FAS Past Speaker Updates

FAS Past Speaker Updates

Last April, we hosted Suroosh Alvi - the co-founder of VICE News - as one of our six guest that
comprised our speaker series, Undercurrent. Alvi spoke in detail about his turbulent early years
as a drug addict, how he, along with Shane Smith, created VICE News, the adventurous nature
of his job, and the current state of news and politics.

FAS '13 Speaker Rick Santorum Enters Presidential Race

Former US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum speaks at Johns Hopkins for FAS '13 series.

Former US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum speaks at Johns Hopkins for FAS '13 series.

Former US Senator and FAS '13 speaker Rick Santorum announced Wednesday that he would seek the Republican Party's nomination for President in 2016. 

In 2012, Santorum was the runner-up to nominee Mitt Romney, but today polls around 1%. Many pundits say this is due to the wide Republican field, which is expected to have over a dozen candidates. 

Former Governor Martin O'Malley, who was an FAS '14 speaker, is expected to announce his candidacy for the Democratic ticket this weekend.

Read more in the New York Times.

Press coverage of Gloria Steinem (FAS '15)

Last week, civil rights icon and feminist leader Gloria Steinem spoke to the Foreign Affairs Symposium in what was the most attended event in the Symposium's history. Among the attendees were more than a few members of the press, and you can check out their coverage below:

Johns Hopkins Politik Press ran an editorial on the speech: "Despite discussing the origins of patriarchy and offering words of advice on how to maintain mindfulness despite adversity, Steinem left her audience without a certain path to successful advocacy. Perhaps, as she told us, movements do go in stages and we must make our own way."

City Paper quotes Steinem: "If you want love and joy and music and laughter at the end of the revolution, you have to have love and music and joy and laughter along the way. If you don't want violence and humiliation and taunting at the end of the revolution, you can't use it along the way," she said.


FAS '15 Lineup Released

This past weekend, the Foreign Affairs Symposium released the lineup for its 2015 series. The symposium includes a women's rights icon, a political strategist, and the leader of a rebel coalition in Syria. 

Faculty and staff joined together today for a reception in honor of the Symposium launch, which was cosponsored by the International Centers and Programs Office at JHU. 

Local media is reporting on the lineup.

FAS '14 Speaker and Newly Appointed JHU Professor Gears Up for 2016

Then-Maryland Governor O'Malley speaking at the 2014 Johns Hopkins University Foreign Affairs Symposium

Then-Maryland Governor O'Malley speaking at the 2014 Johns Hopkins University Foreign Affairs Symposium

When Martin O'Malley spoke at the 2014 Foreign Affairs Symposium, he was the very popular two-term Governor of Maryland-- and speculation already surrounded him about a bid for the White House in 2016.

Now, after leaving the governor's mansion in Annapolis, O'Malley has been hired by Johns Hopkins as a visiting professor at the Carey Business School.

But that's not all he's been up to.

Politico reports today that O'Malley has staff working on the ground in Iowa, setting the foundation for a possible presidential run-- a campaign that he has publicly considered in the past.

Reports show that O'Malley's PAC gave $17,500 to Iowa Democrats last cycle and visited the state at least 20 times in 2014.

Senate report: FAS '12 Speaker John Ashcroft and FAS '14 Speaker Michael Hayden involved in "torture" of detainees

*Note: The Foreign Affairs Symposium is a politically nonaligned organization that neither supports nor condemns the actions and views of our speakers. 

According to the report on "enhanced interrogation techniques" released by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, Legal Counsel to the Justice Department Jack Goldsmith informed the CIA that their methods were likely illegal in May 2004.

One month later, in preparation for the capture of a man named Janat Gul, then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice informed the Justice Department that a memo needed to be created in order to justify the legality of the methods once again.

It was then-Attorney General (and FAS '12 Speaker) John Ashcroft who wrote this memo. 

According to the New York Times:

"Mr. Ashcroft sent a one-paragraph memo to the agency stating that it would be lawful to use those techniques on Mr. Gul. This memo, the report said, simply stated that conclusion and contained no legal analysis to support its claim."

Another FAS Speaker (2014), then-Director of the CIA Michael Hayden, was also cited in the report. Over 40 pages of the document were dedicated to his "inaccurate testimony" before the Committee in 2007.

Read the entire 525-page declassified report.




FAS '14 Speaker Michael Hayden included in controversial Senate Intelligence report

“Several on the team profoundly affected,” one agency employee wrote at the time, “some to the point of tears and choking up.” The passage is contrasted with closed-door testimony from high-ranking CIA officials, including then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who when asked by a senator in 2007 whether agency personnel had expressed reservations replied: “I’m not aware of any. These guys are more experienced. No.”

Read the full article from the Washington Post.

FAS '14 Speaker John Bolton talks about UN Secretary-General selection

FAS '14 Speaker John Bolton talks of his role in the selection of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, a year and a half from the selection of a new leader.


But John Bolton, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, quashed Tharoor's candidacy in a secret vote. Years later, Bolton acknowledged in his memoir that the Indian's candidacy broke "one of the UN's unwritten conventions, namely that SGs should come from smaller fry [countries]."

Bolton wrote that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had confided to him that in choosing Ban she was underscoring America's preference not only for a candidate from an allied country but for an individual who was weak. "I am not sure we want a strong secretary general," Bolton claimed she said.

Read more from Foreign Policy.

Former Director of NSA, FAS Speaker '14 defends freedom of the press

Former Director of the CIA and NSA General Michael Hayden spoke on CBS's "60 Minutes" this week to discuss his time in the Bush Administration. General Hayden, speaking about the investigation into NYT reporter James Risen says:


"The government needs to be strong enough to keep me safe, but I don't want it so strong that it threatens my liberties."

James Risen has been pursued by the federal government after leaking classified CIA information which leaders claim has harmed US national security interests. 

Many are surprised at Hayden's support of Risen. General Hayden, while debating NSA policies with David Cole at the Foreign Affairs Symposium in spring 2014, made national headlines when he stated: "We kill people based on metadata."

See the whole interview from CBS

VIDEO: FAS '14 Speaker Cornel West Talks about Hot Topics in Interview for HuffPost

Dr. West speaks at the Foreign Affairs Symposium in spring 2014.

Dr. West speaks at the Foreign Affairs Symposium in spring 2014.

FAS ‘14 speaker Cornel West sat down with HuffPost Live for an interview and touched on some current issues-- from reactions to his critique of President Obama to the recent controversy between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck.

In a cover story for Rolling Stone, Nobel Prize winning economist and liberal icon Paul Krugman defends President Obama in the midsts of low approval ratings and numerous high-profile criticisms-- including one from Cornel West.

In a clip from the interview, West explains why Krugman has got his argument all wrong:


"Paul, he’s wrong. He’s my dear brother and I appreciate his contribution, but he’s wrong about that," West said. "The claim from the left is not [that] Obama's eloquence would have pushed through against the Republicans' entrenched position.

Read more from the Huffington Post


In a heated debate last week, Bill Maher and Ben Affleck discussed Islam, liberal ideology, and the surge of violence in the Middle East. Cornel West weighs in on the debate during the following clip.


“I agree with Brother Bill Maher in terms of being honest about the challenge of democracy vis-à-vis any religious tradition," West said, but he does not agree with "the degree to which it seems as if it’s an obsession with Islam."

“I don’t think that somehow Islam is inherently or innately [oppressive]," West added. "It’s a cultural and historical phenomenon, it can undergo democratization, it can undergo liberalization like any other religious tradition.”

Read more from the Huffington Post

You can view the interview with Dr. West in its entirety here.

In Maryland, 65% say "no" to presidential run by FAS '14 Speaker Martin O'Malley

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaking to the crowd during out 2014 Symposium

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaking to the crowd during out 2014 Symposium

FAS 2014 Speaker and rumored 2016 Presidential Candidate Governor Martin O'Malley took a hit last week with a POLITICO article that reports Maryland residents overwhelmingly do not want their two-term governor to run for president.

"According to a Goucher poll released Tuesday, 65 percent of those surveyed do not believe the governor should run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, compared with 19 percent who said they think he should. Nine percent said they didn’t know and 7 percent said it depends."

Read more from POLITICO

FAS 2014 Speaker Cornel West Takes on Obama Presidency

Cornel West giving an animated speech during our 2014 Symposium

Cornel West giving an animated speech during our 2014 Symposium

Philosopher Cornel West, a speaker in the 2014 Symposium, criticizes President Obama in a section of his new book, "Black Prophetic Fire," which was published in Salon earlier this week.

"In other words, the Obama presidency has been primarily a Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, mass surveillance presidency unwilling to concretely target the new Jim Crow, massive unemployment, and other forms of poor and Black social misery. His major effort to focus on poor Black men was charity and philanthropy—not justice or public policy."

Read the full excerpt from Salon

Will past FAS speaker John Bolton run in 2016?

Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks for the Foreign Affairs Symposium in our 2014 series.

Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks for the Foreign Affairs Symposium in our 2014 series.

One of the speakers from the 2014 Symposium, former Ambassador John Bolton, made the news this week when one of his internal PAC emails inadvertently ended up in the inbox of the Washington Post. This has raised the question: Will Ambassador Bolton run for president?

"Bolton has been a prolific fundraiser bringing in more than a million dollars to his John Bolton PAC — he also formed a super PAC last year — that raises speculation that he might be considering a presidential run in 2016."

Read more from the Washington Post.

We Kill People With Metadata, But Not This Metadata

“[That] description… is absolutely correct. We kill people based on metadata. But that’s not what we do with this metadata,” said Hayden, apparently referring to domestic metadata collection. “It’s really important to understand the program in its entirety. Not the potentiality of the program, but how the program is actually conducted."

Read more from ABC News here!

Senator Chuck Hagel Opens FAS

"It is the human being that changes the world. Institutions don’t change the world; they give you opportunities, boundaries, systems,” Hagel said. “But throughout history, it’s always been the individual. The involvement, the leadership, the capacity, the strength, the courage, the brains — these are the things that change the world."

Read more from the JHU News-Letter!

2013 Symposium Announced

"Plenty of fancy colleges bring plenty of fancy speakers to Baltimore, but I’ve always been a fan of the Symposium for being (a) free; (b) open to the public; and (c) organized by students. Four Hopkins undergrads majoring in international studies — one sophomore and three juniors — are heading up this year’s symposium."

Read more from the Baltimore Fishbowl here!


Bolton Slams Obama Over Benghazi

"Throughout his speech, Bolton continued to emphasize that he thought the president does not believe in the idea of American exceptionalism. He said that it was made most clear when Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in Benghazi in 2012 and, he claimed, no actions were taken by the current administration. That claim is vigorously disputed by administration officials who say the president ordered a wide series of actions in response to the attack. 'Obama signaled that you can murder his personal representative, the personhood of the United Stated, and do it with impunity,' he said. 'That is no small thing.'"

Read more from the JHU News-Letter!