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Maxwell Hosts 2nd Annual Forum on Contemporary Issues in International Affairs

Josh Kennedy, Student Services Director, introduces Dr. Stuart Brown for the Welcome

Each year the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs of the Maxwell School plans to host a Forum on Contemporary Issues in International Affairs.  In an effort to expose exceptional undergraduate students studying International Affairs across Upstate New York to graduate level seminars on interesting topics, the first such event was held this past January. We were pleased to continue these efforts, and this past Friday welcomed 21 undergraduates from eight upstate NY colleges to our second annual conference.   Undergraduate juniors and seniors, nominated by their faculty, joined us on campus for a luncheon and three lectures.

Dr. Stuart Brown, Vice Chair of the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs welcomed visitors from Hamilton College, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Cortland, Hobart- William Smith, Buffalo State University, Canisius College, Binghamton University and LeMoyne College. The day brought about lively conversation on:  the on-the-ground challenges of providing humanitarian relief; drug trafficking, NarcoCulture, and the power of Mexican drug cartels; and a review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in light of recent political rhetoric on the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The first lecture, focusing on the very real, in the field, practical Challenges of International Humanitarian Response, was delivered by Professor Masood Hyder.  Masood Hyder teaches courses on Humanitarian Action, Food Security, the UN, and Development Aid.

Professor Masood Hyder, shared the “on the ground” perspective.

Professor Hyder has 28 years’ experience in development and disaster management, in progressively responsible positions at the United Nations (with the World Food Programme, the UN Development Programme, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). He has first- hand experience of dealing with humanitarian and development operations and projects at country level, having lived and worked in Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Djibouti. He has experience of cooperating with and advocating for communities striving to overcome the effects of poverty and disaster.

Current MA IR students enjoyed getting to know our visitors over lunch

The visiting students were then able to enjoy a relaxing lunch with current Maxwell MA IR students; Amery Sanders, Arpan Dahal, Lisa Frye and Paige Kisner. They provided logistical support and served as valuable points of contacts for our visitors.  All were instrumental in the success of the event and we appreciate their efforts!

Professor Renee deNevers

Professor Renee deNevers, an expert in international security spoke on the history and politics behind the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and how this is important in considering the current debate on the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Through a very active discussion she and our visiting students were able to draw connections between the original NPT, the Iran Nuclear Deal and current events not only in the Middle East but also related to the United States’ interactions with North Korea.

Renée de Nevers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs.  Previously she taught at the University of Oklahoma, and was a Program Officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She has been a research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Hoover Institution, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Russia in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. Her current research focuses on great power efforts to protect or manipulate sovereignty when confronted by new security challenges, and the regulation and accountability of private military and security companies.  She teaches courses in International Issues and Actors, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and International Security.

Professor McCormick

Our final lecture was given by Professor Gladys McCormick, the Jay and Debe Moskowitz Endowed Chair in US-Mexico Relations, and Associate Professor in History.  Professor McCormick spoke on Narcoculture in present day Mexico, the “Drug War” and why past and current policies have not been successful.  McCormick’s scholarship draws connections to contemporary issues like the drug trade, economic inequality and political violence. As an historian, she focuses on the disjuncture between policy and eventual practice across time—with particular attention to the Mexican government’s use of repressive tactics to combat drug trafficking. She concentrates on a period beginning in the 1970s and continuing today. Her lecture and discussion highlights the importance of having a strong interdisciplinary understanding of issues in International Affairs for today’s IR professional.

We were pleased to host our visiting students and eagerly look forward to many such events in years to come!




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June 2024
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