Thursday, November 9th at 5:30 at Wakonda Club – Mike Ryan

Speaking On: Confronting China: U.S. Defense Policy in an Era Of Great Power Competition

Bio for Mike Ryan 

Michael C. Ryan served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy. In this role he supported the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and oversaw policy issues related to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Ryan was responsible for efforts to expand partnerships and deepen defense cooperation with more than 120 nations.

Mr. Ryan brings almost four decades of public and private sector experience to this position, including over 25 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, as well as 10 years of Senior Executive service at the U.S. Mission to NATO, the U.S. Mission to the EU, both in Brussels, Belgium, and at Headquarters, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. During his Air Force career Mr. Ryan flew the A-10 Thunderbolt II in Europe, was a National Defense Fellow with Congress, served as the Country Director for Russia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, graduated from the French War College in Paris, and served as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of Defense’s Representative to Europe. Subsequently, he was the Defense Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the EU then a Deputy Director for Policy, Plans, Strategy, Capabilities and Resources (J-5/8) at European Command before his promotion to Director, lnteragency Partnering/ Director, Joint lnteragency Counter-Trafficking Center (J-9) also in Stuttgart. 

In the private sector, Mr. Ryan served as the Managing Director, Carrolltown Monastery, a start-up in the hospitality industry, as a member of the Growth and Strategic Advisory Team at Vectrus, and as the Vice Chairman of the Carrolltown Municipal Authority Board. Mr. Ryan has lectured extensively during his career most recently at Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania where he taught Russian History as well as World Affairs. 

Mr. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Soviet Studies from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Science in International Relations from Troy University. 

Wednesday October 25th at 5:30 at Glen Oaks  Country Club – Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller

Talk title: “The Free World and Its Enemies: Russia’s war against Ukraine and what it means for transatlantic relations”

Constanze Stelzenmüller is a German international relations analyst, policy and law scholar, and journalist. She is an expert in German, European, and trans-Atlantic foreign policy and global affairs. She writes academic and journalistic analyses in English and German media about international relations in general, and German–American relations in particular, as well as questions in the politics of Germany and the United States.

Stelzenmüller studied law at the University of Geneva and the University of Bonn, where she graduated in 1985. In 1988, she was a McCloy Fellow (de) and completed a master’s degree in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. She then worked as a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School for a year, after which she obtained a doctorate from the University of Bonn in 1992. Her thesis, called Direkte Demokratie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, was a study of direct democracy in the United States.

From 1992 to 1994, Stelzenmüller worked as a journalist at Der Tagesspiegel, and then she worked at Die Zeit.  From 1994 to 1998 she was a writer and reporter there, and from 1998 until 2005 she was an editor in defense and international security.

Beginning in 2005, Stelzenmüller served a four-year term as Director at the Berlin Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and then was a Senior Transatlantic Fellow and director of the Transatlantic Trends survey. In 2007, she succeeded Theo Sommer as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board to the German Foundation for Peace Research (de).] In 2014, she became the inaugural Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, until 2019.] From 2019 to 2020 she was Kissinger Chair on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, September 13th at 5:30 at Wakonda Club – James Ketterer

Talk Title: “The US View of the Egyptian Revolution: Misreadings and Missed Opportunities”. 

Bio for James Ketterer

James Ketterer is Senior Fellow at the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College in New York state.  At Bard, he previously served as Dean of International Studies and Director of the Bard Globalization and International Studies program in New York City. Ketterer also served as Dean of the School of Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo and as Egypt Country Director for AMIDEAST, a large educational NGO represented across the Middle East and North Africa. He was at the State University of New York for several years, serving as Vice Chancellor for Policy and Planning, Deputy Provost and Director of the Center for International Development, where he implemented large capacity building projects supported by the US Agency for International Development. These projects worked with parliaments and other institutions in many countries across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. He has also worked in government, including at the National Security Council, the New York Senate and the New York Commission on Higher Education.  

James Ketterer moved to Egypt at the time of the Egyptian Revolution in early 2011 and was there through the regime change in 2013, and then returned in 2019-23.  He was director of an educational and cultural affairs NGO that strengthens ties between the U.S. and the Middle East and worked closely with the U.S. embassy and the Egyptian government, and later served as a dean at the American University in Cairo. This gave him an up-close view of the turbulent events, misread circumstances and missed opportunities that strained U.S.-Egyptian relations. This presentation will explore what went right, what didn’t and where things stand now as Egypt faces new and difficult challenges. In addition, the presentation highlights the case of Egypt within the broader context of trends and dynamics across the Middle East and North Africa.

Wednesday May 31st at 5:30pm at Glen Oaks Country Club

Information about Mr. Shanker – as posted on George Washington University website 

Thom Shanker

Director, Project for Media & National Security

Thom Shanker was named director of the Project for Media and National Security in June 2021, after a nearly quarter-century career with The New York Times, including 13 years as Pentagon correspondent covering the Department of Defense, overseas combat operations and national security policy.

Early in the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Shanker embedded with Army Special Forces at Kandahar. He subsequently conducted dozens of reporting trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, and embedded in the field with units from the squad and company level through battalion, brigade, division and corps.

Most recently, he had served as Deputy Washington Editor for The Times, managing coverage of the military, diplomacy and veterans’ affairs.

Mr. Shanker is co-author of “Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda,” published in August 2011 by Henry Holt & Co. The book became a New York Times best seller.

Before joining The Times, he was foreign editor of The Chicago Tribune. Mr. Shanker also served as The Tribune’s senior European correspondent, based in Berlin. Most of that time was spent covering the wars in former Yugoslavia, where Mr. Shanker was the first reporter to uncover and write about the Serb campaign of systematic mass rape of Muslim women.

He spent five years as The Tribune’s Moscow correspondent, covering the start of the Gorbachev era to the death of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the communist empire in Eastern Europe

Information about Mr. Shanker as Sent From Vangala Ram

 Thom Shanker spoke a few years ago in Tampa with Richard Jacobsen who has raved about Thom. He has just written a new book called “The Age of Danger“. It is about all the new range of threats we face in the wake of the Post Cold War era.

In his own words, this is how Mr. Shanker characterizes his thoughts:

 Andy and I make the case that the definition of national security must be expanded beyond bullets and bombs and the two-decade focus on counterterrorism, and we assess whether the trillion-dollar-a-year budget for protecting our nation is being spent wisely. We urge a redefinition of national security to include food security, health security, climate security and data security, and argue that the industrial-strength killing machine our nation has constructed over past years be converted to a life-saving machine. We feel these questions should be debated broadly across the American public, and not just inside the Beltway. The reputation for high-level and serious discussions hosted by the ACFR is well-known – and your affiliate locations across the United States offer a way to broaden this discussion to the important national audience.

There are a couple of links below to reviews of the new book. 



Tuesday, April 18th at Wakonda Club at 5:30pm – Hugh Dugan 

Having served as the acting Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs I am one of a very rare few who understand this many-faceted matters.  I had a hand in the recovery of about two dozen Americans and am currently writing about the dynamics at work in those complicated scenarios; for your perusal here is a link to several op-eds I penned.  Further, I am outlining a book given the public’s ongoing interest and demand for deeper understanding, particularly since there has been widespread concern that the Griner trade for the Russian terrorist was unbalanced and should not serve as precedent for other cases.   

Draft topic/title:The Hostage Enterprise: hostage-taking and its role in international relations

Bio for Hugh T. Dugan

Hugh T. Dugan is an international affairs practitioner and scholar having served in the diplomatic corps, senior executive service, academia, and media for 38 years.

Mr. Dugan served in the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Organization Affairs in 2020. He managed US foreign policy interests throughout the United Nations System and many other international entities; and thematic topics such as human rights and humanitarian affairs. Mr. Dugan served as Acting Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs in 2019 managing US diplomatic engagements in that sensitive operational sphere. His leadership in that all-of-Government effort produced an unprecedented momentum of recoveries, a strengthening of US policy and capacity, and improved methods of work with hostages’ families, US Congress, and associated actors.

Mr. Dugan is an international affairs scholar and an expert on United States participation in the United Nations Organization.  He served in the US Diplomatic Corps from 1983 to 2015, including twenty-six years as US Delegate to the UN and senior adviser to eleven US Ambassadors to the UN. There he managed a broad range of matters enabling effective, strategic US participation at the United Nations within evolving North-South and East-West relations during that historic timeframe. In 2002 he was detailed as senior fellow to US Senator Michael B. Enzi (R­-WY), Ranking Member on the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations. Prior postings included the State Department’s Bureau for Economic and Business Affairs, the American Consulate General in Bermuda, and the American Embassy in Mexico City.

Mr. Dugan provides expert commentary for a variety of electronic and print outlets, including Newsmax.com in his column “The UN and Beyond”. He serves as Fellow to the Center for United Nations and Global Governance Studies at the School of Diplomacy, Seton Hall University. While a Visiting Scholar there from 2015 through 2018, Mr. Dugan taught graduate courses on the UN Security Council and UN Reforms. The International Olympic Committee recognized his key role in reviving the ancient Olympic Truce for modern times; he then founded the non-profit Truce Foundation of the USA www.trucefoundation.us. He oversaw production of the six-volume Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dance (Oxford University Press). He has supported or performed board service for the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Fletcher School Alumni Clubs of DC and NYC, SOS Children’s Villages-USA, the UN Association of Trenton/Princeton, and the YMCA of Greater New York.Mr. Dugan earned degrees and honors from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (BSFS), the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MALD), the Wharton School of Business (MBA); and the International Olympic Academy (Olympia, Greece).He lives in Southampton (NY) and San Francisco; and is a native of Milwaukee.

Tuesday, March 21st 2023 at 6pm at Wakonda Club – Ian Easton

The title of Mr. Easton’s presentation will be: “If Taiwan Falls: Future Scenarios and Implications for the United States.”

Mr. Easton is a senior director at the Project 2049 Institute and author of The Final Struggle: Inside China’s Global Strategy. He also wrote The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia. He previously served as a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo, a China analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses in Virginia, and a researcher with the Asia Bureau of Defense News. Ian holds an M.A. in China Studies from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He studied Chinese at Fudan University in Shanghai and National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.

The Project 2049 Institute  (from the website)      https://project2049.net/<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fproject2049.net%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7C2fca0b8aeec14c711dd108db1c34cba5%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638134785511727376%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=dv3cDfQjO6xQwiik9jF99DVAz0j7%2B718N8Y2G0%2FVnEE%3D&reserved=0>

The Project 2049 Institute is a nonprofit research organization focused on promoting American values and security interests in the Indo-Pacific region. We specialize in open-source research using Chinese language sources to inform policy debate and advance public education. Our core mission is to create and disseminate knowledge that makes the region more peaceful and prosperous.

The Project 2049 Institute is located in Arlington, Virginia, and was co-founded in 2008 by the Honorable Randall Schriver and Lt Col Mark Stokes (USAF, ret.). We are a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Independent and non-partisan, our research is focused on bolstering human rights and national security.

The Project 2049 Institute’s work is made possible by grants and contracts from the U.S. government, like-minded governments, charitable foundations, major corporations, and individual donors.

Tuesday, February 21st at 6pm at Wakonda Club- Thomas Garrett

Talk direction: Resisting Authoritarian Pressure

Full Bio for Thomas Garrett

The Organization   web link:  https://community-democracies.org/values/secretary-general/

The Community of Democracies (CoD) is a global intergovernmental coalition comprised of the Governing Council Member States that support adherence to common democratic values and standards outlined in the Warsaw Declaration. The CoD is represented in the international fora by the elected Secretary General.

Historical Background

Born as a common initiative of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Polish Foreign Minister Bronisław Geremek, the Community of Democracies was founded at the Ministerial Conference held in Warsaw, Poland, where high-level delegations from 106 countries signed the Warsaw Declaration Toward a Community of Democracies. Signatories pledged to uphold the democratic values expressed in the Warsaw Declaration and to support them through a variety of initiatives.

Since its establishment in 2000, the Community of Democracies gradually developed from a conference initiative into a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic states and a multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue and discussion.

The Community of Democracies provides Member States with a forum in which to work together to learn from each other and identify global priorities for diplomatic action to advance and defend democracy, including through collective diplomatic action at the UN and in other multilateral fora. In addition to facilitating joint diplomatic action, the Community provides an international forum that facilitates mutual dialogue, learning, and exchange of experiences among Members.

Wednesday, January 18th at 6pm at Wakonda Club- Michael Kugleman

Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of the Asia Program and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.   Mr. Kugelman is a leading specialist on Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan and their relations with the United States. The editor or co-editor of 11 books, he has written for The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and other publications, covering topics ranging from U.S. policy in Afghanistan to terrorism to water, energy, and food security in the region.

Mr. Kugelman’s talk will focus on India-Pakistan conflict risk as the main topic, while also covering the Belt and Road Initiative issue.

Full Bio for Michael Kugelman

Mr. Kugelman is the Asia Program Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he is responsible for research, programming, and publications on the region. His main specialty is Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan and U.S. relations with each of them. Mr. Kugelman writes monthly columns for Foreign Policy’s South Asia Channel and monthly commentaries for War on the Rocks. He also contributes regular pieces to the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank blog. He has published op-eds and commentaries in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico,CNN.com, Bloomberg View, The Diplomat, Al Jazeera, and The National Interest, among others. He has been interviewed by numerous major media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic, BBC, CNN, NPR, and Voice of America. He has also produced a number of longer publications on South Asia, including the edited volumes Pakistan’s Interminable Energy Crisis: Is There Any Way Out? (Wilson Center, 2015), Pakistan’s Runaway Urbanization: What Can Be Done? (Wilson Center, 2014), and India’s Contemporary Security Challenges (Wilson Center, 2013). He has published policy briefs, journal articles, and book chapters on issues ranging from Pakistani youth and social media to India’s energy security strategy and transboundary water management in South Asia.

Mr. Kugelman received his M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He received his B.A. from American University’s School of International Service.