Tag: Religion

Peace picks November 13 – 17

  1. Lebanon in Crisis? The Impact of the Hariri Resignation and the Saudi-Iranian Cold War | Monday, November 13 | 11:00 – 12:00 pm | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (event held by phone) | Register Here | The resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri is threatening again to plunge Lebanon into political and economic crisis or worse. A number of developments, including longstanding but growing tensions between Iran and Hezbollah and Saudi Arabia may well presage a deteriorating regional situation that could draw Lebanon as well as Israel into the fray. Join us BY PHONE as three veteran observers of Lebanese and regional politics analyze these developments and others as we enter yet another period of potential turbulence in Middle Eastern politics. Jane Harman of the Wilson Center will deliver opening remarks, after which Aaron David Miller will moderate a conversation featuring Hanin Ghaddar of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute, and Bassel F. Salloukh of the Lebanese American University.
  2. Religion and Foreign Policy: Exploring the Legacy of “Mixed Blessings” | Monday, November 13 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm | Center for Strategic and International Studies | Register Here | Please join the Human Rights Initiative (HRI) and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs for a discussion marking the 10th anniversary of CSIS’s groundbreaking report, “Mixed Blessings: U.S. Government Engagement with Religion in Conflict-Prone Settings“. This report analyzed how religion affects international affairs, including through the faith and religious beliefs of politicians and elites; the belief structures that underlie national and international views; and the impact of religious organizations. At this event, Shaun Casey, former director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs, will interview Liora Danan, lead author of Mixed Blessings and former chief of staff for the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, to discuss the report’s goals and relevance in diplomacy today. Following their interview, Shannon N. Green, director and senior fellow of HRI, will moderate an expert panel to assess the impact of religion on foreign policy over the decade since the report’s release. Panelists include Rebecca Linder Blachly of  Episcopal Church and Eric Patterson of Georgetown University.
  3. 2017 Transatlantic Economic Forum – Day 1 | Monday, November 13 | 8:30 am – 5:30 pm | Center for Transatlantic Relations (held at SAIS Kenney Auditorium) | Register Here | The 5th annual Transatlantic Economic Forum will bring together government and business community leaders from 20 countries of the larger Mediterranean, including the Gulf and the Middle East, and is organized in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The first day will consist of four panels and three keynote addresses. The first panel, titled “Doing Business in Maghreb,” will include Mahieddine Taleb of Sonatrach (Algeria), Adel Mohsen Chaabane of AmCham (Tunisia), Mustafa Sanalla of the National Oil Corporation (Libya), Omar Mohanna of the Suez Cement Group of Companies (Egypt), and Asmaa El Mkhentar of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy (Morocco). Greg Lebedev of CIPE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will moderate. The second panel, “Doing Business in The Balkans,” will consist of a conversation between Mujo Selimovic of the CTR-SAIS Mediterranean Basin Initiative Corporate Advisory Board and moderator Michael Haltzel, a CTR – SAIS Senior Fellow. The panel “Security and Military Cooperation: Safeguarding the Mediterranean part 1” will feature Mitar Klikovac of the Embassy of Montenegro to the United States, Dragan Galić of the Embassy of Serbia to the United States, and Khaled Shawky and Ayman Aldesouky Youssef of the Embassy of Egypt to the United States. Hans Binnendijk of CTR – SAIS will moderate. The final panel of the day, “Security and Military Cooperation: Safeguarding the Mediterranean part 2” will include Michael Barbero of the United States Army, Fahrudin Radoncic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ambassador of Croatia in the United States Pjer Simunovic, Michael MacQueen of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and moderator Don Jensen of CTR – SAIS.
  4. Sectarianism and Conflict in the Middle East | Tuesday, November 14 | 9:00 am – 12:15 pm | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Register Here | What’s driving the spread of Sunni-Shia identity politics in today’s Middle East? How is sectarianism contributing to the region’s instability and conflicts? The authors of a new edited volume, Beyond Sunni and Shia: The Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East, will discuss how geopolitics, governance, media, and other factors are fueling sectarianism. This event will consist of two panels. The first, titled, “Regional Cases and Geopolitical Sources of Sectarianism: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria” will feature Cole Bunzel of Princeton University, Fanar Hadad of the National University of Singapore, Afshon Ostovar, of the Naval Postgraduate School, and Heiko Wimmen of the International Crisis Group. The second panel, moderated by Marc Lynch of Carnegie’s Middle East Program and titled “Domestic and Institutional Sources of Sectarianism: Governance, Political Economy, Clerics, and Social Media” will include Joseph Bahout of Carnegie’s Middle East Program, Justin Gengler of Qatar University, Alexander Henley of the University of Oxford, and Alexandra Siegel of New York University.
  5. Afghanistan 2017: A Survey of Public Perceptions | Tuesday, November 14 | 10:00 – 11:30 am | United States Institute of Peace | Register Here | The recent escalation of attacks in Kabul underscores the crucial questions of security, economic stability and reconciliation that still confront President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, despite the significant progress Afghanistan has made. Those questions and other pressing issues facing the country are the subject of the Asia Foundation’s 2017 Survey of the Afghan People. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace on Tuesday, November 14, for the foundation’s presentation of the findings and a discussion of the trends in citizens’ views over time. Speakers will include Dr. Tabasum Akseer of the Asia Foundation, Ambassador Daniel F. Feldman of Akin Gump, Dr. Zach Warren of The Asia Foundation, and Mr. Scott Worden of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
  6. 2017 Transatlantic Economic Forum – Day 2 | Tuesday, November 14 | 8:30 am – 6:45 pm | Center for Transatlantic Relations (held at SAIS Kenney Auditorium) | Register Here | The second day of the Transatlantic Economic Forum will consist of five panels. The first, “Working Through Reforms: What’s Next?” will feature Marinko Cavara, President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bruce Berton, OSCE Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Dejan Vanjek, Foreign Policy advisor to Dragan Covic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Daniel Serwer of CTR – SAIS will moderate. “Diversifying Economies: The Private Sector As The Key To Building Prosperity” will include panelists Dalibor Milos of Aluminij d.d. (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ali Haddad of ETRHB Haddad Group (Algeria), Hisham Fahmy of AmCham Egypt, Inc., and moderator Andras Simonyi of CTR – SAIS. Participating in the panel “Macedonia: Turning New Page” will be Kocho Angjushev, Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Lilica Kitanovska of Voice of America, and Edward Joseph of CTR – SAIS. The fourth panel, titled “The Gulf Countries: Strengthening Transatlantic Cooperation,” will include participants Omar A. Bahlaiwa of the Committee for International Trade (Saudi Arabia), Bilal Sabouni of the American Business Council in Dubai (UAE), and moderator Khush Choksy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Mehdi Bendimerad of the Algerian Business Association, Jasmin Mahmuzic of the Banking Agency of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and moderator Steve Lutes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will participate in the final panel, “Regional and Transatlantic Cooperation: A Key To Growth and Prosperity.”
  7. 71st Annual Conference: Conflicts, Costs, and Policy Pathways | Wednesday, November 15 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm | Middle East Institute (held at The Capital Hilton) | Register Here | The Middle East Institute’s (MEI) 71st Annual Conference will convene innovative leaders, foreign policy practitioners, and analysts from the Middle East and the United States to explain the challenges and opportunities facing the region and assess current policies. The conference will feature four expert discussions that will delve into U.S. Middle East priorities, paths for resolving the region’s civil wars, the humanitarian outlook in countries plagued by conflict, and the growing impact of women’s activism. Amb. (ret.) Wendy J. Chamberlin of MEI will deliver opening remarks. Participants will include Gen. (ret.) John Allen of The Brookings Institution, Fawziah Bakr al-Bakr of Al Jazeera, Wafa Ben Hassine of Access Now, Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein of MEI, Amb. (ret.) Robert Ford of the Middle East Institute, Philip Gordon of the Council on Foreign Relations, Simon Henshaw of the U.S. Department of State, Mary Louise Kelly of NPR, Hind Aboud Kabawat of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, Michael Klosson of Save the Children, Nancy Lindborg of USIP, Clare Lockhart of the Institute for State Effectiveness, Rania A. Al‐Mashat of the International Monetary Fund, Hideki Matsunaga of the World Bank, Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute, Randa Slim of MEI and Johns Hopkins SAIS, Nafeesa Syeed of Bloomberg News, Jonathan Winer of the Middle East Institute, and Juan Zarate of the Financial Integrity Network.
  8. Water Security in the Middle East – Source of Tension or Avenue for Peace? | Wednesday, November 15 | 9:00 – 11:00 am | Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars | Register Here | In the Middle East, water scarcity is a source of tension. But some innovative leaders in the region have approached better water management as a shared priority that transcends borders and politics—and that could even serve as a potential platform for peace. For more than 20 years, EcoPeace Middle East has worked across the Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli borders to promote practical solutions to transboundary water scarcity and pollution. Join us for a unique conversation with EcoPeace’s three co-directors—representing Jordan, Palestine, and Israel—who will share their experiences using water diplomacy to improve livelihoods, create healthy interdependencies, and enhance regional stability. The discussion will also identify opportunities for progress on water issues within the peace process and the important role of the United States in fostering regional water security and stability. Speakers include Sherri Goodman, Former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Roger-Mark De Souza of the Wilson Center, Aaron Salzberg of the U.S. Department of State, and Gidon Bromberg, Nada Majdalani, and Yana Abu Taleb of EcoPeace Middle East.
  9. Deconflicting in Syria: Turkey’s Idlib Operation | Wednesday, November 15 | 2:30 – 4:00 pm | Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research (SETA) | Register Here | In early October, Turkey deployed its forces to establish a presence in Syria’s Idlib province. The deployment aims to establish a de-conflict zone in Idlib as part of a deal reached at negotiations in Astana between Turkey, Russia, and Iran. In addition to limiting conflict between the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army in Idlib and the Assad regime, Turkey has also characterized the operation as an effort to prevent further expansion by the PYD in northern Syria. The US has remained skeptical about the Astana process, particularly over Iran’s involvement as a guarantor. While the US said that it would not provide tangible support for Turkey’s operation in Idlib, the Department of Defense said that the US supports Turkey’s efforts to secure its borders against terror groups such as Al Qaeda. At the same time, the US continues to partner with the PYD in northern Syria, a long-standing point of contention in the US-Turkey relationship. Please join the SETA Foundation at Washington DC for a timely discussion on this crucial issue in the Syrian conflict and what Turkey’s operation in Idlib means for US-Turkey relations. Panelists include Luke Coffey of The Heritage Foundation, Kadir Ustun of The SETA Foundation, and Nidal Betare of People Demand Change. Kilic Kanat of the SETA Foundation will moderate.
  10. 2017 Transatlantic Economic Forum – Day 3 | Wednesday, November 15 |  10:00 am – 6:45 pm | Center for Transatlantic Relations (held at SAIS Kenney Auditorium) | Register Here | The final day of the Transatlantic Economic Forum will consist of three panels and will end with the CTR SAIS 2017 Mediterranean Basin Award Ceremony. The first panel, “Turkey and Transatlantic Relations Book launch,” will include panelists Donald Jensen of CTR – SAIS, Kilic Bugra Kanat of the SETA Foundation, Jennifer Miel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Serdar Altay of ISPAT. Aylin Unver Noi of CTR – SAIS will moderate. The second panel, titled “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Towards It’s European Future,” will feature Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Goran Mirascic of The World Bank Group, Valentin Inzko of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mak Kamenica of USAID, and Michael Haltzel of CTR – SAIS. Panelists participating in the final event, “Algeria and Transatlantic Relations Book Launch,” include Ismael Chikhoune of the US – Algeria Business Council, Jeremy Berndt of the Department of State, Mehdi Bendimerad of System Panneaux Sandwichs, and moderator Samy Boukaila of CTR – SAIS.
  11. Education for Displaced Syrians: Innovative Solutions to a Complex Challenge | Thursday, November 16 | 12:00 – 2:00 pm | Marvin Center, George Washington University | Register Here | Join George Washington University’s No Lost Generation chapter for an engaging discussion on innovative approaches to education for displaced Syrian communities, from after school programs in Turkey to international networks that connect Syrian students with higher education opportunities.This event has been made possible with support from Turkish Heritage Organization. Speakers include Lina Sergie Attar of the Karam Foundation, Katherine Miller of the Institute for International Education, George Batah of Syrian Youth Empowerment, and Dr. Jessica Anderson of George Washington and Georgetown Universities.
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Peace picks November 9-13

  1. War or Peace? the Gulf States and Russia’s Intervention in Syria | Monday, November 9th | 12:00-1:30 | Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington | REGISTER TO ATTEND  | The war in Syria, now in its fourth year, has killed more than a quarter of a million people, contributed to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and become a breeding ground for ISIL and other extremist groups that threaten not only the region but much of the rest of the world. In September, Russia began carrying out airstrikes in Syria as part of a coordinated counterattack with Iran and Hezbollah against rebel groups supported by Gulf Arab states, Turkey, and in some cases the U.S.What does Russia hope to accomplish by its intervention in Syria? How have the Arab Gulf states responded, and how is this affecting recently improved GCC-Russian relations? What role are Iran and Hezbollah playing on the ground and likely to play at the negotiating table? Is the Obama administration seriously considering a substantive expansion of American military involvement in Syria, or will it focus primarily on diplomacy? Are the Vienna talks laying the groundwork for serious negotiations and a political settlement? And how does ISIL factor into the Syrian conflict, the trajectory of its development, and its impact on the region?This AGSIW panel will look at all these questions and more arising from Russia’s intervention in Syria and the response of the Gulf Arab states. Speakers include Fahad Nazer, non-resident fellow at AGSIW; Mark Katz, professor of government and politics at George Washington University; and Bessma Momani, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The discussion will be moderated by Hussein Ibish, senior resident fellow at AGSIW.
  2. Demonizing Dissidents: How INTERPOL is being abused by Dictatorships | Monday, November 9th | 4:00-7:00 | Fair Trials & Georgetown Law’s Human Rights Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In recent years, the use of INTERPOL’s “wanted person” alerts has expanded vastly with over 120,000 now circulating across the globe. Unfortunately, as it has become easier for countries to obtain INTERPOL Red Notices, some have been used as an instrument for silencing dissent and exporting repression with devastating consequences. Join us to discuss how INTERPOL is starting to address this problem which has been undermining its reputation as the global “good guys” in the fight against crime, and hear from people whose lives have been turned upside down by Red Notices, including: Sherif Mansour, an Egyptian-American democracy and human rights activist working for the Committee to Protect Journalists; Benny Wenda, a West Papuan tribal leader who leads an international campaign for the people of West Papua; Lutfullo Shamsutdinov, a human rights activist and witness of the Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan; and Patricia Poleo, an award-winning anti-corruption journalist and vocal critic of Hugo Chavez, subject to a Red Notice from Venezuela.
  3. Our Walls Bear Witness: Iraqi Minorities in Peril | Monday, November 9th | 6:30-8:00 | US Holocaust Memorial Museum | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Join the Museum for a discussion with experts on the plight of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq who have been targeted by the self-proclaimed Islamic State and are now displaced, not knowing when—or if—they will be able to return home. The discussion will take place on the opening night of FotoWeek DC (November 9–12), for which the Museum will project onto its exterior walls photographs from a recent trip to Iraq.Speakers include Naomi Kikoler, deputy director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, who recently returned from northern Iraq; Dakhil Shammo, a Yezidi human rights activist from the region; and Knox Thames, special advisor for religious minorities in the Near East and South and Central Asia at the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.You can submit questions for the panelists on Twitter using the hashtags #IraqCrisis and #WallsBearWitness.
  4. Turkey with the brakes off: What does Erdoğan’s victory mean? | Wednesday, November 11th | 5:00-7:00 | Central Asia-Caucasus Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Turkey’s ruling AKP restored its majority in parliament on Nov 1. But the election was held after President Erdogan refused to accept the June 7 election’s results, sabotaged efforts to form a coalition government, relaunched war in the country’s southeast -– and after a massive suicide bombing in Ankara.Will this election stabilize Turkey? What does this election mean for Turkey’s regional posture, and what kind of partner will it be for the U.S.?Speakers at this forum will draw from Turkey Transformed, a recently published study in which CACI scholars partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center to investigate Turkey’s transformation under Erdogan. Speakers include: Eric S. Edelman, Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Svante E. Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute; Blaise Misztal, Director of Foreign Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center; Alan Makovsky, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; and John Hannah, Senior Advisor, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The discussion will be moderated by Mamuka Tsereteli, Research Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute.
  5. The ISIS Scorecard: Assessing the State of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy | Thursday, November 12th | 9:30-12:30 | American Foreign Policy Council | RSVP: events@afpc.org | The Honorable Newt Gingrich will give a keynote address. Speakers at this Capitol Hill conference include: Amb. Alberto Fernandez, Vice President of Middle East Media Research Institute and Former State Department Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications; Sebastian Gorka, Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University; Celina Realuyo, Professor of Practice, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, National Defense University; and James S. Robbins, Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs, American Foreign Policy Council.
  6. The Transatlantic Forum on Russia | Thursday, November 12th | 8:30-2:30 | Center for Strategic and International Studies | REGISTER TO ATTEND | Please join us for the fourth joint conference of CSIS and the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding (CPRDU). Since 2012 CSIS and CPRDU have partnered to examine the impact of Polish-Russian reconciliation and its wider regional and transatlantic implications. Significant structural cracks in Europe’s security architecture – crafted at the end of the Second World War and refined by the Helsinki Final Act – have appeared since Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea and its incursions into eastern Ukraine. As a result, the principal challenge to the transatlantic community is to formulate a new foreign policy approach towards Russia. Our expert panelists will discuss the nature and scope of this new policy while considering historical relations between Russia and the West. See here for the full agenda and the featured experts.
  7. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence | Thursday, November 12th | 2:00-3:30 | Brookings Institution | REGISTER TO ATTEND | In his new book, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks examines the recent phenomenon of violent extremism by exploring the origins of violence and its relationship to religion. Rabbi Sacks challenges the assertion that religion is an intrinsic source of violence and describes how theology can be central to combating religious violence and extremism. Through analysis of biblical texts tied to the three Abrahamic faiths, Rabbi Sacks illustrates how religiously-inspired violence stems from a critical misreading of these texts.  Governance Studies at Brookings will host a discussion addressing Rabbi Sacks’ book and other important issues related to the roots of religious violence. This event is part of the long-running Governing Ideas book series, which is hosted by William A. Galston. E.J. Dionne, Jr. will also join the discussion.After the discussion, panelists will take audience questions. Books will be available for sale before and after the event.
  8. Migration, Asylum, and the Role of the State: Defining Borders, Redefining Boundaries | Thursday, November 12th | 4:00-5:30 | The Kluge Center at the Library of Congress | No registration necessary | Issues around immigration, migration, and asylum are pressing political, social and cultural concerns in the United States and Europe today. Three Fellows at the Kluge Center will discuss the role of the state in establishing geographic, technological and bureaucratic controls over the flow of peoples, cultures and beliefs across borders, and examine how the notions of national borders and state boundaries have evolved over the 20th and 21st century and how migrants and immigrants continue to challenge state-defined categories. Speakers include: Iván Chaar-López, researching databases, computers, and drones as instruments of border and migration control along the southern border (Digital Studies Fellow, University of Michigan); Katherine Luongo, researching witchcraft and spiritual beliefs among African asylum-seekers in Europe, Canada and Australia (Kluge Fellow, Northeastern University); and Julia Young, researching early 20th century Mexican immigration to the U.S. (Kluge Fellow, Catholic University).
  9. The Syrian Refugee Crisis & the U.S.: What is our responsibility? | Thursday, November 12th | 7:00-9:00 | Institute for Policy Studies | No registration necessary | Three experts on the Syrian crisis will address the issues faced by refugees, the need for ending the war to end the refugee crisis, the role of the U.S. in creating and its obligations for solving this crisis, and what the U.S. should do to assist and welcome Syrian refugees—and prevent similar crises in the future.Speakers include Pam Bailey, human rights activist and journalist; Phyllis Bennis, IPS fellow and author of numerous books and articles on U.S. policy in the Middle East; and Rafif Jouejati, Syrian activist and director of FREE-Syria. The forum will be moderated by Andy Shallal, activist and owner of Busboys and Poets. The event will be held at Busboys and Poets.
  10. The Search for Stability and Opportunity: The Middle East in 2016 | Friday, November 13th | 9:00-5:00 | The Middle East Institute | REGISTER TO ATTEND | The Middle East Institute will host its 69th Annual Conference at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event will bring together prominent Middle Eastern and American experts and foreign policy practitioners to delve into the many questions and challenges that face the region during this period of unprecedented change. Experts from across the region and the U.S. will examine Middle Eastern states’ pursuit of security out of the current disorder, the policy imperatives that will confront the next U.S. president, strategies for empowerment, inclusion, and equity in Arab societies, and the trends and channels in which youth are challenging the societal and political order. See here for the full agenda and featured experts.
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