Leon Panetta Lecture Series Presents: War and Peace – 100 Years Since World War I

Lecture Series: War and Peace – 100 Years Since World War I 

With Nicholas Burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs, Michèle Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy, and Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander, NATO and former commander of the United States European Command.

When: Monday, March 10, 2014, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: At the Monterey Conference Center beginning at 7:00 p.m.

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Nicholas Burns is considered one of the most distinguished career diplomats of our time with a twenty-seven year career in diplomatic service. Having served under Democratic and Republican presidents, he offers a bipartisan perspective on foreign policy, globalization and security affairs. Ambassador Burns began his diplomatic service in 1980, working as an intern at the American Embassy in Mauritania. From 1983 to 1985, he was stationed at the American embassies in Egypt. He went on to work at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem where he coordinated United States economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank. Ambassador Burns later served on the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House for five years, working in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and  Bill Clinton. During his work on the NSC, Ambassador Burns was director for Soviet Affairs, director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and special assistant to President Clinton. In 1995, he was named spokesman for the United States State Department. In 1997, Ambassador Burns was appointed Ambassador to Greece. He served in that post for four years before being named Ambassador to NATO. Promoted to under secretary of state for political affairs in 2005, he led negotiations on a number of key agreements on nuclear disarmament including:  the United States–India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and was the lead United States negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. Ambassador Burns currently serves as professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He has a B.A. in history from Boston College and an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Michèle Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy, served as the principal adviser to the secretary of defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of Department of Defense’s (DoD) FY2013 Strategic Guidance and represented the department before Congress and in the media, as well as in dozens of foreign policy discussions. In the mid-1990s, Ms. Flournoy served as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction, and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy in the Clinton administration. Ms. Flournoy held the post of distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and then senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies, and served as CNAS’ president. After the 2008 election, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Barack Obama’s transition team at DoD. Today, Ms. Flournoy is a frequent commentator in the media, has edited several books and written dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. Ms. Flournoy earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.A. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum Scholar.


James Stavridis is a distinguished leader and the longest-serving global combatant commander in recent American military history. He is widely recognized for his expertise in strategy, tactics, diplomacy, national security and strategic communications. Admiral Stavridis has played an influential role in virtually every operation in recent military history from the United States mission in Afghanistan to protecting Turkish citizens near the border of Syria from ballistic missile attacks, to NATO operations in Libya and spearheading cyber-security initiatives. Alongside many leadership and command positions, Admiral Stavridis has served as a strategic and long-range planner on the staffs of the chief of Naval Operations and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has also served as the executive assistant to the secretary of the Navy and the senior military assistant to the secretary of defense. In 2013, Admiral Stavridis completed four years as Supreme Allied Commander, NATO. In this post he had full responsibility for 120,000 coalition troops on three continents. His missions included Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Levant, cyber-security, piracy and missile defense. He also served as commander of United States European Command with 100,000 Department of Defense employees in fifty-one countries, including Israel and Russia. Admiral Stavridis is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and earned a Ph.D. and MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also a distinguished graduate of both the National War College as well as the Naval War College.


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