International Affairs Events

August 10 – August 14

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

Monday, August 10

Why the World is at a Turning Point With Artificial Intelligence and What to do About It

Time: 3 PM – 4 PM
Location: Hosted online by the Brookings Institute
With the increasing incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) into our economy and daily lives, it has become the transformative technology of our time. While some people anticipate a positive future in regard to AI, others raise concerns that emerging technologies will usher in a world of increased inequality, declining privacy, and a broad threat to humanity itself. In their new Brookings Institution Press book, “Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence,” John R. Allen and Darrell M. West discuss AI’s opportunities and risks, and present a policy and governance blueprint for gaining its benefits.

On August 10, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will host a webinar discussion with Allen and West moderated by Andrea Mitchell, the NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent and anchor of “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” They will examine the current landscape of AI and how near-term policy decisions could determine whether the technology leads to utopia or dystopia.
RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, August 11

President Tsai Ing-wen Discusses the Diplomatic, Security, and Economic Challenges Facing Taiwan

Time: 9 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Hudson Institute
Join Hudson Institute and Center for American Progress for an address by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen followed by a discussion with Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office Representative Bi-khim Hsiao, Hudson Senior Fellow Seth Cropsey, and Center for American Progress Vice President Kelly Magsamen.

In January of this year, President Tsai won reelection to a second term. Since then, Taiwan has controlled the spread of its coronavirus outbreak, assisted other countries in combatting the pandemic, and faced increasing aggression from the Chinese Communist Party.

President Tsai will discuss these developments and the security, diplomatic, and economic challenges that face Taiwan in her second term. The conversation following President Tsai’s remarks will incorporate themes from her speech and address current U.S. policy and assistance toward Taiwan.
RSVP: Click Here

Conflict, COVID and Compassion: A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Time: 11:30 PM – 12:30 AM
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
For each of the past four years, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has brought young leaders from conflict-affected regions to Dharamsala, India, for a powerful and inspiring dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. These youths, part of the USIP network of Generation Change Fellows, live and work in the world’s most fragile and war-torn countries and have dedicated their lives to building peace in their communities. In their annual dialogues, His Holiness has talked about how compassion and resilience are foundational to lasting peace.

As the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, rising conflict, and growing demands for justice, the need for individual, societal, and international compassion and resilience has never been more urgent. Please join His Holiness the Dalai Lama, USIP President and CEO Nancy Lindborg, and Generation Change Fellows for a virtual dialogue.
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, August 12

Memory Wars

Time: 12 PM – 12:45 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
Information: On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirihito announced the surrender of Japan in World War II and the Allies celebrated victory. 75 years on, while the conflict continues to be commemorated by all of the Allied powers and to feature heavily in popular culture, it has come to occupy a central place in the contemporary politics of Russia and China, where the war has become a key feature of the respective ruling regimes’ legitimating narratives. This is not just about remembering the past – in both Russia and China the story of the war has been exploited by the current leaders to fuel popular support and appeals to national identity, while academic freedom and scholarship on the war is limited. Both states have passed laws in recent years effectively banning criticism of the official version of the conflict’s history.

Two leading scholars on the role of historical memory in China and Russia – Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University and the author of several books on the subject, including the forthcoming China’s Good War with Harvard University Press, and Nikolay Koposov, Visiting Professor at Emory University and the author of Memory Laws, Memory Wars in addition to his multiple other works, join Seth Center, Director of CSIS’ History and Strategy Project and Wilson Center Fellow Katie Stallard-Blanchette for a discussion of the conflict’s relevance in contemporary Russian and Chinese politics.
RSVP: Click Here

Countering Chinese Espionage

Time: 3 PM – 4 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
Information: Espionage by China poses a growing threat to U.S. national and economic security. In 2018, the Department of Justice launched a nationwide initiative to counter Chinese efforts and protect U.S. security interests. In this event, James A. Lewis and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers will discuss the threat posed by Chinese espionage, and how the Department of Justice has been responding.
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How ISIS Really Ends: The Road to Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation featuring USCENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie

Time: 10 AM – 12 PM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
ISIS remains a threat to regional and global security despite its territorial defeat in March 2019. The enduring defeat of ISIS will require more work to address the aftermath of conflict and to rebuild the region’s social fabric to enable people to move forward sustainably and peacefully. Of immediate concern is what to do with former ISIS combatants and their families, and the massive needs for disengagement, repatriation, and reintegration.

With thousands of former ISIS combatants from over 50 countries detained in prisons across Syria and Iraq and countless women and children in displacement camps—with nearly 70,000 in al Hol alone—countries worldwide face the difficult task of what to do with these individuals and how best to prevent future security challenges.

Meanwhile, the global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the health and safety of those in the prisons and camps, as well as the ability of foreign governments, humanitarian organizations, and camp and prison administrations to continue operations. ISIS adherents have capitalized on this disruption by staging prison breakouts. This combination of stresses provides for an especially complicated set of tasks for governments, local communities, and the international community.

Join USIP as we host CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie and other experts for a discussion on the challenges of the post-ISIS landscape across Syria and Iraq, as well as the military’s role working alongside diplomacy and development to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS and long-term stabilization.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, August 13

America in the World

Time: 10 AM – 10:45 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the German Marshall Fund
As part of its Future of American Power series, The German Marshall Fund of the United States is pleased to invite you to a conversation with Robert B. Zoellick to discuss his book America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. The book identifies five traditions that have emerged from America’s encounters with the world: the importance of North America; the special roles trading, transnational, and technological relations play in defining ties with others; changing attitudes towards alliances; the need for public support; and the belief that American policy should serve a larger purpose. Zoellick’s review of post-Cold War presidencies serve as guideposts for the future. GMF President Karen Donfried will moderate this conversation.
RSVP: Click Here

Friday, August 14

Drug Trafficking and Use in Libya and North Africa: Trends, Effects, and Responses

Time: 10 AM – 11 AM EDT
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
The trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs both within and through Libya are often overlooked as factors in the country’s fragile situation. But the dynamics of illicit drug trading and use in Libya are just one manifestation of the rising drug challenge faced by North African states. Production, trafficking, and consumption are increasing and transforming across the region, posing a rising challenge to stability, security, and public health in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Join USIP and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) for a presentation of recently published research on drug issues in the region. USIP experts will discuss their research on drug trafficking and consumption in Libya, while GI-TOC experts will analyze trends in the Maghreb as a whole. The event will bring together policymakers and practitioners to explore the dynamics of these issue areas and what can be done to deal with the harmful effects while mitigating harm to communities.
RSVP: Click Here