The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum aims to broaden and deepen understanding of world affairs through small, interactive, professionally led sessions on international issues for a membership of informed individuals.

Next Program

The Middle East and US Foreign Policy Under Trump: What Has Changed?

October 30, 2017

Emile Nakhleh and Evelyn A. Early

President Trump’s first stop on his first overseas trip was to Saudi Arabia before proceeding on to Israel and Europe last May. During his meetings in Riyadh, he heaped praise on Saudi leadership and seemingly offered unqualified support for the Saudi led coalition in its war against Shia Islam in contrast to his predecessor’s more nuanced policies. Yet Trump quietly extended support for the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran thereafter. Middle East experts Emile Nakhleh and Evelyn Early will explore and discuss ramifications of these and other policy changes and challenges for the US in this crucial region in the short and long term.

Emile Nakhleh is a retired Senior Intelligence Service Officer, a Research Professor and Director of the newly launched Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico, a National Intelligence Council/IC Associate, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since retiring from the US Government in 2006, he has consulted on national security issues, particularly Islamic radicalization, terrorism, and the Arab states of the Middle East. He has published frequently on the “Arab Spring” in the Financial Times and the LobeLog blog. At the CIA, he was a senior analyst and director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program and of Regional Analysis in the Middle East. He holds a Ph.D. from the American University, Washington, D.C., in International Relations, an M.A. from Georgetown University in Political Science, and a B.A. from Saint John’s University, Minnesota, in Political Science. He is the author of numerous academic books and scholarly articles. He and his wife, Ilonka Lessnau Nakhleh, live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Evelyn A. Early,diplomat and anthropologist, served in the Senior Foreign Service and taught at the universities of Notre Dame, New Mexico, and Houston. Dr. Early’s postings were Khartoum, Rabat, Damascus and Prague. Stateside she was seconded as policy adviser and subject matter expert on popular Islam and pan-Arab media, to be Deputy Commandant of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base. She has conducted research in Lebanon on Shi’a voluntary associations; in Egypt on traditional urban women; and in Syria on political culture.

Her publications include: Baladi Women of Cairo: Playing with an Egg and a Stone, the co-edited Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East, so popular in university courses it is in the third edition, “Telepreachers and Talk Shows: The Fight over Egyptian Airwaves,” “Syrian Television Drama: Permitted Political Discourse,” “Fertility and Fate,” “Poetry and Pageants: Growing up in the Syrian Vanguard.” She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).

Annual Symposium 2017

[Past Event]

World Order Under Threat: Protectionism, Nationalism and Extremism

April 24 – 25, 2017

Dr. Patricia Kushlis, President, Santa Fe World Affairs Forum; Santa Fe Community College Representative; Javier Gonzales, Mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 2014, after serving two terms on the City Council. He was the first Hispanic President of the National Association of Counties; Robin Raphel, US Ambassador (rtd) to Tunisia and former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs; John Herbst, US Ambassador(rtd) (Uzbekistan and Ukraine), and Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council; Dr. Raul Gouvea, Professor, International Business and Latin American Management, Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico; Jerry Pacheco, Executive Director, International Business Accelerator, and international trade columnist & NAFTA specialist, The Albuquerque Journal; Dr. Fernando Lopez-Alves, Professor of Sociology, Global Studies and War & Conflict, University of California at Santa Barbara; Director of Global and International Studies, University of Salamanca; the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Politics, Business and Economics, CEMA, Buenos Aire; Dr. Joe Jupille, Associate Professor of Political Science and Faculty Research Associate of the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder; Mary Minow, Library Law Consultant; Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow, Harvard University; attorney and specialist on disinformation; Ray Rivera, Editor in Chief, Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.


The hope in the West for a peaceful world order following the collapse of the Soviet Union has given way in the last years to a stark new reality. The post-Cold War security order has broken down at the same time that we see the fraying of the internal order of most states worldwide. We are looking at growing fragmentation within both individual states and the global community while inequality, retrenchment, protectionism, nationalism, and ideological extremism are on the rise. Twenty-five years ago, we believed major warfare would be highly unlikely; today it is no longer unthinkable. The consequences of new technologies are unclear, and we already seem to be in the early stages of cyber warfare. Inequality of wealth in the West pales in the face of even greater inequalities in the former Communist states of Russia and China, and where that might lead is hard to gauge. The aging of populations in the developed world will put new strains on economic systems and on the young. Many Arab nations are growingly dysfunctional, while magnet states are erecting ever tougher barriers to immigration and the flow of peoples. The temptation to retrench into tribalistic tendencies like populism, economic protectionism, extreme nationalism and fundamentalist beliefs is hard to counter.

With the help of experts in some of these areas, the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum’s 2017 Symposium will discuss these issues in depth in an effort to explore solutions to this increasingly challenging situation. 

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