Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events in DC 04/01 – 04/05

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events in DC 04/01 – 04/05

Monday, April 1st

Envisioning Congo’s Future: A Conversation with Martin Fayulu

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am

Location: CSIS Headquarters – 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is struggling to address a series of political, public health, and security challenges. President Felix Tshisekedi, following a contentious and disputed election, has failed to appoint a cabinet and counter accusations that he is under the thumb of his predecessor Joseph Kabila. The DRC government and its international partners have made insufficient headway to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak. In addition, the country continues to experience bouts of political unrest and conflict between rivals militia groups. These recent and enduring crises have cast a shadow over the first peaceful transition between one leader to another in the DRC’s history.

The CSIS Africa Program invites you to a conversation with former presidential candidate Mr. Martin Fayulu on Monday, April 1, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. to hear Mr. Fayulu’s vision for Congo’s future. Martin Fayulu will share his perspective on the elections and present policy recommendations to address the DRC’s political, economic, and security challenges, as well as the Ebola outbreak.

Martin Fayulu is a Congolese politician and President of the ECiDé (Engagement pour la Citoyenneté et le Développement) political party, as well as the coordinator of the political coalition Dynamique de l’Opposition. Fayulu spent 20 years working for ExxonMobil in Africa, France, and the United States as managing director. He served as provincial MP from 2006-2011 and as national MP from 2011-2018, championing integrity and democracy. Fayulu also initiated a grassroots campaign to raise awareness about the importance of presidential term limits outlined in Congo’s constitution. During Congo’s 2018 presidential election, Fayulu was the Lamuka coalition’s joint opposition presidential candidate. Although his opponent Félix Tshisekedi was ultimately installed as president, Fayulu’s bid for the presidency received widespread popular support and was accredited as the winner by various observer missions.

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Korea in Crossfire: Economics and Geopolitics of South Korea

Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm

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

Information: In the era of Xi and Trump, economics has increasingly taken center stage as a tool for diplomacy. One of the nations that will be most affected by a trade war between China and the United States is South Korea. South Korea’s exports account for more than 50 percent of its GDP, and China and the United States are its two largest trading partners. How will a trade war between the United States and China impact South Korea? Will it integrate itself into the Belt and Road Initiative or pursue further development with signatories of the new CPTPP replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

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A Conversation with Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters – 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: Please join us for an insightful conversation with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell where topics such as the future of the European Union and upcoming European parliament elections, Brexit, the celebration of NATO’s 70th anniversary and transatlantic relations as well as the upcoming Spanish general elections on April 28 (which Minister Borrell has described as being of “existential importance”) will be explored in an engaging and very topical dialogue.

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A Conversation with Congressman Michael McCaul

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Please join the Wilson Center for a wide-ranging conversation with Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Alongside Wilson Center President Jane Harman, the Congressman will discuss U.S. policy in global hot spots, including Venezuela; the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative; the relationship between the United States and Russia; ongoing conflicts in the Middle East; and the future of negotiations with North Korea.

Congressman McCaul will also preview the foreign policy challenges facing the 116th Congress and share his perspective on how the U.S. and its allies can best advance shared interests to enhance global stability, promote democracy, and counter aggressive tendencies and threats from adversaries.

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Tuesday, April 2nd

Strengthening Counter-Narcotics Cooperation with Mexico and Central America: A Conversation with Senator John Cornyn

Time: 8:30am – 9:30am

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Transnational criminal organizations and cartels use corridors connecting Central and South America to the United States as an illicit sales route, dealing in anything that can turn a profit. Drug trafficking, human smuggling, illicit weapons, money laundering, and public corruption are the tools of their poisonous trade, and countries throughout the region suffer the devastating effects. U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) will discuss his plan to address this crisis on multiple fronts – to stop the influx of drugs, fight human trafficking, reduce public corruption, strengthen border security, improve trade relations, and provide greater economic security in the Americas.  

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The Future of Statecraft

Time: 9:00am – 4:45pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters – 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) are pleased to host another conference as part of the Future Strategy Forum, an initiative to connect scholars who research national security with its leading practitioners. The 2019 focus is “The Future of Statecraft” and will examine the future of great power cooperation, international institutions, and economic statecraft. The conference will feature a keynote conversation with former National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice. 

RSVP: Click Here. Due to space restrictions, advanced RSVPs are required for this event and will be re-confirmed via email from the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative.


Bologna Peacebuilding Forum 2019. Power and Peace. The Shifting Role of Civil Societies and Political Institutions in Building Peace.

Time: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Location: Penthouse – Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe)

Information: The Bologna Peacebuilding Forum (BPF) is a framework for dialogue and exchange between scholars and practitioners working on conflict resolution, peacebuilding and development. 

The topic will be “Power and Peace: the Shifting Role of Civil Societies and Political Institutions in Building Peace”.

The morning session will reflect on the role of civil society organizations (CSOs), exploring how they are adapting to the evolving nature of peacebuilding. The afternoon session will analyze the relationship between CSOs and political institutions. Introduced by the research report “Supporting peacebuilding in a time of change”, the panel will explore the forms of cooperation between governments and civil society. Finally, the third session will feature an exchange between Ana de Vega, UNHCR Senior Protection Associate, and Mirvat Sayegh, a cultural mediator and refugee from Aleppo. The dialogue will focus on how peace can be promoted in a time of identity politics, and, in particular, how peacebuilding can benefit from the work of individuals with direct experience of armed conflict.

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Russia in the Middle East: A Conversation with Major General (Res.) Amos Gilead

Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Russia’s entry into the Syrian civil war in 2015 marked a new stage in Russia’s increasing assertion of its military and political posture on the world stage. The Syrian intervention secured for Moscow greatly increased influence throughout the region, which came to a large degree at the expense of U.S. and Israeli interests. In a conversation with Kennan Institute Director Matthew Rojansky, Major General (Res.) Amos Gilead will reflect on how Russia’s presence on Israel’s northern border has shifted the balance of power in the region and what it means for Israel and the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

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Economic Origins and Geopolitical Limits of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: SIS Room 300 – 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Information: In this talk about China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, Johns Hopkins professor Ho-fung Hung argues that China is following in the footsteps of preceding capitalist-hegemonic powers to protect its global economic interests by projecting its military power and political influence overseas. Having been a free rider in the US-centered global order for decades, China will go through a long process to master the skill of exercising its political and military muscles on the global stage. Before China finds a viable solution to this question of hegemony, the OBOR project will be less than meet the eyes.

RSVP: This event is open to the public. Contact Yang Zhang at yangz@american.edu with any questions.


What’s next for the Rohingya?

Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: In August 2017, security forces in Burma’s Rakhine state staged a harsh and extended crackdown on the Rohingya—a deeply marginalized and persecuted Muslim minority community. Thousands are estimated to have died, while more than half a million fled to neighboring Bangladesh. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the tragedy as ethnic cleansing. At this event, Dr. Nehginpao Kipgen, a top expert on Burma, will discuss developments involving the Rohingya since the 2017 crackdown, including key recent events, and what might be in store next for the troubled community. Does the political will exist in Burma to improve conditions for the Rohingya and to address the underlying issues that fuel their persecution? What will become of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh? Dr. Kipgen will address these questions and more.

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Women’s Economic Empowerment in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: The Role of the Private Sector

Time: 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Location: Healy Family Student Center, Herman Room, Georgetown University – Tondorf Rd, Washington, DC 20007

Information: Women’s economic participation is critical for growing economies and creating the conditions for sustainable peace and security. Yet little attention has been paid to the particular economic challenges facing the estimated 264 million women living in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Women often face the most severe economic exclusion in fragile and conflict-affected countries, yet their nations have a crucial need for their economic participation.

This panel discussion will: provide an overview of GIWPS’ research on women’s economic empowerment in fragile and conflict-affected states, and the unique challenges women face in these settings; highlight the role of the private sector in this space and showcase successful interventions; demonstrate how businesses can improve opportunities for women in challenging economic settings and identify entry points for business and related public-private partnerships; address barriers to investing in fragile and post-conflict states

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Wednesday, April 3rd

Vietnam and the United States: Towards Strategic Cooperation

Time: 8:30am – 12:00pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters – 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: The CSIS Southeast Asia Program is pleased to present the Vietnam and the United States: Towards Strategic Cooperation conference on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Conference speakers will include Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States), Dr. Michael J. Green (Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS ; Director of Asian Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University), Dr. Evan S. Medeiros (Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Georgetown University), Dr. To Anh Tuan (Deputy Director-General, Bien Dong Institute for Maritime Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam), Ambassador David B. Shear (Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates), and Dr. Amy Searight (Senior Adviser and Director, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS). A complete agenda with additional confirmed speakers will follow.

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President to Powerbroker: The Future of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Kazakhstan 

Time: 9:45am – 11:30am

Location: Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Hudson Institute will host a discussion on the recent resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the future of Kazakhstan. Nursultan Nazarbayev’s sudden resignation as president of Kazakhstan on March 19—a post he had occupied since the country’s independence in 1990—marked the end of a tenure characterized by corruption, electoral fraud, and human rights abuses. Or did it?

Far from retiring quietly, Nazarbayev continues to exercise authority over Kazakhstan, designating himself Leader of the Nation and retaining control of the influential national security council. Experts have explained his move from president to powerbroker as a new kind of authoritarian transition—one that could even provide a future model for Vladimir Putin. Heavily influenced by Russia and China, Kazakhstan is an increasingly important strategic consideration for the United States. The future of Nazarbayev’s regime will have significant implications for U.S. engagement in Central Asia and beyond.

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 The Blind Eye: U.S. Non-Proliferation Policy towards Pakistan from Ford to Clinton

Time: 11:30am – 1:00pm

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Known as the torch-bearer of arms control and non-proliferation, the United States is largely believed to be the global leader of the non-proliferation regime. To that effect, non-proliferation has remained high on its foreign policy agenda. Notwithstanding the above, the non-proliferation regime is under threat today, something that merits a question: Has the US been seriously committed to ensuring non-proliferation or has it made compromises pursuant to other strategic objectives along the way while maintaining a façade?

The Blind Eye is a scholarly endeavor to answer the above question. Using declassified documents from the US Archives, this book discusses the US non-proliferation policy towards Pakistan from Ford to Clinton. Bringing new knowledge to the fore, this book argues that the US, contrary to its claims, made trade-offs between non-proliferation and other foreign policy goals viz Pakistan. Consequently, the non-proliferation policy that the US developed during the five administrations from 1974-2001 demonstrates Washington’s lack of commitment to its non-proliferation enforcement agenda towards Islamabad.

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Reading Gender in Early Islamic Law: Male and female slaves as legal subjects

Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Location: ACMCU Boardroom ICC 270, Georgetown University – 37th & O Streets NW, Washington, DC 20007

Information: This talk explores the legal construction of gender in early Islamic law, through a close reading of the legal works of an 11th-century Muslim jurist, Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Sarakhsī. Through a comparative exploration of the construction of male and female slaves as legal subjects, I demonstrate that gender in early Islamic law was varied and multiple. Human gendered existence was not constructed along a binary of male and female but instead conceptualized primarily along the active/passive binary. In this legal discourse, maleness and femaleness were reformulated at their intersection with social factors such as age, enslavement, and social status.

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The Impact of Brexit, as Told by a British MEP

Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Location: Arrupe Multi-Purpose Room, Georgetown University – 6411 Tondorf Rd, Washington, DC 20007

Information: Mr. Palmer, a Member of the European Parliament, will speak about Brexit and its possible impact on the relations between the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States. He is also keen to discuss the involvement of young people in the political process.

Mr. Palmer has been a member of the European Parliament since 2017 and represents the East Midlands region of England. He sits as a member of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament representing the UK Labour Party. He is a member of the multiple European Parliament Committees, including Environment, Public Health & Food Safety (ENVI), Employment & Social Affairs (EMPL), and the delegation for relations with the United States of America. Prior to joining the European Parliament, Mr. Palmer was the Deputy City Mayor of Leicester from 2011-2017.

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Israel’s Fateful Election: End of the Netanyahu Era – Or Triumph of the Indicted Incumbent?

Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street, NW – Room 211

Information: Will Binyamin Netanyahu become the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, or will voters decide that it’s bye-bye Bibi? After Israel’s election on April 9th, one thing appears certain – Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of corruption. All else defies prediction, with a dozen parties set to win seats in the next Knesset, their campaigns highlighting Israel’s social divisions in the process. At this event, experts in Israeli politics and public opinion will unpack the factions, slogans, scandals and potential outcomes of a pollster’s nightmare and a pundit’s delight – a vote to decide the fate of the figure who has dominated Israeli politics for a decade.

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25 Years After the Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi: Seeking Reparative Justice, Realizing Human Rights, and Reflecting on the Legacy of the Genocide in the Lives of its Survivors

Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Location: The Textile Museum – 701 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052

Information: Speaker: Albert Gasake, Survivor of the Rwandan genocide & Attorney with the Rwanda Bar Association. Event sponsored by the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Intiaitve.

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Thursday, April 4th

Korea Policy Forum: “The Implications of Demographic Decline for South Korean National Security”

Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Location: The Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503, Elliott School of International Affairs, the George Washington University, 1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20052

Information: South Korea is undergoing rapid aging that will see more those over the age of 65 account for more than 30 percent of the population by 2040. As South Korea’s population ages and declines, it will have long-term implications for South Korean society and the economy. The implications of these changes for economic growth and social spending are often discussed, but what will they mean for South Korean national security? What steps has the South Korean government taken to address the challenges for national security from demographic decline and are there any additional steps they can take?

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How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Information: Decision-makers and scholars often assume that diplomatic signals are received as they are intended. They have faith in both their ability to convey their messages to others and to correctly interpret others’ behavior. Robert Jervis’ research shows that this is not true and that international politics often resembles the famous Japanese movie Rashomon. Perceptions are strongly influenced by people’s theories and expectations on the one hand and their personal and political needs on the other. Both historical scholarship and policy-making would be improved by an understanding of how people perceive. 

Robert Jervis is Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University. His most recent book is How Statesmen Think, and his other books include Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War, American Foreign Policy in a New Era, System Effects: Complexity in Political Life, and The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution. He was President of the American Political Science Association in 2000-01 and was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Venice and Oberlin College. In 2006 he received the National Academy of Science’s tri-annual award for behavioral sciences contributions to avoiding nuclear war.

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Friday, April 5th

Reform, Challenges, and Adaptation: Egypt’s Evolving Economic Outlook

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am

Location: Middle East Institute,1319 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a panel discussion on the future of Egypt’s economy. While Egypt’s recent economic reforms have made good inroads into improving the macroeconomic outlook, the pace of global development means that Egyptian businesses must work twice as hard to keep pace, and even harder if they want to pull ahead of the pack. Egypt’s state economy is huge, particularly in comparison with that of other emerging markets, but new reforms may give the private sector the opportunity to become Egypt’s growth engine.

Please join us for a panel discussion with Egyptian business leaders who will offer an on-the-ground perspective on the economic, developmental, legal and environmental challenges to achieving economic success.

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Redefining U.S. national security: interlinkages with American society and foreign policy

Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm

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

Information: President Donald Trump won the 2016 election largely by carrying Rust Belt states and doing especially well with a demographic skeptical of America’s role in the world regarding trade, investment, diplomacy, alliances, and immigration policy. His election has had consequences for U.S. foreign policy, from reducing foreign aid and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, to imposing highly restrictive immigration policies and questioning numerous alliances.

Yet, U.S. foreign policy remains in flux as President Trump’s approach evolves, with the 2018 midterm elections demonstrating that many voters are not satisfied with the direction of the country. This situation provides a rich backdrop for debate, now and in the run-up to the 2020 political season, about how to best advance America’s interests at home and abroad.

On April 5, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) and the Foreign Policy program at The Brookings Institution will host a discussion on the implications of this complex political environment in which domestic and foreign policy decisions influence each other. The discussion will outline how evidenced-based policy analysis and dialogue can inform a comprehensive U.S. policy.

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America’s Changing Role in Global Affairs: A Conversation with Wolf Blitzer

Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Location: Johns Hopkins University, Kenney Auditorium – 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20036

Information: Join us for a conversation on America’s Changing Role in Global Affairs with Wolf Blitzer, lead political anchor at CNN and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus. The conversation will be moderated by Francis J. Gavin, Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and Inaugural Director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

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The Fight Against ISIS: A Conversation with Rukmini Callimachi

Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor Conference Center – 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Information: Please join the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Transnational Threats Project for a conversation on ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Syrian Civil War with New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi. Seth Jones, Harold Brown Chair and Director of the Transnational Threats Project will join Rukmini to discuss her experience reporting on the fight against ISIS and her views from on the ground in Syria.

Rukmini Callimachi joined The New York Times in March 2014 as a foreign correspondent, covering Al-Qaeda and ISIS. She is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, including in 2014 for her series of stories based on a cache of internal Al-Qaeda documents she discovered in Mali. She is also the winner of the George Polk Award for International Reporting, multiple Overseas Press Club Awards and the Michael Kelly prize. Before joining The Times, Ms. Callimachi spent seven years covering a 20-country beat in Africa, first as a correspondent and later as West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press. She began her career as a freelancer in India in 2001, where she was lucky enough to get one of the last seats on a plane to the state of Gujarat on the day of a catastrophic earthquake, filing her first story for Time magazine. She is also an NBC contributor and host of the hit podcast, “Caliphate.”

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