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The Sarasota World Affairs Council hosts high-profile foreign affairs lectures covering current international issues ranging from foreign intelligence to peace negotiations to immigration and trade. 


 These lectures are held in a public auditorium, and each lecture is followed by a wine and light-bites reception with the speaker for SWAC members. We hope that members will take advantage of such opportunities to speak face-to-face to with those working directly in the field of international affairs.

Oct. 16, 2023 - Russia's War against Ukraine

Ambassador William B. Taylor, Vice President, Russia and Europe, U.S. Institute of Peace​

Nov. 8, 2023 - Generative Artificial Intelligence and Propaganda

Mr. Bret Schafer, Senior Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy,

German Marshall Fund of the U.S.

Dec. 6, 2023 - Don't Give Up on Haiti: There is a Way Forward

Mr. Keith Mines, Director, Latin America Program, U.S. Institute of Peace


Jan. 8, 2024 - Three Lessons for Today from U.S. Military History

Dr. Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research in Foreign Policy, 

The Brookings Institute

Feb. 7, 2024 - The International Criminal Court and the Indictment of Vladimir Putin

Mr. Michael P. Scharf, Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

March 11, 2024 - Invisible Trillions: How Financial Secrecy Imperils Capitalism

and Democracy
Mr. Raymond Baker, Founder, Global Financial Integrity

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


2022-23 Series


Oct. 10, 2022

"Collective Engagement for a Better World"

Mr. Michael Alandu, Senior Director for Program Quality and Partnerships, Care USA​

Nov. 3, 2022

"No Escape: China's Transnational Repression on     American Soil"

Mr. Nury Turkel, Senior Fellow, The Hudson Institute

Dec. 6, 2022

"The Uncertain Future of Human Rights"

Ambassador Kelley Currie, Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N for Women's Rights,

Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security

Jan. 9, 2023

"Are We overdoing it on China?"

Dr. Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution

February 7, 2023

"Ukraine and Russia: A Discussion"

Dr. Angela Stent, Senior Advisor and Professor Emerita, Georgetown University

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


March 30, 2023

"Old Conflict, New Dynamics"

Ms. Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Director, The Israel, Palestinian Territories and Region Program, U.S. Institute of Peace

2021-22 Series

Oct. 14th, 2021

"The Rising Tide: Increasing Demand for Climate Action"

Mr. Ramon Cruz, National President, Sierra Club

Nov. 18th, 2021

"Navigating Isolationist and Internationalist Traditions

in U.S. Statecraft"

Dr. Charles A. Kupchan, Council on Foreign Relations,

Professor Georgetown U.

Dec. 9th, 2021

"Immigration Reform: Fact, Fiction, and Future"

Theresa Cardinal Brown, Managing Director, Immigration and Cross-Border Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center

Jan 20th, 2022

"International Understanding Through the Universal

Language of Music"

Mr. Brian Keane, Award-winning Musician and Composer

Omer Faruk Tekbilek, Award-winning Turkish Musician

​February 15th, 2022

"Russia and Ukraine: Is There a Way Forward?"

Dr. Angela Stent, Brookings Institute, Professor Georgetown U.

and Ambassador William Taylor, U.S. Institute for Peace

March 17th, 2022

"Afghanistan: Post-Conflict Reconstruction under the Taliban"

Mr. Scott Worden, Director for Afghanistan/Central Asia,

U.S. Institute for Peace

Ms. Khris Nedam, Executive Director, Afghan School Project

April 5th, 2022

"LGBTQ+ Refugees: Securing Safe Passage from Iran"

Mr. Arsham Parsi, Founder and Executive Director,

International Railroad for Queer Refugees

2020-21 Series

Oct. 26th, 2020

"U.S.-Russia Relations in the Countdown to November 3"

Dr. Angela Stent

Nov. 17th, 2020 "

"The U.S. and China in an Era of Competition"

Mr. Richard Fontaine

(video available under "VIDEOS" tab)

Dec. 7th, 2020

"Why You Should Now Care Even More about

Public Health"

Mr. Richard Skolnik

(video available under "VIDEOS" tab)


Jan. 26th, 2021

"Endless Wars, Refugees, and the U.S. Role in a Turbulent World"

Ambassador Frederick Barton

Feb. 23rd, 2021

"Rebuilding and Restructuring Security Alliances

for Future Challenges"

Dr. Michael Edward O'Hanlon

Mar. 23rd, 2021

"The United Arab Emirates & the U.S.: Cooperation and Challenges"

Mrs. Shaima Haussain Gargash



2019-20 Series

October 23rd, 2019 

"Venezuela: A Real Threat in our Backyard"

 Mr. Diego Arria

November 11th, 2019

"Migration across a Common Border: A Challenge

for Mexico and the U.S."

Mr. Gustavo Mohar

December 3rd, 2019

"Global Health: Why You Really Must Care"

Mr. Richard Skolnik

January 14th, 2020

"The Politics of Hate Have Driven the U.S. and Iran

to the Brink"

Mr. Jamal Abdi

February 11th, 2020

"Not with a Bang:  Moving toward the Endgame

with a Nuclear North Korea"

Mr. Evans Revere




2018-19 Series

October 15th, 2018

"From PIGS to Hotspot: How Portugal is Engineering the Great Comeback Story of Post-Crisis Europe"

 Dr. Michael Baum

November 6th, 2018

"Kurdistan and Iraq After ISIS: What’s Next?"

Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

December 12th , 2018

"The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon"

Andrés Ruzo

January 10th, 2019

"Facing Nuclear Challenges-Russia, North Korea, and Iran"

Steven Pifer

February 4th, 2019

"Can We Prevent the Next Attack?:  Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of Countering Violent Extremism"

Dr. Stevan Weine, M.D.

March 5th, 2019

"Reconstructing U.S.-Russia Relations" 

Dr. William Pomeranz  | Co-sponsored with New Topics New College

2017-18 Series

October 5th, 2017

"The Future of Korea and U.S.-Korea Relations"
Jandi Kim, Tim Johnson, and Jenna Gibson  | Co-sponsored by the Korean Economic Institute and the Ringling Museum of Art   

November 6th, 2017

"Sustainability in a Changing World"

Alize Carrere | Co-sponsored with New Topics New College


December 5th, 2017

"The Gulf States: Vive La Revolution or Vive La Counter-Revolution?"

Dr. Peter Bartu

January 17th, 2018

"Is Capitalism Undermining Democracy"

Raymond Baker

February 6th, 2018,

"Florida and Climate Change: Can We Survive Without Paris?"

Dr. Robert K. Musil 


March 22nd, 2018

"The Future of Cybersecurity and Trends in Technological Risk: Impacts for U.S. Foreign Policy and Politics"

Jonathan Reiber

2016-17 Series

October 12th, 2016 
"The Panama Papers”

Rogelio Novey |  Co-sponsored with the Northern Trust Company

November 16th, 2016

 "South Africa Update: Report from the Field"

Charlayne Hunter-Gault & Ron Gault
Lecture and wine-tasting featuring Passages wines produced by the Gaults in South Africa |  Co-sponsored with Northern Trust Company


December 6th, 2016

"Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran"
Laura Secor
Co-sponsored with Suplee Shea Cramer & Rocklein, PA


January 26th, 2017

 "Ocean Exploration and Protection for a Bold, Blue, and Prosperous Future”

Alex Tait | Co-sponsored with Mote Marine Laboratory. 

Special event at the Mote Banquet Center 


February 15th, 2017

"Nuclear Weapons: They're Back"
Robert Gallucci
Co-sponsored with New Topics New College


March 21st, 2017

 "Terror Financing and International Money Laundering" John Cassara

2015-16 Series

October 13th, 2015
"Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible in the Near Future?” Ralph Nurmberger


November 10th, 2015
“An Arc of Instability in Foreign Policy: Reporting from the West Wing and Abroad” Carol Lee


November 30th, 2015
“Peace Negotiations Taking Place in Colombia with Guerrilla Movements” Frank Pearl.
Co-sponsored with New Topics New College.


January 26th, 2016

“Genocide and American Humanitarianism: Lessons from World War I and Its Aftermath” Susan Harper


February 8th, 2016
“Will Africa Feed China? Think Again” Deborah Brautigam


March 7th, 2016
“Arab Voices: What They Are Saying and Why It Matters” James Zogby

2014-15 Series


October 15th, 2014
"Building a Regional Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking” Nola Theiss


November 25th, 2014
“The New Global Order, China's Rise, and Our Shared Future” Ronnie C. Chan and Dr. Fan J. Zhang

[Presented in affiliation with The Ringling's Asian Initiative]


January 15th, 2015
“Beyond Crisis and Conflict: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Middle East” Professor and Colonel (Ret.) Derek Harvey


March 17th, 2015

“Outpost: Life on the Front Lines of American Diplomacy” Ambassador Christopher Hill

[Presented in affiliation with Bookstore1Sarasota, New College of Florida, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation]


May 12, 2015
“Winds of Change in Havana and Washington” Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez


Spring 2014

Inaugural Series


February 13th, 2014
"The Federal Courts Confront the War on Terror” Honorable Jon O. Newman


April 7th, 2014
“American and Afghanistan: Partners for Peace” Honorable Eklil Hakimi and Khris Nedam

[Note: Unforeseen circumstances prevented Honorable Eklil Hakimi from attending.]


May 1st, 2014
“Function and Dysfunction: How Mexican and U.S. Governments Interact over Immigration”

Ambassador Daniel Hernández Joseph



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