At his May 14, 2013, lecture at the American Academy as the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor, Michael G. Ignatieff, Professor of Practice at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and chief architect of the Responsibility to Protect doctine, recounted important changes that have occurred in the two-decade-old debate over when to intervene in sovereign states and what this dispute reveals about the international will to intervene and the varied understandings of the idea of sovereignty worldwide. (Q&A period included.)
An innovative manipulator of synthetic materials into forms and images, Tony Cragg is best known for his sculpture series "Early Forms and Rational Beings." Beginning in the late 1980s, Cragg began casting what he described as “forms changing along an axis bilaterally curved with a simple profile.” These Early Forms became increasingly complex and elastic over the course of the 1990s, and while still producing them, he began working on the tall columnar forms that make up the Rational Beings series. The sculptures belonging to this series generate the impression of a human profile through the vertical combination of elliptical cross sections. He discusses his work with Ulrich Krempel, director of the Sprengel Museum, in Hannover.
Sinan Antoon argues that much of the discourse on Iraqi violence has tended to essentialize it by attributing it either to the resilience of trans-historical, ethno-sectarian conflicts and identities, which are taken to be side effects of an inherently violent and monolithic Islam, or the failure of Iraq as a state cobbled together by British colonialism in 1917. In response to this, most Iraqi intellectuals revert to a hyper-nationalist discourse of an imagined Iraq. Sargon Boulus (1944-2008), however, Antoon argues, stands out in the way he resists these ideological traps in his late poems by coming to terms with this history of violence. How does one mourn and grieve the death and destruction visited upon his homeland without clinging to nationalist myths or denying the nation’s own congenital violence?
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright remains one of the most respected and well-known public figures of modern American diplomacy. In her deeply personal memoir, Prague Winter (released in April 2013 German as Winter in Prag with Siedler Verlag), she takes the reader through a little known chapter in her life: her childhood during the Second World War and the discovery of her family's Jewish heritage. In this talk, she reminisces with former German Foreign Minsiter Joschka Fischer about her early European years, the smashing of her homeland subsequent the 1938 Munich Agreement, and the morally complicated world of international diplomacy. The talk took place at the Bertelsmann Repräsentanz and was moderated by the Academy's Executive Director, Dr. Gary Smith.
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