Ukraine Conflict in the Spotlight as Cazenovia Forum Hosts Top Foreign Affairs Expert

13 Apr

CAZENOVIA, NY – The conflict in Ukraine will be the focus of the next Cazenovia Forum lecture and discussion, as one of America’s leading experts on the region presents an in-depth look at the Ukrainian government’s struggle with pro-Russian separatists and their backers in Moscow.

The presentation by Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of theU.S., will take place on Friday, May 1, at 7pm in the Morgan Room of Hubbard Hall at Cazenovia College.  Please note this is a change from our usual venue.  The event is free of charge and will be followed by a reception, at which audience members will have an opportunity to further engage the speaker.

The topic of Karatnycky’s presentation will be “The Conflict in Ukraine: Civil War or Russian Aggression?”

The crisis in Ukraine began with anti-government demonstrations in November 2013 when pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych’s government abandoned a deal with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia.  The street protests led to Yanukovich’s resignation and the formation of a new government, following which Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, a move largely condemned by the international community.  Since then, and despite a recent ceasefire agreement, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Moscow-supported separatists has continued in the eastern part of the country, with more than 6,000 people dead and more than 1.5 million displaced.

The co-author and editor of more than 20 books on East European and human rights topics, Karatnycky is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top analysts on the situation in Ukraine.  His writings regularly appear in Foreign Affairs magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and other periodicals. He also appears regularly on the PBS Newshour and on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

For more than a decade he was president of Freedom House, major pro-democracy and economic reform organization, where he headed its widely-known survey of Freedom in the World and developed and supervised the Nations in Transit survey that annually monitors the post-Communist transition.  He had earlier served as Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO, where in the 1980s he was responsible for coordinating assistance to Poland’s Solidarity and other underground opposition movements of Central and Eastern Europe that were ultimately successful their efforts to break free from the Soviet Union.

Karatnycky has also served as co-director of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on the US and the United Nations (2003-4), as co-director of the first World Forum on Democracy (2000), and was a member of the United Nations Blue Ribbon Commission on Ukraine (2005).

Cazenovia Forum Speaker to Discuss War on Drugs and Policy Reform

4 Mar

CAZENOVIA, NY – Policy options related to the war on drugs will take center stage at the year’s first Cazenovia Forum lecture, as the director of the New York State office of the Drug Policy Alliance presents his views on reforming drug control policies.

The presentation by Gabriel Sayegh, who also serves as the organization’s Managing Director of Policy and Campaigns, will take place on Friday, March 20, at 7pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre in Cazenovia. Admission is free of charge and will be followed by a reception at the Lincklaen House, at which audience members will have an opportunity to further engage the speaker.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The organization works to advance the proposition that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good and promotes alternative policies to reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition.

As DPA’s New York director and campaign leader, Sayegh partners with community organizing groups, human service agencies and researchers. Recent campaigns include ending New York’s marijuana arrest crusade, developing municipal-based drug strategies, passing and implementing historic 911 Good Samaritan legislation to prevent accidental overdose fatalities, creating a tightly-regulated medical marijuana program, and reforming New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Sayegh is the author of numerous articles and several reports, including Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy (the subject of a New York Times editorial) and From Handcuffs to Healthcare: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Law Reform.

Prior to joining DPA, Sayegh served as session staff in the Washington State Senate, focusing on criminal justice and social welfare policy; conducted research on global trade agreements and domestic welfare reform; organized with grassroots community groups on ending domestic violence and mass incarceration; and worked as a line cook at a few different diners. He lives in Brooklyn.

Cazenovia Forum Announces 2015 Speaker Series

26 Feb

CAZENOVIA, NY – A former acting general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, the nation’s top expert on current events in Ukraine and a leading anti-corruption activist are among the upcoming speakers at the Cazenovia Forum, Central New York’s premier public affairs lecture series, which announced its 2015 lineup today.

Kicking off the 2015 season will be Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national organization that works to advance effective drug policies guided by science, equity and compassion. Sayegh’s lecture, to take place on Friday, March 20, at 7pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre in Cazenovia, will focus on the War on Drugs and options for reforming drug control policies.

On Friday, May 1, the speaker will be Adrian Karatnycky, currently senior fellow with the Atlantic Council in New York, who is the former President of Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world. An expert on business and political affairs in the former Soviet states, Karatnycky frequently appears as a guest commentator in major print and broadcast media regarding the unfolding events in Ukraine.

On Friday, September 11, the Forum will host John Rizzo, who served as Deputy Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the CIA for the first nine years of the War on Terror and who was closely involved in the Bush Administration’s approval of controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the agency to gain information from terror suspects.

Closing out the 2015 series on Friday, October 9, will be Zephyr Teachout, an associate professor of law at Fordham University, who challenged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in last year’s Democratic primary election. Teachout is a leading campaigner against public corruption and in 2014 authored the book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United.

Venues for the last three lectures will be announced shortly before they take place. All events will be free of charge and no reservations will be required. The lectures are followed by an audience question and answer session, and an open reception will follow each event.


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