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Public Affairs

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Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought | 04/05/17
James T. Kloppenberg
The story of democracy remains one without an ending, a dynamic of progress and regress that continues to our own day. In the classical age, "democracy" was seen as the failure rather than the ideal of good governance. Beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the reputation of democracy began to rise, resulting in changes that were sometimes revolutionary and dramatic, sometimes gradual and incremental. How have understandings of self-rule changed over time on both sides of the Atlantic? (Public Affairs Program)

Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond | 04/12/17
Gideon Rachman
Easternization is the defining trend of our age. The growing wealth of Asian nations over the last 50 years is transforming the international balance of power, bringing a near 500-year period of western dominance to a close.  A troubled but rising China is now challenging America's supremacy, and the ambitions of other Asian powers have the potential to shake the whole world. How will this turbulent process define politics in the 21st century? (Public Affairs Program)

Advancing Women's Rights in Two Muslim Countries: Qatar and Pakistan | 04/20/17
Maleeha Lodhi, Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani
While there are many misperceptions in the West about the problems faced by women in Muslim countries--including those images of veiled, home-bound, uneducated women--progress continues to be made to create a class of educated women ready to enter professions and contribute to society outside their homes. What opportunities have opened up and what still needs to be done? How are these two countries, Qatar and Pakistan, addressing the challenges and including women in the political/civil life of their countries? (Public Affairs Program)

Past Events

Breaking Barriers: The Air Force and the Future of Cyberpower | 03/08/17
Lt. Gen. William Bender
Lt. Gen. William "Bill" Bender, a Manhattan College graduate, is a New Yorker at the forefront of a growing effort to protect America and dominate the digital realm. He's flown more than 4,000 hours in nearly a dozen aircraft and now defends an area perhaps infinitely larger and more unpredictable than the skies--he's the Air Force's chief information officer and the leader of nearly 55,000 cyber operators. The Air Force is heading America's efforts to modernize and secure its digital infrastructure and incorporate cyberspace into every aspect of its operations. From stealth aircraft to the country's dearest resources, projecting American power and protecting its interests increasingly means winning both at the front lines and online. (Public Affairs Program)

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order | 03/01/17
Richard N. Haass
The rules, policies, and institutions that have guided the world since World War II have largely run their course. The Middle East is in chaos, Asia is threatened by China's rise and a reckless North Korea, and Europe, for decades the world's most stable region, is now anything but. American foreign policy has at times made matters worse, both by what the U.S. has done and by what it has failed to do. How should the U.S. act towards China and Russia, as well as in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East? What can America do to address its dysfunctional politics, mounting debt, and the lack of agreement on the nature of its relationship with the world? (Public Affairs Program)

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow | 02/22/17
Yuval Noah Harari
As Homo sapiens becomes Homo deus, what new destinies will we set for ourselves? As the self-made gods of planet earth, which projects should we undertake, and how will we protect this fragile planet and humankind itself from our own destructive powers? The book "Homo Deus" gives us a glimpse of the dreams and nightmares that will shape the 21st century. (Public Affairs Program)

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics | 02/01/17
John B. Judis
In 2016, the world's richest democracies witnessed a collective upheaval that shocked the globe and seemed impossible to understand. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union; Donald Trump was elected president of the United States; and a slew of rebellious parties continued to influence elections in Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Austria, and Greece. What has happened to global politics? How does this all connect back to the populism movement that began in the United States in the 1890s? (Public Affairs Program)

Europe's Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union | 01/24/17
Guy Verhofstadt
Europe is caught in its greatest crisis since the Second World War. The catalog of ills seems endless: an economic crisis through most of Europe's Mediterranean tier; terrorist attacks in Paris, Cologne, Brussels, and Nice; growing aggression from Russia in Ukraine and the Baltic states; and refugees escaping war-torn neighbors. Brexit is now a reality and others may follow. How can Europe survive? What are the consequences of a divided Europe, on both sides of Atlantic? Could a United States of Europe, patterned after the American federal system, be a realistic solution? (Public Affairs Program)

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations | 01/11/17
Thomas L. Friedman
There is a general feeling that our lives are being transformed in many realms all at once--and it is dizzying. From massive leaps in technology to ever-increasing globalization to the acceleration of climate change, workplace, politics, geopolitics, and ethics are all going through tectonic shifts. Why is this happening? Why was 2007 an inflection point? And how can we find the value in "being late," or pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we're passing through? (Public Affairs Program)

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion | 12/14/16
Paul Bloom
We often think that empathy, our capacity to experience the suffering of others, is the ultimate source of goodness. Nothing could be farther from the truth, says Yale researcher Paul Bloom. Based on groundbreaking scientific findings, "Against Empathy" argues that far from helping us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. How does empathy lead to cruelty? What implications does this have for fighting climate change, going to war, or deciding who to imprison? (Public Affairs Program)

Foreign Fighters, Homegrown Terrorism, and the Prevention of Violent Extremism | 12/07/16
Seamus Hughes, Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Ali Soufan
Recent events in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and the United States have highlighted the importance of the multifaceted challenge that violent extremism has come to represent. How is homegrown terrorism evolving and how can it be tackled? What viable policy options can be considered to address the impact of the current wave of violent radicalization? (Public Affairs Program)

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know | 11/29/16
Jerry Kaplan
Over the coming decades, artificial intelligence will profoundly impact the way we live, work, wage war, educate our young, and care for our elderly. It is likely to greatly increase our aggregate wealth, but it will also upend our labor markets, reshuffle our social order, and strain our private and public institutions. Can a machine be held accountable for its actions? Should intelligent systems enjoy independent rights and responsibilities, or are they simple property? (Public Affairs Program)

Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World | 11/01/16
Shadi Hamid
Islam, it can be argued, is "exceptional" in how it relates to politics, with profound implications for how we understand the future of the Middle East. Divides among citizens aren't just about power but are products of fundamental disagreements over the very nature and purpose of the modern nation state―and the vexing problem of religion's role in public life. How can this argument help us to understand the past and present of Islam? (Public Affairs Program)

Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia | 10/21/16
Victor D. Cha
While the American alliance system in Asia has been fundamental to the region's security and prosperity for seven decades, today it encounters challenges from the growth of China-based regional organizations. How was the American alliance system originally established in Asia, and is it currently under threat? How are competing security designs being influenced by the United States and China? (Public Affairs Program)

The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era | 10/05/16
Akhil Reed Amar
When today's headlines revolve around momentous constitutional questions, journalists and busy citizens do not always see the stakes clearly. Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades—from presidential dynasties to congressional dysfunctions—and shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the America body politic. (Public Affairs Program)

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World | 09/28/16
Timothy Garton Ash
Today, anyone with an Internet connection can reach millions of people worldwide. Yet despite this flood of opinions, freedom of speech is in peril, argues Timothy Garton Ash. Drawing on a lifetime of writing about dictatorships and dissidents, he argues that in today's connected world, which he calls "cosmopolis," the way to combine freedom and diversity is to have more but also better free speech. Across all cultural divides we must strive to agree on how we disagree. (Public Affairs Program)

Is Successful Integration Possible? Best Practices from North America and Europe | 09/15/16
Oriol Amorós, Nisha Agarwal, Parvati Nair
Around the world, people are on the move like never before. In 2015, the number of international migrants—people residing in a country other than the one of their birth—reached 244 million, of whom 65.3 million were refugees. How can host countries help migrants integrate into the schools, workforces, and cultures of their new communities? With both the United Nations and the Obama administration about to convene international conferences on migration, this session serves as a timely discussion of public administration best practices on this critical global issue. (Public Affairs Program)

The Needs of Refugee Women and Children in the Global Humanitarian Crisis | 06/21/16
Sarah Costa
Lost in the rhetoric and the xenophobia that has arisen due to the ongoing refugee crisis are the stories of millions of women and children fleeing war and persecution for an uncertain future. The Women's Refugee Commission, founded in 1989, advocates vigorously for laws, policies, and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children, and young people, including those seeking asylum--bringing about lasting, measurable change. (Public Affairs Program)

Time to Wake Up | 06/17/16
Sheldon Whitehouse
Rhode Island's Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has given over 130 speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate on one theme: It is time for Congress to wake up to the disaster of climate change and look for tangible ways to reduce greenhouse gases and protect vulnerable communities. Who are Sen. Whitehouse's allies in this fight? What can concerned citizens do? And with a new president taking office in 2017, what is the future of environmental legislation? (Public Affairs Program)

The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War | 06/09/16
Arkady Ostrovsky
The end of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union was a time of euphoria around the world. It was hoped that this new Russia would be more open and more democratic. How did we go from the promise of these heady days to a Russia that has given cause for concern in the West? Arkady Ostrovksy, a native son, introduces us to those who have been responsible for the course of the events since the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Public Affairs Program)

The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind's Gravest Dangers | 05/25/16
Ali S. Khan
In more than 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Ali S. Khan found that rogue microbes will always be a problem, but outbreaks are often caused by people. We make mistakes, politicize emergencies, and, too often, fail to imagine the consequences of our actions. With the Zika virus as the newest threat, are we prepared for the next pandemic? What can we learn from Ebola, SARS, and other modern outbreaks? (Public Affairs Program)

Threats and Opportunities on the Korean Peninsula | 05/17/16
Gheewhan Kim, Scott A. Snyder, Sue Mi Terry
South Korea has one of the world's largest economies, a dynamic culture that sets trends all over the world, and an increasingly important geopolitical presence on the world stage. But above the 39th parallel, North Korea is as isolated, oppressive, and dangerous as ever. Should the United States and its East Asian allies be worried about this new round of nuclear threats from Pyongyang? Are negotiations possible with Kim Jong-un? What's China's role? And what is the real political effect of the North Korean menace on Seoul? (Public Affairs Program)

A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS | 05/10/16
Robert F. Worth
In 2011, a generation of young Arabs, from Egypt to Yemen, insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. But lost among the talk of dictators, foreign intervention, and terrorists, is the plight of the average citizens of these countries. What are their stories? How do they see their future after years of discord? (Public Affairs Program)

The Last Supper: The Plight of Christians in Arab Lands | 04/27/16
Klaus Wivel
There are 7.5 million Christians in the Middle East, who live under constant threat of death and humiliation. They are increasingly desperate in the face of rising Islamic extremism and their only hope for survival may be fleeing into exile. Why have we not done more to protect this beleaguered minority? (Public Affairs Program)

Islamism: What It Means for the Middle East and the World | 04/20/16
Tarek Osman
A political, social, and cultural battle is currently raging in the Middle East. On one side are the Islamists, those who believe Islam should be the region's primary identity. In opposition are nationalists, secularists, royal families, military establishments, and others who view Islamism as a serious threat. How have Islamists been able to win elections? What does their rise mean for the future of the region and the world? (Public Affairs Program)

The Geopolitics of the Iran Deal: Winners and Losers | 04/07/16
Karim Sadjadpour
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has provoked strong reactions throughout the world. In the United States, some see it as the Obama administration's signature foreign policy achievement, while others argue that it will prop up a terrorist regime. And in the Middle East, Iranians are exuberant at the economic relief, but Saudis worry that their rivals now have the geopolitical edge. Who are the real winners and losers in the Iran deal? (Public Affairs Program)

Refugees on Turkey's Borders: Consequences of Chaos in Syria | 03/28/16
Kemal Kirişci
Violence in Syria has displaced more than half of its population. More than 4.5 million refugees have fled into neighboring countries with an additional half a million making their way to Europe. What is the impact on Turkey? How can these refugees be protected? (Public Affairs Program)

Blood Year: The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism | 03/22/16
David Kilcullen
David Kilcullen is one of the world's leading theorists of counterinsurgency. As a soldier, counterterrorism official, and chief strategist in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism, he was one of the key designers of U.S. and allied counterterrorism policy. Now, in a self-critical analysis of the collapse of Western counterterrorism strategy, "Blood Year" challenges all sides in the contentious debate over America's role in the Middle East and the world. How did we end up in such dire circumstances? Can the United States find a new way forward? (Public Affairs Program)

The Industries of the Future | 03/07/16
Alec Ross
From robotics, to cybersecurity, to the coming impact of digital technology on money and markets, the next 10 years will be full of advances and stumbling blocks that will affect our economic future. How will we adapt to the changing nature of work? Is the prospect of cyberwar sparking the next arms race? (Public Affairs Program)

The Refugee/Migrant Crisis | 02/26/16
Peter Sutherland
The influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa into Europe continues to rise. Bitter divisions among member states have jeopardized the Schengen Area of borderless travel within the EU. Populists are having a field day. Do we have a moral responsibility to help these migrants? How can we maximize the benefits of migration and minimize potentially negative impacts? (Public Affairs Program)

What Went Wrong in the Arab Spring? | 02/10/16
Adam Roberts
With civil resistance at the heart of the massive demonstrations, the early days of the Arab Spring produced some notable victories, including the fall of authoritarian governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Yet these apparent triumphs of non-violent action were followed by disasters. What went wrong? Was the problem the methods, leadership, and aims of the popular movements, or the conditions of their societies? (Public Affairs Program)

In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond | 02/09/16
Robert D. Kaplan
"In Europe's Shadow" is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier. As a pivotal frontier country, Romania is a metaphor for how Europe must confront a resurgent Russia—and this is the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis with Russia, Ukraine, and within Europe itself. (Public Affairs Program)

The Unprecedented Jihadi Threat in Europe | 01/20/16
Jean-Pierre Filiu
Following the largest attack on French soil since World War II, it is clear that Europe is facing its biggest threat of this generation. And with similarly deadly attacks in Turkey, active terror cells in Belgium, and credible threats in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, there is a critical need for continent-wide coordination to fight these militant groups. Just how much of a threat is ISIS to European society? How does the refugee crisis play in? (Public Affairs Program)

Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped | 01/13/16
Garry Kasparov
The growing rift between Russia and the West represents a conflict between modernity and the past, according to Garry Kasparov. For over a decade Kasparov has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin's growing authoritarianism, but he has also been equally critical of the United States and its allies for their unwillingness to confront Moscow. What is the current state of the anti-Putin opposition? Can the West confront Russia without conflict? (Public Affairs Program)

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