SIR News

Cyberspace and Security: Dr. Derek Reveron, Naval War College

USC students will have the opportunity to listen to a lecture from Dr. Reveron, a specialist in cyber-security, non-state security challenges, and intelligence on April 14th. After the lecture, select students will participate in a Career Roundtable, part of the SIR series that helps students envision and prepare for careers using their degree in international relations.

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 Recieves 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).

The Asian Century: US - Australia Relations

The School of International Relations is very pleased to report on a very important event: Partnering with CIS and the Political Student Assembly, SIR hosted a GDAY LA event at USC.

President Nikias welcomed the group, and we began and exciting day pf panels with very important speakers; check out the videos here.

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.

Symposium to Bring together Leading Scholars

On March 27th, the School of International Relations and the Program on Environmental Studies will host Victor Cha (Georgetown University) and other important scholars for a Symposium. Resource Competition in East Asia: Poltical and Environmental Implications will be held in Davidson Conference Center. Download the Invitation

Blaire Murphy DACOR Fellowship recipient

Blair has been selected to receive a DACOR Bacon House Foundation Fellowship in memory of Vadim W Sounitza for the advanced study of international affairs for academic year 2013-2014. Blaire is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Diplomacy, a joint degree from the School of International Relations and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

SIR Alumna and Disaster Preparedness Expert

On March 7th, SIR's Career  Roundtable Series hosted an SIR alumna. Giselle Zimmerman is a Mission Disaster Preparedness Coordinator. Giselle previously worked at  Chemonics International where she worked on the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) project for the last five years. At FEWS NET, she provided field support for technical activities and operations to more than 20 field offices located worldwide. She spoke with SIR undergrads and Masters of Public Diplomacy students about choosing her career path, how she took opportunities as they presented themselves, and how she developed skills and experience in ther field. Special thanks to Dean Steve Lamy for helping to coordinate Giselle's visit.

Counter-Terrorism Expert: Diplomatic Engagement

On February 6, 2013, Dr. Jonathan Fine, a former advisor on arms control and conflict resolution at the IDF strategic division planning branch and current lecturer/advisor at the Lauder Government School at the IDC and The International Institute for Counter Terrorism, participated in a School of International Relations event held in Doheny Memorial Library. Drawing upon his extensive experience within the Israeli intelligence community, most recently participating in Israeli Defense Force training seminars, Dr. Fine presented his research in a talk entitled: “Democracies and Counterterrorism: Challenges and Solutions.” In this lecture, Dr. Fine explored the definitional issues surrounding terrorism; as described in the talk, “one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” The talk concluded with the speaker discussing the geopolitical challenges facing Israel and how the intelligence community landscape is constantly shifting with new technological advances (i.e. unmanned aerial vehicles). Upon completion of Dr. Fine’s talk, School of International Relations Professor Maura Godinez, alongside School of IR Head Robert English, chaired a panel discussion on intelligence issues in Israel and the broader international community before moving to questions from the audience. Following the panel discussion, Dr. Fine independently answered questions from students. (report written by SIR student Reid Lidow)

Leading Feminist IR Scholars at USC

On Tuesday the 5th of February, Cynthia Enloe will be visiting USC to give a lecture. Professor Enloe will be exploring the question of "Where are the Women in the Syrian War? And Why it Matters". This event will be chaired by USC Professor Emerita of International Relations J. Ann Tickner.

Mentoring at SIR: Alumni in Public Policy

SIR has a vibrant Washington D.C. alumni community. With experience in the State Department, DOD, Intelligence, Capitol Hill, and think tanks, six Trojans discussed their experience working on the Hill via video-conference with aspiring SIR majors. This was on Wednesday January 23rd

First Dean's Special Lecture

On January 29th, Professor Patrick James, SIR Professor and Directory of the Center for International Studies, gave the very first Dean's Special Lecture at the University Club. Titled, "Democracy, Territory and Conflict", this lecture presented the work that James does on international conflict to a broad audience at USC, and introduced Patrick James officially as the Dean's Professor.

Read the whole story here.

School of IR Events

82nd Annual USC Alumni Awards
Tradition! The Phenomenon of Fiddler on the Roof
Hollywood's Band: A Tribute to the Music of Film

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