Council Event Listings

Sign In to the Member Section

Forget/Reset Password

October 2020 Events

October 1 | Colorado Springs World Affairs Council | Threats to National Security & Intelligence Needs

Much has changed in the world, but threats to our national security remain.  The potential causes are many and varied - cybersecurity, weapons proliferation, terrorism, climate change, and acts by other nations and non-state actors, to name a few.  What does the intelligence community need to guard against these threats, and what is reasonable to expect?  Join us to hear former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper share his thoughts on these topics. 

Lt. General James Clapper

Lt. Gen. Clapper (ret.) served from 2010 – 2017 as the Director of National Intelligence. In that position, he led the United States intelligence community and served as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.

Previously, Clapper served in two administrations as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he was the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on intelligence, counterintelligence, and security matters for the Department. In this capacity, he was also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence for DNI.

Earlier, he directed the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), transforming it into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it is today. He also served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and to the Departments of Defense and Energy and as a member of a wide variety of government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups.

Clapper, who began his military career as a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s over Laos and Cambodia. He was Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at U.S. Air Force Headquarters during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Director of Intelligence for three war-fighting commands: U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command. Following his retirement from military service in 1995, Clapper worked in the private sector for six years as an executive in three companies focused on services for the intelligence community. He was a member of the Downing Assessment Task Force that investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, and was vice chairman of a commission chaired by former Gov. Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security.

Clapper earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

His awards include three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award. He has also received the NAACP’s National Distinguished Service Award and the Presidentially-conferred National Security Medal.

Find out more.

October 2 | World Affairs Council of Hilton Head | Ambassador Doug Lute

World order is never in stasis for too long. And indeed, we seem to be witnessing a historic shift now. The relatively stable decades after World War II saw gains for global democracies, rapid economic growth fueled by globalization, and the birth of the Internet. But they also saw the speeding of global warming, widening inequality, and the scourge of transnational terrorism. The institutions and agreements that have grounded the modern international order are showing signs of weakness, while illiberal sentiment gathers strength across the West. Nationalism is having a moment. Europe is having an identity crisis. And China is challenging the dominance of the United States. How did we get here? What’s next?

Find out more.

October 5 | World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth | The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III

"The Man Who Ran Washington” is the story of the amazing journey of a young, apolitical oil and gas lawyer from Houston who rose to become one of the most consequential secretaries of state in U.S. history. He served four U.S. presidents and helped a fifth one navigate a path from Florida to the Supreme Court and into the Oval Office. His Washington career was a triumph of what his biographers call “pragmatism over purity and deal-making over division, a lost art in today’s fractured nation.”

James Baker held the offices of Undersecretary of Commerce, White House Chief of Staff, Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State. The authors call this important biography, “A case study in the acquisition, exercise, and preservation of power in late twentieth-century America and the story of Washington and the world in the modern era–how it once worked and how it has transformed into an era of gridlock and polarization.”

This is the second Gail Koppman History Lecture, in remembrance of a passionate educator, voracious reader and lifelong learner.

Peter Baker is an award-winning journalist who has covered Washington for more than 30 years. He is the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times. Susan Glasser is a staff writer at The New Yorker and has served as a top editor for several Washington publications as well as editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy. This is the second book the married couple has co-authored. Their 2005 book, “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution,” chronicled the four years they spent as Washington Post bureau chiefs in Moscow.

Find out more.

October 6 | Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | A Conversation with Pete Buttigieg

Writers Bloc and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall present:

Trust is essential to the foundation of America’s democracy, asserts Pete Buttigieg, the former presidential candidate and South Bend mayor. Yet, in a century warped by terrorism, financial collapse, Trumpist populism, systemic racism, and now a global pandemic, trust has been squandered, sacrificed, abused, stolen, or never properly built in the first place. Interweaving history, political philosophy, and affecting passages of memoir, Buttigieg provides an impassioned account of a threefold crisis of trust: in our institutions, in each other, and in the American project itself. With the internet and partisan television networks acting as accelerants, Americans jettison any sense of shared reality. Buttigieg contends that our success, or failure, at confronting the greatest challenges of the decade?racial and economic justice, pandemic resilience, and climate action?will rest on whether we can effectively cultivate, deepen, and, where necessary, repair the networks of trust that are now endangered, or for so many, have never even existed.

Moderator to be announced.


SPECIAL OFFER: Vromans Bookstore has a limited number of signed copies of TRUST by Pete Buttigieg, at the special price of $19 plus sales tax and shipping. The first 200 people to order the book from Vromans will receive a signed copy - CLICK HERE. 

Find out more.

October 13 | Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | The Key Swing States of the 2020 Election

Part 5 of our 2020 Election Series will analyze how the nation’s geographical cleavages —battleground states, urban-rural divides, and regional differences — will play out on election night. The discussion will be led by Political Communications Professor Dan Schnur of USC, UC-Berkeley, and Pepperdine, who will be joined by Seema Mehta, political reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering the 2020 presidential campaign. 

As with all presidential elections, battleground states will determine this year’s outcome. Yet, the number of swing states in 2020 is far larger than we've seen in any recent election. The key swing states from 2016 such as Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will again play an immense role this year. But long-time blue states like Minnesota and historic red states like Arizona and Georgia are looking more competitive as well. How are Trump and Biden campaigning in this battleground saturated environment? This discussion will help listeners make sense of how these shifting geographical politics are mapping onto the race.


Seema Mehta is a political writer for the Los Angeles Times covering the 2020 presidential campaign. She was a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan for the 2018-19 academic year studying automation and AI and their impacts on voters in the Midwest. She previously covered the 2016, 2012 and 2008 presidential campaigns, as well as multiple gubernatorial, Senate and mayoral races. Mehta is a frequent face on television, appearing weekly on MSNBC, as well as on CNN, ABC, BBC and other outlets. She was named one of the top state political reporters in the nation by the Washington Post, completed a media fellowship at Stanford University and served as an alumna-in-residence at Syracuse University. Mehta also contributed to Times’ coverage of the Las Vegas mass shooting that won a 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for deadline online reporting, as well as the devastating wildfires that won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. She also won a 2008 John Swett award for media excellence for an investigative series about the Santa Ana Unified School District creating false class rosters to qualify for state class-size reduction funding. A graduate of Syracuse University, the East Coast native swore when she joined The Times in 1998 that she would only spend a few years on the Left Coast. Many years, a husband, a house and a few cats later, she can’t imagine living somewhere she couldn’t golf year-round.

Dan Schnur (Moderator) is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, the University of California – Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses in politics, communications and leadership. Dan was the director of the Sacramento Bee’s “California Influencers” series, in which he led a weekly online conversation among 100 of the state’s most respected experts in politics, government and public policy around the 2018 election. He is also a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall.

For FAQ's and instructions regarding our livestreams, click HERE

Find out more.

October 14 | World Affairs Council of New Hampshire | GTP: Climate Change Risks and the U.S. Military

Join the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire and the League of Conservation Voters for the second installment in our virtual, Global Tipping Points speaker series this Fall! Our October edition will be headlined by the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, who will speak on the threat that climate change and extreme weather poses to our country's military bases around the world and their ability to act effectively. After his remarks, Secretary Mabus will be joined by Norfolk, Virginia City Councilor Andria McClellan, and renowned journalist, author, and commentator on energy and climate issues, Jeff Goodell, for a panel discussion examining this existential threat to our nation's military readiness and what solutions are being, and should be, undertaken to combat it.

Following the opening remarks, a moderated Question and Answer session will be held. All questions can be emailed to, posted in either of the YouTube or Facebook Live chats, or using the messenger app on our website, so tune in at and we hope to see you there!

Find out more.

October 14 | Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | The Future of U.S. Policy on Iran

For forty-one years the United States has been locked in an unending conflict with the Islamic Republic in Iran. From hostage crisis to illicit financing of terrorism, empowerment of foreign proxies in targeting U.S. interests and  the relations between the two countries have been unendingly tense but also marked by a desire for engagement by every American administration. 

How has President Trump’s Iran policy differed from other administrations and has it achieved the desired objectives? Should Iranians attitude, in light of the recent protests against the Supreme Leader and calls for change be taken into consideration in the  future U.S. foreign policy towards Iran? How should future U.S. administrations approach the growing trend in Iran to diminish Islamic Republic’s hegemony in the region and people’s gravitation towards better relations with the West?


Nazenin Ansari is Publisher and Managing Editor of two independent media outlets focusing on Iran.  Kayhan London www.Kayhan.London (Persian) and Kayhan Life (English) offer in-depth news coverage of news of Iran and its politics in the Middle East, Europe and America.  She is also the founding Trustee of Persia Educational Foundation, which advances education and learning in the field of Iran, as well as the Trustee of the Foreign Press Association in London, the first and oldest association of foreign journalists in the world, founded in 1888.  A member of the Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies,  Nazenin received her BA in Public Affairs and Government from Mount Vernon College, now George Washington University, and MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics (the Soviet Union and the Middle East) from Georgetown University.

Dr. Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior Iran and financial economics advisor at FDD specializing in Iran’s economy and financial markets, sanctions and illicit finance. Born and raised in Iran, Saeed earned his Ph.D. in finance from the City University of New York where he analyzed the effect of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s financial markets as part of his dissertation. He teaches finance at Baruch College of New York. Saeed has a BS in engineering from the University of Tehran and an MS in engineering from Ecole Speciale des Travaux Publics in Paris.

Alex Vatanka specializes in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran. Before joining MEI in 2009, he was a Senior Analyst at Jane’s Information Group in London (2001-2009). Alex is also a Senior Fellow in Middle East Studies at the US Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field and teaches as an Adjunct Professor at DISAS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His focus include modern history of Iran; factional politics in the Islamic Republic; political-military relations in Iran; Iranian regional policies (with a particular South Caucasus, Central, Asia, the Gulf States, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan) and Iran’s relations with countries such as the US, China, Russia and the EU states. Born in Tehran, he holds a BA in Politics (Sheffield University, UK), and an MA in International Relations (Essex University, UK), and is fluent in Farsi and Danish. Follow him @AlexVatanka

Find out more.

October 15 | Colorado Springs World Affairs Council | Planning for Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games

The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games have been postponed until next year. USA Judo Executive Director Keith Bryant, competing Judo athlete Nefeli Papadakis, and 1984 Olympic Bronze Medalist and USA Judo High Performance Director Ed Liddie will share how the postponement affects the 2021 games. 


Tokyo Olympic Games Logo

Find out more.

October 20 | Colorado Springs World Affairs Council | Building the Post-Election, Post-COVID World

Many events, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, elections, civic unrest, and economic woes, are gripping the world today. It is hardly the first time the world has been tested, and certainly not the last, but the path forward will require solutions that recognize the realities of these situations.  With crisis comes opportunity. How will the world rebuild to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century?

Ambassador Kurt Volker 

Ambassador Kurt Volker is a leading expert in U.S. foreign and national security policy with some 30 years of experience in a variety of government, academic, and private sector capacities.  He served as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations from 2017 to 2019, and as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2008-2009.  Ambassador Volker is currently Managing Director, International, and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board at BGR Group, which provides government relations, public relations, and business advisory services to a wide array of clients.  He also serves on the advisory board of Augustus, an artificial intelligence start-up company, and has previously served as a Director of CG Funds Trust and the Wall Street Fund.

From 2012-2019, Ambassador Volker was the founding Executive Director of The McCain Institute for International Leadership, a part of Arizona State University based in Washington, DC.  He remains a Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council; a Trustee of the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France; a Trustee of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation; a member of the GLOBSEC International Advisory Board; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the U.S. Institute for Peace.  He has taught Transatlantic Relations at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, and is a member of that School’s Board of Advisors. 


Find out more.

October 20 | Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | The Key Voting Groups of 2020

Part 6 of our 2020 Election Series will focus on our diverse electorate and analyze the key voter groups for each party. The discussion will be led by Political Communications Professor Dan Schnur of USC, UC-Berkeley, and Pepperdine, who will be joined by Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Senior Editor for The Atlantic, and Contributing Editor for National Journal. 

As both Trump and Biden work to build their coalitions in the final month of campaigning, what voting blocs are they targeting, what tactics are they using to do so, and are their efforts working? From suburban women to young people to voters of color — this discussion will make sense of the demographic groups that will decide the election. In addition, Dan and Ron will analyze the first presidential debate. 


Ron Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns, is a National Journal contributing editor and a senior editor at The Atlantic. Prior to joining Atlantic Media, Brownstein was the national affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has also served as the Times' national political correspondent and the author of the weekly Washington Outlook column. In addition, he currently serves as a senior political analyst for CNN and also served as an electoral analyst for ABC News during the 2012 election. His sixth and most recent book, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America, was published by Penguin in November 2007. 

Dan Schnur (Moderator) is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, the University of California – Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses in politics, communications and leadership. Dan is currently the director of the Sacramento Bee’s “California Influencers” series, in which he leads a weekly online conversation among 100 of the state’s most respected experts in politics, government and public policy. He is also a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall.


For FAQ's and instructions regarding our livestreams, click HERE

Find out more.

October 22 | World Affairs Council of Greater Reading | Inspired: Stories of Triumph and Tragedy from the Congo With Sasha Lezhnev

Sasha Lezhnev is Deputy Director of Policy at The Sentry, where he focuses on conflict, governance, corruption, and corporate accountability issues in central Africa. He is also Founding Director of the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, an organization that works to reintegrate former child soldiers and refugees in northern Uganda. Sasha is a founding member of the Public-Private Alliance on Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA). He previously worked at Global Witness, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace on U.S. policy and conflict resources, extractive industries transparency, and peace processes in Africa. He was based in Uganda for 2 1/2 years as Senior Program Officer with the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative and advisor to the chief mediator of the peace process with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

He is the author of the book Crafting Peace: Strategies to Deal with Warlords in Collapsing States. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Cambridge University and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Find out more.

October 23 | World Affairs Council of Hilton Head | Mathew Burrows

Recent years have seen the old Communist enemies grow closer five decades after Kissinger’s opening to China.  Are we back to a new Cold War with the US and the West facing a united Russo-China front?  Both Moscow and Beijing share a deep resentment against Washington, propounding an alternative vision of non-US-dominated world order.  But, in a switch, is Moscow willing to be the junior partner to China?  Or is a growing friendship a tactical move until Russian sanctions are dropped and China attains better terms with the US?  A real alliance or a marriage of convenience?

Find out more.

October 27 | World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts | China-US Rivalry for Influence in Africa


Andrew Harding | Hachette UK

BBC Correspondent Andrew Harding will speak about the rivalry between the United States and China for influence in Africa as well as his new book, These Are Not Gentle People: Two murders. Forty suspects. The trial that broke a small South African town to be published in audio and ebook formats in the US October 1.

Andrew Harding is a British journalist and author. He has been living and working abroad as a foreign correspondent for the past 30 years. Since 1994 he has been working for BBC News.

He began his career in Moscow in 1991 as a freelancer, working for IRN, NBC Radio, Monitor Radio, FSN, The Evening Standard and later for The Guardian and The Economist. Since then he has lived in Tbilisi, Nairobi, Singapore, Bangkok, and for the past 12 years in Johannesburg.

Andrew has covered many International events, from the end of the Soviet Union and Russia's parliamentary rebellion to the Asian tsunami and west Africa's Ebola outbreak. By accident, rather than design, much of his work has been in conflict zones - in Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, Darfur, DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, South Sudan, Cote D'Ivoire, CAR, Burundi, Uganda, Libya and elsewhere.

Andrew has been living in South Africa since 2009. He reported on the Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria. It was partly that experience that prompted him to search for another murder case, that might dig deeper under the skin of modern South Africa. Early in 2016 he read about an incident in the Free State and decided to investigate. The result, four years later, was his new book, These Are Not Gentle People. A BBC Radio 4 series and podcast is in the works.


Find out more.

October 27 | Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall | How Media Will Influence the Election

Part 7 of our 2020 Election Series will analyze how the candidates have used media sources to replace most of the traditional in-person canvasing, organizing, and campaign rallies. The discussion will be led by Political Communications Professor Dan Schnur of USC, UC-Berkeley, and Pepperdine, who will be joined by Lynn Vavreck, Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA and a contributing columnist to the New York Times Upshot feature. The conversation will address the role of both traditional broadcast and social media in the campaigns. It will also focus on the role of public opinion polling, and the dynamic between polling and the media.   


Lynn Vavreck is the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA, a contributing columnist to The Upshot at The New York Times, and a recipient of the Andrew F. Carnegie Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  She is the author of five books, including the “most ominous” book on the 2016 election: Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America, and The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election, described as the “definitive account” of the 2012 election. Political consultants on both sides of the aisle refer to her work on political messaging in The Message Matters as “required reading” for presidential candidates. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and she has served on the advisory boards of both the British and American National Election Studies. At UCLA she teaches courses on campaigns, elections, public opinion, and the 1960s.

Dan Schnur (Moderator) is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, the University of California – Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses in politics, communications and leadership. Dan was the director of the Sacramento Bee’s “California Influencers” series, in which he led a weekly online conversation among 100 of the state’s most respected experts in politics, government and public policy around the 2018 election. He is also a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall.

Find out more.

Serving You

Find a Council Near You

In This Section

Sign Up for E-News

Contact Us

1010 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 516
Washington, DC 20005
Phone 202-833-4557 | Email

Stay Informed

Subscribe to the weekly email newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most.
Privacy Policy

© 2020 World Affairs Councils of America
Privacy Policy