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Videos of Past Events

2023 Events

II/CMENAS Roundtable Discussion. The Hamas-Israel War: The Day After

October 31, 2023
With and introduction by Ryan Szpiech, Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies; and Associate Professor, Departments of Romance Languages, Middle East Studies, and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan.

International Institute 30th Anniversary Symposium

October 5 and 6, 2023
On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, the International Institute has organized a symposium that highlights our centers’ expertise and engagement with scholars and specialists across professions.

2022 Events

II Roundtable. The Global Implications of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

March 15, 2022
This roundtable brings together experts in international politics, Central Asia, US-China relations, and Europe to discuss how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended the global economy and political order far beyond the boundaries of the conflict itself. We discuss the invasion’s impact on US-China relations, global energy markets and security, European politics, and much more.

2021 Events

II Conference on Gender and Health in Global, Transnational and Historical Perspectives

October 14, 2021
In this interdisciplinary and geographically wide-ranging one-day conference, we aim to bring together scholars from public health and the humanities, from the medical sciences and the social sciences, whose areas of research will help us consider past and present relationships of gender and health.

II Roundtable on Afghanistan

September 7, 2021
This roundtable discusses the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, what it means for the future of Afghanistan, and its broader implications for both the region and combatting terrorism.

Grade 6-14 Teacher Workshop: “Biblical Women Across Abrahamic Religions”

May 8, 2021
In this virtual workshop, educators will learn about key biblical women in Abrahamic religions across regions of the world, with special emphasis on the figure of Mary, from scholars distinguished in their respective fields. To gain a full understanding of this subject, attendance throughout the workshop is encouraged, but not required. Michigan educators are eligible for SCECH credits.

II Round Table. Coronavirus Politics: The Comparative Politics and Policy of COVID-19 Response

April 22, 2021
A book launch event co-hosted with the University of Michigan Press. COVID-19 is the most significant global crisis of most people’s lifetimes. The numbers have been stupefying, whether of infection and mortality, the scale of public health measures, or the economic consequences of shutdown.

Globally Engaged Career Panel

April 9, 2021
The International Institute presents a virtual conversation with a panel of distinguished professionals, all graduates of U-M area studies programs, who have pursued career paths with a global reach. Our panelists share their stories and experiences, based on questions prepared in advance by U-M Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) students. This event is of interest to anyone seeking new perspectives on globally engaged career paths and job search insights.

Conference on Arts of Devotion

March 4, 2021
This conference explores the significance of Arts of Devotion by bringing together scholars from across disciplines and temporal and regional contexts, to engage with one another and a broader audience of faculty, students, and the general public. History provides us with numerous examples of devotional artifacts and many that remain for study and usage. Many recent and contemporary arts of devotion may be inspired by, derived from, or critiques of traditional examples. Thus traditional or historical arts of devotion, as well as contemporary, will both be explored in this conference.

2020 Events

Special Webinar. COVID-19 Across the Globe

June 29, 2020
A webinar on brand new research on COVID-19 and its effects in different countries around the world.

Virtual International Institute Round Table. Coronavirus: Global Academic Perspectives

March 17, 2020
The rapid emergence and spread of COVID-19 has created a global health crisis. This panel of experts will discuss the coronavirus and the implications for the world at large, as well as the University of Michigan.

II Conference on Migration

Monday, Feb. 24, 2020
This year's conference features International Institute experts in conversation with migration scholars from around the world. This conference hopes to shed light on myriad aspects of migration across the world and from differing perspectives.

Topics to be covered include migration of ideas and languages, causes and effects of migration, the socio-political implications of human movement, culture production and transferral, and countering common narratives about migration, among others.

Featuring local and international scholars with expertise on the regions of East Africa, North Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America, this cross-regional and interdisciplinary discussion will be of interest to faculty, students, and members of the general public engaged with issues of migration, immigration, human interaction, culture, language and politics.

2019 Events

Reflecting on the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and Civil War

April 6, 2019
This event, held on the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and civil war, explores what we know and what we do not know with leading scholars in the field. It also featured the debut of the first installment of Christian Davenport and Darick Ritter’s nonfiction graphic novel, called RW-94: Reflections on Rwanda. The book bridges a gap between storytelling and social science and moves deeper into a systematic understanding of 1994 Rwanda, Rwanda itself, and the complexity of understanding the diverse forms of political violence that happened alongside the genocide.

Globally Engaged Career Panel

March 19, 2019
Students and community members interested in globally-engaged career paths gain new perspectives and job search insights from this interactive panel discussion. Three distinguished professionals--from JPMorgan Chase’s Global Philanthropy Department, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the Inter-American Foundation--share their stories and experiences, based on questions prepared in advance by International Institute MA students.

2018 Events

II Round Table. Antisemitism Today

December 3, 2018
What is Antisemitism, and how is it manifesting itself today? Is it on the rise globally? How does it differ in different parts of the world? Join a panel if U-M faculty as they discuss the issues surrounding antisemitism in our world. A Q&A will follow.

II Conference. Indigenous Languages: From Endangerment to Revitalization and Resilience

October 25, 2018
The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages, and the area studies centers at the International Institute will present a joint conference on the resilience and revitalization of indigenous languages. Policy recommendations resulting from the conference will be reported to the United Nations Permanent Forum. This conference serves to strengthen ties between the University of Michigan and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Weiser Hall Dedication and Inaugural Lecture. Global Hot Spots and Blind Spots

April 17, 2018
Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
Dr. Slaughter served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State from 2009-2011, and was the first woman to hold the position. She is a former Dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the former J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School.

II Round Table. The Future of International Justice. Lessons from the Yugoslav Tribunal

February 14, 2018
This round table examines the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the future of international prosecution of severe human rights violations.

2017 Events

II Round Table. A New Look at an Old Issue: Implications of North Korea's Provocations

November 6, 2017
If it is true that "there is no such thing as bad publicity," North Korea has been wildly successful in its publicity campaign abroad. Recognizing this blackhole that the topic tends to create, this round table will go beyond North Korea. By using the country as a unifying theme, the discussions will touch on the larger implications, such as what lessons North Korea provide for theories regarding inter-state cooperation, international law, and geopolitics of Northeast Asia. A 'new look' at an 'old issue' captures this aim to use North Korea as a mirror to assess where we are and the general state of the world, rather than what Pyongyang is or is not doing.

II Round Table. Venezuela in Crisis. Origins, Impacts, and Possible Futures

October 5, 2017
This International Institute Round Table focuses on the ongoing and unprecedented political, economic, and social crisis impacting Venezuela today. By bringing together three scholars from different disciplines and perspectives to share their insights on Venezuela’s past and present, the event aims to help us all think through what is occurring there, why, and what broader implications these developments have.

II Global University Symposium Keynote. Jill Dougherty

March 30, 2017
Keynote: "Found in Translation: My Life, Thanks to Michigan" Keynote speaker: Jill Dougherty (BA Slavic Languages and Literatures '70); foreign affairs correspondent for CNN, Moscow Bureau Chief from 1997-2005

Conflict & Peace Initiative Round Table. Xenophobia in the Age of Trump: The Roots, Context, and Remedies

March 13, 2017
This roundtable discussion looks at the rise of xenophobia in the United States in a global and historical context. Questions to be explored include: What is xenophobia? Is it something everyone is predisposed to? What are the origins of the current strands of xenophobia? How is xenophobia in the US similar to and different from xenophobia in other parts of the world? What stops xenophobia? What promotes it?

International Institute Student Fellowships Former Grantee Panel

January 17, 2017
International Institute student fellowship grantees present their research and answer questions about their time abroad. All were welcome to attend, especially those interested in applying for the IIIF.

2016 Events

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. The Seduction of Quantification: Governing through Human Rights Indicators

March 28, 2016
As governance increasingly relies on evidence-based approaches, the importance of measurement grows. Evidence-based governance depends on the availability of numbers to assess the size, scope, and nature of an issue. Numbers are necessary even to bring an issue to the attention of governments. Issues that are measured become politically visible while those that are not tend to disappear. Of course, politics determines what gets counted, and bringing uncounted domains of social life into the sphere of the measured requires substantial effort and resources.

II Round Table. Zika Virus. How Big a Threat?

March 22, 2016
The mosquito-borne Zika Virus has emerged as a global public health threat in Latin America and beyond. It is associated with microcephaly in newborns and potentially connected to cases of paralysis in adults. Recent scientific studies suggest that Zika can be spread through sexual contact (via semen) and blood transfusions. This roundtable convenes experts in epidemiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and Brazilian public health to provide accurate and up-to-date information on the current status of the virus. In addition to explaining science and public health, this roundtable will consider how Zika is affecting pregnant women and women of conceptive age, as well as challenging strict abortion laws in place Latin America.

II Round Table. Europe’s Right Turn? The Political Shift in Hungary, Poland, and France

February 1, 2016
The popularity of the Fidesz government in Hungary—as well as the recent election of the Law and Justice Party in Poland and the move of France's Front National from the periphery to the center of French politics— forces us to consider whether Europe is undergoing a wider political right-turn. Experts on the panel will discuss the roots and the implications of the rise of right-wing parties in Hungary, Poland and France. What does that right-turn mean for those respective nations, and, more generally, for Europe?

II Round Table. Coming to America. The Muslim Experience

January 19, 2016
What is the experience of moving to and living in the United States like for Muslim immigrants? How has the experience changed due to recent world events? With US politicians stirring up fears of Syrian refugees and seemingly growing Islamophobia in the country, this round table will explore the history of Muslim immigrants to the US and address issues facing American Muslims today.

Mystic Motherland. Africa, the Qur'an, and the Esoteric Sciences

October 29 - November 1, 2016
Qurʾan—though universal in its message—is largely a book about Africa. Many (probably most) of the tales related in the Qurʾan take place in Africa, and Africans figure prominently in many stories set elsewhere. No wonder that Africans have long found their place in its stories. The tales of Joseph & Jesus, Moses & Mary, Solomon & Sheba, along with countless others, all lead us back to Africa.

II Headline Lecture. A Prognosis on the Arab World

September 27, 2016
Amre Moussa has been heavily involved with Egypt's foreign policy for decades. He has served as the country's Foreign Minister, as well as ambassador to the United Nations, India, and Switzerland. Secretary-General Moussa will discuss issues facing the Arab world and reflect on his years of experience in foreign affairs.

II Round Table. Brexit, What's Next?

September 20, 2016
A panel of U-M faculty from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the U-M Law School met to contextualize and discuss the implications of the United Kingdom’s recent referendum to leave the European Union.

2015 Events

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. Cities and Human Rights in the 21st Century World

December 1, 2015
Researchers have long documented the centrality of cities to processes of globalization. Global trade and finance relies upon the technological and social infrastructure provided by cities. And global integration and industrial development has led to unprecedented migration of people from rural to urban centers. Processes of urbanization, however, are based on the dispossession of rural and Indigenous people and communities, who are denied access to traditional lands and livelihoods.

II Round Table. Refugees and the Migration Crisis in Europe

November 5, 2015
What economic and political forces have driven waves of refugees from their homelands in recent months? What fate awaits them on new shores? How do these new migrations challenge our understanding of citizenship and nation? This roundtable goes beyond the media images that represent the refugee crisis–from Fortress Europe to Mama Merkel–to ask probing questions about new patterns of human migration emerging globally.

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. Speaking Rights to Power

March 19, 2015
How can “Speaking Rights to Power” build political will to respond to human rights abuse? Examining dozens of cases of human rights campaigns, this book shows how communication politics build recognition, solidarity, and social change. Building on 20 years of research on five continents, this comprehensive study ranges from Aung San Suu Kyi to Anna Hazare, from Congo to Colombia, and from the Arab Spring to Pussy Riot. This book shows how human rights rhetoric matters—and how to make it matter more.

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. Jody Williams and Jared Genser

March 17, 2015
"Women’s Rights in the 21st Century: Fifteen Years After UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security." In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, a landmark framework that would shape the global understanding of the roles of women in conflict situations and peace-building processes. Acknowledging the changing nature of warfare, in which civilian casualties have grown exponentially and gender-based violence has become a weapon of war, and recognizing the critical role of women in creating sustainable peace, the Resolution called on member states to take measures to increase participation of women in peace-building processes and to protect women from gender-based violence.

II Round Table. Free Speech on the Front Lines

February 5, 2015
In recent months, popular culture and public discourse have been violently challenged and vigorously affirmed. From the Christmas release of the movie "The Interview" to the Charlie Hebdo attack, from North Korea to Saudi Arabia and from Los Angeles to Paris, activists, hacktivists and terrorists have asserted their right to free speech—while accusing others of abusing those rights. In this panel, scholars and experts discuss the problems posed by traditional formulations of the right to free speech in a world where information is unbounded and the public sphere is immanent. Free Speech on the Front Lines will address the recent events affecting free speech in all forms.

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. International Law and the Abolition of Torture

January 23, 2015
International law has developed a remarkably complete normative framework designed to prevent and to punish torture as an international crime, as well as some mechanisms to implement obligations that, unfortunately, are not regularly observed in practice.  In addition to the absolute and non-derogable prohibition on torture as well as on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, international law imposes an obligation on all States to investigate, prosecute and punish each act of torture or ill-treatment, to reveal the truth about such practices, to exclude evidence obtained under torture from any proceedings against the victim, and to offer reparations and rehabilitation. This lecture will highlight some challenges that experience presents to the effective realization of these important standards.

2014 Events

PICS Public Panel. Contemporary Slavery: Legislating, Litigating, and Organizing to Combat Slavery and Human Trafficking

December 5, 2014.
The term “slavery” has come to be used to describe modern forms of exploitation that, while not involving the ownership of persons as property, contain elements in common with chattel slavery. Legislators, litigators, judges, prosecutors and jurors now face the challenge of understanding what we mean by slavery in a modern context. Co-sponsors: Law in Slavery and Freedom Project; International Institute;Program in Race, Law & History; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Institute for the Humanities; Human Trafficking Clinic (U-M Law), Program in International and Comparative Studies. University of Michigan.

II Fall Symposium. The Global Indigenous Peoples Movement

November 7, 2014
Cosponsored by the International Institute, African Studies Center, and Native American Studies.

Human Rights Initiative Distinguished Lecture with Michael Ignatieff

October 30, 2014
A new type of regime is challenging the authority and legitimacy of international human rights: authoritarian capitalism in Russia, China, and the states that have adopted their form of rule. These regimes allow private freedom, while repressing public liberty, and this is what makes them stable. How do believers in human rights, who insist that freedom is indivisible, respond to the challenge of these new forms of tyranny?

II Round Table: Understanding ISIS

October 29, 2014
ISIS has gained increasing media attention and alarmed world leaders since June 2014 when it seized control of large swaths of territory in northeastern Syria and western Iraq, includingIraq's second largest city Mosul, and declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate. But this Islamist extremist group (also known as ISIL and Islamic State) has been growing in strength and popularity for several years, and the roots of its grievances are centuries old. This II Round Table brings together four experts to shed light on different aspects of ISIS: its origins, ideology, popular support, and impact on the international system. This event is co-sponsored by the International Policy Center and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

II Round Table: Beyond Ebola

October 22, 2014
This International Institute Round Table explores the multi-disciplinary interplay of the science of Ebola virus (replication, transmission, controls), impacts of public policies and infrastructure, factors in engaging community and culture, and predictions for control of this and future epidemic outbreaks. Conversations of panelists, expert discussants and forum attendees will explore what must be put in place for West Africa beyond the current epidemic and to better prepare for other global health crises that likely will occur in an interconnected world.

II Round Table. Crisis in Ukraine: Domestic and International Implications

March 13, 2014
University of Michigan faculty experts discuss the situation in Ukraine as it stands on March 13, 2014. Speakers include Pauline Jones Luong, Zvi Gitelman, Mikhail Krutikov, Oksana Malanchuk, Ekaterina Mishina, Svitlana Rogovyk, and Greta Uehling.

Connecting Thought and Action across Borders: The Challenge of Contemporary Slavery

February 11, 2014
Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, suggests ways in which cross-national discussions can yield legal definitions and strategies for addressing the phenomenon of coerced labor.

II Individual Fellowship Former Grantee Panel

January 23, 2014
Grantees discuss preparing their projects and applications, making in-country contacts, and the focus of their projects. Q & A will be held after presentations.

2013 Events

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. The Indigenous Emergency

November 4, 2013
The lecture will explore the complex historic circumstances and political actions that gave rise to the international Indigenous Peoples’ movement through the human rights agenda and thus also produced a global indigenous identity. The interaction between the Indigenous Peoples’ movement-one of the strongest social movements of our times- and the intergovernmental system over the past 40 years has been questioning and impacting on international norms, institutions and major global debates in human rights, political science, international law, development and others. What is the significance of the continuing indigenous emergency in today’s world?

II Fall Symposium. What is the Future for Islands?

November 1, 2013
The 2013 II Fall Symposium asks, "What is the Future for Islands?" This interdisciplinary symposium examines islands' roles in the political, cultural, and ecological realms, tackling urgent questions about the possible futures for islands in a world of increasing global interconnection and environmental change.

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. Socializing States: How to Promote Human Rights through International Law

October 22, 2013
Network analysis has emerged as one of the most powerful tools for policy makers, stakeholders, and academics interested in political and social change. As a recent survey in the Annual Review of Political Science explains, “network analysis … offers a means of addressing one of the holy grails of the social sciences: effectively analyzing the interdependence and flows of influence among individuals, groups, and institutions.” Social network theorists study the structure of connections between members of a relevant network. The composition of these social ties and the relative position of actors within these structures are generally thought to influence the prospects for, and patterns of, the diffusion of ideas and behaviors.

Human Rights Initiative Lecture. Making Human Rights a Reality

September 17, 2013
Making Human Rights a Reality takes a fresh look at why it’s been so hard for international law to have much impact in parts of the world where human rights are most at risk.

The International Implications of the Syrian Civil War: A Panel Discussion

February 5, 2013
Four experts on the Middle East  analyze the social and political effects of the war on Syria and its neighbors, and examine consequences for the region and the involvement of the major powers and other countries influencing the conflict.

2012 Events

International Institute Symposium. Translating Human Rights: Bodies of Evidence - Introduction

October 26, 2012
How does the interdisciplinary study of human rights translate bodies as and into evidence? How are recent technological advances transforming what counts as evidence? Going beyond a view of translation framed in terms of accuracy or equivalence, this symposium explores the relationship of bodies, evidence, and translation within the context of critical debates in human rights studies.

II Roundtable. South Sudan: Nationhood and the Challenges Ahead

February 14, 2012
Susan D. Page, U.S. ambassador to South Sudan, joined a panel of U-M faculty to discuss America’s relations with the East African nation and the challenges facing the new country, which gained independence in July 2011 after more than 50 years of civil war with Sudan. Panelists include: Amal Hassan Fadlalla, Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women's Studies, and Anthropology;  Anne Pitcher, Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Political Science;  and John Ciorciari, Assistant Professor of Public Policy. 

2011 Events

International Institute Symposium. New Media/Social Change: Implications for Area Studies

November 4, 2011
New Media/Social Change symposium questions the impact “new media” (social, network, digital) have had on cultural and political formations and practices and how this impact relates to area studies. Leading scholars from across the U.S. and Europe, along with prominent U-M faculty, address the following:

How have new media changed the way world regions function and are imagined?
How have new media reshaped the study of international questions and locations?
How may news media and other reporters of news be put at risk by changing technologies and practices?

Struggle Against Authoritarian Rule in the Middle East

February 7, 2011
Analyzes the underlying tensions in the Middle East that have led to widespread unrest and political instability. U-M scholars participated in a candid, informal discussion about how protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries have led to a shakeup of the existing governments. Speakers include Joshua Cole, Juan Cole, Nadine Naber, Philip Potter, Mark Tessler, and Susan Waltz.

2010 Events

Relevant/Obsolete? Rethinking Area Studies in the US Academy

October 29, 2010
Relevant/Obsolete?, a symposium hosted by the University of Michigan International Institute and its centers in October 2010, addresses the future of area studies in the US academy. Five leading scholars from across the nation discussed the changing relationships between area studies and the disciplines, the future of area studies centers, and the role of area studies in future research, policy, and public education agendas. Speakers include Gilbert Merkx, Patricia Steinhoff, Kevin O' Brien, Sugata Bose, and Michael Kennedy.