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Fall series brings back experts on Iran, national security and Russia

The annual fall lecture series of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan features three of retiring executive director Dixie Anderson’s favorite speakers—heralded experts and outstanding presenters on international issues.

And she has definitely chosen timely topics.

With the Iran nuclear treaty in today’s headlines, Mr. Reza Marashi, the research director of the National Iranian American Council, will speak on “The Middle East: Regional Shifts and Global Responses” at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17, at the Western Michigan University Grand Rapids East Beltline campus.

“Reza has been with us twice and both talks concluded with standing ovations,” said Anderson. Marashi was an observer at the Iran Nuclear Accord negotiations in Geneva, Lausanne and Vienna from 2013 to 2015.

On Wednesday, November 8, Dr. Lori Murray, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will present on the topic “Top Five Threats to America’s National Security” (same time and location as the Marashi lecture).

“Lori moderated the discussion with General David Petraeus a few years ago. She did an impressive job and we’re delighted she is returning to share the results of her own work and study,” Anderson said. “If national security is your interest, hers is a voice to be heard.”

Finally, on Tuesday, November 14, the Honorable John Beyrle, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (former) will give insightful commentary on a topic which confounds most Americans: “Russia 2018: Putin’s Last Act?” (Once again, same start time and venue.)

“We look forward to John’s analysis, especially in the wake of the way Russia has dominated news coverage,” Anderson said. “As an ambassador to Russia, he has insights that are absolutely unique and his presentations are always well-received.”

To register for one or more of these lectures, go to the Council events page at:

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