International Affairs Events

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

January 13th – January 17th

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, January 13th

Taiwan Elections: Implications for Washington & Beijing
Time: 10:00am-11:00am
Location: 6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center One Woodrow Wilson Plaza 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20004-3027
Information: Taiwan’s strength as a democracy will be evident on January 11 when voters head to the polls to elect their leadership and representatives in the legislature. The election results will not only impact Taiwan’s own internal policies, but also relations with Beijing as well as with Washington. Join us for a discussion on the implications of the Taiwan’s latest election results and how they will impact U.S.-Taiwan relations as well as cross-Strait relations on the political, economic, and security fronts.
RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, January 14th

The Ethical Algorithm
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Location: The Brookings Institution, Saul/Zilkha Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC
Information: As we create and consume increasing amounts of digital data, we rely on algorithms to help make sense of it all. From surfacing content in video streaming services to setting bail for a defendant in a criminal trial, algorithms sift through our personal data, websites, and databases to inform decisions every day—with potentially serious consequences. Though they appear neutral, algorithms can reflect and amplify racial, gender, or other biases from unrepresentative training data. What tools can we use to ensure that society reaps the benefits of algorithms without worsening existing inequalities? How should fairness models and ethics be integrated into the design and execution of these models? On January 14, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will host Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth of the University of Pennsylvania to discuss their book, “The Ethical Algorithm.”
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The Size and Importance of Venezuela’s Illegal Economics 
Time: 9:00am-12:00pm
Location: 6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center One Woodrow Wilson Plaza 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20004-3027
Information: The dimensions of Venezuela’s illegal economies have been growing for more than two decades. Illicit activities include narcotics trafficking, illegal gold mining, and the long-standing smuggling of gasoline, food, and other basic necessities across porous borders.

U.S.-imposed sanctions in 2019 on the country’s all-important but declining oil industry, in addition to earlier financial and individual sanctions, have increased the importance of illegal sources of income for the government of Nicolás Maduro. How can we understand the relationship between the Venezuelan state and the various illegal economies, at least one of which—gold—has the strong presence and involvement of Colombia’s ELN and FARC guerrillas? How important are these resources for the survival of Maduro regime? Is it possible to quantify the revenue from these various illicit activities or the ways such revenue is used? How are communities and regions within Venezuela, particularly along the border, adapting to the expansion of criminal activity, which serves as a source of income and employment?
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What Do Tunisians Expect from Their Government?
Time: 12:00pm-1:30pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington D.C.
Information: As Tunisia marks the ninth anniversary of its revolution, the country faces a new set of challenges. A new president and parliament, elected with the promise to fight corruption and improve the lives of the Tunisian people, must find a way to address the longstanding social and economic grievances that its predecessors have failed to remedy.

The Carnegie Middle East Program is pleased to host a discussion with three young Tunisian activists who will explain what Tunisians are expecting from their new leaders and what will happen if those expectations are not met. Fellow Sarah Yerkes will moderate the discussion. A light lunch will be served.
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, January 15th

Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for Africa over the Next Decade
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Location: Brookings Institution Falk Auditorium 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20036
Information: The new year 2020 marks the beginning of a promising decade for Africa. Through at least the first half of the decade, economic growth across Africa will continue to outperform that of other regions, with the continent continuing to be home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. Collective action among African and global policymakers to improve the livelihoods of all under the blueprint of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is creating a shared energy and excitement around Africa’s potential. With business environments improving, regional integration centered around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement progressing, and the transformational technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution spreading, never before has the region been better primed for trade, investment, and mutually beneficial partnerships. The recent, unprecedented interest of an increasingly diversified group of external partners to engage with Africa highlights this potential.

Despite the continent’s promise, though, obstacles to success linger, as job creation still has not caught up with the growing youth labor force, gaps in good and inclusive governance remain, and climate change as well as state fragility threaten to reverse the hard-won gains of past decades.

The Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at Brookings explores these trends and features diverse expert viewpoints in Foresight Africa, its annual flagship report. Foresight Africa 2020 is a special edition focusing on the top priorities for the continent over the next decade: 2020-2030.

On January 15, AGI will host a Foresight Africa launch featuring a high-level panel of leading Africa experts to offer insights on regional trends along with recommendations for national governments, regional organizations, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society actors as they forge ahead in 2020.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, January 16th

Impacts and Implications of the 2020 Taiwan General Elections
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20036
Information: Taiwan will hold elections for the president and all the members of the Legislative Yuan on January 11. Although President Tsai Ing-wen has maintained a strong lead in the polls, questions about the reliability of some polls have surfaced. The outcome of the legislative elections is very uncertain, and it is possible that the Democratic Progressive Party could lose its majority. China has made clear its dislike of the Tsai administration and has intensified its pressure campaign against Tsai and Taiwan, which may impact these elections. The results could therefore significantly affect domestic governance in Taiwan, relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and U.S.-Taiwan relations.

On January 16, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution will host a panel of policy experts for a discussion on the results of the elections and their policy implications.
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Examining Xinjiang: Past, Present, and Future 
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Brookings Institution Falk Auditorium 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20036
Information: In recent months, media reports have described in detail the systematic nature of Chinese government directives to clamp down on ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang. China’s actions in Xinjiang have generated international criticism from dozens of countries. The Chinese government has defended its policy, saying that it is necessary for ensuring social stability. What are the historical antecedents of China’s ongoing actions in Xinjiang? What has the government done in the last three years? How are China’s actions in Xinjiang changing (or not changing) today? What does China’s approach to Xinjiang say about both its use of technology for internal security, and its approach to internal security more broadly? What are the likely internal and external ramifications of China’s actions? This event will shed light on these and other questions of critical importance for understanding events in Xinjiang.

On January 16, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings will convene a panel of experts to discuss the past, present, and future of China’s Xinjiang policies. Brookings President John R. Allen will open the discussion and provide framing remarks about events in Xinjiang. A panel of experts will examine all aspects of China’s approach to Xinjiang and offer perspectives on how the United States and the rest of the world might respond. Following the conversation, panelists will take questions from the audience.
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Reframing the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: A Conversation with Ambassador Khan
Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: For the last 20 years, the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has been refracted through the prism of Afghanistan in Washington. Now, as Pakistan and the U.S. work together to achieve peace in Afghanistan, the two countries have an opportunity to reframe their relationship by anchoring it in more robust trade and investment ties, and closer strategic cooperation for peace and stability in the region.

The logic for a strong Pakistan-U.S. partnership is inarguable: Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world, has the largest percentage of young people globally, and is the native land of over one million affluent and politically engaged Pakistani Americans. There is tremendous investment potential for U.S. companies in Pakistan’s enormous energy, agriculture, and tourism sectors. Please join us for a highly topical conversation with Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Asad M. Khan, as we look forward towards building a more broad based and enduring partnership between these two countries.
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Friday, January 17th

A Conversation with General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Information: CSIS is hosting Air Force General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a conversation on how the Joint Force is addressing the growing security challenges posed by U.S. strategic competitors. General Hyten will provide opening remarks which will be followed by a discussion moderated by Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President and Director of the International Security Program at CSIS.
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The US-Canada Permanent Joint Board on Defense: How Permanent? How Joint?
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Location: Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC
Information: The United States and Canada established the Permanent Joint Board on Defense in 1940 to coordinate defense planning between the two countries. Eighty years later, what role does it play? This conference will examine the accomplishments of the PJBD and consider how it might evolve to coordinate strategic planning for present and future security challenges.
RSVP: Click Here