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Conflict Prevention in the 21st Century

On Thursday, October 11th, Noel Lateef joined the Lafayette Club to discuss the importance of conflict prevention in the modern world. Mr Lateef is the President and CEO of the Foreign Policy Association (formerly the League of Free Nations Association) in New York. The Foreign Policy Association is a non-partisan organization created in 1918 with the aim of developing awareness and understanding of foreign policy issues. The Foreign Policy Association stands as the oldest organization devoted to informing the public about international affairs in the United States.

Mr Lateef graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1978 with High Honours. He then attended Yale Law School where he served as the Executive Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law and Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating in 1982, Mr Lateef was employed as a law clerk in the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Later, Mr Lateef worked with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. In the following years, Mr Lateef served as the General Counsel to Bowery Savings Bank in 1986 for three years until he was appointed as Chairman. Following the sale of the bank in 1995, Mr Lateef began his career at the Foreign Policy Association where he continues to serve as the President and CEO. In addition, Mr Lateef is an adjunct professor of International Law at SUNY Stony Brook, a member of multiple corporate boards, and the author of over thirty publications.

Mr Lateef shared his personal story of discovering a passion for international affairs while in university and rekindling this interest later on in his career in order to encourage students to pursue their desired career paths and maintain an enthusiasm for that which sparks their curiosity. Mr Lateef continued on to discuss the history and importance of collaboration in the international system, describing the intentions behind the establishment of the United Nations and similar bodies. He emphasized the role of such organizations in the pursuit of conflict prevention and highlighted the Foreign Policy Association’s own contributions to this goal.

Mr Lateef’s insights into inter-state collaboration and commitment to conflict prevention provided for a rousing dialogue which carried both historical depth and a lasting pertinence to the future of foreign affairs.