Session I

Track 1: Immigration

Presented by: Eleanor Zeff; La Fuerza Latino, co-facilitator

Immigration is a form of migration that signifies the intention of a person to settle permanently in a new country. Motivating factors are generally economic, social, and political. Most Americans and Iowans came to the US as immigrants, so most of us have an immigrant past.

In this session we will explore this past in Iowa and the reasons many immigrants come to the US and Iowa. A panel consisting of representatives from Lutheran Services of Iowa, the Iowa International Center and Drake students who have worked with immigrants will lead participants through a conversation about immigration in Iowa and the various groups of people who have come to Iowa in the past and more recently.

The conversation will be both fact finding and problem solving with the agencies representatives, student panelists and participants exploring both the needs facing the Des Moines immigrant community and possible solutions, both individual (what can I do) and systemic (what can we do).

Track 2: Gender Inequality

 Presented by: Jennifer Perrine; w/co-facilitator

The percentage of women in legislative bodies has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, and still only 22% of all national legislators are women. While transgender rights are beginning to gain more media attention, unemployment and poverty still disproportionately affect transgender people, over a quarter of whom have lost a job due to workplace discrimination. And, despite growing awareness and prevention programs, 1 in 3 women still experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most from an intimate partner, and 1 in 4 trans people have faced a bias-driven physical or sexual assault. In other words, there’s still much work to be done, both by the President and by us.

In this session, we’ll address these pressing issues by looking at existing norms, laws, and policies and how they maintain or resist gender inequality. With this foundation, we’ll determine what actions we can take individually and collectively—in our schools, workplaces, community groups, and governments—to move toward gender equity.

 Track 3: Climate Change

  Presented by: David Courard-Hauri; DEAL

It’s not news that it has become very difficult to pass new legislation in the US, and this is especially true of policies that affect carbon emissions because a large number of legislators believe that global warming is overblown, or potentially even a grand hoax.

In this session, we will discuss how to address this issue if we assume that the politics in DC will not change dramatically over the next several elections. We will ask the question: What is the very least that we can do to get us onto the path we need to be on in order to have a high probability of avoiding highly dangerous outcomes? We will then determine, in small groups and together, how might we construct a politically feasible policy that would move us where we need to be.

 Track 4: Public Health

  Presented by: Emily Sadecki

Thinking Critically About the Genetic Revolution: A look at how we use and view scientific advancements

Genetics have transformed the way we look at public health, medicine, law, agriculture and even ourselves. While the technology has quickly transformed our ability to gather and process genetic information, the discussion of the ethical implications of this change has has evolved at a much slower rate. We have thought little about issues such as incrimination based on genetic disposition or genetic manipulation.

This session will explore both the benefits and drawbacks of these practices through both historical and modern case studies. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the ways that they can embrace and question the capabilities of modern genetic technology in their respective professions.

In addition, the genetic revolution will provide a lens to investigate essential considerations when implementing public health initiatives more broadly, as well as the importance of people from all professions critically thinking about how we use and view scientific advancements.

University News
October 27, 2016
Indian scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva will discuss the impact of chemically-intensive agriculture and genetically modified organisms during a free public lecture next month at Drake University.