ACIR is honored to host Ambassador Charles Shapiro, President of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, who will speak on the topic, "Venezuela: From Bad to Worse."
In a sham election in May 2018, Nicolas Maduro manufactured a "victory" to give himself another six-year term in office. Mainstream opposition parties boycotted the election. Except for Russia, Syria, and Cuba, the international community denounced the election as fraudulent. The 14-nation Lima Group of Latin American countries plus Canada issued a statement saying it did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela's presidential election.
Reynaldo Trombetta reported in The Guardian that "we are not dealing with an authoritarian government that, like Chavez's, still managed to loosely color between the lines of democracy and the rule of law. This is a textbook dictatorship, with assassinations, torture and sexual abuse of political prisoners, violent censorship of the press, and a sociopathic strategy to use the hunger of its own citizens as a tool for political control."
Today 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?
Come listen to Charles Shapiro discuss Venezuela's recent past and probable future as it affects U.S. policy toward Venezuela and the broader Latin American region.
ACIR is honored to host Ms. Peri Lynne Johnson, Legal Advisor and Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, who will speak on the topic, "Nuclear Safeguards and Nuclear Security: Keeping the Genie in the Bottle."
Headquartered in Vienna, Austria and established 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 established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA reports to both the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The IAEA is described as having three main missions: promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by its member states, implementing safeguards to verify that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes, and promoting high standards for nuclear safety.
The Chernobyl disaster was a major wake-up call for the international community. With the end of the Cold War, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the breakdown in nuclear safeguards, the disposition of fissile materials added yet another dimension to concerns about nuclear safety and security, as has the Fukushima nuclear disaster and nuclear developments in Iran and North Korea. Also of keen concern have been attempts by terrorist organizations to acquire nuclear weapons. Come listen to Peri Lynne Johnson, IAEA Legal Advisor, address the complexities IAEA confronts and its major concerns as it attempts to ensure and enhance nuclear safety and security.
Ms. Johnson joined the Office of Legal Affairs of the IAEA in January 2011. Previously, Ms. Johnson served as the Director of the Legal Support Office, Bureau of Management, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In this capacity, Ms. Johnson provided legal advice to the UNDP Administrator, Associate Administrator, Senior Managers at headquarters and Resident Representatives in field offices around the globe, as well as to the UNDP-Affiliated Funds of the Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM now UN Women) and the UN Volunteers Programme (UNV).
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.
ACIR is honored to host Dr. Jennie Lincoln, Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program at the Carter Center and Professor at the Sam Nunn School International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she teaches Latin American politics and U.S.-Latin American relations. Dr. Lincoln will speak on the topic, "How Will Elections in Colombia Impact the Peace Accords that Ended a 52-year Civil War?"
In 2016, after five decades of war, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace accord bringing to an end the last major war in the Americas. The war had cost an estimated 220,000 lives and tore at the social fabric of Colombia. Then President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
Yet the agreement faced stiff criticism from many of those who led efforts to hold FARC accountable for the atrocities that occurred during the insurgency, including most notably, Mr. Santos’ predecessor as president, Alvaro Uribe.
On June 17, 2018 Colombians elected Iván Duque Márquez. World leaders were quick to congratulate him on his victory. However, Iván Duque, a hardline conservative, has been a fierce critic of the peace accord. Come hear Professor Jennie Lincoln discuss the future of peace in Colombia and its implications for the United States.
ACIR is honored to host retired General Phil Breedlove who will speak on the topic, "Contemporary National Security Challenges and Opportunities."
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.
ACIR is honored to host Dr. Mariel Borowtiz who will speak on the topic, "U.S. Space Policy and National Security."
Mariel Borowtiz is an Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 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.
Dr. Borowitz earned a PhD in public policy at the University of Maryland and a master's degree in international science and technology policy from the George Washington University. She has a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also earned a minor in Applied International Studies. Dr. Borowitz is currently on detail at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC through the Fall of 2018.
ACIR is honored to host Dr. Kenneth Stein, Director of Emory University's Middle East Research Program, who will speak on the topic, "The U.S. and the Middle East: Policies Amidst a Fragmenting Region."
Dr. Stein has taught at Emory University since 1977. Founding Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Stein holds a joint appointment within the History and Political Science Departments and was a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Brown University in 2006. His primary responsibilities focus on undergraduate teaching. Dr. Stein earned two masters degrees and a PhD in Near East history, literature and languages.
The Mid-Winter Gala is a black tie dinner and dance for both ACIR members and non-member friends. It is an opportunity to share an evening together with those members of the Atlanta community who share a strong desire to be remain aware of international events shaping our world today and learning how we collectively can live with one another to accomplish our shared aspirations of peace and understanding for all humanity. Please join us for this special event which will include a delicious meal, a featured speaker, and a live band for your enjoyment.
ACIR is honored to host Ambassador Njeru Gathae of Kenya to Atlanta. Amb. Gathae will speak on the topic, "Contemporary Issues in Kenya and the African Union."
Amb. Gathae's career spans across both the private and public sectors. In his earlier years, he held leadership roles in both banks and insurance companies before turning his attention to government service. Amb. Gathae served as Kenya's Finance Minister 2012 to 2013 and was appointed to be the Kenyan Ambassador to the United States in August 2014. Amb. Gathae holds an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Nairobi and did his graduate studies at the Kenya School of Law.
Atlanta Council on International Relations
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