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Title: Did Trump’s charm offensive work in the Philippines?
Author: Professor Jessica Trisko Darden
Subtitle:
Abstract: President Trump's whirlwind tour of Asia revealed that Trump’s style of diplomacy focuses more on his personal relationships with world leaders than diplomatic relations between countries.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/14/2017
Content:

President Donald J. Trump is wrapping up a whirlwind tour of Asia, visiting five countries in 12 days. The trip revealed much about Trump's style of diplomacy—one that focuses more on his personal relationships with world leaders than diplomatic relations between countries.

Both democratic and authoritarian leaders have been wooed by Trump's charm offensive. He has highlighted his warm feelings toward China's President Xi Jinping and tweeted that he tries "so hard to be [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's] friend."

Trump's relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the first leaders welcomed to Trump Tower after the election, is "extraordinary," according to the president.

This style of diplomacy certainly has its limitations, but could it actually improve the United States' relationship with the Philippinesa key Southeast Asian ally?

Why we need our allies in Asia

On the campaign trail and in office, Trump has often criticized many of America's allies for taking advantage of Washington's generosity and not contributing more to their own national security. However, my research with Queen's University political scientist Stefanie von Hlatky demonstrates that even when allies fail to share as much of the military burden as the United States would hope, they still make meaningful contributions to our military efforts overseas.

Our alliance relationships in Asia are based on a series of mutual defense treaties negotiated in the aftermath of World War II. The US-Philippines Mutual Defense treaty signed in 1951 focuses on the countries' shared history of resistance against Japan's "imperialist aggression" in the Pacific. It commits the two nations to mutual aid in defending against an external armed attack as part of a comprehensive system of regional security. Given the possibility of a future confrontation with China over the South China Sea, alliances with countries like the Philippines matter. After all, the Philippines provides access to regional bases and other logistical support.

New leaders, unexpected directions

Since the election of the populist Duterte in May 2016, the US-Philippines alliance has been on rocky ground.

The Obama-Duterte relationship was full of tension stemming from the Obama administration's criticism of Duterte's violent war on drugs, which some claim has now led to approximately 13,000 deaths. Duterte showed no hesitation in calling out the United States for treating the Philippines like a colony, insulting Obama, and musing that he might shift his foreign policy toward China and Russia and "break up with America."

Trump's election and his overtures to Duterte have helped get the strained relationship back on the right track. The two men bonded over their countries' mutual struggle with drugs. They claimed a shared understanding about the importance of protecting one's country. In fact, the administration signaled that Trump's heavily criticized invitation to Duterte to visit the White House was a sign of the "very positive direction" of the US-Philippines relationship under his leadership.

It is therefore no surprise that the two leaders met privately during Trump's Asia visit. Topics on the table included terrorismespecially the Philippine military's recent success against militants linked to Islamic State in the southern region of Mindanaotrade and their respective anti-drug campaigns.

Can Trump revive the relationship?

The extent to which the topic of human rights came up in their conversation is unclear. Trump has already been criticized for failing to press harder on this issue. However, it is possible that Trump rightly understands that pushing Duterte on human rights would continue to move Duterte away from the West and toward China.

Trump's comments in China mingled criticism of China's trade practices with praise of President Xi. However, in the Philippines, Trump chose to forgo this more nuanced approach, leaving diplomatic opportunities on the table. In praising Duterte's handling of an Islamist insurgency, Trump could have pushed for an end to martial law in Mindanao. In highlighting how the United States helped in the battle against Islamist militants, Trump could have laid out how much more we can do to improve security and help to rebuild the city of Marawi, which was devastated by the Philippines' bombing campaign.

Trump's style of diplomacy and his foreign policy agenda are a radical departure from his predecessor's. In the Philippines, this shift is largely welcome. Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos surveyed by Pew Research Center in late September of this year had confidence that Trump would do the right thing in world affairs.

On his first official visit to the country, Trump praised his treatment in the Philippines as "red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received." In turn, he was officially declared "a friend of the Duterte administration."

The ConversationUltimately, a positive change in the direction of US-Philippines relations may come down to whether Trump and Duterte's mutual admiration is enough to shift the Philippines' foreign policy back toward the United States. Doing so will likely require avoiding discussion of human rights, leaving Filipinos to bear the costs.

This article was originally published by Professor Jessica Trisko Darden on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: Regional cooperation: the key to peace and prosperity
Author: Sarah Quain
Subtitle:
Abstract: International cooperation and the provision of public goods are essential to the world’s prosperity, contends 21st Century Cooperation, a new book featuring several SIS contributors.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/07/2017
Content:

The future of peace and prosperity around the world depends on cooperation between nations. This idea forms the basis of 21st Century Cooperation: Regional Public Goods, Global Governance, and Sustainable Development, a new book co-edited by SIS Dean Emeritus Louis Goodman and Antoni Estevadeordal of the Inter-American Development Bank. The book also features chapters by several SIS contributors: Professor Amitav Acharya, Professor Michelle Egan, Professor Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Tom Long, SIS/PhD ’14, and Teng Liu, SIS/MA ’15.

"The purpose of this book is to put a focus on cooperation and how the world can organize itself to enhance peace and prosperity," said Goodman. Such cooperation attempts to "balance discussions based on hegemonic stability theory," or the idea that world stability depends exclusively on a powerful, dominant nation like the US.

The book focuses on regional public goods (RPGs) as a cornerstone of regional cooperation. RPGs are goods and services created within and available to anyone in a region, which Goodman defines as a set of neighboring countries with formal agreements to cooperate with each other. Goodman notes that use of RPGs by individual people or countries does not diminish the RPGs themselves. For example, trade systems and defense systems can be considered public goods. Each chapter of the text is devoted to the history of cooperation and provision of RPGs within different world regions, including the European Union and ASEAN.

21st Century Cooperation is the first part of a larger research project examining what Goodman calls "the most important process that's going on in international relations: cooperation." As part of this larger project, Goodman and his co-editor are also creating a database of all international treaties signed since 1945. Once completed, the comprehensive archive will be the first of its kind available as public resource.

"The goal of the project overall is to create knowledge about cooperation that can enhance scholarship in international relations and create information useful for policymakers trying to achieve greater stability, peace, and prosperity," said Goodman.

Opening borders in Latin America

Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman's chapter, entitled "Open borders: A regional public good," looks at the successes, constraints, and possibilities of open borders in Latin America. Why consider open borders RPGs? Mendelson Forman described open borders between countries as public goods because of their importance for cultural exchange, trade, infrastructure, and movement of populations.

"Latin America already provides a number of regional public goods to its residents," said Mendelson Forman. "The nuclear-free zone that runs from Mexico to Patagonia, for example, means that Latin Americans don't worry about nuclear attacks from neighboring countries. Various trade agreements, like the free trade zones in Paraguay and Panama, encourage cross-state commerce."

In practice, though not in law, Latin America has had porous borders between countries for many years. The result is that many countries lack formal agreements on how to handle their de facto open borders at the same time that they face increased criminality and unexpected flow of migrants from Haiti, the Middle East, and Africa.

Mendelson Forman noted that Brazil had previously led talks about legally opening borders in Latin America using a framework similar to the Schengen Area in Europe, which allows free movement of people and goods between 26 countries. "But after Brexit, the 2015 refugee crisis, and the terrorist attacks that plagued Europe, the concept of openness has been greatly diminished and the issue of open borders dropped off the radar screen," she said.

Acknowledging the "many legitimate challenges" that face open borders, including harmonizing laws between countries and addressing terrorism and drug trafficking, Mendelson Forman said that Latin America "needs to continue the discussion on open borders in order to use its social capital in a positive way."

Mendelson Forman contends that an open Latin American is still a concept worth actively pursuing. As for moving forward, she suggested that nations go back to the negotiation table: "They should look back and revive their interest in the Schengen model from Europe, encourage cooperation among police forces, harmonize trans-border migration of human capital, and create consistent customs regimes."

The EU's insiders and outsiders

Professor Michelle Egan writes about the provision of RPGs within the European Union in her chapter, "European regional public goods: insiders and outsiders."

An example of regional integration and commitment to regional public goods, the European Union promotes two often contending values among its member state, according to Egan. "The first is economic integration, competitiveness, and market access. The other is solidarity and provision of public goods to mitigate the effects of the market, providing both a safety net and a way to promote economic development and growth."

While those outside of the EU often focus on it as a world actor, "we tend to forget just how many regional public goods it provides internally within the EU," said Egan. "The 28 member states have various different levels of economic development, infrastructure, water quality, and a whole range of other public goods. The EU attempts to raise all boats and ensure that issues like trans-boundary pollution or health standards reach a certain level in those states."

Egan outlined three elements central to providing public goods, all of which the EU does for its member states: the allocation, regulation, and distribution/redistribution of resources and activities.

The EU uses a variegated model for providing public goods, meaning that certain states or localities, rather than the entire EU region, may receive specific benefits. "Regional public goods can be felt differently in different states and have unintended consequences-negative or positive," said Egan.

The ensuing disparities risk creating "insiders and outsiders" even within the EU, a possibility revealed through the 2009 Eurozone crisis and the ongoing refugee crisis. "The veneer of solidarity, which is central to the provision of public goods, had been under strain. It's revealed the limits of collective action," said Egan.

Far from pessimistic about the future of and importance of regional public goods, Egan said 21st Century Cooperation is particularly important at this moment because "we're in a period of economic retrenchment, and the US has an administration that is withdrawing from many global public goods efforts, whether it's climate change or UNESCO."


21st Century Cooperation: Regional Public Goods, Global Governance, and Sustainable Development is available to download for free through Open Access.

Join Goodman, Acharya, Egan, and Mendelson Forman for a book launch and discussion with additional guests on November 30 at 5:00 p.m. in SIS Founders Room. RVSP here.

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Title: Alumna propagates social entrepreneurship through consultation and education
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alessandra Clará, SIS/MA ’16, explains how she and classmates in the MA in Social Enterprise program co-founded Strategic Good after graduation to spread the concept of social entrepreneurship to organizations around the world.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/07/2017
Content:

What started as an MA in Social Enterprise practicum project at the School of International Service (SIS) evolved into Strategic Good, a Washington, DC-based social enterprise that helps people and organizations combine their strategic mindsets with good, impact-driven business models through consulting and educational experiences.

As a result of strong relationships formed while a student, Alessandra Clará, SIS/MA ’16, graduated and founded Strategic Good along with classmates Nick Boedicker, SIS/MA ’14; Andreas Vailakis, SIS/MA ’15; and Michael Cobb, SIS/MA ’15.

“I knew I wanted to work on helping people design business models that focus on the triple bottom line: people, profit, and plan,” she said. “I wanted to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship to as many people as possible.”

The goal of social entrepreneurship is to solve a cultural, social, or environmental challenge through business and entrepreneurship. The impact of the business is an equal priority to financial stability.

Strategic Good consults with organizations on developing business models to combine social impact and financial stability. The organization also teaches social entrepreneurship, innovation, and human-centered design (or design thinking) through workshops, classes, and curricula design.

“We've facilitated classes and workshops at Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, and Dartmouth Universities and have worked with organizations like Hanes, Kate Spade & Co., LearnServe International, and United Way,” Clará said. When desgining these classes and curricula, Clará and the team work out of the Impact Hub DC, a community-driven co-working space in the nation’s capital.

Clará’s career in social enterprise also offers exciting travel opportunities: “This summer, I taught a three-week social entrepreneurship program at Stanford University, led a workshop on design thinking for innovation in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica in collaboration with INCAE Business School, and held another workshop for the incoming MBA class at Dartmouth's Tuck Business School,” Clará explained.

Professor Robert Tomasko, director of the MA in Social Enterprise program, explained the value of social enterprise today: “Social enterprise is demonstrating itself as an alternative to traditional capitalism, which breeds inequality. Social entrepreneurship is thriving, as made evident by the increase in funds made available to social enterprises via the growth of impact investing, venture philanthropy, and social impact bonds.”

Clará credits being born and raised in El Salvador as igniting her personal passion to make the world a better place through social change. Growing up, she witnessed social inequities. She believes when people are given the opportunity to complete an education and experience financial stability, social inequities will ultimately decrease.

Looking back, Clará is grateful for the community that she found as a student and that she continues to engage with as an alumna: “The most valuable part of my SIS experience was the unique opportunity to be part of a network of people who truly care about creating an impact in the world. The Social Enterprise program allowed me to meet individuals who aligned their work with their passion to make a difference.”

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Title: Five takeaways from Sen. Whitehouse’s environmental policy discussion
Author: Sarah Quain
Subtitle:
Abstract: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said a US “failure to lead on climate change” would reverse its power of example and standing as an exceptional nation during the annual Ignatius Lecture on the Environment on November 2.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/06/2017
Content:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivered the third annual Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lecture on the Environment on November 2. As a member of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Whitehouse plays a key role in crafting policies addressing climate change and environmental protection.

Whitehouse spoke about the need for the United States to lead the world in addressing climate change, not only because of humanitarian concerns, but also because of major national security risks. He identified three major security risks created or intensified by climate change: the economic toll on the poor who rely on farms and fisheries, the radicalization of populations dislocated from their homes, and global challenges to market capitalism and democratic government.

We've compiled the top five takeaways from Whitehouse's talk and audience Q&A session that followed:

America's influence in the world is at risk if it fails to act on climate change.

"The world's grudging acknowledgement of our exceptional nature confers on America a soft power that allows us influence without gunpoint and a power of example that draws people to our country, our ideals, and our mode of government. These are tidal forces that have flooded in our favor for generations and helped make America the essential nation. Climate change-or more exactly, an American failure to lead on climate change-could well reverse that tide."

The time for debating the basic science of climate change is past.

"The atmosphere is warming, carbon dioxide concentrations within the atmosphere are at their highest point in human history, ice is melting, droughts are worsening, and seas are warming, rising, and acidifying. We are past theory and well into measurement on those changes."

The security risks caused by climate change will disproportionately impact the world's poorest and most vulnerable.

"This security risk will first hurt farming communities, coastal communities, fishing communities, and those most vulnerable to wildfires and extreme weather. Of course, the poorer you are, the more at hazard you are."

"The poorest, those who live closest to the land and lead subsistence lives, will suffer most the brunt of the coming change. We will be better insulated at the top of the economic pile. Upper income societies will pay a greater share of their wealth for food; marginal societies will go without. Their struggles for water, farmland, and fisheries will be desperate."

"Scarcity of resources leads to conflicts and confrontations. Storms, fires, and floods can make the suffering acute. People who are hungry or dislocated or torn from their roots can become desperate and can become radicalized and violent. That is why the Department of Defense has for many years called climate change a 'catalyst of conflict.'"

Failure to act on climate change will endanger the very underpinnings of American society by projecting to the world that capitalism and democracy have no value when it comes to saving the planet.

"[A third order of security risk] is damage to the keystone institutions of our present world order: market capitalism and democratic government."

"If you believe that the world needs America, if you believe that America is to be the essential and exceptional nation, then getting climate right matters. Failure will make a powerful argument against our democratic experiment. A world forever changed by carbon pollution in ways America foresaw but denied may not believe it has much need for what else America has to offer."

"America has generated the most wealth in the carbon economy. America has been the most profligate emitter of carbon. And America is the most essential nation upon which the world counts for leadership. America will not be able to avoid ownership of this mess."

The fossil fuel industry is fighting against solutions, and Congress has so far been unable or unwilling to fight back.

"The failure to act is bad enough. Worse is the reason why. Fossil fuel producers who are knowingly causing this harm are also aggressively fighting political solutions to the problem. They are fighting with professionally administered misinformation: a massive propaganda effort churning at full steam to deny the carbon emissions problem."

"In Congress, we have shown ourselves unable to resist [the fossil fuel] industry, despite knowing it to be deeply burdened with obvious and enormous conflicts of interest. And despite clear and repeated warnings from our own national security experts."

"When you talk to [Republicans in the Senate] about climate change, it's like talking to prisoners about escape. They'd like to go there, but they look around first to see who's listening; they look up at the guard towers that Citizens United and the fossil fuel industry have been able to build to create a political kill zone. And on the other side of the kill zone, they look at the getaway car, and we all agree on the getaway car."

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Title: SIS welcomes Professor Anthony Fontes
Author: Sarah Quain
Subtitle:
Abstract: Professor Anthony Fontes, a human geographer and ethnographer focusing on Central American gangs and migration to the US, joined SIS this fall.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/06/2017
Content:

Professor Anthony Fontes, a human geographer, ethnographer, and human security expert, joined the School of International Service (SIS) this fall. Fontes comes to SIS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was an A.W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography and the Center for Humanities.

Fontes’ work focuses on the circulation of people, including gang members and migrants, back and forth between Central America and the US. Currently, he is working on a book, Mortal Doubt, which examines the rise of extreme peacetime violence in Central America through the evolution of transnational gangs produced through ongoing cycles of migration and violence linking the region to the United States.

Mortal Doubt is an ethnographic examination of the “institutional, ethical, and existential dilemmas of living with extreme peacetime violence” in the Northern Triangle of Central America since the end of the region’s Cold War conflicts. Though the countries are not technically experiencing war, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have some of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Fontes’ book “pivots on the idea of existential uncertainty and extreme doubt” that are inescapable elements of daily life. “In these spaces where extreme violence has risen up so powerfully, doubt isn’t merely a cognitive thing; it’s a visceral, psychological, and emotional experience,” he said, “and collective efforts to impose a sense of certainty onto everyday brutality contribute to cycles of violence that refuse to be fixed in time and space.”

Fontes conducted research in several cities across Central America, but the book largely focuses on Guatemala City, Guatemala, where he spent three years talking with people in prisons and gang-dominated neighborhoods as well as law enforcement, human rights activists, and government ministers.

To convey the power of existential doubt over the lives of the book’s subjects, Fontes employs photography and short story narratives: “In writing this book, I didn’t want to just analyze and explain what’s happening in Central America. The use of photography and alternative genres work in counterpoint to the more structured essay genre, which is my way of drawing people in to these spaces of existential doubts.”

Fontes, who previously worked as a photojournalist in Egypt and Guatemala, said the photographs also function to show readers images that go beyond what they may typically see in media about Central American gangs.

“Locally and internationally, the ways we come to understand what is happening in Central America has a lot to do with the kinds of images that get passed along on the Internet. My photos capture what this kind of violence is like, but also capture the other sides of these spaces that don’t circulate as far and wide as the sensationalist images of gangs and everything they’ve come to represent to us outside Central America,” he said.

Fontes is beginning work on a new line of research on criminal networks and the movement of Latin American migrants through Mexico. This research will focus on state criminal networks that “prey on and feed off Central American migrants on their way through Mexico to the US” and examine “the shifting conflicts and cooperation between the Mexican state, drug cartels, and other groups that control territory that Central Americans travel through.”

His interest in this topic is closely linked to his work as an immigration and asylum legal advocate prior to becoming an academic. While a legal advocate in California, Fontes encountered many Central American and Mexican clients who were fleeing violence at home or were attempting to bring their families to the US. Seeing the consequences of violence face-to-face, Fontes grew increasingly interested in the exchange of people between Central America and the US.

As Fontes continues his research at SIS, he seeks to deepen his knowledge of the violence he witnessed as both a legal advocate and academic: “I want to understand the engine that drives this violence, the history of violence in Central America, and the history of US interventions in these areas.”

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Title: 55 years later: Lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Author: Kaitie Catania
Subtitle:
Abstract: Professor Philip Brenner looks back at the Cuban Missile Crisis to share insight on how best to prevent and mitigate international security crises today.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/03/2017
Content:

With the longest war in US history currently underway, risks of terrorism spread worldwide, and North Korean nuclear threats in the headlines, it’s not uncommon to hear warnings of an impending World War III. Now, more than ever, the study of US foreign policy and security is vital.

To that end, we looked back at a specific moment in history—a time when the possibility of World War III seemed imminent—that has become a foundational case study in US foreign policy and security crisis management for the past 55 years: the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“That was the closest we’ve come to World War III—a nuclear World War III—and we wouldn’t be talking about it today if that had happened; there’s no way the world would have been the same. That’s why the Missile Crisis remains significant,” says Professor Philip Brenner, who has taught US foreign policy at the School of International Service (SIS) for 37 years and asserts that the traditional lessons learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis are dangerous and based on misinformation.

A Thirteen-Day Standoff

In 1962, the United States entered a 13-day nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union after Soviet ballistic missiles were discovered in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. At the time, there were similar US ballistic missiles in Turkey and Italy, well within range of the Soviet Union. In response to the discovery, the US raised its defense readiness condition to DEFCON 2, the highest state of alert short of actual war and the most severe security alert level the US has ever reached. Tense negotiations between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev ensued, as well as a blockade to prevent Soviet nuclear warheads from reaching Cuba. Meanwhile, US citizens held their breath in anticipation of a nuclear Cold War.

“I remember how disturbing it was for people who lived in Miami,” said Charlotte Jones-Carroll, SIS/BA ’67, who lived there at the time and later went on to study international development at SIS. “In my case, my father was quite upset. I think parents felt like they had to do something to take care of their families—but what could they do? A lot of people in Miami felt that they would be the ones hit if there was a missile sent from Cuba. It was a tense time.”

The traditional lessons and events of the Cuban Missile Crisis are that President Kennedy stood “eyeball-to-eyeball” with Khrushchev, that Kennedy was steel-willed in making Khrushchev back down, and that he forced the Soviet Union to “blink first” and remove the missiles. Lauded as a crisis management success, nuclear weapons in Cuba were dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union, and the US agreed not to invade Cuba without direct provocation.

Yet Brenner notes that the episode was hardly a model of successful crisis management, because the US’s actions were based on the false assumption that nuclear warheads had not yet arrived on the island. In reality, the Soviets already had brought 168 nuclear bombs to Cuba. “A local Soviet commander could have launched tactical nuclear weapons at an invading US force or Guantánamo Naval Base,” Brenner says.

Lessons Learned

Brenner worries that if the US found itself in a similar situation today, “like the one we’re entering with North Korea,” the outcome would likely be different from that of the Cuban Missile Crisis if US leaders followed the tradtional lessons that Kennedy has been praised for.

“His aim wasn’t winning, as the traditional idea suggests. His aim was avoiding a nuclear war. Contrary to the myths of the Missile Crisis, Kennedy demonstrated an enormous capacity to be flexible and empathetic, to try to put himself in the adversary’s shoes, and to try to understand how he could help the adversary get out of the situation by saving face,” Brenner says.

For example, Kennedy adjusted the naval blockade boundaries to prevent conflict when a Soviet ship came close to the boundary line. He also agreed secretly to remove the US missiles from Turkey to placate the Soviets—a fact kept secret for 25 years.

“The real lesson is that we need to be empathetic,” says Brenner. He adds that other critical lessons learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis about minimizing risk and conflict during a crisis include the ability to be flexible and open in communication, and that the aim should be to prevent crisis, not manage it.

Preparing the Next Generation

Since those 13 days in 1962, the United States has never placed its strategic forces again at DEFCON 2; the Soviet Union has dissolved into what is now Russia; and the Cuban Missile Crisis has found its way into the curriculum of nearly every student who studies international relations at the advanced level.

Brenner is hopeful that what he considers to be the real lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis will become as prevalent in other foreign policy and security studies as they are at the School of International Service, where students are prepared with a set of interdisciplinary skills that can help prevent and mitigate security crises. For example, one of the distinctive aspects of the United States Foreign Policy and National Security (USFP) program is its focuses on diplomatic history as a way to build empathy.

“Part of the goal of empathizing is seeing the ways countries have reacted in the past to the United States and to be more self-reflective to what the United States has done in the past,” says Brenner, who recently co-authored a book that touches on this topic. Cuba Libre: A 500-Year Quest for Independence takes a deep dive into Cuba’s traditions and long history—including the Cuban Missile Crisis—in order to better understand its foreign policies.

“Today, we live in such a globalized world, we have to learn how to live with other people. A flippant remark by a president can set off gyrations in another country,” he warns of the current political and international landscape. “Foreign policy is about the world’s life and death situations…isolation is not an option.”

 

Learn more about the 60th anniversary of the School of International Service.

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Title: Students reflect on AU’s Model G20 Summit
Author: Nuha Hamid, SIS/BA ’18, and Kris Trivedi, SIS/BA ’18
Subtitle:
Abstract: On October 6, the School of International Service hosted the first-ever US-based Model G20 Summit. Student organizers Nuha Hamid and Kris Trivedi share their experiences.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/03/2017
Content:

When we and our fellow students think of simulations, we often think of Model UN, and understandably so. Model UN has been the most prominent international organization simulation since its inception and we, as two students at the School of International Service (SIS), have been fortunate to participate in the AU Model UN team and conferences in the past. But this year, we tried something new and innovative: Model G20 (MG20).

As Summit General Coordinator (Nuha Hamid, SIS/BA ’18) and German Sherpa (Kris Trivedi, SIS/BA ’18), we welcomed 175 students from 15 different domestic and international universities and institutions to campus on October 6–8, 2017, to compete in the first-ever US-based accurate simulation of the annual Group of 20 (G20) Summit. Throughout the weekend, teams of undergraduate and graduate students represented member states of the G20, international organizations, engagement groups, and invited countries in a simulation of the most recent G20 Leader’s Summit, which was held in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2017.

At the Hamburg G20 Summit, world leaders and heads of international organizations from across the globe discussed some of the most pressing issues facing the world community: trade and the global economy, climate change and energy, labor and unemployment, and migration and refugees. A few months later—with the help of MG20 Executive Director Cecilia Nahon and Associate Director Andrew Spath—our MG20 Summit challenged college students and interns from schools and international organizations around the United States to do the same at SIS.

MG20 students in the “Sherpa Track” negotiated on climate change and energy, migration and refugees, and development. Concurrently, students in the “Finance Track” discussed the global economy, trade and investment, and labor and employment. The ultimate goal of the MG20 Summit was to produce a “Communiqué”, a collective statement of G20 Leaders in which they shared their common vision, goals, and agreed commitments regarding the state of the world—in particular, the global economy. MG20 students who represented individual countries also crafted an “Action Plan” that detailed their specific goals and initiatives to meet those challenges. Delegates were also invited to participate in a “Special Session on Terrorism,” in which they produced an addendum to the Summit Communique detailing the body’s plans to combat terrorism. Solutions included information sharing, stopping illegal financing, and promoting refugee integration programs.

Unlike most international organizations, the G20 does not have a bureaucratic structure in place; instead, it operates without a permanent secretariat or staff, and leadership rotates among its member states on a yearly basis. Currently, Germany holds the presidency and has set forth its own agenda priorities. Following this model, SIS MG20 students represented German presidency staff and were the lead moderators and negotiators throughout the weekend. In the months preceding the Summit, we learned about the intricacies of real G20 negotiations from Executive Director Nahon’s first-hand experiences in the G20, in which she served as Argentina’s representative. We also briefed ourselves on the key issues, challenges, and priorities facing Germany and the G20 by reading various G20 documents, writing several policy notes, and meeting with officials from the Embassy of Germany in Washington.

One participant, Diego Soto, who is an intern at the World Bank Group who represented the United Kingdom at MG20, reflected that “this experience has actually helped [him] to understand how negotiation works, how to compromise, and when to push hard on points that you believe are important.” Unlike the United Nations, all G20 statements are adopted by consensus, meaning that all G20 members have to approve them. As MG20 is a fully-accurate simulation of the G20 Summit, students were required to try to “find common ground, find agreement, consolidate their interests and...cooperate instead of antagonize each other,” says Zitian Sun, SIS/BA ’18, who represented the World Bank Group at MG20. Participating students agreed that this experience made them more knowledgeable about the G20 and the role of economics in the sphere of international politics and challenged them to strengthen their skills in research, public speaking, and negotiation.

Now that our first MG20 is behind us, it is hard to believe that just under a year ago, the two of us sat in SIS 333, learning about the intricacies of the G20 for the first time and developing what was then a brand-new initiative. Although we are both Model UN-ers, at the time, neither of us knew very much about the G20 beyond the basics of the twenty member states—well, technically the 19 member states, plus the European Union. But we very quickly began to live and breathe all things Model G20.

While perhaps we didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into last November, we found ourselves becoming more and more involved in MG20 because of our love of and passion for simulations and international organizations. We are happy to share this project with students from all over the country and look forward to staying involved in some capacity—even after we graduate. We’re very grateful to Directors Nahon and Spath for giving us this opportunity to get involved in such a unique program and for the support from SIS over the past year.

 

To learn more about MG20, visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

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Title: SIS professor dishes out food for thought
Author: Kaitie Catania
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Abstract: Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman describes how and why she created one the most popular courses at the School of International Service: Conflict Cuisine.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/03/2017
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Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman created and teaches one of the most popular and sought-after courses offered at the School of International Service (SIS). It focuses on conflict and diplomacy, post-conflict rebuilding, soft power, diaspora, and more, but it has one element that no other course offers: delicious food.

SIS 419: Conflict Cuisine takes SIS students out of the classroom and into Washington, DC, restaurants for an authentic meal from countries such as Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Laos, where conflicts have forced citizens to migrate and rebuild. These ethnic restaurants in DC are indicators of where conflicts have occurred around the world, Mendelson Forman says: “There’s a saying that the history of cuisine is the history of immigration, and it’s really true in the Washington area. I would add to that, though, that the history of cuisine is the history of war.”

Serving up something new

An expert on post-conflict transition and a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan policy research center in DC, Mendelson Forman’s idea for the class was sparked in 2013 when she attended a State Department lecture on culinary diplomacy. She began scribbling notes for the course and envisioned it as a way to demonstrate how food can be used as a survival and security tool in conflict zones and as a post-conflict reconstruction tool. For many migrants and refugees, cuisine becomes a way to earn a livelihood and retain culture as they resettle.

While students in Conflict Cuisine get to enjoy unique foods and traditions offered by diaspora restauranteurs, they also gain new perspectives on international relations, soft power, migration, conflict, and more. “Students who study international relations—especially at the School of International Service—want to know all the tools in their toolkit that they can use to persuade people and countries to build peace, promote sustainable livelihoods, and resolve conflict rather than use force,” asserts Mendelson Forman.

Now, more than ever, Mendelson Forman says that students in Conflict Cuisine are gaining insight into refugee issues as well. One of the projects she assigns her students is to interview restaurant owners and to “hear their stories about their countries, why they thought their food was important to help educate and integrate into a new society.”

In the upcoming Conflict Cuisine course, Mendelson Forman’s class will go to Das, an Ethiopian restaurant in Georgetown; Minh’s, a Vietnamese restaurant in Arlington owned by the caterer to Vietnamese embassy; the Culinary Arts Center at the Carlos Rosario School; and Union Kitchen—which features many diaspora chefs—for a Laotian and Syrian meal.

Since Conflict Cuisine was established four years ago, the culinary diplomacy field has grown rapidly. Mendelson Forman attributes this to the booming number of worldwide refugees, the increased “foodie” culture of millennials, and the growing emphasis on sustainable food and agriculture in public discourse. Currently Mendelson Forman is working on a book that will add to scholarship in the field. Peace, One Plate at a Time looks at amateur chefs in refugee camps and war zones who use food to create normalcy in their environments, and at celebrity chefs, such as Jose Andres and Massimo Bottura, who are using food to help better societies.

Culinary diplomacy in action

With the holiday season fast approaching—a time notorious for feasts and table-gatherings—Mendelson Forman is a proponent of using meals as an opportunity to share ideas and demonstrate diplomacy. “Food is a way to engage on international relations without have to be around politicians. You don’t fight over a meal,” she says.

As her students and the SIS community prepare to dine with friends and family, she offers these two tips for emerging culinary diplomats: “Try to introduce a cuisine of a country that’s in conflict and use it as a way to talk about why we should be thankful for the peace that we have in our own country. New foods open up conversations. The other thing is to be more mindful of the sustainability of the food that we eat—maybe more vegetables, less meat, and use local products—and to be mindful of what is grown in own communities and what is grown locally. Those would be good steps forward.”

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Title: Terrorist leaders in the Philippines are dead – will democracy be restored?
Author: Professor Jessica Trisko Darden
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Abstract: For almost five months, 21 million people in the southern Philippines have been living under martial law. When will full democracy be restored?
Topic: International
Publication Date: 10/23/2017
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For almost five months, 21 million people in the southern Philippines have been living under martial law.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the province of Mindanao in May in response to increasing Islamist militant activity.

Since that time, more than 1,000 people, mostly militants, have died in the army's campaign to clear Marawi city of Islamist insurgents. Though the leaders of two groups were recently killed by the army and Duterte declared Marawi "liberated," sporadic fighting continues. Duterte himself recently stated that martial law will remain "until the last terrorist is taken out."

Such statements have led manyand not just human rights scholars like myselfto wonder, when will full democracy be restored in the Philippines?

Undermining democracy

States of emergency, of which martial law is an extreme form, allow governments facing serious crises to suspend certain laws and enact emergency plans. For example, under martial law the government can impose a curfew or suspend habeas corpus, allowing individuals to be arrested and detained without warrants. Martial law is permitted in the Constitution of the Philippines and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This is also true in the United States. During the American Civil War, Congress authorized the suspension of habeas corpus in 1863 at President Lincoln's request. But, martial law increases risks of human rights abuses.

This is not the Philippines' first experience with martial law. When President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, he emphasized that it did not represent a military takeover but rather a response to a foreign-directed attempt to overthrow the government. But, he ultimately used martial law as a pretext to install a dictatorship that lasted until 1986. Under his regime, 70,000 Filipinos were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured, according to Amnesty International.

Duterte, who is known for his increasingly unpopular "war on drugs" and links to death squads responsible for extrajudicial killings while he was mayor of Davao City, hinted as early as August 2016 that he might use martial law to circumvent constitutional limits on his power.

And once Duterte eventually declared martial law, the military immediately announced that it would censor the press and social media so that military operations would not be compromised.

The president himself has repeatedly said that he will consider expanding martial law to cover the entire country and praised Marcos's use of martial law. More recently, Duterte said that he will use force in response to anti-government protests that threaten public order.

Political rights, like the freedom to peacefully assemble, are essential to the public's ability to check executive power. When political rights are compromised, as with the censorship of the press and social media or the suppression of protests, the foundation of democracy can rapidly erodeas citizens of Venezuela and Turkey have recently experienced.

Will martial law continue?

Martial law continues even as civilians are being urged to return to their homes.

When martial law will be lifted remains uncertain. On July 22, 2017, the Philippine Congress voted to extend martial law until December 2017. Any decision to lift it early will have to come from the president. This opens the door for Duterte to find justifications for continuing and possibly extending martial law beyond December.

Prominent opposition leaders like Sen. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel have referred to Duterte's rule as a "Dutertatorship," and accused his regime of showing a blatant disregard for democracy. But the Senate has so far given a stamp of approval for Duterte's plans. This political support would give him even greater power if he attempts to extend or expand martial law. However, that's not a foregone conclusion.

Duterte did little to oppose legal objections to martial law, which made their way to the Supreme Court. Although he has targeted individual opponents, like Senator Leila De Lima, Duterte is not simply shutting down his opposition. For example, he spoke to thousands of protesters outside of his July 2017 State of the Nation address and allowed protests on the 45th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by Marcos. These are promising signs.

The ConversationFilipinos have been reenergized, staging protests against a range of issues including police brutality and large-scale mining. Critics have challenged Duterte's 2016 burial of Marcos in the country's cemetery for national heroes and raised alarms about his coziness with the Marcos clan. If martial law is lifted early or allowed to expire in December, then Duterte's experiment with martial law may have in fact been good for democracy in the Philippines. Only time will tell.

This article was originally published by Professor Jessica Trisko Darden on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: Why the European Union’s hands are tied over Catalonia
Author: Professor Garret Martin
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Abstract: Professor Garret Martin explains why it will be difficult for the European Union to intervene in Spain and Catalonia's independence movement.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 10/19/2017
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In recent weeks, the dispute over Catalonia’s quest for independence from Spain has captivated the attention of many parts of the world.

There is concern about further outbreaks of violence if the government in Madrid and the Catalonian independence movement cannot resolve their differences. This has led commentators to call for the European Union to step in and mediate. But such hopes are not well founded.

The EU has neither the tools nor the will to tackle the separatist crisis in Spain.

Here’s why.

Bad timing

First, the conflict over Catalonia’s status comes at a less than ideal time for the EU. Officials in Brussels are consumed with thorny negotiations over the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the continuing flow of migrants to Europe, and challenges to the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, to name just a few issues. There is crisis fatigue in the EU and limited enthusiasm for trying to put out another fire.

A member state club

Second, the EU is not equipped, for legal and political reasons, to tackle separatist disputes like the one in Catalonia. As journalist Natalie Nougayrède points out, the EU cannot dictate how member states organize themselves or interact with their regions. Article 4.2 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which revised the key constitutional treaties of the EU, states that the EU will not interfere with key state functions such as “territorial integrity” or “maintaining law and order.”

This means member states still largely dictate the policies of the EU and the member states have shown no willingness to back the Catalan separatists. This stems, in part, from a feeling of solidarity with the state of Spain. Some of the major powers in Europe are also distracted by major domestic challenges, be it Brexit for the United Kingdom, reforming the labor market in France or negotiating a new coalition government in Germany.

But ultimately, member states are worried about creating a precedent. Providing support for the independence movement in Catalonia, which is in open conflict with the Spanish government, could embolden other separatist forces across the continent, such as the Flemish in Belgium, the Corsicans in France or the Lombards in Italy.

In that sense, Kosovo provides a telling reminder of the general reticence toward secession movements among EU member states. Although it unilaterally declared independence nine years ago, five members of the EU – Spain, Slovakia, Greece, Romania and Cyprus – still refuse to this day to formally recognize the sovereignty of the Balkan country.

Limited mediation prospects

Third, even acting as a mediator in Catalonia’s dispute would be a stretch for the EU. This is not for a lack of experience or success. For example, in the Balkans, the EU managed to broker a major agreement in 2013, which allowed Serbia and Kosovo to normalize relations. It also intervened in the midst of a 2015 political crisis in Macedonia, following revelations that the government had illegally wiretapped many opposition figures. The 2015 Prižno agreement, mediated by the EU, proposed a roadmap to de-escalate the situation.

But, what worked in that one region cannot be easily applied to the Catalan case. While the major protagonists in the Balkans welcomed EU assistance, Spain regards the current dispute as a purely domestic matter. Whereas the EU had some leverage in the Balkans, either through its financial aid or the promise of potential membership, it lacks similar clout regarding Spain and Catalonia.

The EU would have little to offer the Catalan separatists to encourage them to compromise. The EU’s so-called “Prodi doctrine,” named after the former President of the European Commission, clarifies that any region breaking away from an EU member state would be automatically kicked out, and would then have to go through the lengthy application process to have a chance to rejoin.

Toothless on the rule of law

Fourth, focusing on the rule of law and upholding democratic norms could also prove challenging for the EU in this case. Certainly, some European leaders condemned the heavy-handed response of the Spanish police during the Oct. 1 vote in Catalonia, which left hundreds injured. But EU officials equally highlighted that the referendum was clearly illegal, not in line with good referendum practices and in violation of the Spanish constitution.

Moreover, there is no sign currently that the EU is considering punishing the Spanish government for its use of force in reaction to the vote. But even if the situation worsened, and Spain once again resorted to excessive force, the EU lacks effective tools to hold member states accountable for not living by fundamental democratic values. As scholars Heather Grabbe and Stefan Lehne explain, member states are reluctant to allow too much oversight from the EU when it comes to monitoring the rule of law.

Article 7 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty lists possible sanctions that the EU could pursue if a member state does not respect key values. These include suspending a country’s voting rights. But Article 7 requires a high threshold of support among member states for its activation and implementation. Indeed, you need the support of at least 80 percent of the member states, as well as the consent of the European Parliament, to even officially determine that a country may be at risk of breaching key EU values. It is no surprise then that Article 7 has not been used to this day.

This is not to say that the EU should stay on the sidelines. Offering informal mediation advice, keeping in close contact with the Spanish government and the Catalan separatists, and constantly calling for a peaceful solution to this dispute, would not hurt. But, the key to a long-term solution, whether amendments to the Spanish constitution that would allow referendums or strengthening Spain’s Senate as a representative of the country’s regions, rests with the Spanish actors. The EU has enough on its plate as it is.


This article was originally published by Professor Garret Martin on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: Unlocking Opportunities: Advice from Alumnus David Teslicko
Author: Gwen Coleman
Subtitle:
Abstract: David Teslicko, SIS/BA ’09, WCL/JD ’12, on how AU influenced his career success.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/11/2017
Content:

When David Teslicko, SIS/BA '09, WCL/JD '12, first visited AU's campus the summer before his senior year in high school, he says the campus was "welcoming" and "warm" and that he was "excited to be at AU." It was this feeling that not only solidified his love for the campus, but also his choice to obtain two degrees here. He wanted to study at a place that "had both that sense of community, of public purpose, and a general approach to ensuring that everyone succeeded together."

This sense of empowering students to meet their goals has stayed with him since he graduated. He reflected on his experience as a Student Trustee, working with the board on a strategic plan for the university that struck a balance between extracurricular activities and academics. He remembers being moved by the board's mission to "ensure that the university supported students both inside and outside the classroom to create holistically developed young adults to go out into the world."

Following his undergraduate commencement, David stayed involved with his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, as part of their Alumni and Volunteer Corporation. He remained active with them throughout law school and his move to New York. In New York, he also became involved with the Young Alumni Chapter and focused on growing the organization and creating programs to reconnect alumni with AU. This desire to build a sense of community among alumni drove him to further engage with AU as a member of the Alumni Board.

David is now an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. He works on a variety of matters, including antitrust clearances for proposed mergers, investigations of alleged cartels, and white-collar fraud. Work allows him to travel around the world, but David says his favorite part of the job is the people with whom he works. "It's a group of highly motivated, really intelligent individuals, who at the same time are very welcoming, open, and supportive. [They are] really focused on creating teams that work well together and can help each other succeed in the firm."

David got a start on his career during law school. He worked as a summer associate at a law firm that hired him through the on-campus recruitment program at the Washington College of Law. Directly following his graduation, he worked and traveled with a federal judge on the U.S. Court of International trade who had also hired several other AU students in the past. He assisted her on several cases on the Court of Appeals for two years before returning to his firm.

In giving advice to students who may want to follow in his footsteps, David remarks that it's important "to look for opportunities out there. Even if an opportunity doesn't immediately seem like it's going to contribute to your ultimate career path; be open to those opportunities because you never know what kind of resources, skills, or connections you might make that somewhere way down the road would be super important to you or useful in getting you to the place that you ultimately want to be."

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Title: 2017 Alumni Association Scholarship Essay
Author: Alex Li, SIS/BA '21
Subtitle:
Abstract: My mom is both a caregiver and advisor to me. She was an AU Eagle. I applied to American University because of her.
Topic: Student
Publication Date: 06/28/2017
Content:

My mom is both a caregiver and advisor to me. She was an AU Eagle. I applied to American University because of her. She inspires me because of her passion to learn which was sparked by her years learning and working at AU. She provided inspiration when teaching and caring for each everyone within the family. My outlook in life is mainly shaped under her guidance because she is a very good listener.


My mom is a caregiver in many ways. She provides care for myself, dad, and my sister who has a disability. She carries out special teaching strategies for my sister after school daily. Also, she is quick and decisive with an eagle's eye when a problem arises. She has also taught me thinking strategies for problems which I could use when solving problems. For instance, she has provided me with thinking strategies about how to look from different angles and to open my mind when solving problems. I have taken this strategy to heart and have applied it to important decisions. I have used this strategy by asking my mother where she went to college and AU was no doubt on my list of best choices.


My mom also provides me with advice during my life. She tells me how to do certain tasks and chores at home and when shopping. She even evaluates and guides me when I make mistakes or gives me improvement advice when I succeed. She tries to incorporate her own teachings from what she learned in anthropology from AU when we travel or talk. For instance, she uses her skills she learned at AU to explain to me new concepts for social interactions and cultural groups. Furthermore, my mother keeps reminding me to "look at the bigger frame of things." This made me consider what I wanted to do after college. I then considered how my mom graduated from AU and how I could follow her in her footsteps.


My mother graduated with degrees in Anthropology and Business. The journey at AU has ignited her passion to learn. Her degrees have given her credibility and expertise which she uses to teach me and my sister when we are at home. I have taken to model her passion for learning and excelled to learn as hard as her in school. Also, my mom worked hard during AU as an assistant to academic counselors. Her job placement has allowed me to consider AU as a promising place to work and study at the same time.


Overall, my mom provides advice and cares for our family and is a fantastic person. She has also showed me that working toward my dreams is an ongoing process and not just a goal. Also, her accomplishments and teachings can mainly be attributed to her study and work at AU. Her passion to learn has given me incentive to discover and consider AU as a main choice for college. Therefore, mom's commitment has given me insight that AU can provide an excellent and worthwhile education to any student.


This scholarship will impact me in a number of ways. For instance, I will be able to use this money to pay off any loans and focus more on my education. I will also be able to uses this scholarship to help me fund trips overseas like the study abroad program. Furthermore, I would be able to use this money for research-based projects or altruistic purposes. That is how this scholarship will impact my life in collage.


I plan to impact the AU community by planning to incorporate technology for humanitarian purposes or research. I will spend my time at AU doing community service and possibly helping students with disabilities. Furthermore, I would like to improve and increase the knowledge of incorporating technology like flying rescue devices or health monitor machines during my stay at AU. For example, if I introduce a faster method or device which is cheap and automated to send supplies or medical equipment to a remote location, I could save and sustain lives while acquiring funding from the government or another institution easily. This will create an impact on the AU community by allowing technology to be another avenue for helping and assisting people. Therefore, that is how I will impact the AU community.

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Title: SIS Alumna Spends Free Time Advocating for Women
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle: Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14 shares with the Alumni Association her experiences as an ambassador and founding member of the DC committee for Ladies Get Paid
Abstract: Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14 shares with the Alumni Association her experiences as an ambassador and founding member of the DC committee for Ladies Get Paid.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/08/2017
Content:

While her day job is spent as a federal contractor for the US Department of State, Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14, stays plenty busy and passionate outside of work as an Ambassador and founding member of the Washington, D.C., committee for Ladies Get Paid (LGP).

The educational and community-based organization provides tools and resources to help women advocate for their value in the workplace, which hopefully leads to increased recognition and rewards.

"When I am not managing U.S. funding for diplomacy and development, training for a race, or volunteering at my local Yoga studio and the Washington English Center as an ESL tutor, I am organizing and bringing women together across the DMV," Shayna says. "Since launching LGP in New York in 2016, we've hosted seven town halls with over 700 attendees. Our community is global with over 3,000 members."

Shayna feels the momentum LGP is building will evolve into a global women's movement. She credits her American University School of International Service (SIS) graduate program experience as well as her career in global diplomacy and peacebuilding for her passion in building networks to expand female expectations.

The AU experience provided Shayna with opportunities to engage in various fieldwork experiences. She completed a Graduate Practicum researching factors influencing economic resilience in Rwanda with Global Communities as well as an Alternative Study Abroad (also in Rwanda) and volunteered for needs assessment research in Haiti.

"I wanted to attend SIS to have the opportunities to engage directly with the leadership shaping the world of international diplomacy and development," Shayna expresses. "Washington, D.C. is a unique place to study in that you can read and study a topic in a book and then physically head over to dialogue with individuals working in the US federal agencies, working groups, and forums where the topics you read about are being discussed in real-time."

During her studies, she recalls working under Professor Loubna Skalli Hanna, which provided her the unique chance to explore research on the intersection of development, politics, gender, youth, culture and communication.

"In many places around the world including the US, when women's rights are threatened and systems of equality are undermined, everyone suffers the collateral damage," Shayna says. "No society is immune from backlashes, especially in relation to gender and equality. There is a continuous need for vigilance for women's and girls' full enjoyment of their social, political, and economic rights."

Read more about LGP.

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Title: Making the most of the SIS network
Author: Erin Kelly, SIS/MA & SIS Alumni Relations Program Assistant
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Abstract: SIS graduate student Erin Kelly shares how spending time with alumni at annual SIS events eased her networking nerves.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/06/2017
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Like any graduate student, I was skeptical about the role networking would play in my academic schedule at American University. But, at the student-alumni events I attended my first semester, I learned that true networking is about the personal connections you make. So forget the fancy reception rooms and high-powered lunches, real AU wonks can network anywhere: including next to the giant panda habitat at the National Zoo.

One event I attended to build my networking skills was the annual SIS Deans Reception, which brought 21 graduate students, staff, and faculty together with 19 alumni for a casual evening of cocktails and a tour of ZooLights, the National Zoo’s holiday light display, hosted by Dean James Goldgeier. Between appetizers, ice breakers, and a speech about the new SIS Office of Career Development, students and alumni alike felt the strength of the AU connection—as we all say: "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."

While networking can be tough, I found that the informal setting and lighted pathways of the National Zoo allowed graduate students and alumni to truly come together. At the reception, I saw my fellow students meet alumni who worked throughout DC. Most students are only aware of a handful of career options, and meeting alumni who have paved unique career paths broadens our horizons.

 

Several of the alumni I chatted with began discussing SIS. Between recommendations about classes to take and professors to meet, I learned which skills alumni had learned at AU have served them best in the workplace. Perhaps the most important moment of networking for me was hearing about the job searching process from alumni who had been in the position I am in now. Listening to the tips they had picked up and the careers they have now made me more confident about finding my next step after AU.

 

Events like the Dean's Reception not only expose students to new possibilities, but keep alumni close to the university community as well. AU's office of alumni relations puts on a variety of events that bring students and alumni together. Students who are nervous about learning to network can use the SIS Office of Career Development to broaden their skills. Once you have your business cards, check out which upcoming alumni events are right for you!

 

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Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
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Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

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Title: Jorhena Thomas, SIS/MA ’04: From AU to Homeland Security
Author: Patricia C. Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: Jorhena Thomas is an AU Alumni Board member and homeland security expert.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 09/09/2015
Content:

"With my MA from SIS in hand, I was very competitive in the field I wanted to go into," says Jorhena Thomas, SIS/MA '04, while describing the benefits of receiving a master's degree from the School of International Service. "My coursework at AU forced me to think critically, which has served me well in my career progression," she adds.

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Jorhena describes herself as "a Midwestern girl through and through." She earned a bachelor of arts in international studies from Oakwood College in 1998 and a master of arts in international affairs from AU in 2004. Jorhena formerly worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an intelligence analyst for eight years. During this time, she spent five years focused on international terrorism investigations at the Washington Field Office and three years in the International Operations Division as the intelligence program manager for the FBI's 11 Legal Attaché offices in the Americas region.

Jorhena is now deputy director and operations manager for the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center, which is a division of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. In this role, Jorhena ensures that relevant intelligence information and analysis products get to the right people at the local, state, and federal levels, with a particular emphasis on public safety issues in the District. "I can only do this through a wonderful and dedicated team of analysts, liaisons from partner agencies, and interns," she exclaims. WRTAC focuses on all public safety issues—including terrorism, law enforcement, emergency management, and critical infrastructure protection.

During her time at AU, Jorhena remembers watching the buildup to the Iraq war while taking a class with Dr. Clovis Maksoud. She recalls him providing "incredible insight and perspective" as events developed over the course of several months in that region. Jorhena also joined a "wonderful array of dedicated and passionate fellow students" as a member of the Student Organization for African Studies while on campus. 

As an alumna, Jorhena enjoys giving back as a member of the AU Alumni Board and as a SIS alumni-student mentor. The experience of being a mentor to a current AU student is something she finds extremely rewarding. "I've learned as much from my mentee as she's learned from me," she says.

In her spare time, Jorhena enjoys reading biographies, getting great deals in thrift stores, and traveling to exciting destinations with her two children: an 11-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son. One recent highlight was taking her children on their first international trip. The family traveled to Guatemala where they enjoyed time with a host family, learning how to harvest fruit from trees, wash laundry by hand, and hand-grind coffee. "It was eye opening, humbling, and fun," she says.    

Although she is undoubtedly busy with both work and family, Jorhena is impassioned about volunteering. "I volunteer at AU because I think it is a great institution and I want to continue to be a part of what makes it great," she says.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Board,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,Mentor,School of International Service
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newsId: AB62D6E3-0B19-07D5-6C50ABE95733BD66
Title: Gerardo Talavera, SIS/MIS '15
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Abstract: MIS Graduate uses diplomatic skills in his country’s Foreign Relations Ministry.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/06/2015
Content:

UPDATE January 23, 2017: MIS Graduate selected for UN Post


Why I chose MIS:

I am a Peruvian Diplomat. I hold a Bachelors degree with a major in Economics from the University of Maryland and a Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru. When searching for a masters program, I was looking for a competitive university with international prestige that could add special knowledge and expertise to my profession. The School of International Service, and MIS in specific, was exactly what I was looking for: a great and demanding program that could give me the liberty to explore my intellectual curiosities, improve and reaffirm my professional skills, all in a diverse and enriching atmosphere. I was also enticed by SISs great network of professionals in Washington D.C., which would help my career as a diplomat, no matter where I get posted. 

How MIS has made a difference in my world:

MIS has broadened my knowledge and given me the tools to compete in a very demanding professional market. Although I am a diplomat and will serve my entire professional career in the Peruvian Diplomatic Service, I know that the skills taught in MIS have prepared me to deal with the challenges I might face in the future. The vast range of classes offered has improved my negotiating, investigative and analytical skills. Not only have I been taught by an excellent group of professors, all leaders in their fields, I have also had the chance to learn from fellow students, many of them great professionals who are thriving in their careers. This experience in MIS has helped me grow both professionally and personally.

Field of study:

One of the great things about MIS is that it gives students the liberty to choose from the amazing range of courses that SIS has to offer. Personally, I chose classes that I thought would reinforce my diplomatic skills. I also found very useful the new MIS program requirements. The economics and statistics classes updated what I learned as an economics undergraduate major and strengthened my investigative skills.

SIS activities:

I joined the intramural soccer league both fall and spring semesters of my year in MIS. This was a great experience for me; it is where I met most of my great friends at SIS and it broadened my network for future endeavors. I also attended many of the alumni networking events organized by MIS and other programs at SIS. These were a great way of meeting people and learning more about the programs reach and all the professional possibilities Washington D.C. has to offer.

Languages:

Spanish (Native)

English (Advanced)

Portuguese (Beginner)

World issue of interest:

Multilateral diplomacy.

Foreign Economic Policy, specifically Free Trade Agreements as a way of integration and economic development.

New type of open integration processes like the Pacific Alliance.

Professional role model:

My professional role model is Peruvian career diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1982 to 1991, Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. He was also Ambassador of Peru to Switzerland, Venezuela and the Soviet Union.

Favorite book:

A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique

Favorite movie:

The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson

Current residence:

Lima, Peru

Tags: School of International Service
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newsId: FF2D5940-5056-AF26-BE8EE5F8D7B03808
Title: Larissa Kougblenou-Siebens, SIS/MIS '15
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Abstract: SIS Graduate has the opportunity to implement a pilot World Bank Project to increase awareness and use of eLearning (MOOCs) in Benin.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/30/2015
Content:

Why I chose MIS: 

I completed my undergraduate studies in Management Information Systems and International Business, but I have always had a calling for being of service to disenfranchised and marginalized people. The MIS program provided me the flexibility to further my knowledge in International Relations, especially International Development and Peacebuilding. My ultimate goal is to leverage my knowledge and expertise in International Business, Information Technology (IT), organizational development and enterprise architecture to impact the lives of marginalized populations at a policy level.

How I make a difference in the world: 

Well… I am still working on that. In 2011, co-founded an informal nonprofit organization called "THINK International and Human Security," to analyze global issues in international politics, development, security and human rights.

Furthermore, I have been working for the World Bank Group for about 3 years now, and through this work, I was fortunate to win the Youth Innovation Fund Competition with some good friends/ colleagues. The YIF is an initiative which aims to facilitate cooperation within the World Bank Group, while simultaneously investing in young staff to acquire operations experience, increasing their capacity and potential. It offers young staff the opportunity to design and implement innovative small scale projects in client countries, with the possibility to be scaled up into formalized projects.

Our team won funding to implement the Benin e-Learning Project (or Bridging the Youth Opportunity Gap in Benin through e-Learning) aims to create a sustainable knowledge-sharing platform between instructors and students by increasing the awareness and use of e-learning, and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Benin.

I consider these two efforts very small steps towards a future through which I can help improve Human security (freedom from fear, wand and indignity) not only in my country, but also in other areas of the world.

How MIS has made a difference in my world: 

MIS has given me the flexibility that I needed to customize a concentration that allowed me to hone my theoretical and technical knowledge in development, Mediation, policy and governance, by allowing me to benefit from the renowned curriculum of the International Development and International Peace and Conflict Resolution Masters Programs at SIS. Furthermore, throughout my experience as a MIS student, I have appreciated that each course offered allowed for independent research. I have expanded my social network with mentors, professors and intelligent friends from diverse origins who have inspired me to strive for better, and broadened my understanding of different cultures.

Field of study: 

International Development and Peacebuilding

SIS activities: 

I participated in an Intergroup Dialog on Race and Ethnicity.

Languages: 

French (Native), English (Advanced), German (Intermediate)

World issues of interest: 

Human Security, Education, Poverty, Immigration, Terrorism

Professional role model: 

Dag Hammarskjöld, Second Secretary-General of the United Nations

Favorite book: 

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul Farmer

Favorite movie:  

En Route to Baghdad.  It is a movie about Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and Kofi Annan's special envoy to Iraq. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/enroutetobaghdad/film.html

Current residence: 

I currently live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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newsId: 22B8CBD7-5056-AF26-BE9EFE93250C0823
Title: SIS Alumna Helps to Raise Funds for Small Nonprofits in NYC
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Dana Williams, SIS/MA '86 wears two hats as a real estate professional and nonprofit fundraiser.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/14/2015
Content:

Having the unique privilege to meet and work with people from around the world with fascinating lives is the best aspect of her work, says Dana Williams, SIS/BA '86.

When the economy declined a few years ago, the real estate professional sought other sources of income and experience. Through her search, Dana discovered The Funding Network USA (TFN) New York and enthusiastically approached the organization on various occasions to serve on their team.

Beyond the hardships that came as a result of the economic downturn were glimmers of sunshine, Dana says. "I realized how drawn I am to supporting grassroots projects with positive, sustainable solutions to complex problems," she adds. She serves as project director for TFN NY in addition to maintaining a successful real estate career with Sotheby's International Reality and acting as vice chair of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation's Brokers Partnership.

TFN is a global organization that hosts live crowdfunding events on behalf of grassroots, social impact non-profit organizations. The first organization to benefit from TFN's fundraising work is Harlem Grown, a small non-profit with a mission to inspire youth in Harlem, N.Y. to live healthier and more ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition.

Dana has also served as a board member for Habitat for Humanity NYC, as gala co-chair and mentor for Children's Aid Society and volunteered at the 1st Tribeca Film Festival.

Dana was attracted to AU's School of International Service mostly because of her lifelong intrigue with Keyna. "SIS encouraged a study experience abroad, so I chose to study in Kenya for a semester," she explains. "Going to school in Washington, DC was an exceptional opportunity that I never took for granted."

Dana's memories of her undergraduate experience are certainly fond. "I remember a small group of us meeting at the Tavern after Professor Duncan Clarke's energetic and inspiring lectures to simply talk about the world," she shares. "Some of my activities included mentoring and interning on Capitol Hill with an organization that lobbied for U.S. sanctions against the South African government."

From showcasing an apartment with a balcony overlooking Central Park to traveling to Harlem Grown to coordinate TFN's summer event which they will host in its garden, no two days are ever the same for Dana.

Regardless of how busy her days get, Dana says always has time to stay connected with friends from AU. "I made the most valuable and lifelong friendships at AU," she says. "I have a core group of close friends from AU that live in Australia, California and nearby."

Tags: Alumni,School of International Service
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Title: Be Curious and Stay Connected: Lessons from Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA '11
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tony Silva, SIS/MA ’94, looks back on his AU experience and his international communication master’s program.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 02/09/2015
Content: "Be curious and remain curious."

Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94, values this philosophy as one of the most important things that he learned from his master's degree in international communication at American University's School of International Service. Having graduated with a degree in journalism from New Mexico State University, Tony came to AU, and SIS specifically, with a passion to do good in the world. Throughout his career, and now as executive vice president of Social Change at Ogilvy Public Relations, he is doing just that.

Looking back on his career, Tony knows that he has always been striving to make the world better. He describes the work that he and his colleagues at Ogilvy do, saying simply, "Social change is ultimately to improve the human condition." He credits the diversity at AU for helping him realize his "interest in travel, interest in issues, and how these issues effect a global population." 

While Tony went straight to the SIS master's program after graduating from college in New Mexico, not everyone else did. He valued the diversity of his peers, both globally – "Many of my classmates were from other countries or had spent a significant amount of time abroad" – and professionally – "I got to just learn not only from the professors, but from everyone around me." 

Tony knows the value of his degree, and he says that in his experience, the Washington, D.C. community values it as well. "Many AU alumni stayed in Washington for 25 years," he says, "so AU is well respected." Tony also is a big proponent of continuing to engage with the university. What's one reason why he encourages others to be engaged with their alma mater? "I got a private tour of the new SIS building before it was opened! That's one of the nice perks of staying connected with the university." 

5 things Tony Silva says his AU experience taught him: 

  1. Be curious and remain curious.
  2. Stay engaged and interested in many things.
  3. Bring new thinking into the workforce.
  4. Allow and accept the evolution of communication.
  5. Stay connected with people. Staying connected helps operating in this world a little bit better.
Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,International Communication,School of International Service,SIS Career
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