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.

Tropical Leaves

Distinguished Speakers: In Conversation with Norman Sartorius

Speakers Abby Maxman and John Lyon

November 19th, 2020


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The COVID-19 global health crisis illustrates many of the transnational governance challenges the United States faces today. In today’s interconnected world, health has moved beyond being “just” a humanitarian issue to being one with national economic and security interests. The United States was among the biggest champions for establishing an international agency to assist countries in rebuilding national health systems. The United States’ compulsory and voluntary financial contributions have helped the World Health Organization (WHO) to carry out life-saving work in low- and middle-income countries and regions — for example, in treating Ebola, HIV and polio. And US public-health researchers and policymakers are embedded in the organization’s many research and policy-making bodies.


But recently, the White House announced that the United States is withdrawing its support for the WHO and will not take part in a global effort led by the WHO to develop and distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus. In this timely session, Dr. Norman 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.

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

Speakers 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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Indianapolis, IN 46290

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