Three-day Global Issues Forum tackles international subjects

3/30/2007 7:00:00 AM

The world is becoming smaller through communications and the knowledge of current world issues is becoming prominent. The Global Issues Forum is being organized to spread awareness of international situations. The forum will gather a host of international speakers and activities on Monday, April 2 until Wednesday, April 4.

The roster of speakers includes members of the non-profit social work organization Global Voice, new social work faculty members with international experience and post-traumatic stress disorder expert Jess Ghannam.

"We wanted to offer the opportunity to explore international issues and have people share their experiences and their international perspective," said Jill Jones, associate professor of social work.

The school of social work put together the three day forum to discuss and delve into the heart of current international issues. Jones said the forum was organized with the hope of spreading awareness of their present conditions throughout the whole University campus.

"We decided to place the emphasis on both diversity and international issues with this forum," Jones said. "We would also like to increase international content in the curriculum and increase international opportunities for students and faculty."

The forum will focus on the areas of Africa, Mexico and the Middle East – areas of great importance in the current global situation, Jones said.

"We tend to neglect the middle east and Africa even though so much is going on in those parts of the world," Jones said. "It's important to have that exposure."

The first event for the three-day event will be a presentation at 9:00 a.m. in the Jot Travis Student Union Room 245 by Jennifer McDuffee, Matt Lauzon and Kristin Nagel, University graduate students in social work and participants of Global Voice, a private non-profit organization, and Deborah Loesch-Griffin, Global Voice's founder and college of Health and Human Sciences faculty member. University graduate students in social work and Global Voice participants led a team of high school students to Escuinapa, Mexico earlier this year.

New social work faculty member Alice Boateng of Ghana will present on "Ghana: Championing African Excellence" at 10:30 a.m. in the JTSU Room 245. According to Jones, the presentation will be relevant and timely since Ghana's 50th year anniversary of independence on March 7, 2007.

Jess Ghannam of the University of California, San Francisco will speak on "The Psychological Effects of War and Occupation: Trauma or Resilience" on Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the Pennington Building Room 16. Ghannam is a chief of medical psychology and clinical professor of psychiatry and faculty in the Global Health Sciences Program.

Ghannam has been teaching and conducting research on post-traumatic stress disorder in Palestine for 15 years. He has also been establishing community health centers throughout Gaza and the West Bank.

"We hear a lot about Palestine and Africa in the newspaper," Jones said. "Dr. Ghannam and Alice have had first hand experience in those places."

The second day of the forum will kick off with the speech of a new social work faculty member Mahasin Saleh at 9:00 a.m. in the Getchell Library. Along with her speech will be the University Studies Abroad Consortium's presentation on "Nevada's USAC: Your opportunity to Study Abroad" at 1:00 p.m. in the Cain Hall at Room 202.

Films from Africa and the Middle East will be shown in the Getchell Library's Projection Room on Wednesday, April 4 beginning at 12:45 p.m. until 8:45 p.m.

Some of these films include the titles "The New Americans," the Emmy nominated film and winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Heartland Film Festival "The Lost Boys of Sudan," "Boys of Baraka," and "Invisible Children."

Apart from the scheduled events, book displays in the Getchell Library and the Jot Travis Student Union bookstore are dedicated to the Global Issues Forum. The book displays showcase writers such as Emmanuel Dongala, an African writer who visited the University in 2003.

"We thought it was a great way to raise awareness of the event," Jones said.

As to the Global Issues Forum's future, Jones does not know if the Global Issues Forum will become an annual affair.

"This is our first time we've done something like this," Jones said. "But we'll see how this one works and I wouldn't be surprised if the forum became a yearly event."


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