International Affairs Events

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

July 15th – July 19th

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, July 15th

Panel: U.S -Turkey Relations

Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St NW, The Fourth Estate Room, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045
Information: Please join the Turkish Heritage Organization on July 15, 2019, from 11 AM-12:30 PM as we host Former Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General (Ret.) Ergin Saygun and Co-Founder of Turkish Caucus and Former U.S. Congressman, H.E. Edward Whitfield..The panel will be hosted by Mark Hall, Producer of the Documentary, “Killing Ed”.
RSVP: Click Here


The Legality of Nuclear Deterrence

Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: The legality of nuclear weapons, nuclear war, and nuclear deterrence have been much debated over the years and a 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice did little to settle the issue. What if the ICJ were to take up the issue again? Would the result be any different, especially in light of the negotiation of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? Please join us for a discussion of these issues. Our speaker will be Newell Highsmith, who supervised the Arms Control and Nonproliferation section of the Legal Office at the Department of State from 2001 to 2017. He will summarize the main lines of argument and conclusions from a new monograph on the subject, produced by the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

George Perkovich, a Carnegie vice president for studies and co-editor of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A Debate will respond to Highsmith’s presentation and facilitate subsequent discussion with the audience.
RSVP: Click Here

Prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations: A Perspective from Moscow

Time: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: The conclusion of the Mueller investigation renewed President Trump’s desire to meet with Vladimir Putin and to intensify U.S.-Russian dialogue in general. Both countries face numerous problems, from Venezuela to strategic stability, that require management. Is more effective management of these problems and bilateral relations as such possible? How will Russia approach relations with the U.S. leading up to the 2020 elections and beyond? Does Russia have a strategy vis-à-vis the U.S., and if so, what are its major elements? Lastly, how will the election interference issue impact U.S.-Russia relations after the publication of the Mueller report, and how is Moscow going to address it?
RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, July 16th

From Casting Blame to Capturing Benefits: Advancing Integrated Solutions to Air Pollution and Climate Change in Asia

Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Wilson Center, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20004
Information: Approximately 4 billion people, around 92 percent of the population in Asia and the Pacific, are exposed to levels of air pollution that pose a significant risk to their health. As many governments and researchers across the region work on solutions to air pollution, they are becoming more aware of the links between air quality and climate change, and the multiple benefits from simultaneously addressing these often-related problems. This integrated approach is consistent with a UNEP report published in January this year. The Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-Based Solutions report identifies 25 clean air measures that would positively impact human health, crop yield, climate change, socioeconomic development, and contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Implementing these measures could result in 1 billion people enjoying clean air at the World Health Organization strictest ambient standards by 2030, as well as reduce global warming by 2040-2050.

Speakers at this CEF meeting are co-authors of this report and will share their insights on how to move from casting blame for air pollution and climate change to capturing the benefits of integrated solutions in Asia. After Eric Zusman (IGES) introduces the opportunities and benefits of integrating air pollution and climate change policy in Asia, Hu Tao (Beijing Normal University) will highlight how China is moving forward efforts to co-control air pollution and greenhouse gases in the transport and other sectors. Yeora Chae (Korea Environment Institute) will talk about work she is doing to analyze the co-benefits of air quality and climate change policies in South Korea and Northeast Asia.
RSVP: Click Here

HFAC Hearing | Russian Disinformation Attacks on Elections: Lessons from Europe

Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515
Information: You are invited to attend 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

Subject: Russian Disinformation Attacks on Elections: Lessons from Europe

The Honorable Daniel Fried, Distinguished Fellow, Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council (former State Department Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Former United States Ambassador to Poland)

Ms. Jessika Aro, Investigative Reporter, Yle Kioski

Mr. Jakub Kalensky, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center Atlantic Council

Federick W. Kagan, Ph.D., Resident Scholar and Director, Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute.
RSVP: N/A. Seating is limited and is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, on the Importance of the Pacific for New Zealand and US Foreign Policy

Time: 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: The CSIS Asia program cordially invites you to Enhancing Pacific Partnerships – the Importance of the Pacific for New Zealand and US Foreign Policy.
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, July 17th

Rule of Law in Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities in the Time of AMLO

Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Wilson Center, 6th Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20004
Information: In the past decade, Mexico has transitioned to an adversarial criminal justice system as an important step towards improving criminal investigations and strengthening the rule of law. A crucial element to this process was the creation of Mexico’s new independent National Prosecutor’s Office, whose first head, Alejandro Gertz Manero, was named in January 2019. Given that an estimated 93 percent of crimes in Mexico are not reported or investigated, fully implementing the criminal justice reforms and the National Prosecutor’s Office will be central to Mexico’s fight against impunity.

A year after Mexico’s July 2018 election, where fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law were primary issues for the electorate, please join us for a discussion with a panel of experts to take stock on what has been accomplished and the challenges ahead.
RSVP: Click Here

Transatlantic Human Rights Cooperation: An Armchair Discussion with the EU Special Representative for Human Rights

Time: 9:00am – 10:00 am
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: The Human Rights Initiative at CSIS invites you to an armchair discussion on transatlantic human rights cooperation with the EU Special Representative on Human Rights.

The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, will discuss the EU’s human rights priorities and opportunities for transatlantic cooperation.  He will focus on the EU’s approach to issues such as the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, additional ways to protect human rights defenders and civil society amidst rising authoritarianism, and human rights abuses across the world including in China.

At a time when the need for multilateral institutions is being questioned, the EU remains deeply committed to them.  Why does the EU continue to believe that these institutions are essential to defending our values and interests, and how can the EU and US work together to improve the human rights situation globally?
RSVP: Click Here

Algeria’s Uprising: Protesters and the Military

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: In April 2019, Algerians ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, becoming the fifth Arab country to topple a president since 2011. Though successfully deposing the head of state, the protests continue today, with citizens taking to the streets to call for systemic regime change. The military begrudgingly endorsed the protesters’ demands to oust Bouteflika, but has since attempted to manage the transition, seemingly to preserve its interests. What are the military’s interests? And what are the demands of the protesters? On July 17, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings will host a panel discussion on the results of a survey conducted in Algeria of over 9,000 protesters and military personnel. Brookings visiting fellow and co-author of the paper, Sharan Grewal, will present the findings of the survey. Following his remarks, he will be joined by former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria Robert Ford and Alexis Arieff of the Congressional Research Service in a discussion moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes. Following the discussion, the panelists will take questions from the audience.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, July 18th

The Future of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: A Conversation with Representatives Abigail Spanberger & Michael Waltz

Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 1st Floor, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: Please join the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Transnational Threats Project for a dialogue on U.S. counterterrorism strategy with Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Michael Waltz (R-FL). Seth G. Jones, Harold Brown Chair and Director of the CSIS Transnational Threats Project, will moderate a discussion between Rep. Spanberger and Rep. Waltz, who will offer their assessments on the current global terrorism landscape as well as the successes and enduring challenges of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

While growing strategic focus on great power competition with China and Russia is warranted, a parallel leadership effort is needed to address the future of the global fight against terrorism and extremism. Topics for discussion include managing the enduring threats posed by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, defining a suitable end state in Afghanistan, developing a comprehensive strategy for countering violent extremism, and responding to homegrown violent extremist threats.
RSVP: Click Here

Humanity in War: An International Humanitarian Law Primer for Professionals

Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: American Red Cross, National Headquarters, 430 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006
Information: Our premier free training, this day-long course is a comprehensive and engaging introduction to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and is appropriate for professionals working in the international, humanitarian or legal spheres.

What you’ll learn:

  • Classification of Armed Conflicts
  • Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols
  • Fundamental Principles and Protections afforded by international law
  • Distinction between Combatants and Civilians
  • Civilian Direct Participations in Hostilities
  • Role of the Red Cross and Principled Humanitarian Action

CLE credits for attorneys are available for the jurisdictions of New York, Virginia, and other select jurisdictions (select this option while registering).

Please email with any questions.
RSVP: Click Here

One Giant Leap: Space Diplomacy Past, Present, and Future

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052
Information: On July 20, 1969, a greater percentage of earth’s population followed the first moon landing than any previous event in history. After their flight, the astronauts toured over 20 countries on every continent. President Nixon proclaimed them “the best possible ambassadors America could have on this earth.” What was the political and foreign policy significance of the Apollo program, and what is its enduring legacy? How should Apollo-era space diplomacy inform foreign relations today?

Join Michael Collins, Ellen Stofan, Charles Bolden, Teasel Muir-Harmony, and John Logsdon for a conversation about the history and future of space diplomacy.


  • Maj. Gen. Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut and former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
  • Dr. Ellen Stofan, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
  • Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, U.S. Science Envoy for Space and former NASA Administrator and space shuttle commander


  • Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator of Apollo Spacecraft, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
  • Dr. John Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs

RSVP: Click Here

Friday, July 19th

Colombia’s New Citizen Movement for Peace

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: US Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Information: During its rapid, five-month transformation from a social media group chat into a full-fledged citizen movement, Defendamos la Paz (DLP), or Let’s Defend Peace, has sought to rally political and popular support for the implementation of the FARC peace agreement and the continuation of suspended dialogues with the ELN.

In just a short amount of time, DLP has established itself as an important “umbrella” structure comprised of many key former government and rebel negotiators from both the FARC and ELN peace processes, members of the Congressional Peace Commissions, ex-ministers with diverse political affiliations, victims’ organizations, academics, retired military personnel, and media leaders. The movement has also established sub-national chapters with local civil society organizations throughout Colombia’s conflict-affected regions.

DLP is currently prioritizing the revival of the special electoral peace districts—a critical component of the 2016 peace accord that remains in limbo—by collecting one million signatures, strengthening the legitimacy of the transitional justice court (the JEP), and encouraging creative measures to break the deadlock with the ELN.

On July 19, please join the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Latin America Working Group, the Colombian Human Rights Committee, the Center for Justice & International Law, and the Inter-American Dialogue for a public conversation with three prominent DLP leaders on their vision for this unique civil society platform.
RSVP: Click Here

The United States – Saudi Arabian Relationship

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Location: Russel Senate Office Building, Rm 485, 2 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Information: Please join the Middle East Policy Council for their 97th Capitol Hill Conference on Friday, July 19 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Russell Senate Office Building in Room 485. Our distinguished panelists will offer valuable insight into the past, present, and future of the U.S. – Saudi Arabian relationship. RSVP required.

Mr. Tom Lippman
Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute
Former Middle East Bureau Chief, The Washington Post
Author of several books on the Middle East

Ms. Dana Stroul
Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Former Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Ms. Elisa Catalano Ewers
Adjunct Senior Fellow, Center for New American Security
Former Director for the Middle East & North Africa,
National Security Council

Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein
Senior Vice President and Director of the Gulf Affairs Program,
Middle East Institute
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen
RSVP: Click Here