Week in DC: Events

March 30, 2015

Central Asia: What’s Next?
Date: March 30, 9:30am
Location: Georgetown University, Copley Formal Lounge, 3700 O Street NW, Washington DC

Hosted by the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies in Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, this one-day conference aims to discuss political, economic and security developments in Central Asia following the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Full schedule available here. Register here.

Islam in the Turkish Republic: The Discourse and Praxis of Islamic Modernism
Date: March 30, 12:15pm
Location: Georgetown University, CCAS Boardroom, ICC 241, 3700 O Street NW, Washington DC

Islam in modern Turkey is usually discussed in the context of a supposed cultural dichotomy between Islam and social progressivism (frequently glossed as a never-ending struggle between “Islamists” and “Secularists”). This presentation, however, will discuss how this dichotomous characterization of Islam in Turkey obscures the close interaction of social progressivism and Islamic thought since the beginning of the Turkish Republic. This talk will shed light on the history of Islamic Modernism in modern Turkey, an Islamic theological movement that since the late 19th century has argued for progressive social change and reform. It will discuss how some of the basic tenets of Islamic theological modernism have helped shape Islamic praxis in the Turkish Republic, and how the discursive framework of Islamic modernism has helped lay the groundwork for a wide variety of Islamic discourses since the early 1920s.

Register here.

General Wesley Clark: Exclusive Briefing from Ukraine’s Front Lines
Date: March 30, 4:30pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

Despite the Minsk II ceasefire agreement, Russia continues to supply weapons, equipment and troops to support separatists in Ukraine’s east. In February, the key city of Debaltseve fell to Russian separatists. The port city of Mariupol is the likely next target and tensions spread further to the northeastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. As Ukraine prepares for another assault from Russian-backed separatists, what steps should the United States and NATO take to help Ukraine withstand Russian aggression?

Register here to attend in person or here to watch live online.

March 31, 2015

Salafists and Sectarianism: Twitter and Communal Conflict in the Middle East
Date: March 31, 9:30am
Location: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC

The Stimson Center invites you to join a discussion on the role of social media in spreading sectarian sentiment in the Middle East.

Social media has a powerful effect on much of what happens in the world today. From inciting people to join protests on the streets of Cairo to recruiting young girls to join ISIS, social media can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. In fact, radical groups, such as the Islamic State, have social media to thank for much of their success. While these groups dominate much of the headlines, other non-violent radicals, such as Sunni Salafists, are also using these platforms to disseminate sectarian ideologies. A close analysis of their Twitter accounts opens a window into their universe and the strategies they are using to increase animosity toward the Shi’a, who they believe are not real Muslims.

RSVP here.

To Vote or Not to Vote: Egypt’s Diverse Electorate
Date: March 31, 12:00pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

Islamic religious education in Europe and the United States has become a subject of intense debate after Muslims raised in the West carried out attacks against their fellow citizens. People worry their states are doing too little or too much to shape the spiritual beliefs of private citizens.

In her new Brookings paper, Jenny Berglund explains the differences in publicly-funded Islamic education in Europe and the United States. Her report details existing religious education programs, teacher training, and ongoing political debates, grounded in the historical and religious norms of the countries. Berglund also recommends good practices for governments to further their citizens’ knowledge about Islam and promote inclusive citizenship and respect.

On April 2, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World will host Berglund and an American expert on Islamic religious education to discuss current programs and best practices in Europe and the United States. After the discussion, the panelists will take audience questions.

Register here and join the conversation on Twitter using #IslamicEd.

Kazakhstan’s Challenging Geopolitical Environment or the Rubik’s Cube of Kazakhstan’s Geopolitics
Date: March 31, 5:00pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Rome Auditorium, Washington DC

Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy, faces daunting geopolitical challenges. How will Kazakhstan address developments in Ukraine, the Eurasia Economic Union, and Afghanistan?  Three experts from Kazakhstan share their thoughts on these and related issues.

Register here.

Europe and the Iran Negotiations: EES Seminar Series with Valerie Lincy
Date: March 31, 6:00pm
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Rome 806, Washington DC

Ms. Valerie Lincy is Executive Director of the Wisconsin Project. She oversees the Project’s two principal projects, the Risk Report database and the Iran Watch website. She provides training as head of the Risk Report team that visits foreign countries. As the editor and principal investigator for Iran Watch, she bears the main responsibility for building, populating and maintaining the site, as well as writing articles for publication, organizing and presiding at roundtables, and conducting associated research. Ms. Lincy graduated from Smith College, cum laude, and received an M.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University. Before coming to the Project, she worked as a researcher in the Paris bureau of the New York Times and as a researcher in Washington-based non-profit institutes.

Register here.

April 1, 2015

American Diplomacy at Risk
Date: April 1, 10:00am
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Washington DC

Please join us as American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD) Chairman Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Vice Chairman Ambassador Marc Grossman present an overview of the new AAD report, which aims to stimulate changes necessary to prepare American diplomacy for the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

The report looks in two directions: first, at the politicization of the State Department and the reduction of the role of the Foreign Service, which weakens the State Department and American diplomacy and must be resisted; and second, at potential reforms for both the Civil and Foreign Service to improve professional education, formation and quality.

RSVP here.

Deal of No Deal? Negotiating with Iran
Date: April 1, 10:00am
Location: Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Falk Auditorium, Washington DC

Talks aimed at producing a political framework to resolve the Iran nuclear issue are likely to come down to the wire before the  deadline at the end of March, but already leaders in the United States and Iran are facing an intense debate among key constituencies at home. Iranian hardliners have criticized potential regime concessions, while opponents of a deal in the U.S. Congress are advancing legislation that could undermine the Obama administration’s ability to implement an agreement.

On April 1, the Center for Middle East Policy and the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion examining diplomatic progress to date, the components of a credible deal, Iran’s objectives and concerns, and the politics in the United States.  After the program, the panelists will take audience questions.

Register here.

Tomorrow’s Army: The Future of Landpower and Army Innovation
Date: April 1, 10:30am
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Room 212-A, Washington DC

Please join us for a conversation with Under Secretary Carson to discuss the Army’s vision for the role of landpower in future operations. Secretary Carson will also discuss the Army’s approach to innovation, technological and otherwise.

Register here.

Making Sense of Chaos in the Middle East: Multiple Wars, Multiple Alliances
Date: April 1, 12:00pm
Location: Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Volcanic changes in the region are under way, with the outbreak of Sunni-Shiite wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, unprecedented tension between Washington and Israel, and U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks that appear on the verge of breakthrough.

To discuss the urgent and longer-term implications of this unfolding chaos, The Washington Institute will host a Policy Forum with senior fellows James Jeffrey, Dennis Ross, and Robert Satloff, moderated by Michael Singh.

Watch live online here.

Information Sharing for Cybersecurity
Date: April 1, 12:30pm
Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC

Information sharing to improve cybersecurity has been a goal for the U.S. since the 1990s. After almost two decades of experience, some successful models have emerged, but obstacles and uncertainties continue to slow information exchanges. One major challenge is defining the role of government.

Should government participate, facilitate or control the sharing of cyber threat intelligence by and between government and commercial critical infrastructure? Is it possible for the government to take an active role in cybersecurity without creating the perception of risk to privacy and civil liberties of US persons? Are existing US privacy protections, written decades before the advent of the Internet, adaptable to the internet environment?

CSIS will assemble leading experts to discuss these challenges. The event will begin with a keynote speech on the larger issues pertaining to information sharing. Next, a panel will look through the prism of the Department of Energy’s Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program (CRISP). CRISP started as a small pilot funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, but on August 14, 2014, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) agreed to manage CRISP for the Electricity Subsector, with each new company funding its own participation. The panel will discuss how CRISP might serve as a model for future information sharing and critical infrastructure protection programs.

Register here.

Food Court: The Role of Litigation in Safeguarding Food in the U.S.
Date: April 1, 1:30pm
Location: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, McDonough Hall, Room 437, Washington DC

Aliza Y. Glasner, J.D., is an Associate at the O’Neill Institutefor National and Global Health Law.Her area of expertise is in food and drug law. Aliza’s research at O’Neill has focused on the role of voluntary data sharing in stimulating development and innovation of medical products, tobacco control, and preventing antimicrobial resistance. Aliza’s work also focuses on domestic healthcare law and the Affordable Care Act. Before joining Georgetown, she was the Manager of Product Development at the Food and Drug Law Institute in Washington, DC. There, she worked in collaboration with industry and government experts to develop programs and publications addressing legal, policy and regulatory issues in the food and drug sector. Aliza previously practiced law at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft in New York. Aliza holds a law degree from Fordham University and a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. This event is open to all students, faculty, staff, and interested members of the public.

For more information on O’Neill Institute events, please visit www.law.georgetown.edu/oneillinstitute/index.cfm

Politburo 2.0: Can Putin’s Inner Circle Survive the Crisis?
Date: April 1, 5:30pm
Location: Johns Hopkins University SAIS, 1619 Massachusetts Ave NW, Rome 806, Washington DC

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprising moves throughout the Ukrainian crisis have highlighted the opaque nature of the decision-making process at the highest levels of the Kremlin. Who are the individuals who most influence Putin’s decisions? What does the changing balance of power within Putin’s inner circle suggest about Russia’s future trajectory? And can Western sanctions eventually turn Putin’s ‘politburo’ against him?

Please join CGI for a discussion with Evgeny Minchenko, a leading Russian political consultant who was rated first among political analysts consulted by Russian journalists in 2013, on the findings of his breakout study, “Politburo 2.0,” that maps the changing dynamics of Putin’s inner circle.

A wine reception will follow. Space is limited: please RSVP to reserve your spot.

Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy
Date: April 1, 5:30pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Room 602, Washington DC

The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls “liberal hegemony,” one that Dr. Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America’s consistent overreaching, Dr. Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint in the future use of U.S. military strength.

After setting out the political implications of restraint as a guiding principle, Dr. Posen sketches the appropriate military forces and posture that would support such a strategy. He works with a deliberately constrained notion of grand strategy and, even more important, of national security (which he defines as including sovereignty, territorial integrity, power position, and safety). His alternative for military strategy, which Dr. Posen calls “command of the commons,” focuses on protecting U.S. global access through naval, air, and space power, while freeing the United States from most of the relationships that require the permanent stationing of U.S. forces overseas.

Copies of this book will be available for sale at the event.

RSVP here.

Framework to Agreement: Hope or Disappointment for Iran Nuclear Deal?
Date: April 1, 6:30pm
Location: Offices of KPMG, 1801 K Street NW, Washington DC

Secretary of State John Kerry has spent much of the last month in Lausanne, Switzerland in talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to negotiate a conceptual framework by a March 31st deadline.   This framework would lay the foundation for a future nuclear deal with Iran. Join us as we welcome back Amb. John Limbert and Dr. Trita Parsi for an update on a process which began in October 2013 and a look ahead to the potential outcomes of the talks. What can we expect after March 31st? What impact, if any, did the open letter to Ayatollah Khomeini from 46 United States Senators have on negotiations? With Saudi Arabia calling to receive the same deal as Iran, what is at stake for the United States and the world?

Barbara Slavin will moderate the discussion.

Register here.

April 2, 2015

Iraq: Now and After ISIS
Date: April 2, 12:00pm
Location: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 5th Floor, Washington DC

The Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a conversation with Samir Sumaida’ie, Diplomat in Residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Sumaida’ie, who recently returned from Iraq, will discuss the evolution of the struggle in Iraq is both complex and consequential. The outcome is going to be a major factor in determining the future shape of the region, and will have a significant impact on global geopolitics. The United States as well as other players should have a clear eyed assessment of where things are heading, and what needs to be done if the direction of events is not palatable.

RSVP here.

America’s Future Role in Afghanistan
Date: April 2, 12:30pm
Location: SEIU Conference Center, 1800 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC

The Middle East Institute is pleased to host former American Ambassadors to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (service in Kabul 2003-2005), Ronald Neumann (2005-2007), and Ryan Crocker (2011-2012) for a panel discussion about the ongoing U.S. role in Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani has promised a decade of transformation, but to succeed he must face down growing security concerns and political and economic uncertainty. The panelists will examine the current situation in the country and the future of the U.S. role there in light of resurgent threats from al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.  Marvin Weinbaum, director of the Center for Pakistan Studies at The Middle East Institute, will moderate.

Register here.

ISIS and al-Qaeda: Assessing Terrorist Threats to the Homeland and Beyond
Date: April 2, 12:30pm
Location: Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC

The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (also known as ISIS) as a violent extremist group with global aspirations has raised concerns over a potential terrorist attack on US soil. As ISIS pursues its objective of establishing a state in various parts of the Middle East, it continues to recruit foreign fighters from North Africa and Europe in order to plan for attacks against the West. Recently, Belgian and Australian authorities uncovered ISIS-inspired cells on their territories and succeeded in foiling terrorist plots. So could the US homeland be an ISIS target?

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda – the terrorist organization that actually attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 – is still alive and operational in Yemen and other poorly governed spaces in the region, and continues to pose a threat to the US homeland and regional interests. How should we assess the global terrorist threats posed by ISIS and al-Qaeda? Should al-Qaeda continue to be a counterterrorism priority for the United States? Are al-Qaeda and ISIS equally dangerous, but in different ways?

Please join the Atlantic Council on Thursday, April 2, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a discussion of the potential differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda and how the US government should be analyzing and countering both groups simultaneously.

Register here.

Islamic Religious Education in Europe and the United States
Date: April 2, 2:00pm
Location: Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Saul/Zilkha Rooms, Washington DC

Islamic religious education in Europe and the United States has become a subject of intense debate after Muslims raised in the West carried out attacks against their fellow citizens. People worry their states are doing too little or too much to shape the spiritual beliefs of private citizens.

In her upcoming Brookings paper, Jenny Berglund explains the differences in publicly-funded Islamic education in Europe and the United States. Her report details existing religious education programs, teacher training, and ongoing political debates, grounded in the historical and religious norms of the countries. Berglund also recommends good practices for governments to further their citizens’ knowledge about Islam and promote inclusive citizenship and respect.

On April 2, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World will host Berglund and an American expert on Islamic religious education to discuss current programs and best practices in Europe and the United States. After the discussion, the panelists will take audience questions.

Register here to attend.

Stopfake.org: Combatting Kremlin Disinformation about Ukraine
Date: April 2, 4:00pm
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, Suite 412, Voesar Conference Room, Washington DC

The Stopfake project, an independent Ukrainian website launched by young journalists on March 2, 2014, counters false information about Ukraine, especially in pro-Kremlin media. The website publishes articles, video newscasts, and informational material to educate readers about propaganda and ways in which the news is distorted. The Stopfake team has already verified tens of thousands of articles, photos, and videos and has revealed nearly 400 instances of false reporting.

RSVP here.

April 3, 2015

Russia Today: Evaluating the Media Environment in 2015
Date: April 3, 10:30am
Location: Human Rights Campaign, Equality Forum, 1640 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC

Since the start of the Ukrainian crisis, the Russian government has increased its editorial and regulatory control over the media. At the same time, the dominant narrative has turned more nationalistic and anti-Western. Recent public opinion polls suggest that a vast majority of the Russian population strongly supports these official positions and the regime. How has the Kremlin achieved this level of domestic cohesion, and what factors of Russia’s media landscape have enabled this trend? What are the long-term consequences of today’s hostile environment, and can independent media still find a voice? How have conditions changed for Western journalists working in Russia?

The Center on Global Interests is pleased to invite you to a conversation with David Satter and Jill Dougherty on evaluating Russia’s current media environment and political culture.

Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited: please RSVP to reserve your spot.

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