LEAP Events

Speaker Series

Bill Taylor speaking


Bill Taylor speaking with Chris Kojm


Photo: Audience members raise hands to ask a question to former Director of National of Intelligence James Clapper


The Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative at the Elliott School sponsors two speaker series: “Why Ethics Matter” and “Leadership in International Affairs: Lessons Learned”. Poignant speakers have included James Clapper (former Director of National Intelligence), Ambassador Prudence Bushnell (who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and Kenya), and Dr. Robert M. Franklin (president emeritus of the Morehouse College). These speakers impart candid leadership advice, tell of ethical challenges they have faced in their careers, and describe the practical skills Elliott Students require for professional success.

Click here to discover the LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series, featuring interviews with prominent practitioners in the field of International Affairs!

Upcoming Speakers

Spring 2020

  • Wednesday, April 1st - 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Virtual Event: Film Festival: “The Report” Q&A Session led by Daniel J. Jones a former United States Senate investigator, best known for his role in leading the investigation into the CIA's use of torture in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Jones is the founder and president of Advance Democracy, Inc. (ADI), a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that conducts public interest investigations around the world that promote "accountability, transparency, and good governance."


  • Monday, April 6th - 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. - Lindner Commons 602: "The End of Authority: Politics in a Post-Truth Age" with Ray Suarez an American broadcast journalist. He is the host of the weekly radio and podcast series WorldAffairs, heard on KQED San Francisco and public radio stations around the country. 


  • Tuesday, April 14th - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Room 505: “Promoting Ethics and Leadership in International Organizations” with Jorge Dajani the Chief Ethics Officer of the World Bank Group on June 15, 2018. Dajani brings to this role a deep knowledge of multilateral development banks, a proven track record in corporate strategy and development, and a reputation for effective stakeholder engagement. With Professor Dr. Walter Reich as moderator. 


Please email [email protected] if you would like your organization to partner with the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative.

Spring 2020

  • Wednesday, March 5th - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Room 505: “North Korea: Domestic security challenges, U.N. energy sanctions and the re-emergence of the threat of famine” with Dr. Hazel Smith a Professorial Research Associate in Korean Studies School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom and Professor Emerita of International Security, Cranfield University, UK. With Director Linda Joyce Yarr, Director Partnership for International Strategies in Asia as moderator. 


  • Monday, Jan 27th - 12 p.m. to 1 p.m -  Lindner Commons 602: “Leadership in Challenging Times” with Aaron Williams, an international development expert, and a former diplomat. He served as the 18th Director of the Peace Corps from 2009 to 2012 under President Barack Obama. As moderator: Jennifer Brinkerhoff
  • Monday, January 27th at 6:30 p.m. - GWU Betts Theater: Film festival “Complicit - St Louis” with the comments of Jonah Karoll and Walter Reich
  • Wednesday, Jan 29th - 12 p.m.to 1 p.m. - Lindner Commons 602: “Humor, Ethics, and Dignity: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” with Sean Kanuckn, an international attorney and professional intelligence analyst who advises governments, corporations, and entrepreneurs on the future of information technology, founder and CEO of EXEDEC LLC

  • Mon, February 3rd - 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - Lindner Commons 602: “Intervention without Empire: The Ethics of Foreign Influence in a (Neo-) Colonial World” with Dr. Lucia Rafanelli, an Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Affairs at the George Washington University, and Professor Chris Kojm as moderator

  • Saturday, February 8th - Whole day - Marvin Center: Crisis Simulation: “Troubled Waters: A Simulation of Water Rights Disputes Along the Nile River” in partnership with the GWU Strategic Crisis Simulation Student Organization.

  • Wednesday, Feb 19th - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m - Lindner Commons 602: “Ethical dilemmas in leadership: the Palestinian case” with Nizar Farkash a Middle East case expert and Ilana Feldman a Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at the George Washington University as moderator.

  • Thursday, February 20th - 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM - Lindner Commons 602: NIC Conference: “Past as Prologue” with NIC

  • Thursday, Feb 27th - 12:00 p.m. -1 p.m - Room 505: “What I Have—and Haven’t—Learned about Ethical Leadership from Studying Humanitarian INGOs” with Jennifer Rubenstein, an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia specializing in political theory

  • Monday 02/24 - 6:30 p.m. - Room 213 Film festival: “The Cave” with the comments of IAFS, GEIA. RABIN

  • January 13th - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Classroom 213: “Reclaiming the great world house: Martin Luther King, Jr's Vision for 21st Century Leadership” with Dr. Vicki Crawford, Director /Morehouse King Collection

Fall 2019

  • November 20th - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. - Lindner Commons 602: "Sports Diplomacy and Gender" with Ms. Joanna Lohman, sports diplomat, and LGBT rights advocate, and Ms. Nora Summerville (GW MAIA ‘17), moderator, is a monitoring and evaluation specialist for PeacePlayers International.
  • November 7th to November 15th “Waging Peace Program”. LEAP will co-sponsor a series of events (including exhibits, film screenings, panel discussions, a peace poetry open mic, etc…) to educate students and the general public about often overlooked facets of the history of US involvement in Vietnam, including the impact that antiwar GIs and veterans had on ending the war. . You can download our program brochure here to learn more about the program
  • Tuesday, November 5th “Book Launch: After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present” with Hope Harrison, author and Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at the Elliott School. 
  • Monday, November 4th: "Ethics and Leadership: Core Values in Public Service" with Beth Nolan, Vice President and GW General Counsel, former White House Counsel. 
  • Friday, November 1st: “The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924,” with Benny Morris, author, prefessor, and historian. 
  • Tuesday, October 29th, “The Ethics of Technology and Development” with Aasit Nanavati, Strategy and Sales, DevResults and George Washington University Adjunct Professor & Josh Machleder, Senior Advisor for Media and Internet Freedom, USAID.
  • Thursday, October 24th: “The Ethics of Promoting Justice Across Borders” with Lucia Rafanelli, GW Faculty. 
  • Wednesday, October 23rd: "Ethics and Leadership in Post Civil War Sierra Leone", A discussion with Mohamed Sidibay, peace activist, Elliott School alumn, and former child soldier in Sierra Leone. 
  • Wednesday, October 23rd,“International Financial Institutions’ Accountability Mechanisms” A discussion with Mohammad Hamze from the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO MICI, Inter-American Development Bank and Esteban Tovar Cornejo, from the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Tuesday, October 15th: ETHICS DAY : “Doing the Right Thing in Humanitarian and Development Work – The Perspective of an NGO” with Michael Klosson, Vice President for Policy and Humanitarian Response for Save the Children.
  • Friday, October 11th “Restoring Our Places” with Mark Freiman, President of the Canadian Peres Centre for Peace Foundation  and of Canadian Jewish Congress.
  • Wednesday, October 2nd,  Taking in Refugees in World War II and Now: The Story of a Plateau in France and its Citizens who for Centuries have Risked Their Own Well-Being to Help Others with Maggie Paxson.
  • Saturday, September 28th A Crisis Simulation: "Crumbling Facade: Exploring Possible U.S. Responses to China's Campaign of Cultural Genocide in Xinjiang" in partnership with the GWU Strategic Crisis Simulation Student Organization.
  • Thursday, September 19th "Women and War : Evolving the Narrative of Women's Contributions to Peace & Security" Speaker: Jessica Smith.
  • Monday, September 16th, Ethics and Leadership, a discussion on America's First Foreign Policy. Speaker: Patrick Fine, Chief Executive of FHI 360. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Patrick Fine
  • Monday, September 16th, "2019 Ambassador of Conscience Award Ceremony honoring Greta Thunberg and the Fridays For Future Movement". Speaker: Greta Thunberg and the Fridays For Future Youth Movement.
  • Thursday, September 12th, Human Rights in Practice: Measuring Modern Slavery to Improve Public and Private Policy . Speaker: Dr. Davina Durgana, award-winning international human rights expert. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Dr. Davina Durgana
  • Friday, September 6th “Call Sign Chaos: a story about learning how to lead in a chaotic world,'' Speaker: Jim Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.
    This Fall, the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative has given twenty First-Year Experience students the unique opportunity to attend this event, and hear from former U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

Spring 2019

  • April 25, 2019, “Ethical and Leadership Challenges in Human Rights, Peace and Environmental Struggles".
    Speaker: Dr. Barbara Wien, Professor at American University's School of International Service. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Dr. Barbara Wien.
  • April 22, 2019, “Earth Day: The Ethics of Climate Change". Speaker: Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute.
  • April 18, 2019, "Developing Successful Leadership Skills in Challenging Environments". Speakers: Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, founder of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) nonprofit organization & senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Ms. Asha Castleberry, GW professor and national security and foreign policy expert. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series  with Bonnie Jenkins & LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Asha Castleberry.
  •  April 17, 2019, Spring 2019 LEAP Student Panel & Networking Reception. Student Speakers: Nico Han, Alvin Young, Nadia Crevecoeur, Juliette Erath
  • April 11, 2019, Policymaking and the Rwandan genocide: Ethical and Leadership Challenges. Panel speakers: Ambassador Prudence Bushnell served as the US Ambassador to Kenya and Guatemala, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs; Ms. Janet Fleischman, independent consultant, senior associate with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, and former Washington Director for Africa at Human Rights Watch; Dr. Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at GW, worked at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations from 1993 to 1994 and covered the Rwandan Genocide.
  • April 4, 2019, "Think Globally. Act Locally. Evaluate the Interaction". Speaker: Dr. Michael Quinn Patton, program evaluation and organizational development consultant.
  • April 3, 2019, "25 Years After the Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi: Seeking Reparative Justice, Realizing Human Rights, and Reflecting on the Legacy of the Genocide in the Lives of its Survivors." Speaker: Albert Gasake, Survivor of the Rwandan genocide & Attorney with the Rwanda Bar Association.
  • March 28, 2019, “Surveillance and Oversight: Implications for U.S. Leadership” Speaker: Chairman Adam Klein, Chairman and Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series.
  • March 26, 2019, "The Trials of Richard Goldstone". Speaker: Dr. Daniel Terris, Director Emeritus of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. Current Dean of the Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences at Al-Quds University.
  •  March 25, 2019, "A Conversation with Swanee Hunt" Speaker: Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Founder of Inclusive Security and the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at the JFK School of Government at Harvard.
  • March 7, 2019, "Celebrating 2019: The Year of Women in Politics". Speakers: Ms. Frieda Edgette, Founder of Courage to Run; Ms. Gwen Young, Director of the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and Women in Public Service Project; Ms. Lisa Schroeter, Global Director, Trade and Investment Policy, The Dow Chemical Company; Ms. Ianta Summers, Women's March Organizer
  •  March, 1, 2019, “Falling Shadows: A Simulation of Humanitarian Crisis in Myanmar,” In partnership with the GW Strategic Crisis Simulation Student Organization.  LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Caitlyn Leong.
  •  February 28, 2019, "Leadership, Ethics, and International Affairs: Giving Voice to Value”. Speaker: Dr. Mary Gentile, Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Mary Gentile.
  • February 25, 2019, “Should Leaders Focus on Poverty or Inequality? Ethical and Policy Perspectives”. Speaker: Dr. Douglas Hicks, Professor of Religion, Dean of Oxford College at the Emory University. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Douglas Hicks. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Douglas Hicks.
  •  February 13, 2019, Ethics and Leadership: A Discussion with Ambassador Rich Verma. Speaker: Ambassador Rich Verma, former Ambassador to India, Vice Chairman at the Asia Group. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Rich Verma.
  • February 5, 2019, Panel on “The Ethical Implications of Drone Warfare”. Speakers: Dr. Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, GW; Ms. Rachel Stohl, Director of the Conventional Defense Program at the Stimson Center, and Dean David Deptula, Head of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Power Studies.
  • January 30, 2019, In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day “The Road to Babi Yar”: Film Screening and Discussion. Speaker: Dr. Walter Reich, Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior, GW and Mr. Boris Maftsir, Israeli documentary filmmaker.
  • January 16, 2019, King Week: “Martin Luther King: a voice and force in international affairs.” Speaker: Dr. Robert M. Franklin, President Emeritus of the Morehouse college. LEAP Exclusive Podcast Series with Robert Franklin.

Fall 2018

  •  December 4, 2018, "The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust" with Diana Henriques, Journalist at New York Times, Member of the GW Board of Trustees.
  • November 27, 2018, Career Cafe with Carla Koppell, Director of Diversity & Inclusion in International affairs, School of Foreign Affairs, Georgetown University.
  •  November 19, 2018, "The Individual in International Affairs: Towards an Ethics of Recognition & Human Rights." Speaker: Noam Schimmel, Professor of Ethics and International Affairs, Elliott School.
  • November 15, 2018, "Tales from the Pitch: Navigating Ethical Issues in Global Sports." Speaker: Lindsay Krasnoff, communications specialist, historian, sports expert.
  • November 7, 2018, “‘Never Again' or 'Ever Again'? The Challenge of the Holocaust for Our Leaders and Our Time." Speaker: Walter Reich, Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor International Affairs, Elliott School.
  • October 29, 2018, Leadership & Ethics: A View of American Foreign Policy Over 60 Years Through the Eyes of William F. Buckley and the Movement He Founded." Speaker: Al Felzenberg, American presidential historian, political commentator, and former communications director.
  •  October 24, 2018, “Leadership and Ethics,” Speaker: Michelle Howard, Admiral, US Navy (Ret.) & Visiting Shapiro Professor of International Affairs, Elliott School.
  •  October 22, 2018, Ethics Reviews in Research for National Security Speaker: Jason Matheny, former Director of Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.
  • October 17, 2018, Global Ethics Day "Terrorism, Betrayal & Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings." Speaker: Prudence Bushnell, former U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and Kenya.


Crisis Simulations

In Spring 2019, the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative ran a crisis simulation entitled "Falling Shadows: A Simulation of Humanitarian Crisis in Myanmar"  in partnership with the GWU Strategic Crisis Simulation Student Organization.This was a unique opportunity for students to develop leadership, ethics and practical skills by playing roles they might hold in the future. During the simulation, students were assigned to play the roles of U.S officials, international officials and the media, in connection with the Rohingya crisis. Students gained a better understanding of the dynamics of power involved in the decision-making process in a humanitarian crisis. They learned about difficult ethical and policy dilemmas and also learn about themselves — their convictions, values, and strengths. 




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