Past Events,

Recordings, and key takeaways

Below you will find a selection of the speakers that Indiana Council on World Affairs (ICWA) has hosted.

Additionally, ICWA provides select recordings and key takeaways from our recent Zoom webinars.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these presentations are those of our guest speakers and are not intended to represent the views or position of the Indiana Council on World Affairs, its board or members.

Marble Surface

Great Decisions

The Fight Over the Melting Arctic

Speaker Mead Treadwell 

March 2nd, 2021

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Great Decisions

Global Supply Chains and National Security

Speaker Charles Dhanaraj 

February 23rd, 2021

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Distinguished Speakers

Pilgrimage Diplomacy and International Relations

Speaker Ian McIntosh

February 18th, 2021

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Dr. Ian McIntosh, Director of International Partnerships at Indiana University’s Indianapolis campus (IUPUI), presented a program on “Pilgrimage Diplomacy and International Relations.” Dr. McIntosh spoke of the transformative power of pilgrimage for the individual as well as its potential social value as a mechanism for peaceful diplomacy and improved relations between countries. Attached below is a link to further information and resources about pilgrimages, as well as the key takeaways from the program.

Great Decisions

Role of International Organizations in a Global Pandemic

Speaker Dr. Adrian Gardner

February 2nd, 2021

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Distinguished Speakers:

Ethiopia's Role & Political Developments

in the Horn of Africa

Speaker Ambassador Taye

January 21st, 2021

Key Takeaways


  • The Horn of Africa is a region of vital strategic importance, including for the United States. This region is currently undergoing a historic and hopeful political transformation. Ethiopia is the largest economy in the region. It is also the largest in terms of population and landmass. As a country with a long history of independence and statehood, as the founder of the African Union, the United Nations, and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ethiopia plays a key role in the peace and security of this important region. Ethiopia is the bulwark of security in with its unparalleled role in Africa in the fight against Al Qaida and Al Shabbab, and as a leading contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts in Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan (Darfur and Abiye), South Sudan, etc. Of course, Ethiopia’s contribution to UN peace keeping dates back to 1951 in the Korean war.

  • Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia are undergoing political transitions.  After more than a decade of state collapse, Somalia is slated to hold parliamentary elections next month. The Federal Government of Somalia has made remarkable progress, but it also faces serious challenges, including the existential threat posed by Al-Shabab. 

  • South Sudan and Sudan are also in the midst of momentous transitions and peacebuilding efforts. Over the past three years, Ethiopia has undergone historic economic and political reforms, and we are preparing to hold a free and fair election in June 2021.

  • Not unlike other transitional societies, the Horn of Africa countries face a myriad of political and economic challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a generational locust plague. However, the inclusive transitions and efforts toward greater cooperation and economic integration have generated hopes in our region.

  • Ethiopia is pursuing the building of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam for the sole purpose of increasing access to electricity (current access rate of only 40%, with 26% in rural areas) to its people and most importantly to extricate its people out of poverty. The dam will also have significant benefit to Egypt and the Sudan. Ethiopia strives to work in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation with these countries, with strong support to the African Union in bringing the countries together on issues of disagreement.

  • Like any other country would do, Ethiopian government has taken actions towards law and order in the Tigray region after the national defense force was attacked. The conflict in Tigray region has affected thousands of citizens resulting in humanitarian crises and instability in the Tigray and Amhara regions. Ethiopia will overcome these challenges with its track record on and experience in addressing such challenges and collaborative work with the international community.


A Tale of One Man's Courage in the Face of Genocide

Speaker Carl Wilkens

December 2nd, 2020

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Key Takeaways


  • This presentation will invite you back to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi where more than 1 million innocent lives will be destroyed. 


  • The story is told though the lens of the Wilkens family, and the challenges and decisions they were confronted with. There is a brief series of snapshots explaining the relationships Wilkens formed - sometimes with perpetrators, and the work Wilkens and his Rwandan colleagues did during the genocide.


  • Three initiatives will be unpacked that were strategically used by the Rwandan government as they courageously worked toward providing a habitat where survivors, perpetrators and bystanders could put the pieces of their lives back together and in many cases even thrive.


  • Lastly a discussion of a sampling of tools, practices, and mindsets from Rwanda’s experience that can make a difference in our lives, wherever we live.

For more information, visit Carl Wilkens' website

The Indiana Council on World Affairs, the Nebraska World Affairs Council, and the Tennessee World Affairs Council sponsored this event.

Distinguished Speakers: 

In Conversation with Norman Sartorius

Speaker Norman Sartorius

November 19th, 2020

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In this timely session, Dr. Sartorius who was employed at the WHO for 25 years will review the history and mandate of the organization and the roles that the USA has played since its inception. He will convey how it benefits the USA to be engaged in the work of the WHO and what is likely to result from its absence both in terms of who will fill those voids and the potential negative outcomes. Dr. Sartorius will also describe the development of the mental health program of the WHO and the work that he and his successors have done to put mental health on the agenda and to improve the care and treatment of persons with mental illness around the world – a subject closely related to the wide-ranging impact of a global pandemic on all aspects of health.

Emerging Trade and Investment Opportunities in Africa

Speaker Toyin Umesiri

November 7th, 2020

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Ms. Umesiri's presentation 


Through this webinar students of business, global affairs, and African studies will better understand the political and business trends in this dynamic continent. In her presentation, Ms. Umesiri will argue that the countries of Africa can no longer be ignored because:

• After the passing of the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the world’s largest trade bloc is in Africa.

• The population on the continent of Africa is projected to double by 2050 from 1.1 billion people to about 2.2 billion.

• Prior to COVID-19, Africa had 6 of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, a burgeoning middle class, and a fast-paced rate of urbanization.

• 60% of the world’s remaining arable land is in Africa.

• With a youth-bubble of 70% of the population under 35, Africa is positioned as the next global economic engine.

Ms. Toyin Umesiri is the CEO of Nazaru LLC and Founder of the Trade with Africa® Network. Ms. Umesiri spent over a decade in corporate America at Walmart and Whirlpool Corporations. She brings sector-specific market insights on trade with and investments in Africa. Further, Ms. Umesiri is regarded as a global influencer and serves as Intra-African Trade Ambassador by appointment of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and African Union (AU); governing body of the 55 African nations. She is an inspirational speaker featured as a Leading Woman in Technology on the platform the Spark Women, was published in the book: LEADING WOMEN, recognized as one of Nigeria’s 100 Most Inspiring Women by Leading Ladies Africa and featured as one of the "Who's Who" of the Nigerian Diaspora.

Distinguished Speakers:

COVID-19: a health crisis, an economic crisis, now a global hunger crisis?

Speakers Abby Maxman and John Lyon

October 8th, 2020

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     Key Takeaways

  • COVID-19 has created food insecurity as a result of supply chain disruptions for food producers.  These supply chain disruptions have caused food prices to rise.  Rising food prices combined with shocks to individual incomes, currency depreciation and reduced remittances further complicate the affordability of food.

  • Food systems were already failing because of factors including gender inequality, conflict, and climate change.


  • In existing hunger hotspots (in Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the West African Sahel, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Haiti), COVID-19 has pushed millions more people into life-threatening hunger because there is even less money for increasingly expensive and scarce food. 


  • Globally, 12,000 people per day could die by the end of the year due to hunger caused by COVID-19.


  • Immediate cash and food assistance is needed to save lives now, but longer term prioritization of food security is needed.


  • The United States has an essential role to play in global leadership to end the pandemic as well as creating more just, resilient, and sustainable food systems for the future.


You can learn more and support Oxfam’s work at and the work of World Hope International at  

In recognition of the enormity of this issue, the UN World Food Program was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (read an article about that here).

Distinguished Speakers: Tripartite Global Engagement and the Future of Work

Speaker Kevin Cassidy

August 20th, 2020

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The Indiana Council on World Affairs hosts Mr. Kevin Cassidy, Director and Representative to the Bretton Woods and Multilateral Agencies at the International Labour Organization (ILO), USA Office. Mr. Cassidy will provide an overview of the ILO’s global work and its relevance to the American public, with emphasis on many of the industries that are of vital importance to the Indiana economy such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and services, manufacturing, logistics and transportation, higher education, and more.


As COVID-19 continues to impact individuals and the world of work, the 187 member countries of the ILO are focused on ensuring that employees, employers, and governments are all on the same page when it comes to addressing the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Mr. Cassidy will share some of the methods that other countries are utilizing to address the urgent and immediate challenges of the pandemic in the world of work and on the responses that are proving effective, as well as the discussions being had at the multilateral level on processes for building back better.

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