Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations


MCFR Individual, Family and Institutional Members can attend the regular monthly event with no event fee.  During registration, please use the email under which you became a member to see all the registration options available to members.

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Upcoming events

    • 2018-02-01
    • 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
    • The Madison Club, 5 E Wilson St, Madison

    We are pleased to announce a special MCFR event on Thursday, February 1 from 8:30-10:00 at the Madison Club.  Along with the UW Center for European Studies, we are welcoming William Drozdiak for a special presentation and discussion. 

    This will be a breakfast event, and pre-registration and prepayment is required.

    The charge is for the breakfast buffet, and applies to members as well as guests, since this event is an addition to the 9-event annual schedule that is paid for with membership dues.

    William Drozdiak is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at The Brookings Institution, and a senior advisor for Europe with McLarty Associates, an international strategic consultancy firm based in Washington, D.C. For 10 years, Drozdiak served as president of the American Council on Germany (ACG), one of the oldest and most prestigious non-profits devoted to cooperation and understanding between the United States, Germany, and Europe.

    Drozdiak worked for two decades as a senior editor and foreign correspondent for The Washington Post. As foreign news editor from 1986 to 1990, he directed the Post’s award-winning international news coverage. During his tenure, the Post won two Pulitzer Prizes for its international reporting on the Middle East and on the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Before becoming a journalist, Drozdiak played professional basketball in the United States and Europe from 1971 until 1978. He is the author of Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West (W. W. Norton & Company, 2017).

    "Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West" is an urgent examination of how the political, economic and social volatility in Europe will affect the US and the rest of the world. Drozdiak depicts the imminent crisis in Europe, which threatens not only America’s long-time relationship with its allies, but global security. The UK stunned the world by leaving the EU; in Germany, there is growing alarm that one million refugees, mostly from Syria, are putting the country’s stability at risk; in Spain, a protracted economic crisis has spread disillusionment among young people and damaged support for centrist political leaders; while Greece has become a way station for refugees fleeing Syria. Drozdiak uses his journalistic background to investigate the ongoing situation and ask the important questions. Where does Europe go from here? How can the west can revitalize its key institutions like NATO and the EU? The result is a holistic view of contemporary European history that the Financial Times calls one of the best books of 2017.

    • 2018-02-13
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • The Madison Club, 5 E Wilson St

    Speaker:  Professor Barton Miller,  UW Madison Department of Computer Science

    In June of 2013, Edward Snowden stole more than 1.5 million top secret documents that he obtained from the computer systems of the National Security Agency (NSA), disclosing a substantial amount of this material to the U.S. and foreign media. While he stated that his motivation was to publicize the NSA’s illegal collection of information on U.S citizens, documents on that topic accounted for only a tiny part of what he took. Among the rest, were documents that contained many details of our intelligence networks and of the critical techniques that the NSA and our allies used for CNE (computer network exploitation). Following Snowden, there have been several other troubling disclosures of NSA data, publicizing even more CNE tools and techniques.

    The result of these disclosures has been a steady stream of cyber attacks with criminal, terror, and political motivations.  This leads us to some important questions about whether the U.S. or any country should be conducting CNE research (Professor Miller will argue the necessity of saying yes on this one), what limits should be placed on such research, how these events have affected our relationship with our allies, and what the recent disclosures have meant for our ability to conduct effective intelligence? He will share his views, but he hopes to provide a forum for an active group discussion on these topics.
    The factual narrative will be based on information that can be found in open (non-classified and public) sources.

    Miller is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Amar & Belinder Sohi Professor in Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the Chief Scientist of the DHS Software Assurance Marketplace Research Facility and a Principle Investigator on the U.S. National Science Foundation Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. His research spans the areas of computer security and high-performance computing. He has published widely and lectures and teaches around the world on computer security topics.
    Miller has served on advisory boards and committees at the Los Alamos National Labs, Institute for Defense Analysis, and U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force. He has also served on the UW-Madison University Committee Working Group on Classified Research and Campus Task Force on Software Intellectual Property.

    He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery.

    • 2018-03-07
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • The Madison Club, 5 E Wilson St

    Speakers:  Professor John Ohnesorge and Professor Kevin Kelly, UW Madison Law School

    North Korea poses unprecedented challenges to the US and the world.  In this moderated discussion, Professors Ohnesorge and Kelly will discuss the North Korean crisis from the perspective of international law and military policy, and will respond to questions from the audience.
    Professor Ohnesorge teaches Business Organizations and Administrative Law, as well as seminars in Chinese Law, and in law and economic development in developing countries. He is the former Associate Director and then Director of the Law School's East Asian Legal Studies Center (2001-2014), and former Chair of the Wisconsin China Initiative (2008-2012).

    A native of Minneapolis, Professor Ohnesorge received his B.A. degree from St. Olaf College (1985), his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School (1989), and his S.J.D. from Harvard Law School (2002). Along the way he has spent several years in East Asia, first as a teacher and law student in Shanghai in the 1980s, and then as a lawyer in private practice in Seoul in the 1990s.

    Kevin M. Kelly has been on the Law School staff since 1998. He is an officer in the Naval Reserve specializing in military operational law and international law issues. Professor Kelly teaches courses on the Law of Armed Conflict and on the Just War tradition. In 2003, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a NATO legal adviser to the Peace Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as on the U.S. European Command headquarters staff during the Iraq War.

    He received a B.S. with honors in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Wisconsin Law Review.

    • 2018-04-10
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • The Madison Club, 5 E Wilson St

    Speaker:  Richard Zurba, Director of Zurcom International

    Africa stands to be a social and  economic dynamo in the coming decades.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the only global region destined to grow exponentially in population: from about 1 billion now to 2.5 billion by 2050.  With that, the GDP per capita is rising quickly at the same time, creating a confluence that will likely make Africa an economic powerhouse in our lifetime.  Underneath the statistics is human behaviour.  What are the forces behind this expected growth?  Richard Zurba will be discussing  the growth in Africa with some thoughts on the African youth culture – which will be the driving entrepreneurial business culture propelling Africa through this century.  Come with some of your own thoughts and expect a lively discussion about this exciting emerging market.

    Richard Zurba, Director of Zurcom International, has over two decades of personal experience in trade and export business development in emerging markets. Richard came to Africa in 1993 first in the D.R. Congo for World Vision Relief, involved in humanitarian work ethnic cleansing and the Ebola outbreak responses.  In 1996 he moved to South Africa, as an export manager for a South African firm, selling across sub-Saharan Africa.  In January 1999, he opened the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Africa Trade Office on behalf of four US states including Wisconsin. He serves as the Coordinator of IBG Global, a partnership of 21 firms with staff in 50 countries bettering export promotion for companies around the world. He frequently lectures and has served as a dissertation supervisor for an MBA program.  Since 1999, Zurcom has completed over 3,000 projects for firms entering the African markets Zurcom currently represents six US states for trade in sub-Saharan Africa: Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin. Other important clients include South African provinces, the national governments of India, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore and Thailand as well as commercial firms.  BA (University of Alberta); MA (London School of Economics); MBA (Western Ontario).

    • 2018-05-10
    • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
    • TBA

    Speaker:  Ambassador John E. Lange, Senior Fellow, Global Health Diplomacy, United Nations Foundation

    This event is co-sponsored by
    UW International Division

    Over the last twenty years, bilateral and multilateral global health programs have greatly expanded and have saved millions of lives.  Many of these are “vertical” programs focusing on a single disease or condition, such as the Global Polio Eradication Inititative (GPEI) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  There now is a greater emphasis on “horizontal” programs to strengthen health systems.  The new Director General of the World Health Organization has made universal health coverage, one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, his top priority.  And the new Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria says, “If we work together to mobilize funds, build strong health systems and establish effective community responses we will be able to end epidemics, promote prosperity and increase our global health security.”  Ambassador Lange will discuss the many successes of global health programs as well as the challenges ahead in strengthening health systems.
    Ambassador John Lange serves as the UN Foundation’s primary focal point for global health diplomacy activities.  He worked from 2009-2013 at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he engaged in high-level advocacy with international organizations and African governments.  He served as Co-Chair of the GPEI Polio Partners Group from 2012-2016.  Lange had a distinguished 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, where he was a pioneer in the field of global health diplomacy.  He served as the Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza; Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the inception of PEPFAR; and U.S. Ambassador to Botswana (1999-2002), where HIV/AIDS was his signature issue.  Lange led the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as Chargé d'Affaires during the August 7, 1998, terrorist bombing.  Earlier, he had tours of duty in Geneva, Lomé, Paris and Mexico City.  Prior to joining the diplomatic service in 1981, he worked for five years at the United Nations Association of the USA in New York.  He has an M.S. degree from the National War College and J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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