Otto and Fran Walter Memorial Lecture

The Otto and Fran Walter Memorial Lecture addresses the concerns of the event's namesake with European and transatlantic affairs. Each year, an honored speaker with a track record of insights into Europe and transatlantic relations is invited to give the lecture for a wide public audience at The Graduate Center.

Dr. Otto L. Walter was a benefactor, former Advisory Board Member and a personal friend of the EU Studies Center. Otto Walter came of age at a time when totalitarianism was on the rise and the future of Europe was very much in doubt. In fact, Otto made the difficult decision to abandon his native country and his inheritance for the uncertainties of immigration in a foreign land where he had no language, no prospects, no job. Otto never looked back; he never publicly talked about the losses he sustained under Nazi barbarism. The focus of his life was always to build a better tomorrow, and the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation, the family foundation that he set up during his lifetime, seeks to do just that. The Foundation has underwritten this lecture series for several decades and established an endowment in 2021 to support it in perpetuity.

Past Lectures

Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for the Human Sciences

“The End of Peace: How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine is Transforming Europe and Transatlantic Relations”

April 26, 2022

Listen to this lecture on the International Horizons podcast

Federica Mogherini, Rector, College of Europe, and former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

“Transatlantic Relations After the Trump Administration”

January 27, 2021

Listen to this lecture on the International Horizons podcast

Susan Glasser, Journalist, the New Yorker

“An Ocean Apart: America and Europe in the Age of Trump”

May 14, 2019

David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States

“The Future of Transatlantic Relations”

November 27, 2018

David O'Sullivan is seen standing on a stage behind a podium. The podium displays a banner for the CUNY Graduate Center, and behind him are banners for the European Union Studies Center and the Ralph Bunche Institute.

Anne Appelbaum, historian and author

“Is This the End of the West?”

April 3, 2017

Anne Applebaum is seen standing on a stage behind a podium. The podium displays a banner for the CUNY Graduate Center, and behind her is a banner for the European Studies Center.

Timothy Snyder, Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University

“Disintegration: Russian Pasts and European Futures”

May 19, 2016

Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University; President, Social Science Research Council

Stephen Kotkin, John P. Birkelund ’52 Professor of History and International Affairs and Acting Director, Program in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Princeton University

Charles Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Former Director, Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Moderated by John Torpey, Professor, Ph.D. Programs in Sociology and History; Director, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, CUNY Graduate Center

“Victory in Europe: 70th Anniversary of the Defeat of Fascism in Europe”

May 5, 2015

Christos Panagopoulos, Ambassador of Greece to the United States

May 9, 2014

Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, EU Delegation to the UN

Keynote address by H.E. Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia

Elizabeth F. Defeis, Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Law, Seton Hall University, School of Law

“Human Rights and the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities”

December 4, 2012

Roger J. Gobel, Alpin J. Cameron Chair, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on European Union Law, Fordham University School of Law

“From Maastricht to Lisbon: The European Union's Gradual Shift from Intergovernmental to Federal Structures”

December 7, 2011

Volker Berghahn, Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University

“American Big Business and the British and German Industrial Systems, 1900-2000”

December 15, 2010

Anne Swartz, Professor of Music, Fine and Performing Arts, Baruch College

December 2, 2009

Peter Kenen, Professor, Princeton University

“Ten Years of Euro: Strengths and Weaknesses Revealed”

December 8, 2008