International Affairs Events

October 31st – November 4th
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.

The “Getting Downtown” newsletter is a curated list of events that might be of interest for international affairs-focused students and young professionals living in DC.  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 get downtown to 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

Monday, October 31

Nukes, Protests, and Iran With Robert Malley
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM EDT
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Virtual)
Information: With negotiations over the nuclear deal on hold and Iran facing its most serious protests since 2009, the Biden administration is dealing with a new reality in its relations with the Iranian regime. How have the demonstrations reshaped the administration’s thinking on Iran? Is a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action still on the table? And what is the most effective approach to deal with Iran’s internal unrest?Join Aaron David Miller as he sits down with Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, for a wide-ranging conversation on the Biden administration’s Iran policy.
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Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM EDT
Location: Wilson Center (Hybrid)
Information: These days it seems that nobody is satisfied with American democracy. In Realigners, the historian Timothy Shenk offers an eye-opening new biography of the American political tradition that asks why so many of us feel like the country is both stuck in place and falling to pieces. Running from the drafting of the Constitution to the storming of the Capitol, Realigners tells the history of American democracy by examining the country’s dominant electoral coalitions—and the people who made them. From James Madison and Charles Sumner to Phyllis Schlafly and Barack Obama, it examines at earlier moments when popular majorities transformed American life. We’ve had those moments before. And if there’s an escape from the doom loop that American politics has become, it’s because we might have one again.
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Tuesday, November 1st
How to Make Japan’s Economy Competitive
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 AM EDT
Location: Hudson Institute (Virtual)
Information:Despite being the world’s third-largest economy, Japan is not as attractive a place for business as some of its global competitors. Japan has the lowest foreign-investment-to-GDP ratio of any OECD country. Last year, more money went into places like India, Israel, Poland, and Russia. Japan may not be able to attract foreign business because its economy has hardly grown over the last 15 years or because it has a difficult business environment. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to build “New Capitalism” in the hopes of pulling Japan out of its economic slump. But will this effort be enough to boost Japan’s competitiveness? Please join us for a discussion with Representative Keisuke Suzuki, former state minister of finance and foreign affairs, about the state of Japan’s economy and how the country can attract more business.
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Terminator on the Battlefield: Emerging and Evolving Tech in the Russia-Ukraine War
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM EDT
Location: Brookings Institute (Virtual)
Information: It has been six months since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine, tipping off the largest major military conflict in Europe since World War II. In recent decades, emerging technologies have been innovated and scaled up at an unprecedented rate. Numerous predictions have been made about how new technologies would feature and fare on a battlefield of the future.How have these predictions played out? Has the nature of war fundamentally changed? What are the most readily operationalizable technologies? What have we learned from the past six months war in Ukraine about the use of emerging technologies like hypersonics, drones, loitering munitions, electronic warfare and jamming, cyber weapons and disinformation? This event examines what we’ve seen and learned about the use of emerging and evolving military technologies on the battlefield in Ukraine.

On November 1, 2022, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings will host a virtual panel event evaluating these questions and more.
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Religion and Resistance: The Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches in Resistance Efforts in the War Against Russia
Time: 5:15 AM – 7:00 PM EDT
Location: Foreign Policy Research Institute (Hybrid)
Information: As the Russian-instigated war in Ukraine nears its first-year anniversary, resistance—population-based efforts to frustrate and repel an occupying force—remains an important piece of the overall strategy to liberate Ukraine from Russian forces and influence. The Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches play an important role in efforts to resist Russian occupation and acts as a symbol and structure of resilience in the face of continued military operations against the Ukrainian homeland. This year’s Templeton Lecture on Religion and World Affairs features Dr. Heather S. Gregg, who will be discussing the concept of resistance in military operations, the pros and cons of including religious organizations in resistance operations, and the unique role that the Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches are playin in resistance operations in Ukraine today. 
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Wednesday, November 2nd

Amplifying Women’s Voices for Equity and Inclusion in Peacebuilding 
Time: 10:30 – 11:45 AM EDT
Location: United States Institute for Peace (Virtual)
Information:To more effectively embed the principles of justice, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (JDEIA) in peacebuilding, the field must move beyond just recognizing issues of inequities and exclusion for women and other populations that face injustice. True progress will require us to incorporate the unique perspectives and diverse contributions of women into JDEIA strategies at every level of peacebuilding processes — from opening spaces for intersectional collaboration to defining expectations for meaningful allyship. 

Join USIP for a conversation on the role of women in creating an inclusive and equitable path forward for the peacebuilding field. The discussion will bring together women practitioners and academics from a range of generational and geographical backgrounds to examine what their diverse experiences with equity and inclusion can tell us about the state of JDEIA in peacebuilding — as well as what can be done to better elevate women’s voices in the future.
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Re-Examining the Origin Myths of the Modern Middle East
Time: 10:00  – 11:00 AM EDT
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Virtual)
Information:Popular explanations for the roots of the Middle East’s conflicts often cite Western-imposed national boundaries during and after the First World War. Proponents of these explanations point to the famed Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and other deals that reflected imperial interests and seemingly sidelined Middle Eastern actors. A new book tackles this narrative head-on, arguing that Middle Easterners actually had greater agency in their own state formation, especially during a decade of anti-colonial insurgencies and rebellions after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922.
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Book Event: Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts
Time: 9:30  – 10:30 AM EDT
Location: Center For Strategic & International Studies (Virtual)
Information: Please join the CSIS Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics for this online event, featuring Jeremy Wallace, associate professor of government at Cornell University, who will discuss his new book Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Information, Ideology, and Authoritarianism in China. Wallace will talk about the role of quantification in Chinese political authority.Wallace will first share the findings of the book, which will be followed by a discussion about the trajectory of Chinese leadership and the implications for the global economy and the U.S.-China Relationship with three panelists Yuen Yuen Ang (University of Michigan), Yasheng Huang (MIT Sloan School of Management), and Andrew Mertha (Johns Hopkins University SAIS). Trustee Chair Director Scott Kennedy will host and moderate the discussion, first with the author and panelists, and then with the audience.
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Thursday, November 3rd

Putin’s Shifiting Approach to Conflict and the War in Ukraine
Time: 11:00  AM – 12:00 PM EDT
Location: United States Institute for Peace (Hybrid)
Information: Putin’s defiance of global peace and security norms has steadily grown more brazen over time, with the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine marking his most flagrant violation to date. However, the Kremlin’s lofty strategic ambitions have run up against harsh realities on the ground in what has become a brutal war of attrition. Ukrainian counteroffensives have inflicted heavy losses on the Russian military in recent weeks. And inside Russia, the government’s partial mobilization is sparking protests and acts of resistance throughout the country. Despite these setbacks, Putin has only doubled down — escalating threats of nuclear confrontation against Ukraine and the West.Join USIP for a conversation on the war’s latest developments, Russia’s strategic thinking and the implications for Ukraine, Russia and Europe. The discussion will also look at how Putin and the Russian government’s approach to war has evolved over time, the ways the internal workings of Putin’s system led to the war — as well as what bearing that may have on the form, timing and context for its end.
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Renewable Energy and Mining in Latin America
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
Location: Wilson Center (Virtual)
Information: Latin America’s mining sector could play a consequential role in addressing the climate crisis, producing minerals such as lithium and copper that are essential to renewable energy technologies such as electric vehicles. At the same time, mining has traditionally had major environmental impacts, including related to the sector’s high energy use. Today, major mining companies in Latin America are pledging to increase production of minerals for green technologies while decreasing emissions and other impacts, including by phasing out coal and diesel and ramping up their use of renewable energy. How will the region’s mining sector keep up with skyrocketing demand while meeting higher environmental standards? What new technologies will help reduce emissions and other environmental and social impacts from mining in this region? How can Latin American governments expand this strategic industry while meeting public demands regarding environmental sustainability and social justice? 
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The Party Leads All: The Evolving Role of the Chinese Communist Party
Time: 10:30 – 11:30 AM EDT
Location: Foreign Policy Research Institute (Hybrid)
Information: The Chinese Communist Party and its polices touch nearly every aspect of life in China and dominate some. The recent 20th Party Congress, which gave Xi Jinping an extraordinary third term as General Secretary, signaled that the Party will continue to determine what is permitted and prohibited in the country’s social, economic, and political life, as well as China’s increasingly consequential foreign relations. Still, the Communist Party always faces persistent limits to what it can control and new obstacles ahead.Jacques deLisle and Guobin Yang will discuss their new edited volume, The Party Leads All: The Evolving Role of the Chinese Communist Party, which offers a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment, by more than a dozen leading experts, of the party’s roles at a critical moment for the history of the Party and for China and the world.
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Friday, November 4th

US Policy on Lebanon: A Conversation with Assistant Secretary of State for NEA Ambassador Barbara Leaf
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Location: Wilson Center (Virtual)
Information: Lebanon faces a plethora of economic and political challenges amidst a difficult regional and global geopolitical context. On the economic front, the country is suffering from the rapid collapse of its economy, a severely devalued currency, high debt and rising poverty rates. On the political front, parliamentary elections that took place in May have yet to bring about significant change, as gridlock and infighting continue to impede presidential elections and block progress toward critical reforms.In a change of fortunes, the United States successfully brokered an agreement on the maritime boundary between Lebanon and Israel, although the long-term impacts of the deal on Lebanon, its people, and the region remain to be seen. U.S. support to Lebanon is paramount to keep the country moving towards implementing much needed reforms, allowing Lebanon to rebuild institutions that are stronger, more transparent, and more capable than those that created the current crises. 
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Resolving Tensions Between South Korea and Japan
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT
United States Institute for Peace (Virtual)
Information: South Korea and Japan normalized relations in 1965, but unresolved historical disputes continue to undermine genuine bilateral reconciliation and optimal diplomatic, security and economic cooperation. Past efforts — both between the two countries and trilaterally with the United States — to help improve relations have generally emphasized a “future-oriented” approach that focused on common security and economic interests. However, the lack of a fundamental and permanent resolution to historical grievances has also meant chronic bilateral unease and periodic flareups of heightened friction.To address this shortfall, USIP has launched an essay series that explores new and creative approaches for finding an enduring resolution to Japan-South Korea tensions. The series invites subject matter experts to offer a fresh perspective on the challenge by either examining a new approach or a creative take on an existing approach.
Join USIP for a conversation with five of the essayists on the sources of tension in the Japan-South Korea relationship and the creative ways in which policymakers, practitioners, and experts can address topics such as forced labor, collective wartime memories, the legacy of “comfort women,” the U.S.-South Korea-Japan trilateral alliance, and regional stability.
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Protests in Iran and the Future of the Islamic Republic
Time: 11:00 – 12:00 PM EDT
Location: Foreign Policy Research Institute (Virtual)
Information: Over the last month, Iran has experienced a surge in protests following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police. Led by women of all ages, protests directed against the morality police and Iran’s draconian laws against women’s expression have evolved to widespread protests against the regime itself across wide sectors of society. In this event, we will speak with experts on women’s political movements in Iran who will shed some light on the role the women’s movement has played in Iran leading up to the protests, and how we can understand what is happening on the ground in the historical context of political contention in the Islamic Republic.
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