Monday, April 16, 2018

American Foreign Policy Study Trip: Exploring Modern Warfare in the Ukraine

SAIS Europe has many extracurricular activities that I have been eager to take advantage of. One of these opportunities was the American Foreign Policy study trip to Ukraine. It is a country that has particularly interested me, as a nation that is torn between western integration and separatists fueled by Russian support. 

While a trip to Ukraine was not already organized, I knew past SAISers had done it. I proposed the idea to my fellow AFP classmates and Professor Harper, the AFP advisor. From the start, my classmates and my professor were supportive of the idea for a study strip during spring recess.

Dinner with the Deputy Chief of Mission 
Thus, the planning began. In October, we started having dinners to discuss logistics and the research topics we wanted to focus on during our trip. We decided to investigate different implications of the current war and write individual research papers informed by our meetings in the Ukraine. Each of us would focus on specific topics of our interest, ranging from corruption to informational warfare to soft power. 

Then we began organizing meetings with the help of SAIS connections. Throughout the year, other SAISers heard about our plans and joined in. We even hosted a karaoke fundraiser night to help cover the cost of travel.
Kiev, Ukraine

Then spring break arrived, and the trip began. The first half of the week we were in Kiev. There,  we met with the Ukrainian Diplomatic Academy, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Crimea SOS, Members of Parliament, the U.S. Embassy, the Department of Defense, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Delegation, the National Institute of Strategic Studies, the Independent Defense Anti-Corruption Committee, the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, a former Foreign Minister of Ukraine, and the Presidential Administration.

Dnipro, Ukraine
Following our packed schedule in Kiev, we then headed east to Dnipro, where we met with students of Alfred Nobel University, security monitors with the OSCE, and where we toured the Anti-Terrorist Operation Museum, that covers the war in the Donbass. It was an incredible learning experience that complemented my studies with practical exposure to a modern conflict.

Now, as I write my research paper investigating how soft power can counter Russian sharp power in Ukraine, I realize the value of on-the-ground information. The study trip changed my perspective on foreign policy towards Ukraine and revealed the potential for meaningful reform, especially as the country nears elections. Our exposure to a diverse group of high-level experts was invaluable, and I will remember it for years to come.

I am also extremely thankful to have had the SAIS community to make it all happen. It would not have been possible without my professors’ unwavering support and the enthusiastic student body.

Caitlin O’Grady

Caitlin is a MA student, currently spending her first year of study at the SAIS Europe campus. A US national, she is concentrating in American Foreign Policy.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Johns Hopkins SAIS Wins First Place in International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Competition

Congratulations to the 2018 SAIS International Criminal Court Moot team. The SAIS team was the first place finisher in the Regional Round for the Americas and Caribbean of the International Criminal Court Moot Competition held at Pace University Law School in White Plains, NY on March 16th – 18th. The team included Emily Ashby B '17, '18, David Hamburger '19, Tyler Lee B '17, '18, Wanda Zhan N'17, '18 and Professor Tiffany Basciano as lead coach. Special recognition was given to David Hamburger, who won best overall orator in the final round, first place best orator for the prosecution in the preliminary round, and third place best memorial for the prosecution. 

The 2018 debate covered issues such as, whether human trafficking is a crime against humanity, whether a corporate subsidiary can be treated as an unindicted co-perpetrator, and finally whether double jeopardy applies. This May the SAIS team will compete in the global moot court round held in The Hague, Netherlands. The global competition is organized by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University with institutional support from the International Criminal Court itself. It is the world’s largest competition on international criminal law. This would be the international debut for SAIS at the competition. Countries from all over the world from Afghanistan to Zambia will be participating.  The team would like to thank everyone for the support received, especially Professors Nina Gardner, Steven Schneebaum, and Ruth Wedgwood. We wish SAIS good luck in the global round.

For more details, click here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A SAIS Journey: Studying post-conflict Reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Every year, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development organizes a study trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thirty students from Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe and the University of Bologna are invited to participate on this four-day trip to Sarajevo to meet with representatives of organizations working on post-conflict reconstruction, human rights issues, and democratic development. This year, received by snowy weather, the beautiful city of Sarajevo welcomed us to a heartbreaking, inspiring, and incredible learning experience. 

SAIS Europe visit to Sarajevo
The trip was an eye-opening experience. As we visited many multilateral organizations, including the United Nations Development Programme, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Bank, the Delegation of the European Union, and the Italian and US Embassies, we had the opportunity to learn more about their work on the ground. We discussed the numerous challenges in the implementation of development projects as well as future challenges and projects.  We learned about labor market policies, corruption, elections, ethnic division, the energy sector, education, and human rights. We also visited the Constitutional Court and learned more about the constitutional development in the country, taking into consideration the ethnic and demographic divisions that still exist in the region. In our meetings, we were exposed to a wide range of perspectives on local issues, which provided us with the opportunity to draw our own conclusions.
Srebrenica Memorial
The trip also exposed us to the local culture. Arriving one day earlier, I had the opportunity to visit Mostar, a beautiful city that was also a major location of the past conflict. While visiting the city, it is still possible to see the bullet holes in the walls of the buildings. We also had the honor to tour Sarajevo with General Jovan Divjak who shared his experience and took us to important locations of the conflict. This included visiting the Sarajevo Tunnel, which was used to transport Bosnian troops and to bring supplies into Sarajevo. In addition to studying the history, we also had time to taste the fantastic local cuisine and to learn more about local traditions.

One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to Srebrenica. There, we visited two organizations: the Mothers of Srebrenica Association and the Memorial Center. While the women from the Association shared their stories of escaping from the conflict and the challenges they faced upon returning to their homes, it was impossible not to feel their pain in our hearts and to think about the memories they have of a terrible time that took away their husbands, brothers, and children. During our visit to the Memorial Center, many of us cried when learning more about the torture and ethnic cleansing of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men in the Srebrenica genocide. It was a heartbreaking but incredible learning experience that inspired us to use our studies at SAIS to protect those in need and to prevent such acts from occurring again. When one of our colleagues asked the mothers of the Association, “what is your message to the world”, they said, “Never treat others different from you; when we are wounded, we all bleed red.”

As I am passionate about development, meeting with the victims, representatives of the organizations, and locals to hear their perspectives about the conflict and current challenges exposed me to a unique perspective of the country’s current situation. This trip was definitely an incredible learning experience that inspired me to continue giving my best to make this world a better place.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The SAIS Application Deadline is Fast Approaching!

The SAIS application deadline for Regular Admissions is fast approaching. Don’t forget to submit your application materials by January 8, 2018.

As highlighted on our website, all our application instructions are listed by specific program and campus. Be sure to consult them.

Below are some specific questions that we have received queries on in the past weeks.  Many of our questions can we answered by consulting our website. Some recurring questions are listed below.

What is the difference between an analytical essay and a statement of purpose?
Our previous blog postings explain in detail the difference between a statement of purpose and an analytical essay. Remember, one is about your personal journey, and one is "an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you.” Our detailed blog postings are a good source for guidance.

When is the financial aid application due?The financial aid application is due on February 15, 2018. This is a PDF document which you would download from the application portal and send back to us via email.

As a prospective student in the MA (or MAIA) program, I haven’t taken principles of economics. Should I be worried?
Prospective students for the MA or the MAIA program who have had no previous introductory courses in economics can still apply to SAIS Europe. Should they be admitted, however, their official enrollment would be conditional on meeting this requirement. There are a number of ways to meet this requirement. SAIS offers an on-line principles course in the spring, where students can enroll and satisfy this requirement by receiving a grade of B- or higher. Students can also enroll in other online courses or university programs before arriving. (Remember to check with us first to ensure the course meets our requirements.)

When are we informed of our financial aid and admission?
Prospective students in the Regular Admissions cycle are informed of their acceptance into SAIS Europe on March 9, 2018. If a student is accepted, and has applied for financial aid, he/she will be informed in a separate email on the same day of their financial aid status. Please be sure to check your spam filters, to avoid missing this important information.

Does SAIS Europe provide housing?
Admitted students to SAIS Europe are responsible for finding their own housing. However, we provide ample resources before the student’s arrival. These resources include local real estate consultants, private university residence services, and various websites that have helped students immensely in the past.

I still have questions. What should I do?
If you still have questions after consulting our website, you can always send us a question at: SAIS Europe Admissions Office

We wish you the best of luck during the admissions process.

Happy holidays,
SAIS Europe Office of Admissions

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Prospective Students Invited to Bologna for SAIS Europe’s Open Day

Thinking about applying to study at SAIS Europe in Bologna?  

On Monday, December 4th, SAIS Europe will open its doors to prospective students who are considering their post-graduate school options by offering them an opportunity to get to know the faculty, staff and students. Open Day is the best way to learn about SAIS Europe's Master's programs and get a first-hand look at the campus before applying.

During the day, prospective students will have the opportunity to hear from faculty and attend classes with current SAIS students. In addition, senior  administrators will speak about career services, the admissions process and how to apply for financial aid. 
The Student Government will also be on hand to share their experiences  on student life. Prospective students will meet with Club leaders during the lunch and happy hour. The day will end with a seminar lecture by Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS, who will be visiting from Washington, DC and will speak on the "Middle-East Challenges Facing the US Administration."

For a full description of the day, including registration, please visit our website here

We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Bologna on December 4th.

The SAIS Europe Office of Admissions

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Learn more about Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe

The academic year at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe started last week with Orientation. It's now time for us to focus on recruiting the next class.

In the coming months, we will hold a number of in-person and virtual events to help prospective applicants learn more about SAIS Europe and the programs we offer. You can find the list of events below. As some of the locations have not been confirmed yet, we recommend that you keep an eye on our website for updates.

We understand the majority of our applicants live far from the locations we will visit and may not be able to attend the virtual events. If you are interested in more information on our programs and have questions, know that we are available on email at or by phone at  +39 051 29 17 811


- Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) - October 3, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. Italian time (8-9 a.m. EST)
Applicants interested in the MAGR are encouraged to attend this online information session hosted by Prof. Filippo Taddei, Academic Director of the MAGR, and Daniela F. Coleman, Director of Admissions and Recruting at SAIS Europe.  The session will last one hour and it will provide a unique forum to ask questions directly to Prof. Taddei  and Daniela Coleman on the MAGR program and the application procedure. Here is the link to connect to the session. 

- All programs
We encourage applicants interested in learning about all the graduate programs offered at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe, to attend one or more of the following information sessions:

October 5, 2017 from 4-5 p.m Italian time (10-11 a.m. EST)
November 15, 2017 from 3-4 p.m Italian time (9-10 a.m. EST)
December 7, 2017 from 3-4 p.m. Italian time (9-10 a.m. EST)


- Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - October 12, 2017 from 12-2 p.m.

The exact location will be confirmed soon.

- Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands - October 13, 2017 from 11:15 a.m.

This session is dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between Leiden University and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

- University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - October 16, 2017 from 1-2 p.m.

The session will be in the Career Services Seminar Room at the University of Edinburgh.

- University of Dundee, Dundee, UK - October 17, 2017 from 1-2 p.m.
The session will be in the Office of Career Services  at the University of Dundee.

- University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK - October 17, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

The session will be at the Art Lecture Theatre of the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews.

- School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London,
UK - October 18, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

The session will be in the Brunei Suite at SOAS. For more details click here.

- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
These sessions are dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between the University of 
Bologna and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

October 24, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Facoltà Scienze Internazionali e Diplomatiche in Forli
October 26, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the School of Economics, Management and Statistics in Bologna
October 27, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. at the Facoltà di Scienze Politiche in Bologna

- Sciences Po Lille, Lille, France - November 9, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. 
This session is dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between Sciences Po Lille and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

- Open Day at SAIS Europe - December 4, 2017 
Open Day is a full day dedicated to prospective applicants who will have the unique opportunity to learn more about our programs, meet students, faculty, and staff. For more details click here.

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, August 18, 2017

Summer School in Montenegro: A Once-in-a-lifetime Opportunity to Gain Different Perspectives on the EU Project and its Future

Every summer, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) and the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade organize a week-long European Union & Legal Reform (EULR) Summer School in Igalo, Montenegro.

Utpala Menon, a student pursuing the International Law concentration, who completed her first year of the Master of Arts (MA) at SAIS Europe, tells us about her experience.

Utpala Menon
Before attending Johns Hopkins SAIS, the Balkans was an unfamiliar place, both in terms of its geopolitical and cultural intricacies. Hence attending the EULR Summer School in Montenegro was more than just an academic exercise. The decision stemmed out of genuine curiosity about the region, fomented by the timing of the start of my journey at Johns Hopkins SAIS in 2016, a year marked by radical alterations in the EU project, and in attitudes towards populism politics and migration.

The Summer School’s lectures and round-table debates covered an array of subjects. We began the week discussing Brexit, especially through the lens of the UK's and other European countries' historical vision for the EU project. This was particularly interesting as students from the Region voiced a certain sense of unprecedented ‘Euro-skepticism’. The discussions exposed the full impact of Brexit, including its legal and economic implications on both Europe and the world.

We participated in a stimulating debate on whether candidate countries should express caution in their integration, asking questions like: "Are they ready for integration?" and "Is the EU ready for them?" In the wake of Brexit, this meant truly questioning the socio-economic consequences of EU integration for candidate and potential candidate countries, which include economies of the former Yugoslavia such as Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania as well as Eastern European economies like Ukraine.

Utpala (third from left) and
her classmates in Igalo, Montenegro
We also learnt about the legal nature of preambles and more abstract concepts of identities. These nuanced lectures proved useful in understanding what motivates some countries to move towards greater integration and differing attitudes towards the migration crisis. What is more, the expertise and contributions of faculty such as Prof. Justin Frosini, Director of the CCSDD, and Marko Milenkovic, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at SAIS Europe, added depth and breadth to this already enriching experience.

The Summer School was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It brought together students from diverse backgrounds with intriguing and inspiring experiences as prosecutors, lawyers, and economists. It allowed us to make new friends and to take field trips around the coast of Montenegro and to Tito's villa. Above all, in an age of transforming political and economic landscapes, the insightful faculty presentations, round-table discussions, and challenging debates provided a unique and unforgettable opportunity to learn about different perspectives on the EU project and its future.

Utpala Menon
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017