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

    • 10 Dec 2014
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • University Club, 803 State St Madison, WI
    The Mekong River spans six countries including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It supports the largest inland fishery in the world, with 60 million people living in the lower Mekong Basin, where 80 percent rely directly on the river system for their food and livelihoods. The Basin has eco-regions with an incredibly high diversity of habitats.These globally unique landscapes are home to no fewer than 20,000 species of plants, 1,200 bird species, 800 species of reptiles and amphibians, 600 fish species, and 430 mammal species.

    The largest threat to the conservation values of the river system is from the series of dams and other hydropower projects planned for the river’s mainstream and tributaries. Such impacts on river ecosystems would have flow-on effects to dependent communities and economies. These impacts are expected to include a growing inequality in the lower Mekong Basin countries and an increase in poverty in the short and medium term, especially among the poor in rural and urban riparian areas. Food security is also likely to be affected by reductions in fisheries production and impacts on agricultural productivity due to inundation and changed water levels, and likely changes to access rights for fishers and farmers. Join us as we discuss these vital issues with our experts who work directly in the region.   

    Dr. Ian Baird, UW Madison Assistant Professor of Geography, is currently engaged in research concerning the political ecology of large hydropower dam developments in the Mekong River Basin, with an emphasis on inland fisheries, large-scale economic land concessions/acquisitions and land tenure, and effects on mostly indigenous people in Laos and Cambodia.

    Dr. Tran Triet, Director of the Southeast Asian Program at the International Crane Foundation, works in Vietnam with Phu My villagers on the Ha Tien – Habitats to Handbags project received the prestigious United Nations Dubai Award and the Equator Prize for impact, sustainability, partnership and community empowerment. Dr. Triet’s creative project combines protecting nearly 6,500 acres of wetlands important for wildlife, including Eastern Sarus Cranes, with developing skills and alternative livelihoods for residents of one of Vietnam’s poorest villages. After six years of implementation, the income of local families increased fivefold, and the number of Sarus Cranes using the Phu My wetland during the dry season grew from 5 to 259 (almost 30% of the known population). He is now working to expand this program from Phu My to Cambodia and to other conservation areas in Vietnam.

    • 21 Jan 2015
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • Madison Club, Roosevelt Reading Room, 5 E Wilson St Madison, WI

    This event is co-sponsored by

    Each of Wisconsin’s recent U.S. Ambassadors, Mark Green (Tanzania), Richard Graber (Czech Republic) and Tom Loftus (Norway) (Invited) will speak about the tensions, challenges and satisfactions of leading a U.S. diplomatic presence in an important country. Each country has distinctly different set of circumstances from the others although each shares interests and resources that are common to many other countries. This will be a broad survey of how U.S. foreign policy is actually conducted on the ground. Our guests are also invited to give their thoughts on current hot issues facing the U.S. in its relations with the rest of the world – Mid-East tensions, global humanitarian crises, rising China, expansion of the influence of NATO and other western institutions.

    Ambassador and Congressman (Ret.) Mark Green served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from mid-2007 to early 2009. While there, he led a mission of more than 350 Americans and Tanzanians and was ultimately responsible for some of the world’s largest U.S.-led development programs. Prior to serving as Ambassador, he served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. He is now President of the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to advance democracy and freedom worldwide. He joined the International Republican Institute as president in January 2014. Prior to joining IRI in January 2014, Ambassador Green served as president and chief executive officer of the Initiative for Global Development, a nonprofit organization that engages corporate leaders to reduce poverty through business growth and investment in Africa, and senior director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a network of 400 businesses, nongovernmental organizations, policy experts and other leaders supporting development tools in American foreign policy. Ambassador Green is also serving his second term on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambassador Green holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

    Ambassador Richard W. Graber served as United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic from September 2006 until January 2009.  As Ambassador, Rick was responsible for all matters affecting the United States in the Czech Republic and for maintaining and strengthening the historically friendly relationship between the countries.    Since leaving Prague, Rick has remained active in international affairs.  He is currently Senior Vice President of Global Government Relations for Honeywell International.  He is based in Washington, DC.  Prior to assuming his current role, Rick was responsible for Honeywell’s government relations efforts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  From 2010 until 2013, he was based in Brussels, Belgium.   Prior to joining Honeywell, Rick practiced law at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms. Rick served for seven years as Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and as a member of the Republican National Committee.  He is a former director and Vice Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.   Rick graduated from Duke University, magna cum laude, in 1978 and from Boston University Law School in 1981.  Rick is married to Alexandria Graber and they have two sons, Scott and Erik.

    Ambassador Loftus served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway from November 1993 to December 1997. He was awarded the Grand Cross by His Majesty King Harald, the highest order of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. He is now an international consultant specializing in Norway. Until recently he was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, appointed by the Governor of Wisconsin in July 2005 and served into 2011. Ambassador Loftus served in the Wisconsin Legislature from 1977-1991 and was the Speaker of the House from 1983 to 1991. He was the longest serving Speaker in the history of the state. In 1990, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin. Ambassador Loftus also has been a consultant to foundations that assist Parliaments in developing democracies, and completed projects with the new Hungarian Parliament (1990), the Parliament of Thailand (1991-1992), and others. Ambassador Loftus holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master's degree in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ambassador Loftus was a military policeman in the United States Army (1965-1967).

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