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.

Annual Symposium 2018

April 9- 10, 2018

Values, Myths and Interests: Debating American Foreign Policy in an Unstable World

  Daniel Baer, Ambassador (rtd), Diplomat in Residence, Josef Korbel School of International Affairs, Denver University. US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2013-17); Michael Battle, US Ambassador (rtd) to the African Union, academic, university provost, military chaplain and most recently Executive Vice President/Provost at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (Overview);  Ralph Begleiter, founding Director of the Center for Political Communication, University of Delaware and former world affairs correspondent, CNN (media and social media); Beatrice Camp, Senior Foreign Service Officer (rtd) and former US Consul General Shanghai (Chinese values); Laura S.H. Holgate, Ambassador (rtd), Senior Nonresident Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Dr. Elizabeth Manak, South Asia and nonproliferation specialist, 30 year plus CIA officer and Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia in the National Intelligence Council (Islamic values); Dr. James L West,  Professor of History and Humanities. Middlebury College 1995-2011 (Russian values).


American foreign policy since World War II has relied upon soft power – the ability to influence others based on key human values. Since World War II, the US goal has been to project its image as a nation that is not only strong, but also “good,” drawing on the idea of American Exceptionalism to persuade others that the country is the “shining city on the hill” and a democratic “beacon of freedom” in a troubled world.

Yet U.S. foreign policy has also been guided by national self-interest. This pursuit has at times conflicted with our aspirations and led to less than admirable policies implemented through counter-productive means that diminished America’s standing in the world.

Today a debate over fundamental values rages within the U.S. and abroad. The world’s view of America is no longer favorable. Forty-nine percent of the globe views the United States and President Trump’s “America First” slogan unfavorably. Yet Americans themselves are still admired by fifty-nine percent according to that same Pew “gold standard” poll of international opinion. Can we change this increasingly negative view of our country overall, or if not, will it spread to individual Americans? What can we do to regain the world’s trust?

Barack Obama’s 2008 election was a source of hope at home and overseas. While his administration fell short of expectations, the U.S. did regain and retain much of the international community’s respect. But in the past year, many question if the United States’ foreign policy is guided by its aspirational values.

Are there fundamental human values that all nations and cultures can agree upon or are they idiosyncratic? How are such values interpreted in U.N. documents and organizations of which the U.S. was an instrumental drafter?

Many American aspirational values are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Do democracy, human rights, the rejection of tyranny, equality for all, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, constitutional government, freedom of the press and worship continue to call for respect domestically and internationally? How can we maintain a free media but deal with concerted efforts to undermine this bedrock of democracy? What about the value and importance of scientific inquiry, which has underpinned economic, health, national security, educational, social and technological foundations of the American success story since before the founding of the Republic?

Finally, can America still be influential on the international stage, or have we yielded that role to others through an “America First” form of isolationism that has diminished US stature with allies to the delight of our competitors and adversaries? What options do we have to navigate today’s unstable world?

Symposium Schedule

Jemez Rooms 231-2

9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30-10:00 Welcome

Dr. Cecilia Cervantes, SFCC Interim President, Welcome on behalf of Santa Fe Community College

The Honorable Alan Webber, Mayor of Santa Fe, Welcome on behalf of the City of Santa Fe

Dr. Patricia Kushlis, Welcome and Opening Remarks on behalf of the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, President

10:00-11:30 Michael Battle, US Ambassador (rtd), The Significance of Multilateral Diplomacy Strengthening Ties with Regional and Continental Organizations: Can US foreign policy be effectively based on isolationism and rational nationalism?

11:30-11:45 Coffee Break

11:45-1:15  Ralph Begleiter, Global Media and International Politics

1:15-2:00  Buffet Lunch

2:00-3:15  Daniel Baer, US Ambassador (rtd) Diplomat in Residence Korbel School, Denver University, The Crisis of American Liberalism is a European Crisis too

3:15-3:30  Coffee Break

3:30-4:45  Dr. Elizabeth Manak, Muslim Values: Political Islam vs. Islamism

 4:45-5:45 Meet the Speakers Reception, SFCC Board Room, Rm #223

SFCC Lecture Hall – Rm #216

9:00 – 9:15 Registration

9:15 – Welcome, Dr. Patricia H Kushlis, President Santa Fe World Affairs Forum

9:15- 10:45 Laura S H Holgate, US Ambassador (rtd) Science and Leadership in American Foreign Policy

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-11:45  What ‘They’ Think of Us and Why It Matters,” Foreign Student Panel Discussion chaired by Ralph Begleiter with students from the University of New Mexico, UWC-USA, New Mexico Highlands University and the Santa Fe Community College

11:45-12:30 Buffet Lunch

12:30 – 2:00 Beatrice Camp, “US-China Relations and the Art of the Deal”

2:00- 3:30  Dr. James West, Russia, “Up Off Our Knees:  The Search for a Usable Past for Russia’s Resurgence”

3:30- 3:40 Closing Remarks – Dr. Patricia H Kushlis

The Speakers

Daniel Baer
Daniel BaerAmbassador (rtd), Diplomat in Residence, Josef Korbel School of International Affairs, Denver University. US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2013-17)
Topic: “European Values”

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Michael Battle
Michael BattleUS Ambassador (rtd)
Topic: “Overview”

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Ralph Begleiter
Ralph BegleiterWorld Affair Correspondent
Topic: “Media & Social Media”

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Beatrice Camp
Beatrice CampSenior Foreign Service Officer (rtd)
Topic: “Chinese Values”

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Laura S. H. Holgate
Laura S. H. HolgateAmbassador (rtd), Senior Nonresident Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Topic: “Scientific Inquiry”

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Dr. Elizabeth Manak
Dr. Elizabeth ManakSouth Asia and Nonproliferation Specialist
Topic: “Islamic Values”

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Dr. James L West
Dr. James L WestSpecialist in Pre-Revolutionary Russian Society
Topic: “Russian Values”

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Cosponsors and Partners

Colorado European Center of Excellence (CEUCE)
Santa Fe Community College (SFCC)
The European Union
World Affairs Council of Albuquerque


American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), Washington, DC
American Association of University Women – Santa Fe Chapter
Fulbright Association of New Mexico
Global Ties – ABQ
New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU)
PDAA: Association for Public Diplomacy Professionals, Washington, DC
Public Diplomacy Council (PDC), Washington, DC
Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI)
School for Advanced Research (SAR)
United World College (UWC-USA)
University of New Mexico – International Studies Institute (UNM-ISI)
Veterans for Peace the Albuquerque Chapter #63

Judith and Bill Alger
AAUW-Santa Fe Chapter
Colorado European Union Center of Excellence
David Douglas
Steve Irsik
Viola and Tom Harrison
Steve Kerchoff
Patricia Kushlis
Arvid and Mary Jo Lundy

Student Scholarship Sponsors

Jane Abbott
American Foreign Service Association, Washington DC
Deborah Cornelius
Evelyn Early
Viola and Tom Harrison
Patricia and Richard Hawkins
International Studies Institute, University of New Mexico
New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
Public Diplomacy Council, Washington, DC
PDAA: Association for Public Diplomacy Professionals, Washington, DC
UWC/USA, Las Vegas, NM


April 9 & 10
Members:  $95
Non-Members: $120
Students: $60


April 9 Only
Members & Nonmembers: $75


April 10 Only
Members & Nonmembers: $65

Register for the Symposium:

Symposium 2018 Price List


Santa Fe Community College – Jemez Room

From Rodeo Road turn south onto Richards Avenue. At the third roundabout turn into the campus main drive.
The Visitors Parking Lot is to the right as you enter the campus via Richards Ave. (Handicap parking spaces are in the lot to the left.) Enter the administrative building to the left through the courtyard behind the poles flying the US and New Mexico flags. Walk to the end of the main corridor. The Jemez Rooms are next to the cafeteria, before you reach the bookstore.