Past IA Themes and Speakers

2023 – The State of Democracy Abroad and at Home

Chair: Greg Dixon

2022 – Systemic Racism and What We Can Do About It

Chair: Laura Espinosa

2021 – Women in Leadership: Why it Matters

Chair: Iyabo Obasanjo

2019 – Human Migration: Law, Policy and Human Rights

Chair: Dan Hotchkiss

2018 – America’s Place in the World: Power, Influence, and World Order

Chair: Lucia Green-Weiskel


  • Barry Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT and the director of MIT’s Security Studies Program.
  • Charles Maynes is an independent radio producer based in Moscow.
  • Patrick Lawrence is a longtime columnist, essayist, critic, and lecturer.
  • Jendayi E. Frazer is a visiting professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a former US Ambassador to South Africa, and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2005-09.
  • Syaru Shirley Lin teaches political economy at the University of Virginia and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

2017 – The World’s Oceans: Protecting an International Resource

Chair: Brian Williams


2016 – Education

Chair: Becky Miller


  • Andy Calkins, Deputy Director, Next Generation Learning Challenges at Educause
  • Elizabeth Suneby, Author – books for children and teens
  • Sameer Honwad, Assistant Professor of Education, University of New Hampshire
  • EK Cho, Associate Professor of Education, University of New Hampshire

2015 – Climate Change

Chair: Beth Miller


  • Stephen P. Hamburg, chief scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund
  • Kate Sheppard, senior reporter, environment and energy editor, Huffington Post
  • Keya Chatterjee, executive director, Society of Environmental Journalists
  • Dale Jamieson, professor of environmental studies and philosophy, New York University

2014 – Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities

Chair: Ted Trainer


  • Marvin G. Weinbaum, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Fawzia Afzal-Khan, professor of English at Montclair State University
  • Khan Hussan Zia, writer and former Pakastani Naval Officer

2013 – Europe and the Eurozone

Chair: Lisa Braiterman


  • Heather Conley, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Dr. Vello Pettai, professor of comparative politics at the University of Tartu in Estonia
  • Dr. Catherine L. Mann, International Business School at Brandeis
  • Dr. Thomas Wright, fellow in the Managing Global Order project, Brookings Institution

2012 – Arab Spring and Beyond

Chair: Maria Getoff


  • Hisham Melhem, Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya Television
  • Jillian Schwedler, associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • Michele Dunne, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
  • Jon B. Alterman, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and Director, Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

2011 – Water: A Human Right and Resource

Chair: Nick Dempsey


  • R. Allyn Clarke, Bedford Institute of Oceanography
  • Dr. Christopher L. Kukk, Western Connecticut State University
  • Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, Pacific Institute
  • Dr. Shimon C. Anisfeld,Yale University
  • Patricia Jones, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

2010 – Empowering Women and Children for Global Health

Chair: Suellen Peluso


  • Jennifer Prah Ruger, core investigator for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS
  • Susan M. Davis, president & CEO of BRAC USA
  • Scott Hansen, American Institute in Taiwan’s Economic Section
  • Lisa Adams, assistant professor in the department of medicine, Section of Infectious Disease and International Health, Dartmouth Medical School, and Director of the Global Health Initiative (GHI).
  • Richard Waddell, assistant professor of medicine in the Section of Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth
  • Ann Cotton, founder of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)

2009 – Global Justice

Chair: David Cummiskey


  • Joel H. Rosenthal, president, Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs
  • Janice Bially Mattern, associate professor international relations, Lehigh University
  • Linda Bishai, senior program officer, Education and Training Center/International, United States Institute for Peace
  • Dr. Lee R. Schwartz, director of the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, US Department of State
  • Allen Springer, professor of government, Bowdoin College

2008 – Religion and International Politics, Now and into the Future

Chair: Rosemarie Smurzynski


  • Stanley R. Sloan, author, educator, visiting scholar at Rohatyn Center for International Studies, Middlebury College
  • Jayakiran Sebastian, director of Multicultural Mission Center, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  • Emmanual Twesigye, professor of Christian studies, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Emran Quereshi, author, educator, Wertheim Fellow at Harvard University
  • Paul Beran, director for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
  • Hilary Rantisi, director, Middle East Initiative, Kennedy School of Government

2007 – Island Opened Late – No IA Conference Held

2006 – Power Shifts: Regional Hotspots Confronting the U.S.

Chair: Josh Spero


  • Jeffery Taliaferro, associate professor of political science, Tufts University
  • Sean Kay, associate professor of politics and government, Ohio Weslyan University
  • Alan Stolberg, assistant professor of national security studies, U.S. Army War College
  • Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, Washington DC
  • Eric Budd, associate professor of political science, Fitchburg State College

2005 – Food Security: Global Challenge to People, Cultures and Nations

Chair: Lloyd Yanis


  • Ellen Messer, visiting professor of international affairs and anthropology, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Sara Sievers, director for research, advocacy and policy, Association Francois Xavier Bagnoud
  • Mark McPeak, deputy director, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • Brian Tokar, author, educator, faculty at Vermont’s Institute for Social Ecology
  • Jim Slama, founder and president of Sustain and

2004 – The World’s Largest Democracy: India

Chair: Joann O’Hara


  • Harry G. Barnes, Jr., former United States ambassador to India
  • Anne E. Monius: professor of South Asian Religions, Harvard Divinity School
  • Kilaparti Ramakrishna, senior associate for international environmental law, Woods Hole Research Center
  • Katharine Sreedhar, director, UU Holdeen India Program
  • Dr. Prabhakar Tamboli, executive director, international training programs, University of Maryland

2003 – Islam: One-Fifth of the World’s People

Chair: Karen Mathiasen


  • Dr. Hibba Abugideiri, professor, George Washington University
  • Dr. Anthony F. Lang, program officer, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
  • Dr. Azza Karam, director, Women’s Program at the World Conference on Religion and Peace
  • Heather Gregg, Ph.D. candidate in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2002 – Contemporary China: Challenges of Global Engagement

Chair: Anne Howe


  • Brantly Womack, professor, University of Virginia
  • Yasheng Huang, associate professor, Harvard Business School
  • Dan Hai Mu Esquire and Dr. Rong Yi, Boston University
  • Xiaorong Li, research scholar, University of Maryland (presented by Helena Cobban)
  • Harry Harding, dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

2001 – The U.S. and the Challenges of International Leadership and Cooperation

Chair: Ross Fenster


  • Stewart Patrick, Center on International Cooperation, New York University
  • Michael Klare, Hampshire College
  • Aaron M. Knight, chief of staff, World Federalist Association
  • Joshua Spero, Dartmouth School of Government
  • Rose Gottemoeller, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

2000 – International Ethics

Chair: Caren Yanis


  • Valora Washington, executive director, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • Joel Rosenthal, president, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
  • Sherman Teichman, director, Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University
  • Lawrence Grossman: president, NBC News from 1984 to 1988 and of PBS from 1976 to 1984
  • Lori Knowles, professor, University of Wisconsin Schools of Law and Medicine

1999 – Reaching Beyond States: The Role of International NGOs

Chair: Helena Cobben


  • Ann Florini, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Heather Foote, UU Service Committee
  • Ricky Goldstein, Human Rights Watch
  • Xiaorong Li, University of Maryland
  • Susannah Sirkin, Physicians for Human Rights Campaign against Land Mines

1998 – People, States, and Globalization

Chair: Tom McNaugher


  • Stephen Blank, Pace University
  • Bridget Rosewell, Business Strategies Ltd. London
  • Ed Lincoln, Brookings Institue
  • Michael Berlin, Boston U. School of Journalism
  • Shibley Telhami, Univ of Maryland

1997 – Trouble in the Neighborhood: Co-Existence in North America

Chair: Susan Rak


  • Marilyn Halter, Boston University
  • Betty Haskins, United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • William LeoGrande, American University
  • Susan Purcell
  • Monique Simard, deputy leader, Parti Quebecois

1996 – The Impact of Political Decisions on World Health

Chair: Burt Jaffe


  • John Hammock, director, Oxfam America
  • Elizabeth Reed, director, AIDS Program, WHO
  • Leonard Marcus, M.D., Tufts University Medical School
  • Ellen Chesler, author
  • David Cummiskey, professor of medical ethics, Bates College

1995 – Competing Interests in the Global Village: The UN at 50

Chair: Margaret Noel


  • Franics Deng, Brookings Institution and special envoy to the UN
  • Jane Holl, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict
  • Kemal Kurspanic, Oslobodeniye, Sarajevo
  • Lorenzo Morris, Howard University
  • George Moffett, Christian Science Monitor

1994 – Religion, Race & Ethnicity: Sources of Conflict in International Affairs

Chair: Ken Cummisky


  • Stanley Heginbotham, Ford Foundation
  • Adrien Wing, University of Iowa Law School
  • Ian Lustick, U. of Pennsylvania
  • Ann Mayer, U. of Pennsyvannia
  • Karen Dawisha, U. of Maryland

1993 – Transitions to Democracy: Implications for War & Peace

Chair: Ellen Brandenburg

1992 – Japan, China & Pacific Basin Challenges for the U.S.

Chair: Don Zagoria

1991 – End of the Cold War: Challenges for the U.S.

Chair: Jean Hay

1990 – Exhausted Earth: Environmental Threats and Questions

Chair: Bill Maynes

1989 – U.S. in a Changing World

Chair: Richard Weinert

1988 – Is There a New Soviet Union?

Chair: Des O’Hara

1987 – China: The Next Superpower?

Chair: Sam Frieberg

1986 – The Middle East: Societies and Schisms

Chair: Judy Williams

1985 – Africa

Chair: Eleanor Jaffe

1984 – Latin America: Dilemma on Our Doorstep

Chair: Gordon Noel

1983 – The Nuclear Dilemma: Security Without Annihilation

Chair: Sam Zagoria

1982 – Leadership in a Troubled World

Chair: Phyllis Claus

1981 – Confrontation – and the Alternatives

Chair: Dave Stanley

1980 – The Causes of War

Chair: Ron Buck

1978 – Our Shrinking World

Chair: Naomi Yanis