Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Dean's Discussion Series

Each semester, Dean Jim Goldgeier invites prominent experts and practitioners for one-on-one interviews to discuss critical topics in international affairs.


derek chollet

Derek Chollet is counselor and senior advisor for security and defense policy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and author of the book, The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s Role in the World (PublicAffairs, June 2016). He is a regular contributor to Defense One, and is also an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies and an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. Watch the event here.


Thomas Pickering holds the personal rank Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Watch parts one, two, and three of the event series here.


David O'Sullivan is the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States. Prior to arriving in the United States, David served as the Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service. David was Director General for Trade from 2005-2010. Watch the event here.


Daniel Fried assumed his position as the State Department's Coordinator for Sanctions policy on January 28, 2013. Prior to that, Ambassador Fried served as Special Envoy for Closure of the Guantanamo Detainee Facility starting on May 15, 2009, with the additional responsibility as the Secretary's Special Advisor on Camp Ashraf (Iraq) from November, 2011. Watch the event here.

Jim Shelton

James "Jim" Shelton is the Chief Impact Officer of 2U, Inc. and the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Previously the Program Director for Education at the Gates Foundation, he has held a broad range of management, policy, and programmatic roles, which have made a meaningful social impact. Watch the event here.

Ambassador of France to US

Gérard Araud, a career diplomat, was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in September 2014. He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, notably including the Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), and, most recently Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014). Watch the event here.

david gregory

Join former NBC newsman and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer life's most important questions: who do we want to be and what do we believe? David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and Presidents accountable. But he also comes as a seeker, one just discovering why spiritual journeys are always worthwhile. Watch the event here.


Elizabeth Cousens is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the United Nations Foundation. Before joining UNF, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly (2012-14). She previously served as Principal Policy Advisor and Counselor to the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Susan Rice (2009-12). Watch the event here. 

Michele Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She served as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of DoD's 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress. Watch the event here.

evan ryan

On September 26, 2013, Evan Ryan Assumed her position as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, youth, and sports exchange programs to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and promote peaceful relations. Watch the event here. 


Sarah Sewall was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. She serves concurrently as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Dr. Sewall previously taught at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she also served as Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, launched the MARO (Mass Atrocities Response Operations) Project and directed the Program on National Security and Human Rights. Watch the event here.


Zbigniew Brzezinski is a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). From 1977 to 1981, Dr. Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in the normalization of U.S.-China relations and for his contributions to the human rights and national security policies of the United States. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Watch the event here.


Carrie Hessler-Radelet is Director of the Peace Corps. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Western Samoa, 1981-83) with more than two decades of experience in public health focused on HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health. As head of the Peace Corps, Hessler-Radelet has led historic reforms to modernize and strengthen the Peace Corps to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Watch the event here. 

pakistan ambassador

Jalil Abbas Jilani assumed his responsibilities as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States on January 2, 2014. Prior to his appointments as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, Ambassador Jilani served as Foreign Secretary of Pakistan from March 2012 to December 2013. Watch the event here.

berlin wall

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall: Twenty-Five Years Later
Moderated by Dean James Goldgeier. Hear from Hope Harrison, George Washington University; Jackson Janes, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies; and Sarah Snyder, SIS. Watch the event here.

Ambassador of India

Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar assumed his responsibilities as Ambassador of India to the United States in December 2013. Dr. Jaishankar comes to Washington, DC with more than three decades of diplomatic experience. Joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1977, Dr. Jaishankar has long represented India's interests and fostered working relationships in countries around the world. Watch the event live here.

Dr. Hans Blix

Hans Blix is a distinguished Swedish diplomat and politician who served as Sweden's minister for foreign affairs. He was also head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission. In 2002, the commission began searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, ultimately finding none. Previously, he was director general of the International Energy Agency (IAEA). Watch the event here.

Dr. Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He has written widely on issues in development and international politics. His most recent book, Political Order and Political Decay, is the second installment of his account of mankind's emergence in politics. Watch the event here.

Vali Nasr

Dr. Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, is a Middle East scholar, foreign policy adviser and commentator on international relations whose most recent book, The Dispensable Nation, deals with the implications of Obama administration’s foreign policy on American strategic interests. Watch the event here.

Map of Iran.

Special Event in partnership with the Wilson Center: The United States and Iran: Can Diplomacy Prevent an Iranian Bomb?
Iran and the P5 plus 1 have completed an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. Negotiators began meeting in Vienna in February to take on the challenge of a comprehensive accord. What are the chances of success, and what are the implications of failure - for the United States, Iran, and the region at large? Watch the event here.

Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Tara Sonenshine has a distinguished career in government, non-profits and the media. She served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs under both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry. She is currently Distinguished Fellow, School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Watch the event here.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter is currently the president and CEO of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute and idea incubator based in Washington and New York. Watch the event here.

Jamie Shea is Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges of NATO

Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges for NATO, asks the question, "What does the United States still need to do in Europe?" in this Dean's Special Event. Watch the event here.

Maria Otero, former Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights

Maria Otero, former Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, will discuss the broader concept of how the United States can help governments and civil society protect the most vulnerable members of society. This includes human rights, but also includes addressing women and security, trafficked persons, displaced people, vulnerable groups such as LGBT and people with disabilities - the role that civilian security plays in our overall foreign policy making. Watch the event here.

A map of Ukraine

Special Event: The Crisis in Ukraine
After weeks of turmoil in Ukraine, protesters took control of Ukraine's capital on Saturday and the parliament sought to oust President Yanukovych and form a new government. Join Professors Keith Darden and Anton Fedyashin, with moderator Dean Jim Goldgeier, to discuss the current situation in Ukraine, possible outcomes, and the roles of Europe, Russia, and the United States. Watch the event here.

Ambassador Frederick Barton

Ambassador Frederick Barton is the Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations and the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. The new Bureau is responsible for driving the State Department’s efforts to improve U.S. government effectiveness in preventing conflict and addressing crises. Watch the event here.

Chris Schroeder

Major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players are making significant investments in the Middle East despite the uncertainty in the region. In Startup Rising, Chris Schroeder marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East. Watch the event here.


John Zogby - In his most recent book, veteran pollster John Zogby teams up with leading Millennial Management Consultant Joan Snyder Kuhl to provide a detailed analysis of First Globals. Watch the event here.

A map of Syria

Special Event: American Options in Syria
As President Obama prepares to address the American public on Tuesday evening about Syria, join SIS Dean James Goldgeier and SIS faculty members David Bosco, Benjamin Jensen, and Celeste Wallander to discuss American options in the region and potential consequences of American actions. Watch the event here.

John Prendergast SIS/MA '90

John Prendergast - 2012 Alumnus of the Year and Co-Founder of the Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project. Watch the event here.

Ambassador Dennis Ross

Ambassador Dennis Ross - The Ziegler Distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Watch the event here.

Dr. Thomas C. Schelling

Tom Schelling - Recipient of the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis," including in his classic work, The Strategy of Conflict. Watch the event here.