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Book talk: The Peacemakers by Bruce Jentleson

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War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07)

King's College London, King's Building, 6th floor

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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In the twentieth century, great leaders played vital roles in making the world a fairer and more peaceful place. How did they do it? What lessons can be drawn for the twenty-first-century global agenda?

Those questions are at the heart of The Peacemakers, a kind of global edition of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage. Writing at a time when peace seems elusive and conflict endemic, when tensions are running high among the major powers, when history has come roaring back, when democracy and human rights are yet again under siege, when climate change is moving from future to present tense, and when transformational statesmanship is so needed, Bruce W. Jentleson shows how twentieth-century leaders of a variety of types—national, international institutional, sociopolitical, nongovernmental—rewrote the zero-sum scripts they were handed and successfully made breakthroughs on issues long thought intractable.

The stories are fascinating: Henry Kissinger, Zhou Enlai, and the U.S.-China opening; Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War; Dag Hammarskjöld’s exceptional effectiveness as United Nations secretary-general; Nelson Mandela and South African reconciliation; Yitzhak Rabin seeking Arab-Israeli peace; Mahatma Gandhi as exemplar of anticolonialism and an apostle of nonviolence; Lech Walesa and ending Soviet bloc communism; Gro Harlem Brundtland and fostering global sustainability; and a number of others. While also taking into account other actors and factors, Jentleson tells us who each leader was as an individual, why they made the choices they did, how they pursued their goals, and what they were (and weren’t) able to achieve.

Bio:

Bruce Jentleson is a Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, where he previously served as Director of the Terry Sanford Institute (now Sanford School) of Public Policy. He is a leading scholar of American foreign policy and has served in a number of U.S. policy and political positions. In 2015-16 he was the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress.

Jentleson’s current book is The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons from 20th Century Statesmen (Forthcoming April 2018, W.W. Norton). Prior books include American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century (5th edition, W.W. Norton, 2013); The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas, co-authored with Steven Weber (Harvard University Press, 2010); and With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush and Saddam, 1982-1990 (W.W. Norton, 1994). He also has published articles in numerous academic and policy journals and for leading online sites such as ForeignPolicy.com, CFR.com (Council on Foreign Relations),Huffington Post, TheHill.com, and Washington Post Monkey Cage.

From 2009-11 he was senior advisor to the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Director. In 2012 he served on the Obama 2012 campaign National Security Advisory Steering Committee. He also served as a senior foreign policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign, in the Clinton administration State Department (1993-94), and as a foreign policy aide to Senators Gore (1987-88) and Dave Durenberger (1978-79). He also has served on a number of policy commissions, most recently the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Working Group co-chaired by Madeleine Albright (2011-13).

He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, and was recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award for his doctoral dissertation; a master's from the London School of Economics and Political Science; and a bachelor’s degree also from Cornell, including study at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

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War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07)

King's College London, King's Building, 6th floor

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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