Walsh Exchange 2017


Book Launch with WX Moderator James Vreeland

The Political Economy of the United Nations Security CouncilJames Raymond Vreeland (Ph.D., New York University, 1999) is Professor of International Relations in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He holds a joint appointment in the Government Department. He conducts research in the field of international political economy, specializing in international institutions. 

Earlier this month, students, faculty, and distinguished researchers filled the Mortara Center to hear former Walsh Exchange Moderator, James Vreeland, launch his book, The Political Economy of the United Nations Security Council. In his presentation, the Georgetown professor exposed the shadier, less publicized side of international institutions and advocated realist reforms.

Vreeland focuses on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a symbol of legitimacy within international law, which possesses the power to issue multi-lateral sanctions, international resolutions, and military intervention. The council is composed of fifteen countries, five of which remain indefinitely with absolute veto power– the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China. The other ten countries alternate, elected every two years by the UN General Assembly. The professor illuminated how these temporary members, often developing nations, become much more politically relevant during their terms. As these countries are often more concerned with the domestic status quo opposed to international politics, powerful global hegemons, both within and outside of the UNSC, frequently offer foreign aid in exchange for votes. Professor Vreeland finished by exploring potential reforms, discussing changes to the election process which would redistribute voting power to “accommodate rising powers” while maintaining international legitimacy.

Vreeland’s book not only epitomizes high-quality research but also faculty-student cooperation. The professor’s former student, Daniel Lim, partnered with Vreeland and co-authored the book’s case study on Japan and the Asian Development Bank. During the Q&A session, collegiate researchers, both graduate and undergraduate students, did not hesitate to ask questions. Vreeland explained his methodology, offered future research possibilities, and, above all, inspired a new generation to pursue research in international affairs.

As we in the Walsh Exchange Steering Committee begin to plan our conference this Spring, we wish to thank the Mortara Center for sponsoring our conference and Professor Vreeland for his role as moderator last year. We hope this cooperation will continue to flourish.

5 Reasons to Join the WX Steering Committee

With just a few days left in our application cycle, here are just 5 reasons why you should join the Walsh Exchange Steering Committee. We look forward to your application!

1. You’ll meet unforgettable people

Whether it’s listening to a keynote from the best foreign policy minds or hanging out with other steering committee members during meetings, you’ll be surrounded by a fantastic network that will stick with you for years to come.

Sammy Mladen (Director of Marketing), Cheryl Lau (Deputy Academic Coordinator), Allison Kim (Director of Finance and Operations), and Sidharth Sharma (Editor-in-Chief) at the Third Annual Conference

2. We don’t just talk the talk

Talking about policy and recommending solutions is a noble pursuit, but we here at the Walsh Exchange take things farther. Come with us as we visit the Department of State, the Pentagon, Library of Congress-we offer unparalleled programming opportunities throughout the conference that all steering committee members can attend as well!

One of the programs we are anticipating at the Fourth Annual Conference (Spring 2015)

3. Our alums go on to do great things-and you will, too

Council on Foreign Relations intern. Executive Director of the largest model UN conference in our hemisphere. Boren Scholar. President of the International Relations Club. These are only some of the things our Steering Committee members have accomplished in just the past year!

Sarah Pemberton (left), Co-Chair of the Third Annual Conference and Executive Director of the 52nd North American Invitational Model UN

2014 Director of Finance and Operations Allison Kim, Current President of the International Relations Club, Georgetown’s largest student group.

4. You’ll be at the forefront of the latest generation of IR research

The Walsh Exchange was founded in 2011 by a Georgetown undergraduate with the idea of fostering the spirit of research in undergraduates from across the globe. The ideas that start at the Exchange grow and develop years after they are presented at the conference. You’ll get a first hand look at what issues will be shaping our world – and you’ll have the chance to impact those issues yourself.


2014 Co-Chair Chloe Krawcyzk and keynote speakers Robert Beck and Anthony Arend

5. What all college students want…

Of course, all college organizations offer free food by means of pizza-at the Walsh Exchange, though, we live by the philosophy of “go big or go home.” Maybe that’s why we have catered receptions, lunch excursions, and private events in Copley Formal. Get off the Domino’s train and come join the Walsh Exchange!

Closing dinner for presenters and Steering Committee members at the end of the Third Annual Conference, Copley Formal


Apply to be on the 2015 Steering Committee!

The Walsh Exchange is proud to announce that we are again accepting applications for the 2015 Steering Committee. The applications can be accessed via Word document and PDF.

Open positions include:

  • Director of Finance
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Marketing
  • Development Coordinator
  • Director of Media and Technology
  • Deputy Academic Coordinator
  • Editor-in-Chief of the Book of Proceedings

The 2014 Steering Committee in all their glory on the last day of the Third Annual Conference

The fourth annual conference will be held in mid-April of 2015. Please expect to devote a significant, though flexible, amount of time for preparation in the weeks immediately preceding the conference. The Steering Committee will meet throughout fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 to plan the event.

Read over the application to find out more about all the positions available. Please submit completed applications to ss3197@georgetown.edu along with a one-paged résumé by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday September 6 in order to be considered. Interviews for selected applicants will be conducted between September 7 and 10. All applicants will receive a response by September 13 at the very latest.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Sidharth Sharma, chair of the 2015 Walsh Exchange, at ss3197@georgetown.edu with any questions or concerns you might have about the conference or the application process.

The 2014 Book of Proceedings is now available online!

The official Walsh Exchange Book of Proceedings for 2014 is now available for viewing online! Browse to your heart’s content here.

Want to know what’s in store? Check out the diverse array of research topics covered by this year’s Walsh Exchange cohort:

Changing the Education System in Burma: Preparing to Repatriate Karen Refugees
Keila Franks

Cold War Foreign Policy Through the Eyes of Clark Clifford: The Voice of Reason
Ben Gottesdiener

Collateral Gains: How Israel Has Benefited from Iran’s Nuclear Program
Dougal Robinson

A Comparative Analysis of Regional Environmental Regimes in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea
Colleen Wood

Competing Creeds: Disaggregating the Role of Religion in the Onset of Civil War
Linnea Turco

Contextualizing Mental Health and Trauma Healing in Post Conflict Rwanda
Lizzie Lamb

Distributing Opportunity: Microfinance, Poverty, and Growth in ASEAN
James Thomas Fishback

Do MANPADS Matter?
Laurel Zigerelli

The Dragon’s Curse?: Considering China’s Economic Ties and Participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Africa
Ben Yunmo Wang

Greenland of Opportunity?: Modeling the Prospects for Sustainable Resource Development in Greenland
Madeleine Livingston

How to Survive the Rwandan Genocide: Towards a Framework for Genocide Survival Using Memoir Analysis
Basil Bastaki

The Puzzle of the Proletariat: Are Some Forms of Urban Middle Class Activism in India More Democracy Enhancing than Others?
Avanti Narayanan

Protagonizar: Economic and Social Development in a Microfinance Model
Sarah Baran

Russian Counterterrorism: The Evolution of Counterterrorism in Russia and its Impact on the State and Inside the Kremlin
Joshua Schoen

Tearmainn na hÉireann: Direct Provision Housing, Child Asylum Seekers, and Violations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Narintohn Luangrath

Winning Hearts and Minds and Votes: Effects of U.S. and Western Education of Foreign Leaders on Voting Preference Alignment in the United Nations General Assembly
Sun Hoo Kim

Who Proliferates?: A First Image Look at Pakistani Proliferation
Alexandra van Dine

Applications are OPEN for the 2015 Walsh Exchange!

Thank you for your interest in becoming part of the Steering Committee for the Fourth Annual Walsh Exchange! Download the application in DOCX or PDF.

Positions include:

  • Director of Finance
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Marketing
  • Development Coordinator
  • Director of Media and Technology
  • Director of Events
  • Academic Coordinator
  • Editor-in-Chief of the Book of Proceedings

The fourth annual conference will be held in mid-April of 2015. Please expect to devote a significant, though flexible, amount of time for preparation in the weeks immediately preceding the conference. The Steering Committee will meet throughout fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 to plan the event.

Read over the application to find out more about all the positions available. Please submit completed applications to ss3197@georgetown.edu along with a one-paged résumé by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday April 26 in order to be considered. Interviews for selected applicants will be conducted between April 28 and May 1. All applicants will receive a response by May 4 at the very latest.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Sidharth Sharma, chair of the 2015 Walsh Exchange, at ss3197@georgetown.edu with any questions or concerns you might have about the conference or the application process.

Third Annual Walsh Exchange: Final Panel Session


By Sidharth Sharma

The final session of the Third Annual Walsh Exchange featured three panels and eight student speakers. Lizzie Lamb, Keila Franks, and Basil Bastaki presented during the Conflict and Post-Conflict Resolution on issues related to the Rwandan conflict of the 1990s and Karen Refugees in Myanmar. James Fishback and Sarah Baran spoke about microfinance initiatives in ASEAN and South America, respectively, during the Economic Development panel.

Joshua Schoen of Georgetown University presented during the Security panel, moderated by Dr. Natalie Goldring. Schoen tackled the issue of Russian counterterrorism, first giving a historical background of Russian efforts to combat terrorist groups and then linking that background to modern day applications concerning Russia’s security policy with regard to the Sochi Olympics.

Ben Gottesdiener of Washington University in St. Louis then presented on the role that Clark Clifford, special counsel to a handful of American presidents, in Cold War foreign policy. Clifford, he argued, was instrumental in not only developing containment policy but also urging Truman to recognize Israel as a state. Like Alexandra Van Dine’s presentation on nuclear proliferation in the Pakistani state from this morning’s first session, Gottesdiener’s thesis relied upon a first image understanding of international politics.

Finally, Laurel Zigarelli of Georgetown University concluded the presentation section of the panel with a talk assessing the use of MANPADS (man-portable aerial defense systems). MANPADS, Zigarellu argued, are relatively easy and cheap for terrorists to acquire and, if used against a American commercial airliner, could cause around 16 billion USD in damage to the American economy. Why, then, have they not been widely utilized in the post-September 11 world?  After looking at 8 different cases, Zigarelli concluded that MANPADs are only utilized in the context of states where the legal structures exist to apprehend individuals for using MANPADs.

Dr. Natalie Goldring then concluded the session by delivering remarks on research projects, encouraging both the presenters and audience members to clearly define the parameters of their research conference.

With the panel presentations for the Third Annual Walsh Exchange now concluded, the Steering Committee would like to thank our presenters, our moderators, and our audience for their hard work and dedication. We hope all of our guests will join us for our keynote address at 5pm in Healy 208.



Third Annual Walsh Exchange: Panel Session Two


Madeleine Livingston, left, and Colleen Wood field questions about their research in the Resource Development and the Environment panel.

The Third Annual Walsh Exchange continued with two more engaging panels on international relations research. One panel included presentations on voting patterns in the United Nations, China’s involvement in peacekeeping operations, and the role of religion in the onset of civil war – three disparate projects tied together by their use of quantitative research methods.

The other panel, Resource Development and the Environment, explored the crucial and timely question of if, when, and how well governments are able to come together in the international arena to address the shared problem of environmental degradation and resource depletion.

The first presenter, Colleen Wood, explored this question in the context of a comparative analysis between the regional environmental regimes of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
First, she examined how these regimes differ in their effectiveness. Overall, she saw that the Black Sea environmental regime had a thorough and robust set of regional responses, in contrast to the Caspian Sea, which has been relatively less successful.

Wood then presented her hypotheses for what accounts for this difference. First, if there was a regional hegemon and it was in the best interest of that state , then cooperation was more likely. Second, the level of integration with other regional and international institutions may play a role in the ability of the states to work with themselves. Third, she looked at the strength of regional epistemic communities, which she did not find to have a strong role in the variation of success between the regions. Finally, she saw that the existence of hydrocarbons plays an important role because their presence requires a decision about the division of the resources.

To conclude, Wood pointed to the Black Sea’s contractual environment, government capacity, and concern for the environment as explanations for their relative success, as the Black Sea environmental regime facilitates cooperation, has rising funding, and is able to overcome the belief that economic and environmental goals are competing. Finally, while some people might be down about the prospects of the Caspian Sea in terms of environmental standards, actually the environmental baselines for these regions were not that different. The difference may actually have more to do with the politics, institutions, and interconnections of the regions, lending cause for optimism.

Madeleine Livingston from George Washington University then presented on how Greenland could avoid the resource curse – the idea that resource revenue often undermines nation building and economic growth. Her independent variable was resource shock, and she looked at how this affected democratic consolidation outcomes, with her causal mechanisms being institutions, education, and political culture. Her research included a range of methodologies – a comprenhensive literature review, qualitative review, research groups, and field research.

Livingston pointed out that resource rich governments tend to need particularly strong checks and balances, but she found few of these in Greenland. There were no whistle-blowing institutions to provide incentives against politicians to rent-seek, and a very low capacity of the government to monitor drilling behavior. In addition to low institutional quality, there is a high presence of corruption and nepotism in Greenland coupled with a very small politically active population, creating relatively ineffective public debates and negative implications for democratic consolidation. To conclude, Livingston pointed out that it’s easy to build a road, but it’s much harder to build an institution to maintain that road in perpetuity. You must ask, what is the culture and how does it work? Without a culture conducive to such institutions, we won’t see those roads being maintained.

After the presentations, Dr. Tim Beach led the room in a conversation that compared the two research projects, which both focused on how governments were dealing with problems raised by resources and the environment – one on a regional scale, and the other on a smaller local scale. The audience raised a number of interesting questions, probing deeper into the methodologies used, the cultures of the countries, the environmental differences between them, and more in-depth details about the two projects.


Third Annual Walsh Exchange: Panel Session One

1526492_551993788239953_1283846179_n (1)The second day of the Walsh Exchange began in Healy Hall with two separate panels. The Democracy and Human Rights panel featured presentations by Avanti Narayanan of Georgetown on urban middle class activism in India and its effects on democracy, and Narintohn Luangrath of Boston College on direct provision housing, child asylum seekers, and violations of the rights of the child. The panel was moderated by Dr. Eusebio Mujal-Leon, a professor of government at Georgetown and co-director of the masters program in democracy and governance and of the masters program in development management.

The Nuclear Proliferation panel began with a presentation from Dougal Robinson from the University of Sydney, who explored how Israel has benefited from Iran’s nuclear program. While the Israeli and Western narrative argues that Iran’s nuclear program is a negative for Israel, Robinson argued that Israel has benefited from Iran’s activities. He pointed to the actions of the international community, which have isolated Iran and reduced the revenues it has available for its nuclear program, and the degree of cooperation that has arisen between Israel and Sunni Arab states as a result of Iran’s actions. He concluded that it was important to look past what Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu is saying, and realize that while the world considers Iran to be building a nuclear weapon, Israel will continue to accrue collateral gains from their nuclear program.

Next, Alexandra Van Dine of Georgetown explored the question of why some choose to proliferate nuclear weapons while others don’t by focusing on two scientists that were both leaders in Iran’s nuclear weapons program: Munir Khan, head of the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission, and A.Q. Khan, who headed Khan Research Laboratories. A.Q. Khan went on to sell nuclear knowledge and expertise to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. Through a process-tracing case study, she examined the differences in their backgrounds that led them to take divergent paths and found that two factors were critical: first, a scientist’s involvement in international institutions would lead them to refrain to protect their professional reputation. Second, a scientist with less egomania would be less likely to proliferate because they would not feel the need to prove themselves through acts of glory.

After the two presentations concluded, Professor Visner then engaged the student researchers into an interactive dialogue with the audience, probing deeper into the issues brought forth in the presentations. He pointed out that while Robinson’s paper examined the consequences of a nuclear program, Van Dine’s paper looked at the motivations, and asked each researcher to consider their own case from the perspective of the other researcher, sparking discussion about the strategic rationale for Iran’s nuclear program and the consequences of proliferation in Pakistan. Professor Visner also explored possible further directions for their research, asking Van Dine if she saw any possibilities to expand her research through the consideration of analogous situations, such as Edward Teller and the American nuclear program, a case that she had not thought of before.

Overall, the session was an intriguing exploration of nuclear proliferation that challenged some existing ideas about international relations, such as the efficacy of international institutions or the lack of benefits from a nuclear program. Van Dine reiterated a comment made by Professor Charles King in his keynote address – countries are not black boxes, and we need to open them up and look deeper. Robinson and Van Dine showed us the interesting conclusions that can result when a deeper, more insightful layer of analysis is applied to our existing understanding of international issues.

Thank you to Professor Visner and Dr. Eusebio Mujal-Leon for moderating the panels and to the presenters for taking the time to share your research with us. To our visitors, thank you for attending and please join us for more presentations and engaging conversations at our afternoon panels!

Keynote Address on Crimea and Ukraine with Dr. Charles King



Dr. Charles King kicked off the Third Annual Walsh Exchange by delivering the keynote address in McGhee Library.

At Georgetown, Dr. King is a professor of international affairs and government. His research focuses on nationalism, ethnic politics, and transitions from authoritarianism. In his talk, he analyzed the situation in Crimea from a historical and geopolitical perspective.

First, Dr. King commented that if you were to take an observer of geopolitics from the 1850s and bring them to the modern day, they would comment on how little has changed, as we continue to struggle with the same global issues – how to get out of Afghanistan, and the problem with Crimea. Dr. King then provided a quick overview of the series of events that led up to now, pointing out the significance, that this is the first time a country has questioned the geopolitical boundaries that resulted from the fall of the USSR in 1991. Even though the media may be acting like it is the first time, he pointed out that the invasion of one country by another is not new.

Commenters on the Ukrainian crisis have said that we are seeing a new kind of cold war, a point with which Dr. King disagreed. He pointed out that the cold war world was a very violent place – even if it wasn’t so for the countries directly involved, it was for the primary arena of competition – the developing world.

He argued that the era we live in now is fundamentally different from that time, especially in that it is now very difficult to create an alternate version of reality. He pointed out that we live in a time where it is very difficult to control messaging and control how your country is perceived. Whereas previously, the United States might have been able to monitor perceptions and understandings of world politics and our reputation, it is virtually impossible for the United States to put out a version of the country now.

To end, Dr. King asked a question designed to explore fundamental relevance issue to the young people sitting in the room, interested in international relations research. How does Crimea affect us as global scholars?

King pointed out that up to date, we have tended to treat countries as black boxes that just interact with each other in known ways. Instead, we need to open them up and understand what’s going on inside countries. Nobody has ever asked Crimea what they wanted in the past. Imagining how people can see the world differently from how we might see the world, injecting anthropology and ethnography into our policy, what are states available strategies to do exactly that. He argued for a more deeper and comprehensive understanding of international politics, going beyond a surface level analysis. Fortunately for us, he was able to provide us with that perspective.

Dr. King submitted his own advice for undergraduates on conducting research in international relations. Read on for his tips and we hope to see you at the 2nd day of the Walsh Exchange!

King: You have to begin by reading good research: selecting articles in the major journals (which means asking your professors to identify the major journals in their field), the major book publishers (ditto), and the work of pathbreaking scholars in your chosen discipline. Learn to use search engines in a smart way, looking out for the best and most influential work–not just any work–on your topic. A good place to start is with Google Scholar, by looking at the citation counts (that is, how many times an article, book chapter, or book has been cited by other scholars) and then using that as a first cut at what pieces of scholarship have been most influential. Doing research is a conversation, not a monologue, which means that you have to have a good sense of what has already been done in your chosen field and then design your own work so that it builds on existing knowledge.