Academic Lecture Series

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:

  • “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”

See below for the complete list of Academic Lecture Series topics from 1956 to 2016.


Recent 2017 lectures

EUROPE – CHALLENGE AND CHANGE“A world in flux.”  We hear this every day and for the past several years Europe has lived the reality of changing times, often accompanied by dissatisfaction and unrest.  What began as a   fiscal crisis followed by economic anxiety, concerns about terrorism and rising nationalism all intensified as more than one million refugees entered into a Europe with fewer borders last year.  Europe is undergoing a significant transformation that will surely have repercussions throughout the world.

Our series will address the issues that have led to Brexit and fear for the continued success of the European Union.  The distinguished speakers will reflect on the history of the European Union, while explaining current challenges and possible scenarios for the future security and prosperity of both Europe and the US.

Click here for the Academic Lecture Series flyer



2017-academic-lecture-series-books-maps-on-back_page_1Click here for the Academic Lecture Series Suggested Reading & Maps





January 5      The Future of the European Union
                      Presenter: Kathleen McNamara, Georgetown University R. McNamara is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her work focuses on the evolution of the European Union, the politics of the Euro and the European Central Bank, and international political economy issues more generally. She is the author of The Politics of Everyday Europe: Constructing Authority in the European Union (Oxford University Press, 2016), which investigates the gradual cultural transformations that only partially legitimate the EU’s power. Her other books are The Currency of Ideas: Monetary Politics in the European Union (Cornell University Press, 1998) and Making History: European Integration and Institution Change at Fifty (Oxford University Press, 2007).

At Georgetown, Dr. McNamara served as Director of the Mortara Center for International Studies from 2010-2016, building a robust scholarly infrastructure for faculty, a new undergraduate research fellows program, and promoting vibrant interdisciplinary debate over key global challenges. Dr. McNamara also has taught at Princeton University and Sciences Po (Paris), and has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, a German Marshall Fund Fellow, and a Fulbright Fellow. She received her PhD from Columbia University and her BA from McGill University. She has written extensively for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, and has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, among many media appearances.

January 12     Navigating Europe’s Perfect Storm
                       Presenter: Daniel Kelemen, Rutgers University Kelemen is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. Kelemen’s research focuses on the politics of the European Union.  His latest book , Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union, won the Best Book Award from the European Studies Association.

Kelemen previously taught at University of Oxford, Princeton University and was a Fullbright Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.  He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

January 19     Barbarians at the Gate? The EU Confronts the Outside World
                       Presenter: Fiona Hill, Brookings Institution Hill is director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is a frequent commentator on Russian and Eurasian affairs, and has researched and published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy, and strategic issues. She is co-author of the second edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).

Prior to joining Brookings, Hill was director of strategic planning at The Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999, she held a number of positions directing technical assistance and research projects at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, including associate director of the Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, director of the Project on Ethnic Conflict in the Former Soviet Union, and coordinator of the Trilateral Study on Japanese-Russian-U.S. Relations. Hill has published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy, and strategic issues. Her book with Brookings Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, was published by Brookings Institution Press in December 2003, and her monograph, Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia’s Revival, was published by the London Foreign Policy Centre in 2004. The first edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin was published by Brookings Institution Press in December 2013.

Hill holds a master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. She also holds a master’s in Russian and modern history from St. Andrews University in Scotland, and has pursued studies at Moscow’s Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the board of trustees of The Eurasia Foundation.

Council on Foreign Relations, member
Eurasia Foundation, member, board of trustees

January 26     Why Should We Care? The Strategic and Human Significance of the
                       Mediterranean Refugee Crisis
                       Presenter: Gregory Maniatis, Migration Policy Institute A. Maniatis is Senior Advisor to Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for Migration, Senior Advisor at the Open Society Foundations, Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, and a co-director of Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Maniatis has worked closely with the European Commission, EU member state governments, the European Parliament, international organizations, and civil society groups on all aspects of migration policy. His reportage and commentary on the European Union, Greece, Russia, migration, and other topics have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine. Earlier in his career, Gregory was a foreign policy advisor to several governments, and was the founder and publisher of Odyssey Magazine. He is a graduate of Princeton University and of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


January 30      America’s Most Essential Alliance
                        Presenter: Constanze Stelzenmüller, Brookings Institution Stelzenmüller, an expert on German, European, and transatlantic foreign and security policy and strategy, is the inaugural Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. Prior to working at Brookings, she was a senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), where she directed the influential Transatlantic Trends survey program. Her areas of expertise include: transatlantic relations; German foreign policy; NATO; the European Union’s foreign, security, and defense policy; international law; and human rights.

Stelzenmüller is the former director of GMF’s Berlin office. From 1994 to 2005, she was an editor for the political section of the German weekly DIE ZEIT, where she had also served as defense and international security editor and covered human rights issues and humanitarian crises. From 1988 to 1989, she was a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School. She has also been a GMF campus fellow at Grinnell College in Iowa, a Woodrow Wilson Center public policy scholar in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Remarque Forum—a conference series of the Remarque Institute at New York University. Stelzenmüller’s essays and articles, in both German and English, have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Foreign Affairs, Internationale Politik, the Financial Times, the International New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Her dissertation, “Direkte Demokratie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika,” was published in 1994 by Nomos. She is also a frequent commentator on American and European radio and television, including Presseclub (ARD), National Public Radio, and the BBC. Stelzenmüller is a governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a fellow of the Royal Swedish Society for War Sciences. She has worked in Germany and the United States, and speaks English, French, German, and Spanish. Stelzenmüller holds a doctorate in law from the University of Bonn (1992), a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1988), and a law degree from the University of Bonn (1985).

Ditchley Foundation, governor
German Council on Foreign Relations, member
International Institute for Strategic Studies, member
McCloy Fellowship Alumni Association, member
Royal Swedish Academy for War Sciences, fellow
The Washington Quarterly, member, editorial board
Women in International Security Germany, member


Thursday Morning Series:
Some single tickets ($30) for the Thursday morning lectures will be available at the door.

Monday Evening Lecture & Reception:
DCA members $30 / public $30
Click for online registration.
Some single tickets ($30) for the Monday evening lecture & reception will be available at the door.

Any questions please contact the DCA at or 203-655-9050 ext. 10.

To receive email notification of lectures as they become available, please subscribe to our Academic Lecture Series emails through the link below.

Subscribe for email notices of upcoming Academic Lecture Series events through this link

Past lectures

¡CUBA AHORA!  (2016)

Join us in January for the DCA Academic Lecture Series on Cuba.Over the past 40 years Cuba has engendered a wide variety of sensibilities, including curiosity, nostalgia, guilt, empathy and retribution. Even before Fidel Castro gained control, the U.S. government had a contentious relationship with this island off the coast of Florida. Since our embargo of retaliation against the communist regime, we have held Cuba in limbo, maintaining commercial and travel restrictions that complicate normal communication. Now, with the prospect of reestablishing a working association, it was time to examine the past, present and future of the U.S.- Cuban relationship.

Our series began with an historic overview, followed by an explanation of the pros and cons of the proposed change in U.S. policy. Later speakers discussed Cuban entrepreneurship, as well as Cuba’s relationships with its Latin American neighbors. Our final speaker was a former British Ambassador to Cuba who described the significant ramifications of a changed U.S.-Cuban policy for the global community, including reactions from Europe, China and Russia.

Entrepreneurship in Cuba
Presenter: John McIntire, Cuba Emprende Foundation

DCA 2016 Academic Lecture Series Cuba AhoraBorn in Havana, John McIntire has been returning to Cuba regularly since 2004 in support of various humanitarian causes. In early 2012 he and several other Cuban-Americans, in partnership with the Catholic Church and Mexico’s ProEmpleo, founded the Cuba Emprende Project. Cuba Emprende is now the largest entrepreneur training program and the only small business incubator/accelerator on the island, operating in 3 cities. John is a director of the Project’s board in Cuba and is chairman of the Cuba Emprende Foundation, the 501(c)3 organization that sources private funding for the operations on the island.

Outside of his Cuba interests, John is an early stage investor in the education technology space. He was an early investor in and is a director (chairman 2010-15) of Open English, an online English-teaching school which has enrolled over 400,000 students and raised $120 million in venture capital. John is also leading the financing and is the chairman of Yogome, a mobile game developer focused on engaging math and science games for elementary school children. Yogome, which has over 1 million daily active users in 150 countries, has announced a two year research and development partnership with Yale University; Yale researchers have recently begun randomized controlled trials in New Haven schools to test the educational efficacy of the company’s math games. John is also acting as an advisor to two Miami-based companies in the education and translation sectors.

John is a senior advisor to Endeavor Global, the leading non-profit organization promoting entrepreneurship in the developing world, and has been involved in entrepreneur mentoring and selection with that organization for over a decade.

John retired in 2004 as a partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co, where he spent 12 years focused on Latin America. During his last four years there, he was Goldman’s CEO for that region, responsible for a diversified portfolio of financial businesses. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics. John has lived in Darien with his family since 1992.


Obama’s Big Bet on Cuba: Pros and Cons
Presenter: Theodore Piccone, Brookings Institution

Join us this January for the DCA Academic Lecture Series on CubaTed Piccone is a Senior Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy and Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. His research is focused on global democracy and human rights policies; U.S.-Latin American relations, including Cuba; emerging powers; and multilateral affairs. Previously, he served as Foreign Policy Program’s acting vice president and director from 2013-2014 and deputy director from 2008-2013.

Piccone served eight years as a senior foreign policy advisor on Latin America and global democracy in the Clinton administration, including on the National Security Council staff, at the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning and the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. From 2001-2008, Piccone was the executive director and co-founder of the Democracy Coalition Project, a research and advocacy organization working to promote international cooperation for democracy and human rights globally. He was also the Washington office director for the Club of Madrid, an association of over 100 former heads of state and government engaged in efforts to strengthen democracy around the world, and continues as an advisor. Piccone served as counsel for the United Nations Truth Commission in El Salvador from 1992-1993, and as press secretary to U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar from 1985-1987.

Piccone has authored or edited multiple volumes and articles on foreign policy, Latin America and human rights. His latest book, Five Rising Democracies and the Fate of the International Liberal Order (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), examines the global contest for democracy and human rights and the role of five rising democracies–India, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia–as both examples and supporters of liberal ideas and practices. Since 2009, he has authored a series of articles on U.S.-Cuba relations and Cuba’s evolving political economy. He has also written extensively on the politics and effectiveness of the United Nations human rights system.

Piccone received a law degree from Columbia University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, and a B.A. in history magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

U.S. – Cuba Policy: How Did We Get Here?
Presenter: Christopher Sabatini, Columbia University 

Join us for the DCA Academic Lecture Series on Cuba in January.Christopher Sabatini is the founder and executive director of the new research non-profit, Global Americans, editor of its news and opinion website and an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.  Global Americans is currently conducting research on social inclusion and monitoring country votes and activities in multilateral organizations concerning democracy and human rights.  In September 2015 he was recognized as the best professor of a small class in SIPA.

From 2005 to 2014 he was the senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the founder and editor-in-chief of the hemispheric policy magazine Americas Quarterly (AQ). At the AS/COA, Dr. Sabatini chaired the organization’s Rule of Law working group, which published a report on rule of law in the hemisphere entitled Rule of Law, Economic Growth and Prosperity (also available in Spanish). He also chaired the AS/COA Cuba Working Group.

In 2007, Dr. Sabatini launched AQ and maintained a regular blog on policy in the Americas on the magazine’s website ( From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Sabatini was the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy. From 1995 to 1997 he was a Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Center for Democracy and Governance.

Dr. Sabatini has served as an advisor to the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has published numerous articles on Latin America, democratization, political parties, and U.S. policy in the region. His work includes an article in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs titled “Rethinking Latin America”, and an article on about regional diplomacy titled “The Land of Too Many Summits.”

Dr. Sabatini regularly provides interviews for The New York TimesThe Christian Science Monitor, NPR, The Miami Herald, CNN, The Washington Post, and CNN en Español, and is a regular contributor to CNN-GPS and to NTN24’s TV news program Efecto Naim. He has a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia.

Where will Cuba Stand with Latin America?
Presenter: Francisco Mora, Florida International University

Join us in January for our DCA Academic Lectures.Frank O. Mora is Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL.  Prior to arriving at FIU, Dr. Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere from 2009-2013.   He has held several teaching positions, including Professor of National Security Strategy and Latin American Studies at the National War College, National Defense University (2004-2009) and Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of International Studies, Rhodes College (2000-2004).

During the last twenty years Dr. Mora worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, U.S. Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and U.S. Southern Command.  He has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States, Latin America and Europe. His opinion pieces and other commentaries have appeared in the Miami Herald, La Tercera (Chile), Wall Street Journal, CNN, Los Angeles Times, El Tiempo (Colombia), National Public Radio, Voice of America, and USA Today. Dr. Mora is the author or editor of five books and numerous academic and policy articles, book chapters and monographs on hemispheric security, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, Cuban politics and military and Latin American foreign policy.

Dr. Mora graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University in 1986. He received his M.A. in Inter-American Studies and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami. He also completed studies at universities in Peru and Costa Rica.  He is a recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award, Department of Defense (2011).

What Now for Cuba’s Role in the World?
Presenter: Ambassador Paul Hare, Boston University
(Former British Ambassador to Cuba)

Join us for the DCA Academic Lectures Series in January 2016.Paul Webster Hare was a British diplomat for 30 years and the British ambassador to Cuba from 2001-04. He now teaches international relations at the Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.

Hare graduated with First Class Honors in Politics and Economics from Oxford University in 1972 and from the College of Law in London in 1976. He worked for five years in the private sector, in law and investment banking, before entering the British Diplomatic Service. He served overseas at the UK Representation to the EU in Brussels, in Portugal, New York, and in Venezuela as Deputy Head of Mission. He was Head of the Foreign Office’s Non-Proliferation Department and the first Project Director for the UK’s presence at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

Hare is a Fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and served as president of the British Baseball Federation from 2000-01. He has been designated a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Ambassador Hare teaches classes at Boston University on Diplomatic Practice, Arms Control, Intercultural Communication and on Cuba in Transition. In Spring 2016 he will teach a new class on Public Diplomacy. His novel, “Moncada – A Cuban Story”, set in modern Cuba, was published in May 2010. His book, “Making Diplomacy Work; Intelligent Innovation for the Modern World”, was published in early 2015.

He has written widely on Cuba with recent articles appearing in inter alia, The Financial Times, The Atlantic, The Miami Herald and the Huffington Post. He served on the Brookings Institution core group on Cuba and wrote papers on Cuba published by Brookings.  He is consulted regularly on Cuba issues by inter alia, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, the Associated Press, Agence France and the BBC. He and his wife Lynda have six children and live in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Russian Roulette (2015)

The breakup of the USSR in 1991, which resulted in the reestablishment of Russia as a central power, initiated a new world order. Over the ensuing years the initial positive reactions throughout the international community changed to dismay and confusion as Russia dramatically shifted foreign policy positions. Vladimir Putin’s rise to power and continued dominance over Russian international relations has been a further complication for world leaders. Our series examined President Putin, his dramatic changes in policy and style and highlighted Russia’s current initiatives in Ukraine, as well as partnerships within Europe and Asia. We concluded with a discussion of the fragile relationship between Russia and the United States and looked to the future.

For further information, contact the DCA at or call 203-655-9050.

Email subscription

Should you wish to be notified of further details of the next Academic Lectures Series events, please subscribe to our DCA email through the below link and select “Academic Lectures” as one of your areas of interest, or contact the DCA directly.

Subscribe for email notices of upcoming Academic Lecture Series events through this link

DCA Academic Lectures Topics from 1956-2016
1956: Ideologies of Europe: European Trade
1957: The Middle East
1958: China, Japan and Their Relationship with Other Countries
1959: Soviet Ideology and Russian Life Today
1960: Africa, South of the Sahara
1961: The Challenge of Latin America
1962: Trouble Spots in the Far East
1963: The Challenge of Communism in 1963
1964: Aid as an Instrument of Foreign Policy
1965: Nation Building
1966: The Chinese Puzzle
1967: Behind the Mask of Asia
1968: The Middle East: The Cauldron of Crisis
1969: Perspectives of the City
1970: Japan in World Affairs
1971: Our Earth: A Living Island in Space
1972: USA: Our Changing Society
1973: The Challenge of Change II
1974: The Shifting Bases of Power
1975: Are We Good Neighbors?
1976: The New Nationalism
1977: Blueprints for Tomorrow
1978: Liberty and Law: Who’s In Charge Here?
1979: Changing Faces of Communism
1980: Dollars and Sense: The International Monetary Picture
1981: Diplomacy in Crisis
1982: One World? The Relationship of the U.S. and Its Allies
1983: America’s Vital Interests
1984: World’s Fragile Economy
1985: On the Brink of Peace…or War?
1986: How Fares Democracy? Individual Liberty in Mass Society
1987: Communism’s New Clothes: Intimations for the 21st Century
1988: Forging the Future: Choice and Challenge
1989: God’s On Our Side: Religion, Power and Politics
1990: Where Are the Movers and Shakers: Outlooks on Leadership
1991: Winds of Change: Emerging Democracies Around the World
1992: What Is the New World Order? Personal Perspectives
1993: The U.S. and the World: New Realities and New Responsibilities
1994: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Swords Into Plowshares?
1995: The Pacific Century: West Meets East
1996: Election 1996: Perspectives on Foreign Policy
1997: China: Crossroads
1998: War and Peace: Russia and Her Neighbors
1999: Islam: From Muhammad to the Millennium
2000: Southern Exposure: New Views of South America
2001: India: A World Within a World
2002: Turkey, Between Two Worlds
2003: Viva Mexico – Our Neighbor
2004: The New Europe: What’s Ahead for the EU?
2005: Understanding Iran
2006: The UN Challenge
2007: Rising China
2008: Russia 2008
2009: Brazil, Ordem e Progresso
2010: Border Heat – Pakistan, India, Afghanistan
2011: Pieces of the Puzzle, The Arabian Peninsula
2012: After The Arab Spring… What Next?
2013: Making the World Go Round – Global Economics
2014: China Changes the Guard
2015: Russian Roulette
2016: Cuba Ahora

Academic Lectures Committee

Series Coordinator Susan Bhirud
Speakers Committee Mary Genco (Co-chair), Kate Larson (Co-chair), Martha Banks, Susan Bhirud, Ann Mandel and Alison von Klemperer
Registrar Christy Monroe
Treasurer Martha Banks
Hospitality Margi Anderson and Sally Schlachtenhaufen
Publicity Sallie Raleigh (Chair), Margi Anderson, Adria Bates and Ann Lang
Book List Robin Harvey and Ann Lang
Mailing List Robin Woods

Academic Lecture Committee

Pictured left to right: Robin Harvey, Adria Bates, Margi Anderson, Ann Mandel, Christy Munro, Robin Woods, Sally Schlachtenhaufen, Sallie Raleigh, Susan Bhirud and Kate Larson. Missing from the photo are Martha Banks, Mary Genco, Ann Lang and Alison von Klemperer.

Pictured left to right: Robin Harvey, Adria Bates, Margi Anderson, Ann Mandel, Christy Munro, Robin Woods, Sally Schlachtenhaufen, Sallie Raleigh, Susan Bhirud and Kate Larson. Missing from the photo are Martha Banks, Mary Genco, Ann Lang and Alison von Klemperer.














Click for full details and online registration