top of page


Sarasota World Affairs Speaker Series 2015-2016

OCTOBER 13 - "Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible in the Near Future?”

Ralph Nurnberger - Professor at Georgetown University, former legislative liaison with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and former staff member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will provide background on core issues that must be resolved in order to facilitate peace in the region. These issues include whether there should be multiple states in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, potential options for future borders, aspects of refugee issues, security concerns, and a discussion of Jerusalem and potential options for the Holy City.

NOVEMBER 10 - "An Arc of Instability in Foreign Policy: Reporting from the West Wing and Abroad"

Carol Lee - White House Bureau Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Having covered the Obama Administration, from the days of the 2008 campaign as Politico's assigned reporter during the Obama/Biden candidacy up through the past seven years as the Wall Street Journal's principal White House correspondent, Ms. Lee has a unique perspective on this administration's foreign policy. A former City Reporter for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Ms. Lee will be celebrating a homecoming to the area, reconnecting with the community that helped launch her into the stratosphere of global journalism.

NOVEMBER 23 - "Peace Negotiations Taking Place in Colombia with Guerilla Movements"

Frank Pearl - Negotiator and former High Commissioner for Peace for the Colombian Government will present an updated account of the progress, as well as the setbacks, during crucial negotiations between the Colombian government and Colombia's FARC and ELN guerilla movements. Frank Pearl González is a Colombian economist, who served as the first Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development during the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and as the first High Presidential Advisor for the Social and Economic Reintegration of People and Groups Up in Arms during the administration of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez between 2006 and 2010. Today Mr. Pearl is Chief Negotiator for the Exploratory Phase taking place with the ELN. This program is co-sponsored with New Topics New College and will start at 5:30 p.m.A Colombian economist, he served as the first Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development for President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, and, from 2006 to 2010, as the first High Presidential Advisor for the Social and Economic Reintegration of People and Groups Up in Arms for President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. This program is co-sponsored with New Topics New College and wiil start at 5:30 p.m.

JANUARY 26 "Genocide and American Humanitarianism: Lessons from World War I and its Aftermath"

Susan Harper - Non-Resident Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, previously senior officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, graduate of Yale University, and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University will discuss the role that the genocide in Armenia played in setting the precedent that has affected the U.S. response to genocide in all conflicts since World War I.

FEBRUARY 8 "Will Africa Feed China? Think Again"

Deborah Brautigam - A leading expert on China in Africa, Professor of the International Political Economy Program and the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., will discuss China's meteoric rise on the African continent and alarms being raised about the possibility of Chinese "empire building." China has 9 percent of the world's arable land, 6 percent of its water, and over 20 percent of its people while Africa hosts the planet's largest expanses of underutilized land and water. Few topics are as controversial and emotionally charged as the belief that the Chinese government is aggressively buying up huge tracts of prime African land to grow food to ship back to China.

MARCH 7 "Arab Voices: What They Are Saying and Why It Matters"

James Zogby - Founder and President of the Arab American Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization serving as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American Community will discuss the recent uprisings across the Arab world and why it is more important than ever to base policy and perception on reality, rather than stereotypes and theories. Despite increased contact between the West and the Arab world, even top American political leaders have only limited awareness of the realities and complexities faced by their Arab counterparts. Dr. Zogby will share the results of interviews and research that will help us see Arabs clearly, bringing into stark relief the myths, assumptions, and biases that hold us back from understanding this important variety of cultures.

All programs will be held at 6:30 p.m. (except for the program on Nov. 23, which will start at 5:30 p.m.) at the Mildred Sainer Auditorium on the campus of New College of Florida, 5314 Bay Shore Road. The lecture is free for the general public, but reservations are suggested. Receptions with the speakers will follow for SWAC members.

To RSVP or to inquire about membership, call 941-487-4603 or email

bottom of page