Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations


Our 2017-2018 season has concluded.  Look for our 2018-2019 schedule of events later in the summer.

To get an idea of what you can expect for next season, see our previous programs below.

MCFR Individual, Family and Institutional Members can attend the regular monthly event with no event fee.  During registration, please use the email under which you became a member to see all the registration options available to members.

Share MCFR with your friends! We encourage members to invite guests to our regular programs. Members may invite as many guests as they like. A guest may attend one program at no charge. To register guests for their free program, members should register guests when they register themselves. Guests wishing to attend any further programs should register themselves under the Guest registration type and pay the registration fee.

    • 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.

Past events

Tuesday, October 09, 2018 CHINA Town Hall with Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Thursday, September 06, 2018 But Do You Wear A Uniform: Thirty-Five Years in America’s Other Army
Thursday, July 19, 2018 Special Breakfast Event - Education in Africa (advance registration and online payment required)
Thursday, June 14, 2018 Recent Geopolitical Situation on the Korean Peninsula and Prospects for the U.S.-Korea Relations (advance registration and online payment required)
Thursday, May 10, 2018 Global Health Programs:  Big Successes in the Midst of Big Transitions
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Brace Yourself!  Africa is Coming!
Wednesday, March 07, 2018 North Korea: The Political and Military Challenges of a Rogue State
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 Edward Snowden’s Damage to the U.S. Cyber-Security Structure
Thursday, February 01, 2018 MCFR Special Breakfast With William Drozdiak (advance registration and online payment required)
Thursday, January 18, 2018 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Where Do We Stand, and Where Do We Go From Here?
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Global Food Systems & U.S. National Security
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 How Should a President Use the CIA: Tensions between the Intelligence Community and the Administration
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 CHINA Town Hall with Ambassador Susan Rice
Wednesday, September 06, 2017 The U.S., Mexico, and the NAFTA Mess
Monday, June 26, 2017 MCFR Annual Membership & Board Meeting
Friday, May 05, 2017 Stay tuned for 2017-18 season event announcements!
Thursday, April 27, 2017 American Interests in the Asia Pacific:  Trade, Geopolitics, and Relations with China in the Trump Era
Wednesday, April 05, 2017 The Climate Challenge: Clearer Than Ever
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 U.S. Development Aid in the New Nation of Timor Leste – A Grizzled Development Officer is Surprised by Optimism
Thursday, February 16, 2017 Empowering the World’s Poor Through Savings-Based Credit Programs
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 International Challenges in a New Administration
Wednesday, December 07, 2016 Vietnam: The Realities of Communism in the Global Economy
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Merkel & the Refugees: a Case Study in Leadership
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections with Henry Kissinger
Thursday, September 22, 2016 The 2014-15 Plunge in Oil Prices: Causes and Implications
Thursday, May 05, 2016 Global Food Security: Are We Meeting the Challenge?
Wednesday, April 06, 2016 Inside Iranian politics: The Basij Militia, the Hardliners Groups, and the Iranian People
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 The Evolving Crisis in Venezuela
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 The European Union in Economic, Political, and Social Crisis
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Human Health – the Greatest Beneficiary From Climate Change Policy
Wednesday, December 09, 2015 Foreign Policy in the Campaign: Attitudes of Elites & the Public
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Diplomacy on the Front Lines: The Case for Saving Yemen
Friday, November 13, 2015 Special Breakfast! Germany and Russia: The New Pivotal Relationship in Europe
Monday, October 05, 2015 China Town Hall: Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States
Thursday, September 17, 2015 Lessons from Turkey's Democratic Experience for the Middle East
Thursday, June 04, 2015 Why Do Capitalist Societies Have a Problem with Financial Profits?
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Saudi Arabia's Bold Attack on Oil Competitors: Motives and Sustainability
Monday, April 20, 2015 What Does the World Do Now? Longer-term Implications of Ebola and Institutional Responses
Thursday, March 26, 2015 Fast Track to Where?: Free Trade Agreements and Trade Promotion Authority
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Reshaping U.S. Defense Forces for the Fourth Generation of Warfare: Small, Smart, and Multiple
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Diplomacy from Midwest Lenses: Reflections from Wisconsin's U.S. Ambassadors –Ebola to Ukraine
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 For Both the People and Wildlife: How Will the World Meet the Threats to the Mekong River Basin?
Monday, October 27, 2014 ISIS and the Challenge to Leadership in the Middle East
Thursday, October 16, 2014 CHINA Town Hall
Monday, September 22, 2014 Russia: Dealing with Conflict in Ukraine
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 Global Philanthropy and Global Governance
Monday, May 05, 2014 Special Luncheon: Point Alpha at "Freedom's Frontier"
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 Ronald Reagan & the War on Terror
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 From Reset to Regret: The Rocky Road of US-Russian Relations
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 Learning to Navigate the Ethics of Global Health and Humanitarian Reporting
Thursday, January 23, 2014 Al Jazeera America: Bringing a Complex World to US Audiences
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Immigration Reform Needs for the Midwest
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Humanitarian Intervention, Arms Control and the Syrian Dilemma
Monday, October 28, 2013 CHINA Town Hall
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 Eyewitness to the United Nations General Assembly
Monday, May 20, 2013 “Defense Policy for an Era of Shifting Priorities and Constrained Resources”
Monday, May 06, 2013 Fighting Anti-Semitism in the Global Community
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 Dinosaurs, Democracy and Development: A New Era in Mexico and U.S.-Mexico Relations
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Sri Lanka's Saravodaya Movement: Health and Hope in Times of Civil War and Natural Disaster
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 "Islamic Constitutionalism for the 21st Century: Not Theocratic. Not Secular. Not Impossible."
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 On the Ground with the Humanitarian Crisis in Syria
Monday, November 26, 2012 "Feed a Person a Fish or Teach a Person to Fish?" Steve Radelet, Chief Economist, USAID, and Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director of the Peace Corps
Monday, October 29, 2012 CHINA Town Hall with Amb. Gary F. Locke via Webcast & Dr. Min Jiang on Chinese Twitter and China's Political Affairs
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Cyber-Technology as a Tool (Weapon) of International Affairs: The Context of Discussion and Defense
Monday, September 24, 2012 Global Challenges and Prospects for the U.S. Economy
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