Recent speakers and topics

  • Amb. Vicki HuddlestonCuba
  • Amb. Kristie Kenney“The View from Washington: Foreign Policy Opportunities and Challenges”
  • Sir Lawrence FreedmanHow to Think about Future Wars
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman“Meeting our Energy and Climate Change Challenges”

Special Program: Moderated Discussion of “Outside the Margins: The Blue Book on The Global Refugee Crisis”


The Program: Produced by the International Business Students Global of the University of New Mexico, “Outside the Margins, The Blue Book on The Global Refugee Crisis” offers a comprehensive guide for everybody to approach the issue of the global refugee crisis. The book will be discussed by two of its authors, Claire Stasiewicz and Sonny Christopher Haquani and the discussion will be led by Brianne Riggin-Pathak, MPH.

Moderator: Brianne Riggin-Pathak, MPH is a Principal at Qual and Quant Analytics. Her expertise is in qualitative analysis and cross cultural studies, especially those that involve the Middle East and Africa. She has studied conflicts and integration. She holds a Masters in International Public Health and Development from Tulane University and a Bachelors in African and African-American Studies from the University of Kansas. She is a member of both the World Affairs Council of Albuquerque and American Public Health Association.

Author: Sonny Christopher Haquanik is the executive editor and contributing author to Outside the Margins and a UNM undergraduate student studying Political Science and International Studies.

Author: Claire Stasiewicz is an editor and contributing author to Outside the Margins. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at UNM’s Anderson School of Management.

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Exceptional Service in the National Interest

69th Program Year – Tenth Meeting


The Program: “The Perfect Tragedy: A Secret Intelligence Perspective on the Assassination of President Kennedy” In the highly emotional period following the tragic 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, speculation that the Soviet KGB and/or the Cuban DGI intelligence services had, at one time or another, clandestine operational relationships with the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was suppressed by Soviet and Cuban as well as American authorities. Had the authorities not done so, the situation could have spun out of control and a nuclear holocaust might well have resulted. As more and more information has been revealed, the existence of separate KGB and DGI operational relationships with Oswald is obvious for anyone to see. This talk provides a straightforward explanation of what probably happened between Oswald, the Soviet KGB and the Cuban DGI based on widely-accepted historical facts.

Presenter: Bruce Held was Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy as well as Acting Undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security during 2013-2014 with oversight responsibility for America’s nuclear weapons complex, including Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Prior to the Energy Department, Bruce served three decades as a CIA clandestine operations officer, including tours as a CIA Chief of Station in Asia, Latin America, and Africa as well as Special Assistant to CIA Director George Tenet. He received the CIA Intelligence Commendation Medal for “tenacity and extraordinary accomplishments during a period of hostilities.” Bruce is the author of “A Spy’s Guide to the Kennedy Assassination” as well as “A Spy’s Guide to Santa Fe and Albuquerque”.

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69th Program Year – Ninth Meeting


The Program: “Global Media & International Politics” The revolution in media technology has unleashed a worldwide storm of information about the United States and democracy, shaping global public opinion about the U.S. in new and challenging ways. It has also unleashed information manipulation tools being used by both friends and adversaries of the U.S. Former CNN world affairs correspondent Ralph Begleiter explores the implications of the new media environment for American foreign policy.

Presenter: During two decades as CNN’s “world affairs correspondent,” Ralph Begleiter was the network’s most widely-traveled reporter, covering five U.S. Secretaries of State and three Presidents. During the 1980s and 1990s, when CNN was the world’s only global, all-news television channel, he covered U.S. diplomacy, interviewed countless world leaders, hosted the public affairs program “Global View,” and co-anchored CNN’s “International Hour.” Later, he hosted the nationally broadcast PBS program “Great Decisions.” He has worked in 100 countries on all 7 continents, including taking university students to Cuba, South America, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Antarctica. At the invitation of the U.S. government, Begleiter has taught journalists in Cambodia, Thailand, Jordan, Syria and Taiwan, and has taught media-related classes for employees of the U.S. National Security Agency. During nearly two decades at the University of Delaware, he was founding Director of the Center for Political Communication and brought more than 30 years of broadcast journalism experience to his award-winning instruction in communication, journalism, and political science. In 2004-5, Begleiter successfully used the Freedom of Information Act in the United States to prompt public release of hundreds of photos taken by the U.S. government of fallen American soldiers returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq in flag-draped caskets. The ban on visibility of returning casualties was lifted by the Pentagon in 2009. For this effort, in 2012 Common Cause of Delaware honored Begleiter with its John Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award.

He frequently speaks to civic and community organizations, international affairs groups, universities and military institutions worldwide, including World Affairs Councils, the National Defense University, the Freedom Forum, Britain’s Royal College of Defense Studies, U.S. military academies and embassy policy groups.

He holds an Honors B.A. in political science from Brown University, an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa.

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69th Program Year – Eighth Meeting


The Program: “Diplomacy in the Digital Age” How has the practice of diplomacy changed with changing technologies? How do advanced technologies facilitate or complicate diplomacy What knowledge and skills do aspiring diplomats need to develop in the digital age?

Presenter: Ambassador Mike Hammer is Acting Senior Vice President of the National Defense University (NDU). He previously served as the Deputy Commandant of NDU’s Eisenhower School and Vice Chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service class of Minister- Counselor, he began his diplomatic career in 1988 and most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Chile. His overseas postings include Bolivia, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. He has held positions as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director for Press and Communications, National Security Council Spokesman, and Director of Andean Affairs. He is the recipient of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Department’s Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy, among other honors. Ambassador Hammer grew up in Latin America, living in Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and from the National War College at the National Defense University.

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69th Program Year – Seventh Meeting


The Program: “The Middle East and US Policy: A Status Report on On-Going Conflicts” As we look at the Middle East today, we witness a horrific war in Yemen, civil wars and ethnic and sectarian strife in Syria and elsewhere, and popular unrest in Iran and other countries. The threat of war in the Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran and in the Levant involving Israel, Hizbollah and Syria is higher than than at any time in the past decade. Tension is also rising between Israel and the Palestinians over Israel’s continued occupation, the status of Jerusalem, and the envisioned two-state solution. The lecture will offer a status report on the latest developments in the region and the diminishing role of American diplomacy and the ensuing vacuum. How all of these developments in the post-ISIS will impact US national security will also be examined.

Presenter: Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh is a retired Senior Intelligence Service Officer (SIS-3), a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico, a National Intelligence Council/IC Associate, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since retiring from the US Government in 2006, he has consulted on national security issues, particularly Islamic radicalization, terrorism, and the Arab states of the Middle East. He has published frequently on the “Arab Spring” in the Financial Times, the LobeLog blog, and The Cipher Brief. At CIA, he was a senior analyst and director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program and of Regional Analysis in the Middle East. Fluency in Arabic: 5,5,5. He was awarded several senior commendations and distinguished medals for his service, including the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and the Director’s Medal.

Prior to his government service, Dr. Nakhleh was a Professor of Political Science and International Studies and a Department Chair at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. His research and publications have focused on political Islam and Muslim world engagement, Islamic radicalization and terrorism in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world; governance in the greater Middle East; and US policy toward the Middle East and the Muslim world. He holds a Ph.D. from the American University, Washington, D.C., in International Relations, an M.A. from Georgetown University in Political Science, and a B.A. from Saint John’s University, Minnesota, in Political Science.

He is the author of numerous academic books and scholarly articles including A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World (Princeton University Press, 2009); Bahrain: Political Development in a Modernizing Society (Lexington Books, 2011; originally published in 1976 and translated into Arabic in 2006); “Intelligence Sharing and Co-operation: Opportunities and Pitfalls,” in Steve Tsang, ed., Combating Transnational Terrorism: Searching for a New Paradigm (Praeger, 2009); and “Moderates Redefined: How to Deal with Political Islam” and “Propaganda and Power in the Middle East,” Current History (December 2009 and 2013). Dr. Nakhleh’s previous publications include: The Gulf Cooperation Council: Policies, Problems, and Prospects (Praeger, 1986); The Persian Gulf and American Policy (Praeger, 1982); Arab-American Relations in the Persian Gulf (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1975); and The West Bank and Gaza: Toward the Making of a Palestinian State (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1975). In 2009 Dr. Nakhleh served on The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Task Force on “Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy” and participated in the writing of the Task Force report titled Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy (The Chicago Council, 2010).

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69th Program Year – Sixth Meeting


The Program: “The United States and the Americas: a View from Washington” The Americas are changing. Hopeful indicators are mixed with real challenges, both political and economic, including the collapse of Venezuela. Across the region, citizens’ expectations have grown significantly as economies have expanded, while a generation of democratic reforms has provided the means to register demands and affect governance. After this years round of elections in major economies, the region may look quite different. Meanwhile, the United States under the Trump Administration is emphasizing border security and economic nationalism, among other issues, even as China and other nations expand their reach into the hemisphere.

Presenter: Eric Farnsworth has led the Washington office of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society since 2003, during which time the stature and influence of the organization has grown significantly. He has played an important thought leadership and advocacy role across the broad range of issues affecting U.S. relations with the Western Hemisphere, including economic development, trade, and energy; Asia-Latin American relations and broader BRICS and global governance issues; security; and democracy.

Farnsworth began his career in Washington with the U.S. Department of State after obtaining an MPA in international relations from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. During his time in government he served in positions of increasing responsibility in the foreign policy and trade communities, from Western Hemisphere Affairs at State to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, culminating in a three and a half year appointment as the senior advisor to the White House special envoy for the Americas. In this capacity he played an important role in developing and implementing the Clinton administration’s policies toward the Western Hemisphere.

In between his government and nonprofit experiences, Farnsworth was managing director of ManattJones Global Strategies, a Washington and Los Angeles-based advisory and strategic consulting group. While there, he worked successfully to advance client interests particularly in the agriculture, auto, and technology sectors. Before coming to Washington he also worked in the global public policy division of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and in the U.S. Senate with Sam Nunn (D-GA) and the U.S. House of Representatives with John Edward Porter (R-IL). He also worked briefly at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Eric Farnsworth is a Truman Scholar, an alumnus of the Leadership America, Young Leaders of the (NATO) Alliance, and the U.S.-Spain Young Leaders programs, and has participated by invitation on programs with the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Carter Center, and the German Marshall Fund, among others. Previously he served as president of the Western Hemisphere Committee of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and a board member of Princeton in Latin America (PiLA). In 2016 he was decorated by the king and ambassador of Spain for his work to promote bilateral and regional relations.

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69th Program Year – Fifth Meeting


The Program: “Meeting Our Energy and Climate Change Challenges” The challenges of providing for our energy needs and confronting the threat of climate change in the global energy environment must be addressed together. The talk will address both the problems and opportunities involved in doing so.

Presenter: Senator Jeff Bingaman He grew up in the southwestern New Mexico community of Silver City. His father was a chemistry professor and chair of the science department at Western New Mexico University. His mother taught in the public schools. After graduating from Western (now Silver) High School in 1961, Jeff attended Harvard University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government in 1965.

He then entered Stanford Law School where he met, and later married, fellow law student Anne Kovacovich. Upon earning his law degree from Stanford in 1968, Jeff and Anne returned to New Mexico. They have one son, John. After law school Jeff spent one year as an assistant attorney general and eight years in private law practice in Santa Fe. Jeff was elected Attorney General of New Mexico in 1978 and served four years in that position.

In 1982 he was elected to the United States Senate. He was re-elected to a fifth term in the Senate in 2006. At the end of that term he chose not to seek re-election and completed his service in the Senate on January 3, 2013. At the time of his retirement from the Senate he was Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He also served on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Joint Economic Committee. In April of 2013 he began a year as a Distinguished Fellow with the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford Law School. In 2015 he taught a seminar on the functioning of Congress in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico.

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Special Program: Documentary Film Screening & Panel Discussion


The Program: “America’s Diplomats”
Produced by the Foreign Policy Association, “America’s Diplomats” takes you inside the Foreign Service and behind the scenes of US Foreign Policy. It describes the important role that our diplomats play in shaping American history. The film is followed by commentary and discussion with our expert panel, including Ambassador William H. Itoh, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston and Mr. Ken Chavez, Diplomat in Residence at the University of New Mexico.

Panel: Ambassador William H. Itoh served as U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council at the White House. His overseas tours also included the U.S. Embassy in London and as U.S. Consul General in Perth, Western Australia. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a BA & MA in History.

Panel: Ambassador Vicki Huddleston served as U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar, U.S. Ambassador to Mali, and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to Ethiopia. She also served as Principal Officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti. She earned a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from the University of Colorado.

Panel: Ken Chavez is the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence at UNM. He joined the Foreign Service in 2004 and was most recently the Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. Ken attended the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing.

69th Program Year – Fourth Meeting


The Program: “The Rise of Erdogan: The Crisis of Turkey.” Since the failed coup of July 2016, Turkey’s authoritarian slide has intensified. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used his post–coup State of Emergency powers to crack down not only on putschists, but a wide group of opposition factions from seculars to liberals to leftists, and Kurdish nationalists. Accordingly, Turkey is now divided into two blocks: a mostly conservative half (many members of which Erdogan has lifted out of poverty in the last decade) that adores him, and a mostly leftist half that loathes him.

Presenter: Dr. Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.–Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Jane’s Defense Weekly, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic, New Republic, and Newsweek Türkiye. He has been a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest and most influential English–language paper, and a contributor to CNN’s Global Public Square blog. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, BBC, and CNN–Turk.

A historian by training, Dr. Cagaptay wrote his doctoral dissertation at Yale University (2003) on Turkish nationalism. Dr. Cagaptay has taught courses at Yale, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. His spring 2003 course on modern Turkish history was the first offered by Yale in three decades. From 2006–2007, he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Dr. Cagaptay is the recipient of numerous honors, grants, and chairs, among them the Smith–Richardson, Mellon, Rice, and Leylan fellowships, as well as the Ertegun chair at Princeton. He has also served on contract as chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. In 2012 he was named an American Turkish Society Young Society Leader.

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Exceptional Service in the National Interest

69th Program Year – Second Meeting

The Program: “The View from Washington: Foreign Policy Opportunities and Challenges” Ambassador Kenney will review the key foreign policy challenges facing the Trump Administration and discuss policy approaches under consideration. She will also highlight the inter-agency dynamics in Washington and how they affect policy formulation.

Ambassador Kristie KenneyPresenter: Ambassador Kristie Kenney holds the State Department’s highest diplomatic rank of Career Ambassador. Over her 30-year career, she has represented the United States abroad as Ambassador three times and served in senior positions at the State Department and the White House.

Ambassador Kenney served as the 32nd Counselor of the State Department, the Departments fifth ranking official position and on behalf of Secretary Kerry, led delegations to Latin America and Asia. As Ambassador to Thailand from 2011-2014, Ambassador Kenney was the first female to head U.S.Embassy Bangkok, one of the United States largest diplomatic missions with over 3,000 staff. She was the Ambassador to the Philippines from 2006-2010, the first woman to hold that post. She coordinated U.S. military and development assistance over multiple natural disasters. During this and subsequent assignments, she pioneered use of social media by U.S. Ambassadors to connect with diverse and dynamic foreign audiences. Earlier, she served as Ambassador to Ecuador where she advanced U.S. business and security interests in Latin America.

Ambassador Kenney holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a Master’s degree from Tulane University. She also attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. She speaks Spanish and French, as well as some Thai and Tagalog. She is married to Ambassador William Brownfield. When not rooting for Washington area sports teams, Ambassador Kenney enjoys travel, skiing, and connecting with social media friends around the world.

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69th Program Year – Third Meeting


The Program: “How To Think About Future Wars” Thinking about future wars is bound up with current policy debates. A better future comes with the right policy choices. For example, Graham Allison sets out how dangerous the situation with China could become if his ideas for improving relations are not accepted. It is also bound up with past experience. The reason surprise attacks loom so large in US thinking is because of Pearl Harbor, although this case should also warn of the folly of gambling everything on a first blow. The fixation with surprise attacks is also encouraged by fascination with new technologies. This comes together in expectations that future wars will start with a devastating cyber–attack that will cripple critical infrastructure yet the reality of modern war is one of conflicts without clear beginnings and ends, in which first blows are rarely decisive.

Lawrence FreedmanPresenter: Lawrence Freedman was Professor of War Studies at King’s College London from 1982 to 2014, and was Vice–Principal from 2003 to 2013. He was educated at Whitley Bay Grammar School and the Universities of Manchester, York and Oxford. Before joining King’s he held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, IISS and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG (Knight Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2003. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War.

Lawrence Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. Among his books are Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (2000), The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (3rd edition 2004), Deterrence (2005), the two volume Official History of the Falklands Campaign (second edition 2007) and an Adelphi Paper on The Transformation in Strategic Affairs (2004). A Choice of Enemies: America confronts the Middle East, won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature. His most recent book is Strategy: A History (2013) was awarded the W J. McKenzie Book Prize by the Political Studies association.

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Exceptional Service in the National Interest

69th Program Year – First Meeting


The Program: “Cuba: Myths, Lies and Contradictions” Until President Obama’s opening to Cuba, powerful Cuban lobbies controlled U.S. policy toward the island. President Trump’s Cuba policy reversed Obama’s opening, returning our Cuba policy to a small clique of conservative Cuban Americans. The possibility of a normal relationship between our countries has evaporated, leaving key issues which bedevil our relationship—the embargo, Guantanamo Base, and settlement of expropriated property—unresolved. We have lost a unique opportunity to repair our relations with Cuba, instead Cuba will seek closer alliances with Russia and China.

Ambassador HuddlestonPresenter: Ambassador Huddleston was the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2009-11. She is a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa; U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and to Mali; Principal Officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and Chargé d’affairs ad interim in Ethiopia. She was Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti, and Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Defense, she was a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution. Ambassador Huddleston was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. She also worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) in Peru and Brazil. Huddleston earned a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins School Advanced International Studies and a BA from the University of Colorado. She has received U.S. Department of State awards, including a Distinguished Honor Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. In 2008, she was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team for the U.S. Department of State. She has written opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post and is a former commentator for NBC-Universal. She is married to Bob Huddleston, a former USAID officer, and they have two children, Alexandra and Robert.

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