International Affairs Events in DC

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events in DC 9/17-9/23


Monday, September 17

China’s Role in Myanmar’s Internal Conflicts

Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: U.S. Institute of Peace- 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037

Information: As China becomes more assertive internationally, it has begun to encounter conflict and instability in fragile states worldwide. Nowhere is this truer than in Myanmar, where China is a key actor in the peace process and has come to the defense of the government over the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. Assessing China’s role in and perspectives toward Myanmar’s internal conflicts can offer important insights into conflict dynamics inside the country and help inform potential U.S. peace support policies.

For six months this year, USIP convened a group of 13 senior experts to examine China’s involvement in Myanmar’s internal conflicts—particularly those in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states—and peace process. Join USIP on September 17 for a discussion with the group’s co-chairs on the main findings of their report, which is the first in USIP’s China Senior Study Group series examining China’s influence on conflict dynamics around the world.  

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Food Insecurity as a Security Challenge

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters- 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 OR watch live at:

Information: Please join the Center for Strategic and International Studies for a Smart Women, Smart Power conversation with Ambassador (ret.) Ertharin Cousin, former executive director of the World Food Programme. She will discuss global food insecurity and hunger and the role they play in other security issues, including violent extremism.

Ambassador Cousin served as executive director of the World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017. It’s the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with 14,000 staff who aid some 80 million people in 75 countries. She previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.

Prior to her global work on food security, Ambassador Cousin was executive vice president and chief operating officer of America’s Second Harvest, which is now known as Feeding America, a confederation of more than 200 U.S. foodbanks that serve more than 50 million meals annually.

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Northern Ireland’s Lessons for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Time: 5 – 7 PM

Location: Elliott School of International Affairs: Room 505- 1957 E Street, NW

Information: Can insights from the streets of Belfast apply in the Middle East? Reverend Dr. Gary Mason shares lessons from three decades of conflict transformation work with prisoners and paramilitaries in his native Northern Ireland, and more recently with Israeli and Palestinian ex-combatants.

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Tuesday, September 18th

One State/Two States: Pathways for the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

Time: 12:00 PM — 2:00 PM

Location: 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: Please join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy for a discussion of their latest report on future pathways for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Edward P. Djereijian of the Baker Institute and Marwan Muasher from the Carnegie Endowment will present their findings of their report. An expert panel discussion will follow.

A light lunch will be served from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. The presentation and panel discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m.

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The Global Rise of Identity Politics

Time: 4:00 PM — 5:30 PM

Location: 1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC 20036

Information: Building on his landmark works on the development of political order, Francis Fukuyama argues in his new book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, that global politics are coming to be dominated by identity rather than ideology.

He highlights the powerful craving of individuals in countries all around the world for recognition of their identity and the widespread resentment of perceived affronts to their dignity. His canvas is wide, covering the evolution of politics in many parts of the developing world while giving significant attention to the crisis of democracy in the United States and Europe. In this session, Professor Fukuyama will present the main arguments of his book and engage in a discussion with the moderator, Thomas Carothers, and the audience.

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Crisis Response: Tracking Venezuela’s Unprecedented Migrant and Refugee Flows

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Location: CSIS Headquarters- 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 OR watch live at:

Information: Please join CSIS Americas for a public discussion on the current state of Venezulea’s migrant/refugee crisis. Over 2 million Venezuelans have fled the country over the past two years. Increasing waves of migrants and refugees are expected in the upcoming weeks and months—especially after Nicolas Maduro’s economic announcements last month.

This event will focus on the impact of the flow of refugees and migrants leaving Venezuela, including serious humanitarian, economic, security and social challenges in key countries in the region, and the response of the United States and the international community. Presentations will be made by each of our featured panelists, followed by a moderated discussion with CSIS Associate Director and Venezuelan expert Moises Rendon and time for audience questions.

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Wednesday, September 19th

The Role of the Private Sector in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters- 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 OR watch live at:

Information: In September 2015, the 193-member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Development Agenda and the 17 SDGs, built off of the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs are not an official treaty, but a form of soft law aimed at eliminating extreme poverty, building partnerships, and spurring economic growth around the world. The private sector provides 9 out of 10 jobs in developing countries and has an important role to play in achieving the SDGs and solving global problems. Many private sector actors support the SDGs and have joined the UN Global Compact. At the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference in 2015, it became clear that it would take trillions not billions of dollars of financing of all types to achieve the SDGs. Private sector participation is critical to strengthening the economies in developing countries, employing the growing youth bulge in Africa, and solving global challenges like migration.

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The Sarvodaya Movement: Moving Toward Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Location: Berkley Center- 3307 M St NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20007

Information: The Sarvodaya Movement, widely recognized as a leader and model in translating a Gandhian and Buddhist approach to self-governance into practice, offers many lessons for contemporary development and peacebuilding. Sarvodaya communities in Sri Lanka (totaling 15,000 at its peak) are organized around fiercely defended principles of self-reliance and Deshodaya “national awakening.” As Sri Lanka has experienced bitter conflict and threats of extremism, Vinya Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya’s leader, plays central roles in direct conflict resolution and reconciliation and, more broadly, governance. This seminar with Ariyaratne will focus on lessons learned for development and conflict resolution scholars and practitioners.

Lunch will be served.

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Thursday, September 20th

Examining the health of democracy across Africa

Time: 9:30am- 11:30am

Location: Brookings Institution: Saul/Zilkha Room- 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20036

Information: On September 20, the Africa Security Initiative at Brookings hosts an event to discuss the state of elections and democracy across Africa. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, will deliver a keynote address prior to a panel discussion on the issues. Panelists will include Lauren Ploch Blanchard of the Congressional Research Service as well as Matthew Carotenuto and Kristin McKie of St. Lawrence University. Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon will moderate the discussion in addition to sharing his own thoughts.

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The Liberal International Order: Past, Present, and Future

Time: 11:00AM – 12:15PM

Location: Cato Institute: Hayek Auditorium- 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C

Information: Recent political tumult and the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency have driven anxious commentators to lament the collapse of a post-1945 liberal world order. Invoking the supposed institution building and multilateralism of the last 70 years, the order’s defenders urge U.S. leaders to restore a battered tradition, uphold economic and security commitments, and promote liberal values. Others caution that nostalgia has obscured our understanding of the old order’s hard edges and its shortcomings, and has forestalled a serious assessment of the changes that will be needed going forward.

Panelists will discuss the core principles of the liberal international order — both as those principles have been professed by its defenders and as they have been practiced by U.S. and world leaders. They will also consider the present and future of the liberal order. What revisions, if any, are necessary? Should U.S. leaders embrace the old liberal international order and reaffirm American leadership within that order? Or is it time to reassess U.S. grand strategy and bring U.S. goals in line with modern-day realities? Join us for an important and timely discussion.

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A Discussion with H.E. Raila Odinga, Former Prime Minister of Kenya

Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Location: Copley Formal Lounge- 3700 O Street Northwest Washington, DC 20007

Information: Join Georgetown University’s African Studies Program & the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Africa Program for a discussion with His Excellency Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya. Hon. Odinga will speak on politial reforms, elections, and democratic consolidation in Kenya.

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RESOLVE Network 2018 Global Forum: Innovative Approaches to Understanding Violent Extremism

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Location: U.S. Institute of Peace- 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037

Information: The threat of violent extremism is evolving. However, significant knowledge gaps continue to pose obstacles to those seeking to prevent and address it. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the RESOLVE Network for the Third Annual RESOLVE Network Global Forum on September 20 to explore new research angles and approaches for prevention and intervention of violent extremism in policy and practice.

This forum will build from the RESOLVE Network’s previous efforts to meet the needs of policymakers and practitioners to better address the significant gaps in research, evidence, and data on drivers of violent extremism and conflict. The forum will convene RESOLVE’s partner organizations, international researchers, practitioners, and policymakers for thought-provoking TED Talk style presentations and salon-style discussions in addition to engaging breakout discussions, presenting an opportunity to learn from experts from across the globe and contribute your own knowledge and expertise to the discussion. Join the conversation on Twitter with #RESOLVEForum.

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NATSECDEF 2018: “Preserving Justice in National Security”

Time: 8:30am- 6:30pm

Location: The George Washington University Law School: Lerner Hall, Room 101- 2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052

Information: NATSECDEF is an annual conference organized by attorneys of the Military Commissions Defense Organization, Gitmowatch, Witness Against Torture, Justice for Muslims Collective, and Defending Rights & Dissent.

NATSECDEF 2018 is our fourth annual meeting of the minds from the fields of law, community activism, religion, national security, and journalism. The relationship between national security and human rights is a delicate balance, as consistently illustrated through the Guantanamo Bay military commissions. This conference will bring together experts, scholars, advocates, and activists to discuss the most pressing national security issues, how they are being constructed and addressed, and how to maintain the balance between effective security and the human rights protections necessary to a democratic United States.

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Friday, September 21st

Annual PONARS Eurasia Policy Conference 2018

Time: 9:00 am – 6:15 pm

Location: Lindner Family Commons: Room 602- Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street, NW

Information: PONARS Eurasia is an international network of scholars advancing new approaches to research on security, politics, economics, and society in Russia and Eurasia. The program is based at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. PONARS Eurasia is supported in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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