Tag: Vietnam

Peace picks, February 12-18

  1. Geostrategic Flashpoint: The Eastern Mediterranean | Monday, February 12 | 9:00am – 10:00am | CSIS | Register here |

The Eastern Mediterranean forms a geostrategic seam between Europe and the Middle East, and for over seventy years, the region represented a strategic anchor for the United States. Today, Washington and its allies are struggling to adapt a coherent Eastern Mediterranean regional policy that acknowledges dramatically new economic, political, and security realities.  As Syria enters its seventh year of conflict, Russia and Iran deepen their military footprints in the region, and NATO ally Turkey radically alters its domestic and external policies, the strategic importance of the region to the United States is growing while U.S. influence there appears to be waning. To assess regional security challenges and discuss NATO and U.S. Navy operational approaches to the Eastern Mediterranean, we are pleased to host Admiral James G. Foggo, III (commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples; commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa) for a timely conversation. Jon Alterman (CSIS) and Heather Conley (CSIS) will offer reflections and observations on a recently concluded CSIS research project on the Eastern Mediterranean.

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  1. Iran’s Political Future | Monday, February 12 | 12:00pm – 1:30pm | Atlantic Council | Register here |

The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative invites you to a panel discussion on “Iran’s Political Future,” in the aftermath of recent protests. The demonstrations, which took place in more than 100 Iranian cities and towns in late December-early January, focused on poor economic conditions, Iran’s interventions abroad, and domestic political constraints. Analysts are divided over whether the Iranian system can profit from the protests to enact meaningful reforms or whether the system is too repressive and brittle to change through relatively peaceful evolution. Please join Nazila Fathi (Iranian journalist and author), Suzanne Maloney (Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution), and Alireza Nader (former Senior International Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation). Barbara Slavin (Director, Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council) will moderate.

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  1. Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum: The New Landscape of CVE in Southeast Asia | Tuesday, February 13 | 9:30am – 11:00am | Johns Hopkins University SAIS | Register here |

The dynamics of international violent extremism are rapidly changing. Groups like ISIS are losing physical territory, and their ambition post-caliphate is uncertain. Former fighters are returning to their home countries, creating new security risks and raising important questions about how to effectively rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign fighters. Southeast Asian countries from Indonesia to the Philippines have experience preventing and countering violent extremism, but as the global dynamics change, what can be learned from long-standing efforts to prevent violent extremism in Southeast Asia? How is the landscape changing? What are the key risks emerging? Join a panel of experts to discuss the needs and opportunities for countering violent extremism in Southeast Asia. Featuring Sinisa Vukovic (Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University SAIS) and Luke Waggoner (Senior Governance Specialist, International Republican Institute). Kimberly Brody Hart (Senior Manager, Search for Common Ground) will moderate the discussion.

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  1. Managing Fragility for Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development | Tuesday, February 13 | 1:00pm – 2:30pm | CSIS | Register here |

Countries experiencing significant fragility, while amounting to about 20 percent of the world’s population, are projected to be home to 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor by 2035. Societies affected by poor governance, limited institutional capability, low social cohesion, and weak legitimacy tend to exhibit erosion of the social contract, diminished societal resilience, and low levels of economic and human development. Spillover effects of fragility include increased risks of armed conflicts, forced migration, spread of diseases, organized crime, and terrorism. Ambassador Michel’s report places these challenges to security and development posed by fragility in the context of centuries-long trends toward declining violence and increased prosperity and freedom. Featuring Joseph Hewitt (Vice President for Policy, Learning and Strategy, USIP), Laurel Patterson (Senior Policy Advisor, Crisis, Fragility, and Resilience, UNDP), Romina Bandura (CSIS), and James Michel (CSIS).

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  1. Colombia Peace Forum: Colombian Human Rights Defenders Navigate Post-Accord Challenges | Wednesday, February 14 | 10:00am – 12:00pm | U.S. Institute of Peace | Register here |

The government’s peace accord with the former FARC rebels presents a historic opportunity to work towards the construction of a democratic Colombia. At the heart of this process are human rights defenders and civil society organizations, who play a vital role in addressing the underlying economic and social root causes of violence and holding stakeholders accountable to the commitments of the accords. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) to hear from the leading Colombian human rights activists. They will discuss the challenges they face in their communities and the role they play in engaging regional institutions, local authorities and diverse social sectors to secure lasting peace in Colombia. Speakers include Carla Koppell (Vice President, Center for Applied Conflict Transformation, U.S. Institute of Peace), Enrique Chimonja (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz), and Socorro Acero Bautista (Comité Permanente por la defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Colombia, CPDH), among others.

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  1. U.S. National Security and the Korean Peninsula: Perspectives from a Defector, a Russian, and an Analyst | Wednesday, February 14 | 1:00pm – 3:30pm | Wilson Center | Register here |

Join us for a discussion on U.S. national security and the Korean peninsula from the perspectives of a former senior ranking official of the Kim Jong-un regime, a professor of St Petersburg University, and a renowned author on issues related to North Korea at a conference hosted jointly with the Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS). Featuring Jong Ho Ri (Former head, Korea Daehung Trading Corp., North Korea), Sergei Kurbanov (Professor, St Petersburg State University), Tara O (Adjunct Fellow, Pacific Forum, CSIS), Abraham Denmark (Director, Asia Program, Wilson Center), Synja P Kim (President and Chairman, ICAS). Sang Joo Kim (Executive Vice President, ICAS) will moderate the discussion.

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  1. American Peacemaking Experience in the Balkans: Lessons for Ukraine | Thursday, February 15 | 10:00am – 12:00pm | U.S. Institute of Peace | Register here |

The United States played a leading role in ending wars that gripped the Balkans more than 20 years ago. Amid growing interest in the possibility of a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine, a fresh look at American efforts in the former Yugoslavia is timely: What can be learned from the U.S. diplomatic experience in the Balkans that might be applied in the Ukrainian conflict? Ambassador James Pardew, former member of Richard Holbrooke’s negotiating team on the Balkans, will discuss insights captured in his new book, Peacemakers: American Leadership and the End of Genocide in the Balkans. Panelists include Michael Haltzel (Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow, John Hopkins SAIS), John Herbst (Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council), and Boris Ruge (Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy to the U.S), among others.

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  1. Vietnam’s Relations with China and the U.S.: A Delicate Internal and External Balancing Act | Thursday, February 15 | 9:30am – 11:00am | Stimson Center | Register here |

In recent years, Vietnam’s foreign alignment strategy has raised broad attention from the region. Vietnam has a long and complicated history with China. Particularly in light of the 1979 Sino-Vietnam war and the existing maritime disputes, there exists profound distrust. In contrast, against the history of the Vietnam War, US’ relations with Vietnam has made steady progress in the past decade. Secretary of Defense Mattis just completed his trip to Vietnam in late January 2018, opening channels for more conversations and defense ties that are widely interpreted to assist Vietnam to counter China’s growing strength and ambition in the region. Although the alignment choice for Hanoi appears clear, the picture is significantly complicated by Vietnam’s domestic politics. The power struggles among different political factions within the party play an innate role in determining and influencing the country’s foreign policy. The Stimson Center is pleased to host the top Vietnam specialists from China and the U.S., Dr. Pan Jin’e (China Academy of Social Sciences) and Murray Hiebert (Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Program, CSIS) to discuss the current state of Vietnam’s relations with the two great powers, the triangular relationship and the factors influencing their future.

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  1. The Best Way Forward in Afghanistan | Friday, February 16 | 12:00pm– 1:30pm | Middle East Institute | Register here |

The war in Afghanistan, the longest in U.S. history, shows little sign of winding down. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in military aid and state support, Afghanistan still struggles with resilient Taliban and Islamic State insurgencies. Increasingly, questions are being asked as to why the United States maintains a presence in Afghanistan. How is a U.S. presence serving American security interests? The Trump administration has pledged an indefinite commitment to victory in Afghanistan, but what does success look like and what would have to change to achieve it? Does the U.S. have a clear and coherent strategy going forward and what, if any, are the alternatives? The Middle East Institute is pleased to host an expert panel to discuss these and other questions about the US mission in Afghanistan. MEI’s Director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies, Marvin G. Weinbaum, will moderate the discussion with Vanda Felbab-Brown (senior fellow, Brookings), Christopher Kolenda, (adjunct senior fellow, Center for a New American Security), Ahmad Khalid Majidyar (fellow and director of the IranObserved Project, MEI) and Amb. (ret.) Ronald Neumann (President, American Academy of Diplomacy; former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan).

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All in or all out

President Trump, my regular readers will be surprised to hear me say, has been asking the right questions about Afghanistan: why have we been there so long? Why aren’t we winning? These are perfectly reasonable questions. We’ve been at war there for almost 17 years. More than 2400 US service people have been killed and more than 20,000 wounded. When does it end? How?

Unfortunately, Trump seems to be asking these reasonable questions for the wrong reasons: he wants to win and he wants to deliver on a campaign promise to bring American troops home. What matters to Trump is always Trump. But his predecessor wasn’t any better when it came to Afghanistan: he tried to minimize the American commitment but also avoid losing and wanted to bring the boys and girls home as soon as possible, in order to fulfill a campaign promise.

The problem is that those goals are incompatible.  There is no reason to believe that the Taliban won’t win–taking over large parts of the country if not all of it–if the US and its coalition allies depart. If the Taliban wins, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State will return.

In order to avoid this outcome, we and some of the coalition will need to stay, perhaps indefinitely. Promising anything else is delusional. The Taliban already control large parts of Afghanistan, according to the New York Times (the darker ochre areas are Taliban control and the lighter areas Taliban support; the red are Islamic State support and control):

 

It would be silly to think they won’t be able to take more, possibly even Kabul, if the US departs.

Trump is nevertheless likely to land where Obama did: a commitment for several years, followed by promised withdrawal. This kind of compromise outcome does nothing but waste American lives and resources. It is frequently the product of a stalemated White House process: the President is offered Option A to stay indefinitely and Option C to withdraw quickly. He chooses Option B of course: stay for now but draw down later.

There is little justification for Option B. It is better because it is not A or C. But A and C are the real choices. It should be all in or all out, with clarity about the consequences. If we stay, we stay indefinitely, with adequate resources to provide serious support to the Afghan Security Forces, until such time as they don’t need them. If we go, we go completely, recognizing that the extremists will be back and we will likely have to hit them repeatedly, with or without Afghan approval.

This is not a pretty picture. It echoes Vietnam, where President Nixon chose Option B and hung on in support of the South only to have Congress eventually get weary and pull the plug. The short-term results were disastrous: the North took over, killed and “re-educated” a lot of people, invaded Cambodia, and went to war with China. About 2 million people fled, hundreds of thousands are believed to have died. But the long-term results were less catastrophic, from an American geopolitical perspective: a reunified Vietnam remains a Communist autocracy but has become friendly with the US and no longer a threat to its neighbors.

There is an Option D: privatize the war and let mercenaries run it. I give that one a gold star for originality, but all you need to know is that Steve Bannon is pushing it. It’s a bad idea whose time has come only in the minds of those with no memory of, or concern about, what some of those mercenaries did in Iraq, when they were only doing guard duty.

So which option would I choose? I might stay indefinitely (Option A), even putting in some more forces right now to prevent further Taliban inroads, but I would understand those who want to leave completely. My own preference is affected, I admit, by knowing worthy Afghans, who will be either dead or refugees if the US decides to leave. Trump doesn’t likely know so many, or care much about the impact on non-Americans. American First means Afghans last, but I am still betting he chooses Option B: a temporary increase in US forces with a promise to draw down soon. Someone should outlaw Option B.

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50 years on, who will be a hero?

I was in a chili joint on the south side of Chicago that night in the winter of 1967/8 when he walked in, bigger than I could ever have imagined: Muhammad Ali. He by then had won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics as well as the heavyweight championship, refused to be drafted, and was soon to be arrested and deprived of his title. No one should forget: America scorned him as draft dodger and a black Muslim with a loud mouth. Even today, his sharp tongue and mind will cause some to cringe.

But Ali has nevertheless become an icon, venerated far more than scorned. No doubt death will make that even more the case. There is no longer a risk he might say something that will offend.

Many have forgotten how they felt 50 years ago. It is now difficult to find the remnants of the “silent majority” that supported the Vietnam war, opposed integration and regarded the Nation of Islam as a serious threat to white people. Some of course have passed on. Some have simply gone to ground and will emerge to vote for Trump.

Others have changed their minds. America is not what it was when Muhammad Ali emerged on the scene. It is far less white, far more Hispanic and far more used to loud-mouth athletes, and politicians, of all races. Few Americans think Vietnam was worth fighting for and losing upwards of 58,000 of our citizens, more than eight times the number killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the turn of the century. Most Americans today understand that Vietnam and the second Iraq war were mistakes that cost the country far more than any conceivable benefits.

Most Americans have also come around to the view that discrimination, segregation and racism are bad. That was not at all the prevailing view when Cassius Clay changed his slave name to Muhammad Ali. The white supremacist George Wallace was then governor of Alabama spouting, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” In fact, racial segregation has persisted in schools and housing, but few would now defend it. Muhammad Ali’s extraordinary boxing career was compelling evidence of racial equality, though why more proof was necessary more than a generation after Jesse Owens’ performance at the 1936 Olympics is a mystery to me.

So some combination of forgetfulness and changing attitudes has made the scorned character who walked into a south side chili joint 50 years ago a great American hero. I give credit for that, but we shouldn’t forget that it wasn’t always thus. Muhammad Ali is the greatest today because America has forgotten more than it remembers and because so many of us have dropped beliefs that were once dominant. Fifty years from now, which of our now scorned citizens will emerge as great Americans?

PS: THIS VIDEO OF MUHAMMAD ALI SURPRISING KIDS AT SCHOOL WILL MAKE YOUR DAY! https://t.co/JAJSKEfRrs

— Mike Sanz (@mikesanz19) June 5, 2016

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Vietnam in perspective

For Americans of my generation, it is hard not to note the end of the Vietnam war 40 years ago. But the most notable thing is how little difference that war makes in today’s world. A war that killed millions over two decades, including upwards of 58,000 Americans, left a big mark on the American psyche, but did little to change the course of world history. It didn’t even do permanent harm to the relationship between Vietnam and the US, which is today a friendly one only inches short of an alliance.

On a trip to Vietnam a few years ago, I discovered that the “American” war is remembered in the North for the bombing and in the South for the abandonment of our allies. One Northerner asked me why the United States opposed the independence and unity of Vietnam. When I responded that the Americans thought they were fighting against Communism, not the independence and unity of Vietnam, he looked puzzled. If that was the case, he admitted, maybe it was not such a bad idea. After all, antiquated Communist ideas and cadres are now regarded with disdain by many Vietnamese, even this Northerner whose parents were party members.

The Vietnam war may be but a blip in world history, but it changed (as well as ended) a lot of lives. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled. Over a million went through horrendous re-education camps, where torture and abuse were common. A generation of Americans found it difficult to find their footing, including many of those who served in the armed forces and many of those who didn’t. The American military professionalized, so it no longer relies on the draft. Many young Americans can’t remember that it ever did.

Once the Americans were gone, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to depose the Chinese-allied Khmer Rouge. China invaded Vietnam in response. The dominoes weren’t so much falling as scattering.

Even that proved ephemeral. Since the 1970s, Asia has seen a dramatic and sustained decline in both intra- and inter-state conflict. The reasons for this are much debated. Is it a successful process of state consolidation and even modest democratization? Is it Asia’s focus on economic development or its peculiar cultural characteristics? What role has the American security umbrella played? Will peace continue? Or does China’s rise inevitably mean maritime and other frictions with its neighbors (including the US) that will end the long Asian peace?

I don’t know the answers, but a great deal depends on them. While I have focused on the Balkans and the Middle East for many years now, I have to wonder whether war and peace issues won’t be shifting eastward along with world population, economic growth, international trade, military power and energy dependency. For the moment, state competition in the Asia Pacific is mainly non-military, with the important exception of Beijing’s claims in the East and South China Seas. But the Chinese seem no less anxious to avoid war than most of the rest of Asia, even if they don’t shy from occasional provocations.

Forty years is a long time. Vietnam looks very different at this generational distance. We should try to maintain that perspective when evaluating today’s events. They are likely to look very different 40 years from now.

 

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Even good things won’t make 2015 a good year

Mark Leon Goldberg wrote just before Christmas that 2015 might be one of those rare years that shakes up the international system, he thought for the better. His hopes are based on

  1. adoption next September of the Sustainable Development Goals and
  2. conclusion of a treaty on climate change before the end of the year.

I’m not optimistic, even if both these hopes are realized.

Mark is correct that the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015, have been a significant success. But unfortunately that is unlikely to be repeated with the follow-on Sustainable Development Goals. Success has encouraged overreach. The MDGs were restrained and reachable. There were only eight of them:

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

The current draft of the SDGs is ridiculously over-ambitious and unrealistic. They start with “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” They repeat that sweeping over-ambition for hunger, health, education, gender equality, water, energy, economic growth, employment, infrastructure, inequality (within and between countries), cities, oceans, terrestrial ecosystems, justice and sustainable development. Seventeen goals in all. This is a catalog of the developed world’s current concerns, not a set of achievable goals for countries and organizations with limited capacity and even more limited resources.

Unless a real effort is made to prune and prioritize, the SDGs risk irrelevance or worse. There is certainly no risk they will be achieved if they remain in their current formulation. A real effort should be made in the next few months to pare them back, both in number and ambition. A tighter and shorter set of goals would bode much better for implementation.

I too am optimistic about a climate change treaty concluded in 2015. But unfortunately there is no hope it will be strong enough to avoid truly serious impacts of global warming. We are well on our way to breaching the 2 degrees centigrade rise over pre-industrial levels that is generally regarded as a benchmark, albeit an arbitrary one, signalling serious problems due to irreversible melting of major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. The way I read this World Bank report, we are likely to double that figure before the end of the century. You have to believe that countries will all meet their current pledges and tight new ones will be made in order to avoid it.

I’m not a climate disaster monger. But I do have a long memory. What I remember is that the “greenhouse effect” (which is what causes the fossil fuel contribution to global warming) was already an issue at the 1972 (first) UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. I was a young staffer on the secretariat and amazed that human activity could affect the entire planet. Our collective failure to do anything serious about it in the more than forty years since suggests that we will need some real disasters before acting. New York City is building up its coastal defenses, in response to the massive flooding that occurred due to Hurricane Sandy, and other big cities have invested heavily (London has floodgates, Venice is getting them). The Netherlands has its dikes. But much of Asia is at serious risk, as are lots of islands. Bangladesh, Mauritius and Vietnam can’t afford the defenses that New York and the Dutch build.

We’ve likely already seen some of the disasters and their consequences. Climate variation caused heightened conflict between pastoralists and agriculturalists in Darfur and drought in Syria, where an influx of farmers into urban areas was contributed to the rebellion against Bashar al Assad. We are going to see a lot more such climate-induced violent conflicts as competition for resources–especially water–grows and productive land area shrinks. The United Arab Emirates can afford to desalinate sea water. Egypt much less so, but its needs will soon exceed what the Nile will provide.

So no, I am not sanguine. Even good things won’t make 2015 a good year.

 

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Peace picks July 28-August 2

1. The Elusive Final Deal with Iran: Developments and Options Going Forward  Monday, July 28 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm JINSA; 1307 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND In the wake of the recent four-month extension of negotiations for a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program, JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy will hold a lunch panel event to assess this outcome and discuss steps going forward for U.S. policy to prevent a nuclear Iran. SPEAKERS: Ambassador Dennis Ross, Ambassador Eric Edelman, Stephen Rademaker, and Ray Takeyh.

2. Nuclear Politics on the Korean Peninsula Monday, July 28 | 3:00 pm – 5:15 pm Korea Economic Institute; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The evolving security environment around the Korean Peninsula presents new challenges and opportunities for addressing the North Korean nuclear threat. What do South Koreans expect from Beijing after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Seoul? What do South Korean aspirations for full nuclear fuel cycle capabilities mean for dealing with North Korea and for the balance of power in the region? And what do these trends mean for the US-ROK alliance? SPEAKERS: Douglas H. Paal: VP for Studies, CEIP, Donald A. Manzullo, President & CEO, KEI, Park Jin, Executive President of the Asia Future Institute, Kang Choi, Vice President, Asan Institute for Policy Studies, and others.

3. Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova: How Corruption Threatens the Eastern Partnership Monday, July 28 | 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm National Endowment for Democracy; 1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Last month, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova signed EU association agreements, putting to paper a clear desire to turn westwards and break from an unhappy post-Soviet legacy. Yet difficult issues remain, principally that of corruption. Entrenched corruption in these three countries persists as a result of the networks of criminality that thrived in the lawlessness of the 1990s. As these countries look to strengthen the rule of law and democratic accountability within their borders, the panel will discuss current corruption challenges and how outside actors – from Russia to the US – are influencing the reform process in each country. SPEAKERS: Oliver Bullough, Peter Pomerantsev, Vladimir Soloviev, Olga Khvostunova, Anne Applebaum, and Christopher Walker.

4. Contemporary Media Use in Turkey Tuesday, July 29 | 9:00 am – 10:00 am Gallup Organization; 901 F St NW # 400, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup invite you to attend a research briefing on news consumption habits and attitudes in Turkey, along with, for the first time, an in-depth look at the distinctive media consumption habits among Turkey’s Kurdish population. This briefing will share data on media usage, a methodological overview and a review of attitudinal data on government and foreign policy. SPEAKERS: Chris Stewart, Bruce Sherman, William Bell, and Rajesh Srinivasan.

5. Doing Colombia Peace Forum: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia’s Armed Conflict Tuesday, July 29 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm US Institute of Peace; 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND In June, the government of Colombia and the FARC parties issued a ground-breaking declaration of principles on victims. They announced that they were inviting a delegation of victims to participate in the talks, and that other opportunities will be created for victims to be heard within the peace process. They requested that the United Nations and the National University convene a series of three regional and one national forum for victims to present their proposals. Two forums have already taken place and the others are scheduled for late July and early August. This event will discuss victims’ rights and proposals from four victims of different groups, including guerrillas, paramilitaries, and the State. A half a century of internal armed conflict has resulted in more than 6.5 million victims officially registered with the Colombian government’s Victims’ Unit. This is an opportunity to hear diverse perspectives of leaders who are survivors of violence to discuss their proposals for a just and lasting peace. SPEAKERS: Clara Rojas González, Colombian National Congress Representative, Aida Quilcué, Director of Human Rights, Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, Deyis Margarita Carmona Tejada, Spokeswoman, Peasants’ Assembly of Cesar for Land Restitution, José Antequera Guzmán Co-Founder, Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity, and Gimena Sánchez, Senior Associate for the Andes, WOLA.

6. Book Launch—Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garments and Textiles Industries Tuesday, July 29 | 10:00 am – 12:45 pm Woodrow Wilson Center; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The garments and textiles sector is one of the world’s oldest export industries. It has often served as the “starter” industry for many countries, especially in Asia. Dr. Saxena’s book, based on original, in-depth research in three different Asian countries, casts light on some of the significant policy and attitudinal shifts that have occurred in this industry. The book also puts the entire garments and textiles sector into the larger context of international trade policy. SPEAKER: Sanchita Saxena, Executive Director, Institute for South Asia Studies and Director, Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, UC-Berkeley.

7. Great Expectations? Assessing US-India Strategic Relations Tuesday, July 29 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm East-West Center; 1819 L St NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C
  REGISTER TO ATTEND American enthusiasm for a strategic partnership with India has risen and fallen over the years. Optimism about US-India relations in the 2000s has been tempered by pessimism about these ties in the 2010s. Was the initial enthusiasm about US-India relations inflated? How valid are more recent skeptical perspectives? In his presentation, Dr. Dinshaw Mistry will discuss these questions, drawing upon ten contemporary cases where New Delhi’s policies converged with or diverged from Washington’s expectations. The answers offer important lessons for future US strategic engagement with India. Also with Dr. Stephen P. Cohen, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati.

8. The Protection Project Review of the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 Wednesday, July 30 | 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Johns Hopkins SAIS – Nitze Building; 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State, and Mohamed Mattar, senior research professor of international law and executive director of The Protection Project, will discuss this topic.

9. The Iraq Meltdown: What Next? Wednesday, July 30 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Heritage Foundation; 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The swift collapse of Iraqi security forces in northern Iraq in the face of an al-Qaeda-spearheaded Sunni insurgency is a disastrous setback for U.S. counterterrorism and Middle East policies that will have dangerous regional spillover effects. The Islamic State, formerly known the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and before that as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, now poses a rising threat to the United States and U.S. allies. Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) will discuss Iraq and the broader implications for the American foreign policy. Following his remarks, a panel of experts will discuss the current trends in Iraq. SPEAKERS: Jessica Lewis, Research Director, Institute for the Study of War, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, The Heritage Foundation, and James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs, The Heritage Foundation.

10. Africa Development Forum Event: What should African Leaders know to accelerate the achievement and sustainability of health goals in the post 2015 agenda? Thursday, July 31 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Chemonics International; 1717 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Panelists will discuss the lessons they have learned from their experiences and efforts working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Setting policy, developing plans, and coordinating and managing programs that deliver services across hundreds of hospitals and health centers requires resources and technical skills. This capacity needs to be quickly and effectively developed in most health systems where governance structures are vaguely defined. The panelists will draw from the lessons learned from the MDGs to propose ways African leaders can meet and even go beyond the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4-Ensuring Healthy Lives targets in an efficient way that makes the best of all resources available and protects the poor. SPEAKERS: Darius Mans, Africare, Elvira Beracochea, Founder and CEO, MIDEGO, and Akudo Ikemba, CEO, Friends Africa.

11. The North Korean Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for Reform Thursday, July 31 | 9:00 am – 10:00 am Korea Economic Institute; 1800 K Street NW Suite 1010 Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTENDIn an era of globalization, North Korea remains one of the most isolated economies in the world. While normally still functioning as a planned economy, Pyongyang has pledged in recent years that no North Korean will ‘have to tighten their belts again.’ However, to truly fulfill that pledge, North Korea will need to engage in the types of reform that China, South Korea, and others have been advocating. What steps has North Korea taken under Kim Jong-un to reform the economy and how successful have they been? What obstacles does North Korea face in developing a normal functioning economy? Please join the Korea Economic Institute of America and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy for a discussion on these and other issues that face the North Korea economy today. SPEAKERS: Lee Il Houng, Bradley Babson, and William Newcomb.

12. NPC Luncheon with Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo Friday, August 1 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm National Press Club; 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso will discuss peace, security and stability of the central Africa region and oil investments in his country at a National Press Club luncheon on Friday, August 1. Sassou-Nguesso, who met President Vladimir Putin in 2012, recently was quoted in a Nigerian newspaper as saying that Congo plans to attract Russian investment in oil industry, agriculture and education services.

13. Cultures of the Mekong Saturday, August 2 | 10:00 am – 3:15 pm S. Dillon Ripley Center; 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Civilizations have risen and fallen for centuries on the banks of the Mekong River. Long before there was Phnom Penh or Hanoi, there were the settlements at Ban Chiang, Angkor, and Champa in the areas now known as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Robert DeCaroli, associate professor in the department of history and art history at George Mason University, explores these cultures that grew up along this massive 2700-mile river. Other speakers include Michael H. McLendon, Joseph Antos, Richard V. Burkhauser, Peter Schuck, and Sally Satel,

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