October 3-4, 2018: Colby Award Celebration
Check back soon for details.
March 5-7, 2018: Jim Townsend, "The US, NATO and Transatlantic Defense"
Jim Townsend is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he is building a Transatlantic Security Program with Julieanne Smith. Their program has become the crossing point for Europeans and Americans who want to know more about the Transatlantic community-how it works, the institutions that underpin it, and how to do business in the community.
Before going to CNAS, Jim spent eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European and NATO Policy. That assignment completed more than 34 years of work primarily on European and NATO policy in the Pentagon, at NATO and at the Atlantic Council. His work spanned the Cold War, post-Cold War political reconstruction in Europe and Europe's new challenges including Russia and terrorism. Through his work, he has helped execute US military engagement in almost every conflict from the Gulf War to the reintroduction of US forces into Europe to deter Russia. He also played critical roles in NATO enlargement, NATO reform, and helping to build bilateral defense relations with the new democracies coming from the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Before becoming DASD in 2009, Jim was a Vice President in the Atlantic Council of the United States and Director of the Council's Program on International Security. In this position, he strengthened the Council's voice and impact on transatlantic security and defense issues, making the Atlantic Council a leading player in shaping the Euro-Atlantic defense agenda.
Jim joined the Atlantic Council in 2006 after a distinguished Civil Service career at the Pentagon and at NATO. In the 1990s, Jim was the Principal Director of European and NATO Policy, the Director of NATO Policy and the Director of the Defense Plans Division at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.
February 15, 2018: Shabana Basij-Rasikh
Born and raised in Kabul, Shabana finished high school in the U.S. through the State Department's Youth Exchange Studies program. She went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011. In 2016, Shabana was awarded an honorary doctorate from SOAS University of London.
While at Middlebury, Shabana was awarded a Davis Peace Prize-with which she built wells in the outskirts of Kabul-and was selected as one of Glamour Magazine's Top 10 College Women of 2010. She also received the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 Madeleine Kunin Public Service Award for outstanding leadership and service to others.
While still in college, Shabana co-founded SOLA-School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a nonprofit dedicated to giving young Afghans access to quality education abroad and jobs back home. After graduating from Middlebury, she returned to Kabul to turn SOLA into the nation's first boarding school for girls. SOLA provides college preparatory courses to students aged 11 to 19 representing all major ethnic groups, religious sects, and tribes. It also helps graduates enter universities worldwide and return to substantive careers in Afghanistan, where they often become the first women to enter their fields.
During this period, Shabana served as the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development's National Solidarity Program in Kabul, but left the position in 2012 to focus on SOLA full time. In addition to leading SOLA, Shabana's advocacy work on the importance of educating girls takes her around the world. She is a global ambassador for Girl Rising, a call to action seeking investment in girls' education worldwide. In recognition for her work, Shabana was named one of National Geographic's 2014 Emerging Explorers, and one of CNN International's Leading Women of 2014.