Academic Lecture Series

Every January since 1956, the DCA Academic Lecture Series has brought topical, global issues in focus, offering attendees first-hand knowledge of the issues.

Past topics include:
“Inside the Asian Cauldron”
“Europe — Challenge and Change”
“Cuba Ahora”
“Russian Roulette”
“Islam, From Muhammad to the Millennium”
“Border Heat, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan”
“Rising China”
“After the Arab Spring… What Next?”
“Making the World Go Round… Global Economics”

The January 2019 series topic – “Turkey at a Crossroads”

Four Thursday Morning Lectures at 10:00am

January 3  – Turkey and the Neighborhood
Presented by: Steven Cook, Council on Foreign Relations

January 10  – National Identity Contestation – From Ataturk’s Republic to Erdogan’s “New Turkey”
Presented by: Lisel Hintz, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

January 17  – What Awaits the Kurds

January 31  – Between Ankara, Brussels and Moscow
Presented by: Amanda Sloat, Brookings Institution

Wednesday Evening: Lecture at 8:00pm, Reception at 7:30pm

January 23 – Divergent Interests: The Erosion of the U.S. – Turkish Alliance
Presented by: Aaron Stein, Atlantic Council

DCA members Thursday morning series subscription: $75
Public Thursday morning series subscription: $100
Prepayment for the Thursday morning series subscription is required by Wednesday, January 2.

DCA members Wednesday evening lecture and reception: $30
Public Wednesday evening lecture and reception: $35
Prepayment for the Wednesday evening lecture and reception is required by Tuesday, January 22.

Single tickets for the Thursday morning series ($30) and the evening lecture ($30 DCA members, $35 public) will be sold at the door on a space-available basis. Prepaid tickets will be available at the door prior to the first lecture. No tickets will be mailed in advance.

Click for online registration.

Last year’s January 2018 series topic – “Inside the Asian Cauldron”

Our series offered an “insider’s view” of the regional and political challenges in East Asia from the perspectives of South Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan and North Korea. The distinguished speakers addressed the heightened tension in and around the Korean peninsula, offering an in-depth look at historical relations and current conflicts among these five unique populations that have challenged the stability in the region and around the globe.

January 11 – Taiwan: Hanging Tough in Tough Times
Presented by: Shelley Rigger, Davidson College

Dr. Rigger is a Brown Professor of East Asian Politics and Assistant Dean for Educational Policy at the Political Science Department of Davidson College. A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a PhD from Harvard University, Dr. Rigger was also a Visiting Research Scholar in the Institute for International Relations, National Chengchi University in Taiwan in 2005 and a Visiting Associate Professor in the School of International Relations and Public Administration in Fudan University in Shanghai, China in 2006.

She is an expert in East Asian politics, Chinese politics, Islamic minorities in China, Taiwanese politics and the study of democratization. Her books include, Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse; as well as two books on Taiwan’s domestic politics; Politics In Taiwan: Voting for Democracy and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party.

Dr. Rigger is active in public service projects for the United States government, training military officers, participating in conferences and testifying in the United States Congress.

January 18 – The Rise of China and U.S. Security Interests in Asia
Presented by: Thomas Christensen, Princeton University

Currently, in addition to his teaching, Dr. Christensen directs the China and World Program at Princeton. He served from 2006 to 2008 in the Bush administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  His work focused on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security. Before arriving at Princeton, Dr. Christensen taught at Cornell and MIT.  He received his B.A. from Haverford College, M.A. in International Relations from University of Pennsylvania, and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Christensen has served on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee on U.S.-China Relations, as well as, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  In 2002 he was presented with a Distinguished Public Service Award by the U.S. Department of State.

In 2015 Dr. Christensen published The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power, widely acclaimed as an evenhanded analysis of China’s current position globally.  Kirkus Review describes the book as “convincing arguments by a thoughtful, cool-headed China expert.”

Tuesday, January 23 – South Korea and the Nuclear Crisis: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Presented by: Katharine Moon, Wellesley College

Dr. Moon is professor of Political Science and the Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College and a nonresident senior fellow and SK-South Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies in the Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. A magna cum laude graduate of Smith College and PhD from Princeton University, Dr. Moon was born in San Francisco.

She is an expert of comparative social movements in East Asia, democracy, women’s movements, migrant workers, human rights, migration and identity politics with research focusing on U.S., Korea, and East Asia politics, Inter Korean relations, social changes in Korea, and the role of Korea and Americans in U.S. foreign policy. Her books include, Protesting America: Democracy and the U.S.-Korea Alliances, addresses the rise of Korean activism related to the alliance, the comparative politics of the U.S. basing overseas, and needed improvements in the management of this alliance; Influencing S Korea’s Democracy: China, N. Korea Defectors; Beyond Demonization: a New Strategy for Human Rights in N.Korea; Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in the U.S. and Korea Relations discusses the affect of foreign policy decisions on local communities and the lives of poor and marginalized women. Her latest book project, New Koreas and the Future of Korean Democracy addresses the impact of demographic change; North Korean defectors and multicultural immigration on South Korea democracy and foreign policy.

She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Korea Working Group, the Steering Committee of the National Committee on North Korea, and is affiliated faculty of the Korea Institute, Harvard University. She served on the Board of Trustees at Smith College and the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues of the U.S. State Department.

January 25 – Tokyo’s Troubles in Northeast Asia
Presented by: Sheila Smith, Council on Foreign Relations

Audiences may remember Sheila Smith’s dynamic presentation from the 2014 DCA China Series when she carefully outlined the age old disputes over strategic islands in the China Sea. These flashpoints have become even more volatile, given China’s recent military positioning to overtake the islands of its maritime neighbors, challenging U.S. alliances.

Dr. Smith is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound, and appears frequently on major media outlets in the United States and Asia. She joined the Council from the East-West Center in 2007, where she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She was a visiting scholar at Keio University in 2007-08, where she researched Japan’s foreign policy towards China, supported by the Abe Fellowship. Dr. Smith has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus.

Dr. Smith is vice chair of the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange (CULCON), a bi-national advisory panel of government officials and private sector members. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian Studies Department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. She earned her MA and PhD degrees from the department of political science at Columbia University

Her current research focuses on how geostrategic change in Asia is shaping Japan’s strategic choices. She is the author of Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (Columbia University Press, 2015) and Japans New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance (CFR, June 2014.)

Wednesday Evening: Lecture 8:00pm, Reception 7:30pm
January 31 – North Korea and the United States – An Uncertain Future
Presented by: Keith Luse, The National Committee on North Korea

Currently the executive director of The National Committee of North Korea, Keith Luse spoke at our evening lecture about “North Korea and the United States: An Uncertain Future.” From 2003 to 2013 Luse served as the Republican East Asia policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator Lugar of Indiana, whose office Luse had originally joined in 1978. Between 1999 and 2002, he was staff director for the Senator on the Senate Agriculture Committee. As part of his work on the Agriculture Committee, Luse made the first of five trips to North Korea. He had travelled throughout East Asia during the 1990s while in the private sector conducting research for U.S. concerns. In addition to Luse’s work with Senator Lugar, he has participated in several oversight projects and investigations, including assessing the integrity of the U.S.-funded humanitarian assistance process inside North Korea. Reports he has written for the Foreign Relations Committee include “China’s Impact on Korean Peninsula Unification and Questions for the Senate” (2012); and “North Korea and Its Nuclear Program – A Reality Check” (2008). The recipient of many awards, Luse has been honored with the Vietnam “Medal of Friendship” (2015) and the Philippine Legion of Honor Award (2013).  Luse received his BA at Indiana University, where he has also done graduate work.

Click here for the complete list of Academic Lecture Series topics from 1956 to 2018.

Click to sign up for DCA emails with upcoming Academic Lectures and more.

Academic Lecture Series Committee
Series Coordinator:
Susan Bhirud
Speakers Committee Chairs: Kate Larson, Mary Genco
Speakers Committee: Ann Mandel, Janet Sargent, Alison von Klemperer, Susan Bhirud, Mary Genco, Kate Larson, Martha Banks
Registrar: Christy Munro
Treasurer: Martha Banks
Mailing List: Christy Munro
Hospitality: Margie Anderson, Sally Schlachtenhaufen, Robin Woods
Publicity: Zeynep Saah, Margie Anderson, Adria Bates, Noel Bradley, Ann Lang, Sallie Raleigh
Book List: Robin Harvey, Ann Lang