SFS News

Professor Elizabeth Saunders on Trump’s Handling of Iran

Professor Elizabeth Saunders was recently quoted in an article about President Trump’s decision to halt retaliatory strikes against Iran. Trump responded to pundits’ struggle to define him as either a “hawk” or “dove.”  Saunders said, “I don’t think he’s looking for a major intervention and a major war. He has in the past been receptive to pinpoint strikes that demonstrate strikes that show strength. Such an option may be completely illusory, but if it could be sold to him that way, that’s what he could grab on to.”

Professor Sarah Johnson on Whether There is Life on Mars

Though NASA’s Curiosity rover has recently detected a potential biological source, some researchers believe it is too early to claim whether there is life on Mars. Professor Sarah Johnson stated that answers to this question may be presented in a statistical form, rather than as a definitive yes or no. “We’re trying to move away from this binary ‘This Is Life / This Is Not Life’ … but really change the approach into something like ‘this is 3-sigma away from what we would expect from abiotic processes,’” Johnson said.

Professor Sarah Saunders on Trump’s Shifting Signals to Iran

Following his decision not to launch a military airstrike against Iran, President Trump has presented shifting accounts that demonstrate uncertainty within his own administration. In an article by the Los Angeles Times, Saunders said, “The thing in his tweets that’s really alarming is when he says ‘10 minutes before’ the strike he asked how many people would die. An experienced leader would be asking that hours before that.”

Bob Colacello (SFS ’69) Interviewed for Bomb Magazine

Bob Colacello, SFS ’69, has had an illustrious career as a film writer. In the 70s, he was the managing editor for Inside Magazine, Andy Warhol’s publication. The interview in Bomb Magazine mostly focuses on Colacello’s friendship with Warhol and their photography project — the column entitled “Out” — they worked on together. Colacello went on to contribute to Vogue, but his time in Andy Warhol’s social circle is the topic of his new book and collection of photos, “Pictures From Another Time: Photographs by Bob Colacello, 1976–82.”

Professor Abdullah Al-Arian Reflects on the Life and Legacy of Mohamed Morsi

Abdullah al-Arian, professor of History at the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, was cited in Aljazeera’s obituary for Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Morsi, the first and only democratically elected president in Egypt’s history, died June 17th at the age of 67. Professor al-Arian notes that Morsi was not, as many Egyptians hoped at the time, fully in charge of the Egyptian state, and he struggled with presenting his decisions in a way that was palatable to the Egyptian people. His election was perhaps not as revolutionary as originally thought; according to al-Arian, when the Muslim Brotherhood was in office, they held only the “illusion of power.”

Student Activist Anna Landre (SFS ’21) Subject of Washington Post Column

Anna Landre (SFS ’21) is a columnist for the Hoya, a rising SFS junior, and an activist for people with disabilities both on and off campus. Recently, she was informed that the state of New Jersey was cutting the healthcare funding that allows her to have a full time aid. That decision put her future at Georgetown in jeopardy, but she went public with her struggle, hoping to secure lasting change. A recent column by the Washington Post profiles her campaign in the media. We are excited that Anna will be able to receive the care she needs for the rest of her time at Georgetown.

GIWPS Cited in Statement By Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) mentioned the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security in his opening statements chairing a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio is the chair of the subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and the hearing was titled “Women in Conflict: Advancing Women’s Role in Peace and Security.” In his opening statement, Rubio cited research by Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security which found that women are instrumental in building lasting positive peace agreements.

Professor Mendenhall Researches Language, Culture, and Mental Health in Kenya

The words and idioms used to describe distress and mental health problems vary across cultures and languages. Research conducted by Professor Emily Mendenhall focuses on words and idioms used to describe feelings of depression in Kenya. Some use the phrase “thinking too much” (kufikiria sana in Swahili) to describe depression-like symptoms, but the significance that phrase carries is not the same everywhere in Kenya. Tracking and studying language surrounding mental health can be vital in determining who may need clinical support.

SFS Alumna Sees Education and Healthcare as “Gamechangers” For Women

Marne Martin (SFS ’97) is an international tech executive who works as president of IFS Service Management and CEO of Work Wave. She was recently profiled by Thrive Global, where she said that her drive for success is what led her to the School of Foreign Service, and that if she could inspire any movement, it would be one towards helping women and girls receive the education and healthcare they need.

SFS Professor James Millward on Hong Kong Protests

The protests in Hong Kong against an extradition agreement with mainland China have drawn international attention. In a recent article in Time Magazine, SFS history professor James Millward provided some context for this movement. Many in Hong Kong, according to Professor Millward, are worried that China will use the island to experiment with the data harvesting methods it employs in Xinjiang. China, Millward notes, might be making a mistake by attempting to ram through such an unpopular law; perhaps it is creating a new generation of Hong Kong autonomy activists.

Stent Comments on the Growing Ties between Russia and China

Professor Angela Stent, director of the SFS’ Center for Eurasian Russian and Eastern European Studies, is quoted in the Wall Street Journal. She remarks that the United States’ “punitive measures” against both countries – sanctions on Russia and escalating trade war with China – has resulted in “pushing them closer together.” However, despite this growing cooperation, Stent asserts that Beijing and Moscow will in some respect “remain competitors.”

Hoffman Examines the Proliferation of ISIS Activity in Afghanistan

Bruce Hoffman, a professor in the School of Foreign Service’s Security Studies Program, is quoted in an AP article about ISIS’s expanding footprint in Afghanistan. He notes that the group “has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan,” including “huge arms stockpiling.”

Helen Toner on China’s Alleged AI Advantage

Is China a rising superpower in the field of Artificial Intelligence? It does seem that China is catching up to the technological advantage present in the United States — but according to SFS Professor Helen Toner, director of strategy at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, how updated AI technology is is less important than how it’s being used. China’s decisions, according to Toner, are more worth examining than the number of patents they file.

Listen to SFS Professor Abraham Newman Discuss the EU and Cybersecurity

On the Sirius XM show Knowledge@Wharton, Professor Abraham Newton and his coauthor, GW Professor Henry Farrell, discussed the relationship between the United States and the European Union on the topic of cybersecurity. According to Newman, the conflict on this issue is not between the US and EU, but rather between security hawks and privacy advocates on both sides of the Atlantic. The two professors have recently published a book titled “Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Struggle over Freedom and Security” which delves more deeply into this topic.

Professor Abraham Newman Discusses Bottlenecks in the Technology Industry

In article in The Economist, Professor Abraham Newman discusses how the US-China tech cold war has made companies more aware of the bottlenecks that exist in the technology industry. “All these bottlenecks, and America’s direct or indirect sway over many of them, makes it tempting for hardliners in Washington to ‘weaponise interdependence,'” writes Newman with his co-author Henry Farrell of George Washington University.

Will D-Day Lose Relevance? Professor Charles Kupchan Weighs In

75 years after D-Day, the world is run by the systems the Allied victors put in place after WWII. As the veterans of D-Day age, is that system also fading? Charles Kupchan, SFS professor and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks so. In a Foreign Policy piece, he is quoted saying that as the historical memory D-Day represents fades, the international system that includes the Bretton-Woods Institutions, NATO, and the United Nations, is also in danger.

Professor Dennis Wilder Discusses US-China Trade Talks Ending with No Deal

In an interview with NPR, Professor Dennis Wilder what comes next after the US-China trade talks ended with no deal. He highlights the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s stakes throughout these negotiations with the US and the political tightrope he has to balance. “One of the answers is that the only deal they think is going to stick is the one that Trump himself makes with Xi Jinping. So I would predict this deal is not going to be made until those two men either talk or meet because Trump simply isn’t the kind of leader who wants this deal signed off on by somebody lower-level,” says Wilder.

Anna Landre (SFS ’21) Featured in Forbes

Never letting her disability limit her, Anna Landre (SFS’21) has thrived and defied expectations as a student and active member of the Georgetown community. However, a recent Medicaid decision has imposed systematic barriers that prevent her from returning to campus next semester. “Research has found again and again that when disabled people get access to care attendant services at home, it saves the healthcare system money in the long run as a great alternative to institutionalization or hospital stays,” says Landre.

Professor Charles Kupchan Gives Context For Trump’s UK Visit

President Trump visited the United Kingdom prior to commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France. His visit is an official state one, unlike his working visit last July. As Charles Kupchan, SFS professor and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes, the visit is an “enormous controversy” in the United Kingdom, and has been canceled before for security reasons. Kupchan adds that Trump has been vocally critical of British Prime Minister Theresa May in private, calling her “not firm enough.” As for this visit’s meeting between Trump and May, Kupchan says they’ll probably discuss Brexit and a possible U.S.-UK trade deal. 

James Swan (SFS’84) Named Head of UN Assistance Mission in Somalia

On May 30, UN Secretary-General António Guterres named James Swan (SFS’84) his Special Representative for Somalia and the Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). This follows a decades-long career in diplomacy for Mr. Swan, who has held U.S. ambassadorships to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2013-2016) and Djibouti (2008-2011). He has also been the U.S. Special Representative for Somalia (2011-2013) and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2006-2008).

Professor Alan Tidwell Quoted on Impact of Australia’s Election

Australia’s May federal elections resulted in victory for Scott Morrison’s incumbent Conservative Party. Professor Alan Tidwell, director of Georgetown’s Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies, notes that the election could have an impact on Australian relations with the Pacific. Pacific island nations, according to Tidwell, felt a “palpable sense of disappointment” at the results, which may impact the numerous Australian-Pacific partnerships.

Fr. Patrick Desbois’ Work Highlighted in The Washington Post

With the recent inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine will undoubtedly have many challenges to overcome, as well as the opportunity to address its traumatic legacy as where the Holocaust began. The work of Father Patrick Desbois in uncovering Ukraine’s Holocaust-era past is highlighted in an article by The Washington Post. In his book “The Holocaust by Bullets,” Desbois also discusses “the extremely fraught issue of Ukrainian participation in the genocide, most often under compulsion in [his] view, though that is a subject on which there is great debate and disagreement.” 

Professor Evan Medeiros Expresses Concern about U.S.-China Rivalry

Professor Evan Medeiros, Georgetown’s inaugural Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, commented on the U.S.-China relationship in an article by The Economist. Professor Medeiros noted that one obstacle to relaxing tensions is China’s “focus on the cyclical”, or current conflicts with the Trump administration, instead of the “structural,” ie, the long-term relationship.

Rebecca Hinkhouse (SFS’19) Organizes Advocacy for Inclusion of Women in International Peace Processes on Capitol Hill

As a HoyasForShe Fellow working with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), Rebecca Hinkhouse (SFS’19) organized a series of meetingsfor Georgetown students on Capitol Hill, where they advocated for the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act. This act promotes the inclusion of women at every stage of international conflict management. “Leading this legislative advocacy campaign from the early planning stages through to our Hill meetings was a super gratifying experience. It taught me that student voices have value in national political conversations and that you have to be willing to exercise your voice if you want to make a difference,” said Hinkhouse.