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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 4, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 20
A Decade of Global Discussion

The 10th-anniversary symposium was organized by four co-chairs. Above: Katie Collins, Elizabeth Caudle and Anne Smedinghoff. Pamela Lachman is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh and interning in the Scottish Parliament.
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS

2008 Foreign Affairs Symposium offers broad array of events

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

A talk by Paul Rusesabagina, the inspiration behind the film Hotel Rwanda, will open the 2008 Foreign Affairs Symposium, a student-run series that for the past 10 years as brought to the Homewood campus a celebrated group of high-powered speakers to address matters of global importance.

This year's slate of panel discussions and lecturers will focus on the theme A Decade of Discussion, an examination of the major changes and continuities in politics, economics, human rights, war and technology over the past 10 years. Specific topics to be addressed include Islam, global health, climate change, Iran, Iraq, the world economy and U.S. national security.

Paul Rusesabagina, Feb. 5

Rusesabagina's own story is one of remarkable courage and compassion in the face of unspeakable terror. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which left more than 800,000 people dead in just over 100 days, the hotel manager risked his own life to shelter more than 1,000 fellow Rwandans targeted for murder.

Since then, the man now referred to as the "Oskar Schindler of Africa" has dedicated himself to putting an end to all instances of genocide. In 2005, he founded the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which provides financial assistance to children and women affected by the genocides in Rwanda and other African nations. In 2005, President George W. Bush presented Rusesabagina with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony. Author of An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography (Penguin, 2006), Rusesabagina will discuss his life and mission at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Shriver Hall Auditorium.

The Foreign Affairs Symposium was founded in 1998 with the merging of the Woodrow Wilson International Studies and the International Studies Forum symposia. It seeks to bring distinguished individuals to campus who can talk on matters of global concern to a large and diverse audience.

The list of former speakers includes such notables as Sonia Gandhi, George Mitchell, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Newt Gingrich, Russell Feingold, Thomas Friedman, Chris Matthews, Dennis Ross and Francis Fukuyama.

Kimberly Dozier, April 14

In addition to Rusesabagina, the 2008 symposium will feature Mike McConnell, U.S. director of National Intelligence and former Navy admiral (March 12); Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner and former chief economist of the World Bank (April 8); Kimberly Dozier, a CBS news correspondent who was wounded in Iraq (April 14); and Robert Baer, a former CIA operative and the inspiration for the film Syriana (date TBA).

The 2008 Foreign Affairs Symposium is being run by four student co-chairs — Elizabeth Caudle, Katie Collins, Pamela Lachman, Anne Smedinghoff — and a staff of 14 other undergraduates. The group began meeting over the summer to schedule the speakers, recruit staff and raise the necessary funds, which come from a variety of sources, including academic departments, dean's offices and local businesses.

Caudle said that the goal each year is to foster intellectual discussion through topics that will appeal to a diverse audience.

"We're trying to engage students, faculty and the Baltimore community with what is going on in the world right now," said Caudle, an international studies major. "It's an opportunity for people to come together and to broaden people's opinions about these ideas and issues."

Caudle said that the milestone anniversary compelled the symposium organizers to host a large number and wide variety of events this year.

"I believe this will be the largest symposium to date," she said. "We wanted something big and grand to mark our anniversary."

Thomas Lovejoy, March 11

The first panel discussion will be "Perceptions of Islam in the Western World," scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, in the Glass Pavilion. Participating will be Peter Sanders, a photographer; Farah Qureshi, a JHU undergraduate and former president of the Muslim Students Association; Manal Omar, Middle East manager for Oxfam; and Dominic Martin, a counselor on political and public affairs with the British Embassy.

"Energy Conservation and Sustainability: The Impending Climate Crisis" will feature Thomas Lovejoy, a principal with the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment; Terry Maple, co-author with Newt Gingrich of A Contract With the Earth (JHU Press, 2007) and president of the Palm Beach Zoo; and Scott Brown, CEO of New Energy Capital Corp. The March 11 event begins at 8 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion.

Other panel discussions will be "AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Contemporary Global Epidemics" on March 26, "Nuclear Proliferation in Iran" on April 1 and "The Rise of Socialism in Latin America" on April 9. All will take place in the Glass Pavilion.

Other events scheduled for this year's symposium are a debate between the College Democrats and College Republicans on March 4 and "Island in Britain's Green and Pleasant Lands: The Art of Integration," an exhibiton commissioned by the British Embassy. It will run from Feb. 14 to 20 at the Mattin Center.

For a complete list of events, times and locations, go to or check The Gazette calendar each week.


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