Executive Directors: Aliya Doctor ’18, Kat Gross ’18, Jilliann Pak ‘18

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Exploring the Influence of Satire in the Current Political Landscape

That comedy and politics have become increasingly intermingled and intertwined in recent years is something that has been highlighted by politicians, comedians and academics alike. Whether we think back to the infinite memes that were circulated in the wake of the infamous KONY 2012 campaign, or the satirical twitter accounts that surfaced during the United States’ most recent presidential election, the role and influence of comedy appears to be undeniable in how politics is being commentated, absorbed, and critiqued. Indeed, satire, mockery, and self-deprecation have all become commonplace elements of political conversations on-screen, online and in person.

To this end, we are honored to host SNL writer and acclaimed comedian, Nimesh Patel, Penn State’s Center for Global Studies founder and author of Is Satire Saving our Nation? Mockery and American Politics, Dr. Sophia McClennen, and the Newseum’s Curator of Collections, Carrie Christoffersen. Through a lively, moderated discussion, we hope to learn more about these key individuals’ perspectives on the necessity of humor in our current political landscape, if and where lines get crossed within the sphere, and how their experiences have evolved over time. 

February 22nd, 8 PM - Hodson 110 


In collaboration with European Horizons

General İlker Başbuğ occupied the role of Turkey’s 26th Chief of the General Staff, during which he headed the Turkish military. Despite his retirement two years prior, Başbuğ was falsely accused of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by establishing and leading a terrorist group in 2012. Although he was sentenced to life in prison shortly afterwards, Başbuğ was acquitted and released by the Constitutional Court of Turkey in 2014.  

General Başbuğ has also held several acclaimed positions in the international global political landscape, such as Action Officer of the Intelligent Department at NATO, and Chief of the Logistics and Infrastructure Department at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers of Europe.) Through our partnership with European Horizons, we will be hosting a lively discussion between SAIS Professor Dr. Lisel Hintz and the General, who will speak to the ever-pressing issues of Turkey’s democratic crisis, the Syrian Civil War, the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, and US-Turkey relations.

March 6th, 8 PM - Mudd 26 

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Former United Nations Ambassador

In collaboration with the Aronson Center for International Studies

After graduating from Yale University, Ambassador Samantha Power began her career in foreign politics as a war correspondent, covering the violence in Yugoslavia between 1993 and 1996. Upon returning to the United States, Power received a law degree from Harvard University and joined the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy as a Founding Director. Her first book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 2003 and railed against the political establishment for its “toleration of unspeakable atrocities, often committed in clear view.” Power served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017 under the Obama administration, during which she played a key role in shaping             international humanitarian intervention. She has been named one of the world’s most influential figures by both Time and Forbes.

                                                                     March 13th, 8PM - Hodson 110                             



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Whistleblower & Activist

In collaboration with LGBTQ Life and Women and Gender Resources

In 2013, Chelsea Manning was convicted of disclosing more than 700,000 files of classified government information to WikiLeaks while serving as an intelligence analyst in the Army. The classified material documented U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan later to be known as the “Iraq War Logs” and the “Afghan War Diary.” Manning was charged with a 35-year prison sentence – the longest sentence ever received for a leak conviction. After receiving her sentence, Manning publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her legal rights to hormone therapy while in prison, sparking nationwide debate about transgender rights. In January of 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence from 35 years of confinement to 7 years, effectively granting clemency for her release the following May.

Since her release, Manning has emerged as an outspoken political and social activist and continues to advocate for government transparency and transgender and queer rights. Most recently, Manning announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate elections in Maryland, stating “The establishment needs to be challenged, and it needs to be challenged in their footholds and in the places where they feel safe.” She will run as a Democratic candidate against the party incumbent, Benjamin L. Cardin.

April 2nd, 8 PM - Hodson 110

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Greg Asbed and Laura Germino

Coalition of Immokalee Workers, 2017 MacArthur Fellow, Anne Smedinghoff Award Recipients

In April 2013, Johns Hopkins alumna and former FAS director Anne Smedinghoff ('09) was killed in a suicide bomb attack in southern Afghanistan while delivering books to underserved school children. The eponymous award aims to Remember Anne Smedinghoff and acknowledge those committed to her values to improve the world. This year, Greg Asbed and Laura Germino of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will be accepting the 2018 Anne Smedinghoff Award for their contributions to human rights and their lifelong dedication to improving the conditions of vulnerable populations.

Johns Hopkins alumni Greg Asbed and Laura Germino are co-founders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), created in 1993 to eliminate injustices in the agriculture industry, including forced labor, sexual assault, and wage theft of workers. The couple moved to South Florida in the mid-1990s after Asbed worked for a community development organization in Haiti and Germino volunteered for the Peace Corps in Africa. Asbed and Germino have been widely recognized for their dedication to labor activism and human rights. As a founding member of the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network and principal architect of the coalition’s Fair Food Program, Asbed received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2017. Germino is a creator of the coalition’s Anti-Slavery Campaign, trainer of law and government personnel, co-founder of the Freedom Network Training Institute, and a 2010 recipient of the Trafficking in Persons Report Award.

April 24th, 8PM - Mason Hall Auditorium



Executive Directors: Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski '17, Tim Shieh '18, Jonathan Brown '17

Pussy Riot || Nadya tolokonnikova

Conceptual Artist & Political Activist

In August 2012, three members of Pussy Riot - a feminist punk rock band - were sentenced to a 2 year imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. This protest attracted international media attention and support from the likes of Amnesty International and former President Barack Obama.

Led by the founding member Nadya Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot has continued to challenge the Putin administration, condemning LGBT discrimination and human rights abuses since their founding in 2011. Tolokonnikova has spoken before the US Congress, British Parliament, European Parliament and received the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace.

Most recently, Tolokonnikova produced and starred in a music video mocking the Trump campaign’s socially conservative rhetoric, entitled "Make America Great Again." Tolokonnikova stated that the purpose of the the video was to protest both President Donald Trump and the influence of Putin’s authoritarian regime.

February 1st,  7 PM - Shriver Hall

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Novelist and Feminist Activist

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist and non-fiction writer who has authored major works, including Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013). A MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow, Adichie has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Adichie also wrote The Thing Around Your Neck, a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, and her most recent work, We Should All Be Feminists, was sampled by popular artist Beyoncé in her eponymous 2013 album. Adichie’s works have been translated into thirty languages and her TED talk, “The Danger of A Single Story,” has over 11 million views. Adichie earned a Master’s Degree in African Studies from Yale University in 2008 and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins in 2003. She now divides her time between teaching in Nigeria and working in the United States.

February 8th, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

Junot DIAZ

Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist

Junot Díaz is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He draws on his experiences as a Dominican American as inspiration for his dynamic and powerful stories, which include themes of nationality, race, family, and ethnic identity that often confront first generation Americans. Díaz has garnered praise for his work with some critics citing him as one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 21st century. In 1999, he co-founded The Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA), a platform for writers of color to share their voices and experiences through literature, engage with and support each other, and hone their writing. Díaz is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.

Alongside his literary pursuits, Díaz is a committed social justice, community and immigration reform activist. He serves as honorary chairman of the DREAM Project and as a member of various political organizations within both the Dominican Republic and the United States. Díaz is currently a creative writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the fiction editor at Boston Review.

February 22nd, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

Aneesh Chopra

First Chief Technology Officer of the U.S.

Aneesh Chopra served as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States under the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2011. Chopra previously served as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology under Governor Tim Kaine. At the White House, he worked to advance the President’s technology agenda and promoted the integration of technology and government. His efforts included the Strategy for American Innovation, Startup America, Open Innovator’s Toolkit, and Blue Button and Green Button. During his time as Chief Technology Officer, Chopra executed an “open innovation” strategy focused on improving public-private collaboration, which he described in his 2014 book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government.  Chopra received his B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, and his M.P.P. from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Chopra currently serves as the co-founder and executive vice president of Hunch Analytics, an incubator that improves the productivity of health care providers and educators with data analytic services, and Senior Advisor at the Albright Stonebridge Group.

March 8th, 8 PM - Mudd Hall


Contemporary Artist & Social Activist

Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist, filmmaker and social activist, most famously serving as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 olympics. Having spent most of his childhood in China in exile, Ai moved to the United States in 1981 where he studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley. He was introduced to the works of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, who inspired his use of readymade objects for conceptual art. Today, Ai heavily focuses on criticizing the Chinese government and its views on democracy and human rights.

In 2011, Ai was unjustly imprisoned for 81 days, during which he created documentaries and installations. Two of his most iconic works include Study of Perspective (1995-2003), a photo series that features his middle finger pointed toward historical monuments; and Remembering (2009), a 1,000 square meter installation of backpacks mourning the deaths of children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.


Veterans Writing project || ron Capps

Anne Smedinghoff Award Recipient

The Veterans Writing Project is a Washington D.C-based nonprofit founded upon the core belief that every veteran has a story worth telling. VWP provides no-cost writing seminars to veterans, service members, and military family members and commits itself to helping veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Founder and director Ron Capps ‘95 (MLA), ‘11 (MA) served 25 years in government service between the Army and the Foreign Service. Capps has been published on Time and The New York Times, and served as a consultant for Time, Rolling Stone, and PBS Frontline. His memoir, Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years - outlining his time in the service and his personal struggles with PTSD - was published in 2014.

April 5th, 8PM - Mudd Hall

Suroosh Alvi

Acclaimed Journalist & Founder of VICE Media

Suroosh Alvi is Founder of VICE Media, a critically acclaimed journalist, and an Executive Producer of numerous films. Under Alvi’s guidance, VICE, which initially launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, has expanded into a multimedia network, including the world’s premier source for original online video, VICE.COM; an international network of digital channels; a television & feature film production studio including the Emmy winning series VICE on HBO. In February, VICE launched VICELAND, VICE’s first 24-hour television channel, in both the US and Canada featuring original cultural and lifestyle programming.

As a journalist, Alvi has reported from locations including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and the Gaza Strip. He is a regular host of VICE on HBO and contributor to Vice News. Alvi also hosts Terror, a five-part series examining terrorism in radical Islamic groups throughout the world today. For the series Alvi reported on the ground from Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen. Prior to founding VICE, Alvi attended college at McGill University in Montreal, where he studied Philosophy. He currently resides in New York City.

April 25th, 8 PM - Shriver Hall


Executive Directors: Mona Jia '17, Jack Laylin '17, Alex Sadler '17

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Piper Kerman is the author of the bestselling novel, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman's Prison, which was later adapted for the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black (2013-present). Beyond her writing, Kerman is a staunch supporter of prison reform. She serves on the board of the Women's Prison Association and has testified twice before Congress on the subject of solitary confinement as well as other issues within the American penal system. 

February 10th- 8 PM

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In 2013, Edward Snowden sparked a worldwide debate on the government collection of private information when he revealed documents detailing the NSA's surveillance practices to journalists from The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and Le Monde in 2013. Frequently hailed as a hero, Snowden has received many awards for his actions, including The Guardian's Person of the Year Award, the German "Whistleblower" Prize, the Sam Adams Award, and a spit on TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

Moderated by Daniel J. Solove, the John Harlan Marshall Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. He founded TeachPrivacy, a company providing privacy and data security training. One of the world’s leading experts in privacy law, Solove is the author of 10 books and more than 50 articles.

Special thanks to the International Studies Department for their support of this event.

February 17th - 8 PM

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Naomi Klein is the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, which debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list, was named to multiple Best of 2014 lists, including The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014, won the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and is being translated into over 20 languages.  

Co-sponsored with the President's Office.

February 23rd - 6 PM 

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Ezra Klein is an American journalist known for his extensive coverage of policy and politics, and for his work at Vox, the news website he founded in 2014. Klein has written for the Washington Post, he managed its economic and domestic policy-oriented blog, "Wonkblog", which became the news paper's most read blog in 2011. This achievement led GQ to name Klein as one of Washington D.C's 50 Most Powerful People. 

March 9th- 8 PM

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In America today, the role of police as civil servants is under heightened public scrutiny as a result of recent cases of police brutality committed by everyday law enforcement officers gaining national attention. In order to meaningfully address the police abuse of power and force and how to combat twitch constructive policy solutions, FAS will be hosting a panel discussion on the future of policing in America. From the tragic deaths of Freddie Gray to Tyrone West, the acts of violence and intimidation committed against Baltimore citizens greatly affects our community.

FEATURING: Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Investigative Journalist at the Baltimore Sun Mark Puente, Journalist Donovan X. Ramsey and Arab-American Activist Linda Sarsour. Moderated by Margaret Huang, Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

March 22nd- 8 PM 

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World bicycle relief

Founded in 2005, the World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is an international non-profit specializing in bicycle distribution in rural Africa. Founders F.K and Leah Day developed WBR in 2004 to increase the availability of transportation and grant individuals better access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities.  

Leah: Leah Missbach Day is currently a documentary photographer based in Chicago, IL. Day’s artistry extends to the written word with notable accomplishments including the forward to National Geographic’s, Wheels of Change: How Women Road to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy. In 2005, Ms. Day along with her husband F.K., co-founded World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organization.

FK: Frederick (F.K.) Day is a long time Chicago businessman, entrepreneur and humanitarian. In 1987, Day, his brother Stan and some friends founded leading bicycle component supplier, SRAM Corporation, which was crucial to the founding of World Bicycle Relief. SRAM produces high-end bicycle components including drive-trains, brakes, suspension and wheels; brands include RockShox, Avid, Truvative, Zipp and Quark. Today, SRAM operates 20 facilities in the US, Europe and Asia and employs over 3,000 people. 

Anne Smedinghoff Award Recipient

April 7th - 8 PM- Mudd Hall

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Executive Directors: Bryan Ricciardi, Putt Rodchareon, Sam Romanoff

Jack Devine

CIA Veteran

February 11, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

Gloria Steinem

Feminist and Social Activist

February 25, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

ISIS Panel

Hadi Al-Bahra, Former President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces

Ambassador Robert Ford, Former US Ambassador to Algeria and Syria

Professor Ryan Calder (moderator), JHU Professor Sociology and Islamic Studies

Dr. David Faris, Roosevelt University Professor

March 11, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

Brandon Stanton

Founder, Humans of New York

March 25, 8 PM - Shriver Hall

FAS Unplugged: Dr. Karen Miner-Romanoff

Dean, Franklin University College of Health and Public Administration

April 7, 8 PM - Hopkins Club

David Plouffe

VP of Über, Former Campaign Manager for 2008 & 2012 Obama campaigns



Executive Directors: Rosellen Grant '16, Nikhil Gupta '15, William Szymanski '15



Governor of Maryland



Political Commentator, Philosopher, and Professor at Princeton University



Staff writers from the satirical newspaper


Co-Founder, KIVA.org



Former US Ambassador to the UN



General Michael Hayden, Former Director, CIA and NSA

Professor David Cole, Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University



Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Commander of International Security Assistance Force, Former Leader of Joint Special Operations Command

L. Paul Bremer III

Former Presidential Envoy to Iraq

Rick Santorum

Former U.S. Senator, 2012 Presidential Candidate

Frank Jannuzi

Deputy Executive Director, Amnesty International, U.S.A.

Jerry Greenfield

Founder, Ben & Jerry's

Former U.S. Senator, 2012 Presidential Candidate

Presidential Event: Andrew Ross Sorkin

Author of Too Big to Fail, Economist for The New York Times


John Ashcroft

Former Attorney General

Occupy Wall Street (Panel)

Kate Khatib, Member of Occupy Baltimore, Author of We Are Many

Larry Swetman, Supporter of Occupy Philadelphia

Joy Davis, Member of Occupy Baltimore

Jonathan Cronin, Member of Occupy Austin

Artem Raskin, Member of Occupy UC Davis

Benjamin Philips, Member of Occupy Oakland

Kevin Zeese, Member of Occupy DC

David Frum 

Editor of FrumForum.com

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

49th Mayor of Baltimore

Presidential Lecture: Valerie Plame

Former Covert CIA Operations Officer, Author

Stephen Moore 

Senior Economics Writer, Editor of Wall Street Journal

Robert Gibbs

Former White House Press Secretary



Chuck Hagel

U.S. Senator, Co-Chairman of President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Chairman of The Atlantic Council

Cady Coleman

NASA Astronaut

Franklin Raines

Former Chairman and CEO, Fannie Mae

Bob Woodward

Investigative Reporter and Associate Editor, The Washington Post

Richard C. Koo

Chief Economist,Nomura Research Institute

Presidential Lecture: Thomas Friedman

Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist, The New York Times

Cybersecurity Panel

Dennis McCallam, Distinguished Fellow at Northrop Grumman, Researcher at Air Force Research Lab

Lawrence Gordon, Professor at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business

Sam Small, Member of Security and Privacy Applied Research Lab, JHU Information Security Institute

Adam Surl, Director of Cyber Security, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Author and Activist

R. Gil Kirlikowske

Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Lieutenant General Paul J. Selva

Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


Mr. Nicholas Kristof

Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times

James Yee

U.S. Army Chaplain of Islam

John Yoo

Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel at the US Department of Justice

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski

Former National Security Adviser

Obama’s First Year (Panel)

Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Policy Studies, Cato Institute

David Calleo, Director of European Studies, SAIS

Farah Stockman, Foreign Policy Reporter, Boston Globe’s Washington Bureau

Lisa Jackson

EPA Administrator

The Way Forward: US Military Strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan (Panel)

Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations

Matthew Hoh, former Marine and Foreign Service Official

Niall Ferguson

British Historian of Financial and Economic History

First Sgt. (Ret.) Matthew Eversmann

Co-author of The Battle of Mogadishu

Reza Aslan

Iranian-born writer and scholar of religions

Jean-Hervé Bradol, M.D.

Former president of Médecins Sans Frontières – France

The War In Our Neighborhood: Narco-trafficking in Latin America (Panel)

Francisco Gonzalez, Senior Associate Professor of Latin American Studies, SAIS

Elizabeth Harper, Senior Editor, U.S. Institute of Peace

John Walsh, Senior Associate for Drug Policy and the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America


Prince Zeid Bin Ra’ad

Jordanian Ambassador to U.S.

David E. Sanger

Chief White House Correspondent, The New York Times

Robert Kagan

Senior Associate at Carnegie Endowment, Author of Dangerous Nation

Global Financial Crisis (Panel)

Robert Barbera, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist, Investment Technology Group

Albert Kyle, Professor of Economics, University of Maryland

Willem Buiter, Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics

Peter Bergen

National Security Analyst, CNN

Global Environmental Disasters (Panel)

Brian McAdoo, Associate Professor of Earth Science, Vassar College

Jonathan Borak, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University

Cami McCormick, News Correspondent, CBS News

The Bush Legacy in Foreign Policy

Charles Kupchan, Professor at Georgetown University

Henry Nau, Professor at George Washington University

G. John Ikenberry, Professor at Princeton University

Aaron Friedberg, Professor at Princeton University

Darfur Now (Movie Screening)

with Adam Sterling, Director, Sudan Divestment Taskforce and Genocide Intervention Network

Jane Evelyn Atwood

Documentary Photojournalist

John Micklethwait

Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Adrian Wooldridge

Washington Bureau Chief, The Economist