The brutal armed conflict in Syria and lack of economic opportunity are just two reasons some 5,000 people a day leave their homes in the Middle East and Africa and risk their lives to try for a new start in Europe. Smuggling the refugees and economic migrants has become a major revenue source for organized crime — second only to drug smuggling, says Inigo Lambertini, deputy permanent representative of Italy to the U.N. The causes of the crisis are well-known, but potential solutions are harder to come by. Two U.N. officials and two professors hash out ideas before an audience at The Graduate Center. Peter Schuck, professor emeritus of Yale Law School, says there is an international humanitarian duty to protect the displaced or potentially displaced people, and EU countries have to figure out a burden-sharing scheme.
If marriage equality can become politically acceptable in the United States, so can the concept of the government promoting income equality, Paul Krugman says — but he thinks it will take a cycle of three presidential elections — “the administration of Chelsea Clinton,” he jokes. To spread the wealth around, the feds can improve the climate for labor unions and set a living wage as the minimum wage, Krugman tells Graduate Center professor Janet Gornick, in a discussion of the book “Inequality: What Can Be Done?” by Anthony B. Atkinson.
A few years after the Armenian genocide of 1915-16, several ex-leaders of the former Ottoman Empire met sudden violent deaths at the hands of assassins. Armenian-American actor Eric Bogosian tells the real-life cloak-and-dagger story behind these little-known historical events.
In her new book, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, City College history professor Beth Baron recounts the brutal beating of a 15-year-old Muslim girl by Christian missionaries in 1933 and tells how the incident spurred the growth of one of Islam’s most influential political organizations.
With the recent publication in Germany of the notebooks of Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, the controversial figure has been brought back to life. Richard Wolin, a Distinguished Professor of history at the CUNY Graduate Center, says Heidegger’s anti-Semitic views are clear. In a lecture, “Heidegger’s Black Notebooks: National Socialism, World Jewry and the History of Being,” Wolin says anyone who elects to downplay the extent of Heidegger’s “political folly stands guilt by extension of perpetuating the logic of philosopher betrayal.”
Fifty years ago, philosopher Hannah Arendt set off a firestorm with a series for The New Yorker, “Eichmann: An Report on the Banality of Evil,” calling him not a “monster” but a “clown.” In a lecture, Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of history at the Graduate Center, uses Arendt’s own language to counter her hypothesis. “If the Holocaust was evil then it was not banal, and if it was banal then it was not evil.” Wolin was joined by Jeffrey Herf, professor of history from the University of Maryland and author of “The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust.”
Interim Chancellor William Kelly engages two of the University’s most distinctive stylists on the art and craft of teaching writing, Andre Aciman of the Graduate Center and the author of seven books, and Colum McCann of Hunter College, the 2009 National Book Award winner for his novel, Let The Great World Spin. Recalling his youth in Ireland, McCann jokes it was an uninspiring one. “No stories to tell — the worst thing for a novelist — I had a happy childhood,” and Aciman discusses the rewards of teaching at a public institution. “There’s no arrogance, no sense of entitlement — everybody wants to succeed.”
The one percent versus the 99 percent – an old story by now, but one that etches societies to varying degrees in countries around the world. Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly explores the issue with two Graduate Center faculty members, Janet Gornick, a professor of political science and sociology, and World Bank economist, Branko Milanovic. […]
Legendary journalist Gay Talese admits that a lot of his talent stems from his innate curiosity about his subjects, real or imagined. “I’m not creating anything. What I am doing is trying, as best I can, to befriend people, including people I’m interviewing or want to interview,” said Talese, who discussed his life and times with CUNY Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly as part of the Extraordinary Lives Series at the Graduate Center.
Two literary masters, Andre Aciman and Aleksander Hemon, discuss displacement, exile and memory at a Graduate Center event. “It’s so easy to expect that by virtue of being in the U.S. you have to be happy, but the transition is a traumatic experience,” says Hemon, a native of Bosnia, whose novel, “The Lazarus Project,” was […]