Turkey-US Relations Amid Global Turmoil
January 13th, 2020
On January 13th, the ACIR was honored to ring in the 2020 spring cycle by hosting Professor Fuat Keyman of Sabanic University, Turkey in Atlanta. Professor Keyman addressed the contentious issues underlying US-Turkey relations, not least related to the conflict in Syria, American support for Kurdish autonomy and Turkey's deepening military arrangements with Russia. With doubts about Turkey's adherence to the Western liberal democratic order, he aptly structured the conversation as a "rules-based multilateralism vs. flexible alliances" debate and encouraged efforts within civil society - academia, think tanks and the like - towards reinforcing the former.
Brexit: Where To From Here?
December 13th, 2019
On December 13th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host a Brexit panel discussion with Consuls General Heike Fuller of Germany and Shane Stephens of Ireland. Dr. Alasdair Young, a professor at Georgia Tech's Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, moderated the panel. Directly following UK's general election on December 12th, this extremely topical discussion reflected on how Brexit has fractured UK-EU relations thus far. The speakers also brought fresh perspectives on the broader political, economic and security implications of the 2016 decision that has forever altered the trajectory of EU and global affairs.
An "Off-the-Record" Conversation with Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consul General, India
December 3rd, 2019
On December 3rd, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Consul General Dr. Swati Kulkarni of India in Atlanta. Dr. Kulkarni spoke about India's stature on the world stage having worked and traveled all over the globe herself. India remains a vital partner of the US, one with whom we will continue to strengthen our mutual efforts to secure prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Moon Jae-in Government's Vision for the Korean Peninsula Peace Process - Transforming the DMZ into an International Peace Zone
November 19th, 2019
On November 19th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Ambassador Chang Jae-bok, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, in Atlanta. Ambassador Chang discussed the current South Korean administration's approach to navigating relations with its northern neighbor, from which increasing nuclear strength and other consequences of North Korea's totalitarian rule continue to undermine peace on the Korean Peninsula, namely at the DMZ.
Colombia - U.S. Relations: Today and Tomorrow
November 13th, 2019
On November 13th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Ambassador Francisco Santos of Colombia in Atlanta. As Colombia has endeavored to address a range of internal economic and humanitarian crises through domestic reform, it has also had to confront a growing challenge from abroad: the influx of migrants from troubled Venezuela. Ambassador Santos outlined the internal and external problems that Colombia faces, prioritizing the economic interests, including investment and tourism, of the Latin American nation.
An "Off-the-Record" Conversation with Jorge Lopez Menardi, Consul General, Argentina
October 29th, 2019
On October 29th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Consul General Jorge Lopez Menardi of Argentina in Atlanta. Argentina has proven a long-standing US ally in the region of Latin American. Consul General Menardi presented ways to further boost US-Argentina bilateral relations on the continued basis of maintaining strong economic ties, upholding human rights and the rule of law, and investing in education and STEM.
U.S.-China Relations: What Are the Moving Parts?
October 17th, 2019
On October 17th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Dr. Penny Prime of Georgia State University and the China Research Center in Atlanta. Having immersed herself in Chinese culture, China's business environment and its geopolitics with the rest of the world, Dr. Prime expertly broke down the current trade-based conflict between the US and China, providing foresight on what's at stake in our economic partnership if tensions continue to run high.
The Demands of Smart Power
September 20th, 2019
On September 20th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host its president, Dr. Bob Kennedy, at the President's Annual Breakfast in Atlanta. Speaking from an outstanding background in national security and foreign policy, Dr. Kennedy identified key military and non-military objectives for projecting what is called "Smart Power," setting the stage for more fruitful discussions on the effective conduct of US foreign policy.
The Future of Syria
September 5th, 2019
On September 5th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Hrair Balian, Director of The Carter Center's Conflict Resolution Program, in Atlanta. Mr. Balian offered his profound vision of a path to peace in Syria where the internal conflict often appears to have no end in sight. He takes into account the posturing of other states involved such as Russia and the already devastating impact to civilians.
A New Age in US-Vietnamese Relations
June 12th, 2019
On June 12th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Dr. Larry Berman, Founding Dean of Georgia State University's Honors College among other roles, in Atlanta. A renowned expert on US-Vietnam relations, Dr. Berman shared his thoughts on the future of such relations against the backdrop of an embattled but rich history between the two countries.
Update on Efforts to Eliminate North Korea's Nuclear Weapons
May 29th, 2019
On May 29th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Lt. General In-Bum Chun of the Republic of Korea in Atlanta. Lt. General Chun gave the audience an update on the continuing nuclear threat out of North Korea despite US and the wider international community's efforts to build up diplomatic capacity with the growing nuclear power, an engagement that has so far resulted in stalemate on the Korean Peninsula.
An "Off the Record" Conversation with Brazil Consul General Carlos De Abreu e Silva
May 17th, 2019
On May 17th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host an "Off-the-Record" breakfast with Consul General Carlos De Abreu e Silva of Brazil in Atlanta. Engaging with a career diplomat such as Ambassador De Abreu, ACIR members and other attendees heard firsthand how Brazil's relations with the US - and with the world - have panned out and what to expect in the future.
Fake News in the World Today
May 9th, 2019
On May 9th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Joe Bankoff, Professor of the Practice and Former Chair of Georgia Tech's Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in Atlanta. Bankoff shed light on how what we understand today as "fake news" actually dates back to the days of the Cold War. He also described what is different, perhaps more dangerous, about the disinformation schemes of today.
Uzbekistan - United States Relations
April 26th, 2019
On April 26th, 2019, the ACIR was honored to host Javlon Vakhabov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Atlanta. Ambassador Vakhabov spoke about Uzbekistan's transition to a market economy and encouraged the US to engage in a dialogue about increased social, economic, and political relations.
Contemporary Issues in Kenya and the African Union
April 4th, 2019
On April 4th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host Ambassador Robinson Njeru Githae of Kenya to Atlanta. The Ambassador spoke about the financial concerns of Kenya and encouraged the US to increase investments. In addition to increasing infrastructure, Kenya has increased security to create a healthy environment for FDI.
An "Off the Record" Conversation with Belgium Consul General William De Baets
March 22nd, 2019
On March 22nd, 2019, ACIR was honored to host an "Off-the-Record" breakfast with Belgium Consul General William De Baets in Atlanta. With Brexit looming, many of our members had detailed discussions and questions for the Consul General. De Baets provided the European/EU perspective on the issue to compliment the U.K.'s perspective that was discussed earlier.
A 'Conversation' with a Former Soviet KGB Sleeper Agent
March 7th, 2019
On March 7th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host Former KGB Sleeper Agent Jack Barsky in Atlanta. Barsky spoke on the topic, "A 'Conversation' with a Former Soviet KGB Sleeper Agent."
Jack Barsky spoke about how American life led to the conversion of his Marxist-Leninist atheist ideologies, and turned him against his former paymasters. He shared with the audience his perspectives and insights about recent American presidents, the American system, its most cherished documents, and America’s deadliest threat in 2019.
Estonia, Russia, and the United States
February 28th, 2019
On February 28th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host Estonian Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov who spoke on the topic, "Estonia, Russia, and the United States."
The Ambassador of Estonia gave an enticing overview of Estonian history and explained the origins of their current policies. Ambassador Vseviov emphasized Estonia's reliance on international alliances and cybersecurity. He assured the audience that Estonia's future policies will revolve around supporting its allies and NATO overall.
An "Off the Record" Conversation with UK Consul General Andrew Staunton
February 27th, 2019
On February 27th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host UK Consul General Andrew Staunton for an "Off the Record" breakfast. With Brexit looming and the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership coming to an end, UK Consul General Andrew Staunton was able to connect with our members to explain to them his perspective on the issues.
This 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.
Six Years in a North Vietnam Prison Camp
February 7th, 2019
On February 7th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host Col (USAF. Ret.) John W. Clark, former RF-4 pilot and Vietnam War prisoner, who spoke on the topic, "Six Years in a North Vietnam Prison Camp."
Nearly 600 American servicemen struggled as Prisoners of War in North Vietnam. One of them was Colonel John Clark. He gracefully spoke about how courage, determination, faith, and honor helped them survive. A riveting story-teller, Colonel John Clark kept the audience on the edge of their seats as they intently listened to his detailed stories illustrating the horrors that war entails. He was able to deliver a speech with paramount importance while also bringing laughter and light to the situation–a task difficult for most to execute.
U.S.-Indian Relations Featuring the New Indian Ambassador to the U.S.
January 30th, 2019
On January 30th, 2019, ACIR was honored to host the new Indian Ambassador to the United States, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who spoke on the topic, "U.S.-Indian Relations."
Ambassador Shringla spoke about the current and future bilateral relationship between India and the United States. With 1.3 billion people, India is the ninth largest goods trade partner with the U.S. with room to expand that relationship. The new Ambassador highlighted the importance of continued cooperation between the U.S. and India. He also emphasized his continued consideration of the ever-growing Indian population in the U.S. With distinguished guests such as Ambassador Andrew Young and Consul General of India Dr. Swati Kulkarni, the members and special guests engaged in a compelling discussion about U.S.-Indian relations.
The U.S. and the Middle East: Policies Amidst a Fragmenting Region
January 23rd, 2019
On January 23rd, 2019, ACIR was honored to host Dr. Kenneth Stein, Director of Emory University's Middle East Research Program, who spoke on the topic, "The U.S. and the Middle East: Policies Amidst a Fragmenting Region."
Since the “Arab Spring” the Middle East has been in political turmoil. Among other things, we have seen a rise sectarian and tribal formations, as well a resurgence of Iranian efforts to influence events in the region. For Israel, such changes pose a significant challenge. In the absence of an evident path to stability and security in the region, the recent decision of the United States to end its military commitment in Syria, further limit its military commitments in Afghanistan, and the resultant perceived U.S. declining interest in the region, Israel is increasingly looking to work with others in the region to enhance its security. Professor Kenneth Stein addressed the policy issues confronting the United States and the region as they attempt to deal with the increasing fragmentation and political turmoil in the Middle East.
North Korea and the Future of Security on the Korean Peninsula
January 11th, 2019
On January 11th, 2019, the Atlanta Council on International Relations proudly hosted Lieutenant General In-Bum Chun who spoke on the topic "North Korea and the Future of Security on the Korean Peninsula."
General Chun had much to say about North Korea's "Supreme Leader," Kim Jong Un, and his nuclear ambitions. Is Kim stalling and buying time with the current American and South Korean administrations while he continues his march toward completion of a nuclear tipped missile? General Chun's review of past European and American administrations as well as the current one was proven to be a most interesting one.
General Chun is the first South Korean officer since the Vietnam War to be awarded the U.S. Bronze Star, and in 2016, he received the U.S. Special Operations Command Medal. General Chun left no misunderstandings about his positions regarding threats on the Korean Peninsula and what realistic options face the United States and South Korea.
An "Off-the-Record" Conversation with French Consul General Louis de Corail
December 14th, 2018
On December 14th, 2018, the Atlanta Council on International together with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs were honored to present French Consul General Louis de Corail for an "Off-the-Record" breakfast. Mr. de Corail took over as Consul General of France in Atlanta on August 15, 2016. He began his career within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in 1990 after two years of national and civil service as an international volunteer in Monrovia, Liberia. De Corail previously held various positions including Secretary and Counselor at the French embassies in Suva (1990 to 1993), Zagreb (1999 to 2002), Dublin (2005 to 2008), and Oslo (2008 to 2012). He also served as Press Counselor in Ottawa. At the Central Headquarters in Paris, he worked in Protocol (1993 to 1996) as well as in the Office of European Cooperation (1999 to 2002). From 2012 to 2016, he was seconded to the City Hall of Bordeaux as the Director of International Relations.
This 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.
Dr. Mariel Borowitz"U.S. Space Policy and National Security"
On December 5th, 2018, the 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, a reliance that has direct implications for our national security launch capabilities. It also means we are funding Russian space and missile technology when we could be investing in more jobs and a stronger defense-industrial base right here in the U.S. We need an innovative, resilient and economical way to ensure our access to space.
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.
An "Off-the-Record" Conversation with Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore
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.
General Phil Breedlove on 21st Century Warfare
November 5th, 2018
On November 5th, 2018, the 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.
"Nuclear Safeguards and Nuclear Security:
On October 5th, 2018, the ACIR was honored to host Ambassador 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.
"Venezuela: From Bad to Worse" with U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro
On September 12th, 2018, the 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.
"Securing Our Common Future: an Agenda for Disarmament" with UN Under-Secretary-General Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu
On June 25th, 2018, the ACIR was honored to host High Representative Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, the sitting Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations. 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.
"The Rise of Islamic Politics in Turkey" with Dr. Mona Tajali
On May 31st, 2018, the 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.
An "Off-the-Record" Conversation with Mexican Consul General Javier Díaz de León
On May 18th, 2018, the ACIR was honored to host Consul General Javier Díaz de León of Mexico in Atlanta.
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.
The "off-the-record" breakfast is a new program offering by the ACIR 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.
"Global Issues & Challenges Facing the United States" with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson
On May 2nd, 2018, the ACIR was honored to host Senator Johnny Isakson in Atlanta. He 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.
"The Information Apocalypse: Factors degrading the effectiveness of mass communication in reaching influencer audiences" with Major General Mari K. Eder
April 18th, 2018
"A Changing Europe in an Uncertain World," co-sponsored with Georgia Tech's Center for European and Transatlantic Studies
"The Clash of the U.S and the E.U on Privacy and National Security" with Peter Swire
"J Street and the Fight for the Two-State Solution" with Alan Elsner
"Addressing the North Korea Dilemma: An American Perspective" with Sunny Park
"Russian Strategic Culture and Nuclear Weapons" with Dr. Polina Sinovets
"The North American Partnership: Looking Ahead" with Canadian Consul General Nadia Theodore
"The Rise of China and Iran" with Dr. John Garver
"Recent Developments in the Middle East" with Israeli Consul General Judith Varnai Shorer
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.
"Current Assessment of the Mexican-American Bilateral Relationship" with Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernandez
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.