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 will explore 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 will feature, virtually, four exceptional former speakers sharing revised or new ideas in their fields of expertise. They are returning now as “friends” to give their updated insights.

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

Purchase online or through the DCA office: 203-655-9050 extension 10. If another person in your household will be viewing with you, please purchase an additional ticket(s).

January 7 at 10:00am
Rethinking Russia
Jill Dougherty, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Jill Dougherty, currently a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, will focus 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.

January 14 at 10:00am
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.

January 21 at 10:00am
Europe: Finding Its Place in a World of Great Power Competition
Constanze Stelzenmüller, Brookings Institution

Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, an expert on German, European, and transatlantic foreign and security policy, is currently a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. Stelzenmüller formerly served as the Kissinger Chair on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress. She also served as the inaugural
Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at Brookings from 2014 to 2019. Stelzenmüller’s areas of expertise include transatlantic relations; German foreign policy; NATO; the European Union’s foreign, security and defense policy; international law; and human rights. Prior to Brookings, Dr. Stelzenmüller was a senior transatlantic fellow and Berlin office director with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and was a writer and editor at the German weekly DIE ZIET from 1994 to 2005.

A prolific author of essays and articles, Dr. Stelzenmüller has written in both German and English for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Affairs, Internationale Politik, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and Süddeutsche Zeitung. She is also a frequent commentator on American and European radio and television, including Presseclub (ARD), National Public Radio, and the BBC. 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.

January 28 at 10:00am
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.

Ticket Information:

Purchase online or through the DCA office: 203-655-9050 extension 10. If another person in your household will be viewing with you, please purchase an additional ticket(s).

Registrants will receive an email with Zoom webinar access information the day before the lecture.

Not a DCA Member? Members receive discounted admission for our activities, and find that their membership pays for itself simply by participating in several events each year.

Series admission includes 4 morning lectures: purchase series subscriptions by January 5.
$60 for DCA members
$90 public

Single lecture tickets: purchase by the deadline below.
$20 DCA members
$30 public

Purchase Rethinking Russia/Jill Dougherty single lecture ticket by January 5.
Purchase China in the Biden Era/Evan Osnos single lecture ticket by January 12.
Purchase Europe/Constanze Stelzenmüller single lecture ticket by January 19.
Purchase Middle East/Steven Cook single lecture ticket by January 26.


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

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

Academic Lecture Series Committee
Speakers Committee Chairs: Kate Larson, Mary Genco
Speakers Committee: Kate Larson, Mary Genco, Martha Banks, Zeynep Saah, Ann Mandel, Susan Bhirud, Clare Myers
Series Coordinator: Susan Bhirud
Registrar: Christy Munro
Treasurer: Martha Banks
Mailing List: Robin Woods
Hospitality: Sally Schlachtenhaufen, Margie Anderson
Publicity: Zeynep Saah, Ann Lang, Adria Bates, Margie Anderson
Books and Maps List: Ann Lang