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 email@example.com. Don’t miss out on our community convening virtually!!!
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Recordings of all completed talks can be found below, as well as CIR’s YouTube channel.
Wednesday, May 19 @11AM MDT (10AM MST):
The Russia Disruption 4:
The Magnitsky Affair – How to Oppose a Criminal State?
Jamison Firestone was working as a lawyer in Russia during the uncovering of a $230-million tax fraud case, the largest in Russian history. This discovery would lead to Jamison’s colleague Sergei Magnitsky’s death. The Magnitsky affair prompted countries around the world, led by the U.S., to pass the Magnitsky Act, a law sanctioning human rights offenders and allowing seizing of assets and banning entry to the U.S.
The Kremlin undermines institutions at home and around the world, while at the same time, Russia enjoys a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and many international organizations, including Interpol and the Council of Europe. To talk about these issues and how to encourage better behavior by the Kremlin, one must understand Vladimir Putin and his regime. The Magnitsky Affair provides a view of how the Kremlin operates, Putin’s intentions and how Putin’s regime might be approached. The conversation will be moderated by ASU’s Keith Brown.
Thursday, May 20 @10AM MDT:
Iran and US Security Policy in the Persian Gulf
In this CIR livestream, we welcome Gary Sick to explore current events in the Gulf, and provide an update on US-Iran relations. We’ll ask and answer four key, related questions: Why is Iran so tightly intertwined with US security interests in the Persian Gulf? Every American president since Carter has tried his hand at a variety of Iran policies; what worked and what didn’t? Is the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) worth all the attention it has received? Oil is no longer as important as it was in the past; how does that affect US policy?
Gary Sick is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. He served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. Sick is a captain (ret.) in the U.S. Navy, with service in the Persian Gulf, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. Moderating the discussion is new CIR Board Member, Jim Falk, who moderates all kinds of big-name foreign-policy folks on his regular television show, McQuistion TV.
Past Livestream Recordings
Thursday, May 13 – President Bukele: El Salvador’s Authoritarian Ruler? After his New Ideas party swept legislative elections in February 2021, President Nayib Bukele swiftly moved to eliminate all checks on his power. Mary Jo McConahay, a prize-winning author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker who covered the war in El Salvador moderates this discussion with Tim Muth, a US-trained lawyer and author of the blog, El Salvador Perspectives; Gabriel Labrador, an investigative journalist with El Faro, El Salvador’s award-winning digital newspaper; and Tiziano Breda, Analyst for Central America with the International Crisis Group.
Tuesday, May 11 – Assassins! Film and Panel Discussion Presented in partnership with: CCA – Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe. In the new film Assassins! the puzzling murder of Kim Jong-un’s brother in a Malaysian airport sparks a captivating investigation. At the center of the story, two women are on trial. Who are they? Fierce assassins or pawns in a twisted game? Their story goes far beyond the headlines, and in this online webinar, we hear from filmmaker Ryan White alongside Evans J. R. Revere, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies, and Robert R. King, Senior Advisor and Korea Chair for the Center for Strategic and International Studies—in a discussion moderated by Jacqueline Frank.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, May 6 – Afghanistan: Forever War? Though the United States will depart Afghanistan, the war will continue for the Afghan people. The Taliban, over a year after signing an agreement with the US, will pursue its aim of restoring an Islamic Emirate and peace talks with the Afghan government are going nowhere. Conflict rages across the country, while those who worked with the Americans and their allies are targets, hard-won progress for women is in doubt, and a real threat of civil war looms. Was President Biden’s decision to finally leave correct or should we have stayed? Tune in to hear Dr. Todd Greentree and Ambassador Vicki Huddleston discuss the consequence of one of Biden’s most consequential early decisions.
Watch the talk here.
Saturday, May 1 – The Next Generation and Protests in Chile Learn all about the 2019 youth-led protests in Chile. What were these protests all about? How and why did young protestors take to the streets of Chile to demand change? Included in this livestream will be a discussion on the legacy of Augusto Pinochet, forced disappearances, and the use of graffiti for political mobilization. Our featured guest Dr. Indira Palacios-Valladares received her MA and PhD in Political Science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she specialized in comparative politics with an emphasis on Latin America. She has published on issues pertaining Chilean labor politics and women’s social and political participation in Latin America. Dr. Palacios’ current research focuses on Latin-American student movements.
Watch the talk here.
Saturday, May 1 – Preventing Child Marriage in Yemen Yemeni human rights activist Nada Al-Ahdal will discuss her experiences of escaping two different child marriage pacts which her parents had arranged…at age 11. Shortly after escaping both marriages, Nada posted a YouTube video criticizing child marriage by sharing her story.The video quickly went viral and prompted international media coverage of Yemen’s continued practice of child marriage, resulting in this TEDx talk. Nada will talk about the current human rights situation in Yemen, and what we can do, as global citizens, to end child marriage.
Nada Al-Ahdal is a Yemeni human rights activist known for escaping two different child marriage arrangements. Through her influence, a law was passed in Yemen, criminalizing marriage for individuals under the age of 18. Among Nada’s numerous achievements, she was nominated for the 2018 Nobel Prize for Children and her autobiography, The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Against Child Marriage, was published in 2015.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, April 29 – Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control our Lives This is a fascinating philosophical discussion with the authors of the new book Mine!, Michael Heller and James Salzman. Remarkably, there are just six simple rules that everyone uses to claim everything. As Michael Heller and James Salzman show – in the spirited style of Freakonomics and Nudge – ownership is always up for grabs.
Michael Heller is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of Real Estate Law at Columbia Law School. He is the author of The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives.
James Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Law and the UCSB Bren School of the Environment. He is the author of Drinking Water: A History.
Saturday, April 24 – Reconciliation After Colonization: The Genocide Against U.S. Indigenous Communities In this livestream, Regis Pecos of the Santa Fe Indian School shares his views on reconciliation after colonization, particularly relating to the historic genocide against U.S. indigenous communities. How is this genocide taught in school? How can we promote and engage in more conversations on difficult topics at school, better using education as a tool to achieve reconciliation among communities?
Watch the talk here.
Saturday, April 24 – Justice After Mass Atrocity: Truth Commissions Around the World In the late twentieth century, tens of thousands were kidnapped, tortured, and killed during ethnic conflicts around the world, with devastated communities needing to recover and rebuild. South Africa, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia each suffered atrocities on a massive scale and each has implemented a different form of transitional justice to restore peace in their society—to varying degrees of success.
Barbara Mulvaney is an International Human Rights Attorney. She was a Senior Advisor for the Iraqi Inspector General and Bureau of Supreme Audit, and Deputy Director for Constitutional and Legislative Affairs with the United States Department of State from 2008-2012. She is a former Senior Prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, April 15 – Myanmar: Build Back Democratically?
Amb. Derek Mitchell leads a conversation on current events in Myanmar.
As the US ambassador to Myanmar (2012-2016), Amb. Mitchell responds to the recent crackdown in Myanmar, discusses prospects for Aung Suu Kyi, reviews the situation for the Rohingya, and frames Myanmar in a regional context. Several voices on the ground in Myanmar join the conversation.
Watch the talk here.
Wednesday, April 14 – Protecting Presidents: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome Meet Dr. Mary Beth Wilkas Janke—a former US Secret Service Agent who is now a forensic and clinical psychologist—who has traveled an extraordinary path as one of a small minority of women (9%) in the Secret Service in the early 1990s, and was the only female to ever officially protect a foreign president outside of the United States. She has gathered valuable insights into the level-headedness, self-confidence, and mental and physical toughness required to succeed in life. https://drmarybeth.com
Watch the talk here.
Friday, April 9 – Game of Thrones: Jordan Shakes the Middle East What just happened in Jordan? Was this indeed a government “nipping a coup in the bud,” an intra-family squabble, or signs of widespread discontent? What are the implications for Jordan’s government and for King Abdullah II — and just as importantly for the region itself? Dr. Todd Greentree, author, historian, and currently based in Amman, Jordan, leads the discussion with Dr. Emile Nakhleh, a research professor and director of National Security Programs at UNM.
Thursday, April 8 – The Russia Disruption 3: Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges With Putin Along with China, Putin’s Russia has emerged as the greatest challenge facing the Biden Administration. Cooperation with Beijing to frustrate America’s global leadership and exacerbate divisions within America by using both new technologies and established methods makes Putin’s Russia every bit as much a challenge as it was during the height of the Cold War. Dr. Fiona Hill, former National Security Council and National Intelligence official will discuss the threat and what must be done to confront it.
Moderating our discussion are Dr. Claire Sechler Merkel, who serves as Vice President of PCFR and Sr. Director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU; and David A. Merkel, Associate Fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Director, National Security Council and Senior Professional Staff on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Thursday, April 1 – The Dry Corridor: Climate Change’s Impact on Hunger in Central America – A program of the World Affairs Councils of America in partnership with World Food Program USA. Join our expert panel as we explore the impact of climate change in Central America, the state of food insecurity there, and how the U.N. World Food Programme and others are supporting communities and building resilience to climate shocks.
Chase Sova is Senior Director of Public Policy and Thought Leadership at World Food Program USA. Kate Milliken is the UN World Food Programme’s regional climate change adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean. Ambassador Carlos Fuller is the Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations in New York.
Thursday, March 25: Can Haiti Break its Cycle of Violence? Ambassador Luis Moreno welcomed former President Jean- Bertrand Aristide back to power in 1994 — and then put him on a flight out of the country ten years later. Today, Haiti is once again confronting another major crisis. President Jovenel Moïse is clinging to power, gangs ravage poor neighborhoods, murder and kidnapping has reached a new high. Why has Haiti been unable to provide a stable and democratic governance to its eleven million people? Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, who served with Luis as Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti from 1993-1995, interviews him.
Thursday, March 18: The Russia Disruption 2 –
Russia and America After TrumpRussia’s challenge to the U.S.-centered world order began before Donald Trump’s presidency, with the two nations locked for decades over their interests and values in the changing international system. Russia-US rivalry will continue to prevail — even if the U.S. is prepared to address some issues of mutual importance. Narrowing differences between the two nations will remain difficult until the transition to a new global order is completed.
Featured speaker Andrei P. Tsygankov is a Russian-born academic and author in the fields of international relations. He is currently a professor at San Francisco State University, where he teaches comparative, Russian, and international politics in the Political Science and International Relations departments. Tsygankov has written many books and published extensively in leading academic journals.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, March 11: The Voice of America – How the U.S. Promotes Truth in a World of Disinformation As disinformation plays an increasingly disruptive role in our political life, recall that the United States has been combatting disinformation overseas for decades. In fact, the Voice of America (VOA) was founded in 1942 to counter Nazi propaganda. We are pleased to welcome VOA White House Bureau Chief, Steve Herman to the CIR stage to explore VOA’’s role in countering falsehoods with truths by communicating in 40 languages to a weekly global audience of 280 million people.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, March 4: The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that governments matter again, that competent leadership is the difference between living and dying. A few governments proved adept at handling the crisis while many others failed. The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It (HarperVia, 2020) addresses these urgent questions. Journalists and longtime collaborators John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge identify the problems Western leaders face, and outline a detailed plan to help them become more vigilant, better prepared, and responsive to disruptive future events.
Wednesday, March 3: Red Line – The Unraveling of Syria and America’s Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the WorldWhen Syrian president Bashar al-Assad deployed chemical weapons against his own people in 2012, he crossed the “red line” drawn by President Obama. In Red Line, Joby Warrick draws on his original reporting to tell “a character-driven narrative” about how avoiding one catastrophe can unintentionally lead to another. Joby Warrick is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and national security reporter for The Washington Post.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, February 25: Local News: Democracy’s Hidden Infrastructure
Local news in the United States and around the world are in decline. As media increasingly becomes national and global, available at the click of a button, there are fewer resources available for the local journalists doing the hard work of holding the powerful accountable, connecting community, and creating a shared sense of identity. Three journalists discuss the intersection of their work with democracy and how the challenges facing local news contribute to global and local threats to democracy.
Karen Coates is an independent journalist who covers food, environment, health, and human rights globally. Jessica Onsurez is the award-winning News Director of the Carlsbad Current-Argus, Alamogordo Daily News and Ruidoso News and Rashad Mahmood (moderator) is the Co-Director of the New Mexico Local News Fund and 2021 John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow.
Watch the talk here.
Wednesday, February 24: The Russia Disruption: Assassination at Home and Abroad Russia stands accused of assassinating regime opponents at home and abroad in a campaign of terror and political repression. Alexei Navalny, one of President Putin’s fiercest and most creative critics, recently returned to Russia after narrowly surviving poisoning with Novichok, a military grade chemical weapon. Navalny’s immediate detention by Russian authorities and quick sentencing to prison has sparked protests across Russia resulting in thousands of arrests. Does his brave stance have a chance of succeeding in changing Russia’s authoritarian system, or will Putin’s crackdowns on protest and dissent again succeed in solidifying his grip?
Paul Kolbe, veteran CIA officer and executive with 25 years of service in the Directorate of Operations and led operations in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. He is currently the Director of the Intelligence Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Shaun Walker, foreign correspondent for The Guardian based in Budapest, spent more than a decade reporting from Moscow. His book The Long Hangover: Putin’s New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past was published by Oxford University Press in 2018.
Yevgenia M. Albats, Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author, and radio host, has been the Political Editor and then Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian language independent political weekly. She is also a Senior fellow at Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.
Watch the talk here.
Thursday, February 18: Weapons, Drugs, and Dirty Money: Mexico and the United States With the seemingly unstoppable flow of narcotics over the US-Mexico border, we hear from two experts on the weapons and the money laundering that underpin the drug trade – all against the context of the Trump administration’s shifting policies towards Mexico and the priorities for the Biden administration.
Michael S. Vigil, a 31-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and was a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). He served as the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Caribbean and San Diego Divisions. He was also the Chief of International Operations responsible for all offices worldwide, which included Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Alvan Romero, Retired IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent who specialized as an Undercover Operative in Money Laundering and in Financial Tax Fraud/Tax Evasion Federal Investigations.
Watch the video here.
Thursday, February 11: President Biden and the World: a View from Europe Former French and British ambassadors, Stéphane Gompertz and Robert Dewar, share their views on the critical tasks facing President Biden and our European partners. They believe that together we can seek solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the international order by renewing the United States’ alliance with Europe, the bedrock of the world order, basing our efforts on values such as human rights and equity across the globe.
Watch the video here.
Wednesday, February 10: The Rise of the Cognitive Ecosystem: Advantage Authoritarianism? Dr. Brad Allenby remarks that 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. The implications of this cognitive ecosystem range from increasing efficiency of technological systems, to disruption of urban infrastructure, fundamental disruptions of existing pluralistic governance systems and the geopolitical balance of power.
Dr. Brad Allenby is President’s Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, and of Law; Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics and co-chair of the Weaponized Narrative Initiative of the Center for the Future of War, at Arizona State University.
Watch the video here.
Thursday, February 4 @ 10am: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Major Religious, Economic, and Strategic Dynamics Despite Crown Prince Mohammed’s promise to return Saudi brand of Islam to a more tolerant era, the country has remained deeply intolerant, not only of non-Muslims, but of the country’s Shi’a population and other minorities. Shariah Law remains the law of the land and God’s “words” – as in the Quran – remain the state’s constitution. Zealous Wahhabi clerics oversee the country’s rule of law.
Leading this discussion is Dr. Ali Alyami, the Director of the DC-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CDHR) in Saudi Arabia. Moderating the discussion will be Dr. Emile Nakhleh, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico.
Watch the video here.
Tuesday, February 2 @ 11am: Cascading Conflict: What is the Science of Violence? Moderator Rachel Kleinfeld explores the “science of violence” with researchers from the Santa Fe Institute. David Krakauer, and 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. 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 Security. This event is co-hosted by the Santa Fe Council for International Relations and the Santa Fe Institute.
Watch the video here.
Thursday, January 28, 2021: President Biden’s Foreign Policy Priorities In this timely discussion, Dr. Todd Greentree summarizes the myriad foreign-policy challenges following President Trump’s tumultuous term of destruction. This webinar turns 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.
Thursday, January 21, 2021: 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. There have been many theories about who perpetrated the attacks and why. 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 leads the discussion.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021: The US on the Brink: Will our Democracy Weather Assault? In this special Pop-up Talk, we featured CIR all-stars Dr. Todd Greentree, Rich Moriarty, Chuck Case, and Amb. Vicki Huddleston, exploring the explosive national dynamic in the lead-up to the inauguration. Law-enforcement has arrested 100 suspects, but will this be enough to prevent attacks on state capitols — including Santa Fe? The future of soon-to-be former President Trump is in the hands of the Senate. What are the considerations for conviction or non-conviction? Will Trump self-pardon? How can we curb the rise of white supremacists, the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon, and other hate groups that have been fed by social media?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thursday, July 16, 2020: State 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020: Amb. Harry Thomas led the final session of Great Decisions 2020 on The Philippines and the United States.
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.
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?
Tuesday, May 5, 2020: Lynn Sanchez (of The Life Link) led this Great Decisions discussion on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
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.
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.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree on the Great Decisions discussion, “Artificial Intelligence and Data”
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?
Tuesday, April 21, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree leads this Great Decisions discussion on Red Sea Security.
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).
April 14, 2020: Dr. Todd Greentree leads this Great Decisions discussion on US Relations with the Northern Triangle.
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.
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?
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.