Drake University is dedicated to grooming future leaders of tomorrow — including those who, one-day, will be responsible for guiding and crafting international policies.

The Rolland and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs prepares students interested in international public affairs with hands-on experiences including:

  • Extensive research and understanding of specific international issues
  • Strengthening negotiation and oratory skills
  • Connecting and sharing with visiting foreign diplomats 

Upcoming Events

April 5-8Nelson Institute Conference On Global Affairs
please register here

Keynote Address:

Wednesday, April 5: Ambassador Stephen Rapp
Topic: Bringing War Crimes Perpetrators to Justice

Location:  Sussman Theater
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Steven J. Rapp served as US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice from 2009 to 2015. In that role he coordinated US government support to international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, as well as to hybrid and national courts responsible for prosecuting persons charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. He was credited with arranging for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry and other prosecutorial authorities to gain access to a cache of 55,000 photos documenting torture by the Assad regime.

From 2007 to 2009, Ambassador Rapp served as prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where he led the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. His office achieved the first convictions in history on crimes against humanity charges for sexual slavery and forced marriage and for attacks on peacekeepers and recruitment and use of child soldiers as violations of international humanitarian law. From 2001 to 2007, he served as senior trial attorney and chief of prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he led the trial team that achieved the first convictions in history against leaders of the mass media for the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He received a BA from Harvard College and a JD from Drake University Law School.

Thursday, April 6: Fulbright Scholars Celebration
Location:  Cowles Library Reading Room
2pm-2:30pm: Welcome by Professor Karen Leroux
2:30-3:15pm: Fulbright Alumna Ellie Bastian (A&S/JMC, 2010): Presentation on documentary film-making in Russia
3:15pm-3:30pm: Slide show profiling Drake Fulbright Alumni (Professor Dorothy Pisarski, Ryan Wiskerchen, John Wingert, Lauren Blum)
3:30pm-3:45pm: Remarks by Ambassador Stephen Rapp
3:45pm-4:15pm: Recognition of Professor Eleanor Zeff
4:15pm-5:00pm: Reception

Recommended Evening Event:

Launch event of the book A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's HeartlandEboo Patel of Interfaith Youth Core will be presenting a keynote presentation, along with other speakers, panel discussions, and a showing of a behind-the-scenes documentary. 6:00pm-8:00pm, Parents Hall, Olmsted Center. Sponsored by The Comparison Project

Friday, April 7: Global Data Hub Launch Party
Location:  Shivers Hospitality Suite
5:15pm-5:45 p.m.: Welcome Reception
5:45pm-6:00pm: Global Data Hub Presentation
6:00pm-6:45pm: Ambassador Darci Vetter: From Iowa to the World - Economic Nationalism and Global Trade
6:45pm-8:00pm: Discussion and Networking

Ambassador Darci Vetter was Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative. Prior to this she served as Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, a position she held from 2010 to 2014. From 2007 to 2010, she was an International Trade Advisor on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. Prior to working in the Senate, Ms. Vetter held numerous roles at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, including Director for Agricultural Affairs from 2005 to 2007 and Director for Sustainable Development from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that, she was Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of State from 2000 to 2001. Ambassador Vetter received a B.A. from Drake University and an M.P.A. and Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Saturday, April 8:
  Student research panels and other presentations
Location:  Cowles Library Reading Room
Time: 8:30am-noon

8:30am-9:00am: Continental Breakfast

9:00am-10:00am: Session One

Panel 1: The Status of Refugees

Mollie Clark, Human Rights Priority: Human Rights in Palestine: Reproductive Rights for Women Under Occupation

Heather Livingood, The Struggles of a Refugee in a Camp

Zoe Zuidema, Perceptions of and Obstacles to Success and Integration at the Moroccan-Algerian Border

Panel 2: Historical Perspectives on Global Issues

Blake Center, The Marshall Plan as Analyzed with National Values Theory and Defensive Realism 

John Wingert, The Cheapest Atom Bomb: The East German Uprising of 1953, Deconstructing Socialism and the Broken Promises of Rollback

Paul Strey, Rule of Law in Law’s Absence: Examining the Legal Politics Sudan

Panel 3: Global Pressing Issue Grant Project: Assessing, Collaborating, and Empowering to Improve Water Quality in Rural Uganda

Karli Kisch, Hayley LeBlanc, Megan Lindmark and Augusta Weide

10:00am-10:30am: Break

10:30am-11:30am: Session Two

Panel 1: Science, Health and Environment

Megan Linkmark, Seasonal Variation of Fish Assemblage and Catch Per Unit Effort in the Prek Toal Core Area

Ryan Wealther, Sara Donovan, Abigail Cowan, Carl Johannson, Study of Incidence and Socio-Biological Factors Associated with Low Birth Weight Babies Born at Pravara Rural Hospital, Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra, India

Jennifer Vickers, Dry Season Demography of African Elephants in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Lauren Blum, Kacie Deavers, Joe Herba, A Socio-Epidemiological Study of HIV Patients at a Tertiary Care Hospital in the Ahmednagar District of Rural India

Panel 2: Perspectives on Human Rights

Elena Hildebrandt, The Human Rights Crisis of Persons with Disabilities

Russell White, Helping the Damned, Displaced and Forgotten: An Analysis of the Evolution of Refugee Rights

Whitney Hanson, How Does Immigration Relate to Different Measures of Crime in the United States?

Panel 3: Drake Simulation League

Panelists TBD

11:30am-noon: Closing Remarks: Kosovo Consul General Xhavit Gashi

Consul General Xhavit Gashi serves at the Consulate of the Republic of Kosovo in Des Moines, Iowa.  He served as the first ever Kosovo Security Force Attaché to the United States. He retired from the military as a Brigadier General after completing almost 20 years of service. He was Senior Officer in the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), with a proven academic record and more than 10 years of experience in security sector reform. 

Noon: Awarding of Best Presentation Prize ($200)


University News
March 24, 2017
Vote Smart, one of the nation's leading sources of non-partisan political information, will formally celebrate the organization's move to Drake University next month.