The Center hosts weekly events, including seminars, workshops and conferences to cover a variety of topics of international significance. Many of the events are open to the public – providing an opportunity for USC students and faculty to interact with academics working at the cutting edge of the field.

Spring 2014 Event Schedule

Archive: Fall 2013 Schedule

"SSRC-USC Symposium: Possible Futures of Japan"

Friday, January 31 / 2:30pm - 5:00pm / Location: Davidson Conference Center, Board Room/ Speakers: Saori N. Katada (USC), Gene Park (LMU),  William J. Siembieda (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), L awrence Repeta (Meiji University)  / Discussants: T. J. Pempel (Berkeley),  Lieba Faier (UCLA),  Frank Baldwin (Former SSRC Program Director)  /

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdowns in March 2011 wreaked widespread destruction and suffering on northeast Japan. More than 50,000 evacuees remain in temporary housing and radioactive waste water is still leaking into the ocean near Fukushima. The disaster brought sweeping political changes and a strange buzzword—“Abenomics”—entered the lexicon. As Japan jousts with China in a dangerous territorial dispute and debates a controversial revision of the 1947 “peace” constitution, a quiet demographic crisis—a rapidly aging population—unfolds and seismologists warn of Big Ones ahead. A research project on Japan brought together 17 social scientists and others to look at the country’s near future. Will national resilience carry the day or will Japan falter economically and turn right politically? Experts on political economy, disaster management, and civil rights will discuss the outlook for Japan. 

"Human Right, Democracy, and Public Support for the Use of Force" -- Publishing in IR series

Wednesday, February 12 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Science Building, Room B40 / Speaker: Jessica Weeks, University of Wisconsin-Madison / Organized by: Matt Gratias, USC  /

Jessica Weeks is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Her research and teaching interests focus on the links between domestic politics and foreign policy, the domestic and international politics of authoritarian regimes, and how public opinion affects foreign policy.  


"Safari of the Soul: The Quest for Water in Africa" - An Evening with Dana and David Dornsife

Wednesday, February 12 / 7:00pm / Location: Town & Gown /Visions & Voices Signature Event /

The struggle for survival is incredibly difficult in many African countries. The Sahara Desert is expanding and few people live past their 50s. A major contribution to this difficult existence is the lack of clean drinking water, which leads to serious diseases and other problems. In a presentation rich with photos, USC trustee David Dornsife and his wife, Dana, will share their inspiring journey of bringing fresh water, sanitation and hygiene to rural African villages. They will discuss the ups and downs, successes, hard lessons, challenges and blessings they have experienced. Working with World Vision, their water projects have brought water to over 4,500,000 people in ten African countries, and should add 1,400,000 additional people in 2014. Don’t miss this important presentation on the problems of water access in Africa and the critical work being done to create healthy communities. 

"The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World"

Wednesday, February 19 / 3:00pm - 4:30pm / Location: VKC building, Room 300A (Berkes Lounge) / Speaker: T.V. Paul, McGill University  /

In 2013 Pakistan ranked 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Currently, Taliban forces occupy nearly 30% of the country, and it is perpetually in danger of becoming a failed state—with over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists’ hands. In recent years, many countries across the developing world have experienced impressive economic growth and have evolved into at least partially democratic states with militaries under civilian control. Yet Pakistan, a heavily militarized nation, has been a conspicuous failure. Its economy is in shambles, propped up by international aid, and its political system is notoriously corrupt and unresponsive, although a civilian government has come to power. Despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country is beset by widespread violence and terrorism. What explains Pakistan's unique inability to progress? Paul argues that the "geostrategic curse"—akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oil rich autocracies—is the main cause. 

"Children's Rights NGOs, the Hague Convention, and Intercountry Adoption" -- Publishing in IR series

Thursday, February 20 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room SOS B40 / Speaker: Marijke Breuning, University of North Texas  /

Dr. Breuning is Professor of Political Science at University of North Texas. She specializes in international relations. Her core research interests include foreign policy analysis, development cooperation and foreign aid with additional interests in ethnic politics, women/gender and politics, and the politics of intercountry adoption. She serves as a member of the inaugural editorial teams of Foreign Policy Analysis and the Journal of Political Science Education. Dr. Breuning is also a part of the four person editorial team of the American Political Science Review. 


Rape as a Weapon of War: A Conversation with the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura

Thursday, February 20 /6:00pm - 7:30pm / Location: Doheny Memorial Library, Room 240 / Speaker: Zainab Hawa Bangura /

Rape is increasingly being used as a tactic of war in conflicts across the globe, leaving devastated victims in its wake and an international justice system questioning just how to cope with the prosecution of such heinous crimes. Join us as Special Representative Bangura addresses the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, its consequence and legacy on its victims and society, issues of impunity and the search for international justice. Ms. Bangura will also discuss her personal experience living through conflict in her home country of Sierra Leone.  Clips from award-winning films on the topic will be presented and a Q & A period will follow. 

“International Security, Foreign Policy and Psychology: The State of the Art”

Tuesday, February 25 / 12:00pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40  / Speakers: Jonathan Mercer (University of Washington), Marcus Holmes (Fordham University), Joslyn Trager (Wesleyan Univesrity)/ Discussant: Brian Rathbun (USC)  /

Marcus Holmes, "Believing This and Alieving That: Theorizing Affect and Intuitions in International Politics"

Jonathan Mercer, "Feeling Like a State: Social Emotion and Identity"

Joslyn Trager, "Status, Humiliation, and Conquest"  

"Cooperation and Contestation in the American World Order"

Thursday, February 27 / 12:30pm-2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, SOS B40 / Speaker: Giacomo Chiozza, Vanderbilt University  /

Under what conditions can the subordinate states avoid acquiescing to the dominant state? Under what conditions can the dominant state expect that the subordinate states would align their foreign policy orientation with its own? To answer this puzzles, I develop a theory that assesses the mechanisms through which alternative domestic institutions affect leaders' ability to defy the authority of the dominant state. I test the theory by analyzing the levels of cooperation and foreign policy alignment that the United States obtains from the subordinate states in its security hierarchy. 


(EVENT POSTPONED) The Scholars' Circle Panel

Thursday, March 6 / 12:30pm-2:00pm / Location: TBA / Speakers: TBA / Organized by Maria Armoudian, USC /

More info TBA  

“International Relations and Comparative Politics: Intersections in Security Studies”

Monday, March 10 / 12:00pm-2:00pm / Location: Tutor Campus Center, Room 232 / Speakers: Todd Sechser (University of Virginia), Scott Gartner (Penn State University) /

Todd Sechser, ""Military Mechanization and the Duration of Civil Wars"

Scott Gartner, ""Counter Insurgency Warfare and Suicide in the Military"

"International Political Economy Panel: New Horizons in FDI Panel"

Monday, April 7  / 12:00pm-2:00pm / Location: Tutor Campus Center, Room 232 / Speakers: Allison Kingsley (University of Vermont), Benjamin A.T. Graham (USC), Stephan Haggard (UCSD) / Discussants:  Andrew Coe (USC) / Chair: Joshua Aizenman, USC /

Graham and Kingsley: "“Information, Speed, and Political Risk: How Capital Flows Differ"

Haggard: ""Engaging North Korea: Evidence from Firm-Level Surveys” 

"The European Parliaments Reaction to the Arab Spring – Public and Parliamentary Diplomacy Efforts in the Southern Mediterranean"

Wednesday, April 9 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room SOS B40 / Speaker: Michael Reinpricht, EU Visiting Fellow, USC  /

Abstract: At the onset of the popular upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and other MENA countries in the first weeks of 2011when mass demonstrations and uprisings in many Arab countries had taken Europe completely by surprise, the European Parliament had to react. It had to react fast and efficiently to stay true to its ambition to defend and promote democratic values, in particular the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, respect for human rights – and above all supporting emerging parliamentary democracies.

Michael Reinprecht will discuss concrete public and parliamentary diplomacy activities of the European Parliament in the Southern Mediterranean and its interaction with the EU’s diplomacy arm, the European External Action Service. The seminar will cover the immediate reaction of the European Parliament to the “Arab Awakening” and its’ very recent efforts in the Southern Neighborhood as well as look into the impact these activities had to the region, to democracy building and the transformation process many MENA countries are undergoing today.

USC-Baylor Exchange Series: Foreign Policy Panel

Wednesday, April 16  / 12:00pm-2:00pm / Location: Tutor Campus Center, Room 232 / Speakers:  Eric Fleury (Baylor University), Eric Hamilton (USC), Mauricio Rivera Celestino (USC) /

Eric Fleury: “Ideology, National Interest, and Foreign Policy in Dictatorships”

Mauricio Rivera Celestino: "The Contingent Support for Human Rights: How Violent Crime Influences State Repression" 


Workshops & Conferences

USC Center on Public Diplomacy 2014 Annual Conference -- “A New Era in Cultural Diplomacy: Rising Soft Power in Emerging Markets”

February 28, 2014 / 8:15am - 4:00pm / Location: Annenberg Auditorium / Organizer: Philip Seib, USC / 

NAFTA at TWENTY: Trade, Transformation, and the China Factor"

Wednesday, March 5 / 1:00pm-6:00pm / Location: Davidson Conference Center / Organized by Carol Wise, USC /

"Financial Adjustment in the Aftermath of the Global Crisis 2008-09: New Global Order?"

April 18-19, 2014 / Organizers: Joshua Aizenman and Robert Dekle, USC/ Co-sponsored by the Journal of International Money and Finance and USC School of International Relations

CIS Junior Scholar Research Symposium

May 2, 2014 / Organizers: Nukhet Sandal, Brown University, and Patrick James, USC / Featured postdoctoral fellows:  Michal Ben-Josef Hirsch (Harvard University),  Timothy Junio (Stanford University), Mauricio Rivera Celestino (USC), Thomas Zeitzoff (Princeton University), Noelle Brigden (Brown University) /

3rd Annual IFJP Conference: “Gender and Crises in Global Politics”

May 9-11, 2014 / Location: Davidson Conference Center / Organizer: Laura Sjoberg, University of Florida / Co-sponsored by the International Feminist Journal of Politics, USC School of International Relations, and USC Levan Institute for Humanities & Ethics

Southern Energy Corridor Conference

May 17, 2014 / Location: Town & Gown, USC / Organizer: James Coyle, Chapman University / Sponsored by Chapman University and The Pacific Council on International Policy’s Eurasia Member Committee; co-sponsored by USC School of International Relations / More details TBA