International Affairs Events

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

March 9th – March 13th

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, March 9th

The Wartime Donbas Economy: Can It Be Saved?

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Information: The economy of the Donbas suffered greatly from wartime damages and interrupted trade flows on both sides of the frontline. Companies on the Russia-controlled side are isolated from the global economy by blockade and mismanagement by separatist authorities. Brian Milakovsky will discuss the importance of restoring economic connectivity in the region as President Zelenskyy carefully pursues a resolution to the six-year conflict. Speaker: Brian Milakovsky
RSVP: Click Here

A conversation on national security with General David Petraeus

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036

More than 18 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States has shifted its focus to competition with near-peer great competitors while still deterring rogue states like Iran and North Korea. During the latter years of President Obama’s administration and the early years of President Trump’s — through the 2018 National Defense Strategy, in particular — the U.S. has placed China’s ascendance at the heart of national security policymaking. But ongoing challenges with Russia, Afghanistan, the broader Middle East, and the Korean peninsula will continue to demand U.S. attention and resources.

General David Petraeus — former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and commander of multinational forces in Iraq during the President George W. Bush-era surge — is a distinguished practitioner and analyst of national security. On March 9, he will join Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon in a wide-ranging conversation on the international security environment, the state of the armed forces, and the emerging threats facing the United States.

RSVP: Click Here

Remembering Biafra: History, Memory and the Global Response to the Nigeria-Biafra War

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Information: Please join the Institute for African Studies in celebrating the public launch of a web resource for students, teachers, and scholars that provides background information and a broad range of primary documents for teaching about the international response to the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-70. We will have a reception and a panel discussion on the global impact of the war and ways to engage the conflict as part of teaching international affairs, conflict resolution, and the history of the US in the World.
RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, March 10th

Prospects for Peace: The Way Forward in Afghanistan

Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: 2171 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Information: An OPEN hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to be held by the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building (and available live on the Committee website at
Witnesses: Ms. Laurel Miller Director, Asia Program International Crisis Group (Former State Department Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan); The Honorable Douglas Lute Senior Fellow, Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (Former United States Permanent Representative to NATO); Mr. Luke Coffey Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy The Heritage Foundation

The Venezolana Perspective: Women and the Venezuelan Crisis

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor

Please join CSIS’ Future of Venezuela Initiative and Smart Women, Smart Power Intiative for a discussion on how girls and women have been disproportionately affected by the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and what is being done to address gender-specific issues.

The severe humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has had significant impacts on the female population both inside and outside the country. This event will address the impact the humanitarian crisis is having both on women who remain in Venezuela and who have fled, the importance of including women in politics, and the importance of incorporating women into decision-making positions to shape the future of Venezuela.

Following keynote remarks via video by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, a panel of experts will discuss the humanitarian impact of the crisis on women, girls, and other vulnerable populations. A second panel will later discuss the positive implications of including women in political decision-making roles. This event will feature members of the Venezuelan National Assembly, U.S. government representatives, academics, U.S. and local NGOs, representatives from the Organization of the American States, among others.

In light of current public health concerns related to the COVID-19 virus, please refrain from attending this event in person if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and/or have traveled to a Level 3 (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) country in the previous two weeks. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to watch online. 

RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, March 11th

Antagonizing the Neighborhood: Putin’s Frozen Conflicts and the Conflict in Ukraine

Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Information: An OPEN hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to be held by the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building (and available live on the Committee website at
The Honorable Dan Baer, Senior Fellow Europe Program Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Former United States Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe); Mr. Simon Ostrovsky, Special Correspondent PBS NewsHour; Ms. Olesya Vartanyan, Analyst Eastern Neighborhood International Crisis Group; Mr. Stephen B. Nix, Regional Director Eurasia International Republican Institute

Africa Symposium 2020: Advancing Africa’s Governance, Peace, and Security

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: The National Press Club

In 2020 Africa embarks on its fourth decade of political and economic liberalization. Over the last 30 years, many nations of the continent have moved beyond reliance on military governments and controlled economies. Many have moved into the middle-income category, established norms for elections and political stability, and created institutions to manage conflicts.

But, with 54 countries, Africa’s progress is uneven. Africa embarks on the next decade with uncertainty over the democratic dividend and new challenges to peace and security. At the same time, there are new internal and international stakeholders that test the status quo and demand a share of Africa’s future. Each of these factors has implications for the U.S. government’s engagement with Africa and its strategic interests on the continent. Africa Symposium 2020 will reflect on the democratic dividend; Africa’s conflict management mechanisms; important stakeholders, such as women and youth; and Africa’s evolving international relations.

This event is co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses.

RSVP: Click Here

Global Trends in the Rule of Law: Latest Findings and Insights from the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2020

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: US Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington DC 20037

As we enter a new decade, troubling developments around the rule of law continue to raise concerns for the future of fair and functioning societies. Since 2009, the World Justice Project (WJP) has documented these trends in its annual WJP Rule of Law Index, now covering 128 countries and jurisdictions in the new 2020 edition. Based on more than 130,000 household surveys and 4,000 legal practitioner and expert surveys worldwide, the 2020 Index provides citizens, governments, donors, businesses, and civil society organizations around the world with a comprehensive comparative analysis of countries’ adherence to universal rule of law principles.

Join USIP and the World Justice Project (WJP) as we delve into the findings from the WJP Rule of Law Index 2020. WJP’s chief research officer will review important insights and data trends from the report. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the underlying factors behind the results, as well as the policy implications for those invested in strengthening the rule of law.

Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #ROLIndex.

RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, March 12th

A Peace Regime for the Korean Peninsula: A Look at Building Comprehensive, Accountable Peace Amid Strained U.S.-North Korea Relations

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20037

In June 2018, the United States and North Korea committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” And although the recent collapse of negotiations makes peace a remote prospect and threatens to further strain U.S.-North Korea relations, the current situation makes it all the more important to have a sober discussion about how to build mutual confidence, enhance stability, and prevent violent conflict on the Peninsula.

To outline the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace, USIP is launching a new report: A Peace Regime for the Korean Peninsula. The report examines the issues and challenges related to establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula—including the need for engagement and cooperation with South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan—and provides principles for how U.S. administrations can strategically and realistically approach these issues.

Join USIP for a look at the report’s main findings and recommendations, as well as a panel discussion with the report’s authors, experts, and former diplomats with extensive knowledge of Korean Peninsula policy.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with #KoreaPeaceRegime.

RSVP: Click Here

The Quest for Europe and Eurasia’s Energy Security and Independence: Why it Matters to America

Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Location: George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, Coesar Conf. Room, Suite 412

Despite challenges in the Europe and Eurasia energy sector—including widespread corruption, Russian interference, and potential economic and social stressors resulting from Europe’s decarbonization policies—the region is transitioning from the centralized administration of yesterday’s energy industry to new, competitive wholesale energy markets that attract private capital, enable technology transfer and strengthen the Euro-Atlantic alliance.

For nearly 30 years, the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Energy Association have partnered to enhance the region’s energy security through the Energy Technology and Governance Program (ETAG). Pioneering a new development assistance paradigm, ETAG has grown the engineering skills and institutional capacity within the region’s energy sector, making progress toward the shared vision for energy security and energy independence.

Leaders of this development assistance work will explain that shared vision and why the US is invested in achieving it, share some success stories, and discuss the remaining challenges to achieving energy security and independence.

RSVP: Click Here

“This is Home” Film Screening & Discussion

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs

Join us for a screening of Epix documentary This is Home: a Refugee Story followed by a conversation with a representative from the International Rescue Committee.

Dinner from Muncheez will be served.

RSVP: Click Here

Friday, March

France’s Defense Strategy: A Conversation with Ambassador Philippe Etienne

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036

French President Emmanuel Macron—leader of one of Europe’s premier military forces and now the EU’s sole nuclear power—has set out an ambitious vision for French and EU defense policy.

What are France’s deterrence and defense priorities? What is Paris’ vision for European and transatlantic security? How does Paris view its defense partnership with Washington? Join Carnegie for a timely conversation with the ambassador of France to the United States, Philippe Etienne.

RSVP: Click Here