Change in speaker for Jan. 12


Dec. 29, 2015


To members and friends of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (;; 401-523-3957).

Happy New Year!

Note  big change: Eric Brenner, a Hapag-Lloyd official skedded to talk to us Jan. 12 about world shipping, called me today to say that he had to postpone because he’s been called by a major customer (you’d know the name)  to be in Paris Jan. 11-13. He’ll be rescheduling; there’s a lot of interest in world shipping here, especially with the widening of the Panama Canal.

So the very interesting international cyber-security expert Allan M. Cytrynwill speak to us instead on Jan. 12. I originally had him in mind to speak later this year or next fall.

But first look at this amazingreal-time graphic on hacking attacks around the world:

Mr. Cytryn is a principal of Risk Masters International Inc., a consulting firm that advises international clients on risk mitigation and management, including business continuity planning, disaster recovery, and recovery from cyber attacks. He has been a senior Information-technology executive for more than 30 years.

As you’ll see by googling him, Mr. Cytryn has a formidable background in IT security. I note his role in helping large organizations recover from terrorist acts.

He will talk about such things as hacking threats from around the world, Europe’s ideas on Internet privacy,  the European Union’s battle with Google and, most importantly, preparing for the next big cyber attack. (Could terrorists or foreign power take down our electric grid, as Ted Koppel speculates in a new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.)

As usual, the dinner will be at the Hope Club, 6 Benevolent St., Providence. Drinks start at about 6, dinner by 7, then the talk and a Q&A and the evening ends by 9.

If you have not already done so, please let us know whether you will join us Jan. 12 by replying to this email or calling (401) 523-3957. Thank you very much.

Dues and dinner cost information may be found at:

For Tuesday, Feb. 16, we have scheduled Greg Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay is an internationally known urbanist who speaks often about globalization, innovation and the future of cities. Here’s a sampling of his work:

He is a contributing writer for Fast Company, author of the forthcoming book Engineering Serendipity, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. He is also a senior fellow of the New Cities Foundation — where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative — a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute.

On Tuesday March 15, we’ll haveMorris Rossabi, one of the world’s greatest experts on Central Asia. He’s a professor at Columbia University

Among his many other honors and posts, he became chairman of the Arts and Culture Board of the Open Society Institute.

We have asked him to focus on Mongolia, whose ability to become a real democracy stuck between the great expansionist police states of China and Russia, has long fascinated me.

On Tuesday, April 12, celebrated author, TV documentary maker and former foreign correspondent Hedrick Smith will join us; he’ll talk about Russia, and the current state of America, too. We’ll nail down the exact date soon. Thanks to PCFR member Llewellyn King for suggesting this.

Tod Sedgwick, former U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, will join us in May 18 to talk about the future of Central Europe. He’s another friend of Mr. King.

On Tuesday, June 7, Michael Soussan, former UN whistleblower; acclaimed author; widely published journalist; NYU writing professor, and women's rights advocate, will speak. His satirical memoir about global corruption,  Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course In International Diplomacy (Nation Books / Perseus) is being adapted  for a feature film, starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Hutcherson

Michael (an old friend) will speak about the subject of his next book "TRUTH TO POWER: how great minds changed the world. A brief history of thought leadership",

We may catch up with the postponed world shipping official Eric Brenner (see above) around this time.

We urge members to chime in with suggestions. And there may be an additional speaker or two before season’s end.  We’ll see what happens in the course of the season.

I should add that we may also have an expert from Bhutan, mostly because that tiny country includes happiness  in its measurement of national prosperity, andan official of the Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. All is not grim on the planet.

A reminder that general and specific information is available on

We look forward to seeing you.

Robert Whitcomb, chairman