School of International Service

From the Dean's Desk: A New Year Begins at SIS

As we start the new school year, SIS welcomes many new and returning students, faculty, and staff. SIS starts the school year with nearly 600 new undergraduate students, 350 M.A. students, and ten Ph.D. students, hailing from many states and countries and with a wide variety of interests and experiences. Some recent highlights of SIS activity include:

  • The newest SIS master's program, the International Relations Online degree, began in May 2013. Over thirty students are currently enrolled, participating in live, synchronous class sessions from locations as varied as Japan, Afghanistan, Belgium, Korea, and across the United States. The first courses were taught by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Professor Gary Weaver.
  • The undergraduate program was significantly updated and reorganized to better prepare graduates for the global challenges of the twenty-first century.
  • SIS implemented twenty graduate-level practica, with students traveling to China, Myanmar, Honduras, Rwanda, and Israel. Practica allow students to apply previously-learned theory to real-life situations with partners such as the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of State, and the World Resources Institute.
  • The one-year Master of International Service now has an International Studies track for students from international partner universities, combining a two-semester intensive period of study with opportunities for participating in ongoing research programs.
  • Twenty-three SIS students were named Boren Scholars, Fellows, or alternates. The programs provide funding for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in regions critical to U.S. interests. Global Environmental Politics student Jeanine Finley, SIS/MA '13, became the first SIS student to win both Boren and Fulbright Public Policy Fellowships.
  • Seven of the nineteen AU Presidential Management Fellows, who are matched with Federal opportunities throughout the government, hailed from SIS.
  • The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) certified the grounds around the SIS building for sustainable construction, design, and maintenance of built landscapes. Selected along with more than 150 other sites worldwide to participate in the SITES pilot program, the SIS building is one of only twenty-three to earn SITES green certification.
  • The 100,000 Strong Foundation became housed at SIS. Launched last year by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the foundation encourages American students to learn Mandarin and study abroad in China.
  • The U.S.-Pakistan Women's Council joined the SIS community. The council is a public-private partnership between the U.S. State Department and AU, supported by the Organization for Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN), which promotes the economic advancement of women in Pakistan.
  • The Community of Scholars summer program doubled in size in 2013, with sixty-one high school students from as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan studying U.S. foreign policy as well as international conflict and culture.

We welcome you to visit our website, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and attend our events to learn more about our activities and news.

- Dean James Goldgeier (Twitter: @JimGoldgeier)

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New Faculty Join SIS and New Appointments are Made

Five new tenure-line faculty members have joined SIS from universities around the world, bringing with them expertise in economic policy, democracy and governance, human rights, and comparative politics.

Professor Daniel Bernhofen joins SIS from the University of Nottingham (UK), where he served as a professor of international economics and the director of the Globalisation and Economic Policy Research Centre. His research interests are in the theoretical, empirical, and historical aspects of international trade and globalization. He obtained both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Associate Professor Keith Trisko Darden specializes in international relations, comparative politics, and Eurasia. He joins SIS from Yale-NUS College in Singapore, where he served as an associate professor of social sciences. Darden received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, has been an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and previously taught at Yale University. He currently co-edits the Cambridge University Press series, Problems in International Politics.

Professor Jonathan Fox comes to SIS from the department of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has held fellowships with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author of Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico.

Assistant Professor Agustina Giraudy spent the 2012-2013 year on leave working on her latest manuscript, which explores the multiple pathways towards subnational undemocratic regime continuity within democratized countries. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has most recently been an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

Assistant Professor Malini Ranganathan, who also was on leave from 2012-2013, comes to the SIS faculty from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy at the Beckman Institute and the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on global metropolitan studies, urban environmental politics, and ethnographic research.

In addition, SIS welcomes fifteen new term faculty:

  • David Banks, ABD, George Washington University. Banks has taught courses on diplomacy and security politics.
  • Shawn Bates, J.D., Georgetown University. Bates focuses on alternative dispute resolution and green infrastructure development.
  • Ryan Briggs, Ph.D., American University. Briggs researches the influence of foreign aid on governance in Africa.
  • Stephen Dalzell, Ph.D., The University of California, Santa Barbara. Dalzell has formerly served as an Army strategist and civil affairs officer.
  • Doga Eralp, Ph.D., George Mason University. Eralp studies conflict analysis and resolution.
  • Ali Erol, Ph.D., Howard University. Erol, a native of Turkey, studies international communication and rhetoric and narrative.
  • Gregory Fuller, ABD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Fuller specializes in international political economy, comparative politics, and European studies.
  • Austin Hart, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Hart will serve as the coordinator of SIS's graduate methods program and has previously taught courses in research methods and political behavior.
  • Claudia Hofmann, Ph.D., University of Cologne (Germany). Hofmann will serve as the director of the Master of International Service program.
  • Victoria Kiechel, M. Arch., Harvard University. Kiechel has previously taught sustainable design courses at SIS.
  • Garret Martin, Ph.D., London School of Economics and Political Science. Martin researches transatlantic relations, NATO, and security.
  • David Ohls, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ohls analyzes the conflict-dampening effects of indirect trade networks.
  • Lucia Seybert, Ph.D., Cornell University. Seybert researches sustainable development and energy and the environment, among other topics.
  • Neil Shenai, ABD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Shenai has taught courses in economic development and international economics.
  • Amanda Taylor, Ph.D., Harvard University. Taylor conducts research on international education and formerly served as SIS's director of graduate enrollment management.

Several faculty have assumed new administrative roles:

  • Anthony Wanis-St. John takes over for Ron Fisher as director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program.
  • Randolph Persaud replaces Clarence Lusane as director of the Comparative and Regional Studies program.
  • Jeff Bachman comes on board as interim co-director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program, where he will be working closely with co-director Evan Berry, assistant professor at the College of Arts and Sciences. Bachman takes over from Julie Mertus.
  • Stephanie Fischer has been named SIS's director of experiential learning.

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SIS Mentoring Program Expands to Include Graduate Students

Dean James Goldgeier speaks with mentor Olivia Zetter, SIS/BA'10, (center) and her mentee Laura Free, SIS/BA '12, at a mentoring event in April 2012.

The SIS Alumni-Student Mentoring Program has been expanded to serve both undergraduate and graduate students, with the goal of supporting all students as they consider their post-SIS plans.

"The SIS mentoring program is another way for our graduate students to prepare for their careers," says Dean James Goldgeier. "Our alumni provide students with great advice and helpful networking opportunities that will enable them to be successful in their chosen fields."

Since 2009, 124 undergraduate students have been matched with alumni mentors who provide guidance about careers and life after SIS. Many of the mentors have participated in the program for multiple years, and some former mentees have returned to the program as mentors.

"Graduate students now can benefit even more from their SIS alumni network," says Stephanie Block, associate director of alumni relations. "Building long-lasting relationships with alumni is a vital skill that can lead to a future career."

Learn more about the mentoring program at the mentoring program homepage.

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SIS Alumna Profile: Kristin Lord, SIS/BA '91

From a young age, Kristin Lord, SIS/BA '91, had an interest in international issues, and when it came time to choose a college, she was drawn to studying international relations at SIS. Today, the Massachusetts native is a respected international relations scholar and the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). The institute is devoted to preventing and mitigating violent conflicts around the world through its fieldwork, analysis, grants, training, and education.

Prior to joining USIP, Lord served as executive vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where she served on the leadership team and oversaw the center's research. She was a fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program and Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution before joining CNAS. From 2005-06, she served as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow and special advisor to the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Lord says her education at AU prepared her well for what she does today. "The work I do is rewarding, and I feel I am making a difference," she says. "I am also very fortunate to work with people who are pragmatic and action-oriented." Lord also met her husband, Jeffrey R. Lord, SIS/BA '90, during her freshman year.

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SIS Welcomes New Assistant Dean of Communications and Administration

Anya Schmemann has joined SIS as Assistant Dean of Communications and Administration. The assistant dean leads communications efforts for SIS, including website, outreach, event, and social media strategies.

Schmemann comes to SIS after almost nine years at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) where she was Director of the Task Force Program, Director of Editorial Strategy in the Studies Program, and Director of Communications and Marketing. Prior to CFR, she managed communications at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

"I am excited to join the dynamic and vibrant community at SIS and to be part of a school whose reputation and reach are growing," she says.

Schmemann received a B.A. in Government and an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, both from Harvard University. Schmemann is married to AU Professor Eric Lohr, the Susan Carmel Lehrman Chair of Russian History and Culture.

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SIS Launches Flickr Account

Visit the SIS Flickr account to find photos of students, alumni, faculty, and distinguished visitors at SIS.

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Subscribe to the SIS YouTube Channel

Subscribe to the School of International Service channel on YouTube to watch "The SIS Minute" videos, featuring SIS faculty analysis of the major issues of the day.

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Alumni News

All-American Weekend: A Celebration for Alumni and Families is Friday, October 18 - Sunday, October 20. For more information about schedules and pricing, click here. Can't make it? Enter the video/essay contest here!

Calling all alumni: Have you moved or changed jobs? Be sure to update your information to ensure you continue to receive AU and SIS news and information.

Class Notes

Click here to read alumni news and updates, and be sure to send us your news at

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SIS In the News

Professor Mike Schroeder: "U.S. Must Wait for U.N. Chemical Weapons Report Before Acting on Syria," The Christian Science Monitor, September 5.

Professor Robert Pastor: "There Are More Than Two Options for U.S. Policy on Syria," The Atlantic, September 4.

Dean James Goldgeier: Interviewed on "The Diane Rehm Show" about the Syrian crisis, WAMU, September 3.

Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Ambassador Akbar Ahmed: "Should America ground drones?" The Orlando Sentinel, August 30.

Dean James Goldgeier: "Syria is Not Serbia," Politico, August 30.

Professor Gordon Adams: "Return of the Precipice," Foreign Policy, August 16.

Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman: "Judicial Reform in Mexico: A Work in Progress," Voxxi, August 13.

Professor Jeff Bachman: "The U.S. Must Not Bear Silent Witness to Another Crackdown in Bahrain," (with Matar Ebrahim Matar), The Guardian (U.K.), August 12.

Dean James Goldgeier: "A Summit About Nothing," Politico, August 8.

Professor Guy Ziv: "Democracy Not Around the Corner in Egypt," The Huffington Post, July 16.

Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Ambassador Akbar Ahmed: "What the Abbottabad Report Means for Pakistan,", July 11.

Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Professor Akbar Ahmed: "The Drone War is Far from Over," The New York Times, May 30.

Read more articles, interviews, and opinion pieces here.

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Intellectual Contributions

Click here to read about faculty awards, honors, and presentations.

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Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the SIS community are warmly welcomed at SIS events. Check the SIS events page for current listings. Also, check the AU Alumni Association Calendar for regional, cultural, volunteer, and social events.

What: Special Dean's Event: American Options in Syria
Who: Dean James Goldgeier, David Bosco, Benjamin Jensen, and Celeste Wallander
Date: Tuesday, September 10
Time: 4:00 pm EST
Where: Abramson Family Founders Room, or available via webstream here.
Free and open to the public.

What: The German Marshall Fund presents Transatlantic Trends
Who: Stephen Szabo, executive director of Transatlantic Academy, German Marshall Fund
Date: Thursday, September 12
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Where: Abramson Family Founders Room
Free and open to the public.

What: "Noor," a play by Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Professor Akbar Ahmed, with a Q&A following the performance.
Date: Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15
Time: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Where: American University's Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center
Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 for students with a valid ID.

What: Dean's Discussion of First Globals: Understanding, Managing, and Unleashing Our Millennial Generation
Who: Veteran pollster John Zogby and Dean James Goldgeier
Date: Wednesday, September 18
Time: 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Abramson Family Founders Room
Free and open to the public.

What: Third Thursday Film Series: The Embassy of Pakistan presents "Ramchand Pakistani"
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Abramson Family Founders Room
Free and open to the public.

What: Egypt's New Upheavals and the U.S. Response
Who: Gregory Aftandilian, senior fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy
Date: Monday, September 23
Time: 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: SIS Room 300
Free and open to the public.

Read more about upcoming SIS events here.

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CONTENTS - 09.10.2013

From the Dean's Desk: A New Year Begins at SIS

New Faculty Join SIS and New Appointments are Made

SIS Mentoring Program Expands to Include Graduate Students

SIS Alumna Profile: Kristin Lord, SIS/BA '91

SIS Welcomes New Assistant Dean of Communications and Administration

SIS Launches Flickr Account

Subscribe to the SIS Youtube Channel

Alumni News & Class Notes

SIS in the News

Intellectual Contributions



Located in Washington, DC, American University's School of International Service is ranked consistently among the top ten schools of international relations. More than 3,000 students, from undergraduates to PhD candidates, representing 150 countries, are taught by over 100 full-time faculty. SIS's policy-practitioner relationships and global university partnerships help to place 80 percent of its students in internships, and enable 40 percent of graduate students, and 80 percent of undergraduates, to study abroad. The School's faculty, practicing adjuncts and interdisciplinary curriculum prepare graduates for global service in government, non-profits and business.

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