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D.C. conference | How do we restore public confidence in foreign policy experts?

March 29, 2019

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Join us for an insightful discussion on the future role of foreign policy experts in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Today the American public’s confidence in professional advisors is seemingly at a low point while at the same time there is a heightened need for foreign policy expertise in an increasingly complex, changing, and fragmented global landscape. Panelists will discuss the reasons behind this divide and ideas on how organizations and universities could address this chasm.

Senior-level representatives from the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Department of State, American University, University of Maryland, Elliott School of International Affairs and the Jackson School of International Studies among other organizations will participate.

The University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in partnership with George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs will host a panel on the role of foreign policy advisors in America today.

When: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Where: Lindner Commons, GWU Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC 20052

The event is free but registration for this event is required. Join us for all or part of the Forum.  To RSVP visit Foreign Policy Experts Program Registration.  To learn more about this conference, see the agenda below or email uwieforum@gmail.com.

Panelists include Jackson School Lecturer Daniel Bessner, Rachel Stein and Henry Nau of the Elliott School of International Affairs, the Honorable Adam Smith, U.S. House of RepresentativesNora Bensahel, a Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies and Michael Ratney, U.S. Department of State Senior Foreign Service Officer. Christine BN Chin, American University, Dean of the School of International Service and Robert Orr, Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland will also provide insight.

The talk will be moderated by Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Reşat Kasaba, Jackson School Director and Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies. Closing remarks will be provided by Reuben Brigety, Dean of the Elliott School of International Studies.

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Agenda:

9:30-9:45 a.m. Registration

9:45-10:00 a.m. Welcoming Remarks

Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University representative

Reşat Kasaba, Director and Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director, Henry M. Jackson Foundation

10:00-11:45 a.m. Restoring Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Experts: Lessons from U.S. History and Other Democracies

Today the American public’s confidence in professional advisors is seemingly at a low point while at the same time there is a heightened need for foreign policy expertise in an increasingly complex, changing, and fragmented global landscape. Can examples from recent history illuminate pivotal points when expert foreign policy advice improved the outcome for the U.S.? After past foreign policy failures, how was confidence in specialists restored? Is today’s backlash against foreign policy experts different than other times in recent history? How do other countries view the role of the foreign policy advisor? How do other democratic countries resolve the tension between egalitarian ideals and the need for true expertise?  Is distrust of the credentialed elite an American tradition or common elsewhere?  

Moderator: Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director, Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Nora Bensahel, Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins School of International Studies

Daniel Bessner, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Henry Nau, Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Rachel Stein, Assistant Professor,Elliott School of International Affairs

12:00-2:00 p.m. Luncheon Panel Discussion: Educating the Next Generation in an Era of Public Distrust Toward the Expert

How do universities prepare the next generation when there is a widening gap between the internationalist elite and an inward-looking electorate?  How do schools, think tanks, and bureaucracies attract and train high-capable diplomats, defense experts, and international economists in an era of isolationism? Should universities, think tanks, and global nonprofits devote resources to educating the public on the value of having well-trained experts and how U.S. foreign policy benefits Americans in their daily lives?  

Moderator: Reşat Kasaba, Director and Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

The Honorable Adam Smith, U.S. House of Representatives

Christine BN Chin,Dean, School of International Service, American University

Robert Orr, Dean, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Michael Ratney, Senior Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

2:00 pm Closing Remarks

Reuben Brigety, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University