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April 29, 2019

With decades of experience at the front lines of Track II diplomacy, JHU SAIS Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Randa Slim sheds light on how committed groups and leaders can make progress toward resolving conflict even when official talks have broken down.

The Iron Curtain. The 1994 North Korea crisis. The Syrian Civil War. These are just a few of the monumental issues in which Track II diplomacy has played a critical role.

What, precisely, is this road less traveled? Watch now to learn the four co...

It has only been a few days since the New Year fireworks lit up the skies of many of the world’s cities. For a brief moment, it was possible to forget the tumult and flurry of activity that marked the end of 2018, and focus on the festivities.


Unfortunately, not even the arrival of a new year is likely to aid any efforts to temper rising volatility, fractious diplomacy, political headwinds, tepid markets and, generally speaking, a world on the brink. Regardless of the causes of the alarming deve...

October 24, 2018

​Reconstruction Starts Here:

Building a Better Future for Syrian Refugee Youth

A Conversation with Lina Sergie Attar, Founder and CEO of Karam Foundation

Photography Exhibit “The Children of Karam House: Healing and Ambition Among Syrian Refugee Youth in Turkey”

How do we imagine a vibrant future for Syrians after the mass devastation and trauma they have endured? How can we rebuild agency and confidence for marginalized refugee communities? What if there was a space created for the most vulnerable...

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs. View it here.

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group...

This article was originally published by The Atlantic on April 25, 2018. View it here.

"The Iran Regime-Change Crew Is Back. That probably spells doom for the nuclear deal."

Among the most strident critics of the nuclear deal with Iran are those who believe it furthers the survival of its leadership. By throwing Iran’s rulers an economic lifeline, they believe, the deal is an abject failure. America’s goal, they say, should never have been “denuclearization,” but regime change.

These days, those re...

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria before being pushe...

April 5, 2018

A year ago yesterday, a chemical attack on sleeping families in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun killed 72 civilians and left 550 wounded. Today is the 26th anniversary of the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo—the longest and the most brutal conflict in European post-World War II history.

Tomorrow, one year will have passed since the United States carried out one-off airstrikes on the Shayrat air base in Syria, from which the chemical attack had been launched two days earlier.  

This time last ye...

April 3, 2018

“Witness: Aleppo Sights, Sounds & Stories from Pre-War Syria,” was a panel discussion and exhibition of Syrian music and photography, hosted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The program included a panel discussion about pre-war Syria, featuring a performance of Syrian music, and was followed by a reception and exhibition of 56 photographs by Jason Hamacher of Lost Origin Productions.

Hamacher gained unprecedented access to the city of Aleppo from 20...

February 8, 2018

U.S. partner forces in Syria are holding two suspected Islamic State militants believed to be the remaining members of a cell that held and in some cases executed Western hostages, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated group that is the United States’ main military partner in Syria, captured the two men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, in early January in eastern Syria, two U.S. officials said.

Continue reading at The Washington P...

October 17, 2017


The Conflict Management program and the Middle East Institute hosted a discussion with political experts on Iraq’s future prospects amid the decline of ISIS.

Joseph Pennington of the US Department of State opened the floor by offering remarks on the current and expected challenges facing Iraq. After a brief account of Iraq since ISIS claimed its caliphate, Pennington shared thoughts on Iraq’s progress in fighting the militant group, such as the successful Iraqi-led battle of Mosul, and highligh...

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