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…

The Assassination of Qasem Soleimani is Just More of the Same American Foreign Policy – Op-ed

By Adam DuBard          BOLOGNA, Italy - On January 3rd, the world awoke to the news that the United States had assassinated the head of Iran’s infamous Revolutionary Guard, Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport. The killing of Soleimani, itself a dramatic escalation between Iran and the United States, sparked an immediate…

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…

“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…

Outbidding the competition – Getting into classes is getting harder at SAIS DC

by Yilin Wang February 1, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Twice a year, SAISers put their economics curriculum to the test; seeking to optimize a bidding strategy with minimized cost. However, it seems that composing such a strategy is proving increasingly difficult. The price inflation on classes have run students dry of opportunity and more classes…

Cypriot Passport Proves Popular Despite Misconceptions About Divided Island

By Zoe Mize BOLOGNA, Italy – The Republic of Cyprus lies in the azure waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, nestled between Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. The Greeks mythologized the island, the third largest in the Mediterranean Sea, as the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Millions travel each year to discover for themselves…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

Does SAIS Europe have the harshest grading system across the three SAIS campuses?

By Yilin Wang WASHINGTON, D.C – If you have spoken to SAIS students who did their first year in Bologna, you likely already heard an impassioned speech about the harsh grading approach at the campus. In the course of a comprehensive investigation, the SAIS Observer spoke to students who spent a year at SAIS Europe…

Protests in Latin America: More different than they appear

By Gerhard Ottehenning  WASHINGTON, D.C. — The recent protests rattling Latin American capitals from Mexico City to Santiago are as diverse in their geography as they are in their proximate causes and goals. It can be difficult to keep up with the dizzying array of protest movements not only in Latin America but around the…

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…

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…

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…

HNC students blow off steam in the HNC Fall 2019 Badminton Tournament

By Trixia Apiado Top row, left to right: Selu Ofa Latukefu Tupou, Kevin Wu, Zhao Xu, Zhang Yinding, Professor Simon, Nick Henderson (referee and score-keeper). Middle row: Yang Zhiqi, Jia Huijing, Dong Huina, Michael Zhang. Front row: Cheng Jiangnan, Zhang Yaoyao, Amy Bodner, Professor PAT, Lucas Wille Photo credit: Trixia Apiado NANJING, China — On…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Trump’s diplomatic blunder with ASEAN makes way for China’s dominance

By Trixia Apiado December 2, 2019 Source: Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ThailandU.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, fifth from the left with ASEAN leaders and ministers. NANJING, China — From October 31st to November 4th, 2019, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held its 35th Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.…

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…

Uncle’s Pizza: Come for the pizza, stay for the company 大叔披萨:不只美味

By Xie Sijie and Pan Siran NANJING, China — If one exits the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC), takes a right to walk along Shanghai Road, and makes a right turn at a little alley, they will see a market that looks just like any other Chinese wet market. However, hiding inside the market, with several shabby…

In the Gobi Desert: An abandoned reactor concept gets a new lease on life

By Danny Brooks November 6, 2019 WUWEI, Gansu Province, China — Late last April, two employees of the government-backed Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics were sacked after permitting the performance of a Taoist ritual at a groundbreaking ceremony for an experimental nuclear reactor. The dismissals are more or less typical of the officially atheist Chinese…

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…

Tensions in Latin America heighten as Bolivia’s President Evo Morales steps down

By Jamie Domer BOLOGNA, Italy – On November 10, Evo Morales resigned as President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Following accusations of fraudulent elections and over two weeks of violent protests in major Bolivian cities Santa Cruz, La Paz, and Cochabamba, the Bolivian armed forces turned their backs on Morales and formally requested his…

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…

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,…

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…

The “Greta effect”: The Polarized Global opinions of Greta Thunberg

By Laura Rong November 22, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy -- On November 1, Spain agreed to host the 25th annual United Nations (UN) Climate Change conference (COP25) in December 2019, after Chilean President Sebastián Piñera cancelled plans to host citing domestic unrest.  COP25 is the main climate event of the year. Momentum for the conference built…

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…

Chile: An economic and political model for South America?

By Bryan Popoola November 25, 2019  BOLOGNA, Italy -- In recent decades, Chile has been seen as a beacon of stability and progress on the South American continent. However, the country has recently been overrun by a series of protests triggered by a metro fare price increase in the city of Santiago. Since October 19th,…

Lebanon’s leaderless October Revolution calls for tangible changes

By Zoe Mize November 11, 2019 BOLOGNA, Italy –– On October 29, 2019, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stepped down. The ongoing street protests known as the “October Revolution” that led to Hariri’s resignation were triggered by the announcement of a tax on digital phone calls, including those made on the popular messaging service WhatsApp.…

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.…

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”…

Opinion – The Amazon: Before the blaze, there was the tinderbox

September 16, 2019 By Nikole Ottolia WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brazilians have protested in the streets, world leaders have offered money, #savetheamazon has trended for weeks and yet the fires continue to burn and the debate rages on. Who is responsible for the Amazon Rainforest? Lost between the drama and the hashtags lies the story of…

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…

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,…

Life after SAIS: Dialogues with young alumni at the International Monetary Fund

September 24, 2019 By Yilin Wang WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the SAIS Observer sat down with four recent SAIS graduates who shared a common interest in macroeconomics despite their different backgrounds. They shared stories of how attending SAIS changed their lives—often in ways they had not expected—and which courses from SAIS’s extensive catalog have…

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,…

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…

Bannon leads Committee on Present Danger’s efforts to reshape the US-China relationship

By Jesse Adler CPDC homepage graphic(Photo credit: presentdangerchina.org)NANJING, China — In 1950, the same year that SAIS became part of  Johns Hopkins, SAIS co-founder Paul Nitze became the chairman of a study group which set out to review U.S. national security policy. Soon after, Nitze became the principal author of a top-secret foreign policy paper…

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…

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North Korean Special Economic Zones: an untapped opportunity in nuclear negotiation

By Ashley Curtis WASHINGTON — When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend of 2018, he offered North Korea “prosperity on par with our South Korean friends” in return for denuclearization. A survey of the country’s late 20th century history…

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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…

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Decades of devotions and friction: the Catholic Church and sinicization

By Joe Wojciechowski NANJING, China — A father stands in front of his congregation, breaking the ceremonial eucharist wafers symbolic of the body of Christ. An altar boy clad in white vestments swings a thurible, filling the air with a cloud of fragrant incense. Several congregants receive their eucharist host and quietly leave to beat…

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Online nationalism in China and the “Little Pink” generation

By Jing Xuanlin NANJING, China — China’s youth, often known to be fired up with patriotic zeal, are referred to in Chinese as the xiao fenhong, or “Little Pink.” The term can be traced back to the Jinjiang Literary City, an original love-story writing forum predominately frequented by female users that featured a pink background…

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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…

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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…

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Will China wash away the influence of the “Korean wave”?

By Li Jiyun A plastic surgery advertisement at a subway station in Nanjing, China. Photo credits: Wang Zhen NANJING, China — Although the popularity of Korean pop music and TV dramas seem to have waned in China, advertisements for Korean-style plastic surgery clinics continue to pop up in subway stations throughout Nanjing and other Chinese…

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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…

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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…

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Hopkins-Nanjing Center students experience changing Chinese countryside

Politics of rural development field study participants pose with Professor Adam Webb, left, by a Yunling village landmark (along with a few local children). Photo credits: Lu Yuyan (HNC Certificate ’19) By Ryan Lucas NANJING, China –– China’s economic rise over the past several decades is often symbolized by modern cities like Shanghai or Shenzhen,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Four Strat Bros in an afternoon lecture, to say nothing of an IDev-er

Photo Credit: Wil Stewart Disclaimer: All names have been hidden to protect the guilty Scene: Kenney-Herter Auditorium in the later afternoon hours Guest lecturer (wrapping up an informative 30-minute presentation): …and with that final point about the consequence for our conception of [country name redacted] by the presence of this infinitesimally tiny subculture I’ve just…

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Enter your name into NameCoach if you ever want to see your daughter alive again

Phot Credit: Nick Abrams By Maria Gershuni The emails started out innocuous enough: “You have four days left to enter your name into NameCoach. You will not be allowed to enter the Grad Fair to pick up tickets and/or your cap and gown until your name is recorded.” That’s fine, I reasoned. I had already…

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Instant karma: Did Russians fall victim to the IRA’s anti-vax fake news?

Photo Credit: Aurelien Romain By Maria Gershuni WASHINGTON — When we were in school, our parents warned us against spreading rumors claiming they would come back to bite us. It seems their advice could also be true in the Twitterverse. A new study by George Washington University’s Dr. Broniatowski — in collaboration with our very…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Amidst allegations, Pope Francis calls for critical change in the Church

Photo credits: Reuters By Gabriela Saenz BOLOGNA, Italy — Recently, the Roman Catholic Church has come under scrutiny worldwide for sexual abuse allegations, forcing the Vatican to speak out for the first time in an official capacity. For decades, the Catholic Church has been accused of covering up these crimes and denying the existence of…

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Zelenskiy is Ukraine’s best hope in upcoming presidential elections

Photo credits: Kyiv Post By Olena Dobrunik BOLOGNA, Italy — A matter of days separates us from the first round of the next presidential election in Ukraine. The March 31 election is the first since the 2014 victory of Petro Poroshenko after the Maidan Nezalezhnosti revolution that ended with the expulsion of former pro-Russian President…

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Wrongful advertising lawsuit to move forward against gun manufacturer in Sandy Hook shooting

By Cecilia Panella WASHINGTON — On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle to kill six educators and 20 children in Sandy Hook Elementary School. On March 14, 2019, the Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed an earlier trial court ruling that dismissed the wrongful death suit against Bushmaster Firearms International LLC and…

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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…

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Despite growing confidence, uncertainty remains a key factor in US-China trade talks

By Mariah Franklin Photo credits: Reuters Media BOLOGNA, Italy — In recent months, observers in both the United States and China have become increasingly positive toward the prospect of a mutually beneficial conclusion to current trade negotiations between the two countries. President Trump once warned that continuing negotiations beyond March 1 would lead to a…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Deal or no deal? UK still divided as Brexit deadline approaches

Photo credits: BBC By Danielle Minnett BOLOGNA, Italy —The window of opportunity for the British Parliament to approve a Brexit withdrawal agreement is closing fast. Yet the future of the U.K. and the EU’s relationship remains unclear. The Withdrawal Agreement proposed by Theresa May was defeated by a record margin in the U.K. Parliament last…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Briefing: Marta Serafini, foreign correspondent for Corriere della Sera

Serafini (pictured right) with GWIL Executive Board member, Alissa Pavia. By Olivia Magnanini BOLOGNA, Italy — On February 18, Marta Serafini, a foreign correspondent for Corriere della Sera, came to SAIS Europe to speak with students about her work, the challenges of reporting in the Middle East, the changing media landscape and financial pressures facing…

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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…

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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…

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Picking up the pieces: The Kurdish independence movement looking forward

Photo credit: Levi Clancy Originally published in 2018 as a larger piece in DEMOS Vol. 1, Article 6,“The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again” explores the past, present, and future implications of the Kurdish independence movement. The piece in its entirety can be found here. This piece is also the 2018…

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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…

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The Greek crisis is far from over: Three things to look for in 2019

By Marcus Walsh-Führing BOLOGNA, Italy —— As the political debate in Europe has focused its sights on the effects of Brexit on the European Union (EU), the middle class in Greece is struggling to cope with a growing tax burden. While European leaders want to see an end to the crisis by imposing austerity policies,…

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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…

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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…

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SAIS student starts GoFundMe to get into classes he already paid for

Following a meeting with the Academic Affairs, second-year SAIS student Barry Cade realized he had sacrificed most of his  bid points in his first semester to take Statistics with Professor Harrington and would be left with exactly zero points for the rest of the year. With his unpaid internship at the Brookings Institution and frustrations…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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).…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again Part 3

Originally published in 2018 as a larger piece in DEMOS Vol. 1, Article 6,“The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again” explores the past, present, and future implications of the Kurdish independence movement. The piece in its entirety can be found here.   This piece is also the 2018 Winning Recipient of…

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The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again Part 2

Originally published in 2018 as a larger piece in DEMOS Vol. 1, Article 6,“The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again” explores the past, present, and future implications of the Kurdish independence movement. The piece in its entirety can be found here.  This piece is also the 2018 Winning Recipient of the…

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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…

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The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again: Part 1

Originally published in 2018 as a larger piece in DEMOS Vol. 1, Article 6,“The Kurds: Independence is Going to Have to Wait … Again” explores the past, present, and future implications of the Kurdish independence movement. The piece in its entirety can be found here.   This piece is also the 2018 Winning Recipient of…

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Cautious optimism: A current outlook for foreign investment in China

By Lindsay Thill A Starbucks with “Chinese characteristics” in Nanjing, China Photo source: pymnts.com NANJING, China — With its growing middle class and population of 1.4 billion people, China has presented foreign companies with both an enticing market and an intimidating challenge for the last 40 years. While some companies such as Adidas, Starbucks and…

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International vs. domestic streetwear brands: What’s worth the hype?

Shoppers wait for their turn to purchase items from the Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collaboration. (Photo source: The Financial Times) By Tiantian Shi NANJING, China 一 Ask any hypebeast to name their favorite streetwear brands and they might rattle off a list that includes Supreme, Off-White, BAPE, Adidas and Yeezy. What they probably could not…

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…

“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…

“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…

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…

Moot court: Practicing international commercial arbitration in China

By Jesse Adler NANJING, China — If you had told me at the beginning of the semester that I would soon be pulling all-nighters analyzing the terms of a sales agreement regarding a delivery of horse semen, I might have questioned your sense of humor. But when I joined the Vis Moot Court team at…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

China’s royal obsession: How Chinese leaders utilize their royal connections

By Benjamin Miles NANJING, China — On September 20, 2018, a rather unusual topic appeared in several publications in China. The China Daily English edition, People’s Daily Chinese edition and the local Nanjing Daily all reported on the same event with more or less the same wording, that Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Cambodian…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Acts against the press are an assault on our constitutional principles

By Olivia Magnanini BOLOGNA, Italy — According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) global data, in 2017, 18 journalists were murdered (motive confirmed) and another 262 were imprisoned. The imprisonment numbers are representative of a disturbing upward trend since 2000, with 2017 being the year with the highest number ever recorded for CPJ. The…

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…

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…

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…

“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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

“A small, still voice”: Syrian poet Adonis gives poetry reading

By Mario Colella If only we were not that seedling of Creation, Of Earth and its generations, If only we had remained simple Clay or Ember, Or something in between, Then we would not have to see This World, its Lord, and its Hell, twice over. —  Adonis (“The New Noah,” tr. Shawkat M. Toorawa)…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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.…

The Briefing: Strategy behind EU economic cooperation initiatives with Romano Prodi

By Jonathan Wilkinson BOLOGNA, Italy - On Monday, Oct. 1, Romano Prodi will be returning to SAIS Europe to deliver a keynote address on the strategy behind the EU’s economic cooperation initiatives as part of the first Australia-European Union economic relations dialogue. The keynote will take place in the SAIS Europe Auditorium at 12:00 p.m.…

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…

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…

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…

The Briefing: Notable policy achievements of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Madeleine Albright

By Matteo Todisco and Samuel Reynolds WASHINGTON - On Monday Sept. 17, Madeleine Albright returns to SAIS to speak about the legacy of the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser for U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The event will take place in the Kenney Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. and will be moderated by Carla P.…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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.…

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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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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.

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…

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.

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.

Education and Leadership During a Pandemic 疫情期间的教育和领导力

Daniel Mikesell 大牛 NANJING, China — The U.S. and China are often portrayed as existential foes, but leaders of educational institutions in each country are finding common ground. As schools have resorted to emergency measures to cope with new challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of education. From rural midwestern America to urban…

TikTok & COVID-19: Surging Users and Neglected Security — Op-Ed

By Natalie Craig May 14, 2020 Photo Credit: Rolling Stone via Chesnot/Getty Images The novel coronavirus has undoubtedly introduced several new problems into our world. Aside from health concerns and skyrocketing unemployment, people are beginning to speculate as to what the unintended consequences of the virus will be, especially with regards to technology. With fear…

Men’s Makeup in China: The “Concealer” of Patriarchy or the “highlight” of gender equality?

By Pan Siran For a long time, wearing foundation, dyeing eyebrows and putting on lipstick has been viewed as an exclusive privilege for women. Now, men in China beg to differ. Makeup has become the “new normal” for an increasing number of Chinese men, a core part of their daily routine.   “I put on makeup…

Medical Deficiency: A shortage of doctors and nurses plagues Chinese hospitals

By Joe Wojciechowski NANJING, China — Just before dawn, a woman arrives at the hospital and takes a number. Although the sun has hardly begun to rise she is already late. Her number is 37 and now she will have to wait until noon to see a doctor. After waiting for over six hours she…

Did South Korea’s Parliamentary Election Really Reshape the Country’s Polity?

By James Park NANJING, China — On April 15, South Korea held its 21st parliamentary election, marking the ruling liberal party’s fourth consecutive win following the 2016 parliamentary election, the 2017 presidential election and the 2018 local elections. Having already won 14 of the 17 metropolitan mayoral and gubernatorial posts in 2018, the liberal party…

Postcards from HNC: Yixing, the pottery capital of China

By Trixia Apiado HNC students browsed Mr. Xu Xiaotang’s pottery for sale. Photo Credit: Trixia Apiado NANJING, China — On November 16, 2019, the Traditional Chinese Crafts course taught by Professor Yu Wenjie of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) hit the road to Yixing, a city in the Yangtze River Delta between Nanjing and Shanghai. Although unknown…

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…