Global Issues

Venice Friday Series


At the Intersection of Energy, Environment, and Economics
Molly Williamson

One cannot talk about energy without being mindful of the environmental ramifications. It is essential that responsible, practical proposals are affordable for the greatest number of people if we expect to achieve global acceptance. The relatively small space available for policy deliberations is at the intersection of energy, environment, and economics. Ms. Molly Williamson will explore these issues, and whether/how the international community can cooperate to achieve environmentally responsible, affordable energy for future generations.


The New Administration and Iranian Policy
Dr. Mohsen Milani

What are Iran's objectives in Iraq and Syria? Does Iran have expansionist ambitions? Dr. Mohsen Milani will discuss the evolution of the Iranian policies and strategies toward Iraq and Syria. There are key differences, but the U.S and Iran share a goal--the defeat of ISIS. Dr. Milani will analyze and evaluate the key question: Can the new American administration work with Iran to bring stability to war-ravaged Iraq and Syria?


Women in Combat
Jessica Lewis McFate

In December, 2015, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that all combat jobs would be open to women. This decision was not supported by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who wanted to keep certain positions closed to women. With the rise of ISIS, women have obtained more critical roles in obtaining wartime information. Jessica Lewis McFate will discuss the positives and negatives of women in combat.


The Bumpy Roads Ahead
Martin Walker

The world is suddenly accelerating through a unique period similar to the changes wrought by ancient Athens, the Renaissance, the late 18th century and 1917. There are revolutions in demography, geo-politics, medicine, robotics, information technology, communications, manufacturing, views of sexual relationships, central banking and environmental change. Martin Walker explores what kind of future our children and grandchildren will inherit.


Modern Day Slavery In the United States and Throughout the World
Laurel Bellows

Laurel Bellows used her position as President of the American Bar Association to expose the truth about human trafficking, forced labor, sex slavery, and child labor. She has identified many everyday products produced by well-known American companies using slave labor. Ms. Bellows will address the dimensions of this shocking problem and propose solutions.


The United States and Cuba: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Dr. Jorge Dominguez

Dr. Jorge Dominguez addresses these two large questions: “Why were U.S. – Cuban relations so cooperative in various different policy arenas before their two presidents announced a new dawn in their bilateral relations?” and “Why have U.S. – Cuban relations changed so slowly even though the two presidents happily sit side by side watching a game between U. S. and Cuban teams?”


Saudi Arabia in a Time of Social, Polotical, Economis and Religious Change
Bernard Haykel

Saudi Arabia, the heart of Islam and the world’s largest producer of oil, is the closest Arab ally of the United States. Now Saudi Arabia is undergoing rapid change. Its people are turning restive. Bernard Haykel will discuss how these developments are affecting Saudi society, the Middle East, and the world.


Electoral Votes: What Were the Founders Thinking? What Would They Do Today?
Mark Weston

Mark Weston, the author of "The Runner-Up Presidency," explains why the Founders created electoral votes, why the system has lasted so long, the implications of the 2000 and 2016 elections, and the danger ahead if we don't make some repairs.


The Doomsday Clock: How Close to Midnight?
John Mecklin

The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized symbol of how close we are to destroying our civilization. Each year the clock is set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which reports on scientific and technological developments---ranging from nuclear weapons to climate change-- that threaten the survival of humanity. Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin John Mecklin will discuss the current setting and the dangers confronting our planet.


Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine
Dr. Alice Rothchild

Dr. Alice Rothchild reflects on two decades of work in the U.S. and Israel/Palestine, an intimate journey with analysis that candidly explores the human and political realities and contradictions in Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, unfiltered by the Israel messaging industry in the U.S. and abroad.


Middle East Policy Options for the New Administration
Amb. Robert Ford

The new American administration will confront a tough challenge in the Middle East. Countries like Syria, Yemen and Libya have fallen while extremists, Russia and Iran gain prominence in the troubled region. Amb. Robert Ford will consider these questions: Can the U.S. help stabilize the troubled Middle East? Should we just stay out? Is it possible to withdraw?


Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President
Dr. Aaron David Miller

The Presidency seems an impossible job. The expectations Americans have for their presidents have skyrocketed, while the president's capacity and power to deliver on what ails the nation has diminished. We are now suspended between the great presidents we want and the ones we can no longer have. Dr. Aaron David Miller will discuss these issues.