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SFS alumna Ambassador Nancy E. Soderberg was recently included in President Obama's announcement of intent to appoint several individuals to key administration posts. Amb. Soderberg will be appointed for Chairperson of the Public Interest Declassification Board.

Read more about Amb. Soderberg's background and the other appointees from the White House.

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SFS staffers Sarah Gentry (CLAS), Melissa Spence (PJC), Lisa Keathley (Career Development Center) and Rosie O'Neil (IBD), take a quick break from the festivities. Faculty and staff members gathered to wrap their presents for the Adopt a Family program, where an SFS group sponsored a family's holiday.

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Sinan Ciddi, executive director  of the Institute of Turkish Studies has decided to run the DC 2012 marathon to raise money for the victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey. Read his letter below:


Dear Friends and Colleagues and all Turkey Enthusiasts!

The recent earthquake in Van, Turkey has resulted in nothing less than a catastrophe for the residents of the province.Families have been separated either through death and/or dislocation. The cold dark winter in this part of the country is long and taxing and many people are without a home and having to live in tents. It will be especially hard on the young and elderly. Although the Turkish state is diverting its full attention and resources to the region, this does not prevent us from contributing to their cause.

As the face of ITS, I have decided to once again put on my running shoes, 13 years after being a competitive runner and run the DC 2012 Marathon on March 17, 2012 and raise money for the earthquake victims. In short: I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR GENEROUS FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION IN SUPPORT OF MY 26 MILE FEAT.

All donations will go directly to the earthquake relief fund and I have personally paid the $102 registration fee. My only selfish gain from this will (may) be that I regain my early 20's fitness and I will train seriously for the event. To DONATE: PayPal: Click here to make a donation via PayPal. I also accept checks and cash donations should you wish to appear in person at my office!

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This October marks the eighth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. As the month comes to a close, the School of Foreign Service is proud to announce the release of a special issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, entitled “International Engagement on Cyber.” The issue features the work of distinguished members of the intelligence community, with articles on a range of timely and important topics, such as China’s developing cyber policy, counterinsurgency in cyberspace, Russian geo-political strategy in social network investments, and an implementation plan for the Obama Administration’s International Strategy for Cyberspace. The issue also includes transcripts of the International Engagement on Cyber conference that was held at Georgetown University in March 2011, sponsored by the Institute for Law, Science, and Global Security and the Atlantic Council. To order a copy, contact gjia@georgetown.edu or visit http://journal.georgetown.edu.

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The final event of the Michael Jurist Distinguished Alumni Roundtable Series drew dozens of students thinking about careers in the Foreign Service to hear from someone with a lifetime of tales to tell.

Ambassador Ed Brynn, the acting director of the State Department's Office of the Historian, said he made the right career move early on in pursuing assignments in smaller embassies in Africa. In addition to the inherent challenge of the job -- "the life of a diplomat is to execute policy overseas," he said – he advised students that they may rise more quickly through the ranks "if you're not pancaked into large embassies."

Amb. Brynn has been chief of mission in Mauritania and Gambia and ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ghana as well as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs.  He said each diplomat discovers his or her own style, but it usually involves figuring out how to be "sophisticated and amiable" without being excessively cozy.

Amb. Brynn's time in Africa included staffing President Clinton's address at Black Star Square in Ghana, which featured the largest crowd (1.8 million people) ever to see a U.S. president speak overseas. He also said he was probably the only person in the room who had witnessed a slave auction -- in Mauritania, where the slavery has endured in the poorest regions.

Students asked sharp questions about dealing with the African media, considering a master's degree before entering the Foreign Service and being on the fence regarding a State Department career. To those in the last group, he said, "Take the [Foreign Service] Exam. It's a wonderful exam to take, it's free and it opens up a lot of options."

He added, "If the Foreign Service does not appeal to you, think about a career with an international organization that is promoting human rights and improving the human condition."

The Michael Jurist Distinguished Alumni Roundtable Series was named in memory of Michael Jurist (F’07) and was designed to expose School of Foreign Service undergraduates to the rich and varied accomplishments of SFS alumni. Learn more at sfs.georgetown.edu/jurist.

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Georgetown Women in International Affairs (GWIA) kicked off the fall semester with a well attended wine-and-cheese introductory mixer followed a few days later by an intimate talk with Ana Palacio, who was the first woman to serve as Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain.

The mixer saw record attendance with students mingling and learning about how to get more involved with the group after listening to Dean Lancaster wish them a good year and encourage them to help each other and work hard. The students got a chance to chat with Dean Lancaster and Associate Dean Jennifer Windsor and ask for some advice – something they will continue to do through GWIA as the year progresses.

A week later, GWIA sponsored the talk by Palacio. A lawyer by profession, specializing in international and European Union law, arbitration and mediation, Palacio has held senior positions in the government, business and academic worlds. She has been appointed senior fellow and lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Palacio spoke about the necessity of jumping into the unknown and dealing with life’s “trump cards,” such as her cancer diagnosis. “I was told in a quite a brutal way: You are dying,” Palacio told the group, but she said she decided to live with cancer not because of cancer and didn’t hide it. “This period is where I realized there is much more generosity than you think,” she said.

“One has to be ready to adapt to new circumstances,” Palacio told about 30 people in McGhee Library on September 20. “Had I just thrown in the towel then can you imagine what I would have missed?”

Palacio said she’s always had jobs and has jumped from job to job when the opportunities presented themselves.“When you jump and accept risk, you are rewarded,” she said. But now she’s living what she calls a “composite” life, doing different things that interest her like consulting, writing and teaching. She said that the best way to deal with life’s transitions or when it comes time to reinvent oneself, to do it enthusiastically and to stop wishing for an old life.

From there, students started asking Palacio for advice.

“In order to get anywhere, we have to work much harder than men,” she candidly told the group of mostly women. She followed by saying that women should make sure to pick something they’re passionate about as careers since they’re going to have to work very hard.

Palacio reiterated the importance of networking, urging the students to attend as many events, speeches, gallery openings – all different kinds of events – as possible because they never know who they will meet or what they will learn. She stressed the importance of relationships and generosity. “Helping people without expecting anything in return is the best investment you can make in your future,” Palacio said.

Palacio wrapped up by saying that there are no recipes for a successful career and life, but to not be timid.

“Be bold. Just go for it,” Palacio said.

Jen Lennon | October 2011

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Erik Mortensen, a student at SFS, was recently named the winner of the Foreign Affairs Student Essay Contest sponsored by Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA).

Mortensen’s essay, "A Tale of Two Wests," argues that "although 'the West and the rest paradigm' is outdated, the United States and Europe can continue to play decisive roles on the world stage." Mortensen will receive a prize of $1,000 and will be honored at a "Back to School" event and reception at the offices of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York at 12:15 pm on October 21. Students who wish to attend the event must R.S.V.P. in advance to educators@cfr.org.

For more information on the winning essay and the contest itself, check out Foreign Affairs.

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Some in the Georgetown community may have seen a story in The Hoya a few weeks ago about a new opportunity for undergraduates at the School of Foreign Service, centered on research.

The School of Foreign Service plans to offer undergraduate students a way to delve deeper into the curriculum through the Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellow program starting next semester.

With the help of the Dean's Leadership Fund, fellows will be paid $9 per hour to research, collaborating with faculty for semester-long research projects. The pilot version will be open to a mix of 12 freshmen and sophomores. While there are other on-campus opportunities for faculty mentorship, the Mortara program seeks to distinguish itself by retaining its student researchers, according to Dean of the School of Foreign Service Carol Lancaster.

Professors who participate in the program will nominate BSFS students from the freshman proseminar courses in which they are enrolled during this semester.  Read the full Hoya piece -- and watch this space for more information about which students are selected and how they will be involved in the presentation of research!

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told participants in the first U.S.-India Higher Education Summit at Georgetown today that the “highest levels of our two governments are committed” to furthering educational partnerships.

More than 300 college and university leaders gathered at the summit, sponsored by the U.S. and Indian governments, to discuss strategies teaching, research and student- exchange partnerships between the two countries.

“For those of you who are watching the great rise of India, I hope you share our excitement that this largest of all democracies, this wildly pluralistic nation, is on the path to providing greater benefits for their citizens within the context of freedom and opportunity,” Clinton said. “They know as we know from our own experience that democracy depends on education.”

School of Foreign Service Dean Carol Lancaster called Clinton’s talk “inspiring” and praised her call for the summit participants to consider education “an international challenge and opportunity.”

“India, with its enormous size, rich culture, longstanding democracy, rapidly rising importance in the world and great educational needs, should be a special priority for the U.S.,” Lancaster said.

For the full story on the US-India Higher Education Summit and for the live webcast, go to the Georgetown University website. 

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The Center for International and Regional Studies at SFS-Q hosted the first of a monthly dialogue series with a presentation by post-doctoral fellow Mari Luomi who shared her research on environmental sustainability in the region.

“The regional governments’ dependence on fossil fuels, fossil fuel revenues, and the social contracts based on these revenues produces unsustainability,” she argued. The ‘business-as-usual’ of Gulf economies and societies is increasingly challenged by a number of environmental and natural resource-related pressures, she said. “The most urgent ones originate from within the states: fossil fuel dependence, soaring population, economic growth, high per capita consumption and waste of natural resources, and social contracts that include abundant fuel and utility price subsidies,” Luomi said, adding: “We live in a constructed illusion of plentiful and limitless natural resources.”

Read more about Luomi's presentation at Gulf Times.

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