International Order and the Impact of Foreign Assistance

Title:  International Order and the Impact of Foreign Assistance
Instructor: Gary Theisen

Course #204
Tuesday, January 5 and January 12; Tuesday, February 2 and 9 at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Haines Civic Building, Railroad Street, Mercer, Wisconsin

Objectives:  This course is designed to provide participants with a better understanding of the issues underlying global change and development. Emphasis will be placed on the so-called “developing world” by examining political and systemic causes of poverty, disease and corruption and why they are of concern to more advanced countries such as the United States. Sessions will identify misconceptions of and progress made through international assistance programs and US tax dollars. Specific examples of successes and failures in development efforts will be examined in light of the instructor’s professional experiences in over 60 countries.

Course structure:  The course will be given in four- two hour sessions covering the following topics:

Session 1:  Myths and misunderstandings about global issues and facts.  In this session students will engage in a number of exercises designed to increase their awareness of global political and social realities.

Session 2:  Rationale for and Forms of US Foreign Assistance.   Where and why and how US taxpayer dollars are allocated to foreign countries will be examined including an assessment of shifting priorities over the past two decades.  The instructor will use personal experiences drawn from his service in the US State Department and other international agencies.

Session 3:  The World Bank and bi-lateral funding agencies.   This session will focus on how the World Bank was created, how it is funded and how it relates to foreign assistance programs of the US and foreign governments.

Session 4:  Education, Health and Water as Cornerstones of Global Prosperity.  Drawing on concrete examples of international efforts to improve literacy and health among impoverished populations, progress will be examined, constraints discussed and prospects examined.

Requirements:  Students should bring to the course a curiosity about international relations, especially third world countries and the US role in them. The instructor will provide readings and handouts for each session that should facilitate understanding and prompt questions for discussion.  Prior experience of travel or work in foreign countries may be helpful but is not required. Sessions will be a combination of presentations by the instructor, learning exercises and informal discussion.

Instructor:  Gary Theisen is a full time resident of Mercer, Wisconsin.  Now retired, he worked for 30 years in the international arena for the US State Department (USAID), the Institute for International Education, the World Bank and also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in  two countries.  In the course he will draw on his work experiences in over 60 countries with special emphasis on Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Ethiopia and the Middle East.  He has consulted for a number of foreign governments and is the author of several books and numerous professional articles on research, policy formation and planning.

Cost: $25.00

To register: Call the Iron County UW-Extension Office at 715-561-2695 for more information or to register for the class. Walk-in registrations available M-F, 8:00am – 4:00pm at the Iron County UW-Extension Office in the Iron County Courthouse.

For class participants: Copies of the course quizzes, handouts, and more can be found with the Fe University Course Materials.