2018 Winter Lecture Series: Imagining a Just World Order

With so much of our attention focused on decline of world order, are we over emphasizing the negatives? What would a just world look like and what steps might be taken to achieve it?

The annual Winter Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Lectures will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Sunday evenings from February 18 through March 25 at the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, 6300 A Street, Lincoln, Neb. The series is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNL and the Unitarian Church with programming funded in part by the Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

There has been much gloom and doom lately, stimulated by continuing terrorism, the resurgence of narrow nationalism, continuing economic inequalities, evident racism, global warming, and the displacement of refugees from conflicts and from inadequate economies.

With our attention there, we 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, lower child mortality, etc.

Have we over emphasized the negatives? Within the limits of five lectures and a concluding panel, the 2018 Winter Lecture series have selected the following issues, paying special attention to progressive steps in each.

Sun, Feb 18
Seizing the moment: The actors and issues that are creating a more just and peaceful world
Patrice McMahon, associate professor, Political Science, UNL

Professor McMahon will discuss the role of international organizations such as the United Nations and component parts like the WHO, the European Union, NATO and other organizations that try to bring principled order, or a rules based system, in world affairs. She will explain the role that private organizations (e.g., Human Rights Watch, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) play in affecting world order.

Sun, Feb 25
China’s Impact
Parks Coble, professor, History, UNL

Professor Coble will discuss how China arrived to its current position of prominence in world affairs, how it seeks to develop and exercise influence at present, and its goals for the future.

Sun, March 4
Combating Extremism, Dehumanization, War, and Violence: Lessons from the Past for the Twenty-First Century
Jordan Kuck, assistant professor, History, West Virginia Wesleyan College

Professor Kuck will discuss past international and civil wars, terrorism, and violent instability with an eye toward extracting from that analysis those possibly useful lessons that may mitigate future disasters.

Sun, March 11
Managing Cyber Sensitivities
Gus Hurwitz, assistant professor, College of Law, UNL

Professor Hurwitz will discuss the problems that flow from our 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.

Sun, March 18
Sustainable development, environmental stressors and resilience
Don Wilhite, professor, School Natural Resources, UNL

Professor Wilhite will discuss the challenge of achieving responsible economic growth in light of current and future environmental stressors (e.g., climate change, drought and water scarcity). Those stressors have implications for food security, national and regional conflicts, and environmental refugees.

Sun, March 25
Concluding Panel
David Forsythe, professor, Political Science, UNL; Tyler White, assistant professor or practice, Political Science, UNL; and Dr. Beth Ann Brooks.