2022 World Affairs Council of the Year
Network of Independent World Affairs Councils of America

ELECTION 2020 | Challenges: Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan | Sep 17

Foreign Policy Challenges: Russia, North Korea, and Afghanistan

Panel Chair: Dr. Breck Walker, PhD

  • DAS Annie Pforzheimer [Afghanistan] U.S. Foreign Service (Ret) Rank of Minister Counselor, former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Afghanistan; former Deputy Chief of Mission, Kabul, Afghanistan (Confirmed)
  • Svetlana Savranskaya, PhD., [Russia] Senior Analyst, National Security Archive (Confirmed)
  • Ambassador Christopher Hill [North Korea] U.S. Foreign Service (Ret); Chief Advisor to the Chancellor for Global Engagement; former Asst Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; former Ambassador to four countries including South Korea (Confirmed)

TNWAC is launching our Election 2020 global awareness series as we prepare for the Presidential Debate hosted by our partner Belmont University on October 22nd.

TNWAC will present interviews and panels with distinguished specialists in international affairs to prepare voters with background and context on the critical issues they should know about the world.

TNWAC is a nonpartisan educational organization that seeks to educate the community on global affairs.

Dr. Breck Walker

Breck Walker received his PhD in Diplomatic History from Vanderbilt in 2007. His dissertation was on the foreign policy of the Carter administration. He taught at Sewanee, the University of the South, 2007-2012, and on the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea Program in Spring 2013 and Fall 2015. He worked as a historian in the Historical Office of the Office of Secretary of Defense 2013-2016, researching and writing a book on early Pentagon cyber policy. Prior to becoming a history professor, Breck worked for twenty years as an investment banker, the last ten as co-head of the Corporate Finance Group at J.C. Bradford & Co in Nashville. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, and J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Stanford University. Breck serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee World Affairs Council.

Ambassador Christopher Hill

Ambassador Christopher Hill, who served 33 years in the U.S. foreign service and led the University of Denver’s school of international affairs for another seven, will join SIPA’s faculty as George W. Ball Adjunct Professor for spring 2021. Over his long career, Hill was at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy in multiple regions, including as ambassador to Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Poland, and Macedonia. As assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Hill led U.S. efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which induced North Korea to catalogue its nuclear activities and freeze and disable its plutonium production in 2008-2009.  Other career highlights include Hill’s service as U.S. envoy in negotiations that ended the Kosovo war in 1999, and before that as a leading negotiator who helped forge the agreement that ended the Bosnian war in 1995. “Ambassador Hill’s extraordinary foreign policy experience will be of tremendous benefit to our students and intellectual community,” wrote Dean Merit E. Janow in a message to the SIPA community. “We look forward to welcoming him to SIPA this spring.” Following his retirement from the State Department, Hill served from 2010 to 2017 as dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. After he stepped down as dean he was until July 2020 the university’s head of global engagement and a professor of the practice of diplomacy.

Minister Counselor Annie Pforzheimer

A recently retired career diplomat with the personal rank of Minister Counselor, Annie was until March 2019 the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan. From 2017-2018 she was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Kabul, one of the largest embassies in the world, during a period of both intensified violence and the beginning of a historic peace process.

Her career has focused on security, rule of law and human rights issues. She directed implementation of the Central America strategy at the National Security Council from 2014-2015, organizing multiple U.S. government agencies to resolve the drivers of uncontrolled migration. She also led the Office of Andean Affairs in the Western Hemisphere Affairs bureau during Colombia’s peace process and the Office for Peacekeeping, Sanctions and Counter-terrorism in the IO Bureau, managing a $2 billion budget and monthly briefings to Congressional committees. She was the Director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement program in Mexico City, Political Counselor in El Salvador, and the human rights officer in Turkey and South Africa. Her first assignment was in Colombia.

Ms. Pforzheimer was awarded the State Department’s 2001 award for human rights reporting, and has also received numerous State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards. She is a graduate of Harvard University and the National War College. She speaks Spanish and some Dari, and enjoys being the parent of a nearly-graduated son, reading, classical music and hiking.

Dr. Svetlana Savranskaya

Dr. Svetlana Savranskaya is a Senior Analyst at the Archive and since 2001 the director of the Archive’s Russia programs. She leads the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program of the Archive, focusing on the Nunn-Lugar initiative and the ongoing challenges of U.S.-Russia cooperation, and manages the Archive’s relationships with Russian academics and organizations. She served as lead organizer for the historic 2013 Nunn-Lugar conference at Musgrove, and the 2015 Kazakhstan Nunn-Lugar conference in Astana and Kurchatov. Previously, she organized and led six summer schools in Russia, the successful Archive partnerships with Kuban State University, Tbilisi State University, the Gorbachev Foundation, Memorial, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and organizations in the Caucasus culminating in the series of four major international conferences on access to information in the former Soviet space.

She won the Link-Kuehl Prize in 2011 from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, for the best documentary publication over the previous two years, for her book (with Thomas Blanton and Vladislav Zubok) “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe 1989 (Budapest/New York: Central European University Press, 2010, 730 pp.). Her most recent book, with the late Sergo Mikoyan, is The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, 2012, 589 pp.). She also serves as an adjunct professor teaching U.S.-Russian relations and Russian politics at the American University School of International Service in Washington D.C. (since 2001).

She earned her Ph.D. in political science and international affairs in 1998 from Emory University, where she studied with Professors Robert Pastor and Thomas Remington. A “Red Diploma” (equivalent of summa cum laude) graduate of the Moscow State University in 1988, she went on to study at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1989-90, before moving to Emory.

Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Strategic Studies and the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, and she has authored book chapters for the World Political Forum, the Cambridge History of the Cold War, and other volumes. Her online publications include major documentary postings on the Reagan-Gorbachev-Bush summits, on the Moscow Helsinki Group, on Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, on the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and on the Soviet-era leader of glasnost, Alexander Yakovlev. She is currently completing a groundbreaking new volume, with Thomas Blanton, The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan and Bush (Budapest/New York: Central European University Press, 2016).