Providence Committee

on Foreign Relations

Upcoming events

    • 11 Oct 2017
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Hope Club, 6 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI 02906

    Graham Allison was Director of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 1995 until July 2017. Allison is a leading analyst of U.S. national security and defense policy with a special interest in nuclear weapons, terrorism, and decision-making. As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department's highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for "reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal." This resulted in the safe return of more than 12,000 tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics and the complete elimination of more than 4,000 strategic nuclear warheads previously targeted at the United States and left in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus when the Soviet Union disappeared.

    His latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in May 2017 and quickly became a national bestseller.  His 2013 book, Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World (co-authored with Robert Blackwill), has been a bestseller in the U.S. and abroad.  Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, now in its third printing, was selected by the New York Times as one of the "100 most notable books of 2004."  It presents a strategy for preventing nuclear terrorism organized under a doctrine of "Three Nos:" no loose nukes; no new nascent nukes; and no new nuclear weapons states. Dr. Allison's first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), was released in an updated and revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the all-time bestsellers with more than 450,000 copies in print.

    As "Founding Dean" of the modern Kennedy School, under his leadership, from 1977 to 1989, a small, undefined program grew twenty-fold to become a major professional school of public policy and government.

    Dr. Allison has served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan.  He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the Department of Defense's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry.  He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretaries Weinberger, Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry, Cohen, and Carter.  He currently serves on the Advisory boards of the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA.

    Dr. Allison was the organizer of the Commission on America's National Interests (1996 and 2000), a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been a member of public committees and commissions, among them the Baker-Cutler DOE Task Force on Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, the IAEA’s Commission of Eminent Persons, and the Commission on Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism.

    • 1 Nov 2017
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • 6 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI, 02906

    Donald Trump has done something no other U.S. president has ever dared dream of: make North Korea—a country that is more of a prison than nation-state—America’s top national security priority.

    But Pyongyang is no pushover. Now armed with nuclear weapons that can hit most points in Asia, parts of Europe and most of the U.S. homeland, Washington is playing a dangerous game of nuclear deterrence not seen since the days of the Cold War. With both states unsure of each other’s intentions, the risks of an armed conflict, one in which atomic weapons would most likely be used—killing millions of people—is a very real possibility.

    Harry Kazianis, a recognized expert on North Korea and the Asia-Pacific, will guide the audience through the ways in which a terrible war could begin and how horrific it would truly be.

    Harry J. Kazianis (Twitter link: @Grecianformula) is Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, founded by President Nixon. He also serves as Executive Editor of its publishing arm, The National Interest, the largest online publication focusing on foreign policy issues (nearly 11 million page views per month).

    Mr. Kazianis is a recognized expert on national security issues involving North Korea, China, the Asia-Pacific and general U.S. foreign policy and national security challenges. Kazianis is also Fellow for National Security Affairs at the Potomac Foundation and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the University of Nottingham (UK). He holds an ALM, or Master’s Degree, in international affairs from Harvard University.

    Kazianis has given lectures at Harvard, Yale, to all branches of the U.S. military and to many organizations on national security issues around the world. Kazianis is the author of the monograph The Tao of A2/AD, an exploration of China’s military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. He has also authored several reports on U.S. military strategy in the Asia-Pacific as well as edited and co-authored a recent report on U.S.-Japan-Vietnam trilateral cooperation.

    In the past, he has served as part of the foreign policy team for the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Ted Cruz. Kazianis also directed the foreign policy communications efforts of the Heritage Foundation, served as Editor-In-Chief of the Tokyo-based The Diplomat magazine and WSD-Handa Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: PACNET.

    Kazianis has provided expert commentary and/or published over 300 op-eds and analysis for multiple outlets including MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room, USA Today, Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Hugh Hewitt Show, Politico, The Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, The Financial Times, NBC, Slate, Reuters, AP, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, RollCall, RealClearPolitics, LA Times, Newsmax, BBC, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Breitbart, Fortune, Forbes, DefenseOne, Newsweek, NPR, Popular Mechanics and many others.

    • 15 Nov 2017
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Hope Club, 6 Benevolent Street, Providence

    In May 2015, Maria traveled to the Greek Island of Lesbos, the most Eastern tip of the Mediterranean within sight of Turkey. At that time, hundreds of thousands of refugees were spilling onto the beaches in leaky boats, many of them dying, trying to find freedom from war-torn Syria. The Greek people of the island, who have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for their generosity, are now facing an economic catastrophe with tourism, their main source of income which is now destroyed. Maria is currently a Woodrow Wilson visiting fellow and has traveled across the United States speaking at colleges and universities. She is a former guest editor and award-winning writer on the editorial board of The Boston Globe.

    • 17 Jan 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Hope Club, 6 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI 02906
    Victoria Bruce is an author with a background in science. Her previous books are No Apparent Danger (HarperCollins 2001), Hostage Nation (Knopf 2010) and Sellout (Bloomsbury Publishing 2017). She holds a master's degree in geology from the University of California, Riverside, where she lived on a volcano and researched the chemistry of volcanic hazards on Mount Rainer in Washington State. She has directed and produced four documentary films, earning the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for her film, The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt. She also received Duke University Human Rights Book Award for Hostage Nation. Victoria Bruce has appeared as an expert geologist in television documentaries including Discovery Channel’s, Pompeii: The Last Day. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

    • 21 Feb 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • The Hope Club, 6 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI 02906

    Palm oil is tainted by environmental destruction and poor working conditions but global production is soaring. As the highest-yielding vegetable oil crop, global production is soaring, and also the cause widespread deforestation over the last four decades. In 2004, a group of environmental non-profits and palm oil companies joined together to set up the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The roundtable sets out eight principles, citing 39 criteria, which are designed to prevent the worst aspects of palm oil cultivation: illegal deforestation, chemical pollution, destruction of biodiversity, water loss, poor employment conditions etc. With nearly 1,300 members, it is the largest multi-stakeholder initiative of its kind.

    Dan Strechary is the U.S. Representative of the RSPO.
    Based in New York, he is now responsible for outreach and engagement activities to members and stakeholder in the U.S., as well as formalizing the RSPO’s presence in this important market.

    Prior to joining the RSPO, Dan was the Senior Manager, Sustainability Communications for PepsiCo, located at the Purchase, NY headquarters where he worked on the implementation and communication of their “Performance with Purpose” vision, as well as providing support for the Office of Sustainability, Procurement, Public Policy and Government Affairs teams on sustainability issues and policies. Previously, Dan was a member of the Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement Team in the Americas for Asia Pulp & Paper, supporting the launch of company’s zero deforestation policy, and the Group Director of Communications for the world’s largest publicly traded metal and electronics recycling company, Sims Metal Management.


    The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Members of RSPO, and participants in its activities come from many different backgrounds, including plantation companies, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products, financial institutions, environmental NGOs and social NGOs, from many countries that produce or use palm oil. The RSPO vision is to “transform the markets by making sustainable palm oil the norm".

    The Guardian special report on The Palm Oil Debate:


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