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UW Center for Global Studies-Wallop Democracy Program in Sheridan Feb. 4

January 27, 2017
head portrait of a man
Gary Grappo

Democracy from a global perspective is the focus of the first University of Wyoming Center for Global Studies-Senator Malcolm Wallop Conversations on Democracy program Saturday, Feb. 4, in Sheridan.

Two discussions are scheduled at 1:30 and 3 p.m., both in the WYO Theater.

Ambassador Gary Grappo, a UW senior visiting scholar in the Global and Area Studies Program, will present “Democracy in Transition: Lessons from the Middle East.” The second presentation features the international fieldwork and internship projects from three UW students supported in summer 2016 by the Center for Global Studies-Senator Malcolm Wallop Fund for Conversations on Democracy program.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow the student presentations at 4 p.m. in the WYO Theater lobby.

Grappo is the former U.S. ambassador to Oman (2006-09) and a 26-year career member of the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, with experience in diplomacy, public policy and management.

His primary State Department service was in the Middle East focusing on the Israel-Jordan peace agreement; counterterrorism and terrorism financing in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf; the U.S. occupation of Iraq; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In Washington, he organized and led the effort to establish the Middle East Partnership Initiative ( Following his assignment to Oman, he served as minister counselor for political affairs in Baghdad; and head of mission for the Middle East Quartet Office in Jerusalem, a U.S.-United Nations-European Union-Russia organization established to address the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. As its envoy, he worked with quartet representative Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain.

At UW, Grappo offers students and Wyoming citizens comprehensive, practical, real-world exposure to and understanding of the issues involving U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

The three UW students and their international work presentations are:

-- David Demic, a juris doctorate candidate in the UW College of Law, Frankfurt, Germany, will present “Summer Internship at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.”

His internship last summer at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, focused on cases at the court. This led to further research on the enforcement of transitional justice mechanisms in post-conflict courts, and the role they can play in re-establishing governance and civil society mechanisms in conflict contexts.

Building from his time in The Hague, Demic plans to evaluate the outstanding warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the planned implementation of a transitional hybrid court in South Sudan. He first came to Wyoming as a foreign exchange student at Sheridan High School in mid-2000.

-- Kris Hair, master’s degree candidate in history, from Morgan, Utah, will present “British National Identity and Understanding of Democracy.”

Hair spent summer 2016 in London conducting archival research on Britain’s democratic identity. Hair identified the role that caricatures and other ephemera from the period played in the larger cultural movement. How these different types of evidence could be used to make arguments about British political culture in response to the presumed French invasion during the Napoleonic years also was examined.

-- Eric Nigh, master’s degree candidate in global and area studies, from Cheyenne, will present “Post Conflict U.S. Development Policy Outcomes in Iraq.”

Nigh spent summer 2016 in Iraq posing questions to Iraqi participants in semi-formal interview and focus group settings that invoked thoughts from them about what the United States has been doing in Iraq, and what the U.S. should be doing now and into the future.

He says Iraqis had a great deal to say in interviews about how the U.S. can improve its soft power strategies, providing insight into what kinds of strategies work and what do not to enable influence. Nigh’s 12 years conducting development work in Iraq before his research provided him with the knowledge and connections to help with his project.

For more information, call Jean Garrison, UW Center for Global Studies director, at (307) 766-6119 or email at

Partners for the program are the Senator Malcolm Wallop Fund for Conversations on Democracy, and UW’s College of Arts and Sciences, American Heritage Center, and the Global and Area Studies Program.

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