2019 Keynote Presentation with Dr. Pardis Mahdavi

Pardis MahdaviApril 25th 4 p.m.

Clary Theatre, Bill Moore Student Success Center

Keynote: Innovative Finance for Sustaining Peace in the Middle East and Beyond: Lessons from Public Health for the Millennium Development Goals

Speaker: Pardis Mahdavi, Acting Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver



Presentation Abstract:

This presentation introduces the concept of innovative finance as a pathway to create sustainable resources to address the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Innovative finance involves adapting existing finance tools as well as creating new tools that can build a fund for sustainable peace. The approach borrows from the successes of public health: that prevention is more affordable and more effective than treatment. Today, there is a staggering investment deficit in the prevention of violent conflict. Spending on responses to violent conflict in 2016 totaled over $30 billion. According to the UN-World Bank, targeting resources toward just four countries at high risk of conflict each year could prevent $34 billion in losses. This project makes the case for why peace through prevention of violent conflict is a valuable investment in the MDGs. This presentation introduces innovative finance tools such as diaspora bonds, innovative taxes, crowd funding, and the use of artificial intelligence through mechanisms like Blockchain technology, showing how these new tools could create a sustainable fund for peace. 

Speaker Biography:

Pardis Mahdavi, PhD is currently Acting Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Before going to Denver, she was at Pomona College from 2006-2017 where she most recently served as professor and chair of anthropology and director of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College as well as Dean of Women. Her research interests include academic freedom, diversity and inclusion in higher education, gendered labor, human trafficking, migration, sexuality, human rights, youth culture, transnational feminism and public health in the context of changing global and political structures. She has published four single authored books and one edited volume in addition to numerous journal and news articles. She has been a fellow at the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Council on Learned Societies, Google Ideas, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Pardis’ current work looks at the ethics of engagement, cultural diplomacy, and the linkages between culture, diplomacy, and engagement. She is also completing a work of literary fiction based on fifteen years of ethnographic fieldwork and is engaged with questions of connections between ethnography, narrative, and fiction.