2016 – 2017 Season

May 15, 2017 – Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana

Professor Mathilde Mukantabana is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana was a tenured Professor of History at Cosumnes River College (CRC) in Sacramento, California from 1994 to 2013. She is also co-founder and President of Friends of Rwanda Association (F.O.R.A), a non-profit American relief association created in the wake of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Since its inception, FORA’s dual purpose has been to expand the circle of friends of Rwanda and to support survivors of 1994 Genocide through a variety of initiatives and relief efforts. In addition, under the aegis of United Nations for Development Programs (UNDP), Ambassador Mukantabana started the academic program of Social Work at the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and as an Invited Lecturer taught a variety of subjects in their summer program until recently.

Ambassador Mukantabana has been a passionate community organizer for several decades and was a co-founder of many associations and organizations whose main purpose was to promote a positive engagement and collaboration of the Rwandan communities in the United States of America with other groups and organizations for the benefit of their respective countries. She is an active Board Member of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Sonoma State University in California and belongs to many local and international organizations including the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the Organization of African Leaders in Diaspora (OALD) that she co-founded and for which she is currently acting as Chair of the Board.

In her capacity as a college professor and as President of F.O.R.A., Ambassador Mukantabana was actively involved in various academic and civic engagements. She organized numerous domestic and international workshops and conferences on genocide and on the Rwandan experience. A featured presenter at several film festivals and an international in-demand speaker, Ambassador Mukantabana has won many awards attesting to her accomplishments including the 2012 Peace and Justice Award from the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR); Peace and Global Peace Award (on behalf of Friends of Rwanda Association) by Global Majority, 2012 and Crystal Apple Award for Best Instructor at Cosumnes River College, 2012. In addition, she was listed in Who’s Who among Professionals in America 2003.

Fluent in English, French, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi, Ambassador Mukantabana holds a Bachelors degree in History and Geography from the University of Burundi as well as a Masters degree in Social Work with special emphasis in Community Organization, Planning and Administration and a Masters of Arts in History from California State University in Sacramento, California, USA.

April 19, 2017 – Paulo Sotero

Director of the Brazil Institute

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

An award winning journalist, from 1989 to 2006 Paul Sotero was the Washington correspondent for Estado de S.Paulo, a leading Brazilian daily newspaper. Sotero began his career at Veja in the late 1960s and worked for the magazine in São Paulo, Recife, Brasília, and Paris, until he was named its correspondent in Portugal after the democratic revolution of April 25, 1974. Sotero has been in Washington, D.C., since 1980, where he has been a correspondent for Istoé weekly magazine and the financial newspaper Gazeta Mecantil. He is a frequent guest commentator for the BBC, CNN, AlJazeera, Voice of America, National Public Radio, Globo News Television and the Brazilian Radio Network – CBN. He also contributes regularly to Brazilian and international newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. A native of the state of São Paulo, Sotero holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Catholic University of Pernambuco, and a Master’s in Journalism and Public Affairs from the American University, in Washington, D.C. He has been an adjunct lecturer at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and is currently on the adjunct faculty of the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

M.A., Journalism and Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D.C.

Brazil,Latin America,Media,U.S.-Brazil Relations

Washington correspondent for O Estado de S. Paulo; commentator and analyst for national and international news outlets; adjunct lecturer of Brazilian politics and the media at Georgetown University; writer and lecturer on Brazilian and Latin American affairs and Brazil-U.S. relations

Latin America, with particular emphasis on Brazil, contemporary politics, and the media

See more at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/person/paulo-sotero#sthash.aHCNPnHh.dpuf

March 7, 2017 – Harry Krejsa

Research Associate, Asia-Pacific Security, Center for a New American Security

Harry Krejsa is an Asia-Pacific security and economics specialist at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Prior to joining CNAS, Mr. Krejsa worked as a policy analyst for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. He also served as a Researcher with the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at National Defense University, where he published a report on Chinese investment in the United States and its security implications.

Mr. Krejsa has led a field analysis on political transition in Myanmar, piloted anti-terror training programs in South Asia, and served as a Fulbright Fellow in Taiwan. Mr. Krejsa publishes and speaks widely on foreign policy, provides media commentary in both English and Chinese, and his analysis has been featured in Politico, Vice, the Des Moines Register, and Bloomberg.

Mr. Krejsa holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Political Science and East Asian Studies, for which he also studied at Nanjing University in China.

February 15, 2017 – Immigration / Refugee Panel Discussion

Zeljka Krvavica, Case Manager for the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services

Vinh Nguyen, ELL Community Outreach Supervisor for the Des Moines Public Schools

Nosa Ali, Roosevelt High School Senior and first generation immigrant from Sudan

Robert Nishimwe, North High School Senior and first generation immigrant from Tanzania

January 29, 2017 – DMCFR Business Meeting

December 6, 2016 – Stephen R. Grand

Under the bipartisan Co-Chairmanship of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the Atlantic Council convened the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) in February 2015 to examine the underlying issues of state failure and political legitimacy that drive extremist violence and threaten fundamental interests broadly shared by the peoples of the region and the rest of the world.

The Task Force brings together a broad array of regional stakeholders and international experts to collaborate in identifying ways in which people in the Middle East can build and support governing institutions that offer legitimacy, opportunity, and an alternative to violence. The Task Force is an initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East in cooperation with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

The task force has been addressing migration crisis, religion, identity, and countering violent extremism, rebuilding societies for resilience and recovery in times of conflict, security and public order, and economic recovery, revitalization and potential.

Stephen R. Grand is the Executive Director of the Task Force:
Stephen Grand leads the Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Grand is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World (housed within the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings), where he served as director from 2006 to 2013. He recently published a book, Understanding Tahrir Square: What Transitions Elsewhere Can Teach Us about the Prospects for Arab Democracy (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). He serves as Chairman of the Board of the Project on Middle East Democracy, Adviser to Ethica Global Alliance, and a member of the International Advisory Council of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation. He is also the Founder and Codirector of the Egyptian Roundtable on Civic Life.

From 2004 to 2006, Grand was Director of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Strategy Group. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at American University’s School of International Service and Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. From 2002 to 2003, he was an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute. Until June 2002, Grand served as Director of Programs at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States. Before joining GMF in 1997, he was a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, covering Europe and the New Independent States. In 1994, he was a Visiting Researcher at Charles University’s Center for Economics and Graduate Education in Prague. Grand earned a doctorate from the department of government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the government honors program at the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar.

October/November 2016 – His Excellence, Ambassador Extraordinary, Hamdullah Mohib of Afghanistan

Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib is the current Ambassador to the U.S. from Afghanistan & is a key advisor to President Ashraf Ghani. Dr. Mohib led the presidential negotiating team for several inter-government cooperation agreements and the formulation of Afghanistan’s national development “Realizing Self-Reliance” reform strategy. Dr. Mohib has been an active leader in civil society among the global Afghan community. He founded the largest Afghan diaspora youth association in Europe, founded & served as Chairman of the Board for the Afghan Professionals Network (APN). As part of APN, he started a think-tank “Discourse Afghanistan”, and initiated community service programming to support special needs orphans in Kabul, and to recognize achievements of Afghan women. Dr. Mohib was twice a refugee from war in Afghanistan and is fluent in English, Pashto, and Dari, with proficiency in Urdu/Hindi. He is a published writer on Afghan politics, as well as on academic research. He and his wife, Lael. Have 2 children.

October 2016 – Ambassador Mark Green

Mark Green, former Congressmam & former Ambassador is now the President of the International Republican Institure (IRI) Prior to leading IRI, he served as president and chief executive officer of the Initiative for Global Development, a nonprofit organization that engages corporate leaders to reduce poverty through business growth and investment in Africa. . Green served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from 2007 to 2009. He is the former Congressman from Wisconsin and is a Director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Mr. Green is at the George W. Bush Institute & he is also a senior director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

September 2016 – Dr. Mark Katz

Dr. Mark N. Katz, expert on Russian, Eurasian, Middle East and Islamic studies, is a professor at George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government and a fellow at The Arab Gulf States Institute. He writes extensively on Russian foreign policy, international relations of the Middle East, and other revolutionary movements. He has authored nine books, the latest Leaving without Losing: The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). Most recently, he has authored numerous articles concerning Russian policy, Putin, Syria, the Iran factor and more. He recently was a visiting scholar at the Hokkaido University Slavic Research Center and the Kennan Institute.