Week in DC: Events

September 29, 2014

An Assessment of President Rouhani’s Visit to the United States
Date: September 29, 12:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 5th Floor, Washington DC

During his U.S. trip to attend the UN General Assembly meeting last year when hopes were high for some kind of Iran-U.S. reconciliation, Iran’s newly-elected president, Hassan Rouhani, even had a friendly telephone conversation with President Obama. The frostier environment created by Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, makes a repeat of that exchange or negotiations between Iranian and American officials highly unlikely. Still, U.S. officials and the international community will be eager to hear what Mr. Rouhani has to say in his UN speech and in his media appearances regarding Iranian policy on Syria and Iraq, ISIS, the current negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, Russia’s incursions on Ukraine, and his promise to revive the economy and ease political controls at home. Please join us for an assessment of Mr. Rouhani’s 2014 trip to UNGA.

RSVP here.

Cybersecurity for Government Contractors
Date: September 29, 3:00pm
Location: Homeland Security Policy Institute, The Elliott School for International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, 7th Floor, City View Room, Washington DC

This symposium will present a case study of a hypothetical government contractor as it suffers a cyber attack, navigates the real-world legal fallout, and considers an integrated approach to cyber risk management. The discussion will be based on the Briefing Paper, Cybersecurity for Government Contractors, available here.

Featured speakers include: The Honorable Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chairman of The Chertoff Group, and Chairman, George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative; Robert Nichols, David Fagan, and Other Experts from Covington & Burling LLP and The Chertoff Group

Register here.

September 30, 2014

Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya: Dignity, Dawn, and Deadlock
Date: September 30, 10:00am
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC

Following the 2011 Libyan revolution that removed Muammar Qaddafi from power, state security and justice institutions have struggled to reemerge to meet the needs of the people. In the resulting security vacuum, armed groups have assumed a role in security provision, many as quasi-state actors and yet outside of state command and control. Formal security and justice actors have been threatened, attacked, and assassinated.

With state security and justice institutions largely nonfunctioning, some communities have turned to vigilante justice, tribal leaders and elders, or resorted to self-help when faced with conflicts and disputes. As levels of violence intensify, many are left wondering: How did we get here, and what could be done to change the situation? To address these questions, on September 30 the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) will host a discussion on Libya’s security and justice landscape and the country’s current crisis. It will feature findings from new research by USIP and Altai Consulting on the landscape, perceptions and experience of security and justice in Libya.

RSVP here.

Understanding Islamism
Date: September 30, 12:00pm
Location: Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Lehrman Auditorium, Washington DC

The rapidly shifting political terrain in parts of the Middle East and North Africa over the last four years has been marked by the rise of Islamist parties. Religious-based political parties have long played an important role in the politics and democratic evolution of countries throughout the greater Middle East. However, the ideological underpinnings and anti-democratic practices of the Islamist elements among them pose risks to U.S. counterterrorism objectives and threaten religious freedom and other fundamental rights of the citizens in the countries in which they operate. In this context, how can the United States develop consistent policy approaches that simultaneously bolster liberal democratic development, help counter terrorist movements, and support American strategic interests? Join us as our panel discusses these important questions and offers their recommendations for U.S. policy moving forward.

RSVP here.

Meet Syria’s Rescue Workers: Saving Lives, Building Peace
Date: September 30, 2:00pm
Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC

Syria is the world’s most dangerous place to be a civilian. But there is another side to the conflict: those focused on caring for civilians in the conflict are also seeking to build peace. Volunteers are coming to the rescue with no regard for sect or creed. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace, The Syria Campaign and the Syrian American Medical Society on September 30 as they bring together two of these courageous rescuers to discuss the future of peacebuilding in Syria.

Some 600 Syrians known as “White Helmets” or Syrian Civil Defense units, are organized volunteers who act as rescue workers in areas like Aleppo and Idlib provinces in the country’s northwest. They are unarmed and impartial, and operate on principles on “solidarity, humanity and impartiality,” as laid out in the Geneva Convention. In the last six months, they have recorded more than 2,500 lives saved. They run out after barrel bombs have dropped and dig through the rubble, often with their bare hands, in search of life.

The United States Institute of Peace, The Syria Campaign and the Syrian American Medical Society bring together two of these courageous rescuers to discuss the future of peacebuilding in Syria.

RSVP here.

Effective Multilateralism: The Experience of Chemical Weapons Elimination in Syria
Date: September 30, 5:00pm
Location: Georgetown University, Healy Hall 301, Riggs Library, 37th and O Streets NW, Washington DC

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Mission to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic on 16 October 2013.

Ms. Kaag will speak on her experiences in dealing with the extreme challenges she and her team encountered in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal in the unpredictable storm of the Syrian Civil War.  She will address the problems, challenges, and potential opportunities that lie in constructive multilateral approaches to addressing chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Ms. Kaag brings a wealth of experience in international organizations and the diplomatic service, combined with country experience, notably in the Middle East. Prior, Ms. Kaag was Assistant Secretary-General of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She was Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Amman, Jordan (2007-2010), and earlier as Chief of Staff to the Executive Director and Deputy Director of Programmes in New York.

RSVP here.

Putin’s Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents
Date: September 30, 5:30pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Svante Cornell, director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and adjunct professor of European and Eurasian Studies; S. Frederick Starr, founding Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and adjunct professor of European and Eurasian Studies; James Sherr, associate fellow and at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs; Stephen Blank, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council; Richard Weitz, senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, Johan Engvall, research fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute; and Mamuka Tsereteli, research director at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, will discuss the launch of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program’s new book Putin’s Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents.

A reception will precede this event at 5:00 p.m. Register here.

The Iranian Nuclear Talks: A View from London
Date: September 30, 6:00pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, The Rome Building, Room 806, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, will discuss this topic.

RSVP here.

Exploring ISIL: Context and Repercussions
Date: September 30, 6:30pm
Location: World Affairs Council, MAA Carriage House, 1781 Church St NW, Washington DC

Join World Affairs Council – Washington, DC for a discussion about ISIL; one of the most momentous and imposing insurgent groups facing America today. What is it? What is the United States’ response, and how will this impact the security of the region?

Our speaker panel includes the knowledgeable and versed voices of Dr. Shadi Hamid, fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of  Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East; Thomas Sanderson, the co-director and senior fellow in the Center for Strategic International Studies Transnational Threats Project, and Kate Brannen; a senior reporter at Foreign Policy covering the defense industry and influence on Capitol Hill who will be moderating the event.

Register here.

October 1, 2014

The Cost and Value of Biomedical Innovation: Implications for Health Policy
Date: October 1, 9:00am
Location: Brookings Institution

High-cost drugs and devices that address significant unmet medical needs have generated much attention lately. New treatments for many cancers and for infections like Hepatitis C have the potential to increase life expectancy and quality of life for affected patients. Many more such treatments are in development. While a number of important breakthroughs have occurred in the past several decades, the increasing ability to target treatments based on a better understanding of genomics, systems biology, and other biomedical sciences could lead to more technologies with broader effects for targeted populations. Thus, biomedical innovation may have substantial future implications for population health and health care costs.

On Wednesday, October 1, the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and theUSC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics will host a half-day forum to discuss the serious coverage challenges that accompany breakthrough treatments, such as the much-discussed new treatment for Hepatitis C, Sovaldi. Researchers will present economic modeling simulations that illustrate the value and long-term effects of such treatments; and explore potential policy solutions for financing  biomedical innovations.

Please note that this event is currently at capacity and in-person attendance is no longer available, but you may view the event via webcast by registering here.

Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Increasingly Aggressive Nuclear Threat
Date: October 1, 9:00am
Location: Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington DC

Over the past few weeks, President Vladimir Putin—already seeking to modernize his nuclear forces in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty—has moved Russia into an increasingly visible and aggressive nuclear posture. In late August, Putin implicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations including Ukraine and the Baltic States. Moreover, while Russian strategic bombers repeatedly violate U.S. and Canadian air defense space, Putin is in the midst of establishing a naval base on the New Siberian Islands.

What are Putin’s aims? What do these actions portend for the state of U.S. nuclear deterrence, arms control treaties, and the nuclear-free movement which President Barack Obama, among others, has championed? How should the U.S., NATO and Ukraine respond?

To explore these questions and others, please join us on Wednesday, October 1st at 9:00 am as noted experts Andrei Piontkovsky and William Schneider, Jr., both Hudson Institute fellows, and Roland Freudenstein, Deputy Director and Head of Research at the Wilfred Martens Centre for European Studies, as they discuss the ominous implications of Putin’s actions. Hudson Institute President and CEO Kenneth Weinstein will moderate the panel.

Register here.

Russia’s Stake in Ukraine
Date: October 1, 2:00pm
Location: Institute of World Politics, 1521 16th Street NW, Washington DC

David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times of London, will discuss Russia’s Stake in Ukraine. He is the author of three books on Russia and the director of a documentary film and has followed Russian events for almost four decades. In May, 2013, he became an adviser to Radio Liberty and in September, 2013, he was accredited as a Radio Liberty correspondent in Moscow. Three months later, he was expelled from Russia becoming the first U.S. correspondent to be expelled since the Cold War.

David Satter is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He has also been a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He teaches a course on Russian politics and history at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced Academic Programs and has been a visiting professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Register here.

Putin’s Kleptocracy—Who Owns Russia?
Date: October 1, 3:30pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 6th Floor, Washington DC

Former Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar, Karen Dawisha, will present her new book “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” with Elizabeth A. Wood joining her as a discussant. The book traces Putin’s sudden rise to power and examines the network of individuals who rose to power and riches along with him. Dawisha’s provocative new study further addresses the nature of Putin’s power vertical and the endemic corruption that accompanies his system.

RSVP here.

October 2, 2014

Book Talk: A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat
Date: October 2, 5:00pm
Location: AU School of International Service, Beacon Conference Room (SIS 300), 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

Georgetown University professor Matthew Kroenig will discuss his new book, A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat. This event will be moderated by SIS professor Neil Shenai.

October 3, 2014

The UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent and the Chevaline Program: An Overview
Date: October 3, 12:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 5th Floor, Washington, DC

Chevaline was the codename given to a highly-secret program begun in 1970 to improve the penetration performance of the UK’s force of Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles in order to give them the capability to overcome Soviet ABM defenses deployed around Moscow. After much delay and cost escalation the new system was finally introduced in 1982, but it had already attracted major criticism for the expenditure involved, claims of project mismanagement, the rationale that underpinned its development, and its concealment from proper parliamentary scrutiny.

In this presentation Matthew Jones, UK Official Historian of the Chevaline program, will explore the program’s background, why it ran into so many problems, and how it became one of the most controversial episodes in post-war British defense policy.

A light lunch will be served at the event. RSVP here.

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