SIR News

SIR is part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of  Letters, Arts and Sciences. Once of the most popular majors in the College, we currently serve more than 800 undergraduate majors.SIR was founded as an offshoot of the 1922 Pan-American Conference on Education that brought together chancellors and university presidents from 22 countries to discuss the importance of education and to foster international understanding.

Professor Robert English is currently the Director of the School. 

Call for Nominations for the J. Ann Tickner Book Prize 2015

SIR is Pleased to Announce the Call for Nominations for the J. Ann Tickner Book Prize 2015

The J. Ann Tickner Book Prize honors outstanding new work in the tradition of Tickner’s pioneering scholarship.

Administered biennially by the School of International Relations (SIR) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, the prize includes a $1,000 award and an invitation to USC to give a formal lecture. Four copies of books to be considered must be sent to the committee by the deadline of August 15th, 2015. Nominations must be in English, and have a copyright date between July 2013 and June 2015.

The winner will be announced in Spring 2016, and the Honoree Lecture will be scheduled for academic year 2016 – 2017.

Please contact Christina Gray for submission address: grayc at usc dot edu

Jeopardy Night: Undergraduates vs. Professors

Arranged by the Executive Board of the International Relations Undergraduate Association (IRUA), participating teams included Glimpse from the Globe,  Model United Nations, the Southern California International Review Journal (SCIR), IRUA, and a team of Professors, including professors Peet, Godinez, and Director English. The professors dominated this intense battle of wits, leaving SCIR in second place and the students well aware that they were outmatched—for now.

2015 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award Finalist

Congratulations to Katrina Miranda (center, photo). SIR advisor Katrina is a Council of Academic Advisors Outstanding Academic Advisor finalist! SIR is very proud of you, Katrina!

To learn more about SIR advisement, click here.

To read about more news, click here.

Leaders of the World at USC; Future Leaders in USC Classrooms

It's graduation time, and you hear a lot of talk about future leadership: some of the students in SIR classrooms and walking in Commencement this year could be global leaders in several decades. At SIR, it really is the truth: Prime Minister of Japan Shizo Abe took three semesters of classes in International Relations, Political Science, History at USC. Abe was on campus this month, and visited with USC officials and professors, including SIR Professor Saori Katada. Read more about the visit to USC here, and in the LA Times.

Congratulations, SIR Students! 2015 FLAS, Boren, and Fulbright

The FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowship is funded by the United States Department of Education and is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at USC. Of the 13 Summer Fellowships, SIR students took four of them. Congratulations to Ana Cuellar-Aguilar, David Lee, Kenneth Lee and Amira Perryman.

Fulbright U.S. Student Grant

Justin Bogda completed a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and International Relations from USC in 2014. As a recipient of the Mexico Binational Business Internship grant, Justin will enroll in university courses and intern with a company in Mexico City. Justin aims to help increase cooperation in clean energy development between the U.S. and Mexico. After completion of his Fulbright grant year, Justin will pursue a joint degree in Public Policy and Law and go on to work in green-technology policy and business development.

Henrietta Levin completed her Bachelor’s in International Relations and Master’s in Public Diplomacy at USC in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Henrietta will research Norwegian peacebuilding efforts, focusing on how institutional capacity and limitation are catalyzed by its status as an individual nation-state. She will also take Pace and Conflict courses and the University of Oslo to become immersed in the Norwegian peacebuilding perspective. Following Fulbright, Henrietta hopes to join the U.S. Foreign Service as a Public Diplomacy Officer.

Melissa Montalvo is an International Relations major with minors in both Business Law and French who graduated from USC in 2013. Melissa looks forward to her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship assignment in the Mexican public school system. She plans to create an after-school leadership program for adolescent girls to help them realize their full potential. Upon returning to the U.S., Melissa intends to pursue a Master’s of Arts in Comparative and International Studies in Education. She is particularly interested in the challenges and barriers to educational achievement for women and marginalized populations.

Boren Scholarship

Kayla Caldwell will spend the 2015-2016 academic year in Dakar, Senegal on the Boren Scholarship. She is a double major in International Relations and Economics with a minor in French. While in Senegal, Kayla will live with host family and focus on her already advanced French and beginning Wolof skills. After her program, Kayla will conduct original research through her Honors Thesis Seminar course and plans to apply for a Peace Corps education assignment in Francophone Africa. Kayla aims to go on to earn a Master’s degree in International Development, and eventually pursue a career at USAID in the Africa Bureau or Education Office.

Colin Conwell is a double major in International Relations and Cognitive Science with a minor in Comparative Literature. Through the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) at the University of Florida, Colin will begin an intensive study of French and Wolof this summer. In the fall, Colin will relocate to Dakar, Senegal to continue language study through November of 2015. Colin’s academic interest lies at the intersection of international security, psychology and comparative literature. Upon graduation, Colin hopes to fulfill his Boren government service requirement as an analyst or field agent of an intelligence collection agency such as the DIA or CIA.

Alexis Dale-Huang is double majoring in International Relations (Global Business) and East Asian Languages & Cultures. Beginning December 2015, Alexis will spend nine months in China studying in both Beijing and Shanghai. Alexis will hone her Mandarin skills and examine China’s political ideologies, economic interests, and cultural practices to understand China’s perspective in international affairs. After completing her senior year at USC, Alexis aims to have a career in the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).

Jason Tse will spend one year in Tajikistan studying Persian while on the Boren Scholarship. He is majoring in International Relations with a minor in Middle East Studies. Jason is also a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship in Persian and will devote 10 weeks to a dense language-learning program in Dushanbe, Tajikistan before the start of his Boren Scholarship. Going forward, Jason hopes to work as a Civil Servant in USAID, particularly in the Bureau of Asia. He is also considering a future with the Department of State, especially within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Congratulations, Professor Kang!

Congratulations to Professor David Kang! Professor Kang won a prestegious USC Mellon Award for mentoring postdoctoral students. Kang is Director of the Korean Studies Institute, and Professor of International Relations and Business.

Bombing is Easy, Diplomacy is Hard

“I like carrots, not sticks,” said former Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panić when asked if parties to protracted civil conflict sometimes need more than just economic rewards—in fact, military threats—to bring them to the bargaining table.  “We do too much bombing, not enough talking.  Bombing usually just makes things worse.”

In his recent appearance at USC’s Ronald Tutor Center, Panić recalled the Dayton Accords of 1995, an intensive negotiation overseen by the U.S. that finally ended the bloody, three-year Bosnian War.  “I had been pushing President Clinton to do this since my time as Yugoslav Prime Minister,” said Panić.  “He finally did it, and we stopped the bloodshed.  And it’s the same approach that could stop the fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists.  Ukraine needs its own Dayton.”

Particularly fascinating to the largely student audience was the story of how an American pharmaceutical pioneer became Yugoslav Prime Minister in the first place. 

Professor Robert English, Director of USC’s School of International Relations, reviewed Panić’s biography—from a childhood in interwar Serbia, to service with the anti-Nazi Partisans in World War Two, up through his emigration to America and enrollment at USC in the mid-1950s.  “You don’t realize what a land of opportunity you live in,” Panić told the assembled students, emphasizing that while technology changes, a combination of creativity and extremely hard work still bring success.  For Panić, after building a basement laboratory into the global pharmaceutical concern ICN, that success brought a most unexpected opportunity in 1992:  an invitation to return to his native Belgrade and become Prime Minister.  

“What CEO has not fantasized about running an entire country?”  Panić asked.  “For a businessman, the greatest glory is to take over a bad company and turn it around. And with Yugoslavia at that dark time, I had a really bad one.”  

Panić already had experience doing business in countries where communism had recently collapsed, including Serbia, and so he was confident in his plans for reviving the economy.  What he did not foresee was that those plans would be blocked by the nationalist ambitions of Serbia’s then-president Slobodan Milošević,“not just a dangerously unstable leader, but a well-practiced and exquisite liar.”  

Panic’s plans depended on halting the inter-ethnic fighting in neighboring Bosnia and getting United Nations sanctions against Yugoslavia lifted.  But Milošević continued to fan extreme Serbian nationalism and fuel the conflict.

Panić sought support abroad—in France and the UK, at the United Nations—but even his stirring address before the General Assembly in September 1992 could not change the equation so long as Milošević clung to power.  Thus Panić decided to confront Milošević directly and take him on in the presidential elections of December 1992.  Polls showed Panić with a large lead in popularity—and large crowds greeted wherever he campaigned in Serbia—but Milošević’s cronies controlled both access to TV and the counting of ballots.

Panić today is philosophical about the lack of Western support he received for his peacemaking bids of the early 1990s, efforts that he says could have ended the carnage much earlier.  “What’s important is that we finally did Dayton, which serves as a model for US leadership to negotiate an end to other conflicts.” 

Panić recalled his 1991 meeting with an aide in the Leningrad Mayor’s office responsible for encouraging Western investment—a certain Vladimir Putin.  “I don’t think he’s crazy at all,” said Panić.   “With American leadership we can find a deal that serves everybody’s interests and stops the fighting in Ukraine.  We need another Dayton”  Panić closed by encouraging those students intending on diplomatic careers to bring a fresh perspective to the State Department and Foreign Service.  “Bombing is easy, diplomacy is hard, but it is worth it to get a lasting peace.”

Laurie Brand's New Book: Understanding Uprisings

Professor Laurie Brand introduces a new factor, that of national narratives. Brand argues that such official stories, which are used to reinforce the right to rule, justify policies, or combat opponents, deserve careful exploration if we are to understand the full range of tools available to respond to crises that threaten a leadership's hold on power. Covering more than six decades of political, economic, and military challenges in Egypt and Algeria, Official Stories demonstrates how leaderships have attempted to reconfigure narratives to confront challenges to their power, and how leaderships may miscalculate, thereby setting in motion opposition forces beyond their control. More here...

Two SIR Students Named Boren Scholars for 2014

Kayla Foster is sophomore from Rockton, Illinois.  Kayla will be studying for one year at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan while on the Boren Scholarship. She plans to join the Model United Nations club on campus where she’ll have the opportunity to discuss international affairs with her peers. While abroad, Kayla will focus on improving her Japanese while working towards her senior capstone project on Japanese military policy. After graduation from USC, Kayla plans to attend graduate school and study security affairs. She wants to become a Foreign Service Officer who contributes to the United States’ relationship with Japan through understanding of Japanese policy, especially in regards to Japan’s changing military role in the Pacific.

Benjamin Miles is a native of Los Angles and a transfer student from Santa Monica College. While in high school, Benjamin won the prestigious Tanaka Foundation Scholarship and spent a year in Japan attending classes. He went on to spend four months in South Korea participating in a cultural internship working with Korean students. Benjamin plans to use the Boren Scholarship to broaden his understanding of East Asia. Next year, he will live with a host family and study at Peking University in China. Benjamin’s goal is to work in the Department of State as an Information Resource Officer. In this role, he will use his knowledge of East Asia to assist diplomatic officials find key information critical to national security.

Professor Steve Lamy Receives Mellon Mentoring Award

Photo courtesy of the Daily Trojan

April 23, 2014

The USC Mellon Mentoring Award recognizes faculty who consistently:

  1. Offer sound counsel and valuable information to their mentees in order to advance and develop the mentee’s own path to academic and professional success.
  2. Generously share their valuable time and expertise in critiquing the mentee’s work.
  3. Help to create a vital and engaged academic community in their school and at USC.
  4. Involve peers and students in publications, grants and conferences, as well as readily sharing knowledge of such opportunities.
  5. Make others aware of the contributions and value of their mentees.
  6. Serve as role models for their colleagues by maintaining high standards for excellence within their own discipline and at the level of the larger University.

As both a professor of International Relations and Vice Dean of Academic Programs, Prof. Lamy has dedicated his time and efforts to building relationships with numerous students. Often meeting with students to provide guidance academically and professionally. Prof. Lamy has served as mentor to many students over the years, helping to guide them towards meeting their goals.

Green Energy, Green Politics and Change in China

Peggy Liu, co-founder of JUCCCE (Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy) came to speak to students at USC about the broad mandate of the NGO, which is working to combat global warming by targeting policy makers and socio-cultural practices in China.

Peggy's TED talk made the point that China's pollution problems are problems for everyone, problems for the globe.

At USC, she went several steps futher and discussed projects that were making a difference, and the strategies that were working for her NGO.

 In addition, she spent extra time meeting with motivated students and Professor Carol Wise after the main lecture. Students had the opportunity to discuss the issues in more detail, and to talk about the prospects for internships and collaboration on projects related to the greening of consumer culture, China and sustainability, and business-non-profit collaboration. 

Some support for this program came from the Friedheim Family, in memory of Amy Friedheim (USC '81).

Arctic Paradoxes

SIR hosted a lecture by Lassi Heininen Professor, University of Lapland (Finland) Thursday, March 6, 4:00-6:00, VKC 300a. In addition to the University of Lapland, Dr. Heininen also holds an appointment at the University of Oulu (Finland) and lectures at Akueryi University (Iceland), Trent University (Canada) and Petrozavodsk State University (Russia).  He has published over 150 articles and studies, focusing on Arctic security, legal, and environmental issues.  Heininen also chairs the Steering Committee of the Northern Research Forum, is a convener of the Calotte Academy, and a member of the Arctic Centre. This event is sponsored by USC Dornsife College’s School of International Relations and the International Relations Undergraduate Association. Some support for this program came from the Friedheim Family, in memory of Amy Friedheim (USC '81).

SIR Professor Hymans wins 'World Order' Grawemeyer Award

Along with two other awards (American Political Science Association's 2013 Don K. Price Award and the National Academy of Public Administration’s 2013 Louis Brownlow Book Award), the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order makes it clear: Hymans' work is an important contribution. The book analyzed nuclear weapons projects started by repressive regimes and how they were often prone to inefficiency and failure, due in large part to heavy-handed management. Even successful programs have met with considerable delays and challenges.Hymans concludes that overestimating the threat of these programs can allow for serious miscaluclations, including unnecessary military interventions.For more: Foreign Affairs, The Diplomat, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Audio Interview 

A Lifetime of Leadership

One of the most distinguished graduates of SIR and a generous benefactor, Robert R. Dockson (1917-2013), has died. He is remembered for his personal warmth, wisdom, dynamic leadership, integrity, and concern for his community and country.USC’s president, Dr. Rufus von KleinSmid  even welcomed him in person To USC, where he got his Masters at SIR. In 1942, he volunteered to join the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific. He completed his Ph.D. in 1946 at USC. After starting at Rutgers, he returned to USC to become a professor of business. In 1959 USC’s president named him, at age 41, Dean of the School of Commerce. He headed  California Federal Savings and Loan from 1969 until 1989. Among many gifts, he made possible a case teaching classroom and a media room for SIR, each named to honor Professor Ross Berkes, his classmate and long-time director of the School. Dockson also met with the School’s leaders and shared advice from his long experience. Robert Dockson is survived by his daughter Kimberlee Dockson Rollo, her husband Robert Rollo, and four grandchildren. Read more here.

Professor Sanjeev Khagram speaks on Transparency and More

The School of International Relations brought Sanjeev Khagram to campus for a lecture on
“Creating & Coordinating the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency” as part of the Director's Speaker Series on Theory in Practice on February 3rd.

Professor Khagram is currently the John Parke Young Professor of Global Political Economy at Occidental College.  Khagram is known world-wide for his interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral leadership on globalization, transnationalism, sustainable development, and human security, and was was recognized as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, wrote the UN Secretary General's Report on the Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis in 2009, was previously also Dean of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, Senior Advisory Policy/Strategy at the World Commission on Dams, Associate Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Wyss Visiting Professor at the Harvard Business School, and Professor of Public Affairs and International Studies/Director of the Lindenberg Center for International Development at the University of Washington. Most recently, Dr. Khagram was the Architect/Producer of the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency and Founder/Chair of Innovations for Scaling Impact. See his widely acclaimed volume published by Brookings Press, Open Budgets: The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation and Accountability.

Dealing with Climate Change: A Lively Panel Discussion with Experts

UPDATE: Professor Emeritus John Odell has been working with SIR's co-sponsor for this event, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Thanks to the work of POIR candidate Hai-Vu Phan, they have produced a rapporteur report on the panel proceedings. A key point in the conclusion of the report was that efforts to deal with global warming must shift from mitigation efforts alone toward the inclusion of adaptation measures.

Please take a look at the project website here. The report and other materials are at the bottom of the page.

On November 11th, 2014, the School of International Relations put on a new panel in an occasional series on current policy issues. This time, the panel of experts confront the question: What are the options and challenges for dealing with climate change?

SIR with the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada was pleased to present a panel discussion, chaired by Professor Odell. The panel includes Robert Lempert, Director of the Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition, RAND; Daniel Mazmanian, Professor and Director of New Initiatives and the USC Center for Sustainable Cities; Edward Parson, Professor and Co-Director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA; Junjie Zhang, Professor UCSD will discuss climate change policy and politics.

Past events include "Iran:Options for US Policy", put together by Professor Emeritus Abe Lowenthal, who also moderated.

General Petraeus Speaks with SIR Students at USC

US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia visits USC with accomplished Trojan alumni

James B. Smith, US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, visited Professor Laurie Brand's international relations class with other USC students this week. It was a packed room of more than 80 students. Along with Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith (former National War College Professor) and Amer Kayani (Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia) who both graduated from USC, the class discussed Business, politics, security, the 'Arab Spring', and women's rights in the Middle East.

Popular topics of conversation included the effects of renewable energy business sectors on the political economy of the middle east in the near future, and the status of women in social and business sectors.

School of IR Events

Mendocino Coast Writers Conference
USC 2015 Federal Work-Study Job Fair
Securing an Internship

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