Christine Wilkes CMC '16
In December, Brazil's Bolsa Familia program celebrated its tenth anniversary. Bolsa Familia, as well as Mexico's Oportunidades program, is part of a new wave of social welfare initiatives called conditional cash transfers (CCT). Since the 1990's, developing countries around the world have been experimenting with CCT programs. The idea has spread rapidly due to the early success of programs in Brazil and Mexico. Conditional cash transfer programs target low income families, offer them monthly stipends for meeting the requirements of the program, and allow the government to collect data to evaluate impact of the initiative.
Hyo Sung Joo CMC '15
Source: Twin Cities Daily Planet
With a 47.8 billion dollar budget request for 2014, the U.S. dominates in the provision of foreign aid. The main American motive behind aid is to, as stated by the Department of State, “provide the people and programs necessary to protect U.S. interests, promote peace and ensure America’s leadership in the world.” However, in the area of food aid, the current system is flawed in that it is not only failing to make a sustainable and positive difference for recipients, but also that it has negative externalities for America itself. By conducting a case study of Ethiopia, a longstanding recipient of U.S. food aid, this paper examines an alternative process, locally and regionally procured (LRP) food aid, as a possible choice for food aid to Ethiopia and other applicable nations.
Harry Arnold CMC '17
In a stunning revelation of bipartisan agreement, the heads of both the House and Senate intelligence committees recently proclaimed that the United States is not safer as a country than it was two years ago. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House committee, and Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairman of the Senate committee, cited the increasing threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists across the globe. On an even more alarming note, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently testified that al-Qaeda is just as great a threat as it was a decade ago.  Such assertions may seem contradictory to the recent successes of the Obama administration, which include the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the deaths of other high level al-Qaeda members via drone strikes. However, according to Congressman Rogers these recent successes have only “fostered a false sense of security” among the public.  The unfortunate reality is that the threat posed by international terrorists has significantly exacerbated since 9/11.
Umar Farooq CMC '17
The following article discusses the legal text of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We have provided the text of the Treaty below the article for reference.
With the announcement of a new agreement between Iran and Western powers, the international community rejoiced at the diplomatic breakthrough between the countries. While some aspects of the deal, such as capping Iranian enrichment at five percent, were clear, other aspects have been interpreted differently by various parties. In a Sunday morning television broadcast, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated the agreement affirmed the “right…that Iran can continue its enrichment.”  The text of the agreement does not explicitly guarantee Iran a right to enrichment.  Instead, it avoids the issue of the right to enrichment all together. And it is understandable why. A meeting earlier this month between the P5+1 and Iran collapsed over the issue of whether or not Iran had a right to enrich uranium. While Iran insists it is entitled to this right, Western opposition has yet to acknowledge this right. This poses an interesting question as to whether or not the right to nuclear enrichment is guaranteed in international law, and whether or not it can be superseded. By understanding the nature of this debate further, it can shed light on how the West and Iran might be able to achieve further compromise and new agreements in the future.
Henry Johnson CMC '14
Foreign Shi’i fighters have flocked to a suburb south of Damascus to protect a religious shrine from extremist Sunni groups. The golden-domed Sayyeda Zainab mosque is a pilgrimage destination for Shi’is, who believe it entombs the remains of Hazrat Zainab, daughter of the first Shi’i Imam, Ali, and granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout the Syrian conflict, opponents of the Syrian regime have shelled the shrine, reportedly damaging one of its minarets and killing its caretaker in separate incidents. The shrine’s besiegement by radical Sunni fighters rallied Shi’i militiamen from Iraq and Lebanon to its defense. Recently, President Bashar al-Assad and Iran have incorporated the foreign fighters into their broader campaign of establishing Damascus as a regime stronghold. Iran appears to play an increasingly outsized, although shadowy role in supervising the Syrian government’s war effort.
Shaundra Ullman CMC '14
Upon meeting Thanassis Cambanis, you may not realize that he has spent years in some of the most devastated and war torn regions on earth. Self-deprecating and humorously frank, Mr. Cambanis doesn’t immediately give the impression of the renowned journalist and scholar that he is. Besides writing a column for The Boston Globe Ideas section, “The Internationalist,” and working as a correspondent for The Atlantic and contributor to other prestigious publications, Mr. Cambanis teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and at the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs. Quite the pedigree for someone yet to hit middle age.
The child of immigrants, Mr. Cambanis spent his childhood traveling back and forth from summers in Greece. Growing up in America, he therefore had an acute awareness of being American but also of how America is viewed by the parts of the world that depend on American strength. He had the perspective of the great power and was privy to the trials and frustration of its dependents. But what really got him interested and invested in his life’s work? The war stories told to him by his Greek family – an emotional impulse to delve into international relations’ greatest issues.
Henry Johnson CMC '14
A hundred Somalilanders turned their eyes to me as I took the microphone from the woman next to me. I tapped her shoulder and waited for her to finish hurling accusations at the President of Somaliland, who nervously shifted in his seat at the front of the room. “There is killing happening everywhere in that region, please stop!” The event moderator anxiously tapped his pen on the table. He gazed at me and twitched his head in the direction of the woman before cutting her off in his booming voice. “Ok, do you have a question please,” he asked. She ignored him and could not stop, like a brake less car rocketing downhill. “People—women and children—are dying, anyone want to fact check, please come to me!” I mustered the courage to face her. In her glassy eyes, I saw wells of sadness and rage. I gently touched her arm holding the microphone and she surrendered it with a teary look of exhaustion. She sat down in a swirl of emerald green silk and her blue hijab no longer poked above the seated crowd. I snatched her free speech. Most of the audience looked on at me approvingly, but I was not sure if I approved of myself. Everyone now waited for a response from the president.
By Jenya Green '16
Saudi Arabia remains of vital influence throughout the Arab world. Even before the State of Israel was established in 1948, the Kingdom has sought to influence an outcome to “the Palestinian Issue.” Saudi Arabia has devoted considerable energy to influencing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. While its past attempts to create peace have been no more successful than those of the United States, Saudi Arabia could play a significant role in the peace process. Saudi Arabia’s inherent interest in establishing peace in the Arab world and its influence over other Arab states make the country a crucial player in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. If a formal agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis is established, Saudi Arabia could have a say in Israel’s subsequent integration and acceptance into the region.
June Kim CMC '14 and Christine Wilkes CMC '16
"Journalism was like an amazing passport that gave me permission to go out into the world and listen to people's stories." Evan Osnos' interest in journalism sparked early in his high school career. As he began writing for his high school paper as well as the local newspaper, Osnos realized that journalism was a great excuse to constantly meet new people and learn about the world. He grew up overseas because his father was a reporter, "So I've always had this idea that you could be a foreign correspondent and that could be a way to live a life."
Osnos began living this way of life himself as the Chicago Tribune's Middle East correspondent in 2002 and then later as the Beijing Bureau Chief. "I had gotten the China bug in college and ever since I studied abroad in Beijing, I continued looking for ways to go back," he said. Three years later, Osnos joined The New Yorker as the magazine's Beijing correspondent and continued to specialize in writing about topics related to China. His blog for The New Yorker, called "Letters from China," is full of fascinating stories about the individuals he encountered in China as well as opinion articles about China's political and social issues. Osnos is now The New Yorker's correspondent in Washington D.C., where he writes about politics and foreign affairs.
Maresa Carnevale CMC '16
The scene has become hauntingly familiar in mainstream media: a well-known public place targeted as the center of a violent attack. In Tiananmen Square, a common tourist destination in Beijing, at 12:05 PM on October 28th, a Jeep plowed through the crowd of tourists before crashing into a wall and catching on fire. However, an event that would usually be met with the flashing lights and klaxon horns of the breaking news report in the mainstream western media was initially greeted with silence in China. Media coverage on the story was limited in the first few hours and the internet censors went into high gear to prevent the spread of information, although information still leaked through social media. The scene of the crash was promptly barricaded and all evidence was removed within two hours. At 2:00 PM a Chinese media source released the first report detailing the attack that was corrected five hours later to include the accurate number of victims: 5 dead and 38 injured. Two days later the Chinese Communist Party (the CCP) released a statement that the attack had been perpetuated by a Uyghur family linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, an organization that has been on the State Department’s Terrorist Exclusion List for a decade.