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SAIS Europe Staff Ride to Monte Cassino, Italy

in Student Life

By: T.J SJOSTORM CASSINO, ITALY – “I don’t think I’m ever going to forget the empty streets of San Pietro.”– Zeke Schumacher, SAIS MA student A ”Staff Ride” is a trip provided for participants to conduct a case study at the site of a major event. It contains three parts: a preliminary study, a site visit, and a post-visit debrief. Strategic Studies students at the SAIS Europe campus coordinated a staff ride to the hollowed grounds of Monte Cassino. On the weekend of November 24th-26th, SAIS students and faculty educated themselves on how various factors, such as the strategic value, complexity, challenges in leadership and terrain affected military operations. Monte Cassino was the scene of arguably the most bitter fighting of WWII.  The constant barrage of airstrikes and artillery shelling lasted four months and included four separate offensives to break the German “Gustav Line,” leaving the area wracked with lasting…

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Student Profile: Fitz Fitzpatrick

in SAIS Profiles/Student Life

By GARRETT SWEITZER To the casual observer, Fitz Fitzpatrick may seem to be an overly diligent student who spends an inordinate amount of time in the library. In fact, he jokes that in some regards he is more familiar with the student computer room at SAIS Europe than with the city of Bologna. Upon closer look, however, one comes to understand a man who has devoted much of his life to the service of his country.  At an early age, Colonel Fitzpatrick became interested in a career in the armed forces. In his words, Fitz saw a career in the military as the opportunity to do a “white collar job in the woods”. Drawing inspiration from his father, who served in Germany during the early Cold War, and from an uncle who had a thirty year career in infantry, Fitzpatrick studied History at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore with an ROTC…

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Playing with Power

in SAIS Life/Student Life

BY JONIEL CHA The United States, Russia, and China have entered a new era of “power grabs”. Smaller regional powers are emerging and flexing their muscles in anticipation of expansion like dogs impatiently waiting under the dinner table. North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan consider themselves among the contenders in Asia. Dr. Victor Cha is an impressive figure and notable expert on Asia. He serves as   Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, Korea Chair at CSIS and former Director for Asian Affairs on the National Security Council. Dr. Cha made an appearance at SAIS with his books in tow when the Sejong Society and the U.S.-Korea Institute hosted him on October 14, 2016. Why did Asia never have its own form of NATO? Unlike Europe, Asia is a combination of large landmass and separate islands. During the Cold War, Europe’s bipolarity was clearly defined, even…

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Taipei City Guide

in Student Life

  BY SUSAN WANG While Tokyo, Beijing or Shanghai may be conventional vacation choices, Taipei should be your next travel destination. Though Taipei may be small and not the most aesthetically pleasing city in the world, it’s Asia’s hidden gem. As a culinary and cultural melting pot, Taipei should not be overlooked. Arriving in Taipei Most visitors fly into Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), but occasionally you may fly to the older Songshan International (TSA). Irrespective of which you airport you land in, Taipei Metro or MRT, high speed rail, a bus or taxi will get you to Taipei quickly. Accommodation On a budget? Book a hotel, hostel or Airbnb near a Metro line. Most travelers stay within walking distance of the night markets.   Where to go in Taipei Beitou Hot Springs (MRT Xinbeitou) Taipei is known for its wonderful hot springs. They are located north of the city and…

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Wanda World

in Student Life

BY CHASE STEWART To misquote Deng Xiaoping, “To get rich is glorious!” Since the 1980s, China has experienced the most rapid economic expansion of any country in the history of the world. Millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty and a new burgeoning middle-class has been flourishing in urban centers all over China. The urban population of China has grown from 20% to more than 55% in the past 30 years. This rapid urbanization has led to innumerable business opportunities and untold fortunes. The biggest of those fortunes belongs to Wang Jianlin, China’s wealthiest person (net worth: $29.1 billion), the founder and chairman of Wanda Group. Mr. Wang was born in Sichuan, China in 1954 to a Communist war hero who survived the Long March and fought alongside Mao Zedong. At 15, he joined the People’s Liberation Army and served for 17 years before leaving to become a…

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SAIS Seeks Out Bologna’s Secrets

in SAIS Matters/Student Life

BY FATIMA NANAVATI Bologna, home to the SAIS Europe campus, is often ignored due to its scruffy and scrappy first impression. However, along with its fascinating history, delicious cuisine, and creative festivals, it also embraces a series of city secrets that many locals spend years uncovering. With the help of a few native Italians and astute local professors, SAIS students went on a hunt to discover these and not only found a few favorites from the official list of Bologna Secrets but also added a couple of their own special treasures. The Neptune Fountain: This is a surprising and hilarious addition to the official list of secrets in Bologna. Built in the mid-1500s, the monument represents Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, extending his reach and controlling the waters surrounding Italy. However, it is said that the sculptor, Giambologna, was offended by instructions from the cardinal to reduce Neptune’s…

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Korean Reunification Study Tour

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SAIS students meet with American diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul

BY JAEHAN PARK The 150-mile-long inter-Korean border is one of the world’s most heavily armed regions. With the opening of Cuba, the Korean peninsula is now the only place where the Cold War still persists. Witnessing the demise of communism and the Arab Spring, one may naturally think North Korea will follow suit, and the two Koreas will reunify. However, Pyongyang still has a firm grip of the northern part of Korea, continues developing nuclear weapons, and persecutes some 28 million people. How can we overcome these challenges and restore the “Land of Morning Calm”? In search of the answer, 13 SAIS students, led by Professor Eunjung Lim, flew to Seoul during spring break. Over the course of a week, the class visited 19 institutions, including government agencies, think tanks, companies, and an NGO. As busy as it was, the trip was full of learning. A noted expert on transitional…

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10 Surprises in Cuba

in Student Life

BY DANIELLE SCHWAB Just days before President Obama’s state visit to Cuba, SAIS students traveled to Havana for a study tour to examine the capital’s urban development. Below, guest contributor and study tour participant Danielle Schwab shares with the SAIS community some of the more surprising things she encountered while on the tour: Not enough water. There is only one brand of bottled water in Cuba, and it is not ubiquitously sold. Even if you do stumble across a tiny store, you may have to settle for beer or soda instead. Cubans are very politically aware. Due to their unique history, the average Cuban pays close attention to international relations and knows those countries with which Cuba is allied with and their changing relationships. Free healthcare. We heard from many Cubans about the pride they take in their free healthcare system. One night, a friend was stung by a bee.…

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Under the Athens Sun

in Student Life

BY FOTIOS STRAVORAVDIS A city that combines ancient ruins with modern architecture, Athens is the perfect place to visit before finishing your studies at SAIS Europe. Ideally, a perfect destination for Spring break. But, what makes Athens so special? The people? The sun? The nightlife or the history? Embark with me on this brief journey and let me take you around Athens. The first thing you will notice while in Athens is that Greeks know how to make every moment count. For those wishing to have the time of their lives, Athens is the perfect place. Why? Because of the luxurious and modern cocktail bars and clubs that create an unexpected mosaic. Most of them are located in downtown Athens, in Monastiraki, Thyseio, Gazi and Kolonaki, and more often than not, they have a breathtaking view of the Acropolis. Thus, if the idea of having a cocktail under the Athenian sky,…

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A Waltz to Remember

in Student Life

BY KADY HAMMER Saturday, Feb. 13th marked the eve of Valentine’s Day but also marked the annual SAIS Europe Vienna Ball. So the myth goes, it’s typical for students to “marry off” and find love at the ball. Whether that happened this year will stay in Vienna, but the professors were eager to hear about the weekend’s events Monday morning after the attendees returned to campus. SAIS students dressed to the nines in ball gowns and tuxedos for the event. It is an annual tradition for Europe campus students to attend the International Atomic Energy Association Ball held each year at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, but SAISers haven’t always trekked to Austria for the annual ball. Only in the past decade have SAIS Europe students regularly attended the IAEA event. Prior to 2006, SAIS’s annual ball had traditionally been held in a villa in the outskirts of Bologna. As…

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