Issue: # 1 April 2009
In This Issue
Election 2008
African Biodiversity
Upcoming Events
April 6-10
Hunger Awareness Week
April 23
Pizza With Professionals: featuring Roy Morey

Quick Links
Dept Website
Facebook Site


Greetings!

Welcome to the first edition of the Department of Politics and International Affairs digital newsletter. As the new department chair, I'm excited about using this new information vehicle to share all of our good news. Although this has been a difficult year for universities, especially in Arizona, I'm proud to say that our department remains strong. Faculty continue to be productive, our undergraduate student base is increasing, and our graduate programs are thriving. We look forward to regularly sharing the achievements and accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students in this newsletter. Don't hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information to you or answer any of your questions. Thank you.

Fred Solop
E-mail: Fred.Solop@nau.edu
Phone: (928) 523-3135
 
Assistant Professor Stephen Nuņo
Election 2008
Dr. Stephen Nuņo began his first semester as an Assistant Professor in the department in a whirlwind of activity. During the 2008 election, Nuņo put many hours into designing and implementing an exit poll in Los Angeles, in addition to his teaching load. The project was funded by Loyola Marymount University's Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, and employed 200 students.
 
Nuņo and his associates found that while the major polls reported 68% of African Americans voting for California's Proposition 8, the Leavey Center data indicated the vote to be closer to 50%. Nuņo attributes the difference to the number of polling locations used in different exit polls. While some exit polls collected information at about 15 locations, the Leavey Center poll canvassed 50 sites, thus increasing the potential for more accurate results.
 
Nuņo is now working on several projects. With funding from the Pew Center, he is working to increase online voter registration at the state level. He is also contributing to an edited volume on the 2008 primaries and authoring an article on Latinos in the 2008 election for PS: Political Science and Politics.
 
Professor Carol Thompson
Biopiracy of African Biodiversity
Dr. Carol Thompson and Zimbabwean agronomist Andrew Mushita recently published a new book entitled Biopiracy of Biodiversity: Global Exchange as Enclosure.  The book provides an analysis of Northern financial and trade institutions that impose 'free' trade agreements, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Bill Gates' 'Green Revolution' on African farmers. 
 
According to Thompson, biopiracy is characterized by: 1) failing to recognize or compensate indigenous sources of seeds and other genetic resources; and 2) stealing or destroying seeds and other genetic resources, either by patenting them or by polluting them through the use of genetically modified organisms.  The patenting of genetic material presents a cultural affront to an indigenous perspective which rejects the ownership of life.
 
Thompson has spent a total of 10 years during her career living in Africa and learning from Africans about how these issues affect them.  She works as a policy analyst for the Community Technology Development Trust in Zimbabwe, directed by Mushita.  The Trust supports indigenous seed banks and seed exchanges across southern Africa and promotes the sustainable use of natural resources among small farmers.
 
Thompson emphasizes that the purpose of her work is not to 'enlighten,' but to learn.  She notes that Africans already have sustainable alternatives to U.S. industrial agriculture.  At a time when localization is becoming increasingly popular as a solution to the problems of globalization, she says that Africans have a lot to teach us.
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