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The curriculum in Global Studies built on the success of its Spring 2011 War Stories speaker series by bringing another fabulous line-up of high profile researchers and authors to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Attracting students from local high schools, undergraduates, graduate students and faculty from the University, along with local community members, the series proved to be a true community experience.

“[The War Stories series] truly brought a great level of discourse to campus. The conversations surrounding these speakers and the topics they addressed were excellent,” Dr. Jonathan Weiler, director of undergraduate studies in Global Studies, said.

The series was co-sponsored by the College of Arts and SciencesUNC Global , and the Center for Global Initiatives.

The Arab Spring: Hopes For Democracy In Libya And Egypt

A lecture with Dr. Andrew Reynolds

reynolds lectureThe first speaker of the fall semester series, Dr. Andrew Reynolds, discussed critical developments in and potential hopes for the uprisings that have shaken not only the Arab world but the entire globe.

Andrew Reynolds is the author of Designing Democracy in a Dangerous World (Oxford, 2011). In June and September last year, he was an adviser on constitutional design issues in Egypt and Libya. Reynolds is an associate professor in the department of Political Science at UNC and chair of the curriculum in Global Studies.


Healing The Body Politic

A Lecture with Dr. Sandy Smith-Nonini

Sandy Smith-NoniniDr. Sandy Smith-Nonini brought to life the effects the devastating conflict in El Salvador had on public health-care in the second lecture of the series. Smith-Nonini recalled her experience in the region at a time when health neutrality was largely ignored by the El Salvadorian government. As a reporter for American Medical News, Smith-Nonini saw firsthand how hospitals and foreign aid workers were targeted during this period.

She also saw the incredible resilience of the guerrillas and medical professionals, who continued to operate under these conditions. Smith-Nonini described for her audience how international healthcare workers refused to leave, in spite of the danger to their lives. And, more importantly, how local guerrillas and their supporters became adept at providing field medical assistance. Entire communities banded together to offer what aid they could in highly dangerous circumstances.

Sandy Smith-Nonini 1Smith-Nonini argued that a powerful social movement for health reform grew out of this chaos and that this movement shaped the political arena. Not only did it put the brakes on a rightwing-led privatization campaign, it also influenced the national political opposition in the period leading up to the pivotal 2009 election of opposition leader Mauricio Funes as president.

Sandy Smith-Nonini is an anthropologist, writer and activist at UNC-Chapel Hill. Smith-Nonini worked as a foreign correspondent in Central America during the turbulent civil wars of the 1980s. Her latest book Healing the Body Politic, investigates the 25 year struggle for health rights that arose in El Salvador during and after the war. (University of Rutgers Press)

Smith-Nonini is a former assistant professor of anthropology at Elon University (2000-2005). She is the recipient of the Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship from the Wenner Gren Foundation and the Peter K. New Prize from the Society for Applied Anthropology, for her writings on El Salvador.

Alexandra Fuller

A question-and-answer discussion on conflict in Africa

fullerThe program concluded with bestselling author Alexandra Fuller, who discussed growing up in war-torn central Africa.

Alexandra Fuller won accolades for her memoirs Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight(Random, 2003), Scribbling the Cat (Penguin, 2005) and her four books of non-fiction. Born in England and raised in Africa, Fuller grew up in Rhodesia during the destructive civil war of the 1970s. She has published numerous articles on the history and politics of conflict in Zimbabwe. Her most recent book Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (Penguin, 2011) captures the passions that embody life in Africa.

fuller 2Her talk explored her experience in these areas of conflict, investigating the psyche that allowed colonialism to continue for so long, and how this mentality has changed or adapted in light of recent events. Fuller’s frank discussion of her family and friends’ responses to their circumstances were at once uproarious, heartbreaking and illuminating. For at the heart of her tales from these war-zones, was her inquiry into the human desire to define oneself: what it means to come from a place, have an identity, and be a person.