, sugar and beef.

He said Brazil’s diplomacy style is relatively laid back and lacks arrogance, and it has no significant ethnic or religious tensions within the country or with its neighbors.

It falls a little behind in education, and its judicial system can be slow, but it’s already the de facto leader of South America and has cultural ties to Africa, extending its influence.

“If you aspire to surf on the wave of the future, it might not be a bad start to learn Portuguese,” Haskell said.

The forum is sponsored by the University’s Martin Institute and Martin School of International Studies.

In addition to the forum, Haskell also guest lectured in several classes at the University of Idaho and Washington State University, met with the International Affairs Club and the Martin Scholars, and had office hours for students who wish to chat about international affairs.

Martin Forums on international topics are part of the educational and outreach missions of the Martin Institute. The institute was founded to advance research and teach about the causes of conflict and peaceful resolution.

  • By Holly Bowen

MOSCOW, Idaho – Jawed Zouari, a former Fulbright scholar and visiting professor at the University of Washington, will present the University of Idaho's next Martin Forum on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom, 709 Deakin Ave. in Moscow.

Zouari spent two years in Tunisia during his Fulbright Scholarship teaching courses in international relations, public policy and research methods at the School of Law and Political Science, University of Tunis. He also presented papers at conferences in Cairo and Tunis and organized a conference on Globalization and Democratization in North Africa at the University of Tunis.

His lecture, “Democratic Revolution in Tunisia: Effects on Egypt and Beyond” will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is free and open to the public.

Zouari’s extensive knowledge of regional politics in Northern Africa constitutes a unique opportunity for the Moscow community to understand the crisis that has engulfed the Maghrib,” said Kodjotse "Ro" Afatchao, associate director of the Martin Institute and the Martin School of International Studies.

Zouari, a tenured faculty member at Seattle Central Community College, has taught interdisciplinary courses in Political Science and History at SCCC since 1993. He has also taught Political Science and History at several colleges and universities, including the University of Washington, Seattle University, and the University of Tunis. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Washington.

He has a bachelor's degree in political science and modern languages from Portland State University, a master's degree in international studies from the Henry Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, and a doctorate in history from UW. His master’s thesis focused on “The Effects of Ben Ali’s Democratic Reforms on the Islamist Movement in Tunisia”, and his doctoral dissertation focused on “European Economic Expansion in North Africa during the 19th century.”

Founded in 1979 by Boyd and Grace Martin, the Martin Institute advances research and teaching into the causes of conflict and peaceful resolution. The institute administers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in International Studies including offering courses, speakers, and sponsors a lecture and discussion series on international topics.

  • By Steve Nelson

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