International Affairs Events

September 21 – September 25

One of the greatest advantages of living in Washington, DC is having unparalleled access to high-quality events hosted by the nation’s leading public, private, and non-profit organizations. In today’s changed world, these organizations have pivoted to hosting high-quality virtual events, accessible to all.

The “Getting Downtown” newsletter is a curated list of events that might be of interest for international affairs-focused students and young professionals.  Please, feel free to share this list of events with anyone that may be interested and subscribe here to continue getting weekly lists of events!

I encourage all of you to virtually attend these events and panel discussions as much as you can. These events are thought-provoking and also provide great opportunities to connect with senior and mid-level professionals.

All the best,
Dr. Paul R. Williams
Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations
American University
www.drpaulrwilliams.com

Monday, September 21

Italy: No Country for Trivial Elections

Time: 12:30 – 2 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by Johns Hopkins University
Information: SAIS Europe and UniBo faculty panel with Donatella Campus, Justin O. Frosini, and Gianfranco Pasquino. The event is hosted by Erik Jones.
RSVP: Click Here


Trump or Biden: What Would it Mean for Latin America and the Caribbean?

Time: 11 AM – 12 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
Countries across the Americas face one of the most difficult social and economic scenarios in decades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic contraction. The generally grim regional picture that existed at the beginning of 2020 has turned decidedly negative, with significant implications for U.S. domestic and foreign policy interests. Whether President Trump wins a second term or former Vice President Joe Biden is elected, the United States will face urgent challenges in the region, where the public health and economic crises are compounding preexisting pressure on democratic institutions, exacerbating inequalities, and deepening the Venezuela crisis and its impact on neighboring countries.

Please join the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program for a webinar on Monday, September 21, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST, for a discussion about how the U.S. elections might impact hemispheric relations.
RSVP: Click Here


A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States

Time: 4 – 5:30 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
The world is now divided into 193 nation-states. As nationalists struggled to establish their own sovereign states, they granted human rights to some people and excluded others. In vivid histories drawn from virtually every continent over the last 250 years, Weitz explores who truly has the “right to have rights.” These histories also explain the origins of many of today’s crises, from the existence of more than 70 million migrants to the growth of right-wing nationalism. The book argues that only the continual advance of international human rights will move us beyond the quandary of a world divided between those who have rights and those who don’t.
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Tuesday, September 22

Diversity and Diplomacy: Assessing the State Department’s Record in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Time: 2 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations
Information:
WITNESSES:           

Carol Z. Perez
Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent
U.S. Department of State
 
Gregory B. Smith
Director and Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of State
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The China Economic Rise Matrix: Pinpointing the Dangers in China’s Financial System

Time: 9 – 10:15 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
Information:
Please join us for this online event for the launch of the upcoming report, The China Economic Risk Matrix, written by the Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics’ non-resident senior associate Daniel Rosen, non-resident adjunct fellow Logan Wright, and Associate Director of the China Projects team at Rhodium Group, Lauren Gloudeman. Despite rising inefficiency, China’s financial system has served as the shock absorber that has helped China’s economy recover from the virus outbreak and maintain growth. But the same elements that have driven China’s recovery have also pushed China’s financial system deep into a gauntlet of systemic financial risks. The China Economic Risk Matrix is the combination of indicators of financial vulnerability that threaten to overwhelm Beijing’s policy tools to manage them, along with a novel, China-specific financial stress indicator. Building on the earlier CSIS volume, Credit and Credibility, this report explores the specific conditions and markets in which changes in government credibility can have a significant impact on systemic stability in China.

Following a presentation of the report’s key findings, Ann Rutledge of CreditSpectrum, Kenneth Kang of the IMF, and Michael Taylor of Moody’s Investors Service will provide commentary, moderated by Trustee Chair Scott Kennedy. The event will conclude with live Q&A with the audience.
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Indigenous Midwives

Time: 3:30 – 5 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
Please join the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, in partnership with UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives, for a discussion with an eminent panel of Indigenous midwives on the varying impacts of past and present maternal health service policies and health systems on Indigenous mothers and families; examples of successful policy changes and existing barriers towards improving Indigenous maternity care; and country-specific strategies used to enhance Indigenous midwifery care and the Indigenous midwifery workforce.
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Wednesday, September 23

The Effects of Covid-19 on Latin America and the Economic Outlook

Time: 1 – 2 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
Information:
Please join the CSIS Americas Program and the CSIS Economics Program for a discussion on how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the outlook in Latin America. The ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases across the region raises questions about the timing of recovery, adequacy of macroeconomic responses, and the role of private and official sectors in responding to the unprecedented health and economic crises. This event will explore these issues, as well as sector-specific outlooks in the wake of the pandemic, and the outlook for sovereign and corporate debt.

Featuring a discussion with Geoffrey Okamoto, Deputy First Managing Director, International Monetary Fund.

Followed by a panel discussion:

  • Chris Campbell, Chief Strategist, Duff & Phelps Institute
  • Kevin Gallagher, Professor of Global Development Policy, Boston University, and Director of the Global Development Policy Center
  • Samar Maziad, Vice President and Senior Analyst, Sovereign, Moody’s Investors Service

Moderated by Stephanie Segal, Senior Fellow, Economics Program, CSIS
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Whither the Middle East: More Conflict or New Peace?

Time: 10:30 – 11:30 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
Lebanon is in chaos, as it struggles to rebuild politically and physically. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. are again mounting over access to arms and their rivalry in the region, with fears of a showdown this fall. Syria is nearing a decade of war, with no imminent prospects of peace or reconciliation. ISIS still has an estimated 10,000 fighters menacing Iraq and Syria. Yet, in the midst of volatile times, Israel and the U.A.E. signed the first peace agreement in more than a quarter century. Where is the Middle East headed in these turbulent times—toward more conflict or new peace?
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In Focus: Update on Moldova’s November Presidential Election

Time: 9:30 – 11 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the GMF
Information:
The German Marshall Fund of the United States, its Frontlines of Democracy Initiative, and Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation invite you to a timely briefing focused on Moldova’s upcoming presidential election. On November 1, Moldova will hold its presidential election in an environment that is highly contentious and politically polarized, marred by disinformation and lack of free media and a population struggling to address the challenges and fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It also comes at a time of increased distrust in Moldovan politicians and institutions due to perceived failed management of the pandemic by the government. Reporting in Moldova suggests that President Igor Dodon and former Prime Minister Maia Sandu lead the vote count less than two months before the election.

The Moldovan election is also playing out geopolitically as pro-Russian President Dodon and his party are seen to be moving Moldova further from the EU and transatlantic integration and committing less to democratic reforms, including combating corruption. Under President Dodon’s leadership Moldovans have also seen a significant uptick in Kremlin efforts, including its use of measures to make sure Moldova is derailed from its European integration path.

Joining us on September 23 to speak to these issues will be leading civil society and policy experts from Moldova who will discuss the presidential candidates and election, as well as their possible political direction and commitment to democratic reforms and transatlantic integration following the election. The conversation will also focus on Moldova’s relationships with the West and Russia and how they could evolve following the election.
RSVP: Click Here


Thursday, September 24

Ground Truth Briefing: U.S. Interests and Engagement in the Sahel: Current State, Key Issues, and the Way Ahead

Time: 9:30 – 10:30 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
Please join the Wilson Center Africa Program for a Ground Truth Briefing on “U.S. Interests and Engagement in the Sahel: Current State, Key Issues, and the Way Ahead” with Dr. J. Peter Pham, U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Region of Africa, on Thursday, September 24 from 9:30-10:30 am Eastern Time (U.S.). This event will be held as a teleconference call, and connection details will be sent out to registered participants before the event.

The countries of the Sahel face a series of multifaceted and interrelated challenges. Mali is in the midst of political upheaval.  Violent extremist organizations (VEOs) pose a critical threat to the region’s security. Violence in the region has increased over the last 5 years and continues to spread in spite of national, regional, and international efforts. Persistent underdevelopment remains a key challenge, with many Sahelian countries ranking near the bottom of the United Nations 2019 Human Development Index. Corruption, inequality, and a lack of public services continue to undermine confidence in many governments in the region. The Sahel is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which threatens to intensify these existing challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of complexity to this already tenuous context.

The United States remains a key partner for the countries of the Sahel through long-standing development and humanitarian assistance; its support for peacebuilding, economic development, and governance projects; and support to governments, regional organizations, and international military efforts to combat VEOs. This commitment was underlined by the creation of the position of the Special Envoy for the Sahel Region, the role to which Dr. Pham was appointed in March 2020 and where he is responsible for coordinating America’s engagement in the Sahel region.
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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Future of the Belt and Road Initiative

Time: 10 – 11:15 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the GMF
Information:
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been the single highest-profile investment package under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A new report from the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Georgetown University Center for Asian Law, which will be published on September 24, looks at the evolution of CPEC, from its initial high ambitions to its slowdown to its mini-revival in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It examines what we can learn for the future of China’s approach to the BRI and the Sino-Pakistani relationship.

Please join GMF Asia and the Georgetown Center for Asia Law for a discussion on China, Pakistan, and the fate of CPEC.
RSVP: Click Here


The Catholic Church and Peacebuilding: Bridging the Gap Between People Power and Peace Processes

Time: 11 – 12:15 AM
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
Information:
For decades, the Catholic Church has served as a mediator in high-level negotiation efforts involving governments and nonviolent movements vying for human rights, democracy, and peace. With its deep connections to communities, institutional ties to governments, and global diplomatic status, the Catholic Church is uniquely positioned to help grassroots activists and peacebuilders collectively vocalize grievances and key demands while providing guidance and managing relationships with national and local governments. While this dual role has not been formally codified and varies based on context, it has implications for the Church’s ability to support people power movements, peace processes, and conflict prevention efforts globally.

The Church is able to advance peace globally by building strategic and tactical bridges between grassroots nonviolent action and peacebuilding actors, as well as investing in their development and capacity building. But this role is not without challenges. Can the Church serve as an effective mediator while openly denouncing human rights violations and government crackdowns against nonviolent activists? Is it possible for different Church actors to effectively assume different roles in the context of popular movements for peace and democracy? What does this look like practically and what can we learn from past cases?

Join USIP for an event that will explore how and where the Catholic Church is able—or has the potential—to effectively support peace processes and people power movements by operating at the grassroots, engaging at the formal level, and liaising in between. The speakers will share anecdotes and stories from their rich experiences, offering an opportunity to discuss current perspectives around violence prevention and conflict transformation in the Catholic Church.
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Friday, September 25

Trade and the Post-Covid Global Economy

Time: 9 – 10 AM
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
Information:
A DISCUSSION WITH

Michael Froman
Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth, Mastercard
Former U.S. Trade Representative

HOSTED BY

Matthew P. Goodman
Senior Vice President for Economics, CSIS

Amy Celico
Principal and China Lead, Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG)
Senior Associate (Non-resident), CSIS Economics Program
RSVP: Click Here


Problematic Plastics Series: Can Grassroots Action and EPR Law Stem the Tide of Single-Use Plastics in Asia?

Time: 9 – 10:15 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Wilson Center
Information:
Most plastic waste leaking into the oceans originates from China and four Southeast Asian countries — Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Among single-use plastics in Asia, small sachet wrappers for food, soap and cosmetics, are one of the most commonly discarded items. While half of all single-use plastic waste in the Philippines comes from sachets, in China and Vietnam, a tsunami of plastic e-commerce and food delivery packaging overwhelms waste collection, disposal and recycling systems. In 2018, Chinese citizens consumed 9.41 million tons of express packaging material, equal to the weight of 130 million adults. Vietnam only recycles 27 percent of its annual 1.8 million tons of plastic waste. Such single-use packaging is often difficult to recycle because of poor quality, food contamination or, as in the case of sachets, the many layers of different materials.

Speakers will explore how grassroots groups and governments in Asia are starting to come together to identify and pilot policies and practices to improve management of plastic waste and reduce production of problematic plastics.

Miko Aliño (GAIA) will introduce the staggering costs and possible solutions to plastic sachet pollution in the Philippines. Quach Thi Xuan (Pacific Environment) will discuss Vietnam’s new EPR plastic packaging law and how Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is involved in shaping this legislation. Mao Da (China Zero Waste Alliance) will draw on the 2019 Plastic Free China report to explore the environmental impacts and strategies to reduce online shopping delivery packaging. Nicole Portley (Pacific Environment) will add some commentary drawing on her work engaging grassroots groups in Asia on plastic campaigns.

After initial comments, the speakers will take questions from moderator Jennifer Turner (Wilson Center) and the audience. Please direct audience questions to @WilsonCEF on Twitter or to Elijah.Patton@wilsoncenter.org.
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Tension in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Way Out

Time: 8:30 – 10 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by GMF
Information:
In the recent months, we have witnessed a significant increase in tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece. They found themselves on the brink of war over territory after almost one hundred years. The current confrontation between the two countries is centered on a long-standing disagreement over territorial boundaries in the Aegean Sea and wider Mediterranean Sea. There is also the Cyprus issue, which has remained unresolved and constitutes another source of tension in the region. This recent tension triggered with the increasing naval maneuvers could provoke a conflict which will have consequences throughout the region. Who can effectively play the intermediary role between the two countries to decrease the tension and bring them to the negotiation table? The EU? The United States or Germany? What are the other resolution mechanisms that can be used to resolve these problems? This discussion aims at finding new ideas and suggestions for the de-escalation and resolution of this territorial conflict.
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