The Mid-Maine Global Forum contributes to the local community’s understanding of issues of global significance by organizing and disseminating informed public presentations and discussion. To become a member or be put on our mailing list, email Global Forum
Unless otherwise announced, our programs will downtown in the Chace Center in Colby’s building on Maine Street.
News Flash: Our summer dinner program will be in late July or early August, and will feature Ambassador Dennis Ross. You can see his bio below.
To make our summer programs sustainable over the long term, the GF is embarking on a major capital campaign with a goal of raising $50,000. The fund will be named in honor of Linda Cotter, who founded the Forum in the early 1990’s, and the summer lecture will be called the “Linda Cotter Lecture.” In January All Forum members will be receiving a letter from the GF outlining how one can contribute to this fund.
The next Forum program:
Thursday, February 27
Lunch available at 11:30
Colby’s Chace Forum, Maine Street, Waterville
Professor Steven Simon
The US and the Middle East: What Next?
Steven Simon is Professor in the Practice of International Relations at Colby College, following stints as John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of History at Amherst College and lecturer in government at Dartmouth College. He is also a research analyst for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the US and Middle East. From 2011 to 2012 he served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He also served on the NSC staff 1994 – 1999 as senior director for counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the U.S. Department of State.
Between government assignments, he was a principal at Good Harbor Consulting, LLC in Abu Dhabi; Goldman Sachs & Co. visiting professor at Princeton University; Hasib Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; analyst at the RAND Corporation; and deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He has held fellowships at Oxford University, Brown University and the American Academy in Berlin.
He is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations; The Next Attack, a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize, and one of the “best books of the year” in the Washington Post and Financial Times; Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change; The Sixth Crisis: The US, Israel, Iran and Rumors of War; The Pragmatic Superpower: The United States and the Middle East in the Cold War; and Our Separate Ways: The Struggle for the Future of the US-Israel Alliance. He is now working on a new book, The Long Goodbye: The United States and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring.
Read his article in the current issue of The New York Review of Books:
Please join us for what will be an interesting and timely program!
Lunch offering: chicken pesto wrap, roast beef or vegetarian with a vegan option, served with a soup and cookie. To order email Margy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her at 377-2031.
Remember, that you are still responsible for the cost of the meal if you have to cancel at the last minute. Changes can be made up the evening before. You are as always free to bring your own food or just enjoy the program without eating!
Wednesday, May 20
Chace Forum, Maine Street, Waterville
Dr Richard Hopper
President, Kennebec Valley Community College
Education in Columbia
Details coming soon!
Summer Dinner Program
The Linda Cotter Lecture
late July or early August: details will be posted as soon as plans are finalized.
The speaker: Ambassador Dennis Ross
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.
A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.
During the Reagan administration, he served as director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff and deputy director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. Ambassador Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton, and Secretaries Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department’s highest award.
A 1970 graduate of UCLA, Ambassador Ross wrote his doctoral dissertation on Soviet decisionmaking, and from 1984 to 1986 served as executive director of the Berkeley-Stanford program on Soviet International Behavior. He received UCLA’s highest medal and has been named UCLA alumnus of the year. He has also received honorary doctorates from Brandeis, Amherst, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Syracuse University. Ambassador Ross was named a 2016-2017 senior fellow by Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.
Ambassador Ross has published extensively on the former Soviet Union, arms control, and the greater Middle East, contributing numerous chapters to anthologies. In the 1970s and 1980s, his articles appeared in World Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Orbis, International Security, Survival, and Journal of Strategic Studies. Since leaving government at the end of 2011, he has authored many op-eds in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other papers and magazines. In addition, he writes monthly columns for US News and World Report, and the New York Daily News. In addition, he writes monthly columns for the Middle Eastern newspaper Asharq al-awsat.
Ross is the author of several influential books on the peace process, the Middle East, and international relations. His most recent book, co-written with his Washington Institute colleague David Makovsky, is Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny (PublicAffairs, September 2019). The book illustrates “profiles in courage” of four Israeli leaders who faced existential questions about the future of Israel: David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon. Ross and Makovsky provide a reminder of the courageous decisions taken by these leaders in the past and calls for yet another courageous decision in the present to preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. Previously, Ross authored Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, October 2015). That book was awarded the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for history. He also co-authored Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking, June 2009) with Mr. Makovsky. An earlier study, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004), offers comprehensive analytical and personal insight into the Middle East peace process. The New York Times praised his 2007 publication, Statecraft, And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), as “important and illuminating.”