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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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Defense Innovation Board Public Meeting


Defense Innovation Board Public Meeting


October 10, 2018

The Defense Innovation Board (DIB), an independent federal committee advising the Secretary of Defense on various issues that focus on people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations, recently held a public meeting at the school deliberating on artificial intelligence (AI) principles for defense, the importance of data as a strategic asset, and recent updates from its Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) study.

Eric Schmidt, Board Chairman and former CEO of Google commented in his opening remarks that the Board has been asked to help the Department of Defense (DoD) develop its own set of AI principles and an ethical framework for applying AI. He noted that it is critically important to get the community to participate in this discussion.  

Dr. Heather Roff, Sr. Research Analyst at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, underscored the importance of ethics as a set of guiding principles of action for the DoD to develop and field AI capabilities for national defense. She stated that in the field of AI, epistemology is essential to answer questions about ethics, responsible design or innovation and intended practices, procedures or policies.

Dr. Andrew Lohn, Engineer with RAND Corporation and Professor of Public Policy at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, talked about the risks on using AI. He suggested that as the current technologies are not fully ready and humans have limits on understanding all those complex algorithms, we need to be very cautious for what the failure modes are and when and where we should apply artificial intelligence.

Michael Conlin, Chief Data Officer at the Department of Defense, reflected on the importance of data as a strategic asset by first briefing the public on three core documents that shape the DoD’s work on data, which are the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the President’s Management Agenda. He noted that reform at DoD is not a one-time event. Instead, the Department has been continuously trying to improve itself to be able to match and exceed capabilities of its competitors.

Bess Dopkeen, Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) Study Lead, together with six subgroup leaders, released the recent updates from their studies since December 2018 when Congress directed the Secretary of the DIB to undertake a study on streamlining software development and acquisition regulations .

At the end of the meeting, members of the public provided comments regarding the DIB's deliberations and potential recommendations.

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How to Thrive In Our Age of Accelerations


How to Thrive In Our Age of Accelerations


October 9, 2018

Tom Friedman, Columnist for The New York Times
Moderated by Laura Blumenfeld, Senior Fellow, Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Tom Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times and a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for journalism visited the school to share insights from his book "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." During the discussion Friedman presented his analysis on the driving forces and impacts of what he labels as the “three climate changes,” Market, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law and how they are reshaping the world.

The Market, or globalization, reflects the migration of world economies from being interconnected to interdependent. This phenomenon, Friedman argues, is resulting in a dangerously over-reliant and co-dependent economic system.

“Your friends start to kill you faster than your enemies,” Friedman said. “Your rivals falling can be more dangerous than your rivals rising.”

In terms of Mother Nature and climate change, the world is moving from the “later” to the “now,” in that people can no longer delay conservation projects or activities to fight global warming, as we are now in a period of urgency.

He identified Earth’s eight key characteristics which allow the planet to survive climate changes. These features include favoring natural selection, being incredibly pluralistic, maintaining sustainability, incorporating feedback loops into systems, and supporting the ecosystems which build complex adaptive coalitions.

Friedman went on to discuss how people’s sense of national identity, social norms and work identity are being challenged in these three climate changes, allowing for a rise in populism.

Friedman believes the biggest challenge today for foreign affairs specialists is stabilizing the current state of disorder that is pervading throughout the world, which has come into being because of these three climate changes.

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Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism


Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism


October 9, 2018

Bernie Sanders, US Senator from Vermont

Senator Bernie Sanders visited the school to deliver a memorable speech on the challenges of authoritarianism and the need to build a global progressive movement. As the longest-serving independent in congressional history, Senator Sanders has fought for working families and advocated for a foreign policy that prioritizes diplomacy over unilateral military action. He was outspoken against the Trump administration over its attacks on the independent media as well as its affinity with authoritarian leaders.   

“While this authoritarian trend certainly did not begin with Donald Trump, there is no question that other authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the president of the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy is shattering democratic norms … and is scapegoating the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society” Sanders said.

Contending that the Trump administration has inspired increasingly despotic actions by leaders of other nations around the globe, Sanders cited recent laws and policies enacted in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and Israel. He also mentioned the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that if he was the victim of state violence as suspected, there must be accountability and an unequivocal condemnation from the United States.

To conclude his remarks, Sanders promoted a multinational approach in areas such as climate change and the struggle against global oligarchy and authoritarianism.

“Our job is to build on our common humanity and do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other. We know that those forces work together across borders. We must do the same.”

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The United States, Europe, and World Order


Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and the German Academic Exchange Service Launch the Helmut Schmidt Professorship and a Post-Doctoral Fellows Program on International Relations and History

The United States, Europe, and World Order


Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and the German Academic Exchange Service Launch the Helmut Schmidt Professorship and a Post-Doctoral Fellows Program on International Relations and History

October 3, 2018

Presenters:
Kent Calder, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Dr. Margret Wintermantel, President, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State, German Foreign Office

Panel:
John-Michael Arnold, Post-Doctoral Fellow, "The United States, Europe, and World Order" Project, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Thomas Erndl, Deputy Speaker, Subcommittee for Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy, Member of the German Bundestag
Francis J. Gavin, Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and the Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Elias Götz, Post-Doctoral Fellow, "The United States, Europe, and World Order" Project at the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Stephan Kieninger, Post-Doctoral Fellow, "The United States, Europe, and World Order" Project at the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Kristina Spohr, the inaugural Helmut Schmidt Distinguished Professor, Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Moderated by Daniel S. Hamilton, Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Professor and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS

To mark the celebration of German Unity Day, Johns Hopkins SAIS and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) kicked off their partnership initiative: a new, multi-year program featuring the Helmut Schmidt Distinguished Professor and a new post-doctoral program in the field of international relations and history.

The university hosted a panel featuring members of the program to address the shift in the relationship dynamics between the United States and Europe.

The event commenced with an introduction to the new program by DAAD President Margret Wintermantel, whose generous support helped launch the initiative. This was followed by an address on current issues by Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister, which then led into a discussion on the current state of world order and contemporary issues facing the US and Europe.

Stephan Kieninger discussed the US’s current cooperative security policies, largely in part to the Reagan administration’s shift away from a conservative angle in the aftermath of the Cold War to help the US adjust to normality. He noted that economics served as a catalyst for these efforts and continue to be an important aspect of the transatlantic entity.

Daniel Hamilton stated that US interests were always involved in the European world order, and questioned whether European interests remain a priority in the minds of American leaders under the Trump administration.

In response, Francis Gavin expressed that the US-Europe relationship continues to be extremely critical, but one that is taken for granted. He acknowledged that the two global players have consistently triumphed challenges together, and highlighted the deep resilient ties between the two as a result of these successes.

In contrast, Kristina Spohr was concerned with the diverging direction of the two powers. She urged the need to make collective changes that will allow unity in thought and value. She specifically called on the Arctic Council, stating that collaborative efforts in combating climate change will bond Europeans and Americans for a common good. Thomas Erndl expressed similar points, speaking about the changing political environment and how it has re-shaped US-European diplomatic relations.

The panelists concluded the discussion by answering questions from the audience about their thoughts on the American democratic approach to European affairs and Helmut Schmidt’s successes in maintaining relations with the US and the Soviet Union during the aftermath of the Cold War.

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Access and Energy in Africa


Access and Energy in Africa


October 2, 2018

Andrew Herscowitz, US Coordinator for Power Africa
Moderated by Johannes Urpelainen, Director and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment
Founding Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP)

On October 2, the US Coordinator for Power Africa, Andrew Herscowitz, visited the school to deliver his insight on key progress in Africa’s energy access. Power Africa is now the world’s largest partnership for development with 160 public and private partners who have committed $54 billion to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

With regard to new developments in the power market, Herscowitz was fascinated by the rise of off-the-grid base. Yet while micro-grids have been hailed as the new evolution in recent years, he explained that this system has not yet proven to be viable. As data has become more critical in driving innovation, gathering and analyzing data is going to be the desirable skill set to lead successful on-grid and off-grid systems, he said. In offering advice on how Johns Hopkins SAIS students can participate in building energy access delivery, Herscowitz applauded the numerous Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnae who live and work in Africa and encouraged tomorrow’s graduates to bring their expertise to the continent because living in the local marketplace is the best way to learn the needs of these customers.

Herscowitz drew from his experiences in different markets in Africa to point out the distinct policy challenges each country presents. “In different countries, as you start getting closer to elections, things are becoming more unpredictable. What we are trying to do is make sure the deals supported by Power Africa are sustainable and negotiated in a transparent manner” he said.

The school community congratulated Herscowitz and the Power Africa team upon the announcement—made public the same day—that they had won the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (known as the "Sammy"), as the 2018 National Security and International Affairs Winner, awarded by the Partnership for Public Service.

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Bridging the Partisan Divide: Challenges and Opportunities for Rising Leaders


Bridging the Partisan Divide: Challenges and Opportunities for Rising Leaders


September 26, 2018

Seth Moulton, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’ 6th District
Moderated by Shawn Turner, National Security Analyst for CNN and the Director of Communication at the Center for an New American Security

The school recently hosted Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts to discuss the increasingly partisan nature of politics in the United States. In a talk moderated by Shawn Turner, a national security analyst for CNN, Moulton discussed the roots of his bipartisan approach and the importance of being independent and not always following party norms. 

Moulton, a former Marine, reflected on his decision to join the service after completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard University. Also a veteran Marine, Turner noted that the political affiliations of his fellow Marines did not alter his view of them, which Moulton agreed with and echoed. “We were trying to accomplish a mission for America, not for the Democratic party or the Republican party,” Moulton said. He incorporates this same philosophy when working with others in Congress, reaching across the aisle to work with his Republican counterparts.

Moulton noted the importance of not just voting along party lines, but also standing up for your values. He mentioned that when he first ran for office, it was against an incumbent who had been in office for 18 years. According to Moulton, the Massachusetts Democratic establishment discouraged him from doing so, telling him it would ruin his future prospects for politics. “What they were fundamentally saying to me was, ‘Seth, do not participate in the democracy you just risked your life to defend,” Moulton said.

He believes that people respect intellectual disagreement and criticism and that a part of being independent is having the political courage to speak the truth, even when it may not be the most popular opinion.

Mouton went on to describe his experience with the Armed Services Committee and his desire for Democrats to be seen not just as smart with regards to national security, but strong as well. He discussed the Countering Foreign Propaganda Act of 2018, a new bill that he has introduced with bipartisan support to address the increase in advertisements funded by foreign entities.

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82 Names: Syria, Please Don't Forget Us


82 Names: Syria, Please Don't Forget Us


September 25, 2018

Maziar Bahari, Filmmaker and Journalist
Moderated by Shamila Chaudhary, Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute 

Iranian Canadian journalist and filmmaker, Maziar Bahari, joined the school’s community for a discussion on the importance of confronting historical conflict through memorials and what the Holocaust can teach us about the current conflict in Syria after the screening of his documentary “82 Names: Syria, Please Don’t Forget Us.”

The documentary features the story of Mansour Omari, a Syrian human rights activist who was imprisoned for nine months and tortured by the Assad regime. Omari smuggled out scraps of clothes recording the names of all 82 of his cellmates.

While commending Omari’s courage and emphasizing the importance of memorializing the atrocities committed in Syria, Bahari reflected on a reconciliatory process that would require a genuine dialogue among different people. He encouraged the school’s student body to question the common wisdom and the realities around them. “Every voice is important,” Bahari noted, especially when “we live in a world where everyone can be a medium.”

On the question of pursuing justice in a world where history is usually written by the victors, Bahari noted that the existence of these memorials provided a more sophisticated analysis of both the victors’ and victims’ narratives. The discussion also included his remarks on the punishment of perpetrators in humanitarian crimes, the incumbent Iranian regime as well as the responsibility of journalists to courageously pursue truth.

The event was part of Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute’s The Big Picture forum that explores international affairs through arts and culture.

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Voting: Uses & Abuses


SAIS Review Launch: Vol. 38

Voting: Uses & Abuses


SAIS Review Launch: Vol. 38

September 24, 2018

Thomas Rid, Professor of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Asuka Matsumoto, Visiting Scholar, Edwin O. Reischauer Center
Colin Cookman, Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
Moderated By Michael Sutherland, Editor-in-Chief, SAIS Review  

The SAIS Review of International Affairs held a launch event for its newest issue, Voting: Uses & Abuses. The new issue is a collection of work from academics and policymakers examining the various actors involved in elections throughout the world, and the political implications of calling, participating in, and even sometimes undermining elections. 

Three contributing authors presented their articles and participated in a panel discussion on the broader issues of voting and elections.

Thomas Rid discussed the many vulnerabilities democracies face when confronting cybersecurity threats during elections and offered suggestions for improving a democratic society's ability to respond to these threats.

Asuka Matsumoto highlighted elements of her comparative study of internet campaigning in Japan and the United States, and explained that there are critical lessons that each country can learn from the other about how to verify and disseminate information about candidates in an election.

Colin Cookman spoke about his research on the efficacy of the current parliamentary election process in Afghanistan. Cookman elaborated upon the complexity of the Afghan election system and the numerous actors that attempt to use, undermine, and sometimes circumvent the system in order to gain influence.

The discussion ended with questions from the audience on a number of issues, including how to think about threats to the upcoming midterm elections in the United States.

For more information about The SAIS Review of International Affairs, or to inquire about subscriptions, please visit SAIS Review's website. Each author's article is also available on Project Muse at the following locations:

Thomas Rid and Benjamin Buchanan, Hacking Democracy
Asuka Matsumoto, Internet Campaigning in the US and Japan: Battles in Cyber Space
Colin Cookman, Elections as a Disputed Power Sharing Mechanism in Afghanistan

 

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The Global Empowerment of Women and the Impact of Women of Color on Public Policy


The Global Empowerment of Women and the Impact of Women of Color on Public Policy


September 19, 2018

Veronica Cool, Founder and Managing Director, Cool and Associates
Serena Fong, Vice President, Strategic Engagement, Catalyst
Janice Mathis, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women
Elsie L. Scott, Founding Director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, Howard University
Moderated by Noemi Crespo Rice, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Opening remarks by Chiedo Nwankwor, Visiting Research Associate and Adjunct Lecturer, Johns Hopkins SAIS

As part of Johns Hopkins SAIS Diversity Week, the university hosted a panel of accomplished women of color to discuss current issues on race in America. Chiedo Nwankwor set the scene by providing the opening remarks for the panel. She highlighted some of issues that women of color encounter within the political sphere.

During the discussion, each woman offered a brief background of their professional careers and then addressed questions related to the changing demographics of the US population, the workplace obstacles faced by women of color, and the efforts allies can make to ensure a diverse workplace.

Veronica Cool noted that while the Hispanic population is growing, many members often lack access to social capital. While many of them are succeeding at opening small businesses, it is harder for them to do so in the United States.

Serena Fong highlighted policy trends within the government that address pay equity for women. Fong believes that at the state and local levels in the US, there are steps being taken to ensure pay transparency and lessen the wage gap, including state legislative efforts to ban employers from basing salaries on an employee’s previous income level.

Janice Mathis discussed how environmental health disparities are impacting communities with large groups of minorities. Mathis discussed efforts in Flint, Michigan as a place where, public policy, economics, and racism had combined to pose especially difficult challenges.

Elsie L. Scott spoke about why politicians are going to have to earn the votes of women of color, rather than just expect them. She recalled that a study, conducted annually, normally showed that black women primarily cared about heath care. However, the latest survey revealed that more and more black women are voting according to their concerns about hate crimes, racism, and criminal justice.

The women ended the conversation by sharing their views on the #MeToo movement and answering questions from the audience about fighting the pay gap and how to overcome particular cultural norms regarding the role of women.

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Identity and Global Politics: A Discussion with Francis Fukuyama


Identity and Global Politics: A Discussion with Francis Fukuyama


September 18, 2018

Francis Fukuyama, Mosbacher Director of the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

Dr. Francis Fukuyama joined the school for a discussion on the impacts of identity on global politics, drawn from his new book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment.

Fukuyama stated that identity has been underestimated in the current world where new forms of nationalism, religious politics and populism are surging, even in certain developed democracies. He noted that ‘identity’, or ‘Thumos’ in Greek, was described by Plato to indicate the human desire for recognition, and without respect and dignity, human beings tend to seek outlets of nationalism or populism to satisfy their needs of recognition.

Fukuyama distinguished three characteristics of identity politics before elaborating on their roots such as globalization, domestic political gridlock, and cultural grounds for populism.

On how to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy, Fukuyama emphasized the flexibility of identity, suggesting the establishment of a national identity on the basis of political belief, rather than simply of biological characteristics. He also called on policymakers to focus more on the assimilation of foreigners to address immigration issues.

Questions from the audience covered topics including the changing landscape of cross-cultural identity and how it affects political correctness, why efforts to tackle global issues such as climate change are distracted by factitious identity, why the European Union struggles to create a common European identity, and the influence of technology on identities.

The Q&A session was moderated by Cinnamon Dornsife, Associate Practitioner-in-Residence and Senior Advisor of International Development. 

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The Legacy of Zbigniew Brzezinski


The Legacy of Zbigniew Brzezinski


September 17, 2018

Madeleine K. Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
Moderated by Carla P. Freeman, Associate Research Professor of China Studies and Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited the Johns Hopkins SAIS community to deliver remarks on the lifetime achievements of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Dr. Brzezinski, or "ZBig" as he was familiarly known to colleagues and students, served as the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and was a distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS. A visionary foreign policy intellectual, Brzezinski was remembered for his work to normalize U.S.-China relations and for his contributions to human rights and national security policies. Brzezinski’s public service and relentless championship of American global leadership earned him numerous accolades and awards, most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.

“What I valued most about Zbig was that he taught me to think deeply about the nature and purpose of American leadership, and to ask questions about how we can protect our vital interests while still being true to our basic values; about how we can use our power wisely not only for the right purposes but also to achieve the right results; about how we can win the battle of ideas against the enemies of freedom; and about how we can lead in a way that would encourage others to follow,” Albright told the audience.

Albright was the first woman to serve as the Secretary of State under the Bill Clinton administration. She studied International Relations and Russian at Johns Hopkins SAIS in 1962 and earned her MA and PhD Degree from Columbia University, where she took a course in “Comparative Communism” with Brzezinski. To Albright, he was an outstanding professor and a brilliant strategist whose sophisticated analysis of world politics greatly influenced her understanding of international relations. Albright later served on the National Security Council alongside Brzezinski, where she gained respect for him as a friend and mentor.

“In emphasizing both interests and values, Brzezinski reflected his view that American foreign policy must be shaped not solely on the basis of what we are against but also what we are for,” Albright remarked. “And for him, American interests dictated that we should be for a world in which freedom is depended on, human dignity protected, and universal values upheld.”

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Us vs Them: The Failure of Globalism


Us vs Them: The Failure of Globalism


September 10, 2018

Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group
Moderated by Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Founder and President of the Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer joined the school for a discussion, moderated by Dean Vali Nasr, on the impacts of globalization in today’s changing world.

Setting the context for the conversation, Bremmer referenced some of his main concerns for the future of the United States. He noted that the rise of China is increasing the likelihood of conflict as it steadily competes with the United States in terms of military power, trade and primarily, technology. “We are heading on a path toward confrontation,” he said. Another major concern Bremmer mentioned is that many of the citizens who live in the United States and Europe do not believe they live in a true democracy and that the system is rigged against them. He believes that governments need to be doing more to reassure their constituents.

Bremmer also questioned whether the United States would have the capability of successfully engaging in conflict with China, due in large part to the country’s dwindling list of strategic allies. While he believes the United States needs a more hawkish policy toward China than the Obama administration had, he conceded this approach is difficult to implement.

Upon being asked about Russia’s role in the future reordering of the global system, Bremmer emphasized the country’s heightened ability to use hard, soft, and secret power in its work to actively divide populations in countries around the world. While he doesn’t believe that Russia will have a significant role in the creation of a new world order, the country will derive its strategic power from its ability to undermine authority in other states.

Questions from the audience ranged from how terrorism challenges American policies to the potential spillover effects into Latin America from a confrontation between China and the United States.

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A Conversation on Affordable and Clean Energy for All


A Conversation on Affordable and Clean Energy for All


September 10, 2018

Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation
Johannes Urpelainen, Director and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment
Founding Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP)

Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah visited the school for a discussion on access to affordable and clean energy in emerging countries. The discussion was moderated by Energy, Resources and Environment Professor and Founding Director of the school’s Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP), Johannes Urpelainen.

As energy demand grows globally, many still lack basic electricity. Shah shared insights on how the Rockefeller Foundation has addressed these challenges, referencing ISEP’s partnership with Smart Power India, an organization established by the foundation that aims to bring power to the nearly one billion people that live without it. The effort, which has reached more than 65,000 homes and businesses to date, uses mini-grid installations to show that even the poorest households are willing to pay for high quality, reliable power and therefore the mini-grids are sustainable financial enterprises, Shah said.

Asked by Professor Urpelainen about his advice for students looking to pursue careers in the field of energy and development, Shah emphasized that building the technical expertise to be a professional in the field is crucial, as well as understanding the political and governance aspects of the places where you are working. “If you can turn the lights on whether it’s in Mogadishu, Kandahar or elsewhere, you are making a statement about the quality of governance and you are predictably improving people’s lives in a very tangible way,” he said.

Power and electricity are the baseline for growth, development, and poverty reduction, Shah argued. He said it will take government, big public utilities, and power generators working together to produce more power in an economically viable way to extend the reach of national grid systems.

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The Future of US Leadership with Bill Gates


The Future of US Leadership with Bill Gates


June 27, 2018

Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Moderated by Cinnamon Dornsife, Associate Practitioner-in-Residence and Senior Advisor of International Development and Jeremy Shiffman, Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Health Policy

Philanthropist and tech giant Bill Gates visited the Johns Hopkins SAIS community to discuss global health and development and how public and private funders have different roles to play in international development projects.

Gates presented key achievements of global health efforts, noting that despite political strife depicted daily in the media, the world is far better and less violent today than it has ever been. For example, Gates said 12 million children under five years of age died in 1990. Today, due to aid from the US, many NGOs and foundations, the number of child deaths has been reduced to 5 million a year and is on track to be halved again soon.

Professor Jeremy Shiffman asked Gates what he hoped to accomplish at his testimony later that day with US senators and congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Gates said he will emphasize the need for the US to remain a strong leader in global health and development spending. "It's hard to overstate how much people count on the US, and until recently they always had the expectation that the US would be there. There is no Plan B, and if the US cuts this investment, [we don't know] what would happen."

Questions from the audience explored issues of climate change, online education, China's emergence as a global development funder, and the political power of youth to improve governance in Nigeria.

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