Category Archives: Events

Controversial discussion on Lithuania with Nobel Prize winner in Economics Robert Shiller

By Kevin Schaffner, ECSU Polisci Senior

 

On October 16th at The University of Saint Joseph’s Crystal Room I had the honor of attending a discussion between Robert J. Shiller, Ph.D., winner of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and Ambassador of Lithuania Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ph.D. The goal of the event, titled The New Europe, was to discuss the political and economic challenges facing Europe in the wake or Russian advances in the Ukraine.

Expecting a promising night of economic discussion and consequence of Russia’s aggression, the night quickly became a public relations campaign for Lithuania and a night of hearing Dr. Shiller’s uncertain opinions on what Russia ought to do. Deviating from the topic at the beginning of the event, both esteemed candidates traded comments on how great Lithuania is and how bad Putin is. It can be generally agreed on that Putin is not the greatest leader but the already distracted discussion took a turn off the highway when Dr. Shiller and Ambassador Pavilionis started comparing Putin to Adolf Hitler.

The Audience being mostly composed of distinguished members of the West Hartford community did not take lightly to these comments. Being part of an email thread that was meant to discuss the event, the overwhelming topic was about the insensitive comments. One email by James Sodder stated that “(the comment), Putin is worse than Hitler, explicitly devalues the Holocaust”. Another attendee, Havital Miltz commented, “I found the remark about Putin being worse than Hitler inappropriate”, she continued, “West Hartford has a large Jewish population, some of which are Holocaust survivors or descendants”. Though there may be arguable comparisons between the rise of fascist Europe and the consolidation of power by Putin as described in Robert Shiller’s article titled Parallels to 1937 online on Project Syndicate, the presentation of this theory was poorly done.

Much could have been done to present this comparison in a more professional manner, but instead the audience expecting to hear insight on the economic consequences of Putin’s aggression, found themselves hearing unsupported and rather insulting comments for the sake of promoting Lithuania’s anti-Putin agenda.

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Pizza and Politics – Does voting matters?

Does Voting Matter?

A discussion with Professors Chris Vasillopulos and Bill Salka

Student Debate

Moderator: Quanece Williams

Yes your vote matters!     Lauren Grenier, Dale Thompson, Cam Wilcox

No it doesn’t…   Sarah Howard, Lindsay Spitz, Pam Leizon


Pizza and Politics Night
Tuesday 10/21/14
at 6:30 p.m.
Webb Hall 358

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a message of international responsibility at ECSU

Former Secretary Madeleine Albright and Professor Mendoza-Botelho during the Q&A

Last March former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited ECSU as part of the Arts and Lecture series. During her talk ““Economy and Security in the 21st Century” she emphasized the pivotal role that the U.S. plays in an always changing global political scenario. As the first female Secretary of State in the US, and at that time the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government, she also commented on the many challenges that she faced as woman diplomat in a global political world still dominated by men. One of her powerful arguments was related to the importance of continuing building democratic institutions around the globe and the respect for international norms. In the Q&A section that followed moderated by Professor Mendoza-Botelho, former Secretary Albright provided a unique insight to the world of high politics, splashed by anecdotes of her interaction with global figures such as Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger and Sadam Hussein during her tenure as Secretary of State. At the end of the event Ms. Albright  received a gift on behalf of ECSU from the hands of honor student Erin Drouin (Class of 2016).

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New members of the prestigious Honor’s Society for Political Science ΦΣΑ (Pi Sigma Alpha)

 

By Nicole Krassas

The new proud members of Pi Sigma Alpha ’14

On Monday, April 28, the political science program inducted 6 students into Eastern’s chapter of the National Honor Society for Political Science, Pi Sigma Alpha.  Our chapter’s name is Alpha Beta Gamma.  Pi Sigma Alpha was originally created before political science was an academic discipline to bring together students and faculty interested in studying government and politics from across a variety of academic areas.  As the study of politics became more formalized into an academic discipline it became a venue to recognize and convene the most promising students in the discipline.

Bill Welz ’10 welcomes new students to Pi Sigma Alpha

Our keynote speaker for the event was Bill Welz ’10 (Pi Sigma Alpha Member), who is currently the Executive Aide to the General Council in Governor Malloy’s Office.  Bill spoke about his path from college student to political professional with great clarity and eloquence and we are most appreciative of his time. 

In order to qualify for membership in the organization, students must be in at least their 3rd year of college and have junior class standing.  In addition, they must have completed at least 20 credits at Eastern and maintained an overall grade point average of 3.4 with at least a 3.2 in the major.  Very few students each year meet those qualifications.  The students inducted on Monday were Kyle Donovan, Matthew Hicks, Kenneth Lord, William McLaughlin, Harrison McNair and Je’Quana Orr. Please congratulate them if you see them!

Also present were the political science faculty and two of our three student members who were inducted last year, Nels Frantzen and Erin Daly who helped to make the event quite special.  Kate Schaen could not make it as she was at her internship in the state capitol and could not get to campus in time.  All in all it was a great event and we were happy to meet the friends and family who were able to come to support their inductees.

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Political Science on the Road

By Nicole Krassas

On April 2nd, while waiting to board a plane to Chicago to attend the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), I ran into a former student, Bruce Desmarais ’05, now on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Bruce was also traveling to the APSA with two of his graduate students to present work on the communication patterns of local governments that has been funded by the National Science Foundation.  On Thursday, the 3rd, my co-author from SUNY Brockport, Dena Levy, delivered our paper on spending and school performance to an enthusiastic audience ready to talk about the implications of school choice policies.  This paper was also co-authored with Erin Daily ’14, who unfortunately could not attend the conference as she is completing student teaching this semester to begin her career as an elementary school teacher after graduation.  The conference was well attended by more than 5000 people from the U.S. and around the world and had numerous excellent panels on pretty much every area of political science.  The other Eastern connection at the conference was Brian DiSarro ’01 who is now a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.  Brian was at the conference presenting work on the implications of using the court case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, to teach key concepts in law and judicial process.  It was great to see two such successful graduates, to recharge my creative juices and to catch up with recent advances in the fields I teach and do research in.

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Upcoming talk with UConn Professor Luis van Isschot on the evolution of Human Rights using the case of Oil in Colombia

3-4pm, Monday, April 14, 2014
Faculty Lounge, Room 358 Webb Hall
Refreshments will be provided


Luis van Isschot is Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. For more than a decade he worked internationally supporting human rights advocates in Latin America and elsewhere, mainly with the NGO Peace Brigades International. Dr. Isschot’s research seeks to explain the emergence of human rights as a new paradigm of social protest during the Cold War. In 2008 he was full-time Coordinator of the Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations oral history project. His current book project, The Social Origins of Human Rights: Protesting Political Violence in Colombia’s Oil Capital, 1919-2010, examines why, how, and with what impact, people living in conflcit areas organize collectively to assert human rights. Established by Standard Oil in 1919, the oil enclave of Barrancabermeja has long been a critical battleground in Colombia’s armed conflict. Drawing on interviews, as well as social movement and legal archives, he situates the experiences of frontline activists within broader debates on the history of the international movement for human rights.

For more details contact Dr. Roland Clark (clarkrol@easternct.edu) or Dr. Bradley C. Davis (davisbrad@easternct.edu).

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Eastern students attend a highly energized Conservative Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

By Meaghan McFall-Gorman
Freshmen at Eastern Connecticut State University
English Major and Political Science Minor

This past weekend, from March 6th to 9th, several students from Eastern Conservative-Libertarian Club went to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The speakers featured included Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Governor Chris Christie, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin among many others. Many are notable Republican political figures, however the conference itself is not exclusive to people who identify with the Republican party, rather it is meant for those with conservative to libertarian ideologies. The panels held throughout the conference demonstrated the differences of opinion even within the conservative ideology. Panels were held on topics ranging from the legalization of marijuana, Edward Snowden, Gun legislation, economics, possible American involvement in the Ukraine, and women in politics. As a female who identifies as conservative, I greatly enjoyed these women-based and hel panels, because they analyzed the unique state that is being a woman in a party that is condemned for having a “war” against us. The other panels were just as interesting, demonstrating the dichotomy of pot legalization as the new wave of conservatives (my generation) begin to take hold in society. Overall, the experience was extremely eye-opening experience, that has furthered my interest in politics and leaves me waiting until the next political conference I can have an opportunity to attend. I would highly reccomend CPAC to any student, any individual, of any ideology, as it is an intellectually stimulating and awareness-raising event all people should experience.

 

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Pizza and Politics Night – ECSU Professor of Communication and former U.S. diplomat César Beltrán talks on the legacy of Madeleine Albright

 By César Beltrán

During the course of our separate careers Madeleine Albright and I have often crossed paths. My first encounter with her was in the mid-1980s, when I was serving as the U.S. Information Agency Desk Officer for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I had just completed a tumultuous three-year tour in Krakow, Poland, witnessed the rise and fall of the Solidarnosc trade union movement, and received an unprecedented two promotions in the Foreign Service, thanks to what I had just experienced and reported on in Central Europe. At this time, Professor Albright was carrying out research on Solidarnosc, pestering me for a speaker’s grant (AmPart Program) to get into Central Europe, and tutoring two political aspirants, Bill and Hillary Clinton, in matters of international relations at her Georgetown home. For her efforts, Madeleine Albright subsequently would be named by President Clinton as Ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State, a position she held from 1997 to 2001. Overall, Madeleine Albright’s approach to foreign policy—while not perfect—was well-informed, clearly intelligent, and based on a deep and wide understanding of politics and history, particularly in Europe.

Cesar D. Beltran
Career Counselor (Retired)
Senior Foreign Service
U.S. State Department

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Visit of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to ECSU

Madeleine Albright

At the end of March, Eastern will receive former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for a talk on the challenges the U.S. and world face in the XXI Century (click here for additional information). This is a challenging topic to be addressed by one of the most prominent high-level officials of the U.S. Government in the past decades. Her tenure in office was full of extraordinary events, and her actions influenced some of the important political outcomes of the last century, not only in terms of the overall diplomatic and objectives of the U.S. but also in terms of a larger international agenda, where the issue of international security remains a priority.

There are several biographic books about Secretary Albright, including her autobiography, that provide useful insights of this prominent figure. Including:

 

Madame Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2013) by Madeleine Albright.

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 by Madeleine Albright.

Madeleine Albright: Against All Odds (2000) by Michael Dobbs.

Seasons of Her Life: A Biography of Madeleine Korbel Albright  (1999) by Ann Blackman.

But there are many other sources devoted to her work (click here).

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Debate on the Merits of ObamaCare – Pizza and Politics Night

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