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Johns Hopkins SAIS to host the Zbigniew Brzezinski Initiative’s inaugural lecture, featuring Leon Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, on April 28


On Wednesday, April 28, Johns Hopkins SAIS will host the Zbigniew Brzezinski Initiative’s inaugural lecture titled, “Subtle Dimensions of National Power – The U.S. in a Post-Pandemic World.” featuring Leon Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense. As part of the lecture, Panetta will join Johns Hopkins SAIS Dean Eliot A. Cohen for a discussion examining contemporary American foreign policy. Carla Freeman, executive director of the school’s Foreign Policy Institute (FPI), will bring introductory remarks.

The inaugural lecture is part of an initiative honoring Zbigniew Brzezinski, the late U.S. National Security Advisor and longtime foreign policy professor at John Hopkins SAIS, who left a legacy of leading highly regarded and intellectually challenging current issues seminars focused on American foreign policy. The lecture, which is open to the public and media, is co-sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), FPI, and the SAIS Dean’s Speaker Series.
Additional information is available on the Zbigniew Brzezinski Initiative website


Eliot A. Cohen
Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Leon Panetta
Chairman, Panetta Institute for Public Policy
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense 


Carla Freeman
Executive Director, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS 

Time and Date

5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 


This event is open to the public and media, with registration.  

Media Contact

Jason Lucas
Communications Manager
Johns Hopkins SAIS
+1 (202) 663-5620 

About the Speakers 

Leon Panetta is chairman and co-founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy. He served under President Barack Obama as the 23rd Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. Before joining the Department of Defense, Panetta served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2009 to 2011. Previously, he spent a decade co-directing the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, a non-partisan, non-profit study center he co-founded with his wife Sylvia in 1997 that seeks to attract men and women to public service and prepare them for the policy challenges of the future. In March 2006, he was selected to serve on the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan committee established at the urging of Congress to conduct an independent assessment of the war in Iraq. 
From 1994 to 1997, Panetta served as Chief of Staff to then-President Bill Clinton. Before his role at the White House, he served as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Panetta represented California’s 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, ascending to the position of House Budget Committee Chairman during his final four years in Congress. Prior to Congress, he served as a legislative assistant to then-Senator Thomas H. Kuchel of California; special assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights; and executive assistant to then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay. Panetta started his career in public service in 1964 with a two-year stint as a U.S. Army intelligence officer.
Throughout his career, Panetta has been a member of numerous boards and commissions. He currently serves as co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Defense Personnel Task Force and the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism. Panetta is also the recipient of several hundred awards and honors, which most recently include: the California Forward’s Forward Thinker Award; California Teachers Association’s Friends of Education Award; Judicial Council of California’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award; and the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award. Panetta chronicled his life in public service in his 2014 best-selling memoir, Worthy Fights.
Carla Freeman directs the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS and is concurrently an Associate Research Professor in China Studies. She conducts research on Chinese foreign and domestic policy with a current focus on regional dynamics, including China and its periphery, non-traditional security, and China's role in international organizations. Prior to Johns Hopkins SAIS, she has served as an Asian analyst for a political risk consultancy, directed the Johnson Foundation’s program in civil society and community sustainability, and held various academic positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Beloit College, and Alverno College, where she chaired the Global Studies and International Affairs program.
Freeman is currently editor-in-chief of the academic journal, Asian Perspective, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In 2020, she served a nine-month term as the Library of Congress’ Chair in U.S.-China relations within the library’s John W. Kluge Center. In this role, Freeman engaged in research and led programming that brought scholars and policymakers together to facilitate bipartisan legislative discussions on critical issues in the U.S.-China relationship. 

Zbigniew Brzezinski Initiative

To recognize Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s legacy, the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute has established a unique set of academic programs that build on the school’s strengths as a leading center for training graduate students in international policy and relevant academic research. This recognition comprises both immediate programming and longer-term plans, which together will equip a new generation of policy experts capable of the authoritative analysis, strategic vision, and active diplomacy that were hallmarks of Dr. Brzezinski’s role as a scholar, policy advisor, and statesman. For more information, visit: 

Stavros Niarchos Foundation

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $3.1 billion through over 4,900 grants to nonprofit organizations, in more than 130 countries around the world. 

Foreign Policy Institute

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) was established in 1980 to unite the worlds of scholarship and policy in the search for realistic answers to international issues facing the United States and the world. FPI seeks to advance practically oriented research and discussion about foreign policy. To this end, it organizes research initiatives and study groups, and hosts leaders from around the world as resident or non-resident fellows in fields including international policy, business, journalism, and academia. Read more about FPI here: 

Dean’s Speaker Series

The Dean’s Speaker Series is the highest profile speaker series at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The series will host a diverse array of prominent international affairs practitioners and business leaders for insightful perspectives and thought-provoking discussions on international relations, leadership and other relevant topics that impact our focus areas. This fall will feature distinguished experts around themes such as American Foreign Policy and the 2020 Election, International Order after Coronavirus, Targets of Opportunity in the Global Arena, and Race Relations, Civic Engagement and Global Social Movements. All events require pre-registration and are free and open to the public. 

Johns Hopkins SAIS

A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For more than 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or on Twitter @SAISHopkins
Monday, April 19, 2021