Upcoming Speakers

Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations (DMCFR)

2017 – 2018  Speakers

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.

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.