The Week at CSIS: The Speeches, Discussions, and Events from June 5— June 9

CSIS hosts over 2,000 events a year, from major public speeches to small briefings. Join us here for an inside look at the events of the week.

6.5: Four Famines: Unprecedented Need, Underfunded Response

The world today is grappling with four looming famines which are testing the capacity of our strapped global humanitarian response infrastructure. In Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, protracted conflict has left 30 million people, mostly children, in the throes of severe food insecurity, with 20 million potentially facing starvation.

José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, and David Beasley, the newly appointed Executive Director of WFP, traveled together last week to visit some of the hardest hit communities in famine-stricken South Sudan. Audience members came to hear their perspective on what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.
The panelists asked: How did we get here and what are the most urgent steps the global community must take to respond to this hunger crisis? Why is it important for the United States to play a leadership role in the response? Why is it imperative for the global humanitarian community to move beyond empathy to action?

From left to right: David Beasley, the Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme; José Graziano da Silva, Director General, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

6.6: A New Nuclear Review for a New Age

CSIS hosted the report rollout of A New Nuclear Review for a New Age, published by the National Institute for Public Policy.

Experts discussed the importance of nuclear deterrence and emphasized the need for expanding missile defense systems in the United States as a tool of national security. This panel featured Jon Kyl, who served with John McCain as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1997–2013 and Senate Minority Whip from 2007–2013.

Jon Kyl, former U.S. Senator
From left to right: Franklin Miller, Scowcroft Group; Rebecca Hersman, CSIS; Thomas Karako, CSIS; Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, Hudson Institute

6.6: A Conversation with Minister Vidar Helgesen of Norway: Climate Change and the National and Corporate Interest

The CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosted Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian minister of climate and the environment, for a discussion on Norway’s climate policy, challenges, and opportunities.

A top global producer of natural gas and the leading European producer of petroleum liquids, Norway is a champion of sustainable development and climate action. Norway continues to move forward on climate policy through its ambitious goal of a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral. A key element is the engagement by industry and other stakeholders in “the green transition,” making use of the new economic opportunities that a low-carbon future entails. Multilateral engagement on climate is also key for Norway, which recognizes the potential security challenges related to climate change.

Vidar Helgesen was state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2001–2005, under Kjell Magne Bondevik’s Second Government. Helgesen was a special adviser at the International Red Cross in Geneva 1998–2001. He was secretary-general of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), in Stockholm from 2006 until he started as minister in 2013. Helgesen was minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister from October, 2013 to December, 2015.

This event was part of Climate Change and the National and Corporate Interest, a high-level speaker series showcasing a variety of country and corporate perspectives on plausible pathways for pursuing a climate change strategy and why those actions are in their national or commercial interest. Through discussions with high-level government officials and corporate executives, this series aims to broaden the range and depth of understanding of how each country has its own interpretation of why climate action is in their national interest and how global corporations are positioning themselves to be competitive in a lower-carbon future.

From left to right: The Honorable Vidar Hegelson, Minister of Climate and the Environment, Norway; Sarah Ladislaw, CSIS

6.7: Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World

Today the world faces a volatile convergence of instability, state weakness, and conflict. These conditions are complicating the ability of the United States to operate and pursue security objectives in a number of critical regions. The United States needs to be able to work within the constraints of fragile environments, to implement approaches that address pressing security threats and objectives and meet relatively urgent security or humanitarian needs. A new report by the International Security Program at CSIS, “Meeting Security Challenges in a Disordered World,” explores how the United States can best meet security challenges in the midst of increasing state fragmentation and fragility around the globe.

This report launch event featured panel discussions on navigating instability and fragility, the challenges and pragmatic options to meet a range of security imperatives, and a deep-dive on the conflict in Syria. Panelists delved into discussion about best practices for navigating instability and fragility in today’s world.

From left to right: Melissa G. Dalton, CSIS; Emma Ashford, Cato Institute; Kimberly Kagan, Institute for the Study of War; Charles Lister, Middle East Institute; Mona Yacoubian, U.S. Institute of Peace; Nancy Lindborg, U.S. Institute of Peace

6.7: The Global Peace Index 2017 Launch

This event, hosted by the CSIS Human Rights Initiative, launched the 11th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). Produced annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the GPI helps identify and measure the attitudes, institutions, and structures that build a more peaceful society. GPI measures the peacefulness of 163 countries and territories, according to 23 indicators of militarization, ongoing conflict, and societal safety and security. Expert panelists from CSIS, the Institute for Economics and Peace, Human Rights Watch, and New America discussed the findings of the report as well as their implications for global peace, prosperity, and security.

From left to right: Sarah Leah Whitson, MENA Division, Human Rights Watch; Lana Baydas, Human Rights Initiative; Mark Schneider, CSIS

6.8: Tracking Promises: Analyzing the Impact of Feed the Future Investments in Guatemala

Guatemala is the wealthiest of Feed the Future’s 19 focus countries globally, yet it grapples with severe malnutrition, rising poverty, and stark inequality. Stunting levels rival those of Malawi and Yemen. Since emerging from decades of civil war in 1996, Guatemala’s economy has made significant strides but many of its most vulnerable people, particularly in indigenous communities, have been left behind. Public health and social service spending are among the lowest in the western hemisphere. A changing climate and high exposure to natural hazards further exacerbate the challenges facing the rural agrarian poor.

This event marked the launch of the CSIS Global Food Security Project’s third and final country case study, Tracking Promises: Analyzing the Impact of Feed the Future Investments in Guatemala. The team traveled to Guatemala in late 2016 to investigate the largest Feed the Future portfolio in the Americas, its technical strategy, its sectoral and geographical distribution of investments, and its coordination efforts within and beyond U.S. programming. The report and documentary outline the Guatemalan country context and the U.S. government response, highlighting implementation seccesses and challenges while presenting a set of targeted policy recommendations to both the U.S. government and the government of Guatemala. Speakers traveling from Guatemala for this event gave the Washington, DC community a chance to hear directly from the field.

From left to right: Janet Lawson, U.S. Agency for International Development/Guatemala; Luis Ramirez, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); Patricia O’Connor, Nutri-Salud, University Research Company; German Rafael González Díaz, Secretary, Secretariat of Food and Nutrition Security (SESAN), Government of Guatemala; Kimberly Flowers, CSIS

6.8: The CSIS-Schieffer Series Dialogues: The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence

The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence event was part of a series co-hosted by TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and CSIS. Award-winning journalist Bob Schieffer moderated a fascinating discussion on the twisted web of Russian political influence in European countries. Heather Conley, the CSIS Europe program director, discussed her in-depth report on Russian patronage on a panel joined by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and David Sanger of the New York Times. The panelists talked about the Kremlin’s ornate playbook for exerting influence on the political and economic systems of other countries in order to gain power, as well as security measures that the United States can take to resist this influence.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
From left to right: Heather Conley, CSIS; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI); Bob Schieffer, CBS; David Sanger, New York Times

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