Past Events

Dr. Mariel Borowitz
"U.S. Space Policy and National Security"
December 05, 2018

ACIR was honored to host Dr. Mariel Borowitz who spoke on the topic "U.S. Space Policy and National Security." At present the United States is reliant on Russian rocket engines to launch our reconnaissance satellites. Not only does this reliance have direct implications for our national security launch capabilities, it also means we are funding Russian space and missile technology, while we could be investing in U.S.-based jobs and the defense industrial base. The U.S. needs an innovate, resilient, and economical way to assure space access, particularly for military and government launch programs. The National Defense Strategy Commission reported that our military superiority has "eroded to a dangerous degree"; and could suffer “unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict". It says, “it might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia.”

Dr. Borowitz recently returned to the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology after serving a one-year detail at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Her research deals with international space policy issues, primarily international cooperation in Earth observing satellites, and satellite data sharing policies.  She also looks at international trends in commercial remote sensing and civil-military interactions in remote sensing technology and data. Her research interests extend to human space exploration strategy and developments in space security and space situational awareness.

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Canadian Consul General NADIA THEODORE
"Off-the-Record" Breakfast
November 16, 2018

ACIR was honored to host Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore for an "Off-the-Record" breakfast.

Mrs. Theodore has made her career in the Trade Agreement and Negotiations Branch of Global Affairs, holding leadership positions in several recent and major trade initiatives of Global Affairs Canada.  Most recently, she served in Ottawa as Chief of Staff and Executive Director to Canada's Deputy Prime Minister for International Trade.  She was named Consul General for the U.S. Southeast in August 2017.

With over 10 years of trade policy experience, Mrs. Theodore's appointment comes as Canada, Mexico, and the United States have launched negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  As part of Canada's international trade negotiating team, she has built a reputation for forging strong partnerships with government and business leaders and managing complex, priority trade initiatives.  Beyond trade negotiations, she helped Canada's Trade and Investment Strategy, which is focused on ways to continue to help Canadian companies connect, compete and grow internationally.  

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"21st Century Warfare"
November 05, 2018

ACIR was honored to host retired General Phil Breedlove who spoke on the topic, "21st Century Warfare."It can be said that modern warfare differs from what many of us observed in the 20th Century.Technological developments have made for more rapid, efficient, and effective communication on the battlefield. The global media, the Internet, and social media often add instantly to our awareness of conflicts around the globe. Drones, operated far from the battlefield, are replacing aircraft as a means of reconnaissance and attack. While precision weaponry, arguably, has reduced collateral damage and non-combatant deaths, the battlefield itself has become less opaque and thus a more deadly place. 

General Breedlove joined the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology after retiring as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and the U.S. European Command Commander.  In these capacities he commanded all U.S. and Allied troops in Afghanistan, Kosovo as well as all NATO operations across Europe and the Mediterranean.  As a Distinguished Professor, a title he shared with Sam Nunn, he works with faculty, staff and students on security issues and policy.  Further, he facilitates a number of projects, classes and presentations to advance these same thoughts.  General Breedlove brings a wealth of deep and recent experience in our world's toughest security and policy issues as well as leadership in situations spanning both peace and conflict.

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"Nuclear Safeguards and Nuclear Security:
Keeping the Genie in the Bootle"

October 05, 2018

ACIR was honored to host Ambassador Ms. Peri Lynne Johnson, Legal Advisor and Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, who spoke on the topic, "Nuclear Safeguards and Nuclear Security: Keeping the Genie in the Bootle." Headquartered in Vienna, Austria and establish in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. Though establishing independently of the United National through its own international treaty, the IAEA report to both the General Assembly and the Security Council. During her address, Ms. Johnson spoke about the complexities IEAE confronts and its major concerns as it attempts to ensure and enhance nuclear safety and security.

Ms. Johnson joined the Office if Legal Affairs of the IAEA in January 2011. Previously, she served as the Director of the Legal Support Office, Bureau of Management, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ms. Johnson earned her B.A. in French Literature (with a focus in Government and International Relations), with distinction in all subjects, from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA in 1988, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, in 1991.

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"Venezuela: From Bad to Worse"

September 12, 2018

ACIR was honored to host Ambassador Charles Shapiro, President of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, who  spoke on the topic, "Venezuela: From Bad to Worse." 

Nowadays, Venezuela is in political turmoil. Its economy has collapsed and four million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past two years. As Venezuela goes from bad to worse, the question is what will the international democratic community do to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and hasten the return of democracy? U.S Ambassador Charles Shapiro discussed Venezuela's recent past and probable future as it affects U.S. policy toward Venezuela and the broader Latin American region.

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U.N. Under Secretary-General, Ms. IZUMI NAKAMITSU
"Securing Our Common Future: an Agenda for Disarmament"

June 25, 2018

ACIR was honored to host High Representative
 Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, the sitting Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations, on June 25, 2018. In light of a deteriorating international security environment, including a return to Cold War tensions, and the seeming neglect of arms control as a means for building trust, mitigating risk and ensuring sustainable peace and security is front and center on Ms. Nakamitzu's agenda. During her address, she presented hers and the UN's thoughts on issues surrounding weapons of mass destruction and other strategic weapons, conventional weapons and their impacts on civilians, and on future technologies and weapons systems. 

Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu assumed her position as Undersecretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs on 1 May 2017. Prior to taking on this post, Ms. Nakamitsu served as the Assistant Administrator of the Crisis Response Unit at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2014.

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"The Rise of Islamic Politics in Turkey"

May 31, 2018

ACIR welcomed Dr. Mona Tajali who spoke on "The Rise of Islamic Politics in Turkey." Dr. Mona Tajali is an Assistant Professor of International Relations and Women's Studies at Agnes Scott College. Her research and teaching interests fall in the fields of Comparative Politics, Middle East Studies, and Women's Studies. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, she teaches courses in women and politics, Middle East politics and society, human rights, and international relations. 

Her current book project focuses on the intersections of political and institutional structures, religious and cultural norms and values, and votes behavior concerning women's political representation and the quality of democracy in Muslim contexts.

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Breakfast with the Consul General of Mexico Javier Díaz de León

May 18, 2018

This new program offering by the ACIR is designed to bring members and non-members alike into a more intimate setting with Atlanta's resident Consul Generals where relationships can be made and strengthened for mutual benefit. 

Javier Diaz de Leon is a member of the Mexican Foreign Service and holds the rank of Ambassador since April 28th, 2017. During his professional career he has served as: Deputy Consul General in San Diego; Deputy Consul General in New York, Head of the Office for Migration and Hispanic Affairs at the Mexicans Abroad at the Mexican Embassy in the United States and Executive Director of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On May 2016, he was appointed by President Enrique Peña Nieto as Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is serving in this positinon since June 18, 2016.

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"Global Issues & Challenges Facing the United States"
May 2, 2018

Senator Johnny Isakson shared his insights on the challenges and seismic shifts in global power distribution that are facing the United States today. Senator Isakson
 is a successful businessman with 40-plus years in the real estate industry who has built a respected record of public service to Georgia and the nation. He also holds the distinction of being the only Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In 2016 he became the first Georgia Republican ever to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. He is the chairman of two Senate committees, the Ethics and Veterans' Affairs Committees, and serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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"The Information Apocalypse: Factors degrading the effectiveness of mass communication in reaching influencer audiences"
April 18, 2018

Major General Eder is the former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Joint and Special Troops Support Command, former Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve and former leader of the Army Reserve Ambassador Program.  Major General served as Director of Public Affairs at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and as an adjunct professor and lecturer in communications and public diplomacy at the NATO School and Sweden's International Training Command. In 2017, she was inducted into the Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame and received the Joe Galloway Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in strategic communication. Major General is the author of "Leading the Narrative: The Case for Strategic Communication," published by the Naval Institute Press.

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Co-sponsored with Center for European and Transatlantic Studies
"A Changing Europe in an Uncertain World"
April 13, 2018

This conference takes stock of the European Union's role in the world at a time of internal and external challenges. The United Kingdom's decision to leave the EU will have implications both for what the EU tries to achieve beyond its borders and how effective it is in realizing those objectives. At the same, the new United States Administration has created unprecedented uncertainty about the future of the transatlantic relationship and about the US's tole in the world more generally. These dramatic shocks occur against a backdrop of China's continued rise and Russia's assertiveness, both of which contribute to an increasingly turbulent international environment. 

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"The Clash of the U.S and the E.U on Privacy and National Security"
March 22, 2018

Mr. Swire is Senior Counsel with Alston & Bird and the Elizabeth and Tommy Holder Chair of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. In 2015, the International Association of Privacy Professional awarded him its Privacy Leadership Award. In 2013, he served as one of five members of President Obama's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. Under president Clinton, Swire was the Chief Counselor of Privacy, in the U.S Office of Management and Budget. 

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"J Street and the Fight for the Two-State Solution"
March 6, 2018

Mr. Elsner is a special advisor to the president of J Street and has had a long career at the top ranks of American and international journalism prior to joining J Street. As State Department and later White House correspondent for Reuters News Agency, Mr. Elsner traveled the world with Secretaries of State and was on first-name terms with Presidents and Vice Presidents. Mr. Elsner provided his views on efforts to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis through a two-state solution.

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"Addressing the North Korea Dilemma: An American Perspective"
February 15, 2018

Mr. Park is the CEO of General Building Maintenance. He founded GBM in 1983. Under the motto “Zero Defects is Our Goal,” GBM became one of the top private commercial cleaning services providers in the United States and was awarded as one of the "Fastest Growing Companies" in Atlanta.  A native of South Korea, Sunny immigrated to the United States in 1974 with no money who now, as an indicator of his business acumen, has successfully achieved his goal of paying $1 million in annual income tax.

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"Russian Strategic Culture and Nuclear Weapons"
January 30, 2018

Dr. Polina Sinovets is an associate professor in the international relations department at Odessa I. Mechnikov National University, Ukraine. From 2004 to 2012 she was a senior research associate at Ukraine’s National Institute for Strategic Studies. She has published several dozen articles on nuclear deterrence, disarmament, missile defense, and nonproliferation in Ukrainian, Russian, and English. In 2004 she received a doctorate in political science from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Kiev.

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Consul General of Canada in Atlanta
"The North American Partnership: Looking Ahead"
December 10, 2017

Ms. Theodore has made her career in the Trade Agreement and Negotiations Branch of Global Affairs, holding leadership positions on several recent and major trade initiatives of Global Affairs Canada. Most recently, Ms. Theodore served in Ottawa as Chief of Staff and Executive Director to Canada’s Deputy Minister for International Trade. She was named Consul General for the U.S. Southeast in August 2017. As part of Canada’s international trade negotiating team, Ms. Theodore has built a reputation for forging strong partnerships with government and business leaders and managing complex, priority trade initiatives.


Professor Emeritus, Dr. JOHN GARVER
"The Rise of China and Iran"
November 16, 2017

Dr. John W. Garver specializes in China's foreign relations. He served for many years on the editorial boards of the journals China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Issues and Studies, and Asian Security. He is a member of the National Committee on U.S - China Relations and is an author of twelve books and seventy-five referred articles and book chapters dealing with China's foreign relations.

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Consul General of Israel in Atlanta
"Recent Developments in the Middle East"
October 19, 2017

Ambassador Varnai Shorer is a nearly 40-year veteran of the Israeli diplomatic corps. She is a former ambassador to both Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as a former minister of congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. Her most recent post was desk director at the Center for Policy Research. Ambassador Shorer has substantial experience in the U.S. and the Middle East. She speaks Hebrew, French, English and Hungarian and was born in Beer Sheva, Israel.

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Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S
"Current Assessment of the Mexican-American Bilateral Relationship"
October 5, 2017

His Excellency Gerónimo Gutiérrez has been Ambassador of Mexico to the United States since March 2017. Ambassador Gutiérrez served as Managing Director of the North American Development Bank (NADB) headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Under his leadership—centered on strategic planning, business development and project management—NADB grew its loan portfolio at an average annual rate of 32%, reaching US$1.4 billion in 2016, and placed several successful bond issues in the U.S. and European markets, while maintaining a strong financial position and AA credit ratings.

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