Can language learning and cross-cultural exchange thrive virtually? Online learning at the HNC 外语学习与跨文化交流会在虚拟平台兴盛吗?中美中心的线上学习

By Hope Parker 柯梦希 NANJING, China — By January 22nd, 2020, when human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus was confirmed, Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) students, faculty and staff had already spread around the world for Lunar New Year holidays and travel. Students were slated to begin spring semester classes on February 24th and were anxiously awaiting... Continue Reading →

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SAIS election poll: Democratic primaries

By Gerhard Ottehenning February 17, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a long winnowing phase, the Democratic primaries are finally underway. SAIS Virginia residents will get the chance to vote on March 3 (“Super Tuesday”), followed by Maryland residents on April 28 and D.C. on June 2. A recent poll administered by the SAIS Observer provides... Continue Reading →

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“Parasite” sweeps the Oscars: how did South Korean popular culture gain international momentum?

By Yilin Wang February 16, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2020 Academy Awards has brought the South Korean movie “Parasite” into the spotlight, with the film winning four Oscars including the Best Picture Award. The triumph of “Parasite” marked the first time a non-English language movie has won this award, an achievement that invites excitement... Continue Reading →

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SAIS goes to Israel

By Gerhard Ottehenning February 2, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The six weeks between the Fall and Spring semester confronts SAIS students with the mildly stressful task of sifting through the myriad of opportunities the school has to offer. Students interested in grappling with some of the world’s most intractable issues embarked on a trip to... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Europe reflects on Black History Month

By Fatou Sow BOLOGNA, Italy - Dr. Carter G. Woodson said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”  The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, founded by Dr. Carter... Continue Reading →

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COVID-19 Virus: Bologna Edition

By Julia Fonteles  February 25, 2020 BOLOGNA, Italy - In the early hours of Sunday, February 23, Lombardy, the northern region of Italy, woke up to a public health crisis. In a span of 72 hours, Italy reported more than 200 cases of COVID-19, marking the biggest outbreak of the epidemic outside Asia. On Monday,... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Europe students learn negotiation skills as part of Prof. Michael Leigh’s Brexit simulation

By Will Marshall February 7, 2020 BOLOGNA, Italy - Students of Professor Michael Leigh’s Fall 2019 course, The European Union: Integration or Disintegration?, were treated to a taste of the painstaking process surrounding the Brexit negotiations through an in-class simulation over the course of two weeks which included a working dinner at the professor’s home... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Europe students learn negotiation skills as part of Prof. Michael Leigh’s Brexit simulation

By Will Marshall February 7, 2020 BOLOGNA, Italy - Students of Professor Michael Leigh’s Fall 2019 course, The European Union: Integration or Disintegration?, were treated to a taste of the painstaking process surrounding the Brexit negotiations through an in-class simulation over the course of two weeks which included a working dinner at the professor’s home... Continue Reading →

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Italy’s Sardine Send Salvini Packing from Emilia-Romagna

By Zoe Mize BOLOGNA, Italy – On 26 January, the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, the home of Ferrari cars, Parmesan ham and SAIS Europe’s Bologna campus, held a hotly contested regional election. Right-wing Lega (League) candidate Lucia Borgonzoni lost the regional presidency to Democratic Party (PD) incumbent Stefano Bonaccini by a margin of 7%. A... Continue Reading →

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The role of women in peacemaking: The case of Northern Ireland

By Sarah Aver WASHINGTON, D.C. — From their leading role during the civil rights movement to their political activism, women’s contribution to peace-building in Northern Ireland has been fundamental in ensuring long-term reconciliation and the promotion of social cohesion. Since the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland has enjoyed relative peace, political stability, and economic growth.... Continue Reading →

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DC pushes to expand affordable housing

By Gerhard Ottehenning WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last month, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released a plan to expand affordable housing to wealthier portions of the city through the use of vouchers and subsidies. While current and future SAIS students would welcome removing the cost of rent from their list of go-to small talk conversations, political headwinds... Continue Reading →

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Nobel-winning research brings scientific rigor to development policies

By Yilin Wang November 10, 2019 WASHINGTON, D.C. – This past October, three development economist were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” In past years the Nobel Committee has predominantly favored theoretical breakthroughs in academia. However, this year’s prize-winning economic research features on-the-ground trials and... Continue Reading →

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Professor vs. professor: Austerity in Ecuador

By Leif Olson November 11, 2019 Protests in Ecuador came to an end on October 13 as the government was forced to reverse IMF-imposed austerity measures. For days, protesters clashed with police in Quito Park, the epicenter of the protest. Indigenous Ecuadorians took to the streets after fuel subsidies were removed pursuant to the austerity... Continue Reading →

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The return of Chinese overseas students to the motherland: Filial piety and nation building 中国留学生回国:孝道与民族建设

By Michael Xiaochen Zhang 张笑尘 December 20, 2019  NANJING, China — As China enters a new era of social development in tandem with a more mature phase of the economic growth development cycle, an increasing number of Chinese students choose to study abroad, primarily in the United States. In recent years, an increasing proportion of... Continue Reading →

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Hair interwoven: China’s wig market in Africa

By Song Qingqing December 1, 2019 A man cutting a woman’s hair on the street for a wig. Source: Wangyi News Across China’s third and fourth-tier cities, visitors may notice scooter-riding men and women carrying loudspeakers advertising that they are “collecting hair, long hair wanted, high prices for long hair.” Interested passersby may stop the... Continue Reading →

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Education with Chinese characteristics: Educational reform measures in Nanjing fail to address structural concerns 中国特色教育:南京市的教改措施并不能解决结构性问题

By Daniel Mikesell December 12, 2019 NANJING, China — Under a recent inspection into Nanjing schools, officials rummaged through students’ backpacks and lockers looking for forbidden educational materials. To Western audiences, such an image may seem like a scene out of George Orwell’s “1984.” However, this is not the aspect of China’s education system that... Continue Reading →

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SAISer Book Review: “Daughter of China:”A Tale of Espionage at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in 1980s Communist China

By Aidan Li Ping Greer “Daughter of China: The True Story of Forbidden Love in Modern China”By Meihong Xu and Larry EngelmannPaperback, 378 pagesPublished 1999 by Headline Book Publishing The original cover of “Daughter of China.” Source: Goodreads.com “Are there spies among us?” It is not uncommon to overhear Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) students and professors... Continue Reading →

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Reflections on the May Fourth Movement on its 100th anniversary

By Benjamin Avichai Katz Sinvany November 6, 2019 Students protest the giving of German concessions in Shandong to Japan. “May Fourth Movement” by Liang Yulong, July 1976. NANJING, China — Many Chinese identify the May Fourth Movement, or New Culture Movement, as the origin of modern China. Beginning with student-led protests against ineffective governance in... Continue Reading →

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Formalizing the informal: What Asia’s emerging cities can learn from Shanghai’s new trash-sorting law 迈向正规化:上海市垃圾分类法赋予亚洲新兴城市的经验教训

By Phyllis Brown NANJING, China — Imagine starting your day with women in red vests prodding at your garbage, eager to know what kind of trash you generate. Such has been the reality for Shanghai’s 24 million residents since the city launched a new trash-sorting law in July 2019. Residents must now sort household trash... Continue Reading →

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Italy adopts new climate change requirement in education system

By Adam DuBard BOLOGNA, Italy – In early November 2019, Italy became the first country to implement mandatory climate change and sustainability lessons in their school curriculum.  Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramanti of the Five Star party, one of Italy’s major parties known for its anti-establishment rhetoric and populist policies, announced a new requirement that all... Continue Reading →

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A foodie’s guide to Bologna

By Rashi Seth BOLOGNA, Italy – Unbeknownst to the culinary tourists that flock to Florence and Venice, Bologna is one of Italy’s best-kept gastronomic secrets. La citta grossa, the fat city, is home to some of the world’s most beloved food — tortelli, lasagna, pancetta stuffed tortellini, tagliatelle al ragu and mortadella. While people outside... Continue Reading →

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Bipartisanship that matters: Gelato’s growing divide

By Michael Hall                November 10, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy -- A slim forearm disappears into a space-age silver canister, its repeated circling drawing the eyes of those hoping to see what hides behind the counter’s shadows. The foreplay to eating gelato climaxes with the jaw-dropping arrival of a flex spatula’s destined companion: a lush, velvety dollop... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Europe’s CIA history overshadowed by its own obscurity

By Zoe Mize November 20, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy –– Why Bologna? It’s a common question voiced at SAIS Europe, as students ponder the unusual decision to headquarter SAIS’s European campus in the relatively small capital city of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Why not a larger city, a more international city? Why not Rome? …Paris?  John Harper,... Continue Reading →

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European Union welcomes new Commission after delay

By Will Marshall December 1, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy – The European Commission of President Ursula von der Leyen assumed office on December 1 after clearing a final hurdle in the European Parliament.  On November 27, Members of the European Parliament (MEP) approved the 27-member College of Commissioners in an uneventful 461 to 157 vote despite... Continue Reading →

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What are Modi’s true intentions in Kashmir?

By Rashi Seth November 11, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy – It has been three months since the Indian government sent thousands of troops to Jammu and Kashmir, ending seven decades of special status provisions. This brings Kashmir under federal control and splits the state into two territories.  The special status provision was introduced as a temporary... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Explainer Series: Impeachment

The new SAIS Observer Explainer Series aims to help SAIS students understand the most complex issues of the day. No politics — just the facts. November 12, 2019 By: Ryan Grace On September 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The impetus for this move was a... Continue Reading →

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OpEd: May glory be to Hong Kong

Jessica Fang November 11, 2019 I texted a close friend and told her that I was thinking about going to Admiralty. A few seconds later, she replied: “Let’s go.” It was June 12, three days after 1 million people took to the streets and protested against the controversial extradition bill which would allow the extradition... Continue Reading →

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Political Activism and Social Media: Friends or Foes?

By: Mohit Mann November 28, 2019 At the annual summit for the Obama Foundation this year, former President Barack Obama addressed issues regarding civic engagement in the United States. Not long after Obama's comments were made, some predominant news outlets focused their attention on his statements concerning the relationship between political activism and social media.... Continue Reading →

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Universal health care systems around the world

September 22, 2019 By Gerhard Ottehenning Washington, D.C. — Despite the constant hum of palace intrigue coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., kitchen table issues like health care remain at the forefront of voters’ minds. Riding off the success of the 2018 congressional midterms, Democrats have rallied behind the idea of “Medicare for all” or “single-payer”... Continue Reading →

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A bright future awaits SAIS at the Newseum

September 26, 2019 By Dennis Murphy Photo Credit: Celine Bteish WASHINGTON, D.C. — It has been about half a year since the news broke that Johns Hopkins SAIS had purchased the Newseum as a future location for the Washington, D.C. campus. The move has been the subject of much rumor and speculation since. On September... Continue Reading →

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Taxation without representation in DC

September 23, 2019 By Gerhard Ottehenning WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser provided testimony before Congress on the merits of D.C. statehood last week, bringing the issue to the House of Representatives for the first time in over 25 years. Despite widespread opposition outside of the District, statehood holds the distinction of being one... Continue Reading →

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Six-figure salary? There’s a class for that.

September 24, 2019 By Nikole Ottolia WASHINGTON⁠, D.C. — As SAIS students settle into the joys of economics problem sets and language proficiency training this fall semester, our contemporaries at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS) are diving into, “Fundamentals of Negotiation Analysis.” Taught by Professor Brian Mandell, who has been teaching public policy,... Continue Reading →

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Are you learning “rational” economics?

By Leif Olson It began with a simple question: Are people rational actors? More importantly, are people rational enough that we can predict and model their behavior? Many SAISers will recognize this as the fundamental question that economics, and, to an extent, social science in general, is trying to answer.  But, to what degree do... Continue Reading →

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SAISer Book Review: “The Financial Markets of the Arab Gulf: Power, Politics and Money,” by Professor Jean-François Seznec and Samer Mosis

By Leif Olson For many, the Arab Gulf is associated with generous rentier states, opulent monarchs with fantastical material wealth, and behemothic buildings like the Burj Khalifa. One might wonder how the region developed such a robust financial ecosystem. Jean-François Seznec, an adjunct lecturer in the Middle East Studies department at SAIS, and Samer Mosis,... Continue Reading →

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Xuexi qiangguo: The digitalization of Chinese propaganda

By Sydney Tucker NANJING, China — Historically, China has been a nation filled with propaganda. On almost every city block, one can find the 12 guiding principles of Chinese socialism, including freedom, equality, democracy, harmony and patriotism, plastered on a wall. These core values remind Chinese citizens of the foundational building blocks that guide their... Continue Reading →

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A desire for change brings new faces to Tunisian politics

September 24, 2019 By Ryan Grace WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seizing on Tunisians’ lack of faith in traditional political elites, two outsiders beat a field of 24 other candidates to advance to the final round of voting in Tunisia’s presidential elections. Law professor Kais Saied and businessman Nabil Karoui, who is currently in jail on charges... Continue Reading →

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Victory for the left in Spain comes at a cost

Photo credits: @Bernat Armangue/AP By Olivia Magnanini BOLOGNA, Italy — In a decisive victory in last Sunday’s elections, current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez succeeded in bringing the Socialist Party (PSOE) their first governing victory in 11 years, making Spain one of the only European nations to be led by a leftist party, albeit with a... Continue Reading →

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Tongqi in China

By Lai Chuxuan NANJING, China — “Tongqi” is a relatively modern Chinese term used to refer to heterosexual women who unknowingly marry gay men. The tongqi is a marginalized group in China that symbolizes an unintended side effect of LGBTQI discrimination, particularly against homosexual men, in China. Professor Zhang Beichuan of Qingdao University, an expert... Continue Reading →

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Zelenskiy’s presidency will be rife with challenges

Photo credits: Ze Komanda By Olena Dobrunik BOLOGNA, Italy — April 21 will be remembered as the day when Ukraine turned against the traditional political establishment by electing Volodymyr Zelenskiy as their president. The resounding defeat of Petro Poroshenko at the hands of Zelenskiy, who received over 70 percent of the vote, should be seen... Continue Reading →

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The Past Shapes the Future: The Weimar Constitution in context

Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist Germany is celebrating three important events this year: The 100th anniversary of the Weimar Constitution, 70th anniversary of its Basic Law and 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. To commemorate these occasions, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) in Bologna and The SAIS Observer... Continue Reading →

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让座礼仪 Generational tensions on display: public transport culture in China

By Shen Hao Translation by Amy Bodner “爱心专座”标识 A sign featured on buses and subways indicating who is entitled to priority seating Photo credits: Baidu Baike 南京,中国——据新华社报道,截止2017年底,中国60岁及以上老年人将达到41亿人,占总人口17.3%。同时,到2050年老年人将占到我国总人口的三分之一。 随着老龄化日趋严重,老年人正在和年轻人共享甚至竞争有限的资源,年轻人和老年人因此产生各种代沟和误解,这一点体现在中国地铁和公交等公共交通的利益文化中。孝道为先的中国传统文化与提倡自由的新时代观念产生了碰撞,两者间的矛盾分歧亟待解决。 NANJING, China — According to Xinhua News Agency, by the end of 2017, China’s elderly population — those over the age of 60 — will reach over... Continue Reading →

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Learning from China: Comparing special economic zones in Ethiopia and Vietnam

Tang Keyi (HNC M.A. ’19) presenting findings from her master’s thesis research project. Photo credits: Amy Bodner (HNC M.A. ’20) By Nova Fritz NANJING, China — This week at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, M.A. candidate Keyi Tang presented findings from her thesis research project, “Learning From China: Comparing Special Economic Zones in Ethiopia and Vietnam,” in... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Commencement speaker Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein

Photo credits: The Washington Post. By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat of Turkish, Swedish and Iraqi descent, making him the first Asian, Muslim and Arab to serve in that role. His tenure at the United Nations has been on prominent... Continue Reading →

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NATO at 70: In its prime or prime for retirement?

Photo credits: The White House By Silje Olssøn BOLOGNA — When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded after the Second World War, its objective was to promote cooperation among its members and preserve their freedom against the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Last week, NATO celebrated its 70th anniversary, despite it being... Continue Reading →

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Have you been praised today?

By Zhou Jie NANJING, China — One day in early March, a friend from Nanjing University invited me to join a WeChat group named “Nanda Kuakua Qun,” or the “Nanjing University Praise Group.” As a member of this group, I observed something quite novel. A group member said, “I have been lying in bed and... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Dr. Lance L.P. Gore on China’s governance model

Dr. Lance L.P. Gore presents at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Photo credits: John Urban By Nova Fritz NANJING, China — Last week at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Dr. Lance L.P. Gore  presented research findings from his recent article, “China’s Governance Model: Legitimacy, Accountability, and Meritocracy,” in which he compares the Chinese government’s model to Western ideals of... Continue Reading →

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Chinese society in trans-ition 中国的跨性别文化

By Nova Fritz (福清雨) NANJING, China — Transgenderism is a relatively recent concept to enter Chinese society’s consciousness. Since the Reform and Opening Up period of the 1980s, mainland China has increasingly been exposed to outside cultural influences, and through this avenue, critical concepts of gender and identity have entered the country. However, within the... Continue Reading →

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The Past Shapes the Future: The German Constitution at 70

Germany is celebrating three important events this year: The 100th anniversary of the Weimar Constitution, 70th anniversary of its Basic Law and 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. To commemorate these occasions, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) in Bologna and The SAIS Observer are partnering for a series... Continue Reading →

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Turkish democracy isn’t dead – municipal election takeaways

By Corey Ray WASHINGTON — Turkish municipal elections, which concluded on March 31, issued a stunning rebuke to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and to President Erdoğan. It appears that the AKP has lost Istanbul, where Erdoğan served as mayor, and Ankara, Turkey’s capital city. Election results demonstrate that turnout continues to be... Continue Reading →

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Gaokao reforms clash with reality 高考改革与现实冲击

By Jing Xuanlin New gaokao reform sparks outcry from Chinese parents, they hold the slogan “equality of education” in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Photo credits: sixthtone NANJING, China — A new plan for the college examination and admission system (also known as “gaokao”) was announced by the State Council in September 2014,  marking the most radical... Continue Reading →

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Battling the mind: How China fights mental illness

Photo credits: Alexander Rosas Nanjing University By Alexander Rosas NANJING, China — My name is Alexander Rosas. I study international relations at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Aside from studying politics, I am a vocal advocate for accessible and effective mental health care. This topic is something I have a personal investment in, as I have suffered... Continue Reading →

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Volunteering offers a glimpse at special education in Nanjing

Ben Miles draws with the children. Photo credits: Zhao Yixuan By Benjamin Miles NANJING, China —On an overcast spring day reminiscent of Nanjing’s winter weather, I emerged from the Jiangwang Miao metro station to find many curious and bewildered faces. Unlike the streets of downtown Nanjing, which are frequented by foreign students, the residents of... Continue Reading →

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Are we passing up on UPass?

Photo credits: Khun Nyan Min Htet By Khun Nyan Min Htet WASHINGTON — SAISers in D.C. are still anxiously waiting to learn the result of the vote on whether SAIS students will join the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) UPass program. Four months after SAIS students voted in the UPass referendum, which was required... Continue Reading →

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Deadly pleasure threatens to curtail China’s growth

By Jesse Adler Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping smoking. (Photo credits: Forrest Anderson) NANJING, China — Smoking cigarettes is said to be like adding “punctuation” to daily life. Whether it’s to curb a panic attack, break the ice with a stranger or relax after sex, cigarettes can serve to complement almost any life moment for... Continue Reading →

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The aftermath of Pulwama

Photo Credit: Surajit Das By Cecilia Panella and Srijoni Banerjee History Conflict in Kashmir isn’t necessarily a new occurrence. Since gaining independence from the British in 1947, India and Pakistan have each claimed sovereignty over this mountainous region. Since each country only controls part of this territory, the fluidity of national boundaries has sparked conflict... Continue Reading →

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Nitze Café

Photo Credit: Zdeněk Macháček By J.W. Dixon WASHINGTON — It’s 8:50 a.m. on a misty Tuesday and — mother of God — “these snacks are under surveillance.” Kit Kats and frozen cheeseburgers kept in check by Big Snack’s unblinking eye. But, really, I am the one under surveillance. In fact, I get the best look... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Nuclear strategy in the 21st century with Francis Gavin and Matthew Kroenig

By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — The Alexander Hamilton Society will be hosting a lecture on Tuesday, March 12 with Dr. Francis Gavin and Dr. Matthew Kroenig. The two scholars will be discussing modern nuclear strategy, a remarkably timely topic given recent negotiations between the Trump administration and North Korea. Moreover, both have recently published on... Continue Reading →

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The unsustainability of the INF

By John Fenton Photo Credit: Daan Stevens WASHINGTON — The Russian use of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) upsets the status quo established by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty because it possesses capabilities forbidden by the treaty. In response to this, the United States has the option to reestablish the status quo by sacrificing... Continue Reading →

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The INF Treaty withdrawal

By Cecilia Panella and Dani Thompson Photo Credit: John Salvino WASHINGTON — On February 1, President Trump announced not only that the United States would be suspending its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) but also that the United States planned to leave the Treaty entirely in six months’ time. Shortly afterwards,... Continue Reading →

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Jewish studies flourish in Chinese universities

By Jesse Adler Jesse Adler presenting on the Jewish American experience to students at Nanjing University (Photo credits: Lai Chuxuan, HNC ’19) NANJING, China — On Christmas Day, at the invitation of the director of China’s National Institute for Jewish Studies, my Hopkins-Nanjing Center classmate Benjamin Miles and I discussed the Jewish American experience with... Continue Reading →

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Does a housing bubble threaten China’s economic health?

By Zhang Yaoyao and Amy Bodner Zhang Yaoyao is a master’s student at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center with a concentration in economics. Amy Bodner is a master’s student with a concentration in China Studies. We offer our viewpoints on the state of China’s housing market bubble. Source: Marketing China China does not have a housing bubble... Continue Reading →

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Joel Nommick and the man who never came home

Photo Credit: Timothy Kolczak By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — Last Friday I met a man who told me that he hopes his father had died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Despite being liberated by the British from Nazi control in April of 1945, Jean Nommick never returned home from Bergen-Belsen. His son, Joel Nommick, has... Continue Reading →

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Ghosted by WMATA – SAIS students left on read

In December the SAIS student body voted for DC’s student public transportation subsidy: UPass. Like any truly democratic vote, only 50 percent of the student body actually participated. The student body was divided in their opinion about the subsidy, but nevertheless, the UPass vote was held. Carrie Dababi, who lives in Petworth, voted for UPass... Continue Reading →

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Europe struggles for consensus on Venezuela

Photo by Edilzon Gamez/Getty Images By Gabriela Saenz BOLOGNA, Italy — The beginning of Nicolas Maduro’s second term on January 10 as head of state set off a series of controversial events in Venezuela, and paved the way for the international community to move from neutrality to action. Highly contested elections were held in May... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda

By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — On March 7, the SAIS Careers in Diplomacy Club will be hosting Egypt’s  ambassador to the U.S. Yasser Reda for a luncheon and discussion on Egyptian security and global terrorism. According to his biography from the Egyptian embassy, Amb. Reda is a 33-year veteran of Egypt’s diplomatic corps who has... Continue Reading →

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Cas Mudde: Populism and extremism in Europe

Photo credits: Vasilia Anayiotos By Lisa Nations WASHINGTON — On February 14, the European and Eurasian Studies (EES) program hosted distinguished Professor Cas Mudde for the Leonard Schapiro Memorial Prize Lecture on “Populism in Europe: An Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism.” Mudde is a leading scholar on political extremism and has published five books... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Exploring Foreign Policy Through the Creative Process

Photo Credit: (Left) Peter van Agtmael, http://www.petervanagtmael.net/ (Middle) Lea Carpenter, taken by: Michael Lionstar (Right) Elliot Ackerman, http://www.aspenpublicradio.org By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — “Exploring Foreign Policy Through the Creative Process” took place on February 21, 2019. It included in the speaking list are Peter van Agtmael, Elliot Ackerman and Lea Carpenter. This issue of The... Continue Reading →

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump currently owns the largest government shutdown in American history — 35 days of political deadlock and recalcitrance. The president pushed for funding for a border wall that Democrats were unwilling to support, and the resulting gridlock furloughed thousands of federal employees and contractors and left multitudes unpaid. The end of... Continue Reading →

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The rise of rap music in China

By Jing Xuanlin NANJING, China —— Last summer, the question on every young Chinese person’s lips was: “你有freestyle吗?”—“Do you have freestyle?” The phrase circulated in memes and trended on all social media platforms. The rise in popularity of this phrase was all thanks to Chinese pop singer and actor Kris Wu, who appeared as a... Continue Reading →

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Why disease outbreaks are an international security issue

By Matteo Todisco Photo Credit: newsweek.com WASHINGTON — Global pandemics can be as devastating, lethal and catastrophic as the world’s worst conflicts.  They combine staggering casualties with economic collapses on a scale that threatens global stability. They also have unique psychological effects on populations causing panic and hysteria unlike those observed with other sources of... Continue Reading →

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“Protecting” Who? Trump’s Syria policy in 2019

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin By Corey Ray WASHINGTON — Of the many criticisms of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria it was the abandonment of the U.S.’s Kurdish allies, namely the YPG (The People’s Protection Units), that provoked the loudest opposition. Indeed, senators from both parties are urging Trump to offer a plan... Continue Reading →

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Film is art, according to the Chinese government

By Jesse Adler NANJING, China — China today is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing film markets. The industry is dominated by high-budget, unabashedly commercial films, whose chief function is to entertain China’s mainstream, white-collar youth market. Recently, however, the Chinese government has partnered with private film companies to promote “arthouse films,” which... Continue Reading →

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Prospects for peace in Yemen following the Stockholm Agreement

Confidence-building measures have achieved varying degrees of progress, but momentum has slowed Photo Source: Arab News By Sam Reynolds On January 30, 2019, Patrick Cammaert, the former Dutch general in charge of facilitating a ceasefire between warring parties in the Yemeni Civil War, stepped down from his post. He was quickly replaced, but accusations arose... Continue Reading →

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SGA – Spring Semester/The Semester Ahead

SAIS students and faculty, Welcome back! We hope you had a great break and are looking forward to the semester ahead! This year, SGA has incorporated student feedback from the many surveys we sent out last semester (we will be keeping the feedback surveys in the Blueser so feel free to send us more suggestions).... Continue Reading →

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From the Editors

Danielle Thompson Editor-in-chief @thedanithompson Dear Reader, Welcome back to SAIS! My name is Danielle Thompson, formerly the deputy editor-in-chief, and currently the editor-in-chief of The SAIS Observer for the spring semester. I had the pleasure of working with T.J. Sjostrom for the past seven months and he taught me a lot about TSO, leadership and... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Europe Professors Weigh In: What to Expect in 2019

Clockwise from top left: Professors Michael Leigh, Filippo Taddei, David Unger and Christopher Hill BOLOGNA, Italy — The year ahead presents many challenges and opportunities, so TSO Bologna bureau asked four SAIS Europe faculty members what they foresee to be the most significant events in 2019. Professor Michael Leigh: European Parliament Elections The European Parliament... Continue Reading →

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We Are Moving

By Danielle Thompson WASHINGTON — On January 25, President Ron Daniels and Dean Vali Nasr announced that SAIS will be moving to the building currently occupied by the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. In a $372.5 million deal, the University will consolidate all Johns Hopkins University Washington, D.C.-based academic facilities. This move is made financially possible... Continue Reading →

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America has a long history of shunning refugees

Source: David Ryder/Reuters (https://www.businessinsider.com/syrian-refugee-backlash-isis-2015-11) By Olivia Magnanini BOLOGNA, Italy —Deportation of Vietnam War era refugees. The death of a young girl in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection. A looming government shutdown over funding for the quixotic border wall. Have Americans reached the breaking point yet?   The hellish events of recent weeks... Continue Reading →

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We’re still waiting for true democracy in Georgia

By Evan Bird BOLOGNA, Italy — It’s been fifteen years since the Rose Revolution set Georgia on its pro-Western reform path and ten years since a Russian invasion nearly brought it all down. But, the small, former-Soviet republic has once again conducted a free and competitive election. In a second-round runoff on November 29, Salome Zurabishvili, an... Continue Reading →

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“Straight man cancer” in China

By Jing Xuanlin NANJING, China — “You really have ‘straight man cancer’!” Burgeoning feminist movements in China have encouraged many, especially post-90s women, to identify and criticize sexism in modern Chinese society.  Here, ‘straight man cancer,’ a translation of 直男癌, is another term for male chauvinism, where “cancer” points to the toxicity of their treatment... Continue Reading →

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“What are Gaymis?” 什么是“Gay蜜”: An investigation of Chinese subcultures

By Zhou Jie, translation by Mario Colella 2018年10月24日,南京大学人类学研究所邓国基(Chris Tan)副教授应邀来到中美中心,为师生们带来了一场新颖且精彩的讲座——“Gay蜜”:中国济南新兴的“女汉子”及“直女”与男同性恋者之间的亲密友谊。邓国基教授曾在2002年获得耶鲁大学东亚研究的硕士学位,并于2011年获得美国伊利诺伊大学香槟城分校的人类学博士学位。他的研究兴趣集中于社会性别与性,对新加坡、中国大陆及台湾的同性恋群体也颇有研究。 NANJING, China — On Oct. 24, Chris Tan, a Nanjing University professor of humanities, came to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) to present students with a novel lecture titled “Gaymi” on the flourishing friendships between straight women and gay men in the city of Jinan, in China’s... Continue Reading →

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In Bologna, established refugees pay their gratitude forward

By Amber Murakami-Fester BOLOGNA, Italy — Refugees entering the European Union fell from its peak of one million in 2015 to under 200,000 in 2017, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With many of these refugees coming to Italy, refugee reception centers in Bologna work to process and accommodate newcomers. Their biggest challenge is to help assimilate... Continue Reading →

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The price of perfection in China

By Li Xiaoyu NANJING, China — Another Singles’ Day, the Chinese version of Black Friday, has come and gone. Countless people participated in the annual online shopping spree — so many that just a minute past midnight on Nov. 11, sales on Alibaba had already reached $1 billion. The one-day shopping frenzy reflects the broader... Continue Reading →

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The soaring housing prices in Hong Kong

By Chu Chu NANJING, China 一 On Oct. 10, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor presented her policy address to the Legislative Council, which outlined plans for developing Hong Kong’s healthcare, pensions, education and social welfare. One of the most pressing problems she addressed, however, was housing. Since the return of the former... Continue Reading →

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SAIS goes to the ballot box

By Keel Dietz WASHINGTON — The midterm elections may be over, but the horse-trading of election season continues in full swing in the smoke-filled Nitze basement. After returning from Thanksgiving break, students will vote on whether to join the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority  (WMATA) “UPass” program or not. The program gives students at participating... Continue Reading →

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Not your average grad school band: Lekker at SAIS Europe

By Nirit Hinkis BOLOGNA, Italy — It’s 9:00 p.m. on a Friday and Bologna’s vibrant nightlife is beginning to buzz. SAIS Europe students, however, are still on campus. Packed tightly into Giulio’s coffee shop, cheers and applause erupt as Lekker opens their new cover song, Rihanna’s “Work.” Lekker (pronounced Lekka) is made up of five... Continue Reading →

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The final word belongs to Beijing

Hong Kong: Independence and authority in Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policyBy Marco Saracco WASHINGTON — Hong Kong is a thriving liberal economy. It is fifth in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking and enjoys a vast array of human rights, delivering a consistent “rule of law” system with its own checks and balances. At... Continue Reading →

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Italian budget negotiations signal risk; sanctions a possibility

By Caroline Lupetini BOLOGNA, Italy — Italy is playing a dangerous game. Government reforms by Italy’s populist government — the somewhat-shaky coalition between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-wing League — have drawn deep ire from Brussels for the “significant deviation” from previous commitments to lower Italy’s enormous public debt. Italy’s debt is... Continue Reading →

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Confessions of the unheard: A look into social media anonymity

By Rebecca Rashid WASHINGTON — In early September, a mysterious account emerged on Instagram titled SAIS Confessions. The first of its kind in the SAIS community, the open forum for public secrets, confessions and generally salacious thoughts sparked immediate attention amongst the student body. SAIS Confessions quickly became a platform for juicy romantic confessions, subtle... Continue Reading →

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Halloween at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

By Hayden Paulsen NANJING, China — On Oct. 26, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center hosted its annual Halloween party. Festivities included performances by the HNC student band, a costume contest and attendance by local and international Nanjing University students, staff and their friends and family. Student committee leader Shelby Tuseth coordinated the night’s festivities. “Our goal was... Continue Reading →

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Fresh ideas needed in US immigration debate

By Nicholas Cohn-Martin BOLOGNA, Italy — It’s somewhat coincidental that only four days after Paul Romer was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, the migrant caravan — which dominated midterm debate over immigration in the U.S. — began marching from Honduras. Romer, who was awarded the prize for exploring how new ideas contribute to economic... Continue Reading →

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A call to Congress: raise the cost of election interference, sanction Russian IT

By Ashley Curtis WASHINGTON — Russia’s disinformation campaign in the 2016 presidential election was a shock that forced Americans to grapple with the uncomfortable truth of their own vulnerability. Policymakers were caught by surprise. They understood that Russia had a penchant for interfering in its neighbors’ elections — Ukraine and Montenegro are examples — but... Continue Reading →

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Why the young Chinese generation is becoming “old”

By Wei Axiao NANJING, China — Once known as the “lost generation,” the members of the post-90s generation in China have now been jokingly labeled “middle-aged,” or even “old people.” Why are these millennials being compared to the elderly? One possible explanation is their lifestyle. If you observe young Chinese people, you will be surprised... Continue Reading →

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China and the US: the new cold war?

Alexander Rosas is a certificate student at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center with a focus on International Politics. Jesse Adler is a HNC Certificate/SAIS M.A. student currently completing his Certificate at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center before starting at SAIS DC next fall. We both offer our viewpoints on the state of US-China relations after Vice President Mike Pence’s... Continue Reading →

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Please send apology email

By Danielle Thompson In August 2018, SAIS Career Services replaced SAISWorks, students’ previous online career services platform, with the Handshake system. Although the new service offers numerous jobs, schedule of events and seminars, students’ ability to access them depends on how much information they put into the system. To ensure that students engage with the... Continue Reading →

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Professor Hintz releases new book ‘Identity Politics Inside Out: National Identity Contestation and Foreign Policy in Turkey’

The SAIS Observer recently sat down with Professor Lisel Hintz to discuss her new book and her concept of identity politics “inside out” before its release on Friday, November 2. Professor Hintz’s regional focus is on Turkey and its relations with Europe and the Middle East. This semester at SAIS Professor Hintz is teaching Psychology... Continue Reading →

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Three democracies walk into a bar… One leaves broken, another proud, and the last lingering by the door

By John Poor and Sarahann Yeh Political pundits worldwide are mulling over the future of South American constitutional democracy. Years of corruption, nepotism and economic discrimination have led to unprecedented grassroots movements around the region, which, in some cases, have heralded expanded political and socioeconomic inclusion. In others, they have stirred populist tides to sweep... Continue Reading →

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Faltering Brexit negotiations trouble Theresa May’s future

By Mariah Franklin BOLOGNA, Italy — Since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, its political situation has been highly fraught. Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenure in office has been consumed by Brexit, and the results of the 2017 snap elections left May in a considerably weakened position when Conservatives were forced... Continue Reading →

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on modern media and millennials

By Rebecca Rashid WASHINGTON — On Friday, October 19, The SAIS Observer spoke with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, to get an insider opinion on the hysteria surrounding modern media. At a time when news outlets cover everything from the mysterious death of a Saudi journalist to Kanye West’s White House visit, cable news hosts are... Continue Reading →

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“Who is going to marry my daughter?” Generational anxieties on display in China’s “matchmaking corners”

By Zhou Jie NANJING, China — On the second day of celebrations for the National Day, a peculiar crowd congregated at the corner of Xuanwumen along Nanjing’s city wall.  Middle-aged residents weaved through mazes of hanging pieces of paper, some dangling on strings tied along fences and others fixed onto umbrellas. “Male, age 30,” one... Continue Reading →

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Orientation week at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center 南京大学–霍普金斯大学中美文化研究中心的预备课

By Shen Hao, translation by Amy Bodner    秋天是一个开学季,到处充满了欢声笑语,南大–霍普金斯大学中美文化研究中心也不例外。中心迎来了第33届学生,包括来自全球各地的国际学生,例如美国、丹麦、挪威、加拿大等地。大部分国际学生刚刚下飞机就赶来了中美中心,有点倒时差,不大适应。中心的志愿者热情地接待他们,帮他们把行李搬到双人间公寓。除此之外,志愿者学生还带着国际学生参观校园。桂花开了,整个校园香气扑鼻。 NANJING, China — Autumn signals the beginning of a new semester here at the SAIS Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC). Now in its 33rd year, the HNC is a bilingual graduate center of Chinese and international students who study international relations in either English or Mandarin. Last month,... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Robert Mundell and Vitor Constancio

By Jonathan Wilkinson BOLOGNA, Italy — On Thursday, Oct. 25, Vitor Constancio will be coming to SAIS Europe to deliver the Robert A. Mundell Global Risk Annual Lecture on the optimum currency area (OCA) theory and the euro as part of the SAIS Global Risk Conference. The lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. in... Continue Reading →

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Nicholas Hung: Taiwan

Nicholas Hung is a first-year student at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC), working towards a graduate certificate in Chinese and American Studies before completing his master’s degree at SAIS in Washington, D.C. Nicholas spent his summer in Taipei, Taiwan as an intern for the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the Nationalist Party, in the Republic of... Continue Reading →

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A chat with Nina Jankowicz

By T.J. Sjostrom WASHINGTON — If you have read any authoritative source in the past two years about the Russian disinformation campaign in the U.S. media or have wondered where American policymakers get their information from, there is a strong likelihood that Nina Jankowicz influenced both the story and your knowledge of it in some... Continue Reading →

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US uses USMCA to take a shot at China

By Danielle Minnett BOLOGNA, Italy — President Trump’s economic war on China has escalated once again. This time, however, the U.S. has moved beyond just applying new tariffs to update the NAFTA agreement. The rebranded United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) currently awaits leaders’ signatures and legislative approval in each country. While the agreement provides small wins... Continue Reading →

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GMO objections in India and Europe lack science: opposition rooted in culture and politics

Source: greenamerica.org By Ritika Sood WASHINGTON — In a three-day summit on science, spirituality, and the environment on Oct 1, 2018, in Rajasthan, India, prominent anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) activist Vandana Shiva declared that “chemical farming” — the use of GMO technology to increase crop yields — was to blame for climate change. 1,000 kilometers... Continue Reading →

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The Gray Area: A conversation on sexual assault in America through the lens of foreigners

From left to right: Samanta Sharmin Laskar (Bangladesh), Paula Álvarez-Couceiro (Spain), Sol Ahn (South Korea), Andreea Grigorescu (Romania), Khun Nyan Min (Myanmar), Guillermo García Montenegro (Venezuela), Dougal Robinson (Australia), Chris Van Eden (Netherlands) By Rebecca Rashid WASHINGTON — In one of the most polarized times in the nation’s history, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice... Continue Reading →

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Cleaning up the Laundromats

By Anthony Meyer This past summer, Danske Bank came under international scrutiny for allowing 234 billion dollars of allegedly laundered money by non-resident accounts through their Estonian branch from 2007 to 2016. Most of the recent international money laundering cases started in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis when despots and criminals wanted... Continue Reading →

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Alex Cowen: China

Alex Cowen is a master’s student at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) in Nanjing, concentrating in International Economics. Before coming to the HNC, he wanted to spend his summer working in China, so he cast a wide net looking for different options. In his search, he found an opportunity to internwith JD.com (JD), the second-largest e-commerce... Continue Reading →

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USMCA: What to expect from NAFTA 2.0

By Danielle Minnett BOLOGNA, Italy — On September 30, just before midnight, the U.S. and Canada struck a deal to include Canada on a revised North American trade deal called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). With the 14-month negotiation period concluded, leaders of the three countries must now sign the agreement and seek approval from... Continue Reading →

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Does Bernie Sanders have a foreign policy?

By Chris Morgan WASHINGTON — When any speaker makes a stop at SAIS’ Kenney Auditorium, it’s safe to assume that U.S. foreign policy will feature high on the agenda. Such was the case when the Independent senator from Vermont and former (perhaps future) presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivered a well-attended speech to students and faculty... Continue Reading →

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The SAIS guide to gyms and exercise studios in Bologna

By Sarah Casson BOLOGNA, Italy — After endless plates of tagliatelle, bottles of lambrusco and pistachio cornettos from Giulio’s Cafe, there comes a time in a SAIS Europe student’s life when they accept that they may need to find a gym.   Luckily, Bologna offers exercise options for every interest, ranging from CrossFit to yoga to... Continue Reading →

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Italian budget proposal sparks controversy

By Mariah Franklin BOLOGNA, Italy — After months of internal deliberations, the government has put forward a highly controversial set of economic and fiscal targets for 2019, resulting in considerable rancor in Italian and wider European politics. Critics both in and outside of Italy suggest that those targets are flawed. The proponents of the budget... Continue Reading →

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China’s Society People

By Jesse Adler and Jing Xuanlin English article co-researched and written by Jesse Adler and Jing Xuanlin. Chinese translation below by Jing Xuanlin. NANJING, China — While enrolled in a language school in southern China this past summer, I encountered a new kind of Mandarin slang. On an otherwise typical midsummer day, after having just... Continue Reading →

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Outreach and External Sourcing Pilot Program

By Cecilia Panella Since its inception, The SAIS Observer (TSO) has operated primarily as a student-driven school newspaper. We've produced articles on a variety of issues that concern the SAIS student body, and have endeavored to provide timely, accurate and incisive analysis on current events written to the standard of excellence that one would expect... Continue Reading →

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Steak for Maduro, belt for Venezuela

  By Mario Colella NANJING, China — Venezuela is in crisis; 2.3 million refugees have fled the country (out of a population of 32 million), it has a yearly inflation rate of 83,000 percent and 34,000 murders a year. With a mortality rate of 110 per 100,000 residents, if you lived in Caracas for 73... Continue Reading →

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Let girls map on International Day of the Girl Child

Editor’s note: The importance of representation for young girls academically and professionally is  critical — particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, where women remain especially underrepresented. To address the gender gap in these fields, we must introduce and engage young girls with STEM at a young age. In 2011 the United Nations... Continue Reading →

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Sam Smith: China

Energy, Resources and Environment concentrator Sam Smith spent his summer in Beijing as an intern for International Rivers, a nonprofit organization advocating for the sustainable development of global water resources. Through his work with International Rivers’ China program, Sam researched and visited Chinese hydroelectric development projects while organizing local NGOs to promote indigenous rights and... Continue Reading →

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The Briefing: Bernie Sanders’ views on U.S. foreign policy

By Sam Reynolds WASHINGTON - A number of leading policymakers and foreign policy experts visited SAIS last month as part of the Dean’s Forum speaker series, including Madeleine Albright, Francis Fukuyama and Ian Bremmer. The forum continues on Tuesday, October 9, when Dean Vali Nasr will host Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Kenney Auditorium... Continue Reading →

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Wall Walk kicks off Hopkins-Nanjing fall semester

By Tiantian Shi NANJING, China — At the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, a long-standing tradition known as the Wall Walk brings together students, staff and faculty for an all-day hike along Nanjing’s city wall. The event, usually scheduled for early November but moved up to Orientation Week in favor of ideal weather presented the perfect opportunity for... Continue Reading →

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Government lobbying in the US and EU

By Ashley Curtis Image Credit: John Devolle, The Brazilian Report WASHINGTON - Toothpicks are okay – but do not even think about using a fork. You can have a beverage, but drinking it while seated is out of the question. If you receive flowers in the mail, either donate them to charity or destroy them.... Continue Reading →

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Yongjia Luís Du: Kyrgyzstan

There is a tradition in Kyrgyzstan. When families have guests, they make a big meal no matter the time of day. Yongjia Luís Du experienced this firsthand this summer while working—usually on a full stomach—for a consulting firm in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. After studying international law at SAIS Bologna, he returned for his second year with... Continue Reading →

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A welcome from the Bologna bureau!

Dear readers, It is our pleasure to take a moment and introduce ourselves as the Bologna bureau of The SAIS Observer. This year, the Observer’s Bologna bureau intends to capitalize on SAIS Europe’s unique vantage point for studying international affairs during this pivotal moment in history. We will foster cogent and engaging debate and analysis... Continue Reading →

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Government applications of blockchain technology: voting, healthcare and border control

By Aliza Berger WASHINGTON - In the past ten years, Bitcoin has gained tremendous popularity. However, beyond the world of cryptocurrencies is an untapped market for Bitcoin’s underlying technology — the blockchain. Essentially a decentralized, public ledger that can be viewed whenever and wherever to display an updated record of all transactions, blockchain offers increased... Continue Reading →

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Mende Thuji Yangden: Bhutan

Mende Thuji Yangden is the first student at SAIS from Bhutan. Over the summer, she returned home for an internship in the capital Thimphu, where she helped manage civil society organizations (CSOs) overseen by Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Despite juggling a full-time job, hectic visa applications and family responsibilities, Mende speaks calmly about... Continue Reading →

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Sebastian Dannhoff: Germany

After spending his first year in the Strategic Studies program at SAIS Bologna, Sebastian Dannhoff moved to Berlin, Germany for a summer internship with The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). A departure from his business background, working for the think tank ultimately shaped Sebastian’s concentration and unveiled the rewards and particularities of... Continue Reading →

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Remembering Kathryn Knowles

By T.J. Sjostrom WASHINGTON - On behalf of my teammates at The SAIS Observer, we are crestfallen about the passing of Kathryn Knowles, a beloved adviser, SAIS alumna and friend at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna. Today is an incredibly sad day for the European and Eurasian Studies (EES) program, the student body at The... Continue Reading →

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Maria Gershuni: Russia

Maria Gershuni, class of 2019, spent her summer working for the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) in Moscow as an intern for the Euro-Atlantic program. She is a European and Eurasian concentrator at SAIS and found the internship through her department, which sent out a list of available opportunities in Europe. Upon receiving an offer,... Continue Reading →

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Breaking – Reorganization of ERE Program at SAIS announced

ELIZABETH GOFFI WASHINGTON, D.C. - The fastest-growing program at SAIS is making some changes; yesterday, April 10th, faculty within Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) met and discussed the department's future, including that at least two of the professors’ contracts would not be renewed for the academic year 2018-2019. The changes are based on recommendations made... Continue Reading →

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Sexual abuse culture – The SAIS Observer editorial chat

Welcome to The SAIS Observer Editorial Chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.     Lisa (Lisa Martine Jenkins, Editor-in-chief): So everyone, in light of the recent revelations about sexual harassment in industries such as media, entertainment and politics, there's one big question on my mind: is this a tipping point? T.J. (T.J. Sjostrom,... Continue Reading →

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Veterans Group Stages Brief Protest at SAIS’s D.C. Campus

By Patrick Kelley WASHINGTON — Protesters representing the Weed for Warriors Project demonstrated in front of SAIS’s Nitze building earlier this afternoon, objecting to Johns Hopkins’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science’s decision to drop out of a clinical trial studying the effects of medical marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The flag-waving... Continue Reading →

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Is China Splitting From Europe Over Carbon Trading?

by: SKYLAR DRENNEN NANJING – On March 9th Climate Home, an online publication focused on the international politics of climate change, published an article titled “China floats split with EU over carbon trading”. Citing Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) vice president and National People’s Congress (NPC) member, Wang Yi, as their source, Climate Home published... Continue Reading →

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Douglas Hengel on the direction of climate and oil policy, and whether Trump’s election could change the game

By LISA MARTINE JENKINS Last week, Professor Douglas Hengel arrived in Bologna from Washington D.C. for a conversation on the United States’ energy diplomacy and reliance on oil. Professor Hengel worked as a foreign service officer before coming to SAIS D.C. as an adjunct professor. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy,... Continue Reading →

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SAIS Students Nervous about US Foreign Policy under Trump

BY KAJ MALDEN Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the U.S. presidential election last week finds many foreign policy wonks beginning to think more seriously about how the incoming president-elect will manage the U.S.’ relations with the rest of the world. U.S. foreign policy to date has developed two instruments to advance global stability and prosperity.... Continue Reading →

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Wear the SAIS Uniform

Over two years, SAIS has given each of us one of the best educations in the world, stimulated our intellect in newfound ways and opened doors to our future careers. It is time to give back for all we have received. Section Editor and former Co-Editor-In-Chief, Tristram Thomas, calls for giving to the Class Gift.

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P.J. Crowley on Secrecy and Reporting in the Age of Leaks

Co-Editor-In-Chief Jameel Khan interviewed P.J. Crowley, the former Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the State Department. He shared his thoughts with The SAIS Observer on a timely and controversial topic: secrecy and reporting in the age of leaks.

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After 19 Years, SAIS’ Ron Lambert Retires

Director of Career Services, Ron Lambert is due to retire at the end of the semester after 19 years at SAIS and is going to be a trainer at YMCA. Section Editor Selim Koru had a chance to talk with Lambert about his the various hats in his office and the various roles he has taken in life.

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Glorious Sea, the Sacred Baikal

POLINA BOGOMOLOVA
OPINION SECTION WRITER AT SAIS WASHINGTON

The world’s oldest, deepest, and largest lake, Baikal is a natural treasure and a national symbol of Russia. Unfortunately, until recently, pollution and neglect have virtually suffocated the lake.

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SAIS Europe Thanksgiving

KARISHMA CHANRAI
VIDEO EDITOR

SAIS Europe celebrates Thanksgiving in annual feast in the auditorium -- and a special guest appearance by the SAIS Europe-pardonned turkey.

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La Vita della Vespa: 5 life lessons from driving a Vespa in Italy

MICHAEL ST. GERMAIN
MA Student at SAIS Europe

When I decided to spend my first year at SAIS in Italy, I knew I wanted to live with a host family. I chose my particular host family because they had hosted my good friend’s mom 30 years prior. However, the family’s home is almost ten kilometers outside of the city. In order to help me out, the family offered to repair an old Vespa for me to take to school everyday. So went the plan.

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The Changing Price of Motherhood

SAIS Nanjing blogger Rui Zhong looks at how China’s evolving One-Child policy will continue to affect Chinese mothers, attitudes on women’s choices in family planning, and the costs it may place on the expecting.

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Details Behind SAIS Finances

Jameel Khan
Assistant Editor at SAIS Washington

The state of SAIS’ financial union is one of sweeping change -- contouring on varied issues of budgets, debt, fundraising, philanthropy, new academic programs, organizational restructuring and leadership changes.

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SAIS Budget Review

Michael St. Germain
Assistant Editor at SAIS Europe

The arrival of Dean Nasr has ushered in a new era for the school and nowhere is this more apparent than with the school’s finances.

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Dean Bonnie Wilson Steps Down

Selim Koru
Assistant Editor at SAIS Washington

The longest-serving dean in SAIS history, Assistant Dean for Student Life Bonnie Wilson will step down at the end of December. In the spring, she will transition to working part-time with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs.

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SAIS China Initiative Explained

Tristram Thomas
Editor-in-Chief

In October, Dean Vali Nasr announced Professor David M. Lampton, director of China Studies, would lead SAIS China, an initiative intended to facilitate Nasr’s One SAIS vision for the school.

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SAIS Announces New Degree

Nimisha Jaiswal
Editor-in-Chief

AFTER 18 months of planning, SAIS opened applications for a new Masters in International Economics and Finance (MIEF) degree program this November. The degree program is set to take in its first batch of up to 35 students in fall 2014.

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Discussing China’s ADIZ: Potential Benefits for the US

ROBYN GARFIELD Guest Contributor at SAIS Washington On November 23, China unilaterally and unexpectedly announced the formation of its first-ever ADIZ over the East China Sea and demanded that all aircraft file flight plans and communicate with Chinese authorities while flying through the area. The timing came after multiple provocations between China and Japan surrounding... Continue Reading →

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Discussing China’s ADIZ: Reasonable Move for China

Fan Wu
Guest Contributor at SAIS Washington

The latest flashpoint in East Asia is China’s newly-announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which covers the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands and significantly overlaps with the defense zones of Japan and South Korea, both US’ allies.Thus, the mainstream media have interpreted it as an extension of both the Sino-Japanese territorial dispute and the Sino-US rivalry in the air.

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The Corrosive Nature of Qat in Yemen

SAIS Europe blogger Joshua Levkowitz discusses a little-know social ill that is threatening Yemen: qat addiction. Qat, an addictive, chewable mild narcotic, has driven out Yemeni agricultural production and the plant’s water-intensive production process is pushing the Sana’a towards becoming the world’s first “dry” capital. Yet reform, although necessary, seems unlikely as Yemen’s elites benefit both economically and politically as the plant flourishes.

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Postcards from the HNC: Guangzhou Edition

By Audrey Fritz December 19, 2019 Tianhe District, GuangzhouPhoto Credits: Natalie Craig  NANJING, China — Over the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) Fall Break, international and Chinese students in Professor Thomas Simon’s course ‘Injustices, Discrimination, and Identity’ travelled to Guangzhou to conduct field research on discrimination towards Africans living in Guangzhou. As a unique city that has... Continue Reading →

Coronavirus Lessons

By: Julia Fonteles “Just how completely the world below our feet will become unknown to us is not yet clear, and how we register its transformation remains an open question.”      David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth In recent years, international stakeholders have finally started to take climate change seriously. When evaluated quantitatively, however, the... Continue Reading →

My Journey Home

By: Laura Rong  NANJING, China – It feels weird to write in this location as a SAIS Bologna student, but after returning home for almost a month, I can finally tell my story. My journey to Europe ended on an ordinary Thursday in March. Seeing a growing number of cases in Italy every day, I... Continue Reading →

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