What is the most effective way to influence the exercise of political power? Can genocide be halted? What are the natural limits of political power?
Join three preeminent policy and opinion makers as they discuss the violation and defense of human rights by national and international powers.
Featuring Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor; Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times; and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Thomas Weiss, Presidential Professor of Political Science at The Graduate Center moderates- City University New York
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski is a Polish-American author, political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.
Major foreign policy events during his term of office included the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China (and the severing of ties with the Republic of China - today's Taiwan), the signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II), the brokering of the Camp David Accords, the transition of Iran to an anti-Western Islamic state, encouraging reform in Eastern Europe, emphasizing human rights in U.S. foreign policy, the arming of the mujaheddin in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet-friendly Afghan government and later to counter the Soviet invasion, and the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal after 1999.
He is currently a professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of various boards and councils. He appears frequently as an expert on the PBS program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Brzezinski has written many books on political science. His most recent book is America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy.
William P. Kelly
William P. Kelly was appointed president of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on July 1, 2005. From 1998 through June 2005, he served as the Graduate Center's provost and senior vice president, a tenure that was marked by the recruitment of a remarkable cadre of internationally renowned scholars to the school's faculty.
A distinguished American literature scholar and an expert on the works of James Fenimore Cooper, Dr. Kelly's books include Plotting America's Past: Fenimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking Tales (Southern Illinois University Press), and a work in progress, Exhibiting Nature: Scientific Culture and The American Museum of Natural History.
His numerous articles and reviews have appeared in a broad range of publications including the New York Times Book Review, The American Scholar, and the Journal of Western History, and he is the editor of the Random House edition of The Selected Works of Washington Irving and the Oxford University Press edition of The Pathfinder.
Dr. Kelly graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1971, where he won the David Bowers Prize in American Studies. He was named Outstanding Graduate Student in English at Indiana University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1976. Dr. Kelly also holds a diploma in intellectual history from Cambridge University and in 1980 received a Fulbright Fellowship to France, where he subsequently became visiting professor at the University of Paris.
He was also executive director of the CUNY/Paris Exchange Program and, in 2003, was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French Ministry of Education in recognition of his contributions to Franco-American educational and cultural relations.
Nicholas Kristof writes op-ed columns for the New York Times. His columns have often focused on global health, poverty, and gender issues in the developing world. Since 2004, he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and visited the area eight times.
He has received two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his reporting with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, on China's Tiananmen Square democracy movement and the other for his reporting on Darfur. He has been a Times correspondent since 1984, becoming an associate managing editor and the first blogger on the New York Times Web site.
Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to 120 countries, all 50 states, every Chinese province, and every main Japanese island. Kristof and WuDunn are authors of China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power and Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia.
Mary Robinson is President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, Columbia University and the International Council for Human Rights Policy.
Robinson served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002 and as President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997. Before her election as President, she served as Senator, holding that office for 20 years.
Educated at Trinity College in Ireland, Robinson holds law degrees from the King's Inns in Dublin and from Harvard University. She is Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, Vice President of the Club of Madrid, honorary President of Oxfam International, a board member of the GAVI Fund Board and Chair of the GAVI Fund Executive Committee, and a member of the Leadership Council of the UN Global Coalition on Women and AIDS.
She co-chairs the Health Worker Global Policy Advisory Council.
Thomas G. Weiss
Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, where he is co-director of the UN Intellectual History Project. He is President (2008-9) of the International Studies Association, chair (2007-9) of the Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS), and was awarded the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France 2006.
As Research Professor at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies (1990-98), he also held university administrative posts (Associate Dean of the Faculty, Director of the Global Security Program, Associate Director), was the Executive Director of ACUNS, and co-directed the Humanitarianism and War Project.
Earlier, he was the Executive Director of the International Peace Academy (1985-9); a Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva (1975-85); and held professional posts in the Office of the UN Commissioner for Namibia, the University Program at the Institute for World Order, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and International Labor Organization.
He has been a consultant for foundations and numerous inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and was editor of Global Governance (2000-5) and research director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000-2).
Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson warns of the danger in equating the war with Iraq with the war in Afghanistan.
Robinson says the war in Afghanistan was justified because Al-Qaeda was violating human rights, but confusing the war in Afghanistan with the war in Iraq will only cause the loss of moral ground in Afghanistan as well.
Former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski says that the American image will change the very minute the next president of the United States is sworn in, but only if he is "not of the party now in power."
Brzezinski comments that the symbol of America used to be the Statue of Liberty, but is now Guantanamo Bay thanks to the GOP.