Diana McDonald, Ph.D.
October 13, 2019
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is in the very heart of Europe, and was the crossroads and battleground for the tug of power on the continent. The city itself, was lauded as one of the most beautiful in the past. Beautiful castles, lakes and notable architecture constituted the city when the Nazis invaded the country in 1939. By 1944, after a lengthy siege and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the city had been utterly destroyed – over 85% of its buildings were ruined. Despite this devastation, the city was rebuilt, and the castles and Old Town area completely reconstructed in an extraordinary feat. Dr. McDonald will take us on a virtual tour of Warsaw’s past and present.
Jason Karaian, Global Finance Editor, Quartz
October 4, 2019
A business journalist’s view of the run-up to the Brexit referendum, the uncertain aftermath following the vote, the convoluted divorce negotiations before the UK’s official exit, and the uncertain transition period to a new relationship with the bloc it belonged to for more than 40 years. Has the promise of the “Leavers” been fulfilled? Have the warnings of the “Remainers” been realized? What lies ahead for the British economy, its trade relationships, geopolitical status, and much else besides?
Col. Christopher Costa, International Spy Museum
September 27, 2019
The Trump administration quietly undertook a range of counterterrorism efforts during its first year, allowing President Trump to rightfully claim at the State of the Union address in January 2018 that, under his administration, ISIS suffered substantial territorial loss to its physical caliphate. But, that’s not enough. Christopher Costa will update the terrorism challenge in light of policy choices, a new National Counterterrorism Strategy and international pressure on terrorist actors.
Pavlina Peskova Kalm, UNM
September 8, 2019
Prague is a historical jewel that offers a rich architectural heritage with many centuries of historic buildings, bridges, and parks. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is also the cultural and economic heart of the Czech Republic and, because of its geographic location, of Europe as well. Dr. Peskova will discuss some of the key historical moments that have made Prague such a fascinating city, both culturally and historically. She will also share some fun facts about Prague.
Dr. Robert Hitchcock, UNM
August 23, 2019
Africa, a continent of 54 countries, 3,600 ethnic groups, and over 7,700 languages, is ‘the cradle of humankind,’ the place where humans originated. It is the continent with the highest rates of urbanization and population growth and is a world leader in strategies for dealing with climate change. Sometimes seen as a continent in decline, Africa today is experiencing a significant renaissance – in diplomacy, the use of digital technologies and sustainable development. Dr. Hitchcock will address lessons from African including the unique ways that are being used to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).
Dr. Aroop Mangalik
August 11, 2019
India is unique, not only for its diverse cultures, but also for its turbulent politics, which Aroop Mangalik will explore in this lecture. After independence from Britain in 1947 and traumatic turmoil as the subcontinent was separated into Muslim Pakistan and secular India, the country settled into imperfect democracy under the India National Congress Party. Although 80 per cent of Indians remained locked in poverty, the middle class bloomed. But India’s Hindu majority, particularly those who had prospered, began to feel uneasy about the growing power of the Muslim minority. By 2014 a charismatic politician, Narendra Modi, fanned that unease into outright paranoia and became Prime Minister. All dissent was suppressed. Even the constitution, which explicitly declared that India was a secular state, is under attack. How did India’s leadership evolve to this state and what’s next?
Elizabeth Kistin Keller, Ph.D., Sandia National Labs
August 23, 2019 (Fri) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Albuquerque Journal Auditorium
7777 Jefferson NE
This lecture has been cancelled due to a schedule conflict with the speaker.
Abbas Akhil, NM House of Representatives
July 19, 2019
The roots of Islam in India can be traced to the 6th and 7th centuries along the Western coast to Arab traders and in the North to Turkic invaders and Persian conquerors who came later in the 12th and 14th centuries. The influence of Islam through these two separate routes took different forms. Abbas Akhil will focus on the spread of Islam through these two origins to eventually become the largest minority religion of 200 million in a dominantly Hindu country. He will explore the cultural and linguistic influences of Muslim culture, the complex political ramifications of the Muslim identity, the partition of India along religious lines in 1948 and the more recent rise of Hindu nationalism that lead to the overwhelming victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections last month.
Nicolasa Chavez, Curator, International Folk-Art Museum
July 14, 2019
Passionate, fiery, sensual, intense—these words describe flamenco’s highly expressive and distinctive dance and music. Nicolasa Chavez will explore the cultural roots and forces that allowed for its transformation from the caves of Andalusia to the cafés and theaters of Europe and New York and, inevitably, to the heart of New Mexico’s art scene. She will also discuss the popularity of flamenco around the world in such far away places as Argentina and Japan.
Jill Hruby, former President, Sandia National Labs
June 21, 2019
It is customary for a new US president to issue a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) within the first 18 months after taking office. President Trump followed this tradition with the release of his administration’s NPR in February 2018. This talk will focus on what is the same and what is different about this new nuclear policy and how it may stabilize or destabilize the behavior of other nuclear nation states. Finally, this talk will briefly address how Trump’s nuclear policy effects New Mexico.
Stephanie Walker, Ph.D., New Mexico State University
June 9, 2019
New Mexicans love chilies, but do we know everything about them? Chile peppers, members of the genus Capsicum, are native to the New World. After discovery of the crop by European explorers, chile peppers spread around the globe, were embraced by many disparate populations and incorporated into local cuisines. Different regions preferred different heat profiles and flavors, and specific preferences led to selection of unique varieties that contribute to the incredible diversity we see in chile peppers today. Stephanie Walker will explore the unique varieties of chile peppers grown in New Mexico and around the world.
Alex Vatanka, Middle East Institute
May 17, 2019
Under massive American sanctions, Iran is today faced with a long list of problems. And yet, there is a deep split among the Iranian people, and within the ruling elite, about the best way forward. The Trump administration’s Iran policy is disjointed, but Iran’s problems are overwhelmingly of its own making and go back to 1979 when the Islamist model was first born. The question is, can the Islamic Republic survive if it stays on the same course? Another question is whether Iran can depend on China to be “rescued” while under US sanctions?
Nandini Kuehn, Ph.D.
May 12, 2019
Commercially successful films from India which originated in Mumbai and are now called “Bollywood” have influenced movies like Slumdog Millionaire – but what makes Bollywood films so popular remains a mystery. Why do millions of Indians, and a growing number outside of India enjoy three-hour films with fantastic themes, non-stop songs and dances, and unbelievable plots? Nandini Kuehn will help us understand what defines these films and their success, and glimpse the emerging market for new, vibrant cinema in India.
Monika Ghattas, Ph.D.
April 14, 2019
Dr. Ghattas will take us on a virtual tour of Beirut, a city that is a polyglot mixture of East and West—in languages, food, and in many cultural nuances. She will focus on the city’s reputation as the gateway to the Middle East.
Douglas Wise, Senior Intelligence Officer
April 5, 2019
In the aftermath of the devastating attack on September 11th, 2001, the Nation came together and mounted a response which took the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan. CIA was tasked with developing, leading, and coordinating this effort. Fifteen days after 9/11 the first of several CIA teams landed in Afghanistan and, working with the forces of the Afghan Northern Alliance, began operations against al-Qaiida, the Taliban and the Afghan Army. This is the story of one of those teams; a team deployed to the far eastern side of Afghanistan in an isolated camp near Asadabad at the southern end of the Konar Valley along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Eighteen years later, US troops are still in Afghanistan. What’s happening? What are the prospects for the future?