Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

May 28th – May 31st

One of the biggest 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

Tuesday, May 28th

The Role of Parliament in Today’s Britain

Time: 9:45 am – 11:15 am
Location: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Information: On May 28, Foreign Policy at Brookings will host Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow for a discussion of Parliament’s role in politics and policy at a pivotal time for one of the United States’ closest allies. The past year has seen a series of extraordinary developments in British politics, with the House of Commons at the center of it all. Following repeated parliamentary defeats for the government’s Brexit agreement with the European Union, the country’s scheduled departure from the EU has been delayed until October 31 and elections for the European Parliament will be held on May 23.

Brookings President John R. Allen will introduce Speaker Bercow. Following the speaker’s remarks, Thomas Wright, director of Brookings’s Center on the United States and Europe, will moderate a conversation with Bercow and Amanda Sloat, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe. Questions from the audience will follow the discussion.

This event is part of the Brookings – Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative, which aims to build up and expand resilient networks and trans-Atlantic activities to analyze and work on issues concerning trans-Atlantic relations and social cohesion in Europe and the United States.
RSVP: Click Here

Stuck in the Middle: Iraq Caught Between the U.S. and Iran

Time: 11:45 am – 1:30 pm
Location: Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Information: Hudson Institute will host an event to discuss the role of Iraq as tensions increase between the U.S. and Iran. Panelists will include Iraq Analyst Omar Al-Nidawi, the Arabia Foundation’s Geneive
Abdo, and the Atlantic Council’s Dr. Abbas Kadhim, with Hudson Senior Fellow Michael Pregent moderating.

As tensions continue to mount between the U.S. and Iran, Iraq is stuck in the middle of the escalation. The U.S. recently ordered State Department officials in Iraq to return home amid safety concerns arising from threats from Iranian-influenced actors. This followed a stern warning from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Iraqi leaders that if they are not going to stand with the U.S. against Iran, they should stand aside. Iran’s influence in Iraq is robust and presents significant challenges to U.S. strategic interests in the region.
RSVP: Click Here

The New Global Activism – Algeria, Sudan, and Beyond

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Information: In his new book, Civic Activism Unleashed: New Hope or False Dawn for Democracy?, Carnegie scholar Richard Youngs charts the global transformation of political and civic activism, highlighting its innovative new forms and often dramatic impact, even in the face of widespread efforts by governments to limit civic and political space. This event will combine a global overview of trends in activism by Youngs with focused insights on recent developments in Algeria and Sudan by two notable regional experts, putting the global overview into sharp topical perspective. Copies of Civic Activism Unleashed will be available for purchase.

A light lunch will be available starting at 12:00 p.m.
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, May 29th

Universal Approaches to Promoting Healthy Development

Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Brookings Institution, Saul Zilkha, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Information: On Wednesday, May 29, Princeton University and the Brookings Institution will release the latest volume of “The Future of Children”—a journal that promotes effective, evidence-based policies and programs for children, along with a policy brief titled “Achieving Broad-Scale Impacts for Social Programs.” This volume, titled “Universal Approaches to Promoting Healthy Development,” explores universal social programs designed to serve entire communities as they move toward achieving population impact in reducing child maltreatment, strengthening parental capacity, and improving infant health and development.

Following an overview of the latest journal volume and the accompanying policy brief, Cynthia Osborne, Associate Dean for Academic Strategies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, will give keynote remarks and examine the home visiting landscape. Presentations will then highlight the Family Connects program and give an overview of the First 5 LA program in Los Angeles County. The event will conclude with an expert panel discussion moderated by Ron Haskins, a Senior Editor of the volume and the Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.
RSVP: Click Here

The Power of Personal: Women’s Leadership and International Exchange

Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor
Information: Please join Wilson Center President & CEO Jane Harman for a conversation with Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs Marie Royce about her bureau’s impact on foreign policy and efforts to empower women to achieve leadership roles both in the public and private sector.
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A New Opening for Peace in Ukraine?
 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779Massachusetts Ave, NW
Information: After five years of war, the conflict in Ukraine is effectively stalemated. Join Carnegie for a timely conversation on whether the arrival of a new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, can help break the deadlock. How should the Trump administration and its European allies respond to this new political reality and continued provocative Russian actions in eastern Ukraine?

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Amb. Kurt Volker will deliver a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion with leading experts and former government officials.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, May 30th

Prosperity and Rising Crime in Latin America

Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor
Information: Latin America has the world’s highest crime rate and in much of the region, crime is worsening, the opposite of the global trend. In 2015, Latin America accounted for one-third of the world’s homicides, though it is home to only one-tenth of the global population. Criminal gangs and organized crime plague Central America and Mexico; meanwhile, in relatively safe Uruguay and Argentina, crime is a growing public concern. These trends have accelerated despite economic gains that served to reduce poverty and inequality in much of Latin America.

Marcelo Bergman, director of the Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos sobre Inseguridad y Violencia, in Buenos Aires, addresses this paradox in his latest book, More Money, More Crime: Prosperity and Rising Crime in Latin America (Oxford UP), which examines why the region’s police, courts, and prisons have failed to respond to rising crime, including increases in murder, auto theft, kidnapping, and human trafficking. Focusing on 18 countries, and relying upon new data from surveys of inmates and crime victims, Bergman looks at the challenges posed by gangs and cartels, and how rising incomes have created higher demand for stolen goods – such as mobile phones – while sophisticated criminal networks have co-opted and outfoxed the region’s criminal justice systems.

Please join us on May 30, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., to discuss Bergman’s analysis, including what countries might be vulnerable to increases in crime resulting from expanding criminal opportunities or weakening public institutions.
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The Journey to Self-Reliance in Global Health Procurement and Supply Chains

Time: 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Location: Center for Global Development, 5th Floor, 2055 L St, NW
Information: Efficient procurement and supply chains are critical for ensuring access to lifesaving health products for populations around the world. With the help of US government-supported investments, the global community has made significant progress in strengthening global health procurement and supply chains in low- and middle-income countries, but gaps remain.

Where are the best opportunities to further strengthen the performance, responsiveness, and efficiency of global health supply chain programs? What role can USAID play in supporting sustainable, country-led procurement and supply chains as part of the agency’s ongoing work to advance partner countries on the “journey to self-reliance”? As USAID looks ahead to its next global health supply chain program, a panel of experts will explore these questions and present relevant recommendations from CGD’s Working Group on the Future of Global Health Procurement (final report forthcoming).

Please join us for this public event that will bring together country supply chain leaders, US government global health officials, and health financing experts. Read more on CGD’s work on global health procurement here.
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How to Advance Inclusive Peace Processes: Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace, and Security

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, Applied Conflict Transformation Center, 2301 Constitution Ave, NW
Information: Join the U.S. Institute of Peace for an event exploring how men in leadership positions are organizing as partners to identify, encourage, and mobilize collective voices in the support of women’s engagement in the pursuit of peace. By bringing global citizens more fully into this campaign, these stakeholders can step away from the sidelines of the women, peace, and security movement and more fully stand alongside—and empower—the women leading the effort.
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Friday, May 31st

Report Launch: Rethinking Taxes and Development

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Location: CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor
Information: This report analyzes the political economy opportunities and constraints of domestic resource mobilization on the road to self-reliance. CSIS, in partnership with DAI, conducted research in Kampala, Uganda and Monrovia, Liberia to assess the current political and economic conditions affecting DRM reform efforts. Uganda and Liberia were selected because both are low-income countries struggling to expand their respective tax bases, increase tax-payer morale, have equitable tax administrations, and implement reforms to mobilize more domestic resources. Many of the constraints in both countries relate to transparency, corruption, underdeveloped systems and low capacity of tax authorities. However, many of the constraints are more political in nature, including a lack of support in parliament, outsized influence of the elite, entrenched bureaucratic interests, resistance from the private sector, unpopular changes to legislation and general distrust of government by civil society.

This report offers a fresh perspective for U.S. policymakers and other development agencies on how they can better partner with developing country governments on the shared goal of increased DRM, focusing on addressing the political economy opportunities and constraints to increasing the impact of development efforts. 
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Line on Fire: India-Pakistan violence and Escalation Dynamics

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Information:  Over the last decade, firing by Indian and Pakistani troops across the Line of Control in Kashmir increased dramatically, but did not escalate to general conflict. Meanwhile, the February 2019 terrorist attack in Pulwama sparked a sharp, albeit short, military confrontation between India and Pakistan that saw the first aerial combat between the two since 1971. What explains the patterns of violence along the Line of Control and what are the chances that conflict could escalate and involve nuclear weapons?

Join Carnegie for a conversation with Happymon Jacob on this question and more. In his new book Line on Fire: Ceasefire Violations and India-Pakistan Escalation Dynamics, Jacob analyzes new empirical data to examine the causes of India-Pakistan violence along the Kashmir border and the relationship with potential crisis escalation.
RSVP: Click Here