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The following is a list of speaker events held by the Akron Council on World Affairs from September 1999 to the present. Our focus on inviting diplomats from nations with relations with the U.S. began in 2005.

Each guest diplomat now participates in three programs, providing a challenging overview of issues important to his/her nation and those engaged in with U.S.:

Sign up for our e-mail announcements of our Evening Speaker Programs and our WZIP 88.1 FM radio interviews.

April 2012

Prospects and Challenges of North American Integration

Canadian Consul General Roy Norton addressed the mutual economic interdependence of Canada and the U.S., how the two countries are cooperating to provide a border that works, and progress on achieving North America energy self sufficiency.

February 2012

Mexico: Neighbor and Strategic Partner

Mexican Consul Vicente Sanchez Ventura will provide perspective on challenges being undertaken by the Mexican government regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican "Drug War", and the strategic partnership between Mexico and the U.S.

November 2011

Turkish Consul General in Akron: An Outlook on World Affairs from the Perspective of a Strategic Ally

Consul General Fatih Yildiz will talk about the foreign policy of Turkey in a world where many risks and opportunities coexist. He will elaborate on Turkey's unique characteristics, the principles that guide Turkey's foreign policy, and Turkish-American relations.

October 2011

Britain – Building on Today’s Domestic and Global Challenges

Ramin Navai will provide perspective on challenges being undertaken by the British government, both
domestic and internationally, including economic challenges and the August riots, as well as its work with the new Libyan government.

April 2011

Brazil Today – A Global Model of Democracy and Development

Ernesto Henrique Fraga Araújo will bring perspective to Brazil's historic juncture — strong economic growth and political stability — and the country's strengthening relationship with the U.S. on security, economics and interreliance.

February 2011

U.S. and Russia Today — Partnering on Global Challenges

Alexey Timofeev, Counselor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the U.S., Washington, D.C., will present an overview of U.S. and Russian 21st-century cooperation, including the new historic nuclear arms agreement and the complex challenges facing both countries in the Arctic Region.

November 2010

Finland Today — Arctic Region Development Strategy: Opportunities & Safeguards

Ann-Sofie Stude, Minister Counselor, Head of Political Affairs, Embassy of Finland, Washington, D.C., will discuss the complex issues related to the impact of global climate change in the Arctic region. She will also provide an overview of Finland's education system which annually has students outperforming students in other countries.

October 2010

Indonesia Today — Vigorous Democracy & Strategic U.S. Partner

Gustanto, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Indonesia in Washington, D.C., discussed ways in which the bilateral U.S.-Indonesia partnership will support new and expanded initiatives in both countries within the new Comprehensive Partnership. He also provided perspectives on his country's transition to democracy and its unique geography as the world's largest archipelago.

April 2010

Austria Today — Beyond "The Sound of Music"

Dr. Wolfgang Renezeder will discuss how Austria has reinvented itself since WWII, through its own efforts and favorable external factors: peace in Europe, an expanding European Union, the collapse of communism and growing global prosperity.

February 2010

The Netherlands & the U.S. — Global Initiatives / Domestic Differences

Dr. Stephan Raes, Head of Economic Department, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C., will discuss the U.S./Netherlands relationship today, as well as some challenges specific to his country. These include: sustainability, water and energy; illegal drug trade; and immigration. Dr. Raes will also provide an overview of the Netherland's health care policies in the context of the U.S. Congress' proposals.

November 2009

South Africa - New Government, New Directions

Mongezi Mahlulo, First Secretary, Public Diplomacy, and Boipelo Lefatshe, 3rd Secretary, Public Diplomacy, Embassy of South Africa in Washington, D.C., provided an overview of South Africa today in the context of the country’s recent change in government which gave President Jacob Zuma a mandate for the next five years.

October 2009

Morocco and the U.S. — The Historic Alliance in the 21st Century

Wassane Zailachi, Deputy Chief of Mission - Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Washington, D.C., provided an overview of the liberalization of Moroccan society under King Mohammed VI and review the long relationship with the U.S. and its strategic importance to both countries in the 21st century.

April 2009

U.S.–German Relations: Addressing Global Issues

David Schwake, First Secretary, German Embassy, Washington, D.C., provided an overview of current global issues being addressed by his government and the U.S., including the global economic crisis and Afghanistan. He also addressed two historic events being commemorated by Germany this year: the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 60th anniversary of the Berlin air lift.

February 2009

U.S.–South Korean Relations: A Korean Perspective

Dongman Han, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Washington, D.C., discussed how a new chapter in U.S.-Korea relations offers the potential to significantly and permanently upgrade not only bilateral economic relations but important strategic initiatives.

October 2008

Australia: The New Hub Between East and West

David Stuart, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C., addressed his country’s unique position in global diplomacy and trade. Today’s Australia is a country influential in trade and politics, looking to the U.S. to the East and India to its West, with important relationships in between. Ohio exports to Australia in 2007 were more than $683 million.

September 2008

Brazil's Economic Success Brings New Challenges

Minister Rubens Gama, Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Technology, Brazilian Embassy, Washington, D.C. Minister Gama discussed challenges facing Brazil in various areas, such as poverty, infrastructure, energy and the environment.

April 2008

Spain: New Values and Challenges at Home and Abroad

José Luis Briceño, Director of the Department of Industry and Technology, Trade Commission of Spain, Chicago, provided an updated profile of Spain, bringing into focus major changes in government, trade and social values.
Spain's Socialist government was re-elected in March 2008. A core issue is the significant shift in its economy, following a 14-year boom, and related immigration debates. Accompanying this are major social changes, commitment to international aid and advances in technological fields, including alternative energy and desalination plants. He also provided perspective on Spain's relationship with the U.S., including its bilateral trade of $10 billion.

February 2008

Prospects and Challenges of North American Integration

Antonio Ortiz-Mena, Head of Section, Economic Affairs, Mexican Embassy, Washington, D.C., discussed issues related to the North American economic integration as well as the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Dr. Ortiz-Mena provided his government's assessment of what remains to be accomplished by both countries.

November 2007

Globalizing India: Opportunities & Challenges

Manoj Joshi, Counsellor, Economic Affairs, Embassy of India, Washington, D.C., discussed India's rapid economic growth, the opportunities it provides to global industry, and the need to leverage this growth to combat poverty and improve infrastructure.

50 Years of Malaysia–U.S. Relations: Looking to the Future

Ilango Karuppannan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Malaysia, Washington, D.C., discussed the shared values and concerns of Malaysia and the U.S., as well as the growing trade and investment relations between the two countries.

October 2007

China's Economic Rise and the U.S.-China Economic Relationship

Haiyan Li, Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, Washington, D.C., discussed the U.S.-China economic relationship in the context of China's rapid economic growth, commonly seen as a major characteristic of today’s global economic pattern.


May 2007

Similarities and Differences in U.S. and European Approaches to International Challenges

Jesper Møller Sørensen, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of Denmark, Washington, D.C., discussed the international issues that European diplomats in Washington face, asserting that the U.S. and Europe often agree on foreign policy goals — but do not always agree on the means.

April 2007

Czech-American Relations in the Context of the Euro-Atlantic Political Debate

Jaroslav Kurfürst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Czech Republic, Washington, D.C., discussed Central Europe's unique success story after the end of the cold war and his country's relations with the U.S.

March 2007

Poland and the United States: Political and Economic Partners in the New Era

Zbigniew Kubacki, Minister Counselor-Head of the Economic & Commercial Section, Embassy of Poland, Washington, D.C., provided an overview of Poland's economic and political transformation after
the collapse of communism.


Finland and the United States: Transatlantic Cooperation Beyond Europe During the Finnish E.U. Presidency

Leena Ritola, Minister Counselor-Political Affairs, Embassy of Finland, Washington, D.C., discussed the European Union's positions on critical challenges that face both Europe and the U.S. Finland's Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanan, served a six-month term as President of the European Union that began July 1, 2006.


France and the United States: New Societal Developments and Challenges to a Long-Standing Partnership

Isabelle Marques-Gross, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of France, Chicago, IL, addressed societal issues in France and spoke about the French approach on the question of immigration.


Germany in a Globalized World: Opportunities and Challenges for the Partnership Between Germany and the U.S.

Andreas Krüger, Political Counselor, German Embassy, Washington, D.C., discussed how, contrary to some perceptions in the media, the German-American relationship has grown closer over the last decade. Nevertheless, there are remaining challenges — terrorism and the spread of radical ideology, especially in parts of the Muslim world, and the further development of a globalized market economy despite protectionist pressures — that will require a strong transatlantic relationship between the two countries.

APRIL 2006

The UK and the US: Partners in Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities of Globalisation

Dominic Martin, Counsellor at the British Embassy Washington, D.C., Political and Public Affairs, discussed how governments across the world are finding that the dividing line between domestic and international policy is increasingly blurred.

Many of the problems that we face today—from protecting the homeland against international terrorism to preserving our environment for future generations—can only be solved if nations around the world work together. But events have shown that achieving such global co-operation is not easy.

Ireland and the Knowledge Economy: How the 'Celtic Tiger' Grows Through Education and Research

Charles Sheehan, Consul General of Ireland, Chicago, IL, addressed Ireland's startling rise from being one of Europe's poorest countries, prior to the 1990s, to the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg.

Mr. Sheehan discussed the unforeseeable and radical changes over the past two decades that have brought this about, as well as new and old challenges facing Ireland today.

November 2005

The Netherlands and Europe: Between Destiny and Choice; The Dutch and the Americans: Old Friends and Persistent Allies

Peter C. Potman, Political Counselor, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C., discussed recent trends in the Netherlands’ relationship with Europe and the European Union following the June 1, 2005, rejection by the Dutch people of the Treaty on a European Constitution.

Mr. Potman also delved into the relationship between the Netherlands and the U.S.

October 2005

The Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement: A Framework for Peace and Reconciliation for All Sudanese

Charles R. Snyder, Senior Representative on Sudan, U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Snyder discussed how the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement holds the best prospect for remedying the grievances and ending the marginalization of other groups and regions of this geographically immense and culturally, racially, and religiously diverse country.

September 2005

Looking Towards Greater Economic Integration in East Asia

Junichi Ihara, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Head of the Economic Section, Embassy of Japan, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Ihara examined the role of the United States in the regionalization of East Asia and what Japan expects from the U.S.

April 2005

Saudi Arabia Since the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Dr. Nozar Alaolmolki, Chair, Department of Political Science, Hiram College

Global Scholars briefing session: Issues covered included rights of women, the political process and U.S. dependence on Saudi Arabian oil.

Filipino Migration to the U.S.: An Inside Look At Impact on Families

Yolanda Salviejo, Past President, NE Ohio Philippine Chamber of Commerce (USA), Inc.

Global Scholars briefing session: Issues covered included President Arroya's campaign promises, off-shore Filipino workers and their family circumstances, U.S. aid.

February 2005

Will Radical Islam OR Democracy Win Out in Egypt?

Dr. Bruce W. Barnes, Middle East Specialist and Author

Global Scholars briefing session: Issues covered included challenges facing the Egyptian government as it moves through its presidential election process in 2005.

November 2004

Opportunities for U.S. Companies in China: Risks & Rewards

Dr. Philip A. Spanninger, Exec. VP, Americhem, Inc.

Dr. Spanninger is supervising the building of Americhem's new plant in China. He has been traveling to China on international business since 1979.

Global Scholars briefing session: Dr. Spanninger addressed at length the issues of poverty and unstable labor supply in central China and its effects on his company's decision to build near Shanghai. He was joined in the session by a mainland Chinese student from the University of Akron who spoke to censorship issues and how the government there monitors individuals' computers.

October 2004

The US and India: Building Partners for Economic Growth

Dr. Raj Aggarwal, Professor and Firestone Chair in Finance, Kent State

Global Scholars briefing session: Dr. Aggarwal covered critical issues in today's India, drawing from his personal knowledge where appropriate. Most of his family still lives in India. He was quite open with students in addressing these issues, including an extended segment on the caste system and changes that are occurring as individuals are accepted for their vocational skills rather than continuing to be confined by group.

September 2004

Castro's Cuba: A Healthy State?

Dr. C. William Keck (retired Director, Public Health, Akron) Assoc. Dean & Professor, NEUCOM

Dr. Keck has made a dozen trips to Cuba in recent years to study public health issues.

Global Scholars briefing session: Dr. Keck asked the students many challenging questions, including what has accounted for more than 90% of the decline in disease in the Western world over the past 50 years (answer: public health rather than miracle drugs). He shared the remarkable achievements of public health in Cuba while discussing socialist government strictures on the goals of its population.

April 2004

Taiwan Democracy Confronts Mainland China

Jane Walker Snider, Executive Director, Akron Council on World Affairs

Ms. Snider was one of a small delegation from the U.S., invited to be guests of the Taiwan government to observe the March 20, 2004, presidential elections. As a documentary photographer, she took a series of photographs of the unfolding of events. She also brought back newspapers, briefing materials and information on the voting process to share with the Global Scholars students.

March 2004

Afghanistan and Pakistan - A Critical Juncture

Amb. Charles Dunbar, a former Ambassador to Yemen and former charge d'affaires in Afghanistan (during the Soviet occupation)

Global Scholars briefing session: Amb. Dunbar's discussion with the students centered on issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

February 2004

U.S. Issues Related to the Two Koreas

Joseph Winder, President, Korea Economic Institute

Global Scholars briefing session: Issues related to the U.S.' commitment to the defense of South Korea and the attitude of the Korean youth population toward the U.S.

January 2004

Norway and Its Role with the European Union and NATO

John Doyle Ong, U.S. Ambassador to Norway

Amb. Ong provided his view of this subject as well as discussing the variety of jobs that exist in a U.S. embassy.

September 2003

China in Transition, a View from Taipei, Taiwan (ROC)

Ben Shao, Director of Information, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago

ACWA's relationship with the Taiwan government was instrumental in our obtaining Mr. Shao. Mr. Shao was a special assistant in the Office of the President of Taiwan, Lee Teng-Hui, when Mr. Lee took the steps that made possible the first democratic elections for a Chinese people, held in 1996 and ushering in a new era.

November 2003

The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Dr. Jerry Leach, President, The World Affairs Councils of America

Dr. Leach spoke objectively about the two sides involved in this process, based in part on his 2003 study trip to both sides, meeting with government officials and others and observing the construction of the wall. Prior to his present position, Dr. Leach ran a large segment of the Peace Corps out of Turkey, extending through the Balkans and Black Sea region, through the Middle East and Asia. He was also the person who generated and led the successful campaign that resulted in the trade of ivory being banned first in the U.S. and then worldwide.

October 2003

The U.S. and Nigeria, thinking beyond oil

Amb. Walter Carrington, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria

Amb. Carrington was recently awarded a medal by the present democratic government of Nigeria, honoring him for his stand for human rights with the dictator government holding power in the mid 90's when he served there. At that time, due to his opposition to the dictatorship, he and his staff and other officials were forced to leave Nigeria at gun point.

April 2003

'The Powell Plan'

Amb. Charles Dunbar, a former Ambassador to Yemen and former charge d'affaires in Afghanistan (during the Soviet occupation there)

Global Scholars briefing session: Amb. Dunbar's discussion with the students centered on issues related to the European Union, and his formal talk was an expansion of his March 9, 2003, op-ed article in The Boston Globe, entitled "The Powell Plan", his view of a modern version of The Marshall Plan, for Afghanistan and for Iraq.

March 2003

Eleven Nations Cooperate to Impact the World Economy

Dr. Costas Masmanides, Secretary General, The Black Sea Economic Cooperative Business (11 nation states surrounding the Black Sea, with offices in Istanbul, Turkey)

Global Scholars briefing session: Dr. Masmanides addressed the difficulties being faced by these nations, many of them are still struggling to free themselves from the economies and social arrangements persisting from when they were part of the Soviet Union, to begin to implement democratic society structures.

February 2003

Unilateralism vs. Multilateralism, with emphasis on its relation to the Iraqi situation

Dr. Sean Kay, Assoc. Professor of Politics and Government, Ohio Wesleyan University and nonresident fellow at the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, DC.

Dr. Kay writes op-ed articles for the Wall Street Journal, the Herald-American and other print media and is interviewed frequently by CNN and other networks. He is considered one of the leading experts on NATO.

Global Scholars briefing session: Dr. Kay addressed political alternatives in engaging European countries in decisions related to Iraq.

October 2002

Issues Before Our Nation: An Era of Change

Hon. Tom Sawyer, U.S. Congressman

Turkey - Between Two Worlds

Stephen Kinzer, New York Times Bureau Chief and author, "The Crescent & the Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds"

September 2002

China & U.S. Relations

Amb. David Reuther, China

May 2002

Akron's Role In The Global Economy

Don Plusquellic, Mayor of Akron

April 2002

The Fertile Crescent: Profound Change in Turkey Through Enlightened Development

Dr. I.H. Oleay Unver, President, GAP Regional Development Assoc, Turkey


May 2001

Who Will Manage Globalization: Corporations or Governments?

Amb. Anthony C.E. Quainton

March 2001

Who Owns Taiwan?

Dr. Peng Ming-Min, Senior Advisor to the President of Taiwan (the "Grandfather" of Democracy and Freedom in Taiwan)

Partners or Competitors: The U.S., Japan and China in the 21st Century

Mr. Toyisha Hoshino, Assoc. Prof. of International Security Studies, Osaka University

February 2001

Africa and The New Administration: New Priorities?

Amb. Roland K. Kuchel

December 2000

Mideast Peace Process: Can It Be Revived?

Amb. Charles F. Dunbar

November 2000

Democracy Movement in Yugoslavia: What Lies ahead for the Balkans?

Sloboban Kotevski, UN Mission Chief & Former Yugoslavia Diplomat

October 2000

Torture, Torment, Tyranny - The State of Human Rights Today

Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

April 2000

Republic of China On Taiwan: Recent Developments & Future Challenges

Rep. Stephen Chen, Dir., Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

March 2000

Lebanon: The Peace Process

H.D. Farid Abboud, U.S. Ambassador, Lebanon to the U.S.

February 2000

Islam and The West: The Road to Reconciliation

Dr. Abdul Aziz Said, Director, Center for Global Peace, American University, DC

A New 'Great Game' in the Asian Heartland - Is U.S. Policy Up to the Challenge?

Amb. Michael W. Cotter, Former Ambassador to Turkmenistan

September 1999

Humanitarian Challenges at Century's End

Karen Koning AbuZayd, UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the U.S.

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