Event Recaps

On February 7, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a discussion with Mr. Tundu Lissu, parliamentarian and chief whip of the Chadema opposition party in the National Assembly of Tanzania, on the state of democracy in his country.

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On February 5, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private roundtable with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek to discuss US-Iraq relations following his recent trip to Iraq. Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. Atlantic Council Middle East Programs Director William Wechsler gave introductory remarks.

On Monday, February 4, the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a discussion on the durability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow Sir Peter Westmacott. Future of Iran Initiative Director, Barbara Slavin, introduced the speaker and welcomed participants.

Sir Westmacott made remarks on the outlook of the British government regarding the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a mechanism by European governments to salvage the deal, and prospects for European firms in conducting business inside Iran.

On January 30, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center gathered distinguished experts and governmental leaders to discuss the new interim government of Venezuela—led by Juan Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly—and the future of democratic transition in the country. The event served as the first public forum for newly appointed ambassadors of the Guaidó administration, as well as a focal point for discussing the international community’s role in supporting the prospects for democracy in Venezuela. The event consisted of two panel discussions, followed by questions from the audience.

The first panel featured the following speakers: Carlos Vecchio, Chargé d’Affairs to the United States by the Interim Government of Venezuela; Julio Borges, Representative to the Lima Group for the Interim Government of Venezuela; David Smolansky, Coordinator for the Working Group to Address the Regional Crisis Caused by Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Flows at the Organization of American States. The second panel featured the following speakers H.E. David O’Sullivan, Ambassador to the United States from the European Union; H.E. Manuel María Cáceres, Ambassador to the United States from the Republic of Paraguay; H.E. Alfonso Silva, Ambassador to the United States from the Republic of Chile, and the Hon. Ed Royce, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives.

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On January 28, The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosted the US launch of the Global CCS Institute’s signature publication, The Global Status of CCS, first presented at the COP24 United Nations (UN) climate conference in Katowice, Poland. Moderated by David Livingston, the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center's deputy director for climate & advanced energy, experts on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) discussed the imperative for—and status of—large-scale global carbon emissions reduction and the role for CCS technologies. Taking note of the role of the United States as the traditional leader in CCS technological development to date, the discussion surveyed the possibility of a changing power landscape as governments and companies in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East accelerate funding and innovation in CCS.

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On January 28, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, for a discussion on the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Introducing the distinguished guest, Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham highlighted the magnitude of Mukwege’s work over the years, treating more than 85,000 women and girls since 1999 – 50,000 of whom have been survivors of sexualized violence – and doing so with a unique combination of medical treatment, psycho-social support, community reintegration, legal assistance to pursue justice, and advocacy.

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Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated as president of Brazil on January 1. Since taking the helm of Latin America’s largest democracy, the Bolsonaro administration has announced controversial decrees and discussed necessary reforms. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, in partnership with the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), hosted a public event on the heels of the Davos Economic Forum and just three weeks following the inauguration to discuss the next one hundred days of the new administration and the potential impacts of its policy proposals. Panelists included Fabio Kanczuk, executive director for Brazil at the World Bank, newly appointed by the Brazilian administration; Dr. José Pio Borges, chair of the board of trustees for CEBRI; and Pablo Bentes, managing director for international trade and investment at Steptoe and Johnson, LLC.

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Frederick Kempe’s Berlin 1961 has now been published in Turkish, making it the 15th language the book is available. Berlin 1961 discusses the period from the year that the Berlin Wall was first built.

In his book Berlin 1961, published in 2011 and having reached a significant reader audience, the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council Frederick Kempe provides in-depth analysis on the most decisive event in shaping the Cold War, based on a wealth of documents and interviews, filled with fresh insights.

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Last week, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for his second term following last year’s fraudulent electoral process. Despite international condemnation and rising domestic pressure, Maduro is unwilling to relegate his hold on the country. On January 9, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center launched an infographic and hosted a conference call with the new leadership of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly and  Stalin González, second vice president, to provide insights on the opposition’s strategy to counter Maduro’s power frenzy.

Guest moderator John Paul Rathbone, the Financial Times Latin America editor, started the conversation with Juan Guaidó  by asking about the upcoming actions the opposition will take to initiate a democratic transition in Venezuela. President Guaidó, stressed the severity of current political conditions and future challenges the National Assembly will face – being this the only recognized democratic institution. Guaidó declared the National Assembly’s mission is to make “this usurpation of power cease.”

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On Wednesday, January 9th, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a reception commemorating the Ten-Year anniversary of the Center. The occasion was marked by a ceremony honoring Shuja Nawaz, founding director of the South Asia Center and current Distinguished Fellow. 

Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the South Asia Center, began the ceremony with welcoming remarks. Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council, then offered his comments commemorating the tenth anniversary of the center and honoring Mr. Nawaz. The pair presented Mr. Nawaz with a token of appreciation for his substantial contributions to the South Asia Center as both a former director and current Distinguished Fellow.  

The ceremony closed with a brief address by Shuja Nawaz, who expressed his continued optimism in the future of South Asia. As Mr. Nawaz reflected on the work of the South Asia Center, he noted the extensive track record of the Center facilitating Track-II Diplomacy between countries of the greater South Asia region, creating ground breaking scholarship, and fostering new initiatives to promote interconnectivity between the U.S. and South Asia. In a region so often defined by uncertainty, Mr. Nawaz praised the South Asia Center’s efforts to change this narrative and expressed his continued confidence in the Center’s ability to carry on the mission of “waging peace.”