Noon Lecture: Why Do Leaders Fail to Learn from History?

Monday, February 22, 2010 - 11:45 AM
CIGI, 57 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Canada
Feb 22
Scholars and policymakers speak frequently of the “lessons” of history, and yet, time and again, leaders appear to misapply history when attempting to grapple with contemporary or looming foreign policy problems. Why is drawing useful lessons from history so difficult? What are the obstacles? Are there ways of reducing the difficulties, or avoiding the obstacles? The speakers and commentators will grapple with these questions, drawing heavily upon their original research, primarily on U.S. foreign policy decision making.

Event Speakers

David A. Welch is a CIGI senior fellow and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. An award-winning author and scholar, David is an expert in foreign policy decision making and international security, with an emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region. 

Ramesh Thakur is a Distinguished Fellow at CIGI and the former Vice Rector and Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo (1998-2007) and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. In September 2008 he was appointed inaugural director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.