2019-2020 SPEAKERS


Date:            Thursday February 13, 2020 

Speaker:     Mark Simakovsky

Topic:          "From the Fringe to the Center: Ukraine, Russia and the Future of                         U.S. Policy "

Mark Simakovsky, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and Vice President of Beacon Global Strategies.

Previously, he served as the European/NATO Chief of Staff; the Russia Country Director; Eurasia Strategy Advisor; and Georgia/Moldova Country Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

He also served in the Office of Russian Affairs in the Department of State and with the German Marshall Fund. He received the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service and was named one of the “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders.”


Date:            Thursday January 9, 2020 

Speaker:     Ambassador Richard LeBaron

Topic:          "Making Hard Choices about U.S. Policy in the Middle East"

Ambassador Richard LeBaron, is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council with a special focus on the Gulf region. Ambassador LeBaron is a career diplomat with over thirty years of experience abroad and in Washington. His most recent overseas posting was as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in London from August 2007 to August 2010.

Ambassador LeBaron served as Chargé d'Affaires in London from February to August 2009. Previous to his assignment to London, Ambassador LeBaron served as the US Ambassador to Kuwait from 2004 to 2007. From September 2001 to July 2004, Ambassador LeBaron served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the United States in Tel Aviv, Israel. Ambassador LeBaron was Minister-Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of the United States in Cairo, Egypt from 1998 to 2001. While posted in Washington from 1991 to 1998, he served in three positions related to the Middle East: Director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council, Director of the Peace Process and Regional Affairs Office in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, and Public Affairs Adviser for the Near Eastern Bureau. From 1991 to 1993, Ambassador LeBaron was Political Officer in the State Department's Office of European Community Affairs. Ambassador LeBaron's earlier overseas diplomatic postings included: Lisbon (1989-91), Tunis (1986-89), New Delhi (1982-84), and Managua (1980-82). Before he entered the Foreign Service, the Ambassador held a two-year consultancy in Brazil working on science policy issues. Ambassador LeBaron studied at the University of Colorado (BA) and The George Washington University (MA).


Date:            Monday December 16, 2019 

Speaker:     Lt General John F. Regni, USAF (retired)

Topic:          "America's Role in the World: A Military Perspective."

General Regni, is a member of the Board of Directors for the DigitalGlobe Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors for the Military Officers Association of America, an Adjunct Contract Professor for the United States Air Force, a National Security Advisory Council member of the US Global Leadership Coalition, is active with Mission:Readiness, and is Chairman of the Southwest Defense Alliance.

General Regni’s assignments during his 36 years of commissioned service spanned Personnel, Training, Education and Command positions. He served as Base Commander, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, commanded the Second Air Force, commanded the Air University, and culminated his distinguished career as Commander and Superintendent of his alma mater, the US Air Force Academy. In that capacity he led the effort and conceived the Academy Energy Strategic Plan that put the Air Force Academy on an achievable path to produce 100% of its electricity, and to be “carbon free” by 2025. Notably, this plan leverages the abundant natural resources at the expansive Academy and involves the use of solar fields, hydroelectric turbines, a waste-to-energy plant, geothermal heat pumps, a dry fermentation biomass facility, woody biomass and low profile wind devices to reach its 2025 goals.


Date:            Thursday November 7, 2019 

Speaker:     Ann-Louise Colgan

Topic:          U.S. Institute for Peace: Building Peace in a World of Conflict

Ann-Louise Colgan, is the Director of Public Education at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The USIP is a nonpartisan institute established by Congress that works with local partners in conflict zones abroad.

Colgan previously managed the Genocide Prevention Taskforce and served as the Director of the Academy for Genocide Prevention the U.S. Holocaust Museum. She was also the Assistant Director of Africa Action that advocates for Africa.


Date:            Wednesday October 16, 2019 

Speaker:     William C. McCahill Jr.

Topic:          Today’s China: It’s Political Culture and Economy

William (Bill) McCahill, is a Senior Resident Fellow of The National Bureau of Asian Research, having joined in November of 2016. He focuses on Chinese domestic politics and policies, and on how those affect foreign investors and businesses in China. His professional experience in China dates from 1976.

Before joining NBR, Mr. McCahill had been senior advisor for China at Mirabaud & Cie., a Geneva-based Swiss private bank. Working from Hong Kong and Suzhou, he advised Mirabaud’s equities traders, capital markets and private banking teams, and their clients. From 2012 through 2014, Mr. McCahill had done similar work with the emerging markets investment bank Religare Capital Markets. He had previously co-founded and managed a China-focused equities and macroeconomic research firm, opened the Beijing office of a major U.S. law firm, and operated a business consultancy in China.

A 25-year Foreign Service career preceded Mr. McCahill’s China business activities. He began his diplomatic service in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Beijing; subsequently held senior posts at U.S. missions in Western Europe, Scandinavia, and Canada; and in 2000 retired from his last posting as chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.


Date:            Friday September 13, 2019 

Speaker:     Senator James Risch, Chairman , Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Topic:          American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century

Jim Risch , currently serving a second term as Idaho's 28th Senator. With more than four decades of experience in elected office.

Senator Risch presently serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 116th Congress.

Senator Risch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Idaho, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Idaho, College of Law. He served on Law Review and the College of Law Advisory Committee at the University of Idaho and has taught criminal law at Boise State University. He was a small business owner, a rancher/farmer and senior partner in the Risch Goss Insinger Gustavel Law firm at the time of his election to the U.S. Senate.