Exploring Foreign Policy in our Interconnected World
October 20, 2014
Today’s students will be tomorrow’s decision makers. This video conference series will engage students in considering solutions to foreign policy challenges. During the 2014-2015 school year, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is partnering with the Foreign Policy Association to make articles from their publication, Great Decisions, available for International Youth Forum participants. Students will be vote on the topics they would like to discuss, which will serve as a focus for each session. Topics may include: Turkey's Challenges, Islamic Awakening, China's Foreign Policy, Syrian Refugees, Russia and Its Neighbors, Brazil, Sectarianism in the Middle East, Human Trafficking, or India.
Each session will be a 90-minute video conference with students participating from local and international sites. Prior to each International Youth Forum, students will review Great Decisions briefing materials. They will also conduct research on the topics to be discussed and prepare brief presentations to share with their peers. Participants will discuss the topics with young people at sites around the world and have the opportunity to develop potential solutions to current and future foreign policy challenges both locally and globally.
Registered schools will commit to participating in at least three of the four sessions to be held from 8:00-9:30 a.m. ET on October 20, December 17, February 19, and March 12.
October 2014 – March 2015
Peace in the Middle East? A German View of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
October 3, 2014
For years, violence in the Middle East has been on the rise. This summer, tension between Israelis and Palestinians has reignited a decades old conflict. The international community is keeping a close watch on this and other Middle East “hotspots”—such as Egypt, Syria, and Iraq—with each country having its own reaction and response to the growing violence. What does it take to achieve peace in the Middle East? How should the global community respond?
During this special seminar and video conference, students will hear from Ruprecht Polenz, German politician and former Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, about the conflict in the Middle East. He will provide a German point of view on the current situation in Israel and Palestine, and address how a policy towards the region should look and the response needed by the global community. Following Mr. Polenz’s remarks, students will have the opportunity to ask questions during a moderated discussion.
Ruprecht Polenz was a Member of the German Bundestag from 1994 to 2013, and served as the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2013. In 2000, he was the Secretary-General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Throughout his career, Mr. Polenz‘s primary focus has been on foreign and security policy — with a regional emphasis on the Middle East (particularly Iran, Turkey, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). He has also been an advocate of strong transatlantic relations. Mr. Polenz is currently President of the German Society for Eastern European Studies, Dean of the Global Diplomacy Lab, Senior Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, and a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Converging Interests: India’s ‘Look East’ and America’s ‘Asia Pivot’
October 1, 2014
This event has been cancelled.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP were swept into office with an unprecedented mandate – largely due to their domestic vision for India. But, when the new government assumed office in May 2014, it said foreign policy would also be one of its top priorities. After more than 100 days in office, what does India’s foreign policy look like under Modi?
India’s “Look East” policy was launched two decades ago, but it is now developing real substance around economic and security issues. Modi embarked on his maiden foreign trip with a visit to Bhutan, thereby underscoring his government's commitment to consolidate ties in India's neighborhood. He then traveled to Nepal, becoming the first Indian PM to visit Kathmandu for a bilateral meeting in 17 years. In September, Modi visited Japan to discuss defense cooperation and other bilateral issues and later in the month Chinese president Xi Jinping will travel to Delhi to discuss investment and security cooperation.
Join the Council on the heels of Prime Minister Modi’s bilateral talks with President Barack Obama following the UN General Assembly to hear about Modi’s foreign policy priorities from one of India’s most widely respected journalists and public intellectuals.
MJ Akbar has helped shape India’s media landscape. He conceived, designed, and edited The Telegraph, helped launch The Asian Age, and founded both Covert magazine and the Sunday Guardian. He served as editorial director of India Today, India’s leading English-language news magazine and of the Headlines Today television channel. For many years, he also wrote a regular column for the Sunday edition of the Times of India.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha, India’s Parliament, as a member of the Congress party, in 1989 and served until 1992, when he resigned from government and left politics. He returned to politics in the spring of 2014 when he became national spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, a position that he continues to hold.
Mr. Akbar regularly lectures in the United States and Canada, and has been a featured speaker at a number of North America’s finest universities. He was also a visiting fellow at Brookings from 2006 through 2013. His most recent book is Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan.
This event has been cancelled.
This event is held with support from the University of Pittsburgh.
Understanding Germany 25 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall
September 25, 2014
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a structure that divided East and West Germany for decades following World War II. Once a physically divided city, Berlin has become a leading destination for tourists, scholars, business leaders, and artists. However, as Berlin continues to grow into a thriving metropolis, a new wall seems to be forming—one based on race, ethnicity, and religion. How Berliners react and respond to these changes will greatly impact the city’s ability to succeed.
During this special seminar and video conference, students will hear from Peter Schneider, a German writer and social critic, and author of Berlin Now: The City after the Wall. Using modern Berlin as a lens, he will highlight the ways in which Berlin has become a rapidly changing metropolis. Questions will address the unintended consequences and benefits of opening the Wall, the racial tensions that exist and what influence they have on Berlin’s continued growth, and more. Following Mr. Schneider’s remarks, students will have the opportunity to ask questions during a moderated discussion.
Peter Schneider was born in Lübeck, Germany, and has lived in Berlin on and off since the 1960s. He has taught at many American universities—including Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard—and is the author of more than twenty books, including Eduard’sHomecoming. He has also written for newspapers, including Der Spiegel, The New York Times, Le Monde, and La Repubblica. Since the 1960s, Peter Schneider has been a keen observer of Berlin. His novel Der Mauerspringer (The Wall Jumper) was first published in 1983, and has become a classic. In it he describes life in the shadow of the Wall. His new book, Berlin Now: The City after the Wall (translated by Sophie Schlondorff) is a collection of perceptive and witty essays about modern Berlin.