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U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security | SIS


The U.S. Foreign Policy 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 Program events, visit our YouTube channel.

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.

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.

Director Shoon Murray leads a panel discussion on the 2001 AUMF.

"Endless War? The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force" with Shoon Murray, Lou Fisher, and Stephen Vladek

In November the U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program hosted a panel discussion of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, including the history of the AUMF and its future prospects. Director Shoon Murray led the panel, which included Lou Fisher, Scholar in Residence at the Constitution Project, and Stephen Vladeck, Professor of Law at American University's Washington College of Law. A video of the panel may be viewed at the following link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/au-sis-endless-war-2001-aumf.


The Future of al-Qaeda and the Role of the State

Stephen Tankel, Assistant Professor at American University and a non-resident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke on November 12th about the history of al-Qaeda and what the future of terrorist organization might be. Listen to the talk here.


Terrorism: Weapon of the Weak?

Joseph Young, Professor at American's School of Public Affairs, spoke in early November about his research on the effects of state capacity on terrorism.


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 October. 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."


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.


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.


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.

Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence

Michael Allen, former Staff Director of the House Intelligence Community, spoke to U.S. Foreign Policy students on his new book Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence. Blinking Red examines the U.S. response to 9/11 and the Iraq War, with a focus on the personalities and pressures that impact legislation.

Student-Alumni Reception

The USFP Program hosted a student-alumni reception in late March, inviting alumni to come back to campus and meet our current students and visit with faculty. USFP Students had an opportunity to network with alumni and hear more about what our alumni have done since graduating. 

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.

“America’s Other Army: The US Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy”

Students and faculty joined author, journalist, and lecturer Nicholas Kralev for a discussion on his recent book America’s Other Army: The US Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy. The book draws on Kralev’s experiences traveling with four US secretaries of state and interviews with numerous high-level Foreign Service Officers. Kralev spoke about the role of diplomats in US foreign relations, and the various tasks diplomats worldwide undertake.

“Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons: A Pragmatic Re-appraisal” with Ward Wilson