Yesterday afternoon, the School of Foreign Service hosted a panel discussion on the controversial anti-Islam video “The Innocence of Muslims.” Georgetown professors and students talked about images of Islam in the Western World in light of the protests in several Islamic states. Professors Jonathan Brown, Ph.D., Yvonne Haddad, Ph.D., and John O. Voll, Ph.D. led the discussion, describing their research and first-hand experience in the region to give a sociopolitical context to the escalation of violence and social upheaval “The Innocence of Muslims” inspired in over twenty countries.
Brown opened the discussion by calling attention to what he views as a double standard for Muslims in the Western world. He suggested that Americans have an ingrained perception of Muslim “rage” built upon the accounts of a sensationalist media. Due to the prevalence of anti-Islamic activity and rhetoric in U.S. society, discrimination and hate speech targeted towards Muslims has become a socially acceptable and agitates already tense relations between Muslims and the rest of the U.S. population.
“Every culture or group of cultures has its own red lines. They might be legal red lines, but they are cultural red lines. There are taboos there are things people cannot say in public. In my experience, you just don’t speak badly of the Prophet Muhammad. It just does not happen,” Brown said.
Earlier today, certain students in the School of Foreign Service received an email from Mitch Kaneda, the Associate Dean of the SFS, informing them that some of their private information was accidentally sent out to 26 SFS seniors. The information, which was sent as an attachment to an unrelated email, included, names, grade point averages, NetIDs, and GoCard numbers, as well as other academic data.
Below is the text of the email Kaneda sent to the students whose info was released:
I write to report and apologize for the disclosure of data that inadvertently occurred yesterday. An e-mail message to 26 SFS seniors here at Georgetown inadvertently included an attachment that contained the cumulative GPA’s, plus earned hours, GPA hours, and quality points of a number of SFS students. Your GPA was included. This shouldn’t have happened and we apologize for it.
The attachment also contained name, GUID, NetID, degree, major, and active/inactive status. No other personally identifiable information about you (no Social Security numbers, for example) was released. We have written to the 26 students who received the message and asked them to delete and destroy the errant information immediately.
I understand that this will be unsettling news. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your advising dean or call the SFS Dean’s Office at (202) 687.5696.
This week, Vox wanted to give the Class of 2015 a sneak peek into each of Georgetown University’s four undergraduate schools. Today, we take a look at the School of Foreign Service (SFS).
A strong core builds a strong degree, so they say
With a heavy load of core requirements, you’ll still be stuck in Comparative Political Systems while your friends in the College are taking drawing classes.
One of those required classes is the proseminar. Freshmen SFS students takes this course—usually taught by a top professor—during their freshman fall in order to improve their writing and analytical skills.
Overall, the core consists of two government courses (international relations and comparative political systems), three history courses (one introductory course and two regional histories), and proficiency in a modern foreign language. Sincerest apologies to those who have spent countless years studying Latin—it counts for nothing in the SFS.
Perhaps to weed out the weak of constitution, the SFS also requires all of its students to take four—yes, four—economics courses, including international trade and international finance.
“I’m sorry, I have to go participate in (insert major world event)”
This might not make up for those four econ classes, but the School of Foreign Service faculty does boast a number of big shots in the domestic and international policy realms.
Dean Carol Lancaster has served as deputy administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, while her predecessor Robert Gallucci now runs the MacArthur Foundation. Other notable professors include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Council member Victor Cha, and former Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe served as a Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership this past year, an appointment that set off a firestorm of complaints from human rights activists. He and former Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, another controversial guest lecturer, left last spring.
“You mean you don’t know where Tuvalu is?”
Even though you’ll all take pretty much the same prerequisites, you may not all have the same tyrannical CPS professor. Map of the Modern World, meanwhile, unites all SFS students.
Several days after naming a new dean for the MSB, Georgetown has announced the selection of Gerd Nonneman as the new Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, effective in September. Nonneman will succeed interim dean Mehran Kamrava, who has served at SFS-Q since 2009.
“Dean Nonneman has had a rich and varied career working in both academia and foreign affair,” wrote President John DeGioia in an email. DeGioia wrote that Nonneman was selected by a search committee led by SFS professor David Edelstein, in consultation with Dean of the SFS Carol Lancaster.
Since 2007, Nonneman has been on the faculty at Britain’s University of Exeter, where he served as director of the school’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies before becoming director of its Center for Gulf Studies. Prior to his tenure at Exeter, Nonneman was professor at Lancaster University, where he served as professor of Middle East politics and head of the school’s M.A. program.
From 1998-2002, Nonneman was the executive director of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies; and in 2003-2004, he served in Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs designing the curriculum for the school’s Diplomatic College.
Dr. Nonneman holds honors in development studies and oriental philology (Arabic) from Belgium’s Ghent University and earned his Ph.D in Middle East politics from the University of Exeter.
Last July, President Barack Obama announced that he would nominateAlexander Arvizu (SFS ’80) to become the U.S. Ambassador to Albania. On Wednesday, Arvizu was formally sworn in as Ambassador.
Arvizu, who was born on an Army base in Japan and grew up in Colorado Springs, previously served the Foreign Service in Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, and Japan.
“Many, many congrats to Alex! I know that he will be an outstanding ambassador for the United States,” Professor Anthony Arend, who graduated with Arvizu and attended his swearing-in ceremony, wrote on his blog.
Do you want to see the world and serve your country? Mike Madoff (SFS ’13), Morgan McDaniel (SFS ’13), Amanda Lanzillo (SFS ’13) have some advice for you.
In a video titled “So you want to be a Foreign Service officer,” which seems to be inspired by a similar, academic-minded video, a student asks if she can list her professor as a State Department reference. The professor tells her “no one cares” about her Maps of the Modern World Knowledge, she will only marry other officers “as pretentious as [she is],” and she will “die as a mid-level Washington bureaucrat.”
As reported in this week’s Voice feature, School of Foreign Service International Development Certificate Program Coordinator Zara Khan (SFS ’07) resigned yesterday.
In a letter sent to students currently studying international development, Khan claimed a lack of administrative support for the program led to her resignation.
“My departure from Georgetown is not related to salary or budget cuts,” she wrote. “I am leaving because the support from SFS which I had asked for did not materialize.”
Khan regularly faced shortfalls and obstacles in her coordinator role, despite the overwhelming popularity of the certificate program. (More than three times as many students plan to graduate with the certificate this year compared to the next-most popular, Asian Studies.)
From last summer until late September, for example, she worked as an unpaid volunteer while waiting for the University to offer her a part-time position. Despite Professor Maria Louise Wagner‘s support, that position never emerged.
Khan plans to move to Rwanda next week to work with an NGO “to develop income-generating opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs through agricultural interventions that increase food security.”
I was surprised by the weakness of the protests. In the contrary, I am motivated and impressed by the great number of students that have approached me to express their support.
I have confronted numerous protests against my policies during my career, but over the years I have seen a decline in their number due to my consistent devotion to work with absolute transparency and my open commitment for constructive and respectful debate. Therefore, [it] didn’t surprise [me]. What has surprised me was the kind reception by the vast majority of the students.
R. Smith Simpson, a lifelong Foreign Service Officer who helped establish Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, passed away early last week. Simpson, who also taught night classes at Georgetown, was known as an “absolute pit bull” devoted to diplomacy education.
In a 1962 article for the Foreign Service Journal, Simpson railed against the profound lack of preparation for undergraduate students interested in life in the Foreign Service.
Applicants were plagued by “an abysmal ignorance of so elementary a subject as the geography of the United States, deficient in a knowledge of even contemporary culture” and were “pitifully uninformed” about major issues of the time, he wrote.
After retiring from the Foreign Service nearly a decade later, Simpson found himself working with SFS dean Peter Krogh, who had contributed to his original report. Inspired by Simpson’s ideas, Krogh offered to help him establish the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. To this day, the Institute aims to explore the challenges of diplomacy in the 21st century.
[Update, 5:15 pm: Vox just learned that Uribe has arrived on campus. Protesters are currently outside the Mortara Building, which Uribe was seen entering earlier today. MPD officers have closed are posted along the 1200 block of 36th Street.]
The School of the Americas Watch, a group dedicated to closing the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Operation, started planning forms of protest this summer. According to Justice and Peace Studies Program Director Mark Lance, SOA Watch joined yesterday’s protest in Red Square.
It isn’t known if Uribe, who was reelected in a 2006 election with more than 60 percent of the vote, has arrived on campus yet. Nonetheless, those who oppose with his hiring expect to continue protesting.
“As long as we have supporters and as long as he has classes, we’ll continue,” Monica Gonzalez (MSFS ’11) told the Voice.