International Affairs Events

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

November 11th – November 15th

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, November 11th

“Waging Peace in Vietnam: US Soldiers and Those Who Opposed the War” Conference

Time: 5pm – 7:30pm
Location: Elliot School of International Affairs, 1957 E St
Information: Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia and the Elliott School of International Affairs presents a 5 day conference, exhibit, book launch, and cultural events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Mobilization for Peace from November 11 – November 15 at the George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus.

Please register for all events you would like to attend.

Day 1: Mon. November 11th, 2019

– 5pm-7:30pm: Waging Peace Exhibit Opening & Reception with Seymour M. Hersh, authors, and veterans
RSVP: Click Here


South Africa: Rebuilding the Dream

Time: 2pm – 3:30pm
Location: Elliot School of International Affairs, Lindner Family Commons Room 602, 1957 E St
Information: Twenty-five years after the end of apartheid, South Africa’s economy is in crisis. Inequality in South Africa is the highest in the world; unemployment is on the rise; and economic growth (projected at 0.8 percent in 2019) has hovered precariously close to recession. In After Dawn: Hope After State Capture, former South African Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, the man who first blew the whistle on corruption in the Zuma administration, offers a blunt assessment of the country’s economic woes and the failures of governance that caused it. He proposes a series of practical solutions to build a growing, job-creating economy that can begin to meet South African’s unfulfilled expectations of economic transformation.
RSVP: Click Here

Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics

Time: 12:30pm – 2pm
Location: Walsh School of Foreign Affairs, The Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University, 3600 N. Street N.W.
Information: Please join the Mortara Center for the Annual Lepgold Book Prize Award and Lecture honoring Austin Carson (University of Chicago) for his book Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics (Princeton University Press, 2018) on Monday, November 11th, from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. at the Mortara Center. Lunch will be served.

Secret Wars is the first book to systematically analyze the ways powerful states covertly participate in foreign wars, showing a recurring pattern of such behavior stretching from World War I to U.S.-occupied Iraq. Investigating what governments keep secret during wars and why, Austin Carson argues that leaders maintain the secrecy of state involvement as a response to the persistent concern of limiting war. Keeping interventions “backstage” helps control escalation dynamics, insulating leaders from domestic pressures while communicating their interest in keeping a war contained.
RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, November 12th

The U.S., China, and Europe: A Conversation with Chairman Risch

Time: 3pm – 4pm
Location: Center for Strategic International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave
Information: CSIS is pleased to welcome the Honorable James Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for a discussion on China’s growing economic and political influence in Europe and the need for a cohesive transatlantic strategy and policy response. Recent high-level visits to China by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron highlight the urgent need for a transatlantic approach; Chinese strategic economic investments in Europe, through its Belt and Road Initiative, the 17+1 format, and focus on acquiring European firms, as well as its increasingly dominant telecommunications position, challenge NATO as well as transatlantic security and intelligence cooperation. As Beijing exerts influence over EU and non-EU members alike, Beijing has been able to exploit policy differences between the United States and Europe. Following Senator Risch’s opening remarks, he will be joined in a moderated discussion with CSIS Senior Vice Presidents Heather Conley and Michael Green to dive more deeply into the policy challenges of countering China’s foothold in Europe and developing a common transatlantic approach.
RSVP: Click Here

Dialogues on American Foreign Policy and World Affairs: A Discussion with US Senator Todd Young

Time: 11:30am – 12:45pm
Location: Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 400
Information: Hudson Institute will host Senator Todd Young of Indiana for a one-on-one discussion with Hudson Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead on U.S. national security and major geopolitical challenges. The discussion will focus on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, broader U.S. Middle East policy, Russian revanchism, the growing challenge of China, and the role of multilateral development and foreign assistance in promoting U.S. interests and values.
RSVP: Click Here

Improving Practices in Reconciliation: A Look at Local Practices 

Time: 9:30am – 11am
Location: School of Advanced International Studies, Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave
Information: Across many conflict and post-conflict contexts, healing the fractured relationships between communities is an essential step in peacebuilding. While many may be familiar with major national reconciliation processes, we often overlook the work that happens on the grassroots level. From Beirut to Brooklyn, local community leaders are adapting best practices in reconciliation to their cultural context to repair relationships from the bottom up. Elevating the lessons learned from the experiences of these insider reconcilers can transform the way that peacebuilders approach the hard work of reconciliation.

Join the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum for a panel discussion with the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation (MHCR) and expert scholars and practitioners to discuss what we can learn from insider reconciliation practices. Who are these reconcilers, and how can their work be amplified and connected with national processes?

The Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation (MHCR) is a new center at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, which is committed to bringing scholars and practitioners of reconciliation together to both research reconciliation practices and develop the impact of ongoing and future reconciliation processes.
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, November 13th

Democracy and the NATO Alliance: Upholding Our Shared Democratic Values

Time: 2pm
Location: House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Information: Witnesses include:
Panel I
His Excellency Lech Wa??sa
Founder, Lech Wa??sa Institute
Former President of the Republic of Poland

Panel II
Ms. Melissa Hooper 
Director, Foreign Policy Advocacy, Human Rights First

Ms. Susan Corke   
Senior Fellow and Director, Transatlantic Democracy Working Group, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Mr. Nate Schenkkan
Director for Special Research, Freedom House

Matthias Matthijs, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow for Europe, Council on Foreign Relations
RSVP: N/A. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Beirut 1958: How America’s Wars in the Middle East Began

Time: 10am – 11:30am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave
Information: On July 15, 1958, U.S. Marines assaulted the beach in Beirut, Lebanon. The amphibious attack was the first combat operation in the Middle East by American troops. It followed months of intrigue, espionage and conspiracy leading to a bloody coup in Baghdad, Iraq the day before the Marines landed.  Now more than 60 years later, the United States is engaged in multiple combat operations across the region — seemingly endless wars.

In his new book, “Beirut 1958,” Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel tells the story of the mission and draws lessons on how to better deal with future challenges in the region. Please join the Center for Middle East Policy on Wednesday, November 13 for the launch of “Beirut 1958,” featuring a discussion with Riedel, moderated by Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney. Following the discussion, the participants will take questions from the audience.
RSVP: Click Here

US Space Strategy and Indo-Pacific Cooperation

Time: 8:45am – 12pm
Location: Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 400
Information: As the United States renews its commitment to space, other countries in the Indo-Pacific region are rapidly pursuing their own strategies and programs. Hudson Institute will host an event to discuss U.S. space strategy and allied space cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Keynote remarks will be delivered by Artemis Innovation Management Solutions President Dr. John C. Mankins. Dr. Mankins’ remarks will be followed by a panel of experts that will be moderated by Hudson Institute Japan Chair and former National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army (Ret.). The event will conclude with remarks from U.S. National Security Council Defense Policy and Strategy Director Dr. Mir Sadat.

The security and prosperity of the United States, Japan, and other democracies in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world depends increasingly on the use of outer space. Security, commerce, and scientific inquiry all hinge on access to space, and yet all have become avenues for competition with China and are increasingly being contested. The future of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy depends on military, industrial, and technological development in space by the U.S., our cornerstone ally, Japan, and other major powers like India.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, November 14th

New Voices on Russia: Social Media and Russian Disinformation Operations

Time: 4pm – 5pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St, Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Information: Dr. Wilson will discuss the role of Russian coordinated disinformation operations online both around the world and in particular those targeted at the United States. Over the last decade, the growth of social media has gone hand in hand with increasing offensive operations on those platforms originating from within Russia. These operations have experimented with a variety of approaches designed to spread false information, sway close elections, destroy confidence in news media, and increase polarization by exploiting existing political fault lines such as race and regionalism. Dr. Wilson will present what we know about the characteristics and goals of past operations such as those during the 2016 American presidential elections, what we might expect from future operations, and present new data from the Digital Society Project further detailing the nature of these operations around the world.

Dr. Steven Lloyd Wilson is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016, serves as the Project Manager of Computational Infrastructure for the Varieties of Democracy Institute at the University of Gothenburg, and is one of the principal investigators for the Digital Society Project. His research focuses on comparative democratization, cyber-security, and the effect of the Internet on authoritarian regimes. He also works on a variety of projects involving network and content analysis of social media around the world.
RSVP: Click Here

Understanding the New Wave of Arab Protests: An Expert Panel

Time: 10:30am – 12pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 5th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Information: A new series of protests and demonstrations has erupted across the Middle East and North Africa over the past 9 months. In Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Jordan, and Egypt, these protests were largely triggered by dire socio-economic conditions, corruption and a sense of economic and political disenfranchisement with outright calls for regime change in the  case of Algeria, Sudan, and very recently in Lebanon.

Join the discussion with a panel of Wilson and regional experts to analyze these events and understand difference and similarities between the present wave of protests and those that erupted in 2011.
RSVP: Click Here

6 Months in Power: Zelenskyy’s Achievements So Far

Time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Information: Approximately half a year ago, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected based on his campaign promises of peace, a responsive government, anti-corruption reforms, and increasing the average household income. How has the new president and his team met these expectations? Do Ukrainians still trust their new government? Kennan Institute Senior Advisor on Ukraine Mykhailo Minakov will discuss these questions and areas in which the new administration has made progress and where more progress is needed.
RSVP: Click Here

Friday, November 15th

Webs of Corruption: Trafficking and Terrorism in Central Asia

Time: 4pm – 5:30pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St, Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Information: Counterterrorism experts and policy makers have warned of the peril posed by the links between violent extremism and organized crime, especially the relationship between drug trafficking and terrorism funding. Yet Central Asia, the site of extensive opium trafficking, sees low levels of terrorist violence. Webs of Corruption is an innovative study demonstrating that terrorist and criminal activity intersect more narrowly than is widely believed—and that the state plays the pivotal role in shaping those interconnections.
RSVP: Click Here

A Conversation with Afghanistan First Lady Rula Ghani

Time: 2pm – 3:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave
Information: Join CSIS for an armchair discussion with the First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani. The conversation will focus on the progress of women and their role in the peace process in Afghanistan.

Women have made great economic and social strides in the past 15 years. More than 3.6 million girls are in school and women are now allowed to work, both of which are essential to peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, the work is not over. It is vital that the progress continues and that women are not forgotten in the search for peace.

First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani has been a champion on these issues. Mrs. Ghani plays an active role as first lady, supporting efforts to fully integrate women and girls into Afghan society and into the workforce. In May 2016, she brought together prominent Afghan women from Kabul and gave them a platform to discuss women’s roles in contributing to peace. She held another symposium in 2017 to discuss the role of Afghan women as messengers of peace.
RSVP: Click Here

Hong Kong and US-China Relations: What are the Options?

Time: 2pm – 3:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Information: The Hong Kong protests have entered their 5th month with no resolution in sight. Emotions run high in the SAR, Beijing, and Washington. Stakeholder decisions over the next few months could have secondary effects on Taiwan’s January elections, U.S.-China trade frictions, Chinese soft power and, centrally, the future of the people of Hong Kong.

Please join the Wilson Center for dispassionate analysis of the options facing the demonstrators, the Hong Kong government, Beijing, and the United States.
RSVP: Click Here