October 28, 2013 Vol. 15 No. 8
The Student Newspaper of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
New Director to be Selected SAIS Europe Director Kenneth Keller retires
Caitlin Watson associate editor at sais europe AT THE close of the 2013-2014 year, Kenneth Keller will step down as director of SAIS Europe after an eight-year term. A search committee for a replacement, chaired by Director of the Latin American Studies Department Riordan Roett, will take on what Director of Recruitment and Admissions Nelson Graves calls “the single most important decision regarding the institution’s future.” Since 7 October the search committee, which consists of DC and Bologna faculty and SAIS alumni (but no current sutdents) has been winnowing down a stack of 60 to 70 appli-
SAIS Europe Director Kenneth Keller will step down at the end of this year. rachel finan
cations for the position. “The director is the leader of the entire SAIS Europe community and the point of reference for all of SAIS Europe’s
stakeholders—students, faculty, alumni and staff, as well as the reference point for SAIS Washington,” Graves noted. The search committee has a set of criteria for the director’s major roles, including fundraising, developing the curriculum, responding to competition from other programs and managing relationships with alumni. “We are looking for someone with excellent academic credentials, experience in Europe and good people skills, to start with,” said John Harper, Professor of American Foreign Policy at SAIS Europe and senior member of the search committee. But the new director will join SAIS Europe at a pivotal time for the school and will face unique challenges that will de-
2 - Cultural Universalism in China 3 - Brzezinski’s Talk at SAIS 4 - Memories of the DPRK 5 - HNC’s Project Pengyou 6 - Photo Essay from Cairo 8 - Blog Extracts; Letter’s to the Editor; Observer Cartoon
At saisobserver.org Blogs: Jellyfish vs. Nuclear plants; Africa and the World: The Need to Match Perspectives; After Lampedusa Video: The HNC’s Coffee Appreciation Center mand a special set of skills. The director will spearhead efforts from Bologna to implement CONTINUED TO PAGE 7
SAIS DC Gift Shop brings the SAIS Spirit selim koru assistant editor at sais washington AMERICAN universities are known for promoting school spirit. It’s a sense of belonging to the institution, expressed through logos, flags, sports teams and even hymns. Being a graduate institution in DC, SAIS’ school spirit is relatively modest. You won’t see the SAIS logo nearly as much as you would at the Baltimore undergraduate campus.
That may be changing. Director of Operations Debbie Walls and her team have revamped the SAIS gear store. It was a trial and error process that started two years ago. The store used to be in-house only, located in the basement close to the telephones. There were about three student workers per semester who manned the place for a couple of hours every week. They also set up tables at events such as happy hours commencement ceremonies, CONTINUED TO PAGE 7
SAIS student Kevin Pang looks through the store. sarah rashid
CONTINUING THE DISCUSSION
Cultural Universalism in China A Consensus Among Different Traditions and Civilizations TONG ZHICHAO STAFF WRITER AT at sais Nanjing
ALL ancient civilizations have strong universal elements in their cultures. For instance, in ancient Chinese civilization, we have the concept of “All-under-Heaven” (Tianxia), which means one should first see the world before his or her own state. Moreover, there exists an overlapping consensus among different traditions and civilizations. When C.S Lewis wrote his masterpiece “The Abolition of Man”, he argued that the objective value expressed in Chinese “Tao”, Indian “Rta” and Western “the Way” were actually connected; they expressed
virtues that every human being needs to lead a good life. Likewise, I don’t agree that cultures are different in that universal values are unachievable. What is sad about our modern era is people actually try to emphasize cultural differences instead of paying attention to what we hold in common. You can appreciate your own culture in two ways: you can love it because it is your culture and not that of others, or you can adore it because it conveys the truth, like the objective value expressed in Tao, Rta or the Way. These two approaches make people have entirely different attitudes towards their culture. Take China for example: if you really adore traditional Chinese
culture because you believe that the Chinese way entails universal truth, then you should not be so angry when South Koreans argue that the Dragon Boat Festival is theirs. After all, if South Koreans want to celebrate the festival, it means the tradition you cherish contains a universal truth which is accepted even by people from another country. However, sadly many Chinese actually have negative reactions towards the “South Korean Dragon Boat Controversy.” Their embrace of Chinese culture then is not an acknowledgement of truth, but an emphasis on “this is ours.” Even if the universal truth underlying the Dragon Boat Festival is admitted through the recognition of this tradition by people from
another country, Chinese citizens are still unhappy because they feel they have lost ownership of this tradition. Sure, one may say that we need both (conveying the truth and “this is ours”) to sustain our cultures but in contemporary society it seems the concern for ownership has caused the universal truth and value in our traditions to completely disappear before our eyes. I do believe that not only the disagreements in our discussions regarding universal values and cultural pluralism but also many cultural and identity conflicts around the globe today can be traced back to this underappreciation of the universal element shared by different cultures and civilizations.
Questioning Both Sides Before Issuing Moral Ultimatums NATHAN S. FISCHLER Guest contributor at sais Nanjing Globalization is often referred to off-handedly as Westernization, and from there as Americanization. The oneworld value system draws most of its influence from American culture, economics, development strategies and governance. Americans often feel justified in educating others about a successful society. From a social standpoint, this opens the door to neo-colonialism. Most would agree a new manifestations of this ugly historical phenomenon should be avoided. Americans in particular, therefore, must refrain from preaching about our own values. To attempt to bring everyone to follow the US way is unjustifiably neocolonial. American values dictate that open racial prejudice can never
be tolerated. In China, the concept of racism and prejudice is not the same. The most infuriating and contradictory comment I have heard in China is that “Chinese people are racist.” In addition to being a racist comment in and of itself, it assumes that America no longer has race issues. As an American, I too am uncomfortable hearing Chinese people make dubious comments regarding race. However, it is not my place to “correct” them. As guests in China, it is important to reach out to our host country and practice their culture as much as we can. It is not enough to simply speak Chinese. Cultural understanding is laborious. To understand Chinese culture it is imperative that you sacrifice, or at least bend, some of your innate concepts of how the world ought to be. It is essential that we minimize our cultural ego. Ameri-
cans must be honest about the fact that our own history is brutal and bloody. Race problems in the US led to the genocide of American Indians and the enslavement of Africans. Statistical inequality between various ethnic groups is still high. It is worrisome that Americans feel the need to criticize Chinese attitudes towards darkskinned people as well as their treatment of Uighurs, Tibetans and other ethnic groups. Many Americans have no knowledge of the conditions of Native American reservations or city slums inside our own borders. These are American racial issues as much as anything else. This is not to say that the Tibet issue is not a problem, that it does not bear severe moral questions or that it should not be studied; it is simply to say that only he who is without sin may cast stones. Western power structures
have always developed a moral idea that no conscious individual could disagree with. Historically this has been religious. No one could be “anti-God”. Presently, this idea is human rights. To speak up against human rights marks one as devoid of morality. The notion of human rights must be confronted with its neocolonial applications. If we closely examine America’s human rights record, both domestically and around the world, it is not favorable. In essence, Americans have no business telling others how to conduct multi-cultural relations. Let us remember the Opium Wars, to which the US was a party, and conclude with a hypothetical: if the Chinese had a history of invading the US, demanding territory to conduct business, and force feeding drugs to our people, would Americans tolerate even a hint of Chinese moral critique?
Who’s Who of US Security at SAIS JAMEEL KHAN Assistant Editor at SAIS Washington At eighty-five, Zbigniew Brzezinski still emits a rare kind of wisdom -- one of intellectual energy and strategic foresight that has for decades advised former US presidents, shaped American foreign policy, influenced geopolitics and inspired policymakers and students alike. He did this once again with charm and thoughtprovoking remarks to a packed Kenney Auditorium on Tuesday, October 22. Hosted by SAIS DC, the highly anticipated forum -- entitled “What Does National Security Mean Today?” -- drew an audience of students, staff, faculty, media and a “Who’s Who” of former US government officials -- including panelists former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former US National Security Advisers Stephen Hadley and Brent Scowcroft, among others. Moderated by American journalist David Ignatius, the two-and-a-half hour forum celebrated the release of the new book “Zbig: The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzezinski,” edited by SAIS scholar Charles Gati and published by Johns Hopkins University Press. One big question posed to Brzezinski during the event centered on how to advise someone running for president. “Really become familiar with the complexities of today’s world.. [and] prioritize,” he said. “Think early as to which acts and undertakings are essential not only to your future success as a historic figure but particularly to the more immediate American interests thought of in a larger time framework
Robert Hunter, Jessica Mathews, David Rothkopf, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Charles Gati talk on stage in the Kenney Auditorium.at SAIS Washington. kaveh sardari
because you will not have too much time to achieve it.” While tailored to presidential ears, this advice is equally apt for students. In the plethora of classes, clubs, happy hours and brown bag lunches, the SAIS experience is only two years for most and just one for others. Learning the ropes of SAIS early is key but so too is prioritizing your time for the next chapter -- the working world. But in that possible chapter of presidential work, Brzezinski stressed the importance of more strategic decision-making in the White House. “Prioritizing national goals, trying to create coalitions, learning how to deal with rivals, reaching rational judgments regarding the scale of the threat posed by those who wish us ill.. [this] is an infinitely more complex process.” A systematic effort is required for these ends, Brzezinski said, one that is more “conscious of the need for deliberate, politically sensitive planning for actions.” These capabilities are vital for contending with the geopolitical challenges of the day, including for example the Syrian Civil War, Iran’s nuclear aspira-
tions, the future of Afghanistan and Iraq, international terrorism and China’s emergence as a global power. In the Cold War, such geopolitical moves were simpler than they are now -- largely symmetrical, and linear -- like those in a game of checkers. The United States and Russia were clear foes. But times have changed. The world is still round -- and the board still square -- but in today’s global game of chess, the pieces are varied and the moves more intricate and thereby necessitate strategic thinking years and decades in advance. “What we have to do as a country, however, is be alert to the fact that the world has become infinitely more complex,” Brzezinski shared. On Syria, for example, he said “there is no simple military solution to Syria without running the risk of the problem becoming not just national but regional in an escalatory fashion.” On characterizing power in the twenty-first century, he asserted “we have come to the end of a prolonged era in world affairs in which struggle for hegemony was the dominant real-
ity.. today we live in a world in which global hegemony is no longer attainable by anyone.” And on American power, Brzezinski contended that “we are certainly not in the dominant position we were in twenty years ago. We are unlikely to recover it, probably, in the course of the lifespan of everybody in this room. That is to say, we are not going to be as omnipotent and as unique as we were.” The club of power belongs no longer to just the nationstate -- though unquestionably still dominant -- as the rise of non-state actors, corporations, and international organizations are also gaining entry into the new world order. The “global political awakening,” as Brzezinski coined several years ago to describe increasing political consciousness and worldwide populist activism, is a new force in international relations. So, too, are the “information revolution” and the “disaggregation of political voices” as Secretary Albright mentioned. Big ideas they are, and big tasks they engender; but with the right preparation, these novel forces are not beyond America’s capacity to confront, to manage, and even to influence in the next chapter of world history. Wisdom is rare, but it was flowing last Tuesday, from a stage of tested policymakers to the young ears of tomorrow’s leaders. “This is going to be an infinitely complex, potentially more dangerous world,” Brzezinski concluded remarks. “In which common sense, a sense of responsibility, deliberate planning, well prepared elites, and a far more informed public about the world are the sine qua non of America’s intelligent conduct [in the world].” Brzezinski served as National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.
careers & alumni
Memories of the DPRK Yiqian Sunny Xu guest contributor at sais washington This past summer, I participated in the Pyongyang Project which brought me to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Pyongyang Project, also known as the East West Coalition, is a Canadian non-profit organization that works towards developing a grassroots platform for constructive engagement with DPRK and the Northeast China. In our group, there were ten students from six countries including Denmark, Japan, China, Australia, the US and France. During our two-week trip, we visited five cities in the DPRK. When I reflect on this trip, some key stories loom in my mind. DPRK, not North Korea At the very beginning of our trip, we were reminded that it is not allowed to call North Korea “North Korea”. You can only call the country “DPRK”, or just simply Korea. All maps in the DPRK depict the whole Korean peninsula as one country. According to North Koreans, they are Koreans living on the soil of Korea, and the south part of Korea is unfortunately occupied by the puppet government controlled by the imperialist America. Suryong System Only when you are in DPRK will you feel how deeply the society is influenced by the Suryong System, also known as the Supreme Leader System. Kim Il-sung remains the Great Leader and the head of the DPRK family. His birthday, April 15, is the most important ceremonial day in the country, and the year of his birth (1912) marks the first year of the DPRK calendar. There are ap-
A North Korean woman walks through a public square in Pyongyang.
proximately 35,000 statues of Kim Il-sung in public squares around the country. Kim Jongun, the current supreme leader, enjoys the same treatment as his grandfather. Wherever we went in DPRK, we meeded to show respect to the great leader and the supreme leader. We were told to buy flowers, dress properly (no flip flops, hats, sun glasses, etc.) and take a bow. I must include the great leaders’ full bodies when taking photos of their statues. All of our digital devices were under scrutiny when we entered and left the country. The authority wants to make sure nobody takes inappropriate photos during their stay. In the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jung-il are entombed, I saw many middle-aged women weeping. North Koreans visit the Memorial Palace at least twice a week and during national holidays. Statues in public squares are more frequently visited, and it is a social convention that newly wedded couples pay visit to the statues. When I asked our tour guides where to buy the little pins with
the visage of the two great leaders, which every North Korean wears, the tour guide got annoyed and replied, “You don’t buy the pin. You earn it”. Foreigners are not allowed to buy pins with leaders’ portrait. Military First Another interesting fact is that in pictures of the great leaders, there is always a child holding different types of guns ranging from an AK47 to a pistol. “Military first” is such a strongly emphasized policy within the DPRK. When I asked local students in a middle school in Rason what they would like to do in the future, all boys said they wanted to become soldiers, and most girls wanted to marry a military person. The benefit for the military is ubiquitous in the country. Soldiers enjoy priority and can cut queues in the amusement park in Pyongyang. Another China? What I saw and heard in DPRK reminded me of China during the Cultural Revolution period. They are alike in many aspects: propaganda slogans and pictures on the streets, people’s
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enthusiasm for their leaders and people’s negative attitude against the Western world and Japan. North Koreans know little about the outside world, like Chinese people used to be. Our tour guide asked me whether South Korea had a metro. Given the limited information in the country, the Rason Special Economic Zones gave me some hope when I witnessed a basic level of economic freedom. People can trade freely in the market, open a bank account, exchange money under the market rate and even hold a trade fair featuring companies from China and Russia. After two weeks in the DPRK, we returned to Beijing and almost everyone cried out as soon as the airplane landed: “China, the land of freedom”! Compared to North Korea, China is freer indeed. China’s opening up started from economic reforms, and the DPRK is testing a market economy in the Rason Special Economic Zone. It remains too early to tell whether the DPRK has a chance of becoming the second China, but the Rason Zone has kicked off the economic opening up.
SAIS Nanjing Launches Project Pengyou Alumni Network SAGA MCFARLAND ASSISTANT EDITOR AT SAIS NANJING On September 26 Project Pengyou, a not-for-profit that connects alumni of American study abroad programs in China, held a launch event for its Hopkins-Nanjing Center Pilot. The project aims to leverage the HNC’s alumni community to test and improve ProjectPengyou.org for wider release. “The reason I think this is worth pursuing is that alumni have asked why it is so hard to be in touch with classmates, and I didn’t have a good answer,” said Jason Patent, the American Co-director at the HNC. The project aims to provide alumni with a way to connect to their community, organize events and take advantage of career networking. “It’s essentially Facebook but geared toward students who study in China,” said Nicholas Sheets, the HNC Alumni Coordinator in Hong Kong. “Facebook is big, loud, hyper-connected and a little hard to control,” said Patent. “This is an opportunity to have a community that is just us.” Holly Chang, founder of the Golden Bridges Foundation, the organization under which Project Pengyou operates, sees the collaboration with the HNC as more than just a way to reconnect. “We are trying to build tools to strengthen institutional cohesion and memory,” Chang said. “Bridge building isn’t going to happen unless people are given a platform to do so.” Following the HNC Pilot, Project Pengyou intends to market ProjectPengyou.org to over 100 other US academic institu-
Jason Patent and Holly Chang interact on stage during the launch of the project. saga mcfarland
tions and communities active in China, making the site a resource not just for HNC alumni but all international alumni of US-China exchanges. Administrators involved in the project say it is different in concept from Facebook or LinkedIn because it aims to build a community of ‘alumni’ of U.S.-China exchange, a niche group that would not develop spontaneously on more broadly focused platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. They see huge potential for career networking, research collaboration and social connection between people who will shape the way the U.S.China community of tomorrow interacts. “It is not only people like Ambassador Locke who promote the US-China relationship,” said Chang. “It is also normal people on the ground.” The collaboration is funded by a $112,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. Project
Pengyou also partners with the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which seeks to realize the Obama administration’s goal of sending 100,000 American students to China to study Mandarin by 2014. So far, in its first couple of weeks, the feedback from students and alumni has been generally positive. As of Friday, the HNC alumni group had 161 members. Current HNC students have also expressed interested in joining the network and many already have joined the online community. Nicole Alter, a first-year certificate student at the HNC, thinks many social networking sites fall short in the China market. “Facebook excludes Chinese students, so it is great if there is something legal in China that we can use internationally,” she said. Kevin Bond, a first-year master’s candidate at the HNC agrees that the alumni network
will provide a better forum to connect than some existing social media sites. “I think this is more effective than LinkedIn because LinkedIn is too impersonal,” he said. “I would definitely use it to find jobs or hire people in the future.” While the feedback is good so far, those involved will continue to monitor the project to see how it can be improved. Chang hopes that the HNC pilot project will allow Project Pengyou to see what is in demand and eventually expand the project to other networks. “Once we have the baseline set of communication features we’ll start to roll it out to other groups,” she said. The HNC side is similarly pleased with the initial results but hopes the program will continue to grow and be sustainable. “It’s been positive,” said Patent. “We want it to be more positive.”
Impressions from a Summer in Cairo
SARAH RASHID STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER AT SAIS WASHINGTON
WHEN I arrived in Cairo on June 3, I knew my experience would be different from my last visit less than a year ago. My friends warned me about electricity and water shortages. Although I moved into the same building as before, getting downtown now took longer due to the daily protests at the Ministry of Culture by Egyptians who feared President Morsi was trying to “Ikhwanize” or “Muslim Brotherhood-ize,” society. “All of these problems are because of Morsi,” many told me, with the conversation usually ending with someone rhetorically asking how Egypt could survive three more years under his leadership. But it soon became clear that maybe it would not. The local papers wrote about the Tamarrod (“Rebel” in Arabic) campaign, started by five young Egyptians with a goal of collecting 15 million signatures
Egyptian military patrol outside of Tahrir Square on July 26, 2013, Shauna Aron to demand Morsi’s resignation and early presidential elections. The campaign called on Egyptians to show their support by protesting in the streets on June 30, the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s election. And many did; hundreds of thousands (millions, according to questionabale sources) filled the squares in opposition to
Letters to the Editor CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
would argue that the bidding system is exactly that – it’s a way to ration scarce places in a price-like system. The problem is that exchanging non-fungible points for class spaces is like barter, and encourages me to ‘over-consume’ my points, by spending many more points for subjects I don’t care about simply because there’s nothing else for which I can use them. Classes are thus not allocated purely according to my willingness to pay but also upon my capacity to consume -- never a method to induce great results! 2. The system is unfair. Whilst the initial endowment of points is not unfair, the out-
comes are; again, because students place a different value upon their points to each other, you have a distorted market which favors those who care less about their subject choice than those who care more! 3. The system is unjustifiable I have lost count of the times I have heard people say something along the lines of “We pay so much money to come to SAIS, it is ridiculous that we can’t even take the course we want!” Really, this has got to be the nub of the whole problem. Whilst students can be a little sympathetic to the uncertainties of class numbers and the problems of quickly hiring teachers, at some point one, does have to
Morsi’s regime. When Minister of Defense General Abdel el-Fattah Sisi responded on July 1 by giving Morsi 48 hours to step down, the streets remained full until Morsi was removed by the military. Many Egyptians believed General Sisi was the pharaoh who could finally put the country on
say – it’s your job to fix these shortages, and with most students indebting themselves to their families or government for a good portion of their life to receive a quality education, they only have so much patience for quality – ability to take the subjects you actually want to take – being persistently compromised. Better I think to take the long-term view that genuinely solving the problem of insufficient class spaces for students – or at least getting closer to solving it – is going to be a good thing for SAIS’ reputation. MICHAEL CORNISH Second-year M.A. candidate at SAIS Washington
track. Yet although Morsi’s popularly-backed coup was bloodless, the days that followed were anything but; the military’s draconian approach to dealing with pro-Morsi supporters gathered mainly in Rabaa Al Dawiya and Cairo University reached its peak when the military raided these squares on August 14. The Ministry of Health reported that several hundred of Egyptians died that day. Other accounts put the death toll in the thousands. I left Egypt on August 21 pessimistic about its future. My boss this summer said to remember that Egypt is still in a revolution, and revolutions happen in fits and starts. It’s an idea that I’m still trying to reconcile. Rashid interned in Cairo, Egypt, at the Signet Institute in the summer of 2013. To find a photo essay of her summer experience in Cairo during the ousting of President Morsi, please visit saisobserver.org under the photo essays section.
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Further, Gartzou-Katsouyanni questions the legitimacy of EUROSUR and instead calls for European states to approach migration, both legal and illegal, rationally. Guest blogger Polina Bogomolova, a second-year M.A. student at SAIS Washington, discusses an eerie phenomenon that has been striking nuclear plants frequently: jellyfish are clogging their cooling pipes. Bogomolova traces the causes of such invasions and argues that nuclear plants remain vulnerable to shutdowns as a result.
New Director at SAIS Europe CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
SAIS Dean Vali Nasr’s One SAIS initiative, which aims to more deeply integrate the DC, Bologna and Nanjing campuses as a single global institution. Though Nasr was unavailable to comment on the search process or the initiative, Roett noted that “deepening the integration among the campuses will be key. Director Keller has been extremely compatible with the DC campus. We hope to find someone equally compatible.” Implementing the One SAIS vision will demand communication with DC and advocacy. As the three campuses integrate, the director will need to ensure SAIS Europe maintains its advantages through integration. For Keller, advocating the school’s value has been a challenge yet rewarding. “One of the challenges has
been to demonstrate our comparative advantage as a US institution in Europe. Students here benefit from a debate... getting one perspective here in Bologna and another next year in Washington,” Keller said. The search committee seeks a candidate who will continue Keller’s efforts on this front. “Broadening the appeal of the two-year program and good salesmanship will be important,” Roett said. The new director will also promote SAIS Europe’s in European policy discussions through the Bologna Institute of Policy Research (BIPR). “This is the most exciting time to be director of SAIS Europe,” said Filippo Taddei, associate professor of economics and a search committee member. “Given the Euro-crisis and the current socio-political landscape, there will be many op-
portunities for SAIS Europe to contribute to policy debates,” he said. In addition, the director can shape the school’s academic and professional culture. “It is important to know that your voice will be heard,” Taddei said. “Cultivating that atmosphere has been a great achievement of Keller’s and will be important for a new director.” Keller pointed to other challenges he has faced as director. During his term, international opinion of the US has wavered. “As the face of SAIS in Europe, a large part of the job has been to demonstrate that we represent American values, not necessarily American practices. I have grown to see those two things very differently,” he said. In the coming weeks, the search committee will select a short list of candidates to invite to Bologna for interviews.
SAIS DC Gift Shop Renovated CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
or “every once in a while just for no reason,” said Walls. Then, about two years ago, they removed the physical presence and moved sales online. That turned out to be a mistake. Students and staff wanted to touch and feel the merchandise. Alumni wanted to be able to quickly get a mug when they visited for a happy hour. Sales were going down and people were beginning to complain. “We went too far in the online direction,” Walls said. Conditions aligned for a comeback this semester. Savannah Altvater had just started work as administrative secretary and took on the project together with student worker Christina Garafola. They came up with a hybrid format combining the online store with a physical one. The goal was
to build a lean operation with smart social media outreach. The store is now in the BOB building’s Learning Commons, on the third floor and is open between 1 and 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. The limited hours keep costs down and allows the staff to be flexible. “People have no problem calling, emailing, facebooking or tweeting at us with a ‘hey, can I come by?’ and we’re more than happy to accomodate them,” said Altvater. SAIS students and alumni with international itineraries will find this useful. One alum on his way back to India coordinated with Garafola to drop by on short notice. Supplying the store is a balancing act. Walls and Altvater cringed when they recall the SAIS-logoed baby bibs they ordered on a single person’s re-
quest a few years ago. It turned out there was very little demand to adorn toddlers with the logo. Needless to say, they no longer place orders unless they are sure there is demand. Quality is another issue. Amber Blake, a second-year student, said she would buy SAIS t-shirts if they weren’t “that soft stuff.” However, students also want to buy more for less. “Three for 10 bucks, those cheap shirts that you wash them once, and then you need to throw them away? They [students] said we’d buy that all day long before we buy that $42 underarmour thing,” she said. Starting in mid-November, all merchandise will carry the SAIS logo introduced last year. The store is trying to get rid of the old logo, so those looking for good deals should follow
SAIS DC Student Government Vice-President Ally Carragher, who spent her first year in Bologna, expressed disappointment current students are not yet part of the committee. “Students should have a voice in decisions that are significant to the future direction of SAIS,” she said. After interviews, the committee will present a selection to Dean Nasr and Johns Hopkins University Provost Robert Lieberman by the December holidays. Nasr and Lieberman will make a decision based on the search committee’s guidance. Once a candidate is announced, the new director will likely overlap with Keller for some time to ease the transition. The search will be a challenge, said Roett, since Keller has set a high bar. “He leaves SAIS Europe in superb condition,” Roett said.
the store on social media in the next few weeks. Students and staff are adjusting to the new format of the store. On the store’s first day, Altvater and Garafola were overrun by students wanting free computer cleaners. Many stayed to buy other merchandise, including at least one person who bought a SAIS logo baby bib. Sales are up by 48% over the same time last year, and Altvater said she is expecting that number to increase. The store’s online presence will also continue to be key. Tom Proctor, a second-year student, said that he bought a SAIS t-shirt through the online store for his morning runs. He got it in blue, he said, “because it makes me feel like I’m cheating less on my undergrad,” the blue and gold of UCLA.
Letters to the Editor In response to the blog post “Some Good News For Greece” published online at saisobserver.org Dear Editor, I read the blog, “Some Good News For Greece,” posted on The SAIS Observer’s website, and I’d like to present a counter argument. The crackdown of the Golden Dawn will not end the Greek electorate’s voting in favor of extremist parties. Voters elected the Golden Dawn into parliament not because people wanted to be represented by fascist thugs, assassins and mobsters. For the Greek electorate, voting for Golden Dawn is a reaction springing from the collapse of the welfare system, as the Golden Dawn claimed to restore the welfare system. As the problem remains, the persecution of Golden Dawn leaders will have limited negative electoral impact. Therefore, the crackdown will not lead to the end of far-right extremism in Greece.
In a timely post, Silvia Fuselli tracks the geopolitical causes of the recent Lampendusa shipwreck and discusses the origins in Africa and the fallout in Europe. She juxtaposes this tragedy with the bouyant message Arif Naqvi, founder and chief executive of The Abraaj Group, offered SAIS DC on October 10: many of the members in Africa deserve to be freed of the title of a “developing country.” This week Kira Gartzou-Katsouyannn also comments on the Lampedusa shipwreck, which she argues is the latest failure of the EU’s increasingly racist and nationalistic border protections. TO
In response to the story ‘Bidding Harder to Avoid at SAIS
DC’ in Issue 5 Dear Editor, I read with interest your recent articles about the bidding system at SAIS. I must confess the system vexes me, as it does many students, and I was a little surprised to see the articles did not contain more criticism. Thus, I thought I would fill in this gap for The SAIS Observer. Three major criticisms of the SAIS bidding system: 1. The system is inefficient. Remember those Microeconomics classes you took? Well, apparently the SAIS administration has not taken first-year microeconomics, otherwise they would realize that capping supply (limiting the available spaces in classes) creates a quantity restriction which produces a shortage and dead-weight loss. Inefficient, pure and simple. So what would normative economics suggest? Remove the cap, and allow the price to rise. Of course, the administration CONTINUED TO PAGE 6
If the electorate still believes the far-right can bring back a good welfare system, they will continue to vote for right-wing parties. Additionally, the crackdown was dubious as it happened suddenly and was controlled by one judge. The judiciary in Greece is far from immune to political pressures and populist tendencies. It is fishy that the crackdown was processed only by the third estate. I share my classmate, Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni’s, happiness for seeing criminals arrested. However, I am still not convinced the crackdown can lead to a better future for Greek politics, since those criminals were elected democratically in the parliament, and their source of popularity remains. ANGELOS ANGELOU Second-year M.A. candidate at SAIS Washington
THE SAIS OBSERVER Editors-in-Chief
Tristram Thomas Nimisha Jaiswal
DC Associate Editor
DC assistant editors
Selim Koru Jameel Khan
SAIS Europe Associate Editor
SAIS Europe Assistant Editors
Michael St. Germain Hyeladzirra Banu
Nanjing Associate Editor
Nanjing Assistant Editor
by Booyoung Jang
Karishma Chanrai Holly Naylor Saga McFarland
Thomas Proctor Kshitij Neelakantan Tong Zhichao
Booyoung Jang Urvashi Bundel
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.