NCC Programs

The North County Chapter holds Thursday Morning Forums throughout  the year at the Remington Club II in Rancho Bernardo.  Directions to the facility are  here 

These forums promote and encourage public interest in the study of international affairs and foreign policy.  The speakers are international experts from the San Diego & Orange County regions, of whom approximately 1/3 are our own members with specialized international knowledge and expertise. NCC typically produce 45 programs per year and averages about 70 attendees at each event.

We begin each program with a coffee social at 9:30 am followed by the speaker at 10:00 am.  After a short break around 11:00 am there is a Q&A period ending at noon.

No reservations are needed and there is no charge to attend the Thursday Morning Forums.  We usually invite members to join in a Round Table Lunch (RTL) whenever we have a guest speaker.  This lunch is usually held within a short walk of the meeting place.

There are currently two exceptions to this standard format. The first is our yearly Annual Meeting and Luncheon, which is traditionally held at a local Country Club but this year was held online because of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.  The second exception is that no forums are scheduled during August or on holidays.

Information about the programs is provided below and in a monthly newsletter to our members. Recent editions of the newsletter are available here   

A number of our speakers have graciously allowed us to provide access to their presentation materials to all who would like to review them in detail.  These materials are available here.  The initial numbers in the titles of the files accessed by this link correspond to the dates on which the presentations were given. When more than one file was used in a presentation, they are combined into a sub-directory. These sub-directories are at the beginning of the directory file listing the link takes you to.

On April 2, 2020 we temporarily moved our Thursday Morning Programs to an online format in order to maintain their value while complying with the need to avoid large gatherings to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. We also changed to a biweekly format.

North County Chapter Programs for May 2021

On May 13th at 10:00 a.m., our member and past president, James Larrimore, will present a program about “U.S. and Iran: Progress or Impasse with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).” The conclusion of the JCPOA was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy. The Biden administration and its European partners so agreed in February 2021. In 2015, Iran accepted limitations on its nuclear development and increased nuclear monitoring by IAEA in return for elimination of multilateral sanctions. The Trump administration, not liking JCPOA, withdrew in 2018 and re-erected a “sanctions wall”. In response, a year later Iran began to step back from its nuclear constraints, leading in February 2021 to limiting IAEA monitoring. As tensions over JCPOA continue, in play are: enrichment and inventory of uranium, centrifuge testing and use, as well as less known parts of JCPOA: sunset clauses, the Additional Protocol, Annex B of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, inter alia. Importantly, sanctions continue to be a fundamental point of contention. This talk will address those issues and assess what JCPOA’s future may be. Dr. James Larrimore earned his doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from MIT, where he also taught for 3 years. He also conducted research and development for 6 years at the Euratom nuclear research center in Italy and for 14 years at General Atomics in San Diego. Subsequently, he spent 16 years with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna working on nuclear verification.

On May 27th at 10:00 a.m., we welcome two of our members, David Edick and Bill Thayer, to present “The Russian-Ukranian Situation: The History Behind it and the Issues Today.” In 2014, the pro-Russian leader of Ukraine was overthrown. Subsequently the Russians invaded and annexed Crimea. Russia also supports the ethnic Russian Ukrainian breakaway regions in Donetsk and Luhansk. A ceasefire was reached in these regions, but following repeated negotiations, there has been no agreed upon resolution. The USA recently expelled Russian diplomats and put additional sanctions on Russia. In return Russia massed troops near the Ukrainian border. Dimitri Trenin, a notable Russian commentator, said that regional war in Europe is again a possibility and could even involve the USA. How did we get here, what are the core and global issues? David Edick is a global political economist and consultant with focus on energy, commodities, currencies, Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, and the U. S. He has over 30 years experience with commercial and NGO relations in Russia including living and working in Vladivostok. He is a former president of the San Diego-Vladivostok Sister City Society, a former president of the San Diego World Affairs Council, an international businessman, and a frequent lecturer on political, economic, and financial issues. Bill Thayer has a BS in Math from Stanford, MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC, MBA from USC and was an NASD Series 7&63 Stockbroker, Certified Financial Planner, IRS Enrolled Agent and Real Estate Agent. He has worked in the aerospace industry for 30 years and real estate/finance for 10 years. He first visited Russia and Ukraine in 1972 and has made 6 subsequent trips to Russia. He has given many talks on Russian history and is familiar with Russian military history.

North County Chapter Programs for April 2021

On April 1st at 10:00 AM we will welcome members Amb. Irving Tragen (JD) and Bill Thayer for their presentation, Cry for Argentina: The Still Unfolding Sad Legacy of Juan & Evita Peron. Mr. Thayer will provide the historical setting for Peron’s ascent to power and eventual rule by decree, with all the cronyism typical of rule by decree regimes. He will discuss Argentina’s past prosperity and will explain the economic policies implemented by Argentina that led to its economy today — facing a possible international debt default. Amb. Tragen will call upon his extensive experience in Latin America to offer further perspective on Argentina. He will discuss the people and situations involved to help us understand the context today.  Mr. Thayer received a BS from Stanford, and MS in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA from USC.  He worked 30 years in the aerospace industry and 10 years as a stock broker and certified financial planner.  He has written four books and is now a frequent cruise ship lecturer and world traveler.  Amb. Tragen was a Foreign Service officer under six Presidents, serving in Mexico, El Salvador, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala and the Caribbean.  He was AID Director for Bolivia and Vice President of the Inter American Foundation; Director of the Regional Office for Central American Programs; USAID Director in Panama; and Deputy Chief of the US Mission to the Organization of American States, with rank of Ambassador. At the OAS he served as Executive Director of the Inter-American Narcotic Drug Abuse Control Commission. He is a recent author and received his BA and JD from UC Berkeley.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

On April 15th at 10:00 AM we will welcome our guest, Professor David G. Victor (PhD), who will address the issue of “Making Climate Policy Work”.  For decades, the world’s governments have talked about the climate but struggled to move to action. Many people now hope that public concern will lead to greater policy ambition and action. But the most widely promoted strategy to address climate change — the use of market-based programs — hasn’t been successful and isn’t ready to scale.  Prof. Victor will describe how the politics of creating and maintaining market-based policies renders them ineffective nearly everywhere they have been applied. He will propose that while market reforms can help around the margins, markets’ problems are structural and won’t resolve with marginal changes. He will offer policy solutions which rely on greater government economic regulation and mandated industrial policy to catalyze the transformation of current markets and practices.  He is a professor of international relations at the UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy (“GPS”), and also an adjunct professor in Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  He is a co-director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at GPS. He is the co-author of Making Climate Policy Work (2020), five other books, and numerous articles. He received his AB from Harvard and his PhD in Political Science from MIT.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

On April 29th at 10:00 AM we will welcome member Robert Y. Ning (PhD), who will speak on “International Desalination of  Water”.  He was actively engaged in water desalination issues in San Diego for 25 years — focusing on reverse osmosis membrane technology. Following the  development of proprietary chemicals needed to operate and maintain expensive membrane plants, he travelled internationally to develop chemical and technical service to meet urgent and desperate needs for drinking and high purity water on an industrial scale.  He will address the pressure-points in desalination technologies, and the world-wide trends in ongoing development.  He had a previous career in pharmaceutical and biotechnology.  He received his BS from Rochester Institute of Technology, his PhD in Organic Chemistry from University of Illinois, his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Cal Tech.

If you would like a video of this presentation, please contact the speaker at

North County Chapter Programs for March 2021

March 4th at 10:00 a.m. On the anniversary of our last in-person program (March 5, 2020), we celebrate our Chapter’s resilience and survival as we welcome four of our members to present a panel on “Reasons for Optimism About International Matters”. The Panelists are North County members Tom Reeve, Bill Thayer, Bob Ning, and Mehdi Sarram. Their presentations will offer a survey of reasons for optimism about international matters. The issues to be explored include: recent scientific developments, foreseeably peaking global population, what works to defeat poverty, the vaccines against COVID-19, the Abraham Accords in the Mid-East, future Eastern Mediterranean natural gas exploitation, emotional and intellectual reasons to be optimistic about international matters, and closing with reasons why you can be optimistic in a world with almost 8 billion people. The presentations will be given without a break, and will be followed by our Question and Answer period where short audience comments will also be welcomed.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

On March 18th at 10:00 a.m we welcome back as our guest, M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, who will present, “A New Year for an Old Land: A Decade of Lessons from the Arab Awakening in Syria and across the Mid-East, and the Abraham Accords – What Should be America’s Role?”. He will discuss the current situation in Syria, as well as explore the broader topic of the Arab Awakening in the Mid-East and North Africa. He will explain what is happening and discuss the potential role of the United States. Dr. Jasser is the founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a cofounder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He is the author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith”. He was a Senate appointee of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he served as Commissioner and ViceChair. He has testified before the House and the Senate and is a frequent media contributor and commentator on BBC, CNN, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. A first-generation American, whose parents fled oppression in Syria, Dr. Jasser is a devout Muslim and a former U.S. Navy Medical Corps officer. He is now in a private medical practice in Phoenix.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

North County Chapter Programs for February 2021

On February 4th at 10:00 a.m., we welcome guest speaker Mr. Jeffrey Provine, (MBA) who will discuss “Natural Gas & Green Energy – A Global Perspective”. He is Executive VP, Utility Operations for Utilligent, an operations and technology management consulting firm. He has over 30 years experience in the delivery to and use of technology by international utilities. Mr. Provine is an expert in engineering, scheduling, pipeline integrity management, and field force automation processes and technology. As an executive with Computer Science Corp. (CSC), Bass & Company, Cambridge Technology Partners, and Logica, he led projects including leading utility work and asset management with more than 50 clients in global markets; leading the launch of the American Petroleum Exchange; running the project management office for a global conversion to the euro; and successfully importing software solutions from Union Fenosa in Spain to the North American market. Mr. Provine addressed the 2018 World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C., discussing Operational Excellence in Gas Distribution. He holds a Management Certificate, International Business, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, U.K. (an MBA equivalent), a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science, University of Central Oklahoma, and an Associate Engineering Technology (AET) Industrial Engineering, Oklahoma State University. He resides in Houston, Texas.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On February 18th at 10:00 a.m. our guest speaker, Professor Robert Hutchings, (PhD), will speak on “Rebuilding National Security”, drawing on his two most recent books: Truth to Power (Oxford, 2019) and Modern Diplomacy in Practice (Palgrave, 2020). His presentation will explore the means and importance of providing strategic intelligence analysis to policy-makers (telling truth to power); the changing nature of diplomacy in today’s digitally connected and increasingly polarized world; and the need for strategic intelligence and diplomatic capacity to develop and implement a strategic foreign policy, including restoring State Department primacy in foreign affairs. He also will review the gradual erosion of strategic intelligence and the marginalization of the State Department over the past three decades. He is currently a Lecturer with the rank of Professor at Princeton University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas, where he was Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As a diplomat, he served as director for European affairs with the National Security Council, special adviser to the Secretary of State with the rank of ambassador, and Chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council. He is the author or editor of six books and many articles and book chapters on U.S. foreign policy and European affairs. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, received an MA from William & Mary, and his PhD from University of Virginia. He resides in Princeton, New Jersey.

A video of the meeting, as well as excerpts from several of Professor Hutchings’ books, can be found here.

North County Chapter Programs for January 2021

On January 7th our guest, Dr. Ahmet Kuru will talk about his new book “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison”. He will discuss why Muslim-majority countries tend to have high levels of authoritarianism and low levels of socio-economic development in comparison to world averages. Dr. Kuru argues that the ulema-state alliance (religious scholar-state alliance) has been a major contributor to these problems in the Muslim world from the eleventh century to the present. Dr. Kuru is Porteous Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. He received his PhD from the University of Washington and held a post-doc position at Columbia University. His 2019 book, “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison”, became the co-winner of the American Political Science Association’s International History and Politics Section Best Book Award. He is also the author of the award-winning book “Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey”. His works have been translated into Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Persian, and Turkish.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On January 21st we will welcome as our guest Wen Chen (PhD), who will address “Human Rights Movements in China and China’s Responses”, including her research and personal experiences regarding human rights movements in China and the responsive conduct of China’s rulers. She will discuss China’s media censorship and information controls, as well as state methods of control over individuals, treatment of ethnic and religious minority groups, alleged state sponsored organ harvesting, and Coronavirus medical information control. She will briefly review the scope of China’s influence upon U.S. institutions, describe her personal experience with China’s reach into the U.S., and her expectations if she returned to a CCP controlled China. Dr. Chen grew-up and was educated in China after the Great Cultural Revolution. She won a science competition that led to her admission and graduation from a top Chinese university. Dr. Chen came to the U.S. in 1994, and earned her Ph.D. in Biology at the California Institute of Technology. She is a biologist and information scientist on genomics and biological research at CalTech and often speaks on scientific matters. She is active with Amnesty International and CalTech Women in Biology & Biological Engineering, and regularly speaks publicly on Chinese culture, history, and human rights.

A video of the meeting can be found here.

North County Chapter Programs for December 2020

On December 3 we will welcome our guest, M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, who will speak about “The International Muslim Reform Movement: The Potential Impact on Muslim Majority Countries and the Role of the United States”. He will explain the potential which reform movements within Islam can have to transform Muslim majority nations and communities. These reforms will be founded in a separation of national identity and the legal system from their faith identity and religious laws (a separation of mosque and state). Dr. Jasser will include discussion of the Middle East post “Arab Spring” or “Arab Awakening,” and the role U.S. religious freedom and free speech has as a model for emerging democracies. He sees the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the diverse organizations in the Muslim Reform Movement as potential  ncubators of a secular liberal movement that should gain traction in critically thinking Muslim communities. Dr. Jasser is the founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He is the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith. He was a Senate appointee of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he served as Commissioner and Vice-Chair. He has testified before the House and the Senate and is a frequent media contributor and commentator, including BBC, CNN, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. A first-generation American, whose parents fled oppression in Syria, Dr. Jasser is a devout Muslim and a former U. S. Navy Medical Corps officer. He is now in a private medical practice in Phoenix.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On December 17 NCC member William Thayer, a frequent contributor to World Affairs Council programs, will talk about “The History of the Ottoman Empire and its Subsequent Breakup after WWI”. He has travelled to many countries of the former Ottoman Empire and has given several talks on the region. He will be assisted by NCC members Vojin Joksimovich and Farouk Al-Nassar, as well as by our guest Nikolaos Karanoleglos. Vojin was born and raised in Serbia, a country subjugated by the Ottomans until 1878. He is the author of 3 books: Kosovo Crisis: A Study in Foreign Policy Mismanagement; The Revenge of the Prophet: How Clinton and his Predecessors Empowered Radical Islam; and Kosovo is Serbia. Farouk was born and raised in Iraq, and will discuss Turkey in relation to the Ottoman Empire. Farouk and Vojin have delivered numerous presentations to World Affairs Council groups on their former countries and related subjects. Nick Karanoleglos is a Greek citizen and served in the Press Office of Public Diplomacy of the American Embassy.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

North County Chapter Programs for November 2020

On November 5th , Mr David Edick Jr will present a program entitled “Crisis in Russia’s Near Abroad: Belarus and Karabakh”. The countries of Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are former Soviet territories that are part of what Russians commonly call the “Near Abroad”. Since August, post-election turmoil in Belarus and the dramatic renewal of violent conflict over the Karabakh region disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan have presented Russia with two defining geopolitical challenges that will shape Russian relations with Europe and Turkey for years to come. David will provide background and updates on both crises, and discuss their implications for Russia – and NATO.

David Edick Jr. is a global political economist and a 3-term Past-President of the San Diego World Affairs Council. He is Principal at Core Global Advisory, a consultancy focused on political risk and market strategy. David served many years as President of the San Diego – Vladivostok Sister City Society where from 2003 to 2018 he organized customized professional visitation programs for over 75 young professionals from across Russia through the Open World program. David has over 30 years experience with commercial and NGO relations in Russia including living and working in Vladivostok. An energy specialist with particular expertise in the oil and natural gas sectors, David has lectured widely on issues related to Russia and Central Asia for more than 15 years.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On November 19, Irving G Tragen, J.D. will present a program entitled “Celebration of Two Lifetimes As One: Ele and Me and the Foreign Service”. A memoir of fellow North County Chapter member Irving Tragen, was published on March 15, 2020, but Covid-19 prevented an official launch in Washington, D.C. by its promoter, The Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training. North County Chapter members will celebrate and officially launch this wonderful Memoir honoring the role that Irving’s late wife Ele played, and covering some highlights of his 55 years working on inter-American relations with the US Department of State and the Organization of American States.

Irving G. Tragen, J.D., a distinguished diplomat and Latin American expert, was born in San Francisco. He earned his A.B. and Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley. His graduate studies on Comparative Law were in Chile and Mexico. His Foreign Service began in 1948 in Mexico and later led him to El Salvador, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala and the Caribbean. He also worked as a labor attache for the State Department, Director of U.S. policy for Argentina, Uruguay and Panama and Director for the Organization of American States. He was married to his beloved wife, the late Eleanor May Dodson Tragen, for 57 years.

North County Chapter Programs for October 2020

On October 8 we will welcome a popular returning guest and a noted speaker on national security affairs, Vice Admiral Charles W. Martoglio, US Navy (ret) who will present “America’s Security … in a Decade of Accelerating Change”. He will focus on the issues that will shape America’s security in the wake of the coronavirus including its impact on America’s relations with China, Russia, and Europe; the value of America’s alliances going forward; and the importance of America’s rapid economic recovery, as economic power is the cornerstone on which all other forms of national power rest. He currently teaches grand strategy and defense policy at the master’s level at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. He commanded a destroyer, a destroyer squadron, and the RONALD REAGAN Aircraft Carrier Strike Group. With five tours of duty in Washington strategy and policy positions, he has also served in senior military positions in both Asia and Europe. A recognized expert in strategic planning, he continues to be an active contributor to our nation’s security – advising and speaking on issues impacting America’s security.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On October 22  we welcome back another popular returning guest, Mr. David Edick, Jr who will present “Gas and Geopolitics in the East Mediterranean”. He will focus on the importance of the large deepwater natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea by Israel and Egypt, and more modest discoveries in the southern EEZ of the divided island of Cyprus. These have raised expectations of wealth and power among states in the region. Yet, are these discoveries economic and, if so, who will benefit? He will put EastMed gas into perspective and discuss the drivers behind growing geopolitical tensions in the region. He is a global political economist and consultant with focus upon energy, commodities, currencies, Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. He is a former president of the San Diego-Vladivostok Sister City Society, a former president of the San Diego World Affairs Council, an international businessman, and a frequent lecturer on political, economic, and financial issues.

A video of the meeting and the viewgraphs used can be found here.

North County Chapter Programs for September  2020

On September 3 our members Bill Thayer and Tom Reeve will present a follow-up Zoom program, China’s International Influence 2.0, Roundtable Discussions. This follows their very well received
July 30th short topics program on the same subject. As before, this is not our classic Lecture / Q & A format. Tom and Bill will present seven topics and facilitate seven discussions during the program. During these discussions, short opinion or brief supplemental fact statements will be welcomed. The discussions are planned to be more round-table and less strict Q & A.

A video of the meeting can be found here. 

On September 10, our member Dr. Vojin Joksimovich, an internationally recognized nuclear safety expert, will present, Geopolitics: US/China/Russia Triangle. Concepts on geopolitics and foreign policy developed by English geographer Halford Mackinder and American political scientist Nicholas Spykman will be presented. An analysis of the US / Russia post Cold War relations will be provided and then a synopsis of the PRC leaders from 1949 – present followed by a description of the Chinese rise to global power status, including the Sino-Russian entente. China has become the US peer rival during the leadership of Xi Jinping. A key question is whether the US and China can manage the rivalry without war. 16 cases over the last 500 years will be presented to provide insight. Furthermore, to show the possible impact of today’s coronavirus pandemic, past pandemics with far reaching historic consequences will be summarized. Finally, since the US is at a Geo-strategic crossroads, a way for the US to proceed will be  proposed.

A video of this presentation can be found here. 

On September 24 our member, Dr. Mehdi Sarram, a professional engineer raised in Iran with wide ranging international experience, will present, Iran, A Geopolitical Force, What is the future of Iran? In order to know why Iran is a Geopolitical Force today, we need to know a brief history of Iran. To achieve that, we will go back 8,000 years for background and then the lecture will focus on the political events of the last 41 years — starting when Khomeini came to power in 1979. It will be shown that indeed Iran today in 2020 is a Geopolitical Force in the region. The state of Iran’s economy and the suffering of the 83 million Iranians will be discussed. Finally, a brief discussion will be provided on the future of Iran and its relationship with the US.

The viewgraphs used in this presentation can be found here. 

North County Chapter Programs for August  2020

As is the custom of NCC, no programs are scheduled for the month of August.

North County Chapter Programs for July  2020

On July 9 our member, Dr. Farouk al-Nasser, will present “The Arrogance of Power and The Demise of Empires.” For some four thousand years of recorded history, powerful nations seem to have followed similar paths toward failure, albeit under different conditions of climate, culture and religion. There are many internal and external factors that contribute to the demise of Empires and the demise is a long process. It begins when the great Nation starts to equate power with virtue and major responsibilities with a universal mission. Since the end of WW II the U.S. has faced numerous political, economic and military challenges but has managed to overcome them. How long can this continue? Is the U.S. on a Slippery Slope to failure? If so, is it resilient enough to recover and be in a lead position? These are the topics that will be explored.

Farouk was born in Iraq and is a graduate of Baghdad University, the University of Colorado and the University of Denver with B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering. During his 42 year career in the high tech industry, he held technical, operational and senior executive management positions at Fortune 500, mid-size and start-up companies in California and Colorado. Since 2006 Farouk has made more than 160 presentations to civic, social and non-profit organizations, and local universities.

Farouk’s presentation  video can be viewed  here.  

On July 23 our member, Bill Thayer, will present “China: COVID, Hong Kong and Trade War”.  In January, Bill highlighted the importance of  COVID-19. What have been its effects on the Chinese economy and Chinese exports? Xi Jinping is tightening the screws on Hong Kong. What are the possible outcomes in both Hong Kong and China? What is the status of the trade war between China and the US? Various aspects of Chinese economic and financial issues including housing prices, swine flu, inflation, exports and infrastructure will be presented.

Bill has a BS in Math from Stanford, an MS in Aerospace from USC and an MBA from USC. He has worked as a stockbroker, a real estate agent, a certified financial planner and, most recently, a speaker on international cruise ship tours. He has travelled to Hong Kong five times and to Mainland China twice.

Bill’s presentation  video can be viewed  here.  

On July 30 our members, Bill Thayer and Tom Reeve, will offer a novel Round-Table Discussion adapted for this age of Zoom.   They will provide a segmented overview presentation on China’s International Influence.  After the initial segment, expanding and building on Bill’s July 23rd presentation, they will facilitate a discussion on China’s International Influence. To keep the discussion fresh, they will be ready to offer 2 to 5  minute presentations of specific issues / questions.  This program will not employ our usual Q & A format– it is intended to be a more Socratic style of managed audience sharing of — brief — thoughts and questions through Bill and Tom.  We’ll see how well it works!

If you’d like to see how well it worked, you can find a video of the meeting here.   Be forewarned though that the first 15-20 minutes of this 2 hour discussion were not recorded so you will not see the beginning.

North County Chapter Programs for June  2020

On June 11 our speaker will be Professor Carl Luna, whose talk is titled The 5th Break: Technology, Politics & Society in the 21st Century.  In it he will speak about the fundamental shift in economics and technology from an industrial to a post-industrial (to a post-post industrial) world and how it sows both global turmoil and dangerous instability, but also unprecedented opportunities for peace and prosperity. Mankind, Dr. Luna contends, is on the brink of unprecedented prosperity, but everywhere there is despair. The current global crisis of confidence in Liberal Democracy and Capitalism is the result of 18th and 19th Century social, economic and political institutions failing to grasp the new realities of the coming technological revolution.

Dr. Carl Luna is a Professor of Political Science at San Diego Mesa College and a visiting professor at the University of San Diego. 

Dr Luna’s  presentation viewgraphs  and video can be viewed  here.  

On June 25 our speaker will be Ed Stafford with the topic, Turkey and U.S. Relations: Never Harmonious, Often Difficult, Always Important.  The U.S. and the Republic of Turkey have been NATO Allies since February 1952.  Resting on quite different cultural and historical foundations and with only a few shared political goals, relations have not always been easy to maintain.  In fact, a definitive de facto break has occurred or almost occurred several times over the years, with a formal break narrowly avoided.  Yet positive relationships exist at the same time, particularly in science and the arts.  This talk will address what can and should be done by both parties to continue and broaden relations to their mutual and shared benefit. 

Ed Stafford is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer.  During his career as a political reporting officer he focused on political-military affairs, serving as the Embassy Counselor for Political-Military affairs in Ankara, Turkey from 2011-2014.  His last assignment was in Washington at the Inter-American Defense College where he taught Civilian-Military and Church-State relations.  Since retiring, he has regularly commented on events in Turkey and U.S.-Turkey relations for various publications, most often for AHVAL News.

A video of Mr. Stafford’s  presentation can be viewed  here.  

North County Chapter Programs for May 2020

On May 14, our member Dr. Mehdi Saram will speak on Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy and Nuclear Power.  As the population of the world reaches some 10 billion by 2050, fighting climate change will be a necessity for all nations. This presentation will discuss the ways in which maximizing worldwide renewable energy sources and nuclear power can be a solution as well as provide electricity to the 1.2 billion people who do not have access to it today.  The presentation is based on materials and facts provided by the UN IPCC, the Paris accord, IEA, US-EIA, UN-IAEA and other widely accepted sources. The negative impact of fossil fuels such as coal, gas through fracking and oil, based on their high carbon footprints, will also be discussed.

Dr. Mehdi Sarram is a professional engineer with 47 years of wide ranging nuclear experience who has traveled to 38 countries with nuclear programs. He has worked for government agencies, universities and private companies and has published over 30 articles in this field.

Dr Sarram’s  presentation viewgraphs  can be read here.  

On May 28, our member David Edick will present Global Oil and the Covid Crash.  The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an historic worldwide disruption of the oil industry. Social distancing measures and related lockdowns, first in China, then Europe, the United States, and spanning most continents worldwide, have caused an unparalleled collapse in demand. David will detail the market crisis and describe how it is impacting key players in the industry including the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. He will also discuss how this crisis could shape the future of the oil industry in the US and abroad.

David Edick Jr. is a 3-term Past-President of the San Diego World Affairs Council and is Principal at Core Global Advisory, a consultancy focused on political risk and market strategy. An energy specialist with particular expertise in the oil and natural gas sectors, David has lectured widely on issues related to oil & gas for more than 15 years.

David Edick’s  presentation viewgraphs and video can be read here.  

North County Chapter Programs for April 2020

On April 2, our member, Dr. James Larrimore, will examine the question, How does the IAEA verify nuclear non-proliferation in 181 States around the world. He will present the challenging roles of the IAEA Inspector as Nuclear Accountant and as Inquisitive Inspector, show what equipment an inspector uses, and explain how an inspection is carried out. He will also address what verification by IAEA various States accept, IAEA’s global verification task, and IAEA verification performed under mandate of the UN Security Council in Iraq and in Iran.  Dr. Larrimore worked for 16 years on nuclear verification at IAEA in Vienna.

Dr Larrimore’s  presentation viewgraphs and documentation can be read here.  

On April 16, our member, Bob Meyer, will discuss “Churchill: How His Non-Wartime Actions Helped Shape Our 21st Century World.” The spectacular leadership role Churchill had as Prime Minister, leading Britain through its darkest hours to a final victory in WW2, is well known. Much less well known, however, is the profound extent to which Churchill helped reshape the very foundations of our modern geopolitics, leading to what now seems like a permanent map of world affairs. This talk will focus on Churchill’s seminal role in redefining the Middle East and South Asia. It is arguably here that Churchill’s impact has been the greatest, surpassing even that of his deservedly celebrated role during WW2.  Bob Meyer worked at Hughes for a decade and retired as an Engineering Fellow from BAE Systems. He obtained his BA from Wesleyan Univ. and earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the Univ. of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Dr Meyer’s  presentation can be seen here.  

On April 30, our member William Thayer will give an online lecture titled Ernest Shackleton Trapped in Ice.  In 1914, Ernest Shackleton organized an expedition to go from one side of the Antarctic continent to the other via the South Pole.  The plan was to go as far into the Weddell Sea by ship as possible, then travel by dog sled.  Things didn’t quite work out as planned.  His ship, the Endurance, was trapped in ice and finally crushed.  This led to one harrowing trip by 3 small boats to Elephant Island and a second even more harrowing trip 800 miles to South Georgia Island to find help at a whaling station.  Ultimately the ship’s crew was rescued by a tugboat from Punta Arenas, Chile, which Bill just visited and where he saw a replica of Shackleton’s ship, the 22 foot long James Caird.  It is a story of courage, determination and wise choices, appropriate for this time.

Bill Thayer’s  presentation can be seen here.   Please note that this is an unedited, but trimmed, recording so you will see some interaction between Bill and Tom Reeve, the Moderator, at the beginning as we work to get organized!!

North County Chapter Programs for March 2020

On March 5th our member, Mr. Tibor Varga, will present Switzerland – A Multi-Cultural Success Story of Direct Democracy.  In Switzerland, diverging interests and opinions are mediated by traditions and institutions in a pragmatic quest for staying alive and thriving.  Unique and self-directed communities and cantons realized that the long-term benefits of cooperation eclipse the potential benefits of going alone. The autonomy of local communities and cantons with direct citizen control of the political process and power may be a promising approach to reduce the cycle of destructive conflicts and abuses of power around the world.  Mr. Varga, born in Hungary, is a civil engineer and water treatment specialist.

Mr Varga’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  .

On March 11, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, all future NCC Thursday Programs were temporarily postponed.

North County Chapter Programs for February 2020

On Feb. 6, our member, Dr. Farouk Al-Nasser, will present “Iraq: Sixteen Years of Corrupt Government and Foreign Influence.”  Since 2003, the US supported government of Iraq has been mired in corruption while concurrently heavily influenced by Iran.  Individual players have changed and parties gained or lost influence, but the situation has remained much the same since the invasion.  The country is now caught in the U.S.-Iran face-off with the possibility that it may become a venue for a proxy war, carried on without the consent of the Iraqi people or government.  What does this portend for the future of the country?  

On Feb. 13, we will welcome our guest Ambassador (ret.) Leslie Basset, who will present “Cupid’s Arrow Targets Foreign Affairs:  Diplomacy Is Sometimes the Art of Winning ‘Hearts and Minds’.”  In this pre-Valentine’s Day presentation, Ambassador Basset puts the spotlight on how romance, playboys, con men, honey traps and true love have affected the course of international relations over the centuries.   Ambassador Bassett spent 35 years with the Department of State serving on five continents.  From haunted embassies to love-struck envoys, she will share SOME of what goes on behind the scenes in world affairs.  To participate in the Round Table Lunch (RTL) after the meeting, contact Pat Reeve at  

On Feb. 20, we will welcome our guest, USD Professor Mary McKenzie, who will present “Populism in Europe and its Ties to the United States.”  Populism presents politics as an “us versus them” contest based on the dominance of a privileged elite over a disenfranchised general public.  Recently, populism has grown to be a force in both the U.S. and Europe, but the movements are quite different in character because they define “us” and “them” differently. Dr. McKenzie will compare the movements and will attempt to draw conclusions about populism’s longevity and its effects on international politics.  Contact Mehdi Sarram at for inclusion in the Round Table Lunch following the meeting. 

On Feb. 27, we will welcome our guest, SDSU Professor William Twayigizi, who will present “Kenya: Current Affairs and Issues.”  Against a background of the development of Kenyan politics since Independence in 1960, Professor Twyagizi will discuss alliance formation and betrayal among the three main tribes: Kikuyus, Luos, and Kalenjins. He will also look at Kenyan regional geopolitical influence, relations with Somalia and preparations for the 2022 general elections. In his conclusion he will outline Kenya’s economic opportunities, with a focus on what the absence of the US and the growing influence of China mean for the future in the region. Contact Mehdi Sarram at for inclusion in the Round Table Lunch which will take place after the meeting.

North County Chapter Programs for January 2020

Jan. 9:  Our guest, Alex Robertson, will speak on Brexit, the EU and Trade, focusing on the December 12 election in the UK and its effects on Brexit, the UK’s relationship with the European Union, and the impact of these events on the EU and on trade relationships.  Alex, with a wide background in international business, presently represents the Scottish Government for business and industry in the San Diego area.  Contact Kiki Munshi ( for inclusion in the Round Table Lunch (RTL) following the presentation.

Mr Robertson’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Jan 16: Our guest, Ms. Rachel Locke, Director of ‘Impact:Peace’ at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, USD, will discuss Evidence, Narrative, Change: Building Peace by Inspiring Action.  Ms. Locke will provide an overview of Impact:Peace’s collaboration with partners to reverse the 30-year high of violent conflict being experienced throughout the world by leveraging evidence to accelerate the most important processes in the peace-building and violence prevention fields; by creating smarter, more effective and better-funded ways; and by building peaceful societies. Current areas of collaboration focus around urban violence, appreciating the scale and intersection of all forms of violence, emerging efforts around public health, and militarized approaches to prevention.

Ms Locke’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Jan. 23:  Our member, Jim Larrimore, will speak on The IAEA and the CTBTO: Pillars of Nuclear Nonproliferation.  President Eisenhower’s call for” Atoms for Peace” in 1953 led to formation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 1970, the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) launched the nuclear nonproliferation regime and gave IAEA a larger nuclear verification mission. UN General Assembly approval in 1996 of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) led to the Organization for provisional implementation of the CTBT (CTBTO). This talk will present the achievements and current challenges of these two multilateral organizations, which serve as pillars of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Jim worked for 16 years on nuclear verification at IAEA in Vienna, where CTBTO is also located.

Dr Larrimore’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Jan. 30:  Our member, Bill Thayer (MS, MBA), will present China:  Economics, Tariffs, Currency and Inflation: The Effect of Recent Developments.  We may all wonder what is going on with tariff/counter-tariff and trade issues; what is the economic effect (present and future) of Hong Kong’s quest for democracy; how the Chinese currency is faring; what has been the effect of the swine flu epidemic on Chinese inflation.  These and other questions will be addressed by Bill who has degrees from Stanford and USC (Math, Engineering, MBA), has worked in aerospace, finance and real estate and has authored books on the Euro, Baltics and Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks.

Mr. Thayer’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

North County Chapter Programs for December 2019

Dec. 5— Our member Vojin Joksimovich will present “Existential Issues in Contemporary Serbia.”  Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, remains an unresolved international issue between Serbia, the UN and the US/NATO, EU, Russia, Turkey and recently China. The US and the EU demand negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina. Russia, which supports Serbia’s claim to the territory, demands that the Kosovo issue must be resolved within UN Resolution #1244 (1999). Serbian contemporary relations with these superpowers are addressed, as well as the state of the Serbian economy.  Vojin was born and raised in what is now Serbia. 

Dr Joksimovich’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Dec. 12— Our guest, Peter K. Nuñez (J.D.), presents “Follow the Money:  International Sanctions Enforcement Practices and Combating International Money Laundering”.  Nunez is a former Ass’t Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Calif. (including the border), Chair of the Board of the Center for Immigration Studies (Wash., DC), and a former member of the Board of Visitors of USD School of Law. Throughout his career he worked on rule of law matters with the governments of Mexico, Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Israel, China, and India.  For reservations at the post-program round table lunch, contact Tom Reeve at 

Mr Nunez’s presentation links can be found here.  

Dec. 19— Our guest, Mickey Wade, will speak on “Nuclear Fusion as a Source of Clean Energy”.  For many years nuclear fusion has been a goal of researchers in advanced nuclear countries but achieving it has proved a lengthy, challenging process.  Currently a major thirty-five country demonstration project in France is nearing completion.  Some private companies and governments are optimistic that this could bring commercial use of this energy source into reality, but a number of hurdles remain. Mickey Wade comes to us from General Atomics which has been in the forefront of fusion research since the early ‘70s.

Dr Wade’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.     

Dec. 26—No Thursday Program is scheduled because of the Holiday

North County Chapter Programs for November 2019

Nov. 7—Our guest, Professor William Chandler, will discuss “Is the European Union in Crisis“.  He will focus on recent challenges facing the EU, starting with a brief historical context and a broad view of what the EU looks like as a supra-national system.  He will also highlight more recent challenges facing the EU, including, but not restricted to, Brexit.  By November 7th we should know whether a “No-Deal Brexit” has happened or not. Professor Chandler is Professor Emeritus in political science with a specialization in U.S. and European institutions. For reservations at the post-program Round Table Lunch (RTL), please contact Kiki Munshi

Professor Chandler’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Nov. 14—Our guest, Professor Sharon Rose, will discuss “The Recent History of Ethiopia and Eritrea”, home to about 80 distinct ethnic groups and languages as well as several different religions. Over the past century and a half, Ethiopia has moved from a feudal empire through communism to the current situation in which Eritrea is a separate nation, while Ethiopia is divided into ethnically-based states with some degree of autonomy. Professor Rose is Director of the Heritage Language Program and a Co-Director of the International Institute at UCSD.  Please advise Cy Chadley,  by November 10 if you would like to attend the RTL.

Professor Rose’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Nov. 21—Our guest, Mr. Don Kent, President & CEO of the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, will present “Challenges and Changes:  Meeting Global Demand for Fish Protein While Protecting the Oceans“. Aquaculture now provides 50% of human seafood and is supplanting hunter-gatherer fishermen. Can science and market economics protect marine species while providing globally needed protein through fisheries management and ocean fish farming?  Mr. Kent is a member of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, and an adjunct professor at SDSU and USD. For reservations at the post-program round table lunch, contact Tom Reeve at  

Mr. Kent’s  presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Nov. 28—No Thursday Program is scheduled because of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

North County Chapter Programs for October 2019

Oct 3: We welcome our member and aerodynamicist, William Thayer, who will explain how wind turbines work and why they have a promising future in many countries. Denmark produces 44% of its electricity from wind turbines today, but will produce 80% in the future.  The UK produces 15% of its electricity today from wind and has future projects that could lead up to 50% of its electricity coming from wind. The US produces 7% of its electricity from wind today, but this could rise to 35% in a decade. Our speaker will explain why location is critical but distance is not.

Bill Thayer’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Oct 10: We welcome Joshua Wilson, V.P., National Border Patrol Council, Local 1613, who will present, The Reality of Protecting the International Border by the Border Patrol and Other National Security Agencies – Where Are We Today?  Our speaker has 14 years of personal border experience and degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. He will be speaking in his capacity as a union official, not as a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol. Reservations for the Round Table Lunch following the presentation should be sent to Tom Reeve at

Mr Wilson’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Oct 17: We welcome Dr. Narendra Kumar, speaking on Dalits in Contemporary India: Concerns and Challenges.  The Indian Constitution calls for the uplift of Dalits, formerly called “Untouchables,” but this has proven a complicated process both economically and politically particularly in the current revival of right-wing politics.  The reaction has at times been to reinterpret Hinduism or to turn away from it altogether or, alternatively, to seek political power. Dr. Kumar is Professor in Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.  Reservations for the Round Table Lunch following the presentation should be sent to Kiki Munshi at

Dr Kumar’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Oct 24: We welcome Dr. Patricia Marquez, speaking on Venezuela Today, Crisis and Every Day Life in a Failed State.  Venezuela is currently plagued by corruption, the collapse of basic services and institutions, massive migration, hyperinflation, and political repression. In just few decades, the country went from being an economy with tremendous oil wealth to a bankrupt society in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Dr. Márquez is Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego.  Reservations for the Round Table Lunch following the presentation should be sent to Mehdi Sarram at

Prof Marquez’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Oct 31: We welcome our member Dr. Farouk al-Nasser, speaking on Sudan, a brief history from its inception to the present.  Sudan’s recorded history goes back to Nubia, 3000 BC and has been turbulent.  Most recently the civilian revolt of December 2018 led to Omar Bashir’s removal by the military, but it is unclear if this will lead to democracy.  It’s also unclear whether US policy toward the new government will be effective.

Dr al-Nasser’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

North County Chapter Programs for September 2019

Sept. 5—Our member, Bill Thayer, will discuss “China, S. China Sea, Philippines.”  In world affairs, a focus on China should be near the top of everyone’s agenda.  This talk will address political, military and economic aspects of China including issues related to Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, the Falun Gong, the Belt & Road Initiative, State Capitalism, Market Saturation and Tariffs.  A comparison of the economic systems of the Soviet Union, China and Japan will be made.  Bill Thayer graduated from Stanford with a BS in Math and earned a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from USC and an MBA from USC.  

Bill Thayer’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Sept. 12—Our guest, Professor Jeffrey McIllwain, will discuss “Organizing Crime for State & Non-State Interests – Past, Present, Future”. This presentation describes an analytical framework that explains the process of organizing crime across time and space while illustrating the interdependent roles and functions of upperworld and underworld networks, structures, and institutions engaged in it. Organized crime is presented not as a virus preying on an otherwise healthy global political economy (in part or whole), but as an intrinsic structure of everyday life.  Dr. McIllwain is an associate professor of criminal justice and public administration in the School of Public Affairs and a Fellow in the Weber Honors College at San Diego State University.

Please advise Tibor Varga by September 9th if you wish to attend the limited seating round table lunch which takes place following the meeting.  ( 

Sept. 19— Our member, Bob Meyer, will discuss “The Impact of Smuggling on World Affairs.”  This presentation describes how modern smuggling forms a vast global parallel economy, which emerges in times of stress and then flourishes for decades once it has taken root.  By virtue of its clandestine nature, smuggling provides a primary funding source and the sole logistics chain for terrorism and insurgencies. At the same time smuggling spawns entrenched corruption, badly undermining the rule of law and weakening licit economies.  Mainstream players on the world stage also may ally with smuggling networks to gain advantage over adversaries. Bob Meyer worked at Hughes for a decade and retired as an Engineering Fellow from BAE Systems.  He obtained his BA from Wesleyan Univ. and earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the Univ. of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Bob Meyer’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

Sept. 26—Our guest, Professor Mark Heckman, will discuss, “International Cyber Security Issues and International Cyber Conduct: What is Going On Out There?” Professor Heckman will describe international conventions about cyber conduct and whether they are followed. Are we entering a world where the risks of cyber mutually assured destruction/damage may help limit bad conduct?   He will also discuss responses to cyber terrorism and international theft and extortion of intellectual property.  Professor Heckman has worked, researched, and taught in the field of information security for over 30 years, His publications include:  “The Promise and Limits of Big Data for Improving Intrusion Detection”; and “Toward a Maritime Cyber Security Compliance Regime”.

Please advise Tom Reeve by September 23rd if you wish to attend the limited seating round-table lunch which follows the meeting.  (

North County Chapter Programs for August 2019

As is our custom, there are no programs scheduled for the month of August.  Programs will resume on Sept 5.

North County Chapter Programs for July 2019

July 04: No Thursday Program is scheduled because of the holiday. 

July 11:  Our Membership Chair, Dr. Robert Y. Ning, will present “The Best of Multicultural Worldviews: A Personal Story”, discussing his formative years living in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, British colonial Hong Kong, and recently-partitioned Lahore, Pakistan, followed by his attending colleges in Rochester NY, in Urbana IL and in Pasadena CA. After graduating he worked as a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry and then as an executive in water treatment chemicals. He is currently a founding board member of a biotech company in San Diego, and an active volunteer Chaplain. 

July 18: Our member, Dr. Mehdi Sarram, will present a historical overview of the Korean Peninsula until its partition in 1945 and then describe “The Advancement of South Korea and its Peoples since WW II”, discussing their culture, standard of living and technological growth, especially in the development of nuclear power. Mehdi has maintained many personal relationships with people he met during his one-year assignment to South Korea in 2012 to help the government’s nuclear power agency design their new APR1400 reactors; he will report on their progress during recent years.

Dr. Sarram’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

 July 25: Our guest, Professor Sharon Rose, will trace the “History of Population Movements and Languages in Africa”, discussing their birth and loss through colonialism. Africa is home to approximately 2000 languages, and colonialism introduced English, French and Portuguese, which continue to serve as official languages in numerous African countries. Dr. Rose will describe how African nation-states have dealt with multilingualism and ethnic identity, and how language has been tied both to progress and to conflict, using case studies of Ethiopia, South Africa, Cameroon and Sudan. Dr. Rose is Director of the Heritage Language Program and a Co-Director of the International Institute, at UCSD. Please advise Cy Chadley if you would like to attend the limited-seating Round Table Lunch by July 22, at

Professor Rose’s presentation viewgraphs can be viewed here.  

North County Chapter Programs for June 2019

June 6:  Our guest, Dr. Alexander DeVolpi (Ph.D.), will discuss “Maritime Nuclear Applications”. Nuclear reactors have been serving an important national-security role for navies worldwide for over half a century. About 100 U.S. Navy ships now use nuclear reactors to provide on-board propulsion, electricity, heat and fresh water; they have the best safety record in the nuclear industry. Worldwide there are now 140 nuclear-powered vessels — mostly military — including submarines, aircraft carriers and icebreakers. This presentation will trace the evolution of successful nuclear applications for seagoing vessels. Dr. DeVolpi is a nuclear physicist and a retired Lieutenant Commander (U.S. Navy Reserves )who has authored nine books. 

June 13: At our Annual Meeting at the Bernardo Heights Country Club, our guest, Professor Ronald Bee, will talk about “The Future of Europe after Brexit:  A Time of Trial and Turbulence.” Since the British public narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in 2016, the EU has had trouble coming to terms with the UK’s divorce.  Will this lead to renewed troubles in Ireland, to issues with other EU members or to complications in future elections?  As for U.S.-European relations, will differences over trade or paying for NATO amount to an ongoing family squabble that will resolve itself, or will it lead to a downward spiral in transatlantic relations? Professor Bee holds a degree in European history and French literature from UC San Diego. He did his graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, studied in France, worked at the Pentagon on NATO political-military affairs, served on the German Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs and worked for the mayor of West Berlin.

Professor Bee’s presentation viewgraphs can be read here.  

 June 20: This meeting will feature a panel of three members – Dr. Farouk Al-Nasser, Dr. James Larrimore and Dr. Mehdi Sarram – who will provide their “Perspectives on Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA): continued impasse, negotiations or war?“. After a short break, the meeting will be opened to members to put forth their points of view.

The viewgraphs used in the three presentations can be found here.  

 June 27:  Our guest, Dr. Sabodh Garg, will make a presentation on “Geothermal: A Renewable Energy Source”. He will explain what geothermal energy is, where it occurs and its direct uses. He will emphasize power generation – the types of geothermal power plants, their challenges and benefits as well as their contribution to the U.S. and California power supply. Dr. Sabodh Garg received his B.A. in Mathematics and English from Panjab University in India and then his Master and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the University of Florida. He is vice-president and principal reservoir engineer with Geological Geothermal Group. He served on numerous geothermal and energy-related boards and panels and has received the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) Special Achievement Award among other awards. He has been an active participant in geothermal R&D since the mid-1970’s.

The viewgraphs used in the presentation can be found here.  

North County Chapter Programs for May 2019

MAY 2: Our guest, Dr. William Adams Twayigize, an Adjunct member of the Graduate Program in Homeland Security at SDSU, will present “Africa from Within”, discussing the history of the African continent before, during and after the colonial era, and diving into today’s Africa, with its over 3,000 distinct ethnic groups speaking over 2,000 languages, the most genetically diverse humans on Earth. Dr. Twayigize will also provide an overview of Africa’s resources and China’s interest in the continent. Please advise Mehdi Sarram,, if you would like to attend a limited-seating Round Table Lunch by April 29.

MAY 9Vice Admiral Charles W. Martoglio, US Navy (ret), will examine  “America … and the Great Power Competition”, discussing America’s greatest security challenge of the 21st Century –  the increasingly competitive rivalry posed by China and Russia teaming against American interests at home and around the world. He will address the global security environment, internal challenges faced by Russia and China, and America’s way ahead to ensure its global position in this increasingly dynamic and competitive world.  Admiral Martoglio spent 40 years in the US Navy, with tours in Asia, Europe, and Washington, including serving as Director of Strategy and Policy for the US Navy, Director for Operations at US Pacific Command, and Deputy Commander of all US military forces in Europe, Eurasia, and Israel. Please advise Pat Reeve,, if you like to attend a limited-seating Round Table Lunch.

MAY 16: Our guest, Don Christian will give a talk entitled “Making Electric Cars in China and Racing on China’s Silk Road”, discussing the US EV startup, Coda Automotive, that manufactured electric cars in a state-owned auto assembly plant in China, his experience as Engineering Director at Coda, managing the gap between communist and capitalist employees, and his participation as an EV driver in an around-the-world electric vehicle rally, driving the length of China’s legendary Silk Road, from the Pacific  across Central Asia to Europe. Don is currently CEO of Silicon Valley EV startup, and holds an MSEE from Southern Methodist University, BS in Computer Science from Ohio State Univ. Please contact Bob Meyer if you would like to attend the Round Table Lunch,

MAY 23:  Dr. Patrick Drinan, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus at USD, will discuss “The Status of Socialism in the Contemporary World“, describing how the collapse of the Soviet Union was widely expected to be followed by the implosion of socialism internationally but its adaptability, while uneven, has shown resilience in unexpected places.  The evolution of socialism as an ideology will be reviewed and its implications addressed. Dr. Drinan taught at USD for 30 years; he has a Ph.D. in Government and a MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia; he served two terms as President of SDWAC. This meeting will be continuous until 11.30 AM, followed by a Board Meeting.

MAY 30: Our guest, Professor Michael D. Ramsey (J.D.), will present “The Constitution, Separation of Powers, National Sovereignty, and International Institutions: Who Controls U. S. Foreign Policy? “. He is the Director, International & Comparative Law Programs and the Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, School of Law.  A graduate of Stanford Law School, he was a law clerk at the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  and at the U. S. Supreme Court.  He practiced international business law with Latham & Watkins, taught comparative law at the Sorbonne, Paris, lectured at Kuwait International Law School, and authored, The Constitution’s Text in Foreign Affairs (Harvard Univ. Press).  He will explore how our Constitution describes control over U.S. foreign policy and how our Constitutional governance actually affects foreign policy practice.  For reservations to the limited seating Round-Table Lunch after the meeting, please contact Tom Reeve

North County Chapter Programs for April 2019

April 4: Our venerable member Irving Tragen will discuss “Venezuela in Turmoil,” providing an analysis of the roots of the crisis that has roiled the nation for several years, from the time of Hugo Chavez through Nicolas Maduro, and he will look at the forces that are playing a vital role in this tragedy for the people of Venezuela. Mr. Tragen has over 60 years of experience dealing with inter-American relations and Latin American political, economic and social affairs.  Please advise Cy Chadley if you would like to attend the limited-seating Round Table Lunch by April 1, at

The text of the presentation can be read  here. 

APRIL 11: Our member, Bill Thayer, will discuss “CHINA CONFRONTATIONS.” As China grows in economic and military might, it is increasingly confronting other nations, unlike its “Century of Humiliation.” War is the ultimate confrontation. The Thucydides Trap describes the possibility of war with the US; however, the confrontations are in areas other than war, such as trade, technology theft, cyber warfare, expansion into the South China Sea/Pacific, the Huawei case, that involve nations other than the US–Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan Canada, Poland and more. Bill received a BS in Math from Stanford, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC and an MBA from USC.

The viewgraphs used in the presentation, as well as copies of the paper handouts distributed, can be viewed  here. 

APRIL 18: Our guest, Professor Parkes Riley will discuss “India and Its International Milieu: Pakistan, America, and China,” describing India’s changing patterns of alliances over the years, the challenges it faces from China’s current assertiveness, including India’s potential encirclement, and India’s relations with Pakistan including recent skirmishes in Kashmir.  Professor Riley has degrees from Harvard and UC Berkeley; studied for a year at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, and teaches in the UC system. Please advise Kiki Munshi if you would like to attend the limited-seating Round Table Lunch by April 15, at 

The viewgraphs used in the presentation can be viewed  here. 

APRIL 25: Our guest, William Tuchrello, will examine the “Impact of Indonesia’s Recent Presidential Election on U.S. Foreign Policy.” Over the last 20 years Indonesia has evolved a more pro-active, aggressive foreign policy that has implications for the U.S.’s policies in China and Middle East. Mr. Tuchrello is a retired diplomat who served as regional director for the Library of Congress in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  His academic background includes being a director of Fulbright Indonesia, developing the parliamentary library for Timor Leste, and director of the Global Policy Studies library (IR/PS), the University of California San Diego. Recently (2019), he published an article on Indonesia’s relations with Israel.   Please advise Kiki Munshi if you would like to attend the limited-seating Round Table Lunch by April 22, at

North County Chapter Programs for March 2019

March 7 – Our guest, Professor Michael Provence will follow last month’s presentation with the “Making of the Modern Middle East, 1920-1950,” in which he will describe how the 1918-1920 post-war settlement imposed a new Anglo-French order on the former Ottoman lands and laid the seeds of many conflicts that led to events like the wars in Palestine, Iraq, and the Gulf and civil wars in Lebanon and Syria after World War II. Professor Provence teaches Modern Middle East History at UCSD; his research focuses on the Ottoman, colonial
and post-colonial Arab world. Please advise Cy if you would like to attend the Round Table Lunch following the program,

March 14 – Our member Charles [Toby] Westbrook will guide us through an exercise in “Thinking Outside the Box” that will focus on the concept of the “Wisdom of the Crowd,” arguing that under the right circumstances the “Crowd” can be very instinctive, intuitive and especially prescient. “Who is the One that is Wiser than Anyone?” Toby during his 50-year career spent the first half in international banking, corporate finance and investment banking. The latter 25 years were spent in investment advisory and management.

March 21 – Our guest, Professor Everard Meade, will guide us through “Crisis or Diversion: What’s Really Happening on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” often framed as a dead zone, a breeding ground for crisis and tragedy, with caravans of desperate asylum seekers and violent drug traffickers having fueled a heated debate over border security and caused the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Everard Meade is Professor of Practice and Faculty Director of the Trans-Border Institute at the Kroc School. Please advise Farouk if you would like to attend the limited-seating Round Table Lunch following the program at

March 28 – Our guest, Professor Philip G. Roeder, from UCSD will talk on how “America Confronts its Russian Challenge: Hard Choices and No Easy Solutions.” Professor Roeder specializes in the analysis of the politics and policies of the Soviet Union and Russia; he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a Fulbright lecturer at Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan (Russia); he has published extensively and written four books, including ‘Post-communism and the Theory of Democracy and Red Sunset: The Failure of Soviet Politics .’
Please advise Tom Reeve if you would like to attend he limited-seating Round-Table Lunch at

The viewgraphs that Professor Roeder used in his briefing can be viewed here.  

North County Chapter Programs for February 2019

February 7 – Our guest Professor Michael Provence will talk on “The Ottoman Great War, 1911-1918“. This past November marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Armistice ending the Great War of 1914-1918. Woodrow Wilson called it the ‘war to end war’; critics called the peace conference and arrangements a ‘peace to end peace’. The Ottoman Empire was a principal war-time target for British, French, and Russian war planners. This lecture discusses the modernizing Ottoman Empire, the Middle Eastern War, and its end. Professor Provence teaches modern Middle East History at UCSD; his research focuses on the Ottoman, colonial and post-colonial Arab world.

February 14 – Member Kiki Skagen Munshi will speak on “Muslims in India“, focusing on the history of Islam on the sub-continent, the position of Muslims in India today, and India’s slide into a Hindu-focused state. Kiki has spent many years in India, firstly as a Fulbright tutor and latterly as Press Attache at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, with several years working there in between, and she retains many Indian connections.

February 21 – David Edick Jr. will explain “The Politics of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)“, detailing the growth of the LNG trade and the politics that complicate it. Natural gas is a low-carbon fossil fuel, whose share of the global energy market is being increased by transporting it in liquid form. The US is an emerging LNG export power. US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, at Davos in 2018 said of President Trump’s “Energy Dominance” agenda: “The United States is not just exporting energy, we’re exporting freedom“. David is Immediate Past President and current Board member of SDWAC, and a 6-term Past President of the San Diego International Sister Cities Association.

February 28 – Our Members Dr. Mehdi Sarram and Dr. Vojin Joksimovich will discuss “The Role of Nuclear Power to Save the Planet“. Climate scientists have determined that the world must drastically cut its fossil fuel dependence with nuclear and renewables playing key roles in their 2050 scenario. The World Nuclear Association claims the nuclear industry is ready to deliver 25% of the global electricity by 2050 compared with 11.5% at present. Both speakers earned their Ph.D in Nuclear Engineering, Dr. Sarram at Michigan University and Dr. Joksimovich at Imperial College London.

The two sets of presentation materials used in this program can be viewed by going here and then scrolling down to the date of the presentation and clicking on the appropriate file.

North County Chapter Programs for January 2019

January 3 – In response to recent headlines, our members will present a 55-minute PBS Frontline Documentary titled Saudi Arabia Uncovered followed by open discussions of the issues. Frontline Managing Editor Andrew Metz stated that “When we take on an untraditional project like this, we do it very cautiously, after lots of trust building and always with adherence to high standards.  There was a rigorous process to verify footage.  The footage was double, and triple checked.” This is a controversial and eye-opening film and received some criticism. “As for the broad assessments, to be clear, I agree with some of the comments made regarding the issues and challenges facing Saudi Arabia today. Saudi is a big subject…a huge topic.”

For a collection of reviews about this Documentary click here

January 10 – Our Guest Timothy J. Lueker, Ph.D. of UCSD – Scripps Institution of Oceanography will discuss the topic of Climate Change.   Dr. Lueker’s skills and expertise include Climate Change, Atmosphere, Carbon Sequestration, Greenhouse Gases and the art of mosaic making. He will talk about his research and how increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide contribute to ocean warming and acidification and, in turn, endanger corals through the dissolution of their skeletons. Dr. Lueker completed his undergraduate studies at the Florida Institute of Technology, majoring in oceanography, and began his relationship with Scripps as a researcher in December 1983. Please contact Tibor Varga for the Round Table Lunch,

To view the slides used during the program and some backup documentation click here

 January 17 – Our member Cy Chadley will talk on “THE UK: STILL SEARCHING FOR A ROLE”, discussing the British Empire’s legacy and describing how the UK’s role in the world has changed since World War II, from the formation of the Commonwealth of Nations, joining the European Union and Brexit. Cy was born and raised in Britain where he graduated from University College London, majoring in Economics.  His career in financial administration with an international British construction company took him to many parts of the world and finally to San Diego in 1981. Cy became a U.S. citizen in 1993 and is a former president of the NCC. He has visited over 120 countries; is a member of the United Nations Association, USA; and was presented with the 2010 Carroll and Noah Cannon award. He is a life member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the American and British Humanist Associations.

January 24 – Our guest Akos Rona-Tas, Ph.D. will talk about Predicting the Future: From Augurs to Algorithms. Dr. Rona-Tas is Professor of Sociology at UCSD. He received his Ph.D. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is the author of two books; one explored the economic roots of the peaceful collapse of communism and the other the emerging role of credit cards in 8 post-communist countries. His talk is in response to unexpected events in recent years, such as the 9/11 terror attacks, the 2008 financial collapse, the European refugee crisis, Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump, to name a few. These events were unanticipated by the general public and most social scientists. One response has been to offer plausible ex-post explanations for each with hindsight about what factors we should have looked at to make the right predictions. A second approach asks how we, and especially experts, make predictions and how successful they turn out to be. Please contact Tibor Varga for the Round Table Lunch,

January 31 – Our Member Dr. Robert Meyer (Ph.D. in Physics, Univ. of Massachusetts/Amherst) will present a talk entitled “China’s Belt and Road Initiative”.  Dr. Meyer retired from a career in the defense industry and has long had an interest in history and world affairs. The presentation describes China’s evolving Belt and Road Initiative in the context of its attempt to transition to a middle class consumer economy, its burgeoning debt, an aging demographic, and other internal challenges. Also discussed are the external geopolitical issues that must be overcome for the Belt and Road Initiative to meet China’s strategic goals. The talk concludes with a summary of how the Belt and Road Initiative may affect the Middle East, Africa, Europe – and also the US.

North County Chapter Programs for December 2018

December 6 – Our Guest, Dr. Diana Kutlow, will talk about Possibilities for Peace in Israel/Palestine. Dr. Kutlow is Director of Development for Hands of Peace, where she is responsible for strategic planning and development. The presentation will share some stories about the current conditions in Israel and Palestine and about what over 600 Hands of Peace alumni are doing to build peace. She has a BA in history from Barnard College at Columbia University, a Master’s in Peace and Justice from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at University of San Diego (USD), and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from USD. She managed the Distinguished Lecture Series and served as Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Kroc School. In previous positions at the New York Post, CBS Sports and ABC Sports, she covered national and international sports events, including several Olympic Games and the first Goodwill Games in the then Soviet Union. Please contact Farouk Al-Nasser if you would like to attend the Round Table Lunch (

December 13 – Our Guest, Professor G. Allen Greb, will discuss Georgia Caught Between Two Worlds. He will discuss Georgia’s history, its relationships with Russia and with the West and what Georgians themselves believe to be their most serious security concerns. Dr. Greb received his PhD in History from UC San Diego in 1978, and his BA from UCLA.  Since 2002, he has been the advisor and coordinator of the International Security and Conflict Resolution Program at SDSU where he teaches Political Science. Prior to this, he served as the American coordinator of the international Nuclear History Program in Maryland, Britain, France, and Germany; as a research associate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and as associate director of the University of California system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, centered at the University of California at San Diego. He has published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, and Pacific Historical Review and is the coauthor of Toward a Livable World:  Leo Szilard and the Crusade for Nuclear Arms Control. Please contact Farouk Al-Nasser if  you would like to attend the Round Table Lunch (

December 20 – Our Member Bill Thayer will talk about Norwegian Oil & Gas,focusing on how Norway produces so much oil and gas and how critical their supplies are for the EU. Russia supplies 30% of the natural gas used and Norway supplies an equivalent amount. He will also talk about the Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, a complicated topic because of the tradeoff between a desire to sanction Russia’s economy and Europe’s desire for more natural gas from Russia. Bill received a BS in Math from Stanford, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC, and an MBA from USC.  He worked 30 years in the aerospace industry and 10 years in real estate and finance. He has visited over 60 countries and all 7 continents. With regard to Europe, he has a keen interest in the political and economic situation and monitors European media outlets.

To view the presentation materials used during the program, click here

December 27 – There will be no program on December 27.

North County Chapter Programs for November 2018

November 1 – Our member Tibor Varga will address Migration and Refugee Issues Past and Present – A Central European Perspective. There is complex motivation for migration and a mixed track record of successful integration and prosperity of migrants in their new homelands. Multiple factors are all at play and affect the outcome. Looking at Central Europe and its ethnic, religious and cultural tapestry, survival of the adaptable and paranoid will be explained. Tibor has a BS in Water Resources Engineering. and has personally experienced the aftermath of WW2, the Hungarian uprising, the Yugoslav civil war, survival in a refugee camp and life as an emigrant.

To view the presentation materials used during this program, click  here

November 8 – Our guest Ronald F. King will talk about EU Political Developments in the Visegrad Countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). The lecture will explore the rise of the xenophobic ultra-right in Europe, with a prognosis that is not at all optimistic. At the most recent national day celebration in Poland, tens of thousands of extreme nationalist and other far-right demonstrators paraded through the streets. In Hungary, 78% have strongly negative feelings toward immigrants from outside the EU. Ronald F. King is a professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. He earned graduate degrees from Oxford and the University of Chicago.  He was recently senior specialist to Tyumen State University in Siberia, and a ‘Profesor Onorific’ from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania.  Please contact Tibor Varga for the Round Table Lunch,

November 15 – Our guest Professor Emerita Marjorie Cohn, of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, will discuss The Quest for Justice at the International Criminal Court, outlining its creation and its complex jurisdiction that limits situations it can address. She will highlight a controversial case against a former child soldier and the current U.S. administration’s attitude toward the court.  Professor Cohn is the former president of the National Lawyers Guild, an author and a political commentator.

November 29 – Our member Tom Reeve (J.D.) will present How Universal Today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Adopted by the United Nations in 1948? The UN’s 70-year old Declaration expresses many political as well as social ideals. But the present world’s diverse views on “human rights” are found in two more recent and competing documents:  the Declaration on the Human Rights In Islam in the ‘Cairo Declaration’, and the Asia World Conference on Human Rights in the ‘Bangkok Declaration’.  Tom will examine the differences among these three declarations. Tom graduated from the US Naval Academy and New York State University Law School. He worked with Thomas Buergenthal, the future Judge of International Court of Justice and served in Judge Advocate’s General Corps in the US and overseas. After his Navy career Tom practiced law at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps as a litigation attorney.

North County Chapter Programs for October 2018

October 4 – Our Member Bill Thayer, will address The Populist Revolt in EuropeThere is widespread dissatisfaction with the establishment political parties on the issues of immigration and economic austerity.  Thus new parties have been formed, and in recent elections, Populists took control of the government in Italy, Austria, and Poland. How have these and other countries been affected?  What might happen in the future? William Thayer received a BS in Math from Stanford, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC, and an MBA from USC.  He worked for 30 years in the aerospace industry and 10 years in real estate and finance. He has visited over 60 countries and all 7 continents. With regard to Europe, he has a keen interest in the political and economic situation and monitors European media outlets.

October 11 – Our Guest David Jancsics, Ph.D., will talk about Systemic Corruption – In a Hungarian and European Context.  He will discuss the main corruption trends in post-communist Hungary between 1990 and 2018. He will also talk about the possible reasons why the EU is unable to curb corruption in member states. David Jancsics is an Assistant Professor at SDSU. Prior to that, he was teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Rutgers University. His research involves corruption and informal practices in Central and Eastern Europe and corruption on the US-Mexico border.

October 18 – Our Guest Peter K. Nunez, J.D., former Ass’t Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement will present  An Analysis & Explanation of Current Border Security Issues and Immigration Policies & Practices. Peter K. Nuñez is also a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Calif. (including the California-Mexico border), Chair of the Board of the Center for Immigration Studies (Washington, DC), and a former member of the Board of Visitors of USD School of Law. Through his career, he worked with the governments of Mexico, Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Israel, China, and India. This is an opportunity to hear an expert speaker with both operational and high-level policy/oversight experience.

October 25 – Our Guest Erik Gartzke, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at UCSD and Director of the Center for Peace & Strategic Studies, will present Cooperation & Conflict in the Virtual World. He will talk about how cyber and other emerging technologies will shape the future of world affairs. He will discuss traditional and emerging forms and modes of conflicts and deterrence, including the automation of war and its consequences. He will explore if conflicts are inevitable or necessary.

North County Chapter Programs for September 2018

September 6 – Our Member Vice Admiral Robert Thomas, US Navy (ret.) is the former Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet and currently a Professor of Practice at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. He will discuss The South Korean Conundrum and the Journey Toward a Nuclear Free Korea.  Please contact Tom Reeve for the limited seating Round Table Lunch following the program,

September 13 – Our Member Vojin Joksimovich (Ph.D.), Nuclear Physicist and internationally recognized safety expert. He will discuss the Impact of Mainstream Media on Truth: Particularly during Wars, – focusing on the mainstream English-speaking media coverage of the Yugoslav wars in Bosnia and Kosovo.  He will reference “The Great Deceit” per Prof. John Schindler’s book Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qaida, and the Rise of Global Jihad as well as Phillip Knightley’s book The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and myth-maker from Crimea to Kosovo.  He will also discuss his personal experiences with the print and TV media.

September 20 – Our Member Charles Westbrook (Toby), Master’s degree in History and distinguished career in International Banking with B of A, Dillingham Co. and Morgan Stanley spanning 50+ years in Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He will speak about International and Corporate Banking:  Lessons Learned and Memories Shared with a focus on the special and privileged role the U.S. dollar holds as the designated key reserve currency for most of the World and World Trade, and the increased prospect of that role being jeopardized as trade relationships are being realigned without U.S. participation. He will also provide a brief tutorial on Foreign Exchange Exposure and Exchange/Capital Controls.

September 27 – Our Guest Arthur Gopak, Master of Science in Finance is CEO and Editor-in-Chief at AlphaGamma, a business portal for young professionals which is ranked among the Top 20 most promising Dutch companies.  He will discuss How to Build an International Network of Young Professionals. AlphaGamma has a global reach of 1.5M+ people every month and works with organizations such as the United Nations, Rice University and AIG. He is going to share his insights and observations on the trends in the labor market and the startup ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic.   Please contact Tibor Varga for the limited seating Round Table Lunch following the program,

North County Chapter Programs for August 2018

As is our custom, there are no programs scheduled for the month of August.  Programs will resume on Sept 6.

North County Chapter Programs for July 2018

July 5th:  Our member and past president, James Larrimore, (Ph.D.), International Atomic Energy Agency (retired) will present a program on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “Complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” is stated to be a commonly agreed goal for the future of the Korean Peninsula. The precedents for denuclearization in Libya and South Africa will be discussed. The outcome and follow-up on denuclearization at the Singapore Summit will be discussed.

July 12th:  Our guest speaker will be Professor Michael J. Callen (Ph.D.), of the Rady School of Management of the Univ. of San Diego. He has researched accountability in the delivery of services and will present, Building the Financial Economy in Afghanistan. He seeks to identify ways to address accountability and service delivery failures in the public sector, working primarily in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. If you wish to attend the limited seating Round-Table Lunch, please contact Tibor Varga at

July 19th: Member, Tibor G. Varga (R.Civ.E.), will present, Water Shortages On a Planet Where 70% of the Surface is Covered with Water: How Can This Be and What Can Be Done?  He is a graduate of the Water Resources College of the Technical Univ. of Budapest. Access to potable water is a fundamental human need and denial or limitation can lead to suffering, migration, and possibly war. He will explain water management and help us to understand the international scope that the possible solutions to some of these difficult multi-national problems require.

July 26thAuthors Day and Coffee Social. We close our season with member-authors showcasing their books. Amb. (ret.) Irving Tragen (J.D.):Two Lifetimes As One; Ele and Me and The Foreign ServiceMehdi Sarram (Ph.D.): Nuclear Lies, Deceptions and HypocrisiesArnold Regardie (J.D.): Prelude to Disaster – How Imperial Japan’s Diplomatic Treachery Led to America’s Greatest Military Disaster – Pearl Harbor Kiki Skagen Munshi (Ph.D.): Whisper in Bucharest and Nonny, Nani.  Vojin Joksimovich (Ph.D.): Revenge of the Prophet: How Clinton and His Predecessors Empowered Radical Islam.  Jack Bowsher (MBA): Educating Voters for Rebuilding America.


North County Chapter Programs for June 2018

June 7:  Ambassador (Ret.) Leslie Ann Bassett will address our Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon at the Bernardo Heights Country Club on the topic, “Tio Sam in the Looking Glass: How Latin America Sees the U.S.”   We often look at Latin America’s issues and challenges in terms of their impact on the U.S., but the nations of the region are increasingly independent, assertive and effective global players who have broadened their alliances, trade relationships and allegiances.  Join us for a thoughtful look at how Latin America sees the U.S.

June 14:  Professor William Weeks (Ph.D.) of San Diego State University (Emeritus) will discuss “Globalization: The Concept in Historical Context”.  The modern world has seen three great ages of globalization. The current Third Age began in the 1970’s as the product of U. S. Cold War strategy and re-invigorated global free market ideology.  He will discuss China’s rise from a peasant society to economic powerhouse, but which was not accompanied by expanded political freedom, nor have the U. S. and the West uniformly benefited during this Third Age.  For reservations for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the meeting contact Farouk Al-Nasser at

June 21:  Professor Joan Anderson (Ph.D.) of the University of San Diego (Emerita) will discuss “Why a Bigger Wall Won’t Solve U.S. Drug or Immigration Problems”.  She will give a brief history of the border wall and review the economics of immigration and illegal drugs from the supply side.  She will then discuss some alternative approaches to reduce demand – urging that impacting demand would be much more effective and less costly than attempting to block a strong demand supply chain.  For reservations for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the meeting contact Tom Reeve


June 28:  Dr. Robert Meyer (Ph.D. in Physics, University of Massachusetts/Amherst) will present a talk entitled Imaging Remote Sensing and World Affairs.”  Dr. Meyer retired from a career in imaging remote sensing.  His talk describes the dramatic impact upon our conduct of world affairs as mankind’s use of lenses, cameras and overhead imaging platforms has evolved.  Specific impacts discussed include the influence of imaging technology on war, disaster preparedness, urban development, and environmental monitoring.

For further information, please email Tom Reeve at

North County Chapter Programs for May 2018:

May 3: Vice Admiral Charles W. Martoglio, US Navy (ret), will explain how America makes national security decisions, conducts foreign policy, integrates the numerous U.S. departments and agencies involved in security policy, and involves international and non-governmental organizations in protecting America and U.S. interests in “National Security Decision Making in America”.   The backdrop is North Korea’s nuclear program, China and Russia’s strategic alliance against America, and continued instability across the Middle East — simultaneous and global challenges to America’s security. Please contact Farouk Al-Nasser for the limited-seating Round-Table Lunch following the program at

May 10Professor Tamar Arieli, (Ph.D.) is the head of the Conflict Management Program at Tel Hai College, Israel, and currently the Israel Institute Visiting Professor and Scholar at the Jewish Studies Program of SDSU.  Dr. Arieli will present “Israel – 1948-2018:  Learning from the Past, Looking Toward the Future”. Israel has faced challenges over its existence as a modern state — political, social-cultural, economic and environmental. While politics and wars have been the focus of most global attention, matters of society and environmental sustainability are increasingly central to the quality of life of Israel’s citizens and its prospects for stability and prosperity. Dr. Arieli’s perspective is from her studies in political geography, regional and urban planning, and conflict resolution.

May 17: Hisham Foad (Ph.D.), Associate Professor of Economics (SDSU) will explain “What happens when the Middle East runs out of water?”  Conflict, economic stagnation, and political instability are all key challenges facing the Middle East. However, one major issue confronting the region that does not get nearly the attention it deserves is water. Many of the countries in the region face water shortages so severe that they cannot effectively grow enough food to feed their populations. While climate certainly plays a role, much of the water scarcity in the region is man-made, a result of government policies, conflict, and weak institutions that have encouraged over-use and limited conservation. Dwindling water resources challenge the tenuous stability and limit the growth potential of many of the countries in the region and may even ignite wider cross-border conflicts. In this talk, we will explore the causes of water scarcity in the region, the potential economic and political effects if nothing is done, and what options are out there to reverse this trend.  Please contact Farouk Al-Nasser for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the program at

May 24: Dr. John Shu (J.D. Pepperdine Law & G.C., Peking Univ.) was a Law Clerk to Judge Paul H. Roney of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.  Dr. Shu will discuss and explain the background, function, standards and procedures of the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court And Its Warrants”.  Sometimes referred to as the “FISA Court,” it hears and rules upon the U.S. Government applications for electronic surveillance, physical search, and certain other forms of investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes. Please contact Tom Reeve for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the program

May 31: Dr. Y Pang Tsui (Eng.Sc.D., Columbia Univ.) will discuss “Hong Kong: Re-Integration into China”.  In 1842, China ceded Hong Kong Island “in perpetuity” to Great Britain.  Over the next century and a half, tiny British Hong Kong, with an ethnic Chinese population, has become a global economic powerhouse. Why did Britain return it to China in 1997? Dr. Tsui will discuss Hong Kong’s transition from British Crown Colony to the Peoples Republic of China. He will review historical, cultural, demographic, geopolitical, and economic factors to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders in this transition. Dr. Tsui is an inventor and developer of engineering processes for manufacturing. Please contact Tom Reeve for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the program


North County Chapter Programs for April 2018:

April 5:  Dr. Alexander DeVolpi (Ph.D.) will discuss “Cold War Brinkmanship and Legacies: Evolving Roles of Nuclear Technology.” His presentation was derived from his latest book, “Cold War Brinkmanship: Nuclear Arms, Civil Rights, Government Secrecy” (Amazon, 2017).  His talk will focus on Navy experience, reactor history, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, reactor safety, the Cuban missile crisis, arms control, collapse of the Soviet Union, demilitarization, and current  administration nuclear challenges.  Dr. DeVolpi is a nuclear physicist and a retired Lieutenant Commander (U.S. Navy Reserves). He has authored nine books. Reservations for the RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at 


April 12:  NCC Member Mr. Bill Thayer will provide “A Comparison of the Icelandic and Greek Economic Crashes.”  In 2008, the economy of Iceland imploded.  In 2010, Greece suffered a similar fate.  Both countries got in trouble because of borrowing.  For Iceland, it was the private sector.  For Greece, it was the public sector.  But the subsequent paths of Iceland and Greece were very different.  Iceland, not a member of the Eurozone, received essentially no help.  Greece received three different bailouts from the Eurozone.  Which country is in better shape today?  It is Iceland by a mile.  Why?  Well, that is what the talk will explain.   Bill Thayer has an MBA and spent 10 years in real estate and finance after spending 30 years in aerospace engineering.   This will be a continuous meeting until 11:30.   

After a short break the San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC) President and Vice President will provide a summary overview of the organization and its structure and will discuss how SDWAC has experienced significant change and growth in the last few years putting them in a better position to increase its impact and expand its reach in engaging and educating San Diegans with respect to world affairs, global economic and trade and cultural outreach.  They will also provide a glimpse into the strategic thinking of SDWAC and a preview of what lies ahead for the organization. 


April 19:  NCC member Mr. Cyrus Bharucha will discuss “India Minorities and the Modi Government.” The Modi government in India is widely perceived as promoting a caste Hindu agenda at the expense of India’s minorities.  This affects the positions of Muslims, Christians, and Parsis as well as Dalits (Untouchables), and other Backward Castes and Tribal religious groups in varying ways.  Cyrus Bharucha, a Parsi, will address this question in the context of a modernizing and economically expanding India.  He has worked in media organizations in India, Britain, and the U.S. including BBC, CNN, and PBS.  He has also taught media production and analysis in India.  He has produced a widely acclaimed documentary on the history of the Parsis.  Reservations for the RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at


April 26:  Mr. John Schlosser will present “Highlights of a State Department Political Officer’s Career” Mr. Schlosser, President of the San Diego World Affairs Council, served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State from 1983 to 2007. He will discuss some of the substantive issues he grappled with as a political officer during his career. Touching briefly on issues that arose in The Netherlands and the former Dutch colony of Suriname early in his career, his remarks will focus on: changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba in the mid-1990s; Poland’s accession to NATO in the late ’90s; aspects of U.S. policy toward the nonproliferation of WMD in the early 2000s; and U.S. policy toward India and Pakistan in the mid-2000s. Although there is no single overarching theme uniting the presentation, the common thread will be the importance of diplomacy in shaping American foreign and national security policy. Reservations for the RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at

For further information about any of these April programs, please email

North County Chapter Programs for March 2018:


March 1st: Allen Greb (Ph.D) will present his findings on “The Baltic States and Russia: A New Cold War,” discussing the questions: Do we need to worry about Russian tanks rolling into the Baltic States anytime soon? What is the relationship between Estonia, the Baltic States, and Russia? What are Estonia’s and the Baltic States’ major strategic concerns? And why from the Tallinn’s perspective, “hybrid warfare” is the threat that Estonians think about the most? Dr. Greb is the coordinator of the International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) Program at SDSU.


 March 8thMary McKenzie (Ph.D.), a professor at USD, will talk on “Europe at a Crossroad: A Perfect Storm,” discussing several threats Europe faces in 2018. What had generally been regarded as the successful and historically remarkable institutionalization of the continent is being shaken by both internal and external forces. This lecture will examine the postwar development of Europe, focusing specifically on its key institutions: the EU (and the Euro), NATO, and the OSCE. Current challenges to the unity of Europe, then will be addressed, including Brexit, the continuing migrant crisis, the growth in strength of the far right in several countries, and the remaining economic disparity between eastern and western Europe. Reservations for the RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at


March 15th: Allen Wittenborn (Ph.D.) will discuss “From Burma to Myanmar: Where It’s Been, Where It’s Going,” providing a brief overview of the past 30 years, including the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, her final release from house arrest, and the ensuing problems with the generals, as well as the current Rohingya issue which is getting nastier all the time. He will discuss the current situation ‘on the ground’ in Burma, how the people are doing, and some interesting happenings. Professor Wittenborn teaches at SDSU. Reservations for the RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at


March 22ndMember Mehdi Sarram Ph.D. will explain “Global Nuclear Waste Disposal” analyzing the global technical and political issues with the nuclear waste produced from commercial nuclear power plants. A brief discussion will be provided on the public perception of nuclear waste, especially on the problems next door to us at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Finally, he will discuss how France has solved its nuclear waste problem by reprocessing. Dr. Mehdi Sarram is a nuclear physicist and the President of Energy Security Consulting Group.

March 29thMember Robert Meyer (Ph.D.) will present a talk entitled “Foreign Aid.” A common perception of foreign aid is that it is selfless charity, directed at helping underdeveloped nations and impoverished or displaced peoples. While there are often very altruistic motives driving non-government providers of foreign aid, government-funded aid is intended to promote national security and related foreign policy initiatives. The presentation will describe the emergence of government-sponsored foreign aid in the 20th century as a powerful, low-cost, but easily-misapplied new tool for furthering these national policy objectives.

For further information about any of these March programs, please e-mail

North County Chapter Programs for February 2018:

February  1:Professor Susan Shirk (Ph.D.) will describe “US-China Relations under Xi and Trump.”  As relations between the US and China have grown more competitive and contentious, American policy experts are rethinking past strategies and debating what revisions are needed.   Meanwhile both countries have leaders whose leadership style and foreign policies breaks with past precedent, thereby introducing a high degree of unpredictability into the relationship.    What are the risks and opportunities for the future?  Dr. Shirk is a Research Professor and Chair, 21st Century China Center – School of Global Policy & Strategy at UCSD.  There will not be a RTL after this meeting.


February  8:Professor John Reilly (Ph.D.) visiting Fellow Cambridge University/UCSD will discuss “President Trump’s Foreign Policies.” In his first year in office President Trump has repudiated the Paris agreement on climate change, withdrawn from  the Transpacific Partnership, reversed a half century of support for the European Union, threatened to withdraw the US from the Iran Nuclear Agreement, begun a withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement and qualified American support for NATO. In one year therefore President Trump has fundamentally eroded America’s leadership role in the world. ” Reservations for a RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland


February 15:  NCC member Toby Westbrook will talk about his experience working in “International Banking and CorporateFinance: Lessons learned and Memories Shared. He will discuss foreign exchange risks, especially how it pertains to individual investors, and why he firmly believes the lessons he learned are just as relevant today. He will focus on three  themes of political risk: Heightened risk of expropriation should current NAFTA negotiations falter and fail, challenges to the U.S. Dollar’s 70+ year reign as the dominant reserve currency as the country’s fiscal situation deteriorates, and the U.S. turning inward and engaging a more protectionist stance with our trading partners.  Finally, Mr. Westbrook will give his observations on understanding Pakistan’s intransigence towards increasing military pressure on their Northwest Frontier Border and why it is important to the U.S.  Bill Thayer will serve as moderator and will offer a brief critique of Toby’s presentation.

February 22:  SDWAC member David Edick Jr. will speak on Geopolitics and the Arctic Melt.”  The Arctic is in the midst of profound transformation driven by rapid climate change. Dramatic decreases in the extent and thickness of polar sea ice are opening new routes for commercial shipping and unlocking previously inaccessible resources. He will discuss these changes, their implications, and whether the Arctic Council will succeed as a venue for managing geopolitical competition in the Arctic. David Edick is the Immediate Past President of SDWAC and Managing Director of Core Global Advisory, a financial and management consultancy focused on energy, political risk, real estate, and global financial markets.Reservations for a RTL following this meeting may be made by contacting Cy Chadley at by Monday February 19.

North County Chapter Programs for January 2018 


            In January we will focus on “Understanding Abrahamic Religions and Their Role in Global Affairs.”  Rev. Daren Erisman, PhD, our moderator throughout this fascinating and relevant four-part series, is the senior pastor at House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Escondido. He has degrees in Physics, Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Colorado, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts in Islamic Studies from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He received his PhD in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley.

Please Note:  A round table luncheon (RTL) will follow each of the programs below. 

Contact  for reservations.  These luncheons are for members only. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018  9:30 a.m.

Lecture 1:  “Understanding Judaism and its Role in Global Affairs”   Rabbi Nadav Caine will present “The Influence of Judaism in World History and Global Affairs” as part of the Abrahamic Faith series.  The early books of the Hebrew Bible fuse tribal history, politics, divine revelation, and social legislation into something we label “religion” today.   How did Biblical and post-Biblical Judaism shape world affairs?  How do our modern conceptions of “religion” shape how we understand the Bible’s influence on world affairs, pro and con?  Can we better understand current affairs in America, Europe, and Israel by examining Judaism’s influence? Rabbi Nadav Caine, a conservative Jewish Rabbi, has served at Ner Tamid Synagogue, Poway, CA for 11 years. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018  9:30 a.m.

Lecture 2:  “Understanding Christianity and its Role in Global Affairs”     Dr. David Moseley will discuss the origins, main beliefs and practices of Christianity; its relationship with the outside world; and its evolving identity as it transitioned from a sub-group of Judaism during the Roman empire to a legally recognized religion.  Global Christian history especially imperialism/colonialism, militarism, and inter-faith relations will be addressed.  Dr. Moseley will also discuss global contemporary issues concerning Christianity, especially climate change and sustainable development.  Dr. Mosely is the Director of Global Education/Teaches Religious Studies & Philosophy at Bishop’s School in La Jolla. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018  9:30 a.m.

 Lecture 3:  “Understanding Islam and its Role in Global Affairs”  Dr. Khaleel Mohammed  will explain the how Islam both converges with and diverges from the two older Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity.   Dr. Mohammed will analyze the importance of the semantic basis of the term “Islam” and its role as a movement that developed into an empire that ultimately confronted Byzantine, Persia and Europe.  Dr. Mohammed will relate this history to Islam’s decline after the Industrial Revolution and how it was affected by rising European power and colonization.  He will follow Islamic global influence through the two world wars, the founding of Israel, and into the post-9/11 era.  Dr. Khaleel Mohammed is a Professor at SDSU and teaches comparative religions, Islam, and Islamic Law.   **Please note that this program will run without a break and end at 11:30 am to accommodate the speaker’s schedule**

 Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.

 Lecture 4:  Panel Discussion “Summarizing Abrahamic Religions and their Role in Global Affairs  Panelists Rabbi Nadav Caine (Judaism), David Moseley Ph.D. (Christianity), and  Khaleel Mohammed Ph.D. (Islam) will discuss questions developed by our moderator during the first half of the program.  The second half of the program will be member Q&A. Please prepare your questions during the series and bring them with you to this session.