11/14/2010- “Cuba: What Now, What Next?” by Dr. Nelson Valdes, a leading American expert on Cuba, was born in that country in 1945 and arrived in the US as one of the 14,068 children brought here in what would later be called “Operation Peter Pan.” Dr. Valdez received his B.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of New Mexico. He taught at Glasgow University in 1972 and at the University of New Orleans from 1973 to 1976. From 1976 to 2008 he was a professor in the sociology department of UNM. He taught at Rollins College in 1991 and at Duke University in 2003 and 2004.
Dr. Valdez was the creator and founder of the Latin American Data Base at UNM (the first computerized data base on that region at any university) and served as its director for 16 years. Dr. Valdez began traveling to Cuba in 1977 and in 1978 was part of a delegation that negotiated the release of over 2000 prisoners from Cuban jails. He has organized over 40 research seminar tours to the island and in 2003 took 150 New Mexican business people to Cuba. He is the author of many works on Cuban history and politics. He has lectured in Cuba and is on the board of editors of the leading social and cultural science journal in Havana.
10/08/2010- The U.S. and NORTH KOREA: Dealing With Irrationality by Charles K. Armstrong, one of the world’s leading experts on North Korea, is The Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History and the Director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University. Professor Armstrong is the author or editor of several books, including The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell, 2003), Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (M.E. Sharpe, 2006), and The Koreas (Routledge, 2007). His next book, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950 – 1992, is due to be published in late 2011. Professor Armstrong holds a B.A. in Chinese Studies from Yale University, an M.A. in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. He has taught at Princeton, Seoul National University, and the University of Washington, and has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 1996.
09/17/2010 – Venezuela Hugo Chávez: The Cold War’s Revolutionary Son by Brian Nelson. Brian Nelson is a former Fulbright grantee to Venezuela and the author of The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup Against Chávez and the Making of Modern Venezuela, which was named one of the Best Books of 2009 by The Economist. His work on Venezuela has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Encylopaedia Britannica, The Southern Humanities Review and was the subject of a PEW Case Study for Georgetown University. Mr. Nelson lives in Baltimore and teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth.
08/29/2010- IRAN: Understanding Ahmadinejad and His Politics by Dr. Bahman Baktiari, Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. Before coming to University of Utah in 2009, he was the Director of the School of Policy and International Affairs at University of Maine. Prior to this, he served as Director of Research for William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce. He is the author of numerous works on Iran and the Middle East. His book-length study, “Iranian Society 30 Years after the Revolution: A Surprising Picture,” was published as a special issue of The Middle East Journal in the spring of 2009. Dr. Baktiari is a highly respected commentator on events in Iran. His opinion pieces have appeared in leading national publications and he has been interviewed on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN International, The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. During the 1999-2001 academic year, Dr. Baktiari was a Visiting Professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo.
08/19/2010- Drug Wars on the New Mexico Border – For Whom the Bell Tolls? by Secretary John Wheeler, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, New Mexico.
5/14/2010- “Nonproliferation” by Ambassador Bohlen, who served for 25 years as a career Foreign Service officer with the US Department of State, and was the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control (1999-2002) and Ambassador to Bulgaria (1996-1999). She also held several positions within the State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe in charge of Security Issues. Ambassador Avis Bohlen currently teaches at the Georgetown University. She will discuss, among other things, the unique role the diplomacy plays in working towards reducing the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia, and what possible limits to diplomacy exist vis-à-vis Iran.
4/18/2010- “Russia: Rising Ambitions, Growing Challenges” by Dr. Allen Lynch, Professor at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he teaches international relations and Russian studies. Between 1993-2008 he was Director of the University’s Center for Russian and East European Studies. He also served as Assistant Director of the Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1984 and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1977. Dr. Lynch has just completed an interpretive biography of Vladimir Putin, which is forthcoming (2010) from Potomac Books: “Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft”. His other major works include: How Russia is—Not—Ruled (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Does Russia Have a Democratic Future? (Foreign Policy Association, 1997); Europe from the Balkans to the Urals (Oxford University Press, 1996)—co-authored with Reneo Lukic; The Cold War Is Over—Again (Westview Press, 1992); The Soviet Study of International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 1987), winner of the Marshall Shulman Award for Best Book by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. Dr. Lynch has been a Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Graduate School for Social Science in Paris, and the Radio Free Europe Research Institute in Munich.
3/21/2010- “INDIA: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” by Dr. Stanley Wolpert, Professor Emeritus of South Asian History, University of California, Los Angeles, is the author of Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India (UCPress, 1962); Nine Hours To Rama (Random House & Hamish Hamilton, 1962); Morley and India, 1906-1910 (UCPress,1967); An Error of Judgement (Little, Brown, 1970); Roots of Confrontation in South Asia (Oxford UP, 1982); A New History of India (Oxford UP, ist ed.,1977; 8th edition, OUP, 2009); Jinnah of Pakistan (Oxford UP, 1984); Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh (Penguin, 1988); India (UCP, 1st ed. 1991; 4th ed, 2009); Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan (Oxford UP,1993); Nehru: A Tryst With Destiny (Oxford, 1996); Gandhi’s Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi (OUP,2001); Shameful Flight (OUP, 2006); and Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of India , 4 vols. (Thomson/Gale, 2005). His next book is now in production “India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?” (UCP, 2010).
3/3/2010 – “Yemen and Terrorism” by Dr. Emile Nakhleh, Former Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the Central Intelligence Agency. Understanding the challenges facing Yemen and the region will help our policymakers undermine al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, and Islamic radicalism. Dr. Nakhleh will outline the key challenges that often contribute to radicalism and terrorism (the same outline he gave to the US Senate in January 2010) – which include an authoritarian, corrupt regime, deep poverty, high unemployment, poor education, and active radical recruiters.
2/19/2010- “China: Menacing Monolith or Fragile Superpower?” by Dr. Charles Bergman. Dr. Bergman has taught Chinese to high-school students and adults for more than 15 years. He began his study of Chinese at Tunghai University in Taichung,Taiwan, while on a Henry Luce Foundation fellowship. He earned an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University. Currently a faculty member at Albuquerque Academy, Charles began teaching Chinese at Cate School in California, where he served for seven years as Asian Studies director.
1/22/2010 –Brazil: the “Good BRIC”? by Dr. Kathryn Hochstetler, CIGI Chair of Governance in the Americas in the Balsillie School of International Affairs, in Canada. She has co-authored a prize-winning book on Brazilian environmental politics, Greening Brazil, and written a number of articles on topics like the Mercosur free trade area and Brazilian civil society. She has spent several years living and researching in Brazil and its South American neighbors. She has also traveled in the other BRIC countries and is beginning new research on development strategies within the BRICs.