This Week in DC: Events 9.23.13

Monday, September 23

Aiding Civilians in a Sectarian Conflict: Can Assistance to Syria Heal Without Harm?
Brookings Institution
2:00 – 3:00PM

On September 23, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings will host a panel discussion exploring the politicization of non-lethal aid to Syria. Brookings Fellow William McCants, director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, will examine the role that Gulf charities are playing in fostering sectarian tensions in Syria and then moderate a panel on the sectarian dimension of non-lethal assistance for Syria coming outside the Gulf. The panel will include Abed Ayoub, president of Islamic Relief USA, Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and Maria Stephan, strategic planner of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the U.S. Department of State.

The Science of Science Communication II
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, DC
September 23 – 25 All day

Climate change. . . evolution . . . the obesity crisis .. .nanotechnology: These are but a few of the scientific topics dominating the world stage today. Yet discourse surrounding these and other science-based issues is often overwhelmed by controversy and conflicting perceptions, hampering understanding and action. The continuing challenges facing scientists, professional communicators, and the interested public as they seek to exchange information about science has resulted in a growing area of research—the science of science communication. Investigators are delving into such issues as the role of social networks in how information is disseminated and received; the formation of beliefs and attitudes leading to decisions and behaviors; and strategies for communicating science in a highly-charged, politicized environment. The National Academy of Sciences is hosting its second Sackler colloquium on this topic to advance a national dialogue about science communication.

Tuesday, September 24

2nd Annual National Health Impact Assessment Meeting
Pew Charitable Trusts
8:30AM – 5:00PM

Building on the success of the Inaugural Health Impact Assessment (HIA)meeting, this conference will convene policymakers, public health professionals, HIA practitioners, community-based organizations, researchers, decision makers from non-health agencies who might use or rely on the results of an HIA, such as planning, transportation, housing, agriculture, energy, environment and education, and others with an interest in learning more about HIAs. It will also offer a special, one-day summit tailored specifically to policymakers.

China’s Maritime Strategy in the East China Sea: Peaceful Coexistence, Deterrence, and Active Defense
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
9:00AM – 10:30AM

In September 2012, the Chinese-Japanese sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea reignited when the Japanese government purchased three disputed islands from a private Japanese citizen who claimed to be their owner. Chinese government ships have since increased patrolling of what Japan claims to be its territorial waters around the Diaoyu/Senkakus, expanding China’s maritime law enforcement and military presence in the region. Former Wilson Center Fellow, Dr. Liselotte Odgaard and Mr. Dennis J. Blasko will examine China’s objectives and strategy in the East China Sea from the perspective of the PRC’s long-standing official foreign and defense policies and assess to what extent their actions contribute to escalation and the prospects of the use of deadly force.

Strategic Agility
Stimson Center
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Join senior national security experts and former government officials convened by the Stimson Center for the release of their report outlining a new defense strategy that would strengthen America’s security and enable the Defense Department to cut tens of billions of dollars in annual spending. The 17-member Defense Advisory Committee includes two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Air Force chief of staff, a former chief of naval operations and two retired four-star Army Generals.

Wednesdy, September 25

Explaining International Support for Torment: Is Torture the Shadow Cast by Terrorism?
GMU School of Public Policy
12:00PM – 1:00PM

SPP Brown Bag Seminar featuring Dr.Jerry Mayer, Associate Professor. Located in the Arlington Campus, Founders Hall, Room 317. Seating is limited, so please arrive early. For questions, please contact David Armor, darmor@gmu.edu.

What Asia Pivot?Defense Budget Cuts Undermine U.S. Interests in the Pacific
Heritage Foundation
1:30PM – 2:30PM

The Obama Administration’s defense strategy and its “Asia Pivot” are undercut by the fact that the U.S. military lacks the resources necessary to implement such strategies. Even as the number of threats to global peace and stability continues to multiply, there has not been a commensurate increase of U.S. capabilities. To what degree will massive defense cuts and reductions in the overall U.S. military structure constrain America’s global power projection and force sustainability capabilities in the Pacific?

Thursday, Septmber 26

Influenza Outlook 2013-2014: Preparing the Nation for Flu Season
National Press Club
10:00AM

Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Anne Schuchat, MD, (RADM, USPHS), Assistant Surgeon General, US Public Health Service; Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other medical/public health experts ready the public for the coming flu season at a news conference presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Last flu season was a stark reminder of how unpredictable and severe influenza can be. There were high influenza hospitalization rates, especially in the elderly (CDC saw the highest proportion of persons 65 and older hospitalized for flu since tracking began during the 2005-06 season). Sadly, the number of pediatric deaths (161) was the highest since surveillance began (excluding the pandemic year). US public health officials are encouraging the public to prepare for the upcoming flu season by getting vaccinated.

National Reconciliation and the Search for Peace and Stability in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East
GMU School for Conflict Analysis and Reconciliation
3:00 – 4:30PM

Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia have each, in their own way, struggled to achieve sustainable peace and stability. In many ways, toppling these countries’ dictators was the easy part. Now they must address historical divisions or otherwise descend into civil strife. This research project looks at the critical importance of national reconciliation in each of the three countries if they are to avoid violence and achieve sustainable stability. To understand the challenges facing national reconciliation and prospects of peaceful transition in the post-Arab Spring Middle East, the speaker conducted over 160 interviews in Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia talking to senior government officials, heads of political parties, revolutionaries and military councils, civil society organizations, tribal shaikhs, and IDPs. The speaker will share his research findings and compare progress made in all three cases.

Friday, September  27

Challenges of Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Syria
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
12:00 – 1:00PM

The U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons calls on the Assad regime to provide an inventory of its weapons stockpile and agree to a timetable for their removal and ultimate destruction. Charles Duelfer, a leading expert on WMD disarmament with extensive experience in Iraq with the UN and the U.S. government, will discuss the practical challenges of implementing this accord.

(image: Dell)

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