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WMU to offer two foreign policy lectures

Jan. 28, 2011

KALAMAZOO--A high-profile correspondent for National Public Radio and a key player in the successful resolution of a hijacking by Somalian pirates will speak at Western Michigan University next month.

The two speakers are being featured by WMU as part of the 2011 "Great Decisions Foreign Policy Lecture Series" organized by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids.

The council is dedicated to educating people in western Michigan about other countries, cultures and regions of the world, as well as to providing a forum for discussion of critical foreign policy issues facing the United States.

This year's "Great Decision" series will include two public talks in Kalamazoo and eight others in Grand Rapids over consecutive Mondays from Feb. 7 through March 28.

The WMU talks are free and will take place at noon in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium.

Photo of NPR's Mike Shuster.Feb. 7--WMU will host National Public Radio's Mike Shuster, who will speak on "Winning Without War: Do Sanctions Work?" Shuster is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and roving foreign correspondent for NPR News West. He covers issues of nuclear non-proliferation, terrorism and the Pacific Rim. His presentation will focus on the use of sanctions by the United States and other countries in regard to North Korea and Iran.

Photo of Navy Capt. Gordan VanHook.March 21--WMU will host retired Navy Capt. Gordan VanHook, who will present "Pirates on the High Seas." VanHook, a nearly 30-year Navy veteran, led the crisis team that resolved the hijacking of the cargo carrier Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia in 2009. The hijacking marked the first successful pirate seizure of a ship under the American flag since the early 19th century. VanHook's presentation will address maritime security and piracy.

The eight other public presentations in the 2011 "Great Decisions" series carry an admission fee that may be paid at the door. They will take place in Grand Rapids from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Road SE near the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Robinson.

  • Feb. 7--"Winning Without War: Do Sanctions Work?" by Mike Shuster, NPR News West.
  • Feb. 14--"Needed: A New World Order" by Stewart Patrick of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Feb. 21--"Germany Rising" by Jackson Janes of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Feb. 28--"Payback Time? The Global Financial Crisis," a panel discussion moderated by Jack Lessenberry, senior political analyst for Michigan Radio, the University of Michigan's public broadcasting service. Panelists will include Hari Singh and Dan Giedeman of Grand Valley State University, Harry Veryser of the University of Detroit Mercy, and Gary Wolfram of Hillsdale College.
  • March 7--"Energy Policy As National Security Policy," a panel discussion with Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute. Also invited is Michael Palmer of Marathon's Crude Supply and Logistics unit.
  • March 14--"Rebuilding Haiti" by David Meltzer of the American Red Cross.
  • March 21--"Pirates on the High Seas" by Gordan VanHook, leader of the Maersk Alabama hijacking crisis team.
  • March 28--"Coming Out of Russia's Shadow: The Caucasus Countries" by Sue Davis of Denison University.

For more information about WMU's "Great Decisions" lectures, contact Margaret von Steinen in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education at margaret.vonsteinen@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3993.

For more about the World Affairs Council or its lectures, contact Dixie Anderson, executive director, at (616) 776-1721.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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