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Managing Great Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific

04/08/2021 05:30 PM - 06:30 PM MT


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WorldDenver welcomes Lisa Curtis, Former Senior Director for South and Central Asia on the National Security Council and now Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security for a discussion on managing power competition and forging a comprehensive U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. Moderated by Former WorldDenver Board Chair, Kim Savit, the conversation will explore the complex relationships and forces at play in the region.

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About Our Speaker

Lisa Curtis
Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security

Lisa Curtis is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She is a foreign policy and national security expert with over 20 years of service in the U.S. government, including at the NSC, CIA, State Department, and Capitol Hill. Her work has centered on U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific and South Asia, with a particular focus on U.S.- India strategic relations; Quad (U.S., Australia, India, and Japan) cooperation; counterterrorism strategy in South and Central Asia; and China’s role in the region.

Ms. Curtis served as Deputy Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for South and Central Asia from 2017-2021 under three successive National Security Advisors. During her tenure at the NSC, she coordinated U.S. policy development and implementation of the South Asia Strategy approved by the President in 2017 and was a key contributor to the Indo-Pacific Strategic Framework, which included expanding Quad security cooperation. She coordinated policies designed to strengthen the U.S.-India defense, diplomatic, and trade partnership, resulting in a widely recognized elevation of the relationship. Ms. Curtis also coordinated development of the U.S. Strategy toward Central Asia, to include facilitating new partnerships with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

From 2006–2017, Ms. Curtis was Senior Fellow on South Asia at The Heritage Foundation, where her responsibilities included research, writing, regular media appearances, and frequent Congressional testimony. She also served as Professional Staff Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, handling the South Asia portfolio for former Chairman of the Committee, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) from 2003–2006. Before that, she worked as a Senior Advisor in the South Asia Bureau at the State Department, where she developed and coordinated U.S. policy on India-Pakistan relations. In the late 1990s, she worked as a senior analyst on South Asia at the CIA, and from 1994–1998 served at the U.S. Embassies in Pakistan and India.

Ms. Curtis has published commentary in Foreign Policy, The National Interest,,, and other media outlets and made multiple appearances on CNN, Fox News, BBC, PBS, MSNBC, and C-SPAN.

Ms. Curtis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Indiana University in December 1990.


About Our Moderator

Kim Kavrell Savit
CFO, Predictive Compliance, LLC

*(2019) Chair WorldDenver Board of Directors
*Director of Government Relations, Project C.U.R.E. - Denver, Colorado
*Leidos (previously part of SAIC), US Department of State Account Manager/Logistics Solutions Operations
*Senior Professional Staff Member, (Lugar- R, IND) U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
*U.S. Department of Defense/ U.S. Department of State - Civil Service (Retired)


Note: As a nonpartisan convener of global affairs programming, WorldDenver provides an unbiased forum for experts, world leaders, diplomats, and representatives from the public and private sectors to share their expertise and views on a broad spectrum of issues that matter to the world. An invitation to speak at a WorldDenver event is not an endorsement of the statements or positions of a speaker or agency, government, organization, or company that he or she represents. We aim for our events to inspire curiosity and further reading, discussion, and civic engagement among our members and the Denver community on the global issues that we present.

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