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Past Speakers

United Nations Lecture Series


Speaker: Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Organisation of Islmaic Cooperation of the United Nations, New York
Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m.
Where: Miller Room of the Henry Student Center - 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

About the speaker: Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1966, is the Permanent Observer of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) to the United Nations, since April 2010. He served as a Political Adviser to the OIC Secretary General from 2005 to 2010 at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah. Previous to that, he was posted at the Turkish Embassies in Riyadh, Muscat and Damascus and at the European and Middle East Departments of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara.


Speaker: H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Ambassador / Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Date: Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 4 p.m.
Where: Miller Room of the Henry Student Center - 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

About the speaker: His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Sareer was appointed to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations as Ambassador / chargé d'affaires in February 2012. He presented his Letters of Credence to His Excellency Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as Permanent Representative to the United Nations on 20 December 2012. 


Speaker: Dr. Hanada Taha, Acting Dean of Bahrain Teachers’ College at the University of Bahrain
Topic: Women's Empowerment In The Middle East
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
Where: Miller Room of the Henry Student Center - 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

About the speaker: Dr. Hanada Taha is Acting Dean of Bahrain Teachers’ College at the University of Bahrain. Previous to that she was the director of Arabic programs at the Language Acquisition Resource Center at the San Diego State University in California, USA. She is the director of Arabexpertise, an educational consulting group based in California, USA. She has taught Arabic language for the past twenty five years to native and non-native speakers in many countries around the world including Lebanon, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.


Speaker: Ms. Gordana Jerger, Deputy Director of the United Nations World Food Programme
Topic: The World Food Programme in Syria
Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 
Where: Miller Room of the Henry Student Center - 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

About the speaker: Ms. Gordana Jerger is the Deputy Director of the United Nations World Food Programme's (WFP) Division for Inter-agency Partnerships. Prior to this assignment, she served as Associate Director (post-crisis transition) in the United Nations Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) and was WFP's Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Ms. Jerger joined WFP in 1986 as statistician and has held since then several senior managerial positions both at headquarters and in the field, including as WFP's Representative in Nicaragua and Chief of Programming, responsible for the overall allocation of WFP's operational resources and the management of the WFP's emergency Immediate Response Account. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Andrew P. Miller, Associate Professor of Political Science at andrew.miller1@wilkes.edu or (570) 408-4476. 


Speaker: Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat
Topic: Climate Change
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Where: 106 Breiseth Hall - 137-159 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

About the speaker: Mohammad Reza Salamat works as a Senior Programme Officer at the UN Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team, based in New York, USA. He joined the Division for Sustainable Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as an expert on policy aspects of climate change in January 2002. His primary responsibilities, as a member of the Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team, are: providing policy analysis and advice on the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations in the run-up to Copenhagen, and contributing to the preparations for the Summit on Climate Change to be convened by the Secretary General in New York on 22nd September.


Speaker: Usman Iftikhar, United Nations Development Program
Topic: Population Growth
Date: November 30th, 2011
Where: Gies Hall - Dorothy Dickson Darte Center

About the speaker: Iftikhar began his career in sustainable development started with IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature in Pakistan in 1996. From 2001, he developed and coordinated the IUCN Pakistan Environmental Economics Programme and in 2005 became the Coordinator of IUCN Asia Regional Environmental Economics Programme.

Iftikhar has also worked with the International Institute of Environment and Development and the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom. He joined the United Nation as Development Program in 2007. In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty. This pledge became the U.N. eight Millennium Development Goals. As a policy specialist for the environment, Iftikhar has worked on a number of initiatives including the development of the Millennium Development Goal 7 (environmental) Needs Assessment Costing Tool, linking climate change to the millenium, and has expanded his expertise in environmental economic valuation and poverty-environment relationships.

Iftikhar holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and a master’s degree in environmental and natural resource economics, University College, London.



Speaker: Anayansi Lopez - Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Topic: Peacekeeping Missions Around the World
Date: October 24th, 2011

About the speaker: Ms. Anayansi Lopez joined the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2007, but has worked in Public Information with the UN since 2002 with both the Peacekeeping Missions in Guatemala and Liberia, as well as the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Before joining the UN, she worked as a journalist for the main newspapers and radio stations in Guatemala and covered the country’s armed conflict and peace negotiations as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Landivar University in Guatemala and a Masters Degree in Political Communication from the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain.



Speaker: Roland Rich
Topic: Elections - Road to Democracy Around the World
Date: Sept. 26th, 2011

About the Speaker: Prior to his appointment to UNDEF, Rich was a member of the staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies of the Australian Defence College, teaching and mentoring colonel-level officers studying for master’s degree ins international relations. He was a research fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. Earlier, Rich was the foundation director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University which promotes democracy in the Asia-Pacific region. He joined the Australian foreign service in 1975 and had postings in Paris, Rangoon, Manila and, from 1994-1997, as Australian ambassador to Laos.



Speaker: Verona Lambert, Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force
Topic: United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)
Date: January 23rd, 2012
Where: Gies Hall - Dorothy Dickson Darte Center

About the Speaker: Verona Lambert is a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). Prior to joining the United Nations in 2004, she worked as an Information/Project Officer for the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in Zambia. She has also worked as a journalist for Channel Africa, the external service of South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg, South Africa for four years. Mrs. Lambert holds a Masters degree in International Affairs and a Bachelor degree in Journalism.



Speaker: Ambassador Christopher Goldthwait
Topic: Food Security
Date: February 27th, 2012
Where: Miller Room - Henry Student Center

About the Speaker: Goldthwait is an independent consultant and advisor to Cantera Partners and Delphos International. Prior to establishing his consulting business, he spent more than 30 years in the foreign service. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Chad, the general sales manager in the Foreign Agricultural Service of the Department of Agriculture, and the Agricultural Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. Goldthwait graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., and he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.



Speaker: Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu
Topic: Human Trafficking
Date: March 19th, 2012
Where: Gies Hall - Dorothy Dickson Darte Center


About the Speaker: Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Ambassador, PhD. (born 4 July 1959), is a senior Romanian diplomat, currently serving as the Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations in New York, with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. She presented her credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on June 5, 2008. She also served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Romania, and is the first woman in Romania's diplomatic history to be granted the rank of Ambassador.

Miculescu also has an academic background, as well as an extensive experience in public communication. Starting with her PhD in Literature, her academic career as a professor of International Public Relations at two Romanian universities and as publisher of several books and tens of articles goes in parallel with her evolution in diplomacy. In Romania, she is known as one of the best experts in the area of management of International Public Relations and developed the first curricula on this topic, which is now used in several Romanian universities.

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