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The SAIS Observer Staff has 827 articles published.

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

in SAIS Matters

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. Freeman, director of the Foreign Policy Institute. Dean Vali Nasr will present welcome remarks. Before the lecture takes place, here is a quick briefing of the notable policy achievements of Dr. Brzezinski and Secretary Albright. Zbigniew Brzezinski or “Zbig” Zbigniew Brzezinski or “Zbig” as he was known, was one of America’s most influential scholar-strategists of the 20th century. Considered a hawkish theorist of the realist school of thought, Brzezinski served as national security adviser to the Carter Administration through the tumultuous 1970s. His tenure in office witnessed major foreign policy events that would shape the…

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Maria Gershuni: Russia

in International/The Magellan Project

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, she replied with a definitive “Absolutely.” A native of New York, Maria grew up speaking Russian with her parents and was thrilled to share her experiences living and working in Moscow. Could you briefly describe what the RIAC does? It is a Russian international affairs think tank that was set up in 2010. They’re a little different than the way Americans think of think tanks because they don’t have a lot of their own scholars. I think in Russia the concept of a think tank is relatively new. The way they’ve adopted that model is…

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From the Editors 2018-2019

in Opinion

T.J. Sjostrom Editor-in-chief Dear reader, It is my distinct privilege to work with such a diverse and talented team of writers, editors, and leaders for a second year at The SAIS Observer. My pledge to you is that The SAIS Observer will represent the highest standards of journalism. This year, our motto is simple – making the main thing the main thing – our student body. Thus, we have undertaken The Magellan Project to do just that – make our students the main thing by sharing their stories from all around the world, on our remodeled logo and brand new website that reflect our modern approach to student journalism. Another project we are undertaking is reaching beyond our campus walls, and seeking journalistic exchanges with peer universities, think tanks, and more in-depth stories featuring our world-class faculty. This year marks a year of considerable growth and remarkable change for The…

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From the Editor 2017-2018: Parting Thoughts

in News

I want to personally congratulate all of our SAIS Class of 2018 graduates, as they put a close to this chapter and begin their next. I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to my graduating staff, because while they were defending theses, finishing capstone, or looking for employment, they were the glue to this organization, and made this paper run. By name, I want to thank my Deputy Editor-in-chief, Caroline Yarber. She made my job so much easier by being an engaging leader, and steering the direction of the paper. Another special thank you goes to Elizabeth Goffi, the departing Executive Editor. She is the example of an amazing editor, and undoubtedly saved us a lot of trouble by her diligence and instincts. I want to also thank my departing Nanjing and Washington Bureau Chiefs, Liz Witcher and Issy Schmidt. Your leadership helped me immensely in running this paper, and…

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SGA Election Transparency: An Unfortunate Example of Poor Leadership

in Opinion/SAIS Matters

By: ROSS MEDICO Bologna: The Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President was elected without a single vote. The SGA Vice President was elected without meeting the election’s basic requirements. The SGA Vice President was elected with zero student input from any of SAIS’s three campuses. That is not an election; that is a backroom deal. To be fair, not a single individual at SAIS Europe met the nomination requirements for Vice President, which included submitting a video and personal statement. However, the peremptory decision to fill the position anyway was nothing less than undemocratic. The process lacked transparency, and for all the campaigning on inclusivity, SGA leadership has clearly displayed the opposite. The SGA in Washington ultimately decided it would be more convenient to not seek out Vice Presidential candidates and to abandon the election altogether. They asked the two students running for the Bologna Representative position to decide between…

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Shortage of SGA Candidates in SAIS Europe

in News

By: ERIC CLAVER Bologna: The Trump Administration is not the only D.C. government short on applicants. Knowledgeable sources tell the SAIS Observer that not a single student from SAIS Europe ran to be Vice President of the 2019 Student Government Association (SGA). To ensure that SGA leadership represents all SAIS campuses, the president is always a second-year M.A. student from D.C. while the vice president is always a second-year M.A. student from Bologna. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem. However, this year, no one applied for the position of vice president. Instead, two students ran for the Bologna Representative, Becky Kim (V.P. of Internal Affairs of Global Women in Leadership, V.P. of External Affairs of the Law and International Organizations Society, President of Christian Fellowship) and Dylan Parkes (Bologna SGA member, Co-President of the Russian Club). Sources claim that the SGA in D.C. did not want to run another…

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Fish and Ships: A Near-Arctic Proposal

in Opinion

By: DANIEL BURKE NANJING: Amid drowning polar bears and tumbling glacial cliffs, China senses opportunity. On January 26th, China’s State Council Information Office released a white paper proposing new shipping routes in the rapidly thawing Arctic. Although China does not border the Arctic Ocean, the State Council has classified China as a “Near-Arctic State,” which, if recognized, would give it a say in regional affairs. China’s primary interests in the Arctic can be pared down to two things: fish and ships. Fish and fisheries were repeatedly mentioned as a key factor in China’s interest in the Arctic. Most directly, the State Council stated, “The natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China’s.…economic interests in agriculture, forestry, fishery, marine industry and other sectors.” Does China have a particular fondness for the plight of Norwegian fisherman? Unlikely. Things come into focus when we look at fishing…

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The Consul-General’s General Consolation

in News

By: DANIEL BURKE NANJING: Students shuffled in excitedly with high hopes of what’s to come. As the seats fill front to back, whispers spread side to side: “did you hear…”, “any idea…”, “I wonder….” Yet, when consul-general Kazuyuki Katayama enters the room, an expectant hush, a pregnant calm, descends. On March 3rd, students at the Hopkins – Nanjing Center (HNC) were treated to a high-caliber guest lecturer: consul-general Dr. Kazuyuki Katayama. Taking time off from work at the Japanese consulate in Shanghai, Dr. Katayama took to the podium and delivered a message of connection, tension, and hope to an auditorium full of HNC students. Sitting in the front row, MAIS student Ben Miles described the consul-general as “a very skilled diplomat” and suggested that he could “feel his concern for China-Japan relations and his desire to improve them.” Dr. Katayama began by emphasizing the “win-win” nature of the economic partnership…

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China’s Recent Political Shake-ups: Perspectives from Nanjing

in News

By: BRIAN HART NANJING – When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wrapped up its 19th Party Congress in October 2017, it became clear that CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping would be staying on past the customary two terms as party leader. Breaking with tradition, no heir-apparent was promoted to the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee – the seven-man committee that rules China – leaving no one to take over when Xi’s second term would end in 2022. Yet, it still came as a surprise when the CCP Central Committee “proposed” a constitutional amendment to formally remove presidential term limits, allowing Xi to serve indefinitely. In China, when the CCP Central Committee “proposes” something, it happens, which is why on March 11, the National People’s Congress (NPC) voted in favor of removing term limits, with only two delegates of 2,964 voting against it. The removal of presidential term limits has been a…

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The World Has Changed and IR Schools Need to Adapt

in Opinion
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By: CAITLIN O’GRADY Bologna: The world felt like a different place in the latter years of the Obama administration. In May 2016, Rodrigo Duterte won the Philippines presidential election. Britain voted to leave the European Union in June. Terrorists attacked time after time in Brussels, Nice, Orlando, Berlin, and around the globe. Police clashed with the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. throughout the summer. Populist leaders in the Netherlands, Austria, and France became viable candidates for president. In November 2016, Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. The world as I knew it, or thought I knew, no longer existed. Societies seemed to be rejecting the status quo. In fact, many countries were intentionally reversing policies grounded in the postwar liberal consensus. I had applied to study American Foreign Policy in graduate school that year, but that knowledge did not seem to matter anymore. I struggled to understand…

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