3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate – From the Rise & Fall of World Powers to the Geopolitical Impact of Cybersecurity

3rd Annual ADSD Session 6
The 3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, Session 6. Photo source: AlBayan News

The Third Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate (ADSD), held on November 12 -14, 2016 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi was organized by Emirates Policy Center (EPC) under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and in partnership with the Atlantic Council—a non-partisan think tank in Washington D.C. Based in Abu Dhabi and founded in 2013, EPC asserts itself as the first independent think tank in the region headed by a woman. The EPC articulates its vision as specializing in “forecasting the future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, regional and international policy trends, and the impact of different geopolitical projects on the region.” The ADSD was initiated three years ago as a way to bring together scholars, politicians, strategists, CEO’s, and policy makers from around the world to address challenges facing the region. In her opening remarks marking the official launch of this year’s debate, Dr. Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President of the EPC, said that the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate served as a means of enhancing policy-making efforts and consolidating Abu Dhabi’s role as a hub for exchanging ideas, suggesting peaceful solutions and generating strategic alternatives for all-scale pressing issues in the region and beyond.

Professor Zaid Eyadat at 3rd Annual ADSD
The 3rd Annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate – Professor Zaid Eyadat

This year’s event—taking place in the days immediately following the election here in the U.S.— addressed hot political issues confronting the Middle East as well as the rest of the world, and brought together nearly 400 distinguished international, regional and national experts in foreign policy and strategy. The ADSD’s Davos-styled panel discussions focused on problems confronting the Gulf amidst a changing international order, regional security cooperation in the Middle East, terrorism, foreign policy under a new administration in the U.S., and cyber security. UConn participants included Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs and Professor of Geography; Zaid Eyadat, Professor-in-Residence in Political Science and Human Rights; and Roy Kamphausen, Senior Advisor for East Asia to UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Senior Vice President for Research at the National Bureau of Asian Research-Washington, DC Office. As in the two previous Annual Debates, the conference was designed to provide an important forum for the discussion of critical global trends in relation to international politics, with the intent of developing action items and policy recommendations.

Vice President Weiner moderated the second session of the conference, which was entitled “Traditional, Rising and Declining Powers in a Shifting World Order.” Discussants included the other two UConn participants: Professor Zaid Eyadat and Mr. Roy Kamphausen.  Each member of the panel brought different areas of expertise to the table. Vice President Weiner is a development geographer with area studies expertise in eastern and southern Africa. He has also played a pivotal role in creating the UConn Abrahamic Programs in the Middle East/North Africa Region Initiative, an academic umbrella that fosters cross-border research, intercultural communication and community engagement.

Professor Eyadat—who also served as moderators for sixth session, “Cyberspace Security Power Building and Geopolitical Impact”—is a leading expert on Middle East politics and human rights. He is actively involved in research, teaching, and development work in the public, private, non-profit and academic spheres. Professor Eyadat’s scholarly work concerns issues of global justice, understanding the “Arab political mind,” reforming Islam, and minority rights.  He serves as a consultant for diverse international organizations and NGOs, including the Emirates Policy Center.

Mr. Kamphausen joined UConn in 2015 as a Senior Advisor for East Asia in Global Affairs. He is also Senior Vice President for Research and Director of the Washington D.C. office at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Prior to joining NBR and UConn, Mr. Kamphausen served as a career U.S. Army officer with assignments as China Policy Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, China Strategist for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Other conference panels included a wide variety of speakers, including Michael Chertoff, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security; Koenraad Dassen, Minister Counsellor-European Union Delegation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Amre Moussa, former Secretary-General of the Arab League; Dr. Mahmoud Gebril, President of the National Forces Alliance and former Prime Minister of Libya; and Dr. Mahmoud Mohandedou, Deputy Director and Academic Dean at the Geneva Center for Security Policy;  The panel that received the most news coverage worldwide was entitled “American Foreign Policy Under a New Administration” with discussants James L. Jones, former U.S. National Security Advisor; Jon Huntsman, Chairman at the Atlantic Council, former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China and Singapore; and Dr. Andrew Parasiliti, Director, Center for Global Risk and Security RAND Corporation. The session provided critical analysis of possible foreign policy shifts under President-Elect Trump.

Watch all the sessions of the 3rd Annual ADSD here.

Session 2: Traditional, Rising, and Declining Powers in a Shifting World Order

UConn Participants

  • [Moderator] Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs
  • Zaid Eyadat, Professor in Residence of Political Science & Human Rights
  • Roy Kamphausen, Senior Adviser on East Asia to UConn Global Affairs and Senior Vice President for Research and Director at the National Bureau of Asian Research-Washington, DC Office

Session 6: Cyberspace Security Power Building and Geopolitical Impact

UConn Participants

  • [Moderator] Zaid Eyadat, Professor in Residence of Political Science & Human Rights

10.18.2016 CHINA Town Hall

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016
University of Connecticut, Laurel Hall, Room 305
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6:45 PM Welcome
Dr. Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs, University of Connecticut

7:00PM National Webcast
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

8:00 PM Introductions
Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Senior Advisor on East Asia, Global Affairs, University of Connecticut; and Senior Vice President for Research, National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

8:05 PM Keynote & Discussion
The Honorable William Zarit, Vice Chairman of the Board for the American Chamber of Commerce in China; former Minister for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing

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The University of Connecticut is honored to be a local host for the 10th Annual CHINA Town Hall. This event is a national day of programming on China involving 70 cities throughout the United States.

China’s rapid emergence as a global player and potential partner on many U.S. policy priorities has ensured that the Sino-American relationship will have a direct impact on the lives of nearly everyone in both Countries. To help Americans better understand the complex U.S.-China relationship, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is conducting the tenth annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections at more than 70 locations nationwide. The program will feature a live webcast discussion with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, moderated by National Committee President Stephen Orlins. Continue reading

The first PAGE(S): initiation of Pleistocene Archaeology, Geochronology and Environments of the Southern Caucasus

Dr Keith Wilkinson

(from press release: click here

A team of archaeologists and geologists led by Dr Keith Wilkinson of the University of Winchester is set to examine the history of early humans in Eurasia after being awarded funding to further its research.

The £387,792 grant for the Pleistocene Archaeology, Geochronology and Environments of the Southern Caucasus (PAGES) project comes from the Leverhulme Trust – the value of the award is in recognition of the considerable scientific potential of the research.

Dr Wilkinson, Reader in Environmental Archaeology at the University of Winchester, states: “The Southern Caucasus was selected for study as it is the region where the earliest human fossils have been found outside Africa, as well as having the earliest evidence for advanced stone tool-making behaviours. PAGES therefore seeks to understand when and why humans expanded from Africa into Europe and Asia.

“By carrying out the study, the project will enable Old Stone Age (Palaeolithic) archaeological sites to be correlated across the region, allow existing theories of population expansion during the Pleistocene geological epoch (2.5 million to 11.5 thousand year ago), and examine how early humans adapted to ecological changes and developed new technologies along the way.”

The project team comprises scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London; Armenian Academy of Sciences; the Universities of Connecticut, Glasgow, North Carolina (Greensboro); and the Senckenberg research institute.

Members of the team will carry out fieldwork in the valleys of the Hrazdan and Debed rivers of central and northern Armenia during 2016 and 2017, while the samples collected will be analysed in laboratories in Winchester, Royal Holloway and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow.

“The Debed and Hrazdan were chosen for study as we have previously found well-preserved Palaeolithic sites associated with former floodplains of these rivers,” explained Dr Wilkinson. “Furthermore we can accurately date the solidified lavas and volcanic ash that sandwich the river sediments and thereby provide the first precise regional chronology for early human occupation of this key part of Eurasia.”

The PAGES project commences in mid-July, while the publication of initial results will follow in 2017. For more information on the project, visit here

The Leverhulme Trust awards £80m in grants each year. The Trust aims to support original research that advances world knowledge in the fields of the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences.

Click the following for:
Press Release
Project Blog
Project Website

Professor Richard Langlois Appointment and Teaching at the University of Witwatersrand

Professor Richard Langlois of the Department of Economics has recently been appointed distinguished Professor in the School of Economic and Business Sciences (SEBS) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg. He will be in residence there for several weeks in July and August, and will be involved in research and in co-teaching a graduate course in Advanced Institutional Economics. Prof. Langlois will also be a keynote speaker at a symposium of the World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research that will take place at Wits in April, 2017. UConn has other connections to Wits as well: two members of the SEBS faculty, Giampaolo Garzarelli (M. A. ’01) and Yasmina Reem Limam (Ph.D. ’02), are UConn alumni.

UConn Secures Verbal Agreements with Seven Cuban Institutions for Collaborative Health Research

Author:

When Dr. Tania Huedo-Medina, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy’s (InCHIP) Biostatistics Core, and Director of the forthcoming InCHIP center for Ibero-American health, approached the University of Connecticut’s Vice President for Global Affairs Dr. Daniel Weiner and InCHIP Director Dr. Jeffrey Fisher with her idea to launch a health science research initiative in Cuba, she was not sure whether her idea would meet with their approval or support. Enter Dr. Weiner’s long-standing interest and history of work in Cuba, Dr. Fisher’s interest in global health research and InCHIP’s significant expertise in this area, and President Obama’s timely efforts to peel back the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, and Huedo-Medina has a recipe for success.

Huedo-Medina, Weiner and Fisher know that an initiative in Cuba, a nation that has been mostly isolated from the United States since before the Cuban Revolution, requires the utmost patience to plan. Diplomatic and financial challenges related to the economic embargo, and the troubled history of US-Cuba relations, produce a hindrance to seamless academic exchanges with this Latin American country. Weiner’s past cultural work in Cuba and Huedo-Medina’s Spanish heritage, knowledge of Cuban history and culture, and ability to speak the language have positioned the University to be uniquely successful in endeavors in Cuba.

“When other universities have visited Cuba, they soon realize that negotiations are difficult and have to go through many layers in both countries. Some US universities have given up, and other applications have not been prioritized by Cuban organizations when granting memoranda of understanding. We learned through our visits how everything is complicated, requires the development of mutual trust, a strong network of contacts, and the ability to navigate these circumstances,” said Huedo-Medina.

Read more…

From Heidelberg to Connecticut: A Visit to UConn Promotes Dialogue and Collaboration

Matthias Rolle-Weidemann
Matthias Rolle-Weidemann in front of Wilbur Cross Building at UConn.

Author: Dorothea E. Hast, Global Affairs

Matthias Rolle-Weidemann, Department Head for Personnel Development at Germany’s Heidelberg University visited UConn for five weeks as part of a prestigious leadership program for highly qualified administrators from the state of Baden-Württemberg. As a part of an eleven-week visit to the United States to learn about best practices at American universities, he also conducted research and interviews at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which have both had long standing exchange partnerships with nine major universities in the Baden-Württemberg region.

Rolle-Weidemann developed two major goals for his research at UConn. First, he wanted to understand how the U.S. educational system works at a large public university.  He interviewed a wide variety of top administrators and faculty from each major administrative unit on campus, including Nathan Fuerst, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions; Scott Jordan, Chief Financial Officer; Michael Mundrane, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer; and Sally Reis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.  According to Rolle-Weidemann, he particularly wanted to understand issues and operations that are especially relevant to his home institution. He met with Richard Schwab, Dean of the Neag School of Education, to discuss teacher training, assessment and faculty research because Heidelberg University has recently opened a new school of education.  He also met with staff from student affairs and gained insight into important issues surrounding student life and the campus community.  He was especially struck by the degree of school spirit at UConn, the involvement of students in on-campus sports, clubs and organizations, and the number of student support services that are provided by the University. Continue reading

04.19.2016 Elusive Search for Social Justice in Africa: The Relevance of Nkrumah’s Vision to the Struggle for Economic Independence

Samia Nkrumah on Social Justice in AfricaLecture by Ms. Samia Nkrumah

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center
University of Connecticut, Storrs 

The father of modern African nationalism and the great torch bearer of pan-Africanism, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was very clear in his vision that political independence was only the first step in the struggle to realize social justice and a higher standard of living for Africans.  More than this, Nkrumah provided Ghanaians and Africans with a philosophy and ideology of decolonization: Self-determination and self-reliance, social justice and Pan-Africanism.  On March 6, 1957 Nkrumah declared that the “independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.

After more than five decades since that declaration, keen observers of Africa question the extent to which political independence has led to increased welfare of the majority of African people. While Africa remains the world’s richest continent, it is also home to a majority of the world’s poor people. Access to basic needs such as quality education, basic health services, housing, food, water and sanitation by the majority of Africans remains a mirage.

In the talk, Ms. Samia Nkrumah shall assess the relevance of Nkrumah’s vision and philosophy to the challenges that confront progressive forces in their renewed struggle for economic independence, with specific reference to Ghana.

UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights

For more information, call (860) 486-0647.

04.07.2016 India’s Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits

Ashutosh VarshneyAttend the Annual Radha Devi Joshi Lecture, with Ashutosh Varshney

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2016
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm
Location: Dodd Center, Konover Auditorium, Storrs Campus

Ashutosh Varshney is Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences at Brown University, where he also directs the Brown-India Initiative.

His books include Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India; Democracy, Development and the Countryside: Urban-Rural Struggles in IndiaIndia in the Era of Economic ReformsMidnight’s DiasporaCollective Violence in Indonesia; andBattles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy.   His academic articles have appeared in the leading journals of political science and development. His honors include the Guggenheim, Carnegie, Luebbert and Lerner awards. He is a contributing editor for Indian Express, and his guest columns have appeared in many other newspapers, including the Financial Times. He served on the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Task Force on Millennium Development Goals, and has also served as adviser to the World Bank and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

ABSTRACT:  Since 1947, India has forged and consolidated the world’s largest democracy in the unlikely setting of low incomes and multiple ethnicities.  But the electoral achievements of Indian democracy far outweigh its performance between elections, when basic liberal freedoms come into question and governance deficits accumulate.  This lecture will address this paradox, situating India’s democratic experience comparatively and theoretically.