The International Speaker Series (ISSS) was first established at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 by LBJ School Professor Francis J. Gavin and Department of Government Professor Peter Trubowitz under the University of Texas Global Challenges Initiative (UT-GCI). This campus-wide speaker series planned to explore the trends, processes, and threats that would dominate 21st century international relations. Throughout the 2004-05 academic year, the UT-GCI's ISSS featured presentations by historians, strategists, legal scholars, and policymakers. Taking a multidisciplinary approach and focusing on the intersection of policy and theory, the program exposed the UT community to fresh approaches in international security studies.
The series was such a success it carried on in the next academic year and continues today. Organization of the ISSS was transferred from the Global Challenges Initiative to the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law in 2007. Free and open to the public, the lectures are traditionally held in the Brown Room of the LBJ Library and Museum or within the LBJ School. The ISSS explores timely topics such as U.S. foreign policy, security, law, terrorism, and history. The ISSS hosts academics, practitioners, and government officials, bringing together a diverse group of speakers to a fresh, interdisciplinary audience.
Highlights from the series include:
- “A Conversation with Aaron Williams”, Director of the Peace Corps
- “Pitfalls in Democracy Promotion” with Marina Ottaway, Director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- “Lessons, Challenges, and the Continuation of the War on Terror” with Juan Carlos Zarate, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism
- “Back to Black: An Argument for Removing U.S. Intelligence Activities from Public Scrutiny” with Joan Dempsey, Vice President, Booz Allen and Hamilton
- “U.S. Strategy Beyond Counterinsurgency” with Celeste Ward, Senior Defense Analyst at the RAND Corporation
The audiences of the ISSS is just as varied as the topics covered, and the Strauss Center continues to promote involvement from students, faculty, and staff across the UT campus as well as UT alumni and members of the Austin-area public.
Since its inception in 2004, until today, and into the future, the Strauss Center is committed to sustaining the International Security Speaker Series, the first interdisciplinary speaker series to bring distinguished young scholars from all areas together to discuss timely ideas and to promote policy action.