October 21, 2013 Vol. 15 No. 7
The Student Newspaper of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Student Security at SAIS DC jameel khan assistant editor at sais washington Heightened security measures went into effect at the Washington, DC campus following an unspecified threat to the SAIS community during the week of September 16. According to the SAIS administration, a woman unaffiliated with the university entered the Nitze Building at 1740 Massachusetts Avenue and presented valid identification to the front desk guard. She expressed interest in enrolling at the school and was subsequently granted entry. Shortly afterward, the woman exhibited odd behavior and was ultimately escorted out by security. “SAIS later received a voicemail message from the woman that included references to
2 - SAIS DC Career Fair 4 - SAISers Celebrate Eid; Dear Boo; This Week’s Blogs
At saisobserver.org Blogs: Azerbaijani Energy Video: Dear Boo Special! The security guard at the Nitze building verifies first year student Dylan Byrd’s ‘active cardholder’ status. nimisha jaiswal
violence,” said Felisa Klubes, Director of Communications and Marketing, who has been working closely with university leadership in monitoring the situation. According to Klubes, subsequent communication from her indicated she intended to return. Administration contacted
the Metropolitan Police Department and deployed increased security at all Johns Hopkins Dupont Circle-area buildings. Though the woman did not specifically refer to any of these buildings, this measure was decided in an “abundance of caution,” according to Klubes. The CONTINUED TO PAGE 3
CORRECTIONS: In the Issue 6 profile of Prof. Belding, it was incorrectly stated that Belding is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was the CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation which co-founder the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, an organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize in ’97. He also holds a degree from Yale, but hasn’t taught there. We apologise for the errors.
Crime in DC Real, but Preventable thomas proctor staff writer at sais washington
In addITION to heightened security on SAIS DC’s campus, a few students have personally encountered safety issues. The first incident was in mid-September. Joe Geni (SAIS ‘13), the school’s resident DJ, was assaulted on S Street while walking home late one night. “I just outran the guy to the street corner. It’s actually
a pretty safe street, but at 3 a.m., there was no one else on it,” said Joe. “Once I got to the corner of 7th, that’s a big street, and there were lots of other night revelers, so the guy gave up. A couple blocks later, I ran into the police, and they drove me home.” Over the following month, other members of the SAIS community have faced muggings and thefts across DC. Miriam D’Onofrio (SAIS ‘13) found her bicycle stolen
from her locked yard. “The gate is pretty tall and solid – you’d have to come inside to even see the bike. Someone’s on the prowl,” said D’Onofrio. These experiences are backed up by the city’s police reports. While crime is far less common than during the 1990s, Washington remains a high-risk city. The rate of property crime, including theft and burglary, is over 50% higher in DC than the American average, and its
violent crime rate is over three times above the national norm. With this in mind, some basic steps can help students stay safe through their studies here. Most importantly, everyone should immediately call Washington’s police department at 911 in case of an emergency. “The Metropolitan police are our campus police, and they are very responsive,” said Senior Associate Dean of Operations and Finance Myron Kunka. “If CONTINUED TO PAGE 3
Fall Career Fair at SAIS DC
CHRISTINE CROFT Guest CONTRIBUTor AT SAIS WASHINGTON THE Kenney Auditorium was abuzz Friday, October 11 in anticipation of the Fall Career Fair. The prospect of jobs, networking and smooth elevator pitches awaited many students for the three-hour event. The fair, which took place from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., provided an opportunity for students to learn more about employers, network with SAIS alumni and expand their professional networks. The fair boasted a “full house” with over thirty organizations in attendance. Many organizations involved with SAIS’ Nonprofit Leadership Development Initiative (NLDI) were present to share information about opportunities in the nonprofit sector. To the relief of many SAISers, most federal agencies were present despite the government shutdown. Many students commented that the best part of the fall career fair was the opportunity to learn more about a variety of employers – especially boutique firms that offer a more precise fit for students with specific interests. From development to defense consulting, financial advisors to think tanks, the range of employers captured the array of opportunities open to students after graduation. For many SAIS alumni, the fair was a homecoming. Organizations represented by SAIS alumni sought to recruit students and offer information about current and future opportunities. More importantly, “the career fair offers the opportunity for students to expand their professional networks,” said Jean-Amiel Jourdan, Senior Associate Director of Career Services. The career fair “is a unique opportunity to have
SAISers celebrate Eid in DC
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4
Christopher Crachiola and Charles Ludwig talk to one of the employer representatives at the career fair. jameel khan
multiple informational interviews with various professionals from employers of choice,” Jean-Amiel said. For both graduates and current students, career fairs also provide an opportunity for camaraderie and networking. According to Career Services, students are able to make connections with someone who knows firsthand the rigors of a SAIS degree, and graduates can share how SAIS prepared them for the work they do today. “Planning for the fair begins as early as four months from the actual date when invitations are sent out,” said Janet Burrowes, Associate Director for Employer Relations. Employers of choice were tallied from student evaluations and then invited to attend the fair. The reputation of SAIS and its students, according to Career Services, means openings for the fair fill up quickly as employers jump at the chance to offer SAIS students information about their work, their culture and career opportunities. After the fair, “employers were impressed with the caliber of the students and the questions regarding their organizations and opportunities,” said Burrowes. Although many students use the fair to learn more about career opportunities in various sectors, some convert networking into positions. Kaelyn Lowmaster, who will graduate this
December, made a key connection at the career fair that directly resulted in a networking contact and a submitted application for full-time employment. As a follow-up to the career fair, the Career Services office sent out information on how to capitalize on contacts made at the fair. Students should send a brief email thanking the employers they met for attending the fair and expressing further interest in employment. Students should also attach their resume and note a specific opportunity of interest to guide the networking relationship. Career Services also offers two guides in SAISWorks to help students navigate networking and following-up: the “Networking” Guide and the guide to “Effective Cover Letters, Email, and Thank You Letters.” Prompt and refined follow-up can boost a student’s professional network and keep a student at the top of a preferred employer’s mind for any upcoming positions. In the spring, Career Services offers the popular “Perfect Pitch” event, a session which trains students on how to present a personal statement and draws over fifty employers. In the meantime, students can take advantage of Career Treks, guest speaker presentations, career panels and career workshops to help guide their thinking on career opportunities.
However, once the prayers ended, mayhem returned to the scene. Strangers locked each other in brotherly embraces, as the words Eid Mubarak (“have a blessed festival”) made up the background score. After the crowd whittled away, we ventured into the mosque to explore. The walls were well-adorned with carefully crafted tiles, some of which displayed Arabic calligraphy. The dome was decorated in gold and precious stones. As we looked around, we were approached by a stout figure that asked us in a commanding voice to step aside so he could speak with us. Alarmed by the tone of his voice, we wondered if he would request us to leave. Au contraire. He told us that he was the caretaker, and took us through the history of the place. Located in the Embassy Row, The Islamic Centre Mosque has been serving as a place of worship and community development for decades. Since its inception in 1957, the various parts of the mosque have been donated by the governments of different countries. The delicate tiles were provided by Turkey, the chandelier by Egypt, the lavish rugs came from Iran and the elegant dome was contributed by Malaysia. “Everyone built this mosque,” said the caretaker. Shortly thereafter we returned to our daily stresses of mid-terms. Even though the remainder of the day panned out like any other weekday, the pleasant encounters and rich exchanges from earlier in the day, all in the company of a SAIS family, made it a memorable Eid.
Vigilance Most Important: Kunka CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
administration said it has no information that she was aware of all the JHU buildings. “We learned that this woman was known to law enforcement for other incidents of odd behavior,” said Klubes. “To our knowledge, however, she had no history of violence.” On September 19, the woman was taken into policy custody for evaluation. “The situation has been neutralized in that the police have investigated the incident and found insufficient evidence to warrant an arrest,” Klubes said. The number of security officers was increased temporarily at the four university buildings; Nitze, Bernstein-Offit, Rome, and the Airline Pilots Association Building that houses the Carey Business School. These officers, who are armed and employed by Allied Barton Security Services, supplemented the existing SAIS/JHU Washington Center security team. Communications were also sent to the SAIS community via email to relay up-to-date information on the situation. “[While] I am happy the school takes our security seri-
ously..the explanations given did not give me a good idea of what the security threat was. [The school should] communicate more clearly to the students if there is a security threat and what it is,” said Karin Riechenberg, a second-year MA candidate at SAIS Washington. “Also, the SMS alert system seems to be only designed for severe weather and natural disasters. It could also be used to warn students if say there has been a shooting somewhere in town,” she added. In this particular case, the Johns Hopkins Emergency Alert System was not used. “The Alert System of sending text messages is only used in situations where there is imminent danger,” Klubes said. These typically involve situations such as an active shooter on campus, bomb threats, severe acts of nature, and building evacuations. “There was never an imminent danger in this case,” she added. “To our knowledge, this sort of activity has never happened at the DC campus before,” Klubes said. Although there was no security breach, there are several ways for minimiz-
ing security risks on campus. “Vigilance is the most important thing that we really want to have,” said Myron Kunka, senior associate dean of operations and finance. “Particularly the Nitze Building back door is a real concern, and piggybacking and allowing people to come in without having to actually use their card is a concern,” Dean Kunka said. Students can also play an important role, and they are encouraged to report suspicious behavior. “We can’t be everywhere at all times. You are our eyes and ears as well,” Klubes said. “Always err on the side of caution. People should not worry about embarrassing themselves or somebody else. It is important to be aware of your surroundings.” The administration also encourages students to “opt in” to the text message alert system. “We want as many students as possible to certainly be signed up for this system,” said Dean Kunka. Signing up is easy, which can be done at http:// my.jhu.edu with a valid JHED account. The “emergency alerts” section under “My Profile” allows one to activate this
alert. “If something does happen that presents an imminent danger, the more people who are signed up, the better chance we have of making sure everybody knows about an incident,” Kunka added. Despite the recent incidents at the Navy Yard and on Capitol Hill, students generally feel safe on campus. “I am surprised by the increase in violence [in DC], but I have not felt personally insecure or unsafe, and I feel the area we study in is not threatening in any way,” said Mohammad Shouman, a jointdegree SAIS-George Washington University student. Those concerned or stressed about the recent security incidents are encouraged to contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program or the Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program. “If a SAIS community member sees suspicious behavior on campus, s/he should notify the front guard’s desk or call 202.663.5600,” Klubes said. “Washington is a wonderful city, but like any big city in the world, you have to be vigilant and alert as you travel around, particularly in the evening hours,” Dean Kunka said.
Crime in DC Real, but Preventable CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
an incident has just happened, a student should absolutely call 911. Call the police, and file a report. It is very, very important.” Even if the immediate threat appears to be over, contacting the police can help authorities prevent future attacks and recover stolen property. SAIS also has services available for students that have dealt with off-campus crime. Lisa Kahn, the director of student life, is the school’s firstcontact, who can help students
A Washington Police security contingent outside the Brookings Institute during Italian PM Enrico Letta’s talk. nimisha jaiswal
deal with their response to the offense. In particular, she
can guide students access the American health care system
and different medical facilities around town. Students can also take some precautionary measures to stay informed about incidents in the city. The DC Alert system, available at http://textalert.ema. dc.gov, provides texts or emails when a major crisis erupts around Washington. Warnings for specific zones, such as the Dupont Circle, are available. Bikes and other valuables can also be registered at the local police station, which can limit the risk of stolen property.
SAIS DC celebrates Eid Zeeshan Vazeer guest contributor at sais washington October 15 saw the celebration of the holy day of Eid across the Muslim world. The tradition was upheld here at SAIS Washington when a group of ten students (not all Muslim), draped in color and a festive disposition, attended the special morning prayers at The Islamic Center Mosque. I represented my country’s colors dressed in a traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez. Any peculiarity I initially felt in walking down Massachusetts Avenue in a distinct outfit was quelled upon seeing the exotic dresses at the mosque. There were brightly-colored outfits representing traditions spanning from the Caribbean to
photo courtesy of zeeshan vazeer
Dear Editor, When I first arrived in Bologna as an international student I was also surprised to learn about the English proficiency exam requirement. I, too, heard many variations of the “at worst, you just lose a couple of hours” or
Guest blogger Josh Noonan offers his first post on Central Asian affairs. Here Josh focuses on how the confluence of Azerbaijan’s natural gas boom and oil decline stand to transform the autocratic country into a developed modern democracy.
THE SAIS OBSERVER Editors-in-Chief
Tristram Thomas Nimisha Jaiswal
DC Associate Editor
DC assistant editors
Selim Koru Jameel Khan
SAIS Europe Associate Editor
Zeeshan Vazeer, Bo Friddell, Kate Maxwell, Umit Baris Urhan, Michelle Thompson, Selim Koru, Shafi Rehman, Dylan Arnould and Nameerah Hameed stand inside the mosque.
South East Asia. The mosque was already packed when we arrived, so we squatted on the neatly placed mats in the front yard, where we listened to the sermon.
Letters to the Editor In response to the article ‘Proficiency Exam Lost in Translation?’ published on October 15 in Issue 6.
the inevitable “but it fulfills your language proficiency!” reasoning mentioned. What these justifications do not address is the underlying sense that we are collectively not being treated as responsible, trustworthy adults or that any objective examination other than the SAIS examination is insufficient; or worse, we have been less than honest in our applications.
your biweekly advice columnist, answers your questions in a special edition this week! Find a video response to the following questions on saisobserver. org. Have a question for Boo? Email her at saisdearboo@ gmail.com. Dear Boo, I just heard the term ‘intellectu-
When the prayers finally started, it felt as if the world around us stopped moving. The only sound audible was the voice of the imam on the microphone. CONTINUED TO PAGE 2
SAIS Europe Assistant Editors
Michael St. Germain Hyeladzirra Banu
Nanjing Associate Editor
Nanjing Assistant Editor
An international student with an undergraduate education from a top US university, great GRE scores, who has lived and worked in an English-speaking country is forced to jump through another hoop — one that calls into question previous qualifications. It is irrelevant whether it is an easy hoop to jump through or not. Melissa Paredes SAIS washington ’14
ally sexy’ (referring to a professor). Can you explain the term, and what it takes to be intellectually sexy? Smelly cabbage
Booyoung Jang Urvashi Bundel
Karishma Chanrai Holly Naylor Saga McFarland
Thomas Proctor Kshitij Neelakantan Tong Zhichao
Dear Boo, I have a crush on a guy who is a strict vegetarian, while I am a faithful meat lover. Is this going to work out? Pensive in a Korean BBQ Restaurant
The SAIS Observer is a newspaper written, edited and produced by the students of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University. Opinions expressed in the SAIS Observer are not necessarily the views of the Editors, SAIS or Johns Hopkins University.