Spring 2013 News Update/Letter from the Chair, Professor Anthony Chase (with summer reading suggestions)
First, congratulations to sixty-six graduating Diplomacy & World Affairs majors. A record number, but quantity did not detract from quality -- this year’s graduates are as strong as any in memory as witnessed by their top-flight Comprehensive projects (currently displayed on posters in the library). Spring semester was marked not just by Comps, but also by visits from some great speakers. Peter Eigen (Transparency International), Peggy Liu (JUCCCE), Banning Garrett (author of Alternative Worlds, which he helped compile for the National Intelligence Council), Cameron Munter (former ambassador to Pakistan and prominent drone strike critic), and Jason Wright (lawyer to Khalid Shaikh Muhammed and other Guantanamo detainees) are among those who gave insider perspectives on the globe’s most serious and controversial issues. A week-long visit to campus by visiting China scholars James and Deborah Fallows gave time for James’ talk on the challenge of China's rise in the global system and Deborah’s talk about the perils and pleasures of learning Chinese as well as a visit to Ambassador Shearer’s seminar on American Grand Strategy” to discuss issues facing Obama during his second term. The Ambassadude himself, in an event organized by WorldTalk and DWAMA, analyzed the state of US diplomatic initiatives in the Obama administration. Perhaps most rewarding were visits from DWA grads Kyle Ballard (Oxy ‘04/State Department) and Sara El-Amine (Oxy ‘07/Organizing for Action). They reminded us that today’s DWA students are tomorrow’s movers and shakers.
This academic year has been, simultaneously, a time of growth and of more planning for DWA’s future. Being joined this year by professors Khagram and Banai brought spirit and expertise that have already had a huge impact on the department. Much of the year has focused on planning for how to best take advantage of next year’s inauguration of the new MacKinnon Global Affairs Center. This will finally be a space appropriate to DWA students’ high ambitions and reflects the department’s extraordinary dynamism.
Lastly, it’s been a rewarding challenge being DWA Chair over the last five years. Professor Hebert will take on that challenge as of next fall, for which we’re all very grateful. While a challenge, it’s also been fun and for that thanks go both to DWA’s incredible students and my faculty colleagues.
Professors Hebert & Khagram at the Spring 2013 DWA Faculty Retreat
DWA Student News
Our DWA Majors group, DWAMA, has been led by Elena Siegel over the last few years. Behind the scenes Elena’s incredible organizational skill has made many, many events possible that would not have happened otherwise. (What is all the more remarkable is that Elena was able to simultaneously be an academic star in the classroom -- not quite sure how she pulled that off, but I do know she’ll be missed.) Fortunately, Elena’s DWAMA colleague Ian Mariani (rising Senior) will be joined next year by Jennifer Miller (rising Junior) and Danny Tobin (rising Sophomore). Looking forward to having them help DWAMA continue as an essential part of the DWA fabric. Join DWAMA’s facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/45036729156/?fref=ts
Professor Reddy hosted another lovely DWA end-of-the-year party at her house. Aside from the fun, at the party we announced the following awards for our students:
Young Award for Highest Student Achievement Among DWA Seniors (based on GPA)
Young Award for Best Senior Comprehensive Thesis
DWA/Office of Global Affairs Award for Highest Achievement in Independent Research
Young Award for Highest Student Achievement Among Returning DWA Majors (based on GPA)
Gillian Harger (rising Senior)
Christina Seyfried (rising Junior)
Katie Wiese (rising Junior)
Young Award for Emerging Leader
Young Award for Contributions to Intellectual Life Outside the Classroom
Members of WorldTalk
Lastly, Oxy’s Model U.N. team – so ably led by Sherry Simpson Dean – absolutely dominated this year’s Model U.N. competition in Santa Barbara.
I already mentioned the visits to campus this spring by Kyle Ballard (State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor) and Sara El-Amine (National Field Director for Organizing for Action). During the fall semester Jessie Evans, also with the State Department, visited campus for a talk, as well. Nothing better than hosting DWA grads as visiting experts….there’ll be many more.
Other recent DWA graduates are also doing exciting things. To give representative examples from domains to which DWA naturally connects:
Government: Madeline Rose (Oxy ’11) is a staffer for Congressman Mike Honda.
NGOs: Julia Bleckner (Oxy ’10) returned from her Fulbright in Bangladesh and accepted a position with Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division.
Private sector: Marla Potterveld (Oxy ’12) is working for Dropbox.
Graduate studies toward a master’s degree: Alex Nicholson (Oxy ’13) was accepted into NYU’s Humanitarian Affairs program.
Graduate studies toward a Ph.D. degree: Chelsea Moore (Oxy ’10) was accepted into University of Washington’s Law & Society program.
Fellowships: Juan German (Oxy ’12) received the prestigious Pickering Fellowship that provides both for a master’s degree and subsequent service as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.
A specific example of the sort of work our graduates produce is from Amy McDonough (Oxy ’11). Amy is currently at the Open Society Institute and just had published this terrific piece on “Human Rights and the Failings of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Eurasia.”
Professors Banai & Reddy at the Spring 2013 Faculty Retreat
Faculty news and summer reading suggestions
You should definitely read Professor Khagram’s new book, Open Budgets: The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability (Brookings Institute Press) and Professor Banai’s article “Democratic Solidarity: A New Diplomatic Approach to Democracy Promotion in the Middle East” (Security Dialogue). A bit lighter reading for summer is Shearer’s “Obama’s Second Term: Dead Already or Strategic Awareness,” Banai’s Los Angeles Times op-ed, "Why Iran Says No" or Chase’s “Reconstructing Arab States: Do Fractured Politics Require the Tools of Transitional Justice?”
As for other books, critiques from Oxy faculty can be found in Chase’s review essay “Human Rights and the Challenge of Foundations” in Human Rights Quarterly (May 2013, vol. 35, 2) and Banai’s reviews in Political Studies Review (2013, vol. 11, 1) of Duncan Kelly’s The Propriety of Liberty and Kelly and Johnson’s The Priority of Democracy.
Beyond that, our collective recommendation for summer must reads for any DWA major are Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife and Kofi Annan’s Interventions: A Life in War and Peace. More reflective readings include Daniel Boorstin’s provocative The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America and Amitav Ghosh’s evocative In an Antique Land. Lastly, since we say the local is the global, a favorite of my own for anyone living in Los Angeles is Kevin Starr’s amazing series of books on California’s rich history – if eight volumes are a bit much for the summer, it’s all summarized in one breezy paperback entitled California that is perfect beach reading!
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