January 2013

The International Relations Fellows (IRFs) have had a very full January!  On Saturday, January 5th, Pablo and Dr. Rezelman answered questions about the program (along with representatives from the other CCGL programs) at Norfolk Academy’s annual admissions “Open House.”

Norfolk Academy Open House (January 2013)

Tuesday evening, January 8th, several of the IRFs joined Dr. Rezelman and Mr. McMahon in attending a World Affairs Council dinner and talk at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.  Professor Tim Naftali’s talk was entitled “From the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iran: Confronting the Nuclear Threat.”  As Thomas observed, “Dr. Naftali drew a striking comparison of Cuba and Iran [regarding] lessons learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis [and how they] can help our situation in Iran today.”  Jessica was struck by the important “role of ‘red lines’ and government secrecy when dealing with nuclear weapons.”

On Thursday, January 10th, each of the IRFs spoke to the entire eighth grade to explain to next year’s possible applicants why they might wish to apply to a CCGL program.  The IRFs are very excited about being joined by a second group of Fellows starting this August, and they were determined to convince “the best of the best” to apply to our program (or to one of our sister CCGL programs).  As Jessica observed, “I was surprised that a whole year had gone by since I was an eighth grader first listening to the introductions to the programs . . .  I hope I can set a good example for Fellows to come and I can’t wait to see who will apply and who will ‘join the gang.’ ”

On Wednesday, January 16th, the IRFs joined the Global Health Fellows (GHFs) to hear a presentation from Ms. Caryn Cobb (’11) about traditional Chinese medicine.  Caryn’s recent travels in China made for some fascinating cultural insights!  (For more information on Caryn’s visit, visit the Global Health Fellows blog.)

Ms. Cobb, Ms. Massey, the GHFs, and the IRFs.

January also saw us make the final preparations for our presentation during the World Affairs Council’s “Great Decisions” talk regarding China in Africa.  Though the event (scheduled for Saturday, January 26th) was canceled due to weather, we look forward to its rescheduling.

Amid all this activity, the vital routine of reading and discussing articles from Foreign Affairs continued.  Though we were unable to complete as many articles as we usually do in a month, we discussed (or will discuss tomorrow)

  • Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs, “The Rise of Settler Terrorism”  (Jessica)
  • Jonathan Caverley and Ethan B. Kapstein, “Arms Away” (Pablo)
  • Aaron L. Friedberg, “Bucking Beijing” (Sophie)
  • Colin H. Kahl; Kenneth N. Waltz, “Iran and the Bomb” (Hannah)
  • Megan H. MacKenzie, “Let Women Fight” (Jessica)
  • Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, “How China Sees America” (Jessica)

On Tuesday, January 29th, the Fellows were honored to be joined in their discussion of the two articles relating to China by Mr. Beau Walker (’59) and Capt. George B. Powell (’57, USN [ret.]).  Tomorrow many of the IRFs will attend Professor Julie Nelson Davis’s talk on Norfolk Academy’s collection of Japanese art prints.  Dr. Davis’s Powell Family lecture is entitled “Magnificent Impressions: Japanese Prints from the George Powell Collection in Context.”  This will be a delightful conclusion to the process begun in December when the IRFs received a personal introduction to the collection from Dr. Leslie Hennessey.

Professor Davis and Mr. Powell

Let’s hope February is as busy as January . . . but maybe a bit warmer!

A Review of 2012

Following their August “tour of the Washington foreign policy establishment” (see below), the inaugural cohort of International Relations Fellows (IRFs) had a great first semester of their four-year experience!  Some highlights:

Foreign Affairs

In September the IRFs began what will remain one of our intellectual staples: reading the journal Foreign Affairs together.  The Fellows read the July-August issue as part of their summer reading, so we were primed and ready to go with discussions as soon as the school year began.  Each IRF reads the entirety of each issue, and then we discuss most of the articles together during regular (once or twice a week) lunch-and-Tutor Bell meetings.  The Fellows pick two articles from each issue that they find particularly interesting.  They then look a bit more deeply into that subject, get some background information on its author, and then lead our group discussion of the article.  The process can be daunting at first, but the IRFs have already come a long way in terms of adjusting to the jargon and keeping pace with the content.  By the time they graduate, after keeping pace with Foreign Affairs for four years, the Fellows will be up to speed on the most important contemporary foreign policy debates.

The articles the IRFs have led group discussions about thus far:

  • Graham Allison, “The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50”  (Pablo)
  • Timothy Garton Ash, “The Crisis of Europe”  (Sophie)
  • Amatzia Baram, “Deterrence Lessons From Iraq”  (Sophie)
  • Alexander Benard, “How to Succeed in Business”  (Pablo)
  • C. Fred Bergsten, “Why the Euro Will Survive”  (Hannah)
  • Andrea Louise Campbell, “America the Undertaxed”  (Pablo)
  • Mikhail Dmitriev and Daniel Treisman, “The Other Russia”  (Thomas)
  • Bernard K. Gordon, “Trading Up in Asia”  (Jessica)
  • Stephen Hadley and John Podesta, “The Right Way Out of Afghanistan”  (Jessica)
  • Charles King, “The Scottish Play”  (Thomas)
  • Bjørn Lomborg, “Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now”  (Sophie)
  • Sebastian Mallaby, “Europe’s Optional Catastrophe”  (Hannah)
  • Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “How India Stumbled”  (Thomas)
  • Richard K. Morse, “Cleaning Up Coal”  (Thomas)
  • Kenneth N. Waltz, “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb”  (Hannah)

Community Service with the World Affairs Council

The Fellows also fulfilled their ninth grade community service in the fall by visiting once a week the offices of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads (WACGHR).  They helped out WACGHR’s Executive Director, Gabrielle Blake, with some routine office work, and in the process they gained a better understanding of all that goes into running a small, foreign policy-related non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO).  The Fellows spent most of their time, however, preparing to assist the WACGHR with a presentation in their Great Decisions Speaker Series.  On Saturday, January 26th, from 10:00 am to noon, Dr. Philip Roessler will be speaking about China’s growing political and economic ties with Africa.  The IRFs will be assisting Dr. Roessler and the WACGHR by providing an informational trifold on the subject to be displayed in the lobby that morning.  The Fellows will also be speaking briefly to the audience about what they concluded from their study of the subject.  (For more information on this event, and other WACGHR events, visit their web site at http://www.hrwac.org.)

Other Events

The Fellows have also had the chance to attend a variety of other international relations and leadership-related events.  In September, for example, several IRFs attended a WACGHR talk held at Norfolk Academy, where the Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, Dr. Christopher Preble, spoke to an audience of over a hundred about the future of the U.S. nuclear triad.  Dr. Preble was an old friend of the IRFs, having hosted them in his office last August when the Fellows visited the Cato Institute (see below).

In November the IR Fellows joined the Chesapeake Bay Fellows and the Global Health Fellows in attending the Center for Civic and Global Leadership’s quarterly leadership talk.  Lawyer, activist, and friend of Norfolk Academy, Jay Leutze, spoke to the Fellows about the environmental stewardship work in North Carolina described in his book Stand Up the Mountain.  As Ms. Massey put it in her Global Health Fellows blog, “[Leutze’s] story of standing up and fighting against an injustice left everyone present feeling empowered that they themselves can become agents of real change.”

In December the Fellows received a personal tour of George Powell’s (’57) Japanese woodblock print collection on display in the Perrel Art Gallery.  The curator of the display, Dr. Leslie Hennessey, gave the IRFs the “white-glove treatment” as they were able to personally handle up close several of these art treasures.  In the process the students gained a greater appreciation of Japanese art and of the cultural ramifications of the massive political and economic changes that Japan underwent in the late 19th century.

Planning continues regarding future IRF trips.  In December David Rezelman (Director, International Relations Fellows) and Price Massey (Director, Global Health Fellows) made a reconnaissance trip to the Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in Muscatatuck, Indiana.  Though it is still early in the planning phase, we hope one day soon to enable the IR Fellows to do some foreign policy-related training of their own at this facility!