Washington Forum 2015

April 15, 2015
9:00 am -


The theme for this year’s FDD Washington Forum was “Wars of the Islamic World: America as Actor or Spectator?” Washington Forum brings together foreign-policy and national-security professionals, diplomats and members of Congress to provide insightful analysis and fresh perspectives on the most complex issues facing America: Is the tide of war in the Middle East receding or rising? Will the U.S. prevent Iran’s nuclear and regional breakout? Are the nation-states of the region collapsing? Can the media cover extremist actors without fear or favor? What are the chances for stability, inclusivity and tolerance in an Islamic world engulfed in unprecedented turmoil? Washington Forum brings together leading analysts, journalists and public servants to discuss the most pressing geopolitical and national-security matters of our time.

Panel 1: America: Actor or Spectator?

  • Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Bret Stephens, foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor,The Wall Street Journal;Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist
  • Michéle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • Moderator: Jackson Diehl deputy editorial page editor,The Washington Post

Presentation of the George P. Shultz Award for Distinguished Service

  • Conversation with Andrew Marshall, four-decade director of the Pentagon’s “internal think tank,” the Office of Net Assessment.
  • Introductory Remarks by Andrew D. May, Office of Net Assessment
  • Moderator: Samantha Ravich, FDD CSIF board member and former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President


Panel 2: Are We Still Fighting a War on Terrorism?

  • Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Mary Beth Long, former Assistant Secretary of Defense
  • Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
  • Fran Townsend, former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
  • Moderator: Juan Zarate, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and former Deputy Assistant to the President

Presentation of the Alberto Nisman Award for Courage

  • Remarks by Robert Morgenthau, former New York County District Attorney
  • Introductory Remarks by Toby Dershowitz, Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy, Foundation for Defense of Democracies


 Presentation of the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Statesmanship Award

  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
  • Rep. Ted Deutch, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
  • Moderator: Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Panel 3:The Jihadi Threat to Minorities in the Middle East

  • Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States
  • The Honorable Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament
  • Tony Badran, Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Brian Katulis, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Moderator: John Hannah, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Panel 4: Can the Media Cover Jihadists and Islamists Without Fear or Favor?

  • Dexter FilkinsThe New Yorker staff writer; Pulitzer-Prize winner and recipient of two George Polk Awards
  • Jamie Dettmer, journalist and broadcaster for The Daily Beast and Voice of America, who has reported from inside Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey
  • Nazila Fathi, former Iranian correspondent for The New York Times, who was forced to flee the country in 2009 during the height of the Green Revolution
  • Moderator: Clifford D. May, President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Panel 5 : Red Lines and Deadlines: The Threat of a Nuclear Iran

  • Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic