Tag: lecture

China’s Growing Influence in Latin American Examined in Lawrence University Address

With its ever-growing economic muscle and international political clout, China has quietly begun pitching itself to Latin and South American countries as an “alternative model to ending poverty,” threatening the United States’ long dominant influence in the region.

Gonzalo Sebastián Paz, lecturer in international affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., tackles the increasingly important question of China’s role in the Western Hemisphere and its ramifications for American foreign policy Monday, May 22 in an address at Lawrence University.

Paz presents “Latin America and China: Dangerous Relations?” at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Main Hall, Room 201. A question-and-answer session will follow the talk. The event is free and open to the public.

Amid a backdrop that has seen China earmark billions of dollars for infrastructure, transport, energy and defense projects in Latin America, the United States dispatched Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, to Beijing early last month for discussions with Chinese authorities about their growing Latin American alliances. Shortly thereafter, Hu Jintao, China’s president, paid a visit to the White House to meet with President Bush.

In his address, Paz will put both trips into context by examining the expansion of China’s economic, political and strategic interests in the region. He will assess Chinese goals and discuss which Latin American countries are most receptive to China’s overtures. He also will discuss American interests and reactions to China’s new-found attention in Latin America and how that attention will impact future relations with the United States.

A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, an OAS Fellowship and a Korea Foundation Fellowship, Paz has taught a course on the economic and political development of Argentina at The George Washington University since 2002. He previously taught graduate courses on the Southern Cone and Latin America at Argentina’s La Plata National University and the University of Salvador. He also has served as a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank.

He earned both a law and master’s degree from the National University of Córdoba in Argentina.

Paz’ appearance is sponsored by the Lawrence Spanish Department and the Center for Latin American Studies at UW-Milwaukee.

Minister-Turned-Atheist Discusses Journey to Deconversion in Lawrence University Address

A former minister and Protestant missionary who publicly announced his atheism nine years after his ordination discusses his journey to deconversion and offers a critical analysis of Christianity in an address at Lawrence University.

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, presents “Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist” Wednesday, May 17 at 8 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation is based on Barker’s 1992 autobiographical book of the same name. His began his ministry as a 15-year old evangelist and he was ordained in 1975. Barker went on to serve as an associate pastor at three different churches and later spent two years in Mexico as a Protestant missionary.

An accomplished pianist, arranger, songwriter and long-time record producer for popular Christian singer Manuel Bonilla, Barker maintained his own touring musical ministry for 17 years. But in 1984, after five years of soul-searching, Barker “lost faith in faith” and openly declared his atheism. He joined the staff of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1987 and was elected the organization’s co-president in 2004.

Barker has been a frequent talk-show guest, having appeared on “Good Morning, America,” “Oprah” and “Hannity and Colmes,” among others, and speaks regularly at Freethought concerts around the country. In additional to “Losing Faith in Faith,” he has written four other books, including “Just Pretend: A Freethought Book For Children” and “Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide For Young Skeptics.”

Barker’s appearance is sponsored by the student organization LU Forum for Freethought, which promotes critical discussions of contemporary religion, superstition and pseudoscience and their place in and effects on society from scientific, philosophical, historical and governmental perspectives.