Past Speakers

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese

Monday, December 10, 2012

Topic: Heavenly Ambitions: America's Quest to Dominate Space

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese has been a member of the faculty of the Naval War College since 2002. Previously, she was on the faculty at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, HI; the Air War College in Montgomery, AL; and Director of the Center for Space Policy & Law at the University of Central Florida.

Within international and national security studies, Dr. Johnson-Freese focuses on globalization and technology programs and policies generally, and space programs and policies specifically, including issues relating to technology transfer, missile defense, and space security.  Dr. Johnson-Freese has testified before Congress on several occasions regarding Chinese space activities and space security issues. She is on the editorial board of China Security, a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the International Space University, served on the Space Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Lyles Commission to examine the future of the U.S. civil space program, and an Adjunct Professor at the Watson Institute, Brown University.

In addition to teaching courses on Security Studies at the Naval War College, she also teaches courses on Globalization & Terrorism and Space & Security at Harvard. She has traveled extensively in support of the Naval War College PME engagement program, making presentations and conducting curriculum discussions in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

Recent books include Heavenly Ambitions: America’s Quest to Dominate Space, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), and Space as a Strategic Asset, (Columbia University Press, 2007). Prior books include: The Chinese Space Program: A Mystery Within a Maze (Krieger Publishing, 1998); Space: The Dormant Frontier, Changing the Space Paradigm for the 21st Century, (Praeger Publishers, 1997); The Prestige Trap: A Comparative Study of the US, European and Japanese Space Programs, with Roger Handberg, (Kendall-Hunt, 1994);Over the Pacific: Japanese Space Policy Into the 21st Century, (Kendall-Hunt, 1993); andChanging Patterns of International Cooperation in Space, (Krieger Publishing, 1990). She has also published over 80 journal articles relating to international space cooperation and competition issues.

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Dr. Richard Downes

Monday, November 12, 2012

Topic: What Brazil's emergence as a global player means for the United States

Dr. Richard Downes, an expert on Brazil-U.S. relations  and a Bangor native, has been an analyst and practitioner of Brazil-US relations through military, academic and business pursuits for more than three decades. He is formerly Associate Dean of Academics at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies of the National Defense University and professor of history at the USAF Academy. He is now an independent researcher focusing on Brazil based near Austin, Texas. He will address “What Brazil’s Emergence as a Global Player Means for the United States” during a luncheon presentation.

Dr. Downes’ experience with Brazil began with a year’s residence near Rio de Janeiro in 1982 conducting research for his doctoral dissertation regarding ties related to technology transfer between the United States and Brazil during the early twentieth century. He subsequently served for four years as the Brazil desk officer for plans and policy on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the chairmanships of Admiral William Crowe and General Colin Powell and prepared recommendations on national policy issues related to Brazil.

Subsequently, in the private sector, he supported the expansion of wireless telecommunications services in Brazil as the Latin American director for a leading industry trade association, 3G Americas. He also was a persistent advocate for standardization of Brazilian wireless services in trade media and conferences. As an academic, he has published a leading study on how U.S. business became the pre-eminent foreign presence in the Brazilian economy and is the editor of a volume on the impeachment for Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello that was also published in Brazil by the prestigious Getúlio Vargas Foundation. He was a keynote speaker on “Defense Technology Transfer: Programmatic and Practical Issues” at the 2009 Defense Seminar of the Latin America Aerospace Conference in Rio de Janeiro. His latest study, “Trust, Engagement, and Technology Transfer: Underpinnings for U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation,” was published in August of this year by the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense University.

He is currently preparing for publication an expanded version of his doctoral thesis to be entitled “Precursors of Economic Globalization: The United States and Brazil’s Agriculture, 1808-1995,” also focusing on technology transfer between the United States and Brazil.

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Senatorial Debate

Thursday, October 11 from 6-7:30 at the Camden Opera House

Topic: US Foreign Policy

The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations is pleased to sponsor a foreign policy debate between the three principal candidates for Maine’s second senatorial seat.  All three candidates accepted our invitation and agreed in July to participate, but just 10 days before the event, Republican candidate,Charlie Summers reneged.  Cynthia Dill and Angus King have respected their July commitment and now agreed to go ahead with a two-person debate.

The debate will be moderated by Forum President, Mac Deford.

Please plan on joining us for the live event.

There will be no charge for admission, but please come early enough to secure your seat.  Doors open at 5PM

The costs of this event will be covered by the Mid-Coast Forum’s Picker Fund, a generous bequest by Harvey Picker and the Branta Foundation.

Michael Klare

Monday, October 1, 2012

Topic: The Race for What's Left:The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources

Michael Klare is the Five College professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, and director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS).  He holds a B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the Union Institute. He has written widely on U.S. military policy, international peace and security affairs, the global arms trade, and global resource politics.

Dr. Klare’s most recent book is entitledThe Race for What’s Left:  The Global Struggle for the World’s Last Resources, an exploration of the haunting reality of what may be the planet’s final “gold rush,” with governments and corporations seeking to secure dwindling supplies of vital natural resources.  Click here to read his Rolling Stone interview about the book.

 

His books include American Arms Supermarket (1984), Low-Intensity Warfare (1988),Peace and World Security Studies: A Curriculum Guide (Fifth Edition, 1989; Sixth Edition, 1994), World Security: Challenges for a New Century (First Edition, 1991; Second Edition, 1994; Third Edition, 1998), Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws(1995), Light Weapons and Civil Conflict (1999), Resource Wars (2001), and Blood and Oil (2004).
His articles have appeared in many journals, including Arms Control Today, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Current History, Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, The Nation, Scientific American, and Technology Review.

He serves on the board of the Arms Control Association and advises other organizations in the field.

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Murhaf Jouejati

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 (Point Lookout at the Summit)

Topic: Syria: A New Perspective

Murhaf Jouejati is a Syrian-born specialist on Middle East affairs, particularly Syrian politics and the Levant. He is currently a Professor of Middle East Studies at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. Dr. Jouejati is also a Professorial Lecturer in Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University, as well as an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

Dr. Jouejati has over two decades of experience researching and working on the political, social and economic aspects of the Middle East. In 2004-2006, he served as the Director of the Middle East Studies Program and Visiting Professor at the George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs. Dr. Jouejati was a resident scholar at the Middle East Institute and has taught at the George Washington University and American University.

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Stephen Walt

Monday, August 6, 2012

Topic: Deja Vu All Over Again?: Iraq, Iran, and the Israel Lobby

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professsor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean ofSocial Sciences. He has been a Resident Associateof the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign PolicySecurity StudiesInternational Relations,and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss NationalSecurity Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), and, with co-author J.J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007).

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Josh Landis

Monday, July 23, 2012

Topic: A Policy of Regime Change in Syria?

Joshua M. Landis is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma where he teaches modern Middle Eastern history and politics and writes on Syria and its surrounding countries.

Dr. Landis writes “Syria Comment,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 3,000 readers a day. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe and Syria. Dr. Landis regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies.

He is a frequent analyst on TV and radio.( See: Landis in the News) Most recently he has appeared on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose Show, CNN, Fox News, and has been widely quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, and comments frequently for NPRand BBC radio. He has spoken at the Brookings Institute, USIP, Middle East Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.

He was educated at Swarthmore (BA), Harvard (MA), and Princeton (PhD). He has lived over 14 years in the Middle East and received numerous grants to study in the region, including three Fulbright grants and one from the Social Science Research Council.

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James P. Farwell

Monday, June 11, 2012 at the Samoset

Topic: The Pakistan Cauldron

James P Farwell is an expert in strategic communication and information operations who has advised the US Special Operations Command, the US Strategic Command and the Department of Defense on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. He has written articles for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Middle East Institute, Defence IQ, and the IO Journal. He is an attorney with degrees from Tulane and the University of Cambridge, and also a political consultant who has worked nationally and internationally at the presidential level. He lives in New Orleans.

He is also the author of the recently published book, ‘The Pakistan Cauldron’


The assault on Osama bin Laden spotlighted Pakistan’s unpredictable political dynamics, in which betrayal, paranoia and conspiracy feature prominently. Understanding Pakistani politics is crucial to working with this challenging American ally. As Benazir Bhutto often stated, there is “always the story behind the story,” and James Farwell tells it clearly in The Pakistan Cauldron.

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International Nieman Weekend

Saturday, May 19 at High Mountain Hall in Camden from 9AM

Topic: Foreign Relations and the Media

Click here to download a registration form.

Sa’ad Ibrahim

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Topic: Egypt

 


PLEASE NOTE:  The April 19 luncheon is on a Thursday, not Monday, and it will begin at 11:15AM to accommodate our speaker’s travel schedule.

Sa’ad Eddin Ibrahim is an Egyptian American sociologist and author. He is one of Egypt’s leading human rights and democracy activists, and a strong critic of former Egyptian presidentHosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim is credited for playing a leading role in the revival of Egypt’s contemporary research-based civil society movement. For most of his professional career Saad Eddin Ibrahim was a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo. He is the founder of both theIbn Khaldun Center for Development Studiesin Cairo and the Arab Organization for Human Rights. He is married to Barbara Lethem Ibrahim, director of the Gerhart Center for Civic Engagement and Philanthropy in Cairo. He is on the Board of Advisors to the Project on Middle East Democracy. The Ibrahims have two children, Randa and Amir Ibrahim. Randa has two kids Lara and Seif, and Amir has Adam and Gebriel.

[edit]Biography

Well before his confrontations with the Egyptian government in the early 2000s, Ibrahim had become a controversial figure in Egypt. He reversed his earlier criticism of Anwar Sadat for his peace initiative with Israel. He gained the respect of Egypt’s human rights and civil society community for championing different causes, including CoptsBahá’ís. and other minorities at a time of rising sectarian tensions.

Ibrahim was arrested, imprisoned and prosecuted in 2000 for using European Union funds for election monitoring, and for allegedly defaming Egypt’s image abroad. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. His defense team countered that the real motives behind the government’s prosecution of Ibrahim and his assistants was his outspoken criticism of President Hosni Mubarak and his administration. He was tried twice on the same charges in State Security Courts, winning each time on appeal. During a third trial before the highest civil court in 2003, he was cleared of all charges and released, but not before a storm of international protest had put the Mubarak regime on the defensive.

As an independent-minded intellectual, Ibrahim has supported fair elections when they were viewed as incompatible with Egyptian politics, promoted international democratic alliances, and accepted NGO funding from any source that shares peaceful and democratic values, including those in the US. He has recently been under attack in the official press for calling on the U.S. Congress to condition its military aid to Egypt on improvements in the country’s human rights record and the freeing of another political prisonerAyman Nour.[1]

In 2006 Ibrahim was awarded the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture Prize at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he previously had been a public policy scholar. He is currently a Board member of the Arab Democracy Foundation.

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Colonel Frederick W. Smullen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Topic: Thinking Strategically about U.S. Foreign Policy

F. William “Bill” Smullen is director of the Maxwell School’s National Security Studies program at Syracuse University, an integrated course of academic and practical instruction for military and civilian officials. The program participants have the benefit of interaction with senior government executives and leaders from business, industry, Congress, and the media. Until 2002, Smullen was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, with whom he had worked for nearly 13 years, first as special assistant when Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then later as Powell’s chief of staff at America’s Promise-The Alliance for Youth, a nonprofit organization chaired by Powell. Smullen also served as special assistant to Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral William Crowe, Jr. Smullen was a professional soldier for 30 years, retiring from the Army in 1993 as a Colonel. He earned a B.A. in business and economics from the University of Maine in 1962 and an M.A. in public relations from Syracuse in 1974.

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Peter van Buren

Monday, February 6, 2012

Topic: Lessons From the "Reconstruction" of Iraq

 

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

His first book is entitled, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. It tells the story of a reconstruction effort gone wrong almost from the very beginning.  From the Amazon review:

Darkly funny while deadly serious, We Meant Well is a tragicomic voyage of ineptitude and corruption that leaves its writer–and readers–appalled and disillusioned but wiser.

Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American ConservativeMagazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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Nazila Fathi

Monday, January 9, 2012

Topic: Iran and its Supreme Leader: Two years after the Contested Election

 

Nazila Fathi reported for the New York Times for over a decade from Tehran until June 2009 when she was forced to leave the country because of direct threats her. Before that, she worked for Agence France Presse, the Time magazine, and has written for numerous publications including the New York Review of Books and Foreign Policy. She translated a book by the Noble peace prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi, called “The History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran,” into English in 2001.She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 2011 and will be a Shorenstein fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2012.

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Upcoming Speakers

  • Monday, December 18, 2017
    Stephen Harder
    Topic: A China/US Partnership
  • Monday, January 15, 2018
    Kerry Emanuel
    Topic: Hurricanes!
  • Monday, February 5, 2018
    Trudy Rubin
    Topic: Are we headed for the next Middle East War?: The end of ISIS, the rise of Iran, and the murky future of Syria and Iraq.
  • Monday, March 5, 2018
    Dominic Tierney
    Topic: Why America Needs an Enemy
  • Monday, April 2, 2017
    Dimitri Simes
    Topic: The Cost of Ignoring Russia
  • Monday, May 14, 2018
    Chris Miller
    Topic: Putonomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia
  • Monday, June 18, 2018
    Sarah Mendelson
    Topic: Combating Human Trafficking 2.0

Past Speakers