Past Programs


Middle East

A Conversation with Dr. Kevin Grisham... It’s Not Like It Seems on the Nightly News: The Ever-Evolving Nature of ISIS

Whether one calls them ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State, or Daish, their highly publicized brutality, wanton destruction. and self proclaimed victories have struck widespread fear in the Middle East and a sense of revulsion and helplessness throughout the world. But are the victories over stated? Can ISIS maintain control over and govern the areas that it has conquered? Who are the players in the region and how do they perceive the situation?

Kevin Grisham is Assistant Director of the Center for Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, and Assistant Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies at CSU San Bernardino. As a former resident of Yemen and scholar of Islamic and Middle East, Dr. Grisham not only has depth of knowledge about the region, but has been specifically tracking the ISIS “back story.” You may have seen him interviewed on BBC News in the fall of 2014 and February of this year. Join the World Affairs Council for this discussion and opportunity to ask questions about what is happening behind the scenes in Syria, Iraq, and the greater Middle East today.

US – Saudi Relations in the New Middle East
with Les Janka

The importance of United States Relations with Saudi Arabia in the New Middle East will be the topic of a conversation with Les Janka at the Mission Inn on April 15, the opening program of the 50th Anniversary of the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California. He will offer his expert interpretation of the security, political and economic issues in the region. Les Janka lived in Riyadh from 2007 until 2014, where he served first as president of Raytheon Arabia Systems and from 2010 as president of The Quincy Group, an American business strategy consultant group. He and his family returned to Virginia last year.

Mr. Janka, who grew up in the Fontana area and graduated from University of Redlands and The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, has had a remarkable international career, serving as an adviser in the White House of three presidents. He has kept his close connections to Inland Southern California, returning a number of times to talk with World Affairs Council, at universities and the Student Town Meeting on American Foreign Policy.

In his years of government service, he was with the National Security Council and the Department of Defense. He served in the White House as special assistant to Henry Kissinger, where he participated in President Richard Nixon’s delegation to Saudi Arabia in 1974; National Security Council under President Gerald Ford; and later Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He earned distinction in many public service programs such as Vice President of the National Council of US – Arab Relations and Chairman of the Board of American Near East Refugee Aid. In the private sector, he led the Middle East and Africa government relations and trade advisory practice of an international firm and was a consultant with specialization in Saudi Arabia.

Israel and US Policy - September 29, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Kevin Grisham, Chair CIMES

Video: No video made at CSUSB September 29, 2014

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Turkey’s Challenges in a Dramatically Changing Landscape – November 17, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Ece Algan, Associate Professor of Communication Studies

Great Decisions 2014 – Purchase Great Decisions Briefing Book with Turkey’s Challenges background article

Video: CSUSB NEH recording To Be Added

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China Town Hall – October 16, 2014

This program at CSUSB in the Santo Manuel Student Union Theater featured Former President Jimmy Carter in a Live Webcast.followed by a Lecture presentation by Dr. Barry Naughton on China’s Economy, sponsored by National Committee on US-China Relations, the CSUSB Modern China Lecture Series, and the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California


The Mysteries of Sanxingdui: China’s Lost Civilization

In 1986, Chinese archaeologists working at Sanxingdui in Sichuan province in southwestern China made a dramatic discovery that startled the world and threw the narrative of Chinese history into great confusion. Nothing like this had ever been seen in China before. The archaeologists excavated two large pits that contained objects including elephant tusks, monumental bronze figures of humans and imaginary creatures, and jade ritual pieces, all dating from the second millennium BC. The pieces and their manner of burial show a highly developed, technologically advanced culture. Prior to their discovery, historians thought that only the simplest Neolithic settlements existed at this time in Sichuan.

The current exhibition at the Bowers Museum entitled “China’s Lost Civilization: the Mystery of Sanxingdui” displays pieces from this find and a later excavation at Jinsha in 2001. This talk, by the curator of the exhibit, Suzanne Cahill, explores many provocative questions raised by these finds, and suggests some of the ways archaeologists and ordinary viewers have tried to answer them. The talk explains how such questions cannot be separated from the current political context of the PRC.

Environment and Energy

Energy Independence: Inflated Expectations or New Opportunities? – October 20, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Charles Cai, Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research & Technology

Great Decisions 2014 – Purchase Great Decisions Briefing Book with Energy Independence article

Video: No video made at CSUSB

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Food and Climate – October 27, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Kevin Grisham, Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment

Great Decisions 2014 – Purchase Great Decisions Briefing Book with Food and Climate briefing article

Video: No video made at CSUSB

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Reflecting on American Foreign Policy from Truman to Obama – Is the U.S. Heading in the Right Direction? …. a Conversation with Seyom Brown

The 2016 presidential campaign will likely focus heavily on conflicting perspectives among the candidates as to proper goals of American foreign policy and methodologies for implementing those goals on the world stage.

At our fall kick-off program for the 2015-16 World Affairs Council Anniversary year, we offer members a unique opportunity to discuss foreign policy development with someone who has spent his career researching and writing about it. Dr. Brown is Adjunct Senior Fellow for the American Security Project and Senior Advisor to the Security Studies Program Massachusetts Institute of Technology and over his long career has worked for both the Departments of State and Defense, and several think tanks. He will talk to us about the issues and values behind American policy decisions including those of the Obama administration. We will examine and discuss the outcomes of some of those decisions to predict the viability of those options in tomorrow’s world.

U.S. Trade Policy – November 3, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Jim Charkins, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Executive Director of the California Council for Economic Education

Great Decisions 2014 – Purchase Great Decisions Briefing Book with U.S. Trade Policy briefing article

Video:No video made a CSUSB

Web Resources: