Immigration and the manufactured images of Mexicans in the media; what Columbian free trade coffee has to do with the war on drugs; the economic invasion of the Middle East— activists and academics will speak on these and other pressing global issues in this fall’s World Issues Forums.

The forums are hosted by Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, and for a second year Fairhaven teams up with Western academic departments to invite speakers to the community and campus.

“Fairhaven College has created the World Issues Forums,” said Shirley Osterhaus, an adjunct professor at Fairhaven and an organizer of the World Issues Forum. “We’ve expanded the forums to include a talk by speakers on the Paths to Global Justice. Different departments are collaborators with this program to bring distinguished scholars to campus to talk about global issues from different disciplines.”

Paths to Global Justice is an expansion series organized by several of Western’s departments to utilize a multiple disciplinary approach to educating students.

“With the Paths to Global Justice, we want to have actual suggestions to students of how they can get involved,” said Osterhaus. “When Leo Chavez comes, he’s going to do three talks on immigration. One in the community, then the Paths to Global Justice, and the World Issues Forum. Part of bringing these academics is trying to have a forum where we have both the academic and the activist. Some of them are educator-activists, and some are academics. That balance is very important to students; it’s not only one way.”

“The World Issues Forums began in the fall of 2001 in response to students’ questions and concerns about what was happening after 9/11,” said Osterhaus.

David Zhang, a Fairhaven College student, regularly attends the forums. “It gives me an opportunity to not only to learn about important issues concerning everyone in the world, but also a chance to discuss and participate in creating solutions,” said Zhang.

Although the World Issues Forums began at Fairhaven College, Osterhaus invites students from across campus to attend.
“It started out with Fairhaven,” she said, “but was always open to everyone on campus from the get-go, and people from the community are invited too.”

The first World Issues Forums speaker this quarter is David Wallechinksy, an Olympic historian and NBC commentator. Wallechinksy will speak in the Fairhaven College Auditorium at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4. His talk is entitled, “Holding Hands with Dictators: Implications for American Democracy.” Wallenchinksy will speak on his recent book “Tyrants: The World’s 20 Worst Living Dictators” at Village Books on Thursday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. Village Books is located at 1210 11 St in the Fairhaven District.

Other upcoming speakers this quarter include Rene Ausecha Chaux, a Colombian campesino leader who will discuss the impact of fumigation and free trade on small Colombian farmers, and Leo Chavez, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Irvine, whose talks include, “Manufacturing Consent on an Anti-Mexican Immigration Discourse.”

The complete schedule for the World Issues Forums can be found online at the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies website,