United Nations Association International Affairs Discussions

Boulder Creek Room (first floor behind the spiral staircase)

Boulder Public Library, main branch, 1001 Arapahoe Ave.
(Usually from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Contact: Robert McNown


Last Updated: May 5, 2024

May 7, 2024  “Peace Through Education”.
      Resource person - Micklina Kenyi, the Executive Director of GirlsWithBooks.org. Micklina came to the United States as a refugee in 2003 and founded The Community of South Sudanese and American Women (CSSAW) in 2005. CSSAW was instrumental in helping resettle young women from South Sudan to the United States of America and empowering them through education.

April 16, 2024  “Geopolitical Aspects of Humanitarian Health Care Missions”.
      Resource person - Doctor of Neurosurgery Gene Bolles, who has served internationally on numerous humanitarian missions.

March 20, 2024  “Multinational Perspectives on the Sino-Indian Border Conflict, 1950-1970”.
      Resource person - Reed Chervin, Center for Asian Studies at CU Boulder. He will lead a discussion based on his book, The Cold War in the Himalayas.

February 27, 2024  “UN Peacekeeping in the Midst of War”.
      Resource person - Megan Shannon, associate professor in the department of political science at CU Boulder. Her research explores how international institutions influence human and interstate security.

January 31, 2024  “Secular Humanism”.
      Resource person - Gordan Gamm, a trial lawyer with a PhD in Communication and the host of KGNU show Humans: the Meaning Makers. He has authored magazine articles, newspapers, and books that deal with constitutional law, communication, economics, Neuro-linguistic programming, history, politics, artificial intelligence, and humanism.

December 12, 2023  “Climate Change Adaptation: How Can We Tell How Much is Needed and Whether We Are Doing the Right Thing?”.
      Resource person - Joel B. Smith. Joel has been analyzing climate change impacts and adaptation issues for over three decades. He was a coordinating lead author or lead author on the on Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

October 10, 2023  “The future of capitalism”.
      Resource person - Jim Mittleman.

September 28, 2023  “Economic and geopolitical issues regarding Taiwan, China, and the United States”.
      Resource person - Bill Huang, Director General of the Taiwanese Association of America Colorado Chapter.

June 26, 2023  “Transforming Trauma in Ukraine”.
      Resource person - James S. Gordon, MD.
The talk was recorded and appears here, their archive of keynote addresses.
At that same link Dr. David Tusek's 06/29/2022 talk on having a healthy communiy is interesting.

June 7, 2023  “China: 34 Years after Tiananmen”.
      Resource person - Tim Weston. Professor in CU's Department of History and the Center for Asian Studies. Professor Weston teaches courses on modern Chinese history, the intersecting histories of modern China and Japan, the history of Chinese - American relations, and the history of the propaganda state.

April 25, 2023  “Possible Political, Economic and Environmental Changes”.
      Resource person - Ron Forthofer. Since retiring, he has been a volunteer activist for peace and social justice working with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. He also ran for Congress in 2000 and Governor in 2002 for the Colorado Green Party.

March 14, 2023  “From Omaha Beach to Bucha Ukraine: Pathways towards Peace and Healing”.
      Resource person - Douglas Gardner, who was a senior official at the United Nations with assignments that included Kiev, Ukraine.
Reading: Gardner's recent op-ed presenting strategies for dealing with the situation in Ukraine.

February 24, 2023  “National Security Implications of Chinese Spy Balloons over America”.
      Resource person - Iain D. Boyd, Director of the Center for National Security Initiatives and the H.T. Sears Memorial Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

December 13, 2022  “In the Shadow of Tiananmen”.
      Resource persons - Robert and Lauri McNown will present readings from their Beijing Journal and accompanying slide show covering the six-week long Democracy Movement in 1989. The McNown family spent the spring 1989 semester in Beijing and witnessed and photographed this moment in history. After the presentation our discussion will consider parallels and differences between the Democracy Movement of 1989 and the current demonstrations in China.

November 3, 2022  “The World Order in the Anthropocene: The View from Northeast Asia”.
      Resource person - Dr. Angus Lockyer Visiting Scholar at CU Boulder's Center for Asian Studies. In this session, he will outline the way in which East Asian conceptions of political economy, both traditional (“Confucian”) and modern (“bureaucratic authoritarian industrializing regimes”), are very different from the Euro-American practice of international relations, which underwrites, for now, the global political economy.

October 19, 2022  “The ‘Rule of Law’ in International Affairs”.
      Resource person - Professor Don Mayer from the Daniels College of Business at DU. He is currently researching how “corporate America” can best support democracy and democratic institutions to help create a more just and sustainable economy.

October 4, 2022  “The Future of Refugee Support”.
      Resource person - Dr. Douglas Snyder from CU's Program in International Affairs. His research investigates how the United States deals with the legacies of colonialism and challenges to its understanding of the global Cold War.

August 11, 2022  “Fighting Corruption in Eastern Europe.”
      Resource person - Dr. Svet Derderyan from CU's Department of Political Science. His expertise spans European, comparative and international politics, with a focus on the interplay between supranational, international, and grassroots (civil society) pressures on governments to implement good governance policies. He also studies the comparative politics and economics of development and underdevelopment.

July 12, 2022  “The Mutiny on the Storozhevoy: Is the Russian military as weak and corrupt as its Soviet predecessor?”
      Resource person - Dr. Greg Young from CU's Department of Political Science and the Program on International Affairs. Greg is a specialist in international security issues.

June 2, 2022  “International energy markets and their geopolitical implications.”
      Resource person - Helen El Mallakh, Co-Chair and head of the Boulder-based International Research Center for Energy and Economic Development (ICEED) and Managing Editor of the Journal of Energy and Development. Discussion Reference Material.

January 23, 2020  “A report on human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in the People's Republic of China.”
      Resource person - a CU PhD candidate who is a Uyghur.

November 21, 2019  “Planning meeting from 1:30 to 3 to decide how to continue the UNA meetings with the passing of Bill Kellogg.”

July 18, 2019  “The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - their role in our communities.”
      Resource person - Evans Kwesi Mensah - National Council Member of the United Nations Association of USA and author of Synergy and Commonality: The Key to Success.

June 20, 2019  “Hazy Futures: A review of Canadian and Uruguayan Cannabis Legalization.”
      Resource person - Zach Huey. Zach is a resident of Boulder who practices law in Denver with a firm that is deeply involved in the legal aspects of the legalization of cannabis.

May 16, 2019  “China's One Belt One Road.”
      Resource person - Dr. Michael H. Glantz, author of One Belt One Road published last month, provides a perspective on China's Belt and Road Initiative announced in 2013 as China's new international infrastructure and trade initiative.

April 18, 2019  “Colombia - Five years through the eyes of a reporter.”
      Resource person - Taran Volckhausen, Freelance Writer and Editor, has recently returned from five years in Colombia. While there his particular focus was environmental stories in the context of the 2016 peace deal with the FARC guerrillas.
Reading: “Colombian Land Defenders”.

March 21, 2019  “Venezuela.”
      Details on Resource persons to be worked out but we expect to have two people present.

February 21, 2019  “Culture, human behavior, and political consequences.”
      Resource person - Antonio Papuzza, an expert in cross-cultural communication from the business side. His PhD is in Business & Economic Anthropology. One of the things he is doing is to teach and train professionals and students in how to prepare a geopolitical analysis of countries by looking at a multitude of variables and factors.
Readings: Cultural Intelligence: A Guide to Working with People from Other Cultures (Brooks Peterson), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (Geert Hofstede), The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as they Do (Clotaire Rapaille), Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Paradigms, Principles, and Practices (Milton J. Bennett)

January 17, 2019  “Why did Libya become a failed state?”
      Resource persons - Ron Forthofer and William Kellogg.

November 15, 2018  “Haiti: Optimism among Chaos.”
      Resource person - Wynn Walent. Wynn is the Executive Director of the Colorado Haiti Project and will explain briefly the work of the Project and report on his October trip to Haiti which will come just after the recent earthquake.

October 18, 2018  “The State of the World: an overview of what is happening, good and bad, on the inhabited continents.”
      Resource person - You. Please come prepared to contribute your ideas and concerns as gathered from readings, fake and other news, conversations, ETC.

September 20, 2018  “Muslim Refugees in Germany.”
      Resource person - Susanne Stadlbauer.

May 17, 2018  “Palestine Today: Gaza and the West Bank.”
      Resource persons - Essrea Cherin, President of the Boulder Nablus Sister City Project, and Ahmad Abu Safieh. Essrea has visited the West Bank several times recently. Ahmad is a student and recent arrival from Gaza.

April 19, 2018  “The Kurds: History and Aspirations.”
      Resource person - Zana Silevani a senior at the University of Colorado Denver and new intern at the United Nations Association of Boulder County. He is passionate about American foreign policy, Middle-Eastern studies, and international Kurdish issues.

March 15, 2018  “Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy.”
      Resource person - David Barsamian. His interviews with Noam Chomsky.

February 15, 2018  “Myanmar: Rohinga crisis and other issues.”
      Resource person - Dr. Kyaw Win. He was recently in Bangladesh attending a conference on the Rohinga genocide.

January 18, 2018  “China Today.” Readings (two articles from 01082018 New Yorker): “A New Silk Road”, and “Making China Great Again”.
      Resource person - Tim Weston, Associate History Professor, Center for Asian Studies, CU.

November 16, 2017  “US military in Africa? Since when? Where are they? What are they doing?”
      Resource person - Rob Luneberg. Rob was in the first group of Peace Corps workers in Africa and spent his career working on the continent for the State Deptartment, AID, and other agencies.
Reading: Thomas Friedman op-ed on Niger.

October 19, 2017  “US Foreign Policy: Where Is It Today?”

July 20, 2017  “South Africa: Past, Present, Future.”
      Resource person - Debbie MacCarthy. Boulder resident, South African by birth. She runs a company in South Africa.

June 15, 2017  “Israel and Palestine: an inside view.”
      Resource persons - Mohammed Ghanayem, known as Hajj, a Palestinian Refugee and a Hip Hop artist, and Micah Kuhn Ben David an Israeli by birth, who has traveled widely around the world while supporting human rights.

May 18, 2017  “SE Asia Today: focus on Myanmar (Burma).”
      Resource person - Dr. Kyaw Win. He has recently published My Conscience: An Exile's Memoir of Burma.

April 20, 2017  “Sudan: one African ‘hot spot’.”
      Resource person - Omer Gibreel, a native of Sudan, has studied in South Korea and is currently a Fulbright Scholar at CU. His special research interests focus on technology.

March 16, 2017  “Boulder/Nablus Sister city relationship” and “North Korea, Trump's first international crisis?”
Readings for North Korea targeting Japan and US/China involvement.

February 18, 2017  “Making Foreign Policy.”
      Resource person - Jim Wolfe.

January 18, 2017  “The Peace Corps.”
      Resource person - Rob Luneberg.

October 20, 2016  “Korean Culture: Religions Engaging with the Western/Modern.”
      Resource person - Seung Soo Kim, Ph.D. College of Media, Communication, and Information. University of Colorado, Boulder.

September 15, 2016  “The Status of Women and Girls Across the Globe.”
      Resource person - Veronica Hrutkay - Board member of the Boulder Chapter of the United Nations Association.

July 21, 2016  “International Economic Issues of the US Presidential Election.”
      Resource person - Robert McNown, retired CU Professor of Economics and President of the UNA Boulder County Chapter.

June 16, 2016  “El Salvador: coffee, crime, drugs, and the future.”
      Resource persons - Guillermo Menendez, and his brother, Miguel Menendez, live in Boulder but have family coffee interests in El Salvador and often travel there.

May 19, 2016  “Tribalism, Identity, and the Other.”
      Resource person - Bill Kellogg.

April 21, 2016  “China: Its Relationship to Other Countries and to the U.N.”
      Resource person - Sherrie Wolff, Ph.D, has taught Chinese History at the University of Colorado. Dr. Wolff has worked in the field of democratization as an adviser to governments, political parties, women's caucuses and civil society organizations.

March 17, 2016  “The Media and the Middle East.”
      Resource person - Dr. Nabil Echchaibi, Associate Professor of Media Studies; Founding Chair of Department of Media Studies; Associate Director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture, CU Boulder.

February 18, 2016  “The US Election and Foreign Policy.”
      Resource person - Gabe Serenyi, local political activist.

January 21, 2016  “ISIS.”

November 19, 2015  “Humanitarianism: its value and impact on societies.”
      Resource person - Douglas Snyder, PhD candidate and instructor at CU, who teaches a course on Humanitarianism.

October 15, 2015  “Beijing + 20: The Status of Women in the World Today.”
      Resource person - Leslie Wright of Zonta International the main representative of Zonta International at the United Nations. Through Ms. Wright, Zonta International has played an important role in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the 2015 commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), and this year's Post-2015 Strategic Development Goals.

September 17, 2015  “Are India's Maoists the greatest domestic threat to India's security?”
      Resource person - Ashmi Desai, a PhD candidate at CU and former member of the staff of the Times of India.

July 16, 2015  “The future of Iran: nuclear, cultural, political,economic.”
      Resource person - Fred Denny, retired Professor of Religion and Islamic scholar.

June 18, 2015  “Empire: A useful term to describe the US?”
      Resource person - Tom Mayer, retired Sociology Professor at CU.

May 21, 2015  “The UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (2007) and its impact.” Readings.
      Resource persons - Paula Palmer and Jerilyn DeCoteau.

April 16, 2015  “The influence of Iran - Potential ally? Determined foe? Perspectives from Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Yemen, Iraq and the US.”

March 19, 2015  “Burma - They aren't all Burmese. A look at the indigenous peoples of Burma.”
      Resource persons - Poppy Coplean and Elaine Hansen. Both have been in Myanmar recently.

February 19, 2015  “The UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (2007) and its impact.”
      Resource person - Paula Palmer, 2014 winner of the UNA/BC Human Rights award. She has spent years working with issues involving indigenous peoples.

January 15, 2015  “Who are the Kurds: Past, Present, Future?”
      Resource person - Kit Anderson, author of Five Sisters: A Modern Novel of Kurdish Women, who lived in a Kurdish area of Turkey for several years.

November 19, 2014  “The Ebola Crisis”. Readings.
      Resource person - Micah Hahn, NCAR | CDC Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

October 16, 2014  “The Islamic State”. Readings.

September 18, 2014  “India after the recent elections”.

July 17, 2014  “Climate Change”.
      Resource person - Susan Riederer, founder of the Boulder chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby.

June 19, 2014  “UN Development Goals 2015: Issues of Governance - Democracy in the Middle East - Elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.”

May 15, 2014  “UN Development Goals 2015: Issues of Governance - Niger, Burundi, South Sudan, CAR, and Ethiopia.” Readings.
      Resource person - Rob Luneburg. After joining the Peace Corps in 1962, Rob spent the next 52 years in Africa and Asia with NGO's, USAID, and the US Department of State managing humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and development.

April 17, 2014  “Ukraine: Past, Present, Future.” Reading.
      Resource person - CU Professor of Geography, John O'Loughlin.

March 20, 2014  “Mongolia, a nation in transition?”
      Resource person - Jim Wolf, professor of history, emeritus, from the University of Colorado, Denver.

February 20, 2014  “Iran - negotiate or attack? What is the situation now?” Readings.
      Resource persons - James Harmoush, Bill Kellogg, and Tyler Abboud.

January 16, 2014  “Can microfinance put poverty in a museum? (Muhammad Yunus' dream.)” Readings.
      Resource person - Francy Milner, Board member, Friendship Bridge, Guatemala.

November 21, 2013  “Music and Global Health - examples from South Africa”.
      Resource person - Austin Okigbo, Professor of Ethnomusicology at CU.

October 17, 2013  “Politics, Religion, and Terrorism in Syria”.
      Resource person - Dr. Gregory Young, a CU professor of Middle Eastern studies.

September 19, 2013  “Population”. Readings.
      Resource person - Pat Shannon, former UNA/BC Board member who has actively been involved in population issues for years.

July 18, 2013  “The Kurds - how do they fit in to the conflicts in the Middle East?” Readings.

June 20, 2013  “Food, population, and climate change - what does the future hold?” Readings.
      Resource person - Edward Hunt, a CU graduate who works with a Foundation funding food supply projects around the world.

May 16, 2013  “Is a clean, sustainable Environment a human right?” Readings.
      Resource person - Dr. Andres Snaider, Ecuadorian lawyer and participant in a legal case involving the human right to water.

April 18, 2013  “What is the significance of having a South American Pope?” Readings.

March 21, 2013  “Millennium goal #6 - Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Polio, and other Diseases - How successful have we been?” Readings.

February 21, 2013  “Where are we now 12 years since the Millennium Goal #3 of Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women, from the points of view of rape, sex trafficking, underage marriage, micro finance, and women CEOs?”
      Resource person - Prof. Celeste Montoya of CU's Women and Gender Studies Program and author of From Global to Grassroots.

January 17, 2013  “Understanding the Conflict in Syria in its Regional Context.”   

November 15, 2012  “Conflict Resolution: What have we learned through successes and failures?”    Readings.

October 18, 2012  “The many faces of Islam.”    Readings (pdf).

September 20, 2012  “India: will corruption destroy prosperity?”
      Moderator - Jyotsna Raj. Resource person - Boli Medappa. Readings.

July 19, 2012  “What does security mean?”

June 21, 2012  “Cuba: After Castro, what?”
      Resource person - Prof. Arturo Lopez-Levy. Readings (pdf).

May 17, 2012  “The UN's Agenda 21. What is it: a plan for world government or an outline for environmental security?”
      Information http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/
      and opposition http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/behind-the-green-mask

April 19, 2012  “Syria: What's next?”

March 15, 2012  “Iran, the IAEA and nuclear weapons: Is any resolution possible?”

February 16, 2012  “Why is Obama negotiating with Australia to station U.S. Marines there?”

January 19, 2012  “Occupy XYZ - a universal phenomenon? Why now? What next?”

November 17, 2011  “Responsibility to Protect (R2P): An ideal without reality -- whose responsibility, whom do they protect, and from whom?”

October 20, 2011  “Will a United Nations General Assembly vote to recognize a Palestinian state have any impact on the peace process?”

September 15, 2011  “What is, and what should be, the United Nations strategy for dealing with drugs and guns?”

August 18, 2011  “What are the key functions of the United Nations? How can its functioning be improved?”

July 21, 2011  “Post-Fukushima, what are the prospects for nuclear power? What are the alternatives?”

June 16, 2011  “Can the United Nations help in overturning despotic governments, as it did in apartheid South Africa?”

May 19, 2011  “In the event of a world food crisis, how will food supplies be distributed?”

April 21, 2011  “Will stability ever come to the Congo?”

March 24, 2011  “The Sudan: What's next after the election?”

February 17, 2011  “Educating young people around the world: What do they need to learn to become future world leaders?”

January 20, 2011  “The implications of the WikiLeaks revelations on the future of international diplomacy: Does the truth hurt? Would you join the diplomatic corps today?”

November 18, 2010  “How effective is the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?”

October 21, 2010  “Can the United Nations and the international community deal effectively with sex-trafficking and slavery?”

September 16, 2010  “Future peace in Palestine and Israel: Has a single-state solution now become the only viable option?”

August 19, 2010  “The ambivalent U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court: Can the United States have it both ways?”

July 15, 2010  “Can the United Nations and the NGOs overcome cultural and religious obstacles to effectively help check the growth in global population?”

June 17, 2010  “The earthquake in Haiti: Disaster aid vs. long-term aid by the United Nations and the NGOs -- What lessons have we learned?”

May 20, 2010  “What are the possible future implications of bailing out the indebted PIGS countries (Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Spain), starting with Greece, for the stability of the Euro and the European Union?”

April 15, 2010  “Redefining ‘development’:  Can its counterproductive features be reduced or eliminated?”

March 18, 2010  “Cap-and-trade vs. a carbon tax:  Can either help control global warming?”

February 18, 2010  “Nuclear proliferation or abolition:  What can the U.N. and member nations do about them?”

January 21, 2010 “The U.N.'s Goldstone Report:  Tip of the iceberg?”

November 19, 2009 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which includes both socio-economic and individual/political rights). Is this the core problem of the UN, and a reflection of the differences in "eastern" and "western" thought? Can these perspectives be reconciled? Can all the promised rights be achieved?

October 15, 2009 The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO)

(Fifth in a series of discussions aimed at acquiring a better understanding of the components and functions of the United Nations family of organizations)

September 17, 2009 The battle for the International Criminal Court

(Fourth in a series of discussions aimed at acquiring a better understanding of the components and functions of the United Nations family of organizations)

NOTE: This session will include a showing of the PBS documentary "The Battle for the International Criminal Court".

August 20, 2009 "Is there a U.N. role--and are there agencies engaged-- in curtailing the use of terrorism in fighting for freedom?" (Third in a series of discussions aimed at acquiring a better understanding

of the components and functions of the United Nations family of organizations)

July 16, 2009 "Overview of the United Nations agencies dealing with development: Should they be more concerned with improving people's quality of life?" (Second in a series of discussions aimed at acquiring a better understanding of the components and functions of the United Nations family of organizations)

June 18, 2009 "The World Health Organization and its work to eradicate polio and control AIDS"

May 21, 2009 In View of the International Financial Crisis, What Ideas Are Being Considered for Restructuring the Three Bretton Woods Organizations (the IMF, World Bank, and WTO)?

April 16, 2009 International Law: Can it Be Effective Without Enforcement?

March 19, 2009 "The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: What does she or he bring to the table?"

Feb. 19, 2009 "Ratifying United Nations Treaties: Why is the United States such a laggard?"

Jan. 15, 2009 "Confronting piracy and terrorism: Is there a role for the United Nations?"

July 21, 2005 "Millennium Development Goal #8 on global development, aimed at making world trade more accessible for developing nations."

June 16, 2005 "Millennium Development Goal #7 on environmental sustainability."

Feb. 17, 2005 "Does the World Bank have a civil society strategy?"

Jan. 20, 2005 "Is the quality of leadership at the UN good enough?"

Sponsored by the United Nations Association (UNA) Boulder Chapter.

See also, UNA sponsored Geopolitics discussions for meetings specific to Geopolics prior to March, 2020. After that date those discussions are folded into this list.