UConn Grad Student Winner of 2nd Round U21/PwC Innovation Challenge

Mac Montana from The University of Connecticut is the overall winner of the second round (B) of the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge competition.

Universitas 21 and PwC, two globally-focused organisations, have come together to offer the Innovation Challenge. This unique partnership was formed to offer Masters and PhD students at U21 institutions access to global work opportunities in a mutually beneficial relationship. First prize is an expenses paid week long trip to PwC Dubai and all top three entrants are offered career development coaching sessions with the PwC Academy.

The challenge asks students to respond to the idea of working in a world where innovation rules and automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks. However, in this competition round students were asked to respond to and prepare for working in a world where companies care, and humans come first. This competition round included U21 institutions from Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea, North and South America, and Canada.

The winning entry stressed the importance of evolving and adapting to change through skills training and planning, but also embracing the qualities that make us human.

Mac Montana, who works in finance and studies forensic accounting said, ‘I am thrilled to be selected as the winner of the PwC/Universitas 21 Innovation Challenge. The world of work is changing rapidly, and it is important for students to consider the global economic, social, and employment trends identified in PwC’s Workforce of the Future report.’

“As the next generation of executives, we have an opportunity to leverage these trends proactively to cultivate positive change: to strengthen the businesses we lead (or create), to open doors for employees we support, and to benefit the societies where we live.”

“I am excited for the changes the future will bring, and I look forward to my experience with PwC in Dubai.”

U21 Provost, Professor Bairbre Redmond said: “My warmest congratulations to all who participated and also thanks to the staff in the U21 member universities who encouraged and supported students to prepare their responses to the challenge. All competitors put forward high-quality, well-articulated thoughts in their videos and it was a pleasure to hear their ideas on the future of the world of work. I hope that their prizes and the online opportunities that will be provided to all who participated help them to prepare for rewarding careers.”

An international judging panel comprising PwC Partners and their client CEOs were asked to judge from entries from eight of U21’s member institutions. Judges included Patricia Hernandez (Director, Organization Development) and Laurent Matthys (Vice President Human Resources India, Middle East & Africa) both of Emerson Climate Technologies, joined by Joseph K Ho (Director – South East Asian Consulting) from PwC.

The runners up, Wing Tung Cheng from University of Hong Kong and Aloka Wijesooriya from McMaster University (see video below) will receive exclusive coaching sessions with the PwC Academy, tailored to their career needs. Wing Tung expressed her gratitude on being selected:

“The future of work is a topic that links with all of us. I am pleased and humbled to accept the award and look forward to receive the coaching session with the PwC Academy which will for sure benefit me.” Scroll down for the runners up presentations.

Sally Jeffery, Partner and Global Education Network Leader at PwC Middle East, was impressed with the calibre of students who entered, saying ‘It was again a real pleasure to view the responses of the students in round B. They were all so polished and clear in their thinking and it’s so encouraging to witness how optimistic they are about the opportunities ahead of them; their universities should be very proud of them. Our judges found it very rewarding too and we look forward to supporting the winner and runners up with their career preparations.’

The next group round (C) of the Innovation Challenge will open on Monday 21 January 2019; this challenge will include U21 institutions in Europe, South Africa and California.

Wing Tung Cheng (University of Hong Kong) – Runner Up

Aloka Wijesooriya (McMaster University) – Runner Up


[Read the original post on the U21 Website]

UConn Professor Recognized for “Improving World Order”

Dec. 4, 2018

The Human Rights Institute is delighted to announce that the work of three economic and social rights scholars, including Gladstein Committee Member and Professor Emeritus in Economics, Susan Randolph, have been jointly recognized for the 2019 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award. She, along with colleagues Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (NYU) and Terra Lawson-Remer (Stanford), are co-winners for the award that recognizes outstanding contributions to world order.  The prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Improving World Order honors those who take on issues of global concern and present ideas that inspire others and can lead to a more just and peaceful world.  Previous winners of the Grawemeyer Award for Improving World Order include Mikhail Gorbachev, honored for his 1988 address to the United Nations which led to the effective end of the Cold War and paved the way for the democratization of Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics; Trita Parsi, for his work toward reducing tensions in the Middle East; and Dana Burde, for her work examining the influence foreign-backed funding for education has on war-torn countries and how such aid affects humanitarian and peace-building efforts.

The ideas introduced in Randolph, Fukuda-Parr and Lawson-Remer’s book continues through the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, www.serfindex.org , targeted to scholars which provides internationally comparable data on countries’ economic and social right performance and links to relevant research identifying the policies and practices that advance economic and social rights, and the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, http://humanrightsmeasurement.org, which provides data visualization tools and data to better enable human rights advocates to identify critical human rights challenges and better hold governments to account.  Shareen Hertel, co-director of the Research Program on Economic and Social Rights (with Susan Randolph) at the UConn Human Rights Institute, notes: “The SERF Index has been foundational to quantitative analysis of economic rights. Scholars working across disciplines have used it to forge new tools for shaping policy and scholarship, driving more inclusive and dynamic approaches to economic development.”  Randolph, Fukuda-Parr, and Lawson-Remer co-founded the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, while Randolph co-founded and is the Economic and Social Rights Lead for the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI).

You can learn more about the recognition of these scholars’ work from the University of Louisville’s press release included below.


Human rights index wins Grawemeyer world order award

 LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An innovative framework designed to improve the ability of countries to expand human rights has won the 2019 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph were named co-winners for the ideas set forth in their book, Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights. The work, published in 2015 by Oxford University Press, offers a method for gauging how well nations are providing basic human rights of food, health, education, housing, work and social well-being to their citizens and suggests how they can advance such rights even further.

Fukuda-Parr is a professor in The New School’s Graduate Programs in International Affairs. Lawson-Remer is a fellow in Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Randolph is an associate professor emerita of economics at the University of Connecticut.

The trio used the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights as a basis for their work, creating a new tool, the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment Index, to measure nations’ progress toward human rights goals. Their book also sheds light on policies that advance human rights and explains how use of these policies and public pressure can lead to results.

Although the authors noted there has been steady progress in social and economic rights fulfillment over the past 30 years, they found that disparities still exist in every region of the world. Their measurement tool is aimed at helping governments and other organizations address those disparities.

In 2016, the book won the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section Best Book Award.

“All of our reviewers agreed this work can inform domestic and international policies, aid in the work of non-governmental organizations and provide a way to evaluate performance in a truly comparative perspective,” said Charles Ziegler, a University of Louisville political science professor who directs the world order award. “In short, the ideas expressed in this book can make a significant contribution to world order.”

Recipients of the 2019 Grawemeyer Awards are being named this week pending formal approval by university trustees. The annual, $100,000 prizes reward outstanding ideas in music, world order, psychology, education and religion. Winners visit Louisville in April to accept their awards and give free talks on their winning ideas.


UConn & Baden-Württemberg – One of Our Most Vital Relationships

STORRS – UConn’s collaboration with the German State of Baden-Württemberg is one of the University’s most important global partnerships.  On Wednesday, September 5th, such sentiment was expressed by UConn’s Provost Craig Kennedy and key faculty members as they welcomed Ulrich Steinbach, Deputy Minister at the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, for a visit to campus.

Hosted by Global Affairs, Deputy Minister Steinbach was accompanied by Martina Diesing, Program Officer with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts, and Lucius Lichte, Science Liaison Officer with the German Consulate in Boston. Their visit began at UConn Health in Farmington to meet with CEO & Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Geoghegan, as well as to view the facility and understand the challenges of financing a university hospital in the United States.

Their visit continued at UConn’s main campus at Storrs to discuss a range of issues including the tenure process and the financing of public institutions of higher education in the United States. The delegation had the chance to see the new Engineering and Science Building and the Innovation Partnership Building at the UConn Tech Park – showcasing UConn’s position at the forefront of advanced engineering and manufacturing education and research.

The Baden-Württemberg - Connecticut Exchange began in 1991 as the result of a legislative partnership between the two states. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education asked UConn to take over the administration of the program in July 2015. The exchange agreement invites all students enrolled in participating four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut to study at any participating institution of higher learning in Baden-Württemberg.

UConn’s highly successful EuroTech program is part of this exchange due to the strong engineering and manufacturing base in both Connecticut and Baden-Württemberg. The five-year program leading to a dual degree BA in German and BS in Engineering includes a six-month internship in Germany, and is designed to prepare students for a career in the global market by increasing their ability to work in a variety of cultural settings. Graduates typically work for German and American companies that operate in both Baden-Württemberg and Connecticut, such as Bosch, Procter & Gamble, Bayer, and Trumpf.

At a reception attended by key stakeholders across the University, Provost Craig Kennedy reinforced the close friendship between the two states, and expressed his hopes for future collaboration in the areas of research and innovation. Deputy Minister Steinbach echoed his sentiments, and announced that with UConn President Susan Herbst’s upcoming visit to the state, the government of Baden-Württemberg looks forward to building upon the success of current exchanges with the establishment of a new program grounded in UConn’s leadership in the field of human rights education.

For more information on the Baden-Württemberg Exchange, visit the program website. For additional information on the economic ties between the State of Connecticut and Germany, listen to this episode of MetroHartford Alliance’s Pulse of the Region Podcast, featuring a discussion with the German American Chamber of Commerce.

UConn and Brown to Partner on State Department Academic Fellowship



STORRS, September 5, 2018In 2013 the U.S. Department of State launched the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) aimed at strengthening leadership development in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural Fellowship exchanges, Southeast Asian regional exchanges, and seed grant funding, the objective for YSEALI is to strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia. Following successful implementation of the YSEALI Academic Fellowship from 2015-2017, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has selected UConn for a new cooperative agreement to implement a portion of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowship during 2018-2019, with a provision for two additional non-compete continuation years.

The new program, developed by UConn’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI), located within the Office of Global Affairs, utilizes a mix of workshops, group exercises, site visits throughout the Northeast region of the United States, cultural activities, and virtual learning to enhance participant understanding and leadership abilities. The program also includes a small grant competition process that will allow the YSEALI Fellows to develop and implement pilot social change projects in their local communities throughout Southeast Asia. To date, UConn’s YSEALI program has supported over 70 such projects. This year, in response to the ECA’s call for proposals to accommodate the next three years of the Initiative, GTDI has partnered with Brown University’s Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service. Brown has agreed to host 22 YSEALI Fellows each semester in a sister program that will run simultaneously.

"The Swearer Center is excited to partner with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and UConn on the YSEALI program," Mathew Johnson, Executive Director of the Swearer Center and Brown University Associate Dean for Engaged Scholarship, said. "We look forward to growing Brown University's international partnerships and sharing our approach to community engagement and social innovation with the YSEALI Fellows over the course of the next academic year."

Each semester, 44 college students and young professionals from 10 Southeast Asian countries will participate in an intensive academic transformative learning experience — starting in either Storrs, Connecticut or Providence, Rhode Island, and ending in their home countries with social entrepreneurship projects — to deepen their knowledge about the U.S. and acquire practical skills in the areas of social entrepreneurship and economic development.

“I am delighted that the State Department has renewed its commitment to the YSEALI program and views UConn as a valuable partner in the field of social entrepreneurship and global development,” said Daniel Weiner, Ph.D., Vice President for Global Affairs at UConn. “I am also excited about the opportunities for collaboration with Brown University. The YSEALI Fellows have been truly inspiring to the UConn community and I have no doubt they will bring the same vibrancy to Brown. I am eager to see how this cohort will put the knowledge and skills learned on our campuses to work for the betterment of their communities back home.”

The cooperative agreement provides for a base year and two non-compete continuation years, contingent on the availability of funding and successful performance, for an estimated total of $3.9 million ($1.3 million per year for three years).

For more information on the YSEALI program, please contact:

Roy Pietro, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator/Project Director)
Director, Global Training & Development Institute
Office of Global Affairs
University of Connecticut
Phone: 860-486-4252
E-mail: roy.pietro@uconn.edu.

For specific information on the YSEALI program at Brown University, please contact the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service at 401-863-2338 or swearer_center@brown.edu

For more information about YSEALI, visit: https://asean.usmission.gov/yseali and for more information on ECA programs, visit http://exchanges.state.gov, or contact eca-press@state.gov.

Flage State Uconn Brown Logos

UConn Professor Releases Fifth Disc with the London Symphony Orchestra

Kenneth Fuchs, D.M.A., Professor of Music Composition at UConn’s School of Fine Arts continued his series of recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra from August 21-22, 2017 at Abbey Road Studies. The disc will be released by Naxos, the world’s largest independent classical music label, on August 10, 2018, and will include three concerti and an orchestral song cycle for countertenor, under the baton of conductor JoAnn Falletta, along with producer Tim Handley and engineer Jonathan Allen:

• Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (“Spiritualist,” After Three Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler), with pianist Jeffrey Biegel
• Poems of Life, (Twelve Poems by Judith G. Wolf for Countertenor, Violoncello and Orchestra), with countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
• Glacier (Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra), with guitarist D.J. Sparr
• Rush (Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra), with saxophonist Timothy McAllister

Funding for this recording was provided by the Office of Global Affairs, the Vice President for Research, and the Dean of the School of Fine Arts at UConn; the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; the Joan & Alan Ades Taub Family Foundation; The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; the Georges Lurcy Educational and Charitable Trust; Diane and John Kim; Timothy McAllister; Bentley Shellahamer; and Judith G. Wolf.

Fulbright Scholar Reception

On Wednesday, November 9, 2017, the Global Affairs office hosted a reception to recognize UCONN as a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars for the 2016-17 academic year and to honor all of the university’s Fulbright Scholar alumni.  Our university was among the top 10 producers of Scholars from research institutions, with seven Fulbright Scholars on its faculty who taught and conducted research around the world throughout the 2016-17 academic year. They are:

Carol Auer, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, Core Scholar grant to Ecuador

Alexis Dudden, History, Core Scholar grant to South Korea

Kathryn Knapp, English, Core Scholar grant to Lithuania

Radenka Maric, Engineering, Core Scholar grant to Italy

Bandana Purkayastha, Sociology, Core Scholar grant to India

Nathaniel Trumbull, Geography, Core Scholar grant to Russia

Steven Wisensale, Human Development & Family Studies, Core Scholar grant to Japan

Since 1954, 176 UCONN faculty members have received Fulbright grants to conduct research or teach, many of whom have received multiple awards. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the US and other countries. Through 71 years of strong bipartisan support, the Fulbright Program has been able to address critical priorities related to the major global challenges of our time. It supports the long-term interests of the United States and the world, through building relationships, knowledge, and leadership of individuals and institutions across 165 countries.

The Fulbright Program has leveraged the power of diplomacy and academia to build an active network with thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Over the years, the Fulbright Program has not only delivered tremendous benefits for the University of Connecticut, but also for other universities and communities throughout the State. Through their participation in the Fulbright program, our faculty help the university realize its academic mission by bringing recognition to UCONN’s research and teaching, by being engaged global citizens.

It’s with great appreciation we recognize and honor ALL of UCONN’s Fulbright Scholars for 2016-17 and previous years!

UConn Awarded 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Grant

The University of Connecticut (UConn) has been selected as a grant award recipient of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund’s The Marlene M. Johnson Innovation Challenge sponsored by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and CAF Development Bank of Latin America. The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector partnership between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas—the leading education initiative in the Western Hemisphere—is to increase the annual number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 and bring 100,000 students to the United States by 2020. Innovation Fund grants fuel partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create new student exchange and training programs. Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, provide more student exchange opportunities and enhance regional education cooperation in the Americas.

Read More…




HEIDELBERG (May 12, 2017) – Twenty-five years have seen many satisfied students, parents, and faculty: Degrees earned, research projects conceived, and marriages celebrated.  Some have come and gone back home, and some have never left.

In May 2017, Connecticut and the German state of Baden-Württemberg celebrated the 25th anniversary of their academic exchanges at the University of Heidelberg.

Invited by the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, a Connecticut delegation with representatives from Connecticut College, Connecticut State Department of Education, Metro Hartford Alliance, The Mark Twain House and Museum, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, and Yale University traveled to Germany for the special occasion.

The exchange relationship began in 1991 as the result of a legislative partnership between the two states established in 1989. In 2015, the administration of the exchange for all participating Connecticut universities was transferred from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education to the University of Connecticut. Students from any of the Baden-Württemberg public research universities can spend a semester or year at any of the nine participating Connecticut universities or colleges. In turn, students from Connecticut can study at public research universities and Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) in Baden-Württemberg, including the Universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Hohenheim, Karlsruhe, Konstanz, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Tübingen, and Ulm. This is a one-to-one exchange program, meaning that student pay tuition to their home institution and then trade places.

Approximately 2,000 students—1,000 from each side—have participated in the exchange to date.

The Connecticut delegation, led by Professor Daniel Weiner, UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs, visited the University of Stuttgart; University of Mannheim; University of Tübingen; the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts; and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports before making their way to the official ceremonies hosted at the University of Heidelberg.

Petra Olschowski, Baden-Württemberg’s State Secretary for Science, Research, and the Arts, declared that the trip to Connecticut in March 2017, by Minister Theresia Bauer and the science committee of Baden-Wurttemberg’s state parliament, “only served to further convince us of the great potential that our partnership with Connecticut, and the USA in general, brings.”

Olschowski affirmed, “And this remains true, independent and regardless of any changes in the political situation in our countries. This stable partnership cannot be shaken.  Academic and scientific freedom, free and open science as lifeblood of our society, economy and democracy: This is the common conviction that unites us.”

Weiner highlighted that this state-to-state partnership has allowed Connecticut institutions of higher education to design innovative academic programs, such as UConn’s Eurotech dual Bachelor’s degrees in German and Engineering.  Eurotech students spend a whole year in Germany studying at Baden-Württemberg institutions of higher education and interning at engineering firms, such as Bosch, Porsche, and Daimler

“The occasion of the 25th anniversary gives us an opportunity to not only recognize our successes and encourage the continued mobility of our students, but to also open doors for faculty mobility programs and translational research collaboration,” said Weiner.

Both Olschowski and Weiner paid tributes to Renate Seitz, and Achim Niessen, both former founding coordinators of the exchange from Connecticut and Baden-Württemberg respectively.

Daisy Schilling, a Connecticut native and graduate from UConn’s Eurotech Program, recalled her academic experiences both in Connecticut and Baden-Württemberg.  She was joined by her now husband, Felix Schilling, who, as a student from Germany, studied at UConn.  The couple now live in Frankfurt.

Paige Orlofsky, a chemical engineering major from UConn’s Eurotech Program, described how nervous she was when she began her studies at Heidelberg. She attributed to the tremendous assistance from Elisabeth Trnka-Hammel and others who prepared her for her academic learning but also professional internship.  As a result, she felt that she was a different individual, and was more confident of herself.

The celebration featured the spirit of innovation and creativity of American writer Mark Twain, who resided in Connecticut and overcame his writer’s block in Heidelberg.  Heidelberg Emeritus Professor of English, Dr. Dieter Schultz, and Connecticut’s Mark Twain House and Museum Director of Education, Dr. James Golden shared the podium at the neo-renaissance Alte Aula (Old Hall) to emphasize the importance of travel and understanding of culture as powerful tools of combating ignorance.

To symbolize the collaboration between the two states, the celebration was highlighted by a performance of music selections by UConn Professor Kenneth Fuchs, a world-renowned classical composer.  The Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart, under the direction of Maestro Veronika Stoertzenbach, performed songs from Movie House (lyrics by John Updike), and Songs of Innocence and Experience (lyrics by William Blake).

“His music has touched us emotionally and we have studied it with pleasure. For each of my musicians there was an interesting and instrument specific part, so they have played the music with verve and delight,” said Stoertzenbach.

Fuchs regarded the German students’ “preparation of the music and everyone’s performances of it was absolutely superb. I can’t ask for anything more as a composer than to have my music performed as I imagined it, yet with the gifts of new insight into it and fine interpretation. And that is exactly what happened. I was deeply impressed by the musicianship and expression of the performers. I was especially thrilled to have such a meaningful interpretation... I truly admire [Stoerzenbach’s] sensitive and expressive conducting, which so perfectly matches my musical aesthetic.”

The celebration was hosted by Professor Dieter Heermann, Vice President of International Affairs at the University of Heidelberg, and Dr. Hans-Georg Wolf, Director of University Development, Internationalization, Higher Education Statistics, and Capacity Building at the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts.  In addition to the Connecticut delegation, government officials and senior university administrators from throughout the state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as past and current exchange students from both states attended the ceremony.




A Message Regarding the Executive Order on Immigration

Do you have questions or concerns how the Executive Order concerning immigration may impact you or others you know? UConn International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is holding information sessions in the International Center Lounge, located in McMahon Hall, which will cover all details of the order and how affected students/ scholars can plan for these changes. ISSS also urges any UConn student to notify their office immediately if they receive any notice regarding their visa. Students and scholars should utilize ISSS as a resource to answer questions and discuss concerns. Please visit http://isss.uconn.edu/2017/02/01/isss-information-on-executive-order.

Update Thursday, 2/2/17: UConn President Susan Herbst issued a second message to the UConn community on Thursday, February 2, 2017 which both informed the community on how the White House executive order on immigration is impacting the University as well as reaffirms UConn’s stance on this matter. President Herbst stated that: “As a university, we are steadfastly committed to openness, inclusion, and to treating our fellow human beings with dignity, compassion, and respect. The executive order issued last Friday is antithetical to these values.” Read the full message here: http://president.uconn.edu/…/2017-02-02-Herbst-Message-to-t…

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