Fall 2020 Global Issues Colloquium

Thursday, Sept 17 – 7pm
Bret Gustafson
Washington University

Meeting Recording:

Bolivia’s Democracy: Between COVID, Coup, and Revolution?

Over the past 14 years, Bolivia experienced relatively strong economic growth and poverty reduction. Evo Morales, an Indigenous President, used the resources from a largely government-controlled natural gas industry to invest in infrastructure, support health care, and redistribute wealth. Yet in November 2019, Morales was ousted in an upheaval that contained elements of both public discontent and a military coup. After a disputed election and fraud allegations, Morales fled to Argentina. While Morales had significant popular support, many thought he had stretched the boundaries of democracy too far. The interim government, now showing signs of corruption and incompetence, was immediately hit with the COVID pandemic. And Bolivians, suffering from government incompetence, are again demanding radical political change. In Bolivia’s story, there may be lessons for the US as well.


Thursday, Oct 29 – 7pm
Geoff Childs
Washington University

Meeting Recording: https://zoom.us/rec/share/5kCkrPcHoITGTActcZ8_8ga3ZWxzC0iFMHEol8I835RPcD8xG4FWG3XQuP4QHRrW.PW7EzJ1O392FSBym

What Happens When All the Young People Leave? Education, Migration, and Social Change in a Himalayan Valley of Nepal

What happens to a community when the majority of young people leave their homes to pursue an education? Geoff Childs, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, discusses the demographic and social consequences of educational migration from Nubri, a Tibetan enclave in the highlands of Nepal. His talk will explore parents’ motivations for sending their children to distant schools and monasteries, and dilemmas that arise when educated individuals are unable or unwilling to return and reside in their native villages. Drawing on decades of research in Nepal, his talk examines a transitional period when the future of a Himalayan society teeters on the brink of irreversible change.

Geoff Childs, Ph.D., is Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is an anthropological demographer specializing in research among Tibetan populations living in the highlands of Nepal, China, and India. He uses the quantitative tools of demography to understand what is happening with a population, for example, the timing and magnitude of a fertility decline, or the pattern of out-migration. He uses the qualitative tools of ethnography to understand the driving forces behind those trends, and how they impact the lives of individuals. Geoff’s research has been funded by Fulbright-Hays, Wenner-Gren, The National Science Foundation, World Oral Literature Project, The Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Pandemics, National Responses, and Global Systems
Terry O’Sullivan, University on New Hampshire
Thursday, November 12, 2020.  7 – 8:30 CST
Meeting Recording: https://zoom.us/rec/share/a0Wo4v71qszTO0zphPlluDnwC5C6biBP4hMraR5QHqbklSwoZtWqyfcRXh8-ZK1Z.haGwsq8-D7O7r3yJ

As everyone now understands all too well, the catastrophic COVID pandemic is unparalleled since the infamous 1918-19 Great Influenza Pandemic. This talk will address the decades-long anticipated public health threats from pandemics in general, as well as the ongoing threat from SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 to virtually every global system — from economic to national and international security-related. I will also discuss the nature of international and domestic U.S. response — institutional and societal successes and failures amidst a steep learning curve, and the challenges and likely trajectory of the pandemic.