Brexit bathos, followed by mysterious Mongolia

To members and friends of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (;, which meets at the Hope Club:

Our new season will open on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Our Web site, meanwhile, will be updated with news items fairly frequently. PCFR evenings start with drinks at 6 p.m., dinner by 6:50; the talk by dessert, and the evening ends at 9, except for those who would like to repair to the Hope Club’s lovely bar.

Meanwhile, we are working on a newelectronic system to make thespeakers’  remarks clearer everywhere in the room.

Mark Blyth, our first speaker, whom some of you have heard on NPR commenting on Brexit, will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 14, on Europe after Brexit.

Mark Blyth is Eastman Professor of Political Economy andProfessor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown.

He is an internationally celebrated political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty and randomness affect complex systems, particularly economic systems, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. He is the author of several books, including Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press 2013, and The Future of the Euro (with Matthias Matthijs) (Oxford University Press 2015).

Coming fast after that will be:

Prof. Morris Rossabi, probably the world’s greatest expert on Central Asia and particularly Mongolia: a democracystuck between the police states of Russia and China, Sept. 21.  How does this faraway country do it? He’ll be speaking to us soon after returning from Mongolia and other points in Asia.



FormerU.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Tod Sedgwick, on thetense situation in Central Europe,  Oct. 5.

Meanwhile,  the World Affairs Council of Rhode Island and the PCFR are preparing a forum for Oct. 20 at the Hope Club on the foreign-policy visions and challenges of the U.S. presidential candidates. Stay tuned.

Naval War College Prof. James Holmes on the geopolitics of global warming,  Nov. 15.

German General Consul Ralf Horlemann on the role of Germany in an E.U. without the U.Kand with an aggressive Russia pressing in from the east, Dec. 14.

Internationalepidemiologist Rand Stoneburner,  M.D., on Zika and other burgeoning threats to world health, Jan. 18.

Indian Admiral Nirmal Verma, on military and geopolitical issues in South and Southeast Asia, Feb. 15.

Dr. Stephen Coen, director of the Mystic Aquarium, on the condition of the oceans, March 8.

Brazilian political economistand commentator Evodio Kaltenecker on April 5 to talk about the crises facing that huge nation.

James E. Griffin, an expert on ocean fishing and other aspects of the global food sector, will speak to us on Wednesday, May 17.

Joining us on Wednesday, June 14, will be Laura Freid, CEO of the Silk Road Project,  founded and chaired by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, promoting collaboration among artists and institutions and studying the ebb and flow of ideas across nations and time. The project was first inspired by the cultural traditions of the historical Silk Road.