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Title: Negotiations with Iran: Three Questions with Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John
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Abstract: Iran and six world powers recently failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to address Iran's nuclear program. Associate Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John, an expert on international negotiations, describes the prospects for a deal.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/30/2014
Content:

Iran and six world powers recently failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to address Iran's nuclear program. The group agreed to extend an interim agreement for four months. Associate Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John, an expert on international negotiations, describes the prospects for a deal.

Q: What are the terms of the interim deal?

A: The interim negotiation process is predicated on very concrete offers by the United States and the European Union for sanctions relief and increased trade in exchange for equally concrete measures to be taken by Iran to reduce the quantity and degree of their uranium enrichment. The U.S. sanctions relief included repatriation of $4.2 billion of Iran’s overseas frozen funds, facilitating Iran’s oil trade to the EU, and granting of U.S. trade licenses for civil aviation spare parts. Iran began diluting and converting its more highly enriched stocks of uranium, among other compliance activities.

But the main purpose of the interim deal is to build mutual confidence so that a permanent deal can be reached. The parties gave themselves a tight deadline, and missed it. This is not alarming though—this is not currently a crisis scenario.

Q: Tehran says it will resume talks in September to try to reach a final agreement. What would a long-term deal look like?

A: A comprehensive agreement would probably be based on a core trade: deeper sanctions relief and more trade from the United States and the EU, in exchange for stricter safeguards on the nuclear facilities and enrichment activities of Iran—measures that would assure Iran’s neighbors that it is not building a nuclear warhead. This has both strategic and technical aspects. One reassuring move would be for Iran to get its enriched uranium from other countries, but the Iranians seem unlikely to give up this capability, although they seem willing to place limits on it.

Q: Some members of the U.S. Congress are worried that Tehran has not been negotiating in good faith and that the Obama administration will concede too much to Iran. What are the prospects for continued negotiations?

A: The choice is between sanctions (or military measures) and negotiations. Sanctions clearly have been ineffective in preventing Iran from developing its nuclear capabilities. Negotiations in which Iran agrees to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency and complies with the terms of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its protocols have a better chance of getting compliance. The Iranians have negotiated in good faith on this issue before, and some Iranian policymakers and opinion leaders feel that a nuclear weapon capability would make the country less safe (Libya, Ukraine, and South Africa espoused this when giving up their nukes). There could be an Iranian counterargument that looks to Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea as examples that support the drive to have weapons.

There is never any guarantee that negotiations will work, or that parties will always negotiate in good faith, but negotiations also have the potential to get the most cooperation at the lowest cost.

To request an interview with Professor Wanis-St. John, call (202) 885-5943.

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Title: 1964 New York Police Riot Deja Vu in 2005 Paris
Author: J. Paul Johnson
Subtitle: Prof. Cathy Schneider explores racial barriers and politics
Abstract: SIS associate professor Cathy Schneider’s new research finds racial boundaries result from wars on crime
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 07/24/2014
Content:

Wars on crime, immigration, and drugs and similar coded appeals to racial fears allow politicians to win votes, which in turn pressures police to enforce racial boundaries, according to new research from School of International Service associate professor Cathy Schneider. 

Schneider studied the cause of riots in her new book Police Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York and recommends the people who could learn the most from reading her book are U.S. and European voters, political leaders and legislators who make the laws that the police enforce.

"Police are not rogue agencies," says Schneider. Schneider's research looks at the 1964 riot that erupted in New York when a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager three weeks after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. 

The New York riot set off almost a decade of Black and Latino riots that crisscrossed the United States. Yet, by the late 1970s, riots had become rare in the United States. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, particularly in Great Britain and France, they became more frequent. Schneider wanted to know why.

U.S. Accountability

In the United States, she argues, young people who had experienced the riots were hired by the city as peacekeepers, using moneys from Great Society programs. By the 1980s these young people had become community activists, and created an array of community-based organizations and a standard nonviolent repertoire for dealing with police violence. 

The Civil Rights Movement had opened up access to the judicial system for minorities to act as plaintiffs in both criminal and civil complaints against the state, and activists increasingly channeled community anger into the courtroom. Police violence remained a major issue, but the opening of alternative avenues to pursue justice made riots less likely.

Transatlantic Déjà Vu

Rioting in France had all the hallmarks of New York's riots decades earlier. In Paris, French police targeted minority youth, brutalizing and sometimes killing them, and doing so with impunity. By not holding police accountable the state was "saying that foreign and minority children's lives had no value" explains Schneider. "The unmistakable message was that the state does not represent you. The state won't even hold its own forces accountable for killing your children." 

Paris in Flames

France's worst riots occurred in October 2005 when police chased three minority youth into an electrical substation and an African boy and an Arab boy were electrocuted. But initially the community responded with nonviolent protests. Only after the French president defended the police twice, first claiming the youths must have committed a crime to hide in an electric grid, and then again after police lobbed a tear gas canister into a mosque did riots erupt. They began where the boys had died, and then spread rapidly to 300 other cities, towns and suburbs in France. 

"For three consecutive weeks youths set cars and buildings ablaze," says Schneider. "In setting cars and buildings aflame they externalized their internal pain, externalized the fires in their heads and in their hearts."

U.S. Community Policing Gaining Ground 

Schneider argues that other forms of community police relations are possible and more effective. Activated racial boundaries are bad for both community members and police. "When police enter a high crime neighborhood they should recognize that most residents are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of crime. These communities need police, but they want police to protect them not treat them as criminals. For police too it is safer and more effective to work in a community that trusts them and is willing to give them critical information." 

Schneider gives the example of New Haven Police Chief Nick Pastor who turned the arrest incentive model on its head. "Chief Pastor gave awards to officers that engaged the community rather than boosted arrest statistics," Schneider explains.

U.S. Problems Still Remain But Change May Be Coming

While riots have become less frequent in the United States, the American criminal justice system is even more discriminatory than that of France. The explosive growth of the U.S. prison population from 250,000 in 1972 to more than 2.3 million Schneider attributes to the mid 1980s harsh mandatory sentencing laws and statutes that supplanted judicial discretion in sentencing. 

Wars on drugs and crime packed prisons with minority youth. Pressures on police to meet arrest quotas also contributed to the racial disproportion in incarceration. Together these measures dramatically increased the likelihood that poor minority males and even females would spend time in prison, for nonviolent, often victimless crimes. Even innocent minorities, Schneider says often plead guilty to offenses because they cannot afford lawyers to vigorously defend them.

Today there are some positive signs says Schneider. U.S. prison populations are on the decline and harsh mandatory sentences are falling out of favor. Whether sentences will be shortened retroactively for those in prison, remains to be seen, or whether the country will help those leaving prison to reenter the job market and reconstruct their lives.

France's Dilemma

In France, Schneider says, "The centralization of policing has left little room for local innovation. The victory of the far right in the European elections coming on the heels of the National Front's strong showing in local elections months earlier are a bad omen." The recent riots and attacks on synagogues and Jewish residents in the French suburbs of Sarcelles and Garges-les-Gonesse (in response to the Israeli aggression in Gaza, and the French governments defense of Israeli actions),"show how quickly simmering anger and resentment at the low value placed on the lives of Muslim and minority children can erupt into violent conflict."

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Title: Spotlight on the GGPS Program
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
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Abstract: The Global Governance, Politics and Security (GGPS) program at SIS provides students with the professional and specialized training and skills necessary to launch careers in international affairs and public service.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/23/2014
Content:

This is part of a series in which we highlight SIS degrees and programs and interview program directors.

The Global Governance, Politics and Security (GGPS) program at SIS provides students with the professional and specialized training and skills necessary to launch careers in international affairs and public service. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding relations among and beyond states and societies on the global stage. 

We interviewed Dr. Michael Schroeder, Director of the GGPS program.

MS: I was appointed director of GGPS last October, but I have been teaching at SIS since Fall 2012. When I was appointed, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to implement the new curriculum that my predecessor, Celeste Wallander, had designed in consultation with the GGPS-affiliated faculty. The new curriculum keeps the best parts of the old International Politics program while introducing new foundational and concentration courses as well as practical training. The result is a program that ensures all of our graduates are specialized in a particular area of global security or global governance and have the professional skills to launch careers in international affairs and public service. 

What is the core mission/vision of the program?

MS: Our mission is to produce professionals who can turn rigorous analysis into meaningful policy innovation and practical action in global governance or global security. Students gain an understanding of global history, political dynamics, and economic systems as well as the methodological tools and the practical skills needed to make sense of data and influence policy. To do so, the program takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding relations among and beyond states and societies on the global stage. 

How is the program unique?

MS: One of the best parts about developing a new program is that we can really reflect on our unique strengths and build a program around those strengths. Like all SIS Masters Programs, GGPS gives students flexibility while they earn a Master’s degree from one of the top ten international affairs schools in the country. Students also enjoy all of the advantages that come with a graduate program located in Washington, DC. The GGPS curriculum in particular offers core classes that give students a strong foundational knowledge, but it is the coursework in their field of concentration that gives them a long-term advantage in their career. GGPS students hone their expertise in Global Governance or Global Security by selecting courses from an extensive list of electives and concentration courses. 

Many of these courses are offered by GGPS-affiliated faculty, such as David Bosco, who has authored two widely-acclaimed books on global governance; Amitav Acharya, whose research continues to inform our understanding of regional and global governance; and Boaz Atzili, one of the country’s leading experts on border stability and violent conflict. Other courses are taught by faculty from other SIS programs, many of whom are established practitioners or prominent researchers in fields such as regional studies, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, corporate social responsibility, global environmental politics and international communication. 

What are some things your program does to further your students professionally? 

MS: GGPS is a professional program, so we take the idea of job-ready skills very seriously. We insist that our students have language training, professional experience, and other skills valued by employers. This makes our students stand out in job interviews and has an immediate impact in their organization. Our students have the opportunity to participate in skills institutes and signature SIS practica, where students work with a real-world client to deliver a work product, or they can produce a policy-relevant thesis or substantial research project as part of their program of study. Distinguished scholar-practitioners and professionals in the field design these practica and workshops and provide GGPS students with skills they can highlight on their resume and call on in their future work. 

Describe the students in your program: 

MS: GGPS has over one hundred graduate students. Although our students have a broad range of interests and concentrations, they all have an overarching interest in understanding relations among and beyond states and societies and addressing those policy problems that cross national borders. Our GGPS students are defined by both their breadth and depth of knowledge and their professional training. These qualities make them well equipped to thrive in global governance and security where complex problems will require innovative and practical solutions grounded in an understanding of global history and political and economic systems. 

Tell us about your own research and areas of expertise: 

MS: My research focuses on global governance, international organizations, and political leadership. I am currently working on a book investigating why some executive heads of international organizations are viewed as more successful leaders than others, and the strategies these leaders used to help their organization adapt to changes in world politics. 

To learn more about the GGPS program, please visit its website and find it on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Dr. Schroeder on Twitter at @mikebschroeder.

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Title: Minors at the Border: Three Questions for Professor Daniel Esser
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Abstract: Assistant Professor Daniel Esser, an expert on aid effectiveness who has conducted field research in Mexico, explains the root causes of the influx and suggests ways to slow the flow of people to the United States.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/22/2014
Content:

Thousands of Central American children have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, creating a humanitarian, judicial, and political crisis, as the Obama administration struggles to manage the situation. Assistant Professor Daniel Esser, an expert on aid effectiveness who has conducted field research in Mexico, explains the root causes of the influx and suggests ways to slow the flow of people to the United States.

Q: Why are so many unaccompanied minors trying to cross into the United States?

A: There are both push and pull factors at work. Living conditions for these minors in countries such as Honduras and Guatemala are generally atrocious. Gangs control entire neighborhoods and districts and exert control using extortion, kidnapping, forced gang recruitment, and aggravated sexual violence. The murder rates in cities like San Pedro Sula are a multiple of those in the most violent cities in the United States. Without protection by immediate family members, these children have no reason to stay put. 

At the same time, many of these minors are longing to be reunited with their parents, who may be in the United States. The latter are aware of the dangers facing their children during migration. They often even plead with their children not to embark on the trek, but in light of escalating violence in Central America, these minors have little choice. Moreover, these young people also act on false hopes fueled by rumors that if only they manage to cross into the United States, they might eventually be allowed to stay.

Q: What is happening in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that is causing so many young people to flee?

A: Two of the most violent gangs in the region originated in the United States, especially in California but also here in the DC area. After deportation, many of their members set up shop in Central America where most national governments have much lower enforcement capacities. Resulting criminal activities and accompanying violence have threatened community cohesion to a point where escape is a form of individual resilience—in a sense, the last option available. While wealthier citizens in these countries wall themselves in and are protected by an army of private security guards, children and adolescents living in these countries have been witnessing the complete breakdown of the state, both locally and nationally, when it comes to basic public service delivery. 

In addition, their exodus adds a new dimension to the billion-dollar business of human trafficking. Considering that each of the more than 50,000 juvenile migrants who, between October 2013 and June of this year, made it to the U.S. border with Mexico where they were apprehended, had paid between US$3,000 and $10,000 to their smugglers, we can imagine the perverse incentives that fuel this kind of migration.

Q: President Obama has asked Congress for emergency funding to deal with the current influx. What steps should be taken in the short, medium, and long term to resolve the situation?

A: The options range, at one extreme, from stricter border controls, expedited removal, and providing financial as well as in-kind assistance to the Mexican government so the latter can improve policing at its southern borders, to—at the other end of the spectrum—a system of emergency shelters that do not lock these minors away for eventual deportation but offer managed reunification with their families, stepping up funding for locally led anti-violence projects in Central America as well as, ultimately, a comprehensive immigration reform that acknowledges the economic contributions and inalienable human rights of currently undocumented immigrants in the United States. 

President Obama seeks federal support for measures that fall mostly into the first category. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he would mobilize the National Guard. As long as migrants fleeing the violence in Central America, which continues to be fed primarily by the United States' insatiable demand for illicit drugs, are framed as a "national security challenge," as opposed to human beings worthy of humanitarian assistance and humane treatment, there is little hope that the situation at the border will improve anytime soon. 

My reading, however, is that the president's current strategy is to buy goodwill from a partially xenophobic House of Representatives through embracing tougher rhetoric and supporting a focus on enforcement in the short run in order to contain the longer-term political fallout from more profound reforms that will hopefully be introduced before his second term comes to an end.

Follow Dr. Esser at http://danielesser.org/

To request an interview with Professor Esser, call (202) 885-5943.

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Title: Professor Chronicles Link Between Police Repression and Race Riots
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Associate Professor Cathy Schneider’s new book, Police Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York, traces the history of urban upheaval in New York and Paris, focusing on the interaction between police and minority youth.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/11/2014
Content:

Associate Professor Cathy Schneider’s new book, Police Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York, traces the history of urban upheaval in New York and Paris, focusing on the interaction between police and minority youth. Schneider found that riots erupt when political elites activate racial boundaries, police engage in racialized violence, and racial minorities lack alternative avenues of redress.

Schneider, an expert on social movements, collective violence, policing, criminal justice, immigration, and racial and ethnic discrimination, says the book evolved out of her community work where she encountered first-hand the police harassment and racial profiling of minority communities. "This made me wonder about conducting a comparative study between what I saw in New York and somewhere else. I wanted to see how the French police were similar or different in their treatment of minority communities.” 

Then, on October 27, 2005, an African boy and an Arab boy, 15-year-old Bouna Traore and 17-year-old Zyed Benna, were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. A third teenager suffered serious burns. This sparked riots against police brutality and harassment in Paris and other French cities that lasted several weeks.  

Schneider became interested in why these cases led to riots in France, while similar cases did not lead to riots in New York. Schneider began her research in Paris by interviewing the families of victims of police violence, including the brother of one of the deceased teenagers. One of her main findings was that in racially divided unequal societies, police are tasked with the job of enforcing racial boundaries. The activation of racial boundaries, Schneider found, makes violent explosions more likely. As communities are polarized along an “us vs. them” boundary and there are no avenues of redress, riots are more likely to spark. 

Schneider also discovered that political campaigns shaped how police understood their jobs. In studying campaigns, she found that candidates in tight elections often won by appealing to racial fears. “These fears are often coded as ‘wars on crime’ or ‘drugs’ or ‘illegal immigration,’” she explains. In such a context, police are rewarded for increasing the number of arrests and for targeting minorities.  

Schneider says that the reason there have not been race riots in New York since the 1960s is the presence of options of redress that dampen social unrest. Community organizers in New York have developed a “standard non-violent repertoire” to protest police brutality. State and federal courts also opened to minority plaintiffs and allow minorities to sue on a civil and not just criminal basis, which helps to diffuse tensions. The availability of avenues of redress, Schneider postulates, is the variable that differentiates New York from Paris.  

Follow Professor Schneider on Twitter at @schneidercathy1.

Watch a Spotlight video with Professor Schneider about her research.

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Title: Crisis in Iraq: Three Questions for Professor Benjamin Jensen
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Abstract: Scholar-in-Residence Benjamin Jensen, an expert on international security, explains the situation in Iraq and outlines next steps.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/10/2014
Content:

Almost three years after the end of the Iraq war, Iraq is again in crisis. Its government has lost control of large parts of the country; sectarian violence is on the rise, and jihadism is resurgent. Scholar-in-Residence Benjamin Jensen, an expert on international security, explains the situation in Iraq and outlines next steps.

Q: A Sunni militant offensive has overrun large parts of northern Iraq. What are the goals of the group that now calls itself "Islamic State" and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? 

A: The group appears intent on establishing a Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. From this stronghold they will spread their ideology across the region. It is a revolutionary regime intent on changing the political boundaries and regimes of the greater Middle East. Reports are starting to emerge that the group is seizing materials linked to weapons of mass destruction, including uranium used for academic research from the University of Mosul and for former chemical weapons factories. While the group is highly unlikely to build either a chemical or a nuclear device in the near-term, the seizures signal that the Islamic State is either intent on establishing a strategic deterrent or sponsoring large-scale terror attacks. They are risk takers and we have likely not seen their last gamble. 

Q: The crisis has put pressure on Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki as he seeks a third term as prime minister. What should be done to resolve the political crisis and improve Sunni-Shiite relations?  

A: Al-Maliki is as responsible for the current political and security crisis as the Islamic State. Rather than ruling Iraq as an inclusive regime for all Iraqis, he has systematically alienated moderate Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. His regime has crowded out moderates and created a climate ripe for extremism and sectarian civil war. It is unlikely the crisis will be resolved as long as he is prime minister. The question is who replaces him and how Iraqis can do it in a manner that doesn’t undermine their legitimacy of their governing institutions. 

Q: Iraq has received support -- including equipment, intelligence and advisers -- from the United States, Russia, and Iran to battle the militant offensive. What role should the United States play in this conflict? 

A: U.S. security architecture in the Middle East has evolved since the end of World War II from experiments with collective defense arrangements to playing the role of the external guarantor of regional stability (i.e., securing trade routes for the flow of oil to Europe and Asia, protecting favorable regimes, and ensuring no single state like Iran dominates the region) and seeking to transform the region through democracy promotion and economic reform. Major events tend to alter strategy. For example, the Iranian Revolution in 1979 led to the end of the Central Treaty Organization, an attempt to have a NATO for the Middle East. The sectarian struggle currently gripping the Middle East is likely another moment to pause and reconsider the larger security architecture in the region. Before taking any action in Iraq, the United States needs a clear strategy for the region that connects issues from Syria to Iranian nuclear proliferation. No American official has articulated anything resembling a comprehensive strategy for the region at present. Acting in the absence of an overarching strategic logic translated into clear, feasible policy goals is a recipe for disaster. 

Follow Dr. Jensen on Twitter at @BenjamJensen. To arrange an interview, call 202-885-5943.

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Title: Creating a Global Small Business Social Network
Author: Karli Kloss
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Abstract: Carlota Pico, SIS-SOC / BA ’08, co-founder of the first free B2B social network, BeConnections.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 07/09/2014
Content:

Carlota Pico, SIS-SOC/BA ’08, is co-founder of BeConnections, the first free social network for companies, described by Spanish newspaper EL MUNDO as the “Facebook for businesses.” BeConnections is designed to connect small and medium enterprises (SMEs) internationally, and to give them a common platform to keep in touch and promote their activities to a global audience. The idea for this platform was born out of the years Carlota spent working abroad and connecting with SMEs all over the world - and witnessing the challenges they face when looking to enter new markets.

Before launching her company, Carlota was an investment reporter working in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Through her interviews and field research, she strived to positively represent these regions to international investors looking for opportunities in emerging markets. Her experiences as a reporter brought her into contact with a variety of small businesses and local entrepreneurs.

Following her time as a reporter, she backpacked across the globe and eventually settled in Madrid, Spain where she co-founded BeConnections. “AU helped me to understand other cultures from perspectives that are often not exposed on the news,” she says. “In turn, this triggered a curiosity that has led me to travel the world and to make new connections in places that I would have never thought of doing business before.”

The mission of BeConnections is to help companies keep their business networks organized on a single platform. It is the first free, global business to business social network without size, region, or industry limits, which allows companies to connect with each other according to their interests and maintain that contact over time. Looking forward, she hopes that BeConnections can provide members with a way to explore non-traditional markets and create new partnerships that might otherwise have been difficult to maintain.

BeConnections is currently focused on creating synergies specifically between emerging and Western markets. Carlota was recently invited by the government of Algeria to give a presentation about BeConnections at their international trade fair. Her next stops include Dubai and then Dublin, where BeConnections has been selected to be part of The Summit’s Alpha Program, Europe’s largest technology conference.

“My advice to AU students today is [to] learn from the university’s rich diversity of people, personalities, and perspectives,” she says. “Embrace globalization both on campus and beyond.”

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Title: Israel-Palestine Tensions on the Rise: Three Questions for Professor Guy Ziv
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Abstract: Israel-Palestine tensions rose this week after three missing Israeli teens were found dead. We asked Assistant Professor Guy Ziv, an expert on Israel, to provide some context and explain what might happen next.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/03/2014
Content:

Israel-Palestine tensions rose this week after three missing Israeli teens were found dead. We asked Assistant Professor Guy Ziv, an expert on Israel and author of the forthcoming book, Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel, to provide some context and explain what might happen next.

Q: The case of the kidnapped teens who were found murdered near Hebron has transfixed Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds Hamas responsible and has vowed that “Hamas will pay.” What will be the fallout of this incident?

A: We have already begun seeing the fallout of this incident, with the suspected revenge killing of a Palestinian teen and the subsequent rioting in East Jerusalem. Israeli-Palestinian tensions are at their highest point in years, and an outbreak of widespread violence may be inevitable. The recent incidents will harden attitudes on both sides, at least in the near term, making the peace process look like a pipe dream. Regrettably, the leaders are failing their people.

Q: The Israeli government has criticized the union between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas, an Islamist group that holds the Gaza Strip. Will Israeli pressure make it more or less likely that the Palestinian unity government will remain united?

A: If peace is to prevail, unity between the Palestinian factions will eventually be necessary since the Palestinian leader will need to represent his entire nation when signing a peace deal with Israel. However, the Israeli government is rightly concerned about the unity deal with Hamas, a terrorist organization that embraces violence; rejects all previous agreements with Israel; and opposes Israel’s right to exist. Netanyahu’s pressure tactics, though, are an exercise in futility. He cannot dictate the makeup of Abbas’s government any more than an outside party can dictate the makeup of his own governing coalition. Unfortunately, his actions to date have only strengthened Hamas while undermining Abbas, who is a moderate and a worthy peace partner for Israel.

Q: You have written that a two-state solution is the only viable option for self-determination in Israel and Palestine. Why do you believe this?

A: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved once each nation’s two most basic demands are met; namely, self-determination for the Palestinians and security for Israelis. The only solution that addresses both demands is a two-state solution: an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with a Jewish state. No other solution of which I am aware is viable. The so-called “one-state solution” would result in a bloodbath. The status quo—continued occupation and mutual recrimination—denies Palestinians their legitimate rights while undermining Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. A two-state solution based on the Clinton Parameters offers both peoples a way out of their quagmire.

Follow Professor Ziv on Twitter: @ZivGuy
To arrange an interview, call 202-885-5943.

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Title: SIS Summer Session in Brazil Explores Rural Livelihoods
Author: Rachel Teter
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Abstract: This summer, the School of International Service offered a unique practicum and course in Brazil, led by Professor Eve Bratman, called Forests and Livelihoods: Rural Development in Brazil.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/02/2014
Content:

This summer, the School of International Service offered a unique practicum and course in Brazil, led by Assistant Professor Eve Bratman, called Forests and Livelihoods: Rural Development in Brazil. The program allowed ten SIS graduate students to explore many facets of Brazilian society, politics, and environmental issues while also working with a research and educational center in Brazil's Atlantic Forest. We asked Rachel Teter, a participating student, to share some of her impressions.

As I sit in JFK airport waiting for my return journey’s final leg to begin, I try to pool my thoughts together into cohesive sentences. Our six-credit practicum and Rural Livelihoods classes in Brazil are over, with just a few hours standing between me and my routine life back in Washington, DC.

Having the opportunity to stay in four different parts of such a beautiful country while learning about its vibrant culture, history, and people was exciting enough. Combine that with the shared electricity of being in a country obsessed with soccer during the World Cup puts the experience in the “once in a lifetime” category. 

Over the course of twenty-five days our group attended lectures at the Rio-based university Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), visited the UNESCO World Heritage town of Ouro Preto--a Brazilian “Gold Rush” town, traveled to Belo Horizonte--the capital of Minas Gerais state, and spent time in Rosario de Limeira, home of the Iracambi Research Center. 

Ouro Preto was a beautiful place, with cobblestoned streets, gold-leafed churches and a soapstone market. In Belo Horizonte we met with government employees who taught us about the city’s world famous food security programs. We dined at a "Restaurante Popular" where 13,000 low-cost meals a day are provided to city residents and toured several community gardens, where community members have the opportunity to raise healthy produce for their families and for sales. 

The majority of our stay was in the idyllic forests of Iracambi, a research and conservation nonprofit working with both local Brazilians and international volunteers to improve rural livelihood options while preserving natural ecosystems. 

For both myself and SIS, this class represented many “firsts.” It was my first time in South America, acting as a consultant and producing a “deliverable” as a group, and having the opportunity to earn six credits in less than a month. I can whole-heartedly assure everyone--we earned those credits, often by skipping soccer games, bonfires, and nature hikes to do the work. 

For SIS, it was the first opportunity to work with a new international partner, FGV, the Rio de Janeiro-based university whose professors gave us a crash course in Brazilian history and culture. 

We were also the first group of students lucky enough to be brought to Iracambi with Professor Bratman. At Iracambi, we were amazed by what a couple of dedicated people can do. During our time there, we met with dozens of locals who opened up their lives to us. Our interviews were meticulously typed out, read through, and weighed while we wrote our report on rural-urban migration in the area, specifically focusing on local youths. Many of the young people there simply want a good education, a decent job, and a place to hang out on the weekends. These are opportunities that a city is more capable of providing than a rural town. 

We weren’t able to come to a firm conclusion or present definitive recommendations in our report because these issues are complex and the “best case scenario” is different for each person we spoke with. Still, we hope our work laid a foundation that others can build on and we expect that the relationships we established will continue to grow.

Read more from Rachel and other participants on the group’s blog: http://brazil2014sisabroad.blogspot.com/

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Title: Spotlight on the MIS Program
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: The Master in International Service  (MIS) at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) offers opportunities to advanced graduate students and professionals in the fields of international affairs and international service.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 06/26/2014
Content: Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series in which we highlight SIS degrees and programs and interview program directors.

The Master in International Service (MIS) at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) offers opportunities to advanced graduate students and professionals in the fields of international affairs and international service. The program connects a rigorous academic education to practical experiences directly relevant to students’ professional lives. 

The executive track is designed for students with at least seven years of professional experience in international affairs. The international track is designed for students who are currently enrolled or have recently completed a master’s level program in international affairs or a related field at a partner institution. 

We interviewed Dr. Claudia Hofmann, Director of the MIS program. 

CH: I have been director of the program since August 2013. What drew me to the position was the ability to help professionals increase their knowledge about international affairs and help them progress in their career or start a new one, and generally help them to achieve their goals while juggling school alongside their professional and private lives. I am working to provide them with an outstanding executive education that helps them go where they want to go. 

What is the core mission/vision of the program? 

CH: We aim to give mid-career professionals the opportunity to grow and gain expertise in the field of international affairs and international service. We want to equip students with knowledge and skills that are applicable to their professional lives, impart academic knowledge to them, and draw clear connections from this academic knowledge to the world and to their professional lives. The program is individually tailored to the students’ career interests and provides practical opportunities to apply knowledge, for example through internship opportunities, practica, skills institutes, and simulations. 

How is the program unique?

CH: It gives students flexibility while they earn an executive degree from one of the top ten international affairs schools in the country. We are also based in Washington, DC, which is a huge advantage for our students. The program allows students to take courses that are supportive of their professional needs and interests. Students can take a wealth of classes at SIS and not be restricted by a concentration. We also waive up to six credits for professional experience already gained internationally. Classes are scheduled later in the day to make it possible to combine studies with a full-time job. The diversity of professional backgrounds makes the student body not only incredibly interesting and knowledgeable, but also a wonderful resource and networking community. 

What are some things your program does to further your students professionally? 

CH: It is important for us to connect an academic degree to applicable knowledge. Many of the faculty are practitioners with a wealth of knowledge in theory and practice that they are here to share. We offer many practica that provide real-world experience in project management and consulting, for example Rural Development in Brazil; Democracy and Human Rights Promotion in Morocco/Jordan; and Cultural Diplomacy and International Exchange. We also host skills institutes for specific skills that might assist students in their professional lives. We have several day long professional development workshops on diplomatic tradecraft and oral presentation skills. 

Describe the students in your program: 

MIS students come from all sectors: private, public, and non-profit. Some places where our students work include embassies, U.S. government agencies, international financial institutions, and leading non-profits. Our students are emerging leaders on the international stage and it is a privilege to have them with us at SIS! 

Learn more about executive degrees at SIS: http://www.american.edu/sis/MIS/index.cfm

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newsId: D865A1EC-E4CE-7F77-0DF01C5A5707D0C7
Title: From Undocumented to Unstoppable
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Daniel Alejandro Leon Davis achieved his college dreams, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 06/13/2014
Content:

At age six, Daniel Alejandro Leon Davis, SIS/BA ’13, came to the United States from Venezuela with his mother to visit siblings in Miami. Instead of returning home, Daniel and his mother stayed in the U.S. permanently, though they were undocumented. Despite what seemed to be insurmountable odds, Daniel persevered. He received AU’s prestigious Abdul Aziz Said Phi Epsilon Pi Scholarship, graduated Magna Cum Laude, and won the Fletcher Scholar Award for exemplifying integrity and selflessness in citizenship while achieving academically.

As an AU student, Daniel was the first undocumented intern for the Clinton Global Initiative, part of President Bill Clinton's philanthropic foundation. Now, he is chief of staff to Michael Skolnik who is a civil rights activist, political director to hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, and president of GlobalGrind.com.

“My mother lived the American dream,” Daniel says. Although his mother can’t speak English, she put on a brave face and gave her children everything she could, working as many as three jobs and eventually becoming the top interior designer for Mercedes Homes.

It is clear Daniel’s mother is his inspiration and champion. Looking back at his childhood, he recognizes the signs that she struggled because they were undocumented. He remembers nights when his mother would go without food; her constant apprehension around police officers (even mall security guards) for fear of deportation; and frequent visits to her lawyer’s office. Undocumented immigrants often live in such secrecy and fear, it is not uncommon for them to hide their status from their children, which is why Daniel did not learn he was undocumented until his senior year of high school.

Daniel dreamed of attending an Ivy League school, but the country's economic crisis derailed those plans. His mother could no longer afford the tuition, and his undocumented status disqualified him from financial aid and scholarships, so he enrolled at Seminole State College and earned his associate’s degree. Many prestigious four-year schools accepted Daniel’s transfer application but would not allow him to attend because he was undocumented.

When he called American University and revealed his status, his admissions counselor said, “Oh, you’re a dreamer! We have a way of putting you into the system,” and enrolled him despite his being undocumented. Although he again faced financial obstacles, he would not be deterred this time.

"I gave up on my dream once. I'm not giving up on my dream again. I don't care what I have to do. I'm going to American University," Daniel told himself. He called 95 scholarship organizations and asked if any of them would accept an application from an undocumented student; only three said yes: the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Coca Cola, and Phi Theta Kappa.

At his graduation ceremony, the president of Seminole State announced to Daniel, his mother, and the entire school that Daniel won all three scholarships he applied for, which totaled more than $160,000. He says, "That's the day my life changed. That's the day that everything was worth it, the day that I live for every single day."

Still, life was not easy. The scholarships did not take effect until after his first semester at AU, so Daniel couldn’t afford housing and stayed with friends instead. In October 2011, he “came out” as undocumented by wearing a sign announcing his status on LGBTQ National Coming Out Day. He told his story at an event that evening. After that, he says, “Strangers would come up to me on campus and say, ‘Hey, did you eat today? Do you want me to swipe you in to TDR?’ I felt what community truly meant at AU and that people really stand for what they believe in there.”

Unlike other students preparing for graduation, Daniel knew he wouldn’t be able to find a paying job because he was undocumented. Still, he wanted to use his personal experience and success in creating social change on a larger scale. “I introduced myself to Michael Skolnik [at an event] using the networking skills I learned in one of my classes at American,” Daniel says. Through a friend, he got a meeting with Michael and worked on some projects for him. Michael was so impressed with Daniel’s work that he immediately hired him as his chief of staff.

It was a shock. “I figured I’d be an intern,” Daniel says. Instead of interning, Daniel runs a team charged with harnessing celebrity power, especially on social media, to create social change. He has worked with Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Common, and countless others.

Daniel also finds time to give back to the American University community as a volunteer with the Latino Alumni Alliance and as a social media ambassador. He volunteers because, “AU gave me a lot, a lot, a lot! From Dr. [Fanta] Aw making sure I had housing, to people making sure I had scholarships, professors spending so much time with me and caring for me. … My service is a way to pay back all the ways people helped me at AU. And if I can help that next undocumented student who goes to AU, or help that next Latino student, I want to do that. For me, volunteering means knowing I get to be a part of a community that lasts forever outside of campus.”

Daniel is now married and is an applicant for permanent residency in the U.S.; the Washington College of Law legal clinic is assisting him with his application process.

Daniel's AU education was possible thanks in large part to donor-funded scholarships including the Barbara Bohn Wright Memorial Scholarship, the Annette Langdon Scholar-Activist Award, and the Abdul Aziz Said Phi Epsilon Pi Scholarship. Learn more about how donations to AU make a difference in students' lives.

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Title: Julio Antonio Ubillús Ramírez, SIS/MIS '13
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Abstract: An SIS graduate student from Peru brings his skills to his country's embassy in Prague, Czech Republic.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/04/2014
Content:

How has SIS made a difference in my world?

  • The MIS program is the second masters program I completed. Before the MIS, I obtained a masters degree in Diplomacy and International Affairs from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru (ADP). In general terms, my time at SIS has allowed me to increase and broaden my knowledge in many relevant academic fields that are interesting and important for my career, such as International Relations, Diplomacy and Foreign Policy making, among others. This experience has allowed me to strengthen my understanding and capacity for analysis of many different events in International Politics.

 

What was one important turning point (interaction with a faculty member, course topic, event attended, internship moment, book, etc.) during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?

  • I arrived to SIS with an already established career path, being a Foreign Service Officer in the service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru. However, I had very valuable experiences while taking classes with Ambassador Anthony Quainton (“Diplomatic Practice”), Professor Daniel Masis (”Proseminar in International Relations II”), and Professor David Mislan (“Theories of Foreign Policy Decision Making”), among others. Those were nothing but very interesting and useful academic experiences which are helping me today in different aspects of my career.

 

What has been a -- possibly unexpected-- pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?

  • One of the most interesting and valuable experiences I had while studying at AU was taking a class with Ambassador Anthony Quainton, who happened to be Ambassador of the United States to Peru during the late 1980s until the first couple of years of the 1990s. As a Peruvian diplomat, it was very interesting to learn from the experiences of a foreign diplomat such as Ambassador Quainton, especially regarding his insights about Peru´s political and diplomatic affairs during a very delicate and important period of the history of my country.

 

Why I chose SIS?

  • I arrived to the SIS as the result of an agreement signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru and American University, which allows one Peruvian diplomat to take the Master in International Service (MIS) Program every year. In exchange, the Diplomatic Academy of Peru receives two SIS masters students (one per semester) every year. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru has the policy of encouraging its youngest diplomats to increase their academic education in order to be better prepared to address the challenges and duties that are inherent to our labor as Foreign Service Officers. To me, SIS represented, among the different choices to pursue higher education, one of the most attractive ones, not only because of the reputation of the university, but also because of the experience and versatility of the professors that are part of the School of International Service.

 

Fields of study?

  • I have a bachelors degree (2002-2006) and a “Licenciatura” (Professional Degree) (2007) in International Business from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru; a masters degree in Diplomacy and International Affairs (2009-2010) from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru (ADP) in Lima, Peru; and a masters degree in International Service (MIS) (2012-2013) from the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington DC, United States.

 

Languages?

  • Spanish (native)
  • English (advanced)
  • Portuguese (advanced)
  • French (intermediate)
  • Czech (beginning lessons)

 

World issue of interest?

  • Integration processes in Latin America.
  • Foreign Economic Policy as a tool to promote growth with equality in developing countries.
  • The increasing political and economic influence of China in global affairs.

 

Professional role model?

  • Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. A Peruvian Diplomat that held the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations between 1982 and 1991, leading the most important international organization during the end of the Cold War, a turning point in the history of international politics.

 

Favorite book?

  • "Ficciones" by Jorge Luis Borges.

 

Favorite movie?

  • "El secreto de sus ojos" (The secret in their eyes) by J. Campanella.

 

Current residence?

  • I am currently living in Prague, Czech Republic.

 

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Title: Ann Mangold, SIS/MIS '12
Author:
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Abstract: Alumna’s Fellowship Allows Her to Make a Difference through Federal Service
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/04/2014
Content:

Why I chose MIS:
I chose MIS because of its location in Washington, D.C. and the excellent reputation of its faculty as well as the School of International Service. I think close proximity to the nexus of politics and decision-making creates unmatched opportunities for students who study in D.C. I also liked the idea of having classroom interaction with fellow students who had a variety of experiences, from the private sector and government to NGOs and international development.

How I make a difference in the world:
I’m currently completing a Presidential Management Fellowship with the Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs. The Labor Department’s mission focuses on promoting, developing and improving work opportunities for job seekers and wage earners. In addition, the department also works on preventing, mitigating and eliminating international issues such as human trafficking and forced labor. Although it sounds cliché, I really do feel like I’m contributing to making a positive difference in people’s lives, whether it’s making workplaces safer or helping to raise the minimum wage – these are things that matter, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
Through MIS, I formed a solid network of mentors, professors and friends who have offered invaluable advice and support in my professional pursuits. I feel lucky to have met such an intelligent and inspiring group of people. My time at MIS also helped me to secure my first post-grad school job, which was a great opportunity with a media company in Kabul, Afghanistan, which I learned about through a fellow MIS student.

Field of study:
The great thing about MIS is that there are very few required courses, which allows students to choose most of their electives to focus on key interest areas. It’s sort of like a “choose your own adventure” for graduate school. I chose to take courses primarily in international security and foreign policy, with a regional focus on the Middle East.

SIS activities:
Outside of class, I completed internships with the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, The Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and The New Yorker. I found these experiences to be extremely valuable because they provided practical insight into the issues I studied and helped me to explore possible post-graduation career options, as well as meet some very interesting people in the international relations field. Additionally, I spent time getting to know my classmates and professors. Not only have many of my classmates become close friends, but they also have served as an automatic professional network.

Languages:
Working knowledge of Spanish and Arabic. I also learned basic Dari (a Farsi dialect) while living in Afghanistan and found that immersion is the best way to learn a language quickly.

World issue of interest:
I don’t have a particular issue that I’m focused on, but I would say that anything related to education/literacy for women and children (particularly girls) is of interest. I am also interested in increasing foreign policy understanding and engagement amongst Americans. It seems fewer and fewer are involved or aware of what’s happening in domestic politics, let alone the rest of the world.

Professional role model:
My mom. She set a great example for my sister and me of how to balance a career with having a family/personal life. It must have been extremely difficult, but she never complained. I find this especially amazing since she taught first grade for 36 years – it can’t have been easy to manage a classroom of six-year-olds all day and then come home to run a household.

Favorite book:
That’s a tough choice. The first book that comes to mind is Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King. It’s a true story that recounts the experiences of American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the Sahara. It’s a fascinating portrayal of human courage and resilience.

Favorite movie:
“The Lives of Others.” Set in the early 1980s, it follows the monitoring of East Berlin residents by the Stasi. I like films that are grounded in real-life events. I also love the movie “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith. It’s a classic “girl power” movie.

Current residence:
Washington, DC

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Title: Profile: Jesse Pruett, SIS/MIS '12
Author:
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Abstract: MIS graduate uses his skills to mentor and develop the next generation
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
Content:

Why I chose MIS:
I chose MIS because it offered an internationally respected program with the flexibility to fit within a demanding and often unpredictable schedule.

How I make a difference in the world:
My father had a jar filled with coins he had collected from his world travels, which fueled an early fascination with all things “international”. I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved, in very small ways, with many of the significant world events of my generation. At this point it is my hope that I contribute through mentorship and development of other “internationals” whose own experiences will influence the direction of our country and the world.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
MIS provided a great window into the nexus of academic theory and the real-world experiences of a great cohort of student-colleagues representing a broad swath of perspectives. Sharing the academic adventure with them enriched not only my appreciation of studied histories and subsequent events but it also expanded my understanding of my own experiences.

Field of study:
My official area of focus was U.S Foreign Policy, with an unofficial emphasis on the interagency aspects of expeditionary efforts abroad.

Languages:
English, Spanish

World issue of interest:
I am interested in how military and civilian instruments of national power can coalesce in expeditionary circumstances, coordinate with international partners, and collaborate with local populations and leaders to deliver the most beneficial expression of American ideals into that environment.

Professional role model:
The American Generals of World War II provide a series of case studies in achievement in International Affairs. Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Patton, Marshall (and others) each offer lessons and insight into the traits required to commit to a cause, overcome doubt and hardship, balance strength and compassion and serve as leaders in incredibly intense environments. At the more personal level, my father is my truest role model, providing a foundation of character that I strive to build upon in both my professional and personal endeavors.

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Title: Jeremy Dastrup, SIS/MIS '11
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Abstract: This MIS graduate serves and protects the United States by investigating criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats throughout Southeast Asia.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
Content:

Why I Chose MIS:
As a mid-career government employee I needed to find a program with an extensive selection of core and elective courses which would permit me to tailor my degree to my career needs. The MIS program gave me the latitude within my degree to become intimate with the subject matter which I knew my career was going to expose me to. I knew the MIS program, and American University, was the best choice for me when I selected it, but I did not fully realize how perfect a fit it was until I completed my degree and started to apply what I had learned to my career objectives.

How I make a difference in the world:
I interact with foreign government officials on a daily basis. I strive to understand their perspectives and needs. At the same time I am able to represent the United States in a positive light, helping to break down perceived cultural barriers. I give people from different walks of life a positive impression of what America is. This in turn facilitates mission success for me and the United States government.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
My degree has provided valuable understanding of the underlying political, cultural, economic, and security developments within Southeast Asia, which have enhanced my ability to interact and succeed throughout my career in this region of the world. The principles I learned during my MIS experience, along with the high caliber of instructors and students, are something I reflect on daily and help to shape how I work in the world.

Field of Study:
Southeast Asian Security Issues

Languages:
Spanish and Malay

World issue of interest:
Security issues dealing with Southeast Asia and more specifically the South China Sea to include territorial disputes. How the economic growth of China and other Southeast Asian countries are straining stable security relations in the region and ultimately how that subsequent strain affects the military mission of the United States.

Favorite movie:
Any romantic comedy because it allows me to laugh and spend time with my wife after a long day.

Current residence:
Singapore

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Title: Profile: Dylan Robinson, SIS/MA '12
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Abstract: Meet Dylan Robinson, SIS/MA '12
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
Content:

Why I chose MIS:
I moved to Washington, DC with the intention of making a career change, having worked in archaeology for over a decade. My work fell primarily on the environmental impact side of land development, and I reached a point where I wanted to broaden my career focus to include the bigger picture of global development.

I figured DC was probably the best place to pursue my expanded interests, being at the heart of policy development and our nation’s role in the world – I also have family in the area so I used these connections to facilitate my relocation. I was previously unaware of American University or SIS but quickly found out about them as I researched programs in the area. I was particularly drawn to SIS given their excellent reputation and their location within DC proper.

How I make a difference in the world:
I am still making my way, but am very excited about a new business that I am forming that seeks to combine for-profit and non-profit. I learned about this hybrid model through a Social Enterprise course that I took in my final semester, and it really opened my eyes to new possibilities. I hope to combine something I love – all-natural homemade lotions and balms – with a cause I care about – environmental sustainability and combating exploitation in developing nations – as most of these product ingredients come from developing and environmentally threatened areas. The nuts and bolts are still in formation, so stay tuned…

In the meantime I currently hold a few different jobs, acting as Executive Administrative Assistant for a small local business that manages investment portfolios, doing freelance editing work, and running a small greeting card business online, not to mention my most prized position – new mother!

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
Well, the full impacts are still unfolding, but I really cherished the experience of the program. The program was full of great courses and I really enjoyed meeting and collaborating with fellow professionals. The MIS program is unique in the level of experience and wealth of expertise held by the students themselves and I hope to always maintain the relationships I cultivated during my time there.

While I have found the job market to be extremely challenging in the time since my graduation and am still developing my new career path, I feel armed with a great new battery of knowledge and skills as I carve my way.

Field of study:
I chose classes from a fairly broad spectrum of fields within SIS, including US Foreign Policy, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Global Environmental Policy, Comparative Regional Studies and Social Enterprise. So much of the field of International Relations was really new to me, so I wanted exposure to as many elements as possible. However, I focused my research whenever possible on environmental issues and tried to keep my interests in mind while considering the emphasis of the curriculum at hand.

SIS activities:
I tried to get involved in as many activities as possible to take full advantage of my time at SIS. I was elected as the MIS Representative on the Graduate Student Council (GSC)  and also sat on the Networking and Foreign Affairs Committees for the GSC. As the representative to MIS, I organized events to help students in the program network and stay connected with one another.

I also participated in negotiation practices with AU’s Negotiation Program (AUNP) , a really spectacular and unique student-run program, and attended weekend problem-solving workshops operated in partnership with other universities in the area. I spent a term in a Dialogue Development Group , another great AU program, which was very personally enlightening and challenging, and participated in a German language study group.

Finally, I took advantage of the Summer Abroad Program opportunities and spent a summer in Brussels learning about the inner workings of the EU, as well as living with a local family, and conducted a related independent study research project. After returning, I was selected to present at the SIS Summer Abroad Student Research Symposium that fall. (And yes, I did still study and sleep during all this!)

Languages:
English (native), German, currently studying French.

World issue of interest:
Environmental sustainability; development and exploitation

Professional role model:
That’s a tough question. There are so many remarkable professionals I have been lucky to work with over the years and many people who have influenced different elements of my life. I’ve also been very blessed with amazing friends and family and an extremely supportive husband.

On a very personal level, my Sensei (my martial arts instructor of over 15 years) has had an immense impact on my life. As a woman in a tough arena, she helped me learn how to be strong and comfortable being in charge yet gentle at the same time, and how to always have compassion for others even when faced with aggression. She helped me develop a personal confidence that carries over to all other aspects of my life.

My stepfather, as well, has had a large impact on my professional development. He inspires me in the way that he continuously works to improve himself professionally, and never shies away from making a leap to something new. He has managed to work his way up into a really impressive career while always keeping up great relationships and treating others with respect, not to mention being a really supportive and loving family member.

Current residence:
Jupiter, Florida

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Title: SIS Alumna Writes to Showcase Modern Challenges in U.S. Identity
Author: Karli Kloss
Subtitle:
Abstract: Carla Seaquist, SIS / BA ’67 strives to give space to many of the complicated, and at times, ephemeral social and political issues facing our country.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/08/2014
Content:

As a writer and playwright, Carla Seaquist, SIS/BA ’67, strives to give space to the complicated political, cultural, and ethical-moral issues facing our country. She began her career in civil rights activism, helping to organize the women’s caucus at the Brookings Institution from 1972 to 1976.

She then moved to San Diego where she served as the city’s equal opportunity officer from 1977 to 1983, successfully moving women and minorities into nontraditional jobs. For this work she was awarded NOW’s Susan B. Anthony award “for courage and hard work on behalf of women and minorities.”

The shift from civil rights to writing was a logical progression, Seaquist says. She began working as a freelance writer until she moved on to playwriting.

During the siege of Sarajevo, Seaquist reached out to the manager of a Bosnian radio station. They built a unique relationship over the phone. She turned their conversations into a play, Who Cares?: The Washington-Sarajevo Talks, a universal drama about the saving power of human connection in chaos. This play has had three productions, including at Washington’s Studio Theatre. Seaquist has written three other plays.

The shift from playwriting to more direct commentary happened on September 11, when she witnessed the Pentagon on fire. As a result, Seaquist became a contributing writer for The Christian Science Monitor and, now, The Huffington Post.

Seaquist published her first book of commentary, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character, in 2009. Her forthcoming book is titled Can America Save Itself from Decline?: Politics, Culture, Morality. She also published Two Plays of Life and Death.

“I have found the SIS take-away tool–the need to develop a conceptual framework–very useful,” Seaquist states. “International relations made me a world citizen, providing me with an outlook that’s global, not parochial, and a keen interest in history and other cultures–all very helpful in writing commentary.”

Seaquist lives in Washington state with her husband Larry, a state legislator, and is working on a play titled Prodigal.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,School of International Service
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Title: Joe Eldridge, SIS/MA ’81, Inspires Sense of Giving among AU Community
Author: Ann Royse
Subtitle:
Abstract: Chaplain and alumnus Joe Eldridge explains why he supports AU while also encouraging others to give.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2014
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As chaplain of American University, Joseph Eldridge, SIS/MA ’81, can often be found on campus talking to colleagues, listening to students, and lending his support to countless university events. 

Joe’s journey at American University began during a chance meeting in Brazil with former faculty member, Dr. Brady Tyson, where the two developed a friendship and mutual admiration for each other’s work in human rights. Dr. Tyson, now the namesake of AU’s Brady Tyson Award for Excellence in Work Related to Human Rights, recommended that Joe apply to the master’s degree program in international relations at the School of International Service. Fortunately for AU, Joe followed his friend’s advice, thus beginning a long, successful, and fulfilling career at the university where his passion and work now meaningfully intersect.

Although his current job concentrates on theology, it is widely known that Joe has a long and illustrious career in the international human rights and humanitarian field, focusing specifically on Latin America. While at AU, Joe was introduced to the concept of peace and conflict resolution from the well-renowned professor and scholar of peace and conflict studies, Abdul Aziz Said. Said also introduced the idea of civil resistance and peacemaking as drivers of sustained change, and this truly resonated with Joe’s passion for civil society and international transformation.

As university chaplain, Joe now uses many of his skills and experience to mentor students as they transition through some of the most transformative years of their lives. He enjoys watching students from when they first step onto campus through their days of graduation and the beginnings of various career paths. Joe is continuously enthusiastic about partaking in this vital era in the students’ lives and it is the reason he remains an integral part to the AU community. 

However, guiding students is only one of the many ways Joe shows his support to American University. He also gives back through the university’s annual fund and is passionate about encouraging other alumni, faculty, staff, and parents to do the same. When discussing AU, he says, “AU is a place of utter transformation and it offers so many ways to find participation…a sense of community is in the air.”

So, as the 2013-14 school year comes to a close and AU presents its newest graduates to the world with all of the tradition, pomp, and circumstance they deserve, consider giving back to the community where many students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends began their journey.

In fact, there are countless places to offer your support, whether it is to a school’s specific Dean’s Fund, the AU Fund for Excellence, or the new UFUND, where the university’s own clubs and organizations fundraise for specific programmatic needs. The university relies on the support and dedication of alumni, faculty, and staff members like Joe, who truly inspire the rest of the AU community to give back to any area that signifies and commemorates your own AU experience.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,Annual Giving,Kay Spiritual Life Center,School of International Service
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Title: First Generation SIS Alumna Inspired by Parents’ Work Ethic, Family Values
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Gloria González-Micklin, SIS/BA ’80, immigrated to America in 1972. Her parents made extreme sacrifices to provide a better life for their six children.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 03/13/2014
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Gloria González-Micklin, SIS/BA ’80, born in Bello, Colombia, immigrated with her family to New Holland, Pa. in 1972. Her parents, textile factory workers, made extreme sacrifices to provide a better life for their six children. Without their guidance and sacrifice, González-Micklin says, she would not have achieved the professional and academic milestones in her life.

“Who would have known that the daughter of two working class immigrants would be the individual charged with arranging major events requiring high security protocol for China’s leadership and their U.S. cabinet counterparts,” González-Micklin says. 

As Director of Programs for the US-China Business Council (USCBC), a non-partisan, non-profit organization of American companies involved in trade and investment with China, Gonzalez-Micklin executes major meetings and high security events for key stakeholders in U.S.-China relations, including China’s ranking officials, their American counterparts, senior U.S. business executives, and scholars during their visits to Washington, D.C. and New York City. In addition, González-Micklin manages her department and annual gala fundraiser. 

“I launched the USCBC Gala in 1998 to mark the Council’s 25th anniversary,” González-Micklin says. “This past December, as we celebrated our 40th anniversary, we honored Dr. Henry Kissinger for his many contributions to contemporary U.S.-China relations over the past four decades.” 

González-Micklin earned her master’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin and lived in China from 1992 to 1996 accumulating experiences and memories to last a lifetime but also gaining cross-cultural skills that proved invaluable in her subsequent career in Washington, DC. 

She has had the privilege of meeting every Chinese leader (President and Premier) since Zhu Rongji, including current leader Xi Jinping. 

Her work on key events for visiting Chinese officials regularly puts her in direct contact with China's most senior diplomatic representatives, and with key figures in the U.S. Congress, the State, Commerce, Treasury departments, and other agencies engaged in US-China bilateral relations. “It has been fascinating to be part of these historic events, which must be flawlessly executed,” González-Micklin says. “It is also rewarding to know that, in a small way, I am contributing to the ongoing and expanding dialogue between the two largest economies in the world.”

González-Micklin holds a special place in her heart for American University and the School of International Service. “I give of my time by participating in SIS alumni chapter events here in Washington as well as helping the next generation of international relations leaders by advising and mentoring students.” In 2001, she received a recognition for her contributions to the AU community at large. She is also active with the Hopkins-Nanjing Center where she established the Jim Townsend and Sandy Perry Memorial Endowment Fellowship in 2003.

Tags: School of International Service,Alumni Update
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Title: Profile Ben Edgar, SIS/BA '11
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Abstract: Alumni Profile of Ben Edgar, SIS/BA '11
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/16/2014
Content:

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?

One session I had with David Fletcher his junior year. I was deciding what to do with my life, considering a bunch of different fields, and David told me to go to career fields. Having him push me to talk and connect with people was a big turning point. Especially meeting with the Deloitte, they’re really active and exciting, so interacting with them, seeing how they challenge themselves, that was a turning point.

What has been a pivotal piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?

Going through your major, you’re not really sure, but by junior year, you’re focused on your major. With a degree like international relations, where you learn so many different things, economics, politics, a language, there are so many ways to translate that information in a lot of different ways. Deloitte capitalized on that, and on my ability to learn quickly and well, so I could do well in the business and consulting arena. Once you’re there, you’re only a step away from your major. My realization was that after your first job after school, you’re not tied to your major forever. Skill sets are translatable. Interests change.

Why SIS?

Coming from Massachusetts, I wanted to experience a different part of the country. I really liked American as a school, and liked the SIS program. It’s highly ranked, has a lot of really interesting courses, and it came down to a combination of geography and the prospect of being challenged in the classroom.

What courses stood out for you?

Between junior and senior year, I took three classes that stood out: International Terrorism – fascinating to read about these cases and terrorism throughout history. Looking at past examples was really great! Another course: Cybercrime, espionage and war crimes – that class stretched my limits going really technical into computers, and how to prevent computer hacking and spying, firewalls, etc. and looked at the political side to everything, what political implications they held, the faculty member was an advisor in the white house. Another course: Eastern Religion – a gen ed course that was great. Getting to read about Taoism and expanding my knowledge base on things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study otherwise.

How are you making a difference in the world?

I got involved at Deloitte with the Wounded Warrior Mentorship program. I chose to work with a group of veterans who served in the past 10 or 15 years. We paired up with people from Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda and provided professional mentoring relationships for Wounded Warriors, who might have a hard time getting contacts, resumes, connections, or even folks who hadn’t been to college, getting those resumes/applications ready. My own mentee was in that situation, and helping him apply to various colleges was a great part of my job at Deloitte. Now I am trying to see if I can continue working with the Wounded Warriors out in the Seattle area.

What world issue are you interested in?

War in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Just because I’m connected with the Wounded Warriors. It hasn’t been talked about a lot in the news lately, and to be honest, the number of wounded warriors coming back is less and less, which is great, but I keep my finger on that the most.

Who is your professional role model?

A manager at Deloitte on my last project was the first manager I had that struck a balance between knowing the projects/material and managing at a higher level as well. That’s a really difficult balance to strike, being high above everything, but also down in the weeds. He really did that well, and outside there were other things, but that’s something I really want to take with me.

What's your favorite book?

The Heart and the Fist by Eric Grytons – He was a Navy SEAL for a number of years, and grew up and went to Oxford for grad school. Was an accomplished boxer there, a smart guy. He talks about the difference between international diplomacy and what you can do by avoiding physical action and using diplomacy, but also what is needed and what is necessary in brute force. It makes you think on multiple levels in that regard, and that was a book I read really soon after I graduated. It still gets me thinking about our servicemen, and our diplomats, and how they balance the political sphere in everything they do.

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