Speaker Profile: Edward Snowden

In 2013, Edward Snowden captured global headlines when he leaked information on the mass-surveillance programs of the NSA, inciting fervent debates over privacy and government intelligence. He has received many honors for his actions, including The Guardian's Person of the Year and a spot on TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Snowden—who lives in an undisclosed location in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum—will appear via a live video broadcast on February 17th at 8PM.

First, a timeline of the NSA leaks and exactly what they entailed. Then, both sides of the debate: interviews, op-ed’s, and reports that covers all the important information you need to know.

Timeline of NSA Leaks

  • June 5, 2013: The Guardian breaks coverage on leaked NSA documents that reveal the collection of telephone records from Verizon, one of the U.S.'s largest telecoms providers.
    • "Communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."
  • June 6, 2013: NSA's PRISM program is revealed
    • PRISM is an undisclosed program that allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats
    • Allows direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants
  • June 24, 2013: Edward Snowden moves from Hong Kong to Moscow, seeking asylum
  • July 31, 2013: XKeyscore revealed
    • Allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals
    • "Widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet
  • August 1, 2013: Russia grants Edward Snowden temporary asylum, against U.S. demands
  • October 30, 2013: Joint program with British agency – MUSCULAR
    • "Copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information among the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants"
  • May 7, 2015: Mass phone surveillance ruled illegal by U.S. Court of Appeals
    • US court of appeals ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is unlawful, in a landmark decision that clears the way for a full legal challenge against the National Security Agency
  • June 3, 2015: Congress passes USA Freedom Act, reforms NSA surveillance practices
    • The House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed a bill to end the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, ushering in the country’s most significant surveillance reform since 1978 two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations to the Guardian

NYT Op-Ed: Edward Snowden, "The World Says No to Surveillance"

 Image courtesy of  The New York Times

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects.
— Edward Snowden

The Diplomat: Zachary keck, "Yes, Edward Snowden is a traitor"

“The reason why I believed from the beginning that Snowden was a traitor was not because of the information he had been leaking but the manner in which he had done it. In my view, a true whistleblower would have first pursued legal avenues for reining in the NSA, such as seeking out sympathetic members of Congress.
— Zachary Keck

The Guardian Opinion: Shami Chakrabarti, "Let me be clear – Edward Snowden is a Hero"

 

 Image courtesy of  The Guardian

Image courtesy of The Guardian

So let me be completely clear: Edward Snowden is a hero. Saying so does not make me an apologist for terror – it makes me a firm believer in democracy and the rule of law. Whether you are with or against Liberty in the debate about proportionate surveillance, Anderson must be right to say that the people and our representatives should know about capabilities and practices built and conducted in our name.
— Shami Chakrabarti

Last Week Tonight: John Oliver Interviews Edward Snowden in Russia

In this satirical interview, John Oliver discovers that the public may not know the full extent of what Snowden's leak entailed.


In Case You Missed It: Piper Kerman & the Future of Prison Reform

 Image courtesy of the  Hub

Image courtesy of the Hub

Piper Kerman kicked off our 2016 Speaker Series, "Architects of the Future", this past week. Kerman revealed how Orange is the New Black came to be, her own experiences and those of her inmates, and why she decided the story of all these incarcerated women needed to be told to as many people as possible. We live tweeted her lecture and collected the best bits right here.

On how she ended up in a federal prison...

Startling statistics on the American prison population

On how her prison inmates defied her expectations

Surviving Prison

The consequences of female incarceration

The challenges of being a woman in prison

Why she chose to write Orange is the New Black

Directions for future reform



Speaker Profile: Piper Kerman

Our first speaker of our series, Architects of the Future, is Piper Kerman. She will be joining us this Wednesday, February 10th at Shriver Auditorium. Kerman is the author of bestselling novel Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman's Prison, which was later adapted for the hit Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black. Beyond her writing, Kerman is a staunch advocate of prison reform. She serves on the board of the Women's Prison Association and has testified twice before Congress on the subject of solitary confinement as well as other issues within the American penal system. For her advocacy work, Kerman received the 2014 Justice Trailblazer Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She currently works as a writing teacher in two correctional facilities in Ohio, where she lives with her husband Larry Smith.

We’ve curated a compilation of her interviews, speeches, and articles covering all of the important issues surrounding female incarceration.

TED Talk: “We Gotta Get Outta This Place”

In this TED Talk, Kerman discusses the need for serious prison reform and calls for an emphasis in true rehabilitation measures.

NPR Interview: “Behind the New Black, the Real Piper’s Prison Story”

What changes to the real story were made when Piper Kerman inspired the show’s Piper Chapman?

Piper Kerman's Congressional Testimony

Kerman was asked to testify for the Senate on the hearing, "Reassessing Solitary Confinement."

The New York Times Op-Ed: "For Women, A Second Sentence"

Harshly punitive drug laws and diminishing community mental health resources have landed many women in prison who simply do not belong there, often for shockingly long sentences. What is priceless about JusticeHome, however, is that it is working not only to rehabilitate women but to keep families together — which we know is an effective way to reduce crime and to stop a cycle that can condemn entire families to the penal system.

Two Pipers: Kerman and Schilling Side By Side

Author Piper Kerman and the actress Taylor Schilling who plays her re-imagined on the Netflix TV series Orange is the New Black sit down together for an interview.


Media Roundup – Week of November 8th

From Doctors Without Borders – An Internal Review on the bombing of an MSF hospital in Kunduz

 Image source:  Foreign Policy

Image source: Foreign Policy

Doctors Without Borders released a report detailing the events and aftermath of the airstrikes on the Kunduz Trauma Centre in Afghanistan on October 3. The report calls for an independent investigation of the events and answers from the U.S. government and military. Read the full report here.

Amartya Sen weighs in – “Women’s Progress Outdid China’s One-Child Policy

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues that female empowerment in China actually outpaced the effects of the One-Child Policy in producing smaller family sizes.

“China needs to rely even more on the force of reasoning, rather than on legal compulsion.”

Watch the historic handshake between China’s Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s Ma-Ying jeou

Video source: CCTV+

This marks the first time in 66 years that China and Taiwan’s leaders have met since its separation in 1949.

Listen to Obama rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline in his White House statement

Video source: CNN

Obama cited America’s responsibility in global climate change in defending his decision.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change… And, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

A Map on Where Climate Change is a Big Deal (And Where it Isn’t) from The Washington Post

 Image source:  The Washington Post

Image source: The Washington Post





This Week in Photos

By: Mona Jia '17

 The  Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red  poppy installation at The Tower of London on Armistice Day in London. Source: Jonathan Hordle/Rex.

The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at The Tower of London on Armistice Day in London. Source: Jonathan Hordle/Rex.

 Philae lander snaps the first-ever photos from the surface of a comet on the Rosetta mission's journey to 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Source: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA.

Philae lander snaps the first-ever photos from the surface of a comet on the Rosetta mission's journey to 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Source: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA.

 Vladmir Putin wraps shawl around Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan as Xi chats with Obama at APEC summit, causing media frenzy. Source: AP.

Vladmir Putin wraps shawl around Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan as Xi chats with Obama at APEC summit, causing media frenzy. Source: AP.

 A newlywed couple wears gas masks while taking wedding photos beside pro-democracy demonstrators at the Admiralty protest site in Hong Kong. Source: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images. 

A newlywed couple wears gas masks while taking wedding photos beside pro-democracy demonstrators at the Admiralty protest site in Hong Kong. Source: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images. 

 White House confirms US aid worker Peter Kassig beheaded by ISIS in video. Source: AFP/Getty Images. 

White House confirms US aid worker Peter Kassig beheaded by ISIS in video. Source: AFP/Getty Images. 

 A mosque is burned in the West Bank village of Al Mghreir on Nov 12 amid rising Israel-Palestinian tensions. Source: Majdi Mohammed/AP.

A mosque is burned in the West Bank village of Al Mghreir on Nov 12 amid rising Israel-Palestinian tensions. Source: Majdi Mohammed/AP.

This Week in Photos

By: Mallika Iyer '17

This week in photos – travel the world in pictures, from the White House to Papua New Guinea and everywhere in between! 

  Obama has sent 1,500 more US troops to Iraq to train and assist the Iraqi forces fighting IS militants. Source: World Bulletin.

Obama has sent 1,500 more US troops to Iraq to train and assist the Iraqi forces fighting IS militants. Source: World Bulletin.

  Ukraine claims that “dozens of tanks and truckloads of soldiers” have crossed the Russian border into their territory. Source: The Independent. 

Ukraine claims that “dozens of tanks and truckloads of soldiers” have crossed the Russian border into their territory. Source: The Independent. 

 Obama nominates New York prosecutor Loretta Lynch to be next attorney general – if confirmed, she will be the first African-American woman to hold the position. Source: BBC. 

Obama nominates New York prosecutor Loretta Lynch to be next attorney general – if confirmed, she will be the first African-American woman to hold the position. Source: BBC. 

 Charity organization Medecins Sans Frontiers confirms that the number of new Ebola cases in Liberia has declined. Source: BBC.

Charity organization Medecins Sans Frontiers confirms that the number of new Ebola cases in Liberia has declined. Source: BBC.

   
  
 0 
 0 
 1 
 23 
 135 
 Johns Hopkins University 
 1 
 1 
 157 
 14.0 
  
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    After searching, several addresses, police arrest four men in Britain, between ages 19-27, on suspicion of being involved in a terrorist attack. Source: BBC.

After searching, several addresses, police arrest four men in Britain, between ages 19-27, on suspicion of being involved in a terrorist attack. Source: BBC.

 On Tuesday the 4th, voter turnout was low across the nation, as fewer than 37% of eligible voters cast ballots. Source: US News. 

On Tuesday the 4th, voter turnout was low across the nation, as fewer than 37% of eligible voters cast ballots. Source: US News. 

   
  
 0 
 0 
 1 
 9 
 55 
 Johns Hopkins University 
 1 
 1 
 63 
 14.0 
  
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
      
 0 
 0 
 1 
 9 
 55 
 Johns Hopkins University 
 1 
 1 
 63 
 14.0 
  
  
 
       
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
      /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}     An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude shook Papua New Guinea on Friday. Source: ABC News.

An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude shook Papua New Guinea on Friday. Source: ABC News.

 Civilians mourn the 40 Mexican students who went missing following a clash with the police on September 23rd; now, suspected Mexican gang members have admitted to killing them. Source: BBC.

Civilians mourn the 40 Mexican students who went missing following a clash with the police on September 23rd; now, suspected Mexican gang members have admitted to killing them. Source: BBC.

 

This Week in Photos

By: Corey Payne '17

This week we bring you photos from around the world-- from space crashes to holidays, from reunions to sieges, here are the photos making news.

 People hustle to exit the FlightSafetey International Building in Wichita, Kansas as a plane crashes on Thursday, killing four. Source: BBC

People hustle to exit the FlightSafetey International Building in Wichita, Kansas as a plane crashes on Thursday, killing four. Source: BBC

 In San Luis, Mexico, people celebrate Day of the Dead with "calaveras de dulce," or sugar skulls. Source: BBC

In San Luis, Mexico, people celebrate Day of the Dead with "calaveras de dulce," or sugar skulls. Source: BBC

 Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo explodes over the Mojave Desert, killing one pilot and injuring another. Source: Reuters

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo explodes over the Mojave Desert, killing one pilot and injuring another. Source: Reuters

 Nina Pham, Dallas nurse who was recently cleared of ebola, reunites with her dog. She describes the experience as "like Christmas morning." Source: CNN

Nina Pham, Dallas nurse who was recently cleared of ebola, reunites with her dog. She describes the experience as "like Christmas morning." Source: CNN

 Hindu women pray as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea during the Chhath Puja festival in Mumbai, thanking the Sun God for sustaining life on Earth. Source: The AP

Hindu women pray as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea during the Chhath Puja festival in Mumbai, thanking the Sun God for sustaining life on Earth. Source: The AP

 Man looks onto the Syrian town of Kobani, near the Turkish border, during US airstrikes to combat the Islamic State. Source: The AP

Man looks onto the Syrian town of Kobani, near the Turkish border, during US airstrikes to combat the Islamic State. Source: The AP

This Week in Photos

By: Dylan Etzel '17

This week we bring you a collection of photos from around the world - from China's space mission to the shooting at the Canadian Parliament building and more.

In Ottawa, Canada, an emergency response team attempts to resuscitate a security worker on the Parliament grounds following a shooting. Wayne Cuddington/Barcroft Media /Landov

Israeli police apprehending a child following Friday prayers in East Jerusalem. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Police with riot shields warn pro-democracy protestors in Mongkok, Hong Kong, at a rally. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Chinese aeronautics engineers display the Jade Rabbit, a probe prepared for a December launch into space. Shanghai Daily via AP

Smoke from an explosion in Kobani, Syria. In response, Turkish authorities are allowing the Peshmerga, Kurdish militia forces, to enter the area and fight against ISIL. Gokhan Sahin, Getty Images

Protestors for Greenpeace, in Mexico City, wearing masks of President Enrique Pena Nieto to question his oil policies. REBECCA BLACKWELL—AP

Banking district in Frankfurt, Germany, from which word came that many of Europe's biggest banks had failed a stress test Sunday. Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Community Spotlight: Hannah Lin

Interviewed by: Mallika Iyer '17

Our first Community Spotlight is on Hannah Lin, a sophomore from Taiwan double majoring in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability and Writing Seminars. Hannah has successfully applied her academic interests towards making a difference in Baltimore, demonstrating how classroom knowledge can be used to instigate social change. 
 
FAS: Hi Hannah! So you’re really passionate about the environment. How do you bring this passion to the rest of Baltimore? 

Hannah: Hi!  Last year and beginning next semester, we would go to Barclay Elementary School every week and give them a lesson on sustainability. We covered a variety of topics, such as composting, recycling, and carbon footprints, with the goal of teaching them what it meant to be sustainable, and why it was important.

FAS: Why do you think it is important? Why should young people care about the environment? 

Hannah:  Sustainability is something everyone should be involved in. Whether or not you're environmentalists, you're both responsible and affected by the world we live in. Education is a way of spreading that awareness and giving a younger generation the ability to choose what environment they want to live in.

FAS: How else can Hopkins student get involved in initiatives to improve sustainability? 

Hannah:  Spreading awareness and showing people how they can help be a part of the solution is always a good place to start. Hopkins has lots of great sustainability clubs- get involved! You don't just make a difference- you come to understand why it's so important that everyone does. There are also great opportunities to see what sustainability looks like outside of Hopkins in Baltimore. The Sierra Club, for example, is a national grassroots environmental organization that anyone can join. 

FAS: What does the Sierra Club do?

Hannah: Right now, the Sierra Club in Baltimore is focusing on their Beyond Coal movement. Last month, they went on a hearing to try to get Baltimore's state rules to force coal companies to install cleaning devices on their smokestacks- and succeeded! They have opportunities for everyone too- whether you want to help out with phonebanking, be involved in nature hikes, or talk to members and learn more about sustainability.

FAS Abroad: Buenos Aires

 Adam stands in front of a labor protest, a common sight in Buenos Aires where the laborers and government often clash over economic policies.

Adam stands in front of a labor protest, a common sight in Buenos Aires where the laborers and government often clash over economic policies.

By: Adam Eckstein '16

My name is Adam Eckstein and I am a junior at Johns Hopkins and a second-year member of the FAS Development Committee.  I am currently studying in Buenos Aires, where I chose to spend the semester because I wanted to experience life in a Latin American city with a unique and vibrant culture. In Argentina I am also able to study Spanish, history and, most importantly for me, learn about politics from a new perspective. Having obtained a basic understanding of Latin American politics and history at Hopkins, I knew that Argentina would be a fascinating place to study these topics. What I underestimated, however, was the fundamental role that economic and political issues of past and present play in the everyday consciousness of Argentines, and particularly of Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires).

Though I have been in this country for only two months, I have come to realize the enormous differences between the way that I (from an American perspective), and Argentines are accustomed to approaching political discourse. Over the last sixty or seventy years, since the rise and fall of the Peronist movement, Argentina has gone through an extremely turbulent period. Constant military intervention, flip-flopping between liberalism and protectionism, and political corruption have created a truly volatile political and economic climate. Betrayal of labor interests, egregious human rights violations of the 1970s and 1980s military dictatorship, and horrible mismanagement of neoliberal reform in the 1990s, among other irreversible miscues, have caused utter mistrust of the government, political institutions and of authority in general.

Studying Argentina while living in Buenos Aires has been fascinating. I have become acutely aware of peoples’ opinions and the extent to which they are shaped by this history of perceived betrayal and subsequent mistrust. The fundamental lack of stability caused by this history has taught me a lot about how I can and should approach political discourse. If I were born in 1993 in Argentina, I would have grown up hearing my parents’ stories of their friends and classmates being kidnapped and murdered by the military government. I would distinctly remember the massive default and recession of 2001-2002 when unemployment was four times its historical average and poverty reached nearly half of the country while a new elite class grew out of neoliberal reform. These events would be a part of me and would be embedded in my thoughts and opinions. The same is true in countries across the world. 

I am humbled by my opportunity to study abroad and for the perspective I have begun to gain from it. While I may never fully understand how my 21-year old Argentine contemporaries view domestic and international politics, I have a far greater understanding of the importance of context in stimulating productive discourse. Empathy is not always possible, but we must try if we ever hope to promote productive discourse.

This Week in Photos

By: Mollie Cueva '17

This week we bring you a collection of photos from around the world - from the heart of Mexico's drug war to the celebration of the Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and more.

  In Kiev, Ukraine, nationalists confront riot police. Photo courtesy of Gleb Garanich/Reuters.    

In Kiev, Ukraine, nationalists confront riot police. Photo courtesy of Gleb Garanich/Reuters.

 

  In Washington D.C., a man protests recent flights from Ebola-ridden West Africa to the U.S. Photo courtesy of Mladen Antonov/AP.    

In Washington D.C., a man protests recent flights from Ebola-ridden West Africa to the U.S. Photo courtesy of Mladen Antonov/AP.

 

  Ferguson, Missouri, activist/pastor Charles Burton lies on the ground to protest the death of Michael Brown. Photo courtesy of Charles Rex Arbogast/AP.        

Ferguson, Missouri, activist/pastor Charles Burton lies on the ground to protest the death of Michael Brown. Photo courtesy of Charles Rex Arbogast/AP. 

 

 

  The youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history, Malala Yousafzai, discusses her award in Birmingham, England. Photo courtesy of Rui Vieira/AP.

The youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history, Malala Yousafzai, discusses her award in Birmingham, England. Photo courtesy of Rui Vieira/AP.

  Protestors in Acapulco, Mexico set fire to a state capital building in response to the disappearance of 43 teachers linked to local drug cartels. Photo courtesy of Felix Marquez/AP. 

Protestors in Acapulco, Mexico set fire to a state capital building in response to the disappearance of 43 teachers linked to local drug cartels. Photo courtesy of Felix Marquez/AP. 

  A man awaits Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza. Photo courtesy of Khalil Hamra/AP. 

A man awaits Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza. Photo courtesy of Khalil Hamra/AP. 

  Pro-democracy protestors block traffic from this tunnel in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Tyrone Siu/Reuters.

Pro-democracy protestors block traffic from this tunnel in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Tyrone Siu/Reuters.



Interview with Robert Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria

Robert Ford

Interviewed by: Dylan Etzel '17

We recently sat down with Robert Ford, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and expert on Middle Eastern affairs, to ask him some questions about the Islamic State. 

FAS: Let’s start with the basics: what is the goal of the Islamic State (IS)?

RF: The Islamic State is trying to create a new Islamic Empire, a Caliphate, around Syria and Iraq, and will eventually, because of its ideology and tawheed, extend to all parts of the Muslim world.

FAS: IS conquered a lot of territory in a small amount of time. Where does their funding come from, and is the United States doing anything to cut off that funding?

RF: They don’t have that many fighters. They probably only have about 30,000, and they are fighting a two-front war. There are in combat in Syria; they are in combat in Iraq, so they have conquered a lot of ground without many fighters. And one of the ways they have been able to do that, in Iraq especially, is with the help, direct help, of Iraqi citizens who are disenchanted with the government in Baghdad. In Syria they have made progress because of the community and the actions of fighting against the Syrian government, the Free Syrian Army, and in a three-way civil war the Islamic state at one time had a ceasefire with the Assad regime, in concentrated efforts [against] the Free Syrian Army, they seem to have run their battle’s course in Syria, in the short term we haven’t seen any gains in the last six weeks. And in respect to what we’re going to do, for a long time, the Obama administration didn’t really address them, either in Iraq or in Syria, but the fall of the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, seems to have spurred them to action in Iraq, and at the request of Iraqi authorities, they began undertaking airstrikes and providing urgent military help to fighters on the ground. The Iraqi Kurdish militia called the Peshmerga has drummed up some of the remaining Iraqi air units that have not filtered apart. The Obama Administration is going to be targeting Iraq because there’s a legitimate government of Iraq that has a military in contact with international law. I entirely feel that they were slow to act in Syria. They don’t need an international legal justification in Iraq, but it’s become quite obvious that without the Islamic State push in Syria that they could have this in Iraq. But if there were airstrikes in Ar-Raqqah... We are beginning a program to strengthen moderate Syrian rebels who are fighting the Islamic State on the ground. That hasn’t actually gotten off the ground yet.

FAS: The government just approved a proposal to arm Syrian rebels, but there’s been a lot of talk about how it is too late for that. In your opinion, is it? If not, what’s the rationale behind it?

RF: Well I don’t think it is too late; there are still tens of thousands of Syrian opposition fighters that are not in the Islamic State that are not in the Al Qaeda cell. There are thousands of these fighters and they are fighting on the ground there’s a big fight underway right now in Northern Syria. There has been fight after fight in the southeastern suburbs of Damascus. There has been fighting underway just to the east of Damascus. So I definitely think those who say “too late” have a very limited understanding of what’s going on, without actually looking at the fighting going on, on the ground. Two, the Syrian Civil War is so complex that it defies these generalizations. And then I lastly would say that I have heard very few people say that the Islamic State does not represent, is a short term, immediate threat. [It] is a longer term threat to the United States. And for those who would say there is a threat, and [who said] it’s too late to do anything in Syria would have ended up proposing alternative policies to address the problem. For this policy, helping moderate rebels, few proposed an alternative. You can’t beat something with nothing.

FAS: To the best of your knowledge, why exactly is ISIS targeting foreign journalists, and do they really think the beheadings will lead to decreased US action?

RF: Well they don’t only target Westerners or journalists, they target foreigners. But they have targeted Iraqis and thousands of Syrians. For example they’ve murdered over 700 of a Syrian Sunni tribe, in Eastern Syria; they rose up against them. They murdered them several months ago though. But they’re murdering these poor Westerners, for example, and these hostages, and they really mean to intimidate the Americans and British from undertaking further airstrikes. In effect they’re saying that if we don’t stop, they’ll keep killing hostages. And they’re vicious enough to keep doing it. It’s very unfortunate, but it serves as a reminder that this is a group that isn’t going to hesitate to use terrorist methods to move toward the goal of creating their greater Islamic caliphate. 

 





 

Interview with new Director of International Studies at JHU

 
 

Interviewed by: Corey Payne '17

We sat down with Dr. Sydney Van Morgan, who was appointed Director of the International Studies Program and Johns Hopkins and comes to Baltimore from Cornell University. Here are some of her ideas on our program and its future.

 

FAS: First things first: welcome to Hopkins! What drew you here? What about Hopkins' program made you want to work here? 

SM: Well, of course, I’ve always known about Hopkins’ reputation as a first-rate research university, and that was a major attraction.  I also like the fact that working for a single unit of the institution, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, I could focus my attention more intensely on the humanities and social science disciplines most closely related to international studies. Finally, Hopkins students are known to be serious and smart, and my experience so far has really proven that to be true.  The students who I have met are truly terrific! 

FAS: What do you think we can improve on? How are you working to improve our program?

SM: It’s way too early in my career at Hopkins to start boasting about improving anything! After all, International studies has 325 enrolled majors—the third largest major at Krieger—so the program is already very robust.  But there is always room for improvement. Some of the things I’d like to achieve as director include expanding the number of funding opportunities available to IS majors and creating more career and professional development resources for students. I’d also like to capitalize better on the program’s greatest strength, the students! We have just announced a new leadership committee that will be led by IS and that will have major responsibility for planning and executing events.  The committee will also advise me on ways to improve the program so that we know we are meeting student needs. The type of feedback is really invaluable.

FAS: In your opinion, what is the value of a degree in International Studies, specifically here at Hopkins? Why choose this program as opposed to a single social science discipline?

SM: It’s a cliché, but we live in a global society and, these days, it’s hard to imagine a career path that doesn’t have an international dimension to it.  College graduates need to be prepared to understand the global society they inhabit and be prepared to work in an ever more cosmopolitan and dynamic labor force. Our core courses in international social sciences, coupled with training in economics, foreign languages and history, provide a very solid understanding of the world as well as practical analytical skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers.

FAS: What do you think is most important for any undergraduate student to experience here at JHU?

SM: Academics. I really like that Hopkins offers a full undergraduate experience for its students but still manages to keep the emphasis on learning.  JHU is one of the best universities in the world’s finest system of higher education, and tuition ain't cheap.  Take advantage of every academic and intellectual opportunity you have, especially those that are international, because in just a few short years, those opportunities won’t be so easy to access.  

FAS: What is your end goal for the program? Where would you like to see it in years to come?

SM: Again, I think I’m too new a have an “end” goal in mind already, but I do have a few things that I’d like to achieve over the next couple years.  As I mentioned before, increasing student engagement with the program along with offering more fellowship funding and better career training are a few of my short- to medium-term goals. More generally, my foremost objective is to provide all of the support and resources necessary to ensure that students thrive as IS majors at Hopkins. 

FAS: And anything else you'd like to share? 

SM: Go Orioles! 

FAS Abroad: Seoul

 
 

 

By: Putt Rodchareon '16

"On September 15-18, I was honored to go to an international leadership conference in South Korea. Leaders from around the world met together at this summit in order to explore avenues to prevent warfare. Speakers include state leaders from Russia, Chile, Argentina, and Switzerland, for example. I was able to participate in small discussions with Vice Prime Minister of Russia, Alexander Rutsoky, specifically discussing on how religious and ethnic differences tend to spark violence in Eastern Europe. All in all, it was a memorable trip for me, and one that I would never forget."