2016 Schedule and Speakers
All Sessions Will Take Place in Rivers West Building Auditorium 105.
All Sessions Begin at 10:00 AM
We are working on the schedule for the 2016 program. Please check back often for updates.
16, 2016 - Middle East
Michael Palmer, ECU Department of History
a proxy war in Yemen to an ongoing civil war in Syria, a number of ongoing
conflicts have shaken the traditional alliances in the Middle East to their
core. As alliances between state and non-state actors in the region are constantly
shifting, the U.S. has found itself between a rock and a hard place. In a
series of conflicts that are far from being black-and-white, what can the U.S.
do to secure its interests in the region without causing further damage and
23, 2016 - The Rise of ISIS
Alethia Cook, ECU Department of Political Science
out of an umbrella organization of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) burst onto the international stage after it seized Falluja in
December 2013. Since then, the group has seized control of a number of critical
strongholds in the country and declared itself a caliphate, known as the
Islamic State. Still, the question remains: What is ISIS, and what danger does
it pose to U.S. interests?
30, 2016 - The Future of Kurdistan
a mountainous region made up of parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria,
is home to one of the largest ethnic groups in West Asia: the Kurds. Now, most
in the West know them for their small, oil-rich autonomous region in northern
Iraq called Iraqi Kurdistan —one of the U.S.' closer allies in the Middle East
and a bulwark against the expansion of the so-called Islamic State. What does
the success of Iraqi Kurdistan mean for Kurds in the surrounding region?
6, 2016 - Migration
a record number of migrants cross the Mediterranean Sea to find refuge in
Europe, the continent is struggling to come up with an adequate response.
Although Europe's refugees are largely fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and
parts of Africa, their struggle is hardly unique. Today, with the number of
displaced people is at an all-time high, a number of world powers find
themselves facing a difficult question: How can they balance border security
with humanitarian concerns? More importantly, what can they do to resolve these
crises so as to limit the number of displaced persons?
13, 2016 - The Koreas
the end of World War II, Korea was divided in two. The northern half of the
Korean peninsula was occupied by the Soviet Union, the southern by the United
States. Today, North and South Korea couldn't be further apart. The North is
underdeveloped, impoverished and ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian government,
while the South advanced rapidly to become one of the most developed countries
in the world. With such a wide gap, some are asking if unification is possible,
even desirable, anymore?
20, 2016 - The United Nations
the eve of the international organization's 70th birthday, the
United Nations stands at a crossroads. This year marks a halfway point in the
organization's global effort to eradicate poverty, hunger and discrimination,
as well as ensure justice and dignity for all peoples. But as the UN's 193
member states look back at the success of the millennium development goals,
they also must assess their needs for its sustainable development goals —a new
series of benchmarks, which are set to expire in 2030. With the appointment of
the ninth secretary-general in the near future as well, the next U.S. president
is bound to have quite a lot on his or her plate going into office.
5, 2016 - Climate change
the past few years, the American public has become more aware of the damage
wrought by climate change. From droughts in the west to extreme weather in the
east, a rapidly changing climate has already made its footprint in the United
States. Now, it's expected that the presidential election in 2016 will be one of
the first ever to place an emphasis on these environmental changes. What can
the next president do to stymie this environmental crisis? And is it too late
for these efforts to be effective?
12, 2016 - Cuba and the U.S.
U.S. announced in December 2014 that, after decades of isolation, it has begun
taking major steps to normalize relations with Cuba, its neighbor to the south.
The announcement marks a dramatic shift away from a policy that has its roots
in one of the darkest moments of the Cold War —the Cuban missile crisis.
Although the U.S. trade embargo is unlikely to end any time soon, American and
Cuban leaders today are trying to bring a relationship once defined by a crisis
in the 1960s into the 21st century.