Past Speakers

April 10, 2018

Dr. Constanze Stelzenmuller

Constanze Stelzenmüller, an expert on German, European, and transatlantic foreign and security policy and strategy, is the inaugural Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. Prior to working at Brookings, she was a senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), where she directed the influential Transatlantic Trends survey program. Her areas of expertise include: transatlantic relations; German foreign policy; NATO; the European Union’s foreign, security, and defense policy; international law; and human rights.

Dr. Stelzenmüller is the former director of GMF’s Berlin office. From 1994 to 2005, she was an editor for the political section of the German weekly DIE ZEIT, where she had also served as defense and international security editor covering human rights issues and humanitarian crises. From 1988 to 1989, she was a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School. She has also been a GMF campus fellow at Grinnell College in Iowa, a Woodrow Wilson Center public policy scholar in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Remarque Forum. Her writings have appeared in many publications–Foreign Affairs, Internationale Politik, the Financial Times, the International New York Times & Süddeutsche Zeitung. She is also a frequent commentator on American and European radio and television, including Presseclub (ARD), National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Dr. Stelzenmüller is a governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a fellow of the Royal Swedish Society for War Sciences. She has worked in Germany and the United States, and speaks English, French, German, and Spanish. She holds a doctorate in law from the University of Bonn (1992), a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1988), and a law degree from the University of Bonn (1985).

March 13, 2018

Dr. Tanvi Madan
Director – The India Project
Fellow – Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy

Tanvi Madan is a fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, and director of The India Project. Madan’s work explores Indian foreign policy, focusing in particular on India’s relations with China and the United States. She also researches the intersection between Indian energy policies and its foreign and security policies.

Previously she was a Harrington doctoral fellow and teaching assistant at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed a dissertation entitled “With an Eye to the East: The China Factor and the U.S.-India Relationship, 1949-1979.” She has also previously been a research analyst at the Brookings Institution.

In addition to a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, Madan has a master’s in international relations from Yale University and a bachelor’s with honors in history from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, India. She has authored publications on India’s foreign policy, as well as its energy security policies.

February 14, 2018

Grant Rumley

Research Fellow,  Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Grant Rumley is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Palestinian politics. He is the co-author of The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas, the first English-language biography of the Palestinian leader.

Grant has published in leading media outlets including Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, andForeign Policy, and contributed commentary to The New York Times, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of the 2015 FDD report “The Race to Replace Mahmoud Abbas: Understanding and Shaping Palestinian Succession.”

Prior to joining FDD, Grant was a visiting fellow at Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, where he authored, “Back to Basics: The Evolution of the Palestinian UN Campaign.” While in Jerusalem, Grant also founded and edited The Jerusalem Review of Near East Affairs. Previously, Grant served as a consultant in Washington on issues related to counter-terrorism, the Middle East, and war-gaming strategies.

Grant has an MA in Middle East Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University. In 2010, he studied Arabic at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and from 2012-2013 was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

January 17, 2018

“Iowans in China” with Kyle Munson, Lynn Hicks and
David Skidmore.

Kyle and Lynn have traveled in China extensively for
the Des Moines Register and David, Professor & more at Drake, has
taught at the University level in China and toured China as well.

Tuesday * December 5, 2017

Dr. Paul Bolt is considered an expert on foreign relations, political science and national security. Currently he is a Professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has taught at Zhejiang University and Baicheng Normal College in the People’s Republic of China for over 10 years. In 2009-10 he served as a Visiting Senior Fellow & Fulbright scholar at the School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He received his B.A. from Hope College and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is author and co-editor of a number of books on Chinese, Russian and South Asian foreign relations.

Dr. Sharyl Cross, associated with the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center. She was appointed Director-Kozmetsky Center at St. Edward’s University in 2013.  From 2005-2013, Dr. Cross was Professor in the College of International & Security Studies-European Center for Security Studies in Germany.  Prior to that, Dr. Cross was at the U.S. Air Force Academy as Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Dr. Cross earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California & was resident fellowship scholar & consultant at the RAND Corporation. She has published extensively on issues of Russian foreign policy, U.S.-Russian security relations, and South Eastern European security.

Dr. Bolt and Dr. Cross are co-authors of China, Russia, and Twenty First Century Global Geopolitics to be released in January 2018.

Wednesday * November 15, 2017

Philip C. French

Chairperson of the ICASS* working group for the State Department

Career Foreign Service Officer

Former Executive Director of the American Committees on Foreign Relations

Philip C. French is currently engaged with the US State Department in several roles: Chairperson of the ICASS* working group for the State Department and teaching advanced studies for the State Department in the metro Washington DC area. Phil has been a career Foreign Service Officer with extensive management, analysis, and business advocacy experience in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He was the former Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Caracas (2007-08); and former Director, Andean Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2005-07) with previous negotiation/post conflict assignments in the Middle East. He is a skilled political analyst, writer, & speaker.

Phil was also the former Executive Director of the American Committees on Foreign Relations (ACFR) in Washington DC for several years–until his State Department responsibilities demanded his full attention in 2015.

Phil is fluent in several languages including Spanish & Tagalog.  And is particularly knowledgeable concerning Venezuela…his spouse is from Venezuela and most of her family is still in Venezuela.  Primarily, he will giving an up to date and inside look at the current troubling conditions in Venezuela and South America.

*ICASS is the the principal means by which the U.S. Government provides and shares the cost of common administrative support at its more than 250 diplomatic and consular posts overseas. The Department of State is the primary service provider and it offers these administrative support services to other agencies. ICASS, is valued at more than $3 billion, of which 95 percent was for the cost of services delivered overseas at posts, and 5 percent for Washington-billed costs.

Thursday * October 19, 2017

Daniel R. Pearson

Cato Institute

Senior Fellow, Trade Policy Studies

Daniel Pearson joined the Cato Institute after serving for 10 years on the U.S. International Trade Commission, the federal agency that, among other responsibilities, oversees the U.S. trade remedy laws. Pearson was nominated to the USITC by President George W. Bush and began his term as a commissioner on October 8, 2003. He served as chairman for the two-year term beginning June 17, 2006 and as vice chairman for the two-year term beginning June 17, 2008. Prior to joining the USITC, Pearson served as assistant vice president of public affairs and as a policy analyst for Cargill from 1987 to 2003. He was agricultural legislative assistant to Sen. Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota from 1981 to 1987.

Tuesday * September 19, 2017

Thomas Wright

Brookings Institution

Director – Center on the United States and Europe

Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy

Thomas Wright is the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He is also a nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Previously, he was executive director of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and senior researcher for the Princeton Project on National Security.

Wright works on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, Donald Trump’s worldview, the future of Europe, and Asian security. His book “All Measures Short of War: The Contest For the 21st Century and the Future of American Power” was published by Yale University Press in May 2017.

Wright has a doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University, and a bachelor’s and master’s from University College Dublin. He has also held a pre-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a post doctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Wright’s writings have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Orbis, Survival, The Washington Quarterly, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and The Washington Post, as well as a number of international newspapers and media outlets.

Fulbright Commission, Ireland, vice chair and board member
International Politics Reviews, Palgrave Macmillan, editorial board

2017 Summer Break

Monday * 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.

Wednesday * 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:

Tuesday * 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.

Wednesday * 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

Sunday * January 29, 2017

DMCFR Business Meeting

Tuesday * 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.