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.

Upcoming events

    • 12 May 2015
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • The University Club, 803 State Street, Madison, WI
    Rachel Bronson, Executive Director The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Dr. Rachel Bronson will discuss the closely related topics of transition in the Saudi Arabian monarchy with the ascent of a new king, and the Saudi’s action to make unlimited sales in the world oil market which has precipitated a 50% drop in prices.  Her expertise on both subjects should provide authoritative insights.  She believes the Saudi kingdom has great financial resources to compensate for their loss of income, and stability within the ruling elite to sustain a policy that may cause popular unrest and draws protests of some of its fellow nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).  The Saudi move has sharply reduced U.S. gas prices creating joy among U.S. consumers, anguish among the oil companies, and volatility in the stock market.  Her remarks should give us insight as what may lay ahead in these areas.

    Rachel Bronson recently was appointed Executive Director and Publisher of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine.   Previously, she was Senior Fellow for Energy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she directed the Council’s activities on the changing US energy landscape and its implications for US foreign policy, national security, and economic competitiveness.  For seven years before she was Council’s vice president for studies and programs where she recruited strategic thinkers, and built the Council into a top global think tank. 

    Prior to her coming to Chicago, Bronson served as senior fellow and director of Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and several top policy and academic institutions.  Dr. Bronson's book, Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia (Oxford University Press, 2006), presented her interpretation of the dynamics of the kingdom and its role in world oil market.  Her writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and Washington Post, and she frequently comments on foreign affairs on  the national news media.  She earned a BA in history at the University of Pennsylvania and a MA and PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1997.

    • 04 Jun 2015
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • The University Club, 803 State Street, Madison, WI
    This Event Is Co-Sponsored By
    University of Wisconsin- Madison's European Studies Alliance and the Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany

    Dr. Sascha Münnich
    John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow
    Harvard University's Center for European Studies

    During and after the financial crisis of 2008 and the following ‘Great Recession’ we have witnessed a strong return of anti-capitalist sentiments and arguments in public media as well as parliaments, sometimes even among economists and market experts. What became visible in those public debates was an intense debate on the legitimacy and/or moral appropriateness of certain forms of financial profits – mostly profits drawn from highly leveraged transactions that consisted of monetary exchange of future expectations that shows high similarity to gambling. Sascha Münnich explores whether such moral debates about more and less morally acceptable ways of profit seeking actually have an impact on the institutions and rules that define different national financial sectors. In short: Is moral outburst against illegitimate financial profits just “cheap talk” in a crisis while “hard” politics is subject only to material interests, or do cultural understandings of a “good salesman” or a “just banker” actually influence how markets are allowed to operate?

    Sascha Münnich is an Associate Professor for Comparative Sociology at the Georg August University of Göttingen and has been a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany, for many years. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cologne, focusing on the evolution of German and U.S. labor market policy and how ideas and interests interacted for the emergence of market regulations. Münnich is a recipient of CES’ John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship. He will continue writing his book on the social legitimacy of profits. The book will take an institutional perspective within the field of sociology and trace back the regulation of financial markets in Germany and the United Kingdom to the financial crisis of the late nineteenth century and the 1930s.

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