This week at Georgetown University: talks on globalization, development, the election aftermath, religion, the life of an ambassador and more. 

Tuesday, November 10

COVID-19 and Development in the Arab World (12 – 1 p.m.)

A panel of Arab Studies MA alumni currently working in development and humanitarian aid in the MENA region discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their work, how their organizations and countries are adapting to new realities, and how development and humanitarian agencies in the MENA region have adapted more generally. Speakers include:

  • Ghazi Bin Hamed, Consultant, West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute; Speechwriter, Office of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal
  • Kari Deiner, Country Director-Jordan, Mercy Corps
  • Dickie Fischer, Program Officer, Jesuit Refugee Services

Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Election: What Happened? Why? What Now? (1 – 2 p.m.)

“A week after the United States’ election day, this online Georgetown dialogue will bring together respected reporters and experts on faith and politics to examine how religious values, voters, and communities shaped the debate and affected the outcome of the presidential election. They will also look back at what issues, strategies, and tactics were used by the Trump and Biden campaigns and how effective they were.

This conversation will also look ahead to whether and how the nation can come together after the election and the roles of religious believers and communities in defending human life and dignity, lifting up “the least of these,” protecting our democracy, and pursuing the common good.”

Invited guests include: Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS Newshour; Elizabeth Dias, a national correspondent covering faith, values and the 2020 election for the New York Times; Elana Schor, a national reporter for religion and politics for the Associated Press; PBS Newshour political commentator Mark Shields; and Christopher White, a national correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. John Carr, the director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, will moderate. 

Wednesday, November 11

Advancing Women’s Participation in Post-Conflict Reconstruction (11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

“Join report authors for a high-level discussion on major conclusions and findings to accelerate women’s meaningful participation as decision-makers, implementers, and beneficiaries of post-conflict reconstruction. Participants will reflect on four key areas of reconstruction, including governance and political participation, sustainable economic revitalization, the justice sector and rule of law, and security sector reform. They will outline concrete recommendations from a year-long jointly sponsored panel series with distinguished speakers and subject experts that the UN Member States and agencies can implement to ensure gender is mainstreamed in post-conflict activities.”


Keynote Remarks by:

The Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former United States Secretary of State

Opening Remarks by:

H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Report Briefing and Discussion with:

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Ms. Agathe Christien, Hillary Rodham Clinton Research Fellow, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Lunch Series on Religion and Nationalism: China (12:30 – 1:30 p.m.)

“In this conversation, Jocelyne Cesari will be joined by Mayfair Yang, professor of religious studies and East Asian languages and cultural studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, to consider the role of religion in the building of China’s modern nation-state, whether the state holds a special transcendence over all religions, and the political reasons for the state’s suspicion and hostility towards religious cultures.”

Understanding Violence Against Muslim Minorities in Indonesia (2 – 3:30 p.m.)

“This talk explores why violence against Indonesia’s Muslim minority sects—specifically the Ahmadiyah sect and the Shi’a sect—unexpectedly emerged and escalated over the past two decades. Demonstrating how the occupation of public space by Muslim minorities were perceived as a challenge to Sunni Muslim dominance and how decentralization reforms incentivized political actors to engage in conflict, this talk identifies factors driving Indonesia’s shift towards illiberalism. In doing so, it speaks to broader concerns about the state of democracy in the world today.”

The speaker is Jessica Soedirgo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Asian Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Studies, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and the Berkley Center at Georgetown University. The discussion will be moderated by Prof. John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs, and Professor of Islamic Studies and Founding Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

A Conversation with Ambassador Herman Cohen, Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (4 – 5 p.m.)

“As an ambassador, advisor to Presidents, and a 38 year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Herman J. Cohen has devoted his entire professional career to African affairs. Over the years, Cohen grew to know every first generation African leader from Mandela, to Mobutu, to Moammar Gaddafi. During his tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the first Bush Administration, and through his role at the NSC in the Reagan White House, Cohen worked to bring about peaceful Transitions of power in South Africa and Namibia, and helped to end conflicts in Angola, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.” 

Thursday, November 12

That Election We Just Had. How Did We Do? (10 – 11 a.m.)
A Conversation with Ambassador Urszula Gacek, OSCE Head of Mission on US Elections

“The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is committed to observing U.S. elections for fairness and accuracy — and the 2020 presidential election was no exception. This year’s mission included 11 Washington-based experts and 30 long-term observers from 13 OSCE countries, deployed across the country to observe election procedures and report their findings. Join us for a conversation about this long-standing international tradition, how COVID-19 has impacted the process and a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s election observation.”


Ambassador Barbara Bodine
Director, Institute of the Study of Diplomacy
Mo Elleithee
Executive Director, Institute of Politics and Public Service

Hardwiring Gender Equality in Global Health Security (11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the world is paying attention to global health governance like never before. Last month, Women in Global Health published a new commentary in BMJ Global Health on gender representation in COVID-19 task forces. Through our analysis, we found that men predominate in more than 85% of COVID-19 decision-making and key advisory bodies identified around the globe, with gender parity found in just 3.5%.

To highlight the key findings from our research, Women in Global Health and the Center for Global Health Science & Security, at Georgetown University will host a virtual event on the heels of the 73rd World Health Assembly. This event will bring together senior leadership from the World Health Organization, World Bank Group, and emerging global health leaders, to discuss how we can ensure gender gaps are filled within our systems in both crisis and in calm.

This inaugural event will kick-off a series of country dialogues, focused on filling the gender gap within health governance at a local level.”

A Veteran’s Day Discussion of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (1 – 1:45 p.m.) 

“As relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) move from cooperation to competition, how well prepared is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for this challenge? What is the state of bilateral U.S.-PRC military ties, and does that relationship contribute to regional stability? How does the PLA view its role in Chinese policy? In his U.S.-China Dialogue Podcast episode, Roy Kamphausen—one of America’s leading practitioners and thinkers about the PLA—talks about its modernization efforts, reorganization under Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping, and the state of relations with the U.S. military. Kamphausen, now serving as president of the National Bureau of Asian Research after retiring from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel, will expand on these themes in a discussion with Senior Research Fellow James Green, highlighting areas to watch as Washington considers potential new policies towards China after the January 2021 inauguration.”

The Education of an Idealist: A Conversation with Ambassador Samantha Power (5 – 6 p.m.)

“Samantha Power was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction for “A Problem from Hell”: America in the Age of Genocide, and she went on to serve as President Barack Obama’s human rights advisor and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. In The Education of an Idealist, published to acclaim in fall 2019, Power traces her journey from Irish immigrant to war correspondent to presidential cabinet official. Author and Berkley Center Senior Fellow Paul Elie teaches the book in his first-year Ignatius Seminar, The Search, as Power’s account of her search for a way of life that will enable her to combine ideals, personal commitment, and public service in order to bring about progress in global human rights. Power will join Elie to discuss the themes of The Education of an Idealist, the process of writing it, and the challenges of combining the life of a writer with that of a diplomat and policymaker. They’ll also take up geopolitical and human rights questions of the present moment. Georgetown President John J. DeGioia will introduce the conversation.”

Latin American Elections 2020-2021: Human Rights, COVID-19 and Hope on the Ballot (5 – 6 p.m.)

“This event will focus on electoral processes in the LAC region occurring in 2020-2021 and analyze them through the lens of human rights, COVID-19 and freedoms, touching upon Freedom House’s Freedom in the World and Freedom on the Net reports. Especially in the context of democratic backsliding during COVID-19, these elections will have a significant impact on regional governance, human rights and freedoms.”

Friday, November 13

Global Challenges Symposium: Environment and Energy (12:30 – 1:30 p.m.)

American Government Seminar (12:30 p.m.) 

William Resh is the next speaker in the American Government Seminar. His talk is titled, “Experiments on Public Opinion of US Federal Agency Decision-Making and Communications.” 

U.S.-Taiwan Relations After the U.S. Election (1 – 2 p.m.)

“Please join the Asian Studies Program for a discussion with Sean King, Senior Vice President of Park Strategies, a New York-based business advisory firm. He will discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations after the U.S. election, focusing on the historical evolution of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. His focus is Asia, generating business and supporting clients in the region. He’s also a University of Notre Dame Liu Institute for Asia & Asian Affairs Affiliated Scholar.”

One Flea Spare and the Works of Naomi Wallace in the Time of COVID-19 (1:30 – 3 p.m.)

“A conversation between playwright Naomi Wallace, designer Riccardo Hernández, historian Robin D. G. Kelley, theatre director and Princeton faculty member Elena Araoz, and Georgetown Distinguished Della Rosa Associate Professor Maya E. Roth with insights on the timely nature of Wallace’s play One Flea Spare in the current climate”

4th Congress on Peacebuilding from a Gender Perspective (5 – 7 p.m.)

Different Perspectives on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Climate, Peace Negotiations, and Violence against Women.

Panel organized by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Georgetown University. The event is hosted by Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO). The discussion is available with Spanish to English interpretation on Zoom or all in Spanish via IBERO’s Youtube channel.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Georgetown University
Briana Mawby, Lead Researcher, Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Elena Ambrosi, Thematic Director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia
Arussi Unda, Spokeswoman for The Witches of the Sea Collective
Moderator: Luis Mancilla, Assistant Director of Finances and Administration of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Georgetown University

Saturday, November 14

TEDxGeorgetown 2020 Conference (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.)

“TEDxGeorgetown is holding its first-ever virtual conference on the 14th of November. This year’s conference is themed: Ripples-It Starts with a Drop. [It] will have speakers exploring the way a single drop of action in an otherwise still sea can create ripples seen remarkably far away from the source. The event will be highlighting brilliant stories from community activists, leaders, world-renowned scientists, and Georgetown students.”