Thursday, March 31, 2016

SAIS Traditions: The 2016 Cherry Blossom Ball

The Johns Hopkins SAIS community has a penchant for cherry blossoms. We like to gather around the giant cherry blossom tree stationed in front of Nitze, we like to take full advantage of being just a few miles from the Tidal Basin, and we really like to celebrate during our Annual Cherry Blossom Ball, which is essentially the SAIS rendition of prom.

This year's ball was held a little earlier than usual to coincide with the actual Cherry Blossom bloom, but it was still packed with SAISers as usual. Thanks to SAIS SGA for sharing these photos with us. And yes—that is Khorey Baker, SAIS Director of Student Life, on the dance floor.

The SAIS 2016 Cherry Blossom Ball was held March 26 at Arena Stage.

Students from all programs and concentrations were invited...

...and so were their dates.

Khorey Baker, Director of Student Life, brought his best dance moves.

More in this series:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inside SAIS South East Asia Studies: Q&A with Joshua Ahyong

At Johns Hopkins SAIS, all MA students pursue two concentrationsthe first in international economics and the second in an international policy area or a regional area of their choosing. Because SAIS offers 21 concentration optionseach providing unique learning, developmental, and abroad opportunitiesnewly admitted students sometimes find making a decision to be a challenging task.

For this reason, I thought it'd be helpful to run a blog series profiling current students from various concentrations. Last week, we asked Jiawei Li why he choose to concentrate in Latin American Studies. This week, we asked South East Asia Studies student Joshua Ahyong what he found appealing about SAIS.

Name: Joshua Ahyong
Program: MA, 2016
Concentration: Southeast Asia Studies
Hometown: Manila

When considering graduate school, what was appealing about SAIS?
I chose SAIS over other graduate schools in international relations because of its strength in economics and languages. As future leaders in global affairs, we need to learn about the economic issues and problems every county faces. SAIS allows its students to dig deeper into important economic matters such as monetary policy and international trade. Apart from this, SAIS has an intensive language program which allows its students to develop pertinent language skills. After graduation, SAIS students move into the workforce with global and economic perspective that is often used to face today’s most important challenges.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation I hope to move into development by working at the World Bank Group. SAIS has helped me prepare for this career by equipping me with strong language, quantitative and analytical skills. More than just an understanding of policies, in development, you need to understand the politics behind each program. SAIS has taught me to understand the intricacies of local politics, international relations, and economic development. SAIS has prepared me to work in a career that allows me to change lives, build relationships and create a significant impact on the world.

What has surprised you the most being at SAIS?  
After two years at SAIS, I learned that there is no dull moment in school. Every day you can participate in different forums, conferences, roundtables and discussions. Important people from all over the world come to talk in SAIS about the word’s most pressing issues. SAIS is full of regional and career-oriented clubs that enrich your learning experience at school. Classes at SAIS are challenging, interesting and eye-opening. Every time you leave the campus, you know something more about the world you live in and more importantly, you learn more about yourself and where you want to be in the future.

What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about helping others. For me, giving others the opportunity to live a better life is an opportunity for me to learn more about myself. I have come to SAIS with a dream that I can prevent and mitigate conflict, foster human development and leave a significant impact on the global community. I want to lead a career where the welfare of other people come first, economic progress is very important and global peace and stability is always an option.

Coolest trip you have taken with your peers?
Some of my peers from the Southeast Asia Program participated in a Winter Language Program at Jogjakarta, Indonesia. For 3-4 weeks, we spent hours learning Bahasa Indonesia, exploring the beauty of Indonesia, and interacting with the locals. Our trip to Jogjakarta broadened our cultural learning of Southeast Asia and gave us a deeper understanding of the daily lives of those who live half a world away from SAIS. After the program, aside from becoming more fluent in Indonesian, we came out with an eye-opening experience from one of the world’s largest democracies.

Josh on SAIS Study Trip in Indonesia

More in this series:
Concentrating in Latin American Studies at SAIS: Jiawei Li
Life as a Military SAISer: Aaron Pluto

Monday, March 28, 2016

Inside Massachusetts Avenue: The Cherry Blossoms

One of the best things about studying at Johns Hopkins SAIS is the location: The 17th block of Massachusetts Avenue. A historic district in NW Washington, Massachusetts Avenue, known by locals as simply "Mass Ave," is lined with embassies, think-tanks, brownstones, restaurants, and shops. In the spirit of spring, I wanted to share some pictures of the cherry blossoms I spotted this afternoon along Mass Ave. Happy spring everyone!

Johns Hopkins SAIS Nitze building, 17th block of Mass Ave
In front of the Nitze Building, 17th block of Mass Ave

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 17th block of Mass Ave

Embassy of Australia, 16th block of Mass Ave

The Brookings Institution, 17th block of Mass Ave

Friday, March 25, 2016

Event Recap: Alumni Dinner and Dialogue with SAIS students in Seoul

Last Friday, the SAIS Office of Alumni Relations coordinated another alumni gathering, this time in Seoul, Korea. Current SAIS students who are visiting Korea for the 2016 Korea Studies' study trip and some former US-Korea Institute visiting scholars met with SAIS alumni over dinner at Cafe Insarang.

A special thanks to our three SAIS alumni hosts: Eunjung Lim, Seong-ik Oh, and Myung-hoon Chung!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What's It Like to Concentrate in Latin American Studies at SAIS?

MA students at Johns Hopkins SAIS have the opportunity participate in a variety of study trips, extracurricular activities, and internships during the course of their studies. For this week's student spotlight, who better to interview than Jiawei Li—an MA student from Shanghai who has leveraged his SAIS education to intern and travel abroad. Read below for insights into why he choose to concentrate in Latin American studies, and how he met the President of Costa Rica.

Jiawei's Profile:
Program: Master of Arts
Concentration: Latin American Studies
Specialization(s): Emerging Markets and International Finance
Hometown: Shanghai & New York
Fluent Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and French

Can you tell us about your concentration, and why you chose it?
My concentration is Latin American Studies and I am one of the few Asians in the program. The reason why I chose it has to do with my previous living and working experience in Mexico, the opportunity the program currently offers and my long term career positioning.

Before I came to SAIS, I was an exchange scholar between the China Scholarship Council and the Mexican Foreign Ministry, which allowed me to develop strong connections with the local culture by studying Anthropology, the Azteca language Nahuatl as well as conducting field trips to pyramids. Given that I am fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and French, the LASP program offers a great chance to pursue further professional and academic development. This choice also aligns with my career goal of becoming an expert on emerging markets, diversifying my knowledge and experience base so as to always bring new perspectives on global issues.

Where are you interning, and what type of work do you do?
Currently, I am interning as equity analyst at a DC-based hedge fund specialized in institutional investment as well as researcher on fiscal management at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). I closely monitor energy policies, assess macro risks and evaluate the energy equities and projects in Asia and Latin America for the hedge fund. At IDB, I analyst the balance sheets of state owned enterprises (SOE) in Latin America, usually natural resources exporters, evaluate their fiscal management and make policy recommendations for to reduce SOEs fiscal risks and improve their competitiveness.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
When making plans for professional life, I always take into account the difference between the SAIS, MBA and JD programs. In addition to the strong SAIS alumni network, SAIS provides a combined skill set of economics, finance, regulations, policies and languages, which diversifies our knowledge base. With three campuses around the world and extensive regional studies programs, SAIS education provides truly global perspectives. Hence, SAIS education and networking prepares me for jobs in economic and financial research in international organizations or multinational corporations with focus on emerging markets.

Coolest trip you have taken with your peers?
The coolest trip I have taken with my peers is the Costa Rica trip organized by LASP. This is because we were received by the President Luis Guillermo Solís and all the cost related to the trip was covered by LASP. In addition to that, we conducted intensive group research on political, social and economic issues regarding Costa Rica and attended quite a few workshops organized by LASP on those topics. During the trip, in addition to the official meetings with the ministers, vice presidents, the president and other business and public opinion leaders, we were given 2 days for team- building exercises. We were taken to the forest and volcano and had a great time with the nature.

Latin American Studies team picture with the president of Costa Rica, Guillermo Solis & vice-president Ana Helena Chacon Echeverria
2015 Spring break LASP Costa Rica trip - Team building exercise in the forest

What do you see as beneficial about the opportunity to study in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC?
I spent my first year at SAIS Bologna and I am currently at SAIS DC for my second year studies. I believe that there is difference between two campuses. Given that almost all the students are new to the environment and do not speak much Italian, people tend to hang out with each other and develop closer ties. It is also fairly convenient to travel around Europe from Bologna. On the other hand, Washington DC has a lot to offer in terms of professional development, given that so much think tanks, NGOs and multilaterals are based in DC. This keeps people busy with their professional development. As a result, people are not able to bond as much as at SAIS Bologna. Now that I look back, my life at SAIS Bologna was filled with travelling, attending events, studying, learning new languages, gelato, prosciutto and wine, whereas I spend more time studying, interning and networking at SAIS DC. 

Therefore, I consider it highly beneficial to study in Bologna and DC, which offers a unique opportunity to gain more international exposure, academic strength and professional depth. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Resources For Planning Your MA Curriculum

During today’s virtual information session covering academic affairs and curriculum planning, we received a lot of questions about our language proficiency requirements, pre-term courses, and international economics specializations. To address some of the most frequently asked questions, we compiled a list of online resources from the Academic Affairs Office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Event Recap: SAIS Alumni Happy Hour In Istanbul

Last Saturday, the SAIS Turkey Alumni Chapter welcomed newly admitted students to the SAIS community over coffee and drinks:

The Office of Alumni Relations will host various alumni events this month across the globe, and we strongly encourage you to attend one in your area. These alumni get-togethers are an excellent opportunity to meet SAIS alumni and current students, who can provide insights about academic, professional, and social life at SAIS. To see a calendar of upcoming events, navigate to the "Meet Current Students and Alumni" tab on the admitted student site  Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Event Recap: SAIS Socials In Jakarta and Bangkok

Having access to a global network of international affairs professionals, educators, students, and alumni is one of many benefits of a Johns Hopkins SAIS education. Just last night, while spending spring break in Indonesia to study effects and potential solutions of deforestation, SAIS ERE students took a well deserved break to meet with alumni and newly admitted students living in Jakarta.

Jakarta isn't the only place SAISers gathered this week. A group of SAIS alumni coordinators welcomed newly admitted students in Bangkok today:

Throughout the year, SAIS Office of Alumni Relations hosts community activities to connect students and alumni around the globe. If your a newly admitted student interested in attending an alumni get-together in your area, visit the "Meet Current Students and Alumni" tab in the admitted student site. 

A big thanks to the SAIS alumni and students who made this week's events possible. And, to the newly admitted students who participated—welcome to the SAIS community!

Thanks for reading,
Jessica, Admissions Coordinator

You may also like:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Alumni Event Recap: Newly Admitted Students Meet SAIS Alum in Singapore

Meeting alumni and learning about their professional, academic, and personal experiences as a SAISer can offer crucial insights to help you make your decision on whether to enroll at Johns Hopkins SAIS. At our latest alumni event some of our newly admitted candidates joined SAIS alumni in Singapore for drinks and lunch with Professor Cristino Arroyo, SAIS Associate Director of the International Economics Program.

If you've been admitted and are interested in attending an upcoming alumni event, navigate to the "Meet Current Students and Alumni" tab on the admitted students page then select "Attend an alumni gathering." Jakarta, Bangkok, Seoul, Capetown, and Paris are some of many locations where future alumni events will be held. Those in the U.S. are encouraged to check out the DC and New York events.

Thank you to all those who attended, and to the SAIS Office of Alumni Relations for coordinating the event!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Office Closure

The SAIS Office of Admissions will be closed tomorrow due to the citywide Metro shutdown. We will resume normal hours on March 17, 2016. Tomorrow, we'll be online during regular business hours so don't hesitate to email us your questions.

We wish our fellow Washingtonians safe travels!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Admitted into SAIS? 3 Resources You Should Know About

Let me begin this post by thanking everyone who applied to Johns Hopkins SAIS. Applying for graduate school is certainly not easy, as it requires a great deal of research, preparation, and effort on your end.  If you’re reading this particular post, you probably received the decision you’d hoped for. So, on behalf of the entire SAIS admissions team—congratulations! As you prepare for the next steps, make sure you’re aware of the resources below.

  1. The SAIS Admitted Student Site. Going forward, I will probably reference the Admitted Student Site often, because it contains basically all the information you'll need from now until the fall term begins. In it you will find directions on accepting your offer, registration links for open house and virtual information sessions, insights on summer opportunities, and even contacts for getting in touch with current SAIS students. I strongly, strongly encourage you to go through this site and read all the tabs thoroughly. You will need to access the link through your offer letter, as the link will not be made public.

  2. The SAIS Admitted Student Facebook Group. This group is a great way for you to introduce yourself to your future classmates, and to chat directly with SAIS student ambassadors and admissions staff. It’s exclusive to Fall 2016 admitted students, so you will need to request to be added to the group. We will check to verify that you’re an admitted student prior to accepting your request, and we will not publish the link online.

  3. The Financial Aid Decision Letter. All who applied for SAIS financial aid and fellowships should have received a separate letter from the Office of Financial Aid on March 11. Even those who were not extended a package should have received a letter. In the event that you did not receive a letter and should have, check your spam folder for an email from the Financial Aid Office. Also check ALL of your alternate email inboxes, sometimes the letter ends up in an inbox you did not input into the application system.

Friday, March 11, 2016

How To Access Your Fall 2016 Admissions Decisions

So, we released admissions decisions for the MA and MIEF programs a few hours ago. To access your admissions decision, log into your Apply Yourself account, or check your email for a direct link. While you wait for our admissions team to return from the weekend, you can find answers to the most frequently asked decision questions here.

Admissions decisions for the MIPP and GPP programs will be released beginning March 18.

You may also like:
3 Things Admitted Students Should Know About
FAQs about SAIS Admissions Decisions

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Student Spotlight: Aaron Pluto

Aaron Pluto is a current MIPP student and Foreign Area Officer who has served two combat tours in the U.S. Army. Prior to attending Johns Hopkins SAIS, Aaron was assigned to the Office of Defense Cooperation at the US Embassy - Kyiv, Ukraine assisting the Ukrainian military with non-lethal defensive equipment and training.

What are you most passionate about?
Investing in other people has always gotten me up in the morning. Over the course of my career, I've had the opportunity to learn from amazing mentors. Their influence has shown me the importance of investing in others' lives. The confidence that others have placed in me has opened doors for me professionally that would otherwise have never been opened. In return, I've had the distinct privilege of leading other great Americans, both in combat and at home, as I've watched them grow personally and professionally. I hope this next chapter of my life will be a continuation of this theme. As Attach←, I look forward to working with an important partner nation and building rewarding professional relationships. I've also been fortunate to develop relationships at SAIS that have deepened into long term friendships.

When considering graduate school, what was appealing about SAIS?
My graduate school search began with a review of Foreign Policy magazine's ranking of top International Relations graduate programs. I used these rankings to compile a list of schools that interested me. Staying true to my Army training, I did a recon of DC schools on this list and sat down with the admissions personnel at several of the city's top universities. What separated SAIS from the pack was its combination of impressive staff and alumni with customizable degree programs, which allow students to pursue their individual interests. SAIS exposes students to a variety of disciplines and provides countless opportunities to broaden their experience through distinguished speaker series.

What has surprised you the most being at SAIS?
My graduate studies at SAIS have been a unique opportunity for me to take a year from my normal schedule to devote my time to serious academic study and thought. While the classes and professors have been amazing, I have been most surprised by dialogue with colleagues between classes. These dialogues have introduced me to different perspectives and have allowed me to formulate logical, salient and persuasive arguments.

What would be people be surprised to know about you?
I like to think that I don't reveal all of my cards at once, so I'll skip that question. Retaining a bit of mystery is important.

Coolest trip you have taken with your peers?
Last year a few of my current SAIS classmates and I took a whirlwind trip through Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. The first leg was a horrific overnight bus ride without a restroom after a pub-crawl. The second leg from Romania included a tour of Braun castle in Transylvania followed by watching a Dracula movie on our Soviet era train. As we got closer to Moldova, we were woken by train engineers swapping the train's wheels to fit Moldova's Soviet gauge train tracks. In Moldova we toured the Cricova Winery's solid limestone cellars complete with the wine collections of such notables as Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and John Kerry. While the sights were amazing, I think what made the trip most memorable was the train ride, which gave my colleagues and I the feeling of being transported back to the Cold War era.

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?
The most important piece of advice I could give is to bring your "A Game" to the application process. SAIS is a very competitive institution and an applicant that strives for an edge in every way possible always impresses me. A candidate who thinks ahead to anticipate his/her answers to possible interview questions comes across far more at ease and polished. The application interview is really about the intangibles, i.e., how well a person can sell himself/herself. Before each interview I review the applicant's resume' and use this to craft relevant interview questions based on the applicant's background and experience. Once the interview begins it is quickly apparent which applicants are poised, prepared, articulate and passionate about where they are going in life. I believe this type of applicant will carry the SAIS brand forward to make a positive, global difference in the years ahead.

Aaron finding Texas graffiti in Sofia, Bulgaria (he's from Austin)
Aaron in front of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest

Sunday, March 6, 2016

This Week at SAIS: March 7 - March 11

Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO, will lead a discussion on "The Entertainment Industry at the Forefront of Global Conflict and Trade."

We're mid-way through the semester, and campus events are still plentiful at SAIS. Please find this week's events below. All the listed events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday March 8

How Power Sector Reforms Shape Renewable Energy Policy in Democracies and Autocracies.  Part of the SAIS Research Seminar Series in Politics and Political Economy, 2015-2016, being sponsored by International Political Economy at SAIS. Johannes Urpelainen, the speaker for this seminar, is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. Register here.

Recovering Diplomatic Agility. How does diplomacy further American foreign policy goals around the world and what should its role be in our increasingly connected and social global society? What tools are currently being utilized in American foreign diplomacy? What tools should be? Ambassador Chas Freeman, Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University will address these topics. Register here.

Ensuring Women's Health and Protection in Complex Emergencies. A panel of qualified speakers will discuss different issues and perspectives related to the provision of healthcare and protection to women who have been displaced from their homes. The panel discussion and Q&A will be followed by a recepti on to celebrate International Women's Day and share information on this year's conference. Register here.

Wednesday, March 9

Gender, Migration and the Commodification of Care. This lecture explores how care deficits in labor importing countries have created a sustained labor demand for migrant care workers. Aging in late industrial and middle income economies, combined with falling fertility rates and rising female labor force participation have led to emerging care deficits in many contexts. Register here.

The Indian Economy | A Post 2016-2017 Budget Analysis. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog of India will speak on this topic. Please register here.

Thursday, March 10

Britain and Europe: Is Brexit going to happen and what would it mean for the USA? David Cameron has announced that on 23 June the British people will vote in a referendum to decide whether or not Britain should remain a member of the European Union. Will the vote see Britain become the first country to exit the EU? What would happen following a vote to leave? Will the result settle the European question in UK politics? And what could the referendum mean for the USA and the transatlantic relationship? Register here.

A Conversation with Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO. Dean Vali Nasr and Johns Hopkins SAIS cordially invite you to a conversation with Richard Plepler, the Chairman and CEO, HBO on “The Entertainment Industry at the Forefront of Global Conflict and Trade." The talk will be moderated by Dean Nasr. Off-the-Record. Register here.

Egypt: Sex, Rights, Politics and US Foreign Policy with Scott Long. Since the 2013 coup, Egypt has seen massive and spreading human rights violations, part of a counterrevolution stretching across the Middle East. LGBTI Egyptians have been among the victims. Egypt today keeps more people imprisoned for their gender expression or for same-sex sexual conduct than any other country in the world. Why? Register here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Event Recap: Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer, Chief Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, visits SAIS

Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer Chief Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, joined Johns Hopkins SAIS students for a conversation on a preview of the museum, in honor of Black History Month.

Jacquelyn Days Serwer is a curator and art historian who joined the staff of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) as Chief Curator in May 2006. At NMAAHC, she focuses primarily on building the museum’s foundational collection and developing exhibition projects for the near term, as well as planning for the museum’s new building to open on the National Mall in 2016.

Dean Vali Nasr, the SAIS Africa Association, the SAIS International Law Society and the SAIS International Law & Organizations Program hosted the event. This event was free and open to the public. If you are a SAIS applicant or a prospective student, we strongly encourage you to attend a campus event. You can find upcoming campus events by following our This Week at SAIS blog series. You can find upcoming information sessions and graduate fairs on our recruiting calendar. 

Dr. Serwer has been a key figure in acquiring a collection for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, including an original, used campaign office from the 2008 campaign to elect Barack Obama

You may also like:
Breakfast with The Honorable Clifton R. Wharton, Jr
Lani Guinier Visits SAIS