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Lessons from History Series

About the Meeting Series

This meeting series was endowed by David M. Rubenstein in 2015 to use historical analysis as a critical tool for understanding modern foreign policy challenges by hearing from practitioners who played an important role in a consequential historical event or from experts and historians. 

Events

South Africa

Panelists present firsthand accounts of the end of apartheid in South Africa, specifically the involvement of the United States and Great Britain, and the repercussions of their policies for South Africa twenty-five years later. This meeting is held in memory of Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who passed away in August 2018. Ambassador Lyman was the first holder of the Ralph Bunche endowed chair in Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Iran

Panelists reflect on the events that unfolded during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, how the United States responded, and the consequences for today.

United States

Panelists discuss the policies and priorities of the Jimmy Carter administration and the lessons to be learned for U.S. foreign policy today.

United States

Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jay Winik discuss presidential leadership and the definitive qualities that presidents throughout history have exemplified to overcome adversity. 

Middle East and North Africa

Experts discuss the legacy of the 1967 Six Day War, its influence on U.S. policy in the Middle East for the last fifty years, and the prospects of negotiating a lasting Arab-Israeli peace deal.

Political History and Theory

One hundred years ago this month, the United States declared war on Germany and thereby entered World War I. Experts discuss why the United States entered "the Great War," the consequences it had for American society and foreign policy, and what lessons it holds for Americans going forward.

Iraq

Experts discuss the successes and failures of the 2007 U.S. military surge in Iraq, its implications for U.S. strategy in the region over the past ten years, and lessons moving forward.

United States

Experts discuss the policies and priorities of the Ronald Reagan administration and the lessons to be learned for U.S. foreign policy today.

United States

Experts discuss developments in counterterrorism and intelligence gathering in the past fifteen years, including lessons learned since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

United States

Experts discuss the foreign policy initiatives of the Obama administration, its successes and failures, and the issues that will become President Obama's lasting legacy.

United States

Experts discuss the legacy of the George H.W. Bush administration.

Germany

Experts discuss the unification of Germany and the country's evolution into one of the leaders of the European Union today.