Distinguished Speakers

International Initiatives promotes intercultural understanding and creates opportunities for international engagement throughout the entire CSU community. As part of this effort, we organize a diverse array of programs that address global issues and promote multi-cultural awareness. Our goal is to help CSU students understand our changing world, and give student the tools needed to make a positive impact on the global challenges we face.


Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard
April 8, 2019

Julia Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia in 2010 and served in that office until June 2013. Ms. Gillard is the first woman to ever serve as Australia’s Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister. Gillard was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy, the 12th biggest economy in the world, during the Global Financial Crisis and developed Australia’s guiding policy paper, Australia in the Asian Century. Ms. Gillard championed vast national policy change including reforming Australian education at every level, creation of emission’s trading, improving health and elder care, national care for those with disabilities, and restructuring telecommunications. In foreign policy, Ms. Gillard strengthened Australia’s alliance with the United States, secured stronger architecture for the relationship with China, upgraded Australia’s ties with India, and deepened ties with Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea.

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day
March 5, 2019
Portraits of Resiliency

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a globally recognized day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we at CSU would like to acknowledge the global experience of women by focusing on the characteristic of resilience. International Women’s Day is a time to refl ect on progress made toward the liberation of women, to call for change to policies and practices that continue to hold women back, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their nations and communities.

In honoring International Women’s Day, we honor the stories of CSU students, faculty, staff and alumna that highlight their resiliency to challenging moments and for whom their gender identity as women were/ are central to their trials and triumph.

Ryan Crocker

Ryan Crocker
October 9, 2018

Ryan Crocker retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009 after a career of over 37 years but was recalled to active duty by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. He has served as U.S. Ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993). He has served as the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College. From May to August 2003, he was in Baghdad as the first Director of Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983.

Greg Myre

Greg Myre
September 17, 2018

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on counter-terrorism, a topic he has covered in the U.S., the Middle East and in many other countries around the world for more than two decades. He was previously the international editor for NPR.org, working closely with NPR correspondents around the world and national security reporters in Washington. He heads the Parallels blog and is a frequent contributor to the website on global affairs. Prior to his current position, he was a senior editor at Morning Edition from 2008-2011. Before joining NPR, Myre was a foreign correspondent for 20 years with The New York Times and The Associated Press.


Gina McCarthy
February 28, 2018

A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. As the head of EPA under President Obama, she led historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. During her tenure, EPA initiatives cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts. Internationally, McCarthy worked with the UN and WHO on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high risk sources of pollution.

Julia Ioffee
November 7, 2017
“What Russia Wants”

Julia Ioffe is a U.S. politics, national security and foreign policy reporter for The Atlantic. Prior to early 2017, she was a contributing writer at POLITICO Magazine where she covered the 2016 election, worked as a contributor at Huffington Post’s Highline, and was a columnist at Foreign Policy. Previously, she was a senior editor at The New Republic from 2012 to 2014, and a Moscow-based correspondent for Foreign Policy and The New Yorker. Ioffe has been a finalist for the Livingston Award twice: for a 2013 profile of Sen. Rand Paul and a 2011 piece on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In 2009, she received a Fulbright scholarship to live and work in Russia.

Dr. Mara Karlin
October 25 , 2017
“National Security in the Age of America First”

Dr. Mara Karlin joined the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies faculty as Associate Professor of the Practice of Strategic Studies in June 2017. She also serves as associate director of the school’s Strategic Studies Program and executive director of The Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. Karlin has served in national security roles for five U.S. Secretaries of Defense, advising on policies spanning strategic planning, defense budgeting, future wars and the evolving security environment, and regional affairs involving the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Asma Khalid
April 10, 2017

Asma Khalid leads BostonomiX – a WBUR (Boston’s NPR News Station) team covering the people, startups and companies driving the innovation economy. Asma was drawn to tech reporting after two years on the presidential campaign trail – where she consistently saw the effect technology has on policy and politics. She’s particularly interested in stories around automation and the future of work. Asma covered the 2016 presidential campaign for NPR – focusing on the intersection of demographics and politics. She attended rallies for nearly every presidential candidate on both sides of the aisle and crisscrossed the country to hear from voters in key battleground counties. She was also a founding member of the NPR politics pod squad. Prior the presidential election, Asma reported on a range of stories — including the Boston Marathon bombings and the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.

Leymah Gbowee
March 6, 2017

Ms. Leymah Gbowee won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War. She is a founding member and former coordinator for Women in Peacebuilding/West African Network for Peacebuilding, as well as the co-founder of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation. Gbowee is currently the President of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa where she fights for greater inclusion of women as leaders and agents of change in Africa.



Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland
March 3, 2016
“Our Common Future: Sustainable Development and Addressing Climate Change”

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, is a physician and an international leader in sustainable development and public health who chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development — the Brundtland Commission — which defined the term “sustainable development” in its landmark report, “Our Common Future.” After serving as Norway’s youngest ever Prime Minister from 1990 to 1996, she was appointed Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998. In 2007, she was named United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. She is also deputy chair of The Elders, a group of 11 leaders called together in 2011 by Nelson Mandela and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who contribute their wisdom, independent leadership, and integrity to tackling the world’s toughest problems with the goal of conflict resolution and making the world a better place.

ShizaShahid_HeadshotShiza Shahid
March 9, 2015
“There Are No Superheroes, Just Us”

Shiza Shahid is the Co-Founder and Global Ambassador of the Malala Fund, the organization representing Malala Yousafzai. Malala is the young Pakistani activist who was shot by the Taliban for her campaign for womens’ education. Shiza, a graduate of Stanford University and a previous business analyst at McKinsey & Company, now leads the fund to empower girls through education to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. Shiza was recently named one of TIME magazine’s “30 Under 30 World Changers” and to Forbes “30 Under 30″ list of social entrepreneurs.


Alan Arnette
February 9, 2015
“K2: Fighting for the Summit and for Life”

Alan is a world-acclaimed mountain climber, professional speaker and Alzheimer’s advocate. Prior to his early retirement in 2007 to oversee the care of his mother as she entered the final stages of Alzheimers, Alan was an HP executive running global businesses. At the age of 38, Alan began climbing and has summited many of the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest at the age of 54. In 2011, he climbed the 7 Summits in under a year to raise $1M for Alzheimer’s research and to increase awareness. In 2014, and on his 58th birthday, he became the oldest and 18th American to summit K2, the world’s 2nd highest and most difficult mountain. Alan’s latest campaign is Project 8000, in which he will climb 11 of the 8,000 meter mountains to raise $1M for Alzheimer’s research and reach 100M people by 2020.

Robinson_cropMary Robinson
October 27, 2014
“Climate Justice and the Right to Health”

Mary Robinson served as the first woman President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is now the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. Mary is a member of Elders, a member of Club of Madrid, a board member on the European Climate Foundation, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout the world including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Mary has dedicated most of her life as a human rights advocate.

GirlRising_headshotGirl Rising
March 4, 2014

Girl Rising is a global movement for girls’ education based primarily around the 2013 feature film. From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising spotlights the unforgettable stories of nine girls living in the developing world, striving beyond nearly insurmountable circumstance to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. This film uses the power of storytelling to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies and to inspire action that gets girls into classrooms worldwide.



Hill1_croppedChristopher Hill
October 8, 2013
“Dissecting Syria”

Ambassador Christopher Hill is the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at The University of Denver, a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate, voice in the media on international affairs, and highly sought after public speaker. Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat and a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq. Hill has served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, as U.S. Ambassador to Poland, as Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, as Special Envoy to Kosovo, and as Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council. Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer.

PatrickMureithi_HeadshotPatrick Mureithi
March 5, 2013
“Until Hope is Found”

Patrick Mureithi is a Kenyan documentary filmmaker and Artist in Residence at Drury University in Missouri. Between 2007 and 2009, he produced, filmed, and edited “ICYIZERE: Hope,” a documentary about forgiveness and reconciliation between 10 victims and 10 perpetrators of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. ICYIZERE (ee-cheez-eh-reh) has been shown on college campuses all over the US, as well as in 8 different countries. His most recent documentary, “Kenya: Until Hope is Found,” is a film about healing from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder after Kenya’s 2007/8 Post-Election Violence that left more than 1,200 dead and 500,000 displaced from their homes. CSU showed both documentaries and led a discussion afterwards.


World Bank Presentation
February 26, 2013

Angelica Silvero is head of the World Bank Speaker’s Bureau. Established in 1944, and based in Washington DC, the World Bank is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each supports the Bank’s mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. Together these institutions provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes. For Colorado State, Angelica discussed the World Bank and its role in international development.

AIDS Quilt Phot_headshotNational AIDS Quilt
December 2012

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt began in 1987 when a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Today the Quilt remains the largest community art project with more than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels — mostly sewn together by friends, lovers, and family members to commemorate the life of someone who has died of AIDS. The mission of this Archive Project is to preserve the powerful images and stories contained within The Quilt while expanding AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts. Since 1987 over 14 million people have visited the Quilt and the NAMES Project Foundation has raised over $3 million for AIDS service organizations throughout North America. Colorado State University hosted 20 panels.