Future Programs


Security in the Cyber Age:  An Introduction to Policy and Technology      

Speaker: Derek S. Reveron, Chair, National Security Affairs Department, US Naval War College

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024

Reception: 5:30PM, Dinner: 6:15PM, Program: 7PM

Location: Illini Country Club

Cyberspace is essential for socializing, learning, shopping and just about everything in modern life. Despite the importance of cyberspace, there is also a dark side where subnational, transitional, and international actors are challenging the ability of sovereign government to provide a secure environment for their citizens. Criminal groups hold businesses and local governments hostage through ransomware, foreign intelligence services steal intellectual property and conduct influence operation, governments attempt to rewrite Internet Protocols to facilitate censorship, and militaries prepare to use cyberspace operations in wars.

Security in the Cyber Age breaks-down how cyberspace works, analyzes how state and non-state actors exploit vulnerabilities in cyberspace, and provides ways to improve cybersecurity. Come and hear a noted author and national security scholar-practitioner discuss technological, policy, and ethical ways to protect cyberspace, using an interdisciplinary approach which makes a complex subject accessible to a general audience.  

Derek S. Reveron is Chair of the National Security Affairs Department at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Faculty Affiliate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Lecturer in Extension at Harvard University. He specializes in strategy development, national security challenges, and US defense policy. He served as a governor-appointed commissioner on the Rhode Island Cybersecurity Commission. Reveron’s published work examines US foreign policy and defense strategy. He is the co-author of the recently published book Security in the Cyber Age: An Introduction to Policy and Technology, which offers technological, policy, and ethical ways to protect cyberspace.   

Ph.D., University of Illinois, Public policy analysis

M.A., University of Illinois, Political science

Diploma, U.S. Naval War College

Dinner and cocktails will be served beforehand at 5:00 pm and reservations are required. Cost for dinner is $40 per person. View menus here. The presentation is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required for the presentation.

Dinner reservations must be prepaid and received on or before the due date.  There is no guarantee of seating beyond that date. Text our Registrar, Lynn McMenamin, at 217-502-6956, to determine whether seating is available after that date. Please make your reservation early!

Pay Online or print this form and send with check payable to WACCI.

Mail to: WACCI, Box 2233, Springfield, IL 62705


The Shifting Tides of Influence in the South Pacific

Speaker: Dr. Gordon Peake, Senior Advisor for the Pacific Islands

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Reception: 5:30PM, Dinner: 6:15PM, Program: 7PM

Location: Illini Country Club

This part of the world may, justifiably, feel as though the world has let them drift away with the tides. But with competition for influence heating up between China and the United States in the South Pacific, these island nations are kicking their way back to the surface of policy priorities. Several of the island nations rose to significance during World War II as allied forces used them as bases to battle the Japanese. After the war, weapons testing has left another kind of legacy. Mostly the region has been overlooked – until China began to discuss the possibility of a military base in the region. Now, strategic considerations, trade routes, and the value of a terrific vacation in paradise have brought the South Pacific nations back to center stage.

Gordon Peake is a senior advisor for the Pacific Islands in USIP’s Asia Center. 

Over Dr. Peake’s 20-year career, he has worked as a long-term adviser to the Bougainville and Timor-Leste governments and consulted on policing, justice and political economy issues in the Pacific for bilateral donors and development banks.

Dr. Peake has used these vantage points as the basis for two books, one edited volume and more than 20 articles that deal with enhancing the theoretical and conceptual understandings of practical realities of implementing peace agreements and peacekeeping mandates. A key theme in his work is the centrality of human relationships in explaining why groups and governments work as they do.

Dr. Peake’s first book, “Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets from Timor-Leste,” was winner of two Australian book awards, with a judging panel describing it as “a compelling work merging the personal with the historical … surprising, sometimes confronting and very poignant.” His second book, “Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation,” recounts his experience working in the would-be nation of Bougainville. He is currently working on a book about how personal relationships — whether good, bad or indifferent — are the underappreciated ingredient in explaining institutional behavior.

Dr. Peake received his master’s and doctorate from the University of Oxford and a law degree from Queen’s University, Belfast. He is a citizen of Ireland and Australia and speaks Tetun, the language of Timor-Leste.

Fast Fashion: Understanding Consumer Behavior to Create a More Sustainable & Ethical Clothing Industry

UIS Earth Week Keynote Lecture

Speaker: Dr. Shipra Gupta, University of Illinois Springfield

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Reception: 4:30PM, Dinner: 5PM, Program: 6PM

Location: Brookens Auditorium, UIS

Fast fashion poses major social and environmental challenges, including poor labor conditions, the overuse of resources, and the generation of waste to create throw-away clothing. Dr. Gupta, the 2023 UIS University Scholar, will draw on her research to explain why some consumers are drawn to fast fashion and how the industry encourages overconsumption. Some consumers approach clothing acquisition from a style orientation, choosing distinctive clothing tailored to their sense of self. Others display a fashion orientation, driven by speed, change, artificial newness, obsolescence, and disposable trends. Her talk will lead us to reflect on our own behaviors and how we can make more responsible choices. Her research suggests that fixing the problem of fast fashion will require the collective effort of different actors, especially government, in creating a fashion system that is more sustainable for the environment, consumers, and society.

Dr. Shipra Gupta is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois Springfield. She holds a PhD in Marketing from the University of Nebraska.  Dr. Gupta’s work focuses on 1) understanding the psychological behavior of consumers in a retail setting, 2) examining issues of sustainability, specifically in the fashion industry and 3) examining the role of gender in constructing identity. Her research has been published in top-tier journals and has also been cited in reports and influential media outlets. For her work, Dr. Gupta has won numerous awards, grants, and recognitions. Her recent recognitions include 2023 University Scholar award, which is considered the University of Illinois System’s highest faculty honor, recognizing outstanding teaching and scholarship. She also received a 2020-2021 University of Illinois Public Voices Fellowship.