International Affairs Forum: Ukraine-Russia, democracy, cyberwars, African crises, Middle East freshwater this fall

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College’s International Affairs Forum will launch its 30th season of events on September 22 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by a 6:30 program. For in-person tickets, online livestream tickets, and all event details, visit IAF events are hybrid format; in-person events are available to livestream online. All events are free for students and educators. 

  • Can Democracy Win The Cyberwars?
    Friday, September 22, 6:30 p.m.
    In person at Dennos Museum Center & online

    IAF’s 30th season begins with Alexander Evans, Ph.D., Professor in Practice of Public Policy at the London School of Economics. Dr. Evans is a former advisor to the British Prime Minister, Strategy Director in the Cabinet Office, Cyber Director in the Foreign Office, and a senior advisor to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke at the U.S. Department of State. He has been the Henry Kissinger Chair at the Library of Congress, a Senior Fellow at Yale, and a Gwilym Gibbon Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford. He was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by the late Queen Elizabeth II and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has published widely, including in Foreign Affairs and The Economist.

    Dr. Evans will discuss cyberwars in relation to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Chinese hacking, digital threats to democracy, data privacy, anticipatory policymaking, and more.

  • Africa: Permanent Crises?
    Thursday, October 5, 6:30 p.m.
    In person at Dennos Museum Center & online

    IAF welcomes Ambassador (ret.) Susan D. Page, Director of the Weiser Diplomacy Center & Professor of Practice in International Diplomacy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Professor from Practice at the University of Michigan Law School.

    Amb. Page has deep expertise in international relations, particularly in Africa. Her senior level roles have included Assistant Secretary General/Special Adviser on Rule of Law, Global Focal Point Review Implementation, Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) to the United Nations Mission for Justice Support to Haiti (MINUJUSTH), first U.S. Ambassador to newly independent South Sudan, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to the African Union, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, key adviser to the peace process that resolved Africa’s longest-running civil war through international mediation, head of rule of law programs for the UN, and a foreign service regional legal advisor and political officer in East, Central, and Southern Africa.

    Amb. Page will discuss the structural difficulties Africa faces for the future, including refugee crises, famine, terrorism, foreign influence by Russia & China, among other critical issues.

  • Mideast Water: When The Well Runs Dry
    Thursday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.
    In person at Dennos Museum Center & online

    IAF will host a discussion on the Middle East and freshwater resources with Kaveh Madani, Ph.D., an environmental scientist, educator, and activist working at the interface of science, policy, and society. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) of the Imperial College London and a Henry Hart Rice Senior Fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

    He has previously served as the Deputy Vice President of Iran in his position as the Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment, and the Vice President of the UN Environment Assembly Bureau. He has co-authored nearly 200 publications with students and research colleagues in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East on issues such as water management, environmental policy, energy systems, food security, climate change impacts and adaptation, sustainable development, and transboundary-conflicts and negotiations.

    Dr. Madani will discuss the relentless drought in Iran and water scarcity in the Middle East. His work focuses on policy solutions and governance insights for complex problems involving water, energy, food, climate and environment.

All regular season events are open to the public. Presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. & receptions begin at 5:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Tickets are required and available for purchase at or at the door. In-person tickets are $15 per person; online livestream access is $10. Current students and educators receive free admission with school I.D. or name badge. For in-person tickets, online livestream tickets, and all event details, visit

The International Affairs Forum is a member-supported global affairs education series and a program of Northwestern Michigan College (NMC). The organization was founded in 1994 by a group of citizens eager to learn more about our nuanced world through speaker events with invited experts. IAF welcomes new members and sponsors for its 30th season September 2023 - June 2024. 

Memberships start at $100 for individuals or $160 for families and include in-person admission and online livestream access to all regular season events. A newly offered online membership is customized for viewers outside the region who want to support global affairs education in northern Michigan. Learn more about IAF membership, event sponsorship, and student outreach at


Release date: AUGUST 29, 2023

For more information:

Alex Tank
Communications & Production Coordinator
International Affairs Forum at Northwestern Michigan College
(231) 995-1844


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