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ENGAGING WORLD LEADERS, GROUNDBREAKING INSIGHTS


The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosts many special events providing students, faculty, alumni, and guests opportunities to hear a wide spectrum of viewpoints on the issues that shape our world. 'The Recap' captures important events across our three campuses.

Please visit regularly for summaries, videos, and photos of our world-class events.

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ENGAGING WORLD LEADERS, GROUNDBREAKING INSIGHTS


The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosts many special events providing students, faculty, alumni, and guests opportunities to hear a wide spectrum of viewpoints on the issues that shape our world. 'The Recap' captures important events across our three campuses.

Please visit regularly for summaries, videos, and photos of our world-class events.

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Celebrating the Class of 2019


Celebrating the Class of 2019


May 22, 2019

The school celebrated its 75th graduating class with family, friends, and supporters at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Dean Vali Nasr congratulated 468 new alumni representing 55 different countries, commending them for their talent, dedication, and scholastic achievement.

Nasr brought attention to the school’s historic role in 1943 as founders and faculty members contributed to the design and implementation of the multilateral institutions that would become the foundation for the post-war international world order. Today that order is being questioned, Nasr said, and the new generation of leaders will be responsible for evolving the global system to improve outcomes for all nations.

Graduates heard a rousing call to action by commencement speaker Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The ambassador, also a Johns Hopkins University alumnus, called on the Class of 2019 to use their mobility to live and work internationally, to boldly defend the rights of all people, to master their discipline and then summon the courage to change and take on new challenges. Declaring the graduates to be among the smartest people on the planet, Hussein told those assembled, “Now go out and smooth the sharp edges of those who mean us ill. Dispense with fear and nurture and cradle this blue earth for us all.”

Student Government Association President Joshua Henderson noted that the Class of 2019 had witnessed major geopolitical events during their studies, including “Brexit” negotiations which predated and outlasted his term as a graduate student. Master of Arts graduate Cecilia Panella gave the student address, remarking on the habits a Johns Hopkins SAIS education had instilled, such as confronting and questioning difficult issues, lifelong intellectual growth, and challenging those around you.

This year’s student award recipients included Soon-Wong Hong and Rebecca Kim for the William C. Foster Award for distinguished service to the school. Maya Gainer, Matthew Giebler, Chau Hoang, Tyler Kellermann, and Megan Seiboldt were presented the Christian A. Herter Award for outstanding academic achievement.  

For their excellence in teaching, the following faculty members were presented awards at the Commencement ceremony for academic year 2018-19:

  • Economics: John Harrington, Senior Lecturer

  • International Development: Daniel Honig, Assistant Professor

  • Regional Studies: Monica de Bolle, Riordan Roett Chair and Director of Latin American Studies

  • Language Studies: Saida Erradi, Senior Lecturer of Arabic

  • Outstanding Adjunct Lecturer: John Banks, Energy, Resources and Environment

The 2019 Dean’s Award for Exemplary Service was presented to Professor Monica de Bolle, Riordan Roett Chair and Director of Latin American Studies and Director of Emerging Markets.

The school will also host graduation ceremonies May 25 at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy, and June 14 at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China.

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SAIS Europe Alumni Weekend


SAIS Europe Alumni Weekend


May 3-5, 2019

SAIS Europe held its annual alumni weekend recently, bringing together former students from across the world to celebrate the time they spent at the Bologna campus. The event welcomed more than 450 guests to reminisce on their SAIS Europe experience, share their professional and personal stories since graduating, and connect with current students as they prepare to become the next generation of alumni.

Alumni generously volunteered to host more than 30 career panels with current students on topics ranging from international development to the foreign service, energy and renewables to conflict management and more. A highlight of the weekend was the “Alumni Meet Future Alumni” event coordinated by the SAIS Europe Student Government Association that aimed to help current students understand how the SAIS Europe experience has shaped the lives of its alumni.

Professor Erik Jones (B’90), now Director of European and Eurasian Studies at SAIS Europe, shared his views on the importance of the event. “It is amazing how much our students can accomplish in so little time; it is also impressive how loyal they are to one-another and to the institution,” said Jones. Jones and his SAIS Europe classmates recently celebrated their 30th reunion, and as professor, Jones has had the opportunity to see three of the classes he taught have major reunions – the fifth, tenth, and fifteenth. “It was a really important opportunity for us to get together as a group, catch up on what people have been doing, remember old times, and plan for the future,” Jones added.

One of those classmates is Celina Realuyo (B'89, '90), Professor of Practice at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University. Realuyo delivered an impressive keynote address on “Following the Money Trail to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption.” She discussed the intersection of international relations, finance, and security issues in the fight against terrorism and organized crime with insights from the esteemed career of public service she has led since graduation.

The weekend included Director Michael Plummer’s State of the School Address and celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Bologna Class of 1969. Current students presented the 2019 SAIS Europe Journal of Global Affairs, titled “Emergence,” with articles exploring emerging actors, threats, means and opportunities across the globe. Another highlight was a special panel memorializing longtime professor Pierre Hassner. David W. Ellwood (B'71), Anna Maria Gentili (B'64, '65), Jacques Rupnik, and Aleksandr Smolar (B'72) contributed to a discussion on “Making Sense of a World of Passions.” Professor John L. Harper (B'76, '77, PhD'81), both a former student and colleague of Hassner moderated the event, which was supported by the Patrick McCarthy Fund.

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Leadership in the Context of National Security


Leadership in the Context of National Security


May 2, 2019

Heather Wilson, Secretary of the US Air Force
Barbara Barrett, former US Ambassador to Finland

As part of the Condoleezza Rice Women Who Inspire Lecture Series, Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson visited campus to discuss her experience serving in a leadership role in a predominantly male field.

Wilson shared an overview of behind-the-scenes structures and processes of the Air Force. At the core, its mission is to sustain air power at the forefront in order to protect the country. Its defense strategy is to deter and defeat adversaries while managing violent extremism, both in air and in space. Wilson stressed that the Air Force is much too small in size for what the nation is asking it to accomplish. She called for new investments in the Air Force to fulfill its national defense objectives.

Wilson explained the secretary’s role in organizing, equipping and training the forces. The biggest component of equipping is developing and buying the proper equipment and materials. She lauded the Air Force’s recent improvements to modernize and streamline its acquisition programs, making this military branch a highly prized partner of small businesses.

Barrett and Wilson shared thoughtful commentary on the importance of maintaining global alliances and addressing the gender gap in the US armed forces.

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Launching the Condoleezza Rice Women Who Inspire Lecture Series


Launching the Condoleezza Rice Women Who Inspire Lecture Series


May 2, 2019

Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor
Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain

Named in honor of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Condoleezza Rice “Women Who Inspire” Lecture Series seeks to highlight how women are reshaping the world, confronting global challenges, and blazing trails across all walks of life that improve the human condition. Secretary Rice began the lecture by emphasizing the importance of women’s empowerment as a moral, but also practical, cause.

“If you could raise a magic wand and empower every woman, you could get purchase on so many issues that bedevil the globe,” Rice said. “If you empower every woman to own a business, she will employ a whole village, and before you know it, the village will better off.”

Spain’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Palacio was introduced as the lecture series’ first guest speaker. An international lawyer specializing in European law, Palacio dedicated her public career to advocating for democracy. She celebrated the launch of the lecture series and lauded the school for creating a forum to share lessons and experiences of women who are inspiring the next generation who will lead.

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Defending our Country and Restoring US Leadership


Defending our Country and Restoring US Leadership


April 30, 2019

Former Congressman John K. Delaney (D-MD 6th District) and 2020 Democratic candidate for US president
Opening remarks by Vali Nasr, Dean

Throughout his public service career, Congressman Delaney represented Maryland’s 6th district in the House of Representatives from 2013 and 2019 and was known for shaping and influencing some of the most important policy issues of our time. Now as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Delaney joined the school for a discussion on the most pressing global challenges facing the United States and how to restore the nation’s leadership when resurgent nationalism and populism are questioning the post-WWII liberal world order the US helped to build.

The upcoming presidential election takes place against the backdrop of significant changes in and outside the United States, with Asia now rivaling the West as the world’s center of gravity and with new challenges posed by profound technological progress. In the context of these trends, instead of focusing on how the US can mitigate these disruptive risks and build a better world in the future, Americans are facing the prospect of another four years of highly divisive politics.

“Today we see the first generation of Americans that haven’t done better than their parents,” Delaney noted. “In many ways, the failure to reform our own economic system has led to current misguided approach to foreign policy.”

In order to safeguard the global security architecture, Delaney emphasized the importance of “responsible leadership” to reflect US economic weight in the global community while advancing American values and interests at home and abroad. Delaney concluded his remarks with a call for the kind of American leadership that strives to find common ground based on shared truths and owns responsibilities as Americans instead of seeking to assign blame for the problems of the past.

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Maximum Pressure: Iran in the Age of Trump


Maximum Pressure: Iran in the Age of Trump


April 29, 2019

Dina Esfandiary, International Security Program Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center
Ali Vaez ‘11, Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumnus and Director of Iran Program, International Crisis Group
Moderated by Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies

As part of the school’s year-long “Rethinking Iran” series, a discussion was hosted on the current geopolitical situation concerning Iran in light of the Trump administration’s “Maximum Pressure” campaign. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and then subsequently after the September attack in 2001, US foreign policy has reduced both Iran and the Muslim world to “conflict-ridden” and “problematic” instead of the multilayered and complex culture and system they existed as. The series serves to challenge this narrative and aims to provide a more realistic and nuanced understanding of the world in relation to US national security interests.

The discussion featured the reflection on the JCPOA negotiation process, the prospects of current international initiatives and the risks of further escalation between the United States and Iran. Ali Vaez commented on the confrontation between the two countries, and Dina Esfandiary gave remarks on three significant issues in the bilateral relations: JCPOA achievements, Trump’s “maximum pressure” and the prospects of future US-Iran dialogues. Both speakers agreed that the current administration’s policy towards Iran would not be sustainable due to the lack of constructive dialogues and communications channels between the two parties.

“The US has an organizing principle, which is demonizing Iran,” noted Vaez, “…but we don’t have a strategy that fits in the bigger picture [of US foreign policy in the Middle East].”

Questions from the audience addressed issues including the Trump administration’s travel ban, US-Iran-Russia trilateral relations, and the trajectory of foreign policy thinking in the United States.

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Euro at 20


Euro at 20


April 25, 2019

Ewald Nowonty, Governor of the Austrian National Bank

SAIS Europe welcomed Ewald Nowonty of the Austrian National Bank for a conversation on the past and future of the euro. During his talk, Nowonty discussed the factors that led Europe to adopt a common currency, challenges in the recent past such as the global economic crisis, and how those challenges portend the future direction of the euro. He emphasized that aggregate demand management cannot rely exclusively on monetary policy; rather, he said fiscal strategies and structural reforms are also necessary for stability and economic growth in the eurozone.

While the European Central Bank (ECB) has weathered challenging times with the global financial crisis and a rapidly-changing economic landscape, in the last 10 years Europe has achieved greater price stability than ever, Nowonty said. The ECB has followed expansionary policies to overcome financial challenges and avoid deflation.

Today over 60 countries are either using the euro, link their currency to the euro, or have plans to use it, which Nowonty noted has resulted in the euro quickly rising to become one of the most important global currencies. While the financial crisis and other unexpected disturbances have presented challenges over the last 20 years, Nowonty said that overall the euro project has been successful.

The event concluded with Nowonty taking questions from the audience regarding the possibility of issuing “eurobonds” in the future, strategies for controlling deflation, and the upcoming appointment of a new ECB president.

 

Pictured from left to right: Maximilian Buchleitner (MA ‘19), Christina Riegler (MAIA ‘19), Ewald Nowonty, Sabrina Zechmeister (MA ‘19), Line Relisieux (France/Austria, MAIA ‘19) and Johannes Gaechter (MA ‘19)

Pictured from left to right: Maximilian Buchleitner (MA ‘19), Christina Riegler (MAIA ‘19), Ewald Nowonty, Sabrina Zechmeister (MA ‘19), Line Relisieux (France/Austria, MAIA ‘19) and Johannes Gaechter (MA ‘19)


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Ctrl + Alt + Fashion: Manufacturing Iranian Identity


Ctrl + Alt + Fashion: Manufacturing Iranian Identity


April 18, 2019

Hushidar Mortezaie, Artist and Designer
Moderated by Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies

The school hosted an art and fashion show focused on Iranian identity with designer and visual artist Hushidar Mortezaie as the inaugural event of its yearlong “Rethinking Iran” series with the Foreign Policy Institute. The series marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and offers fresh perspectives of the revolution’s cultural, societal, and political consequences.

The event began with a fashion show centered around contemporary Iranian culture, alongside an exhibition of artwork by Mortezaie. For additional context, Professor Narges Bajoghli moderated a discussion with Mortezaie on his interest in art and advocacy. Mortezaie explained that his objective is to broaden the narrative about the identity of the Iranians living in the United States, preserve their pride, and show the diversity of Iranian culture regardless of media stereotypes.

Speaking on identity, Mortezaie mentioned that gender equality is needed to achieve democracy in the Middle East. He also added that it is important for immigrants to establish a place of belonging–which may transcend nationality–in their community. Especially at a time of divisive politics and stereotyping, Mortezaie said it is important to dissolve racism and nationalism by promoting culture, color, and diversity, which have traditionally been valued elements of Iranian heritage.

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Justice for Women


A discussion with the World Bank Group’s Sandie Okoro

Justice for Women


A discussion with the World Bank Group’s Sandie Okoro

April 22, 2019

Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, the World Bank Group
Moderated by Jeni Klugman, Adjunct Lecturer in International Development at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

World Bank Group general counsel Sandie Okoro visited the school for a Development Roundtable hosted by the International Development program, Global Women in Leadership, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Okoro discussed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and gender equality. Additional progress will be needed to meet the UN’s 2030 deadline, Okoro said. The “justice gap” continues to be a challenge for women seeking access to legal systems in many countries, as shown in the UN’s high-level group report, Justice for Women.

Okoro and Klugman spoke about justice as a basic human right and about projects at the World Bank designed to improve access to justice for women and girls. Okoro noted that remote rural populations have benefited from “mobile courts” that bring judges to small villages to hear cases, overcoming the need for expensive and time-consuming travel to courts in large cities. She emphasized that outreach in rural areas can be improved through partnerships with informal community leaders and religious leaders in order to respond to the reality of legal pluralism that persists in some societies. In conclusion, Okoro and Klugman called attention to the need for additional study on the justice gap, because gender-disaggregated data sources will be essential for effective decision-making at the national and international levels.

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The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind


The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind


April 12, 2019

Raghuram Rajan, Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago
Moderated by John Lipsky, Peter G. Peterson Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs

Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, visited the school for a discussion on his new book “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind.”

Rajan explained how the state, the markets, and the community constitute the three pillars of liberal market democracies. During his presentation, he mentioned that the state and markets have neglected the community and that the three pillars must interact to maintain balance in the liberal market democracies. He noted that through interactions, the community will instill values and norms in the market while the market reciprocates through productivity and choice. He added that the community will provide democratic oversight for the state and in return, the state provides security, justice, and safety nets.

The event concluded with a Q&A between Rajan and Lipsky, in which they discussed the demarcation of the three pillars and early childhood formation in American schools. Questions from the audience ranged from the differential values among communities and how it affects the global market to the growth of emerging economies such as India.

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China's Move into the High-Income Category


A discussion with former IMF Deputy Director Min Zhu

China's Move into the High-Income Category


A discussion with former IMF Deputy Director Min Zhu

April 12, 2019

Min Zhu, Chairman, National Institute of Financial Research, Tsinghua University and former Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus
Moderated by John Lipsky, Peter G. Peterson Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs

In the midst of the U.S.-China trade war, China’s long-term growth potential is a topic of heated debate. Zhu, former Deputy Managing Director of the IMF from 2011 to 2016, was invited to discuss the country’s economy and its vast structural changes.

While China has been contributing more than 30% of global growth over the past ten years, Zhu posed two questions that remain a challenge to the country’s ability to fully enter “high-income” status: 1) Can China surpass a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $10,000? and 2) Can China sustain its current growth rate of 5-6%?

Zhu discussed China’s role in historical shifts of the global economy from agriculture to manufacturing and now into the services sector. In this way China has followed in the footsteps of nations like Germany, Belgium, Spain and South Korea. However, China’s ongoing transition from industry to services, combined with its sharp demographic changes, are expected to impose downward pressure on growth. Zhu added that reforms can moderate the slowdown by improving within-sector productivity.

Zhu remarked on the lack of improvement in education and healthcare within the sector over the past fifty years. By examining productivity convergence in China’s major industrial and service sectors, he predicted future shifts and their impact on aggregate productivity. He suggested that China will likely be focusing on the non-market service sector’s labor productivity (i.e. education, health, administration) to contribute to its economy. Furthermore, he argued that China continues to lack in the IT sector where further study is needed.

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Open House for Admitted Students


Open House for Admitted Students


April 10, 2019

Johns Hopkins SAIS welcomed more than 200 newly admitted students for its annual Open House at the Washington, DC campus.

Student Government Association President Joshua Henderson MA '19 welcomed attendees and reflected on some of his top experiences as a student. Dean Vali Nasr discussed the value a Johns Hopkins SAIS education will have for graduates’ future careers, followed by a Q&A with alumna Sita Sonty MA '02, Vice President for International Business with the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and former Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.  

Later in the day, prospective students gained insights on academic life from a panel of faculty members and learned about the value of the alumni network – 20,000 strong – from returning graduates. Attendees shared lunch discussions with academic programs to learn more about concentration areas from faculty and current students. A student club fair connected representatives of extracurricular groups to make the case for activities that enhance the graduate school experience outside the classroom.

The day wrapped up with an evening reception at the Center for Strategic Studies (CSIS), located a few block from the school, where the attendees networked with their future classmates, faculty, and staff.

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Why America Matters-3rd Annual Betty Lou Hummel Memorial Lecture


A discussion with Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns

Why America Matters-3rd Annual Betty Lou Hummel Memorial Lecture


A discussion with Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns

April 9, 2019

Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns '80, the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School
Moderated by Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Retired U.S. Ambassador and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus Nicholas Burns served as the keynote speaker for the 3rd Annual Betty Lou Hummel Memorial Lecture on American foreign policy.

Looking back at the history of the past 75 years, Burns stated that one of the greatest achievements of the United States was that, by understanding the price of isolation, it helped create and defend a liberal world order that has held the great powers at peace for the last seven decades. The current world order may not be perfect, but the world still depends on the U.S. for protecting its benefits, Burns argued.

Burns pointed to what he considered several troubling changes in American foreign policy: waivering of U.S. commitment to alliances and global trade; rising authoritarian and populist leaders on the world stage; and U.S. threats to accept fewer immigrants and refugees.

Burns pointed out the risks of what he called the “Trump Revolt” in American foreign policy on weakening and even cracking the current world order with unforeseeable consequences for global security and peace. “We are also wrestling with that dark isolationist gene in our DNA, which is clearly visible today on the extreme left of the Democratic Party and extreme right of the Republican Party” Burns said.

In conclusion, Burns quoted Winston Churchill, saying “the price of greatness is responsibility,” and called on leaders of the next generation of Americans to show the world that America matters.

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America's Changing Role in Global Affairs: A Conversation with Wolf Blitzer


America's Changing Role in Global Affairs: A Conversation with Wolf Blitzer


April 5, 2019

Wolf Blitzer '72, lead political anchor at CNN and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus
Francis J. Gavin, Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and Inaugural Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs
Opening remarks by Daniel Serwer, Director of the Conflict Management Program

Wolf Blitzer, anchor of CNN’s The Situation Room, joined the school for a discussion on American politics and the future of foreign policy at an event hosted by the student-run Careers in Diplomacy Club. A graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS, Blitzer opened the conversation by reflecting on the fond memories he had as a student, where he was able to make lifelong friends that he still keeps in touch with today. He also made mention of the valuable role his education played in shaping his career as a journalist, specifically the professors who helped pave the way for his career by providing him with analytical skills and intellectual framework on American foreign policy, economics, and the Middle East.

Professor Frank Gavin moderated the discussion and questions from the audience of students, faculty, and alumni. Blitzer shared his thoughts on the most significant global challenges he’s covered over the years and reflected on his most memorable interviews and what he has found to be essential characteristics of leadership by engaging with global leaders throughout his career. Blitzer concluded by sharing insights on public trust in the media and the importance of the free press in improving the transparency and accountability of elected officials.

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Global Women in Leadership Conference


Global Women in Leadership Conference


April 4, 2019

Now in its seventh year, the student-run Global Women in Leadership (GWL) conference examined pressing topics related to women around the world. This year’s theme focused on ‘power’ and brought diverse voices to campus to inspire participants to claim and exercise their power to effect social change. Nearly 500 attendees representing current and incoming students, faculty, and alumni, and the public enjoyed an itinerary full of stimulating panels and networking.

The discussion “Overcoming Barriers to Action” featured April Goggans (Black Lives Matter DC), Rafif Jouejati (Free Syria Foundation), Nikki Pitre (Center for Native American Youth), and Greisa Martinez (United We Dream), who spoke about the role of women in social movements working for a more equal society. “Engaging Men as Allies” featured Gary Barker (Promundo), Laxman Belbase (MenEngage Alliance), Manuel Contreras-Urbina (Global Women’s Institute), and Ron LeGrand (Promundo) for a conversation about the ways in which all people, including men, can create positive change and contribute to the advancement of gender equality. The keynote speaker was Director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund Sharyn Tejani presented the keynote address with a moving account of her work in the legal field defending victims of gender discrimination.

This year’s conference built on the school’s community through the involvement of alumni and faculty. In addition to a alumnae panel, Professor Cinnamon Dornsife led a breakout session on turning ideas into action, while Professor Bettina Boekle led a session on learning from women in the private sector.

The day concluded with a reception at the Australian Embassy for attendees to debrief and discuss further engagements advancing gender equality. 

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Africa from the Present to the Future


Africa from the Present to the Future


April 3, 2019

Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission and former Italian Prime Minister
Jean-Leonard Touadi, writer and journalist and Senior Advisor, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy

SAIS Europe hosted a discussion on Africa and its future in collaboration with the opening of the exhibit “Ex Africa” at the Bologna Museum of Civic Archeology. As part of the event, Bologna Institute of Policy Research Director Filippo Taddei moderated a discussion between Romano Prodi and Jean-Leonard Touadi for insights into the pressing themes related to Africa today while harnessing the lessons learned from the past as displayed in the exhibit.

After his terms as president of the European Commission and prime minister of Italy, Prodi served as the United Nation’s Special Envoy for the Sahel and currently chairs the Foundation for Worldwide Cooperation. Touadi is an Italian professor and journalist originally from the Republic of Congo and has been a leading voice on African issues in the Italian political space. Prodi and Touadi shared unique and personal perspectives ranging from the increasing role of China on the continent, a new “Marshall Plan” to kickstart Africa's growth, and its potential for collaboration in terms of migration, security, and economic projects.

Ex Africa is the most extensive collection of African art and culture ever displayed in Italy and features more than 700 African masterpieces telling the story of Africa and its complex identities through the universality of art. SAIS Europe welcomed the exhibit as an opportunity to discuss more deeply the role of Africa in the world, it’s inter-connectivity to Europe, and both its future obstacles and prospects for growth.

Pictured from left to right: Jean-Leonard Touadi, Filippo Taddei, and Romano Prodi

Pictured from left to right: Jean-Leonard Touadi, Filippo Taddei, and Romano Prodi