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Events | U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

Events

The U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program prides itself on bringing diverse and fascinating speakers to campus to discuss issues in foreign policy. Below are some of our most recent events. To hear audio of selected U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program events, visit our YouTube channel.

American University Professors discuss updated edition of book A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution under Raul Castro

"A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution under Raúl Castro" with Dr. Phillip Brenner, Director of USFP Program and Dr. William LeoGrande, School of Public Affairs Professor

In December of 2014, the U.S. Foreign Policy Program hosted two American University professors to discuss the updated edition of their book, A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution under Raúl Castro. This book explores Cuba in familiar detail from the rise of Castro in 2006 to the present day. It touches on the new economic challenges Cuba faces with its loss of preferential trade with the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc following the fall of European Communism.

Facilities

Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan

George Washington University Professor Henry Nau spoke on his latest book, "Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan" in November. Nau's book describes an overlooked foreign policy tradition he calls conservative internationalism, which he argues "spreads freedom, like liberal internationalism; arms diplomacy, like realism; and preserves national sovereignty, like nationalism."


Former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald E. Neumann

Afghanistan's Future: What Should the U.S. Do?

In October 2014, The U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program brought in former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald E. Neumann to speak about the recently contested presidential elections and the future of U.S. policy in the country.

Amb. Thomas Pickering

Improving the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iran with Ambassador Thomas Pickering

Ambassador Pickering has had a career spanning five decades as a U.S. diplomat. He is the founder of the Iran Project which seeks to improve the relationship between Iran and the U.S. He has served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan and El Salvador. He holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. He has also been Executive Secretary, Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William Rogers and Henry Kissinger, and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Listen to Ambassador Pickering's full visit here.



Amb. Barbara Bodine
The U.S. and the Arab Gulf States: Allies, Friends or Frenemies? with Ambassador Barbara Bodine

Ambassador Bodine's over 30 years in the US Foreign Service were spent primarily on Arabian Peninsula and greater Persian Gulf issues, specifically US bilateral and regional policy, strategic security issues, counterterrorism, and governance and reform.

She currently teaches courses on the Persian Gulf at Princeton University and is the head of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

usfp, Daniel S. Markey
No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad

Daniel S. Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, discussed his new book No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad with a packed room of SIS students and faculty.

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Egypt's New Upheavals and the U.S. Response

Greg Aftandilian, Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy and Associate of the Middle East Center at UMass-Lowell, spoke with SIS students about the United States' complex relationship with Egypt in the wake of recent upheavals. Prior to his current position, Aftandilian worked as foreign policy advisor for Congressman Chris Van Hollen, as a Senior Advisor and consultant for Middle East Affairs at the National Democratic Institute, as a professional staffer and foreign policy advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, as a Political-Military Analyst on Middle East affairs for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and as a Regional Economist and Middle East Analyst at the U.S. Department of State.

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National Security and Arms Control in the Age of Biotechnology: The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

Daniel Gerstein, Deputy Under Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security and Adjunct Professor at American University, discussed his latest book, National Security and Arms Control in the Age of Biotechnology: The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention this September.Dr. Gerstein teaches classes on bioterrorism for the U.S. Foreign Policy Program.

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American Umpirewith Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Dwight E. Stanford Professor of American Foreign Relations at San Diego State University and a National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, discussed her latest book, American Umpire, in early October. Hoffman argued that rather than an empire, America is an "umpire" on the global stage, compelling adherence to rules that gradually earned collective approval.


Former President Jimmy Carter Honors Dr. Robert Pastor

Former President Jimmy Carter, former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, AU president Neil Kerwin, and numerous friends, family, and colleagues surprised Dr. Robert Pastor this March with an event to honor his long and impactful career both inside and outside of the government. Dr. Pastor has worked closely with President Carter throughout his career, first as U.S. National Security Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean during President Carter’s administration, and then as Senior Fellow and Director of programs on democracy, Latin America, and China at the Carter Center. Dr. Pastor has also maintained a prodigious scholarly output, having written or edited seventeen books, most recently The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future.


"A New Cuba: 'Updating' the Revolution"

Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas discussed recent Cuban reforms and the potential for restoration of US-Cuban relations. Ambassador Cabañas is the Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. Prior to arriving in Washington at the end of 2012, he was a Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has also served as Cuba's ambassador to Austria. Click here to listen to an audio recording of this event.

“US-Pakistan Relations: Post-Alliance Future" with Hussain Haqqani

Former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani presented to a packed house of students, faculty, and the defense community about the future of US-Pakistani relations. Ambassador Haqqani argued that the US-Pakistani alliance has always had a shaky foundation. He encouraged both countries to reexamine their interests with each other, and move forward with a more pragmatic approach to their interactions. Ambassador Haqqani is currently Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute in Washington DC and Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University and author of the acclaimed book, Pakistan Between Mosque and Military. Click here to listen to an audio recording of Ambassador Haqqani's presentation.

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Photo by Jeff Watts.

"Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power" with former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski spoke in April 2012 to a packed SIS Abramson Family Founders Room on his latest book, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power. A detailed write-up of the event can be found here.


Assistant Secretary of State Countryman discusses US nonproliferation efforts.

"Next Generation Proliferation Challenges: Looking Ahead" with Thomas M. Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation

Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman discussed his Bureau's role in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He also outlined specific goals, such as the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, the nuclear disarmament of North Korea, and the negotiation of an international arms control treaty regulating trade of traditional weapons.

Iranian Ambassador Seyed Mousavian discusses US-Iran relations.

"How to Rebuild U.S. Iran Relations" with Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Former Iranian Ambassador to Germany (1990-1997), Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran's National Security Council (1997-2005), and Spokesman for Iranian Nuclear Negotiations (2003-2005)

Ambassador Mousavian gave a brief history of recent U.S.-Iran relations and drew on his long and distinguished career in diplomacy to discuss prospects for better engagement between the two countries. Ambassador Mousavian also took questions from some of the over 100 students and faculty in attendance. Click here to listen to an audio recording of this presentation.


Dana Priest speaks at the US Foreign Policy Militarism conference.

Pulitzer-prize winning reported Dana Priest speaks on the militarization of U.S. foreign policy.

"Mission Creep: Is U.S. Foreign Policy Being Militarized?"

On February 17th, the U.S. Foreign Policy Program hosted an all-day academic conference that explored the ways in which U.S. foreign policy is being militarized and examined the effects of this trend.  The keynote speaker was Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Dana Priest.  Panelists included former Ambassadors Brian Carlson and Edward Marks, professors Gordon Adams (American University), Charles Cushman (Geogetown), Cathy Downes (National Defense University), Jennifer Kibbe (Franklin and Marshall), and Derek Reveron (U.S. Naval War College), and Nina Serafino from the Congressional Research Service.


Dr. Joseph Nye discusses his latest book.

"The Future of Power" with Dr. Joseph S. Nye

Dr. Joseph Nye, noted international relations scholar and Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University, presented his latest book, The Future of Power, to a packed SIS Founders Room on September 8th, 2011.  Dr. Nye is the former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, the former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and is a premier scholar of international relations who co-founded neoliberalism theory and pioneered the concept of 'soft power.'


Ambassador Gregory Schulte discusses US space policy.

"National Security in a Changing Space Environment" with Gregory L. Schulte

Gregory L. Schulte, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, discussed U.S. security policy in outer space, particularly in an age where access to space has become available to more than just the two Cold War superpowers.  Ambassador Schulte also spoke with students about obtaining a career in national security.

Egyptian ambassador to the United States H.E. Sameh Shoukry answers a question during his presentation.

Egyptian ambassador to the United States H.E. Sameh Shoukry answers a question during his presentation. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

"A Report and Dialogue on Egypt" with Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry

SIS students and faculty were treated to a wide-ranging and candid dialogue with Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry in December 2011.  The Ambassador spoke briefly and then answered an array of audience questions on the recent revolution in Egypt.  The event was moderated by U.S. Foreign Policy Professor Robert Pastor, who arranged the Ambassador's visit. 

"Growth in Executive Power after 9/11: Continuity and Change" with Louis Fisher of the Constitution Project, James Pfiffner of George Mason University, and Charlie Savage of the New York Times

On February 23rd Louis Fisher, James Pfiffner, and Charlie Savage discussed the expansion of executive power after the September 11th 2001 attacks at an event moderated by US Foreign Policy Director Shoon Murray. They also compared the records of George W. Bush and Barack Obama and noted the similarities and differences in executive power claimed by each president. 

Louis Fisher is author of Military Tribunals and Presidential Power: American Revolution to the War on Terrorism and The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America's Freedom. James Pfiffner is author of Power Play: The Bush Presidency and the Constitution and Torture as Public Policy. Charlie Savage is Washington Correspondent for the New York Times, author of Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency & the Subversion of American Democracy, and Pulitzer Prize winner for his reporting on presidential signing statements.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the event.

Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive discusses WikiLeaks.

"WikiLeaks: Significance and Implications" with Peter Kornbluh, Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive

On January 19th, Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive spoke to a packed SIS Founder's Room on the impact of WikiLeaks.  Kornbluh discussed the controversy surrounding the release of documents through WikiLeaks, and dispelled several myths surrounding what he described as "WikiMania."  Ambassador Anthony Quainton, USFP Professor and career foreign service officer, also weighed in with his thoughts on the leaks and their possible impact on US foreign policy.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the event.

General David Barno and Matthew Hoh discuss the path forward in Afghanistan.

“An Afghanistan Review” with Matthew Hoh and Lt. General David W. Barno

On November 15th, 2010 the U.S. Foreign Policy Program hosted a discussion between Matthew Hoh of the Afghanistan Study Group and Lt. General David W. Barno of the Center for a New American Security.The discussion focused on current and future U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, and was moderated by U.S. Foreign Policy Professor Gordon Adams. Hoh, a former State Department employee who resigned over U.S. policy in Afghanistan, was one of the principle writers of the recent Afghanistan Study Group Report, “A New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan.” Barno, who served for over 30 years in the U.S. military, commanded 20,000 U.S. and Coalition troops in Afghanistan in 2003.

Former Ambassador John Maisto discussed the shape of President Obama's foreign policy toward Latin America.

“Obama’s Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Change or More of the Same?” with Ambassador John Maisto

In early November Ambassador John Maisto discussed the continuity and change in President Obama’s policies towards Latin America and the Caribbean. Ambassador Maisto previously was U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States from 2003-2006, and was named by President George W. Bush as U.S. Coordinator for the Summit of the Americas, where he was in charge of U.S. participation at summits in Mexico in 2004 and Argentina in 2005.

Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha speaks to a packed SIS Lounge on prospects for peace.

Photo by Jeff Watts.

"Syria: What are the Prospects for Normalization of Relations with the US and Peace with Israel?" with Dr. Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to the United States and Dr. Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

In November of 2009, the U.S. Foreign Policy Program brought to campus Dr. Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador to the United States, and Dr. Robert Satloff, the Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  Ambassador Moustapha and Dr. Satloff spoke to a standing-room-only SIS Lounge and expressed starkly contrasting opinions on the prospects for normalization between the United States and Syria and the possibility of peace between Syria and Israel.

Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, talks about the new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

"Planning the U.S. Diplomatic Future: The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review" with Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department

Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, discussed the main components of State's new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) in November 2009 with students and faculty.  She outlined the main goals of the QDDR and acknowledged that it was the first step in a long process to reform the State Department.

SIS Abroad

Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan

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AU Career Center

The American University Career Center offers lifetime career counseling. Recent graduates are entitled to all the benefits of current students; alumni who graduated more than one year ago can also take advantage of many other resources the Center offers.

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Former Congressman Stephen Solarz speaks on his experiences dealing with Middle East issues in Congress.

"Congress and the Middle East: A Personal Journey" with the Honorable Stephen J. Solarz

In February 2010 former Congressman Stephen Solarz engaged students with fascinating anecdotes from his service in the U.S. House of Representatives and outlined his desire to see renewed effort by the United States to bring an end to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.  Solarz served as Representative from New York's 13th District from 1975-1993 and was a key leader on Middle East issues in the House Foreign Affairs Committee during his time in Congress.

Journalist David Hoffman speaks to USFP students about the Soviet Union's secret biological weapons program.

"The Secret Soviet Biological Weapons Program: Past, Present, and Future" with David E. Hoffman

In March 2010 the U.S. Foreign Policy Program brought to campus David Hoffman, who offered a sobering look inside the Soviet Union's biological warfare program and voiced concern that other states may pursue similar programs in the future.  Hoffman is a contributing editor at the Washington Post and the author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia and The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy.