Event Recaps

On Tuesday, February 12, the Atlantic Council’s second annual UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge concluded with the University of Cambridge’s team “CamPhishing” winning first place. Coming in second and third place were “The Strongest Linc 2.0” of Queen's University Belfast and “Team Encryptonite” of University of Glasgow, respectively.

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Iran forty years after its Islamic revolution is facing a grave economic crisis and growing popular discontent. It continues to commit acts that deepen its isolation even as it benefits from the mistakes of its adversaries. US sanctions are more punishing than anticipated but will probably not cause Iran to alter policies of greatest concern to Washington, such as regional interventions and ballistic missile development, and are instead strengthening hardline elements as Iran approaches a key political transition. Meanwhile, society has already undergone a cultural counter-revolution that aging ayatollahs cannot reverse.

These were among the insights gleaned from a day-long conference at the Atlantic Council on February 12. Organized in conjunction with the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida, it brought together veteran scholars and up and coming experts with recent field experience in Iran. Many of the speakers also wrote blog posts, which were collected on our IranSource site.

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On February 12, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted Yale Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy Daniel C. Esty for a conversation about corporate sustainability in Latin America. Esty’s recently published book, The Labyrinth of Sustainability: Green Business Lessons from Latin American Corporate Leaders, set the context for the discussion, with a look at a collection of case studies that demonstrated Latin America’s unique stage for sustainable corporate investments. Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Deputy Director Paula Garcia Tufro moderated, with Global Energy Center Deputy Director for Climate and Advanced Energy David Livingston joining the conversation.

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On February 8, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private roundtable with H.E. Mohamed Alhakim, Foreign Minister of Iraq. Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe gave introductory remarks.

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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