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A Special Showing of “America’s Diplomats”

June, 2016

This one hour documentary on June 23 from 12-2 explores the role of diplomacy in shaping American history and focuses on the people who have staffed our embassies, consulates and US Department of State throughout our history, what their lives are like and what they do.

This story begins with Benjamin Franklin and his mission to France so crucial in obtaining US independence and then highlights the diplomacy involved throughout this country’s development. The video includes events as recent as the negotiations for the Iran nuclear agreement. Along the way, it portrays sacrifices made by US diplomats – from Nairobi to Benghazi – as well as the triumphs.

“America’s Diplomats” is a one hour documentary produced by the Foreign Policy Association for screening on PBS this year.   It summarizes the contribution of diplomacy to the security and wellbeing of the nation providing a portrait of the US Foreign Service illustrating the responsibilities, achievements and challenges of US diplomacy and diplomats in the 21st Century.

This showing “America’s Diplomats” will conclude with a moderated discussion led by a special panel of American diplomats.

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Doomed to cooperate: How American and Russian nuclear scientists joined forces to avert some of the greatest post-Cold War Dangers

March 18, 2016 

Siegfried. S. Hecker: Professor at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation

Nuclear risks changed dramatically when the Soviet Union collapsed. Suddenly the world was threatened more by Russia’s weakness than its strength. Never before had a country with the capacity to destroy the world experienced such turmoil. The United States and much of the world was concerned about loose nukes, nuclear materials, loose nuclear experts and uncontrolled nuclear exports. Scientists and engineers at Los Alamos and other Dept. of Energy nuclear laboratories joined forces with those at the Russian nuclear weapon institutes for more than 20 years to avoid what looked like the perfect nuclear storm. Today’s strained relations between Washington and Moscow have curtailed that cooperation to the detriment of a safer world. This talk is a preview of the two-volume book to appear this spring.

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Africa’s Petroleum Boom: Blessing or Curse?

February 26, 2016 

Mark L. Asquino: US Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, 2012-15

Several Sub-Saharan African nations have been experiencing an unprecedented influx of riches as a result of the exportation abroad of their oil and gas.  Equatorial Guinea, where Mark Asquino was Ambassador until October, is the third largest petroleum Sub-Saharan producer today.  On the other side of the continent, the Sudan – where Ambassador Asquino previously served, is another.  The two top producers, however, are Nigeria and Angola which he will also discuss.  On the one hand, the riches accrued from petroleum exports have made these countries far wealthier than their wildest dreams.  On the other, money isn’t everything.  What are the pluses and minuses of Africa’s petroleum gold mine, who benefits, who loses and how best can these countries cope?

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The Iran Nuclear Deal: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Its Potential Ramifications

November 20, 2015

Cheryl Rofer, Former President of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security

On July 14, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the P5+1 (or E3+3) – the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. The agreement imposes strict controls on Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions imposed on Iran.

Implementation of the agreement is proceeding; Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency are working through the question of what work related to nuclear weapon development Iran may have done, to be capped by a United Nations Security Council resolution on December 15. Both Iran and the United States have completed their internal legislative processes related to the agreement, and October 18 was Adoption Day, when the agreement goes into effect. The next steps are for the P5+1 to develop conditional waivers to the sanctions and for Iran to meet a list of requirements for those waivers to go into effect. This is likely to be completed by spring or summer 2016.

The talk will cover the basics of the agreement and major objections to it.

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History, Identity, Democracy: A Framework for Understanding Israeli Politics

October 30, 2015

 Eytan Gilboa, Chair and Academic Director, The Israel Public Diplomacy Forum

What are the key characteristics of Israeli society that have affected the formation of the Israeli political system and political culture?  Professor Gilboa will offer insights into the Israeli political arena exploring such elements as political parties, elections, coalition government and representation for religious and ethnic minorities.  He will also address relations between the Israeli government, society, the Supreme Court and the mass media and explore the difficult issues that come from the delicate balance of power between them. (more…)

The Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean: Reasons and Repercussions

September 17, 2015

 Panayotis J. Tsakonas, Professor of International Relations, Security Studies and Foreign Policy Analysis at the Department of Mediterranean Studies, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece.

What are the repercussions of migration for the EU and in particular South European states? How has illegal migration unfolded in the broader Mediterranean region during the last decade and why has it reached crisis proportions?  How is the huge influx of migrants from war torn areas in the Middle East and Africa being perceived and dealt with by the European Union and its members, particularly those hardest hit—Greece, Italy, and Hungary—as well as their neighbors.  What is driving the huge increase, how is Europe coping, how are these unprecedented waves of human migration affecting European security and what can be done to deal with the influx?

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