Lunch/Great Decisions Global Discussions 2019

LIVE STREAM FROM CALVIN COLLEGE

February 5 “State of the State Department”
Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, president of the American Foreign Service Association
The State Department has faced significant challenges recently, with senior positions left vacant and the manner of diplomatic engagements taking on a different tone. As president of the American Foreign Service Association and with 33 years of experience as a Foreign Service officer, Ambassador Stephenson is superbly qualified to assess the current State Department and explain why strong American global leadership depends on a strong U.S. Foreign Service.
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February 12: “Democracy on the Run: Dispatches from Eastern Europe”
Carol Schaeffer, freelance journalist
Illiberalism across the globe is on the rise. Perhaps most alarming is its rise in Europe, especially considering the weight of its 20th century history. Eastern European countries in particular are exhibiting a turn towards fascism both on the social level and that of the party politic. The turn towards global illiberalism may seem like a sudden shift, but to understand its origins (and its future), it is best to examine its prominence in Eastern European nations. A journalist whose work has been featured in¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ The Atlantic, The Nation, The Intercept and other news sources, Carol Schaeffer will discuss this growing trend.
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February 19: “Immigration Policy Beyond the Border”
Ambassador Jim Nealon, former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras
After serving as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Ambassador Nealon served as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security. He will address the root causes of migration from Central America, which has drawn attention by the media as Central American asylum seekers have traveled to the U.S. Mexico border. Ambassador Nealon will give us the greater context for migration and suggest a foreign policy that can address migration in the future.
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February 26: “A New Nuclear Arms Race?”
Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association
For the past 50 years, the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) has played a critical role in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing nuclear arsenals. Yet prospects for additional progress on U.S.-Russian arms control remain bleak, the Trump administration has split from key allies over the nuclear deal with Iran, and the denuclearization of North Korea remains uncertain. Kelsey Davenport, the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association assesses the possibility of a new nuclear arms race.
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March 5: “China-U.S. Trade War”
Amy Celico, Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG)
Amy Celico has decades of knowledge on China, serving in both the U.S. Department of Commerce and State Department before joining ASG. She now leads the firm’s China team in Washington, D.C. In her presentation, she’ll address the rapidly evolving and still uncertain path ahead for the U.S.—and for global businesses—working with China.
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March 12: “Life after the Arab Uprisings and the Islamic State”
Rania Abouzeid, author of No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria
Beirut-based award-winning journalist Rania Abouzeid has covered the Middle East and South Asia for well over fifteen years. She has covered events in Syria, from inside Syria, since 2011, despite being banned from entering the country and placed on the “wanted lists” of several intelligence directorates in Damascus.

Her first book, No Turning Back, recently listed by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 2018 and by the Financial Times as one of the Best Books of 2018, explains the tragedy of Syria’s war through the “dramatic stories of four young people seeking safety and freedom.” Listen as Abouzeid shares her ground-level take on a region roiled by the aftermath of the Arab uprisings and the rise and fall—but not disappearance—of the Islamic State group.
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March 19: “Global Cyber Threats”
Peter Jolliffe, FBI
As U.S. companies and academic institutions seek further global interaction and integration, they capitalize on opportunities to grow international trade, and to share ideas and culture. With these new opportunities are inherent risks, from the loss of intellectual property to illicit foreign influence. With an ever-growing level of connectedness, it is imperative to understand the motivations of foreign competitors, the objectives of foreign nations, and the means by which they could target U.S. institutions. Only then can we begin to construct a holistic defense to the threat. Special Agent Peter Jolliffe, who has worked for the Bureau for the last decade, will outline cyber risks and the work being done to minimize them.
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March 26: “Mexico and the U.S.: The Economic Ties that Bind”
Carlos Capistran, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, New York City
The U.S. and Mexico have a long, intertwined history, with both countries prominently featured in each other’s politics, economic policies, and history. Yet the relationship has been strained over the years. With new leadership in both countries, what does the future hold for this bilateral relationship? Carlos Capistran is the head of Canada and Mexico economics at Bank of America, and a frequent media commentator on finance and macroeconomics. He’ll reflect on the ways Mexico and the U.S. fit into a larger North American system and how we can develop policies that allow each country to thrive.

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