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International Affairs

Gambling with Security:

New Frontiers in

Global Intervention


52nd Annual International Affairs Symposium
April 7-9, 2014

All sessions are free and open to the public. Sessions are held in Templeton Campus Center, Council Chamber. Details are subject to change.

Watch the 2013 event recording Download the 2013 brochure


Monday, April 7

Capturing Conflict: Shedding Light or Framing Biases?
3 p.m. 

What role do visual media play in shaping our perception of international affairs?  What  can the camera capture that the written word leaves out? Is it possible to truthfully depict global social and political struggles and relay information honestly, or is bias an inevitable part of telling the story?

Learn more about speakers Ed Kashi and Dennis Dunleavy ▸

Safer Strikes or Strike Outs? The Emergence of Drone Warfare
7:30 p.m.

How does the emergence of drone warfare shape the international community’s response to imminent threats? Do drones serve as a symbol of unbarred power, creating internal backlash? Or do they ultimately enable global stability by carefully targeting dangers?

Learn more about speakers Michael Hayden and John Weston ▸

Michael Hayden is a principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. A retired United States four-star general, Hayden is a former director of the National Security Agency and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Hayden is a leading expert on both national and global security issues, specializing in terrorist risk analysis and counterintelligence. 

John Weston is a contributor to the Daily Beast, a news and opinion website located in New York, and is a former U.S. State Department official and political advisor. Weston spent seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside Marines and led American efforts in the U.N. Security Council aimed at freezing al-Qaeda assets. Weston is currently working on a project detailing Afghan and Iraqi perceptions of drones.

Tuesday, April 8

Guns for Good? Militarizing Humanitarian Intervention
3:30 p.m.

Do militarized humanitarian campaigns blur the line between neo-imperial intervention and the genuine desire to assist ailing states? Can foreign military presence help a country regain stability, or will it threaten the wellbeing of an already suffering state?

Learn more about speakers Milena Sterio and Emira Woods ▸

Milena Sterio is an associate professor of law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. Sterio is an expert in international criminal law, human rights, and dispute resolution. She has participated in United Nations meetings on maritime law and policy, along with producing many published works for prestigious law and international relations journals. 

Emira Woods is the codirector of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. An expert on U.S. foreign policy, focusing on Africa and developing nations, her research focuses on debt, trade, development, and military policy. She served as a principal contact at the U.N., USAID, and the Treasury Department, and as program officer of Oxfam America’s Africa program.

The Soft Shield: Is Counterinsurgency the Solution?
7 p.m.

Challenges to state security increasingly come from rebel groups within states. Given the changing nature of global conflict, should governments find new ways of combating insurgencies that include political, economic, and diplomatic means? Or is this focus on winning hearts and minds simply gilded nation building that results in protracted wars and quagmires?

Learn more about speakers John Nagl and Gian Gentile▸

John Nagl is the current headmaster of the Haverford Boarding School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He is a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and the former president of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. He coauthored the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Nagl has taught at multiple schools, including Georgetown University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Gian Gentile is the director of the Military History Department at the United States Military Academy at West Point. As a U.S. Army officer he served two tours in Iraq, first as the executive officer of a combat brigade in Tikrit in 2003 and then as a squadron commander in western Baghdad in 2006. As an expert on military affairs, Gentile has worked primarily on military air power and strategic bombing.

Wednesday, April 9 

Modern Militias: Fostering Stability or Sowing Strife?
3:30 p.m.

Non-state groups – warlords, mercenaries, transnational criminal organizations and terrorists – are often presented as one of the biggest threats facing modern societies. Do they threaten the security of countries where they operate or can they actually promote stability?

Learn more about speakers William Reno and Troy Thomas ▸

William Reno is a professor of political science at Northwestern University. For years Reno spent time living in sub-Saharan Africa observing armed non-state groups and their relation to the stability of states, political institutions and economic development. Reno writes extensively on war, corruption, organized crime, and insurgents with a unique perspective due to his firsthand experience in these conflict-ridden states.

Troy Thomas is a U.S. Air Force colonel currently serving as director for strategic planning on the National Security Council staff. He has been a special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy. In addition to his considerable experience in intelligence and defense, Troy has written extensively on international security to include violent non-state actors.

Ghosts in the Machine: Cyberwarfare and Vulnerability
7 p.m.

The advantages of our digital world are endless, but how do we prepare for the consequences? With our dependence on technology, how do we address attacks that damage and disrupt national information networks? Do we need to revisit a more fundamental question and ask ourselves: does cyberwar exist?

Learn more about speakers Thomas Rid and Gail Harris ▸

Thomas Rid is a reader in war studies at King’s College in London. His work analyzes the relationship between the cyber realm and security issues. Rid is frequently published in academic journals and is a featured guest commentator on the BBC, CNN, and al-Jazeera. His work and academic career have taken him from London to Paris, Germany, the United States, and Jerusalem.

Gail Harris is a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a national security leadership institute based in Washington, D.C. Harris is a contributor for the Foreign Policy Association’s blog network with her regular column titled “GailForce.” The U.S. Navy’s first female intelligence officer, Harris has extensive experience in the field of cyber security.