Tag: Climate change

Peace Picks May 2-6

  1. 2016 Global Strategy Forum | Monday, May 2nd | 8:30-5:30 | Please join the Atlantic Council’s Strategy Initiative, in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, for its flagship annual conference, the Global Strategy Forum. This year’s theme is “America’s Role in the World,” and will feature three panels—Strategic Foresight, Strategic Challenges and Opportunities, and Strategic Solutions—a debate on America’s role in the world, and a keynote address by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work on the Third Offset and how artists can help with it. On May 3, we will also hold Global Strategist Roundtables, by invitation only. If you are interested, please contact AWard@atlanticcouncil.org.The full agenda may be found here.
  1. Political Crisis and Democracy in Brazil | Monday, May 2nd | 12:30-2:00 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Georgetown University, in partnership with the Brazilian Club, Latin American Policy Association, Center for Latin American Studies and the Latin American Initiative invite you to attend a panel discussion on Brazil’s political crisis with Professor Monica Arruda de Almeida, Center for Latin American Studies, Professor Bryan McCann, Department of History, and Mr. Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute, Wilson Center. Professor Elcior Santana, Center for Latin American Studies, will moderate.
  1. Advancing Women in MENA: Should We Keep Trying? | Wednesday, May 4th | 2:00-4:00 | U.S. Institute of Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Since its adoption in 2000, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security has inspired more than 50 member states to adopt National Action Plans to implement its provisions. Iraq in 2014 became the first country in the Middle East to adopt such a plan. Palestine approved its NAP in 2015. But insufficient public awareness and political buy-in and a shortage of targeted resources have stalled efforts elsewhere in the region and continue to hamper implementation even where advocates have succeeded in promoting the adoption of a plan. USIP is preparing to publish a Special Report on these issues, led by the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Center Director Paula Rayman will be among speakers at that May 4 discussion addressing the connecting between implementation of UNSCR 1325 and long-term national security, with a special focus on Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The experts also will explore the importance of including men in the development of national action plans and creating safe spaces for productive conversations to prepare for peace. Dr. Linda Bishai, Director of North Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace, will offer opening remarks. Martin Meehan, President, University of Massachusetts, and Dr. Paula Rayman, Director, Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, will make other remarks. Panelists include Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-Founder and Executive Director, International Civil Society Network, and Ambassador Steve Steiner, Gender Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace. Kathleen Kuehnast, Senior Gender Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace, will moderate.
  1. Power and Change in Iran: Dynamics of Contention and Conciliation | Thursday, May 5th | 9:30-10:30 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Drawing from their contributions to the recently published book, Power and Change in Iran: Dynamics of Contention and Conciliation, (co-edited by Daniel Brumberg and Farideh Farhi), Daniel Brumberg and Shadi Mokhtari will shed light on political and social struggles that are shaping Iran’s domestic politics and its evolving engagement in the Middle East and wider global arena. Their presentations will highlight insights from the scholars who contributed to this volume, including Farideh Farhi, Kevan Harris, Payam Mohseni, Shervin Malekzadeh, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Koroush Rahimkhani, Yasmin Alem, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Mehrangiz Kar, and Azadeh Pourzand.
  1. Third Annual Security Forum: American and Japanese Interests and the Future of the Alliance | Friday, May 6th | 9:00-5:00 | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Sasakawa USA is pleased to welcome distinguished guests including Japanese Minister Shigeru Ishiba, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Scott Swift, Michael Chertoff, Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador Ryozo Kato, Ambassador Richard Armitage, former Japanese Minister of Defense Satoshi Morimoto, Michèle Flournoy, and many others, for this high-level discussion. Panel topics include Japan’s global security role, a new era in U.S.-Japan maritime cooperation, a view from Congress of U.S.-Japan relations, recommendations for the alliance through 2030, cyber security challenges, and the effect that the U.S. elections may have on the alliance. Panel topics may be found here.
  1. National Security Challenges in Asia for the Next U.S. President | Friday, May 6th | 11:00-12:30 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | America’s next president will inherit a multitude of national security challenges in Asia. These include instability and terrorism, nuclear proliferation, territorial disputes, and threats to critical sea lanes, among others. R. Nicholas Burns, one of America’s most accomplished diplomats, will discuss what he views as the major concerns in Asia for the United States, and offer guidance as to how the next U.S. president can best tackle them. He will give special attention to how, and to what extent, Washington can cooperate with its friends in Asia, such as India, to help manage and address these challenges confronting the broader region.
  1. Peace After Paris: Addressing Climate, Conflict, and Development | Friday, May 6th | 10:00-11:30 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | 2015 was a milestone year for international commitments on climate change, sustainable development, and peacebuilding. Where are the opportunities at the intersection of these processes to address climate security risks and build peace? What needs to happen in the next five years for these frameworks to achieve their long-term goals? Nick Mabey, founder and Chief Executive of E3G, will provide his analysis of these processes with commentary by Ken Conca, author of An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance, and Sherri Goodman, former deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security and current Wilson Center public policy fellow.
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Peace picks, January 4-8

  1. Stability and Human Security in Afghanistan in 2016 | Monday, January 4th | 10:30-12:00 | Brookings | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In 2016, the year of the U.S. presidential election, the international community will mark another milestone in its 15-year engagement in Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars spent by the international community to stabilize the country, Afghanistan has seen little improvement in terms of overall stability and human security. The situation on the ground for Afghans continues to be grave, and while the international coalition suffered the least number of casualties in 2015, casualty levels have greatly increased for Afghan security forces. Security for the Afghan people has also deteriorated in large swaths of the country, further complicating humanitarian response. Afghan civilians are at greater risk today than at any time since Taliban rule, with a dramatic increase in the numbers of mostly young Afghans fleeing their country. Afghanistan’s economic situation also remains poor, and major political challenges lie ahead in 2016.In response to these troubling trends, President Obama decided to keep more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his presidency. Looking at and beyond the coming year, what are the key security, economic, political, and humanitarian challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed in Afghanistan?On January 4, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings will host an event focused on the current status of the war and stabilization effort in Afghanistan. Panelists include Che Bolden, federal executive fellow at Brookings; Jason Cone, executive director at Doctors Without Borders; Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown; and Ann Vaughan, director of policy and advocacy at Mercy Corps. Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, and author of “The Future of Land Warfare” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), will moderate the discussion.
  2. Insight Turkey 5th Annual Conference: Turkish Foreign Policy After Elections | Wednesday, January 6th | 8:30-4:30 | SETA Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research (SETA) will hold its annual conference on Turkey on Wednesday. Panel topics include: Neighboring Civil Wars; The Kurdish Question as a Regional Challenge; and the US-Turkey Relationship. The keynote address will be given by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Şimşek. Please see here for a full schedule and list of participants.
  3. Iraq: Can Good Governance Erode Support for Militants? | Wednesday, January 6th | 1:00-2:30 | US Institute for Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Extremist groups like ISIS have seized control in swaths of Iraq and Syria in part because they tout themselves as an alternative to corrupt and inept government at all levels. Join USIP on January 6 to hear about new research by the global humanitarian and development organization Mercy Corps on the connection between citizens’ perceptions of governance and public support for armed opposition. Panelists will explore how good governance may erode the pull of sectarian identity politics, and showcase instances when governance successes have appeared to reduce support for armed opposition and violence. USIP experts will discuss the research results in light of what the Institute’s staff and partners on the ground have learned in the course of their conflict mitigation and peacebuilding work. Panelists include Nancy Lindborg, President at USIP; Dr. Jacob N. Shapiro, Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; Michael Young, Senior Advisor a Mercy Corps; Dr. Elie Abouaoun, Director of Middle East Programs at USIP; and Sarhang Hamasaeed, Senior Program Officer at USIP.
  4. Readout on the Paris Climate Agreement: What Was Achieved and What Comes Next? | Thursday, January 7th | 10:30-12:00 | Center for Strategic & International Studies | RSVP to attend | The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is pleased to invite you to a discussion on the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties meeting under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (COP21). To help us understand what the new climate agreement means for future U.S. and international efforts to combat climate change, Paul Bodnar, Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change, National Security Council, The White House, will discuss what the agreement entails and what actions the U.S. government and the international community are likely to focus on in the coming years. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.
  5. The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization | Thursday, January 7th | 12:15-1:30 | Peterson Institute for International Economics | Online Event – Open to Attend | The Peterson Institute will release its latest book, The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization, by Steven R. Weisman, the Institute’s vice president for publications and communications. The book has an important theme that there is a moral case to be made for globalization, but the case is far from simple. American Enterprise Institute (AEI) President Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); Steven Rattner, former counselor to the secretary of the Treasury; and Stelios Vasilakis, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives, will be discussants at the book launch on January 7, 2016.The global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 highlighted the profound moral concerns long surrounding globalization. In his book, Weisman addresses the questions whether materialist excess, doctrinaire embrace of free trade and capital flows, and indifference to economic injustice contributed to the disaster of the last decade, and whether it was ethical to bail out banks and governments. The Great Tradeoff blends economics, moral philosophy, history, and politics, and Weisman argues that the concepts of liberty, justice, virtue, and loyalty help to explain the passionate disagreements spawned by a globally integrated economy. The Institute is grateful to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its generous support of this project and of the Institute’s prior research in this interdisciplinary area.
  6. GULAG: Gone but not Forgotten | Friday, January 8th | 10:00-11:30 | Woodrow Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | GULAG, a system of Soviet forced labor camps, was officially shut down more than half a century ago, but its memory remains a topic of dispute. Only a few of the camps’ survivors and former employees are still alive and can share their stories and reflections. For her book, 58th Uneliminated, Elena Racheva interviewed those affected by the GULAG and will recount some of their remarkable stories. She will also analyze what role the memory of these camps plays for the newer generations of Russians. Professor Kathleen Smith will discuss commemorative projects in Russia, and how they have changed over the course of Russia’s independence.
  7. Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom | Friday, January 8th | 12:30-2:00 | The Palestine Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In the summer of 2014, renowned American Indian Studies professor Steven Salaita had his offer of a tenured professorship revoked by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Salaita’s employment was terminated in response to his public tweets criticizing the Israeli government’s summer assault on Gaza. His firing generated a huge public outcry, with thousands petitioning for his reinstatement, and more than five thousand scholars pledging to boycott the University of Illinois. His case raises important questions about academic freedom, free speech on campus, and the movement for justice in Palestine. In this book, Salaita combines personal reflection and political critique to provide a thorough analysis of his controversial termination. He situates his case at the intersection of important issues that affect both higher education and social justice activism. A light lunch will be served at 12:30; the event begins at 1:00.
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Over the low bar

I could easily cheer the climate change agreement reached yesterday in Paris: it is the first to gain universal adherence, it starts the process of limiting greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, it makes a big down payment on helping poorer countries join the process, it sends a strong signal to finance and industry about future directions, it is a big win for President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, and it arguably initiates a process that will ratchet up restraints on emissions for decades to come.

But the sad fact is that the agreement does not do what many scientists think necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes: limit future increases in global temperatures to 2 degrees centigrade or less. So yes, the agreement may be a turning point, and it is certainly a remarkable example of global governance aiming to meet the challenge of a long-term problem. It may even avoid the worst of the impacts global warming might have caused. But it won’t prevent island countries from being inundated and even submerged, or ferocious storms from ravaging many parts of the world. Nor will it prevent the United States and other countries with long coastlines from needing to spend fortunes to protect property and infrastructure, if they don’t want to lose to both to rising sea levels.

This is one of those triumphs that needs to be seen in perspective. Both what it achieves and what it fails to achieve are significant. But no agreement would have been far worse. Failure would have poisoned the subject for another decade or more, as politicians would have hesitated to revive it once more from its deathbed.

So the bar may be low, but getting over it is better than not getting over it. In foreign policy, that is cause enough for celebration.

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Real with consequences

This week’s Paris meeting on climate change will move a lot of electrons heralding action on climate change. But the outcome is guaranteed to be disappointing if you are worried about the consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels. The national pledges (known in the trade as “intended nationally determined contributions” or INDCs) will fail to stop global warming short of the 2 degrees (centigrade) that would be required to avoid a substantial increase in sea levels and worsening of the storms and heat extremes that have already become all too common. Some will say this is a good start, as it will stop global warming at perhaps 3 degrees.

I’m less patient. I was a United Nations young staffer in 1972 at the first UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The “greenhouse effect” and global warming were already well-known then. So too were the difficulties of coming to grips with an issue that threatens global economic growth and pits already wealthy fossil fuel burning countries against aspirants from what we then termed the Third World. Who would bear the burden of cutting back on greenhouse gases? Would it be those who have already benefited from fossil fuels, or those who would like to do so in the future? And how will efforts to cut back on emissions affect prospects for economic growth worldwide?

The issue has gotten worse since then: China, not a “rich” country, has become a major contributor to the global load of carbon dioxide, overtaking the US in 2005. Its pledge in Paris will entail peaking emissions by 2030, or perhaps few years earlier. Still very poor India’s will continue rising to 2030, possibly making it a bigger contributor to global emissions than either China or the US. While the US has contributed a great deal to the problem to date, its emissions are already declining. Washington aims for a 28% reduction from 2005 levels by 2025.

But none of this will enable the world to escape the consequences of global warming. They are not all bad. Nor are they necessarily all induced by human activity. But a lot of them will require major adjustments, especially for land areas lying close to sea level. I won’t be investing in beach-front property for my grandson. It could well be submerged, or the beach carried off by storms, well before he inherits. More seriously: Bangladesh, Mauritius and other poor, vulnerable countries may well find themselves without the land they cherish, or suffering far worse consequences from tsunamis than they did in the past.

Nor are rich countries immune: remember Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York City? Not necessarily caused by global warming, but still a clear harbinger of what is becoming more likely in the future, including in China’s prosperous coastal cities. Climate change is already costing the US Federal government over $20 billion per year. States and local governments are spending billions more to prevent the worst consequences.

No doubt the White House staff is busily working on making the Paris meeting a successful one for President Obama, who is wisely attending for two days at the opening (as invited by President Hollande). The main diplomatic drama will occur behind the scenes at the end of the 12-day affair. No one there will have forgotten the clamorous failure of negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, where the President was personally embarrassed. The obvious answer to the equity issues global warming raises is money. The President has pledged $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund for developing countries that has already topped $10 billion. That’s not small change, but it barely scratches the surface of the total financial requirements, as the Indians are quick to point out.

A key issue in Paris will be whether the voluntary national commitments already made will be legally binding. That’s what the French, and I imagine the Europeans more generally, want. It’s hard to picture, at least with respect to the emissions targets or financial commitments. Making them legally binding would virtually guarantee non-approval of any international legal instrument in the US Senate, where there is still a lot of skepticism about global warming. Some marginal, procedural  changes to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, negotiated parallel to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), may still be possible. The big procedural issue is when the next review of INDCs will take place: the US wants it in five years, to keep the pressure on, while developing countries prefer ten.

Somehow the White House will make the President’s two days in Paris sound like a resounding success. But no one should be fooled: global warming is not only real, it will also continue far beyond the point at which most reputable scientists believe it will cause catastrophic effects.

PS: a SAIS climate change guru read this critically, which inspired me to make some changes in the original. The changes are in bold.

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Peace picks, October 19-23

  1. Breaking Through: Dismantling Roadblocks to Humanitarian Response for Syria | Monday, October 19th | 9:00 – 11:00am | American Red Cross | REGISTER TO ATTEND | With over half the Syrian population displaced and civilian casualties increasing, international concern continues to grow. As this crisis intensifies, however, barriers to access, relocation, and justice hinder the humanitarian response. Join the American Red Cross on October 19th to discuss these roadblocks and how the humanitarian community can overcome these challenges. Speakers include: Jana Mason, Sr. Advisor for Government Relations & External Affairs, UNHCR, Hind Kabawat, Director of Interfaith Peacebuilding, Center for World Religions &  Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), George Mason University.

  2. The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Balancing Humanitarian and Security Challenges | Monday, October 19th | 11:00 – 12:30 | Bipartisan Policy Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND |The civil war in Syria has caused one of the largest displacements of persons in recent history, creating humanitarian, political, and security challenges that the United States and its allies now confront. More than half of Syrians—some 12 million—are displaced. Of that number, more than 4 million have fled Syria’s borders, with millions living in neighboring countries in the region. As EU and U.S. leaders work to address this flow of refugees, the Islamic State extremist group has boasted of disguising thousands of terrorists as refugees in order to infiltrate them into Western countries, and a recently released report by the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan task force found that international efforts to secure borders and stem the flow of foreign fighters have been woefully ineffective.Join the Bipartisan Policy Center for a discussion on the humanitarian and security dimensions of the refugee crisis and how the two can be balanced and should be reconciled to create a coherent U.S. and global policy response. Speakers include: Kelly Gauger, Deputy Director, Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, DOS, Larry Yungk, Senior Resettlement Officer, UNHCR, Adnan Kifayat, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund, Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, Director, Program of Extremism, GWU’s Center on Cyber & Homeland Security, Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
  3. The Morality of Nuclear Deterrence | Monday, October 19th | 12:30 – 2:00 | Stimson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons are now central to the debate about the future of nuclear deterrence, owing to the efforts of a new global movement. Just within the last few weeks, Pope Francis has called for complete nuclear disarmament on ethical grounds and the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has said that, as prime minister, he would never authorize nuclear use. Join us for a discussion about the morality of the possession and use of nuclear weapons. Is there indeed a contradiction between the strategic goals of nuclear deterrence and its moral dimension? Could the use of nuclear weapons ever be justified? And do humanitarian considerations have any implications for states’ nuclear posture or employment policies? Speakers include:  James M. Acton, Co-Director of the Carnegie Endownment’s Nuclear Policy Program, Drew Christiansen,  Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Development, Georgetown University, Elbridge Colby, Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security, and Thomas Moore, Independent Consultant.
  4. Beyond the Headlines Obama and Putin: Battlefield Syria | Monday, October 19th | 6:00 | Women’s Foreign Policy Group | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Karen DeYoung is the senior national security correspondent and an associate editor of The Washington Post. In more than three decades at the paper, she has served as bureau chief in Latin America and London, a correspondent covering the White House, US foreign policy and the intelligence community, as well as assistant managing editor for national news, national editor and foreign editor. She was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the 2009 Overseas Press Club award for best coverage of international affairs, the 2003 Edward Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting, and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize awarded to The Washington Post for national reporting.Steven Lee Myers has worked at The New York Times for twenty-six years, seven of them in Russia during the period when Putin consolidated his power. He has witnessed and written about many of the most significant events that have marked the rise of Vladimir Putin: from the war in Chechnya and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He spent two years as bureau chief in Baghdad, covering the winding down of the American war in Iraq, and now covers national security issues. He has also covered the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House during three presidential administrations.
  5. Will the Afghan State Survive? | Tuesday, October 20th | 1:30 – 2:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The recent events in Kunduz have lead experts to speculate about whether Afghanistan can defend itself against the Taliban. While the political and security aftermath of these events continues to unfold, questions are  being raised about the Taliban’s next moves and the resilience of the Afghan state institutions. Is there a new threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which may shift the focus in a region known to reject foreign presence? Will further troop reductions in prospect under President Obama’s withdrawal schedule lead the United States to rely more heavily on its European partners? What can we expect from the NATO Warsaw Summit and the Brussels Conference? Can the United States, China, and Iran work together towards peace for Afghanistan? Speakers include: Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin, special representative of the European Union to Afghanistan, and The Honorable James B. Cunningham, senior fellow and Khalilzad chair, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council.
  6. Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security (2015 Eli-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum) | Tuesday, October 20th | 3:30 – 5:30 | Environmental Law Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND |While addressing the graduates of the Coast Guard academy last spring, President Obama told the assembled ensigns that climate change would be a defining national security issue for their time in uniform. Earlier this fall, in a village facing immediate threats of sea level rise, he told Alaskan Natives that “if another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect it… climate change poses that same threat now.” The president has raised a red flag over an issue that has concerned defense officials and the national security establishment for several years now, as well as the environmental community.On October 20, 2015, over 700 environmental lawyers, scientists, engineers, economists, and other professionals will gather in Washington, D.C., to honor an exemplary figure in environmental policy. Just prior to the annual Award Dinner, ELI holds its principal policy event of the year, the ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum. This year, the topic will be “Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security.” Speakers include: Capt. Leo Goff, Ph.D., Military Advisory Board, Center for Naval Analyses (moderator), John Conger, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, U.S. Department of Defense, Francesco Femia, Founding Director, The Center for Climate and Security, Alice Hill, Senior Advisor for Preparedness and Resilience, National Security Council, The White House, Thilmeeza Hussain, Voice of Women – Maldives, Co-Founder, Marcus King, John O. Rankin Associate Professor of International Affairs, GWU.
  7.  Summer Practicum Report on Water and Peacebuilding in the Middle East | Tuesday, October 20th | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | American University School of International Service | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Join the School of International Service and Center for Israel Studies for a research presentation hosted by the Global Environmental Politics Program in the Abramson Family Founders Room.
  8. The South Caucasus Transportation and Energy Corridor: Update in Light of Nuclear Deal with Iran | Wednesday, October 21st | 5:00 – 7:00 | SAIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Several US administrations contributed to the revival of the East-West transport corridor connecting the Caspian region with Europe via South Caucasus. Functioning elements of this infrastructure are already moving significant volumes of oil and gas, but the potential of this route is only partially realized. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia are developing new elements of infrastructure that should facilitate the flow of raw materials and finished goods between Asia and Europe. But without political and security support, this project cannot succeed.This forum, with speakers from academia and business, will analyze and offer views on the commercial and geopolitical context for development of the South Caucasus transportation corridor.  It will also look at the Shah-Deniz II/Southern Corridor energy project, as well as explore the impact of  the nuclear deal with Iran on regional energy and transportation landscape. 
  9. Libya: Failed or Recovering State | Wednesday, October 21st | 6:00 – 7:15 |Elliot School of International Affairs | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Ambassador Jones will discuss the current situation in Libya. Does the preliminary framework agreement to resolve the conflict that has divided Libya into two competing parliaments, governments, and military coalitions offer a legitimate path toward a stable Libya? Is there a role for the international community? If the agreement isn’t viable, what solutions are there? Ambassador Deborah K. Jones, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor, was nominated by President Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in March 2013.
  10. Leading at the Nexus of Development and Defense | Friday, October 23rd | 10:00 – 11:30 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Save the date for an armchair conversation with General John F. Kelly. General Kelly will discuss his career serving in the United States Marine Corps and the defining challenges he faced in maintaining U.S. and regional security. He will share his experience working in areas of conflict and supporting U.S. defense policy through effective development efforts. General Kelly is currently commander of U.S. Southern Command. A four star general, Kelly presided over much of the U.S. involvement in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, later returning to command Multi-National Force–West.


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Peace picks June 22-26

The Azraq Wetlands in Jordan have shrunk to a minuscule fraction of their size due to over-pumping. Climate change could further exacerbate water shortages in the Middle East.

1. A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks (Report Launch) | Monday, June 22nd | 3:00-5:00 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The ultimate “threat multiplier,” climate change is increasing the challenges facing the U.S. development, diplomatic, and security communities.  “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks,” an independent report commissioned by the members of the G7, identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks that pose serious threats to stability in the decades ahead. Join leaders from the development, diplomatic, and security communities and the report’s coauthors for the U.S. launch of a “New Climate for Peace.” The high-level interagency panel will explore how these climate-fragility challenges are changing the way the United States and its partners work, and will also identify opportunities for joint action to address them. Speakers include: Alexander Carius, Co-Founder and Managing Director, adelphi, Geoffrey D. Dabelko, Senior Advisor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Professor and Director of Environmental Studies, Ohio University; Former ECSP Director, Roger-Mark De Souza, Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson Center, Alice Hill, Senior Director for Resilience Policy, National Security Council, White House, Christian Holmes, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, and Global Water Coordinator, U.S. Agency for International Development, Melanie Nakagawa, Policy Planning Staff, Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Jonathan White, Rear Admiral, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy, Director of Task Force Climate Change, U.S. Navy, and David Yang, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development.

2. Turkey, the Kurds, and the Middle East: What the Turkish Elections Portend for the Region’s Future | Tuesday, June 23rd | 10:00-11:30 | The Hudson Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The recent Turkish elections indicated the strength of Turkish democracy. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid for unrivaled executive power was rejected by Turkey’s voters, demonstrating the growing political power of the country’s largest minority group, the Kurds.  Commentary on Turkish politics typically focuses on Islamism, Erdogan’s ambition, the nature of the Justice and Development party, and the various political scandals of the last few years. The reality is that more significant changes in the country are going relatively unnoticed. Turkey’s shifting demographics—rising Kurdish birth rates and lower Turkish birth rates—suggest that this key NATO ally is undergoing a fundamental transformation. What does this mean for Turkey and the rest of the Middle East, particularly countries that have large Kurdish populations including Iraq, Syria, and Iran? What challenges and opportunities will this present to American policymakers in the coming years? Speakers include: former U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey; Tolga Tanis, the Washington correspondent for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet; Gonul Tol, founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies; and Eric B. Brown, Hudson Institute senior fellow and co-editor of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith will moderate the discussion.

3. Envisioning the Future of Urban Warfare | Tuesday, June 23rd | 3:00-4:30 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Approximately sixty percent of humanity will live in urban areas in the near future. These billions of people will not just inhabit cities, but megacities that will be economic, cultural, and political centers – and potential conflict zones. Conventional discussions about the future of warfare often fail to capture the epic challenge of preparing for – and preventing – urban warfare in megacities. With that in mind, the Art of Future Warfare project will host a discussion on Envisioning the Future of Urban Warfare. It will be the capstone to a war-art challenge calling for graphic novel, or comic book, illustrations revealing what urban warfare might look like in the 2040s and 2050s. To address this important topic, Max Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of World War Z, will join Jon Chang, the writer of the Black Powder Red Earth series, along with the winner of the contest. The best illustrations will be on display for all to see and the panelists will discuss the battleground that is expected to encompass sixty percent of all people in the near future. Most importantly, they will tell us what we should worry about, and what is merely conjecture.

4. The Challenges of Democratization and Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe | Wednesday, June 24th | 10:00-12:00 | National Endowment for Democracy | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Nearly two years after the new constitution was signed into law, Zimbabwe’s democratic progress remains stalled and the economy is again in crisis. Please join us for a panel discussion to identify the challenges that must be overcome in order to reverse Zimbabwe’s current trajectory as well as explore opportunities for local and international actors to encourage political reform and economic recovery. Panelists include: Ambassador Bruce Wharton, United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ibbo Mandaza, Executive Chairperson, SAPES Trust, Tawanda Mutasah, International human rights lawyer, Charles Msipa, Former President, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. Moderated by Imani Countess, Regional Director for Africa, Solidarity Center. Introductory remarks by Dave Peterson, Senior Director for Africa, National Endowment for Democracy.

5. Pirates, Islam, and U.S. Hostage Policy | Wednesday, June 24th | 12:00-1:00 | The Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND The Middle East Program and the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center present a conversation with Michael Scott Moore, freelance journalist, Spiegel Online and author. Moore will discuss his two and a half year ordeal as a captive of Somali pirates, with a focus on certain myths about hostage-taking.

6. Eradicating Boko Haram Sustainably: An Integrated Regional Approach | Wednesday, June 24th | 2:00-3:30 | The Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In recent months, Boko Haram has expanded its raids from Northern Nigeria across the border into Northern Cameroon. The attacks, including attacks in March and April which killed numerous Cameroonian villagers, have mainly been attempts to obtain more supplies for the group. The spread of Boko Haram across borders highlights the need for regional cooperation to halt the group. This week, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria announced plans to conduct talks with Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin to form a regional military force to combat Boko Haram. Join the Wilson Center for a meaningful discussion on ways to combat Boko Haram, both from the perspective of a U.S. official and a prominent Cameroonian activist who has traveled to the Far North of Cameroon, where Boko Haram attacks have been taking place. Speakers include: Kah Walla, President of Cameroon People’s Party, U.S. Official (to be confirmed).

7. Annual Global Missile Defense Conference | Thursday, June 25th | 8:30-5:00 | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Missile Defense is a critical element for the United States’ strategy to defend its homeland and its collaborative efforts to secure the territories of its allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  In each of these regions, the combination of increased volatility, if not conflict, and new deployments by potential adversaries of increasingly capable ballistic missiles has made missile defense collaboration all the more challenging and urgent. The Atlantic Council’s annual missile defense conference convenes leading missile defense and regional security experts to analyze the future trajectory of global missile defense issues. The conference focuses on how current and prospective geopolitical developments are shaping the requirements and opportunities for missile defense collaboration in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific and will include a panel addressing the programmatic and technological challenges that define success and failure in missile defense programs. The conference will also feature an opening address by former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James E. Cartwright.

8. Rouhani at Two Years: An Assessment on the Cusp of a Nuclear Deal | Thursday, June 25th | 12:00-1:00 | Wilson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND | During President Rouhani’s first two years in office, attention has understandably been focused on Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. Yet these two years have also witnessed important developments—and conflicts—in the sphere of politics, the economy, human rights and social policy. Our panel will examine this broad spectrum of issues. Speakers include: Robin Wright, USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar, Suzanne Maloney, Interim Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution and Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

9. Beyond Centrifuges: The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Deal | Thursday, June 25th | 2:00-3:30 | Stimson Center | REGISTER TO ATTEND |As negotiators work towards a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran by the June 30th deadline, there is much more at stake for the U.S. than just centrifuges and sanctions. While a deal has been contested by U.S. allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen says a deal could “rebalance American influence” and that “detente with Iran might better balance our efforts across the sectarian divide.”  How can a deal provide new options for the U.S. to resolve some of the most important challenges in the region? Join the National Iranian American Council at Stimson Center for a timely discussion with Peter Beinart, contributing editor for The Atlantic and National Journal; Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist for Slate; Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council; and moderator Barbara Slavin, South Asia Center Senior Fellow for the Atlantic Council.

10. One Year Since Caliphate Declared: Combating ISIL | Thursday, June 25th | 6:30-8:00 | World Affairs Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Nearly a full year after it declared itself a caliphate, ISIL has greatly expanded its territory in Iraq and Syria, in addition to gaining the allegiance of terror networks around the globe. In the territory under their control they have effectively implemented a strict form of Sharia law, heavily utilizing corporal punishment as a means of enforcement, and they have been accused of committing genocide against ethnic and religious groups.  The question remains of how the United States’ and Coalition allies’ strategy will change to more effectively address the spread of ISIL’s ideology and their expansion of territory. Our speaker panel includes the knowledgeable and versed voices of Dr. Shadi Hamid; a current fellow at the Brookings Institution – Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in the Center for Middle East Policy. Thomas Sanderson is the co-director and senior fellow in the Center for Strategic International Studies Transnational Threats Project.  Bryan Bender, defense editor for Politico, will moderate the discussion.


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