Diana Villiers Negroponte
Monday, July 1 at Noon
Topic: Beyond Hugo Chavez: Venezuela and its Neighbors Confront New Challenges
Diana Negroponte is a nonresident senior fellow with the Latin America Initiative under the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. Her work is devoted to research and writing on Latin America, with particular emphasis on security issues in Mexico and Central America. Previously she was a senior scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She received her doctorate from Georgetown University with a dissertation that examined efforts to make peace at the end of the Cold War in El Salvador.
Before coming to Brookings, Dr. Negroponte practiced law with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, specializing in international trade and aviation matters. She also played an active role with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Mexico during the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. She continues her legal interests with her current research and writing on judicial and police reform in Latin America.
Diana Negroponte has spent a lifetime devoted to social and development issues, particularly in the developing world. In Uganda, she taught blind children mathematics and music. In Honduras, she worked actively with refugees, displaced by the civil wars in two neighboring countries, as well as the teaching of illiterate adults and the provision of medicines for children with cancer. In Mexico, she built low income homes in city slums with Habitat for Humanity International and initiated a program for the artistic development of people with disabilities, Very Special Arts in Mexico. In the Philippines, she dedicated time to micro-credit programs throughout the country, as well as building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
She has remained involved in the area of social development, serving on the boards or advisory councils of various U.S. non-profit organizations dedicated to these causes.
Amb. Vicki Huddleston
Monday, July 29 at Noon
Topic: Africa: al Qaida, Mali, and Who Knows What Else?
Ambassador Huddleston is a retired career Senior Foreign Service Officer whose last assignment was the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from June 2009 through December 2011. Before that she was Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to Ethiopia, United States Ambassador to Mali, Principal Officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar. She was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, and Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, she was a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution.
Ambassador Huddleston was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. She also worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) in Peru and Brazil and lived in Sierra Leone as a Foreign Service spouse. Huddleston earned a Masters Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from theUniversity of Colorado. She has received U.S. Department of State awards, including a
Distinguished Honor Awardand a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. In 2008, she was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team for the U.S. Department of State. She is the co-author of “Learning to Salsa: New Steps in U.S.-Cuba Relations,” and opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She is a former commentator for NBC-Universal.
Monday, August 26 at Noon
Topic: Counterinsurgnecy, Iraq, and Afghanistan: One Strategy Doesn't Fit All
Pulitzer Prize winning author, Fred Kaplan has this to say about himself: I grew up in the Midwest (to be precise, in Hutchinson, Kansas, which makes a comical cameo in one of my books, page 29) and, somehow, as a teenager, fell hard for movies, jazz, and Lenny Bruce. I went off to Oberlin College as a prospective lit major, with vague ambitions to become the Robert Warshow of my time. But the Watergate hearings, which I watched every day in the summer after my freshman year, switched me to poli-sci, initially with an activist bent (I worked the next summer for a tenants’ rights group in Harlem and spent a Winter Term with the Citizens Action Program in Chicago), until I was drawn to the chessboard allure of International Relations. In grad school, at M.I.T., I immersed myself in the still-headier world of nuclear strategy, arms control, and military force-planning, on which I then built a career.
In 1978, I moved to Washington and worked as Rep. Les Aspin’s defense-policy adviser in the House of Representatives. After two years, I realized that I wasn’t cut out for even the outskirts of officialdom, left the Hill, and wrote The Wizards of Armageddon, an inside history of nuclear strategy. By the time I finished the book, nukes were a big issue; the major newspapers were hiring “experts” as their defense correspondents; I got a call from theBoston Globe, and joined up. (I’d always thought it would be fun to be a newspaper reporter.) I stayed at the Globe for 20 years—in D.C. through the ‘80s, as Moscow bureau chief in the early post-Soviet era, then New York bureau chief for seven years during Giuliani Time and the attacks on 9/11—all the while doing occasional free-lance writing, too (including reviewing jazz, high-end audio, and movies, which I still do for Stereophile and Home Theater).
At the end of 2002, I quit the Globe and got hired by Slate to be the “War Stories” columnist. It was the best professional move I ever made. I found my voice as a writer, continued to do longer pieces for other publications, and churned out three more books—Daydream Believers, about American foreign policy in the early 21st century, 1959: The Year Everything Changed, (which fuses all my interests and passions), and, most recently, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.
Meanwhile, I’ve been happily married to Brooke Gladstone since 1983. For more than half that time, we’ve lived in Brooklyn and have never known a more convivial home. Our wonderful twin daughters, Maxine and Sophie, live nearby.
Monday, September 30 at Noon
Topic: Mexico and the US
Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, is a noted expert on immigration, drug violence, and foreign policy between the U.S. and Mexico. He has reported on everything from the disappearance of women in Juarez to the exodus of Mexico’s middle class to the United States. Over the years Mr. Corchado has exposed government corruption and the reach of Mexican drug traffickers into U.S. communities. He has described the perils that journalists face and the disturbing result: an increasingly silent Mexican press.
Born in Durango, Mexico, Mr. Corchado grew up in California and Texas. He worked as a farm worker alongside his parents, who were members of the United Farm Workers, the union led by Cesar Chavez. Mr. Corchado’s father was a Bracero, part of a generation of Mexican workers who helped transform the United States and Mexico. As a reporter for U.S. newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, he has written about the plight of immigrants and their perilous journey to the United States.
As a result of his reporting on the drug violence, Mr. Corchado has received numerous death threats that have forced him to leave Mexico for periods of time. He is a 1984 graduate of El Paso Community College and a 1987 graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. Mr. Corchado has reported from Mexico, the United States and Cuba and has lived on both sides of the border, in El Paso, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Cambridge.
He currently resides in Mexico City, but calls the border home. A 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow andWoodrow Wilson Scholar, Corchado won the Maria Moors Cabot award from Columbia Journalism School in 2007 for extraordinary bravery and enterprise. In 2010 he was awarded Colby College’s Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism.