Lecture series to explore a just world order

Lecture series to explore a just world order

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With so much doom and gloom in the world, people sometimes overlook countervailing patterns such as the decline of war among great powers, increasing attempts to manage other forms of violence, greater international scientific cooperation, less global poverty, less hunger and lower child mortality.

Have people overemphasized the negatives? What would a just world look like, and what steps might be taken to achieve it?

The annual Winter Lecture Series will explore these topics. The free, public lectures are 7 to 9 p.m. Sundays from Feb. 18 through March 25 at the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, 6300 A St. The series is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the church and is funded in part by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Lectures are presented by faculty at Nebraska unless otherwise noted.

The schedule is:

  • Feb. 18: "Seizing the Moment: The Actors and Issues that are Creating a More Just and Peaceful World," Patrice McMahon, associate professor of political science – McMahon will discuss the role of international organizations such as the United Nations and component parts such as the World Health Organization, European Union and NATO that try to bring principled order, or a rules-based system, to world affairs. She will explain the role that private organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation play in affecting world order.

  • Feb. 25: "China’s Impact," Parks Coble, James L. Sellers Professor of History – Coble will talk about how China arrived at its current position of prominence, how it seeks to develop and exercise influence and its goals.

  • March 4: "Combating Extremism, Dehumanization, War and Violence: Lessons from the Past for the 21st Century," Jordan Kuck, assistant professor of history, West Virginia Wesleyan College – Kuck will discuss past international and civil wars, terrorism and violent instability and useful lessons that might mitigate future disasters.

  • March 11: "Managing Cyber Sensitivities," Gus Hurwitz, assistant professor of law – Hurwitz will talk about the problems that flow from humanity's cyber existence and the potential for and the reality of hacking, fake news, cyber war and attacks on civilian infrastructure. He will also note the role and level of effectiveness of domestic and international law in confronting these threats.

  • March 18: "Sustainable Development, Environmental Stressors and Resilience," Don Wilhite, professor of natural resources – Wilhite will discuss the challenge of achieving responsible economic growth in light of current and future environmental stressors including climate change, drought and water scarcity. Those stressors have implications for food security, national and regional conflicts, and environmental refugees.

  • March 25: Concluding panel, David Forsythe, professor emeritus of political science; Tyler White, assistant professor of practice in political science; and Dr. Beth Ann Brooks.