The following seminars are being sponsored or co-sponsored by the Ralph Bunche Institute.
For all current events, please see the Ralph Bunche Institute Full Calendar of Events

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The Ralph Bunche Forum

Convened by Peter Romaniuk (, Assistant Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute and Associate Professor of Political Science at John Jay College, the Forum provides incisive analysis from speakers whose work spans the divide between academic analysis and institutional practice. Held monthly, the Forum focuses on issues that cut across the three pillars of the United Nations’ mandate – security, development, and human rights.

FALL 2014
  • Monday, 15 September: Title TBA
    Somini Sengupta
    6pm; rm C205

  • Tuesday, 7 October: Careers at the United Nations
    Stephane Dujarric
    6pm; rm 9207

  • Tuesday, 14 October: Pope Francis and Peacebuilding
    Andrea Bartoli
    6pm; rm 9207

  • Thursday, 6 November: India's Swing to the Right
    Barbara Crossette with Uday Mehta
    6pm; rm 9206

  • Thursday, 20 November: Climate Change as Social Drama
    Phil Smith with Todd Gitlin
    6pm; rm C201

  • Wednesday, 5 February: The Pretense of Protection: Powerful Democracies and the Politics of Peace Operation Design
    Andrea Everett (University of Georgia)
    Featuring Bob Keohane as discussant
    6pm; rm 9207

  • Thursday, 20 February: Humanitarian Business
    Thomas G. Weiss (Presidential Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate Center)
    4:30pm; rm C201
    Cosponsored by the Center for Global Ethics and Politics

  • Thursday, 27 March: The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror
    Arun Kundnani (Former Fellow, Open Society Institute and Instructor, New York University)
    6pm; rm C202

  • Wednesday, 9 April: 60 Years of Atoms for Peace
    Geoffrey Shaw (Representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the UN)
    6pm; rm C201

  • Wednesday, 7 May: Bridging community division? Grassroots approaches to integration in London
    Harris Beider (Coventry University (UK) and Columbia University)
    6pm; rm C197

FALL 2013
  • Wednesday, 19 September: The Failure of the Mainstream Media to Cover the UN: Who’s to Blame?
    Barbara Crossette (UN Correspondent, The Nation; former UN Bureau Chief, The New York Times; PassBlue)
    6pm; rm 9207

  • Tuesday, 1 October: The German Elections: Domestic and International Consequences
    Ralf Fuecks (Heinrich Böll Foundation, Green Party, Germany)
    7pm; rm 9207

  • Monday, 7 October: Panel discussion on "Gender Justice in Large Development Organizations: Is Transformation Possible?"
    Joanne Sandler (Gender at Work), Aruna Rao (Gender at Work), Shawna Wakefield (Oxfam), Pablo Castillo-Diaz (UN Women) and Letitia Anderson (UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict)
    6pm; rm 9206

  • Monday, 21 October: The Arms Trade Treaty: Will it Make a Difference?
    Daniël Prins (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs)
    6pm; rm 9205

  • Monday, 4 November: Panel discussion on "The Crisis in Syria"
    Featuring Simon Adams (Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect) and Mouaz Moustafa (Syrian Emergency Task Force)
    6pm; rm 9204

  • Monday, 2 December: Panel discussion on "Civil Liberties and National Security under the Obama Administration: Debating the Legacy"
    Featuring Karen Greenberg (Fordham Law), Faiza Patel (Brennan Center, NYU) and Gabor Rona (Human Rights First)
    6pm; rm 9204

Spring 2013
  • Wednesday, 30 January: Local and International Implications of the Criminalization of Islamic Charities: The Case of Zakat Committees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
    Benoit Challand (NYU), Emanuel Schaeublin (University of Oxford) and Kay Guinane (Charity and Security Network, Washington, DC)

  • Wednesday, 13 February: UN Peacekeeping in Africa: From Suez to Sudan
    Adekeye Adebajo (Centre for Conflict Resolution, South Africa)

  • Wednesday, 20 February: The Missing Peace: Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings
    Chantal de Jonge Oudraat (SIPRI, North America) and Kathleen Kuehnast (United States Institute of Peace)

  • Monday, 18 March: If Nation-Building is Out, Can Peace-Building Be In?
    Jeffrey Laurenti (The Century Foundation)

  • Tuesday, 16 April: Labor Rights are Human Rights: Resisting Neoliberalism through International Labor Rights Norms
    Susan Kang (John Jay College, CUNY) with Maggie Gray (Adelphi U.)

  • Friday, 26 April: Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right: What the World Owes the Poor
    Thomas Pogge (Yale University)

  • Thursday, 9 May: Wrong Turn: America's Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency
    Gian Gentile with Austin Long (Columbia University)

Fall 2012
  • Tuesday, 11 September: Humanity, Dignity and Rights in Traditional China
    Dr. Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

  • Monday, 24 September: The Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Situation in Iran
    Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

  • Monday, 15 October: Information and Self-Enforcing Democracy: The Role of International Election Observation
    Dr. Susan D. Hyde, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Yale University
    6.00 - 8.00 pm – Room C201

  • Monday, 19 November: Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the Protection of Civilians
    Prof. Charles Sampford, Director, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Griffith University, Prof. Ramesh Thakur, Director, Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Dr. Hugh Breakey, Research Fellow, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Griffith University, Naomi Kikoler (Discussant), Director of Policy & Advocacy, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies

  • Wednesday, 5 December: The Necessity of New Forms of Revolutionary Change
    Carne Ross , Founder and Executive Director, Independent Diplomat

Spring 2012
  • Thursday, 16 February: Using Partnerships to Foster Transparency and Accountability
    Amir Dossal, Global Partnerships Forum

  • Tuesday, 27 March: Perspectives on Afghan Political Reconciliation
    Daisaku Higashi, University of Tokyo

  • Thursday, 10 May: Rio +20: Prospects for Global Environmental Governance
    Carsten Staur, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN

Fall 2011
  • Monday, 12 September: India’s Evolving Foreign Policy
    David Malone, International Development Research Center, Canada

  • Tuesday, 4 October: Palestinian Statehood? Implications of a UN Resolution
    Alvaro de Soto, Ralph Bunche Institute; Ghassan Shabaneh, Marymount Manhattan College; Dov Waxman, Baruch College; Thomas G. Weiss, Ralph Bunche Institute

    Below is video from the event. You can also find it on Vimeo.

  • Thursday, 3 November: 70 Years Later: The UN as a Political Response to Pearl Harbor
    Dan Plesch, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

    Below is video from the event. You can also find it on Vimeo.

  • Dan Plesch - The Future UN & War-time History from Ralph Bunche Institute on Vimeo.

Past speakers included included:

Spring 2011
  • Martin Lees, Secretary General, Club of Rome
  • S. Akbar Zaidi, Columbia University
  • Geoffrey Shaw, Director, NY Office, International Atomic Energy Agency
Fall 2010
  • Emmanuel Teitelbaum, George Washington University
  • Rama Mani, Councilor, World Future Council
  • Nora McKeon, formerly UN FAO
  • Natasha Yacoub, UNHCR
Spring 2010
  • Roland Paris, University of Ottawa
  • David Donat Cattin, Parliamentarians for Global Action
  • Peggy Hicks, Human Rights Watch
  • Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International
  • Adekeye Adebajo, Center for Conflict Resolution
  • Peter Romaniuk, John Jay College, CUNY
Fall 2009
  • Roland Rich, UN Democracy Fund
  • Anne Marie Goetz, UNIFEM
  • Christophe Jaffrelot, CERI, Sciences-Po
  • Randy Rydell, UN Office of Disarmament Affairs
Spring 2009, "Whither the Responsibility to Protect?"
  • Ramesh Thakur, Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Gareth Evans, International Crisis Group
  • Lawrence Woocher, United States Institute of Peace
  • Alex Bellamy, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Conor Foley, author, The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War (2008)
Fall 2008, Globalizing India and the Multilateral Order
  • Manu Bhagavan, Hunter College, City University of New York
  • Mira Kamdar, World Policy Institute
  • Devesh Kapur, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sanjay Reddy, Columbia University
  • Vikram Doraiswami, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations
  • John Echeverri-Gent, University of Virginia
Spring 2008 Political Alignments since 9/11 and Shock and Awe
  • H.E. Ambassador Alfredo Labbé, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations
  • Guiseppe Nesi, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations
  • Qi Qianjin, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations
  • Alem Habtu, Queens College, City University of New York
  • Benjamin Rivlin, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
  • Sir Brian Urquhart
The following lectures and conferences were sponsored or co-sponsored by the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies in the past.


The Dankwart A. Rustow Memorial Lecture, named for the late Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Sociology, was presented annually between 1998 and 2007 by the Ralph Bunche Institute and The Graduate Center's Department of Political Science. This lecture commemorates Professor Rustow's range of interests and stimulates expert discussion in these subject areas.

Lectures were given by:
  • 2007: Alvaro de Soto, "Inclusive Diplomacy and the Search for Middle East Peace"
  • 2006: Gareth Evans, "A Rule-Based International Order: Illusory or Achievable?"
  • 2005: Michael Walzer, "The Paradox of National Liberation"
  • 2004: Mary Robinson, "Renewing the Commitment to Rule of Law and Human Rights: The Way Forward"
  • 2003: The Honorable Suleyman Sami Demirel, "Turkey's Relations With It's Neighbors and the U.S. after the War in Iraq"
  • 2002: Michael Ignatieff, "Human Rights and Terror"
  • 2001: Richard J. Goldstone, "Justice of the Consitutional Court of South Africa"
  • 2000: J.C. Hurewitz, "Ottoman Diplomacy and the European State System"
  • 1999: Bernard Lewis, "Some Cultural Aspects of Westernization in the Middle East"
  • 1998: Arthur Hertzberg, "A Dead Language Comes Alive Before 1917"

Oxford Conference Series

Two research conferences on topics of global importance were co-sponsored in New York by the Bunche Institute and the Centre for International Studies of the University of Oxford. In May 2001, a group of distinguished practitioners and analysts gathered to focus on the inter-relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations in dealing with conflict in Africa. Among the conflicts studied in depth were those in West Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi.

In September 2002, virtually on the anniversary of the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, an international group of experts focused on the international political and legal aspects of the response to terrorism in a conference titled “Terrorism and the United Nations: Problems and Prospects.”

From the best papers presented at the meetings, two edited volumes were published:
Jane Boulden, ed., Dealing with Conflict in Africa: The United Nations and Regional Organizations (New York: Palgrave, 2003).
Jane Boulden and Thomas G. Weiss, eds., Terrorism and the UN: Before and After September 11 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004).

NEH Summer Institute: "Human Rights in Conflict"

The five-week NEH Summer Institute focused particularly on conflicts involving relationships between human rights and power, addressing how power and the diversity of human experience constitute conceptual and practical understandings of human rights as a contemporary discourse of freedom and equality. It considered both the contestable character of human rights and addressed the sources of these contests from philosophical, historical, legal, cultural, and political perspectives. Drawing from the expertise of individual authorities on these aspects of human rights, channeling their perspectives towards a common subject, and involving the interests and projects of participants, the Institute fostered understanding of the strengths and limitations of human rights as an international language of political ethics, particularly in relation to democracy.
For more information click here.

Ralph Bunch Institute for International Studies



CUNY Graduate Center
Copyright © Ralph Bunche Institute


United Nations Intellectual History Project
Future United Nations Development System

United Nations Intellectual History Project
Wartime History
and the Future UN

Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect


The Academic Council on the United Nations New York Office
Academic Council on the UN New York Office

Center for Global Ethics & Politics
Center for Global
Ethics & Politics

The Politics and Protest Workshop
The Politics and Protest Workshop