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 European Union: From Refugee Crisis To Migration Management

February 28, 2017

Renate Hahlen

Today, 65 million people are forcibly displaced as refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons worldwide. This figure, the highest number since the end of World War II, results from an increasing number of complex, large and protracted crises worldwide. In addition, many more people are on the move to escape poverty and seek a better life elsewhere.  The largest movements of migrants take place within and between developing countries, and most of the forcibly displaced end up in camps in developing countries. Such movements of the displaced, traditionally, have garnered little international attention.

However, that perception rapidly changed in 2014 when desperate Syrian and other refugees and migrants began to move towards the European Union (EU) in large and unprecedented numbers, by land and sea, and in unsafe conditions. Europe, the destination of choice, a continent of permeable borders, desperately struggled to handle the unparalleled situation.

Renate HalenDr. Renate Hahlen is minister counselor for development of the European Union Delegation in Washington, DC. The EU has moved rapidly to put order into uncontrolled inflows of people. Innovating practices, regulations and instruments in record time, the EU is addressing the internal and external dimensions of its new, desperate people on the move.

Minister Counselor Hahlen’s presentation is funded in part by the European Union and the Colorado European Union Center of Excellence (CEUCE) at Denver University and the EU Mission to the US.  She will also speak at the University of New Mexico’s International Studies Institute on February 27 and will address the Albuquerque Committee on Foreign Relations (ACFR) dinner, February 28. SFWAF members may attend at AFCR member prices. For more information please contact ACFR program chair Bob McGuire or 505-281-1108.

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


Annual Symposium 2017

World Order Under Threat: Protectionism, Nationalism and Extremism

April 24 – 25, 2017


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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