Past Speakers

Senator Angus King

Friday, December 4, 2015

Topic: A Policy for the Arctic Region

SenatorKingOn January 3, 2013, Angus S. King, Jr. was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator.

Senator King joins a long line of independent leaders from the State of Maine. He is a steadfast believer in the need for greater bipartisan dialogue and relationship building among legislators.

Senator King began his career as a staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Skowhegan. In 1972, he served as chief counsel to U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics in the office of former Maine Senator William Hathaway.

In 1975, he returned to Maine to practice with Smith, Loyd and King in Brunswick. In 1983, he was appointed Vice President of Swift River/Hafslund Company, an alternative energy development company working on hydro and biomass projects in Maine and New England. Six years later, he founded Northeast Energy Management, Inc., a developer of large-scale energy conservation initiatives at commercial and industrial facilities in Maine.

In 1994, Senator King was elected Maine’s 72nd Governor. During his two terms in the Blaine House, he focused on economic development and job creation, and also achieved significant reforms in education, mental health services, land conservation, environmental protection, and the delivery of state services. He was re-elected in 1998 by one of the largest margins in Maine’s history.

Senator King was born in Alexandria, VA in 1944. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966 and from University of Virginia Law School in 1969. Senator King is married to Mary Herman and has four sons, Angus III, Duncan, James, and Ben, one daughter, Molly, and six grandchildren. He lives in Brunswick.

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Suki Kim

Monday, November 9, 2015

Topic: Undercover in North Korea

sukikimSuki Kim  is the only writer to ever go undercover in North Korea. An award-winning novelist, South Korean-born, American writer Suki Kim has been travelling to North Korea since 2002, witnessing both Kim Jong-Il’s 60th Birthday Celebration and his death at age 69 in 2011. Her six months in Pyongyang living and working as a teacher to the sons of North Korea’s elite gave her unprecedented insights into the country’s current state and their psychology. Her work sheds new light on a place that has been, for the past 70 years, completely shrouded from the eyes of the world.

Her first novel, The Interpreter, was a finalist for a PEN Hemingway Prize, and her essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s and the New York Review of Books. She has won a Fulbright, Guggenheim and George Soros’ Open Society Fellowship. Without You There is No Us is a New York Times Bestseller, and has been praised by the New York Review of Books, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affair, etc.

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She has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and Diane Rehm Shows, as well as on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS and Christiane Amanpour Show on CNN, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. Her TED Talk which received a standing ovation earlier this year in Vancouver has since drawn millions of viewers online.  Jon Stewart called this book: “It’s like no other book I’ve ever read. It’s a look into a society and culture objectively, yet humanizing, terrifying, amazing.”

 

 

 

 


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Indira Lakshmanan

Monday, October 12, 2015

Topic: Iran

LakshmananIndira Lakshmanan is a senior correspondent for Bloomberg News, covering U.S. foreign policy from Washington. She has traveled extensively with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has interviewed Clinton several times for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio. From 2008-2010, she wrote a Page Two foreign affairs column for Bloomberg and the International Herald Tribune, the overseas edition of the New York Times.

Indira has reported from more than 50 countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. For 12 years, she worked overseas as The Boston Globe’s Asia Bureau Chief in Hong Kong and Shanghai, its Latin America Bureau Chief in Bogota, Colombia and a Bosnia War correspondent. She started her career on the foreign desk at National Public Radio in Washington, and lived in Chile, reporting for NPR during the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Indira covered the fall of the Taliban and the Afghan War, the collapse of the Suharto regime in Indonesia, the death of Deng Xiaoping and economic and social change in China, the East Timor revolution, and the end of the Bosnia war. She has profiled sea pirates in Southeast Asia, Maoist rebels in Nepal, a matriarchal society in southern China, child miners in Bolivia, and Muslim radicals in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Indira joined Bloomberg in 2007 as a senior political correspondent, writing features during the 2008 presidential campaign, and traveling with the campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Indira graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she was a National Merit Scholar and a Radcliffe National Scholar. She attended Oxford University as a Rotary Scholar, and did graduate studies there in Latin American studies. In 2003, she was awarded a Nieman journalism fellowship at Harvard.

 

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Gareth Porter

Monday, September 14, 2015

Topic: Was the Iran Nuclear Crisis Necessary?

Porter

Gareth Porter is an American historian, investigative journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in U.S. national security policy. He was active as a Vietnam specialist and anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, serving as Saigon Bureau Chief for Dispatch News Service International from 1970-1971, and later, as co-director of the Indochina Resource Center. He has written several books about the potential for peaceful conflict resolution in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, including his 2005 book Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, an analysis of how and why the United States went to war in Vietnam. Porter’s analysis and reporting has appeared in academic journals, news publications and periodicals for four decades, and in 2012 he was the winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, which is awarded annually by the Frontline Club in London to acknowledge reporting that exposes propaganda.  His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published by Just World Books in February 2014.

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Ambassador Fred Hof

Monday, August 17, 2015

Topic: The Mess that is the Arab Middle East

hofFrederic C. Hof is a Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. On March 28, 2012, President Obama conferred on Hof the rank of Ambassador in connection with his new duties as Special Adviser for transition in Syria. Hof was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchell on the full range of Arab-Israeli peace issues falling under his purview and focusing on Syria-Israel and Israel-Lebanon matters. He joined the State Department in 2009 after serving as the President and CEO of AALC, limited company, an international business consulting and project finance firm formerly known as Armitage Associates LC.

Hof’s professional life has focused largely on the Middle East. In 2001 he directed the Jerusalem field operations of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee headed by former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and was the lead drafter of the Committee’s 2001 report. In 1983, as a US Army officer, he helped draft the “Long Commission” report, which investigated the October 1983 bombing of the US Marine headquarters at Beirut International Airport. Both reports drew considerable international praise for fairness and integrity.

A 1969 graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Hof began his professional career as an Army officer. He is a Vietnam veteran and served as a US Army Middle East Foreign Area Officer, studying Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Tunisia and receiving a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as US Army Attaché in Beirut, Lebanon and later in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Director for Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestinian Affairs.

Hof has written extensively on Arab-Israeli issues. He is the author of Galilee Divided: The Israel-Lebanon Frontier, 1916-1984 (Westview Press, 1985); Line of Battle, Border of Peace? The Line of June 4, 1967 (Middle East Insight, 1999); and Beyond the Boundary: Lebanon, Israel and the Challenge of Change (Middle East Insight, 2000). He has also written many articles on Jordan Valley water issues. His writing on the Israel-Syria, Israel-Lebanon, and (by virtue of his work on the “Mitchell Committee”) Israel-Palestinian tracks of the Middle East peace process has contributed positively to the body of literature promoting Arab-Israeli peace.

His awards include the Purple Heart, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, Brenda.

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Jessica Mathews

Monday, July 13, 2015

Topic: A World of Challenge: Can the United States Still Lead?

JessicaMathewsJessica Tuchman Mathews is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She served as Carnegie’s president for 18 years. Before her appointment in 1997, her career included posts in both the executive and legislative branches of government, in management and research in the nonprofit arena, and in journalism and science policy.

She was director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Washington program and a senior fellow from 1994 to 1997. While there she published her seminal 1997 Foreign Affairs article, “Power Shift,” chosen by the editors as one of the most influential in the journal’s seventy-five years.

From 1982 to 1993, she was founding vice president and director of research of the World Resources Institute, an internationally known center for policy research on environmental and natural resource management issues.

She served on the Editorial Board of the Washington Post from 1980 to 1982, covering arms control, energy, environment, science, and technology. Later, Mathews wrote a popular weekly column for the Washington Post that appeared nationwide and in the International Herald Tribune.

From 1977 to 1979, she was director of the Office of Global Issues at the National Security Council, covering nuclear proliferation, conventional arms sales, and human rights. In 1993, she returned to government as deputy to the undersecretary of state for global affairs. Earlier, she served on the staff of the Committee on Energy and the Environment of the Interior Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mathews is a member of the Harvard Corporation, the senior governing board of Harvard University. She has served as a trustee of leading national and international nonprofits including, currently, the Nuclear Threat Initiative. She has previously served on the boards of Radcliffe College, the Inter-American Dialogue (co-vice chair), four foundations (the Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Century Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation), and the Brookings Institution. She co-founded the Surface Transportation Policy Project, has served on study groups at the National Academy of Sciences, and is an elected fellow of the American Philosophical Society. Since 2001 she has served as a director of SomaLogic, a leading biotech firm in the breakthrough field of proteomics. She is also a director of Hanesbrands Inc.

Mathews has published widely in newspapers and in scientific and foreign policy journals, and she has co-authored and co-edited three books. She holds a PhD in molecular biology from the California Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College.

 

 

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Professor Serhii Plokhii

Monday, June 22, 2015

Topic: Ukraine

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Serhii Plokhii is Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University.

His research interests include the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Ukraine. Teaches courses and seminars on early modern and modern East European history that engage major problems in the history of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania.

His latest work is The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union.  Basic Books, 2014.PlokhyCover

 

Prior Publications:
• The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires Cambridge University Press (2012)
• Yalta: The Price of Peace Viking/Penguin (2010; 2011)
• Ukraine and Russia: Representations of the Past University of Toronto Press (2008)
• The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus Cambridge University Press (2006)
• Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History University of Toronto Press (2005)
• Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine (with Frank E. Sysyn) Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press (2003)

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Ambassador Frank Ricciardone

Monday, June 1

Topic: A Strategy for Renewal in the Middle East: The Atlantic Council Project

RicciardoneFrancis J. Ricciardone is Atlantic Council vice president and director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Before joining the Council he was a career Foreign Service officer in Washington, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, including assignments as ambassador to Turkey (2011-14), chargé d’affaires and deputy ambassador to Afghanistan (2009-10), ambassador to Egypt (2005-8), and ambassador to the Philippines and Palau (2002-5).

As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s special coordinator for the transition of Iraq (1999-2001), Ambassador Ricciardone supported the reestablishment of the democratic opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime. Secretary of State Colin Powell assigned him in 2004 to organize the new US Embassy in Baghdad to replace the Coalition Provisional Authority.

He worked with Egyptian, Israeli, and other international military forces as chief of the Civilian Observer Unit of the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt’s Sinai Desert (1989-91). In 1993 he served as political advisor to US and Turkish generals commanding Operation Northern Watch in northern Iraq, based in Turkey.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Ricciardone held a Fulbright Scholarship in Italy, and taught at international schools in Italy and in Iran. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973.

He speaks Italian, Turkish, Arabic, and French. He is married to Dr. Marie Ricciardone, a molecular biologist.

Elaine Diaz

Monday, May 4, 2015

Topic: What's up with Cuba?

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 2.31.36 PMElaine Díaz is a Cuban blogger, journalist and professor at the University of Havana where she teaches courses focusing on digital journalism, communication, technology and society, and alternative journalism on the web. She has written about digital communication, technology infrastructure and the digital divide for Cuban and international outlets.

From 2010 to 2012, Diaz worked as part of the local government of her municipality.

Díaz is the sole Cuban author for Global Voices and has blogged for La Polemica Digital (The Digital Controversy) about social problems and the politics of online expression in Cuba.

She completed an MA in communications in 2014 at the University of Havana. She studied the current state of the Cuban blogosphere and its possibilities to promote processes of public deliberation and consensus-building. Díaz was part of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Class of 2014 and she is currently a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Dr. Swithin Munyantwali

Monday, April 13, 2015

Topic: Chinese Involvement in Africa. Is this a true partnership?

SwithinDr. Swithin Munyantwali is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the International Law Institute African Centre for Legal Excellence (ILI-ACLE). Since its establishment in 1997 years ago, Mr. Munyantwali has spearheaded the centre’s operations which serve a broad constituency of government, public sector and non-governmental organizations through technical assistance and training. Under Mr. Munyantwali’s leadership the ILI-ACLE has successfully implemented significant rule of law assignments of major bilateral and multilateral donors and regional governments such as in court restructuring and upgrading, law drafting, parliamentary strengthening, and various capacity building activities. The centre’s interventions have benefitted over 10,000 members of the bar and bench and other related professionals in over 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to mention but a few. The Centre which has an office in Lesotho, is currently implementing rule of law projects in 22 African countries, including in Liberia towards strengthening the judiciary through the training of over 3,000 court officers and judicial staff.

Mr. Munyantwali is also an advisory board member to international entities such as United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and the ABA-UNDP Advisory Board Centre in Washington, DC. He has also served as an advisor and counsel to Le Boeuf Lamb Greene and MacRae, and is currently serving as counsel to Patton Boggs – on their African initiatives. Most recently he served as an international arbitrator under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce on a major East Africa investor-state dispute. He is a Non-Executive Director to the Board of Barclays Bank Uganda, where he also serves as the Chairman of the Board Human Resources and Compensation Committee, and previously as the Chair of the Board Audit Committee. He was recently appointed by the Under-Secretary General of the UN Habitat to a special committee advising on pro-poor housing investment initiatives by UN Habitat. On the invitation of the Secretary General of Interpol, Mr. Munyantwali serves on the Informal Board of Experts Bioterrorism Prevention Program. Most recently he was appointed to the Board of the International Law Institute in Washington, DC.

Mr. Munyantwali has served as a Guest Professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology, as well as the City University of Hong Kong Law School. He has also lectured at Case Western Reserve Law School, University of Pacific McGeorge, Loyola Law School (Rome) and at the World Affairs Council in Sacramento, California. Mr. Munyantwali was educated at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (B.Sc Criminal Justice)(1998). He obtained his Juris Doctor at Case Western Reserve Law School (1992); and his Masters in International Law (LLM) at Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington, D.C. (1993). He is a licensed and admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

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Yossi Alpher

Monday, March 9, 2015

Topic: Israel's Search for Middle-East Allies

AlpherYossi Alpher was an officer in Israeli military intelligence , followed by twelve years of service in the Mossad. Until 1995, he was director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. In July 2000, he served as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel during the Camp David talks. From 2001 to 2012 he was coeditor of the bitterlemons.net family of internet publications.

His 2015 book is entitled Periphery: Israel’s Search for Middle-East Allies, published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (February 16, 2015).Alpher2015

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Pamela Cox

Monday, February 16, 2015

Topic: Dealing with Stubborn Poverty

BetterCoxPamela Cox is a senior international finance, trade, economic development and policy leader with over 30 years’ experience in the World Bank Group.  During her three decades there before retiring in October 2013, she held senior operating roles in East and South Asia, Latin America and Africa, where she managed multibillion dollar portfolios and engaged with client governments at the highest levels.  Pamela has deep expertise in management, project finance, including developing innovative financing and risk management instruments and implementing high profile infrastructure investments, as well as in public sector policy formation and government relations.

Pamela has extensive operating experience. As vice president in both the Latin America and subsequently East Asia regions, she led teams of 1,000 staff, managed annual budgets of $175 million and oversaw project investment portfolios of $30 billion.  In these roles, she guided business strategy development and project finance for diverse public and nonprofit sector clients. She forged partnerships with foundations and the private sector.   As Vice President for World Bank operations in Latin America, she led the Bank’s response to the 2008 financial crisis, providing critical financing and policy advice.  She managed high risk operations including the response to the Haiti earthquake, where she and her team pioneered new IT and web-based tools to evaluate damages and reconstruction needs.  As Vice President for East Asia operations, she led the Bank’s re-engagement with Myanmar (Burma) in 2012, in close coordination with the US State Department and Japan.

Most recently, as a member of the World Bank Group senior management team (C-suite position), Pamela led a major strategy update, focused on improving the Group’s delivery of finance and cutting edge knowledge and working closely with the WBG’s Board of Directors and clients.  Linked to this, she led a year-long process to revitalize the WBG’s value-added to clients, decide the WBG’s global footprint and new business model, strengthen corporate focus on results and risk management, and build synergies across the group.

Pamela brings deep experience with public sector policy formation and government relations.  She has negotiated with heads of state, ministers, private sector representatives and civil society on a range of economic and policy issues.

Pamela earned a PhD and MA from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, where she studied development economics and received a Shell Fellowship to fund her dissertation research on energy issues in Senegal.  She is also a graduate of Reed College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  Her languages include French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Pamela serves on the Fletcher School’s Latin America Advisory Group, and the Walnut Hill School Board of Visitors.  Pamela lives in Bath, Maine with her husband.

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Hossein Mousavian

Monday, January 26, 2015

Topic: Walking the Iran Tightrope

MousavianSeyed Hossein Mousavian is a Research Scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security. He is a former diplomat who served as Iran’s Ambassador to Germany (1990-1997), head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council (1997-2005) and as spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union   (2003-5). He has taught at Islamic Azad University (Tehran), served as Vice President of Iran’s official Center for Strategic Research (Tehran) and was the editor in chief of the Tehran Times. Mousavian earned a PhD   in international relations from the University of Kent in the U.K. His research focuses on options for resolving the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy and improving US-Iran relations.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research focuses on options for resolving the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy and improving US-Iran relations.

He is a former diplomat who served as Iran’s Ambassador to Germany (1990-1997), Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council (1997-2005), Spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the international community (2003-2005), Foreign Policy Advisor to the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (2005-2007), Vice President of the Center for Strategic Research for International Affairs (2005-2009), General Director MousavianBookof Foreign Ministry for West Europe (1987-1990), Chief of Parliament Administration (1984-1986) and the editor in chief of the English-language international newspaper Tehran Times (1980-1990). Mousavian earned a PhD in international relations from the University of Kent in the U.K.

Mousavian is the author of “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2012). His latest book, “Iran and the United States: An Insider’s view on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace” was published by Bloomsbury Publishers in May 2014.

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Upcoming Speakers

  • Monday, April 24, 2017
    John Harvey
    Topic: U.S. Nuclear Forces: Decisions for the Trump Administration
  • Monday, May 15, 2017
    Ambassador Chas Freeman
    Topic: America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
  • Monday June 12, 2017
    Trita Parsi
    Topic: Iran again
  • Monday, July 10, 2017
    Anne Garrels
    Topic: Putin Country: The Real Russia
  • Monday, August 7, 2017
    Jennifer Cooke
    Topic: Africa
  • Monday, September 18, 2017
    Juan Cole
    Topic: The Middle East
  • Tentative Date: Monday October 23. Alternate: Monday, October 30
    Ambassador Mike McFaul
    Topic: Russia

Past Speakers