Speakers & Events

The Young Initiative invites foreign policy experts and guest speakers to campus to engage in discussions on international relations and the global political economy with students and faculty.

Young speakers give students and faculty an opportunity to expand their understanding of global issues. The Young Initiative sponsors several speakers each academic year highlighting particular aspects of global affairs and the global political economy.  The Young Speakers program is devoted to highlighting the work and success of eminent international affairs experts and Oxy alumni in public service and academia.

Image for Carmen Chu '00 Reflects on Her Journey to Public Service
October 26, 2016

Carmen Chu graduated from Occidental in 2000 and returned to campus Tuesday to share the story of her path to public service. She is the first speaker in a series hosted by the Young Initiative and Politics Department titled, Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series.

Image for Derek Chollet Discusses Obama's Foreign Policy Legacy
October 18, 2016

On October 14th, Derek Chollet came to Occidental College to discuss President Obama's foreign policy legacy. Derek Chollet is counselor and senior advisor for security and defense policy at The German Marshall Fund, was the U.S.

Image for Philip Thigo: Kenya's Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
October 12, 2016

The recent speaker in the 2016 Sustainable Development Speaker Series, Philip Thigo, focused on the role of data in Kenya’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Thigo is a senior advisor for the Deputy President’s office in Kenya, as well as the founder of INFONET, and he approached the topic with a sense of optimism.

Image for Fmr. Prime Minister Lamothe Visits Oxy
October 4, 2016

The former Prime Minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe, visited Occidental to discuss new methods of economic development for the future of multilateral international relations. Mr. Lamothe shared his experiences using technology as a resource to help the country recover from the 2010 earthquake that produced a humanitarian crisis.

Image for Dr. Faisal Devji Understands ISIS
September 26, 2016

Faisal Devji is a world-renowned scholar on jihadism and serves as a University Reader at St. Antony’s College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. On September 20, Dr. Devji spoke at the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, for which he is an advisory board member.

Image for Jenna Slotin: Negotiating the Global SDGs
September 26, 2016

          On September 6th, 2016, Occidental was visited by Jenna Slotin, the Director of Sustainable Development Policy at the United Nations Foundation.

July 12, 2016

Michael Mahdesian served for seven years (1993-2000) as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Response.  His main duties included overseeing the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).  During this period, he was integrally involved in shaping USAID’s response to Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, and ot

Image for US Global Leadership and the Next President
April 5, 2016

Ambassador Burns began by providing context and stating that today is not the most dangerous time, but that "we" sit in the most complex political environment since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency (1933-1945). For the future administration the three most-prominent issues are (1) "Putin & Europe," (2) the "burning Middle East," and (3) "China and Asia."

Image for Dr Geoffrey Wiseman visits to discuss isolation and engagement
March 29, 2016

Dr Wiseman’s lecture in Johnson Hall’s Atrium began by explaining that short of war, governments have two behavioral choices with adversarial states, to either isolate or engage. Generally, in the United States this partisan decision is divided among conservatives who favor isolation and liberals who prefer to engage.

Image for America's Challenges in the Pacific
March 23, 2016

Disclaimer: This lecture is "not for attribution." No direct quotes have been used.