SFS News

New technology and agriculture partnership between the School of Foreign Service and the World Bank Group launched at MSFS

Friday, February 15th, 2019 marked the launch of a new innovative global research partnership between the World Bank Group and the School of Foreign Service, led by the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS), Global Human Development (GHD), and Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) programs. SFS students will be invited to contribute to an upcoming flagship report—a publication by the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations—on how digital technology is transforming agriculture around the world.

Professor Victor Cha comments on US-North Korea relations and war

President Trump claimed that as Obama was exiting office, he was told that Obama was near starting a war with North Korea, a claim that’s been disproved by the CIA Director during the Obama administration, and the Korea expert from the Council on Foreign Relations. SFS Professor Victor Cha said, “We were near the brink of war in the first 12 months of the Trump administration” but “that dangerous state of affairs at that time was not entirely Trump’s fault despite his fire and fury rhetoric and actions.”

Ken Opalo comments on upcoming Nigerian election

Two major candidates are running for president in Nigeria: the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar, People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Associate professor Ken Opalo said: “[Buhari’s] been unwell, he hasn’t been as bold as he had promised in terms of needed reforms that could push the Nigerian economy, and despite his personal record as a non-corrupt person, there’s definitely lots of corrupt people around him.”

Professor Shireen Hunter pens op-ed on LobeLog about Iran being unfairly punished

Shireen Hunter’s op-ed argues that throughout the years, “Iran’s punishment has far exceeded its crime.” A U.S. sponsored conference in Warsaw just finished, but “the real objective of the conference was to garner international support for even more pressure on Tehran.” Hunter provided a number of examples in which Iran was consistently punished, through war and economic sanctions.

Nancy McEldowney comments on the government shutdown’s impact on the state department

Even with the government shutdown over, there are still concerns regarding retention, morale, finances of diplomats and their families, and more. According to Nancy McEldowney, the shutdown’s impacts sent a message to State Department employees: “What it said to many people is, our work is not valued, our contributions are not wanted, why should I work in a place that doesn’t care about what I do — whether I come to work or not?”

“We need you more than ever”: Hillary Clinton stresses the importance of diplomacy at SFS and GU Politics symposium

On Wednesday, February 6, the Walsh School of Foreign Service, in partnership with the Institute of Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School of Public Policy, hosted a half-day symposium on “The Future of Diplomacy.” The day began of two panels, the first on “The Essential Diplomat” and the second on “Values in U.S. Foreign Policy,” and ended with a keynote conversation with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mario Daniels Compares US-China Tech Supremacy Fight to Similar Dynamic From 30 years ago

In an Op-ed, in Fortune, Mario Daniels, visiting DAAD professor in the BMW Center for German and European Studies and an expert in the history of technology, notes the similarities between U.S. actions against Chinese tech companies, notably the indictment of Huawei, and the dynamic between the U.S. and Japan in the 1980s. In both cases, fears over a loss of tech supremacy dominated discussion. However, he notes that the tech economy is more interdependent than 30 years ago.

IOM Iraq, along with Georgetown’s ISIM and CCAS, Publish “Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq”

The Georgetown Institute for the Study of Migration (ISIM) and Center for Contemporary Arab Studies partnered with the International Organization for Migration in Iraq to publish “Access to Durable Solutions Among IDPs in Iraq,” the second installation of a two-part study about challenges and survival strategies of Iraqi IDPs who were displaced by ISIL between January 2014 and December 2015 to the 4 governorates of Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Sulaymaniyah.

Bruce Hoffman on Iran’s “Crazy Obsession” with the MEK

In this article published on Newsweek, Professor Bruce Hoffman discusses Iran’s “crazy obsession” with the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political front of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK. According to Hoffman, Iran’s obsession is “divorced from reality,” because while the MEK is indeed “a subversive threat, so are other groups.”

Daniel Byman Comments on the Rise of Pan-Arab Nationalists

In this article published by AP News, Professor Daniel Byman discusses the rise of pan-Arab nationalists, who Byman said “see themselves often as critical of religion because religion is ‘backward.’ It’s what’s been holding the Arab world back.” Byman added, “that’s kind of the dominant divide, and Islamists of all stripes are pushing back against this.”

Farid Hafez on Structural racism and the challenge of Muslim identity in party politics

In this article published on The Daily Sabah, Farid Hafez, a Senior Researcher with Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, discusses structural racism and the challenge of Muslim identity in party politics. Hafez discusses a number of incidents where politicians have “deploy[ed] Islamophobic conspiracy theories against members of their opposing political party,” adding that “if we want Western societies to stand for human dignity, equality and freedom of religion, then these tendencies have to be fought.”

Chas Goldman (SFS ’22) on “The Kremlin’s Key to World Dominance: Climate Change”

In this article published on The National Interest, SFS freshman Chas Goldman discusses the potential “advantages that Russia could reap from the political and economic instability caused by climate change and a global refugee crisis.” Goldman touches on a number of different benefits Russia can look forward to in response to rising temperatures and the thawing of the Arctic Ocean, from the opening up of lucrative trade routes to newfound access to expansive oil reserves.

Student Spotlight: Kojo Adjepong-Boateng, MSFS’19

In this interview, Kojo Adjepong-Boateng (MSFS’19) discusses his experiences growing up on multiple continents, the most rewarding aspect of his time in the MSFS program so far, and his plans for after graduation.

Filing from Colombia: Julia Friedmann (SFS’19) Reports on Religion and Armed Violence During Pulitzer Center Fellowship

Julia Friedmann (SFS’19) is the first Georgetown recipient of the Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowship, offered annually through the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. In this article, Friedmann, a regional and comparative studies major who studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, reflects on her return to South America in summer 2018 to cover the role of religion in the Colombian peace process.

David Hollenbach

Father David Hollenbach Weighs in on U.S. Border Policy

In this article published on Catholic Philly, Jesuit Father David Hollenbach discussed important considerations that he said should be kept in mind when it comes to U.S. border policy. Specifically, Father Hollenbach said, “We are all part of one human family. The family of humanity reaches across borders…There are connections between human beings across borders that enable us to see one another as brothers and sisters, member of the same family, created by the same God, in the image of the same God.”

Edelstein Examines Persistence of Great Power Politics

David Edelstein, Associate Professor of International Affairs in the Center for Security Studies, published an essay about the future of great power politics and the potential for conflict as part of a policy roundtable following a Perry World House colloquium. As the U.S. is in relative decline and Russia and China become more assertive, Edelstein says, “the implications are likely to be more competition and, indeed, the possibility of great power war.”

Marc Busch discusses US-China trade relationship in terms of technology

Considering the indictment of Huawei, US-China relations have been rockier than ever. SFS Professor Marc Busch pointed out that technology is “at the heart of the debate.” Trump also imposed a $200 billion tariff on Chinese goods, and recent incidents of intellectual property theft have also caused issues. SFS Professor Marc Busch said: “Politically you can run against trade because trade has this one convenient feature of coming with a flag. So a Trump or an elected official can look competent by identifying the source of all evil as being trade with Mexico. It’s hard to rail against your iPhone.”

Parag Khanna Describes the Future of Asia

This article, published by Peak Magazine, discusses Parag Khanna’s latest book, “The Future is Asian.” According to the article, “[Khanna’s] sixth book takes a deep dive into the premise that all of Asia, from Saudi Arabia to Japan and Russia to Australia, is set to be the world’s most important region, following centuries of European and American dominance.”

Nadia Sood (SFS’97)’s fintech company, CreditEnable, is partnering with the Confederation of All India Traders

CreditEnable, founded by CEO, Nadia Sood (SFS’97), and Varun Sahni, is partnering with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), “to help its members raise finance to be competitive at a global level.” The partnership will help 70 million Indian businesses (small and medium-sized businesses, “SMEs”), and if they are successful, SMEs would be able to expand and modernize, which would lead to an increase in jobs and wealth.


GIWPS Hosts Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP)

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security hosted First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon on February 4. Sturgeon reiterated her call for a second referendum on EU membership and spoke about the negative effects Brexit would have on Scotland. The First Minister also called for Scottish independence. “Scottish national interests are not being served by a Westminster system that often sees our interests as an afterthought.”

Matthew Kroenig Describes Resurgence of Interest in Battlefield Nukes

In this article published by Lake Shore Public Radio, Professor Matthew Kroenig describes the recent resurgence of U.S. interest in battlefield nukes. These smaller, more strategic battlefield weapons were stockpiled by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, at a time when both sides assumed the future of combat would involve the utilization of these lower yield nuclear weapons. After the Cold War, though, the U.S. “dismantled nearly all its battlefield nuclear weapons” while Russia “took a different path” and “kept thousands of battlefield nukes.” Discussing why the U.S. has returned to their efforts of battlefield nuke development, Kroenig explained the U.S. needs a third method of recourse besides “backing down to avoid nuclear war” or “retaliating with…large strategic nuclear weapons, potentially risking a larger nuclear attack” in the event that Russia was to use some of its stockpiled battlefield nukes.

Congressman Mike Gallagher (SSP’12) writes in defense of NATO in the National Review

Congressman Mike Gallagher (SSP’12) was published in the National Review, arguing in defense of NATO. NATO in terms of U.S. alliances really started with President Eisenhower; his commitment “became a baseline for successful Republican foreign-policy presidencies after his, including Ronald Reagan’s.” Today, there are more debates for and against NATO; however, Congressman Gallagher claims that the conservative case for NATO is that it “bolsters American National Interests.”

Stent describes the many roles of “Putin’s chef”

Professor Angela Stent recently spoke to NPR about Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s chef.” He runs a number of high-end restaurants in Russia, but that’s not all—he also ran the Internet Research Agency and runs Wagner, one of the largest mercenary private military groups in Russia.

Olivia Enos (MASIA’17): “Businesses Should Care About the Use of Forced Labor in Xinjiang”

In this op-ed published on Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Olivia Enos (MASIA’17) discusses why businesses should care about the use of forced labor in Xinjiang. Specifically, Enos notes that importing goods from Xinjiang “not only poses reputational risks but may have tangible, legal consequences.” Further, “the events transpiring in Xinjiang add additional weight to China’s designation in the TIP report and up the ante for businesses with suppliers in China to more closely monitor their supply chain for forced labor.”