Monday, August 21st
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS): Options and Ways to Respond
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator)
Information: In recent months, ISIS has made significant inroads into South Asia, a region already riddled by militancy and terrorism. In Afghanistan, ISIS has established a local affiliate, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, which has challenged the Afghan government and NATO forces, as well as its rival militant groups, including the Taliban, for territory and influence. In Pakistan, the group has showcased its presence and influence by conducting deadly attacks on soft targets, including on a Sufi shrine. In India, many radicalized youth and terrorist cells have claimed allegiance to ISIS, which provides a fertile recruitment platform for the group. In Bangladesh, ISIS is working to carve out territory and has claimed past attacks on Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sufi Muslims. The group maintains a robust social media presence throughout the region, which serves as a dangerous platform for promoting extremist ideologies.
Tuesday, August 22nd
The Hong Kong Predicament: Two Systems, But One Country
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Location: Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, 1630 7th St NW, Lower Level Meeting Room
Information: July 1, 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from the United Kingdom, and the swearing in of the new Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. The anniversary was an occasion to celebrate Hong Kong’s importance as a global financial hub and respect for the rule of law. It was also a moment to recognize how imperiled Hong Kong’s liberal political characteristics could be in the future. In the ensuing 20 years, Hong Kong has continued to govern much of its own affairs under a mini-constitution called the Basic Law. Hong Kongers enjoy political and civil liberties not tolerated on mainland China, but the executive leadership is chosen in a manner that guarantees an outcome the central government in Beijing desires. Also, the liberties of Hong Kongers are under strain after the disappearance of several booksellers, and the renewed push for national security legislation that would constrain the space to advocate for democratic reforms. In addition, a new generation of Hong Kongers are questioning the political and economic influence of local business tycoons. Hong Kong may be economically vibrant, but ever more Hong Kongers are chafing at the cost of living and inequality.
Please join the Forum on International Affairs for a discussion that will take stock of where Hong Kong may be headed in its relationship with mainland China, and how the relationship impacts internal Hong Kong political and economic debates.
Wednesday, August 23rd
Reddit AMA: Artificial Intelligence and Global Security
Time: 12:30pm – 3:30pm
Location: Center for a New American Security, 1152 15th St NW, Suite 950
Information: CNAS experts Paul Scharre and Gregory Allen host a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on artificial intelligence and global security. The subreddit r/artificial will moderate the AMA on Wednesday, August 23 at 12:30pm EDT. Submit questions and follow along on Reddit, or watch Paul and Greg answer questions via Google Hangout.
Thursday, August 24th
Protecting Public Employees’ First Amendment Rights: Major Cases Challenging “Abood”
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Allison Auditorium
Information: Presented during National Employee Freedom Week (August 20-26), a national information campaign educating about an employee’s rights regarding union membership and non-union alternatives. In many states, public employees are forced to pay dues to labor unions even if they do not want to join the union. Known as “agency shop” arrangements, these payments can amount to hundreds of dollars each year and were upheld in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977). Recent Supreme Court cases, including Knox v SEIU (2012), Harris v. Quinn (2014) and Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association(2016), have challenged the extent and constitutionality of the Abood decision and many believe the days of “agency shop” arrangements are numbered. Two cases in particular, Janus v. AFSCME and Yohn v. CTA, seek to address issues raised in the Friedrichs case that were left unresolved when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away unexpectedly, resulting in a 4-4 decision and leaving the Abood decision and “agency shops” in place.
Human Rights In Egypt – Shadi Mokhtari
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW
Information: Aspiring for Human Rights but Rejecting its Politics: Why Egypt’s 2011 Popular Uprising Should make us Re-Examine How We Understand Popular Views of Human Rights in the Middle East?
In recent decades, there has been much debate over how to promote human rights and women’s rights in the Middle East, a part of the world thought to be resistant to human rights norms because their cultural and religious worldviews conflict with the international framework. Using the case of Egypt before, during and following the 2011 uprising, Shadi Mokhtari argues that in many instances it is perceptions that the politics and practice of human rights is morally contradictory and far from the framework’s emancipatory promise that is a greater barrier for Middle Eastern populations engaging with the paradigm than cultural or religious resistance to to parts of it.