2021 Livestreams

from to
ical Google outlook Events Featured Events General Events
2021 Livestreams
from to
ical Google outlook Events Featured Events General Events

From the moment we closed our office in March, 2020, we began a fascinating livestream journey. Since then, we’ve brought Santa Fe a steady diet of extraordinary local, national, and global speakers covering issues that go far beyond the novel coronavirus… While the virus is of course radically reshaping the world, we still see the rise of authoritarianism, the devastating effects of climate change, the continued repression of journalists, and we know that we cannot lose our focus on all these forces. And, just as importantly, we want to offer our community an opportunity to interact with these speakers — with ourselves — through dynamic Q&A sessions.

VIDEO FROM PAST TALKS AVAILABLE UNDER “PAST LIVESTREAMS” BELOW.


Every Thursday at 10am, we bring you excellent conversation through our Zoom channel. For all updates, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list by dropping an email to admin@sfcir.org. Don’t miss out on our community convening virtually!!!

For all ticket holders, we’ll mail out a unique Zoom link before each session, so please do watch your email.

Help us understand how we’re doing!! Evaluate our livestream programming today. It takes only three minutes…

Recordings of all completed talks can be found below, as well as CIR’s YouTube channel.

Upcoming Livestreams


Thursday, January 21, 2021 @ 10am:
The Havana Syndrome: Return of the Cold War?

President Obama’s opening to Cuba disintegrated as a result of mysterious illnesses suffered by American and Canadian diplomats in 2016. The State Department blamed Cuba for the attacks, which resulted in loss of hearing and brain trauma. With the encouragement of Sen. Marco Rubio the American embassy was mostly shuttered and consular service curtailed. The Obama opening to Cuba came to an abrupt end. There have been many theories about who perpetrated the attacks and why, but these questions could not be answered because investigations by the FBI in Cuba could not determine the origin of the injuries. Some claimed that they were psychological  and others that they were a deliberate attack by Russia or China. Recently, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has released a report that is consistent with the hypothesis of University of New Mexico professor Dr. Edl Schamiloglu, who believes that the diplomats were hit with high-power microwaves. His belief is backed by neurology professor and consulting bioethicist for the US Defense Medical Ethics Center, Dr. James Giordano, who was tasked with evaluating the neurological condition of those individuals affected, and who believes these events represent an intentional engagement using novel technology. Ambassador Vicki Huddleston who served three years as Chief of our diplomatic mission in Havana will lead the discussion.

Edl Schamiloglu, PhD, joined the University of New Mexico (UNM) as Assistant Professor in 1988 and he is currently Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering.

James Giordano, PhD, MPhil, is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry; Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program; Director of the Program in Biotechnology, Biosecurity and Ethics of the Cyber-SMART Center; Co-director of the Program in Science and Global Health Law and Policy; and Chair of the Sub-program in Military Medical Ethics at Georgetown University.

Tickets Available Here

Admission is free for CIR members at the $300/year level and up. Contact shelley@sfcir.org for your free ticket — or to upgrade your membership — today!





Thursday, January 28, 2021 @ 10am:
President Biden’s Foreign Policy Priorities

In this timely discussion, Dr. Todd Greentree will summarize the myriad foreign-policy challenges following President Trump’s tumultuous term. of destruction. We are flooded with information and opinion about how the past four years of the Trump administration have left America weaker in the world, not greater. We also know a lot about how incoming President Biden and his experienced team plan to restore U.S. leadership and tackle a seemingly unprecedented array of global challenges. This webinar will summarize these issues, then turn to a theme that has received relatively little attention: how civilizational changes — from the information revolution to climate change — are transforming the nature of international cooperation and competition among nations. 

Tickets Available Here

Admission is free for CIR members at the $300/year level and up. Contact shelley@sfcir.org for your free ticket — or to upgrade your membership — today!





Tuesday, February 2 2021 @ 10am:
Cascading Conflict: What is the Science of Violence?

Battles, revolutions, and other fights in history might seem violent in their own ways— consequences of specific social and cultural dynamics. But with the right lens, one can identify unifying principles. In this free online event on February 2, moderator Rachel Kleinfeld will explore the “science of violence” with researchers from the Santa Fe Institute. Through historical examples and data from real-world armed conflicts, they will discuss how an initial event spreads and ignites conflicts in other regions, resulting in a “conflict cascade” or avalanche that spreads over time and space.

Rachel Kleinfeld is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of the 2018 book A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to SecurityShe advises governments and philanthropists in making major social change in democracies, with a focus on violence, polarization, and poor governance. 

Jessica FlackDavid Krakauerand Edward Lee are researchers in the C4 Collective Computation Group @SFI who look for patterns in complex social systems. Their recently published paper, “Scaling theory of armed-conflict avalanches” (Physical Review E, 2020), will form the basis for the discussion.

This event is co-hosted by the Santa Fe Council for International Relations and the Santa Fe Institute. The Santa Fe Institute is the world’s leading research center for complex systems science. Since its founding in 1984, it has brought top researchers to Santa Fe from around the world and across disciplines to tackle some of the most challenging problems in science and society.

Admission is free, with general public registration available on January 25th. Tickets will be made available now to CIR members at the $150/year level and up.




Wednesday, February 10 @ 10am:
The Rise of the Cognitive Ecosystem: Advantage Authoritarianism?

Dr. Brad Allenby returns to the CIR stage once again to share his extraordinary intellect and insight on a fascinating topic. Since history began, humans have integrated with their technologies and artifacts to produce emergent cognitive results. This is most obvious with artifacts designed to capture, preserve, and transmit information, from Chinese oracle bones to illuminated manuscripts to books and computers. But the Anthropocene, the “Age of Humans,” has seen an exponential acceleration of technological evolution, especially in the information and communication technology space and the emergence of cognitive capability at unprecedented scope, scale, and complexity. So while technological infrastructures such as 5G and machine learning, and institutional infrastructures such as social media, are familiar, it isn’t surprising that the emergence of a coherent cognitive ecosystem that includes technologies, institutions, and academic disciplines among its subsystems, and already permeates virtually every aspect of our world, is both unperceived and unremarked. The implications of this cognitive ecosystem range from increasing efficiency of technological systems, to disruption of urban infrastructure, to significant impacts on employment, to fundamental disruptions of existing pluralistic governance systems and the geopolitical balance of power.

Braden R. Allenby is President’s Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, and of Law; Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics; Senior Sustainability Scientist; Founding Director of the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management; and co-chair of the Weaponized Narrative Initiative of the Center for the Future of War, at Arizona State University.


Tickets Available Here


Past Live Stream Recordings

Thursday, January 14, 2021:  US Intelligence After Trump. Returning once again to the CIR stage is the brilliant Valerie Plame, a writer, spy novelist, and former CIA officer. Joining her is Joseph Wippl, also a former CIA officer, who spent a 30 year career as an operations officer in the National Clandestine Service (NCS). Wippl has served overseas as an operations officer and operations manager in Bonn, West Germany; Guatemala City; Luxembourg; Madrid, Spain; Mexico City; Vienna, Austria; and Berlin, Germany. He is currently a Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University.

Watch the video here.


Thursday, January 7, 2021: Ethiopia at a Crossroads – Africa’s Oldest Country Confronts an Existential Crisis. Renowned Ethiopian elder, Dr. Ephraim Isaac, is a scholar of ancient Semitic Languages & Civilization and African/ Ethiopian Languages and Religions. He will discuss with Ambassador Vicki Huddleston the past and future of Ethiopia, his previous and current efforts to promote reconciliation and peace in Ethiopia, and the possible futures for this critical country in the Horn of Africa.

Watch the video here.



Thursday, December 17, 2020:
What Rule of Law Guardrails are Needed to Protect Against Future Assaults and Coup Attempts? American democracy, pressure tested these past four years, has proven sufficiently resilient to allow for a peaceful, if fitful, transfer of Presidential power. Yet we witnessed the busting of many norms, expansion of executive authority, and a Senate focused on shaping the courts while protecting the executive. Resistance to pressure has, too often, turned on the integrity of individuals rather than the inherent strength of institutions. Our Rule of Law panel will consider the faulty structures and guardrails revealed by these developments, ways to formalize norms to protect against future assaults on the Rule of Law, and international implications.

Watch the video here.



Thursday, December 10, 2020: The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign Against a Muslim Minority.
A penetrating look at China’s treatment of the Uyghurs. Author and professor Sean R. Roberts speaks about his new book, arguing that what is happening to the Uyghur people of China today is nothing short of ‘cultural genocide’ and that the US-led Global War on Terror has played a critical role in allowing it to happen. CIR Board Member Amb. Mark Asquino moderates the discussion.

Watch the video here.



Tuesday, November 24, 2020.
President-Elect Biden’s National Security Cabinet. Join Ambassadors Vicki Huddleston and Mark Asquino for this fascinating overview of President-Elect Biden’s selections for his national security cabinet.

Watch the video here.


Thursday, November 5, 2020: A Constitutional Crisis? Taking Stock of the U.S. Elections  Join CIR for a fascinating set of reflections, predictions, and sober analysis of the 2020 election. Will there be a clear winner? How will mail-in voting affect the process? Will there be civil unrest or evidence of electoral inconsistencies — or outright declarations of voter fraud? How will the world perceive the U.S. elections — or actively meddle in it? How will our existing laws and the Constitution itself guide us through what could be an extremely tumultuous period? We’ll feature four panelists: Rich Moriarty, a former assistant attorney general in Wisconsin; Mark Davis, a former assistant attorney general in Maryland; Amb. Vicki Huddleston, who led U.S. diplomatic missions in Cuba, Mali, Ethiopia, and Madagascar; and Dr. Todd Greentree, a historian, author, and former U.S. foreign service officer.

Watch the talk here.



Thursday, October 29, 2020:
Our Climate Emergency with Dave Lowe
In the 21st century, humans face multiple existential threats, global pandemics, increasing inequality, failure of democracies and climate change to name just a few. How do we cope with all of this in a time when we are bone weary after months of battling COVID 19? In this presentation, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dave Lowe (sharing the prize as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will provide a brief update on modern climate science followed by his perceptions of the linkages between the COVID 19 crisis, climate change and the crucial role of international cooperation in times of need. He’ll end with a message of hope: humans are resilient and very innovative — we have the tools to cope with the climate emergency — but will we heed the warnings and use them?

Watch the talk here


Thursday, October 22, 2020 Terrorism: The Scourge of Africa? Our own Ambassador Vicki Huddleston presents this dynamic program in conversation with CIR’s Sandy Campbell — with lots of slides — about the collapsing states of the Sahel. Twenty years ago, the Algerian Islamic Army introduced radical Islam into the moderate Sufi Sahara; the breakdown of Libya accelerated the growth of terrorism across the region. Desertification, corruption, incompetence, poverty, and ethnic strife now threaten the very existence of these states and potentially the more prosperous coastal West Africa states. Among other posts, Ambassador Huddleston led four U.S. diplomatic missions in Cuba, Mali, Madagascar, and Ethiopia, all of which gives her a unique perspective on the African continent. 

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, October 15, 2020: Rule of Law 5: The Supreme Court Crisis and the 2020 Election Cycle: The Most Critical in Our History? Threats to the Rule of Law were severe enough with the November election approaching. But forces opposed to the Rule of Law are using the passing of a staunch defender, Justice Ginsburg, to deepen those threats by hijacking the structures carefully crafted by the Founders to assure an independent and impartial judiciary. Many worry that their vote in the upcoming elections won’t be counted. Others fear the legitimacy of our elections will be undermined. Some question whether, if the incumbent president is not re-elected, the peaceful transition of power established since George Washington may be in jeopardy. Panelists include Chuck Case (retired US bankruptcy judge and CIR Board President); Richard Briles Moriarty (whose legal career spanned 40+ years in public and private sectors, and included arguing before the US Supreme Court); Richard Silver (former foreign service officer, lawyer, CIR Board Member). Vicki Huddleston (former US ambassador to Mali, Madagascar, and Chief of the US Interests Section in Cuba) moderates.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, October 8, 2020: How do Climate Change and Wildfire Reshape our Landscape? How did we get in this predicament — with the west coast of the USA in flames and fire now ravaging areas typically left untouched? From a forest level, how does a changing climate and an increase in fire affect tree species, stored carbon, and the overall flow and productivity of the system?

Matt Hurteau, associate professor of biology and director of the Earth Systems Ecology Lab at UNM, will give us an overview of how fire has continually and now at great speed reshaped different ecosystems — both here and around the world. In this time of accelerating climate change, Matt will show us some large-scale simulations and share field research so that we might all better understand climate change from the forest level, and how we might increasingly intervene at a local level.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, October 1, 2020: What Journalists Should Know About Polarization in the United States. Deepening toxic polarization in the United States is a profound threat to the American people and the very core of American Democracy. After 30 years of working around the globe to bring peace and reconciliation to deeply divided societies, Beyond Conflict launched an unprecedented research project in 2018, the Beyond Conflict Polarization Index™, with leading brain and behavioral scientists to assess the psychological factors that fuel polarization.

Tim Phillips is the founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict. Using the unique approach of shared experience, Phillips has helped catalyze the peace and reconciliation processes in several nations, including Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and South Africa.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, September 24, 2020: Whither Africa. This conversation featured Amb. Johnnie Carson and Amb. Vicki Huddleston. Will the 21st Century be Africa’s? Sub-Saharan Africa will become more populous, youthful, urban, mobile, educated, and networked. Projected rates of population growth for the region are the world’s highest: Nigeria will soon displace the U.S. as the world’s third most populous country. Across the continent, this “youth bulge” is become the engine of economic and political dynamism. Yet, Africa’s success is not assured.

Amb. Johnnie Carson was sworn in as assistant Secretary of State for African affairs in May, 2009. Prior to this he was the national intelligence officer for Africa at the National Intelligence Council, after serving as the senior vice president of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. (2003-2006). His 37-year foreign service career includes ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), and Uganda (1991-1994); and principal deputy assistant secretary for the bureau of African Affairs (1997-1999).

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, September 17, 2020: Believers: Love and Death in Tehran Join CIR for a fascinating discussion of the new novel, Believers: Love and Death in Tehran by two of America’s most lauded ambassadors, Marc Grossman and John Limbert. Thirty years have passed since a shattered Nilufar Hartman, pregnant and betrayed, fled Iran. She barely got out alive, carrying her deepest secrets of love and tragedy. Nilufar had arrived in Tehran in November 1979 to take a job as a junior American diplomat at the U.S. Embassy. She had instead spent nine years as an American spy, reporting from deep inside the new Islamic Republic as it collapsed into extremism, civil strife, and war. After her return to America, she chose a quiet university life and swore she would never again do Washington’s bidding. Her tranquility is upended by a plea from Alan Porter, the man who had sent her to Tehran in 1979. Porter tells her about a plot by colluding American and Iranian extremists to provoke a war between the two countries. He says she is the only person who can stop it… More on the novel here!

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, September 10, 2020: Stephen Pyne on Earth Under Fire: Creating a Pyrocene. Humanity is the keystone species for fire on Earth: fire is what we do that no other creature does. But our firepower underwent a phase change when we went from burning living landscapes to burning lithic ones (that is, fossil fuels).  What had been an interglacial period between ice ages increasingly resembles a fire age — even climate change has become a subnarrative of fire history. The Pleistocene is yielding to a Pyrocene, and what began as a mutual-assistance pact is looking more like a Faustian bargain. Steve Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University best known for his research into the history of fire and humanity.

Watch the talk here.


Friday, September 4, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree on What went wrong in Afghanistan? And why does it matter? America’s so-called “longest war” in Afghanistan has been a strategic failure. Although it was not a misadventure in folly like the invasion of Iraq nor did it result in a national tragedy on the scale of Vietnam, the patterns of military misfortune and poor government performance, fueled by political and strategic fallacies, are all too similar. The agreement with the Taliban, signed in February 2020, gives the United States an alibi for exit, but war in Afghanistan will not end, and there will be consequences.

Dr. Todd Greentree served as an expeditionary diplomat in five wars during his three decades as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, September 3, 2020: New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. With the November elections looming, NM’s Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver addressed international interference in past elections, potential cyber interference in the upcoming elections, and how State and local election officials have and are prepared to assure election integrity in general. What steps is New Mexico taking to prevent voter suppression? In the face of the coronavirus crisis, how will New Mexico address any potential impediments to mail-in voting? And given the strong likelihood of deliberate disinformation in the lead up to the election – as was seen in the attack ad on congressional candidate Valerie Plame – how can New Mexico best respond? 

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, August 27, 2020: Virtual Spy Chat with Chris Costa and Doug Wise. This discussion highlighted the latest intelligence, national security, and terrorism issues in the news, with Spy Museum Executive Director Chris Costa leading the discussion. Costa is a former intelligence officer of 34 years, with 25 of those in active duty in hot spots such as Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq; he is also a past Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council. He was joined by Spy Museum Honorary Board Member Douglas H. Wise.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, August 20, 2020: Rule of Law Panel #4: Rebuilding the Shattered Rule of Law Foundation to Survive Future Earthquakes. In this fourth segment of our ROL series, our panel will discuss how resiliency and sustainability must be instilled into Rule of Law structures so they may survive and flourish for current and future presidential administrations. Panelists include Chuck Case (retired US bankruptcy judge and CIR Board President); Richard Briles Moriarty (whose legal career spanned 40+ years in public and private sectors, and included arguing before the US Supreme Court); Richard Silver (former foreign service officer, lawyer, CIR Board Member). Vicki Huddleston (former US ambassador to Mali, Madagascar, and Chief of the US Interests Section in Cuba) moderates.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, August 13, 2020: The Story of the U.S.S. Nevada: Once Unsinkable, Now Found. Recently retired Director of the Sandia National Labs, Dr. Stephen Younger, offered a fascinating visual display of a USS battleship that simply could not be sunk. Launched in 1914, Nevada was a leap forward in dreadnought technology; four of her new features would be included on almost every subsequent US battleship: triple gun turrets, oil in place of coal for fuel, geared steam turbines for greater range, and the “all or nothing” armor principle. In World War II, it was one of the battleships trapped when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Nevada was the only battleship to get underway during the attack, making the ship “the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal and depressing morning” for the United States. At the end of World War II, the Navy decided that Nevada was too old to be retained, so they assigned it to be a target ship in the atomic experiments at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.

As the Labs Director for Sandia National Laboratories, Dr. Stephen Younger provided leadership and management direction for the safe, secure execution of all Sandia missions.

Watch the talk here


Thursday, August 6, 2020: Alexandra Huddleston on From Tyndrum to Timbuktu: The Creative Path and the Ritual Process. For photographer and writer Alexandra Huddleston, walking is as important to her work as her camera. By favoring the foot over more mechanical and virtual ways of exploring the world, she has tapped into a realm of spirituality and wisdom that was central to cultures throughout the ancient world, but that now has been largely forgotten. In this talk, she traces the seminal experiences that led to her current work, from her year as a Fulbright scholar researching the traditional Islamic scholarship of Timbuktu, through her time on three of the world’s most grueling walking pilgrimages, to her more recent journeys in the hills of Ireland, the Munros of Scotland, and the industrial landscape of the lower Rhine valley.

Watch the talk here.


Friday, July 31, 2020: Author Neill McKee on Finding Myself in Borneo. Award-winning local author Neill McKeewill offer a photo presentation and discussion on his adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a Canadian CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo), and while a field staff for CUSO (Canada’s version of the Peace Corps) during 1973-74, as well as return visits in 1987 and 2006.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, July 30, 2020: A Perilous New World amid Divisions at Home: The U.S. Military Confronts the Future. With General Walter Gaskin, Rear Admiral Janice Hamby, and Moderator Amb. Vicki Huddleston. Can the United States successfully confront the many existential threats facing the country? What role will the military play — both abroad and at home? China is gaining in power and standing as the United States seemingly retreats from leadership. The NATO Alliance is jeopardized by the proposed withdrawal of troops from Germany, while arms agreements with Russia have either been abrogated or are in jeopardy. And, as if these international challenges are not enough, many Americans are now questioning the role of the military in quelling protests at home. What is the military’s role in addressing cyberspace threats, genetic manipulation, and information warfare?

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, July 23, 2020: UN 2.0: Building a New United Nations 75 Years After San Francisco. How can the UN creatively harness the ideas, networks, and capabilities of governments, civil society, and the private sector for effective global problem-solving? What reforms and reinvigorations are required? The Stimson Center’s Dr. Richard Ponzio will consider the kinds of enlightened global leadership and vision, institutions, and tools required to better deal with pressing global challenges, from avoiding runaway climate change to preventing atrocities and the next pandemic and reducing the disruptive potential of novel technologies.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, July 16, 2020State of the State Department Round 4: Ambassadors Speak Out! Amb. Pru Bushnell — who led our Embassy in Kenya through the most deadly terrorist attack on an embassy in U.S. history — discusses how critical it is to have SMART national security policy and leadership. Amb. Deborah Jones — recently featured in a CIR talk on Libya — discusses the conduct of diplomacy in a post-Covid, Post-Bretton Woods, post-alliance — and dare we suggest — a post-policy world. Amb. Vicki Huddleston discusses why it is folly to conduct diplomacy via the Department of Defense.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, July 9, 2020: Giving Aid: Why it Matters and How to Do it Right. When Amb. White was USAID Director in Mali, she created a unique partnership for girls education with the nomadic Tuaregs. With the Tanzania government, she and her team dramatically reduced rates of malaria on the large island of Zanzibar. And yet, giving aid and advising Presidents is far from a guarantee of success. Amb. White will also critically reflect on her time as ambassador to both The Gambia and Haiti. 

Watch the talk here.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020: Is a US-China Decoupling Really Possible in a Post-Pandemic World? Professor Sarwar Kashmeri is a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and Applied Research Fellow of the Peace and War Center of Norwich University. Prof. Kashmeri believes that U.S. policy towards China is crafted on obsolete assumptions and on the hopes and dreams of what American policy makers want China to become rather than on what China is today. The pandemic offers an opportunity for the U.S. and China to jointly assume leadership to accelerate a global recovery, and sidestep the growing danger of a new cold-war.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, June 25, 2020: How might foreign intelligence services best exploit the current situation in the United States? What are the benefits and dangers when the DNI has a close political relationship with the President? How has intelligence collecting changed through the Trump administration – and through the coronavirus? Featuring Doug Wise (ex-CIA operator), Marc Polymeropolous (ex-CIA operator), Dr. Emile Nakhleh (ex-CIA analyst). Moderated by CIR’s Sandy Campbell.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, June 18, 2020: Can the American Body Politic Survive in a Post-Pandemic World? The United States has long been a beacon for the rule of law, an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, and accountability through checks and balances. Yet, these ideals erode as executive power is expanded and enhanced, cowing the judiciary and the Senate as the House of Representatives resists.

Watch the talk here


Thursday, June 11, 2020: Amb. Mary Ann Casey on Radical Islam in Mediterranean North Africa:  Can Democracy Flourish in Tunisia and Algeria? The Arab Spring ignited with the self-immolation of a frustrated young Tunisian, then burned eastward across North Africa and on into the Middle East. Tunisia turned toward democracy, and Egypt erupted in turmoil, while Morocco and Algeria escaped that wave of change until eight years later. What factors explain the differing outcomes and where are these countries headed? 

Watch the talk here (note the first 20 minutes are cut)


Thursday, June 4, 2020: Julie McCarthy on Hong Kong, Democracy, and the Coronavirus. NPR reporter Julie McCarthy spoke to us all about Hong Kong, including its successful response to coronavirus, offer the very latest on the democracy movement there, and speculated on what China may do next…

Watch the talk here


Friday, May 29, 2020: Rebecca Kitson and Kimberly Gauderman on Immigration, Asylum, and Coronavirus. 
When it comes to immigration, what kind of country does the United States wish to be? Do we want to provide refuge for people? Strengthening U.S. immigration policy has faltered for decades. When it comes to asylum, asylum law, and how the Trump Administration has changed the rules through the coronavirus crisis, what might come next? What changes to the process are needed — and why is asylum so challenging in New Mexico?

A livestream recording is not available, but if you would like to access the PowerPoint from the talk, you can do so here: Immigration Asylum and COVID


Thursday, May 28, 2020: Dr. Braden Allenby on Engineering Resilience. Experience from other engineered systems, such as urban transportation systems, electric grids, and communications networks suggests ways in which medical infrastructure resilience can be improved, which may be of immediate interest given the high probability of a second wave of infection later in 2020.

Watch the talk here.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020: Joshua Hammer on The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Beyond. To save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven in this 2017 “fast-paced narrative that is…part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract, and part out-and-out thriller” (The Washington Post) from the author of The Falcon Thief.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, May 21, 2020: Ko-Yung Tung on China’s Belt and Road Initiative discussed how BRI has been welcomed by many countries, but also criticized as “debt traps” and even feared by many countries as “neo-colonialism with Chinese characteristics”. Prof. Tung, the former General Counsel of the World Bank, described the scope and nature of BRI and analyzed the implications for China, the BRI countries, and for the United States.  

Watch the talk here. (Unfortunately, the beginning of the talk was cut. We apologize for any inconvenience.)  


Tuesday, May 19, 2020: Coronavirus in the Middle East.Drs. Emile Nakhleh and Todd Greentree discussed how the coronavirus has struck Middle Eastern countries in different ways — relatively moderate in some and more severe in others, but ultimately laying bare the fissures in Middle East societies.

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, May 14, 2020: Rule of Law II: Diverging Sovereignties in Crisis. Did you ever imagine that the State you live in would determine whether you live or die? With the federal government moving rapidly to reopen the economy — despite projections of a rising death rate — your health may depend upon the mandate of your governor and whether she is a Republican or a Democrat.

Watch the talk here.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020: Amb. Harry Thomas led the final session of Great Decisions 2020 on The Philippines and the United States. 

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, May 7, 2020: Ambassadors Deborah Jones and Vicki Huddleston explore Libya in Chaos: Origins, Players and Outcomes. Jones, appointed US Ambassador to Libya in 2013 following the death at Benghazi of Ambassador Chris Stevens in September 2012, led the overland evacuation of the American embassy in Tripoli in July 2014 following the outbreak of active hostilities.

Watch the talk here.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020: Drs. Manuel Montoya and Reilly White (from UNM) will discuss Cryptocurrency and Sovereignty. What are cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies? How does cryptocurrency work (is it a currency? a technology?), and how does it affect or even shape sovereignty? How will it continue to evolve — and how will that increasingly shape commerce, state control, and so much more?

Watch the talk here.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020: Lynn Sanchez (of The Life Link) led this Great Decisions discussion on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. 

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, April 30, 2020: Dr. Dennis de Tray on Why counterinsurgency fails: the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. de Tray shared lessons he’s learned about two of the significant challenges to maintaining world order: the defeat of insurgencies and the promotion of development in the world’s poorest and weakest countries. 

Watch the talk here.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020: In the Fog of the Pandemic featured three voices from across Latin America — Carlos Viniegra (Mexico City), Nancy McGirr (Antigua, Guatemala), and Ángel Páez — sharing their stories of how the pandemic has changed their lives, their cultures, and their countries.

Watch the talk here.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree on the Great Decisions discussion, “Artificial Intelligence and Data”

Watch the talk here.


Thursday, April 23, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree on “The Coronavirus Pandemic: Black Swans and Pink Flamingoes”. How has corona reset international relations? What are the true costs of the absence of American leadership? How are the world’s populists responding to the crisis? Its authoritarians? What’s happening in weak or failed states?

Watch the talk here.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree leads this Great Decisions discussion on  Red Sea Security.

Watch the talk here.


April 16th 2020: Panel discussion on “Demolishing the Foundations: Worldwide Consequences of America’s Assault on the Rule of Law.” From the Declaration of Independence forward, until 2017, commitment to the Rule of Law has underpinned all American governments and was never a partisan issue. With the election of President Trump, America’s legal architecture has come under assault with the denigration of judicial independence and impartiality and the bending of norms that form the foundation for our judicial system, professional bureaucracy, and the separation of powers. Without American leadership and commitment to the Rule of Law, dictatorial systems favored by China and Russia may attract more followers, diminishing our influence and putting into question democracy in our own country and around the world. Panelists include Chuck Case (retired US bankruptcy judge and CIR Board President); Rich Moriarty (whose legal career spanned 40+ years in public and private sectors, and included arguing before the US Supreme Court); Richard Silver (former foreign service officer, lawyer, CIR Board Member); and moderating will be Vicki Huddleston (former US ambassador to Mali, Madagascar, and Chief of the US Interests Section in Cuba).

Watch the talk here.


April 14, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree leads this Great Decisions discussion on US Relations with the Northern Triangle.

Watch the talk here.


April 9, 2020: Mike Vigil on Drug Trafficking, Coronavirus, and Nicolas Maduro. In this moderated conversation, legendary DEA agent Mike Vigil (originally from Española) returns to the CIR stage for a third time to discuss all kinds of fascinating topics across the world of drug trafficking. How has coronavirus influenced the transshipment of narcotics? Why did the US charge Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and 14 of his colleagues with drug trafficking? How can New Mexico better combat crime and drug trafficking? Mike Vigil is the former Chief of International Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. More on Mike here.

Watch the talk here (slightly cut at beginning).


April 7, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree leads this Great Decisions discussion on China’s Road into Latin America.

Watch the talk here.


April 2, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree on Pandemics, Chaos, and International Relations. In this moderated conversation Dr. Greentree will reflect on the three pandemics he experienced while in the U.S. foreign service; the interplay between chaos and order in local, national, and global responses to pandemics; and how the novel coronavirus is busy infecting and likely forever changing international relations. Why did Secretary Pompeo recently threaten to cut aid to Afghanistan? Why is he engaging in a war of words with Iran — when that country has been devastated by coronavirus? Where is his clear statement of purpose of US global leadership on the pandemic?

Watch the talk here.


March 27, 2020: Katie Singer on Limits of Internet Growth. In this talk, Katie Singer reported on the Internet’s main energy guzzlers and some of the toxic waste-emitting supply chains of each smartphone’s 1000+ substances. She also spelled out how manufacturers, service providers, policy makers and individuals can each do their part to reduce the Internet’s footprint.

Watch the talk here.