IRO’s Speaker Series takes place on Wednesday nights at 7pm in Jefferson Hall (Hotel C, West Range). If you would like to know more about our Speaker Series program, or would like to speak at an event, please contact our Vice President, Noor Waheed.

If you would like to receive emails advertising our speaker series, please fill out this form, or email our Secretary, Caitlin Kwalwasser, to be added to our mailing list.


List of Speakers for the Spring 2017 Semester

February 8, 2017: David A. Martin and David Leblang

David A Martin

Professor David A. Martin recently retired from a faculty position at the University of Virginia School of Law, and has served in a variety of government posts, ranging from Principal Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security to General Counsel to the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice. He is a leading scholar in immigration, international, and constitutional law with extensive career of involvement in legal and policy developments within immigration. Click here for more biographical details.


Professor David Leblang serves as Chair of the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, a Faculty Associate at the Miller Center, and the Director of the Batten School’s Global Policy Center. He is a scholar on international political economy in the areas of migration, refugees, and capital flows. Leblang has been a visiting scholar in the Research Department of the IMF as well as the European Commission’s Directorate of Economics and Finance. In 2015, Leblang was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Mentoring Award by the University of Virginia. Click here for more biographical details.


February 15, 2017: Jeffrey W. Legro

Jeffrey Legro

Professor Jeffrey W. Legro is Taylor Professor of Politics and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Virginia. Legro has authored a number of books on international relations, including Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies and International Order (2005) and Cooperation under Fire: Anglo-German Restraint during World War II (1995) and co-edited (with Melvyn Leffler) To Lead the World: U.S. Strategy after the Bush Doctrine (2008) and In Uncertain Times: American Foreign Policy after the Berlin Wall and 9/11 (2011). He co-founded the Miller Center’s Governing America in a Global Era Program, has chaired the American Political Science Association (APSA) Task Force on U.S. Standing in the World, and served as President of APSA’s International History and Politics Section. Click here for more biographical details.


March 1, 2017: Michael J. Smith

Professor Michael Joseph Smith is the Thomas C. Sorenson Professor of Political and Social Thought and Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. At the University, he currently leads the Program in Political and Social Thought, and previously has directed the Politics Department’s Distinguished Majors Program. Before coming to U.Va., Smith taught at Harvard University and Merton College, Oxford. He specializes in human rights, political thought, and on the ethics of international relations. He has authored or co-authored two books, Realist Thought from Weber to Kissinger and Ideas and Ideals, and has written extensively on ethical dilemmas in contemporary international politics. Click here for more biographical details.



March 22, 2017: Todd Sechser

Professor Todd S. Sechser is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, specializing in international security, military coercion and doctrine, and the role of nuclear weapons in international politics. Sechser has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution. He recently authored and published Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy with Matthew Fuhrmann. He has held fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (Stanford), the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (Harvard), and the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies (Harvard). In 2011-12, he served as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Click here for more biographical details.

April 12, 2017: Kirsten Gelsdorf

Kirsten Gelsdorf

With 19 years of experience in the humanitarian sector, Kirsten Gelsdorf serves as Director of Global Humanitarian Policy for the Batten School. Previously, Gelsdorf served as Chief of Policy Analysis and Innovation at the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She has been involved with field postings and operational deployments to a wide span of emergencies, such as the Haiti Earthquake, the Ethiopian Famine, the Tsunami in Indonesia, and Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, among many others. She has advised President Clinton in his role as UN Special Envoy for Haiti and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in addition to authoring a number of policy reports that have been adopted in UN resolutions. Click here for more biographical information.