International Affairs Events

Getting Downtown: International Affairs Events

June 29th – July 3rd

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. In today’s changed world, these organizations have pivoted to hosting high-quality virtual events, accessible to all.

The “Getting Downtown” newsletter is a curated list of events that might be of interest for international affairs-focused students and young professionals.  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 virtually attend these 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, June 29th

As Leaders Should We Be Focusing on Our People or Our Profits? 

Time: 1 PM BST
Location: Hosted Online by the International Bar ASsociation
It is during a crisis that our personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader come to the surface. Against a global background of fear and uncertainty, we are witnessing both extreme cases of anxiety and aggression plus also acts of great kindness and altruism. Many of us are suffering personally, both mentally and physically, from the ongoing situation, and it is likely that things will get worse before they get better.

As we seek to understand this ‘new abnormal” is it time for a wake-up call to a profession that has largely overlooked the changes around us in terms of working environment, technology, inclusiveness and diversity, gender and generational change?

What can we learn from the Covid-19 crisis and how should our leadership improve to ensure we create a global profession that is more human, empathetic and takes care of its biggest asset – our people – better? In which areas have our teams struggled and where have there been gains that we can learn from? As we transfer back to the ‘new abnormal’ how can we expect to see improvements in the daily life of a lawyer and ensure we do not risk simply going back to ‘business as usual?’

The session will be informal and interactive, participants are encouraged to share any specific questions with the two moderators in advance. Issues we will cover include:

    • Demonstrating our emotional authenticity and willingness to engage in ‘emotional conversations’
    • Focusing on the needs of our people as individuals, understanding their personal situation as well as their work reality and relating to them on a more human basis
    • Building trust, managing by deliverables and not inputs as our people work from home with very different work routines and personal conditions
    • Moving from ‘boss’ to ‘coach’ relying on inspiration more than motivation as we lead our people remotely

RSVP: Click Here


Humanitarian Operations During COVID-19: A Conversation with António Vitorino of the International Organization for Migration

Time: 9 AM – 9:45 AM EST
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies
The spread of Covid-19 continues to dominate global attention. Governments are primarily focusing efforts on the domestic response to the virus. With 135 million people already facing crisis levels of hunger, the pandemic could push another 130 million to the brink of starvation by the end of this year. Understanding how the pandemic will impact the most vulnerable is vital to implementing an effective response. In this series, the CSIS Humanitarian Agenda will speak with leadership across humanitarian institutions about the challenges their organizations face during Covid-19. Our featured guests will give their insights on how the pandemic is changing the humanitarian landscape and the impact it has on the delivery of life-saving assistance now and in the near future.
RSVP: Click Here

Economy Disrupted, Episode 3: How COVID-19 Changed the Global Economy

Time: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM EST
Location: Hosted online by the Center for Strategic & International Studies

Gita Gopinath
Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Matthew P. Goodman
Senior Vice President for Economics, CSIS

Stephanie Segal
Senior Fellow for Economics, CSIS

RSVP: Click Here

Tuesday, June 30th

Gender-based Violence and COVID-19: Emerging Solutions in Justice Programming

Time: 2 PM – 3:30 PM CEST
Location: Hosted online by the International Development Law Organization
There is increasing evidence that the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 is fueling widespread violations of women’s rights, including elevated risks of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). At the same time, the increase in GBV cases has been accompanied by a decrease in the capacity of the justice sector to respond to the rights and needs of survivors. The ‘justice gap’ for GBV survivors is worsening, according to the Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19 report, developed by IDLO, UN Women and other partners.

IDLO is hosting a webinar that will focus on GBV-specific justice responses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath and aims to catalyze exchange and learning from global and national experts on lessons, entry points and emerging solutions available to ensure access to justice for GBV survivors.
RSVP: Click Here

Where Do Iraq’s Religious and Ethnic Minorities Stand Post-ISIS?

Time: 9 AM – 10:45 AM EST
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
Six years after the Islamic State’s genocidal rampage across northern Iraq, circumstances for traumatized religious and ethnic minorities remain dire. Thousands remain displaced, unable or unwilling to return to their homes in Nineveh province amid ongoing security challenges and other barriers to their safe return. Meanwhile, new sources of instability in Iraq—including the coronavirus pandemic, a financial crisis, and renewed threats of an ISIS resurgence—have highlighted the fragility of any improved stability in minority-rich areas, as well as the need for ongoing and intensive efforts to facilitate the sustainable return of all displaced communities.
RSVP: Click Here

Hearing: China’s Maritime Ambitions

Time: 3 PM EST
Location: Hosted online by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
Gregory B. Poling
Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Director, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Center for Strategic and International Studies
Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Georgetown University
RSVP: Click Here

Wednesday, July 1st

COVID-19 and Human Rights in Central America 

Time: 5 PM – 6:45 PM BST
Location: Hosted online by the International Bar Association Human Rights Law Committee
This webinar will discuss the ways in which three countries in Central America – ie Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua – have responded to Covid-19, including recurrent violations of international human rights and the rule of law that have occurred therein. In two of the three cases, IBAHRI has issued calls to the governments to address these violations. Join us on this webinar to explore patterns in violations and potential remedies.
RSVP: Click Here

The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Key Findings 2019

Time: 11 AM – 12:15 PM EST
Location: Hosted online by the United States Institute of Peace
As governments face the devastating economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic, identifying and addressing rule of law issues related to transparency, corruption, human rights, and the delivery of justice will be paramount to the recovery process. The World Justice Project’s (WJP) new report on the rule of law in Afghanistan presents a unique portrait of the country’s rule of law strengths and weaknesses by using extensive survey data collected from the general public, in-country legal practitioners, and ground-breaking interviews with individuals incarcerated in the Afghan prison system.

The latest edition of this report, which reflects the experiences and perceptions of more than 17,500 Afghans interviewed over five years, presents a comprehensive summary of the rule of law situation in Afghanistan and contains new, in-depth findings on the performance of the criminal justice system.

Join USIP and WJP for an in-depth conversation on the report’s findings, as well as crucial factors for the rule of law in Afghanistan. Panelists will also discuss how the report can encourage data-driven policy choices and guide program development to strengthen the rule of law.
RSVP: Click Here

Crisis Governance Forum: Rule of Law-Based Policymaking for COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Time: 9 AM EST
Location: Hosted online by the International Development Law Organization
The Crisis Governance Forum will consist of a series of multi-stakeholder online dialogues for sharing insights, experiences and solutions among policymakers and practitioners at all levels involved in the COVID-19 crisis management.

The series launch will feature senior policymakers and other stakeholders who will share lessons learned in policymaking related to COVID-19 and address the nexus between crisis governance and the rule of law – a critical link to provide legitimacy and enhance public trust in government.

A main focus of the speakers’ interventions, and of the interactive dialogue that will follow, will be to illustrate concretely the relevance of the 2030 Agenda, and in particular SDG 16, as a roadmap for the policies and measures required to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and build more resilient and just societies in the future.

Advancing the values and principles of the 2030 Agenda in the response and recovery effort will be a central objective of all sessions of the Forum.
RSVP: Click Here

Thursday, July 2nd

Foreign Intervention in Middle East Geopolitics

Time: 5 PM – 6 PM BST
Location: Hosted online by the Centre for Geopolitics
Middle East conflicts have long experienced destructive and counter-productive foreign interventions. Often western powers such as the USA are criticised for both intervening (George W. Bush) and for not intervening (Donald Trump). The panel will discuss the interests which foreign powers pursue in the region and consider whether a framework might be established which channels violent interventions into guarantees for peace.
RSVP: Click Here

Friday, July 3rd

The European Commission’s White Paper on Leveling the Playing Field As Regards Foreign Subsidies

Time: 1 PM – 2 PM BST
Location: Hosted online by the International Bar Association
The webinar will address the European Commission’s new White Paper on Foreign Subsidies (expected to be published mid-June). We will be joined by Eddy De Smijter, Head of the International Relations Unit in DG Competition at the European Commission, who is the main author of the White Paper.

The discussion will cover inter alia:

    • Foreign subsidies risk distorting the EU internal market
    • Current enforcement gap
    • The proposed new instrument
    • Interplay with other areas of EU and international law

RSVP: Click Here