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. 

It is With Great Sadness We Announce the Passing of Prof. Swearingen

Dr. Arthur "Rodger" Swearingen, PhD, Captain, US Army, 1943-46. In 1943, Rodger Swearingen left college after two years to enlist in the US Army as an offices in the intelligence Corps. He attended the Army Intensive Japanese Langauge School as well as the Intelligence Service Language School. He then was assigned as a Prisoner of War Interrogator in the Counter Intelligence Section of G-2 General Headquarters Armed Forces Pacific Theater. He became one of General Douglas MacArthur's top aides. Roder was with MacArthur on the USS Missouri when Japan surrendered in September, 1945. He remained with G-2 in Japan during the Occupation until his discharge in August, 1946, playing a key role in Intelligence and policy matters with staff. Upon his discharge, he was awarded with the Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, American Campaign Medal, and the WWII Victory medal.

In 1946, he returned to the University of Southern California to finish his undergraduate degree, and his MA in 1948 in International Relations. He then attended Harvard University, where he had a fellowship at the Russian Research Center earning his PhD in 1950, and where he became friends with another graduate students named Henry Kissinger. He returned to USC SIR in 1954 as an assistant professor, where he created the field of Soviet policy and world communism in the school. He taugh courses and seminars on the subject until his retirement in 1993. During the 1960s, Searingen created and directed the USC Research Institute on Communist Strategy and Propaganda.

Rodger and his wife, Darlene, resided in Newport Beach, where they kept active in their respective fields of international relations and eucation and as members of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

2015 Singapore Maymester Taskforce Report: Beyond the Rebalance

Students from the University of Southern California and Singapore Management University recently completed their task force report titled, " Beyond the Rebalance: Enhancing US Engagement in Southeast Asia".

As a part of the IR 440 course USC and SMU students interviewed experts in DC, LA, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. The students were able to synthesize and analyze the information they gathered through interviews to create a series of policy recomenddations for the US government.

At the culmination of the course the students presented their recommendations to an audience of alumni, interviewees, and members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

To read the taskforce report click here.

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.”

School of IR Events

A Talk with Amy Bender at Skylight Books
Lecture: Moholy's Doubt
What Matters to Me and Why with Ange-Marie Hancock

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