Lecture Previews

Is Water ‘The New Oil’?: The New Water Monopolies and the World’s Poor

Today at 4:30 p.m.
Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100)

Karen Piper, professor in the department of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will talk about multinational companies that are gradually controlling the world’s water supplies. Such companies, including Suez, Vivendi, and Bechtel, are supported by World Bank policies that force poorer countries to privatize their water supplies. In her lecture, Piper will look at the consequences of water privatization today, bringing up her research in India and South Africa. She’ll also explore the discrepancy between the World Bank’s vernacular and the conditions on the ground, what cartographers call “ground truth.” In response to water cut-offs or floods, locals have tried to make their condition known to the media by taking drastic measures, including attempted mass drowning, extended fasts, monkey-wrenching, and riots. Piper will expand upon these forms of resistance and shed light on the gap that lies between development and disaster.

School of Art Lectures: Xu Bing

Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
McConomy Auditorium University Center

Xu Bing works in a wide variety of media, creating installations that question the idea of communicating meaning through language, demonstrating how oral and written language can be easily manipulated. Bing was born and raised in Beijing, China, and studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 1977, where he studied printmaking and received an MFA in 1987. In 1990 he set up residence in the United States. In January of 2008, he was appointed the new Vice President of CAFA.

Great Decisions Webcast: Egypt in the 21st Century

Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100)

Egypt has been able to keep a strategic relationship with the United States while maintaining a long-standing vital role in the Arab world. Today, the country is facing serious domestic issues such as Islamic radicalism and food shortages. With Egyptian elections scheduled for 2009, what factors will influence the path of this regional heavyweight? Great Decisions is part of the Passport to Global Awareness course, and is a webcast by the World Affairs Council. There is more information on the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh website.

Managing Risk in the Global Society

Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100)

Stewart E. Sutin, who earned his Ph.D. in Latin American history and U.S. foreign policy at the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. from Georgetown University in Latin American studies, and a B.A. from Penn State University in history, looks to define “global citizen” in his upcoming presentation. Sutin will devote attention to the trends and events creating opportunities and risks for nations, corporations, universities, and even individuals. He’ll also spend time talking about ways to plan in an environment characterized by ever-increasing unpredictability. Sutin will also mention ways to react when the circumstances at hand require decisiveness and deliberate thinking.
Sutin is currently the clinical professor of administrative and policy studies and associate director of the Institute for Higher Education Management in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.