2021-2022 SPEAKERS

BoiseCFR May Dinner Meeting

Date:            Tuesday May 24, 2022

Speaker:     Lucian Kim

Topic:         The Origins of Putin’s War on Ukraine: An Eyewitness Account

Lucian Kim is currently a resident fellow at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

He started his career in 1996 as Berlin correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, covering Germany, eastern Europe and Central Asia. In 2003, he moved to Moscow, where he became the business editor and a columnist for The Moscow Times. From 2006 to 2010, he covered Russian energy giant Gazprom and Putin’s government for Bloomberg News. He worked as National Public Radio’s Moscow correspondent from 2016 to 2021.

Mr. Kim was born in Charleston, Illinois, in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and foreign languages from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, studied journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated from the master’s program in nationalism studies at Central European University in Budapest. Besides English, he speaks German, Russian and French.

BoiseCFR April Dinner Meeting

Date:           Thursday April 28, 2022 

Speaker:     William M. Drozdiak

Topic:          The Last President of Europe

William M. Drozdiak is currently a senior advisor for Europe with McLarty Associates, an international strategic consultancy firm based in Washington D.C., and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

He is the author of “Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West,” which was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best political books of 2017. He also is a contributing author to “Governing in a Time of Technological Change,” a book of essays edited by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz published in 2018 by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His latest book, published in April 2020, is “The Last President of Europe: Emmanuel Macron’s Race to Revive France and Save the World,” a chronicle about the first turbulent years of Macron’s presidency and his ambition to invigorate the European Union in an era of resurgent big-power rivalry.

Previously he served as President of the American Council on Germany; Executive Director of the Transatlantic Center in Brussels; and editor and foreign correspondent with the Washington Post and Time magazine. Before becoming a journalist, he played professional basketball in the U.S. and Europe. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and received a masters degree in economics at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

BoiseCFR March Dinner Meeting

Date:            Thursday March 31, 2022

Speaker:     Former Ambassador Omar Samad

Topic:         The Way Forward in Afghanistan

Ambassador Omar Samad is founder and president of Silkroad Consulting L.L.C. based in Virginia. He was senior Afghan expert in-residence with the Center for Conflict Management at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. for a year until Jan. 2013. Prior, he served as Ambassador of Afghanistan to France (2009-2011), and Ambassador to Canada (2004-2009).

He was the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul and Director General, Information and Media Divisions (2001-2004). He also served as an advisor and speech-writer to the foreign minister, and as a member of the ministry's reform committee.

Omar Samad received a master's degree in international relations from The Fletcher School (Tufts University, Massachusetts) in 2006. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and international studies from the American University (Washington D.C., 1991). He attended primary and secondary schools in Kabul, Paris, and London.

BoiseCFR February Meeting - Via Zoom

Date:            Thursday February 17, 2022

Speaker:     Edward Lemon

Topic:         What is Happening in Kazakhstan?

Edward Lemon is a Research Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington, D.C., named for President George H.W. Bush. He was previously Assistant Professor at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center in Wash. D.C. He is also president of The Oxus Society dedicated to fostering academic exchange between Central Asia and the world.

Dr. Lemon’s research focuses on post-Soviet Central Asia including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is editor of Central Approaches to Security in Central Asia and he has been published in numerous journals and other media outlets. He received his Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations from the University of Exeter.

BoiseCFR January Meeting - Via Zoom

NOTE: Our January 2022 speaker is the same speaker that we originally planned for December. He was rescheduled for January.

Date:            Tuesday January 11, 2022

Speaker:     Alan Boswell

Topic:          Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa

Alan Boswell is Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for South Sudan. He joined Crisis Group in this role in October 2018.

Alan is a leading expert on the conflict in South Sudan. His analysis appears regularly in the media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Associated Press, and Reuters. He first covered South Sudan's run-up to independence as a journalist in Juba before serving as the Africa correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers and a regular correspondent to Time.

Following the outbreak of South Sudan's civil war, Alan served as a formal advisor and researcher to a number of organisations, including the UN, USAID, US Institute of Peace, European Institute of Peace, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Folke Bernadotte Academy, Friedrich Egbert Stiftung, and the World Peace Foundation. Alan regularly researched the South Sudan conflict and its armed groups for the Small Arms Survey institute in Geneva and has presented his research at London’s Chatham House. Alan is an associate of the three-year Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics.

BoiseCFR November Meeting - Via Zoom

Date:            Monday November 22, 2021

Speaker:     Ambassador William H. Hill

Topic:      "U.S.-Russia Relations: Better under Biden?"

William H. Hill is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. A retired Foreign Service officer and US Ambassador, Dr. Hill is an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union, east-west relations, and European multilateral diplomacy.

He served two terms – January 2003-July 2006 and June 1999-November 2001 – as Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, where he was charged with negotiation of a political settlement to the Transdniestrian conflict and facilitation of the withdrawal of Russian forces, arms, and ammunition from Moldova. He is the author of Russia, the Near Abroad and the West: Lessons from the Moldova-Transdniestria Conflict, and No Place for Russia: European Security Institutions Since 1989.

BoiseCFR October Meeting - Via Zoom

NOTE: The speaker for this meeting was originally scheduled to be the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Unforutnately she had to cancel at the last minute, but Fahad Nazer agreed to substitute.

The Zoom meeting was not recorded by The Boise Committee at the request of the Saudi Embassy.

Date:            Tuesday October 19, 2021 

Speaker:     Fahad Nazer - Official Spokesperson
                     The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C.

Topic:         A Conversation About Saudi Arabia

Fahad Nazer is the official spokesperson for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to the United States. He was appointed to this role on January 18, 2019.

Prior to this appointment, Nazer was a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and served as an International Fellow at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations. Additionally. He was also a columnist for the daily newspaper Arab News. His publications have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, CNN, Foreign Policy, YaleGlobal Online, The National Interest, and Newsweek.

Nazer earned his BA in political science from New York University and an M.A in political science from Saint John's University in New York City. He has also completed the credit and examination requirements of the PhD program in political science at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

BoiseCFR September Meeting - Via Zoom

Date:            Thursday September 23, 2021 

Speaker:     Greg Myre

Topic:         Afghanistan: What Went Wrong?

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent for NPR with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.

Before joining NPR, Myre was a foreign correspondent for 20 years with The New York Times and The Associated Press.

He was first posted to South Africa in 1987, where he witnessed Nelson Mandela's release from prison and reported on the final years of apartheid. He was assigned to Pakistan in 1993 and often traveled to war-torn Afghanistan. He was one of the first reporters to interview members of an obscure new group calling itself the Taliban.

In his years abroad, he traveled to more than 50 countries and reported on a dozen wars. He and his journalist wife Jennifer Griffin co-wrote a 2011 book on their time in Jerusalem, entitled, This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Myre is a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington and has appeared as an analyst on CNN, PBS, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox, Al Jazeera and other networks. He's a graduate of Yale University, where he played football and basketball.