Dr. Beth Chalecki: Can We Hack the Climate? Should We? Geoengineering and International Security


Humanity is inadvertently changing the climate with our use of fossil fuels, and the effects range from severe droughts and deadly storms to agricultural failures and a melting Arctic. Mitigation agreements have been unsuccessful so far, with the repeated failure of international treaties like Paris and Kyoto. Adaptation will be necessary, but will cost possibly trillions of dollars and cause the dislocation of millions of people. What if we had a third path? Can we fix the problem with technology?

Dr. Beth Chalecki is a professor of international relations and global environmental politics at the University of Nebraska Omaha, and a non-resident research fellow at the Stimson Center. Her expertise lies in the areas of climate change and security, and the intersection of science & technology and IR. She was the Visiting Mellon Scholar for Environmental Studies at Goucher College, and has published over 20 books, articles, and book chapters on diverse topics such as climate change and Arctic security, environmental terrorism, climate change and international law, public perceptions of environmental issues, and water in outer space. She has also taught at Boston College, Boston University, California State University – Hayward and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and worked for think tanks and the governments of two countries. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, an M.Sc. in Environmental Geography from the University of Toronto, and an M.A. in International Affairs from Boston University.

Dr. Chalecki will highlight the national security threats that climate change poses, and talk about some climate modification techniques called geoengineering. Can we bounce sunlight out of the atmosphere before it has a chance to warm the earth? Can we pull CO2 and other greenhouse gases straight out of the air? And if we could do this, who gets to decide where to set the global thermostat?

Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow Hoover Institution, Stanford University


Larry Diamond is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. He is the author of numerous books on international democracy in to be published later this year on the global crisis of democracy.

Previously he was named Stanford’s “Teacher of the Year” for his teaching that “transcends political and ideological barriers”. Diamond is widely recognized as one of world’s leading experts on the subject of democracy.

David Soucie: Atrophy of Vigilance and Over-Reliance on technology in a hyper-technological world.

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David Soucie serves on the Board of Directors for the World Aviation Forum and is a recognized leader in Aerospace safety. A 35-year veteran of the aviation industry, and a former top FAA flight accident inspector who has systematically investigated, studied and analyzed hundreds of transportation accidents. He is a published author and is CNN’s International Safety Analyst andcontributor.

David speaks about the need to change the way world safety leaders, Corporations and influencers approach safety regulation and their own perspective of safety. He sees numerous examples of an atrophy of vigilance with regard to safety, including the behavior of some organizations representing airlines; the federal bureaucracy; the United Nation International Civil Aviation Organization; and the arrogance and unjustified self-confidence regarding current levels of airplane/airline and transportation safety. Soucie opines of a continuing disregard for the ongoing need to keep up with advancing technologies such as the Automated Cockpit and Artificial Intelligence. He emphasizes the urgency to looking beyond the comfort provided by the safety record enjoyed today and to produce effective anticipatory actions to control and avoid the hazards of tomorrow through concerted efforts to find lasting solutions as soon as possible.

An accomplished author with years of research and investigation experience, Soucie emphasizes, out of many thousands of safe flights, a flight gone wrong which could likely have been avoided. He is concerned about finding ways to avoid airplane disappearances, as expressed in his latest book, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - Why it Disappeared—and Why It’s Only a Matter of Time Before This Happens Again. David has developed an “accident cause algorithm” and vital plans forairplanes, such as black boxes with a longer transmission time . . . and much more.

David Soucie is a modern day crusader for millions of passengers and crews worldwide, as well as for the military.

He is an internationally recognized keynote speaker with a not-to-be-missed presentation for both civil and military aviators, transportation companies, passengers and crew members.

Richard W. Mueller, Former US Consul General to Hong Kong US-China Relations in Danger: A Call for Wise and Courageous Leaders

Richard W. Mueller was a 32-year career Foreign Service Officer, Class of Minister-Counselor. As a capstone to his career he served as American Consul General (Chief of Mission) in Hong Kong, 1993-96, in the formative years leading up to Hong Kong's return to the PRC. Previously he wa s Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State under Secretary George Schultz and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Secretary James Baker.

Earlier in his career he worked in the office of Secretary Kissinger where he met his wife, Claire. He specialized in Asian and Chinese affairs, serving in Canberra, the American Embassy in Saigon, Taiwan, Beijing in the 1970's, Hong Kong in the 1980's, and assignments in Washington relating to China and Asia. He retired in 1998 and subsequently was Director of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center and then for fifteen years served as Head of School of three schools, Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, Hong Kong International School, and Shanghai American School.

Richard serves on the board of trustees of the Chinese American International School in San Francisco and serves as an affiliate of the Denver University Korbel School's Center for China-US Cooperation. Richard and Claire moved from Shanghai to Golden, Colorado in 2016. They are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren in Golden and San Francisco."

Steve Clemons: King of the Hill, America Kicks Down Its Own Hill: US Foreign Policy in an America First Era

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Washington Editor at Large, The Atlantic and Senior Fellow, American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation

Steve Clemons is a Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, where he previously served as Executive Vice President. He is also publisher of the popular political blog, TheWashingtonNote.com. A specialist in U.S.-Asia policy and U.S. foreign policy matters as well as broad international economic and security affairs, Steve Clemons joined New America in May 1999 after serving as Executive Vice President of the Economic Strategy Institute. Mr. Clemons has also served as Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Jeff Bingaman and was the first Executive Director of the Nixon Center in Washington. In Los Angeles, Clemons served for seven years as the Executive Director of the Japan America Society of Southern California and co-founded the Japan Policy Research Institute. 

Steve Clemons writes frequently on foreign policy, defense, and international economic policy. His work has appeared in most of the major leading op-ed pages, journals, and magazines around the world. Clemons serves on the Board of Directors of the Citizens for Global Solutions Education Fund, the Starr Center for the American Experience at Washington College, and on the Clark Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Contemporary Issues at Dickinson College.

Thomas Countryman: US Foreign Policy at the Mid Point of the Trump Administration


Countryman served for 35 years as a member of the Foreign Service until January 2017, achieving the rank of minister-counselor, and served as acting undersecretary for arms control and international security, a position to which he was appointed Oct. 9, 2016. Appointed by President Obama in 2011, he simultaneously served as assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation, a position he had held since September 2011. As acting undersecretary, he advised the Secretary of State on arms control, nonproliferation, disarmament and political-military affairs.  

In January, 2017, while traveling to an international arms control conference, he was informed he had been relieved of all duties by President Trump. 

In the White House he was at the National Security Council he was responsible of for the area ranging from Morocco to Syria and was Ambassador Dennis Ross’s liaison with the White House. 

Countryman was elected to join the board of the Arms Control Association in June 2017. Since leaving government and joining the Association’s board, he has spoken on the Association’s concerns in interviews in The Guardian, Voice of America, CNN, and NBC News and has written for The Washington Post and other publications. 

Stephane Lessard, Consul General of Canada: Canada-U.S. Relations: Friends, Partners, Allies


Consul General Lessard has been in charge of the Canadian Consulate in Denver since August, 2016. In this position he represents the trade, economic and political interests of Canada in the Rocky Mountain West. Prior to his arrival in Denver he served in senior positions in Health Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and with Global Affaires Canada’s Global Partnership Program where he focused on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. 

Today Canada is at the center of attention in several areas critically important to the United States. Among them are the newly instituted tariffs, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a major human rights dispute with Saudi Arabia.

Consul General Lessard earned his BCL from the University of Montreal, his LLM in Air and Space Law from McGill University and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.

Chris Hill: North Korea, One of America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Challenges

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Ambassador Christopher Hill will discuss recent challenges as the United States attempts to deal with North Korea, including the nation’s development of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. Attention will be given, as well, to the role of South Korea and China in relations with North Korea. Analysis of the recent summit and political meetings will also be provided along with possible next steps.  He will share his insights into how the world community can address these nuclear threats.

Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 until 2009 during which he was also the head of the US delegation to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.  Earlier, He was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. 

Hill is four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq, April 2009 until August 2010.  Prior to Iraq, Previously he served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999).  He also served as a Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council, 1999-2000

Former Dean of Josef Korbel School for International Studies at the University of Denver, he now serves as Chief Advisor to the Chancellor for Global Engagement & Professor of the Practice in Diplomacy.

Ira Helfand: Is a post-nuclear world possible?

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 Ira Helfand, MD is co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, and he is co-founder and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, IPPNW’s US affiliate. He has published studies on the medical consequences of nuclear war in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the British Medical Journal, and has lectured widely in the United States, and in India, China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Israel, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, and throughout Europe on the health effects of nuclear weapons. He represented PSR and IPPNW at the Nobel ceremonies in Oslo in December 2009, honoring President Obama, and presented their new report, Nuclear Famine: One Billion People at Risk, at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago in April of 2012. A second edition was released in December of 2013.

Dr. Helfand was also a co-founder of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground- breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons".

Dr. Helfand was educated at Harvard College and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  He is a former chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine and president of the Medical Staff at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and currently practices as an internist and urgent care physician at Family Care Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge: the rest of the story.

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Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he teaches international political economy, international development, international security, and Asian security. Previously, he taught contemporary theories of political economy, Asian political economy, and how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development policy at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. 

He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, http://amzn.to/UXhoWc) and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, http://amzn.to/WkxCEf). He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia" based on his 2009 TED Talk and has appeared in several other documentaries. In 2015 he was named a 40 Under 40 Inspiring Professor by NerdWallet and in 2016 won the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Achievement Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Public Service by the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program. A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.

 Tenzin Dickie: Tibetan Stories of Homeland, Exile, and Diaspora


 Tenzin Dickie is a poet, writer and translator living in NYC. Her work has appeared in Cultural AnthropologyThe Washington Post online, Words Without Borders and Modern Poetry in Translation, among other places, and are forthcoming in The Tibet Reader by Duke University Press. She is editor of Old Demons, New Deities published by OR Books, which is the first English-language anthology of modern Tibetan fiction published in the west.

She is also editor of The Treasury of Lives, an online, open-access biographical encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia and the Himalayan Region. A 2014-2015 fellow of the American Literary Translators’ Association, she holds an MFA in Fiction and Literary Translation from Columbia University where she was a Hertog fellow, and a BA in English literature from Harvard University.

Born in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India where she lived till she was fourteen, her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, through the Tibetan Resettlement Program. After attending the local high school, she went on to study English and American literature at Harvard where she was President of the Harvard Students for a Free Tibet and features editor of the Harvard South Asian Journal. She then worked at the Office of Tibet, NY, as Special Assistant to the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas.

While doing her MFA in Fiction and Literary Translation at Columbia, she began to study and translate contemporary Tibetan poetry into English. As the Chinese Communist Party works to censor and suppress Tibetan language works, Dickie focuses on a group of established and emerging writers in and around Amdo and is happy to be a conduit in making their work available to the rest of the world. Her current translation project is Pema Bhum’s memoir of his teacher, Remembering Dorje Tsering. One of the rare Tibetan accounts of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, it’s the story of how Dorje Tsering saved the Tibetan language in his area of Rebkong, at a time when Tibetan could no longer be taught in schools, by teaching his students Mao Zedong Thought in Tibetan.


Trita Parsi: Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy

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Trita Parsi is an award winning author, speaker and founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. In 2013 he gave a very popular “TED” Talk.

His highly regarded books include Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press) for which he conducted more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers and was the silver medal winner of the 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the 2010 recipient of the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. His second book A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press) was selected by Foreign Affairs journal as the Best Book of 2012 on the Middle East.

His latest book - Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy (Yale University Press, 2017), about which he will be speaking - reveals the behind the scenes story to the historic nuclear deal with Iran.

Parsi was born in Iran but moved with his family at the age of four to Sweden in order to escape political repression in Iran. His father was an outspoken academic who was jailed by both Shah and later, the Ayatollah Khomeini. He moved to the United States as an adult and studied foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies where he received his Ph.D.

He has served as an adjunct professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, George Washington University and Georgetown University, as well as an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute and as a Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC.

Dr. Parsi is fluent in Persian/Farsi, English, and Swedish. His many articles on Middle East affairs have been published in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Jane's Intelligence Review, the Nation, The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and others. He is a frequent guest on CNN, PBS’s Newshour, NPR, the BBC, and Al Jazeera. 

David Firestein: China’s 19th People’s Congress: What are the Implications?


David Firestein is the founding Executive Director of the China Public Policy Center and Clinical Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas’s Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.

As CPPC chief, Firestein leads UT's institutional engagement with China and oversees innovative interdisciplinary research on China-related domestic and foreign policy topics. Prior to joining UT, Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the East West Institute; there, he led the Institute’s work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.

Professor Firestein has a decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two published Chinese-language best-sellers. Firestein speaks Chinese at the near-native level.

 Throughout his career, Firestein has played an active role advancing U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, scholarship and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation, and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict today  Firestein was also a principal architect of the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue.

Zachary Karabell: The Rise of World Populism


As a commentator, Karabell is a Contributing Editor for Politico. Previously he wrote “The Edgy Optimist” column for Slate, Reuters, and The Atlantic. He is a LinkedIn Influencer, a CNBC Contributor, a regular commentator on MSNBC, and was a Contributing Editor for The Daily Beast. He also contributes to such publications as The Washington Post, Wired, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Foreign Affairs.

Zachary Karabell is Head of Global Strategies at Envestnet, and is also President of River Twice Research. Previously, he was Executive Vice President, Chief Economist, and Head of Marketing at Fred Alger Management, a New York-based investment firm. 

Educated at Columbia, Oxford and Harvard, where he received his Ph.D., Karabell has taught at several leading universities, including Harvard and Dartmouth, and has written widely on economics, investing, history and international relations. His most recent book, The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World, was published by Simon & Schuster in February 2014. His next book will be a two-century history of money, power and the making of America using the storied firm Brown Brothers Harriman as the narrative arc, to be published by Penguin Press in 2018. He is the author of eleven previous books, including Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends On It (Simon & Schuster, 2009); and Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in the 21st Century and in 2003, the World Economic Forum designated him a "Global Leader for Tomorrow."

T. R. Reid


Reid, author of the critically acclaimed bestsellers “The Healing of America”, “The United States of Europe” and now, “A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System”  has been received with unparalleled enthusiasm at his several previous appearances before the CFWAC. He will give us thoughts on what works and what doesn’t as he compares and contrast the taxation systems of the world’s developed countries. His presentation is certain to be both controversial and entertaining.

“Reid takes us on a world tour of tax systems and the efforts to reform them. He approaches this most disliked specialty of the dismal science of economics with a wry voice and a light touch… a rich and sturdy fabric of facts presented in plain English.” The New York Times review of “A Fine Mess”.

“Mr. Reid’s underlying message of hope does not preclude an intensely satisfying quotient of moral outrage at the worst casualties of our system as it stands.” New York Times Review of Books about “The Healing of America”

TR Reid’s “The United States of Europe” nudges “… America Awake as a United Europe Takes the Stage”, New York Times


Ved Nanda: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq


 Professor Ved Nanda is significantly involved in the global international law community. He is Past President of the World Jurist Association and now its Honorary President. He is a former Vice President and counselor of the American Society of International Law, and a member of the advisory council of the United States Institute of Human Rights. He was formerly the United States Delegate and Vice-Chair of the Executive Council to the World Federation of the United Nations Associations in Geneva, and served on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Association-USA. 

Professor Nanda has been honored with numerous international and national law awards, including the “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building” from Soka Gakkai International and Morehouse College, the World Jurist Association “World Legal Scholar” award, and the United Nations Association Human Rights Award. He has received honorary doctorates from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan and from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India.

Professor Nanda is widely published. He has authored or co-authored 25 books in the various fields of international law, over 225 chapters and major law review articles. Professor Nanda has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Scholar at a number of universities in the United States and abroad. He is a regular opinion columnist for the Denver Post.

Dr. Robert Daly: US-China Relations after the American Election

Considered by many as one of the most articulate and concise interpreters of modern China to the western world, Robert Daly was named as the second director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center in August, 2013.  He came to the Wilson Center from the Maryland China Initiative at the University of Maryland.  Prior to that, he was American Director of the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing.  

Robert Daly began work in US-China relations as a diplomat, serving as Cultural Exchanges Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in the late 80s and early 90s.  After leaving the Foreign Service, he taught Chinese at Cornell University, worked on television and theater projects in China as a host, actor, and writer, and helped produce Chinese-language versions of Sesame Street and other Children’s Television Workshop programs.  During the same period, he directed the Syracuse University China Seminar and served as a commentator on Chinese affairs for CNN, the Voice of America, and Chinese television and radio stations.  Mr. Daly has testified before Congress on U.S.-China relations and has lectured at scores of Chinese and American institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the East-West Center, the Asia Society, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.  He has lived in China for 11 years and has interpreted for Chinese leaders, including Chinese president Jiang Zemin and vice president Li Yuanchao, and American leaders, including Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger.

Kirsti Kauppi: Finland: How a Small Country Punches Above its Weight in International Politics

Finland’s geopolitical location is one of the most interesting in the world. It is a Nordic country, a member of the European Union, and a close NATO partner with an 800 mile border with Russia. Now, as a centenarian, it is also one of the most successful countries in the world. 

Ms. Kirsti Kauppi became Ambassador of Finland to the United States in September 2015. Before that (2012-2015) she was Political Director (Director General for Political Affairs) at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki. In 2009-2012 Ambassador Kauppi served as Director General for Africa and the Middle East.

In 2005 she was appointed Ambassador of Finland to Austria and Permanent Representative to the UN-related international organizations located in Vienna. During her term in Vienna, Ambassador Kauppi also served for three years as the Finnish Governor in the IAEA Board of Governors, including vice-chair of the Board.

Ambassador Kauppi has also served in the Finnish Embassy in Berlin (2003-2005) as Deputy Chief of Mission (Minister). Her other foreign posts include Washington (1997-2000), the Finnish Permanent Mission to the EU in Brussels (1993- 1997) and Bangkok (1989-92),

In 2001-2003 she was head of EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy coordination in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki. This was after serving two years (2000-2001) as advisor to the State Secretary. Ambassador Kauppi was born in 1957 in Oulu, Northern Finland. She studied in the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and received her Master's degree in Economics in 1981. In 1983 she joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland where she has made her professional career since then. Ambassador Kauppi is, in addition to her native Finnish, fluent in English, Swedish, German and French. 

Special Program: no dinner scheduled.