Thursday, December 24, 2015


The SAIS Admissions Office will be closed December 24-25 and December 31-January 1 in observance of the winter holidays.
Additionally, we will be closed to visitors through January 15, as we will be very busy processing your applications!  But we will be available to answer questions during this time via email at sais.dc.admissions@jhu.edu or via phone at 202.663.5700.
We hope you have a lovely holiday!
Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7.  To start (or finish!) your application, click here.
Thanks for reading!
Photo is a derivative of “Happy Holidays” © Marcus Quigmire / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Next Week at SAIS: December 13 - December 19



THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15
"Central Asia 2050"
9:00 p.m. – Rome Auditorium
Our speakers Harinder Kohli and Johannes Linn are co-editors of Central Asia 2050, a year-long study conducted by the Emerging Markets Forum.  Our forum will discuss the surprisingly positive long-term economic and social prospects and challenges of the Central Asian economies through 2050, based on the highlights and findings of this study. RSVP here.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17
"Women's Leadership Initiative withThe Honorable Barbara Barrett"
5:00 p.m. – Kenney-Herter Auditorium - The Nitze Building
Ambassador Barbara Barrett, Chairman of The Aerospace Corporation, will deliver the inaugural Women Who Inspire lecture. For more information, please click here.

Can't make it to one of these events? Check out our recruiting calendar to see what upcoming events you will be able to attend.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Did You Apply for Early Notification?

If you did, it adds an entirely new dimension to the excitement of the holiday season, doesn't it?

Well, you only have to wait a little while longer before you hear back about your application.  We are hard at work, poring over and reviewing each and every early application, and soon after that is finished we will convene to make our decisions.

Admissions decisions will be released no later than December 30.  Keep an eye out for an email message from us around that time--the email message won't have your decision, but it will tell you that a decision has been rendered, and that you should log in to your Apply Yourself account to get your decision.  (Just in case, double check your spam/filter settings to make sure that our email doesn't go to your junk folder!)

Something for all early notification applicants to take note of: we never reject anyone during the early notification process, and applicants who don't receive a positive response during the early cycle may still be admitted.  Anyone not admitted during the early round is simply deferred to the regular cycle, and will receive a final decision in early March.

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, or you can email us at sais.dc.admissions@jhu.edu.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

DaQuan, What Extracurriculars Did You Participate In This Semester?

Greetings!  My post this week pertains to the world of extracurricular activities at SAIS. I would be remiss if I did not emphasize the role that the city has played throughout my tenure as a SAIS student. Within the United States, Washington DC is nationally known as the political capital; however within the global community, the District is internationally known as a transnational political and economic nucleus. Justifying its reputation, Washington DC is comprised of an abundance of multinational organizations, international corporations, non-government organizations, and governmental institutions that facilitate international relations events. In addition, SAIS has an innumerable amount of seminars, forums, roundtable discussions, and brown-bag lunches that are hosted by the institution and its collaborating organizations. Furthermore, SAIS offers a wide range of student organizations and career clubs to complement and supplement its career services center and the academic experience of its students. Each of the aforementioned factors significantly contributes to the overall SAIS experience.

This semester I had the pleasure of participating in a research project based on the Indonesian palm oil industry. In August I joined an esteemed delegation of SAIS students, who traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia under the auspices of the SAIS International Law and Organizations department, to investigate the social and environmental impacts of Indonesian palm oil cultivation. After our trip, we compiled our research and hosted a day-long conference to present our findings to the SAIS community and the greater Washington area at-large.  Internationally the palm oil industry grosses over 20 billion dollars, and the crop is regarded as a premier vegetable oil. Not to mention the fact that palm oil extracts are found in over 50% of products sold in American and European grocery stores.  Nevertheless, pardon my tangent.  I strongly advise all prospective and future SAISers to take advantage of SAIS’ vibrant student life community and extracurricular opportunities. You surely will not be disappointed!


































Thanks for reading!
DaQuan, Student Blogger

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Preparing Your Application: The Analytical Essay

This is the sixth and final post in a blog series discussing best practices for preparing your application for Johns Hopkins SAIS. Today, we'll be covering the Analytical Essay. This one only applies to certain applicants, as other programs, such as the MIEF and GPP, don't require the Analytical Essay.


The Analytical Essay topic is, to put it bluntly, pretty vague:
Discuss an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you.
Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions about this:
What type of essay are you looking for? Should I write about something related to my concentration choice? Should I include citations?
These are just a few of the questions we receive.

So let me give you my breakdown of the Analytical Essay. We want to know how well you can convey your ideas and thoughts in the written form, and we want to see you thinking critically and analytically about your topic of choice.

The form of the essay isn't important. Some applicants write op-ed style essays, others write their essay in the form of a policy memo. Still others write what amounts to a mini research paper, with citations and all. (And as a side note: No, citations don't contribute to your word count.) Consider which writing style best suits you and your topic of choice.

Speaking of topic, we don't require the topic be related to your intended area of study, but it's probably a good idea to choose a topic relevant to what you choose to study. If your planning on spending the next two years studying conflict resolution in the Caucuses, you'll want to demonstrate that you already possess some knowledge on the topic and can discuss it thoughtfully.

Basically, we intentionally left the topic vague because we want to see what you choose to do with it. It's going to tell us a lot about you as a candidate and as a person. There's no right or wrong answer to this one, it's more about getting to know who you are as a student of international relations.

Do you have questions about the analytical essay? Leave them in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading!

--Erin Skelly, Associate Director

More in this series
Letters of Recommendation
Class Visits
Interviews
Statement of Purpose
Standardized Tests

Monday, November 30, 2015

SAIS Traditions: SAIS International Dinner 2015

The International Dinner is one of the favorite traditions at the SAIS DC campus—it’s popular with students, alums, staff, and faculty alike. What seems like the entire student body converges in the Nitze building. Different cultural clubs prepare various foods representing their culture to share with the SAIS community, students dress up in traditional cultural garb, and there’s even an international talent show. Check out some pictures from this year’s International Dinner below.

















View more photos of SAISers at the International Dinner here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What SAIS Event Did You Attend This Week, Matt?

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend an off the record discussion with Ambassador Sung Kim on the strategic importance of US-Japan-South Korea relations, which was hosted by SAIS’s own Reischauer Center. Ambassador Kim is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan as well as the Special Representative for North Korea Policy and served as the United States Ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014.



Dr. Kent Calder, Director of the Reischauer Center, moderated an insightful and worthwhile discussion with the Ambassador consisting of Ambassador Kim’s personal remarks as well as a lengthy Q&A period. Having the event be off the record allowed for a more casual discussion and hosting the discussion in one of SAIS’s smaller rooms allowed for a more intimate and personal setting, something that is not always easy to come by in D.C. Ambassador Kim began by providing an overview of US-Japan-South Korea relations, continually remarking on the importance of strengthening these ties for the benefit of every country involved as well as the region as a whole.

Most fascinating was the Q&A period which lasted for the remainder of the discussion (roughly 40 minutes). A real strength of many discussions at SAIS is the audience itself. Comprised of faculty, visiting scholars, and students from a mix of departments, including International Development, Korea Studies and Strategic Studies, the audience’s questions helped to develop and enrich the discussion and demonstrate the wide range of issues that are affected by the health of US-Japan-South Korea relations.  Events such as these are part and parcel with the SAIS experience. One of the great advantages of SAIS is that we are located in Washington D.C. While having important policy makers visiting prestigious schools is nothing new, it is greatly enhanced by SAIS’s strategic location.

Before I attended the discussion with Ambassador Kim, I was sitting in my Strategy and Policy course with Dr. Cohen. In a matter of minutes I went from a classroom environment to an off the record discussion with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan. I can hardly think of a better illustration of SAIS’s effective pairing of academic instruction and real-world policy exposure.

Thanks for reading!
Matt, Student Blogger

Monday, November 23, 2015

What SAIS Event Did You Attend This Week, Jahanara?

One of the great things about being at SAIS is the events. Not a day goes by when we don't have 3-4 events happening around campus, ranging from small intimate gatherings to large auditorium-filled lecture series. Last week I was lucky enough to attend an event, cosponsored by Indego Africa and SAIS Global Women Lead, which showcased a short screening of an upcoming film, Mama Rwanda, followed by a panel discussion. The event focused on women's entrepreneurship as a solution to global poverty and, specifically in the case of Rwanda, discussed the role of women in rebuilding a community torn apart by genocide.

The event was kicked off by a representative from the Rwandan embassy, who emphasized the important role Rwandan women have played in rebuilding the economy and social fabric of the country. Women are incredibly involved in public life and make up 64% of the legislature and approximately 40% of the cabinet. He commended the resilience of Rwandan women and hoped that Rwanda’s experiences could provide important lessons for other countries emerging from conflict. Later, the director, Laura Waters Hinson, discussed how women are closing the economic gender gap. She emphasized that by becoming entrepreneurs, women are creating a new approach to sustainable poverty alleviation. The film itself follows the stories of two women, Christine and Drocella, and the challenges they face in their endeavors to raise themselves and their families. Christine, a single mother, owns a banana wine making company, while Drocella is working towards starting an agricultural cooperative with both survivors and perpetrators of the genocide.

The panel included:

  • Laura Waters Hinson, filmmaker, Mama Rwanda 
  • Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN) 
  • Wade Channell, Senior Economic Growth Advisor for Gender, Office of Gender Empowerment and Women's Equality, USAID 
  • Natalie Elwell, Senior Gender Advisor, World Resources Institute 
  • Moderated by Florence Navarro, CEO, Empowered Women International 

The conversation focused predominantly on the importance of aggregating the voices of women and, in this case, the voices of African women, in telling their own stories. It also touched upon how women can be agents of change, as opposed to just the subjects of change. The question and answer session emphasized the need to tell these stories from an African and Rwandan perspective, and not just a Western one, and it helped provide further insight into the topic.


Representative from Embassy of Rwanda opens the event
Filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson discusses her upcoming project Mama Rwanda 
L-R: Wade Channell, USAID; Natalie Elwell, World Resources institute; Semhar Araia, DAWN; Laura Waters Hinson, filmmaker, Mama Rwanda, Florence Navarro, Empowered Women International

Thanks for reading!

- Jahanara





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Johns Hopkins SAIS, Georgetown MSFS, Tufts Fletcher School, and Columbia SIPA lead Admissions Presentation in Tokyo

On Thursday, November 19, the American Center Japan hosted an evening information session for prospective students in Tokyo, Japan. The presentation was led by admissions staff members and alumni from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Georgetown MSFS, Tufts Fletcher School and Columbia SIPA. Approximately 80 prospective students were on hand to hear alumni talk about the impact their academic and social experience had on their lives and professional career. Sign up for an upcoming group information session here.

 A special thank you to SAIS alumni Shoichiro Odagaki '69, Kenji Matsuno '14 and Akito Nishiuchi '12 for participating in the event with Sidney Jackson, Director of Global Enrollment and Recruitment. 





Thank you to all the schools, alumni, and prospective students who attended!

Thanks for reading,
Jessica, Admissions Coordinator

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Student Spotlight: Sneha Thayil

This week's student spotlight features Sneha Thayil, a second-year SAIS MA student who spent her first semester in Bologna. Thayil is a MA student interviewer and member of the South Asian Student Association. Enjoy!


















You are concentrating in Conflict Management. What drew you to this particular area of study?

In undergrad I majored in political science, focusing on violence, terrorism, and political evil. My internships involved working with youth from post conflict zones towards youth-involved community development. Studying conflict management was the logical progression of my academic and professional interests.
You spent your first year at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy. What were some of the highlights of your year at SAIS Europe?
There were so many! It was such an amazing year. A few I immediately think of are going horseback riding up Mt Vesuvius, attending the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Rome, and celebrating Holi at Giardini Margherita. My favourite memories are more mundane, of me learning how to make Italian dishes from my roommates, weaving through the streets of Bologna at night on our bicycles trying to catch the green wave of traffic lights, endless hitchhiking adventures with blablacar, and realizing how quickly one could pick up a new language.
Can you tell us a little about your summer internship with Meta-Culture? How did you apply what you've learned at SAIS thus far to your work with Meta-Culture?
I discovered the field of development consulting, so I was looking for a chance to learn a little more about consulting as a profession after my first year at SAIS. Meta-Culture is a conflict mediation consulting company based in Bangalore, and I was fortunate to spend the summer interning with them. I was able to gain experience in business development, training, and the research required for consulting. I was able to hone my research and analysis skills from writing policy memos, while some techniques I learnt from the excel skills courses also came in handy.
What are some of the extracurriculars you are pursuing at SAIS, and how are those complementing your educational experience?
An activity I’ve been most consistently involved with has been the South Asian Students Association, which I participated in both years. I’ve been able to sporadically attend events with the Cities and Development group, as well as the Dance Association. These groups have been an important part of satisfying my need for a diverse and varied social and academic life, as I’m able to keep up with interests that are not directly related to my field of study.
You're a student interviewer, so you meet with a lot of prospective students. What is some advice you would give to someone considering applying to a program like SAIS?
Above all I would suggest having a defined plan for what exactly you intend to gain from SAIS. Although plans certainly changed, as mine did as soon as I discovered the field of development consulting, I firmly believe that in order to maximize your potential at SAIS, you must have a clear idea of what you are working towards afterwards. When deciding to apply to SAIS, I would recommend analyzing what skills or gaps in knowledge the program would fill for you, and purposefully working to fill those gaps.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Erik Jones Discusses "Democracy without Solidarity"

Prospective students joined us last night for a Taster Lecture presented by Erik Jones, Director of European and Eurasian Studies. Jones discussed "Democracy without Solidarity," various models of democracy, and how lack of solidarity within can cause such democracies to falter, citing real world contemporary examples such as Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom.







To attend one of our upcoming events, please click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Next Week at SAIS: November 16-22



MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16
"Twenty Years after Dayton: Prospects for Progress in Reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina"
9:30 a.m. – Kenney-Herter Auditorium - The Nitze Building
The Center for Transatlantic Relations is organizing events throughout this calendar year to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords and while reflecting back on past 20th years. This conference will look to the future for Bosnia and Herzegovina, to help the country's social-economic reforms move forward and faster towards the Euro-atlantic integrations. Media and members of the public should RSVP here.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
"Transatlantic Research Seminar Series: "Dis-Embedded Markets and Embedded Politics: Dealing with External Policy Constraints" with Professor Matthias Matthijs"
11:30 a.m. – Room 806 - The Rome Building
This advanced research seminar on 'democracy and its discontents' in industrial states is being offered as a joint course between the SAIS Washington and SAIS Europe campuses, enabled by video conferencing technology. This year-long seminar will meet every other week during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters and is based on a series of lectures provided by outside experts from across Europe and the United States. This fifth lecture on November 17th will feature Professor Matthias Matthijs (SAIS) on "Dis-Embedded Markets and Embedded Politics: Dealing with External Policy Constraints." The lectures are open to participation by the SAIS community and the public (seats are limited).  Seats are limited, so RSVP here.

"A Conversation with William J. Burns"
1:30 p.m. – Kenney-Herter Auditorium - The Nitze Building
Dean Vali Nasr and the Foreign Policy Institute invite you to join us for a conversation with with William J. Burns, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State. The conversation will be moderated by Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute. This event is off-the-record and open to the public. RSVP here

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18

“Turkey with the Brakes Off: What Does Erdogan's Victory Mean?”
5:00 p.m. – Kenney-Herter Auditorium - The Nitze Building
As the world prepares for the climate summit in Paris, many countries have made pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Will these be sufficient to limit global temperature rise to 2 deg. C? Have developed countries done enough to meet commitments for climate financing? Can countries reach a legally binding agreement? How will we judge success at the Paris meeting? For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

“Bridging the Gap: the Environment and Economic Development in Georgia?”
Rome Auditorium/Reception - The Rome Building
Can economic development and growth be achieved under a poorly managed environment with a significant negative impact on the health of the population?  Our speakers will discuss the World Bank's country environmental assessment report: Institutional, Economic, and Poverty Aspects of Georgia’s Road to Environmental Sustainability.  The study's objective was to analyze current status of the environment in Georgia and to demonstrate how environmental sustainability, economic growth, and prosperity can be mutually supportive goals.  The study offers policies to address these problems. Click here.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19

You Are Not Your Labels
12:30 p.m. - Room 500 - The Bernstein-Offit Building
Clemantine Wamariya, who will speak at this event, is a social entrepreneur and a storyteller. She recently received her BA from Yale University in Comparative Literature. Clemantine was six years old when the Rwandan genocide began in 1994. She and her sister Claire became separated from their family and lived in refugee camps in seven different countries before immigrating to the United States in 2000. Since her early teens, she has traveled throughout the country sharing her message of personal resilience and advocating for action to advance human rights. She has been a special guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, TEDx and Chicago Ideas Week. In 2011, President Obama appointed her to serve on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Recently, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls organization described Clemantine as “a compelling storyteller and fierce advocate for girls worldwide.” Register here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Guess who was in Taipei this week...

...SAIS Admissions. Here are some pictures from the Group of Four school information session at National Taiwan University on the evening of Thursday, November 12. Taipei based alumni joined admissions staff in talking about the benefits of an international affairs degree.



Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Application Process: The Résumé

The one thing we don’t get many questions on, regarding the application process, is the résumé/CV. I get the impression - and you can correct me if I’m wrong - is that most applicants think, “I’ve already got a copy of that, easy enough to just upload it without making any changes. Right?”

Wrong!

Here’s the skinny: your résumé should be tailored to your application in the same way as your essays and recommendation letters.

How long should my résumé/CV be? 
Many recent college graduates are told their résumé/CV should be no more than a page long, which is true if you’re applying for a job and you don’t have a lot of work experience under your belt. But for a graduate school application, you can get away with a longer résumé - assuming you have enough experience to warrant it. If you’ve only been out of school a year or two, I would still expect a single-pager.

What should I emphasize on my résumé/CV?
We are looking for two things when reviewing an applicant’s résumé/CV: professional readiness and leadership potential. Keeping that in mind, there are a few things that you’ll want to highlight. You’ll want to demonstrate progressive responsibility in terms of your work, so we can see how you’ve grown professionally. You should also show how your work experience has been relevant to IR and the field you want to study at SAIS. Since we’re looking for leadership potential, you’ll want to list not only leadership experience in extracurricular or volunteer activities; you should also include leadership experience from work.

Any other tips? I have just a few here:
  1. Talk to your school’s career services office about how to format your résumé/CV; alternately, there are lots of resources online and books that can provide guidance. A well-formatted résumé/CV is crucial to a successful career. (Here’s a hint: do NOT use Microsoft Office résumé formats. They’re not professional, and turn what should be a one-page résumé into six pages.)
  2. Make sure you give us more information/detail your job responsibilities, not just the job title. Many job titles are organization-specific, and don’t really tell me (or a potential employer) what you did in your job.
  3. Know when to balance relevancy with gaps in your résumé/CV. You don’t want to list things that aren’t relevant (like the fact that you’re president of your knitting club), but you shouldn’t leave off that year you spent bartending if it creates a big gap in your resume. But you don’t need to do a big job description for that year.
Should you list volunteer work? Absolutely - if it’s relevant, and especially if you took a leadership role.

Have questions about the résumé/CV? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Thanks for reading,
Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Next Week at SAIS: November 9-13, 2015

SAIS hosts events each week, many of which are open to the public.  Even more events are exclusive to SAIS students, faculty, and staff.  The events and speakers on campus are an important part of the SAIS student experience, adding another dimension to a SAIS education. We hope to see you soon.





MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9
"Kurdistan Under Pressure"
10:00 a.m. – Room 500, The Bernstein-Offit Building
Kurdistan Under Pressure Monday, November 9th 2015 10 am - 12 pm Conference Room 500 Keynote address Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman Kurdistan Regional Government Representative in the United States Panelists Daniel Serwer Senior Fellow, CTR-SAIS Director, SAIS Conflict Management Program Nusseibeh Younis Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Yael Mizrahi SAIS Middle East and Conflict Management Student Moderator Sasha Toperich Senior Fellow and Director of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative at SAIS. Media and members of the public should RSVP here.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
"JET Talks: Baseball and the US-Japan Relationship"
Auditorium, Rome Building 
George Rose will explore the evolution of the baseball relationship between Japan and the United States. He will discuss the emergence of Japanese talent in Major League Baseball starting with the debuts of Japanese pitching talent that eventually led to the likes of Ichiro and Hideki Matsui. He will also look at how American players make the transition to the Japanese game and how they are viewed on that side of the Pacific. Seats are limited, so RSVP here.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11

“Turkey with the Brakes Off: What Does Erdogan's Victory Mean?”
5:00 p.m. – Rome Auditorium
Turkey's ruling AKP restored its majority in parliament on Nov 1. But the election was held after President Erdogan refused to accept the June 7 election's results, sabotaged efforts to form a coalition government, relaunched war in the country’s southeast – and after a massive suicide bombing in Ankara. Will this election stabilize Turkey? What does this election mean for Turkey's regional posture, and what kind of partner will it be for the U.S.? For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5

Evolution or Revolution?: Restructuring Finance for a New Global Economy with Bertrand Badré”
4:30 p.m.—Kenney-Herter Auditorium - The Nitze Building
Dean Vali Nasr and the Foreign Policy Institute invite you to join a conversation with Bertrand Badré, Managing Director and World Bank Group CFO. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. John Lipsky, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute.


Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 6, 2015

DaQuan’s Tips for Surviving Midterms


Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing well! My post this week is about midterms, as the season is among us SAISers. This is my third “rodeo”, or semester as a SAIS student, so I have the benefit of knowing what to expect out of the treacherous time of the year. Actually to be clear, I have no idea what to expect from my courses and professors, however, I have somewhat of an idea of how much effort will be required in order to perform well during this fall’s exam week. Knowing the difference can make all the difference.

As a student who spent my first year at our DC campus, I am aware that the city plays a huge role in the SAIS graduate experience. This fact can be beneficial or detrimental depending on several factors including but not limited to: a given students’ style of working, ability to balance personal and work-related tasks, time management skills, professional background, and overall character and personality. Based on the amount of coursework SAISers tend to bear combined with the high volume of international affairs related conferences, forums, and events taking place on campus and throughout the greater District of Columbia region, midterm week at SAIS can quickly become overwhelming. Despite the rigor of the semester and the allure of superfluous events, below are my keys to staying above water during midterm exam week:

Create a study plan – “Chance/Opportunity favors the prepared mind”…
Never underestimate the value of repetition – Self-explanatory…
Notecards can be synonymous with “simplification” – Great for deconstructing and learning theories, equations, authors, definitions, etc.
Use your resources – Professors, classmates, course materials, and online tools are invaluable resources for preparing yourself
Rest, Relax, and Refuel! – You will need all of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, so make sure you eat, sleep, and meditate and/or pray throughout the week.



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jahanara’s Tips for Surviving Your Midterms


One of the most daunting moments of your first semester in graduate school is taking your first midterm. You worry about the level of your preparation, the format, the difference between undergraduate level papers and graduate level papers, and everything in between.

But what I have realized during the past few weeks is, once I stop psyching myself out, I just have to focus and approach these exams and papers like I would any other assignment.
Some of the things I have found most helpful this midterm season (a lot of which I first came across in undergrad) are:
  • Time management: It’s important to balance studying for exams and writing papers with your regular reading and problem sets. I don't know about you but I'm happy to leave the world of all-nighters behind, and I think time management is the best way to do that.
  • Staying on top of your reading throughout the semester: No one wants to be the person opening a textbook or required reading the night before a paper is due, so be sure to stay up to date on your regular work!
  • Utilizing the services that SAIS has to offer: SAIS has numerous resources available to help students excel. The writing center, library research guides, TAs, and professors are all here to help you do your best. Once you recognize that, everything seems less daunting! 
  • My peers: Depending on your studying style, forming study groups to go over important material can really help with preparation.
  • Taking a break: Read a book, watch an episode of your favorite TV show (if you have the self-control to stop at one!), or just listen to some music and dance around your room (I personally find this to be most effective.) It’s important to remember that even though you're a student and here to do your best, in order to do that you need to take care of yourself. Practice some self-care!
  • Using these steps, I survived my first round of midterms at SAIS. Here's hoping that my grades match my optimism!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Next Week at SAIS: November 2-6, 2015

SAIS hosts events each week, many of which are open to the public.  Even more events are exclusive to SAIS students, faculty, and staff.  The events and speakers on campus are an important part of the SAIS student experience, adding another dimension to a SAIS education. We hope to see you soon.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2
"SAIS IDEV Perspectives Magazine Launch"
12:30 p.m. – Room 812, Rome Building
SAIS Perspectives is the flagship magazine of the International Development Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. We cordially invite you to our 2015-16 launch, where we will exhibit the best photographs submitted to our photo contest on this year's magazine theme, migration and displacement. Media and members of the public should RSVP here.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
"Transatlantic Research Seminar Series: "Transnational Interest Groups and National Democracies" with Professor Abraham Newman of Georgetown University"
11:30 a.m. – Room 806, RomeBuilding 
This advanced research seminar on 'democracy and its discontents' in industrial states is being offered as a joint course between the SAIS Washington and SAIS Europe campuses, enabled by video conferencing technology. This year-long seminar will meet every other week during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters and is based on a series of lectures provided by outside experts from across Europe and the United States. This fourth lecture on November 3, 2015 will feature Professor Abraham Newman of Georgetown on "Transnational Interest Groups and National Democracies." The lectures are open to participation by the SAIS community and the public. Seats are limited, so RSVP here.

“Minorities in the Syrian War and Implications for US Policy”
4:30 p.m. – Room 736, The Bernstein-Offit Building
This is part of the Research Seminar Series, 2015-2016, being sponsored by International Political Economy at SAIS. Andrew Cheon, the speaker for this seminar, is an Assistant Professor of International Political Economy at SAIS. Register here.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4

“Time Changed: The State of Arab Media”
12:30 p.m. – Kenny Auditorium, Nitze Building
Muna Shikaki a correspondent at Al Arabiya News, and Joyce Karam a correspondent at Al Hayat Newspaper will speak on this subject. For more information and to RSVP, please click here.


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5

The United States-Japan-Korea Trilateral Relationship
4:30 p.m.—Room 806, Rome Building
Ambassador Sung Kim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan, Special Representative for North Korea Policy and the Former American Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, will discuss the evolving nature of the US-Japan-Korea relationship and possible future developments.  

Seventy years have passed since the end of WWII and with the recent visits to the US by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping in connection with that anniversary, American relations with the Far East has taken on a new energy. Tensions on the Korea Peninsula introduce further dangers. This event is off-the-record. Please register here.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Matt, what are you looking forward to this year?

Today we have a student blog post by Matt.  Enjoy!

Matt, what are you most looking forward to this year?


As a first year MA candidate at SAIS I am most looking forward to getting to know my professors and fellow students. Two of the greatest draws of SAIS are the promise of top-ranked faculty who care about their students and the opportunity to study together with a determined and motivated cohort. One of the real strengths of SAIS is the fact that the school’s faculty represents a wide array of experiences within both academia and the policy community (and sometimes both simultaneously). While some professors’ careers are of a more traditional variety, having primarily worked in academic institutions, some have spent the majority of their careers working in the government or in the private sector. Indeed, some members of the faculty continue to work outside of the university. This wealth of academic and policy experience is then carried over into the instruction given here at SAIS, benefitting students by equipping them with an education that is not exclusively academic nor merely policy oriented but is an enriching combination of both. This rich array of backgrounds is not limited to the faculty of SAIS, but is also characteristic of its students. In just my classes alone I sit with mid-career professionals with years of experience in the private sector, former Peace Corps volunteers, U.S. Military Foreign Area Officers, and 22 year olds fresh out of their undergraduate institutions. The faculty and students of SAIS are among SAIS’s greatest strengths. Getting to know them is what I most look forward to this year. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Student Spotlight: Dennis Hong

For our second Student Spotlight, we interviewed Dennis, a BA/MA student who spent his first year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Dennis at the 2015 HNC Career Day in Shanghai, China.
You are a SAIS BA/MA student. Can you tell our readers about the BA/MA program, and why you pursued it? 
The 5-Year BA/MA program between Johns Hopkins School of Arts and Sciences (Homewood) and School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) allows selected groups of undergraduate students to pursue both Bachelor's and Master's degree in International Relations in consecutive 5 years. About 8 to 10 students are chosen each year with an option to spend his or her senior year at the SAIS Europe or SAIS Nanjing campuses, followed by the final year at SAIS Washington DC. Applied to the program during the spring semester of my sophomore year at Johns Hopkins, the BA/MA program with SAIS was a perfect opportunity for me to accelerate my studies in international relations and set myself into a fast and competitive track to personal and professional developments.
Most BA/MA students spend their SAIS years at the SAIS Europe and/or DC campuses, but you opted to spend your first year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC). Why did you choose to attend the HNC? What are some of the benefits of incorporating the HNC into your education?
While the SAIS Europe and DC campuses were certainly appealing, I have purposefully chosen to spend my first year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) to deepen my understanding and appreciation on China. I think one must understand China to appreciate international relations of today's world. As a student of China Studies, I have always wanted to take my Chinese language skills to a professional and near-native level and make meaningful connections in China. Along with its strong graduate-level curriculum in Mandarin Chinese with course offerings on nearly all aspects of China, HNC has also taught me how to better understand the country and interact with Chinese from different backgrounds. More importantly, some of the benefits of incorporating the HNC into my SAIS education, after studying with Chinese professors in Chinese, was a natural development of my abilities to understand multifaceted global issues from Chinese perspectives. Establishing friendships and connections with Chinese students and professionals across China was another take-away from my time at SAIS Nanjing campus.
You're the HNC representative on the SAIS Student Government Association. What is the role of the SGA in the SAIS community overall, and what is your specific role in the SGA entail?
The role of the Student Government Association at SAIS is to serve as a main liaison between student body and administration. We also aim to help SAIS grow in a positive direction in all aspects, reflecting student inputs and ideas. About 10 students serve on the Student Government Association, representing different campuses and programs, and as the Nanjing campus representative in the organization, I work to represent voices of my classmates from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. I also work with other student representatives to plan events and activities across school, ultimately with the vision of creating a stronger and more unified SAIS student body across all three campuses.
What are some other activities you're involved in at SAIS? How do they enhance your student experience?
Besides my role in the Student Government Association, some of the other activities I am involved in include China Club, Korea Club, and working for the Admissions Office as an M.A. student interviewer. I find that my classmates are very active and passionate about what they do, and different club organizations and events here at SAIS not only add so much to my academic education, but also help me to foster a strong bond with my classmates whom I believe will go into the world to make a lasting contribution to our society.
What do you see yourself doing after graduation? How about 5-10 years from now?
Upon my completion of the BA/MA program, I plan to serve in the South Korean military for about 3 years to fulfill my duty toward my country. I hope to utilize my English and Chinese skills to help contribute to strengthen the US-Korea alliance and China-Korea strategic partnership, in the midst of uncertainty in the Korean Peninsula. Within 5 to 10 years from now, I see myself working in either China or the United States to strengthen South Korea's relations with these countries as a prospective diplomat. As a student who have benefited from studying in both China and the United States, I would like to use my valuable education I have received from Johns Hopkins University to give back to the future of my country. I dream of becoming a South Korean diplomat versatile on both Chinese and American affairs, with the vision of ultimately helping Korea to play more active role on the world stage as a respected and exemplary member of the global community.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

DaQuan, what are you looking forward to this year?

Today we have a student blog post by DaQuan.  Enjoy!

DaQuan, what are you most looking forward to this year?

Due to the fact that I am in the middle of my 2nd year at SAIS, I consider this time to be somewhat daunting because it is the beginning of the end of my SAIS experience. As a nostalgic person I naturally have sentiment about my SAIS experience thus far. Before I began my studies, I never had the benefit of experiencing life outside of the continental United States due to my background in foster care. Nevertheless, since becoming a student at SAIS I have traveled internationally twice – working in Liberia and Indonesia – and I have two more trips planned.  Some of my favorite moments at SAIS have been both inside and outside of the classroom. However, my most unique and possibly meaningful experiences were spent abroad and/or with my classmates.

"Relaxation and more work in the rain forest." Reading a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) 'World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2014' report after tubing down the Batang River in Tangkahan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Myself and other SAIS International Law students head home after a weekend in the Indonesian rain forest.
SAIS International Law students pose at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia during their summer 2015 research trip which investigated Indonesia's palm oil industry.
At my summer internship with Action Aid Liberia - Monrovia, Liberia.
After several weeks of work and no play, I enjoy some time on the Liberian beach at Monrovia's Kendeja Resort.

Inspired by West Africa's ability to endure the Ebola epidemic, I pose with a mural on Tubman Blvd in Monrovia, Liberia. 

I am looking forward to traveling with SAISers and making the most of our remaining time at our institution.  Firstly, I am finally eligible to enroll in my capstone course within the International Law and Organizations department, and as a result I will be participating in the International Law 2015-16 Human Rights Clinic, which features a fact finding trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Secondly, I will be participating in a Spring Break Trek to Israel. Since I have never visited the Middle East or Caribbean and I have intentions of making a career substantiating human rights and investing in civil society, I am looking forward to having awesome professional development experiences during each trip.

--DaQuan, Admissions Student Blogger

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What Are You Looking Forward To This Year, Jahanara?

Hi again!

In addition to making it through my first year of grad school this year I am most excited about being a part of the SAIS Global Women in Leadership (GWL) conference committee. GWL is a student-run organization that helps equip SAIS students and future leaders with the skills necessary to address the challenges facing women globally.

Joining student-led organizations and clubs was always an integral part of my undergraduate career and I definitely wanted to bring that into my graduate experience as well. Even prior to joining SAIS I knew I wanted to work with GWL and was drawn to their focus on women’s voices in development spaces. As a graduate of a women’s college seeking out a community of women at SAIS was very important to me and GWL has been crucial in providing me with that space. I love that GWL facilitates women helping other women in a world where society often works against such partnerships. And I’m excited to join its legacy of promoting diversity in development and policymaking!  

One way GWL does that is through our annual conference. The conference aims to provide a forum for women in different stages of their career to have deeper conversations about current challenges and opportunities confronting women around the world. Past conferences have focused on the growing power of women entrepreneurs as agents of change, the impact of technology on women’s personal and professional lives, and promoting women in emerging markets. This year’s conference is definitely going to be interesting and I’m excited to be a part of it!

–Jahanara, SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Monday, October 26, 2015

The PPIA Deadline is November 1!

Are you currently in the junior year of your undergrad, and interested in pursuing a career/higher degree in international affairs?  If so, you should consider applying for the PPIA Fellowship!

From the PPIA website:

"For nearly 35 years PPIA has been supporting students in their pursuit of graduate degrees in public policy and international affairs. The PPIA Fellowship begins with the completion of a Junior Summer Institutes (JSI). JSI is an intensive seven-week summer program that focuses on preparing students for graduate programs in public and international affairs and careers as policy professionals, public administrators and other leadership roles in public service."

The JSI program is a great way to get a feel for what it's like to be a graduate student in international affairs, and gives its alums an excellent academic preparation to move forward in the field.  Additionally, PPIA fellows receive guaranteed partial fellowships from PPIA partner schools (subject to admission to those schools, of course)--one of which is Johns Hopkins SAIS.

But don't delay--the application deadline for PPIA is on November 1.  For more information and to apply, check out the PPIA website here.

Thanks for reading!

--Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Next Week at SAIS: October 26-30, 2015

SAIS hosts events each week, many of which are open to the public.  Even more events are exclusive to SAIS students, faculty, and staff.  The events and speakers on campus are an important part of the SAIS student experience, adding another dimension to a SAIS education. We hope we’ll see you on campus at an event this week!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 26
"20th Anniversary of Dayton Peace Accords Series - The Balkan Wars of the 1990s: Reflection and Reconciliation"
10:00 a.m. – Kenny Auditorium, Nitze Building 
Thomas Miller, former U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Robert Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO will serve as panelists of this discussion. Register here.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27
"U.S. Policy Toward North Korea: The Case for Instituting a More Effective, Human Rights-Centric Approach"
9:30 a.m. – Kenny Auditorium, Nitze Building 
The International Bar Association (North America), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Defense Forum Foundation, North Korea Freedom Coalition, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, US-Korea Institute at SAIS, Yonsei Center for Human Liberty and Freedom House are convening this conference to bring together decision-makers on Capitol Hill and in the Administration, as well as civil society, to discuss the importance of making human rights a central pillar of U.S. policy toward North Korea.  A keynote speech will be delivered by Justice Michael Kirby, who was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon to chair the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. The event is hosted by The International Bar Association (North America), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Defense Forum Foundation, North Korea Freedom Coalition, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, US-Korea Institute at SAIS, and Yonsei Center for Human Liberty and Free. Click here to RSVP.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28
“Minorities in the Syrian War and Implications for US Policy”
12:30 p.m. – Room 206, Rome Building
Faysal Itani, Resident Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council will speak on this subject.  Media and members of the public should RSVP here.

“Elections and Political Instability in Latin America”
6:00 p.m. – Kenny Auditorium, Nitze Building
Join us for LASP Samuel Z. Stone Seminar panel event featuring Dr. Riordan Roett, Director, LASP, JHU SAIS; Dr. Cynthia McClintock, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University; Dr. Harold Trinkunas, Director, Latin America Initiative, The Brookings Institution; Mr. Daniel Kerner, Latin America Practice Head, Eurasia Group. RSVP here.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29
“Confronting Climate Change: the 'Tragedy of the Horizons’”
5:30 p.m.—Room 806, Rome Building
Over the last twenty years, the global re/insurance sector has integrated consideration of climate extremes and other risks into its mainstream operations. The upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paris, December 2015) offers a unique opportunity to bring the lessons learned in the re/insurance sector process to the center of the dialogue on policy and international business.  This presentation will show how the techniques developed in the re/insurance sector can illuminate pathways for climate resilience in the context of the new Sustainable Development Goals. Media and members of the public should RSVP here.

If you’ll be in the DC area next week, come check out some of the great (and open to the public) events going on at SAIS.

Thanks for reading!