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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.

January 2021 series topic – “Global Issues Revisited: Old friends Share New Insights”

The 2021 series explored key international locations and offer updates on domestic conditions and international policies in light of both the pandemic and the U.S. presidential transition.  This year’s series featured, virtually, four exceptional former speakers sharing revised or new ideas in their fields of expertise. They returned now as “friends” to give their updated insights.

Grateful thanks for the support of an anonymous donor in underwriting this series.

Rethinking Russia
Jill Dougherty, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Jill Dougherty, currently a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, focused on “Rethinking Russia.” Dougherty, who spoke here in 2015, served as a CNN correspondent for three decades reporting from more than 50 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea as well as Russia, her chief area of interest. At present, in addition to her work at the Wilson Center, she is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Joining CNN in 1983, Dougherty was in 1997 named CNN Moscow Bureau Chief, a post she held for almost a decade. News events she covered include the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin as well as the conflict in Chechnya and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. She also served as CNN White House correspondent from 1991-1996, during the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton years. When Dougherty left CNN in 2014 she was selected as a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University‘s JFK School of Government.

Dougherty holds a BA in Slavic languages and literature from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, The Moscow Times and The Washington Post. She is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

China in the Biden Era: What Can We Expect?
Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, in conversation with Kevin Peraino, Jay Heritage Center

Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008 and covers politics and foreign affairs. His recent pieces include a profile of Mark Zuckerberg, a tale from Donald’s Trump war on “the deep state,” and a visit to North Korea during the nuclear crisis. Sections of his book Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, based on eight years of living in Beijing, first appeared in the magazine. The book won the 2014 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book is Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.

Previously, Osnos worked as Beijing bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, where he was part of a team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. Before his assignment to China, he worked in the Middle East, reporting mostly from Iraq. He is a frequent guest on “Fresh Air,” the “PBS News Hour,” and other programs. He is a three-time recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award, among other honors. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Peraino is a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from around the world. He is the author, most recently, of A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and won the 2018 Truman Book Award from the Truman presidential library. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Politico, Foreign Policy, and many other places. He is the executive director of the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, New York, and lives in Darien, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

No Exit: Why the Middle East Still Matters to America
Steven Cook, Council on Foreign Relations

Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East; The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s gold medal in 2012; and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey.

Cook is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine. He has also published widely in international affairs journals, opinion magazines, and newspapers, and he is a frequent commentator on radio and television. His work can be found on

Prior to joining CFR, Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001–2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995–1996).

Cook holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College, an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and both an MA and a PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Arabic and Turkish and reads French.

Stronger Together: Revitalizing the Transatlantic Relationship in the Biden Era
Torrey Taussig, Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Torrey Taussig is the Research Director for the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship and the American Secretaries of State Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is also a Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe.

In 2019-2020, Taussig directed a joint project between Harvard Kennedy School and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) to revive and strengthen the transatlantic relationship. The project convened a group of experts and former government officials from the United States and Europe and culminated in a major report titled, Stronger Together: A Strategy to Revitalize Transatlantic Power published in December 2020.

In 2018-19, Taussig was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow based in Berlin, Germany, where she served as a foreign policy advisor in the German Bundestag and in the Transatlantic Division of the German Foreign Office. During that time, she researched and published on U.S.-Europe relations, German foreign policy and transatlantic cooperation on China.

Taussig is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Advisory Council of the U.S.-Europe Alliance. Her research focuses on transatlantic relations, great power competition, and authoritarian challenges to democratic states and institutions.

Previously, Taussig held pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the Brookings Institution. In this capacity, she led the Brookings Foreign Policy Program’s Democracy Working Group and the Democracy and Disorder publication series launched in 2018. She also held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. Taussig received a master’s and a doctorate from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s in political science and economics from Williams College.

Click here for the complete list of Academic Lecture Series topics from 1956 to 2019.

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Academic Lecture Series Committee
Speakers Committee Co-Chairs:
 Mary Genco, Kate Larson
Committee members: Martha Banks, Adria Bates, Brooke Beck, Susan Bhirud, Erin Conway, Ann Lang, Ann Mandel, Christy Munro, Clare Myers, Zeynep Saah, Robin Woods