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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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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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Shaping a New Balance of Power in the Middle East


Shaping a New Balance of Power in the Middle East


June 12, 2018

Ross Harrison, Non-resident Senior Fellow at Middle East Institute
P. Terrence Hopmann, Professor of Conflict Management, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Randa Slim, Foreign Policy Institute Fellow, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Camille Pecastaing, Professor of Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS

The school's Conflict Management Program partnered with Aljazeera Centre for Studies, SETA Foundation, Middle East Institute, Gulf International Forum, Brookings Institution, Arabia Institute, and Harvard Law School to host a symposium exploring the balance of power in the Middle East.

Experts described the collapse of the regional system of the Arab world that has occurred since the end of the Cold War. The traditional role of large states which used to be the leading powers of the region has diminished considerably. Iraq has been preoccupied with sectarian politics, terrorism and corruption. Egypt failed to transform into a democratic system. Syria has fallen onto the battleground of competing powers. 

Meanwhile, the American hold on unipolarity in the Middle East has been slipping and the Arab world now is a region with multiple centers of power including Turkey, Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Instead of the balance of power, the region suffers from security vacuum and each center struggles for advantage, which draws these nations into a downward spiral of conflicts.

Non-state actors such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have mediated positive outcomes, such as the cease-fire OSCE negotiated to end the Russia-Chechnya War in 1996. The organization also resolved a secession attempt by South Ossetia and implemented a peace deal after Tajikistan's civil war. Panelists discussed how these examples provide multilateral alternatives to the balance of power system which can possibly be applied to conflicts throughout the Middle East.

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1 Journey Festival and The Children of Karam House


Changing the Narrative of Refugees in the U.S.

1 Journey Festival and The Children of Karam House


Changing the Narrative of Refugees in the U.S.

June 2, 2018

The 1 Journey Festival brought a day-long celebration of refugees to the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Participants at the free festival built connections among cultures through food, fashion, music, and dance while celebrating refugee talents and stories. The festival aims to change the native narrative about refugees and empower participants to take actions to stand in solidarity with displaced persons worldwide. 

Among the day’s highlights, Chef Jose Andres and a refugee chef hosted a cooking demonstration and discussed the importance of food and culture. Actor, model, and UN spokesperson Ger Duany shared insights from his personal story as one of the “lost boys” of Sudan. The celebrated Pihcintu Multicultural Children’s Chorus performed a song written especially for the festival. Refugee and immigrant music and dance groups performed throughout the day. Children participating in craft workshops made henna designs, built homemade kites, and enjoyed calligraphy lessons taught by refugee families.

The festival featured a marketplace offering handmade wares and creations from the original home countries of refugees. Festival goers also connected with refugees living at camp settlements through virtual reality films and live chat features via Shared Studios’ immersive video technology booth.

In conjunction with the festival, the Foreign Policy Institute continued its series exploring international affairs through arts and culture as The Big Picture hosted The Children of Karam House: an exhibition of photography and written testimonials of Syrian refugee youth in Turkey. View the exhibition online at bigpicturesais.com.

 

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Digital Challenges to the International System


Inaugural event of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foresight series

Digital Challenges to the International System


Inaugural event of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foresight series

May 31, 2018

Giuliana Auinger, Director, KPMG Global Strategy Group
Francis Gavin, Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs
Sean Kanuck, Director of Cyber, Space and Future Conflict, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Dan Kelly, Senior Security Research, Area 1 Security
Sabrina Lin, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
John Lipsky, Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute
Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS
James Rickards, Editor, Strategic Intelligence
Thomas Rid, Johns Hopkins SAIS Professor of Strategic Studies

Johns Hopkins SAIS Foresight, a new annual event series based in Asia and bringing together leaders in business, technology, finance, and academia to explore pressing global issues, debuted in Hong Kong May 31. The event was co-hosted by Asia Society Hong Kong Center. Alumni, guests, and professionals in technology, international finance, and cyber security enjoyed networking and panel discussions on the theme of "Digital Challenges to the International System." 

Asia Society Hong Kong's Executive Director S. Alice Mong and Board of Trustees Chairman Ronnie Chan provided welcoming remarks and thanked the school for partnering with the society to establish the new forum.  

Johns Hopkins SAIS Dean Vali Nasr opened the forum with an overview of the school and its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In highlighting the evening's agenda, Nasr emphasized the importance of information security in financial markets and in industries led by multinational companies.

Francis Gavin of the school's Henry A. Kissinger Center shared insights from his celebrated works on the history of international monetary policy and the challenges and achievements of monetary cooperation among global powers. 

The first panel, moderated by KPMG's Giuliana Auinger, explored the new landscape of cyber threats to national and global security. Dan Kelly, Sean Kanuck, and Professor Thomas Rid discussed practices used by cyber security experts to protect private and government interests from malicious actors. 

The keynote address on "The US Dollar and the International Financial System in the Digital Age" was delivered by Johns Hopkins University alumnus and best-selling author James Rickards. Rickards provided insights from his decades of Wall Street expertise on currency values and the potential for crypto currencies to displace the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency. 

The second panel featured former managing director of the International Monetary Fund John Lipsky with Sabrina Lin of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology joining Rickards for an off-the-record discussion of economic trends. 

Following the latter panel, attendees and speakers networked together at a reception offering sweeping views of the Hong Kong skyline.

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