2017 - 2018

Demography, Fertility, and Sustainability

Karl Hofmann, Population Services International

Retired U.S. ambassador and SIA advisory board member Karl Hofmann is President and Chief Executive Officer of Population Services International, a Washington-based global health organization.  Mr. Hofmann is former U.S. Ambassador to Togo and Executive Secretary of the State Department.  He also served on President Clinton's National Security Council staff.

Dealing with North Korea

Evans Revere, Albright Stonebridge Group

Evans J.R. Revere will speak about current policy challenges in North Korea as part of the Penn State School of International Affairs' spring colloquium. Revere is senior director with the Albright Stonebridge Group, providing strategic advice to clients with a specific focus on Korea, China and Japan. Fluent in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, Revere retired from the Foreign Service in 2007 after a distinguished career as one of the U.S. Department of State's top Asia experts. He has extensive experience in negotiations with North Korea.

Why People Rebel - Greed versus Grievance

Greg Kruczek, Virginia Tech

Kruczek graduated from Penn State in 2005 with a B.A. in Political Science and B.S. in Professional Golf Management. During time as an undergraduate, spent time in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon studying Arabic and each state's political culture. In Fall 2006 completed intensive Arabic program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA. Worked as Research Assistant at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (Arlington, VA) from 2006-2007. In 2007 served as Information Officer at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. After a brief stint in Beirut in late-2007, returned to Penn State for his Masters, graduating from the School of International Affairs in 2009. Master's paper dealt with confessional politics in Lebanon. From 2010-2012 was a lead researcher in Penn State's College of Information Science and Technology on the counter-insurgency component of a Multi-University Research Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Lab. In 2011 joined the faculty of Susquehanna University as an instructor in the Department of Political Science, teaching classes on world politics and comparative domestic politics. In January 2013 began pursuing Ph.D in Government and International Affairs at Virginia Tech's Washington, D.C. campus under the guidance of Dr. Ariel Ahram. His dissertation topic concerns the Christian response to the Arab Spring.

Intelligence and National Security

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

Doing Development Right

Greg Gottleib, Tufts University

The Media

Steve Mufson, The Washington Post

Global Commons

Leif Trana, Economic Minister with the Norwegian Embassy

Leif Trana, Minister Counsellor for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Norway will present "Managing the Global Commons: Norway's Interests in the Arctic" as part of the Penn State School of International Affairs’ spring colloquium. The Arctic is Norway’s top policy issue.

Before joining the Embassy of Norway in August 2014, Trana serviced as the director of the section for organizational development in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo. In this position, he focused on how to align the resources used at various embassies with Norwegian interests in the corresponding country or organization. Before that, he was deputy director int eh same section. He spent five years working on World Trade Organization matters focusing on the agricultural and the National Agri-Marketing Association negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda. Trana is a career foreign-service officer who has served in Riyadh and Washington. He received his M.A. in economics from the University of Oslo.

Nation Building

Peter Van Buren, author and 24-year veteran of the State Department

Peter Van Buren is a retired 24-year veteran of the U.S. Department of State. He spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well. His first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, was published in 2011, and his latest book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, has just been published.

Peace in the Middle East

Dr. Husam Zomlot, Palestinian Ambassador to the United States

Climate Change

Dr. Richard Alley, Penn State

Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor in the Penn State Department of Geosciences at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, will speak about climate change at the Penn State School of International Affairs’ spring colloquium.

Alley has authored more than 170 refereed scientific publications about the relationships between Earth's cryosphere and global climate change. Alley testified about climate change before the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology in 2007 and 2010. His 2007 testimony was due to his role as a lead author of "Chapter 4: Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground" for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has participated in the joint United Nations World Meteorological Organization panel since 1992, having been a contributing author to both the second and third IPCC assessment reports.


Dr. James Piazza, Penn State
Dr. Piazza is Professor of Political Science. His research focuses on terrorism and political violence. Specific interests include: socioeconomic roots of terrorism; regime-type, human rights, repression and terrorism; state failure and terrorism; religion, ideology and terrorist organizations and behavior; ethnic minorities and terrorism; the global narcotics trade and terrorism; natural resources and conflict; right-wing extremism in the United States; public opinion and counterterrorism. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Public Choice, Journal of Peace Research, Political Psychology, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Political Research Quarterly, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Interactions, Defence and Peace Economics, Southern Economic Journal, Security Studies, Terrorism and Political Violence and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Echoes of 20th Century Fascism in Modern Politics and Culture

Bringing together faculty and graduate students from both the Political Science and History departments, "Echoes of 20th Century Fascism" provides a platform to discuss varying perspectives on a complex and pertinent topic: the history of Fascist thought in the United States and globally and how this relates to the current political climate. This event seeks to bring together faculty and students - university-wide as well as the general public to discuss the importance of using history to understand recent events.

New Media in India: From Fad to Fundamental?

Dr. Sunetra Sen Narayan, Indian Institute of Mass Communication
Dr. Shalini Narayanan, Independent Communications Consultant

New media is shaping the public discourse in India today. What are the implications of this for the world's largest democracy? And for development? Who is getting left out of the new media equation? Given the sheer numbers and diversity of India, how do we go about regulating it? This study aims to map the changing contours of India's fascinating new mediascape.

ISIS, Jihad, and Islamic Law

Dr. Mohammad Khalil, Michigan State University

How does ISIS attempt to justify its acts of terrorism? In this lecture, Mohammad Khalil (associate professor of Religious Studies, adjunct professor of Law, and Director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University) discusses some of the traditional rules of armed jihad according to Islamic law, shows how the leadership of ISIS attempts to present their acts of terrorism as being in line with those rules, and examines mainstream Muslim scholarly responses to ISIS.

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