Jonathan Samen Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations Discussion Series

Adults Ages 18+
A man speaking with a microphone.

What is Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations?

If you enjoy a lively exchange of ideas on today’s hot button topics, the JCC’s acclaimed discussion series is for you.

We bring together distinguished scholars, thought leaders and expert moderators for thought-provoking dialogue on issues of concern to the Jewish community and beyond. The series is named in honor of Jonathan Samen, z”l (of blessed memory), past chair of the JCC Greater Boston Governing Board, to recognize his legacy of leadership.

All JCC arts and humanities offerings are programs of the Ryna Greenbaum JCC Center for the Arts.

All JCC arts and humanities offerings are programs of the Ryna Greenbaum JCC Center for the Arts. As a 501(c)(3), JCC Greater Boston does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office or political parties.

For more information, or to find out about upcoming events, contact us at

Meet the Upcoming Panelists

Photo of Carol Saivetz.

Carol Saivetz

Senior Advisor, MIT Security Studies Program

Carol R. Saivetz is a Senior Advisor at MIT’s Security Studies Program, and a Research Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and Ukrainian Research Institute. She has a PhD from Columbia University in Political Science and has authored 5 books and numerous articles on Soviet and Russian foreign policy. Professor Saivetz’s research focuses on security in the Black Sea region, Russian policy towards Iran, and US-Russian relations. She is the co-chair of MIT’s “Focus on Russia” seminar series and has consulted for the US Government on energy politics in the Caspian and Black Sea regions, stability in Central Asia, and Russian policy towards Iran.

Photo of Oleg Kotsyuba.

Oleh Kotsyuba

Manager of Publications, Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University

Oleh Kotsyuba is a scholar of literature and culture, manager of publications at Harvard University’s Ukrainian Research Institute, and director of the Ukraïnica database project on primary sources for the study of Ukraine. He is also the chief online editor and director of the web-project at Krytyka, a leading Ukrainian intellectual journal.


Photo of Alexandra Vacroux.

Alexandra Vacroux

Executive Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard

Alexandra Vacroux is Executive Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Her scholarly work addresses many Russian and Eurasian policy issues and she teaches popular courses on the comparative politics of Eurasia and post-Soviet conflict. As Director of Graduate Studies for the Davis Center’s MA program in regional studies, she has mentored dozens of Harvard’s best and brightest students and regional experts. 

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