newsId: C25A54B2-5056-AF26-BE621EAF210019E9
Title: Doomsday Scenarios: SIS Prof Sharon Weiner Talks Nuclear Weapons and Choices
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Abstract: With a prestigious fellowship, Weiner will examine why the US maintains a massive nuclear arsenal.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 05/24/2018

From North Korea to Iran, US efforts to curb nuclear proliferation are constantly making headlines. Yet there’s another story—perhaps an alarming one, depending on your perspective—that’s received far less attention: The United States is poised to spend roughly a trillion dollars modernizing its own nuclear arsenal.

As Sharon Weiner, a professor in American University’s School of International Service, explains, this was not inevitable. US nuclear weapons policy is the result of conscious decision-making. Now, Weiner is embarking on a prestigious two-year fellowship in hopes of understanding how we got here.

Weiner is among 31 recipients of the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, which offers grants of up to $200,000 to support the publication of humanities and social science research. She’ll spend her first sabbatical year as a visiting researcher at the Program on Science at Global Security in Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

“I feel fortunate that I have this time. This is a real luxury, to think about just this and only this,” Weiner says. “The US has made consistent choices, and I’m trying to look at those choices and say, ‘What bureaucratic, societal, and cultural factors influenced us to choose this answer, as opposed to another answer?’”

A World Full of Warheads

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy warned that we could face a world with 15 or 20 nuclear-armed countries by the mid-1970s. Despite the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the great powers came together to sign the landmark Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968. As part of the agreement, the Americans and the Soviets agreed to “pursue negotiations in good faith” toward nuclear disarmament, while nonnuclear states that signed the treaty were prohibited from proliferating.

Yet after numerous arms control agreements, both the United States and now-Russia still possess thousands of nuclear warheads—by far the largest stockpiles in the world. Why?

“The simplest reason is power,” Weiner says. “Nuclear weapons are used as a currency of power, and until something else replaces them, people don’t want to give them up.”

In addition, she says that nuclear weapons, while not cheap, are often viewed as cost-efficient compared to other forms of defense. And the weapons ultimately arm the commander-in-chief with more agency and independence.

“The president of the United States can sit at his desk, and in about 10 minutes, without consulting a single human being, launch a third of our nuclear weapons. So if you’re the president, and you’re responsible for the security of this country, it’s kind of in your best interest to have that capability. You don’t have to negotiate with anyone,” Weiner says.

She notes how economic factors and bureaucratic interests sustain the nuclear status quo. After the Cold War, the United States halted production of most plutonium pits—the fission cores at the center of the weapon. But now the Trump administration plans to ramp up pit production in South Carolina and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

“The South Carolina site is really motivated by domestic politics and jobs. But should we be using jobs as the reason why we maintain a provocative defense relationship with Russia with nuclear weapons?” she asks. “Let’s give those nice people in South Carolina something else to do. How about working on the environmental legacy of past nuclear weapons’ production, which we still haven’t figured out what to do with?”

Strategies of Deterrence

Weiner also plans to use the Carnegie Fellowship to examine different perceptions of deterrence among nuclear-armed states. The United States has translated deterrence into strategies for its nuclear weapons, she says. “That determines choices about what weapons to buy and the force posture for those weapons. In other words: What weapons are on alert? What weapons aren’t on alert? What types do you need?”

Another nuclear power, China, has a policy of finite deterrence. With about 270 warheads, it maintains a much smaller arsenal than the United States and Russia. “They don’t think they need enough nuclear weapons to fight a nuclear war with the US. They think they just need enough to cause some pain and suffering,” she explains. “With 200 nuclear weapons, covering many major American cities, that could kill millions of people.”

The doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” is not exactly reassuring to most people. The frosty US-Russia relationship hasn’t resulted in a hot war, but Weiner thinks the argument that “nuclear deterrence prevents nuclear war” is dubious.

“What if it happened accidentally? If you look throughout history, few wars are wars of choice. What is war? It’s me telling you, ‘I want this thing, and you better give it to me. Otherwise, I’m going to hurt you.’ And you can misunderstand, miscalculate, or misperceive my intentions, and we end up fighting,” she says.

The large American nuclear arsenal also complicates diplomacy with smaller, so-called “rogue states.” The Trump administration has projected a blustery, hawkish stance toward Iran—a strategy that Weiner says has its limitations.

“The strong-arming approach is basically, ‘You can’t have the weapons that I have, and I’ve spent my history telling you that the weapons I have are important.’ So why would anybody not want those weapons?” she asks. “And with this new modernization plan, the US is saying to the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are salient for us for the next 100 years.”

Where’s the Groundswell?

The generation that grew up in the 1980s was mesmerized—and horrified—by a pop culture depiction of the nuclear apocalypse. In November 1983, with Cold War tensions escalating, millions of Americans were transfixed by the TV movie, The Day After.

Yet in the decades that followed, fears of nuclear annihilation abated. To be sure, Americans now have plenty of other issues to worry about, including climate change and near-weekly mass shootings. But Weiner thinks that, without public pressure, US nuclear policies will persist under the radar.

“If you ask why we haven’t gotten rid of these weapons, quite frankly, we haven’t really mobilized politically to do much about this,” she says.

A few years ago, Weiner wasn’t trying to spark activism—maybe just raise awareness—when she watched The Day After with her AU students. Though it originally aired long before they were born, it was still timely. The movie traumatized the students, and Weiner discussed it with them until 2:00 a.m.

She now believes that Trump-North Korea-Iran concerns are waking people up to the existential threat of nuclear war. “I think the sheer size of the devastation causes people to put it in a box and say, ‘This is so horrible, I can’t contemplate it—so I’m not going to engage with it.’ But some people think, ‘This is so horrible, I have to do something about it.’”

Either way, after her fellowship, Weiner will return to SIS to reengage with her students. She hopes to share what she’s learned, as her classes grapple with these grave matters.

“AU students are great. They want something from that classroom, and they think you’re going to tell them something to change the world,” she says. “In reality, you don’t know how to change the world. You just start to think about this and have that conversation.”

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Title: US and Europe Face an ‘Increasingly Loveless Marriage’ after Trump’s Iran Deal Withdrawal
Author: Professor Garret Martin
Abstract: After Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Professor Garret Martin explains Europe's response and what comes next.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/16/2018

Beyond its potentially dramatic consequences for Middle East stability, Trump's May 8 decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has also damaged the United States' relations with its European allies.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom worked with the Obama administration to barter the United Nations-approved Iran agreement in 2015. Now, the three European signatories must figure out how to save that deal and continue working with a U.S. president who has mostly shown them contempt.

As a scholar of transatlantic relations who has followed the Iran deal for years, I am frankly skeptical that Europe can manage either.

Last-minute negotiations

The United Kingdom, France and Germany tried desperately to convince the U.S. not to withdraw from the Iran deal, which is a signature achievement of EU foreign policy that took a decade of painful diplomatic efforts to seal.

Starting in January, senior European officials began meeting frequently with their American counterparts to address Trump's objections to the deal, which is designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Since his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has scorned restrictions in the deal that diminished over time, condemned Iran's ballistic missile program and criticized Iran's generally bellicose behavior across the Middle East.

In Europe's view, the nuclear deal is working. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Tehran has complied with the terms of the accord, halting uranium-enrichment activities and submitting to invasive international inspections.

British Prime Minister Theresa May asked Congress to stand by the deal in January. In late April, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel even traveled to Washington to personally urge Trump not to abandon it.

Their efforts came to naught.

How to save the deal

The remaining signatories--Russia, China and the three European nations--are now in flurry of diplomatic activity trying to salvage their agreement.

An American withdrawal endangers its survival because of the country's sheer economic muscle. Trump's threat to impose " the highest level of sanctions" - targeting both Iran and nations that do business there - could easily make the deal unworkable.

The Iran agreement is essentially a quid pro quo. Signatories lifted sanctions, offering Iran the prospect of economic opportunities, in exchange for Tehran agreeing to scale back its nuclear program. If European powers cannot deliver real economic benefits, Iran may declare the deal dead.

If that happened, Iran would most likely resume uranium enrichment. That step, analysts say, could trigger more violence in the already volatile Mideast--a region just a stone's throw from southern Europe.

Defending European business interests

In addition to re-imposing sanctions on Iran, the White House has given foreign firms operating in Iran up to 180 days to wind down business there or else be barred from the U.S. banking and financial system.

These measures could hit several major European firms particularly hard. The French oil company Total and German industrial manufacturer Siemens, to name a few, both recently signed major contracts in Iran. They may be able to appeal to the U.S. government for exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

To protect European businesses from punitive U.S. sanctions, one option would be to revive and amend the EU's 1996 blocking regulation. That rule, passed after the U.S. Congress levied sanctions against Iran and Libya, shielded European firms from U.S. secondary sanctions by declaring them unenforceable within the EU.

The European Investment Bank could also consider providing smaller firms--those without a stake in the U.S. market, say--credit lines and financing to create a safer, more stable environment for doing business with Iran.

The most extreme retaliatory option would be for the EU to levy sanctions on U.S. assets in Europe.

As Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations recently commented in The New York Times, Europe must now decide "not if they stick with the deal but will they stand up to the American effort to unravel it."

What next for transatlantic relations?

Ultimately, I believe that European companies would be wary of risking U.S. sanctions. Trade with Iran has rapidly increased since the deal went into effect in 2016, but it still represents less than 1 percent of the EU's global trade. The U.S. is the EU's largest trading partner, responsible for nearly 17 percent of all trade.

Diplomatic slights aside, in purely business terms, France, Germany and the U.K. know that the U.S. can take away far more than Iran can give.

Macron, Merkel and May thus face a dilemma: how to salvage their relationship with a U.S. president who has just demonstrated exactly how little he thinks of them.

Trump's jettison of the nuclear accord is the latest in a series of rebukes to Europe. Since taking office, Trump has moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem - which the EU opposed - and withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. He also wants to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports.

European leaders could limit discord by appeasing Trump, while waiting out his administration. Europe remains dependent on the U.S. for its security. And, in any case, getting all 28 members of the EU to agree to take any punitive measures against the U.S. would be a tall order.

In the meantime, the president's "America First" foreign policy could significantly damage the multilateral international order to which the Europeans are committed.

My best guess is that the U.S.-Europe relationship will become an increasingly loveless marriage.

These old allies will cooperate on a transactional basis on areas of common interest, such as counterterrorism and trade. But the shared world vision that has defined this partnership since World War II could very well be lost.

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

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Title: SIS’s PhD program: rising in stature and prominence
Author: Sarah Quain
Abstract: As PhD Program Director Sharon Weiner steps down to pursue a 2018 Carnegie Fellowship, we explore how her leadership helped elevate the program to become a top-20 international relations PhD program.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/08/2018

Under the direction of Professor Sharon Weiner, the PhD program at the School of International Service (SIS) has been restructured and grown in external recognition over the past five years. Earlier this year, Foreign Policy magazine ranked it among the top-20 international relations PhD programs in the world, a first for SIS.

During her tenure as PhD program director, Weiner has worked with other faculty to introduce a more rigorous academic grounding in international studies, included additional research methods training in the curriculum, and both international relations and concentration comprehensive exams. "The program now has more structure, more rigor, and higher expectations of students, but also additional resources to help students achieve those expectations," said Weiner.

Recently named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, Weiner will step down from her position as PhD director in June to pursue a year of research focusing on deterrence and the use of nuclear weapons. "When it comes to nuclear weapons, deterrence can lead to multiple answers to the same problems," said Weiner. "I'm researching what choices the US made to answer these problems, what those choices reflect, and why those choices became requirements when there were actually many options." Weiner's research will also involve using virtual reality to better understand how people make choices about whether or not to use nuclear weapons.

"Our PhD program has made impressive advances with Sharon Weiner at the helm," said Interim Dean Christine BN Chin. "Her work with the program and the SIS faculty has helped attract extraordinary PhD students and ensured our students' success after graduation. And I'm so pleased that Sharon has been recognized for her own work by the Carnegie Corporation. It shows our faculty's commitment to continuing to grow their own field's body of knowledge and to remain on the leading edge of scholarship."

Topping a list of the program's strengths is its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature. While some PhD students may want to pursue a more traditional international relations degree, others may want to use research methods from a variety of academic disciplines. SIS offers the coursework and faculty support for both.

"To truly understand international affairs, it's great to pull from different perspectives from multiple disciplines," said Weiner. "When a PhD student comes to SIS, their dissertation committee could include an anthropologist, a sociologist, and a political scientist. We have faculty from various disciplines who can all help PhD students. That's something unique to SIS."

Professor Carl LeVan, the PhD program placement director who helps PhD students find meaningful employment after graduation, echoed the importance of drawing on the expertise found across SIS: "One of Sharon's most enduring contributions will be recognizing the challenges and strengths of SIS's program, coming up with strategies for leveraging that interdisciplinarity, and creating spaces where faculty and students can really talk to each other across our fields."

SIS's interdisciplinarity also provides students with choices in terms of what academic approaches they take, said Professor Boaz Atzili, the incoming PhD program director: "I think that's really exciting in terms of advancing knowledge, which is what we try to do in academia."

The PhD students themselves are vital to the SIS community. SIS admits eight to 10 new PhD students a year and has around 50 PhD students at any time. Those students aren't just receiving an education; they're contributing to the academic and intellectual community at SIS and preparing themselves to make change in the world.

"SIS attracts students who are committed, not just to a life of learning, but to learning with a purpose," said Weiner. "Some go on to work in academia, and others go to work in the policy community, but the thing that unites them is that they all think the world can be different, and they want tools to make that happen."

Anne Kantel, a fifth-year PhD student whose dissertation looks at legitimacy and compliance in natural resource governance in Uganda, said one defining element of all the students in her cohort is their interest in contributing to the wider world: "People come here because they want to achieve something beyond just getting a PhD for themselves. They want to be active members of political society."

Faculty, while perhaps thought of as the imparters of knowledge, also benefit from the strong cohorts of PhD students at SIS. "Beyond being teaching and research assistants, PhD students have intellectual curiosity and capabilities that keep faculty on their toes," said Weiner.

"The PhD program fulfills an important function at SIS," said Atzili. "It is the crux of the connection between teaching and research. Top-level research institutions must have a good PhD program to attract good faculty and produce cutting-edge research."

SIS faculty are involved in the PhD program on various levels, from teaching courses to serving as formal or informal advisors to students completing dissertations.

"Besides the students, a key strength of the PhD program is the faculty," said Weiner. "When you work with a PhD student, you're training them to be your colleague, and you're training them to be smarter and more capable than you are. It's incredibly rewarding, and it's a relationship you have with students, not just while they're at SIS, but for their entire careers."

Atzili, who will become PhD program director in July, noted that this is an exciting time for the program. While the recent Foreign Policy ranking has given SIS's PhD program more attention, Atzili said the school is now poised to achieve even greater exposure for its unique, interdisciplinary, and community-focused PhD program.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of leading the program, Atzili is most excited for working closely with the diverse and hardworking group of students. "All PhD students go through tremendous intellectual growth between their first year and graduation. I'm looking forward to being part of that process."

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Title: AU's Top Leaders
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: AU Student Award Recipients Serve and Lead with Smarts and Heart
Abstract: AU Student Award recipients serve and lead with smarts and heart.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/08/2018

On Friday, May 11, AU will get the Spring commencement celebrations started when it honors its top students for their academic achievements, leadership and service. The University Student Awards are presented to selected graduating students who, in their own way, have made a mark on the AU community.

Academic Leaders

Graduate students Brian Clark, SIS/MA '18, and Erin Matson, SIS/MA '18, are both being recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award.

Clark maintained a 4.0 GPA while serving as the US Naval attaché to the Republic of the Philippines at the US embassy in Manila. Despite being 12-time zones away from campus, Clark attended every weekly live session of the International Relations online program. Clark's recent research centered on international negotiation and conflict resolution, which has been critical in helping the embassy gain a deeper understanding of conflict causes and cultural.

 From left to right, Nathaniel Edenfield and Erin Matson
2018 Outstanding Scholarship Recipients
Nathaniel Edenfield and Erin Matson

"The opportunity to direct my research throughout my IR program to topics germane to what I actually do was invaluable, from gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamics of US/Philippine basing negotiations, to post-conflict transitions in Marawi City," Clark said.

Matson also maintained a 4.0 GPA in SIS's Global Environmental Policy Program. Matson's passion for sustainable farming, food systems, and racial and environmental justice comes back to her experience as founder of an organic urban farming business in Chicago. As a research assistant, Matson gained praise from professors for her creativity, intellectual savvy, and her ability to synthesize even the most obscure resources.

"My own research on Chicago urban farmers' perceptions of and engagement with climate change will, I hope, serve some future utility as policymakers and practitioners seek to translate global discourses on climate change mitigation and adaptation into tangible action at a community-scale," Matson said.

2018 Outstanding Scholarship Recipients Daniel Oshiro and Nathaniel Edenfield
2018 Outstanding Scholarship
recipients Daniel Oshiro
and Nathaniel Edenfield

Seniors Nathaniel Edenfield, CAS/BS '18 and CAS/BA '18, and Daniel Oshiro, CAS/BA '18, are both being recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level Award.

Edenfield's professors have noted that his work is on the level of graduate students and have observed that he is able to hold his own with master's and PhD candidates. Edenfield's commitment to intellectual curiosity and persistence led him to find little-known sources that led to original research. He reviewed previously untapped World War I federal archives that revealed the root of ongoing conflicts about the relationship of primary commodities. His economics capstone was presented and praised at academic conferences and a paper based on his research is currently under review by the journal Issues in Political Economy.

"Whether at the local, national, or international level, my research is important to better understand the challenges and changes society faces that are rooted in our relationship with natural resources," Edenfield said.

Oshiro's kindness and intelligence has been an inspiration to his peers, along with his pioneering work . His independent study combined cultural sociology, the sociology of music, and ethnomusicology to consider the dynamic between racialization and commercialization in Asian American hip-hop artists seeking success in international markets. The depth and originality of Oshiro's research lead to him being invited to present at regional and national gatherings of sociologists and ethnomusicologists.

"My research has also provided me the unprecedented opportunity to combine my two passions, music and sociology, in ways I never thought possible," Oshiro said.

Service Leaders

2018 Outstanding Service
recipients Devontae Torriente,
Belinda Peter, Yamillet Payano

Along with academic honors, AU recognizes students who have made a lasting impact on campus with the Outstanding Service to the University Community Awards. This year three students were worthy of this distinction.

One of the honorees is Devontae Torriente, SPA/BS '18. In his roles with The Blackprint, Student Government (SG) Undergraduate Senate, Black Student Alliance, The Darkening, and as SG president, Torriente used his leadership positions to enact change at AU. Torriente saw the need for inclusion and equity to be part of the university curriculum and was a pivotal voice in the creation of the new AU Experience program (AUx). Torriente went on to teach as an AUx peer leader in the pilot phase of the program.

"AUx is a result of that work and I'm optimistic that years down the line, AU students will be some of the most critical members of society who will use their understanding of their place in the world to change it for the better," Torriente said.

For Belinda Peter, SIS/MA '18, creating a more inclusive campus is a professional and academic passion. Working in Development and Alumni Relations, she has helped connect alumni to students by working with several alumni affinity groups and being a key planner in the Black and Latinx graduation celebrations. As a graduate student in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, her studies made her an ideal candidate to take part in AU Connects, a campus-wide inclusion initiative that provides trained facilitators who can help guide constructive conversations around issues of race and ethnicity.

"Helping facilitate and being part of incredibly honest and crucial conversations on campus has not always been easy, but I have always walked away better for the experience," Peter said. "AU Connects gave me a chance to put into practice what I learned in my classrooms."

For Yamillet Payano, CAS/BS '18, stepping up to serve has been part of her story since she arrived at AU as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Payano brought Caribbean, Latinx, international, immigrant and undocumented student communities together at AU and founded the Cross Campus Organizing Network to connect with students from area universities. She also served on the President's Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and during her final semester, she stepped in to the role of SG president.

Achievement Leaders

2018 Achievement Award Recipients from left to right: Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne, Mary-Margaret Koch, Saagar Gupta, Christine Machovec, Emily DeMarco, Winter Brooks, Olimar Rivera Noa, Sigrid Ulsnes, Isabella Gaitán
2018 Achievement Award Recipients

AU will also honor 11 students who have contributed their talents and time to AU and the greater D.C. community through their leadership, mentorship, service, and community-building.

Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Award recipient Isabella Gaitán, CAS/BA '18, had played an important role in arts scholarship at AU. Her research on Colombian artist Ana Mercedes Hoyos was selected for the 27th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference. Choosing the work of Hoyos as the subject of her paper was a personal matter for Gaitán.

"It was an internal void I felt that really needed further exploring," Gaitán said. "Combining my love for Colombia and art history was ideal for me."

Charles W. Van Way Award recipient Olimar Rivera Noa, SIS/BA '18, built community at AU through her roles with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, as a teaching assistant, and in her creation of the Puerto Rican Student Organization. Rivera Noa mobilized her fellow students in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit her home of Puerto Rico.

"The support and solidarity we received from students, faculty, and staff members kept us hopeful and gave us strength to continue to work and build a cooperative network of Bouricuas," Rivera Noa said.

Catheryn Seckler-Hudson Award recipient Christine Machovec, CAS/BS '18, has been able to balance many roles to have a successful career at AU. As a tutor in the Academic Support and Access Center, Machovec worked many hours to help students who needed assistance in economics and statistics. As comptroller of SG, Machovec helped many student groups have successful events by funding their needs. She also was the principal second violin in the AU Symphony Orchestra.

"Being involved on campus enriched my AU experience beyond academics," Machovec said.

Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne, Mary-Margaret Koch, Christine Machovec, and Saagar Gupta
2018 Achievement Award recipients
Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne,
Mary-Margaret Koch,
Christine Machovec, and Saagar Gupta

Like Machovec, Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar Winter Brooks, Kogod/BA '18, also took on many positions on campus and is recognized with the Charles C. Glover Award. Brooks served as peer consultant for the Kogod Center for Business Communications where she presented effective business communications to up to 15 classes a semester. She served as director for community engagement for the Undergraduate Business Association and president and service chair for the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Brooks also mentored students in D.C. schools and brought 100 first- through seventh-grade students to visit campus.

"I've always been very conscious and have always felt a responsibility to pay it forward in any way I can," Brooks said. Kinsman-Hurst Award recipient Lee Clyne, CAS/BS '18, provided a strong voice in the efforts of sexual assault prevention, LGBTQA+ advocacy, and Title IX awareness. Clyne served as co-executive director of Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV), an executive board member of SG's Women's Initiative, co-president of the Gamma Beta Chapter of Iota Iota Iota Honor Society, and a peer educator through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

"I've found that although it can be draining, social justice work is also fulfilling," Clyne said.

Fletcher Scholar Award recipient Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, CAS/BA '18, was often by Clyne's side. Goldental-Stoecker was co-director of SASV, where she increased student awareness of national and campus policies regarding sexual violence, Title IX, and victim's rights. Goldental-Stoecker was also the health coordinator for Women's Initiative, where she organized a self-care book club and helped bring #MeToo founder Tarana Burke to AU. Goldental-Stoecker was a transfer student to AU, but still made her presence felt on campus.

"AU has embraced me with my ambition and drive, while also challenging me to focus on measured results in a way that I do not think I would have gotten elsewhere," Goldental-Stoecker said.

Carlton Savage Award recipient Sigrid Ulsnes, SIS/BA '18, is possibly the face international students see the most. Ulsnes was vice president of the International Student Association, helped arrange the International Fall Gala and the Spring Cultural Festival, and assisted with the Language Exchange Program. In the role of international student orientation coordinator, Ulsnes helped welcome nearly 600 international students and recruit 50 orientation leaders. And as a student staff member for International Student & Scholar Services, Ulsnes aided many students in handling their immigration documentation.

"It has been important, especially in the last year, to create a space where all students feel welcome and to create such a space and assist international students in navigating AU," Ulsnes said.

Harold Johnson Award recipient Taylor Dumpson, SPA/BS '18, also contributed to promoting cultural and racial inclusion in our community, while doing so with confidence and resilience. She held leadership roles with the Intercultural Greek Collective, Student Advocates for Native Communities, and SG. She also led an Alternative Break and helped launch the newly re-imagined Explore DC program. One of Dumpson's lasting contributions was leading the creation of the Hub for Organizing,Multiculturalism, and Equity, known as HOME.

Stafford H. Cassell Award winner Emily DeMarco, Kogod/BA '18, has shown tremendous commitment to AU despite some setbacks. After no longer being able to play for AU's field hockey team, DeMarco helped the team succeed by volunteering as team manager and videotaping and coding games for scouting. DeMarco even crafted her academic schedule to attend every practice and travel with the team, and did so while still maintaining a high GPA.

"I felt as though I could still bring value, energy, and support to my teammates even though I was not playing," DeMarco said.

Emily DeMarco, Emily DeMarco, Olimar Rivera Noa, Sigrid Ulsnes, Isabella Gaitán
2018 Achievement Award recipients
Emily DeMarco, Winter Brooks,
Olimar Rivera Noa,
Sigrid Ulsnes and Isabella Gaitán

Mary-Margaret Koch and Saagar Gupta were both awarded the Bruce Hughes Award for their maturity in leadership and their service. Koch's deep commitment and understanding of social justice and public service helped her win this award. As executive director of mental health advocacy for SG, she built campus awareness around student mental health and strengthened ties between SG and the AU Counseling Center. And Koch's capstone research on mental health challenges faced by college students afforded her the opportunity to present at the 2017 Depression on College Campuses Conference.

"If my work has in any way helped the Counseling Center be better able to serve its students, then everything I've done on this campus will have been worthwhile," Koch said.

Gupta was recognized for his work as coordinator for the Eagle Endowment Fund, where he led a seven-person advisory council that allocated funds to student service projects. In that position, he helped craft the proposal that won the Eagle Endowment Fund the top prize of $10,000 in the 2017 "Generous U" competition. He was also committed to service as program specialist for the Community-Based Research Scholars and diversity and inclusion chair for Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Shyheim Snead
President's Award
Recipient Shyheim Snead

"Leadership is something that is really important to me, and it was important to be honored and make an impact on the community that will last after I am gone," Gupta said.

In addition to these dynamic leaders, President Burwell has selected Shyheim Snead, SPA/BA '18, as the 2018 President's Award recipient.

Each student recognized with a University Student Award helped change this campus for the better. Thanks to the peers, professors and staff mentors who helped them along the way and nominated them for these awards, we are able to share their stories.

Tags: Achievements,Awards,College of Arts and Sciences,Counseling Center,Kogod School of Business,President's Award,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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Title: SIS Awards 2018
Abstract: Congratulations to our SIS students, faculty, staff, and alumni award winners!
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/04/2018

Congratulations to our SIS faculty, alumni, staff, and student awardees of 2018!

SIS Winners of University Awards

Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community

Professor Shoon Murray

Student Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community

For Belinda Peter, SIS/MA '18, creating a more inclusive campus is a professional and academic passion. Working in Development and Alumni Relations, she has helped connect alumni to students by working with several alumni affinity groups and being a key planner in the Black and Latinx graduation celebrations. As a graduate student in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, her studies made her an ideal candidate to take part in AU Connects, a campus-wide inclusion initiative that provides trained facilitators who can help guide constructive conversations around issues of race and ethnicity.

"Helping facilitate and being part of incredibly honest and crucial conversations on campus has not always been easy, but I have always walked away better for the experience," Peter said. "AU Connects gave me a chance to put into practice what I learned in my classrooms."

Carlton Savage Student Achievement Award

Carlton Savage Award recipient Sigrid Ulsnes, SIS/BA '18, is possibly the face international students see the most. Ulsnes was vice president of the International Student Association, helped arrange the International Fall Gala and the Spring Cultural Festival, and assisted with the Language Exchange Program. In the role of international student orientation coordinator, Ulsnes helped welcome nearly 600 international students and recruit 50 orientation leaders. And as a student staff member for International Student & Scholar Services, Ulsnes aided many students in handling their immigration documentation.

"It has been important, especially in the last year, to create a space where all students feel welcome and to create such a space and assist international students in navigating AU," Ulsnes said.

Charles W. Van Way Student Achievement Award

Charles W. Van Way Award recipient Olimar Rivera Noa, SIS/BA '18, built community at AU through her roles with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, as a teaching assistant, and in her creation of the Puerto Rican Student Organization. Rivera Noa mobilized her fellow students in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit her home of Puerto Rico.

"The support and solidarity we received from students, faculty, and staff members kept us hopeful and gave us strength to continue to work and build a cooperative network of Bouricuas," Rivera Noa said.

Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award

Brian Clark, SIS/MA '18, and Erin Matson, SIS/MA '18, are both being recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award. Clark maintained a 4.0 GPA while serving as the US Naval attaché to the Republic of the Philippines at the US embassy in Manila. Despite being 12-time zones away from campus, Clark attended every weekly live session of the International Relations online program. Clark's recent research centered on international negotiation and conflict resolution, which has been critical in helping the embassy gain a deeper understanding of conflict causes and cultural. "The opportunity to direct my research throughout my IR program to topics germane to what I actually do was invaluable, from gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamics of US/Philippine basing negotiations, to post-conflict transitions in Marawi City," Clark said. Matson also maintained a 4.0 GPA in SIS's Global Environmental Policy Program. Matson's passion for sustainable farming, food systems, and racial and environmental justice comes back to her experience as founder of an organic urban farming business in Chicago. As a research assistant, Matson gained praise from professors for her creativity, intellectual savvy, and her ability to synthesize even the most obscure resources. "My own research on Chicago urban farmers' perceptions of and engagement with climate change will, I hope, serve some future utility as policymakers and practitioners seek to translate global discourses on climate change mitigation and adaptation into tangible action at a community-scale," Matson said.

See a full list of University Student Award winners across all schools.

SIS Alumni Awards

2018 SIS Alumnus/a of the Year Award

Dawn Miller, SIS/BA '93

Dawn Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer of AXA Insurance Company, AXA's US Commercial Insurance business, as well as the global lead for AXA's Women as Entrepreneurs initiative. Prior to joining AXA, Miller worked as the Head of Client Engagement for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at American International Group. She was named a Young Leader of Tomorrow by the International Insurance Society in 2015 Miller was recently included in a list of six SIS women who paved the way for this generation, which highlighted her success as a woman in her field.

"My years at American University's School of International Studies served as a gateway to all the opportunities that Washington has to offer: internships, urban living, and the ability to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives," says Miller. "These experiences gave me the foundation to explore and develop the skill set for a global career, including pushing forward AXA's main goals of building sustainable economies, resilient communities, and healthy populations."

Ettore Leale, SIS/BA '91

Ettore Leale is a business builder, investor, and advisor in the technology industry who has grown companies from inception to global scale. Focused on the internet since 1997, Leale's sector experience includes digital media, digital advertising, software, and online education. Earlier in his career, Leale served for the Red Cross where he structured and implemented mass feeding programs for the besieged and refugee populations of the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. After graduating from SIS in 1991, Leale earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997.

"SIS transformed my understanding of the world. I was lucky to participate in a study abroad program in Berlin in 1990 at the time of the German re-unification, and in Buenos Aires in 1989 at the time of 4,000% hyperinflation," says Leale. "SIS also led to my first job with the Red Cross and the wars in Yugoslavia. As I reflect on the 60th anniversary of the school, I cannot think of a more important time for educating thoughtful leaders who make a positive difference in the world. I am impressed by the growth and the impact of the school, and I am thrilled to reconnect with the SIS community."

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Title: American U. Professor Among Winners of Prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship
Author: Natasha Abel
Abstract: American U. Professor Among Winners of Prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 04/25/2018

Sharon Weiner, associate professor in American University’s School of International Service, was named today one of the winners of the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for her research into the political and social dimensions of American nuclear weapons policy. As a member of the 2018 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows, Weiner and 30 other scholars and writers will each receive up to $200,000, a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

Prof. Weiner’s prize-winning project analyzes the history of U.S. decision-making to understand current policy debates about nuclear weapons and deterrence. Part of her project includes a collaboration with other researchers to develop a virtual reality experience to better understand how leaders are likely to make decisions during a nuclear crisis. 

“At a time of great global uncertainty surrounding nuclear proliferation, the U.S. is undertaking a $1.5 trillion nuclear modernization plan,” said Prof. Weiner. “I will use this generous award from the Carnegie Corporation to focus on U.S nuclear weapons policy choices, the lessons history can teach us, and emerging technology that can help us understand the problem-solving methods used by people who make incredibly consequential decisions in time of stress and uncertainty. I’m grateful for the opportunity this fellowship provides.” 

Each year, the leaders of more than 600 institutions, representing universities, think tanks, publishers, and nonprofit organizations nationwide, are invited to nominate up to two people for a Carnegie fellowships. A selection committee comprised of 17 scholars and intellectual leaders from some of the world’s leading educational institutions, foundations and scholarly societies selects the fellows on the basis of each project’s relevance to current issues, potential for meaningful impact on a field of study, and for dissemination to a broad audience. Topics of the winning proposals focused on a wide variety of complex political, economic, technological, humanistic, and sociological matters. 

“We were reassured by the immense talent and breadth of experience reflected in the proposals from this year’s nominees for the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and president emeritus of Brown University. “Since its founding in 1911, the Corporation has provided strong support to individual scholars, as well as a wide variety of institutions, causes, and organizations. The response to the fellows program gives me great hope for the future of the study of the humanities and the social sciences as a way for this country to learn from the past, understand the present, and devise paths to progress and peace.” 

The Andrew Carnegie Fellows program was established with the inaugural class in 2015. The anticipated result of each fellowship is a book or major academic study. The public is invited to read more about the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program, the class of 2018. Join the conversation online at #CarnegieFellows and via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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Title: Macron-Trump summit has high stakes for France’s embattled leader
Author: Professor Garret Martin
Abstract: Professor Garret Martin outlines the high stakes ahead for French President Emmanuel Macron during his two-day summit with President Trump in Washington, DC.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/23/2018

French President Emmanuel Macron can expect a warm welcome from Donald Trump - and, most likely, some glitz and pomp - when he arrives in Washington on April 23 for a two-day summit. It is the Trump administration's first state visit of a foreign leader.

The two leaders, both political outsiders who achieved surprising electoral victories, have developed a strong working relationship despite their many ideological differences. Macron and Trump speak regularly on the phone, and Trump reportedly greatly appreciated the warm reception he received in France when he visited Macron in July 2017.

As a scholar who studies France, I believe the stakes in the summit are particularly high for Macron. The two presidents will tackle a list of complex international challenges, such as the Syrian civil war, terrorism and relations with Russia and North Korea.

Macron will also have to convince Trump, a conservative with protectionist instincts, not to break with Europe over trade tariffs and the Iran nuclear deal.

A successful return from Washington would give Macron a political boost at home and abroad.

Triumphs, then strikes

Macron's rise to power was remarkable.

In 2014, most French people had no idea who he was. By 2017, he was elected president in his first-ever run for public office. Shortly afterward, the political party he created from scratch, En Marche, captured a large majority in the French Parliament. Macron achieved all this before turning 40.

In office, Macron has tried to deliver on his campaign promises of transforming France by revitalizing its moribund economy and restoring its influence on the world stage.

After years of sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment, he easily passed controversial reforms to France's labor market. Among other changes, the new rules make it easier for companies to hire and fire employees.

But the French president faces stiffer resistance to his latest batch of proposed reforms.

A government plan to prevent new hires at France's state-owned national railway from being awarded the same generous benefits as current workers - such as early retirement, extra vacation time and lifelong employment guarantee - has been met with three months of strikes. Railworkers also oppose Macron's decision to end the railway's monopoly, opening it up to foreign competition by 2020, in line with European Union rules.

At the same time, college students across the country are also protesting a proposal to make university admissions more selective and merit-based. They have staged sit-ins, barricaded campuses and disrupted classes.

French medical workers and Air France pilots have now joined this broader strike movement.

Challenges at home and abroad

Union opposition is a significant first political test for Macron. It comes at a critical time: A year into his presidency, Macron's approval rate is 40 percent. It was 64 percent just after his election.

Macron also faces challenges abroad. He campaigned as a uniter who would deepen European cooperation. He has championed the European Union at a time when rising nationalism threatens to divide its membership.

Macron enjoyed early support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has emerged in recent years as the reluctant leader of Europe. But Germany's new coalition government disagrees with parts of Macron's plans to create a larger - and more flexible - European Monetary Fund that would offer countries bailouts to prevent a repeat of Europe's continuing debt crisis.

France's strikes mark a particularly crucial juncture for Macron. If he faces down France's powerful unions to implement his labor reforms, he will have achieved something none of his predecessors could do. And that, I expect, is something Donald Trump could respect.

Convincing Trump

Trump is rolling out the red carpet for Macron's visit: a private dinner at George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, and a joint address to Congress.

Macron and Trump agree on several important foreign policy issues. France joined recent U.S.-led air strikes against Syria's chemical laboratories and both countries continue to cooperate well on counterterrorism.

But it is less clear that Macron can leverage his good relationship with Trump to prevent a major breakdown over two important areas of discord: trade and Iran.

The U.S. administration temporarily exempted the European Union from its major tariffs on steel and aluminum imports announced last month, but this exemption is set to expire on May 1. Trump has called on the European bloc to rectify what he deems "unfair" trade practices.

Macron is probably hoping to secure a permanent exemption for Europe while in Washington. But European leaders have stated their steadfast refusal to negotiate under what they consider blackmail, so Macron has limited room to maneuver on trade.

Macron will also try to convince Trump to stick with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal President Barack Obama signed along with France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China. Trump has said the agreement has " disastrous flaws" and gave Congress until May 18 to "fix" them. Otherwise, he has said, he will withdraw the U.S. from the deal.

Do no harm

The French president is a skilled diplomat, but still I find the odds of a breakthrough over trade and Iran unpromising. Donald Trump has historically paid little heed to his foreign counterparts' input on global issues like climate change and NATO.

Reports suggest that Macron himself is not very optimistic. He probably hopes simply to avoid further damaging transatlantic relations by entering in a prolonged dispute on either subject - or, worse, on both.

A trade war would be very costly for the U.S. and Europe, which are economically interdependent. And if Trump withdraws from the Iran deal, it would both provoke and humiliate the United States' European partners who spent more than a decade crafting this agreement.

The ConversationThe summit could not have higher stakes for Macron. He must realize that the fate of the more than a half-century-old Western alliance might rest on his ability to sway Donald Trump in Europe's direction - which will be no easy task.


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

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Title: American University Announces 2018 Commencement Speakers
Author: Kelly Alexander
Abstract: American University will hold to tradition and host its 135th commencement ceremonies on Mother’s Day weekend on campus in Bender Arena with an illustrious assembly of commencement speakers.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 04/18/2018

American University will hold to tradition and host its 135th commencement ceremonies on Mother's Day weekend on campus in Bender Arena with an illustrious assembly of commencement speakers to offer congratulations, inspiration and motivation to approximately 3,500 graduates. A seat at an AU commencement ceremony this year will put you in the presence of extraordinary leaders - a Nobel Peace Laureate, a civil rights leader, a medical doctor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, a Washington Post reporter, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or a former National Economic Council director. Individual school ceremonies will be held on May 12 and 13, followed by the law school ceremony on May 20. This will be the first Spring commencement under the leadership of President Sylvia M. Burwell.

Michael Kempner is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MWWPR, one of the nation’s largest independent public relations firms. He started this public relations agency in 1986, six years after he graduated from AU and is a nationally recognized authority on reputation and crisis management, public affairs, business to business, consumer marketing and corporate social responsibility. Kempner has been honored with several of the industry’s highest accolades, including PR Week’s PR Professional of the Year in 2015 and 2010. An active member of his community, Kempner was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In this position, he helps direct all U.S. international media including the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcast Network and Radio Free Asia.

Kempner is also active in progressive politics and issues, having played major roles in the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In January 2018, Kempner was elected the Chairman of the Board of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, is a current member of the Fulbright-Canada Scholarship Board and is a founding Board Member of ConnectOne Bank, one of the nation’s most successful community banks.

Jeffrey Zients, former director, National Economic Council and current Economic Strategy Group member of The Aspen Institute, will address the graduates of the Kogod School of Business at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 12. Prior to his current role, Zients was President Obama's principal economic policy advisor as director of the National Economic Council (2014-2017). He also served in the Obama Administration in the Office of Management and Budget as acting director (2012-2013), and deputy director, Management and Federal Chief Performance Officer (2009-2011). During his time in the Administration, he spearheaded the turnaround of the failed website launch (2013).

Zients founded and managed a private equity firm, Portfolio Logic, LLC (2003-2009) and held several leadership positions with other organizations including the Advisory Board Company and Corporate Executive Board (1992-2003). Zients will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist, social worker, women's rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2011), will address the graduates of the School of International Service at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 12. She is founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, based in Monrovia, Liberia.

Gbowee is best known for leading a nonviolent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia's devastating, fourteen-year civil war in 2003. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa's first female head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It also marked the vanguard of a new wave of women emerging worldwide as essential and uniquely effective participants in brokering lasting peace and security. Her story as told in the 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Hell and her 2011 memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers - as well as her lectures and discussions with groups large and small - have engaged, inspired, and motivated untold numbers of people worldwide. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women's Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. She will receive an honorary Doctor of International Affairs degree.

Robert Costa, moderator for Washington Week, PBS's Peabody Award-winning weekly news analysis series, and national political reporter at The Washington Post, will address the graduates of the School of Public Affairs at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 13. Costa covers Congress and the White House for The Washington Post and regularly travels the country to meet with voters and elected officials. At Washington Week, Costa oversees the weekly roundtable discussion of journalists on the program, which broadcasts live on PBS stations nationwide and on digital content platforms.

Costa joined Washington Week in April 2017 with nearly a decade of reporting experience that began with granular coverage of movement politics and Congress and later the battle over health-care policy and the 2010 mid-term elections. Prior to joining The Washington Post in January 2014, Costa was a reporter and then Washington editor for National Review, directing a team of reporters and where his reporting on the 2013 U.S. federal government shutdown earned acclaim. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health, will address the graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 13. Dr. Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.

Dr. Fauci has advised five Presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. In a 2017 analysis of Google Scholar citations, Dr. Fauci ranked as the 24th most highly cited researcher of all time.

Dr. Fauci has delivered major lectures all over the world and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the United States) and the National Medal of Science. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks. Dr. Fauci will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive officer of The Leadership Conference and former leader of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, will address graduates of the Washington College of Law at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 20. Vanita Gupta is an experienced leader and litigator who has devoted her entire career to civil rights work. She served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division from October 2014 to January 2017. Appointed by President Barack Obama as the chief civil rights prosecutor for the United States, Gupta oversaw a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement efforts to ensure equal justice and protect equal opportunity for all during one of the most consequential periods for the division.

Under Gupta's leadership, the division did critical work in a number of areas, including advancing constitutional policing and criminal justice reform; prosecuting hate crimes and human trafficking; promoting disability rights; protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals; ensuring voting rights for all; and combating discrimination in education, housing, employment, lending, and religious exercise.

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Gupta served as deputy legal director and the director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She began her legal career as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

In addition to conferring honorary degrees, American University President Sylvia M. Burwell will present the President's Award, the highest award for AU undergraduates, to a graduating senior who has displayed a longstanding commitment to building community and promoting AU's ideals of academic achievement, integrity, selflessness, leadership, and service.

More information on the speakers is available on AU's commencement website. Students, alumni friends, and family will be tweeting using the hashtag #2018AUGrad. Those who cannot attend the ceremonies will be able to watch a live stream of each ceremony on AU's commencement website.

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Title: Five food trends that are changing Latin America
Author: Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman
Abstract: Can “social gastronomy” address the high levels of violence and youth unemployment in Latin America? Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman walks through five culinary ventures doing good across the region.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/13/2018

Latin America's economy has grown enormously over the past two decades. However, unemployment in the region still hovers at 8 percent, double that of the United States.

Youth joblessness is even higher-almost 15 percent among Latin Americans under the age of 18. Sixty percent of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 work informally, without a contract, benefits, or social security.

The region also has among the world's highest violence levels, a problem some scholars have connected to high joblessness. In Brazil, for example, studies show that a 1 percent rise in male unemployment leads murders to rise an additional 2.1 percent.

Some Latin American restaurateurs think they can help.

These pioneering chefs are stepping out of the kitchen and into public service, going beyond feeding customers to creating jobs, boosting economies, and preventing violence.

This movement-dubbed "social gastronomy" by Brazilian chef David Hertz-is the focus of my academic research on the politics of food.

Here are five Latin American culinary ventures you should know about.

1. Brazil: Cooking to prevent violence

Hertz first realized that food could help alleviate the poverty and violence of São Paulo's poorest neighborhoods over a decade ago.

In 2006 he launched a project called Gastromotiva, urging local gang members to come train with him and start their lives anew as chefs.

"By interacting with other people through cooking, you learn confidence, discipline, collaboration," he told me recently. "So why not use gastronomy to empower people?"

So far, Hertz's social gastronomy program has trained 1,850 young men and women, 80 percent of whom have gone on to get jobs in the restaurant industry.

Working with the World Economic Forum, chef Hertz urges leaders across Latin America to use culinary training as a violence prevention tactic. Gastromotiva has expanded to Rio de Janeiro, Mexico and El Salvador.

During the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Hertz worked with Italian chef Massimo Bottura to launch a Brazilian version of Bottura's pop-up soup kitchen in Milan called Refettorio. The Brazilian venture turned food waste from Olympic Village food stands into hot meals for Rio's poorest residents.

The project continues today, staffed by volunteer chefs and supplied, for free, by Rio food companies.

2. Venezuela: Feeding the hungry

At night, Venezuelan chef Carlos García runs Alto, a swanky restaurant in the capital of Caracas. But by day he directs Barriga Llena, Corazon Contento—"Full Belly, Full Heart"—a foundation that delivers daily meals to schools in Caracas' poorest neighborhood.

Venezuela's three-year-long economic crisis has led to widespread food shortages. Venezuelans lost an average of 20 pounds each in 2017. Childhood malnutrition has spiked.

Against this backdrop, "each day we prepare meals for 260 children and 100 of their grandparents," Chef García told me. The Venezuelan government won't let the group serve inside schools, so kids line up for food in a nearby building.

The foundation also serves 160 people at the J.M. de los Rios Children's Hospital, where parents often cannot afford to feed their children while they receive treatment for cancer. García feeds 30 doctors as well.

More than an act of charity, García says, he sees feeding starving people as the professional obligation of a chef.

García won't disclose how he gets ingredients every day in a country with empty grocery store shelves and an inflation rate of over 450 percent. But his project's crowdfunding campaign, seven co-chefs and a wide circle of allies surely help.

3. The Amazon: Creating a rainforest-to-table movement

Perhaps the most innovative social gastronomy project in Latin America is Cumari, a collaboration of several nonprofit environmental organizations based in the Amazon rainforest of Peru and Brazil.

With 40,000 species of plants, thousands of kinds of fish and 3,000 different fruits, the Amazon is bursting with ingredients. But traditional food production is threatened by development and the rise of industrial agriculture.

Cumari's founders hope that demand for local ingredients will rise as more people get to know Amazonian cuisine. A bigger market for rainforest foods should, in turn, protect this biodiverse environment.

Working together to attract influential Latin American chefs into the jungle, the Cumari collaborative places them in kitchens across the region. There, the chefs prepare meals spotlighting traditional Amazonian flavors-from super healthy fruits like acai berry and sacha inchi to fleshy river fish-in indigenous village lunch spots and big city restaurants.

This is rainforest-to-table dining.

4. Peru: Fighting inequality with gastronomy

Chef Gastón Acurio put Peru on the map as a culinary destination in the early 2000s, opening outposts of his award-winning Lima restaurant Astrid y Gastón in London, Bogota and beyond.

Now, he's using global interest in Peruvian food to help young people back home. Acurio's Fundación Pachacutec Culinary Institute, which opened in Lima in 2007, offers scholarships to budding chefs from marginalized communities in Peru and pays them a living wage while they train.

"Peru is a developing country. Many who dream of being a chef don't have the opportunity," Acurio says.

Though its economy is growing quickly, 9 percent of Peruvians still live on less than US$2.50 a day. Acurio believes that education is Peru's most powerful weapon against inequality, which remains very high.

Today, the institute's more than 300 graduates showcase their Peruvian cooking skills in many of the world's most celebrated restaurants, including El Celler de Can Roca in Spain and Acurio's own Astrid y Gastón.

5. Bolivia: Reclaiming indigenous cuisine

Latin American cooks aren't alone in seeing the social power of the region's food.

In 2013 Claus Meyer, the Danish founder of Copenhagen's award-winning restaurant NOMA, wanted to open a great restaurant abroad that could also make a difference.

Bolivia is the Western Hemisphere's second poorest country, after Haiti. Over half the population lives in poverty.

The Andean country of 11 million also has a large indigenous population. An estimated 40 to 60 percent of people identify as a member Bolivia's 36 recognized indigenous communities.

Meyer launched Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia's capital, in 2013. The restaurant's menu highlights the "unreleased potential" of indigenous Bolivian cuisine.

"Bolivia may have the most interesting and unexplored biodiversity in the world," he told The Guardian newspaper when it opened. All ingredients are locally sourced.

The ConversationGustu also runs a culinary training program that recruits students from La Paz's poorest neighborhoods. Meyer pays them well above the country's $143 a month minimum wage, pulling them out of the informal economy and, hopefully, keeping them there for the long term.

This article was written by Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman and originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: Trump national security staff merry-go-round reflects decades of policy competition and conflict
Author: Professor Emeritus Gordon Adams
Abstract: As President Trump’s third National Security Advisor starts work in the White House, Professor Emeritus Gordon Adams explains why it’s not always clear who runs US national security policy in any administration.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 04/10/2018

Who is in charge of the national security policy of the United States?

That question is reasonable, given the turmoil in the Trump administration's national security team. That core team is made up of the national security adviser, the National Security Council and the secretaries of Defense and State - and many of those team members have been ousted and replaced over the last year.

I am a scholar who has both worked in and studied US national security. And while the Department of Defense is largely in charge of the country's national security policy for now, that could change, as it has many times since the middle of the last century. In fact, ever since the National Security Council and Department of Defense were created in 1947, the question of who runs US national security policy has been contested and marked by conflict.

Simpler times

The current - and fluid - structure of the president's national security team has its roots in challenges that emerged during and after World War II.

Prior to the war, the secretary of state was clearly in charge of US foreign policy. The US had two military departments - War (Army) and Navy (including the Marines). The overseas presence of the US military was minimal. The White House was only intermittently engaged in foreign policy and had little capacity to plan or coordinate these departments.

The war had revealed flaws in military coordination and civilian control. And after the war, new global US responsibilities for recovery and security, particularly the Cold War with the Soviet Union, required continuous presidential and White House engagement and interagency coordination.

The National Security Act of 1947 changed everything. It created the National Security Council, or NSC, which was formed to answer the one problem of White House coordination.

The membership of the NSC was intentionally kept small. Its members were the president, vice president, and the secretaries of State and Defense, assisted by a presidential special assistant and a small staff. To avoid interagency conflict and to keep the NSC flexible, its structure and responsibilities were left up to the president.

President takes charge

Along with the establishment of the NSC as a central player in foreign policy, the post-war period saw the emergence of the president as a world leader and spokesperson, the principal foreign policy decider in virtually all administrations.

Some presidents entered office with significant foreign policy and national security experience - Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, and George H. W. Bush. But a surprisingly large number have had to learn on the job, including the first Cold War president, Harry Truman, who never graduated from college.

Each president, in his unique way, has relied on White House staff and the departments for information, policy views, deliberations and advice. Each president also had a unique view of what he wanted in terms of the NSC's structure and role.

This unpredictability has allowed the NSC and particularly its staff to adapt to changing administrations and priorities. But it also opened the door to uncertainty about its relationship with the departments of Defense and State.

Some presidents wanted organized, systematic NSC planning and coordination. Eisenhower created a formal planning board and an operations coordinating board to develop policy options and oversee policy implementation. Other presidents have preferred to use an informal and changing group of advisers with very little staff structure. Some have had national security advisers that were close partners, while others have been less intimately connected.

The personality of the national security adviser has also mattered greatly. Some have subordinated themselves and their view and interpreted their job as being an honest broker between the departments and the president, gathering views and neutrally setting out options for the president.

The most classic example of that approach is Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser for George Bush, who saw his job as clarifying agency options, but studiously avoided intruding with his own views. Some saw Scowcroft as the exemplary adviser: "Brent's concept of the national security advisor…was to never let us forget that the last name of the NSC is 'staff,'" as one senior Bush official put it. Others, such as Henry Kissinger, who was Nixon's national security adviser, have had dominant personalities and clear policy views, which they discussed directly with the president.

Imbalance in influence

The other principal players in the foreign policy arena are the departments of Defense and State.

As I have documented, the influence of Defense has grown and it has taken on greater and broader responsibility for US global engagement. The agency has the discipline and resources to do continuous contingency planning and policy analysis, which are essential tools for conducting foreign policy.

With its $700 billion annual budget, Defense employs 1.4 million in uniform and nearly 700,000 civil servants. There is a military command for every major geographic region in the world. More than 200,000 military personnel are deployed to more than 700 overseas installations.

By contrast, State's budget is roughly $50 billion. Around 70,000 people work for the State Department, including a mere 13,000 foreign service officers and 11,000 civil servants. Most of this staff works in 250 embassies and consulates overseas, and roughly 65 percent are non-Americans in embassy support positions. There are no diplomatic regional commands and the State Department has few resources for, or tradition of, doing contingency planning or policy analysis.

This "imbalance" in the toolkit of American statecraft may have been inevitable, given the military focus of the Cold War confrontation, Defense's large global presence and regional commanders, and the sustained systematic interaction between the US military and the armed forces of other countries.

Tradition of tension

Since the 1947 Act, the State and Defense departments have had uneasy relationships with the national security adviser and the NSC staff.

Kissinger, for example, generally ignored Secretary of State William Rogers, keeping him in the dark about major policies such as the opening to China.

Cyrus Vance resigned as secretary of state to Jimmy Carter in large part because the national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, shut him out of major decisions.

Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger sought to ease this tension by holding a weekly luncheon with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

From my perch at the time as the national security budget official at the Office of Management and Budget, these "ABC" lunches appeared to "pre-cook" NSC decisions ahead of larger, formal meetings, which seemed pro forma, occasionally frustrating other participants in the process. Under President Obama, the Department of Defense frequently complained that the National Security Council micromanaged Pentagon decisions.

Past is prologue

The relationship between these two departments, Defense and State, also has a complex history. 1947 saw the creation of the new NSC, with an adviser and staff, and a unified Pentagon, both of which diminished the policy supremacy of the secretary of state.

The imbalance was noticeable in the George W. Bush administration, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld systematically sidelined Secretary of State Colin Powell. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to insiders, was so determined to avoid such tensions that she was willing to share State Department authority over State Department programs that foster cooperation with the security forces of other countries ("security assistance and cooperation"). State's weaknesses were a source of concern to then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (Bush 43 and Obama), who voiced his worries publicly.

The imbalance has grown in the past year, due in part to decisions made by Trump's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Tillerson sought to cut State's budget by 30 percent, shrink the Foreign Service by one-third, and delay the appointment of senior policy officials (many of the senior positions remain without appointees well into 2018).

While Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has urged support for State, Defense is clearly the more influential department in setting and implementing national security policy priorities in the Trump administration. As the State Department loses financial and personnel resources, this imbalance is likely to grow.

The ConversationThe interactions among the major national security agencies may now be more explosive and chaotic than in the past, but they mirror trends already underway for some decades in the management of US national security policy.

This article was written by Professor Emeritus Gordon Adams and originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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newsId: 381BAAEF-5056-AF26-BE8C440292602834
Title: Unlocking Opportunities: Advice from Alumnus David Teslicko
Author: Gwen Coleman
Abstract: David Teslicko, SIS/BA ’09, WCL/JD ’12, on how AU influenced his career success.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/11/2017

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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newsId: 60AEB400-5056-AF26-BE02A45F5A89ACC0
Title: 2017 Alumni Association Scholarship Essay
Author: Alex Li, SIS/BA '21
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

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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newsId: D4AFBC67-5056-AF26-BEB05C1EA74843E3
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

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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newsId: 7959DE40-5056-AF26-BE285D2A3358B85E
Title: Making the most of the SIS network
Author: Erin Kelly, SIS/MA & SIS Alumni Relations Program Assistant
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

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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newsId: 20E56AF5-5056-AF26-BEA77647713FF6B3
Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016

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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newsId: FA8F28D0-5056-AF26-BEFF37D1A91E7B48
Title: Jorhena Thomas, SIS/MA ’04: From AU to Homeland Security
Author: Patricia C. Rabb
Abstract: Jorhena Thomas is an AU Alumni Board member and homeland security expert.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 09/09/2015

"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.

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

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."

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newsId: C61CDCBB-5056-AF26-BE51BCB2CC7EF9F5
Title: Be Curious and Stay Connected: Lessons from Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA '11
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.
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newsId: D865A1EC-E4CE-7F77-0DF01C5A5707D0C7
Title: From Undocumented to Unstoppable
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Abstract: Daniel Alejandro Leon Davis achieved his college dreams, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 06/13/2014

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

“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: SIS Alumna Writes to Showcase Modern Challenges in U.S. Identity
Author: Karli Kloss
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

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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