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The economic crisis, made easy

BY EMILY MELVOLD | FEBRUARY 20, 2009 7:34 AM

A UI law symposium today aims to help students understand the economic crisis.

“We are going to make our best effort to lay out the economic crisis so everyone can understand,” UI law Professor Enrique Carrasco said.

This year’s topic, “Global Meltdown: Examining the Worst Global Financial and Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression,” has created some obstacles for the panelists and organizers preparing for the event today, because of the constantly changing state of the economy.

The annual symposium is sponsored by The Journal of Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems and the UI Center for International Finance & Development.

“It’s been a tremendous effort. The challenge in the planning is that the crisis has continued to deepen day by day and week by week,” Carrasco said. “When we started planning this event, things were very different than they are now.”

The all-day event will be important and relevant for everyone, he said.

Because of the complex subject matter, a poster presentation at 8:30 a.m. will kick off the discussions, explaining and putting into layman’s terms the information about the global economic crisis.

“It’s almost like a teach-in,” Carrasco said.

Minji Kim, editor-in-chief of transnational-law journal, said she thinks the poster presentation — called “The Anatomy of the Financial Crisis” — will be especially helpful in providing background information to non-experts on the issue.

“One thing I’ve noticed personally is that a lot of people are scared of this topic, and I think they could become more comfortable with it if they knew and understood the fundamentals of the crisis,” Kim said. “That’s what the poster presentation will teach them.”

A student writer for the journal and researcher for international-development center, Alexandra Basak Russell, said many conferences similar to this one are occurring nationwide, though what makes the UI’s different is the combination of law and business perspectives.

Another new feature in this year’s forums will be a round table discussion in which the panelists — who have been flown in from across the country and the world — will open up for public questions and comments over the lunch hour.

“It will be a great chance for all of us to ask panelists the big picture questions, such as whether the U.S. will continue to be a leader in the regulation of global international finance,” Carrasco said.

Each panelist was chosen after the the journal sent out a call for scholarly papers on the matter, which will be published in its next issue. The papers address different aspects of the global economic meltdown.

Event organizers hope to have 400 to 500 people — including students — attend the event today in Levitt Auditorium, which starts with breakfast at 8 a.m.

“The reality is that our economy situation is going to affect college students,” journal student writer Erin Nothwehr said.


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