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International Affairs

The Scramble for Sovereignty:

 Modern Challenges to an Age-old Construct


Lewis & Clark’s 56th International Affairs Symposium 

April 9–11, 2018


Sessions are held in Templeton Campus Center, Council Chamber. Details are subject to change. 


Firewalls: Applying Westphalian Principles to Cyberspace

Monday, April 9, 3:30 p.m.

Borders have traditionally been defined geographically. However, with the unprecedented growth of technology, we must consider them in a digital realm to deal with increasing security threats. In an era where hacking, superbugs, and viruses can potentially disrupt large sectors of society, should growing concerns about cybersecurity triumph over the protection of national civil liberties? Is the need for sovereign protection against these potential threats worth sacrificing unrestricted internet access? Do we need cyber borders?

Gus Swanda is associate professor of international relations and diplomacy at Busan University of Foreign Studies in South Korea. He specializes in cybersecurity theory, inter-Korean relations, and cryptocurrency. His research and publications include analysis of “Cyber Westphalia” and North Asia security. Swanda hosted a public radio forum for current world events. He was a consultant for the Ministry of Unification’s Department of North and South Korean Dialogue in 2008.

Forrest Hare is a Colonel in the United States Air Force, currently assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as the Deputy for the Indo-Asia Pacific Regional Center. He recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur as the Air Attaché to Malaysia and formerly worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defense drafting their cybersecurity policy. He has taught several graduate and undergraduate courses in security policy, economics, and geography at Georgetown and John Hopkins University. His research focuses on how sovereignty interacts with cybersecurity.

Evaluating Secession: Legitimacy and Stability in the Balance

Monday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.

Self-determination is an integral principle of governance; a state’s territorial integrity is a critical component of its sovereignty. These two principles come at odds when a group of people within a state decides that they would prefer a state of their own, separate from the existing state. This session explores the question: How do secessionist movements gain legitimacy, and how do their new states get recognized in our world in which all states strive to protect their territorial integrity and their sovereignty?  

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman is the Kurdistan regional government representative to the United States. Representing the voice of the Kurdish government in both the U.S. and formerly the United Kingdom, she continues to advocate for the Kurdish cause by promoting cooperation and friendship regarding economic and political matters. She has also worked as a journalist for 17 years for the British Financial Times, The Observer, and other local British newspapers. Abdul Rahman’s career has been much influenced by her father, Sami Abdul Rahman, who was the deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and general secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Aleksandar Pavković is an associate professor of politics and international relations at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on nationalism, state formation, and secession. Being a well-published author in the field of theory and practice of secession, Pavković has prolifically investigated the subject of the legitimacy of such processes, conveying an analytical frame that involves the contextual political conditions within specific states.


Earth and Entitlement: 
Reconciling International Agreements, Sovereignty, and the Common Good

Tuesday, April 10, 3:30 p.m.

Global environmental action has moved to the forefront of international discussion, and in the process has received both greater scrutiny and priority from world governments. After the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, many have questioned the efficacy and legality of such treaties. Are international environmental agreements an infringement on state sovereignty, territorial rights, and resource security? Or are international environmental agreements an essential component of an international community working to protect a shared future?

Chandra Bhushan is deputy director general of the Center for Science and Environment and an expert on international environmental negotiation. For 21 years, he has worked with CSE to create environmentally stable paths to development within India and to advocate for legally binding international environmental regulations. Bhushan has also worked with the United Nations to encourage the creation of a comprehensive international climate agreement. Most recently, he was awarded the 2017 Ozone Award for his work on the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Terry L. Anderson is the John and Jean DeNault senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank based at Stanford University. He is also the William A. Dunn distinguished senior fellow and former executive director and president of the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana. Anderson’s research primarily focuses on the role of the free market in environmentalism—water markets, public land management, and the economics of property rights—which has prompted public debate over the role of government in managing natural resources.


Foreign Aid: A Path to Development or Dependence?

Tuesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.

Foreign aid to the Global South has, for many, been assumed as noble work, for states have widely presumed that aid helps alleviate poverty, financial crises, and health epidemics. In spite of this belief, some aid-receiving states argue that foreign assistance further hinders a state from relieving domestic problems by infringing on state sovereignty, as many aid packages come with conditions. Does foreign aid inhibit or enhance the sovereignty of states?

Andrew Mwenda is the founder and editor of The Independent (Uganda) and has become a powerful voice within his country and across the world on economic and developmental issues. He earned his master’s degree in development studies from the University of London in 2002, and since then has held international fellowships at Oxford, Yale, and Stanford. Mwenda has spoken widely on foreign aid, including at the British House of Commons and directly with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Sam Jones is an associate professor in the Development Economics Research Group at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the economics of foreign aid and is greatly known for investigating aid in relation to sovereignty. Jones’ unique quantitative and qualitative approaches toward aid, poverty, and sovereignty demonstrate his influence in the international community. He has previously served in the Ministry of Planning and Development for the Government of Mozambique for seven years and has vast experience researching policy, macroeconomics, finance, and planning development. He has also worked for the Danish Institute for International Studies, international refugee NGOs, and the Financial Services Authority in London.


Responsible Sovereignty: Exposing Tensions Surrounding Humanitarian Intervention

Wednesday, April 11, 3:30 p.m.

What is more important—the sovereignty of a state or the sovereignty of its people? How can we reconcile these two ideals when one infringes on the other? These questions come to the fore when a state fails to protect its people and other states feel obliged to intervene. Under what conditions should military intervention take place and how should intervening states conduct themselves so as to best respect the humanity of the imperiled populace?

Lou Pingeot is a policy advisor for Global Policy Forum in New York, and a coordinator for McGill University’s Center for International Peace and Security Studies in Montreal. She has served as the chief coordinator for the non-governmental organization working group on the Security Council of the United Nations, and as a research fellow at York Center for International and Security Studies in Toronto. Pingeot is a Vanier scholar in the political science department at McGill University where she has been a recipient of multiple academic grants and scholarships supporting her work related to human rights and international law. Her research and publications focus on global governance at the United Nations—in particular, international development policies, peacekeeping, and humanitarian intervention.

Thomas Weiss is a presidential professor of political science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A powerful voice in international relations and the leading scholar on humanitarian intervention, he was the research director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, under the authority of the Canadian government, from 2000 to 2001. Along with his work on humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, he has written extensively on the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations, often focusing on possible reform options. His prolific career has led him to the editorial boards of many peer-reviewed journals, including Global Governance.


A New Geography of Power? State Sovereignty and the Corporate Dilemma

Wednesday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.

The last 70 years have seen a change in the socio-economic landscape that has been marked with a pivot to open markets and concurrently a backlash to that ideal. In part, this can be seen in the change of doing business with small brick and mortar, mom-and-pop shops to internet-driven, corporate behemoths. As these actors grow in financial and technical capabilities, questions and concerns arise regarding if the state is the only entity that is sovereign. With the new age of globalization, multinational corporations have gained an increasingly unprecedented role in trade, economics, and world governments. This raises the question: who is still sovereign, multinational corporations or states?

John M. Kline is a professor of international business diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He is a past director of their master of science in foreign service program and the Karl F. Landegger program in international business diplomacy. His recent projects include the development of a method that can be used by governments to evaluate foreign direct investment proposals on sustainable economic, environmental, social, and governance criteria. Kline serves as a consultant to various international organizations and private multinational corporations (MNCs), which makes him one of the most prominent voices in the discussion regarding the growing power of MNCs and their effect on state sovereignty.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd professor of sociology at Columbia University in New York and a member of its committee on global thought—a group that engages with issues of global importance. Known for her sociological approach to studying cities, globalization, and immigration, Sassen’s unprecedented works have changed how world actors understand sovereignty. She is the author of eight books, was elected to the Royal Academy of the Sciences of the Netherlands, and was awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government and 2013 Principe de Asturias Prize in the Social Sciences.



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