Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations


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Upcoming events

    • Friday, November 02, 2018
    • 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
    • The Madison Club, 5 E Wilson St, Madison
    Speaker:  Danish Ambassador Lars Gert Lose

    Join us for a conversation about current transatlantic relations with Danish Ambassador to the US, Lars Gert Lose.  After a brief presentation, Ambassador Lose will open the floor to event participants for questions about multiple aspects of US-EU engagement, particularly in Denmark and the other Nordic countries.  Join us for this rare opportunity to discuss current events with a diplomat.

    **Please note that advance registration and pre-payment is required, and late registration cannot be accepted.  All attendees will have a $25 charge for the special event meal cost, and registration ends Tuesday, October 30.

    • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • Madison Club (5 E Wilson St, Madison)
    The war in Afghanistan is the longest in American history. At seventeen years and nearly $1 trillion and counting, the war has taken quagmire to new levels. The Afghan government is hopelessly corrupt, the Taliban remain resilient, and Afghanistan’s neighbors have no interest in seeing the United States succeed. Over 2,400 American service members have died during service in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghans are killed or wounded each year. Now, a branch of Islamic State seems on the rise in Afghanistan, too. The country’s Presidential election, slated for 2019, is highly likely to have a disputed outcome. Many experts believe this could lead to a wider civil war.

    The Trump administration ended the Obama timelines, bolstered the advisory effort, and put more pressure on Pakistan in the hopes that the Taliban would sue for peace. Despite the increase in troops, firepower, and pressure, the Taliban contests nearly half of Afghanistan’s districts. Nonetheless, the Taliban issued a letter to the American people on February 14, 2018, requesting talks. After Afghan President Ghani declared a cease fire for the Eid holiday in June, the Taliban issued their own 3-day cease fire directive. For the first time in 40 years, Afghans celebrated Eid in peace. Can the United States still succeed in Afghanistan?

    Colonel (Ret.) Christopher D. Kolenda commanded of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, as featured in Jake Tapper’s bestselling book, The Outpost. His unit was the only one in the 17-year history of the war to have motivated a large insurgent group to stop fighting and eventually join the government. He served as a senior adviser to Generals McChrystal, Petraeus, and Dunford, and to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle A. Flournoy, and was selected to be the Secretary of Defense’s representative in the Obama administration’s exploratory talks with the Taliban. He’s the only American to have fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and engage them in high level diplomacy. His recent volunteer efforts with an international NGO have helped bring about a resumption of US-Taliban talks.
    For Further Information

    • Wednesday, December 05, 2018
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • TBD
    Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will discuss the International Refugee Crisis. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield had a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service. From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs. Her Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.   She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (2004-2006).

    Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group. Previously she served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2013 – 2017). In this capacity, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on peace and security, democracy and governance, economic empowerment and investment opportunities. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources where she oversaw all personnel functions for the U.S. Department of State’s 70,000-strong workforce.

    Previously, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia (2008-2012) and held postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Her Washington postings include the Bureau of African Affairs, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

    Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was awarded the Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has also received the Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.

    She earned a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked towards a PhD.

    Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is also a Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Affairs at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service.

    She is based in Washington, DC.

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