Upcoming Speakers

Ambassador Lawrence Butler

July 8, 2024

Topic: NATO at 75 - Relevant, Obsolete, or Dangerous?

Ambassador Lawrence Butler devoted four decades as an American and international diplomat to deterrence, crisis management, conflict prevention, and promotion of human rights and democracy. He currently helps train U.S. Army units preparing to serve in Europe, the Middle East, and Korea. He served two decades on the front lines of Cold War diplomacy before playing pivotal roles in ending conflicts in the Balkans and Northern Ireland, and then engaged himself in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He exposed Communist Bulgaria’s ethnic repression of its Turkish population in 1985.  He was the chief American diplomat in Belgrade, Yugoslavia during the Dayton/Bosnia peace process, and coordinated President Clinton’s involvement in the 1998 Northern Irish peace accord while at the White House as the NSC Director for Europe. He later implemented Macedonia’s 2001 peace agreement as U.S. Ambassador, and led the “civilian surge” for Iraq in 2007 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.  In Sarajevo he advanced implementation of the Dayton Accords, serving as the international community Deputy High Representative.

As the Foreign Policy Advisor to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, he helped shape military policy for Afghanistan and Kosovo. He then deployed to Iraq for a year with the commander of U.S. Forces dealing with shift of operational lead from the military to the Embassy. His most recent position was as the Civilian Deputy Commander of the headquarters for U.S. European Command, confronting the challenges of resurgent Russian aggression and the Syrian spillover.

Ambassador Butler is a Bowdoin College alum, and did graduate work at Michigan and Princeton.

Dr. Elizabeth Cameron

July 29, 2024

Topic: Global Health and Pandemics

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Cameron is a Professor of the Practice and Senior Advisor to the Pandemic Center at the Brown University School of Public Health. She also serves as a senior advisor for global health security at the U.S. Agency for International Development and is a Practitioner Senior Fellow of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

Cameron is a global leader in health security and biodefense.  She has served for over two decades, within and outside of government, to facilitate change. She spent two tours on the White House National Security Council (NSC) staff, twice helping establish and lead the NSC Directorate on Global Health Security and Biodefense. In this role she built and led a robust team focused, every day, on leaning forward to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to biological crises. Cameron oversaw U.S. global COVID-19 response efforts and was instrumental in developing and launching the Global Health Security Agenda and addressed homeland and national security threats surrounding biosecurity and biosafety, biodefense, emerging infectious disease threats, biological select agents and toxins, dual‐use research, and bioterrorism. She served on the Biden-Harris transition team.

Cameron has held senior posts at the Departments of State and Defense, where she created and oversaw biological and chemical security efforts. From 2010‐2013, she served as office director for Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) and senior advisor for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs. In this role, she oversaw the implementation of the geographic expansion of the Nunn‐Lugar CTR program. For her work, she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. From 2003‐2010, Cameron oversaw the expansion of Department of State Global Threat Reduction programs and supported the expansion and extension of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, a multilateral framework to improve global CBRN security.

Outside of government, Cameron was the Vice President for Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and architect of NTI | bio, a program aimed at countering biological catastrophes. There she helped lead the development of the first Global Health Security Index and worked to build international consensus to launch a new global organization geared at improving biosafety and biosecurity.

Cameron got her start in government as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow in the health policy office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy where she worked on the Patients’ Bill of Rights, medical privacy, and legislation to improve the quality of cancer care.  From 2001‐2003, she also served as a manager of policy research for the American Cancer Society.

Cameron holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the Human Genetics and Molecular Biology Program at Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Biology from the University of Virginia. Cameron is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Steven Koonin

August 13, 2024

Topic: Climate Change

Steven Koonin joined New York University Stern School of Business as a Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences in September 2012. He is also Director of NYU’s new Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).

Professor Koonin was confirmed by the Senate in May 2009 as Undersecretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, serving in that position until November, 2011. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he was BP’s Chief Scientist, where he was a strong advocate for research into renewable energies and alternate fuel sources. He came to BP in 2004 after almost three decades as Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, serving as the Institute’s Vice President and Provost for the last nine years. He most recently held a position at the Science and Technology Policy Institute of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, DC.

Professor Koonin is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the George Green Prize for Creative Scholarship at Caltech, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Senior U.S. Scientist Award (Humboldt Prize) and the Department of Energy’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award. He is a Fellow of several professional societies, including the American Physical Society, the American Association of the Advancement of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Koonin received his B.S. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1972 and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from MIT in 1975.

John Lee

September 9, 2024

Topic: Indo-Pacific Security

John Lee is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. He is also a senior fellow (non-resident) at the United States Studies Centre and adjunct professor at the University of Sydney.

From 2016 to 2018, he was senior national security adviser to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. In this role, he served as the principal adviser on Asia and for economic, strategic, and political affairs in the Indo-Pacific region.

Dr. Lee was also appointed the Foreign Minister’s lead adviser on the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, the first comprehensive foreign affairs blueprint for Australia since 2003 and written to guide Australia’s external engagement for the next ten years and beyond.

He has held adjunct professorships at the Australian National University and University of Sydney. He is one of the foremost experts on the Chinese political economy and on strategic and economic affairs pertaining to the Indo-Pacific.

Dr. Lee’s articles have been published in leading policy and academic journals in the United States, Asia, and Australia.

He received his master’s and doctorate in international relations from the University of Oxford and his bachelor of laws and arts degrees (first class, philosophy) from the University of New South Wales.

He is based in Sydney, Australia.

Upcoming Speakers

Past Speakers