CMC Speakers

Enhancing science-driven collaboration by engaging thought leaders and policymakers to share their ideas and perspectives on a range of issues related to international peace and stability.

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Distinguished Speakers Series 

Past Speakers 

Photo - Melanie NakagawaMelanie Nakagawa

"Keynote talk - CMC Climate Security Symposium"

Oct. 6, 2021

Special Assistant to President Biden and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Climate and Energy Melanie Nakagawa will provide a keynote address to attendees and participants at the CMC's Climate Security Symposium. This online event will promote regional dialogue on regional challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. Further, the Global Climate Security Symposium will seek to identify potential scientific and technological collaboration opportunities with the United States, as well as specific areas of contribution for Sandia National Laboratories and the CMC. 


Laura S. H. Holgate

Laura S. H. Holgate

“Science in Service of Diplomacy: Fostering Connections”

Jan. 25, 2021

Laura S. H. Holgate, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency and current Vice President for Materials Risk Management at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, will discuss the importance of scientific and technical knowledge to the understanding, creation, and implementation of high-quality international security policy.

 View Laura Holgate's Talk

Dr. Brent K. Park

Dr. Brent K. Park

NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation 

Nov. 19, 2020

Dr. Park discusses the importance of technical expertise and scientific collaboration to the future of nuclear nonproliferation.

View Dr. Park's Talk


Rose Gottemoeller

Rose Gottemoeller

“From the Russell-Einstein Manifesto to Beyond New START”

Jul. 28, 2020

Rose Gottemoeller discusses the value of international scientific cooperation in the national security field. Her talk considers history from the 1950s to the current day, from the early scientists’ groups such as Pugwash, to the urgent work of fissile material control in Russia in the 1990s, to the role of different expertise in the New START negotiations. She concludes with a glance at the future—looking at the continuing role of interdisciplinary cooperation in tackling problems such as control and monitoring of warheads.

View Rose Gottemoeller's talk.


Dr. Christopher Ford

Dr. Christopher Ford

“Arms Control and Disarmament: Adjusting to a New Era”

May 20, 2020

With more than 20 years working in public service, Dr. Christopher Ford previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation at the National Security Council. In 2006, Dr. Ford served as the U.S. Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation, where he was responsible for U.S. diplomacy with respect to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. A Rhodes scholar and Yale Law School-educated attorney, Dr. Ford is the author of three books on Sino-American relations, Chinese world view, and U.S. Navy operational intelligence.

View Dr. Ford's Talk



Upcoming Seminars

Dr. Sitakanta Mishra and Associate Professor Happymon Jacob

photo - Dr. Sitakanta Mishra

photo - Happymon Jacob






“An Update on India’s Nuclear Security and Governance”

Oct. 20, 2021 | 8pm IST; 8:30am MT

Dr. Sitakanta Mishra, former CMC Visiting Research Scholar and Associate Professor of International Relations in the School of Liberal Studies of Pandit Deendayal Energy University, and Happymon Jacob, Associate Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, both noted regional scholars and authors, will discuss India’s current nuclear security posture.

Register here by 5 pm MT Oct. 19, 2021

Past Seminars

 CMC placeholderMs. Fadime Özge Özkan

"Best Practices for Nuclear Security of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management"

Sep. 30, 2021

CMC Visiting Research Scholar Fadime Özge Özkan currently serves as a research assistant in the Nuclear Research Division of the Energy Institute at Istanbul Technical University, where she is also pursuing her Ph.D. Ms. Özkan did her undergraduate work in nuclear engineering at Hacettepe University and received her master's in nuclear engineering from the Energy Institute at the Istanbul Technical University.

Ms. Özkan is the 2020 CRDF Global Robin Copeland Memorial Fellow. During the first phase of her fellowship, she spent four months at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, where she began her research on spent fuel management.

 photo - Dr. Peter HotchkissDr. Peter Hotchkiss

"Science at the OPCW - There's Always Room for More"

Apr. 28, 2021

Peter Hotchkiss, Senior Science Policy Officer at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), discusses current scientific themes and the role that science plays at the Organisation as part of the CMC Seminar Series’ in-depth look at chemical and biological security issues affecting the U.S. and our global partners in a post-COVID-19 world.

photo - Dr. Gerald EpsteinDr. Gerald Epstein

"Biodefense and the return to greatpower competition"

Apr. 13, 2021

As part of the CMC Seminar Series’ in-depth look at biological and chemical security issues affecting the U.S. and our global partners in a post- COVID-19 world, the CMC hosts Dr. Gerald Epstein, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University (NDU) Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dr. Epstein addresses challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, particularly including the security implications of advanced life sciences, biotechnologies, and other emerging and converging technologies.

A recording of Dr. Epstein's seminar can be viewed here.

South Asia Seminar Panel:

Cooperative Border Security in South Asia 

Mar. 31, 2021

A densely populous region with porous borders, recurring interstate crises, three growing nuclear weapon programs, and expansive regional connectivity projects, South Asia is critical to global considerations of border security. Panelists will discuss the regional threat landscape: major threat actors; key official stakeholders for interdiction; land/maritime/air pathways for illicit movement; existing cooperation among regional and international stakeholders; prospects for cooperative security; and potential roles for emerging technologies.

CMC Seminar Panel

"Emerging Technologies & Strategic Stability in Southern Asia"

Mar. 24, 2021

This Sandia CMC panel discussion covers the evolving crisis onset and escalation risks enabled by emerging technologies and military capabilities to assess their implications for strategic stability in the region. Technologies and capabilities under consideration include globally new developments, such as capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence, as well as those that may not be new globally but are being deployed by new actors in the region.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

 photo - Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan Dr. Rajeswari Rajagopalan

Mar. 11, 2021

"India in the Evolving Space Security Domain" (with panel discussion)

The first of a three-seminar series focused on strategic stability and cooperative security in South Asia. Dr. Rajagopalan, a leading Indian expert on space security, will discuss India’s evolving approach to space and its strategy to address the domain’s changing security dynamics. Ankit Panda from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Aaron Bateman from Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Nancy Hayden of Sandia National Laboratories will serve on a panel moderated by the CMC’s South Asia program lead, Hannah Haegeland.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

 photo - Mr. Kristóf HorváthMr. Kristóf Horváth

Mar. 4, 2021

“IAEA Nuclear Security Programme."

Kristóf Horváth, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Material Security Unit, previously served as the IAEA Senior Nuclear Security Officer responsible for International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) missions, regulation development, threat assessment, design basis threat, and nuclear security culture related issues, and is the former Deputy Chairman of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority. Mr. Horváth holds an MSc in Nuclear Engineering and a PhD in Military Engineering.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

 photo - Zoe GastelumMs. Zoe Gastelum

Feb. 25, 2021

“A Day in the Life of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Analyst.”

Zoe Gastelum is Acting Manager of the International Safeguards & Engagements Department at Sandia National Laboratories, where she leads research and development efforts on advanced data analytics and human-algorithm performance in support of international safeguards verification. Prior to joining Sandia in 2015, Zoe worked as a safeguards research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and as an open source information analyst for the IAEA Department of Safeguards.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

Picture - Mr. Steve Amundsen

Mr. Steve Amundsen

Feb. 17, 2021

What is it like to work at the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field? The Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) Seminar Series welcomes Steve Amundsen, recruiter for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will discuss careers and job opportunities at the IAEA.

A recording of Mr. Amundsen's seminar can be viewed here.

Photo - Ms. Jenni RissanenMs. Jenni Rissanen

Feb. 9, 2021

The CMC welcomes Jenni Rissanen, leader of strategic planning for the IAEA Department of Safeguards, the group responsible for nuclear verification activities for more than 180 Member States. Since 2007, Ms. Rissanen has been closely involved in conceptual work, including the development and implementation of the State-level concept for safeguards; advancing strategic foresight and planning; enhancing communication and engagement with Member States, NPT policymakers, and other stakeholders; and establishing partnerships.

A recording of Ms. Rissanen's seminar can be viewed here.

 photo - Mr. Robert KelleyMr. Robert Kelley

Feb. 2, 2021

"Disarmament of Nuclear States: Applicability to Future Denuclearization of DPRK"

Mr. Robert Kelley discusses his experience as an international disarmament inspector in South Africa, Iraq, and Libya. With more than 35 years of experience in the U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex, Robert Kelley started his career in research and engineering before turning to information analysis in the 1980s. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and later was Director of the Department of Energy Remote Sensing Laboratory, the premier U.S. nuclear emergency response organization. Robert directed nuclear inspections in Iraq in 1992 and 2001 for the IAEA, and has worked in more than 20 countries.  

 Maj Gen Randy "Church" Key, USAF(ret.)Major General Randy "Church" Kee, USAF (ret.)

Jan. 21, 2021 

Discussion of Current and Future Arctic Security Mission Requirements

General Kee currently serves as Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) at the University of Alaska and as US Arctic Research Commissioner. In his current position, General Kee leads a distributed team of Arctic-focused science and technology, education and student field programs, and convening activities of knowledgeable Arctic researchers, policy makers, Alaska Native Leaders and maritime operators. 

Dr. David SantoroDr. David Santoro

Dec. 3, 2020

“Pacific Forum: Finding a Better Way”

Dr. Santoro is Vice President and Director for Nuclear Policy at the Honolulu-based Pacific Forum, a foreign policy think tank. He specializes in strategic and deterrence issues as well as nonproliferation and nuclear security, focusing mostly on Asia. He is involved in many of Pacific Forum’s track-2 and track-1.5 forums, and his current research interests focus on great-power competition and the role of China in an era of nuclear multipolarity. Dr. Santoro’s forthcoming edited volume “U.S.-China Nuclear Relations – The Impact of Strategic Triangles” will be published in the spring of 2021.

A recording of Dr. Santoro's seminar can be viewed here. 

Dr. Ghena Alhanaee

Dr Ghena Alhanaee

Nov. 4, 2020

“Interdependency of the Water-Oil-Nuclear Industries in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: Understanding Risk and Improving Prevention and Preparation of Disasters”

Dr. Alhanaee highlights her work to develop a data-driven framework to help the Persian/Arabian Gulf region better mitigate the risks of an oil spill or nuclear accident. Dr. Alhanaee received her PhD from the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California in Summer 2020. She has presented her research, which focuses on environmental sustainability, energy resources, and water and food security in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, at international venues in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

A recording of Dr. Alhanaee's seminar can be viewed here. 

Photo - Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser

Sep. 30, 2020

"The Middle East Scientific Institute for Security's Activities and Approach to Regional Capacity Building in the Mideast"

Managing Director of the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS), Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser will speak on building sustainable capacity in the Middle East. This discussion will be a general overview of MESIS activities and their approach to capacity building in the region. Mr. Bin Nasser was the first speaker in the CMC’s Seminar Series, celebrating the past and future of collaborative scientific engagements.