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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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Green New Deal Dialogue: The Politics & Implementation of US Climate Policy


Green New Deal Dialogue: The Politics & Implementation of US Climate Policy


March 14, 2019

Leading experts and academics convened at the school to discuss the Green New Deal – legislation laid out by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. According to Jonas Nahm, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, the Green New Deal is an ambitious 10-year mobilization plan that aims to achieve zero net emissions by decarbonizing the US economy and promoting economic opportunity for all. He explained that the value of the new deal is that it focuses on addressing the issues of climate change at the right time.

The dialogue featured keynotes from Lizabeth Cohen of Harvard University and John Zysman of the University of California, Berkeley. Cohen discussed the legacy of the Green New Deal and its potential to achieve economic goals. She explained that the legislative proposal was inspired by the original ‘New Deal’ of President Franklin D. Roosevelt – which was most remarkable for inspiring Americans’ trust in the government. Zysman explained there are three interconnected challenges to the Green New Deal: existential threat of climate change, fundamental transformation of the operation of the economy, and the need to achieve a more equitable society. He said that the Green New Deal at its minimum forces an actual debate about how to solve these issues.

The second panel focused on the challenges – such as inequality and racism – facing the Green New Deal. On this panel, Darrick Hamilton of Ohio State University discussed inequality and the structure of the labor market in the United States while David Hart of George Mason University explained the challenges facing the US energy system.

The conference also featured discussions on the political strategies for implementing the Green New Deal, which highlighted the role of activists and civil society in the deal’s viability.

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Bridging America's Civil-Military Divide


Bridging America's Civil-Military Divide


March 7, 2019

Introduction & Overview:
Eliot Cohen, Executive Vice Dean
Mara Karlin, Director of Strategic Studies and Executive Director of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies
Shamila Chaudhary, Senior Advisor to the Dean

Panel: 
Eric Edelman, Roger Hertog Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies
Carter Ham, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of the U.S. Army
Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President and Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Moderated by Greg Jaffe, National Security Reporter, The Washington Post

The school hosted a timely dialogue on U.S. military services, civil-military relations, and the impact of the nation’s 18 years of ongoing war. The discussion explored the decision-making process in war, where former senior leaders offered insight on the civil-military divide on the use of force.

Kathleen Hicks of CSIS emphasized the trust built between civil and military populations as the foundation for a genuine conversation that “ultimately results appropriately in the civilians making a decision well-informed and advised by the military.” Hicks added, “I think the reality is that you are going to have that kind of civil-military friction, but the problem is when you focus too much on that friction and the distrust it creates and not on how you build better answers and solutions in each instance that it happens.”

The debate on the war in Afghanistan under the Obama administration illustrated what Hicks deemed as “understandable friction” that occurred in the day-to-day decision-making process.

Former Ambassador Eric Edelman and General Carter Ham noted that at the senior level, the line between pure military advice and pure policy advice is blurry at best, and “getting the job done” requires a strong and mutually respectful partnership between both civilian and military sides.

Questions from the audience covered topics including the roles played by senior civilian policymakers in the national security debate, the issues of the State Department’s Reserve Corps, and the potential weaknesses of military-to-civilian turnover in Iraq.

The event concluded with a second panel that was off-the record, a photography exhibit highlighting stories of native veterans by photojournalist Svetlana Bachevanova, and a performance of Sophocles' Ajax by Theater of War Productions.

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The Black Pacific: Oceania & Black Internationalism


The Black Pacific: Oceania & Black Internationalism


March 6, 2019

Quito Swan, Professor of History, Howard University
Moderated by Chiedo Nwankwor, Visiting Research Associate and Lecturer, Johns Hopkins SAIS

The African Studies program hosted Professor Quito Swan from Howard University to discuss his book “Black Power in Bermuda and the Struggle for Decolonization.” His book analyzes how 20th century black freedom struggles in Oceania engage Africana political struggles such as black power, civil rights and black women’s diasporic feminisms.

His book draws on the successes of Pauulu Kamarakafego, a political activist, civil rights leader and renowned expert in ecological and environmental engineering. He highlights Kamarakafego’s work in growing black power in the Caribbean and the U.S. and leading the First Regional International Black Power Conference (BPC) in Bermuda in 1969. The pan-African unity exhibited by the conference addressed the concerns for Bermuda’s colonization and white violence. 

He displayed photos of mass demonstrations that took place in the Oceanian country of Vanuatu in the 1970s for independence from British and French colonial rule. He spoke at length about the political movement in Vanuatu, emphasizing that the broader narrative of black power would not be complete without discussing how people were able to galvanize and make a difference in even the smallest of countries. He expressed the need to engage Oceania in the conversation, otherwise, a major part of the story would be left out.

His remarks were followed by several questions from the audience. Professor Swan addressed the complicity in African subjugation particularly within the economic and social space. He urged people to continue challenging the status quo since leaders of the Pan-African movement have not achieved the impact they aimed for in changing the way Africans are perceived in the United States today. He also spoke to the challenge of getting different people to understand that their efforts and ideas are all part of one broad narrative.

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Emergence Sea: The Identities of Black American Descendants of Slaves


Emergence Sea: The Identities of Black American Descendants of Slaves


February 27, 2019

On February 27, the school hosted a special exhibit featuring the work of artists James Terrell and Zsudayka Nzinga Terrell in honor of Black History Month. The exhibit Emergence Sea offered a bold, vivid and though-provoking showcase of paintings that explored the identities of Black American descendants of slaves. The collection was a snapshot into the many colors and tones of black life in America and what it means to be building a young culture.

Known for their afro-futurist flair and surrealist abstract portraits, the Terrells, a husband-and-wife team of visual artists living in Washington, DC, put everyday life front and center and feature portraits of singers, preachers, mothers, families, and friends.

Both artists are currently curating a youth art competition and teaching art workshops in the greater Washington, DC area and working toward opening a black gallery and auction house also in the city.

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From War to Peace in the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine


From War to Peace in the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine


February 13, 2019

Daniel Serwer, Academic Director of Conflict Management at Johns Hopkins SAIS
Moderated by Kent E. Calder, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation and Director of the Reischauer Center at Johns Hopkins SAIS
With commentary by Majda Ruge, Foreign Policy Institute Fellow and David Kanin Adjunct Lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS

The Faculty Research Forum hosted Professor Daniel Serwer for a discussion at the launch of his timely new book “From War to Peace in the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine.” The book draws on Serwer’s long and distinguished career examining the origins, consequences and aftermath of the 1995 and 1999 Western military interventions that led to the end of the most recent Balkan wars. The study highlights lessons that can be applied to the Middle East and Ukraine, where similar conflicts are likewise challenging sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“[The book] is intended to be an accessible treatment of what makes war and how to make peace that will appeal to all readers interested in how violent international conflicts can be managed,” Serwer told the audience.

His remarks were followed by thoughtful commentary from Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Majda Ruge on the questions raised in the book and the key lessons learned from the Balkans. Like Serwer, she emphasized the utmost importance of political leadership in not only choosing sound policies and implementing them correctly but also shaping public opinion and easing or increasing ethnic tensions.

“It is now almost 25 years since I first arrived in Sarajevo during the war,” Serwer reflected, “…we still face many problems that bedeviled the region at that time. We made a great deal of progress, but we still have a long way to go. Those time dimensions, when we think about the Middle East and Ukraine today, are going to be with us for a long time. That is why keeping the dialogue open about these issues is vital.”

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The Mouse is Mightier than the Sword


The Mouse is Mightier than the Sword


February 6, 2019

Kara Swisher, New York Times technology business columnist and co-founder of Recode
Moderated by Laura Blumenfeld, Senior Fellow at The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Kara Swisher, technology business columnist for The New York Times and founder and executive editor of Recode joined the school’s community to offer insights on the influence of technology and social media on international affairs.

Swisher opened the discussion by providing context on the rapid changes in technology over the years, with the most recent being the big mobile revolutions. She highlighted the development of super artificial intelligence, self-driving technology, robotics and automation, privacy and assault, continuous partial hacking, and continuous partial attention as the key trends in technology. She noted that the increasing use of internet and mobile data have led to several political and social unrest across the world. Swisher opined that the United States must continuously think about how to regulate the internet without stifling regulation.

Swisher called attention to the impact of technology on massive job disruption, noting that every job on the planet that can be digitized will undergo job disruption from artificial intelligence and automation. She explained that cities will increasingly become autonomous with associated level of complexities. Despite these potential disruptions, Swisher explained that human creativity will remain important and would be used to develop robotic capabilities.

Swisher also raised concerns about the lack of a national privacy legislation in the United States, though the State of California has an existing legislation. She spoke about the influence of other powerful nations on technology such as China’s rising influence in the next internet age and Russia’s interface of US elections using internet data.

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Democracy in Retreat


Democracy in Retreat


February 5, 2019

Michael Abramowitz, President of Freedom House
Karen DeYoung, Associate Editor and Senior National Security Correspondent for The Washington Post
Yascha Mounk, Senior Fellow, SNF Agora Institute and Associate Professor of the Practice, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Moderated by Elise Labott, former CNN Global Affairs Correspondent

The school hosted a discussion on the latest findings from Freedom House’s flagship annual report, Freedom in the World, assessing the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

Michael Abramowitz began by providing a general overview of the findings in the report. He acknowledges that while fifty countries had improved its state of democracy and human freedom within 2018, this number was less than what was seen in the previous year. While countries like Armenia, Malaysia, Ethiopia and Angola have been advancing democratically over the years, Hungary has been sliding down the scale from “free” to “partly free” he noted. Nicaragua was reported to be experiencing the biggest decline of the 195 countries.

Karen DeYoung provided context for the report by discussing what the findings mean for the U.S. She explained that determining the level of threat to the U.S. from countries like Venezuela at the moment would be challenging with its recent change in leadership.

As a political scientist, Yascha Mounk mentioned that it is easy to create assumptions and expectations of the future of the world by assessing the reports, then probed the question of whether democratic values would continue to be instilled in the most affluent countries – a nod to the current situation in Hungary.

Elise Labott mentioned that the challenges to American democracy was testing the stability to its constitution. Abramowitz reassured the audience that American institutions are generally resilient but that they must be cautious and vigilant in the years ahead. DeYoung weighed in by speaking about degradation of political dialogue, which has enabled Americans to freely criticize the current administration, something they would not have done merely years ago. This degradation of tone and a politically polarized atmosphere will be challenges to the U.S.  

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Engaging Underrepresented Alumni


Engaging Underrepresented Alumni


January 31, 2019

As part of continued efforts to advance diversity on campus and improve the dialogue on multiculturalism, the school invited underrepresented alumni, prospective students, and current students to join a discussion on advancing priority areas of recruitment, mentorship, networking and fundraising. In the past few years, the school has consistently implemented diversity initiatives to create more recruitment opportunities for applicants from diverse backgrounds.

Alumni can contribute and join the momentum by helping the school build a pipeline to increase representation on campus. Annual recruitment events, along with many other social events, continue to call for participation from alumni of color. Additionally, Global Career Services launched the long-term mentoring program that includes more representatives from diverse backgrounds.

Overall, by consistently improving its recruiting, mentoring, fundraising and networking efforts, the school strives to project underrepresented voices in international relations and normalize diversity as part of the conversation. The gathering led to many good conversations and inspired the staff to improve and create even more inclusive initiatives to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply and engage with every single member in the school’s community.

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A Preface to Strategy: The Foundations of American National Security


A report by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Senior Fellows

A Preface to Strategy: The Foundations of American National Security


A report by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Senior Fellows

December 11, 2018

Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy
Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor
Jim Miller, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Senior Fellows joined the school for a discussion on their co-authored paper “A Preface to Strategy: The Foundations of American National Security” that describes how a new global strategic environment should change premises that underpin American strategies and argues for the constant, energetic, and imaginative enhancement of the strengths from which American power derives.

Lead author Richard Danzig shared historical context on the US national security strategy that developed post-World War II. Danzig noted that decision makers began to look at four domains of warfare – the air, sea, undersea and land and military conflict as the core of national security. He also called to attention the shift in technology and economic development and the significant implications it had for national security strategy.  While the US is still a preeminent economic power, strategies of spending in order to dominate strategically and in national security are no longer to be as successful as in the past, he said.

Robert Work offered insight on the changes in the expansion of geography and the domains of warfare. As one of the most open societies in the world, the US has shifted from being one of the most secure nations from within its territories to being one of the most vulnerable, he said. He noted that the US has seen a decline in the traditional powers of its military. Looking at the challenges the US has had in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria shows that the military now has the ability to apply violence more than any other military in history, Work said.

Avril Haines addressed divisions along party ideologies, socioeconomic lines, race, gender, and religion that have led to an erosion of domestic consensus. One example she noted was the US response to Russian interference in the 2016 US election and how the partisan atmosphere limited the nation’s ability to address the issue. The new premises that would underpin a national strategy need to recognize the critical strengths of the US that include America’s values, the settled system of governments and human capital, among others, she said.

Concluding the discussion, Jim Miller emphasized that the two major areas in which the US needs to focus its attention are biosecurity and cybersecurity. Factors of the economy and technology were also discussed.

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