Welcome to this week's WorldBoston Recommends email, highlighting high-quality programming over the next two weeks, whether our own, from other World Affairs Councils, or other excellent venues. We hope these recommendations help you stay internationally engaged, wherever you may be.
The Center for a New American Security will host a fireside chat and expert panel coinciding with the release of a new edition of Rory Medcalf's critically acclaimed book, Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the Contest for the World’s Pivotal Region. Medcalf will join CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine for a discussion of the second edition of his March 2020 book, which includes new sections on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Quad, China’s wolf-warrior diplomacy, President Biden’s strategy, the UK’s role in the Indo-Pacific, and more. The fireside chat will be followed by an expert panel featuring Lisa Curtis, Dr. Michael Green, Rory Medcalf, and Dr. Thomas Wright.
Join the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts in celebrating the virtual 95th Annual Meeting with featured speaker Esam Boraey, Visiting Professor of Public Policy at Wesleyan University, on From Egypt to the US: Lessons for Activists From the Arab Spring. Esam Boraey is a human rights activist working for freedom and democracy in the Middle East. He began his career as an activist over 10 ago when he and a group of 6 other youth leaders gathered on the steps of Egypt’s Supreme Court, calling for justice, freedom, and democracy, in the first direct protest against the president in over six decades. He played a key role in the Egyptian revolution of 2011, which helped overthrow Hosni Mubarak.
Join the Foreign Policy Association, for a discussion with Retired U.S. Army GeneralDavid H. Petraeus, who will take stock of U.S. involvement in the region over the past two decades as well as the current situation following the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year. General Petraeus served as Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror, the establishment of important Agency digital initiatives, and significant investments in the Agency’s most important asset: its human capital. General Petraeus will be joined by FPA Director, Douglas L. Paul.
Join the Atlantic Council for a virtual discussion featuring Ambassador David Miller and Ambassador Deborah McCarthy. The two will speak about their ideas for reinvigorating US foreign policy. They will each cover topics that represent new, innovative directions for US diplomacy, including the use of big data by the State Department, aligning commercial interests with diplomatic approaches, and better communicating foreign policy goals and methods to the American people. This event will explore how US foreign policy can deliver tangible outcomes for Americans by changing how the United States engages with the rest of the world and what issues it prioritizes.
Uncovering truth and promoting accountability, independent media has long been a pillar of democracy. Now more than ever, access to reliable information is vital for defending against the polarization, mistrust, and misinformation endangering democratic governance everywhere. What can be done to amplify the voice of a free press in combating corruption, generating awareness around humanity’s urgent challenges, and building consensus among liberal societies? Join Foreign Policy, in partnership with the International Fund for Public Interest Media, for a conversation exploring multi-stakeholder pathways to securing free and independent media to advance democracy worldwide.
Human rights organizations and international observers have reported systematic state-organized mass imprisonment, forced labor and sterilization, torture and persecution — extensive crimes against humanity that the U.S. government has declared genocide. Who are the Uyghurs? How should the U.S. and the international community respond? How might a community of globally-minded citizens understand the crisis better and give voice to this issue? Join WorldOregon for a discussion on the plight of the Uyghur people with Rushan Abbas, Executive Director of the Campaign for Uyghurs and Abdulkarim Idris, Inspector General of the World Uyghur Congress and author of Menace: China’s Colonization of the Islamic World & Uyghur Genocide.
What do people around the world like and dislike about U.S. society and politics? How does global public opinion affect U.S. soft power as we increasingly need allies to advance foreign policy? What does this also mean for U.S. citizens who work to support our foreign policy goals via citizen diplomacy? Join Global Ties U.S. for a conversation with Richard Wike, Ph.D., Director of Global Attitudes Research at the Pew Research Center, who will review the key findings from his new study, What People Around the World Like – and Dislike – About American Society and Politics. Following the report overview, Liz Brailsford, President & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, and Romesh Ratnesar, Editorial Board Member at Bloomberg Opinion, will discuss what this data means for U.S. soft power, foreign policy, and the role of citizen diplomacy.
In his latest novel, Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson explores one of the most pressing global issues of our time—climate change. Frustrated by the inaction of the world’s nations and international institutions, billionaire restaurant chain magnate T.R. Schmidt hatches an audacious plan to use massive guns to blast huge quantities of sulfur into the upper atmosphere from his remote West Texas ranch. With Termination Shock comes entertainment that also poses profound real-world questions: When will the world take the urgent action on climate change that is needed? What is the role of technology in this fight? Is there a role for motivated billionaires? How will their efforts interact with democratic processes and regimes of global governance? What if the answers are unconventional…and potentially dangerous?
The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?
Banafsheh Keynoush, PhD, is a scholar of international affairs. An academic for over thirteen years, she has conducted fieldwork in the Middle East for two decades, including in Saudi Arabia and Iran, was a visiting scholar at Princeton University, and a visiting fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. The author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), she is the editor of Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East (New York: Peter Lang, 2021).