Oscar Iden Lectures

Begun in 1976, these lectures on American foreign policy and international diplomacy commemorate the late Mr. and Mrs. Iden who provided the endowment for this series. Oscar Iden was a Walsh School of Foreign Service graduate, class of 1924. 

Channeling Obama: National Security, Communications and Politics in a Complex World

On January 19, 2016, Ben Rhodes, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, delivered the 2016 Oscar Iden Lecture on American Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy. Mr. Rhodes oversees all of President Obama’s national security communications, speechwriting, and global engagement. In addition to channeling the President’s voice, Mr. Rhodes has played a key role in a number of diplomatic achievements, including the nuclear deal with Iran and the diplomatic opening with Myanmar. He was also one of two U.S. officials who conducted secret negotiations with the Cuban government, leading to the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries. 

In this conversation, moderated by ISD Fellow Bernadette Meehan and GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee, Mr. Rhodes discussed his role as one of the President’s closest advisors, his path to the White House, the politics and policy behind this Administration’s national security decisions, and what to expect in the President’s final year in office. 

This event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School of Public Policy

Watch a full video of the event here

Download Previous Iden Lectures

2012 - Tough Foreign Policy Issues and Why Washington Can't Solve Them
The Honorable Jane Harman, President and CEO of The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars
[Download]

2007 - The United States, the United Nations, and the Crisis in the Broader Middle East
Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan
[Download]

1996 - Weapons of Mass Destruction: Three Lines of Defense
Dr. William Perry, U.S. Secretary of Defense
[Download]

1994 - Force and Diplomacy in the 21st Century
General John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
[Download

Previous Presenters of the Iden Lecture

2016 - Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications

2012 - The Honorable Jane Harman, President and CEO of The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars

2011 - Dr. Vishakha Desai, Professor and Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University

2010 – Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA  

2009 – Gen. Brent Scowcroft (Ret.), Counselor and Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies 

2008 – Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to the United Nations   

2007 – Anthony C. Zinni, Former Commander in Chief of US Central Command

2003 – Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defense 

2002 – Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of American International Group 

2001 – John D. Negroponte, US Ambassador to the United Nations 

2000 – Samuel R. Berger, US National Security Advisor 

1999 – George J. Tenet, US Director of Central Intelligence 

1998 – Lee H. Hamilton, Member of the US House of Representatives 

1998 – Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the US House of Representatives 

1997 – Dr. Anthony Lake, US National Security Advisor 

1996 – Dr. William J. Perry, US Secretary of Defense 

1994 – General John A. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 

1991 – Henry E. Catto, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom 

1990 – Chester A. Crocker, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs 

1989 – Edward J. Perkins, US Ambassador to South Africa 

1988 – David D. Newsom, Author and Columnist for Christian Science Magazine 

1987 – Soedjatmoko, Rector of the United Nations University 

1986 – Donald F. McHenry, Ambassador and US Permanent Representative to the United Nations 

1985 – Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, US Ambassador to the United Nations 

1984 – Dr. Peter F. Krogh, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service 

1982 – Walter Stoessel, Jr., US Ambassador to West Germany 

1981 – Martin F. Herz, Director of Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy 

1980 – Lord Caradon, Visiting Fellow Harvard and Princeton Universities 

1979 – George H. W. Bush, US Director of Central Intelligence 

1977  – Anne L. Armstrong, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom 

1976 – Carroll Quigley, Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service