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Photo courtesy of Ted Eytan.

By Colin Wolfgang

The United States has long been a bastion of democracy, with smooth transitions of power and an adequately representative voting system. For centuries we have cast our ballots, believing that we are the ones who decide our mayors, our congresspeople, our senators, and our commander in chief.

This latest election has put that democratic value to the test in a way that could harm other democratic states.

Countries throughout the world have long tested the “fragility of democracy.” Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro, took the helm following the death of former President Hugo Chavez. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

By Benjamin P. Beames

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) affect the nation’s foreign policy by offering a selective account of the nation’s history. By reviving a consciousness of empire, the Turkish government is effectively masking their foreign policies behind a veneer of revisionism.

During the past decade, under Erdogan and the AKP, Turkey has utilized three political principles: prosperity, piety, and power. Markedly, power plays a central role in Turkish foreign policy’s dominance through the nation’s presence in regional politics. The current administration wants the republic to be seen as a global power. Much of its recent diplomatic flexing aims to grow the nation’s reputation and international prestige. …


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Photo courtesy of The White House.

By Adam Basciano

Anyone attending a lecture on the Middle East will likely hear about the rockets, instability, civil wars, and proxy conflicts taking place in the area. It is a tough neighborhood, as the saying goes. While this framing has certainly rung true in recent decades, it also obscures the region’s history and development trajectory. Nevertheless, this past summer’s “Abraham Accords,” an undisclosed series of normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, is expanding trade, spurring innovation, and highlighting interfaith efforts across the region.

However, while these agreements may bring the temperature down regionally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to run hot. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

By Junko Nozawa

Civil society actors — communities, victims’ rights groups, religious, and other authorities that follow traditional customs — have long been recognized as valuable partners in violence prevention and conflict resolution efforts. Recognition for their contributions to the field of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) and terrorism has been more muted, despite the critical role that a vibrant and active civil society plays in enhancing community resilience to violence, supporting accountability and transparency in government, advancing the rule of law, and achieving the purposes and principles enshrined in the U.N. Charter. …


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Photo courtesy of IAEA.

By Diala Ghneim

As COVID-19 spread across the world, media outlets focused on different countries’ responses to the pandemic and the differences in the number of deaths. While larger, more powerful countries have had difficulty tackling the current crisis, developing countries have been at the forefront of COVID-19’s battle and have seen ground-breaking results.

One country with limited resources; conflict on all its borders; refugees from neighboring countries; and plagued by public debt, slow economic growth, and high unemployment rates proved to be a relentless fighter during COVID-19. There have been over 1,100 cases since the arrival of the pandemic, 960 recoveries, and 10 deaths. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Tom Persico

The commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is its highest-ranking officer. He is responsible for laying out the agenda in the years to come in a publication called the Commandant’s Planning Guidance. The 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps calls for a new fighting model to be a better fighting force in the future. However, it fails to mention anything to do with climate and its effect on the USMC’s ability to fight and win.

If the Marine Corps is to continue being an effective fighting force, climate change must be atop the list of present and future foes. The U.S. military needs to adapt to new causes of conflict stemming from the consequences of global climate change, including water-related conflict, climate change facilitated radicalization, and the destruction of crucial military materiel. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Bethan Saunders and Courtney Bale Dunlevie

During this global public health crisis, leaders have used conflict-based language to describe the COVID-19 pandemic. From President Trump’s declaration of becoming a “wartime president” to Xi Jinping’s “people’s war,” they have cast the coronavirus as a metaphorical foe to be vanquished. Rhetorical flourishes aside, this public health crisis has important parallels with conflict, such as community upheaval, personal tragedy, and long-term consequences for security and economic stability.

However, there is another important, albeit less frequently noted parallel between conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic — the disproportionate impact crises have on women. Much like the devastation inflicted by conflict, this pandemic will exacerbate gender inequality and women’s physical and economic insecurity. Despite these challenges, in both cases women should be empowered as key decision-makers to result in improved outcomes. Security scholars and practitioners have found that including women leaders throughout conflict-prevention and peacebuilding processes achieve more equitable and longer-lasting peace. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Timothy Motte

Noted by Paul Collier in his seminal work, The Bottom Billion, being landlocked, having bad neighbors, and suffering from a poorly educated population are just some of the obstacles countries face as they develop, and Botswana faces all three. Not only is the country bordered by Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia, but the number of university graduates the country had at the time of independence was only 22. Botswana’s internal infrastructure was also incredibly weak. With only 7.5 miles of paved roads for a country roughly the size of France, Botswana’s chances of success were improbable. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Daniel E. White

What was once a last millennium weapon has reemerged in the American arsenal. It is not flamethrowers expelling soldiers from the trenches of World War One, nor is it the wanton destruction brought on by Agent Orange during the conflict in Vietnam, it is the weapon that indiscriminately maims children and soldiers alike — landmines. Today, President Trump has opened the door to using these weapons both in the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere after conducting a defense policy review process.

Almost 20 million landmines still exist in war-torn regions, like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt. There are so many in northwest Egypt that ISIS is digging up landmines once set by Nazis and using them to create improvised explosive devices. …


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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Clara Cassan

By the end of the 1800s, France controlled the second-largest colonial empire in Sub-Saharan Africa. During this time, the French extracted, most often through theft, African artifacts to add to French art collections and museums for “preservation purposes.” France ultimately believed these objects would be “safer” out of African hands. Although these past colonies have progressively reclaimed their freedom, the continent is still deprived of nearly 95 percent of its heritage, with over 90,000 Sub-Saharan African objects remaining in France today.

The Sarr-Savoy Report

In November 2018, Senegalese and French scholars Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy published The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage, Toward a New Relational Ethics (Sarr-Savoy Report), a series of legal, diplomatic and ethical recommendations to the French government. One year later, Columbia University organized an international symposium that gathered the authors and other influential advocates to review the impact the Sarr-Savoy Report has had thus far and the challenges that still exist. …

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YPFP NY presents Emerging Voices

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) engages, builds, and amplifies NextGen voices to advance solutions to global challenges. www.ypfp.org/new_york.

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