Building the Programs That Can Better Build Peace | Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 | 9:30-11:00 | United States Institute of Peace | Register Here |
On March 7, members of the consortium at USIP will describe their findings, including new tools that can assess and improve the effectiveness of peacebuilding programs. The work of accountability is vital to prove the case for peacebuilding as a strategy—and to sustain support from donors and taxpayers. Several non-government organizations—including Alliance for Peacebuilding, CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, Mercy Corps and Search for Common Ground—have formed a Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium. This group is developing better tools for the design, monitoring and evaluation of programs abroad.
What Both Parties Like: Two-State Solution and Beyond | Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 | 12-1:30 | United States Institute of Peace | Register Here |
President Trump expressed an early interest in making “the ultimate deal” between the Israelis and Palestinians, but it remains unclear how the administration plans to engage on this conflict. Polls of Israelis and Palestinians consistently suggest that while support is shrinking for the two-state solution, it remains the preferred outcome. So what are the alternatives, and how politically and logistically feasible are they? The conversation will include Dahlia Scheindlin, who recently proposed a confederal approach as a “Third Way for Israel-Palestine.” She will be joined by Khaled Elgindy, a former advisor on permanent status negotiations to the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership, and by USIP’s Mike Yaffe, formerly the senior advisor to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the Department of State.
Will Washington and Moscow Work Together in the Middle East? | Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 | 12:00-1:30 | Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington | Register Here|
Join AGSIW for a discussion of how the U.S. and Russian Middle East agendas converge and diverge, and how the prospect of a new level of coordination between them is viewed both in Europe and the Gulf.
U.S. President Donald J. Trump advocates greater cooperation with Russia, including in the Middle East. But how compatible are Russian and U.S. regional strategic goals, especially over the long run? Can the new administration simultaneously pursue cooperation with Moscow and confrontation with Tehran, given the close partnership between Russia and Iran? Will Washington identify and exploit differences between Russian and Iranian priorities, particularly in Syria? How can Gulf Arab countries adapt to this complex evolving environment and protect their own interests?
Chasing War: The struggle for journalism in ISIS’ Middle East | Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 | 3:00-4:30 | Elliott School |Register Here|
Shaheen Pasha is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. She previously worked as the Middle East Regional Editor for The Brief, a legal magazine published by Thomson Reuters. Prior to launching the magazine, Pasha was the Islamic finance correspondent at Thomson Reuters, based in Dubai. She has been an assistant professor of journalism at The American University in Cairo, teaching print and online journalism for undergraduate and graduate students, and has worked at CNNMoney.com as a banking and legal reporter, covering the Supreme Court and the Enron trial. Pasha was also a reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where she had a daily column in the Wall Street Journal and appeared as a regular correspondent on CNBC Asia, covering the ADR market. Pasha will join us at the Elliott School on March 7 to discuss the challenges for those in the journalism and media industries in covering the war in Syria and the ongoing conflict in Iraq. She will give some background on the conflict, bringing in a discussion of the difficulties journalists are facing on the ground, and ISIS’ own media efforts in the form of their magazine, Dabiq. This event aims specifically to engage journalists and other media specialists, but is open to all.
Prospects for Ending the Civil War in Libya | Thursday, March 9th, 2017 | 10:00-11:30 | Atlantic Council | Register Here |
The situation in Libya today, as a result of increasing fragmentation and polarization among actors, is on the verge of a breaking point. So far, the competing authorities in the country – namely the Presidential Council and Government of National Accord established by a United Nations-backed process, and the eastern-based House of Representatives and head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar – have failed to come to an agreement to end the conflict. In this environment, it is more important than ever to offer perspectives on ways in which the new US administration can help Libya move toward stability. The Rafik Hariri Center will convene a panel of experts to discuss the current situation in Libya and explore ways forward out of the current conflict.
The View From Israel: A Conversation with Reuven Azar, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Israel | Thursday, March 9th, 2017 | 12-1 | Wilson Center | Register Here |
Israel sits in the middle of a volatile Middle East and at a nexus of issues critical to regional stability, security and American national interests. Join the Wilson Center as a veteran Israeli diplomat, Reuven Azar, offers observations on the U.S.-Israeli relationship, the Iran nuclear deal, the pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace, Russia’s role in the region and Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.
The Syrian Crisis: American Interests and Moral Considerations | Friday, March 10th, 2017 | 11:45-1:30 | Hudson Institute | Register Here |
After nearly six years, Syria remains locked in a bloody civil war while Iran and Russia continue to be President Bashar al-Assad’s primary enablers. Assad’s Syria offers Iran an important supply line to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. The war has taken the lives of more than 400,000 Syrians and has displaced more than 9 million, creating a refugee crisis that has been felt around the world.
U.S. response to the Syrian civil war has been inconsistent. President Obama lacked a coherent strategy for dealing with Syria and infamously chose inaction after Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. President Trump has made it clear that he intends to refocus U.S. efforts abroad and pursue a foreign policy focused primarily on American interests. He has, along with his Secretaries of State and Defense, signaled a willingness to take a very different approach to Syria.
What are the most pressing U.S. interests in the outcome of the Syrian civil war? What moral obligation, if any, does the U.S. have to help the region regain stability and to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people? What options are before the Trump administration, and do those options take into consideration both U.S. security and humanitarian concerns? To address these questions and more, Hudson Institute and Providence Magazine will host a March 10 panel discussion with Marc LiVecche, managing editor of Providence Magazine, and Hudson fellows Michael Doran, Nina Shea, and Rebeccah Heinrichs.
- Ten days after Quelling the Coup: Where is Turkey Headed? | Tuesday, July 26th | 11:30 AM | The Atlantic Council | Click HERE to RSVP | Last week’s failed coup attempt in Turkey has raised serious questions about Turkey’s domestic political and security situation. The immediate aftermath of last weekend’s events will have significant implications for a range of Western interests, from the fight against ISIS to EU membership to Turkey’s role in the Middle East. To what extent did the attempted coup indicate an irreparable rift in the Turkish armed forces? How will the United States manage the fragile Turkish relationship in light of accusations of an American role in the plot and demands for extraditing Fethullah Gulen? How far will President Erdogan go to purge government institutions and how will this impact the country’s political and economic future? A conversation with: Elmira Bayrasli, Visiting Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. The discussion will be moderated by Aaron Stein, Senior Resident Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, and an introduction by Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council.
- Israel and Hezbollah: The Prospect of Renewed Hostilities Ten Years after War | Tuesday, July 26th | 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM |Hudson Institute | Click HERE to RSVP | On July 12, 2006, the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah ambushed an Israel Defense Force patrol near the Lebanese border. Three IDF soldiers were killed on the spot and another two were taken hostage. Israel retaliated by bombing the Beirut airport and other key targets. Thus began what Israel refers to as the Second Lebanon War, a conflict that lasted 34 days and set the stage for much of what has happened in the Levant over the last ten years. Israel quietly secured the Israel-Lebanon border, and Hezbollah pivoted to fight in Syria. Ten years later, both sides face circumstances similar to those that led to war a decade ago. In recent years, Iran has dramatically increased Hezbollah’s weaponry capabilities by supplying Russian-made “Kornet” missiles, surface-to-air missile defense systems, and surface-to-ship cruise missiles. Israel’s concerns are compounded by Tehran’s increasingly assertive regional posture and ballistic missile tests conducted since signing the nuclear agreement. Hezbollah is still Iran’s most impressive export, but it is hemorrhaging fighters in Syria to a sectarian war in which it is outnumbered eight to one. Many throughout the Middle East and in the West believe that regional tensions and hot spots will necessarily drive Israel and Hezbollah to resume hostilities. On July 26, Hudson Institute will host a timely panel on the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War and the prospect of resumed conflict. Panelists include Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Israel Reuven Azar, Hudson Senior Fellow Michael Doran, and Foundation for Defense of Democracies Research Fellow Tony Badran. Hudson Senior Fellow Lee Smith will moderate the conversation.
- Will North America become the next Saudi Arabia? | Tuesday, July 26th | 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM | New America Foundation | Click HERE to RSVP | Not long ago Washington policymakers spent a great deal of time bemoaning our ever increasing dependence on foreign (especially, alas, Middle Eastern) oil. Rarely has such pessimistic groupthink proven so misguided. North America is blessed with a number of comparative advantages when it comes to producing energy at a low cost, and Canada’s increased oil production, innovation in alternative energy research, Mexico’s historic energy reforms, and the shale revolution across the region have only accentuated North America’s potential to become the world’s dominant energy superpower. On the heels of the North American Leaders Summit, Future Tense and the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute invite you to join them for a conversation on what it will take for North America to fulfill its energy potential. People tend to obsess over the monthly gyrations of oil prices and the latest regulatory battle over shale or pipeline-building, but we want to look forward to 2050. With the new North American Climate, Energy, and Environment Partnership what concerted steps should Canada, Mexico, and the United States be taking to ensure that North America will become the world’s leading energy power for generations? And how can this region lead the world not only in output and economic growth, but also in setting new standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability? Panelists include: Hector Moreira, Director of Energy Model for Mexico Initiative at Arizona State University and Commissioner, Mexican National Commission of Hydrocarbons, and Former Under Secretary of Energy of Mexico; Laura Dawson, Director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center and Former Senior Advisor on economic affairs at the United States Embassy in Ottawa; and Sharon Burke, Senior Advisor for International Security and Resource Security at New America and Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy.
- Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World | Wednesday, July 27th | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM | Middle East Institute at the Carnegie Endowment’s Choate Room | Click HERE to RSVP | The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host Shadi Hamid (Brookings Inst.), Nathan Brown (George Washington Univ.) and Hassan Mneimneh (MEI) for a discussion about how Islam shapes public life, law, and the state. The conversation will explore and challenge the thesis behind Hamid’s new book,Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World. In Islamic Exceptionalism, Hamid argues that Islam is distinctive among the world’s cultural systems in how it conceives religion and politics as intertwined. In this exceptionalism he sees an intrinsic resistance to secularization, with profound implications for how the West can interact with the Middle East. The panelists will address Hamid’s provocative thesis and offer their own analyses of Islam’s relationship with politics. Sumaiya Hamdani (George Mason Univ.) will moderate the discussion. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.
- French Leadership in a Post-Brexit Europe | Thursday, July 28th | 10:00 AM | Atlantic Council | Click HERE to RSVP | Europe faces historic challenges from the east and the south, at the same time as internal forces of fragmentation call into question the unity and direction of the European Union (EU). In the wake of the Brexit referendum, horrific terrorist attacks, an unprecedented migration crisis, and a continually sluggish economy, the future of Europe is in play. As a nation that combines strategic outlook, political will, military capabilities, and economic wherewithal, France is poised to shape Europe’s future. Since the end of World War II, Paris has played a leading role in advancing the European project. Franco-German political cooperation set the terms for integration. Franco-British military cooperation ensured Europe remained a serious security actor. Today, France is the bridge between the EU’s northern and southern members. France has the history, geography, and demography to help Europe navigate the confluence of challenges buffeting the continent. However, next year’s elections in France will likely determine whether France helps Europe hold together or succumbs to the challenges of economic stagnation, political fragmentation, and populism. Panelists include: H.E. Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States; Ambassador John Herbst, Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council; Ambassador Frederic Hof, Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council; Ms. Laure Mandeville, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Future Europe Initiative, Atlantic Council. With an introduction by Mr. Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council.
- Restoring NATO’s Power And Purpose| Monday, June 27th | 1:30 | Atlantic Council | 1030 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA| Register HERE | After Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union, the NATO Alliance has become more important than ever as a platform for European cooperation and security. What the Alliance achieves at its upcoming Warsaw Summit will be integral in defining NATO’s role in the new Euro-Atlantic security environment and strengthening international peace and stability in a turbulent world. Framing a critical conversation about the Alliance’s strategic priorities, this event will present the final conclusions of an Atlantic Council-chartered study on the future of NATO co-chaired by Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns and General James L. Jones. The study is premised on the belief that the Alliance is facing its greatest set of internal and external challenges since the Cold War. The report calls for renewed leadership by the United States and key European allies to restore NATO’s power and purpose in the face of an entirely different security landscape. Featuring a panel discussion with Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Former US Ambassador to NATO; and General James L. Jones, Chairman and Board Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council; the event will convene key transatlantic officials and leaders to discuss what the US, UK, and crucial European Allies must do to bolster NATO’s strength and solidarity in a post-Brexit Europe.
- Challenges And Opportunities For The U.S. Government To Improve The Protection Of Civilians In Armed Conflict| Monday, June 27th | 3:30-5:00 | Stimson Center | 8th floor, 1211 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 | Register HERE | To mark the Washington, D.C. launch of Protection of Civilians, a comprehensive volume published by Oxford University Press, the Stimson Center will host a discussion examining how the U.S. government can advance the protection of civilians agenda. Panelists from inside and outside the U.S. government will explore how the government has engaged through bilateral diplomatic channels and multilateral institutions to prevent and respond to violence against civilians in conflict zones. The panel discussion will be followed by a reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Speakers include: Victoria K. Holt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Deputy Executive Director at Human Rights Watch, Lise Grande, Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Tamara Guttman, Director General, Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START).
- Is China’s Door Closing? | Tuesday, June 28th | 2:30-4:00 | Woodrow Wilson Center | 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20004 | Register HERE | Ever since Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms in 1978, “openness” (对外开放) has been a central tenet of Chinese policy. While the actual degree of China’s openness has varied from time to time and sector to sector over the past 38 years, the trend toward greater liberalization of society, institutions, and the economy has been clear. Until recently. The passage of China’s foreign NGO law raises doubts about Xi Jinping’s commitment to further opening and reform. The law, which places foreign NGO’s under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Security, is the latest in a series of regulations meant to control “hostile foreign forces.” Surveys indicate that foreign companies are concerned about tightening business regulations in China and wonder whether they are as welcome as they were in recent decades. International journalists and publishers, too, are finding it difficult to obtain visas and to reach Chinese audiences. Is China’s door closing to foreigners? Why are conditions changing for international actors in China? How should the United States respond? Please join us for a discussion of the future of American NGO’s, corporations, and media in Xi’s China. Speakers: Erin Ennis, Senior Vice President, US-China Business Council Isaac Stone Fish, Asia Editor, Foreign Policy Shawn Shieh, Deputy Director, China Labour Bulletin.
- Changing Tides: The Road To Reconciliation And The Future Of Turkish – Israeli Relations | Tuesday, June 28th | 4:00-6:00 | Turkish Heritage Organization | Carnegie Endowment Conference Center | 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW | In light of these recent developments and the possibility that a deal between Turkey and Israel is imminent, the Turkish Heritage Organization is hosting a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, June 28th from 4-6pm at the Carnegie Endowment Conference Center to explore and discuss the prospects for reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, the final stages of a deal and what the future might look like for both countries. Spakers include: Dr. Brenda Shaffer, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council; Dan Arbell, Nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and Former Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC; and Moran Stern, Georgetown University, Center for Jewish Civilization. The moderator will be Dr. Mark Meirowitz, Assistant Professor at SUNY Maritime College.
- Media Activism Amid Civil War: The Role of Syrian Women Journalists | Wednesday, June 29th | 12:30-1:45 | Middle East Institute | 1761 N Street NW Washington, DC 20036 | Register HERE | Syrian citizen-journalists, bloggers, and media activists have played a critical role covering one of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. They do so in the face of significant challenges – from fear for their safety, to overcoming international indifference to the story of an unending conflict. Women journalists face even greater challenges and yet many continue to work in the field. Non-profit initiatives like the Syrian Female Journalists’ Network are providing training and support while promoting a better understanding of the important role of women in the Syrian uprising. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host the founders of the Syrian Female Journalists Network, Rula Asad and Milia Eidmouni, and radio journalist Caroline Ayoub for a discussion of their work in promoting the roles of Syrian women in journalism and civil society. Kate Seelye will moderate the discussion with the activists, who are visiting Washington as part of an Asfari Foundation-backed program to highlight the ongoing role of Syrian civil society.
- Kurdistan Rising? Considerations For Kurds, Their Neighbors, And The Region | Wednesday, June 29th | 3:00-4:30 | American Enterprise Institute |1150 Seventeenth Street, NW Washington, DC 20036| Register HERE | Two decades ago, many US officials would have been hard-pressed to place Kurdistan on a map, let alone consider the Kurds as allies. Today, Kurds loom large on the Middle Eastern stage, highlighting their renewed push for independence amid the chaos in Iraq. In his new monograph, “Kurdistan Rising? Considerations for Kurds, Their Neighbors, and the Region,” AEI’s Michael Rubin examines the effects of Kurdish independence and unresolved questions that would follow an independent Kurdistan, including citizenship, political structures, defense, economic systems, and renegotiation of treaties to include the Kurds. Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States; James F. Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Iraq and Turkey; and Michael Rubin, resident scholar at AEI, will speak.
- Congo Crisis: Getting to Good Elections in a Bad Neighborhood | Wednesday, June 29th | 4:00pm | Institute of World Politics | 1521 16th Street NW Washington, DC | Register HERE | Charles Snyder, Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Professor of African Affairs, IWP, will speak about prospects for Congo.
- Toward a “Reaganov” Russia: Assessing trends in Russian national security policy after Putin | Monday, October 5th | 10:00 – 11:30 | Brookings | REGISTER TO ATTEND | During their recent speeches before the United Nations General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama traded strong words on issues from Ukraine to arms control to Syria. The exchange between the two presidents unfolded as questions about Russia’s long-term foreign policy ambitions and grand strategy return to the forefront of policy debate. To better understand what lies ahead in Russian foreign and security policy, analysts must explore variances between Russian strategic culture and the agenda put forward by President Putin. Disentangling these differences will be crucial for U.S. policy planning of the future. Brookings Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy joins Michael O’Hanlon, author of “The Future of Land Warfare,” to discuss their research on the issue, focusing on five possible paradigms for the future of Russian grand strategy. Former ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, presently the director of the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings, will also participate in the panel.
- United States and China: Trends in Military Competition | Monday, October 5th | 12:00 – 1:00 | RAND Corporation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Over the past two decades, China has poured resources into upgrading its military. This modernization, coupled with China’s increasingly assertive position in the waters surrounding the mainland, has caused concern in Washington and capitals across Asia. Recently, a team of RAND researchers led by Eric Heginbotham released The U.S.-China Military Scorecard report. This study is the broadest and most rigorous assessment to date of relative U.S. and Chinese military capabilities based entirely on unclassified sources. Join us to discuss the evolution of Chinese military capabilities in specific domains (air and missile, maritime, space, cyber, and nuclear) and the overall trend in the regional military balance over time; how Chinese relative gains could affect the strategic decision-making of Chinese leaders; steps the United States can take to limit the impact of a growing Chinese military on deterrence and other U.S. strategic interests. Eric Heginbotham is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation specializing in East Asian security issues.
- Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East | Tuesday, October 6th | 10:00 – 11:30 | Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Join The Center for Transatlantic Relations in a discussion on nuclear Middle East. This discussion with feature Yair Evron, professor emeritus, Department of Political Science, Tel-Aviv University and senior research associate for the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel-Aviv. Additionally, Ambassador Robert E. Hunter, senior fellow for Center for Transatlantic Relations will participate in the discussion.
- The Pivotal Moment: How the Iran Deal Frames America’s Foreign Policy Choices | Tuesday, October 6th | 12:00 – 1:00 | The Heritage Foundation | REGISTER TO ATTEND | At the core of the debate over the Iran deal are two distinct visions of what American foreign policy should be. In contrast to the politicized efforts to frame foreign affairs as a choice between isolationism, regime change, or some nebulous choice in between, the controversy over the efficacy of the Vienna Agreement represents the real difference between the alternatives being offered to the American people. This discussion aims to frame the distinctions between progressive and conservative foreign policy and the choice they represent for the nation as it considers what kind of statecraft to expect from the next administration. Speakers include: Colin Dueck, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and Kim Holmes, Distinguished fellow, The Heritage Foundation.
- Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators | Tuesday, October 6th | 1:00 | Institute of World Politics | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the child of a Stalin or Hitler, a Mao or Castro, or Pol Pot? National Review’s Jay Nordlinger asked himself this. The result is Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators, an astonishing survey of the progeny of 20 dictators. Some were loyalists who admired their father. Some actually succeed as dictator. A few were critics, even defectors. What they have in common, Nordlinger shows, is the prison house of tainted privilege and the legacy of dubious deference.
- India and Pakistan: From Talks to Crisis and Back Again | Wednesday, October 8th | 8:30 – 10:00 | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The last few months have witnessed nascent efforts to restart high-level bilateral talks between Delhi and Islamabad dashed again by political maneuvering in both capitals. In addition, there has been an uptick in violence along the Line of Control in Kashmir and muscular signaling from both sides. Why has the latest effort between India and Pakistan to talk about the myriad issues between them fallen apart? What can we discern about the approach of Indian Prime Minister Modi toward Pakistan? How do civil-military politics in Pakistan inform its approach toward India? Are the two states doomed to a perpetual state of ‘not war, not peace,’ or is there hope for a way forward? Huma Yusuf , Wilson Center, and Aparna Pande, Hudson Institute, will discuss. Carnegie’s George Perkovich will moderate.
- What can Myanmar’s Elections tell us about Political Transitions? | Wednesday, October 7th | 9:30- 11:00 | Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions consortium | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Elections are critical junctures in many transitions, providing clarity on whether a political transition is advancing or retreating – and Myanmar’s November 8, 2015 parliamentary elections promise to be such a watershed moment for the country’s potential democratic transition. Speakers Include: John Brandon, Senior Director at The Asia Foundation, Jennifer Whatley, Division Vice President, Civil Society & Governance at World Learning, Robert Herman, Vice President for Regional Programs at Freedom House, Jonathan Stonestreet, Associate Director of the Democracy Program at The Carter Center, Eric Bjornlund, President of Democracy International.
- A Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine for a New Era | Thursday, October 8th | 10:00 – 11:30 | CSIS | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Saudi Arabia has in recent years consolidated its place as the preeminent Arab leader, regional stabilizer, and critical bulwark against terrorism and a nuclear Iran. The Kingdom’s growing security responsibilities require rapid and substantial military investments. Prince Sultan bin Khaled Al Faisal and Nawaf Obaid, visiting fellow and associate lecturer at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will outline a comprehensive Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine for a new era and explain why the Kingdom is likely to double down on defense and national security capabilities in the next decade.
- The EU Migration Crisis | Thursday, October 8th | 2:30 – 4:00 |Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies | REGISTER TO ATTEND |Dean Vali Nasr and The Human Security Iniative of the Foreign Policy Insitute Invite you to a panel discussion on The EU Migration Crisis. Speakers include: Michel Gabaudan, president, Refugees International, Reka Szemerkeny, Ambassador, Hungary, Peter Wittig, Ambassador, Germany.
- Democracy Rebooted: The Future of Technology in Elections | Friday, October 9th | Atlantic Council | REGISTER TO ATTEND | As technology plays an increasingly dominant part of our lives, its role in elections has come under scrutiny. We are at a crucial moment to review the policies that influence elections and the technology we use to execute them. Why can we call a car, book a hotel, and pay bills on our phones, yet elections are often still implemented with pen and paper? Legitimacy, access, credibility, and trust are the issues that will require policymakers and technologists to carefully script the implementation of technology in our elections. Speakers include: Governor Jon Huntsman, Chairman Atlantic Council, Secretary Madeline Albright, David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor-in-Chief FP Group, Pat Merloe, Director, Electoral Programs, National Democratic Institute, Mark Malloch Brown, Former Deputy Secretary General, UN, Matthew Masterson, Commissioner, Electoral Assistance Commission, Tadjoudine Ali-Diabacte, Deputy Director, Electoral Assistance Division, UNDPA, Justice Jose Antonio Dias Toffolio, President, Supreme Electoral Court, Brazil, Manish Tewari, Former Minister of Information, India.
With Palestine’s flag now flying at UN headquarters, the Middle East Institute held a discussion last week of Palestinian Politics and Strategy in Challenging Times. The event featured Husam Zomlot, Ambassador at Large for Palestine, and moderator Matthew Duss, President of Foundation for Middle East Peace. While Palestine has recently been overshadowed by other hot topics like the Islamic State and the Iranian nuclear deal, Zomlot shed light on current Palestinian thinking and options for the US.
Zomlot described Palestine as in limbo. The 1988 Palestinian offer of a two-state solution failed to deliver results. It was misunderstood to be a starting point for further negotiation rather than a compromise solution in which the Palestinians were giving up most of their territorial claim. Thereafter the Oslo accords, institution-building from the ground up, and the “peace process” have all failed.
It is time, Zomlot suggested, to give up on the current process. Things have changed for both populations. Israel today is not the same Israel it was thirty years ago and should not be treated the same. Nor is Palestine the same. The two sides cannot resolve the situation on their own. The “peace process” as currently pursued is designed to prevent rather than reach a peaceful outcome. The US generally has the right goals, but cannot reach them unilaterally.
That said, where to now? Palestinian political unity is vital. It will enable Palestinians to demand their rights even before they have a state. But is also high time that the US recognize the Palestinian state and cooperate with an effort to impose a two-state solution through a UN Security Council resolution.
Matt Duss asked how the idea of fighting for rights rather than land fits into current Palestinian politics.
Zomlot responded that the notion that a two-state solution is in Israel’s best interest so that it can be both Jewish and democratic may not be true any longer. Current Israeli decision makers may want the West Bank and East Jerusalem more than they want to be democratic. A second false premise is that Israel has to create a Palestinian state so that it can be accepted as part of the region. But Israel doesn’t want to be part of the Middle East. It associates itself with Europe.
Zomlot suggested the Palestinians now have to reassert their own identity and demand their rights. They should not abandon the goal of a two-state solution, but should insist first on their rights. US recognition and cooperation in passage of a UN Security Council resolution imposing an outcome on the parties would be a big step forward.
CSIS hosted a panel Wednesday on “Understanding and Combating Anti-Semitism in Present-Day Europe” featuring Gilles Clavreul, the French inter-ministerial delegate for the Fight Against Racism and Anti-Semitism; Rabbi Andrew Baker, personal representative of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Chairperson-in-Office for Combating Anti-Semitism; and Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent with The Atlantic. The panel was moderated by CSIS Vice President Europe Program, Heather Conley.
Clavreul and Baker highlighted the increase of anti-Semitism in recent years in public discourse, in political parties, and in minority groups. They are eager to push back and ensure Europe remains a safe and healthy environment for Jews. Goldberg had a more pessimistic outlook, believing that “there’s not much hope for the future of European Jewry.” Not only has it seen demographic decline, but Europe is now an inhospitable environment for Jews.
Clavreul highlighted that hate speech and hate-based acts have become more common in France since 2000. Jews are not the only target. The rest of Europe has also witnessed this increasing hate and xenophobia, which divide the national body politic and are antithetical to Republican values shared by a broader Atlantic community. Clavreul hopes to be able to mobilise all sectors of French society to combat hate.
Baker agreed, noting that people were slow to recognize resurgent anti-Semitism for what it was. Jewish anxieties have been growing, and recent anti-Semitic attacks across Europe have driven the point home for the public. One reason for slow identification of the problem is that in recent years many perpetrators behind hate speech and acts have been Muslim Europeans. There remains a lingering political correctness wary of highlighting crimes committed by a minority community. The panelists agreed there are two primary strains of anti-Semitism in Europe today: the old guard of right-wing Europeans, and the more recent phenomenon occurring among Muslim communities.
Goldberg has written on this issue before. Hitler accomplished the destruction of European Jewry as a vibrant and feasible community. There was no real post-war recovery, and the nature of the community has changed: three quarters of French Jews, for instance, are of North African descent. Today’s anti-Semitism, in his view, should make Jews leave Europe behind; today, North America and Israel are the centers of Jewish culture. Goldberg, together with Baker, pointed out the European tendency towards anti-Zionism, or anti-Israel sentiments that often bleed into outright anti-Semitism, especially given Europe’s historical relationship with it. Goldberg believes such an environment encourages those – mainly within Muslim extremism – who have violent impulses to act, and validates certain trends within the Muslim community.
Conley highlighted the potential implications of the migration crisis, given that the majority of refugees are Muslim: will it lead to an increase in anti-Semitism in Europe, exacerbating intercommunal tensions? The panelists and moderators agreed that the refugees needed to be assimilated, in order to provide for the security of Europe in general and Jews in particular. Baker emphasized that it is inevitable that Jews feel a degree of empathy for the plight of the thousands who find themselves forced to leave their homes, and are often confronted with closed doors. The panelists agreed that this major demographic movement will present cultural and security challenges to the Europe.
There are positive voices in Europe against anti-Semitism today. Clavreul works directly with French PM Manuel Valls, who insists that Jews are an integral part of the French community. France aspires to be an environment hospitable to Jews (and other minorities). German Chancellor Angela Merkel is another important voice. Baker highlighted the diversity of contexts and experiences within Europe. One should not paint a broadly negative picture. Clavreul believes that with increased education about the Jewish experience at the childhood level, paired with increased regulation of hate speech and especially the internet, France (and Europe overall) can begin to roll back the tide of hate.