Professional Development Courses & Workshops

International Forums

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The CSU, Chico Office of International Education sponsors International Forums during the spring and fall semesters. Every week, a speaker shares his/her knowledge and views of countries from the five continents. As an open forum, this gathering allows ample participation from faculty, students, and members of the local Chico community. For more information, contact the Office of International Education at (530) 898-5415.

International Forums


The Internet as Transnational Religious Space

Dr. Daniel Veidlinger

Faculty, CSU, Chico Comparative Religion and Humanities Department

Daniel Veidinger

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The Internet allows people from around the world to come together and engage in various religious activities. In this presentation Dr. Veidlinger shares websites where people can gather to practice religion and learn more about religions. Late in the presentation he shares websites for virtual pilgrimages for several religions. Join the exploration of this new religious frontier.

Presentation Time: 49 minutes

Fidel Castro: The View from the Global South

Dr. Stephen Lewis

Faculty, History Department, CSU, Chico

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When Fidel Castro died in 2016 at the age of 90, thousands of people mourned and thousands of people celebrated. Dr. Stephen Lewis begins his presentation by stating, “No one else in the Western Hemisphere, in the second half of the 20th century, did more to shape world events than Fidel Castro.” He goes on to discuss the way the Global South – Latin America, Africa, and India – views Castro and his legacy. He includes a brief timeline of Cuban history from 1899 until Castro led the revolution that deposed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Presentation Time: 51 minutes

Gold Boys & Emerald Girls: Reflections on Teaching and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Taiwan

Dr. Rob Davidson

Faculty, English Department, CSU, Chico

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Cross-cultural teaching brings its own special rewards and challenges, an experience in which politics, culture, and language become fascinatingly intertwined. Dr. Rob Davidson spent the 2015-2016 academic year teaching in Taiwan as a Fulbright U.S. Senior Scholar. In this presentation, Dr. Davidson reflects on teaching creative writing, American literature 1492-present, and contemporary Asian American literature in a cross-cultural environment at Tunghai University in Taichung City.

Presentation Time: 47 minutes

Leaving the European Union

Dr. Jason Nice

Faculty, CSU, Chico History Department

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In 1973, the United Kingdom joined the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership that has grown to 28 European countries. In 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted for their country to withdraw from the EU. (England and Wales voted for withdrawal; Scotland and Northern Ireland, against.) Yet, in a 1975 UK referendum on whether to leave the EU, 67% voted to remain. Dr. Jason Nice provides an historical context to explain this dramatic change in public opinion.

Presentation Time:  49 minutes

The Interaction of Religion, Science, and Technology as a Global Issue

Dr. Greg Cootsona

Faculty, CSU, Chico Comparative Religions and Humanities Department

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Dr. Greg Cootsona’s presentation is divided into three parts. He begins by focusing on the so-called “irreconcilability” between science and religion. Second, he discusses the extent to which ISIS is both a reaction to the advent of modern science and a stunningly effective use of its technology. Dr. Cootsona concludes by elaborating on “how recent moves by the Trump administration that affect the global environment correlate with scientific and religious attitudes.”

Presentation Time:  49 minutes

Global Policy Series: U.S.-Israeli Relations

Dr. Jed Wyrick

Faculty, CSU, Chico Comparative Religions and Humanities Department

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Dr. Wyrick discusses the role of Israel in U.S. Foreign Policy and in the 2016 Presidential election from a historical perspective. He begins with the 19th century birth of Zionism – the political movement that supported the re-establishment of a Jewish Homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel. He explains how that area of the Middle East was divided up in many ways and ruled by many different nations since the early 20th century. Dr. Wyrick looks at a number of historical events, including the creation of Israel in 1948 (which resulted in 700,000 Arab refugees), the 1967 war and the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He concludes by sharing the positions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump regarding U.S. relations with Israel.

Presentation Time: 54 minutes

Global Policy Series: The Environment

Dr. David Hassenzahl

Dean, CSU, Chico College of Natural Sciences

Dr. Dean Fairbanks

Faculty, CSU, Chico Geography & Planning Department

Dr. James Pushnik

Faculty, CSU, Chico Biological Sciences Department and Director, Institute for Sustainable Development

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Three CSU, Chico professors discuss different aspects of global environmental issues: (1) the role of uncertainty in environmental decisions; (2) human/environment relationships; and (3) recent international climate negotiations and commitments. These different approaches to the subject of global environmental crises touch on such issues as biodiversity loss, over population, pesticide pollution, species extinction, and soil degradation. In addition, the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that emerged from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is discussed.

Presentation Time: 52 minutes

Global Policy Series: U.S.-Russia Relations

Dr. Kate Transchel

Faculty, CSU, Chico History Department

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Are the United States and Russia on a collision course leading to another “Cold War”? Dr. Kate Transchel, an expert in the history of Russia – including the former Soviet Union – provides a historical perspective to increasing tension between the two countries in the 21st century. In fact, the subtitle of her talk is “America’s New Cold War?” Dr. Transchel provides background on Russian President Vladimir Putin and describes what she calls Putin’s return to historical patterns in Russian history, many of them going back to Peter the Great in the 18th Century and continuing through Soviet communism. Building on this background, she looks at the increasing tension in U.S.-Russian relations today.

Presentation Time: 45 minutes

Global Policy Series: U.S.-Korea Relations

Dr. James Matray

Faculty, CSU, Chico History Department

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Dr. Matray points out that the 2016 Presidential candidates said very little during their campaigns about U.S. foreign policy toward Korea, yet the United States has historically been very involved in policies that affect that country. In fact, he maintains that the U.S. has always been the country with the most influence on Korea. This started with the division of Korea into North and South in 1945, which was a U.S. proposal that was accepted by the Soviet Union. The South Korean government was created by the U.S. in 1948, and U.S. troops fought for over three years in the Korean War, 1950-1953. This influence continued with U.S. support of various dictators in the 1970s and 1980s. Through all of this, both the South Korean and North Korean governments still dream of reuniting the country.

Presentation Time: 45 minutes

Honoring Cesar Chavez’s Legacy: Economic & Social Prosperity for Latinos/Latinas in Rural Communities

Chasity Maldonado-Medina

Regional Supervisor, Farmworker Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD)

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This cultural exchange program is financed by the U.S.CSU, Chico alumna Chasity Maldonado-Medina discusses her work with FIELD, an organization whose mission is “to promote economic and social prosperity in rural communities for Latinos, working people, and their families.” This work is very much tied into the legacy of Cesar Chavez – part-way through her presentation, Ms. Maldonado-Medina shares a video of a talk by David Villarino, the President and CEO of FIELD, who is also Cesar Chavez’s son-in-law. She weaves together the story of Chavez’s life with her work. She expresses admiration for her clients. For example, many of the people she works with spend 10 to 12 hours a day in the fields and then spend two or three hours a night in school so they can earn their high school diploma.

Presentation Time: 45 minutes

The Whole World Under One Sky: Gender Roles

International Representatives from TEA (Teaching Excellence & Achievement)

Moussa Tamboura, Niko Mikeladze, Baira Bogaeva, Alisher Komilov, Emdadul Haque, Veronika Bebekh, Elias Banze, Svetlana Yutsevichutene, August Latey-Young, Fatin Yato, Maurely Rodriguez

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Young educators from 17 countries who are part of the TEA (Teaching Excellence & Achievement) program share information about gender roles in their cultures. This cultural exchange program is financed by the U.S. State Department and implemented by International Training Programs at CSU, Chico in cooperation with IREX in Washington, DC. The educators, divided into four groups, each give a brief presentation about the current roles of men and women in their countries: (1) an all-African group (Burina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mozambique); (2) a group from Russia and adjacent countries (Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Uzbekistan); (3) a group from countries in four continents (Belarus, Cambodia, Ecuador, Georgia, Sudan, Venezuela); and (4) a group from South Asia and Africa (Bangladesh, Ghana, and India). The session ends with questions from the audience.

Presentation Time: 47 minutes

Insurgent Poetics: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization in Contemporary Latin America

Dr. Hannah Burdette

Faculty, Department of International Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, CSU, Chico

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“Our word is our weapon” is a saying of the Zapatista movement of indigenous people resisting the dominant culture in southern Mexico. Dr. Hannah Burdette states that several issues have created indigenous social movements in Latin America, including environmental concerns, self-determination, ongoing effects of imperialism and colonialism, relative invisibility in society, and the threat of linguistic death and cultural assimilation. Of those, she focuses on the last issue, as she points out that language is one way of cultural revitalization. To that end, Dr. Burdette defines the role of literature by contemporary indigenous authors as “insurgent poetics.” She uses the term to get at the interplay between poetics and politics.

Presentation Time: 51 minutes

Living the Legacy of the Cimarron: Race & Rebellion in Cuba

Georgina Herrera

Cuban Author

Dr. Sara Cooper

Faculty, CSU, Chico & Editor, Cubana Books

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Born in 1936, renowned Cuban writer Georgina Herrera has the perspective of living in Cuba both before and after the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro. She notes that the Afro-Cuban underclass to which she was born has been subject to “five centuries of atrocities,” including slavery. She adds that wars for independence did not necessarily liberate the Afro-Cuban people. Ms. Herrera calls herself a “cimarrona.” This term, she explains, is for a person who one day finds herself in a new place, in a position to search for her liberation. The major themes of Ms. Herrera’s writing include gender, Afro-Cuban history, and the African legacy. She states that she has used language as a weapon, both defensive and accusatory. Ms. Herrera is best known as a poet, but her work is not limited to one genre - she has written poetry, plays, film and television scripts, radio dramas, and a memoir.

Presentation Time: 47 minutes

Some Absurdities of this World: A Cultural Voyage into Rwanda, Uganda and Bangladesh

Kanta Hara

CSU, Chico International Student from Japan

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Kanta Hara, an international student at CSU Chico, explains that a brief encounter in the Philippines changed his life. He was a freshman at Japan’s Waseda University and completing a tour of that country when he came upon a girl, perhaps seven years old, holding a baby and begging for money. He began to question how and why this would happen. This led Mr. Hara to get involved with helping the street children in Bangladesh. He then traveled for three weeks through Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda is infamously known for the genocide of 1994 in which 800,000 people were slaughtered by members of another tribe. As Mr. Hara visited one of the sites of these murders and saw the mummified bodies there, he thought to himself, “This world is absurd. The value of a life depends on where you were born.” In Uganda, he learned of the thousands of child soldiers recruited during that country’s long civil war and tells of his interview with a girl who was a soldier. He finishes his presentation with some haunting questions.

Presentation Time: 50 minutes

Life Doesn’t Come with Subtitles

Dr. Julia Kobrina-Coolidge, Moderator, CSU, Chico Faculty, International Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Panel of CSU, Chico Graduate Students: Nadia Akulova, Melisse Boyd, David Briggs, Joseph Ettinger, Nikki Giuseffi

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Five graduate students from the CSU, Chico Teaching International Languages (TIL) program offer insights about their field of study. Dr. Kobrina-Coolidge introduces the program with some observations on the multiple advantages of learning one or more languages in addition to one’s native language and how this is a key to experiencing the world’s diversity. The students then comment on why they feel it is important to study other languages, discuss strategies they have found useful in learning new languages, and share how they plan to use their language studies in attaining their career and life goals.

Presentation Time: 54 minutes

Thinking Beyond Borders: Micronesia

Lorry Marvin

Sacramento Regional Recruiter, Peace Corps

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Although Lorry Marvin is a Peace Corps recruiter, the focus of this presentation is “how geography can shape culture.” For two years, Marvin and her husband served on a remote island that is part of Micronesia. The nation of Micronesia, formed in the 1990s, includes more than 300 islands spread over one million square miles of ocean (a total land mass smaller than the state of Rhode Island). Marvin and her husband were there to teach English, at the request of the Micronesian government, so that the country, home to 17 languages, has a common language to use for trade. The island where the couple served is less than one square mile in size; the perimeter can be walked in 45 minutes, and the population is 300. The people on the island have no concept or words for “time,” “crime,” or “stranger.” Crime is unheard of and everyone knows the same people from birth to death. Marvin shares interesting anecdotes from the lives of these very isolated people.

Presentation Time: 44 minutes

One MobileProjector per Trainer

Matt York

Project Director, Founder of Videomaker Magazine, Instructor at California State University, Chico 

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Matt York had an idea – he wanted to bring technology to the least-developed countries in the world through battery-powered video equipment. His idea has mushroomed into a humanitarian organization that includes 1,500 local trainers in 65 different countries. The staff of One MobileProjector per Trainer travels to isolated, challenging environments to benefit communities by teaching them to produce videos about such subjects as health and hygiene, literacy, and agricultural techniques. York gives three examples of the use of this technology: a literacy program in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Nepal; family planning education in Guatemala; and hygiene and sanitation principles for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.

Presentation Time: 47 minutes

The Anarchy of Globalization: Local and Global, Intended and Unintended Consequences

Dr. Michael Perelman

Professor, Economics Department, California State University, Chico 

Dr. Michael Perelman

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Dr. Michael Perelman is an internationally-known economist who was in the process of writing his 21st book at the time of this lecture. In this presentation he discusses his thoughts and research regarding globalization – specifically free trade agreements, and their especially negative impacts on people and on nature. He is very concerned with the local effects of globalization or, as he puts it, “where deals are made and the people most negatively affected are not part of the deal.” He uses as examples the international free trade agreements NAFTA and TPP, which he says give up more and more power to corporations. He is concerned that these examples of globalization will continue to increase outsourcing of jobs, promote the use of GMOs in agriculture, and lower the tax base (including money for higher education) as hedge fund corporations hide their assets at such places as the Cayman Islands.

Presentation Time: 53 minutes

Christian Maps, Jewish Monsters: Creating a Grotesque Past and a Horrifying Future

Dr. Asa Simon Mittman

Professor, Art and Art History, Chico State

Christian Maps, Jewish Monsters

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Dr. Mittman discusses how ancient maps portray Jews as monsters and how these perceptions continue to influence the world today. Much of the presentation is focused on maps originating in England and their depiction of Christians and Jews.

Presentation Time: 49 minutes 

Irish Traditional Music with Molly’s Favorite

Tim Applebee & Molly’s Favorite

Irish Traditional Music with Molly’s Favorite

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Celtic musician Tim Applebee leads a discussion about past and present Irish music. This fun-filled learning experience features the local Chico band “Molly’s Favorite.” Highlights include polkas, hornpipes, jigs, and reels. The music is accompanied by a slide show that includes scenic and historic views of Ireland. The band has been performing traditional Irish music for 15 years – in cafes, at weddings, and at special events.

Presentation Time: 49 minutes

Cultural and Educational Glances from all over the World

International Panel from the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Fellows Program

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Representatives of a group of teachers from 20 different countries share their cultural and educational backgrounds, as well as their impressions of American education. They are participants in the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program, co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department and IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board, a nonprofit educational organization). These educators came together in Washington, DC, traveled to Northern California, and spent four weeks at CSU, Chico, where they took courses and gained field experience in Chico schools. Panelists and their countries include Ana Cuevas (Chile), Sylvia Awada (Egypt), Tina Bergiashvili (Georgia), and Aliya Kurmanova (Kazakhistan).

Presentation Time: 50 minutes

Self-studies in Rural Teacher Education

Dr. Ann Schulte

Faculty, Education Department, California State University, Chico

Dr. Bernadette Walker-Gibbs

Faculty, Deakin University, Australia

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Dr. Schulte, an American, and Dr. Walker-Gibbs, an Australian, met when Dr. Schulte spent a year’s sabbatical in Australia. They connected around their shared profession in preparing student teachers to become educators in rural settings. They are each contributing to a book on teacher preparation for rural teaching because they believe there is a lack of research about preparing students for rural settings. The book will address the challenges faced in rural communities in attracting teachers who understand the complexities and opportunities of living and working in rural – and sometimes very remote and isolated – areas.

Presentation Time: 59 minutes

Drugs, Disappearances, & Mass Graves - Mexico’s National Nightmare Comes to Reyna Grande’s Hometown of Iguala, Guerrero

Dr. Steve Lewis

Faculty, History Department, California State University, Chico

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Reyna Grande’s book, “The Distance Between Us,” was chosen as the 2014-2015 CSU, Chico Book in Common primarily because of the author’s compelling story and the questions it brings up about immigration issues. Sadly, Grande’s home town of Iguala, Guerrero, made news for another reason – it was the scene of a massacre of 43 students from a rural teachers’ school, or “Normal School.” On September 14, 2015, these students were handed over by a corrupt police system to a drug gang, or “narcos,” who murdered them. The search for these students led to the discovery of several mass gravesites in the Iguala region. As a specialist in Mexican history, Dr. Lewis gives background about the state of Guerrero, its tradition of popular struggle, and its Rural Normal Schools.

Presentation Time: 50 minutes

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to …

Jennifer Gruber

Interim Coordinator, CSU, Chico Study Aboard Office

CSU, Chico Study Aboard Student Panel

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Jennifer Gruber of the CSU, Chico Study Abroad Office introduces and moderates a panel of international students who share their insights about studying, living and discovering a whole new world of cultural experiences overseas. The students studied abroad for an entire academic year in Costa Rica, Thailand, Germany, or Brazil. They share amusing stories about how they embarrassed themselves, got lost, etc.; however, they managed to learn from those experiences. Undaunted, all of them plan to continue their travels after graduation. This presentation was part of Chico State’s “International Education Week” celebration.

Presentation Time: 30 minutes

A Year Down Under: Summary of my Sabbatical

Dr. Ann Schulte

Faculty, School of Education

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Dr. Ann Schulte spent nearly a year’s sabbatical in Australia to study rural education in that country.  In doing so, she learned about teacher preparation for rural Australia.  She also pursued exchange opportunities with Deakin University in Warrnambool, as a visiting scholar there, and learned about Australian Culture.  In this presentation, Dr. Schulte shares her experiences at very remote rural schools, as well as her cultural observations and information about the indigenous Aboriginal people.  She also shares, through her photos, some Australian habitats and wildlife.

Presentation Time:  45 minutes

A Day in the Life of a Peace Corps Volunteer

Jennifer Clowers

Peace Corps Recruitment Supervisor

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In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps as a way for Americans to do humanitarian work in other countries. The organization is run by the U.S. government and is still very much alive, as can be seen by Jennifer Clowers’ presentation about her two and a half years working in West Africa.  Her presentation focuses on the cultures of Guinea and Niger, the daily life of a Peace Corps volunteer, and the rewards of serving overseas. The mission of the Peace Corps is to promote world peace and friendship.

Presentation Time: 45 minutes

Made in Thailand

Dr. Tony Waters

Faculty, CSU, Chico, Sociology Department

Dr. Daniel Veidlinger

Faculty, CSU, Chico, Comparative Religion & Humanities Department

Sara Whitchurch

CSU, Chico Student

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Over the last ten years CSU, Chico faculty Dr. Daniel Veidlinger, Dr. Tony Waters, Dr. Rob Burton, and Dr. Lee Altier have taken students to Chang Mai during the summer through the Thailand Program. As a result, Thailand has become one of the most popular Study Abroad destinations for Chico State students. In this presentation, Dr. Waters, Dr. Veidlinger, and student Sara Whitchurch share their experiences learning, studying, and traveling in Thailand during the summer program. Ms. Whitchurch illustrates her talk with slides that depict the beauty of the country and its rich cultural heritage.

Presentation Time: 44 minutes

Experiencing Sustainability Abroad

Dr. Jacque Chase

Faculty, CSU, Chico, Geography and Planning Department

Olivia Van Damme

Student, CSU, Chico, Geography and Planning Department

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In this presentation, Dr. Jacque Chase and Chico State student Olivia Van Damme share stories and experiences about their time in Florianopolis, Brazil. Both discuss the importance of sustainability in Florianopolis, and how Americans could learn from the residents of that city. They share their insights about how one study abroad program, through its setting and curriculum, teaches about sustainable practices. Dr. Chase and Ms. Van Damme also point out some of the similarities shared by Florianopolis and Chico.

Presentation Time: 46 minutes

Leisure and Social Life in Turkey

Dr. Muge Akyildiz

Visiting Post-Doctoral Scholar, California State University, Chico, Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management Department

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In this presentation, Dr. Muge Akyildiz, from Anadolu University in Turkey, discusses leisure and social life in that country, specifically about Eskisehir, which is her hometown. She describes and shows slides about cultural events, her university, food, night life, and many other topics about life in Turkey. Later in the presentation, Dr. Akyildiz discusses leisure services for people with disabilities, which is her research topic at Chico State.

Presentation Time: 45 minutes

Crossing Boundaries: Farmworkers Breaking the Silence

Efren Sanchez-Delgado

Graduate Student, Masters of Public Administration, California State University, Chico

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Second-year graduate student Efren Sanchez-Delgado shares his summer experience at Colorado Legal Services under the Migrant Farm Worker Division. Sanchez-Delgado covers topics including: conditions of employment, health and security in the workplace, civil rights, immigration, and H2A workers. He shares a video about migrant workers conditions. Sanchez-Delgado concludes by sharing his plans for future contributions to the cause.

Presentation Time: 49 minutes

(Challenges of) Democracy in China

Dr. Jennifer Wilking

Faculty, Political Science Department, California State University, Chico

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Dr. Wilking’s presentation is based on three questions: What are the prospects for democracy in China? What bodes well for democratization in China? What might inhibit democratization in China? She notes that after the Tiannamen Square pro-democracy uprisings in 1989, some scholars predicted that China’s regime would be gone within several years, but that regime is still in power.  Dr. Willking looks at the many factors that can lead China to either transition, or not, to democracy – among them, religious philosophies, economic conditions, the people’s orientation toward power and authority, the perceived level of stability, and political culture.

Presentation Time: 49 minutes

AquAlliance: Defending Northern California Waters

Jim Brobeck

Water-Policy Analyst, AquAlliance

AquAlliance: Defending Northern California Waters

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Jim Brobeck from AquAlliance explains why it is inefficient to use Northern California water to grow orchard crops in the San Joaquin Valley. He provides examples of problems that will continue if threats are ignored and offers ideas to prevent future water issues.

Presentation Time: 47 minutes

Israeli Life and Leisure in the 21st Century

Dr. Michael Leitner

Faculty, CSU, Chico Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management Department

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Dr. Leitner’s presentation is based on the book he and Sara Leitner edited, “Inside Israel: Israeli Life and Leisure in the 21st Century,” and on his experiences living in Israel three times, for one year each time. While 80 percent of the country’s 8 million people are Jewish, Dr. Leitner points out that many of the activities on religious holidays are quite secular there. For example, Yom Kippur doubles as “National Bicycle Day,” with no motorized vehicles allowed on the streets, and  jelly donuts are eaten as part of the celebration of Hanukah. To illustrate the importance Israelis place on having leisure activities available in public places, Dr. Leitner shows photos of the extensive recreational facilities at public beaches – shade structures, volleyball courts, folk dancing groups, and carts that serve as miniature lending libraries.

Presentation Time: 41 minutes

The Writer’s
Voice: Creative Non-Fiction

Dr. Daryl

Department of English, University of Alaska-Fairbanks


Dr. Daryl Farmer reads from and discusses “Bicycling
Beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West.” His book follows him on his 5,000-mile
journey through the diverse populations and ever-changing physical and social
landscapes that make up America. In 1985, Dr. Farmer traveled by bicycle
through 11 Western states and the Canadian province of British Columbia. He
wrote his book 20 years later, using the notes from the journal he kept while
“on the road.” His story takes place in the context of the world of the
mid-1980s and also in the context of his current perspective. He is the
recipient of Barnes and Nobel’s Discover Great New Writers Award.


Presentation Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes