Upcoming Speakers

Kyle Parker

Monday, December 17, 2018

Topic: The Magnitsky Act and its Impact

Kyle Parker, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, was jointly appointed on January 3, 2018 by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Ben Cardin, Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Kyle served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Ranking Member Eliot Engel’s senior advisor overseeing U.S. foreign policy toward the 50 countries and three international organizations covered by the Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. From 2006 to 2014, Kyle served as Policy Advisor for Eurasia at the U.S. Helsinki Commission under the Chairmanships of Sam Brownback, Alcee Hastings, Ben Cardin, and Chris Smith. Before entering government, Kyle spent eight years at the American Foreign Policy Council managing high-level political exchanges with Russia, Ukraine, and China.

Kyle’s work on the Magnitsky Act, a landmark law redefining human rights advocacy around the world, is featured in a New York Times bestseller, and his expertise on Russia has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and foreign media outlets. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Maine and speaks fluent Russian.

Stephen Platt

Monday, January 21, 2019

Topic: How China's Nineteenth Century Shapes its Present and Future

Stephen R. Platt is a historian of modern China. He is a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and holds a PhD in history from Yale University, where his dissertation won the Theron Rockwell Field Prize. A fellow of the National Committee on US-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program, he seeks to engage the wider public in deeper issues of China’s history and its relations with the West. His newest book is Imperial Twilight (Knopf, 2018), a history of the long-term origins of the Opium War. His previous books includeProvincial Patriots: The Hunanese and Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2007), and Autumn in the Heavenly
Kingdom
(Knopf, 2012), which was a Washington Postnotable book, a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice, and won the 2012 Cundill History Prize.

Charles Sennott

Monday, February 11, 2019

Topic: The Threat Against Journalists

Charles Sennott is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Editor of The GroundTruth Project.
He is an award-winning correspondent, best-selling author and editor with 30 years of experience in international, national and local journalism. A leading social entrepreneur in new media, Sennott started GroundTruth in 2014 and in 2017 launched the non-profit organization’s new, local reporting initiative, Report for America.

Reporting on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 20 countries, including the post 9-11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 2011 Arab Spring, Sennott began his career in local news covering cops, courts and municipal government. Sennott’s deep experience reporting led him to dedicate himself to supporting and training the next generation of journalists to tell the most important stories of our time.

Sennott is also the co-founder of GlobalPost, an acclaimed international news website. Previously, Sennott worked for many years as a reporter at the New York Daily News and then the Boston Globe, where he became Bureau Chief for the Middle East and Europe, and a leader of the paper’s international coverage from 1997 to 2005. Sennott has also served as a correspondent for PBS FRONTLINE and the PBS NewsHour. He has contributed news analysis to the BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC and others. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Alan Makovsky

Monday, March 18, 2019

Topic: Turkey: Where Does This Lead?

Alan Makovsky is a senior fellow for National Security and International Policy at American Progress. From 2001 to 2013, he served as a senior professional staff member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he covered the Middle East, Turkey, and other related issues.

At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy—a private think tank where he worked from 1994 to 2001—Makovsky wrote widely on various Middle Eastern and Turkish topics. He also founded and directed the Washington Institute’s Turkey Research Program.

At the State Department where he worked from 1983 to 1994—Makovsky variously covered southern European affairs and Middle Eastern affairs for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He also served as the political advisor to Operation Provide Comfort in 1992 and as the special advisor to the special Middle East coordinator from 1993 to 1994.

Gregory Gause

Monday, May 13, 2019

Topic: Saudi Arabia: Reliable Ally?

F. Gregory Gause, III is Professor and John H. Lindsey ’44 Chair of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, as well as serving as head of School’s Department of International Affairs. He was previously on the faculties of the University of Vermont (1995-2014) and Columbia University (1987-1995) and was Fellow for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York (1993-1994). During the 2009-10 academic year he was Kuwait Foundation Visiting Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In spring 2009 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the American University in Kuwait. In spring 2010 he was a research fellow at the King Faisal Center for Islamic Studies and Research in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  From 2012 to 2015 he was a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.

His research focuses on the international politics of the Middle East, particularly the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. He has published three books, most recently The International Relations of the Persian Gulf (Cambridge University Press, 2010). His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Middle East Journal, Security Studies, Journal of Democracy, Washington Quarterly, National Interest, and in other journals and edited volumes. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 1987 and his B.A. (summa cum laude) from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1980. He studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo (1982-83) and Middlebury College (1984).

Upcoming Speakers

  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    Kyle Parker
    Topic: The Magnitsky Act and its Impact
  • Monday, January 21, 2019
    Stephen Platt
    Topic: How China's Nineteenth Century Shapes its Present and Future
  • Monday, February 11, 2019
    Charles Sennott
    Topic: The Threat Against Journalists
  • Monday, March 18, 2019
    Alan Makovsky
    Topic: Turkey: Where Does This Lead?
  • Monday, May 13, 2019
    Gregory Gause
    Topic: Saudi Arabia: Reliable Ally?

Past Speakers