Exploring Global Issues In World Regions

Educators, administrators, and scholars came together on the campus of Indiana University recently to discuss pressing global issues.

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One of the issues discussed was Russia’s potential to become an energy super power. Image via John Tornow (Flickr Creative Commons).

The Global Mini-Conference is an annual event connected to the Institute for Curriculum and Campus Internationalization, or ICCI. Organized by IU’s Center for the Study of Global Change, the institute is designed to create a campus wide dialogue on how to create international learning environments.

An off-shoot of the larger institute, the Global Mini-Conference is free and open to the public and tends to focus on a cluster of issues.

This year’s organizing theme was “Global Issues in World Regions.” IU experts discussed such wide ranging issues as human trafficking, mining in Central Eurasia, and early Chinese cinema.

One of the early panels focused on the experiences of people living as part of transnational communities.

Oana Panaïté from IU’s Department of French and Italian gave attendees an overview of the history of Africans in France. She highlighted the different waves of African migration to France, explained ties to France’s colonial past, and then talked about some of the issues surrounding the integration (or lack of) Africans into broader French society.

The Center for the Study of the Middle East’s Cigdem Balim-Harding discussed the use of humor during the various Arab revolutions and explained how humor served to not only bind those on the ground more closely together but to also create connections with the larger transnational communities of which they are part.

Energy and geopolitics was the focus of another mini-conference session.

Professor Robert Kravchuk, of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, focused on Russia. Specifically on that nation’s ability to become an energy superpower.

He suggested that, even with the nation’s vast resources, its future growth is likely to remain stagnant given its present political and economic realities.

Quoting the World Bank’s Mamdouh Salameh, Kravchuck called Russia an “energy giant standing on feet of clay.”

Nations rich in energy resources were also the focus of Gardner Bovingdon’s presentation. Bovingdon, of IU’s Central Eurasian Studies Department, gave Global Mini-Conference attendees a history lesson on ‘Oil, Islam, and Geopolitics’ and then explained how that history impacts us today.

The day ended with sessions on popular culture, media, and populations.

You can find more information about ICCI and its Global Mini-Conference at its website.

You can follow us on Twitter: @FramingGlobal.