ISN Junior Associates Event Today

Young minds get together at the ISN, October 2010

ISN Junior Associates, a group of ambitious, Swiss-based young professionals and advanced degree students will get together today to listen to a series of¬† talks at the inaugural Junior Associates event, and to brainstorm on new avenues of thought and debate under this year’s thematic umbrella. The idea is to engage fresh young minds in an issue that is hugely consequential already and is only likely to become more so in the future; a key fault line in world politics: the relationship between European countries and the wider Islamic world.

In addition to examining more traditional foreign policy-related topics, such as Swiss and European foreign policy in the Middle East, our distinguished speakers will examine issues as varied as Indonesian bilateral relations with Switzerland, economic prospects between Switzerland and the Middle East, cultural and religious coexistence between Muslims and Europeans, as well as the importance of education and the challenge of integration for European Muslims.

From a wide variety of perspectives, and with a little enthusiasm and fresh thoughts thrown in for good measure, we hope to come to new and interesting conclusions about how this vital relationship can be maintained and steered toward a more constructive course.

The program will continue after the event with collaborative work, undertaken by the Junior Associates on an online platform, with the aim of producing new, innovative research on a wide variety of topics related to this theme. What would you, dear reader, like to see covered? What do you see as the most interesting aspects of the relationship between Europe and the Islamic world?

For a participant list and further information on the program, please go to the ISN Junior Associates page.

We will post pictures and impressions of the event in the coming weeks on the ISN blog. Stay tuned for more.

Keyword in Focus

Keywords in Focus: Haiti and Cuba

It’s easy to retrieve information from the depths of the ISN Digital Library either by searching or by browsing our comprehensive keyword-tree (either by subject or by region.)

Two countries (and keywords!) that have recently been in the headlines are Haiti and Cuba – the former because it suffered a devastating earthquake earlier in the year and the latter because significant changes seem imminent in one of the world’s last communist bastions.

For both countries our Digital Library offers extensive resources for research ‘behind the headlines’ and for further insights into the historical challenges and future prospects of these two fragile Caribbean nations.

Head out to explore our holdings and let us know what you found particularly interesting and helpful. Some publications worth highlighting include:

ISNetworking in Washington

Talking to Roland Schatz (left) of Media Tenor, an ISN partner; photo: Patricia Moser/ISN

The program of the American Political Science Association‘s (APSA) 2010 Annual Meeting & Exhibition is 400 pages thick. It features hundreds of panels, plenaries, poster sessions and workshops covering topics from women and political research to international security and arms control.

More than 90 exhibitors populate the halls of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Among publishing houses and research institutes present there is also the ISN. We explain our services, talk to old acquaintances and discuss future partnerships. This is where the International Relations and Security Network really becomes tangible and personal.

I decided to start the day with a panel. Overwhelmed by the choice, one topic caught my interest: The Future of Blogging. Does political blogging have a future at all? Haven’t blogs been replaced already by still newer media such as Twitter, which require less time and allows for more instant communication?

Seven experts, political scientists as well as long-time bloggers talked about their research and experience, but didn’t quite manage to tell the future of blogging. Three ideas I picked up:

  • Even though the Obama campaign managed to raise millions of dollars with its social media strategy, the Obama administration was disappointed about how little money it got through its health care reform campaign. This disappointment shows that the power of social media in politics had been overestimated.
  • Blogs seem to be a very popular tool among the political opposition (progressives before Obama’s election, conservatives now), but not so much within the ruling camp. They are a medium for political criticism and protest.
  • Two interesting developments can be observed in the US: Politicians are hiring staff to manage their ‘blogger relations’; politicians invite bloggers to press conference-like events, where they ask questions and are expected to kick-off fundraising campaigns.

If you happen to be at the APSA Annual Meeting visit us at booth 1102 in Exibit Hall B at the Marriott Wardman Park. We look forward to meeting you.


ISN Quiz: Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power is the focus of our Special Report this week. Do you know the facts? [QUIZZIN 32]


New ISN Partner: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

SWP LogoWe are proud to announce that the German Institute for International and Security Affairs of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) has joined the ISN partner network.

SWP is an independent academic research center based in Berlin. It advises the German parliament and the federal government on foreign and security policy issues.

As a partner, SWP will share their publications with the ISN.

Welcome to the ISN, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik!