Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

By Marta Millar

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought global travel to a halt, including almost all educational exchange programs. While the Trump administration implemented policies like visa restrictions and travel bans, which further reduced the incoming flow of international scholars to the United States, other countries, like Germany, Canada, and Australia, emphasized their science-based responses to the pandemic, attracting more international students for fall 2020.

The Biden administration should emphasize international exchange programs as an important soft power tool for restoring the United States’ reputation abroad. By prioritizing international educational exchanges, the U.S. …

Photo courtesy of Matti Blum

By Molly Henry

With the Internet being the world’s key platform for communication and social organization, existing conflicts between democratic and authoritarian governments now extend to questions of internet governance and users’ rights. The Biden administration’s foreign policy is expected to address the defense of human rights and free speech in cyberspace, with a “Summit for Democracy” planned for later this year.

In contrast to the United States’ focus on internet freedoms, Russia and China argue for a “cyber sovereignty” model instead. Both states have the authority to control and monitor citizens’ internet data to strictly enforce national laws regulating…

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. …

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…

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…

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. …

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…

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…

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…

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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