Winter/Spring 2008

An Emergency Coordination Center Is Needed for a New Frontier

George B. NewtonAs once-frozen areas above the Arctic Circle change with the global climate, reports almost daily in the media note unique features about the impact in the far north. For one thing, the changes in the Arctic – both at sea and on land – are larger than those in the temperate areas. The scale of these changes is documented in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) completed in 2004 under the sponsorship of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee. Second, these changes in the Arctic, particularly in the Arctic Ocean, are opening an international frontier that all will seek to exploit for the advantages it will offer: increased accessibility to the area will mean both shorter intercontinental transportation routes (and trips to local destinations) and also easier access to natural resources. The changes will be radical: Ships will ply ocean routes that have been defined with only marginal accuracy; land will be developed that only a decade or two ago was considered largely uninhabitable and unusable. And this move north, over land and sea, will bring more inhabitants, many (in fact, most) of whom will be experiencing for the first time a unique place, one that is poorly understood by both the migrating individuals and the rest of the world, and an environment that is potentially dangerous and unforgiving.



Four “Poverty Traps” Are Part of Conundrum for Foreign Aid

Jim KolbeEurope celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan last year. It was a celebration worth having. The Marshall Plan represented a stunning departure of foreign policy in all modern history. Never before had a conquering nation reached out its hand in such beneficence to its vanquished foe. For that matter, never before had foreign assistance been attempted or even contemplated on such a scale. And one would be hard pressed to find any other aid program before or since that so thoroughly met the overarching strategic goals of a nation – which in this case was jump-starting European economies and shoring-up western Europe as a bulwark against the growing expansionist threat of the Soviet Union.



Washington: City and Symbol – or Neither?

Reviewed by Kenneth Ringle

Grand Avenues: The Story of the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C.
by Scott W. Berg (NY, Pantheon, 336 pages, and in paperback from Vintage)

All it takes is being stuck in one really good Washington traffic jam to find oneself cursing the name of Pierre L’Enfant, the French-born architect who drew up the street plan for the place that would become the U.S. capital. His concept – diagonal avenues superimposed over a grid system – ensured that Washington would look, as intended, totally different than the old capitals of Europe.



Europe Is Losing Out in Global Competition Among Universities: A Talk with Richard Descoings, Head of Sciences Po in Paris

Sciences Po (officially L’Institut des Etudes Politiques) has a unique place in higher education in France. It offers a more advanced, intensive program than other French universities, but is less demanding and easier on admissions than the “grandes écoles” (the specialized, elite schools at the pinnacle of France’s educational system). Its alumni include numerous French political leaders, including the three most recent presidents of France. Sciences Po graduates also head many of France’s largest companies. Its enrollment is currently 6,700 (including 2,200 foreign students).



Fugitive Serbian War Criminals and the West

Reviewed by François Clemenceau

Peace and Punishment: Secret Wars of Politics and International Justice
By Florence Hartmann. (Published only in French: Paix et châtiment) Flammarion, Paris, 2007, 319 pages.

At last, a new book tackles the tormenting question of why the two most wanted mass murderers of the Yugoslav civil wars have yet to be brought to justice a decade after international warrants were issued for them. Despite repeated reports of their imminent arrests, the pair – Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who headed the Bosnian Serbs’ army – has managed to elude capture and extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

  • High Skills versus Family-Based Immigration Policy: Complex Considerations.

    By Nicholas Zill

    In the current era of rapid demographic and technological change, and massive refugee flows, there has been much debate in European nations and in the US about immigration policies. One of the major points of contention is whether preferences should be given to would-be entrants on the basis of their high skills (merit-based immigration) or their family ties to individuals already residing in the country (family reunification).

    Read more ...

UMD Jean Monnet Research Project

Infrastructure Planning and Financing: Lessons from Europe and the United States

The University of Maryland has received a Jean Monnet grant from the EU to conduct a series of policy exchanges between Europe and the US on filling infrastructure needs and the utility of public/private partnerships as the financing mechanism. If interested in participating in or receiving more information about these exchanges, please contact Rye McKenzie (

Read more ...

New from the Bertelsmann Foundation

The Bertelsmann Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC with a transatlantic perspective on global challenges.

"Edge of a Precipice" by Nathan Crist

"Newpolitik" by Emily Hruban


Summer Course