Joan Kjaer

On December 17, 2014, U.S. President Obama and Cuban President Castro announced a new era of openness and interaction between their two countries. As the one-year anniversary approaches, WorldCanvass explores Cuba’s rich history and culture through its architecture and urbanism, focusing on the question ‘what comes next?’ We’ll learn about the long and complex U.S./Cuba relationship through the lens of public health, and discuss new openings for educational exchange and business development on the island. WorldCanvass, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. on December 8 at FilmScene in Iowa City.

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On the next WorldCanvass, Rebecca Arnold, UI Masters of Public Health graduate and senior program officer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communications Programs, will receive the UI’s 2015 International Impact Award. This is the sixth year of the award, which is given to exceptional individuals who have made sustained and deep contributions internationally or in the U.S. to promote global understanding. The presentation and following WorldCanvass discussion will begin at 5 p.m., November 10, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City and is free and open to the public.

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human in human rights
International writers from the 2015 International Writing Program (IWP) residency will join activists and members of the academic community at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 16, in Art Building West for a special WorldCanvass Studio on “The Human in Human Rights: First Person Global Perspectives.” This is the concluding event in the symposium “Social Justice after Ferguson." Joan Kjaer, host of the monthly WorldCanvass television/radio/internet program produced by International Programs will moderate the discussion.

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On the next WorldCanvass, we’ll bring together members of the scientific research community, political leaders, and entrepreneurs to consider the topic of climate change and how it’s evolved in both scientific understanding and public discourse over the past twenty-five years. The WorldCanvass discussion will take place at 5 p.m., October 13, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City and is free and open to the public.

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The four century saga of knight-errant Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza will kick off the 2015-2016 season of the television, radio, and internet program WorldCanvass. Host Joan Kjaer and WorldCanvass guests will discuss the novel, the title character’s mark on artistic and public imagination, and fundamental questions raised by the work such as the relationship of fiction to reality, life to art, and the ‘ownership’ of an original creation. The public is invited to attend the WorldCanvass discussion at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City.

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More than 400 incoming freshmen, their parents, and alumni joined UI faculty and staff in early July for pre-departure orientation sessions in Beijing and Shanghai, China. This was the third year of on-site orientation sessions and the largest group of attendees to date. Attendees heard orientation presentations from UI staff, personal reflections on life at Iowa from panels of UI students and alumni, and had the opportunity to ask their own questions during a Q&A and two reception events.

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A few weeks ago, my eyes and my heart were opened to the extraordinary people and culture of Cuba. At unexpected moments at home in Iowa, I once again see Havana’s brilliant blue sea and sky, hear the music and conversation in the streets, smile at the flashing memory of an unforgettable meal, and recall the lipstick-colored almendrones (old American cars) whizzing by. As a sensual experience, for me, Havana’s beauty, charm, and historical character are rivaled only by Rome.

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WorldCanvass May
The final WorldCanvass of the 2014-2015 season will focus on film as an opening to unknown cultures, expanded worldviews, and deeply personal adventures. Host Joan Kjaer and her guests will take a close look at the transformational power of cinema and its unique ability to inspire, provoke, and challenge preconceptions. In this program called “Reel to Real,” they’ll also share personal stories of growth and discovery through study and teaching abroad. WorldCanvass, which is free and open to the public, takes place on May 5 from 5-6:30 p.m., at FilmScene, 118 East College Street, Iowa City.

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A glance at a timeline of events in the Arab world since the December 2010 anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia that triggered what we now know as the Arab Spring reveals a swift and previously unthinkable resetting of the geo-political map of the Middle East. What followed those heady early days has been a toppling of dictatorships, emboldened public action, a sharpening of divisions within national and religious groups, humanitarian crises of alarming proportions, and challenges to major world powers unlike anything in recent memory. Internationally-renowned scholars on the Middle East and Arab world will join host Joan Kjaer when WorldCanvass explores “The Arab Spring in a Global Context.” This is the first event of the 2015 Provost’s Global Forum, and the public is invited to attend the free program at 5 p.m., April 28, at FilmScene in Iowa City.

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Host Joan Kjaer and her guests on the next WorldCanvass will explore the age of the Anthropocene through the lens of energy, investigating the global environmental transformation effected by humans’ astonishing technological achievements in the search for greater creature comfort. WorldCanvass begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, at FilmScene, 118 East College Street. Admission is free and open to the public.

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