A discussion between
Dr. Esther Brimmer
Executive Director & CEO of NAFSA & Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, US Department of State
Special Correspondent, PBS Newshour
NYU Program in International Relations presents the Third Annual Benton Discussion on Statecraft and Diplomacy. This year's discussion, "The Future of the International System", features a conversation between Dr. Esther Brimmer, Executive Director & CEO of NAFSA & Former Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, and Gracie Allen Award Prize Winner, Marcia Biggs, Special Correspondent, PBS Newshour.
Dr. Esther Brimmer's career includes serving at the U.S. Department of State three times, most recently as the Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs in from April 2009 to June 2013. She was a member of the Policy Planning Staff from 1999-2001 and from 1993-1995 was special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. In January 2017, Dr. Brimmer became the Executive Director and CEO, of NAFSA, the largest non-profit professional organization devoted to international education.
Dr. Brimmer served as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs from 2013 through 2015. She was Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001-2009 and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium. From 1995 – 1999 she was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. She currently serves as an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. Brimmer has published several articles and monographs and edited eight books on transatlantic and international affairs.
Marcia Biggs is a freelance journalist who has reported from all over the world for ABC News, Fox News Channel, Al Jazeera English, and CNN. She is currently a Special Correspondent for PBS NewsHour, for whom she has recently won a Gracie Allen Award, a First Place National Headliner Award, and a New York Festivals World Medal. Her expertise lies in the Arab world, with over a decade of experience in the Middle East, five years of which were spent living in Lebanon. For PBS, she covered the targeting of doctors in the Syrian civil war, the use of children in armed conflict, the looting of Syrian antiquities, as well as the plight of Syrian refugees in both the United States and the Arab World. For PBS in Iraq, she covered various stages of the battle for Mosul, documented the plight of Yazidi girls who have escaped ISIS captivity, and told the moving story of American military veterans volunteering on the front lines against ISIS.
Her previous war reporting includes various stages of the US war in Iraq, where she embedded with military units, as well as the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which she covered from Beirut. In 2013, she produced an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in addition to various stories on the Syrian refugee crisis, use of chemical weapons, and a possible American military strike.Her documentary work includes an unprecedented series on the lives of the men and women of the Boston Police Department, a documentary that reunited the children who survived the Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, and an inside look at the making of Lord of the Rings from the heart of New Zealand's "Middle Earth". She also spent 10 years following the widows of 9/11 who were pregnant when their husbands died for various ABC News 9/11 specials. Her previous war reporting includes various stages of the US war in Iraq, where she embedded with military units, as well as the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which she covered from Beirut. In 2013, she produced an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in addition to various stories on the Syrian refugee crisis, use of chemical weapons, and a possible American military strike.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she completed her Bachelors degree in History at Vanderbilt University and her Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut. She speaks Spanish and Arabic, has lived and traveled extensively all over the world, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She currently resides in New York City.
For more information on the Annual Benton Discussion on Statecraft and Diplomacy, please visit here.